Tag Archives: chronic pain

A writer’s best friends!

When I write, I immerse myself completely in my story. I call myself a “method writer”, Similar to a “method actor” but less annoying. (Why is my hubby laughing?)

I surround myself with tokens of that world; an intricate ring, a photo of a misty mountain, a particular scent… Then I disappear completely. Not always good for something on the stove, but great for imagery in the book.

It’s the burned offerings for supper that annoy me. I know better than to ignore something on the stove. But it happens, rarely, but always the most expensive meals.

So I have decided that these two things are my best friends in the kitchen. A crockpot and an Instant Pot. These two are programmable, useful for more than one thing, and holy guacamole, do they make supper easy!

*I get a small percentage of sales off these 2 items if you purchase them through this page. The crockpot is an incredible price! And if you buy through this page, Amazon won’t close my acct for inactivity.

Both are programmable, so you can pile everything into the pot in the morning, set the timer and ignore it all day! My kinda cooking. The Instant Pot also has 7 functions, including slowcooker. So technically, you only need the one.

I have made chicken and veggie curry in 25 minutes (from frozen) in the Instant Pot. I’ve also made broth so strong it gels in the fridge in 2 hours. THat usually takes at least 24 hours in the crockpot.

I also use them both for making stuff to can; jams, leftovers, stews…. The Instant Pot even lets you pressure can up to 4 500ml jars. Like leftover 20 minute chili?

 

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Old friends and birthday surprises!

A few days ago, I turned 55. Many would shy away from admitting such an age, but I take pride in it. I am less thrilled with asking what age the senior’s discount starts at, but frugal is an art form where I’m from.  🙂

Laurie Stewart 6-7-2015 Besides, this is me at 54. Not too shabby.

A bit of backstory on my chronic pain and degenerating spine…. in 1980 I was diagnosed with Scoliosis, my back was curved wrong. Not too bad, and not painful. But this shiny-eyed young surgeon had an experimental technique he thought would fix the curve and let me live a better life.

He convinced my parents to sign off. The operation was a “limited success”. Years of body casts, hip to neck braces and pain followed. In 1985, he tried to fix it again. Messed it up worse, and informed us that I’d be in a wheelchair for life by age 35.

Well, suck on this, Mr. Expert! Not only am I still walking, I garden! And I paint and write and occasionally produce films! Twenty. Years. Later!

Okay, I do use a wheelchair or scooter in conventions, festivals, malls or big stores, but most of the time I walk. Just, not far or for long, but that’s beside the point. I can still walk!

I have also not just survived, but thrived after partners who broke my ribs, beat me into a miscarriage, cheated on me, stole from me….  And I met and married the most wonderful man, ever! So, HA! to those guys too.

As for the surprise birthday party, well… it starts with Blue Gypsy Wines. A small fruit winery owned and run by awesome friends, where we often have BBQ dinners and buy way too much cranberry wine. It also starts with planning a quiet luncheon with a couple friends, then driving to the winery to try out the new sangria slushies. (May I just say O. M. G!) And in a hilariously accurate attempt, my auto-correct wants to change slushies to lushes!

So we drove for an hour to my friend’s house, with dearest hubby even doing a little moaning about the drive for veracity. And we had a lovely visit. And incredible lunch! Hummus crusted chicken breasts, GF herb-cheese scones, deviled eggs, 3 kinds of cold cuts, salad with home-made herb dressing, quinoa salad, and a shortcake with berries and whipped coconut cream. This was about 4 days after my birthday, so I thought nothing of the cake being anything other than yummy.  I was so stuffed I waddled.

After chatting all afternoon, we realized that the winery closed in about an hour, so we hurried over. I needed to try that sangria slushy.

I walked in to masses of friends! Including one I see only every few years! It was awesome! We talked and laughed and caught up until long after they should have closed. But being wonderful, awesome friends, Louis and Claire kept the winery open for us.

We had another dinner, and I practically needed to be rolled out by the end.

Claire is also an amazing GF baker. She made me a salted caramel birthday cake with caramel sauce held in by fluffy caramel frosting. It was a real cake, light, flavourful… perfect. (Claire runs Indulge! the food fare at Blue Gypsy.)

Only one skinny piece was left to take home. Soooo good!

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The lone surviving piece! I would have taken a photo of the whole thing, but it disappeared too fast.

 

Orlando shootings, another voice

It’s been ages since I posted, I’ve been crazy busy, and the world has just gone crazy.

After my mom’s wedding a little less than a month ago, I worked a book fair, dealt with pain levels that would make a grown man sob hysterically, attended two milestone birthday parties, started a garden, had three doctor appointments, wrote a 7 page outline, adopted a stray cat, had friends over for dinner….

For most of you, that might not sound crazy busy. But I do most of it hunched over from pain, barely able to walk. I am on morphine from the pain, and some days it doesn’t even make a dent.

I got to feeling sorry for myself. I cleared 4 garden beds (well, I cleared one, my niece cleared three) and could barely move for two days. I worked at the kitchen table because it was so much closer to the coffee machine.

Then the mass shooting in Orlando put things into perspective. I live my life in pain. Some live their lives in fear. Fear of things like that slimy little turd in Orlando.

And their fear is as real as my pain, but a lot harder to fix. Morphine wouldn’t touch it on its best day.

Most of you don’t know this, but I had a foster child in the late 80’s, early 90’s. He was high school age, failing, depressed, suicidal, and GAY. Also a gorgeous person of colour.

He was being bullied so badly at school that he’d been moved from foster home to foster home because of his anger and depression. (Way to really help these kids, Asshats!)

So I got him. I adored him at first sight. By the time he aged out of the system, he was happy, creative, and had a scholarship to university. What did I do that was so incredibly different?

I accepted him.  After all, who he loves is none of my concern as long as I show him it’s safe to love. Where he puts his dick is none of my business EVER.  (Unless his partner is abusive, in which case I try to help him get the strength to leave, but that story is none of your business.)

He’s now a strong, loving, beautiful man. He supports himself, owns his own home, has a wonderful partner, acts and sings on stage, and probably still lives in fear.

It breaks my heart. And terrifies me.  My son used to go to bars all the time when he was in his 20’s. He rocked that dance floor! And any of those fun-loving people out for a few drinks could have been him.

None of them were a threat to to anybody, none of them were doing anything but enjoying a night out. I look at their eager, happy photos and cry for the loss of so many lights. So many shining ones snuffed out, into darkness.

I’ve seen a couple of people celebrating their deaths. Do that anywhere I can see you and blocked will be the nicest thing to happen to you. Excuse me while I go write an execution or something, pretending it’s one of those small-minded, foul-mouthed cretins.

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My beautiful, happy boy.

My non-existent pain…

Tomorrow morning bright and early, we leave on a ten hour drive to my Mom’s to help with her wedding.  It’s both stressful (Mom reports turning into a 16 yo bridezilla) and incredibly cute.

So, I spent all day yesterday packing for a 2 week trip, and was supposed to spend today getting the house ready to be empty.  Like emptying the fridge of rottables.

Instead of sleeping last night, I was up all night with severe pain in my non-existent gall bladder. I had my gall bladder removed almost 2 years ago, and I’m still having attacks?  Worse than when I had it?!  The very definition of unfair.

I am so tired and sore today it’s not funny.  But I’ve still got so much to do.  Like refreezing the freezer packs. And bringing down the box of stuff for Mom.

I’m betting that the love of my life didn’t get much sleep either because there was no position that lessened the pain. But I still shifted around looking for it. Constantly.

I was also supposed to write a review of an ARC I received. I wanted it done before we headed down east, but my brain is poutine today. Messy, squishy, some parts hot, some cold… you get the idea.

Maybe I can write the review on my tablet in the car tomorrow, and upload when we get to my Mom’s?

Here, there and everywhere

The next few weeks, or months, will be crazy busy around here.  That probably means my 2x a week blogging schedule will get even more screwed up than usual.

Thursday, I’m in town until 9pm for a writers group. Friday we leave for Ad Astra.  Get home Sunday late at night, and I should go to a different writers group Monday, but let’s be honest, even with the wheelchair all weekend, I’ll be in NO shape for a day in town.

The following weekend, we leave for 2 weeks for my Mom’s wedding.  It’s so cute! She’s 80 and he’s 70, and she thinks she’s a cougar, cradle robber!

We get back just before the long weekend on the 21st of May, and have a birthday event to go to, then a few days off before the book fair (I’m on the organizing committee and in charge of registration). The next weekend is a charity event, the next is a wedding, then there’s a festival I’m in….

I’ll post when I have both time and brain function, but realistically…. expect to return to regular blogging in the fall.

My life so far….

Well, so far today.

Major pain from being in town yesterday. I had a Dr appt, where she doubled my morphine dose (that’s always a good sign, right?), told me the xrays of my back revealed “significant erosion” from L5 to L3, and there wasn’t enough healthy bone left to try to operate to fix the degenerating discs.

The good news was that the anti-osteoporosis meds I’ve been on for 4 years have started adding bone mass to my hips, just not the frigging spine! And she admires my upbeatness and my hopeful cheerfulness. Well, let’s be honest, dear readers. My back is Fracked!  I can moan and groan and be miserable, or I can love my family & friends with all my heart, throw myself into healthy cooking, my writing etc and be as happy as I can because after 36 years of this shit with my back, I’m still here. I’m still having fun.

This is where studying Stoicism comes in. I can only change what is within my power. Is a degenerating spine something in my power to change? No. But my attitude, my behaviour, and my character all are. So I choose to be happy. I choose to be strong. I do NOT choose to let the pain define me.

I love my life. I love my hubby, I love gardening (with the help of my minion Willow) and I love writing. And my back is what it is. Nothing will change it.

In other news of things to appreciate, my Yeti , who is still claiming to be a giant cat, is scary smart. His water dish was empty. He went to the sink to yowl for more. When that didn’t work, he came to my office, yowled for me to pet him, but backed out of reach. Every time I reached for him, he ran to the office door and looked at me.  When I followed him to the kitchen, yes he ran straight to the kitchen, he actually stood up to paw at the counter in front of the sink. It took long enough to sink in that he wanted me to follow him that I wonder which of us is smarter…

 

It’s pretty clear who he thinks is smarter.

Late again, but I have an excuse!

8000 steps yesterday, and every one hurt.

I’m supposed to do 1500-2000 steps a day. I did 4-5 X that much. Owie!

But I’m back, almost in one piece, and eager to get editing my fantasy epic.  April is Camp Nano, and I’ve chosen to edit my book so that it makes sense, tighten it by about 30k words, and get it ready for a couple of alpha readers.

Strange as it sounds, I’m very excited by this. I’ve taken the last 2 weeks away from working on it to clear my head and prep for my mom’s wedding next month. It didn’t totally clear, I kept getting flashes of ideas and writing myself notes.

I figure, that I’m starting April 5th, that I need to do 25-30 pages of the original manuscript per day, regardless of what it ends up in the edited version.  Today I did 25 pages. Go, me!

And I still can’t find my frigging dress that I bought for the wedding and put somewhere safe. You really would think I’d know better. So at least one day this week is to be spent tearing my bedroom apart.  Good chance to rotate the seasonal wardrobe, I tell myself. As opposed to “you idiot, where did you put the fricking dress? It matches the purse you just bought. The one that matches NOTHING else in my wardrobe.”

But, life will go on, my wardrobe will be there eventually. And my box of cool shit foe my om will go to NB with me.