Aug 29, 2009

Good Reason to Lay Off the Sugar a Bit...

...I was thinking that Tammy Faye got it right when she was buds with Ron Jeremy on the first season of "Surreal Life" a few years back. I mean, when the whole group was sent to the nudist resort she stayed in a different hotel on her own dime, and when Ron Jeremy had a bunch of sexy people over to the house for a romp in the pool, Tammy Faye said hello and then went up to her room for the rest of the night (and then they showed her reading her Bible which came off kind of nerdy, but who knows what they did in editing, and even so I give her kudos for standing up for her values and being kind, all at once)...but through the entire time she was always respectful and didn't get all preachy with him, or any of the other housemates for that matter.

And THEN when they put them all on TV and Sally Jesse Raphael grilled them about all having different values, and was totally trying to rile them up into a brawl, Tammy Faye said, "Look, just because Ron Jeremy and I have different values doesn't mean we can't respect each other and be friends." And Vanilla Ice & Erik Estrada & everyone else were nodding their heads in approval. And then there was the one girl housemate who called out Vanilla Ice when he was being a jerk that one day, and they were having a little drama, but then he said, "You're right," and they made up.

The Flava' Flav and Brigitte Nielson season I'm sure got better ratings because it was just so dang weird, but I really liked that first one. It was a friggin' love fest. In a good way...

How CAN It Be...

You can buy a spiffy gadget, or you can just do this:

Groovy soundtrack not included. Read the full article here.

No thanks necessary; just doing my job...

Aug 22, 2009

God and My Arse...

I had a bit of a revelation today, and true to how God seems to work with me, it involved my butt. I seem to understand things better in terms of potty humor. There's a fine line though, because in this case it's less about poop and more about my sacrum, which happens to be located in my butt-region. Anyway.

With regard to my back issues, I have a tendency to fixate on getting everything in place and keeping it in place. My left SI joint is the trigger point, and I know there are certain actions which aggravate the problem, so I get in the habit of avoiding those things. Squatting down, for example, will get my rear end stuck outta whack, where it will remain until it is corrected. So I try not to squat; I kneel on one knee instead. Getting up from a chair can be a problem, so I put all my weight on my right side. With any weight bearing exercises I never let my knees bend past 90 degrees. Etc. etc. etc.--I have lots of little, minor moves where I've just gotten in the habit of favoring my right side.

Unfortunately, my list of don't's has grown a bit in the last few years, and it's getting harder & harder to not do them all the time because some are really simple actions, and I don't always have the time to think about foot placement when I'm running after the kiddos. It only takes one time to forget to evaluate the angle of my knee-bend, and boom--I'm back where I started. So it seems, lately, that no matter how much my PT's persuade my sacrum back into place, I manage to undo it within a couple weeks--at best--even though I'm doing well with the core strengthening program. It's discouraging because certain worriers start going, "Is it getting worse? Is PT not working for you anymore?" and I sit there wondering, "It's supposed to work, why isn't it working?"

But alas, I am the cause of this perpetuation. By favoring my right side, I make my left side muscles weaker, thereby making them less able to hold everything in place where it should be. By trying to avoid the problem I'm actually making it worse because my sacrum is less resistent to going out of whack, despite all my awesome strengthening efforts. I've worked myself into a bit of a vicious cycle this way, as my left side gets weaker and I slowly add to the list of "Things that make my butt go out."

So guess what? I'm going to butt bootcamp. Jamie (one of the PTs) teaches a strengthening program called
Sportsmetrics. It's a pretty intense strengthening program...aimed at soccer players for ACL injury prevention, but pretty good for most anyone, and likely really good for my behonkus. I was talking it over with Kathy (the guru of the PTs), and we determined that, at first, the exercises will likely send my arse straight outta whack. I will ignore the out-ness, however, for the six weeks of training. The hope is that after that time I'll have gained enough strength that they can fix it and it will stay put, and I can then live my life without constantly worrying about the state of my butt. So while I've been trying really hard to be not-injured, what I need to do is focus on getting healthier & stronger overall, and then keeping my butt aligned will take care of itself. It's a shift in focus.

You know what I think it's like? I think it's like when we (Christians) get caught up in the minutiae of performance-based living. It's so easy to try to organize life into little lists of do's & don't's, and to feel like we're going to be fine as long as we stick to the lists. We limp along, analyzing every behavioral option and potential pleasure, wondering "Should I stay away from that? Is that bad?" We start worrying about how we look to others, because we want them to see the fruit of our walk with Christ. Except different groups of people have different ideas about what's OK and what isn't, so as time goes on our ever-growing list of don't's starts bogging us down and we get weaker and weaker. Before you know it we're looking around, feeling rather scum-like, and wondering if there's anything we can do without hurting ourselves or "harming our testimonies" in some way. We have the best of intentions, but it turns into a vicious cycle of neurotic self-righteousness.

While we tend to want to be good, or at the very least, not-bad, what we need to worry about is trusting in God, and let him take care of the do's & don't's. He doesn't want us for what we do or don't do. He says some pretty nice things about us and our identity in him, it turns out. When we start believing those things it changes how we live. It's a shift in focus.

Don't thank me; thank my butt...

Aug 10, 2009

No Worries, It's Not Leprosy...

..but I am allergic to Band-Aids and Neosporin.

I had a mole removed a week and a half ago. It used to be on my neck. I had had it--along with its fraternal twin, located on my belly--as long as I can remember, and neither really bothered me until they became comfort objects for His Highness. Sometime around a year old he found each of them, and with each one I explained it was Mommy's mole, and thus they were forever christened "Mommy Moh?" and finally it came to be that whenever I picked up or held His Highness his little paw would find its way to one of the Mommy-Mohs and rub it for good luck. Incessantly.

This was cute and endearing for about five minutes, after which time it became rather tiresome. And then there were the few and isolated, and yet so vivid, incidents where he laughed the sinister laugh, and tried to remove a Mommy-Moh for me.

I decided they had to go.

This decision was made in the middle of my enchantment with the Littler One, and was followed quickly by another decision to wait until after the Littler One was born. There wasn't any reason I had to wait, except that I wanted to be my sane(r) and happy(ier) self which, truth be told, is more of a reality when I'm not enchanted. Enchantments come in a variety, and some enchantments are glowier than others.

Fast forward to a month or so ago, when I visited the doc on base about it. Long story short, he gave me the option of having the moles "shaved" right there in the office. This would have been no problem for the one on the belly, but it gave me pause about the neck one. I mean, there's a lot of important stuff happening in the neck. Even with a superficial procedure, I was a little nervous about sharp things anywhere near the vicinity of my jugular vein and whatnot. Plus with the shave, they basically just clip the mole right off, so there's a chance it'll return in an equal or lesser form. The doc offered to refer me to a dermatologist, though, which I thought was very sporting of him, and I decided to do both in one fell swoop.

Referral, calling, appointments, blah blah blah, bringing us to two Thursdays ago. I went & met Dr. Seitz, and told him all of the above. Yes, all. He took a look and said the trouble was that they were both a safe and reasonable size & shape, and therefore insurance probably wouldn't cover their removal, unless of course one of them was "irritated," and then he could probably remove one with no problem. This he said with a special emphasis, and it got me to thinking about how "irritated" the neck one felt a lot of the time, and so he removed it for me.

He was very nice, "got" my humor, and ridiculed me only minimally on my needle issues. He did a very good job, too. I barely felt the needle for the numbing, and after that it only felt vaguely like he was twisting a pencil eraser against my neck. I kept a don't-ask-don't-tell policy throughout and talked about other random things instead...except when I heard the "clip-clip" and commented that that was an interesting sound, knowing what it was he was clipping. I don't know what people normally talk about when they are having little bits of themselves removed, so I don't know if his half-smile was along the lines of "That's an interesting thought," or "You're really good at distracting yourself as a way of coping with your phobias," or "Wow, you're a talky one," or "I'm smiling so you don't know that I'm completely ignoring you so I can concentrate."

For her part, the nurse, Carol, held my hand during the needle part and provided all the interested responses to my commentary. Hers was the type of personality that I love to encounter, especially when I need my hand held. Kind, but not afraid to joke with me either.

I asked what the chances were of the mole returning, and the doc said, "Well, we went pretty deep--into the subcutaneous fat--so I don't think it's possible." Cool. Then three stitches, boom, done. "Keep it covered, use this antibiotic gel every night," etc. He also said if the other mole is "irritated" in a year or so, and I want him to dig it out (instead of having it shaved by the base doc) to let him know. He gave me the beginnings of a little bit of faith in the Cheyenne medical community.

The next day we were off to Idaho for the weekend (another post). I brought along a few Band-Aids and the gel they gave me. I asked the Cat Daddy if it was normal for it to itch, and he said yes. He said a little more than "yes," but to protect the obnoxious I won't get into it. I don't often have things cut off & stitched, so cut me some slack, that's all I'm saying. It kept itching and stinging after a couple days, and the still, small voice inside me said "this can't be right," but I went with it, because the still, small voice has been wrong on occasion. Even after I tried the fabric Band-Aids it got redder and itchier. I got some Neosporin super-cream...and then some little crusty guys showed up...and then on Monday I told the Cat Daddy, "I'm calling my doc." I showed him the site, and he said, "Ewww, what happened to your neck?! You need to call your doctor about that. That's not right." At least we agreed on that. We both suspected I was having a reaction to the Band-Aids, and when I thought back to events surrounding getting my ears pierced as a kid, I wondered if I might be allergic to the Neosporin as well. Talking to my doctor's office pretty well confirmed this, so I took off the Band-Aid and stopped putting anything on it. I was a little concerned on the flight home that I might be getting a fever, and therefore maybe it was infected...but after a nap I felt better and not at all feverish. And the Cat Daddy had the good sense to ask if the area was hot, which it wasn't, so I felt more optimistic that I wasn't being taken over by hostile bacteria.

But the next day that part of my neck was approaching a desert-reptilian texture, so I called again and said, "Can I please come in? It just looks bad." I can't say for sure, but I'm almost certain they were thinking, "Ah yes, these nervous-types, they just need some reassurance." Which is true, I am a nervous-type, and I was in fact looking for some reassurance. What they didn't know, however, is how many hang-ups I have about asking to "just come in," and how stubborn I can be about sticking things out without "troubling" the docs.

So I got there, and showed them, and said "I think I'm having a reaction." And they took a look and said, "Holy smokes, you're not kidding, that looks terrible!" Which ironically enough, reassured me. At least I wasn't over-reacting. So they told me to keep it uncovered, and they gave me a sample-size bottle of some nasty stinging spray (a steroid; hydrocortizone-esque in nature, I believe) to use once a day. They even fanned my neck with "Newsweek" while I in-hissed my way through the stinging (you know--that inhale/hiss one does when something stings). I thought that was nice.

Ooh, and then Dr. Seitz told me I could test the allergy theory by putting a small amount of each offender on my crelbow (inside of the elbow, "Friends" fans) to see if it would react. Relief, reassurance, and a science project, all within one appointment. You really can't go wrong at the dermatologist's office.

So I went home and dabbed a bit of Neosporin on my crelbow, and by the end of the day...nothing happened. Ah well.

By Friday morning the time came for me to get the stitches out. The doc asked how I was doing as he took a look. I said, "It's better, I think." He replied, "What are you talking about, it looks a whole lot better!" So they removed the stitches, pronounced me awesome, and the doc defied me to find the scar by next spring. I was kind of sad to leave, as I was starting to make friends with everyone there, but such is life with the good docs I suppose. They make it so you don't have to go back.

By Friday afternoon I was amazed to discover that my crelbow itched, and there appeared tiny red dots, exactly where I'd put the Neosporin three days before. Success!! Sort of!! I spent the weekend with that little spot itching, but it was worth it. Next will be the Band-Aid test. I'd never had a reaction to a Band-Aid before, but I'd never worn them on the more sensitive areas like my face/neck before, either. It got me to wondering what else I could put on my crelbow to see if I'm allergic. Hmmmm...

So now when I absentmindedly reach up to touch my mole, I feel only the remnant of the incision...and the Band-Aid-shaped rash. And when His Highness goes for the area to rub Mommy-Moh, and finds that it is still missing, he says "Mommy-Moh all gone?" and I say, "Yep, the doctor took it off." Part of me wants to say "Bwuahahaha, no more Mommy-Moh for you!!" But that wouldn't be very nice. Besides, there's still the one on my belly, which he all-the-more-frantically locates now.

Blankie? No. Bear? Of course not. Not even a pacifier. My son has his Mommy-Moh. But only one now, which is faboo...