My Journey With

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type (H-EDS) ~ Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) ~ Epilepsy ~ Fibromyalgia ~ Chronic Myofascial Pain (CMP) ~ Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) ~ TMJ Dysfunction ~ Bipolar type I ~ Migraines ~ Keratosis Pilaris (KP) ~ Eczema ~ Bruxism ~ Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) ~ Complex--Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) ~ Panic Disorder ~ Generalized Anxiety Disorder ~ Non-suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) ~ Social Anxiety ~ Hashimoto's Disease (Autoimmune Hypothyroid) ~ Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"When Man Enters Woman" by Anne Sexton

"When Man Enters Woman"

When man,
enters woman,
like the surf biting the shore,
again and again,
and the woman opens her mouth with pleasure
and her teeth gleam
like the alphabet,
Logos appears milking a star,
and the man
inside of woman
ties a knot
so that they will
never again be separate
and the woman
climbs into a flower
and swallows its stem
and Logos appears
and unleashes their rivers.

This man,
this woman
with their double hunger,
have tried to reach through
the curtain of God
and briefly they have,
though God
in His perversity
unties the knot.

Anne Sexton

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)?

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a common endocrine disorder that affects one in ten women.  It is often mistaken for a reproductive disorder, but it isn't.  In fact, while most women have polycystic ovaries, not all women with PCOS do.  Also, there are women with polycystic ovaries that do not have PCOS.  That's why there is a huge push to change the name of PCOS, because it is a misnomer.  While 5% to 10% of women have PCOS, they are often misdiagnosed, or told to go to a psychiatrist for their physical and depressive issues.  Women are often not taken as seriously as men in the field of medicine, in fact there are some doctors who still diagnose women with "hysteria," a bogus diagnosis that means the doctor doesn't care about his patients enough to diagnose them with their real problem.  Only women had "hysteria."  The diagnosis of hysteria was most commonly used in Victorian times, and was cured by an involuntary hysterectomy, or by a doctor massaging a woman's genitles until she has an orgasm, dubbed a "hysterical paroxysm."  Another way to cure hysteria was for the doctor to spray a high power cold water jet onto her genitalia, or he'd use a vibrator, aka "massager," on the woman to give her an orgasm.  These "cures" would be considered sexual assault today, in Western countries.  But, I digress.

Normal Ovary vs Polycystic Ovary - PCOS
Normal Ovary vs Polycystic Ovary

The diagnosis criteria are not agreed upon, and right now there are three different diagnostic classification systems: the NIH Criteria, the Rotterdam Criteria, and the Androgen Excess and PCOS Society Criteria.

The NIH Criteria, created in 1990, means a woman must have all of the following symptoms for a diagnosis of PCOS.
1) oligoovulation, meaning infrequent or irregular ovulation.
2) signs of the male hormone androgen in excess (clinical or biochemical)
3) exclusion of other disorders that can result in menstrual irregularity and hyperandrogenism (androgen excess)

The Rotterdam Criteria was established in 2003, and a woman needs to have at least two of the following three criteria:
1) oligoovulation and/or anovulation (infrequent or irregular ovulation and/or no ovulation)
2) excess androgen activity
3) polycystic ovaries (by gynecologic ultrasound)
4) Other entities are excluded that would cause these.

To meet the Androgen Excess PCOS Society, in 2006, came up with criteria in which a woman has to have every symptom to make the diagnosis of PCOS:
1) excess androgen activity
2) oligoovulation/anovulation and/or polycystic ovaries
3) exclusion of other entities that would cause excess androgen activity

Polycystic Ovary vs Normal Ovary - PCOS
Polycystic Ovary vs Normal Ovary

This doesn't mean that these are the only symptoms of PCOS.  PCOS is a complex syndrome with no clear cause.  Here is a list of some of the more common PCOS symptoms:

  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Extensive coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Acne, often severe
  • Hirsutism (HER-suh-tiz-um) increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
  • Weight gain
  • Problems with ovulation
  • Infertility because of lack of ovulation
  • Infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods
  • Multiple, small cysts in the ovaries
  • Oily skin or dandruff
  • Weight gain or obesity, usually extra weight around the waist
  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
  • Hyperadrogenism (an excess of male hormones)
  • Chronic unopposed estrogen secretion
  • Acanthosis nigricans (patches of skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs that are thick and dark brown or black)
  • Skin tags (excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
  • Pelvic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep apnea
  • Preeclampsia during pregnancy (pregnancy induced high blood pressure)
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Decrease in breast size
  • Deeper voice
  • Repeat miscarriages
  • Enlargement of the clitoris

Normal Ovary vs Polycystic Ovary - PCOS
Normal Ovary vs Polycystic Ovary
As you can see, PCOS causes a myriad of symptoms.  Some women's lives are greatly affected by it, while for others it's just a nuisance.  While we wait for both for doctors to reach a conclusion about the cause of PCOS, we also wait for the cure.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"The Witch's Life" by Anne Sexton

"The Witch's Life"

When I was a child
there was an old woman in our neighborhood whom we called The Witch.
All day she peered from her second story
from behind the wrinkled curtains
and sometimes she would open the window
and yell: Get out of my life!
She had hair like kelp
and a voice like a boulder.

I think of her sometimes now
and wonder if I am becoming her.
My shoes turn up like a jester's.
Clumps of my hair, as I write this,
curl up individually like toes.
I am shoveling the children out,
scoop after scoop.
Only my books anoint me,
and a few friends,
those who reach into my veins.
Maybe I am becoming a hermit,
opening the door for only
a few special animals?
Maybe my skull is too crowded
and it has no opening through which
to feed it soup?
Maybe I have plugged up my sockets
to keep the gods in?
Maybe, although my heart
is a kitten of butter,
I am blowing it up like a zeppelin.
Yes. It is the witch's life,
climbing the primordial climb,
a dream within a dream,
then sitting here
holding a basket of fire.

Anne Sexton

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

National Dog Day!

I miss you all so much! 

Our family dog Lucky in the snow
Rest In Peace
about 1989
Our family dog Lucky posing with my sister
Rest In Peace
about 1989
My sister dressed up our family dog Lucky
Rest In Peace
about 1988
My sister's dog Nippy and my dog Togy getting married
May You Both Rest In Peace
about 1994

My sister's dog Nippy and my dog Togy playing
May You Both Rest In Peace
about 2001

My sister's dog Nippy and my dog Togy playing
May You Both Rest In Peace
about 2001
Togy lying in the shade on the cool grass on a hot summer day
Rest In Peace
about 2001

Togy when he was  puppy and playing with his first toy
Rest In Peace
about 1997

My dog Togy with a dazzling smile
Rest In Peace
about 2004

My sister's dog Nippy
Rest In Peace
about 2003

My sister's thirsty dog Nippy
Rest In Peace
about 2001

My sister's dog Nippy eating food from my dad's hand
Rest In Peace
Our Border Collie Ophelia curled up on her fleece Harry Potter blanket
Rest In Peace

Getting hugs and kisses from the Daddy
Rest In Peace

Our Border Collie Ophelia getting lovin's from Mommy
Rest In Peace

Our Border Collie Ophelia and her toy pink bear
Rest In Peace

My mom's dog Lady in a coat and puppy mittens for going out into the snow

My mom's dog Lady with her special Disney Princess blanket

My mom's dog Lady wearing her green dress

My mom's dog Lady with her special Disney Princess blanket

My mom's dog Lady in one of her many beds

My mom's dog Lady helping decorate the Christmas tree

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Experiences with accidental mustard gas

Today I was thinking about the time when I was living by myself, after I got the Order of Protection against my parents, in 2008.  It was before I met DH, and I had a few friends, and many more acquaintances, only two of whom I allowed to know where I live, much less what town I lived in.  Remember, at this time I was trying to keep where I was living a secret from my parents, who I got the Order of Protection for.  So, basically only my social worker, AW, and AG knew where I lived.  (After I came out to AW I found out she not only outed me to my mom, my mom's friends, AW's friends, and even AW's grandma, but years later I found out she also gave my address to my parents.)

I always picked one day out of the weekend to clean my house from top to bottom.  I cleaned everything on weekends, and cleaned every day throughout the week.  You could eat off my bathroom floor, because it was always immaculate.  Though you would look kind of silly eating off the bathroom floor, so I don't actually recommend it.

One day I was cleaning the bathroom, really scrubbing it down, when I mixed a cleaner that I knew had ammonia in it, with what I was sure did not have bleach in it.  It wasn't long until I figured it out, but by then I was really ill.  I found myself crumpled on the living room floor, barely conscious and terrified.  I was only about five feet from the door, but I wasn't sure if I could get there.  The thing that kept me going, as I scooted my body across the floor was the thought that no one would find my body for a week (it was summertime) and I would be a stinking carcass by then.  The thought of me being found rotting and stinking was the one thing that kept me going.  Needless to say, I made it to the door, and crawled out onto the front steps.  Once I started getting fresh air I started feeling better, but I was shaking like hell.  I wasn't sure if the shaking was from the anxiety of the whole experience, or residual effects of being in a house filled with mustard gas.  It was really scary.

What did I learn from this experience?  Before you let two cleaners mix, read the damn bottle, because there might be ingredients you don't know about!

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Music Swims Back to Me" by Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton (November 9, 1928 - October 4, 1974)
Anne Sexton (November 9, 1928 - October 4, 1974)

"Music Swims Back to Me"

Wait Mister. Which way is home?  
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.  
There are no sign posts in this room,  
four ladies, over eighty,
in diapers every one of them.
La la la, Oh music swims back to me  
and I can feel the tune they played  
the night they left me
in this private institution on a hill.

Imagine it. A radio playing
and everyone here was crazy.
I liked it and danced in a circle.  
Music pours over the sense  
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;
remembers the first night here.
It was the strangled cold of November;  
even the stars were strapped in the sky  
and that moon too bright
forking through the bars to stick me  
with a singing in the head.
I have forgotten all the rest.

They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.  
and there are no signs to tell the way,  
just the radio beating to itself  
and the song that remembers  
more than I. Oh, la la la,  
this music swims back to me.  
The night I came I danced a circle  
and was not afraid.

Anne Sexton, “Music Swims Back to Me” from The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981). Copyright © 1981 by Linda Gray Sexton and Loring Conant, Jr.

Anne Sexton quote

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Slightly better today

I finally fell asleep last night around 4:30 AM.  I still have a bit of the electric currents in my skin, with a restless body.  It's driving me a bit insane.  I don't know what the problem is, either.  I mean, I haven't gone without any of my meds, so I'm not going through medication withdraw, which is kinda what it feels like.  I feel a bit stressed and insane over it.  At least the feeling isn't as strong as it was last night.

I plan today on writing at least three letters to my pen pals, and doing some time on my recumbent bike.  For anyone who doesn't know, a recumbent bike is just a stationary bike with the seat being more like a real seat with a back, and you put your legs out in front of you, rather than down from a small hard bike seat.  It's the kind they use in physical therapy.  I got used to doing it in physical therapy when I took it.

So today I plan on writing a pen pal in Michigan, one in Oz (Australia), and one or two in Italy.  The letter to Michigan should take the least time, so I may be able to get four letters done.  I hope so, my poor pen pals have waited long enough for my letters!  I feel bad that lately, actually the last two years, I've been so bad at getting letters back on time.  That used to never be a problem.  In the last two years I've been real depressed, had hands hurting, and have had my whole body hurting too bad to write.  I don't know what my excuse it on my few good days.  I just don't have one.  It isn't that I don't care, I care so, so much about my pen pals, and consider them true friends.  I don't know what my problem is.  Sometimes I want to kick my own ass.  After those four, I have two pen pals in Germany I need to write, and one in Singapore.

Australia (Oz)
Someday I'd like to learn German, and I'm learning Italian now.  I still can't believe how many people there are in this world that speak many languages, while most Americans only know one, or maybe two, in the case of immigrants and highly educated people.  Well, someday I know I'll be able to at least say I know Italian, even if it takes me 15 long years until I can write, read, speak, and hear it with understanding.

Skin like electrical currents, body restless and insane

I'm going nuts.  It's 3:30 a.m. and I'm up out of bed blogging.  My whole body seems to be going crazy.  My entire body is going through what I imagine people with restless legs syndrome go through with their legs every night.  But instead of just my legs feeling like I have to move, it's my entire body.  My skin feels like it has electric currents running through it.  My whole entire body keeps moving, from arms, to legs, to torso.  I've done stretches, but it didn't help any.  Right now I have a heating pad on my back in hopes it will both help with my pain and calm my nerves..  I took two Benadryl, so hopefully it will kick in soon.  Between the heating pad and the Benadryl, I will be able to lie down long enough to fall asleep.  I think I may be calming down a bit, and that the Benadryl is working.  I've tried meditation quite a few times, but I'm not in the daily practice of it anymore, so I wasn't able to do it as well.  Well, I'm going to try lying down now.  Wish me luck!