naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-03-11 06:13 pm

ONE MOAR THANKS.

I used Amazon's thank you feature to send notes to just about everyone who sent us something from the kitty wish list!

I missed one person because the lysine paste stuff (I think it was that box) didn't come with a gift receipt.

So, thank you to that wonderful anonymous person.  I appreciate it so, so much.  The lysine paste is gross and stinky, oh my god, and it's really entertaining to watch Smooch lick it off my finger.  Poor smelly baby!

Thanks to everyone else, too, just in case you don't get the thank you email.  <3  

The lysine treats are gross-smelling and rubbery and I have to break them into tiny chunks and hand-feed them to him.  HE LOVES IT. 

The Feliway stuff is really cool.  Fake feline facial pheromones, for friendlier funny-faced felines!

Thank you all.  We are all super-grateful.  This doesn't just help Smooch, it helps all of us.  <3
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-03-09 07:35 pm

Smooch update! (Smoopdate?)

Good news!

First, thank you, everyone who sent us presents from the kitty wishlist!

We are set for lysine chews and other treats, and have at least two months' worth of the Feliway diffuser refills!

I've adjusted the list order and priorities to reflect what we most need right now (litter and Feliway are the things we go through FAST, and Etrigan needs new cardboard scratchers) but this has really taken the pressure off us this month.  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  I will try to get individual thanks out to everyone, but I woke up to like six little packages on my doorstep this morning so it'll be a couple of days.

As far as The Man Himself, Smooch has been on the amitriptylene for about three weeks and we are seeing a noticeable, continual improvement in his levels of aggression and his marking behavior.  The screaming cat fights have gone from being once to several times a day to being once every few days.  I haven't seen him pee on anything in a week or so, and now that I know what triggers the behavior, I can try to interrupt it before it begins.  He is pacing and crying less -- he was doing a lot of that, and it was both upsetting for obvious reasons and also really obnoxious to deal with.

I've seen him walk away from a fight a few times now without going and marking immediately.  Something that literally never used to happen.  If we could get him to disengage, it was only to go and spray on something else.  Sometimes he would do both: complete the attack and then go to mark.  But I've seen him walk completely away on his own, without being prompted.  He just decided it wasn't that important, turned around, and fucked off.  I was honestly speechless.  And a couple of other times, I've reminded him not to be an asshole and he's left off.  And he's stopped lurking, trying to catch one of the others off-guard.

He does still have lapses where he pees on things or starts acting like a dick to everyone.  Expecting him never to slip up or backslide is just unreasonable.  I wouldn't expect it of a human on good meds and therapy, I certainly don't expect it from a cat.  So he's entitled to his Moments.

He does still have episodes where he gets het up and breathes hard and is all stiff and angry.  (You really need to feel him breathing like a bellows when he does this to believe just how unhappy he gets.)  I've started addressing these episodes differently.  Rather than removing him from the area, I will place Raleigh on his favorite perch, out of Smooch's reach.  This way Smooch's mind isn't occupied with returning to the same spot and finishing the aggression when he does because Raleigh is still there.  This way Raleigh simply magically disappears and Smooch is left with no-one to antagonize.  Since his attacks were not driven by boredom, but by the mere presence of another cat, this actually satisfies him, and the need to bully resolves on its own in a very short period of time.  It's also teaching Raleigh to retreat to higher ground.

At this point, I can honestly say that Raleigh "starts it" at least half the time by being the first one to hiss or swat or growl.  Once Raleigh starts acting defensive, that triggers Smooch's bully response and he will chase or attack, even if he wasn't going to before.  I understand where Raleigh is coming from so I don't blame him for this at all -- he's used to Smooch being a belligerent prick and is just trying to ward him off.  He doesn't understand that what is defensiveness to him is provocation to Smooch.  Hopefully this behavior will taper off as he realizes Smooch isn't out to get him.  Raleigh is a very easygoing, friendly cat, and not a great grudge-holder, so I have hope.

They are able to coexist peacefully most of the time.  They will sit next to each other totally calmly to look out the door or eat side by side, so they don't hate each other that much, at least.  If they can be calm for two hours looking out the screen door, they can learn to live with one another without fighting.

Smooch's biggest remaining challenge may be that he likes to enforce The Rules, so when one of the others is doing something and we have to tell them to stop, he will rush in and jump on the offender.  As an example, Raleigh will sometimes get it into his head to jump from the countertop to the top of the nearby bookshelf.  We don't want this, mostly because he is the clumsiest cat we have ever met and he for-real stands a very good chance of harming himself if he were to flub it, which is a standard outcome for him trying to do basically anything.  So if we see him about to make the jump, we have to call his name sharply and clap to get his attention (just saying his name calmly doesn't work, he will jump and then act sorry and not come down at all unless we get the spray bottle or poke him with something -- both things I don't want to have to do because they are so upsetting).  When we do that, he will jump off the counter to go do something else, at which point Smooch will sweep in and bowl him over.  Cue defensive response, cue squalling cat fight.  Raleigh is a screamer!

So Smooch does that whenever one of the others misbehaves.  It stresses him the heck out.  And he's not shown a lot of improvement in this area.  I will have to try to think of ways to work with him and not against him in this.  It's just hard.

Side effects have been minimal to nonexistent.  The meds make him sleepy but not too much so, and when he's awake, he's quite alert.  The first day or two it was a little alarming but he's acclimated and is tolerating it well.

It makes me sad to know that he may be feeling yucky side effects that he can't tell me about, but his behavior has improved so much that I think it's apparent that even if that's the case, he is overall feeling better enough to make it worth it.  I know that's how it is for me.  I'm glad I've been through all this personally, so that I know how shitty it is to be unmedicated, and how some side effects are worth it to have a good life back.

I'm going to talk to the vet in another two or three weeks and ask if she thinks we could raise his dose and see how he does then.  There is still room for improvement.  He's still not what I'd call stable, he's still easy to provoke.  We've just gotten really good at not doing that.  We may have gotten him close to stable.  I'd like to build some resilience next.

He is a sweet boy.  He is sleeping at my feet right now, like a hairy dumpling someone dropped on the floor.  I love him very much.

Hopefully his improvement will continue and the other cats will relax around him a little more.

Thank you all for your help with him.  I love him dearly.  I want to be the right person for him.  I want this to be a good home for him.  If I'm not, and it's not, then that's how it is and I'll do everything in my power to get him with a better person, but I am going to keep trying, because I think we on the way towards turning this thing around.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-03-09 12:14 pm

Names and Names and Names

I'm in the process of switching out "Amanda" from "Alex" in my friends group.  It's been at least six months.  Still feels weird.  Still feels fake.

I don't know how to make that go away, or if it's a sign I should stop, or what.

It's made even more difficult by the fact that I most often hear my name spoken aloud by medical professionals, and I'm Amanda according to my insurance.  I also have to give my name as Amanda all the time to access doctor's appointments and the like.  I'm in and out of appointments a lot, so this is a fair amount of reinforcement.

Pretty sure most places do have a slot for "preferred name".  I can take advantage of that.  But if I decide it's not for me and have to ask them to change it back, I'll just feel really stupid.

Does anyone have any advice?  Is rolling it out in stages NOT the way to go?  Should I move it out a ring and change my name on social media?  Should I give it more time?

I want this to be my name.  (I think?  The fact that it still feels weird after so long makes me doubt myself more than anything else does.)  I LIKE it.

Help!
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-03-06 02:26 am

Kitty Wish List

 I have created a kitty wish list on Amazon.
 
Smooch's eye issues and his behavior issues are treatable, but the tools that make it a lot easier do cost money, and my Patreon is flagging -- I'm down about $80 from where I was at my best.  Normally it wouldn't be so bad, but we've had to pay off some medical bills, and it's hitting us hard.
 
So if you would like to do a good thing and help Smooch (and the other goblins) out,  here's the link again.

Right now the Feliway stuff and the Lysine treats and paste are the most important.  

The Feliway really helps reduce his anxiety and resulting aggression.  There's two sizes of refill there, for two price points.

I haven't been able to afford to get him started on the lysine treats that will help his eye issues.  The powder stuff that goes into wet food is too hard for him to eat, I can't get enough into him.

We always, alllllways need litter.

There's also fun treats and some more expensive toys on there.  The Ripple Rug looks AMAZING.

I hate having to do this, but it's for my stupid losers, and I love them so much.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-02-18 09:32 pm

Smooch update the second!

He's not in a perfect environment -- I am frequently out of commission and can't do everything flawlessly, and while my 70% is good enough for everyone else on most days, it's not enough for Smooch.  And, honestly, I don't think it would be even if I was perfect.  As time has worn on, it's become obvious that he's got genuine deep-seated mental health problems.
 
I've been where he is, with an uncontrolled anxiety disorder, and I see so much of myself in him, in the way he reacts to things, the things that upset him.  It's so shockingly similar.  And I personally, even with amazing social support, even given an ideal environment, still require and always will require medication to manage my bipolar and my anxiety.  I would never, ever deny myself that tool.  I can't deny it to him, if he needs it, just because I feel guilty for not being able to help him enough.  That's selfish and cruel, and ridiculous.
 
I keep thinking of how cats' brains are so much like ours, how their thought processes are so similar, and I have seen that time and again with Smooch.  More than any other cat I've had, he's quite human.  More than that, he and I are quite alike.  I had no way of knowing this when I adopted him, but it's true.  The vet said he was lucky he got me in particular.  I think he could have gotten luckier -- someone with more money, with fewer "off" days -- but I do see that I am in a unique position to understand where he's coming from, so I'm trying to make that work for us.
 
I love him so, so much.  Even when he's being a bully and a piss goblin.  He doesn't WANT to do these things, I can SEE and FEEL that he doesn't, he just has no other tools in his tool kit, and the urge is overwhelming to him.  He HAS to chase.  He HAS to mark.  He HAS to pick a fight.  He HAS to enforce the rules on the others.

And he hates it.

When I get up to pick him up and take him away from one of the other cats he's been harassing, I can feel how he is tense all through his forequarters, and hear him breathing so hard and so rough.  And when I doctored his ear after Raleigh gave him a (well-deserved, small but bloody) scratch, he made a very human grunt of pain, but didn't shy away from ME or fight ME.  He lets me doctor his eye when it hurts him so much from the ocular herpes, and he never bites or scratches.  

For pity's sake, a few hours ago, I asked him to follow me into the kitchen so I could clean his face and eye, medicate his eye, and pill him.  He followed me, purring, even though he KNEW that's what was going to happen and he hates all that.  He came with me to the fridge to get his eye medicine and looked inside, like he always does. He squirmed a little but behaved himself for the gross/ouchy part.  His reward?  One nasty cat treat with a pill inside it.  He was happy with just that.  Didn't fuss or fight at all.  He is a good cat.

He is a fundamentally gentle cat, driven to distraction by an unchecked mental issue.  He has had such a hard time, he has been so unhappy, and it has been breaking my heart.
 
So I am trying hard not to see the meds as a failure, but as a success -- recognizing when a tool is needed, and using it.
 
He took his first does of his new medication yesterday and slept and slept and slept.  I gave him his second dose a few hours ago, and he is sleeping again.  But he can be roused, his ears twitch if I play with them, he still bats at my fingers to play and still pushes me away if he doesn't want to be held and purrs if he does, so he's perfectly fine.  He's not even feeling unwell, just sleepy.  Hopefully he will continue to do well and the somnolence will retreat.
 
We have other meds we can try, if this fails.  And if that fails, I will investigate overhauling south rooms of the house so he can live solo, and see if we can afford that.  It wouldn't take much, just a new door and some different flooring.  Rehoming him responsibly but remaining involved in his care and responsible for his vet care through that third party is the very last thing I want to do, but I am pretty confident it won't come to that if we can just find a medication that works for him.
 
Etrigan, by the way, is doing VERY well.  He's pushy and plays rough, but he's also a very friendly, charismatic cat and visibly WANTS to be on good terms with the others.  There is no aggression in him or mean-spiritedness, he just doesn't understand he's not a tiny kitten anymore and cannot play the way a tiny kitten plays.  He is also an oaf and doesn't always understand when he is making the others uncomfortable.  If I tell him to lay off and provide him an alternative activity, he always chooses not to re-engage.  He and Raleigh now "kiss" when they walk past each other, investigate things together, and I often catch them briefly grooming each others' ears and shoulders . . . before one of them gently baps the other.  They play chase . . . and take turns starting it.  It still often ends in one of them forgetting his strength, so we have to call it off, but it's not on purpose, and is still a huge difference from where it was at the beginning.
 
The other cats, Sid and Harley, are very shy and remain in the master bed/bath combo because Smooch is so overbearing and harassing, but if we can get that under control we can work on getting them all to play nice.  Or at least ignore each other.

I want this to work out.  I never intended to wind up with FIVE CATS but telling my GF to rehome hers is just as much a non-option as rehoming mine just because new boys came along.  I love them ALL. I strive to treat them all with the same care, barring insulting Etrigan with much greater frequency.

But if I'm honest, I especially love my smelly cryptid man.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-02-16 03:50 pm

Smooch update!

 He saw the vet today and she was wonderful.
 
He's got a scrip for amitryptiline and some blood serum treatment (!) for a painful herpes lesion in his eye.  I do not at this time need assistance with that, but I did pay off three other small human-related medical bills this month, so towards the end of the month I may need help with food.  I'll keep you posted on that.

We are hopeful, not necessarily optimistic.  If this fails, there are other meds.  If meds fail, there are a couple of other possibilities I will look into before I look into rehoming him.

Because let's be honest, rehoming an adult cat with health issues who is liable to develop more as he ages, and who has behavior issues and is not guaranteed to get along with other pets?  That will be a nightmare.  Even if I could do it, I would worry every day that he wasn't getting what he needed.

Thank you for your encouragement.  It made asking for the meds easier.  It wasn't a heartbreaking decision or anything, but it is a thing I feel a little apprehension over because . . . well . . . his dear little body is so small, and his problems are so big, and medication is so strong.

I pitched it at her as "I am in no way wanting to rehome him because of his behavior issues, I'd be wanting to rehome him because he is clearly miserable, and if I can't fix that, I need to get him in a place where he is safe."  Because while it is true that when I catch him peeing on things out of vengeance, I get very angry and frustrated, I am primarily concerned with his happiness.

The vet said he's lucky he has me.  In particular.

I don't feel like I deserve that.  I don't.

I love him so much.  I just want him to be better, and not be sad and angry all the time.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-02-10 12:16 pm

(no subject)

Smooch's behavior is absolutely out of control.

He is belligerent, he attacks Sarah's cats with an absolutely unprecedented single-minded hostility despite us having introduced them the "right" way over weeks and weeks.  He is just awful.

I've tried so many things.  (Yes, that.  Oh, and that too.  And that other thing you were thinking of?  Yeah, that.  So please, unless you're willing to pay for it and/or help me implement it, please don't make suggestions, it's only painful.)  The only thing left to try is medication and while I'm understandably reluctant to go that route, at this point it's either stop his behavior or re-home him, and . . . I don't have high hopes of being able to do that responsibly.  He is so demanding and so difficult, he has health issues, he's not pretty, he vengeance-pees.  He will be hard to place, and I just don't know what to do.

It is tearing me apart.  I don't want this for him, or for us.  I love him.  He is a sweet, hilarious cat.  Just not with other cats.  He is absolutely savage.

Can I just . . . I would need you folks more than ever to help me find a good place for him.  Someone with no cats or dogs and with adequate financial and temporal resources to help him.  I'm in Tulsa, OK.  Could you help?  Is that a thing we could manage to do?

Asking for a small, furry friend.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-01-26 11:07 pm

(no subject)

The muscle twitches seem to have mostly stopped.  I think it was related to some medication stuff.  I need to talk about that with a professional, but I don't have one.

My sleep schedule is completely flipped around.  I'm sleeping from around one in the afternoon to nine or ten at night.

I'm clearly in some sort of mixed state.

I've got an appointment to see someone on the sixth, at a new psych place.  I think they're just an NP, even though I really need to be working with someone further up the chain.  I don't expect this visit will do any good whatsoever.  I know how this shit works.  I'll try to explain myself, they'll recommend something that doesn't help because they always wanna start where they wanna start, and actually really listening to me and working with me is too much work.  I have to prove that I know what I'm talking about by doing what they tell me to do and proving them wrong before they will listen to me.  If they will listen to me.  Some never do.

It's exhausting.  It's always like this.  If I'm lucky, I'll be able to get them to listen to me next time, or the time after.

The psych at the place I get my therapy is a complete dud; condescending, dismissive, useless.  The psych I had before, at the other therapy place, was even worse.  I'm hoping this will be better, but I don't really have hope.  If that makes sense.

I just want my old GP back.  She had her shit together, we understood each other.  She listened.  But Medicaid had to be the shitshow that it is and now I can't see her anymore.

It's been about a year and I still haven't caught up to where I was.  I still don't have a doctor I trust, or a psych I trust.  And it's not for lack of trying.  Just . . . the low-cost clinic I was at was utter garbage, and the family clinic that runs out of Planned Parenthood that I currently go to is overcrowded, understaffed, in imminent danger of closing, and impossible to call directly (you have to go through a call center to get routed there, which can take only five or ten minutes, but often takes half an hour.

I am still so unspeakably angry they pushed me away from a doctor I had a good relationship with and could trust, as well as reach quite easily if I needed to.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-01-16 07:07 am

Oh dear god.

I'm having muscle twitches again.  Tiny ones.

No.  Nonononononononono.  NO.

There has to be a reason for it.  I changed something or forgot to take something a few days too many or . . . something.  There has to be some reason that I can fix because I can't.  I can't do it again.

I'm taking the right generic, I swear I am, it's the right one, it's been working, it has to keep working.

I don't want this.  I don't want this.  I don't want this.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-01-11 10:33 pm

something broke the surface just to see the starry dome

I think I may have kicked off the bottom of this.

I went off the Wellbutrin last year when it became too much of a hassle to get  the right generic of it AND the Seroquel, when the Seroquel was the one that was really fucking me up to be off it.  The Wellbutrin was the one thing I could let go, so for the literal first time since my initial diagnosis, I discontinued a necessary medication without consulting my doctor (I didn't have one!  Thanks, Soonercare!)  because trying to get the form of it I needed was actually making things worse for me at the time.

I seemed to be doing okay without it, and it took me literally months to feel up to trying to get hold of the right kind again, so I just . . . decided to stay off it.  If it wasn't necessary, I'd be fine.  If it was, I'd go back on it.

So a couple of days ago, I started taking it again -- Bear takes a kind that does work for me, so we agreed that I'd dig into her (considerable) stash and give it a go again, to see if it helps.

Today was better than yesterday, and yesterday was better than the day before.  That could be a coincidence, but it could also be that Wellbutrin works fast.  I'm hoping that's it.

Anyway, I'm feeling a little less overwhelmed today.

Like, don't get me wrong, I still feel like shit, but it's better than it was.  I'll take that.


naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-01-08 11:17 pm

(no subject)

I hate being broken.  I am a constant embarrassment to myself in my inability to get shit done.  And intellectually I know it's not my fault, but the fact remains, I'm constantly falling apart.

I don't know what's wrong with me the past couple of weeks.  Or month.  Or however long it's been.  I've just been sleeping so much and unable to do hardly anything and have been severely resentful of anything that demands I leave the house or spend time with other people.  I don't know if it's still post-surgery exhaustion -- I mean, it's an easy answer to blame that but I've been fine up until now, you know?  On the mend.

I've been having trouble sleeping when I should, though.  Maybe it's my meds that need adjusting.  Maybe it's a mixed state trying to happen.  Maybe it's a depressive swing.  This time last year I was heading into a massive downward spiral that had me lower than I've been since I was diagnosed in 2007.  So maybe it's ripples.  I don't know. There's nothing reasonable or easy about this shit.

Add the IBS on top of it, and the fact that we only have one car and I don't have access to it during the time I am mostly awake and things are open and other people are awake, and it's just . . . I feel like I don't have a life.  I can't do things most other people can do.  Can't enjoy things.

I am happier in so many ways than I was, so I feel shitty complaining.  My life has radically improved.  That's why I'm pretty sure this is just . . . part of the illness, and not all that situational.

I wish I could just have, like, normal tolerances for things, and normal wants.  I wish I wanted to see people more often.  I wish I liked more people's company more than I do.  I wish that going to the store didn't take so much out of me.  I wish that I could accomplish daily chores more often than I do.

I just want to be a real person.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-01-08 11:04 pm

(no subject)

 It will be a while before I get in to that treatment center.  I have to make the call first, and coordinate a bunch of shit.  There could be long delays, since my current gastroenterologist, with whom they will need to work for some things, is always really busy and getting in to see him could take weeks.

And, of course, I have to make phone calls.  That alone could take . . . an embarrassingly long time.  It's not stuff I can delegate, either.

I will let you all know when I'll be trying to get the money together.

naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-01-07 09:08 pm

(no subject)

There's a treatment center that specializes in IBS and has what looks like a really great approach.  There IS no one cause of IBS, it's a cluster of symptoms that can be caused by many different things.  They look for multiple things that could be causing it and treat those things with medication or diet or both, in order to bring the gut back into balance.  They claim a very high success rate.

Nothing will be covered by my insurance, though their rates are reasonable (not suspiciously so, though).  I'll have to pay for everything myself, as well as cross-country travel for a couple of days for the consult and some testing.

I don't want to do this because I'm afraid it won't help and I'm so bereft of hope already.  It's heartbreaking living like this.  I hurt most days, and suffer other symptoms on nearly all of the others.

I will need help to do this.  To organize it and get the money together.

And I'm scared of throwing money away on nothing.  I . . . I can't spare it.  If it doesn't work, I'll never get that money back.

I've been in brief contact with them and they're very level and not secretive at all, and I do plan on scheduling a phone consult to really get their measure.

I guess what I'm saying is that to do this, I'll need help, and when the time comes I really hope you'll be there to back me up.  Livejournal is even deader than it was.  I'm just so afraid.

I need hope.  And I can't afford it.  I'll make it happen because I am desperate, I absolutely will, but I'm scared.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2017-01-02 08:02 am

Heads up.

There are rumors going around that LJ's servers have been moved out of the US and into Russia. 

I have no idea how credible these rumors are, I have yet to see the evidence, but a lot of people seem very concerned about the lack of First Amendment rights and so forth if it's true.  I'm not sure what to think yet.

I've backed up my LJ over on Dreamwidth just in case, comments and all, and y'all are welcome to follow me over there if you like.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2016-12-16 08:26 pm

(no subject)

We have a new tree.  Bought it the day before Smooch racked up that medical bill, so I felt really stupid, but it was actually really cheap and I'm glad I didn't take it back.

It's pre-lit with white lights, and the ornaments are all white and silver and blue and pink and gold.  There are tiny star ornaments, and a ton of glitter.  Glitter everywhere.

It's gorgeous.  I always wanted to try a tree in these colors, and I finally get to.

The old tree was too tall for me to handle.  It wasn't pre-lit, and it was like 8 feet tall.  Putting it together and getting the lights on it and decorating it was definitely going to be too much.  I am still tired from the hysterectomy, and Bear has a bad back.

And I'm just as glad for the fresh start, you know?  This year has been really great in a lot of ways, but also really terrible, and the reboot feels good and right.

I'm still scared sometimes.  What am I doing, inviting another person into my life when I'm so fucking damaged and incapable of maintaining normal function?  Am I going to stay with her forever, (or try, anyway)?  Is it foolish to want that?  Is it okay to be afraid of that at the same time?

But . . . I caught myself just thinking about her face today.  Just . . . this one face I've never seen her make toward anyone else, this silly little squinch-and-smile.  And I think about her happy laugh, and I think about her "I shouldn't be laughing" laugh, and I think about her "utterly losing it" laugh, and I just . . . want to be here.  With her.

So I try to be good enough.  

No, maybe that's not right.  Because I'm good enough, and while I may not believe that, she does, so I don't have to prove it.

What I do is try to make her feel how much I value her.

I have no idea what I'm doing.  Parts of it are hard, occasionally.  Frustrating, even.  Not often, but it happens.  But it's the kind of hard and frustrating that feels like building something, not like getting weighed down, not like smothering.

I want to not fuck this up.  Holy god, I want to not fuck it up.

naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2016-12-16 03:43 am

(no subject)

I honestly feel like the amount of time left to me on this plane of existence is longer than it was at the beginning of this year.   I think I have actually gained years.

Yeah, 2016 can still go fuck itself, but . . . how often do you get a deadline extension for your own life?

There were times I wanted to end it.  I am so glad I didn't.

This was worth hanging on for.  This was worth the fight.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2016-12-12 05:09 am

(no subject)

Got my hands on the records for my surgery and the pathology on the stuff they removed.

The most interesting and honestly startling thing in it was that I lost less than 3 tablespoons of blood.

They removed an entire internal organ, and I loss less than a quarter cup of blood.

Science is fucking astonishing.

Also, I think my surgeon was just really damn good.

Dr. Rachel Gibbs in Tulsa, just in case you want to look her up.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2016-12-02 06:06 pm

Left with questions.

CW: pregnancy, miscarriage, other uterine antics.

So I've known for a while that I had Asherman Syndrome, where the inside of my uterus was covered in scar tissue.

And that answers, maybe, one of the questions I had -- why endometriosis?  Well, I read the other day that sometimes AS can cause it.  If the AS was bad enough to seal off a pocket of my uterus, isolating some endometrial tissue and preventing it from exiting through the cervix as it should, it would have flowed back out of the fallopian tube and carrying that tissue into my abdominal cavity where it could then set up shop and start ruining things.  Given that, when I tried to have the Essure implants placed, Dr. Thundercunt couldn't even see the opening to one of my tubes, this seems pretty plausible to me.

But there's a question I have that I forgot to ask the doctor about, and it's nagging at me because I've never had an answer for it.  Why did I develop Asherman Syndrome at all?

Endometriosis can cause scarring both outside and inside the uterus.  So that may answer how the scar tissue got there.  Maybe it's the opposite of my theory above.

But uterine scarring also usually causes lighter periods, which is not a problem I ever had.  I had medium to very heavy ones, often for much longer than a week and sometimes continually for months.  I initially spent something like a year and a half bleeding because I didn't want to have to go to the doctor for it, and it continued off and on for years -- right up until I got fitted with an IUD six or seven years ago.

What caused the initial heavy bleeding?  

Was the fact that I ignored it for over a year why I developed scarring?

Did I have a miscarriage that went awry somehow?  I might have been pregnant after the first time I had sex.  The likelihood of it is higher based on the fact that there was no birth control involved except for him pulling out.  But it's also lower, given that I was on my period at the time.  But I remember sometime right around then I passed . . . something.  Kind of like a blood clot -- big enough that I remember it still, after all these years.  It was the size of . . . I don't know, a largeish bantam chicken egg.  I don't remember if it was before or after.  I want to say after, but I don't remember it clearly enough.  It could well have been before.  But if that's what it was, could it have led to some sort of low-grade infection that then led to scarring?

My mother had tremendous problems, herself.  Multiple miscarriages between having my sister and I.  And every other uterus-bearing person in my immediate family has had problems.  Endometriosis, PCOS, undiagnosed horribleness, whatever, always something.  So maybe it's just an inherited inevitability. 

How does my thyroid play into all of this?  What about the recurrent nabothian cysts I was having all over the place, where did those little shits come from?

Googling for all of this is a terrible pain.  Especially the Asherman Syndrome.  Almost all the information on AS is about infertility, and is geared toward fixing it enough so that people who want to can carry babies to term.  Finding information about whether miscarriages cause AS versus the other way around has proven nigh impossible.

I'm truly grateful I'm not navigating these questions in that context.  I feel genuinely terrible for people that are in that position and I'm glad that there are so many communities out there helping share what little information there is and supporting people through their journeys.  I'm not wishing that information to be less available, but I do wish that the information I dig up on every single issue a person can have with their uterus didn't focus on its effects on fertility . . . to the point where other information is sometimes not even presented.  As if, in the absence of a negative effect on pregnancy, people won't still want answers.

If I had been told that Asherman Syndrome can lead to endometriosis, I would have looked into the issue years sooner.  Unfortunately, Dr. Thundercunt, who discovered I had it, refused to talk to me about it after she booted me out of her clinic for swearing and having a panic attack, so I never had a chance to learn this from her, and none of the information I was able to dig up online at the time mentioned it.  (See: the aforementioned focus on fertility, to the exclusion of all other effects of a condition.)

I'm going to take a close look at my records once I get them and see what they found during pathology.  Maybe that will answer a little of it.  Or maybe it will just give me more to wonder about.

I realize it's of minimal impact given that the organs in question are ashes in a landfill by now and I'm not suffering psychological upset from losing them -- quite the opposite, frankly.  I know it's not really materially important that I have these answers.  But I've had such trouble with it my whole life that I can't help but wonder.  What started it?  Could it have been prevented?  At what point could it have been diagnosed, if my doctors had been worth a damn and I hadn't been so fucking put off by their treatment of me?  (Given what I endured, I can't blame myself for not trying harder for answers.)

Otherwise, I'm doing well.  Hormone replacement seems to be working just as it should.  No pain for days now, though I'm still sticking to my lift limit when I can.  I just want to be sure, you know?

I'm happy with where this has gone.  Really happy.  But I'm always going to wonder what the fuck was wrong with the goddamn thing.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2016-11-22 04:28 pm

Hysterectomy update #2

I will have more concrete answers in a couple of weeks when I get my copy of the surgical and pathology reports, but wow, there was so much wrong with my plumbing.

My ovaries were apparently covered in cysts, one of them had some sort of benign fibrous tumor clinging to it, and my uterus itself was full of scar tissue and another sort of benign growth.  That's all IN ADDITION TO the endometriosis that had plastered rogue tissue all over everything.

NO GOOD WAS EVER GOING TO COME OF THIS NONSENSE.

I'm so glad to be rid of all of it.

I feel fantastic, btw.  Not, like, back up to 100%, but easily at 95%.  Only time will tell how many of my nagging little aches and pains and abdominal issues were being caused or exacerbated by this horseshit.  I can say that there was a particular sort of pain I was getting on a regular basis that was not IBS and not gas pain, and which has not yet chosen to reassert itself.  I believe it was cyclical bleeding from the endometriosis, but it may have been cysts on my ovaries as well.

I doubt this will free me of the IBS, but hopefully this will help that, in addition to utterly eliminating the actual obviously uterus-related issues I've been having all these years.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
2016-11-13 07:02 pm

(no subject)

I feel kind of like I did after Orlando, only it's a more pervasive kind of helplessness, and this time I feel actual fear.

I sit down to do something creative, and 95% of the time I can't do it.  I just don't feel it.  I'm having trouble concentrating on anything.

I sit down to try to write something hopeful and encouraging and the words are just stuck.  Not that I feel like there's no hope, far from it, but I know that people are really afraid and hurting right now and it will take time for them to be able to see it.  I don't know what I could say that could make a dent.

Love each other.  That's all I have to say.  Love each other, and stand up for each other, and do what you can to help people who are not like you whenever you can.  Be a presence for one another, now more than ever.  And please . . . find a way to get involved.  Volunteering, donating, being present for your friends who are affected by this.  Think small-scale, if you want to.  Throw some money toward someone's top surgery.  Buy someone affirming clothes.  Buy groceries for a needy family.  Make phone calls for someone who has trouble with that.  Go to the store or ride on public transit with someone who feels afraid.  There are so many opportunities to help, once you look.  So whenever you can, be the helper that Mister Rogers told us all to look for.

And take care of yourselves, okay?  You are needed.