The Lord Giveth, The Lord Taketh Away








Sometimes the hardest part about writing is finding a good beginning. And since I can’t find a good beginning, I’m just going to start in the middle. I had my appointment with the MS Specialist on Monday and he is fairly certain based on my physical symptoms that I don’t have MS. He still wants to see the actual MRI pictures but unless he sees anything on the pictures that weren’t annotated on the radiologist notes I can scratch that off of my list of worries. We still have a lot of work to do trying to figure out these continuing migraines and find a way to treat them along with the brain lesions, but things are certainly looking up. But enough about me, since I don’t find myself all that interesting.

One of the worst things about getting older is that you start to lose people from your life faster than you accumulate them. As if my mother’s continuing illness weren’t enough we received a call early this morning that Joe’s brother Stephen had passed away from a massive coronary. He was 51 years old and lived his life exactly as he wanted. A huge man with a huge personality you always knew when he was in a room. He was a great dancer and had a dry/sly wit. And whether he was directing it at you or someone else he was always spot on with his insights; whether you liked it or not.

During the 26 years I’ve been a member of the family I have watched while Steve struggled off and on with drug addiction and all of the demons that go with it. And yet for the last six months or so he was clean and sober. He was working and putting his life back together. Just yesterday he had spoken to his siblings and his mother and seemed upbeat and happy. So perhaps it is fitting that during this upswing in his life his heart finally gave out.

As I sit writing this my youngest son is having his 14th birthday party in the basement and I am reminded of how quickly time goes by. One day they are born and the next they are apply for grad school at MIT (way to go JJ!!!). In between the days go by and we think that tomorrow we will find time to enjoy life when our job is demanding or the house is less messy. The truth is that whether we have 51 years or 100 years there are never enough of them.

So  go out this weekend and enjoy the sunshine, rain, leaves, clouds…whatever. Call the people you love and a few you just like. Leave a few dirty dishes in the sink and dog hair on the floor. Count your blessings and enjoy all of your days.


This Is Spinal Tap

Several posts ago I mentioned the migraine headaches I’ve been getting for the last three months and my hope that this was just another one of those annoying symptoms of “menopause”. After a number of tests and two MRI’s I found out a week ago that I had three lesions in my brain of 5 cm’s each. When my neurologist first suggested an MRI, neither of us expected anything to show up. She had already done an exam to make sure I didn’t have Alzheimer’s, MS or other neurological disorders. So it was a huge surprise to both of us to get this abnormal MRI.

So starting a week ago Monday, I had a more extensive exam for MS as well as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I also had another MRI to make sure I didn’t have any lesions in my upper spine. The good news  was that the lesions weren’t in my spine and I don’t have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The scary thing about this though was that I had to have a lumbar puncture.  In other words…a Spinal Tap. Now there’s a word that inspires fear; or laughter, depending on what side of the fence you’re on. I’ve chosen to look on the mockumentary side of the issue.

First, a few words about the actual spinal tap procedure. I made the appointment for the spinal tap a week ago along with tests for hearing and balance.  All of these tests required a few days of prep which included drinking 3 quarts of water, avoiding pain killers, allergy meds, sleeping pills and Xanax. Needless to say the weekend was not a lot of fun. Between the itchy eyes and two days of sleeplessness, I finally had the spinal tap today. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. In fact, the worst part is for the next 24 hours where I have to lie at a 45 degree angle and sit still as much as possible. I’m bored already. I have to do this to equalize the pressure in my spine. If  I don’t do this then I run the risk of excruciating migraines; which is kind of funny since that’s the reason I was sent to the neurologist in the first place.

Tomorrow is my last test and I hope to have a diagnosis by Friday. In the meantime, I like to count my blessings. My family is healthy and my guess is that any issues with my brain are purely mental. Let’s turn life up to ELEVEN!

Easter Schmeaster

As many women in my age group may know, menopause is a bitch. Someone once asked me what it was like and I likened it to puberty with responsibility. Sad, but true. And one of the worst things about menopause is your inability to eat what you want in large, massive quantities. And I’m not talking about weight gain here. I’m talking about true and lasting pain. The kind of pain you had as a youngster when you drank  6 too many shots on a Saturday when your limit was only 10 to begin with.

That being said, I’ve recently been diagnosed with migraine headaches. Another unpleasant side effect of what I like to call “Menopause’s Last Stand”. Last week I was instructed to keep a migraine diary by documenting everything I ate and how I was feeling when the migraine hit. Really? I don’t think so. The last time I chronicled everything I ate was 5 years ago when I joined Weight Watchers and lost 30 pounds (which I have kept off plus or minus 2-3 pounds). And the last time I wrote down how I was feeling was…NEVER! I suppose as a teenager I wrote the occasional diary entry, but really? The whole thing seems so self-indulgent. And since I’ve been seeing a therapist every Wednesday since October, I couldn’t see where this would help.

Bottom line…I’ve done neither. What I can say I did was eat a lot of sugar in the form of cake and cola the entire Easter weekend. I also cooked for Easter which entailed a great deal of tasting and sampling. I also had coffee and cheese. Anyone who’s ever been treated for migraines knows that all of these things are on the “Not Allowed” list of foods. So on Monday I woke up with the worst migraine I’ve had in weeks. And the worst part is I went “cold turkey” on all banned foods. I’ve actually been very good at eating my yogurt, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. I had hoped to feel better by Tuesday, but this morning I woke up again with a miserable migraine.

But not to be too negative, I have also been unable to watch television or spend much time in front of my computer (except for work) which I supposed has been a benefit of these constant migraines. I’ve been forced to claw my way through the stack of magazines in my bedroom and I’ve had time to reflect. Reflection. Now there’s a word that should be on everyone’s to-do list. Reflect on the joys you’ve been given. Reflect on your abundance of loved-ones. Reflect on what you want to be when you grow up. Reflect. Isn’t that what Easter is really about? And Chocolate Bunnies!

Is It Just Me…Or Am I Getting Old

Last Thanksgiving I decided that I had enough of spending hours every month to color my hair, only to have silver/gray roots back in only a week. Add on top of that the aggravation of spending extra time in the morning to make sure my eyebrows (which were already silver) matched my hair. I received a lot of negative feedback on this idea from friends and family members alike. Maybe they just didn’t like the idea of being seen with an old broad.

My husband couldn’t decide if this was a good idea or a bad one. On one hand I think he didn’t mind the idea of gray hair on his wife. After all, who hits on gray-haired old ladies. On the other hand, he is 3 years younger than I am and still has a full head of (mostly) blond hair. Was it worth the $30 a month in savings to be seen with his “old lady”? He wasn’t sure. My friend Ann was upset because she has been cutting and coloring my hair for over 15 years and didn’t want to think about how much time she’d wasted on that project. My kids didn’t care since what difference does it make what your mother looks like when she’s already old.  That last quote came directly from my 15 year old son. Always the truth sayer  in our family.

So I colored my hair for the last time in November and a blog was born. OK, so it took me almost 6 months to get started, but with a full-time job, 3 dogs, 2 kids still at home and aforementioned husband it took a little while. But here I am, 5 months later with my first post. And unfortunately for anyone who reads this; this will not be my last. Although most of my career has been spent as a writer, I have only recently begun to write about or even express my opinion. But that is  6 months of therapy and a whole ‘nother blog post away. For now I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Easter! And let’s hope Spring gets to the Midwest soon. I’m freezing!!!