Friday, April 22, 2016

My Little Boy-O

I know many pet owners probably feel their pet is special. I would say that about all the pets that have entered my life, but Romo was truly an extraordinary little being, the best. From the time I first saw him, he became my heart animal. No other animal will ever replace him. There was an instant connection, and our bond grew throughout the years.

We had a lot of nicknames for my wonderful boy. He was my black and white version of the pink panther, my little boy-o, my sweet pea and my darling boy. Others called him Nana or Romo, the latter his given name that suited him well. 

Romo wasn't like most cats. He was exceptionally smart, sensitive, very vocal, and he came when I called him. We did yoga together almost every morning, and he loved the sun as much as I do. Some might think it's crazy, but he was talkative. He must have had a touch of Siamese in him. I will miss those wonderful sounds, his purr, his meows and the funny cooing noises he created. The adorable feline had a personality that I loved, even when he attacked my ankles when he didn't want me to leave the room. He could be so feisty, and it made me love him even more. 

Losing him has shaken my world. I want the world to stop, the Earth to stop spinning, so everyone can acknowledge the loss of such a remarkable and sweet soul. 

RIP my sweet little prince. You are forever in my heart. The world, especially my world, will never be the same without you. What a good boy you were. 

Thank you Home to Heaven for your compassion and kindness on one of the most difficult days of my life. 

This poem has an odd history, but it's all I can think of that fits right now:

W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. 

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. 

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Monday, April 18, 2016

My Fake Birthday

January 21st is my real birthday. That's when I celebrate with cake or a nice meal out or treat myself to some extra alone time, depending on my needs and wants that day, but every April, I give thanks for coming out of a bad case of meningitis alive. There's no specific day or candles or goodies; I just note the month and remember how fragile life can be and how quickly things can change. This month I did things differently, though, and treated myself to something nice.

I recently found out that someone was posting things publicly about me, unkind and personal things, like my unlisted address where I rent a room in Boulder and snide comments about me being a whiner or something. I only saw two of these posts. Apparently there are more. Both that I saw were pointed out to me by a third party, and I wasn't able to find those or any others in searches. Since these things are posted where few people look or care, I'm not concerned. I asked a lawyer about it. Posting someone's private address is a violation for which anyone can be sued, but I don't want to spend the money unless this gets to a point where it's truly threatening or harassment. I'm lucky I'm not dealing with "the Blog Stalker" or anything more terrible. Still, it's an annoyance I'd rather not have to address. The lawyer I contacted is aware, and that road is always an option. My thought about people who do this type of thing is that it shows more about their character than mine.

Someone close to me is dealing with a person who is on an unrelenting, mad quest to spread lies and defame him, and that case seems far more serious to me. It concerns me more, because the aggressor's reality seems to be so skewed. Every time I hear or see more that goes on in this situation, my jaw drops further to the ground. It's one of those things I will never, ever understand, even though I suspect there's a lot of projection going on, which is a common response when things don't go as one hoped in life. Still, it's unsettling that this person's behavior is escalating. Many months before things got out of hand, I told the one dealing with this situation to go to the police to at least file a report. I was floored when the other person went there first with false claims and a list of lies, but as shocked as I was, I should have known that things like this happen. I just didn't think I'd ever see it up close.

Unfortunately, the courts often get tied up with shit like this. When you see a case that involves real threats and possible physical harm or, in the case of a close friend of mine, actual life-threatening violence, these online stalker-like cases look trivial, but when the minor ones are dragged out for months or even years with the same and worsening behavior, it starts to get a little bit scary, even from the sidelines. Unfortunately, the more someone attacks and attempts to disrupt the lives of others, the harder it is to sit back and take it, which was the advice I used to always give. Don't respond. Don't engage. But when things continue to go too far, it's hard to keep saying that. Legal action or, at minimum, responding looks more and more appealing, just to hopefully put an end to things. Fortunately, this isn't my mess to deal with, though it hurts to watch someone I care about have to face it. For both parties, I wish it would stop.

That aside, at times my blog is more of a journal, but I started it knowing I wanted to help others. The struggles I face show that despite dealing with a life-threatening illness (two of them, actually) and minor injuries and general setbacks and an incredible amount of pain, I still show up for life with something to offer others. I work. I spend more time as a mentor in a few online forums than I do offering advice here, and I will be starting a support group of my own next month. I also recently got reconnected to the Humane Society of Boulder where I used to volunteer. It's time to start up again after a break, so I will begin in a new department in May.

My blog sometimes ends up being a good place to vent when I want to prevent the thoughts in my head from doing a continuous loop, and I'm OK with that, even when others might see me as whining. Not long ago, I mentioned that I often forget to post when things are going really well, but I'm working on that. I look at a lot of my ramblings as a way to process when shit gets heavy. And through it all, I keep a commitment to my recovery from a disorder that kills more people than any other mental illness. Make fun of that if you will, but that's on you, not me.

To celebrate April, I made an impulse purchase and got myself a cruiser bike, on sale. It's pink, and it's fucking awesome.

A woman has to be intelligent, have charm, a sense of humor, and be kind. It's the same qualities I require from a man. -- Catherine Deneuve

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


I've decided that if people can't be civil and have to hurl insults instead of being able to have an adult conversation, I won't engage. This comes after some lady stooped to low levels on Twitter when I voiced an opinion. I don't remember her name, Abby or Jamie or something. I had never heard of her before a friend of mine tweeted something about her. The lady is a pro-life advocate. The story goes that after she had two abortions, she decided she wanted to tell everyone else they shouldn't have one. That in itself is fine, but I fully believe in freedom of choice. What seems to get lost on people is that saying that doesn't make me pro abortion. 

I have friends who are pro-life and believe in God, and we get along just fine. There's a mutual respect that seems to be lacking when it comes to some hardcore pro-life supporters. 

Anyway, when someone throws out stupid, stupid comment or any other insult or personal attack, I shut the conversation down. It's weird to me that someone who claims to be all about God feels like it's OK to stoop to this kind of level. The whole angry, in your face, aggressive, put words in your mouth style of arguing is upsetting to me, and I would rather do something productive instead of get into it with someone who makes assumptions, doesn't fully read what his or her opponent writes, and can't help but be mean. I will defend myself, but at some point a line must be drawn.

When this lady asked me something about whether or not I believe alcoholics should be able to talk about their experiences or some such nonsense (well, it's really just unrelated, not actual nonsense), I had a feeling things were going to get wacky fast, and they did. No, that's not what I was saying when I simply noted that I think people should be able to choose and find it odd that someone who had the luxury and freedom to do so would want to get involved with and influence someone else's personal choice. Getting abortions and drinking alcohol are not remotely close in terms of anything, really, except they are both legal.

Lately, I've witnessed a lot of crazy internet stuff, from stalkers to trolls to wars of words. I don't even like seeing it. I feel better when I'm helping others. This last thing on Twitter was a good reminder that I need to stay focused on building up those who need help and ignore unkind people I've never met who want to tear others down. I can't believe that makes people feel good.

Enough on that.

Things are improving with my feet, but it has been somewhat slow going. I'm in a better space than when I wrote what follows, but I still need some time to heal. I'm getting answers and seeing both my PT and my doc about the nerve issues.


When dealing with pain, it's important to stay one step ahead of it, so I have been told. Unfortunately, I'm the type that seems to get three steps behind before I even recognize how bad it is. Plus, nerve pain is tricky to deal with. The sensations range from burning, pins and needles and numbness to stabbing, throbbing blasts of misery that make you want to scream. With nerve pain, it messes up your brain. It's fatiguing, distracting and flat out uncomfortable. I feel like I must look like Bill the cat, because I'm fried from having to deal with all this discomfort.

I learned recently that being susceptible to nerve issues can be genetic. I believe it, because otherwise it would be a strange coincidence that I would develop similar nerve-related issues every time I have an operation on my feet. You might have guessed by now that I'm dealing with more nerve issues than I started with, this time in both feet. Pain aside, my life is going well, especially in terms of my job, which I love and know how lucky I am to have.

The surgeries:

On my left foot, the goal was to decrease the pain I was having with some nerves that were trapped in scar tissue by cutting a section of the nerves higher up on my foot. The surgery went fine, but I ended up having phantom pain when the severed nerve endings kept active. Phantom pain sounds like it's not real pain, but I can assure you that it is. It feels exactly like the nerves are still intact, because they still fire and send signals to the brain. On top of that, I developed more scar tissue from the new incision, and that made for even more trouble. That should all calm down at some point.

The right foot was more complicated, and the result has been far more distressing. My doctor did a tendon release, so that my second toe would go back into its normal position. It was getting a little too friendly with my big toe. Post-op healing was coming along very nicely until about a week ago when all of a sudden, a big ball of scar tissue developed that trapped yet another nerve. In addition, the toe pad tear isn't fixed, which wasn't going to be a problem had the nerve and scar tissue situations not developed. The combination of everything has made it such that I'm developing a hammer toe, and I'm in an incredible amount of pain. My PT helped relieve some of the scar tissue/nerve pain with Graston, though, so I'm grateful for that. I'm just trying to get through each day without giving in too much to the demons in my head.

 My doctor and PT have been great. I'm very happy with both. I still think my doc is one of the best podiatrists in this area. In addition to the genetic component I'm dealing with, there's also the structure of my feet to consider and the healing process in general, which is different for everyone. My healing didn't go as planned this time, even though I was careful about not doing too much too soon. Shit happens, as they say, but I'm managing. I'm present and aware, and I'm working on staying that way.


Since I wrote that, I got a shot of cortisone and some PT and a tape job that has helped relieve some of the super sharp pain, so things are going more smoothly. 

I still have hope, and that's a good thing.