Friday, November 25, 2011


Last year, for Thanksgiving, I was hitching through Montana during a blizzard and soaking in hot springs. I had hoped to take another road trip somewhere, this year, but obviously my health didn't allow.

So this year, I did this:

I was flanked by dogs and a few close friends who made me Bren-friendly food.

(Top left: Bren-friendly dinner; top right: apple pie and pumpkin mousse I watched my friends enjoy; extraneous untensils; I can't eat that)

Good food, good company, good God I'm blessed!

"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." - Willie Nelson

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thank you for poisoning me

It's been pretty eventful 'round these parts the last few weeks. Hmm, let me see. I sat around; My kidneys decided to stage a coup; I napped; My kidneys continued to try to kill me; I laid around; My kidneys tried to nap; I napped some more...

I'm proud to say that today I was able to not only peel myself from bed, take a shower and visit two doctors, but I'm now sitting up writing this. We're making progress, Folks!

If you'll recall, a few months back I had a bunch of tests; started an experimental medication; and it was decided that we'd try to let my kidneys hold their own and cut back on filtering my blood. I now regret this decision.

Fast forward through a month of intense itching and a few months of doing well, to: EAR INFECTION! I swear, if anything kills me, it will be an effing ear infection! Like that one time, or that other time, or that other, other time, and then there were those times I did't report on it because I either: A) was dying, or B) was tired of talking about stupid ear infections, or C) knew you were tired of hearing about my stupid ear infections.

If C is the case, my apologies for boring you, yet again... but, they HURT. And they knock me on my ass. And they always bring something worse with them.

This time, they caused a reaction, that I don't even really understand but will try to explain. The infection caused my body to produce more white blood cells (to fight the infection); my kidneys that were already working really hard to hold their own got mad about the infection and stopped producing erythropoetin (produces red blood cells).

*This is where it got confusing for me*
Then, because my kidneys weren't filtering properly, my body started absorbing all the iron and zinc from my supplements, to make up for the low number of red blood cells (anemia), thus, disregarding essential vitamins like B and D. The high levels of metal in my blood, in turn, made me feel like I hadn't slept in weeks, when I was actually sleeping about 15 hours a day. This is because my brain was shutting down from iron toxicity. Yup, it's always a wild ride around here.

Oh wait, there's more! I also have this nerve damage problem. Which, started being a problem a year ago; and led to a scraper cane; and a million questions; and kept getting worse.

Here's what the bad boy looks like today

Pretty, eh?

Well, when you've got underlying damage to your central nervous system and then you throw a wrench of iron toxicity in the mix, what do you get? Loss of circulation to your limbs! And what appendage is furthest from your brain? Your foot! Aren't you loving this anatomy lesson?
And what happens when you don't get circulation to a limb? Loss of oxygen! And what happens when a living thing goes without oxygen? It dies!

I think you get the picture, here.

In conclusion, I'm getting my blood filtered every week, AGAIN; and I'm having surgery next Tuesday to reconstruct my foot and attempt to repair some of the damage done before it dies and can't pull it's weight anymore. Get moving, Dead Weight! They'll be fusing some bones, snipping some tightened tendons, tightening some loose ligaments, and trying to determine which nerves are damaged/dead. It's gonna be so much fun!

I've been waiting on and hoping for this surgery for an entire year and it keeps getting put off. I'm ready to walk and run and ROCK CLIMB, again. All it took was a little iron poisoning to get things moving.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Egg Mcmuffin

Made for me by my bestie:

12 egg whites
1 cup Oatmeal
1 cup tomato sauce (or. in my case, freshly chopped tomato)
1/3 cup shredded cheese (nut cheese for me, obviously)
3 cups (ish) fresh baby spinach

Season with oregno, basil, taste

Combine all ingredients. Spray muffin tin, and spoon mixture into cups. Bake @ 375 for 25 minutes.

According to her: "Very simple, and easy to do substituting. The only downfall is the taste without the concentrated tomato sauce, perhaps there's something else you can add? Also, if you're looking for more protein and taste, I'm sure you could use the entire egg instead of whites only: this is a non-fat version. Maybe you could add chunks of avocado, too! It's simple enough, it's worth experimenting with."

I thought it tasted great. Clearly, she doesn't eat what I do, regularly.

Thanks, Friend!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let me let you in on a secret

I've had several people comment on how many things I do: how many pots I've got fingers in, how many concerts I go to, how much I travel; and ask how I am able to do it with my health being what it is.

Well, here's the inside scoop: I do what I can, if I can, while I can. If an opportunity arises, I take it. If I want something, I go after it. If I dream up something, I make it reality. I'm not promised tomorrow, and neither are you, so let's put everything we have into today.

As far are the pots my fingers are in: I've actually slowed down A LOT from how I used to be. I only work 12-20 hours a week, and even then kids are napping or I'm watching them play soccer or piano, while I sit around. This is prime opportunity to Tweet, Facebook, or read/write blogs/etc. on my phone. Sometimes I even visit the archaic practice of reading a library book!

When I'm not working, I'm probably having my body manipulated by a phyical therapist, while I sit; waiting for a doctor (what I'm doing right now, actually!), while I sit; getting an IV or blood, while I sit; or in bed, where I'm probably not sitting. While I'm sitting/lying I'm free to entertain my fancies through the internet, or draw, or write in my journal. So that's really why I'm involved in so many things: I've got nothing better to do and I like having things to do!

Concerts: I have friends that are musicians and put me on their guest lists. I used to go to live shows 1-3 times a week. Now I go to 1-3 a month. I just love music and it's cheap and abundant in The Bay Area.

Travel: I am great at finding great travel deals and I stay with people I know. You'd be surprised how little I actually spend when I travel. Also, you wouldn't believe how much money you can save on vacation if you just eat almonds the whole time!

How do I do all this with my health: I sleep 9-12 hours a day!

So, there you have it... "I'm gonna give all my secrets away."