Sunday Snaps: A Week in Chronic Illness, Photo-Style

Crafting and Creating

I drew a pretty cool portrait this week. I'd share, but it all went to hell when I tried to do the hair. And, I'm not just being overly critical of my own work. It really did all go bad. I have some cool ideas for a new drawing, but I need some serious "hair" drawing practice first.

A little known "perk" (and sometimes drawback) to being sick, is that I have no eyebrows. None. Okay, a little bit. See? So, I don't have to pluck (hooray!). But, I do have to draw them in, if I want ANY. Thanks for not working properly, thyroid. I'm not being sarcastic; honestly, do you have to shave your pits? Because I don't, and it's fucking great.

That's not an eyebrow pencil, by the way; that's a drawing pencil. I suppose I could use it to draw in my brows; but, they'd look pretty weird. But, it's a close pic; so, it's a good of a time as any to share this additional bit of additional info about my sickies.

About 15 years ago, a friend of my mother's gave me the world's tackiest holiday wreath (the one above isn't it). Every year, Bryon and I pull it out of the box, hoping something horrible has happened to it. Somehow, it survives every move, despite how fragile it is. Holiday wreaths are expensive; well, the non-hideous ones are. So, I made one this year. The bow could use some work; but, it's not bad for less than $20 in supplies!


A few yeas back, I convinced Bryon that matching was the epitome of bonding. He thought it was lame; he was not wrong. However, our son wanted to wear matching shirts to something (I can't even remember what it was, now!); so, I convinced him to bend his personal rules of style (it's hard not to laugh at that - Bryon having style!). Now, we have tons of matching family shirts and PJs. This is our first matching couples thing, though.

Remember that disclaimer at the bottom of the page? This is pretty much an unfiltered look at chronic illness? Sometimes, it ain't pretty to look at. I look awful here, and the angle is not flattering to either one of us. But, this is marriage, and a good one. This is the end of the day on Thanksgiving, curled up on the couch, and too happy to move. Bryon's exhausted from cooking all day, and I'm just happy to snuggle him and watch TV. Orange splotch in the corner? The cat.

Getting Ready for Christmas!

Bryon's a stickler about putting up Christmas decorations; he refuses to put up anything until the day after Thanksgiving. We started with the tree. Gone are the days of putting up all the decorations at once. I used to bustle around the house with him, helping decorate every nook and cranny. I was so exhausted from helping with Thanksgiving (I only did the dishes because I felt great that day!), that I was couch-bound, all day. I didn't even put up a single ornament. It broke my heart a little. But, seeing my boys work together helped it heal.


This is my boy's best impersonation of a tourist: baseball cap, pants that are too short (which you can't see in the pic), and a camera threaded through his belt. He's about to go to see some horses with our neighbor, who rides at a nearby stable.

Mommy got some business cards, and I gave Collin the first one, because he's the most important contact I'll ever have. He was so proud and excited that he put it right in his wallet, then promptly put his wallet under the couch; you know, for safe-keeping.

The boy is off school all week. I'm not sure why, but they have the entire week off, so he built the world's largest and inconveniently located fort. The center of the living room, buttressed by the couch is pretty annoying. But, I'm a good sport and let him leave it up for two full days. The cat found it distressing, as he fell through the thing twice, not understanding that the "ceiling" would not hold his weight, as he attempted to walk across.

Sunday Snaps: A Week In Chronic Illness Photo-Style

Are You Sponge-Worthy?

PicMonkey Collage Sponge.jpg

I know when last I updated regarding the potential for brain surgery, the answer was no-go. But, I keep sprinkling the issue of my impending next one like it's no big deal. Why? Because of my stylin' sponge. It was the one thing my neurosurgeon wanted me to try, as a stopgap, to see if it relieved symptoms. I thought he was giving me a sweet, essentially patting my bottom, and passing me on my way. So, I barely could be convinced to do it. However, it's like a miracle. Plus, it makes me look hawt. The only time I can't wear it, is when I sleep (it doesn't stay on), and then wake up ten seconds later, because it hurts again. This is my sponge-hat-band. Pretty, right? And, this is my apparently my "just before waking in agony face," taken in whimpers.

Why does it work? Apparently, it crams the itty-bitty bit of dura (that sac-like-lining-thing that holds your brain together) back into the skull, where it belongs, through sheer force of pressure, and holds it there. Brain surgery, meet the sponge. Advanced science, meet pressure contact. It boggles the mind when simplicity enters the picture, doesn't it? An ace bandage and a sponge can provide immediate relief. Obviously, a person cannot live like this forever, so I'll be getting a titanium plate, and some hardware. Hooray for a future that includes peeing myself when the neighbor fires up the microwave, right? At least that's what my dad says. 

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!

During especially bad flares, which this last one was, I may not eat for days, or even weeks. Between nausea from pain, pain meds, or just sheer exhaustion, I can lose a lot of weight all at once (hooray!). But, this kind of starvation exacerbates all my symptoms, of course. So, when I murmur something like, "I'd eat something with frosting," from under a heap of blankets, my husband instantly responds and makes cake. Even better, when you haven't eaten for days, you are allowed to eat 3/4 of a cake, all at once, because you are essentially starving. These calories don't count. Shhhh, don't explain to me why that's not true.


Smelly Dog...Smelly Dog...You Know the Rest

Are these terrible photos? Yes. Is she a pretty girl? Yes. Am I biased? Yes. Our gorgeous dog gets what we call...wait for it...zoo vagina. Yep, a stunningly, horrible, but accurate description, for the odor emanating from such a massive beast. You know that musky smell, of hundreds of animals at the zoo? Yeah, that's her. Add in the smell of, you guessed it. Her. Big dog=big smell.

California is dry, which is no secret. So, her skin is dry, and she's licking and scratching nonstop, creating all kinds of oil and nastiness; thus, zoo vagina smell reared its ugly head for us this week. Life doesn't stop when you are sick. Dogs still need baths, as she gracefully reminded us by clearing rooms this week. But, look how pretty she is when she's clean.

P.S. Ignore my husband's clogs and socks. We know he looks ridiculous. He know he looks ridiculous. He's on his old-man starter set. He has plantar fasciitis; those clogs feel good around the house, and I'd rather my man have happy feet than be uncomfortable. I draw your attention to his tolerance of the sponge headband.

Speaking of Life Not Stopping....

I made it to my boy's performance, and I'm glad I did. he got an award for his grade. He was honored as a "Good Citizen." I'm often worried that being surrounded by pain is going to stunt him in some terrible way, but when I see him care so gently for me, for his father, for those around him, I'm lifted by it. His principal pulled us aside, and cried when she spoke of how wonderful my child is, and how grateful she is to have him at her school. She said she has not seen a boy like him in many years, and that she is thankful to know him.

We'd promised our boy that we'd both be at the event (it's so hard for my husband to miss work these days), and that we'd go out to lunch, as a family, after, to celebrate. But, the clapping, the sunshine, all of it, were too much during my flare. I was done in. I could hardly stand up. I made a good show, and pretended to be fine, but I was leaning on my husband, and my son could tell, despite my best efforts at well-person-pantomime. School Holiday Programs, awards, homework, none of it stops because you are sick, not for a day, not for a year (not that I was ever much good at math homework assistance).

I still told him that we could go anywhere he wanted, but he said, "Let's go to In-N-Out, bring it home, put PJ's on, and have a Supernatural marathon." That boy is a miracle.

Good citizen, indeed.