Health, Healing and Hippos

Apologies for the length, but I wanted to share some of my medical story. I pray it will help someone today.

My first “migraines” were all abdominal and appeared at 14 along with “womanhood.” I missed weeks of school at a time and I couldn’t explain that the pain was more than “cramps.” (Enter 4-5 years of naproxen.)

My first “head” migraine hit in college and I was so sick a dear friend basically picked me up off the floor at the radio station and took me to the ER where they admitted me. I really felt like I was going to die. The pain was 10/10 and I was 🤮🤮🤮 non-freaking-stop. They did an MRI or CT scan and the entire right hemisphere of my brain was lit up like a Christmas tree. That I remember. There’s other stuff I don’t, but I was there for 2 days. They loaded me with fluids and pain meds and dad brought me home where I had the weirdest “morphine dreams” ever.

Example (embarrassingly admitted, but still makes me laugh…) Jamey Karr, Greg Wheeler, David Le Blanc, David Kilburn, Paige Burrough Ballard, Lani Clark, Brian Frank, Mike, Carla, Tommy, and a few others were all eating out at Blackstone’s. But it was like a scene out of Tombstone and the guys were all in western wear. Paige, Lani, Carla and I were having a discussion about men in chaps.😜Next thing I know they are riding off into the Panhandle sunset on pink hippos. That’s right. Pink hippos. And even now the more I think about it, the funnier it gets…

Phew… back to reality.

For almost a decade and after two kids, I was still migraine free. Those were pretty decent years (aside from female problems that I no longer contend with and IBS, which I do.) Then in 1998 🤯 official diagnosis. I’ve had migraines ever since, but they’ve morphed and changed over time.

I have been on and off preventive meds for years. I even had a couple of years that were just manageable headaches. (But as a ⚠️ WARNING ⚠️ —do NOT take Excedrine migraine heavily… that ended up with a very painful bowel bleed and a lengthy hospital stay because of it. Excessive NSAID use is no joke.)
Then in 2015 🤯 I was diagnosed with Occipital Neuralgia (which I’d never heard of, but have become nearly an expert) and Pudendal Neuralgia (I’m not going into this one.) Apparently my entire CNS is a mess. Fast forward til last week and a half…

I had 4 ER visits in May and June. The pain was intolerable and like many other chronic pain patients, I deal with some depression. I was literally down and out on the 4th visit. That last bill was a whopper, but the ER doc on call was actually a pain management doctor who gave me a couple of nerve blocks I hadn’t had before (and I’ve had more than a few.) My migraine dropped from a 7-8 to a 5 instantly and was at a 4 at discharge. It stayed a 4 and after a good nights’ sleep (something new) I woke up with no migraine or ON pain. I seriously thought I was out of my mind. I hadn’t had a true pain-free day in months (years???)

So… I’m now seeing a pain management specialist, finding a new neurologist here in town (not a fan of the one assigned) and throwing in alt “meds” that help – vitamins, essential oils, massage and going to go to a chiropractor when I get the all clear from the tests and nerve blocks that will be done.

I know weather triggers the ON and migraines – as does lack of sleep. I have certain foods I’ve totally cut from my diet as well. Those are an almost instant reaction. (One of the many reasons I don’t like to go out to eat is I like to know what’s in my food and the consequences are truly dire if I don’t stick to a pretty regimented diet.)

I wanted to share this because I don’t want anyone to give up on ANY problems they have – whether mental, physical or spiritual. There ARE answers out there and you may need a multi-disciplined approach. The doctor I saw last week was “feeling around” my head and neck. I had lost about 75% of lateral movement (didn’t notice because of constant pain) and my head and neck were really swollen. So… 4 new meds (a couple are just short term anti-inflammatory etc) and my dear hubby could actually see some curve in my neck again.

There are many options out there, but research, the right doctor and patience are huge.

I’m broken, but not shattered, and while it sounds hokey to some, I really feel like God is helping to mend the cracks and imperfections in this mortal shell. There have been many days I’ve asked myself if this whole thing is actually a test from God (think modern day Job.) I don’t know. But what I do know is in casting the burden to Him and sharing a bit of my story I hope I might just help someone else. I feel for the first time in years that I’m in a path to victory and to God alone will go the glory for bringing the people into my life that even just by being a friend is healing to me. Thank you for being there. Pink hippos…

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’…

Birthdays, Weighty Discussions and New Life

Yesterday was my youngest’s 25th Birthday. It took me 6 months to find the exact gift I wanted for her, but I found it. The “wait” was worth it.

The perfect present for youngest…

Inside the middle magnifying lens are the words “I love you” in 100 different languages.

In other news I have basically spent the last 3.5 days in bed. It started off as a migraine flare which kindly activated the occipital neuralgia and THEN I got a very interesting surprise yesterday morning. My body woke me up for an inexplicable reason about 230am and after tossing, turning, I gave up and read for a bit. And since I was still up at the crack of dawn – Gigi the Incorrigible came and begged for needed bladder relief.

I was stumbling around like a drunk. I got the dogs out and back in, took care of my own bladder needs and went back to bed. About 639 I realized with the dizziness or vertigo, there was no way to work. The slightest movement made me feel very, very weird. Like… really…and it’s been this way most of the day. Dr. A told me to quit taking a new med, but I don’t know if that’s it or not. I’m definitely talking to Dr. MS on Monday to discuss RX and I may have to call the neuro here I’m not a fan of to get a grip on this mess.

On the plus side, the smoothie concoctions I’ve been making in the morning have dramatically helped the IBS. I feel “better” after drinking one and need to check out all the vitamins and nutrition in them that I’m throwing in my body. I’m hoping nothing is actually triggering a Neuralgia/Migraine attack.

On the down side, the smoothies (I hope) don’t have that many calories (or maybe I’m lying to myself.) But I’m at my heaviest weight EVER. I know part of this is a huge lack of activity (hello migraines and neuralgia), but the meds I’m taking literally ALL cause weight gain. I can’t lose a pound to save my life. It’s time to f#^* with my medicines and start over. Detox sounds like so much fun. Not. And because I’m a huge glutton for punishment, I’m starting a new “lifestyle” plan on Monday.

I hope the rest of your weekend is uneventful.

~Celeste~

Holy Gerbil Turds, Batman…!

I assumed today’s migraine was brought to you by eating products containing MSG for the last two days. I was wrong.

Sort of.

I’m pretty sure the #MSG in products I consumed last night did not help in the slightest with this migraine and neuralgia problem going on today.

Enter the real culprit stage west.

I did not know it was supposed to #rain today. There was not an inkling in any universe where I would have dreamed that I would have a #thunderstorm building right on top of our house. We do. It’s a squall line. (And fabulously justifies the #pain I’ve been in all day.)

Yesterday or the day before ( I cannot remember) The air was thick and heavy and you could see thunderstorms trying to blow through the lid which was strong and/or thick enough to keep any type of rain from happening.

So… As it was supposed to be 108° today, I did not check to see if there was any chance of rain. I mean, this is the #Texas Panhandle and we rarely get this kind of rain when it’s that hot. (Note to self: check the forecast even if it’s gonna be 108° outside.) As the majority of my migraines and neuralgia issues stem from swift changes in barometric pressure and temperature, I should’ve realize this this morning and checked. I didn’t. I feel like a dork.

Anyhooo… I got out of bed to eat some “lightly fried chicken” and French fries Kyle made so I can take my evening #meds. Dang!!!! That man made a delicious dish I could literally eat every day. It was perfection and better even than Chick Fil A (who also unfortunately uses MSG in their chicken.) I can’t wait for Jessica to try it, but she’s passed out in the other room after working a 16 hour shift – another story all together.

Anyway, I know I’m a human barometer and I really should have checked when I let Gigi out to do her thing at the butt-crack of dawn. I’ll do that in the future. Meanwhile I’m laying down in a darkened room listening to the “Pop for Reading” playlist as well as the rain, hail and thunder provided by my Abba.

God is good all the time…

~Celeste~

Heatwave, Health and Puppy Breath

(Thankful for voice recorders that make this post possible.)

All of these things shouldn’t go together, but they do. I should be at work right now – a productive member of society and contributing my fair share to society. I’m actually at home in bed with a migraine and occipital neuralgia attack that is disconcerting and disabling. Therefore I’m not contributing and I’m not being productive. I am thankful; however, and here’s why:

It’s not even noon. The high today is supposed to be around 108°. I’m at home and we do have air-conditioning which I’m eternally thankful for. If I was at work I would have commercial air-conditioning that literally has me taking a jacket to work in the middle of summer. I would really hate to think of what the electric bill looks like just for our building. Heck, I am also looking forward to our upcoming home electric bill with this heatwave. (Not really, but I’m attempting to stay positive.)

Because it is so hot outside the grandchildren are stuck inside playing. However, when one has a migraine with photo/sound sensitivity, it’s a little frustrating when you’re trying to rest. I am grateful that I’m not trying to write this post from the bathroom floor where I spend most of my time when the pain strikes swiftly and suddenly. I got medicine in me just in the nick of time this morning. I am grateful, but still feel like ramming my head into a wall repeatedly.

If nothing else Rory the Conniving has the right idea.

The whole heat wave reminds me of Robin Williams’ movie Good Morning Vietnam.”

  • Lt. Steven Hauk : First of all, don’t make fun of the weather here, and don’t say the weather is the same all the time here. Because it’s not. In fact, it’s two degrees colder today than yesterday.

  • Adrian Cronauer : Two degrees colder, me without my muff.

And as an aside: I miss Robin Williams. He was one of the rare comedic geniuses and few will ever rise to his level in my estimation.

Gigi the Incorrigible also has the right idea today. (But if she lays across my legs much longer, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to walk from the Migraine Cave to the bathroom.) My right leg is mostly asleep and my left is starting to catch up. But I don’t want to move because she’s happily dreaming and…snoring.

One of my favorite things in the world is the smell of puppy breath. She’s no longer a puppy, but for one brief yawn this morning I caught a whiff of the scent. This leads me to two conclusions.

  1. I’m “brushing” her teeth often enough.
  2. She got into something she shouldn’t have.

I’m not sure which.

Anyway, I thought I’d check in and say hi before attempting another nap to soothe the pain which radiates from the right side of my head all the way down my right arm. Calling the doctor on Monday. (Yay.)

May you have an extremely wonderful day…

~Celeste~

Shaking the Unshakable

There is a deep trembling in my soul as I see the world around me descend into madness.

I, sometimes am unsuccessful, but usually make the attempt to study the Word of God daily. I’m not talking about 10 minutes and a quick prayer of gratitude, but hours spent listening to and watching sermons given by some true women of faith and kingdom men.

And I’m not belittling 10 minutes. It’s exactly how I started drawing closer to my Abba and honestly, sometimes all I have is ten minutes. But if I purposefully give The Almighty Father ten minutes, He multiplies it in my life exponentially.

Not so long ago, I asked God to burn away the chaff in my life. I knew then and know now I need(ed) it done, but I knew not the ramifications of what I thought would be a simple request.

Chaff refers to useless things, grain husks and fine-cut straw, or light-hearted spoken exchanges. Trash that you do not want is an example of chaff. Wheat grains found after threshing is an example of chaff.

Many times chaff is carried off by the wind. But I specifically asked my Lord, not for a wind-winnowing, but a conflagration. Okay, I asked Him to “burn away the chaff.” It’s turned into a conflagration.

I feel the war for my soul deep in the marrow of my bones. This point was brought home today while listening to a sermon by Dr. Tony Evans: the Jesus Challenge / A Challenge to Greater Convictions.

In Revelation Chapter 2, Jesus speaks to the church at Pergamum. They were commended for keeping the faith, but were criticized for their lack of conviction and compromise. Ouch! How many times have I acted much like the members of this church? I know it’s too many to count.

In a world of ever-growing hostility toward those who follow Jesus Christ, I’ve got to really take a look at my heart, my mind and overall character and commit to an uncompromising faith in the Lord.

The war over my soul this past week has brought me to tears, raised my anxiety to new heights and left me utterly exhausted, yet I’m not defeated. Instead of the dark one pulling me down, he’s pushed me closer to God. As a result, I feel the onslaught of the arrows aimed by the great deceiver all the more. I also feel the shield of faith absorb the impacts of the evil one.

Beth Moore has a brilliant 4 part teaching called “Unshakable.” I believe these two teachings came to me at the right time and for the right reason. Sometimes we need to be shaken from our false assumptions, thoughts and convictions; we need the chaff burned away to take part in God’s finest blessings.

I have a long way to go, but I pray to become more Christ-like daily. The closer I am to God, the less the petty things of this world bother me. Everything I have ever wanted and ever needed is found in God alone, through His son, Jesus, and the Spirit who gives wings to my prayers and speaks to the Father for me when I have not the words.

May the peace of the Lord bless you all.

Much love, Celeste

Carpe Diem! The Hiatus is Over

I have 7 (e-gads) planners that I’m condensing down to three. This is pretty liberating, I have to admit. Each day is a blank page we spill our lives upon.

2 years. It seems like yesterday, but it’s been two years of trying to figure out who I am as a writer. 731 days of figuring out “what I want to do with the rest of my life.”

This morning brought a clarity I haven’t really had before. I have come to terms with the “faults” I have found in myself and the way I look at others.

My blog content will be radically changing over the next few months. It goes beyond a “midlife crisis.” Every day is truly the first day of the rest of my life.

If Murrow Could See Us Now

A few decades ago I was a reporter and learned how to be a better (read that: damned good) reporter once I escaped the classroom for the rest of the world. I’m sure some (most) of my first professional stories were dreck, but you know what? They were well-researched, non-opinionated and fact-checked repeatedly to make sure they could withstand anything thrown against them.

I had journalists who were mentors in those early years, but with those few exceptions you guys know who the real mentors were? Cops. They taught me everything I needed to know about ethics, professionalism and about why the “why” was as equally important as the other “W’s” and “how?” They all held the same “weight.” If the scales were balanced properly, you’d have a good story. It wasn’t all about the contrivance of “if it bleeds, it leads.” Race, color, creed, national origin or sexual preference were oh so rarely entertained (at least by me and many of my contemporaries) that I didn’t care if the guy sent to death row was anything other than guilty.

Btw – I also learned that the swill brewed in a coffee pot that hadn’t been properly washed since 1972 had a cumulative effect and I could work for hours straight on that stuff (sugar and cream were necessary though…whew!!!)

Ok… wait… I know this is already going to be long and truly has nothing to do with the point I’m trying to make, but this IS my post and …“squirrel!!!!!” I gotta share this:

Sgt. RH and Lt. ES and I had a bet one morning over the last donut in the unit. First person to down a cup of swill would get the donut. RH poured me a fresh cup and was about to hand it to me, but I declined and took HIS mug off the desk. “Drink up, boys…” RH couldn’t do it. The coffee was still way too hot. I swear he looked like I kicked his dog or something. One down. ES laughed so hard he was in tears. Two down.
I gently set RH’s empty mug down and excused myself to the ladies room and re-enacted the volcano exploding over Pompeii. (Yeah. I know. I know.)
So when I went back into the squad office those two guys had divvied up the pastry and were taking the last bite and each had a Cheshire grin. Lessons learned that day: 1) Peace Officers are a lot smarter than you think they are and 2)Never leave a donut unattended. But I massively digress…

Yellow journalism has come raging back into style again. It wasn’t pretty the first time around, but the media (in general) seem to have forgotten things like checking facts, getting two sides of a story and are now just blatantly being unethical or unprofessional (in my opinion.)

In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here. I think some of the biggest bigots in the world are today’s journalists who have a cavalier attitude toward truth. Stories need to be told, but they need to be honest and “fair.” And by “fair” I mean those scales need to come to rest side by side with the facts checked and personal-bias (opinions) set aside.

People are a little smarter than the average guppie; maybe, just maybe, the world would be a little less flammable if the media would just give us the facts.

If Edward R Murrow were alive today, I’m pretty certain he’d soon be dead from a coronary.