Tag Archives: Health

Have You Gotten Stuck Yet?

Two Novembers ago, I was stuck in the hospital with pneumonia. I’d been diagnosed with the flu two days prior at the urgent care center. That day, I’d waited for my husband to get home from work because I didn’t feel well enough to drive myself to the doctor’s office.

I wasn’t surprised to learn I had the flu. I felt bad enough. I recalled how it’d been over a decade since I’d had the flu so I figured I was due. The only thing I remembered from that time was my husband’s near-carrying me the few steps from our front door to the car. I was that sick.

What was surprising this time was that instead of getting gradually better, I got gradually worse, so much worse that in less than 48 hours I barely had the strength to dress myself to go back to the urgent care. When I reported chest pain, their mood changed from what can we do for you? to how soon can we get you out of here?

They offered to call 911, but I said we’d drive the couple of miles to the hospital ER, where, after innumerable hours of waiting, during which they stuck me for blood and IV placement, and took x-rays of my lungs, it was determined that I had pneumonia.

I knew I was bad off. My fever was soaring and I was drowning. When my husband said, “Maybe they’ll send you home,” I heard myself say, “I’m afraid to go home.” As if from outside myself, I realized how truly terrified I felt at the thought of leaving the haven of the hospital.

By the end of five days, I was ready to blackmail someone into letting me go home. By then, the heavy-duty IV antibiotics had done a number on those nasty little bugs in my lungs.

I’ve put these memories away for the most part, memories that are only triggered every October when I take steps to prevent another “November.” Until last Saturday, when my seven-year-old granddaughter, who lives with us, became listless and feverish. She wasn’t displaying asthmatic symptoms, which are par for the course for her when she has a cold, probably because she didn’t have a cold.

My daughter wanted to wait till Monday to have her seen at the doctor’s office, but I nixed that idea. The fact that she presented no other symptoms to explain the high fever was concerning. Sunday she was diagnosed with Influenza A.

I was relieved to know what it was, but I was also worried about how it would affect her, and afraid that the rest of us would succumb. For the next few days I watched her acutely for any worsening, while I tried to tamp down my worry. But she took it like the trooper that she is, instinctively resting and taking in a lot of fluids. And after lolling around the house for three days, she returned to school. Yesterday, she came home tired but in good spirits.

My fingers are crossed that we in this house are done with the flu for this year. It’s too soon to tell if anyone else will come down with it. All we can do is watch and wait. And that brings me to my original question: Have you gotten a flu shot?

 

Not a Second Longer

So, after all that we have endured in 2016, I hear tell that it’s going to last a second longer. Imagine. Of all the years to add another second to. I’m not all that interested in the particulars as to why that is, I just find that extra second a tad too much.

This year started out pretty much like any other, with promise, like all new years do. There we were moseying along and then, wham!

We’ve lost so many artists this year, my head spins. Including George Michael of Wham! I can’t even get my head around the loss of Princess Leia. Wow! She made girls sit up and take notice way back in the 1970s. What made Princess Leia a force to be reckoned with was the force of the person who portrayed her, Carrie Fisher. (And now her mom. Wow, again.)

Carrie Fisher’s loss felt close to home. She suffered an incident in midair. Where there were no paramedics at the ready to deploy the paddles immediately. There was no IV in place, no monitor to signal exactly when a shock was needed to preserve life.

I feel sorry for her daughter and her family, because there, but for the grace of God, go us. When my husband had a massive heart attack in June, all those variables were in place. He decided to code after the paramedics had him hooked up to monitors and had already placed an IV.

That moment sent us on a roller coaster ride that hasn’t yet ended. The car has slowed down, the dips have leveled off, but we’re still on it, and will be on it forever. But the operative word here is: be. A state of being, as opposed to a state of having been.

The main thing I had planned for this year was to pursue a third copyediting certificate. This one would take four semesters and be the most intensive training so far. The last semester scheduled to end this December seemed so far away. And right when I was due to start the third course, I found myself in the ER trauma room watching them work furiously to save my husband’s life.

His recovery took center stage, but I began my course with faith that I would persevere and so would he. I had little sleep and little rest for months. Every spare moment I had, I worked on my assignments, always wondering why I felt so stressed editing for my teacher when I didn’t editing for others. That was weird.

I also prepared for the inevitable flare-up that would appear. I waited for the mother of all flare-ups to knock me down and not even let me type. But when I went to my rheumy in September, all was normal. I sat speechless. How could that be? After three months of intense stress? There was no explanation.

By then, my husband had returned to work, thanks to the collateral circulation his heart had built up during all his years of being an athlete. The doctor called him his “Miracle Man”  when he sauntered into the doctor’s office wearing his Stetson Fedora with the brim tipped down rakishly over his eyes. I couldn’t tell if the medical students trailing the doc that day were more in awe of his cardiac history or his hat.

By all that is written, he shouldn’t be around sauntering anywhere, but he is. I shouldn’t have aced my certificate program, but I did. And I shouldn’t have a second round of normal lab results this month, but I do.

Color me bewildered. I don’t understand it. But as they say, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Today is my birthday, and maybe after our dinner out I will stop to buy a frame for my new certificate from UC San Diego. I didn’t know they were going to make it look so impressive. Everyone says I must hang it up.

I’ve never been happier to say goodbye to a year as I am to this one. I give thanks for all the good this year has given us, but I don’t want to have to wait a second longer than necessary to hang it up.

I wish all of you kind readers a Happy and Prosperous 2017!

Life Happens

Remember the saying life happens when you’re making other plans?

So true.

I have mentally blogged many times in the past month. So many little life episodes that I have subvocalized as if I had a tiny, invisible stenographer sitting on my shoulder. Alas, I do not, and as our nursing mantra goes: if it’s not written, it’s not done.

A lot has happened.

We had another anniversary, 35 if we go strictly by the calendar. That’s a freakishly long time. I remember seeing a documentary about George Harrison after his death. His wife of 23 years was asked how you make a long marriage. Her answer was striking and it has stayed with me. It’s simple, she said, you don’t get divorced.

So, so true. In 35 years you collect a lot of reasons to get divorced over.

But you also collect, or can collect, many reasons to stay together.

This year we celebrated by going to D. C. I’d always wanted to go, just to soak up the history. The place is so alive, you can inhale the adrenalin. It has a vitality that defies explanation or description. In short, we are going back.

We decided to drive, so that gave us four full days in enclosed proximity. If anything is going to drive you batty in regards to another person that will certainly do it. But the whole trip left us with nothing more than pleasant memories.

Except for one other thing. Within five days of our return my husband was complaining of UTI symptoms. I confess my initial reaction was: Been there, done that. But his being a man meant that his symptoms were far more complicated and unendurable than anything women might go through.

Of course.

We saw a kindly urologist. I’ve rarely run across a doctor so personable and I’ve run into many. Along with giving him some prescriptions, he suggested we buy a couple of books. One, he said, is called How Not to Die by Michael Greger.

I admit I laughed when he mentioned the title. Advice on how not to die seems kind of facetious. Snake oil, anyone? I mean, does anyone live forever? Does anyone want to?

Its subtitle, however, is: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. And I am nothing if not a sucker for anything that has been scientifically proven. So we shall see what it’s all about when I delve into it, because I know he won’t. He’s symptom-free now so that means it’s all so yesterday.

The book will have to wait its turn, though. Right now I’m knee-deep into the Konmari Method of tidying. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Her initial advice: “Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely.” And she advocates keeping only the things that “spark joy.”

Hmm . . . . That reminds me of the woman who said she got rid of 175 pounds all at once.

She got a divorce.

Cherry blossoms

Me among the cherry blossoms

 

That Which is Me

I usually don’t focus on how sick I was. Mayhap I’m hoping that if I “forget” it, I won’t have to relive it.

But I was. Sick, sick, sick. So sick it made me sick to my stomach. You know, holding-the-bile-down kind of sick while you try to function with every single cell on fire, and without letting on how vilely ill you truly are. I even withheld the truth from my rheumatologist. The real one, not the “fake” one who let this disease land me in the emergency room, excuse me, emergency department.

I’m fine, I would say, not letting on that it took every drop of willpower to lift myself off of the waiting room chair, which I’d been locked into for hours, and walk as unobtrusively as possible down the hallway to the exam room. I refused to show that every step was agony. I was a pretender, pretending that nothing was wrong with me.

The lab numbers told a different story of course. Your blood cannot lie as well as you can. But, hey, everyone has an individual tolerance for pain, a pain threshold all their own. Therefore, he accepted my story that it hurt here and there, but not too bad. When in truth the pain was so bad I wanted to run down the street screaming, except that I physically couldn’t do that.

And then, everything changed. I don’t really know if it was gradual or all at once. But I’m pretty sure that what jump-started the process was me taking a breather from my job. That’s all I thought it was. I’ll just rest a few months, I thought. Those months turned into years, and still counting.

And then my kid graduated and went off to college. Check! Last kid launched.

And then, I started to actually pay attention to me. I was no longer a pain-wracked automaton. I was a person, a person with needs and wants. And my biggest want was for the pain to go away. I was feeling better, thinking better, the brain fog was all but gone and I realized that I wasn’t going to continue to go downhill and die.

I was going to live! So I began to celebrate, with spirits. No, not with THE spirits, but the spirits that come in a bottle. In the Before, I could count the drinks I had during a year on one hand and have fingers left over. I went from being a near teetotaler to having one drink, maybe two, in a single week.

And that numbed the pain even more. Not the orange juice with the dash of vodka or the glass of sweet white wine, but the thought that I was letting myself enjoy life, whatever life was still left to me.

And that loosened up my inhibitions, voilà, to the winds. I grabbed my pen and I began to write, and write and write. Millions of words either gushed forth or were purged from my lowest depths. A catharsis, or an enema for the soul, who’s to know?

All I knew, know,  is that my new-found energy and sense of well-being was the biggest high money could buy. I exercised, or maybe exorcised, my bane away. I don’t know what produced more endorphins, my daily workouts or my renewed sense of self.

Or perhaps it was the anxiety seeping out of me,  along with the steady flow of blue ink from my pen, that made the difference. Who needed a couch when I had my blank page? I found me on those pages, and though my writing did tend to lean toward the hopeful and sentimental, it did sometimes take a turn toward the naughty.

But nice.

DELECTABLE

 You look so sweet,
so smooth and slick. I
wrap my hand around your
stem. My fingers grasp and
gently tug that which is you to
bring you close and firmly wrap
my lips around your rounded rim
whose velvety feel brings forth
ambrosia the gods themselves
were not allowed. I take a sip
inhale deep the silken fluid
clear as the light that
gushes forth, ever
so sweet, blankets
my tongue. I
swallow
deep
and
lick
my
lips
so’s
not
to
lose
a
drop
of
savory dew, that which is you

 (© 2011 Irma A Navarro)

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Food

blueCommon dietary advice for both eating healthy (healthily) and maintaining your weight, and your waistline, is to fill your plate with color. Half of it should be fruits and vegetables, they say, the richer the colors the better.

I’ve also read that to lose weight, you should not only downsize the food portions, but should also downsize your plate size. The theory being that you trick your brain into thinking you’re eating a lot because your salad plate, serving as your dinner plate, is heaping, seemingly overloaded, with food.

These are good ideas to not only trim your size, but to keep it trimmed. Not to mention improving your overall health.

As a quilter, I love color. And not only do I love splashing color onto my fabric palette, but I also love adding it to my food palette (palate). I marvel at the colors nature has bestowed on us, the translucent slices of red and white radishes, delicate slivers of orange carrots, shiny green leaves of romaine lettuce, light green slices of succulent avocado, luscious rounds of red tomatoes and the deep, rich red of my favorites, strawberries and watermelon.

I could go on, but you get my drift. It seems that nature has provided us with edible colors of many shades and hues, except for one. Blue.

Yes, the word blue is half of the name for blueberries, but they are not truly blue. They are more of a purple violet. The only “blue” food that I’ve eaten (overeaten) is the food that I eat when I feel blue, whatever its actual color might be.

Well, apparently, there is another food association with the color blue. According to a study referred to in the October/November edition of AARP Magazine, if you eat off of a blue plate it will make the food look unappetizing, and ahem, put you off your food.

I’ve had many sets of dishes over the years, in different colors, but never blue. I can’t think of ever seeing blue plates. I’m sure there must be, I just haven’t been looking. Perhaps there was a subconscious reason for that, but now that I’ve read this, I think I shall go shopping for a small blue plate to eat off of during my feeling-blue days.

Peripatetic

At The Met

At The Met

An editing client/friend called me peripatetic. It sounded like a disease so I rushed to my reliable helpmate, my dictionary. Though the sound of the word brought up visions of dyspepsia, it turned out to only mean one who travels a lot.

He called me that after I’d returned from St. Augustine, Florida for the third time this year and found out I was soon to leave for New York City. Again.

Interesting that the word also means “given to walking.” I’d forgotten that I had downloaded a health app onto my phone. While lazing in bed with my feet throbbing from all the city walking one day, I decided to open it to see what it did. Imagine my shock to discover that I’d walked 12,000 steps that day. And climbed twelve floors. (My daughter’s apartment is two steep flights up. And down.)

I was flabbergasted to see how my activity level had spiked tremendously since I’d left home. It had literally gone from sloth to cheetah level. I bored everyone with my new-found information. Look what I can do! In one day. And live to tell about it.

After my excitement died down, I admit I was a little weirded out to know that my phone was tracking me. How rude. But I had asked it to, I suppose. I don’t remember what day that was, but it could have been the day we spent at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have no words to describe the treasures it holds within. You must see it with your own eyes. We only got to see barely half. We shall continue on our next trip.

Now that I know what that app does, I will use it to my advantage in my battle with RA. It can’t catch me if I don’t stay still. I know I haven’t beaten it, and most likely never will, but at least I win some of the battles. And that’s good enough for me. 12,000 steps, booyah!

Pulling Teeth

One day four and some years ago, when I was going through emotional turbulence of the highest altitude, a tooth broke. It was December and I was shopping when I felt something crumble in my mouth.

I couldn’t figure out what it was; my consciousness and subconscious were both drowning in muck. Reality was a fog. Pain was the only thing crystal clear to me.

At that moment I was listlessly going through a rack of dresses. Pounds were melting off me and I needed a new wardrobe. I continued shuffling through hideous-looking garments till rock-hard fragments made their presence known to my frontal lobe.

I couldn’t believe it. Pieces of a tooth! I joked to a friend that I was so angry my teeth were self-destructing.

It was tooth #13, in dental parlance. It had broken as if it had been sliced in half lengthwise, the outside half still alive and well. My dentist gave me a temporary crown. Well, half of one. She said I had to do something permanent about it. Sure.

Last month that remaining half said goodbye and shortly thereafter so did the temporary half-crown. Thing is, the tooth had broken off, not fallen out. The root remained.

Lately, my rheumatologist has been on my case to start Fosamax. This tooth was a handy excuse not to start a med I truly hate. The dentist won’t touch me I said. And it was true.

Was true.

Because now my excuse is gone.

I was at risk for infection, I was told. After diddling around with the idea of an implant, one my dentist, a he now, he of bright, compassionate blue eyes, wanted me to seriously entertain. I did. Long enough to call the periodontist.

We start at $1,600 and go up to $2,500, she said. I already knew insurance wouldn’t cover a penny of it, but what really made my eyes bug out was the healing time. Four to six months, she said.

What?

All that plus a metal screw drilled into my jaw?

I went to see Blue Eyes yesterday and he extracted what was left of #13. It took him approximately two minutes. I barely got the chance to enjoy the reggae station they had playing for me.

Unfortunately, I had to go back to him five hours later. It kept oozing, blood-tinged. Where I thought it was draining too much, he said it was “too dry.” He expected more blood to fill, occupy and seal the cavity. So he pulled out his needles again and sutured the site.

Strangely, I feel no pain. Just tenderness.

But then, tenderness is what was offered to me.

Free of charge.

Soup For Life

The meat, the meat must be beef shank, preferably with bone in; it makes a much better tasting soup. Set it to cook in a large pot three-quarters full of water. You add the spices at this stage. Salt, black pepper, garlic. The amounts are not measured; taste is what matters.

You must watch it closely at first. The fat will rise and needs to be scooped out, a spoonful at a time, making the broth leaner, clearer. Then you let it simmer as life simmers, gently but persistently, bringing memories bubbling to the surface.

“Papa, when do you add the vegetables?”

“I don’t know, Mijita.”

You know he does, but you say nothing and instead turn back to the stove. The meat is soft now and curls around its round flat bone. The bone is white as white can be, the marrow nestled in its center. You poke at it with the spoon, breaking it up into pieces, allowing its juice to mix with the broth. Meanwhile, you have chopped an onion into large chunks and added it to the broth in progress. Its layers float to the top, shimmery, translucent, adding their own juice.

It is you in the kitchen this Sunday morning. Your mother is sick, a migraine keeping her abed. You feel a deep sense of desperation. You want to fill in for her, but you can’t. You are not her and your father knows you are not her. He walks through the kitchen and steps outside, leaving you to divine the next steps. You know what the soup looks like when it’s done, but not how it gets that way.

With the fat scooped out, you can step away and leave it alone for an hour, or two, being careful not to let the broth cook away to nothing. This simmering will cause the meat to shred, making it so tender you barely have to chew it.

This soup was a staple in your home. Every other Sunday the house filled with the aroma of its cooking. Your mouth waters at the thought and you are helplessly transported back in time. You see the tall clay pot sitting on the stove, flames licking its full rounded bottom, its flared top opened wide, gaping at the ceiling, its middle pinched in like a waist.

It resembles a woman’s shape and you wonder what the potter was thinking while he shaped it. It doesn’t appear to hold much, yet your mother makes sure everyone eats their fill. You can never figure out how she does that.

Once the meat has cooked through, it’s time for the potatoes. Scrub them well and slice them crosswise into thick slices, unpeeled. While they cook, chop up the rest of the vegetables, carrots, squash and cabbage.

Take a fresh corn on the cob and slice off the tip, then shuck the corn peeling back the husk to its core. With a firm grip, snap off the cornstalk. Under running water, work out the silk tucked into the rows of kernels. Score the center of the corn with a sharp knife and then break it in half and add it to your soup.

The corn was your favorite part. You looked forward to it. There seemed to be so few pieces in that pot, but your mother always made sure you got one. Those firm yellow kernels glistened sweetly as you inhaled your soup, leaving the corn for last. There was no need to salt it or add anything to it; it was perfect as it was. You ate it row by row, slowly working your way down the length of it. When all the kernels had disappeared, you siphoned out the succulent broth from within that cob, again working your way along it lengthwise, making sucking noises that made your siblings laugh.

When the potatoes are done, fish them out and place them in a covered dish. Add the rest of the vegetables and continue cooking. In approximately thirty minutes it will all be done.

There is not enough room in your deep stainless steel pot to hold all the ingredients at once. It makes no sense to you. It seems so much bigger than the clay pot of your memories. Nevertheless, you set the potatoes aside before adding the vegetables. You’re not sure when you figured out the sequence to this, if you were shown it or if it just came to you, but it matters not, now.

 

*Eat soup. It’s good for you.

**A version of this appeared on my blog, Prose and Possibilities.

My Mother’s Kitchen

I am always looking for my mother’s kitchen. The scents, the sounds. The tastes, the textures.  The colors, the flavors. The love she used to stretch each meal so that we were all left satiated once again. Each meal a true labor of love, whether it was a simple dish of eggs scrambled with tortilla bits, called Migas. Or a grand presentation of Mole Poblano, chicken in a spicy chocolate-based sauce.

I doubt I will ever find even a semblance of it, not even in my kitchen as my own table pales by comparison. She is cooking in heaven now and I am left with memories that propel me to keep looking so that every time I walk into a Mexican restaurant I wonder, is this it?

Chips and salsa

An occasional treat. If I eat too much corn, I notice swollen hands the next morning. RA imposing its limitations. The salsa has several health benefits, but what is salsa without chips?

wine

White Zinfandel. Something not found anywhere in my mother’s kitchen. Or my own actually. I keep Moscato around, and I found a strawberry Moscato that hits the right spot after dinner. Who needs dessert?

avocados

Guacamole. Avocados were a mainstay of my diet growing up and are a frequent part of my diet now. Avocados are loaded with vitamins and minerals, plus they are delicious plain or mixed to make guacamole.

Beef Tacos

Beef tacos. Another thing I don’t indulge in often, red meat, especially when it comes in a corn tortilla embrace. Another staple from my childhood was rice and beans, though  I gave up white rice a long time ago. The beans (B vitamins and Folic Acid) remain an important part of my diet, minus the sour cream and cheese topping. 

Pinata lanterns

We were enchanted with the star-shaped hanging lanterns. When we asked our server where we could buy some he said, “Guadalajara.” Hmm, that’s a ways away; maybe I’ll check online. 

Though this was a lovely place, the food delicious, and we received excellent service, it was not quite my mother’s kitchen. I know it no longer exists, but I can’t help wanting to find it.

***One of my favorite novels: Like Water for Chocolate, (Como Agua Para Chocolate) a luscious love story with a bonus of delectable recipes preceding each chapter, written by Laura Esquivel and translated into English by Carol Christensen and Thomas Christensen

 

An Apple a Day

I mentioned before that I’ve been studying foods for a few years now. When I decided I would write some food-related posts on this blog, in my own roundabout convoluted way of course, I surprised myself with just how much information I had gleaned.

I was also surprised to find composition books filled with neat penciled, cursive writing. Such patience. Such yearning. Such neatness. Such legibility. Such heartache. Running my fingertips lightly over the words as I read, I felt the me of so long ago. The me who had written them, as if the careful writing down of this vital information would somehow help my pain go away.

Fear not. I do not plan to impart solely the clinical. More so the personal, and share what I believe has helped me. The main objective for this study of foods was/is to combat inflammation. That to me is far more important than thwarting fat. Because having a few extra pounds of fat on board is not as lethal as having a few extra ounces of liquid on board.

I learned that the hard way a few weeks before being formally, officially, definitively diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Prior to that event, I ended up in the ER with fluid squeezing my heart and lungs to the point that I presented as an MI patient.

I’d known there was something wrong with me for a while. Something that rest and sleep (hard to come by with a job and kids) and regular doses of OTC pain killers couldn’t seem to touch. My primary care physician mentioned the possibility of RA and handed me over to a rheumatologist.

Unfortunately, this rheumatologist turned out to be the wishy-washy kind. “It could be this. It could be that.” I don’t remember him laying a finger on me, not to examine me nor even to offer a bit of sympathy. And not surprisingly, he never came up with a diagnosis.

But he did treat. Vioxx, right before that blew up. Advil, yeah, like I hadn’t thought of that already. Paraffin wax baths for my hurting hands, hah! I’d read about those in my Fundamentals of Nursing textbook in 1978. This was 2004!

I thought we’d come a long way, baby, but apparently he hadn’t. In August of that year, I went to my PCP and spoke my mind. “That man is going to kill me.”

Little did I know.

He referred me to another rheumatologist and I was given an appointment for mid-October, new patient and all. I tried to think positive. Help was coming. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

On Oct 3rd, what I saw were the bright overhead lights of the ER exam room where at least ten people floated around me, sticking needles into my veins, needles into my radial artery, pills under my tongue, O2 onto my face, leads onto my whole body for a 12 lead EKG.

And the funny thing was that I didn’t care! I didn’t care what all they were doing to me because when you can’t breathe you don’t give a crap about anything else.

After 24 hours of very expensive testing, it was determined that my heart and lungs were fine. As the ER physician put it as he sat next to my hospital bed, “It’s your inflammatory condition.”

It was not his place to diagnose a specific ailment and then come up with a long-term treatment plan for me, to do the job of the specialist who should have. It was his job to pinpoint the obstacle to my heart and lungs functioning as they should right then. I returned his wry smile with my own. We both knew why I was there, why my status had deteriorated to the point where he and I ever had to meet at all.

I immediately envisioned chest tubes being inserted into me to drain the fluid. I’d lost track of how many times I’d assisted a doctor with their placement in critically ill patients. Had I been thinking clearly I would’ve realized that had I needed that particular intervention, I would already have a Pleurevac hanging off the side of my bed.

Though I lay amidst wires, lines and tubings, which made for one very restless night, it was only IV lines, heart monitor leads and an oxygen sensor clipped to my index finger that held me captive to the bed. That, and my yet-to-be-diagnosed disease.

I was sent home on oral steroids to treat my pleural and pericardial effusions. That’s when I first met up with my buddy, Prednisone. We’ve had a rocky on and off relationship these past ten years. Mostly off, but I like to keep my buddy handy, or as I tend to think of him, my frenemy.

Our first dalliance lasted till the following February. By the time I got to see my new rheumatologist, I’d gone through the one week’s worth of treatment prescribed by the ER Doc. The first thing he did was to put me right back on the steroids. “We don’t want it happening again,” he said. No, we sure didn’t.

The next five years were a blur of pain, but at least I knew why.

Come 2009, something happened. I’d left my job several years before and my youngest child had flown away to college.  I began to feel better physically. The fog was lifting and I began to look around. And I thought wait a freaking minute. There’s gotta be more to this than pain and drugs. And so began my journey, into exercise, into foods, into love. Into me.