Sunday, January 30, 2005

Rave of the Day for January 30th: 

Included in our bulletin at church tonight was a list of "quotes from the past for a good New Year". Thought they were good enough to share....

"Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean."
--Christopher Reeve, Actor

"It's never too late to be who you might have been."
--George Eliot, Writer

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
Plato, Philosopher and Educator

"Character is doing what's right when nobody's looking".
--J.C. Watts, Politician

"A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark".
--Chinese Proverb

"The game of life is like the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy."
--Florence Shinn, Writer

"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself."
--Anna Quindlen, Writer

"I have never seen a monument erected to a pessimist."
--Paul Harvey, Radio Commentator

"Change your thought and you change the world".
--Harold R. McAlindon, Writer

"People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first."
--David H. Comins, Author

"Anger is the only thing to put off until tomorrow."
--Slovakian Proverb

An "aha" moment.... 

Started taking my diabetes med this weekend. Today, I noticed that I did not suffer my usual massive drop in energy following my workout. Just my usual fatigue staying at a consistent level.

It occurs to me that maybe this crashing after exercise was due to insulin resistance? This has been happening for at least 15 years. I thought it was a myth that working out on a regular basis would give you more energy.

I can remember being in my 20's and getting totally wiped out after swimming, aerobics or weight lifting. During those years, I blamed it on working out too hard. In my 30's, I blamed it on the fibro.

It will be interesting to see if today was a fluke or if I can actually stop crashing after exercise. I go to aquacise in the morning.

I'd do the happy dance, but I'm not quite that energetic.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 6

Friday, January 28, 2005

Rave of the Day for January 28th: 

I was greatly in need of inspiration this week, so I'm most grateful to Joan for sending me this link. Enjoy....

You Are a Miracle

Soooooo burned out..... 

Haven't followed through on either of my appointments this week....I'm such a zombie that I'm doing well just dragging my exhausted butt to work and back. Feel like I could sleep for a solid week.

So Friday, I'll see if I can get some phone calls made. First to the ENT's office to see if he'll look at my neck again and whether he agrees with the rheumy that I should have a biopsy. Also need to schedule my nutritional counseling, see the dermatologist about an annoying itchy rash that won't go away, and find a new dentist because one of my cracked teeth is really starting to bug me.

Have been playing phone tag with the sleep specialist about raising the dose of Neurontin (I need a new script) and starting a prescription iron supplement. And I need to fill the script for the diabetes med so I can start that.

But this weekend, I am doing NOTHING. Not leaving the house at all except for church. Might watch some movies on the couch if I can stay awake long enough.

The great slug has spoken.

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 8

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

New discoveries (not fun)..... 

Saw the Sjogren's expert today, the "second opinion" rheumy, to determine if there was any treatment for the Sjogren's that I'm not already doing that I should be doing. We went over all the bloodwork he'd had done; all that was normal. And most of the x-rays were fine.

There was one problem that showed up on the x-rays of my hands, though: calcification. That was news to me. It's another thing my regular rheumy will need to keep an eye on.

The doc said that with the Sjogren's, the digestive troubles, and the problems I've had with my hands and feet, we should be on the lookout for scleroderma. It's not a common problem, but rheumatic diseases tend to cluster together, so it's always possible. He gave me a handout so I might recognize symptoms if they should ever occur.

He looked at the lymph nodes in my neck and did not like the look of them, especially since I only had one nodule when I saw him in November. And he found two more swollen nodes that were NOT there last Thursday when I saw the ENT. And these were on the RIGHT....alll the others had been on the LEFT side.

So he strongly feels I need to go back to the ENT and have a biopsy. The chance of lymphoma is small, but it is very real nevertheless. Should this be cancerous, it's best to catch it early.

If a biopsy comes back normal, he feels I should not go on an immunosuppressant because I do not show any signs of organ damage. The immunosuppressants have side effects that are pretty brutal, so they are generally save for severe illness only. At this point I would be considered moderate.

As far as whether or not I should go on permanent disability, he said the ultimate decision is up to me, but many of his patients who have similar multiple health conditions do end up unable to work. He said that he does not feel there would be a vast improvement in my condition if I stopped working, BUT he DOES think I might be able to slow the progression of illness.

I have a lot to think about and am a bit overwhelmed with all the news I've received in the past week. I guess I'll talk to the ENT's office first and work on the other stuff when I can. But no major decisions about my job until I've given a few things a chance to respond to treatment.

Right now exhaustion doesn't even begin to describe the depth of my fatigue.

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 10

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Endocrinologist's verdict... 

Turns out I'm not 100 percent diabetic....yet. But the levels were far enough out of range that I soon will be without intervention. The first reading, the fasting level, was normal, but the second reading was about 185 when it should be less than 140, and it didn't go down much after that.

Problem is, I am already exercising at maximum capacity due to the fibro and other medical conditions, and my diet is very good considering I have gluten intolerance and gastroparesis. And I'm not overweight. So I am to take a small dose of a diabetes med to help stabilize the blood sugar levels.

I will also get nutritional counselling at the local diabetes center so I can learn how to calculate the proper amounts of fat, carbs, protein and sugar. The doc said I probably won't have to change my eating very much at all, but just refine what I'm already doing. They should also be able to help me balance the dietary needs of my two digestive disorders.

I asked how I ended up with such high glucose levels despite a healthy lifestyle. She said that if you have a parent with type 2 diabetes, you have a FIFTY percent chance of developing it. AND if you have one or more autoimmune diseases already, the chance of getting it goes up even more.

She reassured me that had I not taken care of myself as well as I have, I would have ended up with full-blown type 2 diabetes in my 30's or even my 20's. She actually said I did really well with all my health problems to make it to age 40 without geting past the insulin resistance stage. So I didn't mess up like I thought I did.

For now, no daily glucose monitoring unless I have trouble stabilizing my levels with the prescribed treatment. That is a huge relief. But she did emphasize that I must take this seriously while it is still easily manageable.

Pain level: 9
Fatigue level: 9

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Bonus Rave of the Day for January 23rd: 

I first saw a variation on this joke when I was a kid, but it's still funny. Thanks to Joan for e-mailing it to me.....

Subject: Test question - 70 pts

Students in an advanced biology class were taking a mid term. The last question was: "Name seven advantages of mothers' milk. The correct answer will be worth 70 points or none at all."

One student, who had also partied a little too hard the night before, was hard put to think of seven advantages.

He finally wrote:
1. It is a perfect formula for the child.
2. It provides immunity against several diseases.
3. It is always available as needed.
4. It is always at the right temperature.
5. It is inexpensive.
6. It bonds the child to the mother, and vice versa.

And then, the student was stuck. Finally, just before the bell indicating the end of the test rang, he wrote...

7. It comes in such cute containers.

Getting the flu? 

Dan woke up today with the dizzies, the achies, and the queasies. Thinks maybe he's caught the flu from one of our co-workers who never stays home when he's contagious. So far, he's not running a fever, but is freezing cold, so he's in his thermals under a ton of blankets watching a movie right now.

I don't feel too well myself, but to be honest, the fibromyalgia feels like the flu every day, so I can't tell the difference yet. I stayed home from church tonight in case I do have something. I guess if I really have caught something, it should be more obvious by tomorrow.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Whoopsie! Forgot to update.... 

Totally spaced out mentioning the results of my ENT appointment. Saw him Thursday morning about the swollen lymph nodes. He noted that not only are there several, they are in a long chain, starting from behind my ear and going all the way down to the collar bone. Some have very hard knots in them.

He looked at my sinuses and in my throat and said there was evidence of Sjogren's damage in both areas. I also have inflammation on the inside of the throat. He did a culture on the sinuses, and we'll wait on the results on that to see if I need any meds for that.

His opinion is that, at this point, the cause is autoimmune. But he was quite adamant that we watch this closely....I am to follow up in three months, sooner if I develop swelling in lymph nodes in other parts of the body or one of the swollen areas suddenly gets much worse. There is about a 10 percent chance this could develop into lymphoma because of the Sjogren's.

One of the frustrating features of Sjogren's is that the symptoms can be identical to those of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. That's why it's so important to get a doc's opinion. I know two ladies with Sjogren's who had the very same type of swelling become cancerous, but both had good docs who caught it early, and both were able to treat it successfully.

He told me that if I do experience any dramatic worsening, he'll order a cat scan of the neck, and, if necessary, do a biopsy of one of the problem nodes. So I won't really worry about it for now.

Rave of the Day for January 23rd: 

Here are some thoughts of the day that would not be out of place in a stand-up comedian's routine. Thanks to bejo for the funnies....

Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and he won't bother you for weeks.
Some people are like Slinkies ... not really good for anything, but you can't help smiling when you see one
tumble down the stairs.
Whenever I start feeling blue, I start breathing again.
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut saves you thirty cents?.
Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
  And the # 1 THOUGHT FOR THE DAY..........
Most "terrorists" are reported to have come to the US legally, but they then hang around on expired visas, some for as long as 10 to 15 years.  Now, compare that to Blockbuster; if you are 2 days late with a video, those people are all over you. I think we should put Blockbuster in charge of immigration.

Had a giggle fest.... 

Went to the local comedy club.....got to see Greg Proops, the guy from "Whose Line Is It Anyway?". Three local guys were the opening acts. We sat in the second row at the early show because it is a smoke-free one.

Greg Proops is pretty hilarious...did a lot of material about the local scene, which I enjoyed. My favorite part was where he came up with ideas for new "reality" shows and how to make "Fear Factor" actually scary. My abs are a bit sore from all the laughing.

Unfortunately, after I'd been home a while, the sledgehammer of fatigue caught up with me and hit me right between the eyes. Oh, well. It was worth it anyway.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 9

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Rave of the Day for January 19th: 

Guess what? I bought tickets to Duran Duran! The original lineup is back, and Dan and I are going to see them in March. I'm calling it an early birthday present. Duran Duran is Dan's favorite band. Speaking of being stuck in the '80's, here's another funny courtesy of Ducky....

Signs Your Roommate is Stuck in the 80s

She's still dressing up like Cyndi Lauper, only now people think she's Mimi from the Drew Carey show.
He's more self-absorbed than the entire cast of Seinfeld.
Every time they borrow a sweatshirt from your closet, they return it with the neckline all ripped out.
His part-time job? Teaching the "Uptown Girl" dance class at Arthur Murray.
*Still* spends Friday nights dialing 867-5309 and asking for Jenny.
Your explanation to the police: After 1000 times, "Gag me with a spoon" sounded like a request.
He's wondering why there's no Apple IIe version of Microsoft Word.
Defensively says "They're not oldies; it's called classic rock!"
Can't understand why Blondie wasn't at the Lilith Fair.
Your name happens to be "Mickey," and HE WON'T QUIT SINGING THE DAMN SONG.

ENT on Thursday.... 

Will finally get in to see him about the swollen lymph nodes on the left side of my neck. I'm hoping he'll be able to tell me it's just another feature of Sjogren's syndrome and that I won't have to undergo any more tests. But, like fibro, Sjogren's shares so many symptoms in common with more serious disorders that it's always a good idea to check with the doc if a problem is new or suddenly worse.

If he doesn't like the look of the lymph nodes, he may need to biopsy one. I think most of my bloodwork has been normal enough (no SSA or rheumatoid factor) that he might not have to do much more with that. He's a good doc, very thorough, so I totally trust his judgement.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 7

Monday, January 17, 2005

I'm a contributing writer! 

On my list of links on the right hand side of this blog, there is something called "The Spoon Theory". It is a link to But You Don't Look Sick, a website run by a lady with lupus. The Spoon Theory is the story of how she explained to her best friend what it is like to have a chronic illness. The website is both for people with invisible illnesses and their families.

A few weeks ago, I returned to the site and was delighted to discover there was a new message board. I registered, and the very next week, I received an e-mail asking if anyone wanted to write articles and book reviews for the site. They were only asking a commitment of one item per month, which is something I know I can accomplish. So I volunteered, and submitted my first book review yesterday. Here it is:

Lucky Man: A Memoir

Oh, and while you're on the site, please read "The Spoon Theory" if you haven't already done so. You'll be glad you did.

I think this is a great idea. I get a chance to write about stuff I'm already reading or products I'm already using anyway, and this makes me feel useful. And the lady running the website doesn't have to do everything herself.

I'll post links to the articles and reviews whenever they're used on the site.

Rave of the Day for January 16th: 

Since I've gone back to working on making a playlist of 80's pop music, I thought this funny from Ducky would be appropriate.....

You're a Child of the 80's If...
You know what a "burnout" is.
You know what "Sike" means.
You know the profound meaning of "Wax on, Wax off."
You know that another name for a keyboard is a "Synthesizer."
You wanted to be a Goonie.
You know who Max Headroom is.
You ever wore flourescent, neon if you will, clothing.
You could breakdance, or wish you could.
You wanted to be The Hulk for Halloween.
Partying "like it's 1999" seemed SO far away.
You wanted to be on StarSearch.
You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off.
You wore a banana clip at some point during your youth, or knew someone who did.
You knew what Willis was "talkin' 'bout."
You HAD to have your MTV.
You hold a special place in your heart for "Back to the Future."
You thought Molly Ringwald was REALLY cool.
You actually thought "Dirty Dancing" was a REALLY good movie.
You heard of Garbage Pail Kids.
You knew "The Artist" when he was humbly called "Prince."
You remember when ATARI was a state of the art video game system.
You own any cassettes.
You were led to believe that in the year 2000 we'd all be living on the moon.
You remember and/or own any of the Care Bear Glass collection from Pizza Hut.
Or any other stupid collection they came out with.
Poltergeist freaked you out.
You carried your lunch to school in a Gremlins or an ET lunchbox.
You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the ONLY female smurf.
You know what a Doozer is.
You wore biker shorts underneath a short skirt and felt stylish, or knew someone who did.
You ever had a Swatch Watch.
You can name 1/2 the members of Duran Duran.
You remember when "Saturday Night Live" was funny.
You had WonderWoman or Superman underoos.
You know what a "Whammee" is.
You had a crush on Jon Bon Jovi, or knew someone who did.
You know the words to the theme song of "The Facts of Life."

Sunday, January 16, 2005

New med, new news.... 

Have taken Neurontin for the past two nights in the hopes of calming my Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. So far, it has been a good news/bad news sort of thing.

The good news is that it is not causing the horrible reaction that the Mirapex did. It makes me somewhat sleepy, and calm, but I do not feel drugged in any way. And I think it's helping some with the nerve pain.

The bad news is that so far, it does not appear to decrease my twitches at all. I will continue to take it to see if something changes. But I have not found any med that has lessened the twitches, even those designed to do so.

Could be a lot worse I suppose.

Have been doing research this weekend on diabetes. Found out that having an uncontrolled autoimmune disorder increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. So being gluten inolerant most of my life and Sjogren's that was only recently diagnosed probably are to blame. That and having a genetic pre-disposition to it.

While reading up on the disease, I realized I've had the symptoms for at least five years, but most were dismissed as fibromyalgia until the past two years that I've been very sick. The two occasions where random glucose tests had mildly elevated results should have raised some eyebrows as that indicated pre-diabetes. Had anyone bothered to mention that, I would have recognized the problem much sooner and sought treatment.

By the way, gastroparesis and peripheral neuropathy are symptomatic of long-term untreated diabetes. Rats.

I'm going downstairs to try a gluten-free cornbread recipe I found.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Friday, January 14, 2005

Ack! Diabetes?? 

Got a call this morning....the glucose tolerance test I took Tuesday came back abnormal. Made an appointment with the endocrinologist for a week from Monday to discuss what to do next. I don't know how far out of the normal range the numbers were, but I don't think they would have called if this didn't indicate diabetes, or pre-diabletes at the very least.

Ok, I think I've handled the fibromyalgia, the Sjogren's, and my various other ailments very well. But this completely freaks me out. How did I get to be diabetic on top of everything else??

I eat low-fat, reasonably low sugar frequent small meals. I exercise. I am not overweight. Aren't these things supposed to treat or even prevent diabetes? Can heredity alone actually cause this?

I have a phobia of those glucose-monitoring things. Seriously. Worse than my phobia of needles.

So I am throwing temper tantrums, not that it will change anything. I'm trying to figure out how the heck I can manage another condition when most of my time is taken up with the other ones. Plus, eating to treat gluten inolerance, gastroparesis AND diabetes seems awfully daunting.

I am stressed and very angry with my body. Seems no matter how much I modify my lifestyle, it's never enough. And of course, I would love to console myself with some chocolate, but I guess that's not an option.

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 7

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Rave of the Day for January 13th: 

In light of all the recent conflicting studies about how lifestyle affects our health, I thought I'd throw in this funny from Joan....

Subject: medical studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Eat and drink what you like.
Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Reaction wearing off.... 

Still don't feel as good as I did before the Mirapex, but good enough to drag my butt back to work. My right hand tremor is still accelerated, and I still twitch periodically pretty much everywhere, but I feel a bit more in control of my body than before. Very very tired.

The sleep specialist's assistant finally called back today. Said I'd done the right thing by discontinuing the med before I got any worse. She's calling in a script for Neurontin....I know there are side effects associated with that, but it's a totally different typs of med so I'll give it a go.

I will, however, wait until Friday night to try it, just in case I react to that one too. At least if I feel crummy on Saturday, I won't miss work. From what I've read about Neurontin, though, I suspect I'll tolerate it better.

Sometimes I wonder if healthy people can truly appreciate the roller coaster ride that is the life of someone with chronic illness. Other than the spouses, I mean.

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 8

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Rave of the Day for January 11th: 

How's this for shameless self-indulgence? I finished putting together an iMix to commemorate 2004. This is a feature of iTunes where you get to be your own DJ.....your list is available to anyone who has iTunes, and they can download your selections. Your iMix is posted for one year, and you can make up as many lists as you want. I have five others so far: Styx, alt/rock of the 90's, cover songs, Christmas music, and, believe it or not, the songs I recorded for my aquacise class.

Here are the songs in my iMix, which I called "2004, klbrowser style":

Spare Me the Details - The Offspring

Wait - Earshot

Love Song - 311

Look What You've Done- Jet

Overnight Celebrity -Twista

Click Click Boom - Saliva

Holidae In - Chingy, Ludacris & Snoop Dogg

Looks Like They Were Right - Lit

Did My Time - Korn

Are You In? - Incubus

At Least We're Dreaming - Eve 6

All Downhill from Here - New Found Glory

Always - Saliva

Duality - Slipknot

Figured You Out - Nickelback

Word Up! - Korn

Slither - Velvet Revolver

It's My Life - No Doubt

Tipsy (Radio Mix) - J-Kwon

Slow Motion - Juvenile & Soulja Slim

American Idiot - Green Day

Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly) - Social Code

Dirt Off Your Shoulder - Jay-Z

Weak and Powerless - A Perfect Circle

Personal Jesus - Marilyn Manson

Sing for the Moment - Eminem

Echo - Trapt

Stop the World - Riddlin' Kids

1985 - Bowling for Soup

I Miss You - Blink-182

Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day

Straight out of Line - Godsmack

(Even) More Human Than Human - Josey Scott, Rob Zombie, Slug & X-Ecutioners

Ocean Avenue - Yellowcard

Memory - Sugarcult

The First Cut Is the Deepest - Sheryl Crow

Megalomaniac - Incubus

Rollover D.J. - Jet

Hey Ya! - OutKast

Let's Go - Trick Daddy

Amber - 311

Die Dead Enough - Megadeth

Run - Snow Patrol

Roses - OutKast

Nobody (Radio Dred-it) - Skindred

Slow Jamz - Jamie Foxx, Kanye West & Twista

Nothing With You - Descendents

Musicology - Prince

Yeah! - Usher featuring Lil' Jon & Ludacris

One, Two Step - Ciara featuring Missy Elliot

Remember - Disturbed

Milkshake - Kelis

(Can't Get My) Head Around You - The Offspring

Aerials - System of a Down

God Is a DJ - Pink

Heaven - Los Lonely Boys

Not Forgotten - Peter Frampton

Hash Pipe - Weezer

Almost - Bowling for Soup

This Is Your Life - Switchfoot

Trouble - Pink

My Band - D12

Just Like You - Three Days Grace

Ch-Check It Out - Beastie Boys

Underwear Goes Inside the Pants - Lazyboy

Scars - Papa Roach

Triple Trouble - Beastie Boys

Only One - Yellowcard

Same Direction - Hoobastank

Flake - Jack Johnson

We're All to Blame - Sum 41

Out of Control - Hoobastank

Re-Align - Godsmack

Talk Shows On Mute - Incubus

Hey Driver - Lucky Boys Confusion

Meant to Live - Switchfoot

Youth of the Nation - P.O.D.

Easy Comes - Thornley

The Defense - Bad Religion

Cold Hard Bitch - Jet

Freek-A-Leek - Petey Pablo

You Know You're Right - Nirvana

Stand Up - Ludacris & Shawnna

Serenity - Godsmack

Pain - Jimmy Eat World

Float On - Modest Mouse

Sorrow - Bad Religion

First Straw - 311

Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand

Failure's Not Flattering - New Found Glory

Still twitchy.... 

Good thing I didn't take any more Mirapex, because I'm STILL experiencing an increase in the dyskinesia. Not as bad as some of my previous reactions, but definitely worse than what is the norm for me. I had to go in for the glucose tolerance test with my hands trembling and feeling like I was literally shaking from the inside out.

Every time this happens, I start to wonder if this is the time the exacerbation becomes permanent. So far, I have always improved to a point. I'll end up just a tiny bit worse than before, not noticeable to anyone but me....usually, it will be subtle occasional twitching in an area (like the back of an arm, or an eyelid or something) that hadn't been a problem before.

But until the reaction wears off, I'm a marionette without strings. Sometimes, a muscle will fire rapidly for several minutes, then stop, or the twitch will migrate somewhere else. Sometimes I show these spasms to Dan....it freaks him out a little.

One good thing about this reaction....I was too tired and out of it to get nervous about three blood draws in two hours. I'm a notoriously difficult draw, but I got a real pro today, thank goodness. She was even nice enough to collect enough for a thyroid follow up and a ferritin test so I wouldn't have to come back later this week to do them.

The glucose tolerance test is basically to determine whether or not you're diabetic (I have a family history, suspicious symptoms and fluctuating blood sugar). First, they draw your blood after you've fasted at least 8 hours. Then, you drink a very sweet substance that tastes like orange pop without the carbonation, and they draw your blood an hour later and again one more hour after that.

I can't really blame the test for wiping me out since I already felt crummy, but I was grateful Dan had driven because I was extra wobbly after that. I had a health bar in the car on the way home, but I could do nothing more after that but crawl into bed. I was too exhausted even to do any stretches to keep the twitches from cramping up.

I had to call in sick again tonight, second night in a row. Tomorrow, I absolutely MUST go to work or I will be written up. So I am trying to give my body nice healing messages.

You know you're in the pit when you find yourself looking a people with canes and wishing you had a visible means of letting others know that you are also physically frail and awkward. Not that I want to need a cane, really....but people don't quite know what to do with me because I appear so young and healthy at first sight (especially when my cheeks get an artificially rosy glow from the illness). I see their expressions change when they realize how slowly I move, and they immediately look at my feet to see what could be wrong.

I still haven't gotten up the guts to try an electric scooter in the store, even though walking exhausts me to the point where I almost can't make it back to the car even when it's parked in a handicapped spot. The reason is that I have no idea how to operate one and am too intimidated to ask. Maybe I still fear that someone will see me without a cane and make some rude comment that I don't need a scooter? Afraid someone will accuse me of being a fraud, of exaggerating my condition? Sometimes I get impatient with myself and wonder if I don't still have some reserve left in me that would allow me to move around normally for more than a few minutes, if I could just tap into it somehow. Does that make me a fraud?

I know I shouldn't care what others think; I am at least making use of the handicapped placard without too much guilt. I don't have much choice on some days....Dan even has to help me out of the car. On the warmer days when I won't be carrying anything extra to slow me down, I just take the regular spot. I am careful, too, to never take the last available handicapped spot in a lot in case someone with a wheelchair needs it, and I was FURIOUS today when I saw people at the hospital had parked in the striped areas next to the handicapped spots. Do they not care if a wheelchair-bound person cannot get into their vehicles because they cannot open their car door with an oversized SUV parked just inches away?? I wanted to call the cops and have the people parking in the striped areas ticketed or even towed. Maybe I should have.

Feeling rather pitiful tonight. Like my body is in charge rather than my brain. Like I'm letting myself down.

It will be better tomorrow. It must be better tomorrow.

Pain level: 9
Fatigue level: 9

Monday, January 10, 2005

Rave of the Day for January 10th: 

As I've mentioned here before, I've worked the night shift for about a decade now, so I know absolutely nothing about what's on tv. The few occasions I have bothered to tune in on a weekend or a day off sick have for the most part been a complete waste of time.

But FINALLY, I've found a prime time network televlsion show worth raving about! It may have been on for quite awhile, so I may be the last person in America to not know about it.

Dan and I were waiting for a phone call last night and idly flipping channels. It was a little after 7pm, and on ABC, Dan saw something he recognized and said, "Hey, you'll like this one. It's pretty cool." It was called "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition".

I normally would get up and leave the room during anything remotely "reality" related. I was coerced into watching "Survivor" a few years ago and loathed it. And I don't like trendy home design shows. But this was something different; it got my attention in less than a minute.

There was this widowed woman in Washington state with three daughters who lost nearly everything she owned in a house fire. The only thing left standing on the property were a shed and an outhouse. The insurance didn't cover the fire, and incredibly, that poor woman still had to pay the mortgage on a house that had burned down! There was nothing she could do but move her daughters into the shed, which was barely large enough for some bunk beds. They had lived in the shed for nine months when the "Extreme Makeover" guys showed up.

The lady and her daughters were sent all the way to Disney World for a vacation for a week. The host of the show (who, by the way, is gorgeous) said they were going to start all over and build a brand new house in one week. Ok, that's pretty amazing. But then he said it was going to be a 3000 square foot house. I said, ok, I HAVE to see this.

With the help of 700 people from Centex homes, the Navy, and a lot of locals, they actually did it! The walls were all pre-made, some with siding attached, and the top portions were pre-assembled, some with shingles already in place. Each person from Centex had a printed shedule of what he was doing when. At one point during the process, they were actually two hours ahead of schedule!

But even though the actual building of the house was pretty mind-boggling, they were still going to decorate it. And not just trendy stuff....they personalized what they did for each person who would be living there. And this was still to fall within that one week deadline. One girl who liked to ski was given a bedroom with a lift chair in it! But it got even better.

The mom, before her husband died, had always planned to someday run a B&B, and of course this was impossible after the house burned down. The host decided to add a separate wing to the house with two amazing bedrooms that would be the start of a B&B. I was totally sucked into the show at this point.

So the family returns to see this amazing house that has been built, and everyone's crying tears of joy, and I'm thinking how awesome and generous this is, and then there are MORE surprises. Centex provides insurance for the new house, and even more awesome, PAYS OFF the old mortgage! And the crowning touch, SCHOLARSHIPS for the girls so they can go to college! Now THAT'S tv worth watching. Inspiring.

I'm hoping this show is on regularly on Sunday nights because I will actually make an effort to watch it if it is. I'm trying to remember the last time I was enthusiastic about something primetime network besides a comedy or a game show, and it has been at least 10 years. Finally.

2nd dose worse than the 1st... 

My reaction to Mirapex unfortunately is a familiar one....the same thing has happened with anti-depressants, muscle relaxants, gastroparesis meds, and believe it or not, guaifenisen. I seem to have a particular problem with meds that cross the brain-blood barrier....I believe it all started with brain damage from taking Paxil.

Before I took the first dose of Mirapex, I looked up possible side effects and noted that during clinical trials, the main reasons for discontinuation were increase in dyskinesia, headache, dizziness and nausea, all of which I experienced. I also noted that these did NOT appear to be dose related, and did not go away after a trial period. Also, the handout from the pharmacy listed insomnia as a common side effect.

Because some of the meds I've reacted to have affected me for weeks at a time off a very few doses, if I suspect I could have problems, I will only try two doses before calling a doc to see if I should continue. This is what I did today.....I left a message for the sleep specialist with the nurse. I haven't received a call back, but I will NOT take another Mirapex until I am assured it is safe to do so.

Last night, the second dose seemed even stronger than the first.....it took a few hours to kick in, but when it did, sleep was a lost cause, and all I could do was hang on to the side of the bed and twitch. The nausea was much worse, and if I hadn't been so dizzy, I would have taken a pillow and blanket into the bathroom with me. This of course set off the fibromyalgia so that every fiber of my body ached.

When this has happened before, I've discovered that what I really need to do is mild exercise.....that sounds insane, but if I continue to lie in bed, my muscles will start to cramp up, and the pain then is excructiating and takes days to resolve. So I showed up for my aquacise class even though I felt like death warmed over. I moved a bit cautiously due to the nausea, but I got through successfully, came home and promptly collapsed into bed.

For the rest of the day, I've slept an hour or two, gotten up and stretched a bit, maybe watched a little tv, and then laid back down again. Had to call in sick to work again...that's twice this year already. I think the med finally left my system about two hours ago, because the nausea finally lifted enough for me to eat some solid food.

I get very upset when I react to meds, and often docs and the world at large aren't terribly sympathetic. It is tough to be at the mercy of a pill that was supposed to help you and instead wreaks havoc.

I think I will try to make some gluten-free mac and cheese. I still feel hung over, but a little comfort food ought to help.

Pain level: 9
Fatigue level: 9

Rave of the Day for January 9th: 

To celebrate the fact that I actually made it to church tonight, how about a religious funny? This one comes from Joan....
Most of us have now learned to live with voice mail as a necessary part of our lives. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if God decided to install voice mail? Imagine praying and hearing the following:

Thank you for calling heaven.

For English press 1
For Spanish press 2
For all other languages, press 3

Please select one of the following options:

Press 1 for request 
Press 2 for thanksgiving
Press 3 for complaints 
Press 4 for all others

I am sorry, all our Angels and Saints are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer is important to us and we will answer it in the order it was received. Please stay on the line. 

If you would like to speak to:
God, press 1
Jesus, press 2
Holy spirit, press 3
To find a loved one that has been assigned to heaven press 5, then enter his social security # followed by the pound sign. If you receive a negative response, please hang up and dial area code 666.
For reservations to heaven, please enter JOHN followed by the numbers, 3:16. 

For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, life and other planets, please wait until you arrive in heaven for the specifics.

Our computers show that you have already been prayed for today, please hang up and call again tomorrow.

The office is now closed for the weekend to observe a religious holiday.

If you are calling after hours and need emergency assistance, please contact your local pastor.Thank you and have a heavenly day.

Not impressed so far.... 

Took my first Mirapex, a Parkinson's med, at bedtime last night in the hopes of quelling the nasty muscle twitches I've been getting in my sleep. I did not achieve those results at all...in fact, the opposite is what happened. Yikes.

I slept for about two and a half hours, then after a potty break, I couldn't go back to sleep at all. I do get that sort of insomnia occasionally, but this felt different....I was really wired, that awful drug-induced kind of hyper, AND I was actually twitching MORE, not less. My Ambien didn't help at all, but I was too nauseous and dizzy to get out of bed and do something else.

I laid around for about three more hours until the room stopped spinning sufficiently for me to get up. My legs were terribly sore from the extra twitching, so I did some stretches I'm learning on the fitball. By mid-afternoon, the awful out-of-control feeling wore off and I went to get my hair cut.

I really don't want to take another Mirapex, but I will tonight in case last night was a fluke. If the same thing happens tonight, I will be calling the sleep specialist on Monday. The last thing I need is to feel even worse than I already do.

One good thing....it was WARM today, warm enough for me to get the car washed, so my joints gave me a break somewhat. Where I live, the road crews use a de-icer that contains vegetable oil, which does give you traction on the snow, but it sticks to your car like glue, and after a snowstorm or two, you can't see through your windshield, and your headlights are all dim because of the gunk that has accumulated on them. So I really appreciate those 50 degree days when I can finally wash all that stuff off.

Haven't installed that software yet.....really should get to it tonight while I'm still halfway coherent.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Friday, January 07, 2005

Rave of the Day for January 7th: 

I might have posted this joke before, but if so, it's worth a repeat. Thanks to Joan for sending it my way.....

Bill Gates died in a car accident. He found himself in Purgatory being sized up by God...

"Well, Bill, I'm really confused on this call. I'm not sure whether to send you to Heaven or Hell. After all, you enormously helped society by putting a computer in almost every home in the world and yet you created that ghastly Windows 95. I'm going to do something I've never done before. In your case, I'm going to let you decide where you want to go!"

Bill replied, "Well, thanks, God. What's the difference between the two?"

God said, "I'm willing to let you visit both places briefly if it will help you make a decision." "Fine, but where should I go first?" God said, "I'm going to leave that up to you." Bill said, "OK, then, let's try Hell first." So Bill went to Hell.

It was a beautiful, clean, sandy beach with clear waters. There were thousands of beautiful women running around, playing in the water, laughing and frolicking about. The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect. Bill was very pleased. "This is great!" he told God, "If this is Hell, I REALLY want to see Heaven!" "Fine," said God and off they went.

Heaven was a high place in the clouds, with angels drifting about playing harps and singing. It was nice but not as enticing as Hell. Bill thought for a quick minute and rendered his decision. "Hmm, I think I prefer Hell" he told God. "Fine," retorted God, "as you desire." So Bill Gates went to Hell.

Two weeks later, God decided to check up on the late billionaire to see how he was doing in Hell. When God arrived in Hell, he found Bill shackled to a wall, screaming amongst the hot flames in a dark cave. He was being burned and tortured by demons. "How's everything going, Bill?" God asked.

Bill responded - his voice full of anguish and disappointment, "This is awful, this is not what I expected. I can't believe this happened. What happened to that other place with the beaches and the beautiful women playing in the water?"

God says, "That was the screen saver".

Surprise diagnosis.... 

The sleep study did show a problem, but it wasn't anything the doc or I were expecting. I have no signs of sleep apnea and none of narcolepsy.

Instead, they found I have Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. Not only that, but it's quite severe. They counted up to 98 twitches in a single hour, and my sleep was disrupted up to 44 times in an hour!

The doc said they measured almost no Stage 4 sleep at all. So even when I'm in bed for 10 or 12 hours, very little of that is restorative sleep. That is why I doze off all day long.

The reason they wanted a look at my latest blood tests was to make sure my iron levels and some other things were correct. I'm going to have ferritin levels checked and do a 2-hour glucose tolerance test next week.

We talked about my supplements to make sure I don't have a deficiency somewhere. I take magnesium glycinate, calcium citrate, and a B-complex multi-vitamin with iron on a daily basis, so I'm ok there.

I've known for quite some time that I twitch at night....these muscle spasms started eight years ago as a bad reaction to an anti-depressant, and have never stopped. But a sleep study in 1999 and an EEG in 2002 didn't pick up the twitches. My opinion is that they have grown worse over time.

Since my initial reaction to Paxil, I've had increased spasms from Prozac, Trazodone, Zanaflex, Reglan and Domperidone. Each time, I would initially jump around like a marionette both night and day, and it would slow down over the course of two weeks or so. But each incident would eventually leave me a little worse off than the time before.

Because of the severity of the problem, we're going to try Parkinson's meds. I tried Sinemet in 1998 with no luck, so we're going to start with a different med. Can't recall the name of it right now.

We're hoping to cut down on the twitches so I can get some stage 4 sleep. That in turn should make me more alert during the day and should allow me to think more clearly. Maybe I could even experience a decrease in my pain level.....who knows?

I'm hoping I can tolerate this new medication. I'm starting at a small dose because I'm so sensitive to meds. If I do ok on it, I can raise the dose per the doc's instructions.

It's about time I got a break.

Oh, and the weather is warming up, so I'll be a little more mobile by the weekend. Yay!

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 7

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Rave of the Day for January 5th: 

This man was either a genius or a lucky guesser, I don't know which. But I love this quote either way.....

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents more and more closely the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright  moron."  H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Sleep study results tomorrow.... 

Finally. Seems like I've been waiting much longer than two and a half weeks to find out what the sleep study showed. Hope whatever they found is something treatable.

Called in sick for the first time this year. I don't know how much longer I can go on like this. Only the third day into the workweek...I had to rest after my aquacise class this afternoon, and then I simply couldn't get out of bed.

I had an opportunity to learn digital scanning at work, and I turned it down. I really would like to learn it, but I'm having trouble both with attendance and with retaining new information. I just wouldn't feel right learning a new skill and then suddenly going on permanent disability....it would be unfair to my co-workers to make them start all over again with someone else.

Have been way extra owchie the past few days due to the cold spell. It was 3 degrees when I went to acquacise and didn't get out of the teens all day. Relief is coming by the weekend, though....thank goodness I don't live in an area where it stays below zero for weeks on end.

Haven't been able to elevate my mood and keep it that way for a few days now. But then, I guess it's darkest before dawn, isn't it?

Pain level: 8
Fatigue level: 8

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Rave of the Day for January 4th: 

'tis the season for people to resolve to be healther and fight temptation and find new excuses to cave in. This funny has made the rounds a few times but is still good for some giggles. Thanks to Feathers for sending it to me....


In the beginning God covered the earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's bountiful gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's and Krispy Kreme. And Satan said, "You want hot fudge with that?" And Man said "Yes!" and Woman said, "I'll have another with sprinkles." And lo they gained 10 pounds.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair.

And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane, and combined them. And Woman went from size 2 to size 10.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad."

And Satan presented crumbled Bleu Cheese dressing and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them."

And Satan brought forth deep fried coconut shrimp, butter dipped lobster chunks and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man's cholesterol went through the roof.

God then brought forth running shoes so that his Children might lose those extra pounds.

And Satan came forth with a cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And man and woman laughed and cried before the flickering light and started wearing stretch jogging suits.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with potassium and good nutrition.

Then Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them in animal fats and added copious quantities of salt. And Man put on more pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.

And Satan created McDonald's and the 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then Lucifer said, "You want fries with that?" and Man replied, "Yes! And super size 'em!" And Satan said "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.

And Satan created HMOs.


Downward spiral.... 

Tried to get back into the normal routine today. Went to aquacise and wore myself out. Had to come home and take a nap. And just like yesterday, I had a horrible time getting up and getting going after an hour's snooze. Very nearly had to call in sick to work.

A major storm front started heading this way, and my poor joints responded accordingly. I'm STILL out of Bextra. Hoping the rheumatologist is back to his normal work schedule and has gotten the message from the pharmacy requesting a refill. I've been without my anti-inflammatory medication for over a week now.

I'm pretty sure my thyroid is settling back down into the proper range, because the respite from pain and fatigue is completely gone now. And I found myself getting almost tearful at work for no reason at all. I hate feeling like I have no control over my emotions. Fortunately, that doesn't happen very often, and when it does, it seldom lasts long.

So here I am, trying my best not to think bleak thoughts and only partly succeeding. I so want my life to be something more than a series of doctor appointments and an endless struggle to get through yet another workweek. It's not like I don't have any happiness in my life, but sometimes it feels a bit dwarfed in that uphill climb to do normal things.

As always, I will endure. No point in falling apart without cause. But I will be quite relieved when I can finally quit treading water and either float or swim.

Pain level: 8
Fatigue level: 8

Monday, January 03, 2005

Bonus Rave of the Day for January 2nd: 

This is soooo funny! Thanks to Joan for passing it along....

Have your mammies grammed. A cute poem.

For years and years they told me,
Be careful of your breasts.
Don't ever squeeze or bruise them.
And give them monthly tests.

So I heeded all their warnings,
And protected them by law.
Guarded them very carefully,
And I always wore my bra.

After 30 years of astute care,
My gyno, Dr. Pruitt,
Said I should get a Mammogram.
"OK," I said, "let's do it."

"Stand up here real close" she said,
(She got my boob in line),
"And tell me when it hurts," she said,
"Ah yes! Right there, that's fine."

She stepped upon a pedal,
I could not believe my eyes!
A plastic plate came slamming down,
My hooter's in a vise!

My skin was stretched and mangled,
From underneath my chin.
My poor boob was being squashed,
To Swedish Pancake thin.

Excruciating pain I felt,
Within its viselike grip.
A prisoner in this vicious thing,
My poor defenseless tit!

"Take a deep breath" she said to me,
Who does she think she's kidding?!?
My chest is mashed in her machine,
And woozy I am getting.

"There, that's good," I heard her say,
(The room was slowly swaying.)
"Now, let's have a go at the other one."
Have mercy, I was praying.

It squeezed me from both up and down,
It squeezed me from both sides.
I'll bet SHE'S never had this done,
To HER tender little hide.

Next time that they make me do this,
I will request a blindfold.
I have no wish to see again,
My knockers getting steam rolled.

If I had no problem when I came in,
I surely have one now.
If there had been a cyst in there,
It would have gone "ker-pow!"

This machine was created by a man,
Of this, I have no doubt.
I'd like to stick his balls in there,
And see how THEY come out!

Well, rats. I crashed. 

Went to meet several members of the family this morning at the nursing home my grandmother recently moved to. She was transferred out of the Alzheimer's facility. Grandma has stage 7 Alzheimer's and is not strong enough to be considered much of a flight risk anymore.

She was confused and a bit nervous, but much better than usual, not combative or tearful. I couldn't understand most of what she said (to be fair, I am hard of hearing), but there was one moment when she was absolutely clear. My cousin told her that I was there, and she said my name, looked right at me and smiled....she clouded over a few seconds later, but that one moment made my day.

We only stayed about an hour and a half because she cannot tolerate lengthy visits. I visited her room briefly...so small, just basically a bed, a chair and a dresser, and she has a roomie. And almost no personal items in there....it made me sad.

My aunt invited Dan and I to lunch, but we had to decline....I was just too tired. I wanted to go to church tonight, and I knew I'd be dozing off during the service unless I took a nap first. So when we got home, I set the alarm to give me enough time to make lunch before church.

Well, it was an all too common scenario....the alarm went off and I simply could not get out of bed. This has been happening at least once a week for a few months now. I guess my thyroid levels are going back toward normal, because the exhaustion is baaaaack.

So I'm revising the resolution I made to go to church more often. I will attend more regularly if and when I stop work. I am just too wiped out on the weekends to commit to much right now.

Dan was cool...let me sleep past time to go to church, and when I finally did get up, all weak and wobbly from not having eaten, he took me to the local Mexican grill for a quick supper. We went to Target to pick up a couple of things, and he bought a copy of "50 First Dates" on DVD.

I had planned to install some software tonight, but I was already getting tired again by the time we got home, so I decided to watch the movie instead. If you haven't seen it, check it out if you want to see some of the places I went to on my trip to Hawaii a few months ago. Adam Sandler's character works at Sea Life Park, where I went swimming with dolphins.

I really hope the sleep specialist has some answers for me when I see her on Thursday. The exhaustion is the biggest obstacle in my life, and I'd really like to know if I can improve the situation at all. I feel like I'm missing out on a lot with all the sleep I require.

Maybe I will install that software after all. That is, if I can stay alert enough to comprehend the instructions.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 9

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Rave of the Day for January 2nd: 

Thought of another category for 2004....Weirdest Love Song! My pick is "I Miss You" by Blink 182. Here are the lyrics....

Hello there, the angel from my nightmare
the shadow in the background of the morgue
the unsuspecting victim of darkness in the valley
we can live like Jack and Sally if we want
where you can always find me
we'll have Halloween on Christmas
and in the night we'll wish this never ends
we'll wish this never ends

(I miss you, miss you)
(I miss you, miss you)

Where are you and I'm so sorry
I cannot sleep, I cannot dream tonight
I need somebody and always
this sick strange darkness
comes creeping on so haunting every time
and as I stared I counted
webs from all the spiders
catching things and eating their insides
like indecision to call you
and hear your voice of treason
will you come home and stop this pain tonight
stop this pain tonight

Don't waste your time on me you're already
the voice inside my head (I miss you, miss you)

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Sounding the foghorn.... 

Not even a whole day into the new year, and already one major incident of fibrofog. Maybe I'm trying to get it out of the way early or something.

Took a break from taking down the Christmas tree (so far all I've done is remove the tinsel) because I was hungry. I decided to make gluten-free pizza. I use a frozen crust made from rice and other non-wheat flours and top it myself.

I pre-heated the crust and started preparing the toppings. Got done with the bell pepper and realized I hadn't gotten the sauce out of the pantry yet. So went to do that....and discovered I didn't HAVE any sauce!

Apparently I was under the mistaken impression that I'd purchased some sauce recently. To my surprise, the nearest grocery store was open today, so I was able to grab some and get back home before the oven had completely cooled (I always turn it off when I'm not home).

Then while the pizza was cooking, I went to make some tea and found out I was out of tea bags! I could have sworn I'd bought some. Well, since I'd just come from the store, I just started a new grocery list and put that at the top.

But other than being a space cadet, today has been a good day. Reasonable pain level, reasonable fatigue level, no major commitments. I've been listening to a local radio station's countdown of the best songs of 2004 and downloading some music using the iTunes gift card Dan gave me.

Think I'll maybe eat a little ice cream and then take the ornaments off the tree.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 6

Rave of the Day for January 1st: 

What else would you expect? A funny about resolutions! Thanks to Ducky for this one....

New Years resolutions we can keep..
Are you sick of making the same resolutions year after year that you never keep? Why not promise to do something you can actually accomplish? Here are some resolutions that you can use as a starting point:

1. I want to gain weight. Put on at least 30 pounds.

2. Stop exercising. Waste of time.

3. Read less.

4. Watch more TV. I've been missing some good stuff.

5. Procrastinate more.

6. Drink. Drink some more.

7. Take up a new habit: smoking.

8. Spend at least $1000 a month on Ladies of the Night.

9. Spend more time at work.

10. Take a vacation to someplace important: like to see the largest ball of twine.

11. Stop bringing lunch from home: I should eat out more.

12. Quit giving money & time to charity.

14. Start being superstitious.

15. Have my car lowered and invest in a really loud stereo system. Get the windows tinted. Buy some fur for the dash.

16. Speak in a monotone voice and only use monosyllabic words.

17. Only wear jeans that are 2 sizes too small and use a chain or rope for a belt. Only wear white T-shirts with those fashionable yellow stains under the arms.

18. Personal goal: bring back disco.

Happy New Year! 

I'm welcoming 2005 with open arms! The fireworks downtown tonight were awesome! I've had a headache most of the day but otherwise feel reasonably decent.

I'm nervously trotting out my resolutions. Part of me doesn't want to mention them because if I keep them secret, no one will know if I break them all. But on the other hand, making them public may make me try harder to keep them. So here goes:

1. Continue aquacise and increase Gazellle workouts to three times a week, up to 1 hour per session. Add Fitball and Pilates routines to exercise regimen.

2. Eat out less; learn more recipes to cook at home.

3. Restrict credit card use to no more than one charge per card per month (except for meds).

4. Take better care of skin.

5. Attend church more regularly.

6. No more frivolous spending. Develop a budget and stick to it.

7. Help Dan more with housework.

8. Take better care of teeth.

I usually do ten, but couldn't think up that many this time. I guess that's a good thing??

Ok, I've been checking out the national and local lists of the best songs of 2004. Here are my picks for a few categories that come to mind....

Best lyrics of 2004:
"Hope dangles on a string
Like slow spinning redemption
Winding in and winding out
The shine of it has caught my eye"
from "Vindicated" by Dashboard Confessional

Best cover song of 2004:
"Personal Jesus" by Marilyn Manson

Best comeback of 2004:
Social Distortion, "Reach for the Sky"

Funniest song of 2004:
"My Band" by D12

Best new band of 2004:
The Killers

Best single of 2004:
"1985" by Bowling for Soup

Best CD(s) of 2004:
Rock Against Bush, Volumes 1 & 2

Best "old" band of 2004:
Green Day

Guilty pleasure of 2004:
William Shatner

Too tired to think of any more.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

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