Monday, September 10, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
When I am stuck in the bathroom for one of my triathlons, I usually turn to the old stand by, a magazine or book to pass the time. I used to get a lot of magazine subscriptions and the money was well spent. I read alot of them this past year, and last year I decided to get subscriptions to magazines like Time and National Geographic to actually learn things instead of just reading trashy gossip magazines. I am so tired of hearing about J-Lo's backside, Ashton's break-up and the Kardashians, even my ass is tired of hearing about them all.
I decided that I would finally cross over to the other side. I bought myself a Nook Tablet for Christmas. I raced home, opened the box and downloaded a boat load of apps, like Angry Birds, Scrabble, Solitaire, Poker, Showtime, Netflix and a whole bunch of great books.
I was now armed with a whole new arsenal of things to do when stuck in the bathroom. I was so excited, when I found myself stuck in my first bathroom visit with my new Nook, I wasn't sure what game I wanted to play first, so I started with Angry Birds.
Thirty minutes later, I had been done in the bathroom a few minutes earlier, but I was so engrossed in my angry birds game, and now totally addicted to this game. I actually didn't get up right away because I was in the middle of my game. I scored over 60,000 points during my first bathroom trip and now I'm totally addicted to my Nook. I can now play games, watch Showtime, Netflix movies or read a book, all in the comfort of my bathroom.
My magazines are now collecting dust and maybe so is my brain from the seven hundred games of Angry Birds I have already played, but I am happy to tell all my IBS friends and my Fibromyalgia friends who are stuck in bed, that there is a God and he loves us, so he helped develop the Nook. It's our new doctor's assistant.
I take it everywhere I go and it's great for all the times I am stuck in the doctor's waiting room, wondering why all the magazines are five years old or wondering why there aren't any at all, and I feel special because I have a Nook. So, I suggest for all you out there suffering or those unable to leave your bed due to chronic illness, that you buy a Nook.
It was money well spent and now even though I still frequent the bathroom multiple times a day, It's not as annoying as it used to be. I was talking up the Nook so much to my other sick friends, that I think I could make the next commercial for the Nook and tie it in with chronic illness. So here goes my jingle.
If you're feeling kind of shitty
And your stuck on the john
Pull out your Nook
And turn the tablet on
Watch a little Showtime
Play some Angry Birds
Make a bet in Poker
Or read Shakespeare's words
Order a Netflix movie
Play a game of solitaire
The Nook is so versatile
You can take it anywhere
OK, so that was extremely corny, but you get my point.
The Nook is great and I can't wait to play some more angry birds later.
It's been a while since I last blogged. I've been really busy with three jobs and school and the new book I co-authored just coming out, that I have been to pooped to scoop on my poop, so I'm here to say it's a new year and with the new year, lots of new "shit" will happen to me, good and bad.
So get ready because I'm back and I can't wait to tell you all about it.
Hold onto your toilet paper, because 2012 is going to be the best year ever.
Let the great shit tales begin!
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Have you ever been told that you would never be able to do a particular job, task, or meet a goal? Was it because you were told you just weren't good enough? Was it because you were told that you were not smart enough to accomplish the goal? Were you told that it was because of your illness or were you told this because they knew you would end up doing the task better than them?
In Sixth grade math class at the private Catholic school I attended, I accidentally put too many 0's past the decimal place. My teacher marched me out of class down to the fourth grade math class, where she stood me in the front of class and proceeded to tell them I was stupid. Yes, that actually happened. To this day, math has been a struggle and everytime I get frustrated, I just think back to that time in math class when I was told I was stupid and I get mad. I want to get even. I want to prove to them that I am smart.
In eleventh grade English, I was told by the teacher, that I would never be a good writer, that I would never be good at English and that I should just stop now. Yes, this happened too and so once again I set out on another journey to prove them wrong. I went to college and graduated with a degree in English Literature. I wanted to wave that flag in her face like a proud six-year-old.
I started to do whatever people said. I did jobs with 150% vigor and worked multiple tasks to show that I can handle it, that I can do it no matter if two chronic illnesses were stamped on my forehead. I never said no. I always said yes to working any event, or being a volunteer in my community. I was not in just one community group, I was in three and on the board in one of them. I worked walks, political events, fed the hungry, raised money for cancer, diabetes, and did whatever was asked of me.
My problem is, I go to the extreme proving people wrong. I decided that one college degree was not good enough, so I got four. Sometimes when people ask me why I have so many, I am truthfully telling them that I love school and I love writing and why not get four degrees. But, there is this small place in me that after all these years, I can confess to and that is sometimes I do things because people tell me I can't do them.
I was able to pass a math class, with a good teacher and a tutor. I went to college and succeeded and I am now in Graduate school. I have two chronic illnesses and climbed a huge ass mountain. Day-after-day, I am reminded that there are some things I can't do no matter what and I get mad and there I go again trying to prove to people I can do what they say I can't.
This past week, certain things were said to me about things that I can't do, or were advised that I should not do and that they had no place to even say I can't do. I wanted to prove them wrong. I wanted to duel them right there, pull out my sword and fight to the death. But, I just listened and drew back my advancement for a fight. I knew that I would not win that battle.
After mulling over the conversation in my head a hundred times, I realized something profound, that I should have relaized a long time ago. Life is filled with obstacles and boundaries. They affect your personal life, your job and in our world as a whole and they will be an ever present reminder that we are human. Humans are not perfect, we make mistakes. We put too may 0's past the decimal place and we fight to feel we are worth something and not worthless. This is not wrong to think about.
Some people, like me suck at math. Some people can't climb mountains, some people with IBS or Fibromyalgia can't enjoy vacations, some people are insecure and that is ok. I will be ok. You will be ok. I have to look at each obstacle in life as a building block, a baby step toward something greater and I don't have to overcome those obstacles for a boss, a lover or even a friend. I have to overcome obstacles for ME and me only. I can't keep worrying that you will look at me and be mad that I did not do something you thought that I should know how to do, or something that I should already know how to do.
I will live each day for me, and not try to prove to you that I have to do it this way. If I can't do something, that's ok. I just can say no, I can't do that or no, I don't want to do that and that should be all I need to get through life's obstacles. I will stop trying to prove to people that I can do things. If you tell me I can't do something or I know I can't do something, that's ok.
Reality is realizing that no matter what, life happens and there is no need to go to the extreme to tell the world you can accomplish something. Today I was sick, my Fibromyalgia the culprit and I couldn't do a damn thing about it but sit lifeless on the bed or couch. I was not mad anymore. I realized this is my life and I no longer have to prove anything.
Sometimes you will not be able to pass the test, meet the goal or accomplish the task, no matter how much elbow grease you add to it. No one ever said life was easy. Do what you can, enjoy it and learn. I am learning not to not take things personally and if it can't be done, don't swell on it, just move on. Life is to short.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
On May 12, 2012, American's all over the world celebrated National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Over 2,500 people per week will be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The numbers are rising every year. At first they thought it was all in our heads and now we have a voice that is heard. We are not crazy. We did not invent this condition.
Approximately one in 50 Americans are estimated to have Fibromyalgia, or between 3 and 6 million people in the U.S. (American College of Rheumatology, 2004)
About of 50% of people with Fibromyalgia have difficulty with or are unable to perform routine daily activities (Health Central, 2009),
30 to 40% of Fibromyalgia patients have to stop working or change jobs (Health Central, 2009), and people with fibromyalgia are hospitalized about once every 3 years (CDC, 2009)
Three weeks ago after several months of weight loss of ten pounds, I underwent an Upper Endoscopy where I was told I developed non-cancerous benign fundi stomach polyps and gastritis and now have added yet another medication to my already growing daily regiment of pills. It was a depressing day, but I realized that I am not alone.
This past week, I spent two days at doctor's offices and over $100.00 for doctor bills (Thanks Mom) and was told that things are getting better. But are there? With Fibromyalgia, today may be a good day, and tomorrow may be a good day; buy next week may be five days of hell.
Having Fibromyalgia is a crapshoot. But the more people that support the National Fibromyalgia Association, the more people stick together and get the word out about this chronic illness, we can fight back, we can win. We can live better lives. We can do more things. We may not be able to climb mountains, but we can conquer the hill.
This I believe. This is how things change. I believe that Fibromyalgia and IBS WILL NOT define me, WILL NOT Confine me and WILL NOT deny me the chance at a happy life. Don’t let your illness stand in the way.
Raise your hands in the air and fight, fight back for freedom from chronic pain. Fight for long walks on the beach and dancing in the club. Fight for it. It’s worth it.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Some people dream about dying, being chased, chocolate, sex, drugs, and God only know what else. Well I have food dreams. I have dreams about milk and cheese and ice cream. I dream that I am cooking and eating Fettuccini Alfredo, gooey cheese filled Lasagna, Baked Brie on crackers, creamy mac and cheese and eating an entire tub of cherry vanilla ice cream.
Why do I have such dreams? Because I am lactose intolerant and can't eat dairy. It's a travesty. I mean I'm Italian for Goodness sake. It's kind of my birthright to eat cheese. That's what Italians do. They eat cheese and drink wine. I can do neither. Sometimes I feel Like I'm a "fake Italian" and my Grandma is rolling over in her grave right now saying "Oh Mio Dio." (That means oh my goodness in Italian). She used to own a bakery in Rhode island and when we would go up to visit, we would get to help her make the famous Whandi's (light pastry dusted with powdered sugar), prune Danish and my favorite butter balls. I could eat a whole paper bag of those cookies and only later would I realize that a buttery cookie in becomes a buttery cookie out.
And worse my daddy grew up on a diary farm. Can you believe that? His baby face graced the glass milk jugs. My daddy played with cows daily, won prizes for his cows in fairs and even at one time wanted to be a Vet. Milk was not only a staple in Ruotolo family meals, but it was what put food on the table back in the 1950's, and I can't drink it, not one little sip. If I did, I would be chained to my bathroom for hours in a milk-induced agony that I hope none of you experience.
A few weeks ago the coffee shop I think accidentially made my raspberry latte with milk instead of soy. It was a painful evening to say the least. I realize that even though I can't eat cheese or dairy, I still find myself scanning the cheeses at the specialty market or drooling over yogurt, which now comes in a shit load of delicious flavors. Bummer. I find myself in lala land over the triple cheese pizzas just waiting to be taken home and baked to a golden delicious masterpiece of cheese heaven.
The other day during my two hour shopping trip to Wal-Mart, I was pushing my cart past the cheeses stopping briefly to say hello and buy my boyfriend his usual sliced Kraft cheese and there is was bathed in glorious light from the heavens. It was Cabot Cheese and I remembered at that very moment that a few weeks ago someone told me that Cabot cheese was lactose free. I grabbed a brick of sharp white cheddar like a person who has not seen food in weeks and scanned the contents and right there in beautiful sensual letters it said "Lactose Free." I wasn't sure if I wanted to cry or scream to the heavens "holy fucking Cabot." There is a God and he loves me. But it was Wal-Mart and I thought that was innapropriate so I quickly dialed my mom's cell and blurted out the good news. I grabbed just one brick because though it said lactose free, I was still skeptical. I went home and I must have held that brick of cheese in my hands for minutes thanking the heavens and cows in Vermont (strangley my mom's home state) for making this glorious brick of love.
It took about a week before I have an evening free to test my heaven brick of Cabot for the true lactose test. I was going to make pizza and layer on the cheese thick enough to make a golden, delicious pizza that I had dreamed about. I also needed to make sure that I was not planning on going out anytime soon just in case Cabot was wrong. I watched like a two year-old waiting for Santa to come as the Pizza baked in the oven. I added pepperoni and mushrooms and watched as the moments ticked by on the clock and twelve minutes later, I pulled out my masterpiece pizza. It looked incredible and both Craig and I devoured it. It was delicious and cheesy and almost orgasmic, yes I said that. I was in love with cheese. I was in love with Cabot. It was a moment I had been waiting for for so long that I could have napped afterwards because the experience was so intense.
About 45 minutes later as I was still reeling from my pizza experience, my stomach starting making funny noises. I knew what it was saying. It told me "what have you done to me?" And a few minutes later and for the next forty-five minutes, I was once again sitting on my porcelian throne in pure pain and agony. I was in so much pain I thought I might cry and I once again talked to my stomach apologizing for giving it the Cabot cheese and I promised that I would never, EVER do that again for as long as I live. My earlier moments of cheese bliss were replaced with bouts of toliet hell. It was awful and now I have to go back to my dreams, for that is the only place that cheese and I will be one again.
I wish they make epi-pens for lactose intolerant people like me. Now that's an idea!