Tag Archives: civil rights

Me Without Healthcare….

This came through my inbox by way of another awesome chick I follow. Her take:

When I read over the healthcare bill draft released to the public last week, I couldn’t help but cry. If this bill passes Senate, I won’t live to see my 40th birthday. This isn’t a maybe, it’s an absolute fact. This is secondary to the millions of others who will be affected by this and I’m terrified for all of us.

Nikki perfectly and succinctly articulates the way many of our government officials view those with disability and hardship – that these problems are self-created by the individuals who are on these programs. Her mock obituary is a sobering view of what the passing of this bill will do to her, myself, and millions of other Americans.

Many of us in the chronic illness community are already fighting to be taken seriously, to have access to pain relief, to be seen and heard. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but no option for health care is so much worse.

My friends, my sisters, my daughter….need access to health care. Even without the challenges of an inoperable brain tumor, or a lung transplant, or kidney disease, Crohn’s Disease, or any of the myriad of autoimmune diseases, health care should not be a privilege.

Yearly preventative check-ups, well baby and child care, vaccines (don’t start with me), birth control, or emergency services for when your kid falls of their bike!! These are not unreasonable expectations for a developed society.

Please write to your representatives. Yes, again, if you have to. Stand up for those that don’t have a voice, stand up for your loved ones, stand up and tell DC this is not okay.

Source: Me Without Healthcare….

The Why

I saw a lot of support for International Women’s Day yesterday, but there was also some really ugly closed minded responses (here’s to the “real women” that didn’t “strike” today). Did you know that *every* March 8th is Women’s Day? And November 19th is Men’s Day? And yes, this year Women’s Day held some extra weight. Because of the events of the past….6 months? (give or take) women are marching, speaking out, striking, 10 Actions in 100 Days.

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I personally lean pro-life, but I’m standing up to make sure Roe V Wade isn’t overturned. I personally lean more hetero feminine female, but I’m standing up for people to have the right to be who they are. I personally am married to a man in a traditional marriage, but I’m standing up to make sure Same Sex Marriage is not overturned in any of the 50 states that it’s now legal in.

I have a mother, and a grandmother, and 2 daughters. I stand up for them. For me. For women that can’t. For my friends, and family, and all of the women in my life that I love. And for all the women before me, after me, and the women that inspire me.  It doesn’t cost you anything to be compassionate and supportive, but it means everything to the peoples that need it now, and in our future generations.

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Chronic illness doesn’t take a day off, chronic pain doesn’t take a day off, life doesn’t take a day off, but I did post a strike notice yesterday on my blog. No, I didn’t march on Washington or lay on my couch and check out for the day. But I spoke out and I supported the women that were doing the marching and the protesting. Because I have daughters. Because I know what it’s like to be a woman in this county, in this time period, in this world.

Why did we speak out on International Women’s Day this year especially?
Because being a woman means….

1. Carrying your keys between your fingers as a “weapon” when walking alone at night.
2. Turning your headphones off (or way, way down) to make sure you’re not being followed.
3. Mastering the “I’m walking quickly but not so quick you’ll know I’m afraid” when someone is behind you.
4. Calling friends when alone in a taxi/Uber/Lyft/walking from the Metro to your car in order to feel safe.
5. Texting your bestie/boyfriend/parents/brother your driver’s details “just in case”.
6. Messaging them when you get home to let them know you’re okay.
7. Sitting near other women on public transport to minimise the risk of being harassed.
8. Pretending to be on the phone in any number of situations to avoid harassment.
9. Giving men fake names/numbers rather than risking them lashing out at being told “no, thank you”.
10. Staying silent when being verbally harassed out of fear if you say something it’ll turn violent.
11. Keeping your drink covered with your hand/ getting your friend to watch it if you need to go to the bathroom/having to throw it out & get a new one if it was unattended at a bar so you don’t risk getting drugged.
12. Making sure someone always knows where you are if you’re going on a first date with a stranger.
13. Toning down statements with words like “just” and “sorry” to avoid being perceived as pushy or aggressive or bitchy.
14. Faking being happy even when you don’t feel like it to avoid being seen as a bitch.
15. Not being TOO perky so that people don’t think you’re stupid.
16. Pretending to be patient when you’re interrupted/talked over repeatedly by men.
17. Spending money each month on period products, which are still considered a “luxury” by men/governments.
18. Hiding said products up sleeves/in pockets when going to the bathroom in public places, because there’s still a stigma around periods.
19. Wearing makeup because you’re conditioned to believe your bare face isn’t good enough
or heck, just because you like it – and being told you’re fake/called false advertising.
20. Or not wearing makeup because you don’t want to & being told you look tired/sick/”you’d be so pretty with just a little make-up”.
21. Debating whether the tweet or Facebook status you’re about to post will result in being harassed,& having to make the decision about whether it’s worth it.
22. Answering/deflecting personal questions about your relationship status/fertility/home life from friends/coworkers, potential bosses, current bosses, or random strangers.
23. Dealing with birth control/side effects if you have sex with men & want to avoid getting pregnant because there’s still no male equivalent available.
24. Fighting with the knowledge that the government (dominated by men) has the power to legislate against your body, and standing up to make sure they don’t.
25. And, finally; dealing with people telling you your concerns aren’t valid, you should stop complaining because “women are equal”. (Also known as the “what rights DON’T women have?!” argument.)

March 8, 2017

The owner of this site is female and on strike in solidarity with The Women’s March and International Women’s Day.

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“We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever.” ~ Susan B. Anthony

The Opioid War; My Story

It’s not hard to find an article about the “Great American War on Pain (Meds)”, whether it’s a personal account or news about what our lawmakers are(n’t) doing for us….I mean protecting us from. Screw that brain tumor and spinal degeneration, chick, we WILL SAVE YOU FROM DAH DRUGS!!!!! ( whether you need it or not).

I never asked to be in this club, and I’m pretty sure there’s gotta be others out there that feel the same way, but I can only speak for myself, so other than the linked articles, these words are mine. This has been MY experience. The good, the bad, the really bad, the ugly, and the humiliating.

My personal journey with chronic pain started back in the 90’s with a misdiagnosed congenital leg length discrepancy. (I have congenital hip dysplasia….by itself not surprisingly unusual. But my case….the defect was missed my entire childhood, and then only begun to be discovered via a really ridiculous diagnonsense of “my left leg being 1.5 cm shorter than my right leg. Specifically, my left femur.”)

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Fast forward about 15 years,  throw a correct diagnosis of Congenital Hip Dysplasia in there (which by now has begun to affect my spine), a total hip replacement surgery, 4 months of rehab and PT, and a good dose of double pneumonia. (Side note: I also had nerve damage in my left arm) and you have somebody rolling into 2008-2009, discovering she has some serious pain.

So once I rolled all the O2 tanks out of my house because they were no longer needed, and tried to get on with my life, I found that I still hurt. A lot. All over.

I got told I was crazy, I got told I needed to see a therapist, I even had “potential drug seeking behavior, potential addiction? Anxiety disorder, h/x of eating disorder. Counseling suggested.” put in my chart.

“You just need some gentle exercise.”

“You just need to find a hobby.”

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I have put myself through:
physical therapy
talking therapy
Reiki
Accu-puncture
Accu-pressure
TriggerPoint Injections (still do. Sometimes they actually do help)
Nerve conduction studies in both arms, twice
massages twice a month (GOD I miss Susan, my massage therapist)
Yoga classes
Deep Breathing exercises
Biofeedback
Cervical Steroid Injections
& Radio-frequency Ablation for C6-C7 (twice)

All before they would consider any kind of drug therapy.

Then I had to run the gamete on all the different SSRI’s, SSNRI’s, and SNRI’s . I failed every 2 week trial. Sick as hell and exhausted, I would crawl back into my doctor’s office and plead with him to change my medication. Every time I had symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome. But I didn’t know it then. (I DO NOT do well on any kind of SSNRanything.)

Then it was Lyrica (pregabalin). Not bad, it worked (sorta), but I gained 30 pounds and my cholesterol shot up to 260 total. So I tapered off that and we tried Neurontin (Gabapentin). Which wasn’t bad, but the higher the dose went, the closer I had to be to my toilet until I finally cried “uncle!!” and told my doc I was afraid to leave the damn house!

This brings us up to 2010, when I moved to Merryland. I landed in the clinic of my new primary care with all of these records and she:
1) Immediately put me in for EFM (Exceptional Family Member status for the families of active duty.) (side note: I got EFM5, if you know what that means you get it. But Chief is retired now, so it doesn’t really matter anymore.)
2) Filled out all my paperwork to get me a disabled placard. She was incensed that no-one else had handled that based on my hip replacement alone.
3) Filled out the paperwork that would allow me to ask for my student loans to be discharged since I now was “officially disabled” and could not work.
4) Referred me to an actual pain management clinic for the first time.

In 2011, I was under some form of anesthesia 13 times for procedures. One for a cystoscopy, the other 12 for various shots into my C-spine. So, anyone can see that I was willing to put myself through just about anything to try to feel better.

Late 2010, early 2011 is when I was finally allowed to have long term pain medication prescribed to me.

Now, I have 6 monthly prescriptions from my pain clinic and neurologist. Three of those I physically have to go pick up the prescription and take it to the pharmacy. Everything is tracked and followed. My doctors and my pharmacists work with me and everybody reports everything to everyone else AND the insurance company.I follow all their rules, jump through all their hoops, never miss or reschedule an appointment with my pain clinic, and I submit to urine tests when mandated.

I follow all their embarrassing, humiliating, difficult rules and jump through the hoops because the pain meds I get allow me to function most of the time. They allow me to run my house and homeschool my child.

That’s all I want to do is live my life, so I play their games.

THIS is the face of a chronic pain patient:

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Trigeminal Meningioma, left side diagnosed 06/2014 ; Congenital Hip Dysplasia corrected with a Birmingham total hip replacement 11/2007 ; Migraines, Trigeminal Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, and nerve damage present in both arms.

I am not an addict. I am not a junkie. I’m a mother, a sister, a wife, a best friend, a daughter. And I just want to try to live the life I have left. And I need my meds to try to do that.

NOT The Vagina Monologues

I happened across a news story this morning in my daily perusal of news and what’s-going-on-in-the-world that struck a nerve with me. It has nothing to do with my usual blogging. Actually, no, that’s not entirely true. I have an all metal hip replacement in my left hip, and that fact does come into play in my story. I take it back, it kinda does relate to my usual blogging of “noise from a chick with disabilities”.

ANYway, I have traveled pretty much my whole life. Between growing up as a kid that moved a lot, and then marrying a guy in the Navy, it’s been pretty much a guarantee that my friends and family would be in a different part of the US than I was. Typically it’s fine. I’m not afraid of airplanes or road trips.

This particular story relates to an article posted on CNN three days ago. Angela Rye was “selected for additional screening” and shared her experience. I read through her article and I got it. I mean I really related to it because I’m a woman, and we don’t appreciate being physically accosted for security theater, and because I have an artificial hip (which makes traveling fun). All metal, my entire left hip. It sets off metal detectors.

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I know that it will most likely set off their metal detectors. I tell them I have a hip replacement. I have all the paperwork to show I’m just a chick with an implant. I tell them to stick me in the scanner and they’ll see it. I explain everything, and although I have been subjected to “additional screening” for longer than most people, I have complied because I knew it was easier for them to stick me in the scanners that let them see everything than it was to fight with them.

The first time I traveled after my hip surgery was about 7 weeks after surgery. I still had my cane then, so it was pretty easy to see I was just a chick traveling and not a threat. *But* the last trip I went on a few years ago to fly out to my mom’s in California -that trip- taught me a thing or three about what a hurtful experience feels like all in the name of security theater.

I checked in and made my way through the security check points. I had a carry-on and my youngest daughter with me and we were on our way home after a week or so in California. I told the TSA agent I had a metal hip before I stepped through the metal detector. It dinged, unsurprisingly. I explained that it they let me step into the scanner that was right there two steps away, he would see my hip and I could go about my merry way.

“Nope, you set off the metal detector. You need to be checked.”

SERIOUSLY??!! Have you seen any thirty-something, small, white, redheaded moms terrorizing anyone lately?!

Not only did they subject me to a full, humiliating pat down, no that wasn’t enough. They:

Made me strip down to my tank top and jeans, telling me to take my hoodie off in front of Gawd and everybody.
Insisted on keeping my daughter 10 feet away from me
Wouldn’t let me touch any of my own stuff or my kid
Searched my carry-on and my daughter’s backpack
and finally, ran her fingers through my hair, under the waistband of my jeans, up my thighs, over my chest, butt, stomach…you name it.

The entire thing was embarrassing and humiliating. But worst of all, on top of them taking all my stuff away from me, was my kid seeing them search me like I had done something wrong and not allowing my 10 year old daughter near me.

The final kick in the teeth? After everything was said and done, and I got my kid and my stuff back, we made our way over to the gate to sit down for a minute and wait for our flight. Not 5 minutes later a lady walked over, sat down at our same gate, and reached into her bag for something and pulled out a full bottle of water that she had opened, taken one drink out of, put back in her bag, and made it through security!

“Oh! ha…ha….I forgot I had that. Whoops.”

(The water thing wasn’t her fault and I wasn’t mad at her. It just illustrates that the TSA is a joke.)

#TSAVaginaMonologues #SecurityTheater #travelingwhiledisabled

#safetypin

Just a quick post today, because I’m seeing a lot of emotion and fear floating around social media and the blogosphere today. Well……this week actually. And probably for some time to come.

America is reacting right now. The world is watching, and reacting too. Some good reactions, some bad reactions, and a lot of fear because we don’t yet know what’s to come. And with the way 2016 has been, it could really be frickin anything.

(For example, my pulmonologist telling me my brain tumor probably is going to kill me, but more like affect my ability to swallow so I’ll die by chocolate milk. But that’s another story, and I’ll post that blog soon.)

At any rate, back to my quick post.

I have raised my kids to believe that everyone matters. Their whole lives I have told them I don’t care who they choose to be, or be with. Because love is hard enough to find in this world.  Be kind, love one another, include others in your life. My kids don’t judge color, shape, size, religion, sexual preference, gender, or age. Love is love.

Don’t forget that.

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Volatile Subjects

We’re living in a very volatile and emotionally charged version of America right now. I know that I created this blog to write about life with chronic illness. I’ve included my (new) journey through an inoperable and incurable brain tumor. I write about life with chronic pain and juggling 3 kids, assorted fur babies, and life in (and now after) the military community.

But I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes this morning after watching this video again. I saw it less than a month after the death of Eric Garner, and with the grand jury returning their opinion this week, it has been floating around social media again. A lot of bloggers, social media outlets, and talk show hosts have been talking about this case in particular, and the many more deaths we’ve all seen across our news feeds throughout the year. They point out that all off the questions we had about Michael Brown do not exist in this case. They point out that the officer used a *banned* choke hold on Eric Garner. They point out that the coroner ruled his death a homicide.

Blogs, memes, and hashtags like #CrimingWhileWhite and #LivingWhileBlack have sprung up. Videos have been posted from all walks of people, some calling for action, some calling out “thugs”, and some telling the rest of the world to shut the hell up. I’ve been watching it all, comparing reports and opinions before stepping up to say anything. The *first* thing I learned in college was critical thinking. For every statistic there is another “study” disputing it. Don’t take anything at face value. Learn to recognize rhetoric and never forget that there are always three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth.

Another thing that I learned in college was that we are not living in the post racial society I thought we were. In my Racial Relations class my professor told the class that a black man with the same education, experience, and qualifications makes $0.75 for every dollar a white man makes. I was incensed. What?! Seriously, civil rights was 50 years ago. I went looking for sources to tell her she was wrong. I spent spare time combing through peer reviewed papers, articles, studies. I hit the university library. I dug through research material. I couldn’t find anything to dispute her. I was wrong. It was 2009 and I learned that we have not gotten as far as I thought we had.

I know racism is alive and well. I grew up in parts of town that had the nice ladies hanging out on the corner near the bus station. I know there were parts of town you didn’t go to if you were white. I know what it feels like to be judged for the color of your skin. I’ve watched my mom get called names and screamed at because she was a white girl with a darker skinned man. My dad was Hawaiian and depending on what part of the world he was in depended on how he got treated. In Egypt, they thought he was Egyptian. In Southern California, they thought he was Mexican. And when he came to see me when I lived in Michigan, some lady that followed us around the grocery store didn’t know what he was. I saw the looks when he carried my blond haired/blue eyed children.

My point is that this is a very emotional and complicated issue. I see people waaaay over on one side saying this is BS and “what about the mistreatment of Japanese/Irish/Native Americans/all these other groups of ethnicitys?!” and I see people waaaay over on the other side saying “Black lives matter. This is modern day lynchings. Ain’t nothin’ changed!”. And I’m watching peaceful protests and riots and a lot of hurt and anger. I’m thinking of my own experiences and what I have learned.

In my family, we don’t teach any kind of prejudice. But I know I have seen it and felt it and I know my kids have. This is not the world I want my kids to inherit. I don’t know how to find our way out of where we are right now, but I do know that we all have to lay down our swords and our anger.