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I Swing On Birches
Sunday, 3 February 2008
Positive Outlooks and Morbid Senses Of Humor ( and how they go together)
Mood:  not sure
Now Playing: The Super Bowl
Topic: Medical

I'm special.

Medically speaking, I mean.  I'm special.  As for those of you wondering about the title and what this has to to with anything, bear with me, I'll get there.

I have been blessed with a series of really interesting diseases which have given me a really unique perspective on life and the universe in general. 

Disease #1 - Severe allergies.   I am allergic to most of plant life.  The bushes, the flowers,  the shrubs, the trees, the pollens, and ragweed and molds.  Even Grass.  Yes I am actually allergic to grass.  It's not bad to the point that I just touch it and I go into anaphylactic shock, but it's enough to make my skin really itch badly if i'm not wearing jeans or don't take a shower as soon as I can after having been around/in it.   This alone makes life fun for me.   I am pretty reliant on my antihistamines for day to day existence.

Disease#2 - Fibromyalgia.  A real bundle of laughs.   No seriously.  I kinda like the way that Wikipedia initially describes it.

    The defining symptoms of fibromyalgia are chronic, widespread pain and tenderness to light touch. There is also typically moderate to severe fatigue. Those affected may also experience heightened sensitivity of the skin (also called allodynia), tingling of the skin (often needle-like), achiness in the muscle tissues, prolonged muscle spasms, weakness in the limbs, and nerve pain. Chronic sleep disturbances are also characteristic of fibromyalgia. Indeed, studies suggest that sleep disturbance are related to a phenomenon called alpha-delta sleep, a condition in which deep sleep (associated with delta EEG waves) is frequently interrupted by bursts of brain activity similar to wakefulness (i.e. alpha waves). Deeper stages of sleep (stages 3 & 4) are often dramatically reduced.

In addition, many patients experience cognitive dysfunction (known as "brain fog" or "fibrofog"), which may be characterized by impaired concentration and short-term memory consolidation, impaired speed of performance, inability to multi-task, and cognitive overload.  Many experts suspect that "brain fog" is directly related to the sleep disturbances experienced by sufferers of fibromyalgia. However, the relationship has not been strictly established.

Other symptoms often attributed to fibromyalgia that may possibly be due to a comorbid disorder include myofascial pain syndrome, diffuse non-dermatomal paresthesias, functional bowel disturbances and irritable bowel syndrome (possibly linked to lower levels of ghrelin, genitourinary symptoms and interstitial cystitis), dermatological disorders, headaches, myoclonic twitches, and symptomatic hypoglycemia. Although fibromyalgia is classified based on the presence of chronic widespread pain, pain may also be localized in areas such as the shoulders, neck, low back, hips, or other areas. Many sufferers also experience varying degrees of facial pain and have high rates of comorbid temporomandibular joint disorder. Not all patients have all symptoms.   

Symptoms can have a slow onset, and many patients have mild symptoms beginning in childhood, that are often misdiagnosed as growing pains. Symptoms are often aggravated by unrelated illness or changes in the weather.They can become more tolerable or less tolerable throughout daily or yearly cycles; however, many people with fibromyalgia find that, at least some of the time, the condition prevents them from performing normal activities such as driving a car or walking up stairs. The disorder does not cause inflammation as is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis, although some NSAIDs may temporarily reduce pain symptoms in some patients. Their use, however, is limited, and often of little to no value in pain management.

 Taken from


There's a little more than goes into it, but that's pretty much it.  I have fibromyalgia. I started showing symptoms at 13 and was formally diagnosed at 17.    My mother has it and my little sister has it.   I have also have IBS ( Irritable  Bowel Syndrome)  and  the TMJ  ( temporomandibular joint disorder)  which were caused by the Fibro. 

There is a depression element that goes along with Fibro, which is completely understandable given that it's hard to stay happy  when you are dealing with chronic pain every single minute of every single day.  I, very early resolved that I was not going to let this beat me.  So far it's worked, that positive outlook.  It's not easy but it works.  

Now for the morbid sense of humor part?   Well just resolving to have a positive outlook when your life partially consists of pills and dealing with chronic pain is only half the battle.  It's a  *really* important part but it's still only a part.  You have to be able to laugh at yourself and be able to laugh at the pain.  In order to laugh at your own pain, you kinda have to have a slightly morbid bent to your sense of humor. 

So between those two things and God, I get by and while life sometimes is less than ideal, this works for me. 





Posted by lunaticbookworm at 8:53 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008 8:33 PM EST
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Wednesday, 23 January 2008
First Post
Mood:  energetic
Now Playing: Halo 3 Soundtrack
Topic: College

I love my life.

Today was the first day of class and it was just brilliant.  Beginning Italian, Ethics ( with the oh so amazing Prof. Tengwall), and Internet Fundementals.   I love college. 

 Tomorrow is HTML Programming, Intro to Astronomy, and Writing For Stage and Screen ( with the equally amazing Prof. Canaday). 

 I can't wait. 

 Tonight I am working  on some of my writing backlog.   I've got several things to finish  up and I intend on getting as much done  as humanly possible.  I refuse to let the small issue of my laptop crashing (again) to deter me from this.   Thank God for understanding bosses and loaner laptops, otherwise I'd totally be going spare right now. 

Oh, I should probably introduce myself, hadn't I?  This being the first post and all...I'm Bethany and I'm a bit weird. 

I grew up being both a military brat and an MK and those two particular roles have really helped to define just who this Bethany person is.   I have lived overseas ( Brasil mostly but I also count Paraguay) and I have lived all over the US (Arizona,  Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia) and driven through most of it.   My family, they are *Masters*  of the freaky long car trips.  I am multilingual.  I speak English, Brasilian Portuguese, some Spanish, some Latin, and a little bit of both Klingon and Elvish.  I am also learning Italian this semester. 

 I love reading and writing, they are my bread and butter of life.  The only thing that tops them is my love and total devotion to my God.   Say what you will, but i've been in some pretty weird situations and pretty much the only thing I could count on was God and He's never ever let me down.  

So that's me in a bit of a nutshell.

 Oh!  And before I forget, the title of this blog comes from Robert Frost's poem, Birches, which is one of my favorite poems because of the sentiments expressed therein.  It's been very applicable to me in many different stages of my life and as such is one of my favorite poems.


Posted by lunaticbookworm at 7:57 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2008 8:35 PM EST
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