Posted in Celiac Disease, health, Writing

Migraine Blends: Precursor

© Niels Rameckers
© Niels Rameckers
I started this journey to mitigate my migraine pain on December 28, 2016.  I will be releasing the updates to catch everyone up on my progress. ❤
I must place this disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, nor do I purport to be one.  I am just a long time migraine sufferer trying to find a better way to mitigate my migraines than through Western medicine (pills).  I have vowed to remain med compliant through this entire trial, with my blends being first line of defense before I resort to my prescriptions.  Do not use my self-trial as medical advice.  Please consult with your medical doctors concerning your migraine/health care.

 

Been doing my homework concerning a blend to address these migraines and to hopefully avoid any GI upset.

I’ve noticed that many of the migraine blends have a lot of the same ingredients. So I targeted those. I also designed this blend to be as easy on my pockets and my situation as possible. (Read: I’m not trying to be stressed about this). Farmers Market fresh would be dope with this, but I’m being realistic with my ends and the level of help I will have in getting this thing blended up 4-5 days a week. So before anyone says it: I know, freezing/frozen things are not ideal. But Life©. Better this than those debilitating migraines.

Anyhoo, here is the blend I’ll be starting off with, with tweaks along the way:

1/2 small banana
5-6 pieces of frozen pineapple chunks
5-6 pieces of frozen mango chunks
1 serving of Inner-ēco young coconut meat
1 small container So Delicious Vanilla coconut yogurt
1 knob fresh ginger
2 oz. Whole Foods cold-pressed Green Juice mixed with their Beet Juice shot
Enough coconut water/water to help it blend

I’m gonna see how this tastes, since I don’t plan on using a non-refined source of sweetness, i.e., honey (since I don’t like the taste) or agave (it makes me feel super light headed and makes my ears ring – I know, weird). I’m just gonna lump it. If it’s REALLY unpalatable, I’ll probably use a teaspoon of OJ concentrate. But I think I should be fine.

I want to try turmeric vs. ginger, but at $15.99/lb. for fresh… Bruh! 😒 Ginger will suffice, for now. And whenever there is fresh greens in the house, a fistful of those will go in on top of everything else.

I’ll be starting this tomorrow AM, I’ll be watching to see:

– if I get a migraine
– the frequency of them
– the duration of them
– the intensity

I’ll still stay med compliant, meaning even while doing this, if I get a migraine, I’m taking the migraine med too (will be cross checking med and blend ingredients contraindications – I’m not trying to die)

My hope? That taking this blend along with my Celiac diet will keep these migraines at bay.

EDIT: I’d like more greens… I’ll be looking into GF powdered sources? Dunno. Will update if I do.

Here we go!
#TrueStoriesOf2016 #DisabledChronicles #CeliacLife #MigraineBlendsChronicles #Health

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Posted in Disabled Chronicles, Life

Disabled Chronicles, No.3765:

© Andrew Beierle
© Andrew Beierle

That one time, you make it home before everyone else and you have to let yourself in but your automatic door opener has been busted for over a year and coming by $1500 to get a new one is next to impossible. So you head to the back door, since that door knob is a lot lower and somewhat easier for you to open on your own, even though it will take you 75 minutes (give or take some cursing and gnashing of teeth) to open by yourself but you gotta do it cause being 41 and standing by the front door, looking like a forgotten latch-key kid is not cute.

So you steel yourself for the impending fight with the back door as you hedge around your ‘neighbors’ obnoxious over-grown-into-your-side-yard vegetal yard partition, squinting your eyes from the barbed leaves so as to not lose your good eye so you won’t have to be referred to as ‘That Girl Who Is Blind In One Eye AND In A Wheelchair’.

Absently thinking how pissed you are for this door situation having to be an issue in the first place, you take the uneven terrain with too much speed but realize once you hit the unseen bump that you better pump your damn brakes before you kill yourself back here where no one will know. So you ease up, still pissed, forgetting that you actually HAVE to put some speed into going over that pseudo-ditch before having your bald-assed tired chair take that ramp made of grass and misfortune to the concrete back patio before you can consider yourself safe.

But alas, all your pisstivity has made you miscalculate and you feel the familiar, stomach dropping soft crunch of your back tires gripping into the soft dirt. Still thinking you can save yourself, you abruptly stop, only for you to knock yourself out of balance and your head goes careening back, pulling your weak-core muscled body with it. You find yourself looking up at the sky, fully un-abled to right yourself. Yet being ever the optimist, you think that there is indeed hope yet to save yo’ damn ass, so you put your chair in reverse, praying to undo the damage but instead, feel your anti-tippers bite into the soft traitorous dirt even more, at which point you scream out ‘FUCK ME BRO’ to the sky?

Eyes wide open in terror of a bird, mistaking your pale fleshy throat for supper, you try to assess your situation and realize that the only thing left you is to call for help, then realize you can’t lift your head to see the dial pad on your phone, so your spirits sink. But being the smart cookie that you are, you remember you didn’t pay top dollar for no pansy-ass phone but for a Boss® iPhone with Siri activated and you press the home button and blurt out to Siri to ‘CALL MY SISTER!’, and like an obedient bot she listens to you (unlike bitch-ass Alexa >.>) and dials up your Sister.

You calmly try to explain that you are at natures’ mercy STUCK IN A MOFO DITCH in y’alls backyard. To which she calmly sighs and advises you that she is at Walmart but she is now on her way. Thankful to have alerted someone to your peril, you take a breath as you watch the clouds roll by and wonder what lesson the Universe is trying to teach you in this situation. But before you have time to get all zen and philosophical with your current situation and all the decisions that brought you to this exact moment in your life: rain.

You feel the cool prick of rain droplets on your face, refocus your eyes on the malevolent clouds and hurl really, really bad words at them. So you try to calm yourself down before you go into full on panic at the thought of the heathenish heavens opening a deluge upon your upturned face and into your wide-the-fuck-open nostrils… breathe… breathe. And you try to think of all the positives in your current state of sure death, yet instead of being calmed by the positives, your heart rate starts to pick up and your mind just says Fucketh all Thateth – CALL YOUR SISTER!

So you do and the first thing she says is, ‘I know, rain. We’re on our way.’ And you feel a bit better and ask her to stay on the line with you cause you’re about to freak the fuck out. But you’re worried about her getting a ticket so you tell her to take the side streets cause you’re a caring Older Sister and don’t want her to have issues because of your fuckery but your mind is still like – FUCKETH ALL THATETH AND HALP ME!

And before you know it, you hear her car pull into the driveway and hear her tell Nephew to ‘Go rescue your Auntie from the yard, I’ll get the stuff from the car.’ And never before in your life have you been ever so glad to be rescued by a big, tall, awkward, moody, teenager in all your life like you are now?

No, never happened to you?

#IAlmostDIED #YallAlmostLostMe #NatureIsCruel #ICantMakeThisShitUp
#TheseDisabledStreetsAreTREACHEROUS #WhyDoIHaveADitchletInMyYard #WheresAAAWhenYouNeedThem #SisterAndNephewToTheRescue #DisabledChronicles #TrueStoriesOf2017

P.S. Subsequently, because of this post, a good friend decided to open a Go Fund Me to help to keep this from happening to me again.  So feel good twice – laugh with this post and pitch in to help get that door opener in my life <3-S

Posted in Life, Writing

The Truth Is, I’m Failing

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The computer “brain box” of my motorized chair had been failing for some time, I just hadn’t realized it.  As one part or another began to have problems in succession, I would just fix it or replace it, hoping that would be the cure.  Even though the fix would help remedy a portion of my locomotion woes, deep down I knew it didn’t solve all of my issues.  So I pretended it would fix itself or that I was over exaggerating.  I didn’t look further than what was in front of me, because I was tired of finding problems in my life that needed to be fixed.

It had begun it’s descent about a year or so ago.  My chair would lose speed at random moments; moving along fine only to inch by in a crawl a few seconds later.  Most times it was okay though, for getting around the house or going to my usual places to shop.   I convinced myself that this new slower speed of moving was ok.  The chair worked, it got me where I was going.  What else was there to worry about?

Then one fateful afternoon, a careless bus driver incorrectly fastened a tie-down to my motor and wrecked it. My chair limped enough to get me home, only to give up on life once I got through the door.  I thanked G-d and all the saints watching over me and began my never seeming to end year of slowly replacing the power-train portions of my chair: both motors, the control joystick and lastly, the main “brain box”.

Like every other semi-broken thing in my life, I got used to it kinda working, until I couldn’t anymore.  The brain box couldn’t anymore one afternoon (I really should stop leaving my house so late in the afternoons, they seem to be fraught with peril when I do).  I found myself, once again on a bus, this time heading to Whole Foods.  Once I arrived at my transfer point, I turned my shiny new wheelchair controller on and an big ugly yellow stripe flashed across it, advising me of a fatal error.

After some clamoring by the none-too-helpful bus driver and his two really helpful supervisors, we were able to assess that the motors on the chair could be disengaged and that I would remain on the bus till my neighborhood stop, I would then have my teen-aged nephew meet me there to push me off the bus, then back home.

So yet again, my chair was at least able to let me get home… but I was not looking forward to what the issues were this time, nor how much it would cost to fix them.  Looking at all of this now, it seemed like this is the story of my life: I’m going along, fixing and patching as I go through, only for something I could have never expected to happen to make me come to a full stop.

But why does my life have to follow this pattern?  Why can’t I just parlay into a great situation once I come out of a bad one?  It feels like I spend so much time with my nose to the grind stone, that I never take time to poke my head up to re-assess, to take stock and course correct.  I have one course (to make it through alive as long as possible) and I never deviate.  Like ever.  Not to have fun.  Not to find love. Not to live.

Look, I’m not looking to kill myself off or anything, It’s just that I don’t have any in-betweens.  I either know how to work or how not to do anything at all.  Live full on or to barely exist.  I’ve been in one of those extreme states at one time or another.  I could blame this on a number of things: the death of my Mom in my early twenties (and how I never really recovered from that), it could be from my lack of confidence, my not so awesome social skills.  But however you slice it, I’m failing.

I’m failing at living the life I want, at finding the love I need, I’m failing myself and I do it in such slow moving ways that it doesn’t even seem like failing… until I left my head up and wonder where I am and how the hell did I get there.  Or better yet – how the hell do I make it out of this crazy space?  I hobbled together the repairs of my chair because that’s what my life experience has taught me – take care of what you have because you never know when you’ll get a new one.

That can sometimes be fine for a wheelchair (considering how funding for a new electric wheelchair is ridiculously hard to come by) but when you do that with a life?  The results are not good.  The results are never good.

And so, at 41, the truth is, I’m failing.  For all my successes (for there have been many), for all I’ve overcome (there has been much), for all that I managed to accomplish, the most important thing – making sure I am taking care of my needs, wants and desire?  I’ve failed myself.  Miserably…

And I don’t know at this point how to make Me better.  How to nurture my heart, how to see myself in a better light, how to believe in Me again.  How to step out of my own shadows and be free.  I think about it often, I make plans and try to execute them.  But the main project of Me, seems just outside of my grasp.

And this makes me really, really, really sad.  Because how can I be there for so many other people and fail at being there for Me?  How do I lift me up and put myself in the right direction?

How do you move forward, when you’re the only one left behind?

-S

Posted in Life, Writing

Buffered

me3

I just finished reading Hannah Hart’s book, Buffering: Tales Of A Life Fully Loaded (that’s an affiliate link btw) and I am sitting here triggered as fuck.

It’s not that it wasn’t a great book – it is.

It’s not that it was too graphic – it wasn’t.

It’s just that I saw myself and some of my prior situations in so much of her words and in such a different light, that I get why folks get all glassy-eyed when I tell them some of the stories about me and my family and what we’ve been through.

It’s sobering.

Her book also shone a light on me and my personal tendencies that have me making the decisions that I have and do.  I am feeling all kinds of ways about myself at the moment: sad, angry, WTF, Oh geez!, heartbroken… many things.  She made a video about the difference between secrets and privacy.  And when I watched it (twice), I didn’t get it.  But after reading this book?  I get it.

I too have been holding many people’s’ secrets along with some of my own.  This doesn’t leave much space for privacy.  Holding secrets always leaves you open for inquisition.  Inquisition erodes privacy.  My long stretches of being gone from this, my blog, my letters to you guys, is because in those long stretches, I am struggling with secrets.  Some of them new, others not so new but all of them problematic nonetheless.

I say that I am an open book but the truth is there are chapters that I have not made public, because they contain secrets.  I have a project I’ve been toying with (a new book, which I’ve been slowly writing) and I’ve all but convinced myself that it won’t be a good idea to publish it because there is too much of me in it, too much of my unadulterated Self there for all to see.  Once you put something like that out there, there is no pulling it back.

But this book, has given me a sort of road map to plod through my project, because I think there is value in sharing Our stories.  In my absence, I’ve been swimming through a sea of Stories.  Stories about people and the things that happen to them and how they get out of those situations (or not).  And these kinds of things fascinate me.  I think by reading other people’s stories, it’s a way for me to find the answers and maybe a viable Ever After of my own.

But this book?  Is brave.  It is clean.  It is beautiful and heartbreaking.  It takes my breath away.

Thank you Hannah   ❤

-S

Posted in Writing

Alive

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Image © Vinìcius Sgarbe

Yes.

I’m alive.  Sometimes barely so, but I am here.

I’ve been pacing around the perimeter of this blog like a caged animal, wondering if I should look into it, wondering if I should look at it, wondering if I should try and breathe life back through it.

It’s been so long since I’ve kissed her, that I’ve almost forgotten the taste of her words across my lips…

No promises.

What I know to be true is that when I am like this, like how life has kicked my ass and handed it back to me, She is always there.  She, as in my writing.  I always say that I treat Her like a mistress – there when it suits me.  But She never fails, never really leaves, always there with soft words and a safe space.

So, I’m in her soft space for me again.  It is familiar and smells like redemption.  The many petals of redemption.

I hope you are all alive too…

-S

Posted in Life, Writing

More

 

After writing a post about showing up in your own life, I haven’t been doing that here… or many other places, at all.

I could blame it on any number of valid things: incapacitating migraines, being sick with this seasons flu of the month, Life®.  And all those things are true.  I’ve been a special kind of sick these past few weeks and I am not sure where or why all these various degrees of sickness have decided to descend on me now, when I have so many things to write and so many projects that I want to get up on their feet.

But I think the biggest sickness I have, has been how to get myself together.  After this July, I’ve been figuratively stumbling, forgetting, wading shin deep in my emotions.  That kind of sickness is harder to get through than a cold.  I see it and I try to forgive myself but the juggernaut of work that I had lined up for this time of year is drowning me.

If I can get through it, I know the month of December and January will mean respite.  So I am trying to trudge through.  And I know I am failing.  Miserably.

I wish I could tell you guys that I will get better at this.  Right now I just don’t know.  All I can do is try.

In all of this… upheaval though, this has been on my mind:

I think of Her… what she will look like, what she will smell like, where she will live.  And my heart takes solace that I am at least dreaming again.  Better than the darkness and stillness of my prior yearnings.

I am Lovesick.

For hugs and questions about my day and what DO I think about the color pink.  It is easy to forget the warmth of a smile or the comfort of a hug when you’re so far into your world that nothing else matters.

Until it does.

But I feel Her.

And I know I will meet Her.  And for a while, life will seem new again.  Instead of the familiar house shoe cozy that lulls me into routine and makes me forget that I am a Queen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That’s all I got this week.

-S

Posted in Art, Life, Writing

Interview

Sandra Jean-Pierre on Self-Exploration

Sandra Jean-Pierre is a Miami-based spoken word poet and author of several self-published e-books of short fiction. An avid amateur photographer and afghan maker, her exploits and insights can be found on her website: www.sandrajeanpierre.com.

This week on the Middle Gray Mag blog, Sandra talked to us about the difference between working in prose and working in poetry, about knowing yourself and about choosing one’s words wisely.

Sandra.jpg

Your work feels very personal, yet it is presented with such a wonderful touch of artistic restraint. How do you go about using a particular writing style to present personal stories?

Umm… I think the stories step forward with a voice. If that makes sense. Some of my stories are very frank and so my style for that story would be as clean and unencumbered as possible. Other stories are emotional, so I try to write in a style that honors that emotion. The stories exist on their own, my task is to bring them to light for others to experience as well.

We featured both a nonfiction piece and a poem by you in our first issue. Do you have a preference when it comes to genre? How do you approach each genre as you sit down to write and revise?

I prefer poetry.  Because it is so much of a challenge to fit as much feeling into as few words as possible that on the onset, I’m presented with choosing my words wisely.  Which makes me consider what I want the poem to be and not be, where I want the reader to go, how I want the reader to feel, etc…  It’s like composing that one delicious bite of food – everything on that spoon has to be there for a reason, to contribute in a bigger way to the experience of what you want the recipient to enjoy.  Poetry to me is the same but with words.  That gets me excited to see what I can come up with and if I’ll be able to execute it properly.  By properly, I mean in a way that honors what I want or need to say.

I haven’t been a fan of prose because I have to find so many more words to express what I am writing.  I struggle with it sometimes. I always thought that I wasn’t very good at it.  But those who enjoy my prose tell me otherwise.  So I have to believe them.

My approach to writing poetry or prose is the same: I spend days examining the emotion and intent behind what I want to write before I ever sit down to write word one.  If I am unclear about either emotion or intent, then I keep mulling it over until I see exactly where/how I want to approach my subject matter.

Once I feel like I can put it down in words, then I sit and write.  It’s like the piece (poetry or prose) is a formless entity while it’s in my mind and the words I put down on the paper are its bones and skin and demeanor, attitude.  After I write, I generally put it away for a few days, then I’ll pass it by a proofreader if it is a piece of prose or just give it a once or twice over if it is a poem.

I try to make my pieces strong, so they can stand on their own.  They’re like children, gotta make them tough, so they can defend themselves because you won’t always be around to protect them.  And you can‘t feel bad if someone doesn’t like what you wrote.  Everything is not for everyone.  Being part of a Spoken Word troupe (Lip, Tongue & Ear 2001-2005, currently disbanded) helped me to not be shy about the things that I write or present.  So I thank them for that.

How much responsibility do you think writers have to explore themselves as people before they work on their craft?

You have to write what you know.  And in order to know, you need to examine yourself, your experiences.  No matter how painful or terrible it may feel.  I think really connecting with that lesson within a particular situation in your life pushes you to be authentic, which opens you to write from a place of knowing and understanding, which ultimately allows your readers to connect to you.

So know yourself, which will make your writing better.  And you don’t have to know “all” about yourself before you begin writing.  We are ever growing and changing beings, so waiting until you’ve figured yourself out, isn’t realistic.  Start with one something and it will spread to other things.  For example, my early poetry was about “The Struggle” of being under-employed and having to deal with social services that weren’t really there to help you succeed.  Now my pieces are more about emotions and memories.  I kept writing through it all, as I learned more and more about myself.

Who would you say are your main literary influences? Why?

Langston Hughes was the poet who started me down my poetry path.  I remember being a high school senior and having to do a report about a literary figure.  Being the semi-militant that I was in my mind, I set out to research someone black.  Being also the lazy high schooler that I was, I chose poetry because I could read a bunch of poems and not have to read a tome before I was able to do my report.  But when I read Langston’s Jive:

That’s the way I stay alive.

My motto,

as I live and learn,

is

Dig and be dug

In return.”

…my brain felt lit up like a pinball machine.  It’s like I heard the jazz notes, I felt the rhythm.  The line breaks captivated me.  ‘You could do that?’ I remember saying out loud when I read this piece over and over.  It was a piece of art on the page and on my tongue.  I was in awe that black words on white paper, written so many years ago by someone I never met, could still jump off the page and dance in my imagination like it did.  To this day, I am a devout Langston Hughes lover.

I try to write like Langston so that my words too, in 50 years will still carry the same emotion and spirit as when I wrote it.  And maybe a lazy, militant high schooler can write a report about me.

What aspirations do you have when it comes to your work? What would you like to accomplish as a writer?

I hope my work inspires, motivates, stirs the emotions, makes people think, makes them sad, makes them determined, makes them mindful.  As a writer I want my stories to be there, like a mid-wife, for someone else who may be going through something similar.  That they know that they will make it, cause I did.  And that it’s okay in the end.

How much has the education you have received helped you as a writer?

I think my education helped to expose me to structure.  Though I write with emotion, if I didn’t write along with discipline, I wouldn’t write quite as much as I do.  Education makes you disciplined.  My education has also exposed me to different authors, ideas, conventions that on my own, I probably wouldn’t have found.  So, umm, go to school.

 What social or cultural aspects would you like to see more prominently featured in today’s literary magazines and journals?

I’d like to see more Haitian American voices.  We’re out there, our struggle with not being Haitian enough for the Haitian people, yet not being American enough for American people is real.  I’d like to hear more stories about that.  As well as stories about disabled people that isn’t about pity or how much of a disadvantage being disabled is.  I am a strong disabled person and there is nothing pity-worthy about me. I haven’t found a way to write those stories with balance, so they’re not written yet.

What would you say to readers who enjoyed your Middle Gray work and would like to see more from you?

Some of my better/personal writings can be found on my website www.sandrajeanpierre.com.

There are some small ebooks available, as well as my blog posts.