2018 End of Year Reflection

This month I realized I hadn’t posted here since July, and didn’t want to end 2018 on that note. So, an EOY reflection…and I would say an explanation of where I’ve been, but if you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time you know I tend to drop off the face of the earth for long periods.

I try not to do this, and I am working on it. But I think I also need to admit that perhaps my regular schedule is flurries of activity followed by periods of silence.

Continue reading “2018 End of Year Reflection”

Katje and the Complete Lack of Executive Function

I did say I’d get that Gwyn ap Nudd piece up this week, didn’t I?

Well, I wasn’t lying, but apparently my brain has had other ideas. I’ve completely lacked in executive function this week. Or more accurately, I have been plagued by executive dysfunction.

What does that mean?

Executive dysfunction is often dubbed “laziness” by people who don’t understand it, but it’s not laziness at all. I have executive dysfunction *and* I can be a very lazy person, so I know how to tell the difference. (Though often my brain likes to berate me for my laziness even when I know full well it’s executive dysfunction — because ill brains like to attack themselves. It is known.)

Laziness is “I should get up and clean the living room, but I don’t want to, so I’m going to watch Doctor Who instead and enjoy it.”

Executive dysfunction is “I really want to get the living room clean, and finish that blog post, and work on my novel, and do some publishing work, and do a load of laundry so I can have clean clothing, but I can’t. I’m sitting here unable to even get up to think about those things. I’m telling myself to get up, but I can’t. So I’ve put on Doctor Who but I’m not even really watching it; I’m staring at the TV screen and wondering why I’m so fucking broken.”

I have been in both these places. The second one is what I’m stuck in right now. I have been *trying* to force myself to get things done, to work past the executive dysfunction, and mostly I have been failing. I’ve also been trying to not be hard on myself, but the truth is that a lot of my responsibilities don’t really give a shit if my broken brain is acting up and making it near-impossible to get done the things I need to get done — they still need to get done and I’m the one who has to do them. So not beating myself up over it is easier said than done.

Even on good days I struggle with executive dysfunction. The stuff you see from me in public? The posts of chapters to Wattpad, updates on my Patreon, my weekly newsletters? Those things take inordinate amounts of energy even during good phases. (Not even getting into the stuff you *don’t* see from me in public. So much background work goes into indie author life.) This is not a good phase.

Honestly I don’t know how I’m writing this post right now. I managed to make myself sit down and start it, and I’m not going to get up until it’s done, because otherwise? It will languish on my hard drive for the rest of time. And I should post it, so you know what’s happened to Mythology Mondays.

They’re not on hiatus. I’m working on Gwyn’s post. It just might be…a week later than its first postponement. Gods, I hope. I hope I can get it up by Monday.

So, let’s say Monday the 23rd, Gwyn ap Nudd, then back to the every other Monday schedule, which puts Borvo on August 6th. Let’s say it, and then maybe it’ll make itself true!

It’s 5 am, so I’m going to go to sleep now, and hopefully tomorrow I will get more than a grand total of 2 things done.

Loonily,
Katje of the Broken Brain

Postponing this instalment of Mythology Mondays

I’m sorry, but I need to postpone today’s Mythology Mondays post. (Gwyn ap Nudd was the winner, by the way!) It’s not ready, and I’ve been under the weather for the past week or so. I need a bit more time to put it together and instead of rushing and trying to finish it today (and having the work suffer, as well as my health), I’m just going to put it off till next Monday.

WHICH MEANS there will be a new post on Monday the 16th AND on Monday the 23rd — I don’t want to get off schedule, so I’m going to do two weeks in a row.

Soooo I need your votes! Voting usually would close at midnight on Monday, but as the Gwyn ap Nudd post will be up that day, I’m extending the poll length to Tuesday, the 17th. Let me know who you want to read about on the 23rd. (Also, I’m changing up the poll this time ’round and allowing two choices per voter.)

Thanks for understanding, everyone. I’ll see you on Monday!

-Katje

What even is blogging?

Obviously, I have no idea.

My last post here was Valentine’s Day. That’s ridiculous. Granted, this time I actually have an excuse: school did kind of eat my face.

It was all worth it, though! Check out these puppies:

A screenshot of final grades results from Winter Semester of courses at Douglas College. All A+s.

If you can’t see the image, it’s a list of all the classes I took and my final grade in each of them. A+ across the board. I SLAYED this semester. I AM THE LIZARD KING

And then I slept for the past three weeks, basically. I have really just been sleeping for most of this entire time. Sleeping and watching movies with my husband because we now have access to a bunch of movies on demand.

Now I’m arising from my sleep like a leviathan from the depths of the ocean and looking at summer like the tasty morsel it is. It’s time to get some shit done. I need to get my tits up and ACCOMPLISH STUFF.

A photo of a post-it note on a wall. The note reads "GET YOUR TITS UP," which is a quote from BAD MOMS.
This is an actual photo of the wall above my desk. It’s super motivating.

(Side note, if you haven’t seen Bad Moms, it is a really funny film and I highly recommend it.)

Things I want to accomplish this summer include:

◆ Clean my freaking house so I actually have a place to do homework come Fall.
◆ Finish all my current WIPs and hopefully another book. (What am I CRAZY?)
◆ Read a LOT.
Give my mom a really excellent 70th birthday. It’s a BIG ONE!
◆ Have a nice birthday myself.
◆ Cuddle Lord Tyee the wundermutt.
◆ Get ahead in my Medical Terminology book in preparation for next semester. (halp)
◆ Be more active here and at my other blogs. Mostly here, though. And, like…with a purpose.

Honestly, no idea if I’ll accomplish all this stuff, but I’m hopeful. At any rate, the last one I’m going to be starting with next week. I’m going to try to actually blog here on a regular basis, on actual topics that I know a little about. I hope that these posts I’m going to write are helpful and informative and entertaining for you all.

There, of course, will still be the regular “omg what am I even doing with my life” type posts, but hopefully those won’t be the ONLY thing that happens because they tend to happen once every few months. I’d like blogging here to be a weekly thing, eventually. However, it might start out as every other week, until I can get more into the habit.

Anyway, that’s all the news that’s fit to print DEAR GODS I HAVE TO STOP USING THAT PHRASE, TALK ABOUT DATING MYSELF.

*cough*

I’m going to sign off now, and work on some more writing. As a reminder, if you want to be first to know when From the Ashes is done, sign up for Loony Nation. If you want to be second to know, join my Patreon. If you want to be third to know, join my reader’s group on Facebook. And if you just want to find out with the rest of the world, just…keep doing what you’re doing, I guess? I mean you’re reading this post, so I assume you’re following me online somewhere.

See you all next week! Have a great weekend, and happy mother’s day. Unless mother’s day is a shitty day for you, in which case I’m sorry for reminding you about it. *offers hugs and cookies*

~Katje

Healing Hurts

Physio hurts.

Drove out to Coquitlam tonight for my physio appointment. Driving there was difficult; I was having high anxiety, as I have since last Sunday when I learned of the deaths of two people I cared about. Late last week I had to force myself to leave the house so I could get over that huge hump of anxiety; it’s lower than it was, but still difficult to deal with.

Physio itself hurts like hell. I have to do exercises to build up certain muscles that have sat dormant in my crippledness for years. The muscles scream in anger and rebellion at me. And the physiotherapist — who is awesome! — has to push and prod at me to get my spinal muscles to ease up, and to ease my spine back towards normalcy.

And it hurts like hell.

Don’t even get me started on the squats I need to do and what they do to my knees.

At the end, all that back and neck work triggers a small migraine, so I drive home drinking a coffee from McDonalds after taking an extra-strength Tylenol to banish the migraine to the depths of hell from whence it came.

Home, I still hurt all over, and I have more to do before I can go to bed tonight.

This healing thing isn’t for cowards. I am one, but I’m trying really hard not to be.

gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)

i went to the doc’s on friday to get a new scrip for my zoloft and my dexilant, because the bottles in my medicine drawer (top drawer of my sewing-desk-that’s-being-used-as-a-computer-desk) were running really low. no problem, got my scrips for 100 pills each. i have to go in every time to get the scrips, and then i get enough pills for three months.

went to fill them today (july 31st; it’s august 1st as i’m writing this but i have not slept yet) as well as my husband’s scrip which i picked up for him while i was at the doc’s.

“you last filled this on june 27 so your insurance won’t cover it till september.”

Continue reading “gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)”

Happy Canada Day from your grouchy neighbourhood cripple

I really do hope you’re having an excellent day, regardless if you celebrate Canada Day or not. It’s Saturday and that’s a nice day so have a wonderful one if you can.

As for myself, I’m grouchy and grumpy, because I’m broken. Again.

I’m up visiting my mom in Powell River and I was really hoping we could go to the special Canada Day farmers’ market today (an hour longer than usual!) and maybe hit up some celebrations elsewhere. Just, you know — go out, have fun, see people, enjoy the summer weather.

INSTEAD, I am basically kind of stuck at home. I could conceivably go out but it’d be a bad idea I think. I threw out my back this week, which when you have a spinal injury is a lot worse than just mechanical back problems. How did I throw it out? FUCK IF I KNOW.

Honestly, no idea, and it was probably nothing. I think I just moved wrong.

So now I’m in agony, though the number has gone down from a 10 on the first day to hovering at about a 5/6. (That is, according to my own scale of pain measuring, which…well, I have chronic pain, which means I basically live life at a 3 or 4 for other people. So when I say I’m at a 5/6 for me, that means an 8/9 for people who don’t have chronic pain. It’s really amazing what you can get used to when there’s no help for it.)

I have been grouchy and depressed since this happened and there has been much crying. There’s no really safe bed for me up here (mom’s mattresses are too soft, which didn’t used to bother me but now it does) so I slept in a chair last night. Sitting is painful, standing is painful, walking is painful, and I absolutely cannot lie down or I am fucked completely.

It sucks. Spinal injuries suck. There’s no two ways about it. And I’ll continue to have this life where I’m okay until suddenly, I’m not. FOR NO FUCKING REASON. Because there’s no logic to it. Backs just stop working, and especially when your discs are trying to flee the vertebrae.

We’ve been discussing options. I have somewhat of a plan; a lot of it is just nagging doctors until I get some help. First I really want to see if I can get a referral to a spinal decompression place so MSP will pay for it. They’ll be reluctant I’m sure but here’s the thing: the ~3500 for the non-invasive 8-week program of decompressing my spine that *might* give me back a good chunk of my function will actually cost them less than my other option, which is surgery.

I really don’t want surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary, but we are getting to the point of “I need to fix this or I’m looking at a short, agony-filled life”. So if that means going under and getting my fucking discs taken out and my vertebra fused together, well, that’s what that means.

But yeah, I’d like to do decompression first.

So right now it’s Canada Day and instead of going out and doing something fun I am sitting at my mom’s place and praying that I’m well enough to go home by the time I was planning on it so I can go see my doctor in Vancouver and ask about getting a referral to the spinal decomp place so MSP will cover it.

And if I can’t get that….I don’t know. I have this vague thought of trying to raise the money for it somehow, but I don’t know how to do that, to be honest.

Anyway. I’m going to try to write today, because it’s Camp Nanowrimo this month, and I’d really like to make my goals even if my back is being a complete jackass about it. At least I’m better than I was two days ago; that’s something.

Wish me luck!

Loonily yours,
Katje

notes on gabapentin, day 6

ok, so 6 days of taking my new meds. here are some notes on it.

  • it works. i mean, it definitely stops my twitching when i’m awake. however i’ve noticed, now my twitching has stopped, that i also have nerve pain in my extremities. i just never noticed it before because i was always either jiggling my limbs or twitching.
  • i’m not worried about the nerve pain, as it can take 2 weeks for gabapentin to get rid of it. so if i still have it after 3 weeks, i’ll worry.
  • i sleep really well on it. first 2 nights i used it were on the recliner, because my neck was so stiff and sore. i never sleep well on the recliner, but those 2 nights were the best recliner sleeps i have ever had. and the third night, in bed, it put me into a mini-coma.
  • i’m still tired during the day, but i also haven’t been taking my iron daily and i have a massive sleep debt of like, 20 years. so i’m expecting to still be tired throughout the day for a while.
  • even though i’m still tired throughout the day i’m way more awake than usual.
  • side effects i’m experiencing: drowsiness (useful), slight dizziness and nausea, when i wake up in the morning it takes me longer to shake the sleep fog, and longer for my vision to come back to normal, and some extra bleeding and bruising (which i’m not actually 100% sure is from the gabapentin, as it could have other causes right now). all in all, nothing too severe and nothing i’m not willing to deal with in order to get a better night’s sleep. (regardless i’ll bring up the side effects with the doc when i see him next, which should be a week tomorrow.)

conclusion: it’s working, and so far i’m happy with it. will continue to monitor it for any severe or scary side effects, and am waiting to see how close to “normal” i’ll get with regards to feeling awake in the day, but for right now allowing myself to feel cautiously hopeful that this might be the answer to my sleep woes.

and now, i am a sleepykat so i am off to bed. yes, at 6am. don’t judge me.

~katje

ps: i think it also made my breasts bigger, which i consider a win. at least i do today; on a day when i don’t id as femme as i do today, it’ll probably cause some severe dysphoria. c’est la vie du genderqueer.

new meds

content warning: emetophobia

got my gabapentin today. trying it tonight.

also sleeping on the recliner tonight, because my neck won’t stop hurting. i don’t know what’s up with it. it hasn’t hurt this much since the last time i got whiplash. which was…on a bumper car i think. (yeah, bumper cars give whiplash. just in case you were out of things to worry about your kids doing.)

we had to go out when i was just waking up and before i had a chance to let my muscles adjust to actually being upright. that was less than fun. i’m doing better now, though, and we did pick up the package from the post office and our scrips — can i just publicly thank Asclepius for insurance? i don’t even know what it would have been without, but with our extended insurance from mr. katje’s workplace it was 17 bucks for three scrips. gone are the days of me taking my anti-depressant every other day to make it last! Io Asclepius! — and also got a little grocery shopping done as we were out of milk.

we’ve recently switched to 3.25% milk from 2% and i’m drinking a lot more of it. IT’S SO GOOD. however, we kind of regret going to IGA instead of Save-On today. milk was over 6 dollars for a 4L; at Save-On it’s around 4.5 bucks. that was a huge ouch. but i was too unwell to handle too grocery trips, so we just got it and sighed heavily.

i also asked at the pharmacy about switching from zoloft capsules to tabs because the capsules are incredibly hard for me to swallow and can cause me to throw up if i don’t do it exactly right. apparently the tabs are not available in Canada. because Canada has super draconian laws about medicine and food. (if you think the FDA is tough, haha have i got news for you.)

sometimes, i appreciate those laws. not today.

so continuing to use zoloft in capsule form until i can figure out a new med. maybe one that doesn’t make me sick and actually works better for my mental illnesses. hoping i get that appointment with a psychiatrist soon because i am running low on my meds.

but i’m excited about the gabapentin! i had a feeling i have Willis Ekbom Disease (aka ‘restless legs syndrome’ but the restless legs are a reaction to the uncontrollable spasms it causes) which i brought up with my doctor (short aside: i love my current doctor. he actually practices medicine instead of just telling me to lose weight. sent from the heavens. Io Asclepius again!) because i’m worried that it’s causing me to have a bad sleep. even after using the cpap for 6 months i am still exhausted all the time. much better with the cpap than without, but still. i shouldn’t be this tired.

so i asked if there was a test for willis ekbom and he said no, it’s one of those things where we give you treatment and see if it works and then that’s the test, basically. so i’m only supposed to take it before bed to see if it helps interrupt the processes that are causing me to spasm so i can actually get a full night’s rest instead of my body shaking itself ever so slightly awake all the time.

(i still spasm during the day and it’s uncomfortable, but if i can just get it to stop at night i can handle the daytime spasms. i’ve been dealing with them for a long time, after all.)

i’m really crossing my fingers the gabapentin works for me, because if i can fix my sleep i have a feeling i will feel 100x better, even with continued disability and chronic pain.

-katje

edited to add: between finishing writing this post but before publishing it i actually took a look at my pills. they’re capsules, because of course they are. i now have three prescription pills that are capsules. huzzah me. XD

Hope in the face of numbness

This post was originally published on my Medium profile on January 6, 2016.


My left pinky has become permanently numb.

I don’t know when this started. Every day I press it, hard, to the palm of my hand, in the hopes that that feeling, that pins and needles, that signal to my brain that something is wrong with the flesh — in the hopes that will disappear. It never does.

My pinky has become permanently numb.

Continue reading “Hope in the face of numbness”