Poocherelli's Posts

Musings of a spiritual being, a dog lover,a friend to cats, a musician, a lover of God and the Episcopal church, and a female with a wicked sense of humor still seeking who she's supposed to be in this world, all rolled up into one being!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Step 2 OA questions & answers


1. List the areas where your life is unmanageable because of your
compulsive overeating. Are you ready to surrender the areas on your list to
your higher power?

The compulsive behavior permeates ALL of my behavior--it's just that
my "drug of choice" is food. So when I relapse, every part of my life is
affected and becomes unmanageable! I've had quite a battle of wills with
myself after doing step 1, putting off doing this step work. YES, I am
ready to surrender everything on my list--which is everything.

2. Discuss and reflect upon the concept of insanity as it applies to us in program.

The most common quote I've heard in 12-step work is that insanity
means doing the same thing over and over again,
expecting different results. That craziness of eating that trigger food,
thinking, "Oh, I can do it THIS time. I won't eat too much." or "I can have
this food once in a while. I can control it", and then proving yourself wrong
EVERY time HAS to be insanity. We have to seek out abstinence from those
dangers to regain our right minds! I gained some degree of abstinence
over my very worst trigger, and I try to avoid foods to which I've tested
allergic as well. If I maintain that, I not only feel better, but I THINK better.
I choose clear-headed over crazy on my best days.

3. Discuss and reflect upon how we use the substitution method
of accepting the presence of a Higher Power by substituting food
or other substances/objects. How have you looked for substitutes
all of your life? Are you still looking?

I've had periods in my life of substituting
other objects or activities, whatever would numb or erase the pain of the moment.
As I had a pretty good sense of Higher Power all along, I was able
to sort out the substitution thing over the years. I did, however,
hide the worst of my food addiction times, not really turning THAT
over. Okay, Godofmyunderstanding, I'll turn THIS section of my life
over, and this one, and THIS one, but not THAT one. I'm done with
substitutes now, and I want to be REAL and HONEST with myself
and with my Higher Power.

4. Discuss and reflect upon your childhood exposure to any
religious concept. Create a listing of your negative feelings and
create another list of your positive feelings as they relate to early
religious experiences. What conclusion do you reach when you
reflect on these two lists?

Oh, yes, I come from generations of faithful
churchmen and churchwomen, including several clergy. My folks would always
get us kids dressed up and drop us off at Sunday School, and then they would
come for the church service later. Both of my parents were later active in
church ministries. I have to say that not having a very close relationship with
my dad probably affected my concept of God as Father. My experience of "father"
was with someone who was pretty aloof. I am no longer affiliated with the
denomination of my youth. I married into my husband's denomination, then
divorced him years later but kept the church relationship!
I am most blessed by having had wonderful Sunday School teachers,
choir directors, and, as an adult, perceptive spiritual directors. My list of
negatives is much shorter than my positives. I think my church involvement,
while it, too, became compulsive at one point, has been what helped
pull me back to sanity time and again.

5. Create a list all the reasons you can think of for believing
in God. Create another list with all the reasons for disbelieving in God.
What conclusion do you reach when you reflect on these two lists?

If we're supposed to just report our conclusion,
then mine is that my life, my mental state, my recovery, and my afterlife
are going to be better because I believe in God, my Higher Power. I get it
that many folks have an early life of negative experiences, and perhaps
this step is tougher for their reflection. My belief has brought me through
many losses and hard times. I have gained spiritual strength from those
tough times, and I am humble and grateful.

6. Discuss and reflect on the following concepts: a) Those who
won't believe; b) Those who can't; c) Those who have lost their faith.
In which category do you find yourself? What must you do to change?

My weakness in this area would be
not wholeHEARTEDLY believing and giving over my problems, my control,
and my addictions to God. It is my goal to build up that belief so that
I am able to give service to others in those other categories.

7. Discuss and reflect on why a change in attitude toward
a Power Greater than yourself and a few simple actions are necessary
if you are to change your life.

I found that my working on recovery
doesn't WORK if I try to control everything myself. Recognition of that
Higher Power is absolutely key to get ourselves, our egos, and our sickness
out of the way! I guess the Steps represent those simple actions. A life of
recovery and sanity won't happen without them.

8. Discuss and reflect on the following concepts as they play
a part in your spiritual life: a) Intellectual self-sufficiency;
b) Wandering from faith; c) Self-righteousness.

OK. a) I choose to read and research
things for myself to fact-check, although I have relied on spiritual advisors
and directors to guide and suggest literature to help my spiritual growth.
I know what I believe, and I won't let someone tell me what "I must believe"
if it goes against what my faith paired with intellect tells me.
b) I think that if I stop doing those daily things like devotional reading,
scripture study, prayer, and meditation, it becomes easier to wander away.
If I isolate myself from the support my spiritual community provides, then
I'll lose that contact with my HP, wandering is the result.
c) I think self-righteousness is fatal to belief in one's HP.
It puts my ego directly in the way to block that channel with Higher Power.
It seems to me these 12 steps as well as a healthy spiritual life require
a humble heart and a contrite spirit, and we have to be willing to put
our egos aside to attain that condition.

9. Discuss and reflect on the idea that a compulsive
overeater has to be "pretty badly mangled before they commence
to solve their problems."

I wish that I had recognized my overeating
the first time I finished that bag of cookies instead of just taking the first two.
I've never known anyone who "got it" that early on. I guess we have to
experience that "out-of-controllness". The original AA guys discovered
that folks had to "hit bottom" before they would turn around, and they worked
together to lift that "bottom", to try and get sufferers to get into recovery sooner,
before lives were completely destroyed. Whatever it takes to break through the
denial is whatever will get each person's attention!

10. Discuss and reflect on the following concepts: a) No person could
believe in a Higher Power and defy it; b) To recover, we need a faith that works
under all conditions.

a)Well, it would be insanity to admit to a
Higher Power and then to spit into the face of the One you wanted to
give over control to! I can't see how that would do anything but
destroy one's recovery. The will has to be submitted to recover.
b)I think it is essential to build a faith upon a solid foundation and
to have a belief system that is NOT too narrow. One's faith can sustain
through rough times but not if there's no standard of behavior modeled
by one's Higher Power and the best examples of one's chosen belief system.
A spiritual advisor once told me that if I questioned what action to take
in a situation, I should do "the next right thing". The whole path may not
be clear, but the next step can be intuited.

11. Discuss and reflect on why willingness is the way to a
faith that works.

A faith that works comes from one's
being willing to be OPEN to new ways of doing things, to learn new
info, perhaps contradictory to what one has previously believed, to form new
habits which will lead to recovery. If one lacks willingness,
none of those things can happen.

12. Discuss and reflect on why happiness and satisfaction
cannot come unless the compulsive overeater gives up control.

Well, in my experience,
attempting to control the world is an exercise in frustration.
We are NOT in charge, and we actually have control over very
little in our day-to-day lives. Trying to grab more and more,
to eat more and more in an attempt to be satisfied led only to
failure for me. Letting my Higher Power have the control worked
because HP really DID have the power to bring about change and
to guide me to happiness.

13. Step two says we “came to believe….”
Is there anything that is currently
standing in the way of you coming to believe that a
power greater than yourself can
help you? What steps do you plan to take to overcome
anything that stands in your
way of believing in a power greater than yourself?

I am dealing with some mental
depression as well as some physical problems which sap my
energy and affect my mental function. Meds and counseling brought
some relief years ago, but I'm off the meds now for good.
I think those problems can be influenced by meditation, prayer,
positive thoughts, gentle exercise, all done with my Higher Power's
help. As I begin to develop better thoughts and better habits,
I think I'll increase my belief as I see the fruits of my efforts under
HP's influence. I am beginning in small steps, one day (or one hour
or one minute....) at a time, seeking support of all of YOU as well.

14. Why must you fully complete step two in your heart
before beginning step three?

I don't believe it works to jump to whatever
step one likes. This program seems to work STEP-wise; One doesn't gain
the full benefit of a particular step if it isn't completed. And, a
solid foundation won't be built that way to allow one to progress
to the next step. The steps are in order for a reason, and it's not
a hopscotch game. I choose to trust Higher Power and the folks
who developed this step program in the beginning.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

OA- Step one work

1. Write on what brought you to program?

I found OA in 1988, after a search process following my divorce
in 1980. I found some help through friends in AA, but realized
soon that my addiction was food, although I believe the
emotional/mental problems are much the same. With the
help of a sponsor and later, with counselors,
I worked through the 12 steps and began to deal with some of the
issues of recovery.

If you have returned to the program from an absence,
what brought you back?

Without a local face-to-face meeting, I attended a Co-Dependents
group after moving to my current location in 1992. After a year,
that group fell apart. I had maintained abstinence from my worst
trigger foods but had not cleaned my diet of all the problem ones,
like those to which I'm allergic. I began to notice increased cravings
for foods and some emotional problems like spikes in anger
at the beginning of 2011. At that point, I was stopping about
once a week for supper from my favorite drive-through,
and I found myself craving certain foods from them more often.
A national media source outed this restaurant for not telling
the truth about their meat mixture. It had my very worst trigger,
the one from which I had been abstinent since 1988. Consuming
that wrecked that abstinence. I was once again reminded that I
can't do it by myself!

Lastly, what do you want from the program?

While I have some solid spiritual discipline through my church life,
I still fight food issues. I want to regain serenity and
abstinence I've lost, and I want to build on the ESH
I bring into the program. I want sobriety and
abstinence again from ALL foods that act as triggers
for me, and I want to regard food as FUEL,
not as love, not as problem solver, not as my
2. Write about your eating history and
how much weight you have gained and lost.
My family motto, seriously, is that "we live to EAT,
we don't just eat to LIVE". I am one of several
in my family who have had weight problems as adults.
I am the only one who has sought help either through
individual counseling or through 12-step work.
Y'all will probably relate when I say that my family

considers me to be the only one with a problem.
As a child, I found my food intake strictly controlled
by my parents. We would have a movie or tv night
with snacks (usually chocolate) once a week, and
portions were limited. I didn't go looking for where
they were stored once the packages were put away.
However, at about 10, I did steal about $14 from
my older brother's coin collection (inherited from our uncle),
and I rode my bike to a nearby convenience store and spent
ALL of it on candy. How I survived that incident I don't know
--I recall no punishment other than my brother being really ANGRY.
I was a normal weight throughout my teenage years and into
college, although I was not skinny. I gained the "normal"
Freshman 15, the average number of pounds college freshman gain,
because there was a candy machine in the hallway by my dorm room!
I married at 23, and within that first year gained and
held onto another 10-15 pounds. I did Jazzercise
and tried to eat a better diet to bring that under control.
Issues and arguments with my husband kept me on
a roller coaster weight-wise until our divorce after 4 years.
I found when I exercised regularly and ate healthy
foods that my weight stabilized. However, I did eat
to deal with emotions. From a weight of about 118
when I married, my weight rose to the 130's in the
next decade. There was a period in the year or two
before I found OA when I didn't weigh myself at all--
but I knew I was the heaviest I'd ever been because NONE
of my clothes fit. The weight when I stopped
weighing was 160+.

Despite lots of sessions with individual counselors over
these years, I was NOT consistently addressing the food
addictions or the fact that I used food to deal with emotions.
I found OA in 1988. I discovered what my trigger foods
and binge foods WERE, and I began an abstinence from
them as I worked through the steps for the first time
with my sponsor. I was able to get my weight down
to the 140's.
I moved to another part of the state for a new job in 1992
and I was so busy and travelled so much that eating
enough was a problem! Frequent illnesses led me to get
allergy testing, and I discovered several food allergies.
Getting on an allergy diet literally left nothing but
healthy foods. I maintained my sobriety and dropped
about 20 pounds within just a couple of months.
I substituted another codependent's program for the
first year in this new place until that program fell apart.
From about 1992-2001, I lost 10 family members.
Dealing with all that loss, going to all those funerals
at which food medicated grief for my family members,
was a severe testing of my abstinence, but I continued
to maintain abstinence from my worst triggers. It was
the foods to which I was allergic that I would
occasionally binge on. How weird is it that we can
addict to those foods that actually make us feel WORSE?
With inheritance from my folks, I resigned my teaching
job in 2000, thinking a little less stress would be good
for me. Again, I sought counseling to deal with the grief
issues, and I did have an exercise regime to keep my
weight from soaring. I thought I would take only a year
off and that everything would be FINE after that.
I was diagnosed with a genetic disease in 2004,
and its symptoms included extreme exhaustion,
so returning to full-time work wasn't an option.
I tried a private school job in 2007, moved to
a nearby larger city, and bought my first house.
The physical toll the job took on my body with
several trips up and down 2 flights of stairs daily
plus my commuting for the first part of the year
caused me to fail at that job. While I lost 20
pounds over that year, bringing me back down
to the low 130's, I was also sick a lot and
was on lots of "coping" meds. I lost the job,
lost the house to foreclosure, and found
my health, energy level, and mental condition
to be deteriorating as my finances went down the tubes.
I currently am on teacher retirement disability (at age 58).
I have a contract part-time job as a church organist
in the small town 40 miles away. I am trying to pick up
private students for further supplement my income.
Finances are really TOUGH. I don't eat out (other than
the drive-through disaster) because that's no longer
in the budget. I seek out organic foods and am trying
to become more of a real cook, choosing the
least-processed foods possible. (I'm a microwave queen ).
My weight was approaching 160 pounds as a result
of the drive through-disaster earlier this year.
I am down about 15 pounds from that at this point--
I love what others have said about "releasing x-number of pounds".
I have lots more I want to release! For my height,
my appropriate weight would be 120-130. I have a ways to go.

3. How has food affected your life over the years?

Coming from a family of food addicts and control freaks,
food has been the controlling factor! My attention at
public, church, and family gatherings would be on what
food was brought, not on who would be there.
Food, prior to OA, solved all my problems, you know.
One of the greatest gifts I received is when I
achieved some abstinence over my very worst
trigger food. Once I realized my cravings for it meant
that there wasn't enough in THE WORLD, then I realized
I might as well just stay away from it forever.
I think dealing with all the craziness that
food addiction/control freakness (same thing, ya know)
caused in my family has had lasting negative effects
on my self-esteem and on my ability to relate to
other people. After OA, I can go back into those
family situations at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or at
funerals when food is the BE-ALL and END-ALL
and maintain my sobriety. I finally gained the ability
to avoid the bingeing because I finally realized
how bad I felt afterwards. As a single person again,
I found I COULD budget to go out and eat by myself
because I didn't really care about the company
of people---before OA--I could be alone with
the food and enjoy that more. My new goal is
to NOT eat out unless I have company and to
avoid drive-throughs when possible.
I know for sure that my weight rollercoaster
has NOT been good for my general health or for
my body--my knees and ankles are fragile because
I couldn't even get out and WALK much over the
past few years. It all would have been easier if I'd weighed less.

Write about the fatal nature of this disease and
how it has diminished the quality of your life
over the years?
I think food addiction (or ANY addiction) blinds us,
numbs us, stupefies us to what is going on in our
bodies and our lives. The goal is to make the pain
go away, whatever it takes. Part of all the counseling
I've gone through (outside of OA work) has been
to reconnect with FEELINGS and deal with them
after stuffing them for so long. I believe that
food addiction is the most dangerous of all
addictions because while addicts to other
substances and activities can QUIT, we can't just
QUIT altogether. We can eat ourselves into health,
mental and physical, or we can eat ourselves to DEATH.
I can grieve now over all the events and people
I no longer remember because I was numbed
by the food. Sobriety/abstinence brings SOME
of that back eventually, but I have lost some
portions of my life forever. I see no way to
mental sanity and physical health other than
through OA. All else is madness and death.
I know; I've tried it.

4. Discuss and reflect on the idea that you have
a devastating weakness. Discuss how this weakness
leads you to return to food for your comfort.

I was actually about 35 before I realized I wasn't like
the rest of the world. Because I grew up around food addicts,
I didn't know everyone wasn't LIKE that.
I was amazed to see folks eating food
because it was fuel, not because they craved
it or had to have it. I guess that, being the
youngest of 4 siblings, I had the experience
of watching my sisters try diet after diet, only to fail,
and I realized that DIETING would never work for me,
either. I never tried one, not once. I watched the diet pill
phenomenon, all the crazy diet food programs, and the
national big-time weight loss programs that just
controlled things to death.(My 2 cents; Your mileage
may vary) My weakness is that I never wanted to
give up control of what I ate to ANYone. My most telling
moment my first year in OA is that I came home after
a REALLY bad workday, walked into my little rent house,
put down my purse, and found myself standing in
front of the open refrigerator door, bawling my eyes out.
Thanks be to HP that I had a sponsor to call before
I ate everything in front of me! The fridge was NOT
going to comfort me or solve my problems. One of
my biggest challenges has been to avoid using food as
a REWARD. As a teacher, I was MOST resistant to
rewarding kids with candy, and that became MUCH
greater after OA. I just would NOT do that with my
elementary kids, and I caught some flack for it.
Having found a program to help me escape that
kind of mental training, I have refused to
implement that kind of thing in any class I've taught
since then. Also, I honestly would be likely to EAT
all the candy in my desk before I could hand it out--
THAT's the honesty of this deal.

5. Discuss the phenomenon of craving as it
appears in the three levels of your life:
Emotional, Spiritual and Physical.

I have had a revelation about cravings since I found these
online meetings. I can't recall now, over 20 years later,
whether my face-to-face meetings banned any mention
of foods, etc., as TRG now does. However, the possibility
that my mention of food A, substance B, or activity C
would shake or destroy someone else's
sobriety/abstinence rocked me to the core.
I recognized years ago that if my emotional
needs weren't met, I would experience a craving,
and food was my satisfier of choice. Loneliness
would trigger cravings, as would many negative
emotions, but HAPPY emotions could do the same
thing! We have to celebrate--with FOOD!
I am finding that as far as getting emotional
needs met, neither EATING, nor REFUSING TO EAT,
is going to help me.
OA is helping me be more consistent about
meditation for spiritual growth, but I've always
been a pray-er, and THAT helps me with cravings
in the spiritual realm. I crave a closer relationship
with my HP, of course. Food doesn't enter into that,
it seems to me. I AM willing to give up control over
my food cravings to God; That's the only answer
I have that works for me. HP has developed in me
the patience to wait. out. the. craving. It will go
away if it's not healthy.
Substance addicts really have to avoid their old hangouts,
their old friends, their "gateway" substances to regain
abstinence. Activity addicts have to avoid those same things.
We food addicts can't avoid our families, the dinner table,
restaurants--that's just crazy! I have enough ESH that I
CAN be with my family and see the wonderful foods I used
to crave, praise the cook or baker for them, and NOT
eat them. I have occasionally ordered something at a
restaurant and found it , when delivered to my table,
to contain or be garnished with, a major trigger food.
I am able to send it back if it was done in error,
eat around the trigger, or just not eat it at all.
The fear of embarrassing myself or my meal companion,
the "waste" of ordering something and then not eating it,
NONE of that is worth loss of my abstinence. I have also
become a dedicated food label READER, and I know that
food companies lie and deceive us to increase their sales.
I aim to NOT deceive myself by assuming a food is safe
when I haven't researched it. My loss of 23 years of
abstinence is due to that very thing. It is very costly.

6. Discuss and reflect on what sort of thinking
dominates when the compulsive overeater repeats
the desperate experiment of trying just one bite.
Discuss and reflect on how this applies to your eating history.

Well, I never tried just one bite of anything! lol I did try
to control the heck out of food by playing the
numbers game. Just ONE bar, just the SMALL box.
It's okay if you eat it for breakfast--you'll burn those
extra calories during the day. It's the old doing the same thing
over and over and expecting different results, which
someone defines as INSANITY. I remember the pain of
failing over and over. I thought I could eat just one,
but I wound up eating the whole bag, or box, or container.
Then there's the craziness of bingeing and saying,
"well, I'll start my diet tomorrow". I found it--
after my first time in OA--much easier and much
less painful to just NOT take any bites. As I say
with my main trigger food, (and people think I'm kidding!),
"Well, there isn't enough of it here, or in the WORLD,
so I'll just not start."
7. Discuss and reflect on the things you must do in order to stay alive.

I've seen some really good answers to this the last few days!
I must recommit to abstinence every day, hour, minute,
second, whatever it takes. Having found ESH in OA,
I must stay connected to this program in whatever ways
I can, on a daily basis. I must continue the spiritual work
I've begun but expand it to avoid isolation and to
provide service, to give BACK. I must seek out deeper
relationship with my HP and continue to give over to
him the control over food and my program. I think I'll
have to find face-to-face meetings here as well,
although the ones I'm aware of are 30 miles away.
I need that honesty of sitting in a room with folks.
I need to work my program in whatever situation I'm in,
whether I'm with other OA folks or especially if I'm NOT.
Sharing the message with my family is particularly important,
as they are "those who still suffer". At some point in the future,
I want to become a sponsor. As a teacher, I learned that students
really retain information better and learn its application in their
lives when they teach and foster someone else.

8. In step one, we admit powerlessness.
How is admission of powerlessness the first step
in liberation for you? Do you believe the program can liberate you?
I think addicts come into a program having beaten
themselves up trying to control an addiction. I certainly did.
After trying and failing to control the heck out of it,
I KNOW I can't do it alone. I'm tired of fighting.
That gets my ego out of the way, and I must recognize
that there IS a HP who can handle things and lead me to
recovery. I then stop blocking what my HP could do through me,
and I can become a CHANNEL. I believe the OA program
is the only way to sanity and serenity for me. I've tried it alone
--didn't work. Freedom sounds really good.

9. Why must a person fully accept and comprehend
step one before beginning step two?

That acceptance of one's powerlessness is essential--
we have to get out of the way. My first sponsor told me
that recovery works only if we're willing to try things
any one else's way. We must recognize and admit that
all the ways we've tried to control food and our respons
e to it have failed. Part of it is unblocking that numbness
we've created by staying in the addiction.



Sunday, July 18, 2010

The way-back machine

On the way to the bathroom the other day, I reached into a box waiting to be unpacked and grabbed an old journal. I needed some reading material--well, that's TMI. Anyway, this was a journal from 1995 and covered a time period during which I was recovering from surgery. I was doing some pretty good program work, reading, and Bible study during this time, but MAN, was my life ever stressful! A coworker, with whom I had gone out on a date the prior New Year's eve, was the subject of every journal post and about 90% of my prayers. Our date was the night before my brother died the following day. It may be that he did help me through some rough times, but by this time, some months later, things were really tough. I had forgotten all of this angst. Geeze, and just think, we went together for another 4 0r 5 years.

This was also the time period when I intuited the end of my CC symphony career. I was absolutely right, too! I am glad to have found this reminder of that bad time. I did not make up my misgivings--the proof is right there in what other folks were doing and saying to me.

I am an irregular blogger, just as I was an irregular journal-writer. The process does seem to help me work through particularly stressful times, though. I envy those folks, like Madeleine L'Engle, who journalled from her early years clear through her life. I'm just not disciplined like that. I suppose I'll forgive myself for that and just use this tool when it is helpful for me!

I will be using this blog as a helpful step in my renewed OA program vigor. This is the place for writing down what I might not share verbally in a face-to-face meeting, or it may be a place to put thoughts-in-progress, those things I am working through.

Finding the 1994 Time magazine and then this journal (I think they were in the same box out in the garage) gives me pause. 15 years ago--ohmyGOD!--things were really messed up. I was working and praying and reading my way through then; I have to continue to do that NOW. I have far less angst now, largely because my life has cleared out of friends and I have so little interaction. Regardless, the work process needs to be the same. I must keep doing the inner work. Thanks for THAT reminder.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back in the Program!

Well, I've decided to walk the talk again. I am making a concerted effort in Overeaters Anonymous again, having made 2 online meetings yesterday and 2 today. With my nephew headed for some major jail time over his DWI's, I wanted to just grab him and have an intervention. However, I have no authenticity at this point regarding my own sobriety. Yes,
I did become abstinent from chocolate way back in 1988, when I first entered the COE program
in Amarillo, and I remain abstinent. Thanks be to God! However, my weight has continued to go up and down as I still eat as emotional response to stress--or loneliness--or anger--or sadness--or celebration--I could go on.......

I'm trying to educate my sis (the nephew's mom) regarding the helpfulness of Ala-Non for families of alcoholics, which my nephew has proven he is. She wants to fix him and force him into AA. He did attend court-ordered AA meetings in a previous rehab try, and it simply didn't take. He is, as he says, "a gambler", and he's gonna keep living on that edge, seeing if he'll get away with it one more time. Actually, he's never gotten away with it; He's been stopped numerous times, ticketed, arrested, and jailed. The only GOOD thing is that he's not yet killed himself or anyone else while driving.

Anyway, I can't talk about the benefits of a 12-step-program if I'm half-assed following my own. For my mental and physical health, I need to commit to cooking for myself, making healthier food choices, getting myself in the best possible physical condition, and then dealing with the spiritual and emotional side of all of that in the service side of OA. I will need to find a sponsor and make an effort to attend some face-to-face meetings. The only ones I've seen listed in CC are way the heck away from here.

As it now appears that Fabry's treatment is not in my future, at least until Replagal receives FDA approval, I'm going to have to make do with what I have. I am fortunate that my kidneys seem to be functioning normally, and my heart, though abnormal, is not worrisome. I'm not in a great deal of pain, either. I expect that to change the longer I'm off Cymbalta. The pain level will also rise as GL3 builds up more in my body as well, although exercise and dietary control may help reduce that a bit. Or, like my friend Donna L, I just may be HEALED and not need infusions or anything!! Unbelievable? Damn near! I believe; Help Thou my unbelief.

What's gonna happen with my volunteering at the Humane Society? The big dogs, like RALPH, are just killing me. The heat really got to me today, and I have a rash on my hands which looks suspiciously like what mom had from sun exposure. Mine is not bumpy or lumpy, it's just angry RED like a burn. It doesn't itch or burn. I thought it might be a leash or rope burn (thanks, Ralph, you big dog son-of-a-bitch), but it does appear on BOTH hands. I am treating it with what I have here--Benadryl ointment--and hoping it will go away and not progress like mom's rash did.

I walked (well, maybe that's not the term) 4 dogs today. Jack, the sweet beagle; Ralph, his sweet but hugemongous and hyper kennelmate; and 2 little dogs--a long-haired Chihuahua escape artist and a beautiful sheltie mix. Then one of the workers told me the sheltie had a broken leg that was going to be x-rayed tomorrow!!! The name they called the dog was NOT either of the names on the cards on their kennel cage. Am I really helping anyone by doing this? I started to do this because I missed my beagles so much and thought I needed to volunteer at something along that line. I have yet to last even an hour out there. The heat and the effort required to control dogs who are not walked often enough are wearing me out. I shut down the computer about SIX hours early tonight because I thought I could go to bed at 10:30. It nearly worked except that my big toe (injured 2 weeks ago, now turning RED and HURTING) kept me from falling asleep. Am I a whiner or what? Anyway, I am thankful for the angels who helped me catch my escaped dogs today. If I am doing something helpful to the GCHS, I'll keep on showing up out there. But it is NOT like walking my own dogs was; Nothing like it. I miss Webber and Lady Mac a lot. Poocherelli not so much. Oh, and Lady Mac's death anniversary is coming up on the 16th; She died while I was away teaching at WT band camp in, what, 2001?

OK, I'm ready NOW to try and sleep. I have been worn down to a nubbin today. I hope I can get up tomorrow and do it again (out of the heat this time) because I have LOTS of cleaning up to do around here. And, oh yeah, there's also, uhm, practicing for next Sunday and maybe even for
Stacy camp--only about 2 weeks away!

Okay--I am written out. Thanks for this day.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

The only thing that stays the same is CHANGE.

Since I'm picking up the blogging habit again, I'll update my profile which has
changed dramatically in the past year. I am currently on teacher retirement
disability through the Texas Teacher Retirement System. I was successful in
getting my application approved only after I lost a teaching job @ a local church
school--I have some really lovely, abnormal brain scans which helped the
approval process.

As a result of losing that job, I lost the house I bought in 2007. "Lovely" Wells-Fargo gave me an option of move-out dates after they foreclosed--I could move out by Dec. 14 of 2009 OR Dec. 24 of 2009. Thanks be to God that I had some church friends who helped me out with moving expenses, packing help, loading and unloading. Moving on Christmas Eve is the pits.

In preparation for moving I had to decrease my critter population. The apartments here have a $400 per pet deposit!! My last beagle, Webber, died at age 16 back in November, so that left me with 3 cats--B.W., Staccato, and the newest one, Sammy. I tried to adopt out Staccato with bad results, as I also did with Sammy. I wound up taking Sammy to the city shelter on Christmas Eve, having failed to get any of the no-kill shelters to take him. He MAY have been adopted out after all; I can only hope.

I have been blessed with two part-time jobs to help make ends meet. I am playing organ in a Methodist church, and I am teaching private lessons in a local school district. Finances are pretty tight right now because the school job ends during the summers. I am able to keep up with these two jobs, and I enjoy what I'm doing.

The screw-up in all of this is that I have NOT gotten on enzyme treatment yet. Genzyme has royally screwed up, having had not one but TWO problems at its plant which rendered ineffective the fabrazyme treatment. As all current patients are receiving only partial doses, Genzyme is not accepting any "naive" clients at this point.

The company whose product was NOT approved by the FDA, but whose product is used in 20 other countries, has offered its treatment FREE OF CHARGE to American patients. I am seeking an infusion place, but this looks like a real possibility to get help, even if I have to fly somewhere to get the treatment.

My pain level is VERY high. I expected some increase in pain from going off the Cymbalta, but whatever I have done to my neck is the most painful I've experienced in a long time. Oh God, how long, how long?? I haven't slept this night after trying different pillows, different bed positions, moist heat, stretching, Zostrix, and Icy Hot.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

A great followup to my last post 2 1/2 years ago!

WOW! I really need to get back to blogging! As I write today, I have been off of the drug mentioned in the previous post for 40 days. Over the past months, I had descended into a black cave from which I could not exit. The drug, Cymbalta, which had many HELPful effects on me at one time, was, I believe, the cause of that descent. As a result of a loss of prescription coverage, I was unable to refill my prescription at the end of April. I did suffer the 0 to BITCH in 6 seconds effects the first 10 or so days, but the darkness lifted after about 15 days off the drug. I have some more pain problems now, and I now have emotions flooding back (what the hell are THOSE?), but the end of Cymbalta is for me at this time in life God's greatest blessing. I am ready to return to my "Mother Earth News" self, get back to taking proper care of my spirit and my body, and do the things I know are best for me. Medicating my problems away, at least with Cymbalta, has proven to be a very bad thing for me. Thanks be to God. More later!

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Are meds really worth it?

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with depression. As I looked back through my family history, I saw that depression was clearly woven throughout both maternal and fraternal sides of my family, so the fact that I inherited it isn't too surprising. There are a plethora of meds on the market to treat this condition, and I have tried every frelling one of them! Some didn't work for me; Some made me sleepy. Some kept me from sleeping; Some made me anxious or depressed.

I have been on one successfully for several years now--until I ran out last week. Calling my pharmacy refill in, I was told that the doctor would have to be contacted for refill approval. I expected to pick up my refill before I completely ran out, of course. Today was my 6th day without medical "enhancement" due to lack of followup on the pharmacy's part. Do you know what it feels like to go from zero to bitchiness in about 4 seconds? I have been getting my rage on for about 4 of the last 6 days. Oh, and then there's the crying. And then comes the dizziness to really unbalance things.

The question comes up: What more hell would I go through to get completely OFF these things? (Answer: I would probably become unable to function other than being escorted out of stores and off to jail for attacking some poor clerk in rage) Are the side effects and withdrawal worth staying on this stuff? Lacking insurance and prescription coverage for the moment, I also find these things to be darned expensive. Pros and cons balance out for now. I'm quite afraid to be off of these things for very long. I know they help me because of the insanity into which I enter when I go off of them. (The name of the med is Cy_____a)

My nervous system has been fried by events of the last couple of years. I likely won't be able to go "au naturale" pharmaceutically ever again. I rest in the Lord, and I know Who's in charge
but I believe He allowed research into helpful medications as well. The ethics of the drug companies and the FDA are quite another thing; some of them are absolute evil, as their actions would indicate. God help us all in this age of taking a pill for ills real and imagined.
Just needed to vent.


Location: Texas, United States

I'm a product of the Texas Panhandle and now live in way south Texas, 20 miles from the ocean. I'm a music teacher, retired due to health reasons. I've raised beagles for years, but currently only have 1; His name is Webber, after Andrew Lloyd Webber. I have been adopted by a doxie/beagle/terrier/? mix named Poochie. Trying to make HIS name into a musical one brought variations like Puccini (a real opera composer) and Poocherelli. I also have been adopted by 3 feral kitties for whom I pay vet bills. They have attracted 3 more who are too feral to be touched yet. I am an Episcopalian grown from generations of Methodist roots, and happy to be so. I have a wicked sense of humor, but I'm generally quiet and a bit shy. I have always loved reading and writing, so here I am!

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