Woman Gets Shred of Sanity Back During Commute

Greetings fellow bloggers, bored cats, and heavily tattooed men in orange jumpsuits wasting their 10 minutes of Internet time because they googled “Kim Kardashian Boobs”!

Not only do I blog here at She’s a Maineiac, I’m also a seasoned reporter, interviewing poor slobs about their redonkulous lives.

You might remember my last report, Woman Refuses to Live in the Moment, in which gluten-freak Oprah dished out unsolicited advice to a broke woman and her farting asthmatic cat, Mr. Wankers.

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No? Well, shut up and eat a bagel.

Now time for today’s report!

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Sometimes the daily grind of life is all too much for one 47-year-old woman from the quaint coastal village of East Scrotum, Maine (not to be confused with Scrotum’s Point, a sad little town north of South Bunghole).

Ah yes, Maine — The Way Life Should Be.™

Image result for maine scenery

Unless your life should be that you’re perpetually broke, your feet ache, your boobs sag, and your shit stinks.*

I met up with Starla Turdbucketsen early one morning to see how she does it. How does she survive in today’s crazy-ass world? How in god’s name does she wake up every effing day — remember who she is — yet continue to get up anyway?

“It ain’t easy,” Starla sighed, blowing a steady stream of smoke into my face.

“So, you smoke cigarettes now?”

“No.”

“Let’s talk about your life. Who is Starla Turdbucketsen? You’re a daughter of an elderly parent who thinks Elvis reincarnated as a 13-year-old gospel singer from Sweden. You’re a mom of a teen who thinks he’s going to college to triple major in YouTube Celebrity/Video Gamer/Culinary Farts. You’re a mom to a tween daughter. You’re a wife to a man who incessantly watches MASH reruns in his underwear.”

“Correct.”

“Starla, in the past year, you’ve gone through menopause, major surgery, and the legal separation of Chris Pratt and Anna Faris. You work two jobs, yet you’re wearing a bra you bought circa 1989. Any thoughts, insights or revelations you’d care to share with us about being a modern woman in today’s society?”

“Well, if I have to pluck one more freaking gray hair out of my chin, I swear I’m gonna lose my shit. So there’s that. ”

“So, why do it? What gets you going day after day? Why not just drive your Toyota Corolla into the nearest brick wall?”

“The commute.”

“The what?”

“Are you deaf, you unbelievable nimrod? The commute!”

Oh yeah, the work commute!

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(And yes, my doctor says I’m currently suffering from progressive hearing loss, but let’s get back to Starla and her desperate attempt to cling to those last few scraps of sanity.)

Let’s face it — most of our lives would be a never-ending shit parade if not for those blissful 28 minutes of the morning when you are alone in your car, driving to your soul-sucking job.

I think most harried Americans would agree, the commute is that rare time when you are free to let it all go. That’s right…just take a deep breath…roll down the windows to air out the stench of “medicinal” marijuana…crank some hip-hop…and forget our president is a cross between Forrest Gump and Gary Busey.

Slide1“What is it about the commute that appeals to you, Starla?”

“Two words: No. News.”

“Two more words: ‘Nuff said.”

And so concludes another in-depth interview! Stay tuned next week when I ask Starla her take on the current nuclear crisis with North Korea! (Preview: She thinks it’s the classic “my missile/ego/therapy bill is bigger than yours” dust-up)

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*In 2007, the Maine State Tourism Board fired the marketing director after he presented the slogan: Maine: The Way Life Should Be (Except For Those Who Are Perpetually Broke & Their Feet Ache & Their Boobs Sag & Their Shit Stinks. If That’s You–Move To New Hampshire.)

 

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The Cat Who Thinks She’s a Dog

…A Cautionary Tail…

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I love cats. Always have, always will. Why?

  • They don’t talk.
  • They don’t have political views.
  • They don’t talk about politics.
  • They don’t talk.

I consider their personalities sort of like mine: introverted, opinionated, always critical of others — but in that endearing, almost imperceptibly smug way.

slide1I also equally adore dogs, so please, no hate mail.

Many cats have owned me over the years.  As a kid, my first cat was Fluffy (aka Lint), then Cujo (aka The Old Man), followed by my fat orange tabby, Conan O’Brien (that I once regrettably used as a crampon), and now we are graced with Miss Maggie the Magnificent’s presence.

And apparently, she’s a dog.

Me: You are not a dog.

Maggie: Ruff.

Me: You are not a dog.

Maggie: Arf.

Me: You are not a dog!

Maggie: Bow wow?

Me: YOU ARE NOT A DOG!

Maggie [blank stare]: D’oh! [licks own ass, tries to eat an invisible bug, farts]

Me: Hmm….maybe you are a dog…

So our 8-month-old puppy almost died last week. Not to bring this post down from the previous high of an ass-licking farting cat, but yeah it’s true. She suddenly projectile vomited out of the blue. (I suppose that’s really the only way one can projectile vomit as there’s usually not much of a warning.)

I was the only one home when it happened. She let out this sound only dying cats make. I immediately flipped out and started sobbing. I’m known for being emotional. I’m ridiculously sensitive to other’s pain and suffering. I feel it as if it were my own. And pets? To me, they are pretty much the only pure goodness that’s left in this godforsaken world.

I started crying when we brought her to the vet and didn’t stop crying until about 3 days later.

“It’s just a cat!” you sneer. I weep for your soul.

To make an excruciatingly long story short, she was hooked up to an IV due to being severely dehydrated and lethargic. Blood tests ruled out pancreatitis and kidney disease (rare for a kitten).

Yet she was clearly dying. Her ears were cold as ice and she wasn’t responding to my touch or voice or the flood of tears falling onto her face. They did X-rays and saw something “suspicious” in her stomach, but they weren’t sure. It looked like her intestine was bunching up “like a curtain on a curtain rod,” the vet suggested.

They couldn’t immediately do exploratory surgery because it seemed her organs were rapidly shutting down and the stress might put her over the edge and kill her. We put her in an emergency clinic overnight and I cried some more.

Finally, the next morning she was brighter and I had to make the decision to do surgery. There was a chance they would find nothing. I told them to do it as soon as possible. The very idea that I might have to tell my kids she died (the world’s sweetest kitten!) just about killed me.

There was something special about Maggie. When we saw her at the animal shelter she was sitting with another kitten. The other kitten spent his time clawing at her and sitting on her head. She just calmly sat there, all sweetness and light. I said, “That’s the cat. She’s the one.” You just know these things. It’s fate. All my pets came from the pound and all of them were the most loving gentle souls. (Except for Fluffy. We referred to him as Psycho Cat.)

From the minute Maggie got sick, I had this feeling she ate something bad. She was always getting into things. It’s like having a hyper toddler in the house all over again. Maybe it was a little piece of string? My son has tiny elastic bands on his braces that are constantly breaking and popping off, maybe she ate one of those? The vet did the surgery and called me when it was over.

“She’s doing great,” said the vet. “We found something.”

And boy howdy, did they find something. When we arrived, the vet held up a Ziploc bag filled with this large mass of string, carpet, ribbon, yarn, and a plastic straw. Yes, she had swallowed almost half of a straw. Part of it was inside her intestine and the glob of string was blocking the pylorus region. We were lucky the straw didn’t perforate her intestine and lead to sepsis.

Apparently, she had spent the better part of her young life eating things she shouldn’t eat. Such as her scratching post, the living room rug, the feathers and ribbons from a cat toy…a straw.

As we were checking out at the vet, the receptionist said, “Oh, you’ve got the foreign body removal cat! Don’t feel bad — we just surgically removed a wire hanger out of a dog last week!”

A man behind us in line said, “And my dog once had a rope yanked from his stomach! I think he also ate half a shoe once!”

For some reason, their cheerfulness when describing possible future foreign body horrors didn’t make me feel any better.

I’m beyond thrilled to say Maggie is 99% healed. I think her image as a cool cat might never recover, though. But she wears that Cone of Shame with doofus dog pride.

Woof.

 

 

14 Menopause Tips That Might Just Save A Life

 

  1. Never say to the woman, “This must be the menopause talking, right?”

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    The moment before all hell breaks loose.
  2. For hot flashes, freeze a washcloth, then slap your husband upside the head with it.
  3. Still feeling blazing hot? Carry a good portable fan.

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    Oh, darling, I do declare I shall hit you in the head with this here fan!
  4. Make mood swings fun. Get out a timer and count how many intense emotions you feel in three minutes. Then throw the timer at your husband.
  5. Practice saying sincerely to your spouse: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to, honest. It’s the menopause talking.” Then strike the classic ‘Hold head in hands and look tormented’ pose.
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  6. See a mom with a newborn and think, That will never be me again! Yay!
  7. See a mom with a newborn and think, That will never be me again! STILL YAY!!!
  8. Realize that you’ve entered the I-Don’t-Give-Two-Shits-Anymore stage of your life and it is glorious.
  9. Crying a lot? Keep tissues in your bra. Worked for my grandmother.
  10. Chocolate is soothing. Always have it handy for those moments you feel like punching someone in the throat. I keep a bag of chocolate chips in my bra.
  11. Go full-on “old lady”. Buy the National Enquirer, a gallon of butter pecan ice cream, and a jug of cheap white zinfandel. Say things like, “She’s much too busty” or “That Harrison Ford sure is one hot ticket.” Get a short tight perm and start wearing cat sweaters. Or get ten cats, give them tight perms and name them all Harrison.

    spy-3
    Work it, girl!
  12. Embrace feeling increasingly invisible to the opposite sex. Shave legs? Eh. Makeup? Please. Clothes? What’s the point?
  13. Eat a lot. Get bloated. Wear leggings. Fart in public. You’re invisible now, go for it.
  14. Rent the movie Sisters with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. It will make you laugh so hard your chocolate chip and tissue filled bra will explode.

If you have any other menopause tips, please leave them in the comments below. I’m sure my husband will appreciate it. I’m running out of chocolate chips.

On Pins and Needles

One morning I was half asleep and slurping coffee when I thought, Hey! You know what would be good right now? Needles! Lots of tiny needles shoved into various body parts! 

I’ve suffered from chronic low back pain ever since 1997 when I hit a moose going 55 mph. The car, not the moose. Actually, the moose too. Those buggers can run like hell on their spindly legs when they have a good mind to.

Anyway, all moose-killing* stories aside, I figure a little acupuncture couldn’t hurt. Much.

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Looks like fun!

My acupuncturist is a lovely doctor from California who recently opened her practice here. She said it’s hard to find new open-minded patients like me. I informed her this is because most Mainers believe nothing cures ills better than a cold wash cloth and a full bottle of Allen’s coffee brandy. Then she told me to put down my coffee brandy bottle and get on the table.

You think I was nervous getting my first treatment? Try doing it semi-sober. The room was tranquil enough: gentle New Age music, soft massage table, comfy face hole pillow to drool into so I can wake up an hour later and pay the receptionist with pillow creases plastered across my face like a moron.

“Okay, let’s get started, just relax,” the doc suggested. So I relaxed as much as anyone would before a good needle-jabbing. She gently inserted the first needle into my neck. Interesting, I thought. This feels… just like having a needle shoved in your neck! Yes, it was a tiny pinch, nothing major. Still, a needle! In my fracking neck! Am I drooling because stainless steel accidentally pierced my occipital lobe? Is this how I die? A paralyzed pin cushion listening to Enya while trapped on a massage table?

Then she slid about 20 more needles into my neck, spine, legs, and for good measure, about a half-dozen more in my sacral region (aka upper ass-crackage). Like they always say, the more needles in your ass, the better.

“How do you feel?” she asked. Um, like there’s 30 goddamn needles sticking out of my body! I wanted to yell. How long am I supposed to do this? 

“Good. I feel good.” I murmured. “It’s all good. Yeah.” Yeah, this entire situation is normal. I do it all the time. Pffft.

I tried to calm myself down by listening to the soothing music. “…who can say…where the road goes…where the day flows… only time…” Enya sang.
Such an asshole.

Then I heard the door close and the doc was gone. Probably off to the little room where she’ll eat popcorn and laugh at me through a two-way mirror. This was when my brain went into overdrive.

What am I supposed to do now? Just lie here? Oh my god! I can feel the needles! It doesn’t hurt, but I know they’re there! And the ones near my ass are really starting to tingle. Huh. You know what? It’s kinda nice. But what if she hit my sciatic nerve? What if I get a sudden urge to jump off the table? Would the needles fall out? Holy shit, shut up Enya! Die Enya die! Make this music stop! How long am I supposed to lie here? With needles sticking out of me! NEEDLES! THERE ARE NEEDLES IN ME! CALM DOWN, DARLA. CALM DOWN. It’s okay. You can do this. Just breathe in and breath out. Ah, nope, when I breathe I can feel the needles moving. What if one punctures my carotid artery? Just hold your breath, Darla. Just hold your breath until you pass out. This will only take 30 minutes, tops. Whatever you do, don’t move a muscle. It doesn’t hurt. The needles are fine. The Chinese have been doing this for thousands of years! But what if I have to get up to go to the bathroom? I think I have to go to the bathroom. Would the other patients mind if they saw a half-naked dude from Hellraiser creeping through the waiting room? How would I sit down on the toilet? Could I go standing up?  I think I tried it once on a dare back when I was seven, but there were no needles sticking out of me at the time…

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Holy needlenuts, I really have to pee now.

Maybe if I shift my lower body, I won’t have to go anymore…Oh god! I think one of the needles is moving in deeper! It’s–

The door creaked opened. “How you doing, Darla?”

“Wow! Is it over already? Those 30 minutes just FLEW by!” I sputtered into the drool-soaked face hole.

She plucked off the needles and gave me a hug.  I made an appointment for next week and left. But not before she suggested I try a bottle of herbal supplements to help with blood circulation. Among the long list of exotic ingredients: red peony root, licorice root, citrus peel, and eye of newt gingrich.

Even though I’m completely open to alternative medicine, I’m not convinced the pills will work. Red peony root is fine, I guess, and of course licorice root, duh. But what, no elderly Buddhist monk scrotum sweat?! For the amount of money I paid, it should contain at the very least the scrotum sweat of Newt Gingrich.

But I suppose I’ll try anything once. I’ll let you know if I survive next week’s treatment.

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*I would never intentionally harm or kill a moose. Believe me, I was pretty upset when I hit one because I love all animals. Except spiders. Yeah, they can live inside my vacuum for the rest of their days, I don’t care.

 

 

 

Adventures in Anesthesia: The Urination Proclamation

Surgery

A few weeks ago I underwent abdominal surgery. If you’ve ever had surgery, the first thing you notice is how many times the nurses and doctors ask you what you’re getting done.  Apparently, this is their safeguard protocol in case you’re there to have a tonsillectomy and instead end up with one less testicle. I’m not sure why they insist on asking the patient at all. Wouldn’t they have learned to write this crucial information down somewhere? Maybe jot it on a post-it note:

TAKE OUT LEFT OVARY.
DO NOT REMOVE HER TONSILS,
NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO!

So there I was in pre-op, all splayed out in a johnny while an RN tried to start an IV.

“And what are you here for?” she asked. I had already been asked this by nearly everyone else in the hospital at this point, including the janitor, and my response was the same every time: “Why, a tummy tuck and boob job, of course!” (The janitor seemed to think this was a good idea.)

Some nurses have a sense of humor, but this time the joke fell flat. Maybe she’s heard this one before? She jammed the needle harder into the top of my hand. “OK, I’m kidding,” I winced. “I’m really here to have a hysterectomy. Yay. She’s removing all my endo and an ovary.”

“Which one?” she asked.

“Well… I only have one ovary left…so, I would say the one that’s still there. Tell you what — if they don’t see an ovary, then don’t take it out. If they do see one, take it out.”

Again, nothing but a solemn glare from Nurse Ratched.

She left the room. “Tough crowd,” I whispered to my husband.

A few minutes before surgery, my surgeon breezed into the room. She thought my tummy tuck joke was funny, but I noticed she didn’t actually agree to do it, so my hopes were crushed once again. Then she lifted my hospital gown and drew a circle over my left ovary.

Great, the success of my operation depends on a Sharpie.

I kissed my husband goodbye and reminded him that I might very well die on the operating table, but not to worry. Did he have my living will? Did he know how to make the kids breakfast? Did he know the Netflix password?

They wheeled me into the OR, and the last thing I remember is looking up at a large bright light, just like in the movies. The anesthesia kicked in and I drifted into a painless deep sleep thinking (and probably saying out loud to the surgical nurse) “Tummmmy tuuuuuuucccccckkkk…don’t forget it’s the only ovary there….no, no, no! Don’t take out my testicle!…just a nice tuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmy tuuuuuuck….”

My three hour surgery was over. After a strange block of timeless time, I started to drift back to the land of the living. I was doped up to my eyeballs on fentanyl so the pain was thankfully absent. But I had this horrible crushing sensation that my bladder was full and about to explode. It was unbelievably uncomfortable. The kind of urgency you feel when you’re stuck in traffic for hours after consuming a 64 ounce Big Gulp and you want to say “fuck it” and urinate into the nearest receptacle.

Before I go any further, I have to explain that Maine women are a unique independent breed. We tend to be strong, stodgy, stubborn and stupid. My grandmother lived to 100 and she used to take my brother’s dirt bike for a spin well into her nineties. My mother still moves heavy furniture around and she’s 82. I once mowed the lawn with a push mower while 9 months pregnant. After the baby popped out, I scooped him up and continued mowing. We don’t need no help, dammit! We’re built like tanks and can power on through anything.

Except holding in our pee.

There I was in recovery, drifting in and out of consciousness, alternating between yelling that I had to go pee and drooling helplessly all over my gown. I faintly overheard an RN telling my husband I needed to sleep. Sleep? My bladder is burning hot and bursting and she wants me to sleep?! After pleading, “I gotta go pee! Please let me pee!” a thousand times in a half hour, I had had enough. Goddammit, I’m going to find that janitor! He’ll let me pee!

“It’s just your bladder having spasms, dear,” Nurse Ratched kept insisting. “You don’t have to pee. It’ll go away in a few minutes.”

Of course, the nurse probably insisted I remain lying down so I wouldn’t hurt myself. Maybe this is because I just had major surgery. And okay, in my drugged-up haze I thought my husband was Sting and the nurses giant pesky bumblebees flitting about my consciousness. But at this point, deep in agony, I was unstoppable. The sweet relief of urination was within my grasp.

I swung my feet over the edge of the bed and things began to spin. For a few moments the entire room seemed to disappear into a milky white fog. I didn’t know where my feet were. When I reached up to scratch my head, my hand moved across my field of vision like it was encased in syrup. Where was my head? Who’s hand is this? Help me, Sting!

“I can’t find my head,” I slurred to my husband as he tried to steady me. An RN and a CNA magically appeared by my other side. Ugh, Nurse Ratched! NO! You will not stop me, devil woman! I plodded forward a step only to be snagged on something. I tugged at the annoying IV line, oblivious to what the hell it was and why it was holding me back. Am I in the jungle? Is this a snake?

Before I knew it I was out in the hallway/jungle with two nurses and my husband all trying to hold onto me. They were talking to me, but my brain concentrated only on the excruciating bladder cramps. My untied johnny hung loose in the front, leaving my ass to flap in the cold breeze. I shuffled along like a tranquilized bear, occasionally pausing to try and brush off Sting and the bumblebees.  “I GOTTA GO PEE!” I hollered at random patients and nurses in the hall.

I finally made it to what I judged to be an adequate hole in the ground by the bamboo trees, grabbed onto someone’s arm, sat down and let it go.

Into the toilet, of course. I’m not an animal.

And Nurse Ratched was right. False alarm. I didn’t have to go after all. Maddening.

Still ranting to no one in particular, “Why won’t they let me pee?!” they led me back to my bed. I repeated this charade at least three more times (that I remember), each time getting angrier and louder. I was in recovery for a very long time. My surgery was at noon and I didn’t get permission to leave until 8 pm. I was close to being admitted overnight, but I think the nurses for some reason were happy to see me go.

Later on, when I was a bit more lucid and back to my normal sweet self, my husband told me how funny it was when I shoved the nurses aside and dragged my IV down the hall while almost completely naked to go to the bathroom, when I didn’t actually have to go at all.

“Yeah, that must have been something,” I said, mortified at the thought.

I faintly remember after I was discharged, I continued to whine about peeing while the nurse wheeled me (hurriedly) out to our car. I think I might have grabbed her hand to pet it like she was a kitten, and told her that she was very nice but kind of mean, too.

I blame the fentanyl.

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Thanks for all the well-wishes. My surgery was a big success. All went perfectly and I didn’t die. I feel wonderful. Back to blogging!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Inside Story

Warning: This isn’t my typical lame humor post. In this one things get real. And graphic. I’m talking about (gasp) female reproductive health issues! Feel free to close your eyes and run away screaming. I won’t take it personally.  

Okay…are they gone? What? You guys are still here? Look, I’m not kidding. This isn’t the good fun reproductive stuff, it’s the uglier side about pain and disease. Fine, stay if you want but I tried to warn you…

Once upon a time I was a young girl who suffered agonizing pain during periods. I ate Advil like candy and spent several days every month writhing in bed with a heating pad on my belly. It was difficult to get up and walk around, much less go to school. People told me this was “normal” and that I was being a baby. I believed them and sucked it up.

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Funny, this is exactly how I looked when I had bad cramps.

In my late 20s I met my husband. We got married, and not soon after we decided to try to get pregnant. I felt becoming a mom was my destiny, a lifelong yearning rooted deep in my bones. We tried for over a year with no luck. Around this time I started to have strange vague symptoms: bloating, pelvic pain, urinary, digestive issues. I saw many doctors over several years. One said I was “depressed”. One told me I had IBS. Another said it was stress-related.

Well, I thought, if they think it’s all in my head, I must be crazy. I trudged on, trying to live my life while ignoring that nagging feeling something was very wrong. Finally, feeling humiliated and defeated, I gave it one last shot and saw a Nurse Practitioner. She patiently listened to me and gave me a pelvic exam. The next words she said changed my life: “You have a large mass. I’m sending you for an ultrasound immediately.”

During the ultrasound I wasn’t scared. I felt pure relief. That may be hard to understand, but when you’ve basically been patted on the head by doctors for so many years, when one finally believes you, and there’s proof something IS wrong, it’s like a godsend.

The ultrasound tech was very quiet for a long time. Not a good sign. Then she kept asking me if I had to use the bathroom. Finally, she left the room to get a doctor. Yikes. After several minutes, they returned. She finally turned the ultrasound monitor toward me and pointed. “See that?” she asked.

“What? I don’t see anything.” It looked all black to me with no discernible shapes that resembled organs.

“That is a mass. It is so large it’s covering all your organs. Your bladder is flattened. I’m surprised you can hold urine at all at this point.” She put her hand on my shoulder.  “Are you all right?” I was surprised at the technician’s warmth and kindness. It was probably the most compassionate interaction with medical staff I had had in decades, aside from the NP.

It turned out I had a large ovarian cyst, about 15 cm in diameter, or six inches, roughly the size of a soccer ball. I know, crazy. Why couldn’t it have been a baseball? Why not fruit of some kind? Pomegranates are nice. And how in the hell did I not know it was there? I suppose I thought I was just gaining weight or very bloated. Not to mention the rest of my abdominal organs were all squished to make room for this… thing. As much as I was happy to know what was wrong with me, I felt like a total freak. Like I should be on the cover of one of those old Ripley’s Believe it or Not! books: “Woman lives with giant tumor for months and doesn’t know it!”

Soon I met with a wonderful  OB/GYN (who went on to deliver both of my babies) and he said I had to have major surgery as well as a biopsy of the cyst to rule out cancer.  I was 31. My gut reaction? (pun totally intended) Get it out now. What in hell are you waiting for?

It was during this surgery that my doctor made another startling discovery. I had endometriosis. Everywhere. To put it simply, it’s when the uterus lining for some reason spreads and grows in other places it shouldn’t. Then every month it bleeds and becomes inflamed as if it were inside the uterus. And it was all over my bowel and my bladder and my ovaries and my fallopian tubes and oh, let’s just say it was all over the goddamned place.

Huh.

So I had one obliterated ovary, one disintegrated fallopian tube, and the stupid giant cyst thing removed. It was benign. “But doc,” I cried. “Can I still get pregnant with only one pathetic, diseased, lonely ovary?”

“Yes,” he said. And I believed him.

After several miscarriages, (and along the way another diagnosis of a blood clotting disorder to boot, called the MTHFR gene or as I like to call it, the Motherf—er Mutation ), I eventually had my two babies. I’d even go so far as to call them miracles.

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Unfortunately, the endometriosis didn’t go away entirely. (Maybe you’ve seen on the news this week that actress Lena Dunham knows what that’s like.  I wish I knew who in the hell she is.) For years I tried several IUDs and drug therapies to keep it at bay. For some reason, the endo didn’t get the memo. To say I was in constant pain is an understatement.

After much deliberation, I had a partial hysterectomy at 39. Worst surgery of my life.  And that was my fifth one. When my surgeon, in her words, “got in there to look around” (a phrase that makes me think of someone opening a suitcase and rummaging around for some socks) she discovered a horror show of Stage 4 endo. It was just a mess of adhesions and nodules and lesions, oh my. My organs — my bladder, uterus and bowel — were stuck together, some of them frozen in place, most of them crunched and flattened. What was supposed to be a quick 45 minutes turned into nearly 3 hours. She had to call in another surgeon to help her excise everything. I think there may have been a chainsaw or a weed wacker involved at one point. And to top it off, I was bleeding somewhere after the five incisions and they couldn’t stop it. Apparently, a nurse came out and told my husband it was “touch and go” at one point.

“It was a pretty hairy situation,” was how my surgeon put it later on when she sat by my hospital bed. “You really had us worried. You gave me a run for my money.”

Well. It’s how I do.

But I lived through it. I’m sure you guessed that part already. I even came home after a few days and managed to take care of my two year old not long after the surgery, a point I like to bring up to my husband whenever he has a cold. So, all in all I had a few good healthy years and felt like a new woman again. Until I felt like crap again.

Which brings me to today. It’s been over 6 years since my last surgery and you guessed it, another one is coming. I didn’t make this decision lightly. My doctor is open to alternative medicine and last year put me on a strict diet to curb the endo. I tried herbs, vitamins. I’ve seen chiropractors to help with my lower back pain.  I even tried Lupron last summer. (A horrible, terrible, no-good chemo drug used for men with prostate cancer. Too bad I’m neither a man nor do I have a prostate.)  I’m going to start seeing an acupuncturist this month. I’m not sure what’s left to try. Maybe a full body transplant? Give me Sofia Vergara’s.

So, another surgery it is. Will it finally cure the endo? I’ve read good things and bad. Mostly, the answer is maybe. Honestly, I have run out of options at this point. And chronic pain tends to wear you down enough to make you actually want to have major surgery. I admit I’m a little scared shitless this time. I suppose this is why I’m writing about it because it helps me gain some distance from that fear brewing in the back of my mind.

Last week, my doctor said it’s time to take out my remaining sad ovary and clean out the endo again, except this time I’ll be plunged into instant menopause. I don’t know about you, but just the sound of that gives me a hot flash. And to top it off, because of the extensive bowel endo I had last time, there’s a possibility of a bowel resection. (Oh, my god! I swore if there were anything I would never write about on this blog it would be a bowel resection!) She’s going to have a general surgeon on standby just in case they decide to yank part of it out. If they don’t, well, there’s a good chance I’ll end up with another surgery just for that in the near future.

“Oh, hell,” I told her. “Just take it all out! I don’t need no stinkin’ bowel! Could you give me a good tummy tuck while you’re at it? Maybe inject all that excess fat into my boobs? I swear I have a punch card somewhere that says Buy 6 Surgeries, Get One Free.”

The best part was when my surgeon, someone who’s been doing this for decades, said to me, “I’m not gonna lie, I am dreading your surgery. Dreading. It.”

When I told her, “that makes two of us” she responded with, “Yeah, but you’re the lucky one! You’ll be asleep! I’ll be awake!”

Good point. Let’s hope so anyway.

Thanks for reading this long, long, graphic TMI reproductive history of mine. I just had to get this out and let you all know I’ll be taking a very long break and won’t be around much. At least I get to lie in bed for a few weeks and read, right? But before I go, let’s review a few key points to ponder:

  • Always trust your gut instinct.
  • Always get a second, third, and in my case, seventh opinion.
  • Always make sure your surgeon is fully awake during your surgery.
  • Take care of yourself because it’s all you got, ya dig?
  • Tell me again, who in the bloody hell is Lena Dunham? I’m stumped.

After it’s all over and I’m fully recovered, maybe I’ll come back here and start blogging about silly stuff again. And if you care to send some positive vibes, say a little prayer, or just say to yourself, “Damn, girl! See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!” I’d appreciate it.

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Endometriosis, Women’s Health

Endometriosis Awareness Month, What Are The Symptoms Of This Commonly Misdiagnosed Disease

The Personal, Painful Ordeal of Women with Endometriosis

Endometriosis.org, global forum for news and information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversations with Coat Racks

Do you often find yourself struggling to read a magazine only to curse the length of your arm?

Do you own five pairs of really useless reading glasses?

Do you find Jeb Bush incredibly sexy?

Curse you, Jeb, and those smoldering bedroom eyes!
Curse you, Jeb, and those smoldering bedroom eyes!

Time to face facts– you are probably suffering from RDV, or rapidly declining vision. Don’t worry, this tends to happen as you grow old.

But not me, because my eyes are just fine, dammit!

This may or may not be what I saw at my last eye exam.
This may or may not be what I saw at my last eye exam.

My family and friends insist I’m in a deep state of denial. Well, guess what? I deny that I’m denying. Some of you readers may relate. So, grab the nearest eyeglasses, magnifying glass, or Hubble Space Telescope and click over to the Nudge Wink Report below to read all about the tragic story of Marla — a middle-aged woman who prefers to suffer in her blurry world rather than admit she once mistook Nair for toothpaste.

Despite Increasing Denial, Woman’s Eyesight Continues to Decline.

 

 

 

 

 

Take two pills and call me never.

Are you or someone you know suffering from pharmaceuticalitis?

Do you sit down to watch television only to be constantly interrupted by a steady barrage of commercials featuring a moderately-attractive silver-haired woman holding a red balloon while riding a bicycle through a field of lavender?

Do you wonder if you also have toenail fungus? Receding eyebrows? Wonky knees? Uneven boobs? Much-too-large areolas? Weird toes? In-law Aversion? Sudden Urge to Be Snarky Disease? Accidental Profanity Syndrome? Perpetual Disgust For Silver-Haired Women Who Ride Bicycles?

Thanks to a recent medical breakthrough, your days of pharmaceuticalitis are over! Time to put an end to your suffering while watching ads about suffering!

Introducing the FDA-not-approved Rxlia.

RXlia

Rxlia is designed with you in mind. Just one pill every three minutes every hour of the day and those pesky ads will disappear or at the very least seem only mildly annoying.

Woman holds up bottle, 1920-60.
Get out! Really? But how?
Each time-released pill gently floods your body with a clinically-not-approved mixture of feel-good hormones and mild sedatives with a hint of cinnamon and ganja. Soon all those intrusive thoughts about possible swelling of your lips, tongue or throat will disappear, allowing you to once again fully enjoy yet another bad episode of King of Queens.

Rxlia is not for everyone. Serious or deadly side effects may occur if you do not use as directed. Some of these may or may not, but most likely will because who are we kidding include:

ALL OF THE SIDE EFFECTS*.

Don’t wait! Talk to your doctor about Rxlia because those yacht payments won’t make themselves. Take control of your life by erasing these commercials (and most long and short term memory) from your mind today!

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*Side effects have been known to increase markedly with each dose and may include eye-twitch, excessive drooling, extreme KFC consumption and vivid hallucination of tiny silver-haired women riding bicycles through fields of lavender. Taking Rxlia does not improve odds of finding Kevin James funny.

Mishmash Monday

Hello there!

How the hell are you?

Just a friendly message letting you all know I can’t write anymore.

No, wait! Don’t leave me! Come back! This is serious! I got nuthin’! My bloggy well ran dry. My bloggy liquor cabinet has been emptied. My bloggy fridge has nothing but a half-drunk bottle of PBR and my bloggy pantry is full of moldy chocolate-covered raisins. No, wait…those aren’t raisins. I wish to god they were raisins.

Normally I have at least a dozen half-assed posts collecting dust in my draft folder. Today I checked and all I had was a quarter-assed post about Duck Dynasty I wrote nearly two years ago. About asses.

duck-dynasty
Oh how I wish I really couldn’t see them.

This terrible no good winter from hell has killed my writerly soul. Yes, I said writerly. See how bad this is?

But being cooped up with cabin fever for these past six months has made me better at complaining. All winter long my husband and I played the classic married game of “Who’s More Miserable?”

Answer: It’s always me.

(Thank you, past hellish childbirth experiences.)

We’re celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this week so this is what we do for fun now. Every night we cozy up in bed and suddenly turn into our grandmothers.

Him: “Oh god! I think my foot is going numb.”

Me: “My lower back is on fire!”

Him: “Yeah? Well, my ankle hurts!”

Me: “My knees hurt!”

Him: “My right butt cheek hurts!”

Me: “Hey, you know what hurts? That time they ripped all my insides out then put them on the table next to me! Twice!”

What’s even sadder is most times we are so exhausted from our daily lives we simply yell out body parts at each other. Sometimes to spice things up we’ll throw in a few potential diseases or ailments we think we might be developing.

“Thyroid!”

“Ovarian cancer!”

“Sleep apnea!”

“Menopause!”

What a delightful game! Other than my always being more miserable, nothing much else is going on with me.

As for my two kids? They’re flipping fantastic! Love them to pieces!

My eight-year-old daughter was looking at my high school yearbook photo last week and cringed: “Mom? Why is your hair so big? Why did you make it stick all up like that?”

I wish I knew, Miss J. I wish to god I knew.

scan2-e1338080234845 (2)

Laugh all you want now but at the time my Cowardly Lion mane provided a cozy home for a down-on-their-luck family of mice. (inhales) Ahhhhh! and I can still smell the burnt hair and chemicals just looking at this picture. And they warned us back then inhaling too much Aqua Net might fry your brain and lower your IQ! Pfft! Yeah, right! Whatever! hmmm…soooooooo….yeah…ahem….yep…..what was I talking about again?

Oh yes, my kids! My son is almost 13 so my knack for embarrassing the hell out of him comes with zero effort on my part.

The other day I was picking him up after track practice when I noticed a slight change in his appearance — a bit of peach fuzz on his upper lip.

“OH MY GOD! DO YOU HAVE A MUSTACHE?! IS THAT A MUSTACHE? OH! MY LITTLE BABY BOO IS BECOMING A MAN! NOOOO! WHY LORD? WHYYYYYY?”

Sure, I probably shouldn’t have yelled this revelation at the top of my lungs in the parking lot in front of his school. Or collapsed to the ground weeping. Okay, and I shouldn’t have actually picked him up. My back will pay for that one later. And maybe I shouldn’t have done all this when his friends were around. Plus that cute girl he really likes. Live and learn. Or not learn ever, in my case. I live to embarrass that boy. Let’s call it payback for colic.

I’d like to close this random post with a little movie review titled Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of What the F***?)

“Do you know what this movie means?”
“Hell no! I thought you did!”

**SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen the film yet, go away now! Go back to Twitter where you belong! Nothing to see here!**

Last week the little red Netflix envelope appeared in my mailbox and I thought, Ooh! Birdman! Cool! I like birds, I loved the movie Mr. Mom, this is going to be awesome! and settled down with my popcorn and gin to enjoy the feel-good movie of last year. I should have known a movie’s only Academy Award worthy when it makes you cringe the entire 2 hours. Ah, yes, the endless inner conflict of creativity versus fame, self-acceptance versus popularity, prop gun versus blown-off nose. Oh, Michael Keaton! I love you, man! You should have won that Oscar! But please, I’m begging you, rip off that ugly toupee and tell me what the hell the ending meant! Why were Emma Stone’s eyes so big? Why is Ed Norton so good at playing an asshole? Why was this movie the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen? Please tell me you lived happily ever after and flew away into the sunset wearing your undies! Why, Birdman? WHYYYYYY????

That’s it from here. What’s new with you? Do you know what the ending to Birdman meant? Do you also embarrass your kids? Can you give me some tips on how to improve my parenting tactics? Did I tell you my lower back’s on fire? What parts of your body are disintegrating?

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Birdman image: Rolling Stone
High School Yearbook Photo: She’s A “Gag me with a spoon” Maineiac

Stand-Up Saturday: Pain

stand-up

Welcome to another installment of weekly no holds barred, profanity-laced, semi-comedic rants straight from the rambling mind of the Supreme Destroyer of Bullshit — The Maineiac.

Today’s topic: Pain

I’ve had lower back pain for years.

And when I say back pain I really mean the feeling one gets when their lower vertebrae are constantly being set on fire then slowly crushed into a fine powder.

Suffering from chronic back pain sounds so innocuous, like it’s a mild nuisance. The problem is it definitely won’t kill you, but it sure as hell will make you wish someone would.

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People that don’t have back pain will never get it. Oh, but they have sympathy for other pain. Kidney stones? Oh you poor thing! Migraine? Oh man, those are killers, go lie down in a dark room! Lower back pain?

Suck it up, you wuss.

The thing about having pain in your back is you tend to use your back for just about everything in life. Sleeping, sitting, walking.  The only time you don’t use your back is when you’re having a near death experience or dead.

Even that’s not a guarantee.

“Ooh! I see the tunnel and there’s a light! I’m coming! Just hold on while I…oof…shit…oh God…oh no….crap…my back is giving out. Ah! Here, just let me lie down in this dark tunnel for a sec until the pain goes away…”

I’m so used to having a constant feeling of grinding back pain that one day I was in utter shock when by some miracle it momentarily went away. Poof.  Pain. Gone.

Unfortunately, I was in a hot tub.

I remember thinking, Holy hell! My pain is gone! Is this what it’s like to NOT have pain?! What kind of sheer bliss is this? I am in heaven! I can live again! I can be free! Yes!

Then I got out of the hot tub.

Too bad I couldn’t spend the rest of my life in a hot tub.

So my pain is still there. Doctors don’t know how to treat it. It’s not a disease they can fix. It’s not something they can remove during surgery so you’ll be all better. And believe me, many a time I’ve been stuck down on the kitchen floor and thought to myself, “Y’know what? I really don’t need my spine. Take it out, doc. Just fucking REMOVE IT.”

But doctors won’t rip out your spine. Pfft. Cowards.  Instead, they throw some ibuprofen at you with the prescription:

Take three pills every 6 hours. Stop when your liver falls out of your ass.

They tell you to go to a chiropractor. They “manipulate” your spine until your eyes go cross. I’ve done the chiropractor thing. Several chiros as a matter of fact. I’m so intimate with the whole chiropractic scene I call them “chiros” for god’s sake. It’s all very disturbing how intimate all these men are with my sacral area.

Last month, my pain had gotten so bad I was unable to sleep, bend over, move, breathe, sit or even blog. I knew it was time once again to visit my doc so I could get the runaround about how to ineffectively treat my back pain.

As I sat hunched over in the examination room, silently crying, she scheduled me for another X-ray, then handed me a thick manual on how to properly “stretch.” I stared at her in disbelief.

Oh! I get it now! If I simply stretch my back, this blinding pain I feel every goddamned time I bend over or breathe will magically disappear! Why didn’t I think of that before! It’s all so clear to me now! Newsflash! I’ve been practicing yoga for about 10 years!! Yeah, I get the stretching thing! It ain’t working, doc! For all I know the yoga is causing all this shit! Fuck Sting! Fuck him and his stupid fucking tantric yoga bullshit! It doesn’t work!

That was when the doctor asked me to leave.

Apparently, I had forgotten to say most of the above inside my head.

Screw you, Sting. Screw. You.
Screw you, Sting. Screw. You.

Today I got my X-ray results. The much-too-cheerful medical assistant called to inform me my spine was “curved” and there was now “moderate-to-severe arthritis” in my lower back. My lower disc was almost nonexistent, now just a thin pancake between my two upper butt bones.

Okay, fine vertebrae. You use your medical terms and I’ll use mine.

Mmmkay….I thought, so what you’re telling me is I have the curved-pancaked-spine of a 90 year old woman now? Terrific! And why the fuck do you sound so fucking upbeat about this? You are the worst fucking medical assistant ever. You and your normal spine suck.

There was a long silence on the other end of the phone.

I really should stop saying these things out loud.

She set me up to meet with my doctor again for some “manipulation” then possibly an MRI. This is a new tactic, I’ve never had an MRI done on my spine before. I’m certain this will finally reveal what is really wrong with my lower back. My official diagnosis?

My ass is broke and it ain’t no joke.

Fingers crossed there’s a new cutting-edge buttbone surgery.