Saturday, April 14, 2007

"Downsize Me" Begins...

(If you haven't been following BRAINCHEESE at , you've just been missing out!  Come on...make the switch.  This post is a follow up to one "over there", if you haven't been "over there", you may be lost!)

     Wow! I've been missing from action for about 36 hours. I managed to finish the final inservice/teaching project at work on Thursday (**insert a big "WOOHOO" here please**), only to find myself completely debilitated AGAIN very early Friday morning by another headache...AKA, "migraine", as Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named has labeled it. It was that same pliers-squeezing-my-eyeball-pain in my left eye...THIS time, I also had numbness and a bit of a droop to the left side of my face! Talk about a happy Friday the 13th...

     Fortunately, I'm a fairly quick study (sometimes) and decided around 2:00AM to start loading up on the narcotics. I finally fell back to sleep around 8:00AM and was able to doze off and on all day on Friday...the pain began letting up Friday evening. Dr. SWWNBN has decided to do yet ANOTHER MRI of my noggin, but I'm not sure what (if anything) she is looking for...she may just be checking to make sure I still HAVE a brain! I suppose since this "brain pain" is brand new, she might be checking for any changes afoot.

     A few days ago, I wrote about possibly trying an experiment with myself being the sole was about cutting out the "Dew"/caffeine from my diet and seeing if there might be any significant and noticeable changes in my fatigue/sleep/blood pressure (and now headaches, I add). luck would have it, I was so miserable in pain and nauseated on Friday, I consumed NO caffeine whatsoever! So I decided now might be as good a time as any to get my project, "Downsize Me" under way...this should be interesting...LOL

     I'm going to be tracking my fatigue, hours of sleep, weight, and blood pressure for the next 28 days as I eliminate ALL caffeine from my diet...I'm already CRAVING chocolate of all things! Of course this is completely subjective (and I'm sorry to say, most PHARMACEUTICAL STUDIES are, too...they'd just like to think they're not!) and will never be published in the annals of Neurology Today. LOL Woe is me...

     As I weave (and maybe even heave) my way through the next 28 days, I'll be using BRAINCHEESE as a forum to document this "highly regarded study" always, I'll try to keep it entertaining if not down right riveting...(now I'M nearly wetting my pants laughing at that prospect!)

     So, here's a little video I've prepared for you as the launch pad for "DOWNSIZE ME"...and just so you animals will be harmed in this study!


Friday, April 13, 2007

Monday, April 9, 2007

I'm So Tired...

And if you're curious why I'm so tired, head over to to read why...truly rivoting things are happening over there!  LOL  But then again, I think I could make passing gas intriguing with enough "colorful" words!  (But it's still just a fart, folks...)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Dawn Will Show Her Crack Again...Hussy!...

Jumper Cables's true. I'll be up at the crack of dawn AGAIN on Monday! Why God, why?!?

I know why and the answer is simple...I'm easy. Fortunately, I am NOT free! I will be training the final early morning class of Management of Aggressive Behavior in the wee hours of the morning at work tomorrow. And just to pour an ample amount of salt in my wound, it IS supposed to be my day off!

It's nearly 9:45PM on Sunday right now...I'm still up posting on a blog...I'll probably STILL be up until my "usual" bedtime, which falls somewhere between midnight and 3:00AM. The good news (if one can call it "good") is, with such little sleep in the morning, I will remain blissfully unaware and unconcerned about the training least not until around 10:00AM when I actually DO wake up. LOL

We also have the first round of good-bye parties for DP, my retiring boss. But, of course, this will not start at the office until 2:00PM (when I would normally be reporting for work if I was SUPPOSED to be at work...and not home ON MY DAY OFF!)...this means I will "linger" (or malinger...just depends) at the office following our training, which ends at noon. There's always lunch to eat, but two hours is a long time to kill when sleep deprived...sort of makes me WANT to kill instead.

I cannot seem to get that totally stupid sleep aid commercial out of my head right now as I know the one. Lunesta. By tomorrow evening I'll most likely be wishing I had some of that, except MY drug would be spelled "Loonesta"...fitting, eh?

Off now to prepare to go to bed so I can stare at the ceiling and chastise myself for my "simple" ways...

**Note to self: Never ever agree to do something at work unless there is a substantial amount of cash involved for your time and effort. Thank You's do NOT equal cash, nor can Thank You's pay the mortgage.**

Yes, I HAD A Childhood!...

     But if YOU want to read about it and my Easter heathen ways, you'll have to jump over to Blogspot (do I STILL need to put the link in here?!?  Fine... ). 

     See you there... 

Saturday, April 7, 2007

I Know Change Is Hard, But It's Time...

     Why are you still here?  Do you fear change soooo much you'd rather miss more PEEP postings over at ?  Are you continuing to linger here as a subtle message to BrainCheese?

     Take a deep blow it out...carefully move your mouse over the above link and left click.  That's right...nice and can do it!  You're almost to BrainCheese on Blogspot!

     I have faith in you...LOL

Friday, April 6, 2007

Switch To Blogger/Blogspot Already!!!...

     I'm tired...if you want today's post, you're just gonna have to bite the bullet (or me!) and hit the link to take you to .  Just do it...LOL

Something Just Not Right About It...

     They've been on the shelves now, probably even before the sun went down on Valentine's Day...I'm talking about those sugar-laden, little marshmallow things we've come to associate with Eastertime.  Peeps.

     When I was still young enough to believe in the Easter Bunny (and I promise NOT to digress here about my concerns of just how prolific rabbits and the resurrection of Jesus became a combined holiday tradition and belief! LOL), there were Peeps.  These little candy treats have been around for nearly 70 years (and NO, I am not old enough to remember the "birth" of Peeps...who, by the way, are made by a company called "Just Born").  They are a part of Springtime and now even a part of Christmas and Halloween.

     The weirdos I work with (no, I'm NOT talking about patients here) have held long-standing traditions and beliefs about to eat them, when to eat them, etc.  Some in my office prefer to buy their Peeps a year in advance, save them to "age" them, and then bring the Peeps out for fine dining the following year.  Still others believe the "newer" tradition of Peeps shaped as bunnies is just plain WRONG...Peeps are chickens/chicks after all!

     One year, a few of the "brighter bulbs" in my office decided to try something new with Peeps and use them to make smores.  Graham crackers and chocolate bars were collected, as well as an assortment of Peeps.  But since no one had access to a campfire in our downtown office, "someone" got the bright idea to try heating the Peep smores up in the microwave.  An important lesson was learned that day...marshmallow Peeps WILL explode in a microwave!!  (File THAT little tidbit of information in your important trivia files.)

     There is even a tradition this time of year held here in's called the Peep Art Show/Competition.  If you look closely at the photo above, you WILL be appalled to see Peeps have been substituted as disciples in Leonardo da'Vinci's "The Last Supper"...or maybe you WON'T be offended?

     Maybe you, like me, will find humor in the political "incorrectness" and sarcasm of the photo and get back to the grass roots of what is REALLY important to remember and to celebrate during this Easter/Passover season.  You DO recall what this is, don't you? let's all take a moment of silence together and pause to remember the Easter Bunny...LOL

   Peep out, my peeps...

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Take Two Aspirin And Call Me In The Morning...

     Well, not exactly.  Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named instructions were to take a handful of Verapamil and see if this helps my eye pain/headache!'s still here.  That vise-pressing pain in my left eye.  Nothing to date has helped relieve this pain and optic neuritis has been ruled "out"...rumor has it on the streets, I may just be experiencing my first MIGRAINE.

     I started out my day with a visit to my favorite Nurse Practitioner's office, PP...I had this appointment scheduled well over two months ago as it was time for my every-two-year physical.  You know the "one"...where no opening on the body is left unexplored.  LOL

     I gimped into her office and threw myself down in a chair.  My blood pressure was elevated.  Her assistant asked me if this was because I was in pain?  "Duh", almost fell out of my mouth, but I restrained my vocal chords.

     Yes, I WAS in about a class 6-7 pain mode (the worst pain I ever had in my life caused me to pass out, so that's my "10" on the pain scale).  Yes, my B/P was most likely elevated to 135/100 because my left eye felt like someone had grabbed it from behind with a pair of pliers.  I tried to be pleasant to the assistant, but I just wasn't in the mood.

     Put on the gown and strip down to the socks...was there anything in particular I needed to talk with PP about?  Again, "duh", was sitting with a tremendous fidget on my lips...I bit my tongue as I let the assistant know I would speak directly to PP about my "issues", thank you very much.

     PP entered the room, took one look at me, and inquired "what's wrong?"  I proceeded to fill her in on my litany of complaints while she dutifully responded in kind with "ahuh's" and "oh's!" to each of my rehearsed lines...after all, one cannot waste time in these's best to go prepared with a list.  LOL

     She listened intently (which is all the more reason she remains my FAVORITE Nurse Practitioner!), took notes, and started to address each complaint systematically.  She proceeded through the motions of the "physical" while I told jokes in a feeble attempt to normalize the fact my knees were up in the air and PP's head was much to close to my Cha-Cha.

     PP had blood work drawn, talked to me about my peri-menopausal symptoms (like how quickly "duh" flies off my lips in fits of hormonal agitation!) and told me to wait in her office while she consulted an ophthalmologist.  I did as I was told.

     The wait was short and she returned to my darkened room to tell me I was to go immediately to said Op Doc's office a few blocks away for an eye consult...PP obviously has more "pull" in the medical community than I give her credit for!  I gathered my things and again, did as I was told.

     The Op Doc's office was only a short wait before 11 year old, Doogie Houser, came out to take me to HIS darkened exam room...the poor man appeared to be young enough to be my son and I was sure I saw a glistening wetness behind his little ears (he WAS barely wet behind the ears!).

     Doogie/Op Doc examined my eyes...he dilated my eyes (without warning, I might add), he peered inside the windows to my brain, and announced "everything looks good".  I thought this was rather funny for an eye doctor to say..."looks good"...he didn't understand why I was chuckling.

     Doogie reassured me my optic nerves were intact in both eyes and there did not appear to be any inflammation or external cause for my pain...he needed to consult with Mother PP.  He returned to tell me Mother PP wanted me to contact Dr. SWWNBN for follow up...I asked why?  He told me he didn't know, but didn't want to get in "the middle of it".  Bless his heart.  I think he may have ALREADY gotten too far in the middle of things!  LOL

     I left his office to go outside with my completely blown pupils, only to discover, the one day out of the year the sun just HAD to shine in Seattle, was today.  I could barely see to drive, but decided why should THIS minor event stop me from becoming a potential auto fatality?  I rubbed Buddha's belly and got in my car, saying my prayers to the Highway Heaven and drove home.  Somehow I managed to make the 15 mile trek home with only one eye open and my left eye watering like a hose.

     I promptly emailed Dr. SWWNBN...she promptly emailed me back.  If this wasn't optic neuritis, she was placing her bets on migraine.  I was considering leafing through the Yellow Pages to see if anyone was still performing lobotomies...for HER, not me!

     Migraine???  But I've never had a headache in my life, I proudly emailed back.  There are only a few things I take such pride in and one of them is my self-proclaimed idea I have NEVER had a headache without a cause (such as concussions, meningitis, etc.)...that, and the fact I like to rub it in that my bladder works JUST fine, thank you very much!  I AM a proud person, after all.

     Why in hell's name would I be experiencing my first headache/migraine at age 42? fingers were hot on the keyboard as I searched for any other plausible explanation for my pain.  Dr. SWWNBN swiftly emailed me back (like a shot to my heart) and informed my stoopid self, "Migraines and MS are quite common".  That was it.  The doctor had spoken.  The verdict was in...and the jury of one convicted me.  I am having a migraine.

     I'm new to this headache world, so pardon me if I am a bit "poo poo" about this event.  I DID agree to try Verapamil (a cardiac calcium channel blocker, I think?)...but only under duress...this pain is KILLING me!'s NOT actually killing me, but I'm almost to the point with it I "wish" it would!  I've had many and various "pains" in my life (some in my neck, some in my arse LOL), but I've never had this type of pressure in my head before.  I am learning a greater empathy for those who suffer from's pretty friggin' miserable.

     So, I'm off to drug myself with Verapamil, Zanaflex, Mirapex, and anything else I can find that might stupefy me for a few hours of sleep.  And I am hoping when I wake up in the morning, this new little migraine friend will have relocated...I'd say maybe to YOUR house, but I wouldn't wish this kind of discomfort on anyone!...I  humbly bow to you MS migraine suffers...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Aye's/Eyes Have It...

     It started yesterday afternoon/evening with a teary left eye.  Since I/eye was already feeling quite "crappy" with restless leg symptoms in my left leg, weakness in my right, and a magnitude 6.0 quaking spasm in my lower back, I/eye didn't pay much attention to the "eye".

     This morning, I/eye awoke with a solid "ache" in both my if my eyeballs were being squeezed in a small vise.  The pain was intense, but not such that I/eye couldn't bare it...and the left eye continued to water relentlessly.  I/eye couldn't ascertain if the pain was actually radiating from my eye sockets or the eyes themselves.

     Dutifully (and as always), I/eye emailed Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named AFTER completing my own nursing assessment of my condition...there was no fever, no increase in pain with increased ocular pressure (put my head below my waist while standing), no unusual sinus drainage...nothing...except the additional eye pain.  I/eye had been chewing on Zanaflex, Mirapex, and Advil for the past 24 hours like they were tic tacs...I/eye was being a "good" patient and resting as I/eye was told to do.  Why had THIS new event now occurred?

     Dr. SWWNBN had no explanation...did I/eye have a fever?  No.  Did I/eye have green snot blowing from my nose?  No.  Had I/eye ever had a cluster headache before?  No.  In fact, I/eye can proudly say I/eye have never had anything remotely close to the pain described by migraine suffers...unless one could include two concussions, a skull fracture, meningitis, or headache as a side effect from medication as a REAL headache!  LOL  The good doctor remained stumped and told me to "just rest and see how you do" (?).  Like I/eye wasn't doing THAT already?!?

     I/eye started taking Advil and Tylenol in a rotating, two hour pattern in an attempt to get some control over the eye pain...eventually the left eye ceased tearing as much and the pain became more localized in the left...but the pain remained too intense for my liking.  I/eye substituted the Tylenol for 1/2 a Vicodin, thinking it was time to bring in the "big guns", AND I/eye emailed Dr. SWWNBN of my progress (or lack of it).  I/eye didn't hear back from her.

     Finally deciding to take matters into my own hands, I/eye researched "cluster headaches" on the Internet...I/eye feel confident in proclaiming I/eye do NOT have a cluster headache.  Although some of my symptoms appear similar, the pain has not relented...this would normally occur with a cluster headache.

     So I/eye remain puzzled as to what is wrong with my eye(s)...I/eye believe if this were O.N. (optic neuritis), I'd/eyed be experiencing an even worse excruciating pain.  Sinusitis?  Perhaps.  Brain tumor?  I/eye highly doubt it.

     I(eye)'m getting ready now to go load up on as many medications as I/eye think it will take to tranquilize this elephant and try to get some sleep...between my back/legs and my eye pain, I/eye anticipate sleep will be somewhat elusive for me.  I/eye DO see my favorite nurse practitioner, PP, tomorrow, so I(eye)'m hoping she can help me sort out this mystery pain (along with looking in every other orifice for my every-two-year physical exam!)...and maybe she will be able to figure out if this episode is a real relapse or secondary to some other illness/infection.

     We'll "see"...or maybe NOT if this eye pain worsens!...

Monday, April 2, 2007

Trying Not To Get My Panties In A Knot...

It's not been a "great" day thus many of you know (or could at least guess), I have been putting in some very long hours at my job these past, three weeks. I seemed to be doing OK with the increased time and stress until Thursday of last week. And that's when the ol' MS began to show signs of return, like a dormant volcano puffing plumes of smoke in the air.

At first, I thought I could continue to just ignore it or, at the very minimum, work "around" it. But those of you with MS know, it is NOT a disease that takes kindly to being IGNORED! I started having a return of the creepy restless leg feelings in my left leg and the fatigue became dayumed near overwhelming...but still, I marched onward...limping a bit, but still onward. LOL

By Saturday, my nervous system went on overload and demanded I pay closer attention to I did...sort of. I took the day off from work and tried to rest my body physically, thinking one day away from the stresses of work might just appease the MS gods. I have learned (repeatedly and the hard way) there is little that will satisfy the MS gods once they decide to pay me a visit, and this weekend was just a slap-in-the-face reminder of that fact.

I did make it in to work on Sunday, but not without a big struggle. My left leg demanded I keep it in constant motion and the Mirapex I started on Friday evening had done little to soothe the agitation in my leg...I think the MS gods see this drug as little more than "candy".

Last night, I slept horribly and restlessly, frequently waking up because of pains in my lower back and legs. When I crawled out of bed this morning, my legs felt like tubes of jello, wiggling and shaking, as if mocking my attempts to MAKE them work in their normal patterns. It felt like someone had stolen MY legs in the night and replaced them with some kind of soft plastic ones! My lower back felt as if it was the only thing holding me up...but not in a "good way"...the MS gods had also replaced my lower back muscles with a 4-inch-wide, tight rubber band and attached each end to a hip bone. And while they were at it, the gods zapped my "mojo"...walking to the bathroom felt like a deep breathing experience (and not the kind of deep breathing YOU are thinking, MDMHVONPA!).

Dutifully (and with slight panic rising in my chest) I emailed Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named. I have no really good reason for this, except fear. I know there is little she can do for me, but still I WANT her to do something! Oh...and I want her to do something YESTERDAY about it...that's just how I am. LOL

She did her "usual" precursory questions back and forth via email, finally settling on telling me to "just get some rest". Dayum her! I finally had to email her back to say I would "try not to get my panties in a wad just yet" and follow her
I called my work this morning (quite late for me to contact them) after a tearful bout of "acceptance" and requested my boss replace me on the schedule this afternoon if they could...I was and AM in no shape to be making legal decisions on another's behalf...I am staying home to lick my own wounds once again today.

I don't know if those of you who read BrainCheese and also have Multiple Sclerosis go through this, too...that initial (and sometimes lasting) panic feeling and frantic mind game of "Is it a relapse or not?" I do...and I DO it EVERY TIME.

In the deep, dark crevasse of my mind (three lesions to the left and just below the cerebellum), there is a little voice chiding me saying, "Well, what did you EXPECT, dumb-ass?" And I know this nasty, little voice has merit...what DID I expect???

Once again, I know I "expected" my body to behave in the ways I remember it could and did BEFORE the MS diagnosis...when I felt invincible and strong. AND, post-Novantrone infusion I DID have about three weeks of a flight into wellness, feeling as if my MS had finally gone into remission after months of struggle.
But since the MS gods have been visiting me, I regret my silly expectations now...I'm not sure WHEN I will learn this very simple lesson...I must always be "mindful" of the MS gods and their potential fury. I must pay better homage to this body they inhabit now, lest they rumble in anger and displeasure.

I'm off to iron my panties now in a feeble attempt to keep them knot-less...