Review: Incredibles Strawberry Crunch Bar

Review: Incredibles Strawberry Crunch Bar

Friday, on day two of my migraine, I dipped back into my stash of medical marijuana edibles.

I picked out two new-to-me edibles from the dispensary last week. I already reviewed the first—cherry chews from Betty’s Eddies. Today’s review is for the Incredibles Strawberry Crunch white chocolate bar with crispy rice.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3/5)

Product: Strawberry Crunch Bar by Incredibles

Cannabis Type: Indica? Maybe? I looked up indica edibles when browsing the Cloud9 website, but it’s not specified on the box or the product listing now that I’m trying to verify my assumptions.

Price: $20

Dose: 10 mg ea. Piece / 100 mg total

THC: 10 mg

Taste: It’s just okay. I think white chocolate is pretty boring. It’s sweet without much texture or flavor. The crispy rice seems sparse.

Certainly not gross but also not what I’d call good. Maybe that’s ideal? If I like it too much, I might struggle to pace myself.

Overall High: 7/10

The high was noticeable and good, but one-dimensional feeling because I had the Ache Away Eddies for comparison.

Time to High: 70 minutes

That was on an empty stomach, how I usually take edibles. Unless the pain is dire, I like to eat after I’ve had an edible. Food tastes better. If you know, you know.

Duration of High: 3 hours 20 minutes

I was mostly just sleepy, but also acutely aware that I didn’t feel as miserable. Always a win.

Pain Relief: 8/10

Definitely worth taking. I’m not sure if the back-to-back days of having edibles impacted the pain relief or not. It seemed what I might expect in pain relief from a THC-only indica strain. Reliable relief that I wish was just a little better.

Munchies (Intensity): 6/10

I was on the lookout for food in general, but I was hungry when the show started. No specific food cravings.

Couchlock (Intensity): 5/10

I wasn’t what you’d call motivated, Bob.

Time Dilation (Intensity) 8/10

I had to look at the clock frequently or lose myself to time.

Notes on Packaging:

It looks pretty and is designed to be childproof, but in this disabled household it’s not convenient. I had a hard time gripping the tray. Also i didn’t want to ruin the box, for reasons I cannot explain but others can probably relate to.

You might also like: How to Make Crockpot Cannabutter

Review: Ache Away Eddies Cherry Chews from Betty’s Eddies

Review: Ache Away Eddies Cherry Chews from Betty’s Eddies

Thursday I experienced the kind of migraine that had me losing feeling in my arm, pulling window shades down to protect my eyes, smelling the hickory in bacon two thousand times stronger than the average human, and forgetting common words.

I tried relieving the monster headache part with caffeine and acetaminophen, but it didn’t help enough. So I asked Dan if he’d run to Cloud 9 for me and pick up what I’d picked out online.

Medical marijuana to the rescue.

I picked out two new-to-me edibles and tried one immediately yesterday. Thought I’d review the first—cherry chews from Betty’s Eddies—today. There was no way I was typing up a coherent review while high yesterday.

And, girl, was I high. This review should be fun.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Product: Betty’s Eddies Ache Away Eddies cherry fruit chews

Cannabis Type: Hybrid

Price: $25

Dose: 10 mg ea. / 100 mg total

THC: 10 mg; CBD: 40 mg; CBC: 5 mg

Taste: Surprisingly delicious. Reminiscent of a Now & Later in tartness and flavor, but much softer to chew. I could taste the weed, but I’ve yet to come across an edible that doesn’t have that distinctive flavor.

Maybe that’s on purpose.

Overall High: 13/10

Now, I am more sensitive to THC than some, what Dan calls a cheap date. So the fact that I took one chew and it melted my face probably boils down to two things: 1.) I hadn’t consumed an edible in a while, and 2.) a more conservative dose for me would be 5 mg.

But the chew was wrapped so cutely like saltwater taffy at 10 mg! Who was I to cut it in half?

Time to High: 30 minutes

I thought the “fast acting” bit on the package was probably overstated marketing baloney before I took one, but half an hour is faster than most. It usually takes me about 90 minutes to hit peak.

Duration of High: 2 hours

I was unable to stop smiling, repeatedly asking Dan to remind me I’d taken drugs in case I got scared (I was worried about me, d’aww), and generally euphoric for two hours.

Pain Relief: 9/10

I’m still running on reduced pain today. Yes, I know the pain is there, but it’s possible to get comfortable and forget about it for 30 minutes at a time this morning. I like that!

Munchies (Intensity): 4/10

What I ate during this period (a giant bowl of ice cream with strawberries) was exceptionally good, but my generalized desire to eat was shockingly mild.

Couchlock (Intensity): 8/10

Don’t make plans.

Time Dilation (Intensity) 9/10

I checked the clock at 12:42 pm convinced it was probably almost 7:00 pm.

Notes on CBC and Turmeric:

This was my first time trying anything labeled CBC along with the usual THC and CBD. It turns out CBC is something dispensaries and manufacturers are hyping for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Is it actually a thing, though? I don’t know.

From Wikipedia: “Cannabichromene (CBC), also called cannabichrome, cannanbichromene, pentylcannabichromene or cannabinochromene, exhibits anti-inflammatory properties in vitro, which may, theoretically, contribute to cannabis analgesic effects.”

This bag also notes that it contains turmeric. Which I’ve heard good things about, but again not scientific things.

You might also like: How to Make Crockpot Cannabutter

7 Signs of a Bad Doctor

7 Signs of a Bad Doctor

I’m sharing personal anecdotes with these 7 signs of a bad doctor for a few reasons:

First, I want you to know that if you’ve got a crummy doc, you’re not alone. So many people can relate. (The hashtag #DoctorsAreD*ckheads existed on Twitter for a reason!)

Second, it might help you see warning signs in your own care. Maybe you just don’t like your doctor; maybe your doctor is genuinely terrible.

Remember: doctors, like anyone else, are not good just because they chose a profession of prestige and authority. They still have to be competent at what they do—just like the rest of us.

So what are the 7 signs of a bad doctor?

  1. Your Doctor Doesn’t Listen
  2. Your Doctor Blames You
  3. Your Doctor Makes You Feel Rushed
  4. Your Doctor Doesn’t Ask Clarifying Questions
  5. Your Doctor Takes It Personally When Medications and Treatments Fail
  6. Your Doctor Isn’t Personable
  7. Your Doctor has Bad Patient Reviews

7 Signs of Your Doctor Sucks

1. A Bad Doctor Doesn’t Listen

The worst doctor I ever had—The Rheumatologist from Hell™—would barely make eye contact with me. He was always scribbling something in my chart, unengaged and uttering only the perfunctory mm-hmm. At a time when I felt afraid and unsure, this was definitely not helpful.

I let his board know it, too. (Please report bad doctors whose actions cause you actual harm.)

Was he a terrible diagnostician or just bad at relating to me? Either way, I paid a significant price as a chronic pain patient, and I wonder now how many others did too. It’s a big deal and harmful—sometimes life-threatening—to be ignored. Ask me how I know.

2. A Bad Doctor Blames You

There were only so many times I could be told that diet and exercise were my problem before I realized the doctor was making my problem worse by taking the easy out.

As it turns out, all these years later, I’ve still never read a single article confirming that I wouldn’t have brain cancer if I’d just managed to lose 15 pounds. It’s bullshit, but it was fed to me repeatedly.

Sometimes the doctor’s admonition is what it is—fear of fat. Sometimes the extra weight is a result of disability and immobility. Sometimes food is the only scrap of comfort available precisely because no one will listen.

Me, bloated and fat from the dexamethasone, on the last day of radiation for my brain tumor. I am surrounded by my family.

The why doesn’t change this truth:

A failure to see any other possibility or acknowledge an inability to diagnose your condition in spite of an “unideal” weight is a red flag. No one knows everything, and any doctor who can’t accept their imperfection is doing patients a huge disservice.

3. A Bad Doctor Makes You Feel Rushed

The worst doctors I’ve had made me feel like they had somewhere else—maybe even somewhere better—to be. 

It hasn’t happened to me a lot, mostly because I’ve been waiting so long in uncomfortable chairs that I’m the one who wants out of there, fast. But when it happens, it’s not subtle. It distracts me from outlining my numerous symptoms, which I have a hard time recounting due to health-related anxieties.

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4. A Bad Doctor Doesn’t Ask Clarifying Questions

While I’m relaying my symptoms, I expect my doctor to ask clarifying questions. If I could diagnose myself and knew exactly what was important to share, I would probably just ask for the right tests from the start and save myself a lot of money and a lot of heartache, right?

If I say something like “this hurts” and my doctor wants to know the whens and hows of the pain, I feel much more confident that vital information is being considered. And who doesn’t want a shorter trip to diagnosis because all the facts are being considered, not just the easy ones?

Me and my husband, Dan, celebrating his birthday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

5.  A Bad Doctor Takes It Personally When Medications and Treatments Fail

I write a lot about The Rheumatologist from Hell™, but it’s because he so effortlessly did so much emotional damage that I have to work to undo all these years later. Present me wants to scream, “This isn’t about you! Don’t bill me for this crap!”

When Cymbalta (duloxetine) didn’t make me feel better, my old rheumatologist didn’t pivot or refer me to someone he thought might be able to help, he doubled down. He told me I’d hurt more if I didn’t take what he prescribed, and essentially blamed me for non-compliance before I was non-compliant.

6. A Bad Doctor isn’t Personable

Sometimes doctors are emotionally cold and you leave feeling less than human. These are bad doctors, no question about it. 

There is a certain level of detachment that’s completely appropriate, but if you walk away feeling less than or othered, it’s not you. More than anything I want you to know it’s not you.

7. A Bad Doctor has Bad Patient Reviews

A single bad review isn’t necessarily a reason not to see a doctor. We all know a lot of complicated factors determine which offices we end up visiting.

Doctors and patients can have bad days, and patients might be more likely to leave complaints on review sites when that happens.

But if you find a lot of reviews addressing the same problems repeatedly, that’s a sign you’ve got a bad doctor. When I feel like I don’t have a choice but to see a physician with a lot of negative feedback, at least I know what I’m walking into. There’s some solace in that.

Reporting a bad doctor for me is a moral imperative. But it’s equally important to share my good experiences too. It takes me only a few minutes to let other patients know what they can expect.

Pro Tip: for reviews, search for your provider on websites like Healthgrades and Vitals.

Share You Experiences with Bad Doctors in the Comments

Those are my own personal 7 signs of a bad doctor. I’ve probably missed some helpful stuff though. Let us all know what warnings you would add to the list by leaving a comment, and read about my fantastic new primary doctor.

PS: if you’re stuck with a bad doctor and trying to make the best of a bad situation, maybe this article will help: How to Get Your Doctor to Listen

PPS: If you need help relaxing because your doctor is lousy, try making weed butter or learning how to Zentangle! (Wink, wink.)

Surgery is Happening

Surgery is Happening

Note to self: Don’t ask Dan to get chocolate from Sam’s when you’re having a craving and you’ve just taken weed.

Yesterday was my appointment with the surgeon for the consult. Surgery is happening.

The consult went okay, and Doctor S answered all the questions that I had. On February 2nd, I’ll be having a lymph node removed from either my groin or my armpit. Ultrasound will determine which one is easiest to get to, so TBD on that spec.

He did say that they will fully examine the tissue to find out what’s freaking going on, but if it’s a viral infection we might not find out which. Yay. 

We’re not just looking for lymphoma this time, though. That makes this round feel like it could provide useful information. Lord knows I’m capital-d DONE with doctors and nurses punching my glands with their bony fingers though. 

It hurts more every time they do it. I jokingly asked how many lymph nodes were needed for a human to survive and could they take all of them while they’re in there.

I asked if I was facing general or local anesthesia, and doc said he’d do either and it was my choice. I’m leaning local, just because I think getting myself to the bathroom after will be easier.

No pain meds will be prescribed. Just Tylenol if needed. (Which, let’s be real, means I need to save up for some edibles.)

Recovery and risk are minimal.

***

If you would like to support me:

PayPal

Patreon (Not currently posting there but it’s an option if you prefer it.)

YouTube (Super Thanks enabled but just watching a video, commenting, liking, subscribing helps.)

Wishlist

***

We spent more time than should be allowable by law in the waiting room yesterday, so here are some terrible, non-HIPAA violating pictures I took to help pass the time.

How to Make Crock Pot Cannabutter

How to Make Crock Pot Cannabutter

To save money, I learned how to make crock pot cannabutter (THC infused weed butter) that I could use in homemade edibles. I am by no means an expert, but I want to share what I’ve learned.

When it comes to medical marijuana, I prefer edibles. For me, the pain relief is better and lasts longer. The downside? Dispensary edibles are effective but sometimes cost a small fortune. So here’s my budget-friendly recipe for how to make cannabutter in a crockpot.

Crock Pot Cannabutter Recipe

The first time I made slow cooker cannabutter, I was overwhelmed with advice. Everyone had a different recipe and a different method. My chemo brain just couldn’t handle all that. I needed a crockpot cannabutter recipe for dummies, so I whittled away until I could identify the most basic steps:

  1. Decarb the weed.
  2. Slow cook the weed in butter.
  3. Use the cannabutter in a recipe.

Step 1: Decarb the weed

Time: 30 minutes

If you don’t decarb cannabis, your cannabutter could be really disappointing. The THC needs to be activated by this simple process, and a few minutes in the oven will do the trick. Here’s what to do:

Materials

  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • 6-7 grams of weed
  • Oven

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 250 °F (120 °C). Place marijuana on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake on the middle oven rack for about 30 minutes.

FYI: Decarbing will make your house smell like weed.

Notes on Decarbing

Break up whole buds into smaller pieces first. This increases surface area and allows things to heat more evenly.

Some people are very particular about breaking bud, recommending you do it by hand or with a manual grinder. (Get your pieces too small and they might burn or be hard to strain later.)

But because of cancer fatigue, I’m from the School of Do Everything the Easiest Way Possible. I recommend giving whole buds a couple of quick pulses in a clean coffee or spice grinder, being careful not to overdo it.

That said, it’s even easier if you use shake. Shake is essentially just the debris left after trimming and handling buds. There’s no need to grind it because it’s already the perfect size.

Added bonus: because shake’s ugly and contains some stem pieces, it’s a lot cheaper than whole flower.

Step 2: Slow Cook the Weed in Butter

Time: 3 hours

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Materials

  • Small crock pot (1.5 to 2 quart capacity)
  • Reusable basket coffee filter
  • 3/4 c. butter

Instructions

Warm 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter in the slow cooker on the lowest heat setting until it is completely melted.

Put the decarbed weed in the reusable filter and place the filter in the melted butter. Steep for about three hours, on low stirring occasionally. The butter will turn murky and green as the THC magic happens.

Turn off the crock pot and let the cannabutter cool for about an hour. The goal is to cool it enough it won’t burn you, but not so much it becomes too thick to strain.

Lift the filter basket out of the cannabutter, letting the liquid drain completely back into the crock pot. If the cannabutter looks disgusting, you’re doing it right. Discard the used marijuana.

There may be fine bits of marijuana and really gross looking milk solids floating in your butter. To strain these, simply pour the cannabutter through the emptied filter basket and into a clean container.

After straining you’ll end up with about a 1/2 c. of cannabutter.

Strained cannabutter looks a lot like guacamole.

Shop Cannabutter Essentials

Potent Cannabutter Dosing

The most important thing to keep in mind if you’re new to slow cooker cannabutter or edibles in general: YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. Start small, give it a couple of hours to kick in, and adjust as necessary.

Effects aren’t immediate. I usually feel them between 90 minutes and 2 hours after I’ve eaten. If, after only 15 minutes you think “this isn’t doing anything” and you keep eating food with really potent cannabutter, you could end up like the cop who made pot brownies and called 911 because he thought he and his wife were dead.

Personally, I find the cannabutter I make using these ratios to be nice and potent. But then I’m really sensitive to edibles. For example, if I use cannabuter as-is on an English muffin, I will only need a pat about the size of a pea.

How to Portion Edibles

For example, if I make a 9 x 13 pan of brownies with this cannabutter, I will only need a brownie about the size of a mini candy bar (that’s right Mini—the smallest size, not to be confused with her big sister Fun Size).

Since I typically only take weed before bed, a pan of brownies can last 9 months—no exaggeration—saving me literally a thousand dollars over dispensary prices. (Pro-tip: Cut cooled brownies into portions for a full week of edibles, vac-seal, and freeze. I use a FoodSaver.)

Step 3: Use the Cannabutter in Your Favorite Recipe

Time: Varies by recipe

Cannabutter brownies

Cannabutter has a distinct flavor that you might find off-putting, especially if you’re a first-timer. I think it tastes the least offensive in things like brownies and peanut butter cookies.

You can use this crock pot cannabutter in any recipe you want, though, not just sweet treats. If it calls for more cannabutter than you have on hand, simply make up the difference with regular butter.

When I make a 9 x 13 pan of Cannabutter Brownies, I use 1/2 c. cannabutter and 1/2 c. regular butter.

You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t: you can replace most fats in your recipes at a 1:1 ratio. So you could swap 1 c. of vegetable oil with 1 c. of melted butter (and therefore cannabutter) if you wanted. What I’m trying to say is: you can also turn that boxed brownie mix in your pantry into something SPECTACULAR.

Need something chill to do now? Try Zentangle.

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9 Goals for 2020

9 Goals for 2020

Happy New Year, everyone. Historically, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day have not been very big deals to me, but I felt like celebrating today with 9 goals for 2020 if for no other reason than I’m feeling a little optimistic. (Note these are not resolutions I’m doomed to fail, just little nudges for making 2020 more fun than 2019.)

Stream a video game on Twitch

My brother Ryan and I live a few hours apart, but we still manage to get together virtually once a week or so to play State of Decay 2. He and my sister-in-law brought up streaming on Twitch several months ago. The idea has been percolating in my brain for a while, and I want to give it a try. No commitments to anything more than seeing how it goes.

Write a crossword puzzle

With my brain being what it is, I do word and logic puzzles almost every day to try and keep the neurons firing. Recently while working on a crossword with a really weird answer to a horrible clue, I wondered if I could make a better one. Now I’m obsessed with noodling out how to create the pattern of squares, make a functioning grid of words, and write good clues.

Grow marijuana

Though I’ve had a medical license to consume marijuana for about three years, Illinois just made recreational use legal. The govenor is clearing thousands of convictions as we ring in the new year. (Halle-freakin-lujah! More criminal justice reform, please, Governor Pritzker!) We can now grow up to five plants for private, personal use. I have several seeds in my position, and intend to give it a try. No biggie if I fail, but it has the potential to help me save a lot of money. This is one medication that is 100% NOT covered by insurance.

Complete a 100 Things post

I started my first blog on AOL Journals circa 2006, and I made a ton of online friends through that platform. I still keep in touch with many of those bloggers to this day. In fact, AOL J-Land (as we affectionately called it) is how I met my husband Dan.

One of the fun things that swept J-Land back in the day was writing a 100 Things post. It’s where you cobble together 100 facts about yourself and post the list. It’s like an ice breaker for bloggers. I recently and randomly stumbled across the Twitter account of a name I recognized from the AOL days, Kelly Sedinger of Byzantium’s Shores. I saw he still had a One Hundred Things About Me post, and got sucker punched by the nostalgia.

I’m going to post a new one soon. Honestly, I’ve been working on it for a few days already, so it seemed like a good addition to my 9 goals for 2020 list. (Yes, I’m one of those people who writes shit in her to-do list that’s mostly done just so I can experience the pleasure of crossing it off.)

Make new Zentangle videos

It’s been a few months since I’ve created any new content for my YouTube channel, because life is just that way sometimes, you know? But the meditative aspect of creating the art and then watching the time-lapse playback is so good for me. It also seems to be something that others enjoy, because my channel keeps growing. I can’t commit to a schedule for health reasons, but I can promise myself to just make “more.”

Track Swagbucks for a year

Swagbucks is a cash back slash survey website where you participate in polls, submit receipts, watch videos, participate in special offers and other junk, and then earn “Swagbucks” which can be converted to gift cards and PayPal cash. The catch is that they collect your data and make use of affiliate links. But you know, data privacy is for the financially privileged, anyway.

Last year as a casual user, I earned about $150. Which isn’t much, unless you’re broke. In that case, it’s a tank of gas and Christmas presents for the family. This year I want to track how much I make in a full year from January 1 to Dec 31.

For reference, I’m starting today with 355 SB (roughly $3.55 when redeemed). If you want to try it, use my link and we both get 300 bonus Swagbucks if you reach 300 SB in your first 30 days. (FWIW, I got to 355 in just 3 days, so that is very doable.)

Learn Krita and make a printable coloring page

I gathered up the Amazon gift card money I collected and finally purchased this stylus for my computer so I can do some Zentangling and sketching without killing trees or using up all my Micron ink. Krita is the free drawing program I will be using, but it’s pretty complicated and will require setting aside some time to learn. It’s kind of like Photoshop. Except it’s totally free.

I think it would be really fun to draw a coloring page and maybe host a cheesy virtual coloring contest sort of like those ones I always participated in at the grocery store when I was a kid.

Reach 100 Patrons in 2020

My goal for Patreon this year is to reach 100 subscribers. I currently have 29. I chose a people-based goal as opposed to a money-based goal because despite our dire financial circumstances, I really just want to find and connect with people who want to read Who You Gonna Believe and watch my Zentangle videos.

Reach 1,000 YouTube subscribers in 2020

Speaking of those Zentangle videos… 1,000 subscribers seems like a lot, but I’m giving myself a whole year to get there, and as of this writing I’m already at 485. The One Zentangle a Day series I did in 2019 really helped me establish my channel. This year I want to focus on producing higher quality videos. It should be doable now that I’ve got some of the basics sorted out.

So those are my 9 goals for 2020. What are yours? What are you looking forward to in the new year?

VIDEO: Emily Makes Cannabutter

VIDEO: Emily Makes Cannabutter

I tried making cannabutter myself for the first time because edibles are so expensive and I am on a really tight budget. I vlogged the experience, and as you can see the resulting brownies I baked with the cannabutter were, well, potent.

Fibromyalgia Med Check

Fibromyalgia Med Check

The second week on iron supplements has not been as dramatically fabulous as the first week was. Here’s my fibromyalgia med check.

I’ve read that it can take a couple of months for the iron-deficient anemic to feel all better. I don’t know what that means for me, exactly. I don’t think I’m anemic per se; I think whatever is wrong with my body has depleted me of essential vitamins and minerals.

So what’s my next step? To keep taking the iron.

If everything is magically fixed because of it, hooray! If it’s not, at least I feel alive now. I’m also trying the probiotic thing again. I honestly don’t know if the Align helps, but the GI doc recommended it and I’ve got four weeks of capsules left.

I’m also now officially convinced that the weight I lost over the last few months had nothing to do with my willpower and everything to do with my IBS. Reversed course on the IBS and all the weight came back. But fuck it, weight is not my first priority. It’s not even top ten right now.

So pill roll call. Maybe TMI for some, but mostly posted so my fellow fibromyalgia patients can compare/contrast.

Levothyroxine*, daily AM
Tri-sprintec lo*, daily AM
Ferrous Sulfate (iron) 325 mg, twice daily with meal
Zinc, D3, Magnesium, Calcium combo pill, twice daily with meal
Align, daily with lunch
Nortriptyline, daily at bedtime
Nexium, every other day/as needed (Rx is for every day, but I discovered I could be symptom-free taking it less frequently)
Medical marijuana, 1/4 gummy as needed at bedtime

* Prescribed many years before I had any fibro symptoms, but thought I should be thorough.

Patient Advocacy

Patient Advocacy

Last month marked the second anniversary of my fibromyalgia diagnosis. And even though the ICD code has been following me around for a while, I’m still having a hard time pinning down what that means for me, exactly. What does patient advocacy look like for me?

I haven’t yet developed an elevator pitch for talking about my fibromyalgia because it’s just too damn complicated to sum up. The next best thing, it seems, is to just blog about whatever I need to put “out there” whenever I’m able and inspired.

Writing about my condition and my day-to-day happenings helps me sort out my own thoughts and feelings while giving me an opportunity to honestly answer a question I get asked all the time.

How are you doing?

Though the words that come out of my mouth might say otherwise, the reality is that I am never OK. There’s always a caveat. This is where I get to talk about the caveats.

Blogging has other advantages too. It lets me vent about what’s wrong while giving my husband a break from the sometimes hourly updates about what hurts and what is and isn’t working right. (Why is no one ever as excited as we are to have a good poop?)

It serves as a sort of patient log, helping me identify patterns and theorize about the cause of my flares. And sometimes it helps me accept that there is no pattern or discernible cause, that my condition just is.

My blog connects me to a large support group of other Spoonies and fibromyalgia patients, giving us opportunities to discuss what helps. Because, let’s face it, chronic patients are perpetual targets for anyone with a pill, a book, or a scented candle to sell. We have to look out for each other.

And it’s that “looking out for each other” thing that really motivates me to write candidly about my experiences. (Yes, even about medical marijuana and IBS.) Don’t get me wrong, this blog is for me, first and foremost. But I also want it to help other patients find ways to talk with their friends, family, doctors, and coworkers about stuff that’s next to impossible to put into words.

I want these conversations to meaningfully change our healthcare system, change the way we view and accommodate disabilities, and improve the lives of every patient with chronic illness.

Because laughter is cool and all, but empowerment is the best medicine.


This post is part of the Health Activist Writers Month Challenge (#HAWMC).

Prompt 1: What drives you to write about your health? What do you want other Health Activists to know about your condition and your activism?

Pot, Protein, Pumpkins

Pot, Protein, Pumpkins

I’m a little better now than I was at the end of last week, having had the weekend to do absolutely nothing. I took one-quarter of a cannabis gummy on Friday and again on Saturday and slept nearly 12 hours each night.

I know that the goal is to sleep just 8 or 9 hours every night and sleep well every night, but I can’t do that unless medicated. And if I’m medicated, I am so sleepy I can’t think straight. And if I can’t think straight, I can’t work.

So, at least for now, weekdays equal suffering and weekends equal sleeping.

***

Both my primary doctor and The Fibro Manual have suggested that I try to increase the amount of protein in my diet. Something about cells burning energy inefficiently in patients with fibromyalgia.

Blah, blah, mitochondria. Blah, blah, don’t skip meals.

I’m working on swapping some of my carbohydrate calories for protein calories…incrementally. Since I’ve been logging what I eat in My Fitness Pal for more than a year, I can quantify this change. Yay, numbers! Yay, data!

Looking back at my nutritional reports, it was pretty common for me to get less than 10% of my daily calories from protein. My first goal is to bump that to a consistent 15%, or about 62g of protein, daily.

I’m a meat eater, but not an exuberant one. Most of the additional protein comes from non-meat sources. I mix in a little protein powder with my Greek yogurt. Opt for the protein-packed cereal. Ask Dan to make pasta with Barilla’s high-protein penne and throw in some cannellini beans.

Long-term, I’d like to get to 25% protein. That may require giving up carb-heavy Gatorade, and I’m just not ready to do that yet. (God knows I’m not giving up dessert. I know my limits.) Gatorade’s one of those things I started drinking because one of my medicines was so dehydrating, and it’s been a huge help for that and more.

Baby steps though.

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Happy Halloween! We didn’t carve a pumpkin this year, and I’m not feeling up to answering the door, but I did manage to keep one Halloween tradition alive this year—ordering a custom Christmas ornament on Etsy!

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