More Me Now

I am terrible at remembering to refill my MS medication prescription until the day I take the last pill I have on hand. Luckily, Rexall remembers for me, so I can usually just go in day of and it’s ready to be picked up.

I did such a thing last night, but the additional cool part was that – for the first time – the pharmacist ringing it through asked how the meds were working out for me. He asked how it was going. We chatted about it for an extra few moments before I headed for home. No one’s ever asked me that before, outside of my neurologist. It was nice.

I haven’t posted on FB since last week, the day after the election. Not even this blog goes up on there anymore. I go on just to see my memories for each day, especially on days like today. It’s the sixth anniversary of the day I had to have my Kate kitty put down, and while the memories in my feed today are ultimately sad, there’s also a lot of good ones, because I’ve posted a little tribute to her each year since.

Well, not this year. Or not on FB, at least. I did post a little something elsewhere, though, including some of my fave photos of us together:

kate-1997-2010

The thing I’ve noticed about being on FB less in this past week is that I have far fewer interactions, and since this blog isn’t being posted there, I feel sort of liberated and like I can be a bit more open about things. We’ll see how long that lasts, of course, but for the time being, I actually feel like expressing a bit more on here than I have in the past. We’ll see. We’ll see.

Yesterday, I saw the dental surgeon guy who did my gum surgery. He was very pleased with how the healing is coming along – I think pleased with himself most of all, but pleased nonetheless. He approved me to go ahead and get the crown, so I’ll set that up with my regular dentist very soon. I look forward to paying for THAT over the next year or so of my life. Haha

My work day yesterday was ridiculous. A lot of entitled attitudes walking around here, it seems. I’ll no doubt complain about that another time.

Today is almost as bad, but a little over the top because my polar bear is out at the Toronto Zoo for the first time in 4 years, and I am stuck here instead of spending time with him again at last. The other thing is that I’ve been feeling so disconnected lately that I am sad about how little I’m affected by all that right now. I should be more excited to see him. I should feel more things in general. Instead I’m still just…swept away.

I’m sure that’ll change whenever I do see him again. It’s just sad that I don’t feel like I have even that to look forward to anymore.

Another FB memory that popped up was one I’d kind of forgotten about. I’d been challenged one time to list a number of things that most people wouldn’t know about me. It was fun to go back and re-visit that, so I thought I’d share it again here.

So here you go – 11 things about me that most people don’t already know:

  1. I am obsessively partial to odd numbers. I’ll …have to find a way to make my biological imperative overlook this list of 8, for example. (Note: I was later challenged by another friend so was able to add 3 more to the original list, to total 11.)
  2. I had a spoon collection when I was younger, thanks to my grandmother, who gave me her Charles and Diana wedding spoon to start things off. I’m trying to figure out where I put it, now, actually.
  3. When I was little, I wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up. Then I wanted to be a Jedi. Finding out I could be neither was almost as disappointing as finding out that my parents couldn’t give me the older sister I’d asked for.
  4. I was painfully shy as a child, but then I figured out that shy people got made fun of, so I faked it in the hopes that I wouldn’t draw attention to myself. Today it’s just as hard to leave the confines of my apartment, but I am way better at hiding it, and I bet no one has any idea now. Oh…crap…
  5. One of my biggest fears as a kid was giants. Sweetums terrified me. Technically, I’m still nervous around things that are bigger than me, but am able to be awed by some of them, as well. Like whales and bears.
  6. My mom says I used to cry every time I heard the theme song from the Littlest Hobo. I actually still get a little misty-eyed over it now. Ah, doggies.
  7. My bedroom walls and ceiling are partially covered with glow-in-the-dark stars. I’m 41 (Edit: 44 now), and I love them. I purposefully charge them up every night before going to bed, so I can fall asleep in my tiny universe. At least the ones Flynn hasn’t peeled off. I had to move a bunch up out of her reach. Ah, kitties.
  8. I was Valedictorian of my high school graduating class. There were, like, 11 of us, I think, and I made the least stink about being nominated. My class had the coolest idea ever for a gift – we were creating a time capsule to be put on display and then buried on school grounds to be dug up in 50 years or so. We had a whole list of stuff we were each contributing, but in the end, we never finished it. So our gift to the school was actually nothing at all, which sort of sums us up rather well, really.
  9. I have – and still listen to – the first Alanis album on CD. Not Jagged Little Pill – the FIRST first album! “Never too hot, never too cold, ya take your best shot, too hot to hold! Never too young, never too old….you gotta go for GOLD!!!”
  10. I really really really miss plugging quarters into video arcade machines. I miss going to the arcade and playing my faves, usually with my brother. And I absolutely miss playing games that you can’t really “beat” no matter HOW good you are. Eventually, that little frog is going to take a misstep, or there will be too many asteroids to deal with, or the Pong ball will bounce faster than you can react. I miss that.
  11. My walls, like many pre-teen and teen girls, was covered in pinups of my fave celebs. I was a regular reader of Bop, 16 and Teen Beat magazines, and was provided with more than enough fodder for my obsessions. The biggest one – and I’ve never really out-grown it – was for Ricky Schroder. Others included Ralph Macchio and most of the 80’s Menudo line-up. And the entire cast of Outsiders. And Mark Hamill. But mostly, I was and am all about the Ricker.

Finally, I’ll end with a few shots of the supermoon I took last night. ‘Cause why not, right?

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Antidepression Quandry

For the past several months, I’ve been actively trying to wean myself off of my antidepressants. It’s been going quite well, which is why I’ve been keeping it up. Slow and steady, as I am in no rush. I just feel like it’s time to get off them, and since I know from previous experience how difficult that can be, I figured I would take my time, and just aim for an eventuality. I don’t really want to be taking them for the rest of my life, if I can help it.

I’d forgotten how physically sick I would feel when I changed the consistency of taking them, so I went back to super steady, and made incremental changes as I went along. I keep forgetting when I last took one, so sometimes I still don’t feel great, even though my weaning period has been going on for a long time.

As far as depression goes, however, I’m still feeling pretty balanced. That, for me, has been the main thing to keep an eye on. Even when PMS-ing, though, I’m thus far able to differentiate between when I’m legit upset by something versus weeping unnecessarily hard over a commercial on television.

I mean, I have a new TV now, so everything looks splendid, but still…I can tell when I’m being hormonally over-sensitive, most of the time. So that’s good.

I’m wondering now, though, if I should start taking them regularly again, even just at the lowest dose. I find my ability to focus on one thing at a time is suffering a lot lately, and it occurred to me this morning that it might actually be due to taking myself off antidepressants. It was easier for me to direct my focus when I had something to take the edge off. Is it something I can learn to do for myself, if I keep working my way off of them? I actually don’t know. I’m not entirely sure I ever could. It’s fine on the surface – things still get done, and some of them even get done well. I write everything down now, anyway, because I have trouble remembering things since I started on these MS meds. So keeping track in alternate ways helps me, and is a habit I’ve developed anyway. But it’s frustrating on the inside. I feel almost overwhelmed sometimes, and more often now than I used to. Again, maybe I can learn to focus better, anyway.

But maybe not.

The other point in favour of going back on them more regularly is how, like…not exactly over-sensitive, but I’m having a lot more anxiety now, and as such I am getting much less sleep. I’m constantly thinking about things, and going over things in my mind. That on top of the usual MS fatigue I’ve been experiencing the past few years is making it harder for me to NOT break down and cry about even the smallest things.

Again, maybe in time I’ll learn how to quiet my mind naturally and get better rest. But maybe I won’t. Maybe I never really could. I’m not actually sure.

For now, I’m not really going to make any decisions. I just started thinking about it this morning, and since I’m definitely PMS-ing (bring me salt!) right now, I may as well wait until I at least have whichever faculties I usually have about me again, and go from there!

Mind Reels Activity

Holy crap guys! So much happening on the Mind Reels front this morning!

Did a little promoting of our Patreon page, as per usual (http://www.patreon.com/TheMindReels – please share – every little bit helps!) and then moved on to other more immediate things.

Am just a step away from confirming the date for our next radio play, which will be happening next week, barring any unforeseen circumstances. I heard back availability from one person, then three more in a row said they were also free on those evenings, so suddenly I have a cast, and now just need to confirm that the studio is available before I cement the details! So excited! We’ll have a couple of new people and some who have done one before, but I don’t think any of them will have really done any together before. Maybe two of the guys. Anyway, I’m super stoked – we’re doing an episode of Ellery Queen this month, and it’s ridiculous! I love these old radio plays. They are so bad they’re great! It’s got to be one of the most routinely fun things I’ve ever done, and I hope this project has the legs it needs to keep going for a long time!

And speaking of projects, we just put the wheels in motion to start yet another one! This one will hopefully expand our content, as well, but in another slightly different direction, which – if it works out – should be amazing! While the radio plays act as a branch of our podcast, this new project will hopefully become a long-term branch of our blog. I am so insanely excited about it, I can barely contain myself! I’d been distracted from it for the past couple of weeks, but as soon as I started working on it again, the initial excitement came rushing back, and I couldn’t wait to take the first steps! Now I’ve started taking them, and while it’s a matter of waiting to see if there is any response from the parties I’m reaching out to, it’s hard not to kind of hold my breath in anticipation. I’m aware that there could be no response at all, or negative responses – I’m aware this might not take off even a little bit, let alone the way I’m hoping – but at the end of the day, I’m a dreamer. I’ll keep dreaming this until it either becomes a reality or falls on its face. I’ll keep believing in the possibilities until I have no choice but to concede defeat.

As well, we have a tentative interview coming up next week, but the only time it can be done is after I have minor-but-painful dental surgery, so it’ll be interesting to see how THAT goes! I was kind of hoping to go home after, walk the dog and go to bed. Instead, I’ll likely be heading downtown to try and hold it together while chatting with one of my favourite people about one of my favourite shows!

How do I get myself into these things?

The first time I did an injection of Avonex (the first MS meds I was taking), I had no idea what the side effects would be for me. Or, I knew the likelihood, but not the severity. So naturally, the next morning was the only time we could do an interview with friends who were in town. I was a mess, so it’s good that we were just audio in those days, but holy hell is that ever NOT a way to discover how a medication will affect you!

This situation will be different because, unless my meds react poorly with one another, I’ll mostly just be dealing with pain. Which is not ideal, but it still should be fine, more or less.

I just…how do I get myself into these things? #becauseicantsayno

Monday TIFF-day

As expected, I am suffering somewhat today.

However, the show must go on. As must life! So with another busy day and late night ahead of me, and the beginnings of a cold that have been hanging around for over a week now, I’m having some spicy kimchi noodles from the convenience store on the corner. Hoping that’ll at least keep me warm until lunch time!

Also because tasty.

Even though I can’t afford to go to TIFF, and especially because it still feels strange to not be on vacation and heading to screenings, I think I should plan to book at least the front end off next year. The Mind Reels is not accredited press on an official level, but we’re still getting more than enough festival action coming our way, and I am broken and exhausted right now.

Luckily I still have paid sick days available. Self care time is upon me, I think.

Remember to sponsor and share our Patreon page (http://www.patreon.com/TheMindReels), as just $2 per month gets you on the Patron board, and gets us closer to our initial $100 goal than ever before!

I filmed as much as I could for Canada In A Day, so once I get feeling better and have a bit more energy, I’ll be able to start going through the footage and cutting it together. There’s unfortunately not very much of it – the day didn’t really go as planned – but there’s some. Hopefully I can at least create a mini-narrative of my day, such as it was, and then share it online once it’s been submitted. I think the cut-off is a month from today, so while I have time in theory, I don’t think I have much time i practice. My next few weeks are pretty busy, too. SOMETHING will get submitted, though! Some clip may even make it in! I filmed Brody a bit, and he’s irresistible!

Tonight is going to be a late night. Not sure how I’ll get through it, exactly, but at the same time, if it’s as much fun as last year, I think my billionth wind will kick in nicely! Just have to get there, is all! I haven’t really been to many TIFF parties – or any others, that I can recall – but I think the Canada one would be my favourite, anyway. It’s just got an unpretentious vibe to it. Plus, I know a lot of the people who will potentially be there, so once the initial red carpet formalities are out of the way, everyone just gets to hang together, which is nice. I even just like people-watching in an environment like that; when everyone is relaxed and having fun together. It’s just nice.

Plus, if there are chips and beer, I’m all good!

Anyway, it’ll be amazing, I’m sure. I wish I felt better so I could enjoy it more, but really, just being there will be worth it. Knowing me, I’ll forget how crappy I feel shortly after my arrival, anyway!

Dealing With A Diagnosis

I read this thing on FB yesterday, and while the first line was something I could sort of relate to, the majority of the rest of it was not.

The opening line had something to do with there being certain moments in your life you would never forget – when you realized your husband was about to propose, the birth of your child, and being told you had MS.

Now…I don’t know about those first two moments, per se, but I imagine they are fairly unforgettable. And I agree that I probably won’t forget receiving a diagnosis any time soon.

But the whole rest of the post was so different from my experience that it’s almost funny.

Optic neuritis was the writer’s flare up which led to her diagnosis, same as mine.

She received a phone call; I was sitting in my neurologist’s office.

She’d waited a whole four days to find out why she couldn’t quite see out of one eye. I waited the better part of a year, which was still obscenely quick for an MS diagnosis. I lucked out in that all of the specialists had an idea of where my path was leading, and knew what to look for.

She collapsed to the floor sobbing and picturing wheelchairs; I went to work for the rest of the day.

Her husband held her like he’d never held her before; I dealt with it on my own, alone.

Mind you, I’d also done a ton of research. As soon as the possibility of MS came up, I went online and started reading about all of the horrifying things the disease can do to your body, but I also started looking into the 3 first line medications my neurologist told me he’d be considering if MS turned out to be what we were dealing with. I went into various forums and learned first hand what other people experienced with each one, and how they dealt with the side effects.

I even watched a video of someone giving herself an injection, but I was pretty sure I would be going the pre-mixed Pen route instead.

Anyway, there was one appointment when I thought the neurologist was going to call it, and I took the day off work, just so I’d have time to process. He didn’t, though, so I had a decent enough day off from there. The day he DID call it, I actually wasn’t expecting it, so still felt a glimmer of shock roll through me at hearing the actual words.

Then all my research brain stuff kicked in, and I told him which medication I’d decided to try first. He was super impressed that I already knew so much, and we filled out the application form right then, which he faxed in from his office. I was learning to do my first injection within a couple of weeks, I believe.

I asked a friend to come over for the injection training session, in part to help keep the kittens out of the way, and in part to help me remember the steps for when I would do the next one on my own. Probably also just so I wouldn’t be alone. Nurse Billy wasn’t the most comforting presence ever, to be honest. I dealt with the side effects alone, however. And they sucked. But I got better at it once I knew exactly what I was dealing with.

I remember Tim went ahead and set up a brunch/interview/chat with some filmmaker friends for the next morning. I was so mad – I had no idea how my body was going to react to the injection, let alone how I’d feel in the morning. I made it out, but hadn’t slept much and was still feeling many of the flu-like effects the whole time. I got better at managing the immediate and next day side effects, but man. A little consideration after that first injection would have been nice!

Anyway. Mostly I am glad that I can do these things alone, and don’t feel the need to have other people around me all the time. If I ask someone to go to an appointment with me, for example, or any of the tests I have to get done, I tend to focus on them more than on myself. I feel like I have to talk to them, entertain them, do something to make sure they’re not too sorry they came with me. But sometimes I don’t really want to talk. Sometimes I just want to wait until it’s my turn to get it over with and move on with my day.

Sometimes – most times – I’d rather just stay inside my own head for awhile, and not feel like I have to interact and be “on” all the time.

Do I think that makes me better than the lady who wrote the post about being a mess and having a large support system? Yes, yes I do.

Haha

Not really; it’s just different. Part of me is mortified at the thought of not having the time and space to process things on my own. But part of me is jealous of that level of support and help from other people.

Above all, however, is the understanding that I chose my own path, each and every time, for better or for worse.

The fact that I am mostly successful in making it work for me is what makes me awesome. Well…one of the things, at least!

Interesting Day

Interesting day.

Physically taxing, yet somewhat emotionally rejuvenating.

I had kind of a hard week – work, fatigue, the heat, stress, sadness yet trying to wean off antidepressants, and a general malaise in every facet of my being.

I am tired.

This morning, I helped out a raccoon who took longer than usual to accept my aid, but I finally saw them run across the street to head home for the day.  Then I carried home a sweet little cabinet that was on the curb – it was heavier than it seemed at first, and about did me in on a physical level.  My muscles have been shaking ever since; every cell of my body feels drained.

Totally have great nerdy plans for that cabinet, though.

Then, after much back-and-forth deliberation, I went to the zoo.  Had a brief but amazing time with equally amazing friends,got to see inside the white rhino barn and met Tony, the handsomest white rhino I’ve ever seen.  He is astounding up close – at least as close as we got today.  I can’t even imagine being able to touch him and look directly into those deep, gentle eyes of his.

Also, there was swag, some of which I scored thanks to those aforementioned amazing friends, and am so excited to add to my zoo-related belongings!

And there were crayons.  And, hence, colouring.

I decided to stay longer to hang out with young Miss Juno, who was being ridiculously cute and even lingered by the fence with me for a while.  Also helped a nice older lady plan her tour of zoo babies, which was fun!

I was running out of steam in the Eurasia Wilds when I met up with another friend, but decided that I could not leave in good conscience without seeing the baby lynx and my beloved gorilla troop.  So I stayed longer than planned, but added the giraffes (Kiko has grown taller, I believe), and a repeat viewing of the polar bears – as well as other animals along the way – to the mix.

Now I’m extra exhausted, and everyone hurts.

But I can’t say it wasn’t worth it!

Thanks friends!  🙂

PS Too tired to proofread this – sorry for any errors I didn’t catch while typing!

 

Spirograph

If all lives really mattered, wouldn’t we all be a lot less douchey about those not our own?

So much reacting without thinking.

Whereas, some days, thinking is pretty much all I do. I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. Not, like, the dating kind. Obviously I am far too angry to date. Not specifically those, anyway. Just the ways in which I relate to others, and how they relate to me. Friendships, mostly, though some family and date-ish-like relationships, too.

Tomorrow I get to spend a large part of the day with one of my longest, closest friends, and I can not freaking wait! I can’t even remember the last time we got to hang out together like this…unless you count the day we spent in a clinic while I took my first dose of Gilenya, but I’m sure both of us would have rather been hanging out somewhere else. Somewhere we could talk and laugh and be ourselves more completely. Maybe somewhere with alcohol. Haha

Tomorrow will be much more “us”. Outside of eating chips in our pj’s while watching old episodes of “V” on VHS, of course.

Anyway, I am ridiculously excited about it – about just having the plan, let alone how much fun and cathartic it’ll be to actually do it all!

Another of my longest closest friends is in town this week with his wife, whom I haven’t met yet but feel like we’re going to get along splendidly together. We haven’t created an actual plan to hang out yet, but we will…it’s just a matter of finding mutual gaps in our schedules. But since I am also off tomorrow through Sunday, I think we should be able to figure something out!

I am ridiculously excited about that, too – I don’t even care what we do, so long as we’re together for a time!

I’m not sure if I feel so close to those two people because I rarely see them, but when I do, it’s like no time has passed, or if it’s because I’ve lived with both of them before. In the same house, just not at the same time. Maybe it was the house that cemented our friendships. Maybe it was the time period – I was fully out and feeling pretty cocky about my awesomeness; I thought at the time that I was pretty open about who I was, or at least as much as I had discovered so far. So I wonder if my frustration now is in feeling like I am less open than I was? Or the same but wanting to be more? Am I just more aware of feeling like I don’t know how to be the kind of friend to certain others that I want to have for myself? I definitely feel more guarded with new people now. I hadn’t been devastated yet when I met those friends from my 20’s.

Maybe some people just better at seeing through my crap and calling me on it and moving both of us past it. Maybe my newer friends just haven’t been given the chance to get there yet.

The interesting thing to me is that – regardless of the when or the how long – none of my closest friends ever consider me to be their closest friend. Or rather, they’ve always had people in their lives who are closer to them than I am. Just as I always have people closer to me than anyone who’s considered me one of their closest friends. It’s like some weird spirograph of connections; always fluid and changing and growing and shrinking and yet somehow still working somehow.

For the most part. There are times I still long for a more balanced mutual connection – to the point where I find myself even trying to force it sometimes – but for the most part, the spirograph works, and everybody gets what they need, more or less. Trying to force something to be what it’s not just because we want it to be something else…really doesn’t work for anyone. Which I of course know, but that doesn’t stop me from trying sometimes, even though I know it’s not going to turn out the way I want it to. Sometimes I just can’t help myself, I guess. Maybe I haven’t figured out the difference between reaching for what I want versus fighting a losing battle.

Maybe I still haven’t been able to even tell the two apart.