Embarrassingly Behind on Blogging. Please forgive.

Wow. I just noticed that I haven’t blogged on my precious site for like eight months. I am super embarrassed by that! I love my blog. It’s like my baby. Like my baby that I stuck in a closet for eight months while dealing with other babies. Maybe this is part of the reason I am not a mother…

So, just so you don’t think I got all locked up in a tower somewhere, here is a long-ass snapshot on what has been happening in my little corner of the world. You might want to get a snack. This could get rambly and there will probably be links to other things involved. In fact, there definitely will!

Health

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Back in October, I was working on trying to get my health under control. That is still going on. I have unfortunately had more set backs than successes. I have been in the hospital at least once a month (sometimes 2-3 times) since then, and that whole process is fucking exhausting. It is also not that fun to write about, and tends to get me a lot of, “Awwww…” responses, so I tend to just skip telling people about any of it. Having an invisible illness sucks major donkey balls. You don’t look sick, so people don’t take it seriously. And then there are those few people who are acutely aware of how awful things are for me, and they have been traumatized for life. All texts and phone calls begin with, “Are you home, or are you in the hospital?” I do apologize to all of those that I have scarred for life. I love you all for even still talking to me. What the fuck is my problem? Here’s the short list:

  • Gastroparesis – this is a deadening of the vagus nerve in the stomach, which keeps the stomach from moving food through properly. Occasionally, it will shut down completely and the food only has one way out – Up. Gross, I know. Awesome news is there isn’t a cure. Just managing.
  • Diabetus – Yes, that is a direct nod to Wilford Brimley and his adorable diabeetus commercials. I was predisposed to it from practically every branch in my family tree, so it was inevitable that it would bite me in the ass. PCOS made sure that I got it nice and young, just so I could feel like crap. Thanks, ovaries!!
  • PCOS – If you aren’t familiar with this little gem, you are a lucky lady. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a disorder that affects a lot more women than you realize. It causes Insulin Resistance (which causes weight gain, weirdo cycles, and the increased risk for Type 2 Diabetes), infertility, facial hair growth (that sexy lady-billygoat look), and a myriad of other things that make you want to strangle a puppy once a month. It’s also the number one reason that at 38 years old, I still don’t have kids. So stop asking me when I’m going to have a baaaaaby! Maybe never. And it makes me want to punch you.
  • Depression & massive anxiety – This is a biggie. This is a huge reason why I stay at home most of the time, or will make plans, only to cancel them later. Don’t ask me WHY I am depressed. Or anxious. I don’t know. And even if I DID know, that doesn’t mean I could “deal with it” or “just not think about it.” It’s about brain chemistry, folks. It is not a weakness or inability to get your shit together, any more than having Diabetes or Cancer or anything else that is beyond your immediate control. You can manage it (some days better than others), but you won’t cure it. I have two degrees in Psychology. I know what to do. But doing it is something that is beyond my sphere of control.

The health thing will ALWAYS be an ongoing issue, but I am working to better manage my day-to-day symptoms to have a somewhat normal life. I have been taking some new supplements that my sister told me about for the past 30 days and have seen some really cool improvements. I will blog on that separately. I’m all about helping others who have been/are in my shoes. I’m not a douchebag salesperson. I will tell you what I did and then you can make up your own mind.

Work

Unicorns are Jerks(This picture has nothing to do with anything, but I love it anyway, so suck it!)

From December through April, I was working an awesome contract job as a copy editor for an online university. It was the perfect job for me because I got to work from home and pretty much set my own hours. I am hoping there will be more of this type of work in the future. Also around this time, I started working with two of my best friends to set up a new awesome company that will match companies with speakers and trainers for their events. I have been working on getting that website up and running (and I am SO not a web designer), along with getting all of the inner workings up and going. I LOVE aligning myself with other talent people to make awesome things happen. How could you not love that? We have all also totally been burned by douchebags in the past, so we have a strict no-asshole policy within our company. That makes things nice.

I have also started working on my Divorce Book again. It has been sitting around for the past five years, so with some prompting from a friend, I finally broke it out and started doing initial edits. Now, it is time to start re-writing. I don’t know if anyone will ever buy/publish it, but it is funny as shit, so I am going to give it my best shot. I’m currently calling it the Funniest Book Never Written. I would like to change that Never part.

In addition to this, I have also been working my photography business. I adore photography and being able to help people capture those memories brings me a great amount of joy and pride. Mostly, I have been working with Seniors, families, babies, and headshots. But Have Camera, Will Travel! So you can always checkout my work HERE. I also post most recent shots on my Facebook page.

PODCASTING!!!

LogoforWebThis has seriously been my favorite thing that I have been doing for the past eight or nine months. A friend of mine approached me two years ago with this – “Hey! I have an awesome idea for us that will take a lot of time, hard work, and will make us absolutely NO money! Are you in?” Fuck yeah, I’m in! Those are all things I excel at! Her idea was to start podcasting. I have never really been much into listening to podcasts, so she told me that in the Geek/Nerd genre, it was basically a sausage fest. Not many chicks were doing it, and if they were, it was like a podcast with wings – something you don’t really want to listen to, OR super specific to one area of geekdom. So, we set out to create something new—something WE would actually enjoy listening to. And thus the Nerdy Bitches Podcast was born! It is awesome, if I do say so myself. We have been recording and posting episodes for several months and now even have a Book Club segment. Go check it out! We are available on iTunes, Android whatever, and also through the website itself. Give me some comments if you have actually been listening. We are always looking for new topics and shit. You can also follow us on Twitter (@nerdybitchespod), Instagram (@nerdybitches), and Pinterest (@nerdybitches).

Home and shit

Back in January, we finally made the move from the other fucking side of the world from all of our family (or my family, anyway) to about three miles away. It has been so great to be back in my neck of the woods and closer to my sister and niece. Back in September, we adopted a new member of our furry family when we got Daphne. She and Lucy are just like sisters – they fight, they snuggle, and they bring us incredible joy. Lucy is the older of the two, the smaller of the two, and absolutely the Head Bitch in Charge of the two. I’m good with that.

Mommy has presented Daphne with clothing! Daphne is FREE! #dobylives

Mommy has presented Daphne with clothing! Daphne is FREE! #dobylives

Isn’t she precious?? She’s a pain in my ass, but I wouldn’t have her any other way.

We also received amazing news this spring that my sister is going to have another baby!! I am so freaking excited that I can’t even stand it! Maddy is finally going to get that baby sister she has been begging for! So, our new little pumpkin will be arriving just in time for Halloween!

A few weeks ago, we also got the news that my brother and his wife are ALSO expecting!! OMG this Auntie can hardly contain herself!! They are going to be surprised with the gender of their baby, so I will have to wait. Competitive aunting is my sport of choice, so I am already in full spoilage-planning mode for both bambinos! Their baby will be showing up just in time for New Years! Can’t wait!! (Now I also have to get my shit together and really work on this fertility business. I am the oldest sibling, after all.)

That is kind of where things stand today. I am trying to get more established into a routine with all of my different areas so that I can keep my mind busy and maybe enjoy my life a little more than I have been. I would love to hear from you if you are still out there in reader-land. I promise that I will try hard not to abandon you again! If I ever go too long without writing, please feel free to e-mail me a kick in the ass at elizabeth@selfsavingprincess.com!

I am also working with a super talented friend to start making some t-shirts for both Self Saving Princess and Nerdy Bitches, so be on the look out for potential merchandise coming in the future!

XO,

Liz

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HumpDaaaay Headaches…What stands in your way?

It’s Hump Daaaaay!  I don’t know why this phrase makes me laugh, but when a camel says it you just have to go with it, I think.

Happy Wednesday!

I finally managed to get together my Healthy Living Guide for my Get Healthy and Save Yourself support group, and I have been really happy with the responses to it so far.  I hope that everyone finds it informative (and pretty).  I tried to make the guide something that I would want to read.  Straight to the point without having to read a thousand pages to understand.  My brain gets bored along the way and it never happens.  There are a few more sections and topics that I want to add when I create the next version, but overall, I am very happy with the outcomes.

But here’s the deal… I am always very nervous when I put something out there whether or not people will like it or if they will think it is stupid.  My friend Misty told me that is because I am a perfectionist in my work, and that isn’t a bad thing.  But part of that is also a worry that someone will dump on something that I have really poured myself into, and thereby dump on me.

via Google images

via Google images

 

It’s funny how we can receive plenty of praise, but one negative thought, comment, or look can make us feel like a failure.  I used to worry all the time that people would one day realize that I was a fraud.  That I was just faking my way through things.  Even things that I completely knew and understood.  Why does 1 negative completely negate 99 positives??

This is also applicable to any attempts at making a healthy lifestyle a permanent change.  Think about it – when you have tried eating better in the past, or starting a fitness routine, have you ever had that jerk who says, “Oh come on… One bite won’t kill you!” or “Forget about working out and let’s go get some ice cream!”  Sometimes these sound like awesome ideas, but in reality it is contrary to our goals and completely not helpful.  My first marriage seemed to be a competitive eating contest all the time and it definitely didn’t do my waistline any favors.

So, how can we navigate these negativity traps?  And why are they doing it?  Do they even know they are doing it?  I think sometimes they don’t realize what they are saying will affect us like it does.  I think sometimes they are jealous assholes who see the progress you are making and WANT to derail you to make themselves feel better!

And honestly, I have been the jealous asshole before.  I have definitely gotten jealous when good friends have lost a lot of weight and I think, “Man, if I had only gotten my shit together when she did!” but the difference is that I don’t then go stuff a cupcake into her mouth.  Because that is a dick move.  I can be angry with myself for not making better choices, but how can I begrudge someone their hard work and success?  That isn’t a friend.

So, that is how I have chosen to view these situations.  I will kindly say, “No, thank you” when someone offers me something that isn’t on my plan.  If they insist, I will let them know that I am on a special diet, or Diabetic (true), or allergic (sometimes true) or something else to maintain a polite attitude, just hoping that they aren’t being a jerk.  But when they push, you have to set a boundary.  I taught my cousin recovering from a drug addiction to say, “I’m sorry, but you are not good for my recovery” when someone tried to push her boundaries.  I have started doing the same thing.  One of my support group members pointed out “Would you offer a drink to an alcoholic?”  And some jerks would.  But most people would not.

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The point is that any time you try to make a healthy change, you may have people who are uncomfortable with your changes.  But that is THEIR problem to deal with – Not yours.  You may have to cut some of those people loose if they just don’t get it or aren’t willing to support your healthy lifestyle.  (This is also just good advice for dealing with negative people in your life – even family if it comes to it)

So while it is perfectly ok to indulge in the cupcake every once in a while, it needs to be on YOUR terms, not because someone else tried to pressure you into it.  Because you are the one who has to live with the consequences of any action you take, good or bad.  Make it count!

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New Project Coming Soon…

So, I’m not going to post about the new project just yet…

But it will be Nerdy, Bitchy, and just plain Awesome!  I am super excited to collaborate with another nerdy bitch to make some awesome things happen!

More news coming soon…

I know.  Teasers are so mean, right?  Guess you will just have to keep tuning in!

 

In the meantime… what are you favorite nerdy things?  Movies?  Books?  Activities?  I need some comments this time, folks.  And not via bookface, m’kay?  Tell me what you love or hate about the current state of nerd culture.

Fucking hipster wanna bees need not apply 😉

So comment, bitches!

Posted in Bitchfest Wednesday, Writing | 4 Comments

There’s no such thing as a mistake… Only choices. Very Bad Choices.

Good morning!  I can say that now, because it is not yesterday.  And yesterday was really good, until it wasn’t.

Photo found on Google Images.  Not mine.

Photo found on Google Images. Not mine.

I have a belief that there are no such things as mistakes in life.  Only choices.  Some choices are good, and some are terribly bad.  But saying, “Oh, I made a mistake” is a cop-out.  You made a bad choice.  Now you have to live with the consequences.  And that is ok.  That is how we learn.  It’s when we do not learn from those consequences and choose the same bad behavior over and over that we get into trouble.  This leads to one of two paths – blame and shame (“I knew better!  Why did I do that again?  I’m such a loser!”) OR we fall down the rabbit hole into the land of victims (“Why do these things keep happening to me??”).

We’ve all been to both lands, I am sure, and they suck major balls.  I will give you an example that relates to this new lifestyle of healthy eating (though we have all done it in other aspects – dating the wrong person, or clones of that person; spending too much on something we don’t need and can’t afford; killing a drifter just to watch him die, you know… the basics).  I have been eating clean for the past 5 days with good results.  No barfing, much fewer anxiety spells, and generally having more energy and the ability to focus and get things done.  But yesterday I was home alone all day with my husband’s work and opera schedule, and I just wasn’t that hungry.  I had some healthy snacks throughout the day, and since I am a Diabetic with Gastroparesis, this is actually recommended (5-6 small meals instead of 3 big ones).  But I have to admit that I was also feeling a bit lazy and hormonal.  I didn’t really want to spend the time to cook something healthy since it was just me, and my hormones were calling for something comforting.

So, I made a choice.  I ate a piece of Naan (Indian flat-bread, for those unfamiliar).  A delicious piece of Naan sounded delicious and I didn’t have to cook.  This, folks, was not a mistake.  It was a choice.

A VERY BAD CHOICE.  And I paid for it dearly.

Within 10 minutes of eating it, I started to feel anxious.  Then the anxiety lead to nausea.  And the nausea led to several visits to the porcelain throne.  When you find yourself begging a toilet to let you feel better, you know that you have to pay the piper (pun intended, if you like plumbing puns).  I made the choice, which I have made with similar results in the past, and I suffered the consequences.  Now, I have the choice… blame/shame? Victim?  Nope.  I am making another choice.  LEARN FROM THE DAMN CONSEQUENCES AND DO NOT DO THAT THING ANYMORE!!

This is what I have learned.  While I love and I do mean LOVE processed carbs, they do not like me.  My body can no longer tolerate them, and quite frankly I am sick of being sick.  So, buh-bye processed crap food.  I am learning the lesson and listening to my body.  It is screaming at me to do the right thing, even though my brain thinks the foods are quite delicious!  It’s like the angel vs devil on your shoulder.  The angel is an annoying goodie goodie, but the devil is a lying, evil, conniving bitch.  And bitches and I don’t get on well together.

Do you keep learning the hard lessons over and over again?  Why is one time not enough?  I’d love to see some comments on some of these things.

Posted in Healthy Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yesterday Real Life Got In the Way – How Rude!

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Ok, so I have been actively trying to blog daily as I go through this new journey into a healthier lifestyle.  But yesterday, I got busy and forgot to blog.  I did accomplish my goals I set for yesterday – though not in the way I expected.

I did make the attempt to take the dogs on a walk.  Here’s the problem… the puppy is still learning to walk on a leash.  This was only her third time on the leash and it still freaks her out (she was a free-range puppy before she came to me).  Also, Lucy LOVES to walk, but will only walk on my left side.  If she gets on the right side, she will go around to the left, usually tangling me up in the leash.  Now add a second dog doing the same, or randomly stopping.  Throw in a puppy the size of a teacup chasing them down the street and you have the lamest walk in the history of things that walk.  10 minutes to get to the cul-de-sac and back, and I live halfway down the street already.  These are the days I wish that I drank (not really).

But all things considered, it was a beautiful day to take a nap, and for once, the dogs agreed.  I didn’t nap, but they did and that gave me some peace for a while.  I didn’t want to do anything but enjoy it… so I did.  I may have even been able to quiet my mind for a few minutes.  A real treat!

I also had the opportunity to work on some photos that still needed editing from our family vacation.  It was nice to get back in the groove and make some good pictures look great!  I know my clients (my husband’s family) will be very pleased when they see them.

The other great thing I did for myself yesterday was going to sleep.  I am a night owl and I don’t always get tired like a normal person.  But yesterday by 9 pm, I was ready to crawl into bed.  I didn’t, though, because Daphne (puppy) sleeps in a crate and I knew if I went to bed too early she would be up at the crack of dawn, instead of the crack of 10 am, like usual.  So, I waited until about 11:30, with the added bonus of spending a little time with my husband after his rehearsal and went to bed.  When my mind is active and focused during the day, I actually get tired at night.  And that is a good thing.

While we can technically survive without sleep, it is so important to your body and health that you reset on a regular basis.  I have noticed that everything from my weight loss to my mood is negatively impacted without regular sleep.  So go ahead and get those zzzzs when you need them!

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I got so busy today I forgot to eat

These are words I have rarely ever uttered, and usually make me want to throat punch those who do.  But today, it actually happened to me.  Each time I realized that I had missed a meal time, I grabbed a small, healthy snack (a few walnuts and some yogurt) and moved on.  The only time this ever happens to me is when I am eating clean.

Today was my second day of clean eating.  Yesterday, I ate pretty much everything in sight.  Today, not so much.  I had errands to run, dogs to chase, and my new healthy living guide to outline.  So, around dinner time, I actually went ahead and cooked something delicious and healthy.

Red Beans & Brown Rice

Red Beans & Brown Rice

 

I also got around to adding names into my new support group mailing list.  It’s funny because I started out with three people and as of right now, I am up to 30.  I didn’t expect so many people to want in on this, but I am thrilled!

And what is even more amazing is that I am actually excited bout this!  There are really not that many things I can say that about these days.  But starting this new program, Get Healthy and Save Yourself, is exciting.  It really takes being a Self Saving Princess (or Prince!) to a whole new level for me.  Not only am I going to be able to get the support I need to succeed, but I can help others too.

Tonight and tomorrow I will be putting together my program into some kind of document, since it looks like this right now:

Program Notes

But Program Design is my bag.  I have worked in Training and Development for the past 13 years and I love making information accessible.  I will be providing this information to the members of my support group too, in case they would like to play along with me.  Maybe in the future this will become something more, but right now I am just excited to not feel so alone in my journey.

But journaling my thoughts and feelings is part of my personal journey, so here goes.  Today, I have been HAPPY.  I have enjoyed my work and my life more today than so many days in the past.  I have kept my eating clean and I feel good about that.  I haven’t added the exercise in just yet, unless you can burn calories screaming at rowdy puppies.  But if I am also keeping things honest, I have been physically jittery most of the day.  Not like I was on Monday where I seriously thought I was going to have another heart attack, but enough so that I definitely notice it.  Along with getting my eating under control, I need to be better about taking my medications early, before shit gets weird.  I am working on it.

Another part of my program is positive self-talk.  I find this is so important because we all have a tendency to notice more of the worst than the best in ourselves.  So here is my plan:

  • Three positive things about myself:  I am smart, I am funny, and I have the best fingernails (natural) of anyone I know.
  • Three positive things about the day:  I ate clean, I ran all my errands without freaking out, and I got my Welcome letter out to the support group participants.
  • Three positive things I will do tomorrow:  I will drink my Green Smoothie for breakfast, I will take the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy this gorgeous cool weather we have been having, and I will drink 100 oz of water.

I have a long way ahead of me (like the rest of my life), and I will never be perfect, but I will keep doing my very best to make my life what I want it to be.  I am the only one who can.

And just to make you smile too, take a look at my pups at play:

Pups at Play

Happy Tuesday!

**Update: Siri has informed me that it is actually Wednesday, not Tuesday.  This is a side effect of not going into an office every day – you have no clue what fucking day it is.  Clean Eating Tip: When you cut out processed carbs, your brain also goes fuzzy for a couple of days.  Don’t worry, it will pass.**

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But You Don’t LOOK Sick…

Oh, how many times I have heard this.  “You don’t look sick.”  I have heard it from friends, family, bosses, doctors, nurses, and random other assholes.  But I am sick, and I have been for a long time.  When I was a kid, I suffered from severe asthma.  You don’t see that business unless you force me to run a mile in gym class and I am doubled over trying to breathe (Now if you see me running, you better run too because there is clearly something bad chasing me.  Also note I feel no guilt about tripping you).  When I was in my teens, I suffered from severe migraines.  You can’t see those either, but I would have stabbed a badger with a spoon to make them stop.  Then came the ovarian cysts in my late teens.  I have had food allergies my whole life, and you can’t see those, but one peanut is a death sentence.

Invisible illnesses are real, but unless you have had one, you probably don’t understand.  “It’s just anxiety… chill out!”  “But you ate that same thing yesterday, why is it making you sick now?”  Trust me, asshole, if I knew that I would be the happiest person alive.

Twelve years ago about this time I started getting really sick when I would eat.  I had no idea why, since it wasn’t anything I hadn’t eaten a million times before.  I went to the doctor several times once the vomiting began, but he just shrugged and gave me some anti-nausea medicine. FYI – anti-nausea medicine has never helped me even once.  Then I started to get anxious every time I would feel nauseated.  And every time I ate.  Or thought about eating.  Or didn’t.  After three months, I ended up in the ER.  Again, they gave me anti-anxiety pills and told me to go to my doctor (again) on Monday.  I did.  Barfing all over the office while waiting for my turn to see him.  He gave me a shot and told me that if it got WORSE to come back.  Problem is it didn’t get worse.  It stayed exactly the same.  At the end of that week, I had lost 20 lbs and could barely walk.  I finally made my Dad take me back to the doctor’s office.  At this point, I was vomiting blood and so weak I couldn’t sit up.  The doctor took one look at me and sent me to the hospital.  Not to the ER, but directly in-patient.  I was there for a week and I got a lot of shrugs and something about a slow emptying stomach.  My potassium level was so low I almost died.  After a week, they sent me home with a prescription for an acid blocker and a medication they told me not to take unless I absolutely had to because it would cause permanent facial twitching.  No actual diagnoses.

Over the past twelve years, it has come and gone, but never gone away.  A few years after the initial hospital trip, I started becoming VERY familiar with every ER and hospital room in town.  I had good doctors, many horrible tests, and still no real diagnosis.  In 2011, my doctors flat-out told me there was nothing wrong with my stomach and that it was all in my head.  They told me that the next time it happened I should go to a psychiatric hospital because there wasn’t anything they could do with me.  Doctors who make your patients feel crazy – Shame on you.  There is a special place in hell for those people.  Just because YOU don’t know what is wrong doesn’t mean something isn’t wrong.

Then I got sick again.  And taking their terrible advice, I tried to get myself admitted to the psych hospital.  Contrary to popular belief, it is REALLY hard to get yourself admitted.  Especially when you spend the whole intake barfing and having massive blood pressure issues.  But after begging, they finally accepted me.  Now, it’s important to note that they asked why I was there and not at a hospital because CLEARLY I was really sick.  But buddy when you are desperate, you will try anything to feel better.  Even taking a vacay in the cuckoo’s nest.  (And that is some scary shit, my friends.  I do not recommend it unless you are seriously suicidal)  And after 5 days, they sent me home.  No better.

3 months later at the ripe old age of 35 I had a heart attack.  Not the kind you get from heart disease or a blocked artery, but the kind that is 100% caused by long-term emotional stress.  It’s called Broken Heart Syndrome.  I think I have blogged about this before, so I won’t go into again.  Instead of aspirin therapy, medication, or a surgical intervention, I was told to meditate and take yoga or Tai Chi.

I would love to say that solved things and I went skipping into the future happier and healthier, but it didn’t.  I managed to stay out of the hospital for 18 months, but that was just being too stubborn to go.  I had to quit working full-time, and working was always a big part of who I was.  I love what I do, but I literally couldn’t do it anymore.

Fast-forward to August 2013 and me being on vacation at my in-laws’ house in the Hill Country.  I got seriously sick to the point where I couldn’t even deal with the three-hour drive back to Houston to go to a “real” hospital.  I ended up in a tiny hospital in San Marcos.  I had no insurance, but these people ran every test known to man.  After another nuclear gastric emptying test, and every other test they could think of, they told me that I had Gastroparesis.  For those unfamiliar, this is a paralysis of the stomach muscle which does not allow for proper and timely digestion of foods eaten.  They build up until there is only one way out, and that way is up.  Stress makes it worse, because stress and anxiety cause the nerves in the stomach to go dead.  Finally!  An answer!!

But here is the catch – There is no cure.  Mother Fucker!  Seriously?  I finally find out what is wrong and there is no cure??  Plus, over the years I have also developed Type 2 Diabetes (thanks, PCOS!) and the diet for Gastroparesis is in direct conflict with a healthy diabetic diet.  You have GOT to be joking me!  So, how do I handle this?  They told me to take the face twitching medicine as often as I could, try not to get stressed (HA!), and oh BTW did you know there is a center in Houston dedicated to Gastroparesis and they can install a gastric pacemaker to keep the stomach pumping?  Where was that information when I still had insurance??  Why did I have to go to a podunk hospital to get an answer instead of one of the best Medical cities in the country?

Fast forward another year to now – I have insurance again (Thanks, Obamacare!!) and I have been hospitalized 12 times in the past 10 months.  Things haven’t gotten much better, but rather than owing an additional $80K to my heart attack bill, I am covered after meeting my out-of-pocket max.  I am now working with a new Gastroenterologist who is familiar with my disease and we are working things out.  We are also looking into the possibility of having the pacemaker implanted before the end of the year since my insurance should cover it.

But the fact is I am sick.  I hate that I can’t work anymore and my poor husband has to carry all of the financial burden.  I have a Master’s degree and am damn good at what I do, but the fact is that you cannot hold a job when you are sick all the time, no matter how good you are at what you do.  This past week, I started a new gastric medicine to see if that would help, and I ended up having tremendously violent and vivid nightmares every night to the point of waking up in a cold sweat.  I ended up in the ER one night.  I had a great morning the other day, and then ended up so sick I could barely stand it.

And I am fucking sick of it.  There may not be a cure, but I am DONE feeling like a worthless loser because I am sick.  It’s time to make a change for the better.  I am currently working on a plan to go back to strict clean eating (less processing means less bloat and easier digestion), exercise, and also psychological retraining of my brain.  I am starting a support group for others who have similar issues or are just sick of feeling miserable and out of control all the time.  I may not cure myself, but I can make the process a little easier.

So all of this has been said because I am going to be publicly blogging my journey.  Part of the reason I started Self Saving Princess four years ago was to be honest with people that life is hard, but you CAN make it better.  You do have the power within yourself to make your life go the way you want it to go.  I am developing an 8-part program for myself that I will outline in the coming days.  If people want to follow it, they are welcome.  If you want to be part of the support group, email me and let me know (Spammers, suck it.).  My goal is always to be honest because if one thing I have been through can help someone else, I have met my objective.  Step up to the plate (heh) and work towards saving yourself, whether you are a Princess, a Badass, or just some dude who randomly reads my blog.

Happy Reading and May the Force be with you.

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Liz, Self Saving Princess

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Summer Suckfest 2014

I don’t know what is in the air or the water this summer, but it has been a giant suckfest.  I guess I had high hopes for the summer.  Actually, I don’t know that I have hope of much of anything anymore.  It seems every time I look forward to something it goes it hell in a hand basket.

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July should have been awesome.  We had a family vacation planned where my husband’s whole family was getting together for the week.  It would also be my first time to actually meet our 5-year-old niece in person, since she lives in Chicago.  And most of the trip was fantastic.  We had a great time and really got to enjoy each other.  And my niece is a precious dreamboat!  I was worried that a week wouldn’t be enough time to really bond with her, but we clicked right away and it was a snuggle fest.  But like any family vacay, there are always moments where everyone seems to want to strangle each other.  But everyone emerged unscathed.

We rushed home from the trip to use my photographic skills to help my hubby’s opera crew show their support for the Metropolitan Opera.  On our way home, we were very nearly killed in a car accident.  Fortunately, and thankfully for my husband’s quick reflexes, we only had to take a short ride through the grass.  Unfortunately, we had a fatality when his computer monitor (lovingly swaddled between a blanket and pillow) was trashed during the off-roading.  Blah.  After the excitement of the trip, the quick photo shoot, and dinner with a friend, my body pretty much retaliated and I ended up in the hospital.

That was the first of FOUR trips between July and today (yes, I was just released from visit #4 this afternoon).  A few days later, our good friend LeeAnn lost her battle with breast cancer.  That was such a blow.  We knew it would be coming, sooner rather than later, as she has been planning for this for a while.  But it really hit hard for both me and my husband, who is good friends and colleagues with her husband.  He had also agreed to help coordinate fellow opera friends to sing at her memorial service, so it was really tough emotionally for both of us.

I am also missing my pseudo-kid pretty hard-core.  We had to make a decision before the summer to send her back home, and I regretted it immediately.  Yes, we butted heads, but we also learned a lot from each other and I really miss her being around, being a goof ball, and just enjoying watching her grow and learn.

And this week I SHOULD have spent celebrating my husband’s birthday, but instead my jerk-wad body decided it was time to freak out again and cause me to spend another 4 days in the stupid hospital.  I am REALLY starting to hate that place.  I mean, yeah, the morphine supply is a plus, but that wears off pretty quickly.

I have no idea why I decided to write tonight.  I was messing around on Facebook earlier and playing some games and I came across Farmville 2, which has been my favorite game for a while.  But I haven’t played it in a long time, and I couldn’t remember why.  I clicked on it to play, and then immediately closed the window.  It finally hit me – The only friend I had who also played that game was LeeAnn, and now she is gone.  That made me really sad. Not because of a stupid game, but the finality of her no longer being around really hit me.

I’m not going to pretend that we were best friends or anything.  We really only met a handful of times in person, and other than Facebook and random opera events, we didn’t have a lot of contact.  But there was something really special about her and I felt a bit of kinship with her.  We were both young, and sick, though for different reasons.  We talked several times about the stupid things that people say to you when you are sick with something they don’t understand.  She also never made me feel like my illness wasn’t a big deal because it wasn’t cancer.  She was genuinely concerned about me every time I was sick, just like I was with her.   She also had such a great sense of humor and was so grounded in reality about where she was in life.  The last time I saw her in person was at the final dress rehearsal for an opera our husbands were in.  I walked up to her and happened to be smoking a cigarette.  I went to give her a hug and then said, “OH my God, I am such an asshole!” and went to move the cigarette away from her.  She gave me a look like I was nuts and said, “I’ve already got cancer.  Seriously? What’s the worst that could happen?”  She also told me that people were always asking her if she was planning to stop drinking Diet Coke… she said, “Why? What could it possibly do to me at this point?”  I loved that about her.  Real.  Honest.  And funny.

So, tonight I guess I am just a little sad.  Sad that she has gone.  Sad that the kid is gone.  Sad that my husband has been down this week.  And just sad that this is the summer of suckage.

But, there are good things on the horizon.  I’m throwing my husband (who hates to be the center of attention) a big karaoke birthday party (because he deserves to have people love on him).  My friend Winnie has called and requested a girls’ trip over Labor Day weekend, which hopefully will be awesome.  And my sweet nieces are starting school again (2nd grade and Kindergarten) and I can’t wait to see all the cute pictures.  I am also looking forward to this damn heat and humidity going away, though that may not happen until much later in the year than what I am ready for.

And did I mention my 20 year class reunion is in October?  When the hell did that happen?  That’s not ok!!  2014, you can totally suck it.  I am ready for next year already.

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Somedays there aren’t enough casserole recipes

Last night, I went to bed feeling worried and a bit overwhelmed.  The past month has been a difficult one for me, physically and emotionally.  I had another hospital stay, have had to battle with stupid government policies on what makes someone disabled, and have also had to say goodbye to my pseudo-kid, who has chosen to go back home and is battling her own demons.  And I have no control over any of these things.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of a control freak, and don’t deal well with things outside my realm of control.

But this morning, I awoke to sad news filling up my Facebook timeline.  Maya Angelou, an influential and beautiful soul has passed.  She was definitely the voice of a generation and an inspiration to all women.  I felt this passing in my very soul, as her words and her grace have always provided comfort to me personally.  I thank her for her strength and for providing the words that we need to hear.

And then I saw more bad news.  A good friend who has been battling Stage 4 breast cancer for years has just found out that the cancer has spread to her brain.  My heart is breaking for her, her husband, and their children as they continue to battle with this disgusting disease.  And I not only became sad… I became angry.  Because she doesn’t deserve this.  She doesn’t deserve to have to fight this struggle.

Sure, people will say “No one deserves Cancer,” and maybe that is true, but it seems that there are some people more deserving than others.  Child rapists.  Murderers. People who lie, cheat, and hurt other people for their own enjoyment.  THOSE people deserve Cancer.  Not my sweet friend.  Not my little cousin, who lost his four-year battle with cancer last year at the ripe old age of 7.  Not my uncle, who passed away at the age of 60 who was one of the most loving people I have ever know.  These people do not deserve to suffer this way.

And all I could think this morning was “I don’t have enough casserole recipes.”  Casseroles seemed to be our mothers and grandmothers solution for any ailment.  When people get sick, you bring their family a casserole so that they don’t have to worry about what they are going to eat.  You bring them a casserole to help comfort them when all they want to do is crawl into a corner and cry.  You bring them a casserole because damn it – sometimes that is the only thing you can do – pour your love for them into some sort of physical form and hope that is does the trick.  I know you can’t cure cancer with a casserole.  But what the hell else can you do when you have no control.  No words will make things better.  Love and prayers will only take you so far.

And today, I am angry.  I am angry that we are still having to deal with this wretched disease.  It took my grandfather, my uncle, my cousin, and countless others in my lifetime.  Hell, we eliminated fucking polio, but cancer rages on.  Our government and its people seem focused on attacking women, minorities, the poor, our troops, the gays, and anything else that will keep the attention off where it truly needs to be – It’s people.  Our people are suffering and dying every day, but we look elsewhere.  WHY can’t we get this under control??  Why must we lose the ones that we love, those people who have lived their lives well and have helped others.  I used to say that in corporations, the good people will leave and the bad people will stay forever.  It seems that this is not so very different from how the world seems to work.

I do not want to see my friend, nor her family, suffer from this dreadful disease.  This is a woman who went out of her way after my heart attack at my wedding to come and tell me how worried she was about ME and that she was thinking and praying for me.  I’m like, “Lady, you are dealing with Stage 4 breast cancer!  Don’t be worried about me!”  But that is the kind of person she is.  She is a beautiful person and I do not want to see her in pain.  I do not want to even think about what her husband and children are going through.  I certainly don’t want to think about my own health struggles.  All I want to do is make them a casserole and give a fraction of my loving spirit to them to help them.

But sometimes, there just aren’t enough casserole recipes.

Food by Gretchen Wirges, Photo by Elizabeth Blessitt Photography

Food by Gretchen Wirges, Photo by Elizabeth Blessitt Photography

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From Non-Mom to Psuedo-Mom in 3 hours

This last month has been a roller coaster.  As you may recall, in my last post, I was both happy and hating everyone who easily gets pregnant.  Again, thrilled for my friends who are starting and expanding their families, but sad and angry at my own body’s inability to produce a single child.

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Well, things have changed a bit in the last month.  In the middle of February, I learned that my 17-year-old cousin would be getting out of boot camp, and both her dad and I worried about her going right back into the environment she came from and getting right back into the same old trouble.  Especially when part of her family is the reason she started getting into trouble in the first place.  My sweet husband and I decided to offer her a place to stay with us, in order to get her into a better situation going forward.  We wanted to give her the opportunity to start a new life away from the drugs, crime and everything else that she has had to deal with over her short lifetime.

So, when she graduated early from boot camp, she came home with me.  We set her up with her own bedroom and bathroom (which means now Paul and I have to SHARE one… a total sacrifice) and we were so happy to get her here and see what we could do to help her move forward.

And I am not going to lie.  This kid has had it ROUGH.  I won’t get into all of the details, but in my 37 years I haven’t even heard of half the stuff she was doing, and what I do understand makes me sick, and a bit stabby towards the people who made it/allowed it to happen, when they should have been protecting her from all of this shit.

But, y’all, going from a non-mom to a psuedo-mom to a 17-year-old who has never had boundaries is TOUGH.  And I’m a tough cookie.  My mom was strict growing up, and we learned respect and boundaries like you should.  I expect the same from any kid that I deal with.  My 6-year-old niece knows exactly what she can and cannot do when she is with me, and she is perfectly fine with that.  Because she understands what this kid does not – My rules are here to keep you safe.

Lexie was my little sweetie before I ever had a niece of my own.  Her dad is my first cousin, so I spent quite a bit of time watching her when she was little.  Before her mother moved her away to the land of meth.  She has always held a special place in my heart and I have always regretted that I didn’t try to take her in sooner, because I saw this path coming for her at 9 years old.  I knew it would only be a matter of time.  But at the time, I was having enough difficulty in my own world that I just couldn’t do it.  I regret it every day, but it is what it is.

Maybe we were a little naive thinking that she would just mesh in perfectly when she came here.  And I’m not an idiot.  Two degrees in psychology taught me that there would definitely be challenges and battles with this kid, who has seen and done so much.  But it has been both rewarding and absolutely aggravating at the same time.  I am pretty sure this is why we don’t give birth to teenagers.  Most parents have a lot of years to work up to instilling values before they get to the butthead teenager stage.  Mine was made in a matter of hours and it challenges me every day.

She can go from complete sweetheart to psychotic child in 2.3 seconds flat, as happened tonight.  Most of the time I try to stay understanding, and stand my ground.  Sometimes, I fail.  Miserably.  Tonight was a complete fail.  Tonight, after dealing with such a mood swing that I think I got whiplash, I just broke down.

Not in front of her, of course.  Oh no.  I left her room fuming after she once again attacked me when I didn’t immediately give in to whatever she wanted.  I have bent over backwards for this kid, rearranging my entire life to meet her needs.  And honestly, tonight I am over it.  I asked a simple question, and she attacked me.  Accused me of not wanting her here.  Made me feel like I don’t like her.

Guess what, kid?  I know your game.  You WANT me to throw you away, like so many before you.  You want to be the victim again instead of growing up and taking charge of your life.  Then you will have someone to blame besides yourself when you fuck it all up again.  But the fact is if I didn’t want her here… she wouldn’t be here.  I want her to succeed, but I am not going to do it for her.  I am not going to be guilted into doing things that I don’t want to do, nor will I be goaded into a fight with a sulky, bratty over-grown kid who doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut.

Tomorrow, she will have to make a choice.  To stay here, live by the rules designed to keep her safe, or to throw it all away and go back to the land of the meth whores.  I am done battling with someone who doesn’t appreciate what we have offered.  We have a hard enough time making it from month to month without another person looking for something every time we blink.  If she thinks I am getting any financial reward from this, she is crazy.  So, as much as I love her, and as much as I want her to succeed, it is time for her to take the steps necessary to get her life on track.

So, as much as I want to punch a wall tonight, I know better (and would most likely just leave a whole in my rental house AND break my fist).  Tonight, I blogged it out, instead.  Tough love is all I have to give her right now.  And she might hate it.  But one day, soon I hope, she will get that someone cared enough about her to give her that chance.  If not, that is on her.

PS – My dog Lucy hates her.  Her frantic energy is just too much for my poor little pup to handle.  But, the awesome part is that I don’t have to worry about her sneaking out during the middle of the night, as any time she moves, the Lucy Alarm goes off.  Sucker!

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