Abstract Comfort

When he arrives
            with red roses
            [so common and impersonal]
            not orchids
            or daisies,
I seek comfort.

Or when she comes with me,
            only because I begged,
            ["His friend is great,"
            I told her.]
            and has more fun
            with her date,
            dancing and laughing,
            than I do
            with the double left-footed man
            sharing my side of the booth
            at the pub on the corner,
I seek comfort.

Or when everything is wrong
            even when all is right,
            and the tears come
            for no obvious reason-
            as the old German woman,
            with all the cats,
            [my sweet mother]
            calls it,
I seek comfort.

I find it-

In the room I've known since childhood
            lying back in the bed
            that has felt my weight
            so many times in the past.

In an array of lines above me,
            light pouring out between the panels
            of my old reading lamp,
            creating a colorless Picasso
            for me alone
            to experience.

The scribbles
[long crooked fingers]
            draw me up
            to where roses fade into daisies
            [such simple white and yellow petals]

and a podiatrist,
            a small creature with glasses
            that magnify his curious eyes
            [tiny little frog man]
            stands at the entrance of the pub
            covering the words
            [please wait to be seated]
            on the welcome sign,
            offering free foot transplants.

The corners of my mouth rise
into a satisfied grin
as I find
my abstract comfort.


Subtext to every request to be CC'd

From a friend's experience with her consultant:

"When you send the brief to the client, can you CC me . . . so I can see how you twist my words?"



Normal exchange at mom's house

mom: Judge Judy is on!
mom's husband: that smart-mouthed woman
me: there's nothing wrong with a smart-mouthed woman
mom's husband: oh we've got miss women's lib over here
mom: yeah, and who do you think taught her that?


We Still Need Feminism

This post is most likely going to come across a little disorganized and a lot emotional, and I've decided I'm okay with that. And I'm gonna pull a John Oliver on this one and promise you that if you can get through this one with me I'll reward you with funny cats at the end.

A couple of weeks ago Buzzfeed took a tumblr viral when it critically posted that 14 women posted why they were against feminism. I say critically because the intent of the post was to highlight the idiocy of the tumblr (read the URL: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rossalynwarren/i-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means), but in doing so they gave so many more people access to this hurtful, ignorant website.

Just look at some of the pictures on this website. Some of them have understandable reasons they've been hurt by radical feminists. But some of them are just ignorant. "I enjoy being a homemaker..."???? Being a feminist gives you the choice to do that OR go to work. Glad you enjoy it, some women don't. Do you think everyone should HAVE to? fahsdklfhghdaios;hjsgfjs;gj; < me hitting my head on my keyboard

I have some unorganized thoughts on this that I need to get out, and I really hope you can just hang with me for a minute on this one:

I Kinda Sorta Maybe Halfway Understand - ISH:
  • I once was a young woman who didn't want to be called a feminist - I thought feminists weren't feminine.
  • I want to be a stay at home mom for a couple of years at least. I LOVE the idea of having a man who can care for me - that didn't sound very feminist to me before I became educated about feminism.
  • I don't want to be associated with the people who go overboard. I am not a radical. I am not an extremist. 
  • I believe there is a difference between men and women and used to not understand that most feminists understand this, too.
And Now the Harsh Truth of What I Really Believe...
YOU do not get to make ANY judgments against feminism to me IF you have never:
  • been told to keep your mouth shut because it's a client and it doesn't matter if it's sexual harassment.
  • been raped.
  • been paid less than your male peers when you work more than they do.
  • been abused.
  • been told you didn't get the job because they think you'll want to have babies soon.
  • been kept out of meetings that you made happen because only men were invited.
  • seen how women outside our borders are treated.
  • been told you were a bitch when the man who did the same thing was aggressive and doing his job well.
  • had a relationship not work out because you make more than the guy.
  • been told you were asking for it.
  • been delegated to party planning and ordering everyone's lunches when you outrank everyone at the table.
  • been told, "girls can't/don't do that."
Polly Young-Eisendrath's definition of feminism is STILL my favorite ever:
“A discipline of thought and action that aims to enhance mutuality and trust among all people; to reveal the meanings of gender differences, especially as these might interfere with reciprocity and trust… and to oppose all models and methods of dominance-submission for relationships among people. What feminism has revealed, in its many forms from theology to literary criticism to psychology and philosophy, is that the silencing and trivializing of women and their ideas affect all of us all of the time in the way that we expect the world and ourselves to be.”

And feminism is ABSOLUTELY still necessary. 
There are so many studies and well-written articles on why it's ridiculous. Here are a few:

My favorite response comes from an artist named Rebecca Vipond Brink. I think she's fabulous. And I think her response is on point: http://www.flareandfade.com/i-dont-need-feminism-because/

And now, those promised cats:  http://confusedcatsagainstfeminism.tumblr.com/

Thanks for listening.


Your Argument is Invalid

Sometimes at work when someone is asking for something I don't want to do, I feel like busting out with, "I just had back surgery!"

Saturday Ego Boost

I decided to take a day off from life today.

Not entirely, but I definitely skipped the Cardinals game I was gonna go watch and hung out inside all day even thought it's gorgeous outside. I'm feeling pretty crappy because I'm not used to being back at work and physical therapy seriously kicked my ass today.

So I BARELY made it to the corner market this afternoon to pick up a healthy alternative to whatever crap is in my freezer. Unwashed hair pulled up without even looking in a mirror. Glasses. Cropped pajama pants with a hoodie. I have no shame when it comes to my corner market. And I blend in with the druggies.

On the way out, though, pretty attractive tall guy asks me if he can ask me a local question. He asks about my favorite sushi places nearby, which of course in San Francisco turns into a conversation because I had to ask "rolls or sashimi?" and "quality or economy?" He clearly knows all of the places I mention, which I comment on. This prompts him to ask me to go with him to dinner and let him buy me a beer.

My first thought was that he didn't seem drunk. My second was my response - I gestured to myself and said, "have you seen how I'm dressed right now?" He further tried to convince me. Maybe I should have taken him up on it - he's gotta have a good story, but I'm just not up for meeting someone new at the moment. I told him he caught me on a bad day, and that another time that would have totally worked. We said our goodbyes and I walked down the hill to go back to my day off of life and rest. Smiling all the way.

Ego incredibly boosted.


how my suppliers think of me

It's not often that you get unsolicited feedback from people you manage. For the past 2 years I've been on a project in which I managed supplier teams through a major transformation. At times my personality came through and I served as their ally, but my job was to make a lot of demands on them and make sure they met commitments. In fact, my client feedback after 3 weeks on the project was that I need to be a more of a bitch.

Despite that, the person at the supplier who was my primary contact just sent me a touching thank you email. My favorite favorite part, that I think tells so much about me:

"[You were] always asking for more, sometimes difficult but never impossible."

This just makes me smile. I'm so thankful for this.


Apparently I'm Giving Up Exercise for Lent

Had my surgery follow up today.

Good news: I'm apparently doing extremely well. The residual pain and tingling is normal and could last a few months. The nerve was compressed for so long that it just takes time to heal. Also, this new pain I'm having in my foot is normal - which is a huge relief. Apparently when they hold the nerve back during the surgery, they can cause pain effects in unexpected places for awhile afterward. I no longer have to wear any bandages, and I can take showers without worrying about it. All great stuff.

Bad news: I can't take a bath for AT LEAST 4 more weeks. I'm a long bath girl. This is doable, but it's a little bit of torture. The harder news is the recovery period. I had been under the impression that I would be cleared to start physical therapy again after this appointment. I was sooooo wrong. I'm not cleared to do ANYTHING - not even the tiniest of exercises or bending - for 4 more weeks.

In my surgery, they removed the part of the disc material that had pushed into the spinal cavity, but they left most of the disc in place. This means that if I stress it at all, I can push the remaining material out and be back in the same position needing surgery again. So I'm not even supposed to be bending down for the next 4 weeks even though I feel totally capable.

This is the only time that I can legitimately say giving up exercise for Lent would actually be a sacrifice. Which I say as if I've done Lent anytime in the last 10 years.


Back in the Office

Today was my first and last day back in the office for awhile.

It was the first day back in person since the week before my surgery.
Definitely a little overwhelming. Super productive and reminded me that I am a valuable professional who doesn't just lie around watching cats and bad tv all day. But sitting so long - both in the car and in the conference room - was definitely painful. I should have had someone take a picture, but I definitely was lying on the floor working for an hour or so in the afternoon. The Deloitte guys told me they were going to find a couch to bring in until I told them it was my last day.

Onto that...

It was also my last day on site for this project.
I've been on this project almost two years. That's a long time to just let go so unceremoniously. A lot of people expressed surprise/frustration that I wasn't having some kind of going away shindig. Fact is, it happened last Tuesday, but I was busy recovering from the surgery because it had to be pushed up when I couldn't move. The plus side of this is that I felt incredibly loved every time I told someone it was my last day and watched their face fall. I'm so thankful for this amazing team and am seriously sad to leave. It is possible I even got a little teary eyed when my suppliers thanked me.

And now, sleep after this long lovely day before a couple more weeks of rest.


First Shower in Almost 2 Weeks

Today I decided I was done with the cup and washcloth method of bathing. Figured this red duct tape would do the trick.

Quickly learned that duct tape is not waterproof against skin. All good, though - I immediately dried off and replaced the dressing, and I feel a little more me again. Step by step. Oooh baby.


Reminder that I live in a City

On my way home yesterday I passed a small group of kids (kids = probably academy of art students) putting a box onto the edge of the street. One girl yelled, "don't tip it over, just set it down!"

Then the group yelled, "C'mon Charlie!" and a giant rat wiggled its way out and onto the road.

All I could think was, that's a terrible place to let a rat go - he's going to get run over.

Hope you made it, Charlie.


Cabin Fever

I'm starting to get so restless hanging out in the house.

I've been tapering down my painkillers so my mind is much more clear, but there's a little more pain. I know I still need to rest, but I feel so tired of resting and I just want to go do stuff. I have all of these projects I want to do in the house and I get inspired but as soon as I get up to try one it's too much.

Last night Nolan peed under the bed. I thought I could leave it until morning but the smell was just too overwhelming. I somehow managed to pull my entire bed out away from the wall (thank god I had it on little sliders so it wasn't heavy), scrub the floor, and move my storage bins over the spot so he couldn't get back there again.

I did it, I felt good getting it done. but an hour later I was in so much pain. I know it was stupid, but who am I gonna call at 2am to come move my bed and clean up cat pee?

I'm bored. I'm tired of being helpless. I'm feeling so much better and so excited to be a human again, but I'm still not quite there and it's driving me crazy.

Kittens are only entertaining for so long.


Two Things

1. I am the best ever at applying bandages in the mirror.

2. People who apply bandages in hospitals should take basic engineering into account. I have spent the last 2 days screaming in pain because the incision is raised and it touches the bed when I lie down. I put extra gauze on the sides to build a bridge and no more pain. Not genius, but apparently takes one to implement.


Figuring Out Life at Home

Cat sitter is going to continue coming for a few days until I feel okay doing it on my own.

Amy gave me some leftovers and I can work with friends and delivery services to get fed.

Will use task rabbit and homejoy to get the house all spic and span again.

But laundry, well, laundry is tough. I used to have the laundromat across the street do my wash and fold and they would deliver. They have new ownership and have replaced that service with laundry locker. Problem is that Laundry Locker won't pick up or deliver from my home. I've got a call into the COO to see if he can work something out with me, but if not, what can I do? Are there other wash and fold delivery options that aren't ridiculously expensive?


Dozi is Keeping Watch

Day 2 Post Surgery

I was going to do a video post but, a) my voice isn't really working and b) it seems a little deceptive to have not done one yesterday when i felt awesome.

So instead, this is what's going on:

I was fine until i went to bed. But then my neck and shoulders started to hurt. My neck feels like I've been strangled and there are no muscles holding it up.

Also, all of a sudden the incision site is extremely painful. Any movement any touch... which means I can no longer lie on my back.

Not really sure how to handle today. Right now I'm just lingering in bed on my side trying to support my neck enough that it doesn't scream in pain.


A Giant Piece of Disc!

I'm all set up at Amy's house for the next few days. She's taking very good care of me. I'm already walking and can do stairs slowly with a rail.

Amy talked with the doctor last night and he excitedly told her about the size of the disc portion he removed. He said on a scale of 1-10, this was really really big. Apparently they are normally the size of half of the pinky finger or so, but this was the size of his index finger. HUGE. He said that it was no wonder I was in so much pain because it was taking up so much room.

If you're easily grossed out, close this window now. Otherwise, scroll down for a picture of the piece they removed.







Post surgery update

I feel awesome.

I mean, yes I'm sore, and some of the pain will stick around for a few days, but I'm on Tylenol only at the moment and i can turn over in bed, sit up slowly, stand, and even walk a little.

Don't get me wrong -- i hurt a lot. But the comparison is super easy.  I am a gajillion times more myself today than i was yesterday.  And thank goodness for that because 8 hours in a gurney having not eaten or had anything to drink and not knowing when they were going to take me in -- that was agony.

So so happy right now. Looking forward to a few days of rest that might actually feel restful.

Morning after

This is my view right now.


Surgery was super delayed. Got to hospital at 2 but didn't go in until 830. Portion of ruptured disc was way bigger than they thought. Took a lot out.

I already feel pain relief and sat up all on my own. They are keeping me the night just because it's so late and they want to watch me. Soreness is starting to set in but it's nothing like the pain i had.

Gonna go enjoy my Apple juice and Graham crackers now before sleeping. More tomorrow.


Dilautid is fun

Especially when mixed with sponge Bob.

Here I Go

I just got really scared.

What if this is a mistake? What if it doesn't work? What if I'm like this forever?
Fortunately it looks like that are breaking out the morphine. Scratch that.  They are bringing dilautid. Maybe this will be a fun trip. 

Spine Images

I thought it might be nice to show exactly what's going on. These are a couple of images from my MRIs with my notes added. Click on the bottom image for full view.

I'm Having Back Surgery Today

Yesterday, completely frustrated, I put my latest post up on Twitter and called out Aetna for not authorizing the surgery. Their reasoning was that the doctor had requested authorization for a March 6 surgery. They have a 7-10 day SLA, and it had only been 7 days.  It didn't matter that the surgeon was now requesting surgery the next day, or that he had cleared his schedule to allow for what he considered an emergency.

Surprisingly to me (I'm just starting to learn the power of twitter), aetna responded to my post:

They called me and left a message telling me they were on the phone with my doctors working on the case, and they gave me direct phone numbers to individuals. My doctor's assistant had been fighting with the insurance company for a couple of hours when all of a sudden they referred her to the appropriate contact who approved the procedure.

I'm amazed at the power of posting my frustration online. I'm impressed at how quickly Aetna responded and how personally they took this case. Kudos.

I'm still sad that I had to go to twitter to get this taken care of.

Regardless, I'm having a desparately needed surgery today.
Thanks, @aetnahelp


In Times of Trouble

I indulge in bad tv. Fortunately the new light-hearted show about heavy subjects, Enlisted, features my most recently announced actor crush, Geoff Stults. Between him and Bode Miller, I'm in a good place with current media. I'll be even better when 24 comes back.

Pre-Op Clearance

Today has been an unexpected day of doctors and tests. I called my primary care physician this morning to try to schedule the appointment for pre-op clearance. We'd missed each other a few times last week and it's important to get the insurance authorization. They could only fit me in today. Before the appointment I stopped in to check on my appointment time with my spine specialist. The card said Friday, but didn't have a time. They somehow didn't have an appointment scheduled at all, so we scheduled one for a couple of hours after my first appointment.

Primary care talked me through some stuff and sent me down for blood work. After the blood draw I had some time before my next appointment so found these comfy benches I could lie on in the lobby. A few minutes after I got settled, my primary called me to tell me they actually required more tests. He came down to talk to me (amazing - medical care on a comfy bench in the lobby!) and gave me the paperwork I would need. I went back to the lab where I had more blood drawn, had to do the whole pee in a cup thing, and then got chest xrays.

The chest xrays were pretty terrible. Surprisingly so. I had to stand in a very specific position with my arms out and my body was not cooperating.

Tests completed, I went to see the spine specialist. It was pretty evident how bad things are right now, and he was happy I'd already started the process for scheduling the surgery. Each visit, he does manual traction in which I have to lift my hips and he manipulates the vertebrae while we talk. This time, he asked me to lift my hips and I couldn't do it. Bridges have been my easiest exercise this whole time, so it really caught me off guard when I couldn't even lift up a tiny bit. I lost it and started crying on the table.

Fortunately, my doc is pretty awesome and he helped me so I could still feel like I did it myself and he moved the conversation on so I didn't feel weird about crying. Basically, the steroids have worn off and now I just have to wait it out and do whatever I can to alleviate pain until surgery. He told me I'm not allowed to go into the office anymore. I need to stay home and stay comfortable as much as possible. I need people to come do things for me instead of trying to do them myself. And I need to start taking the painkillers and stop worrying about it.

I eventually made it out of the office, and then had to head back up to my primary for one last test. The assistant spent 10 minutes hooking me up to an EKG machine, about 10 seconds to run the test, and another 5 unhooking everything.

Point was - it was a long day, and it's not even the end of my work day. I'm home now, and have a few meetings to run and lots of stuff to finish for tomorrow. I'll try to find a way to fit that in between my percocet highs and screaming pain fits.



And the Pain is Back

I feel like I'm back to square one right now. I can barely get out of bed and can't move around the house at all.

It's confirming that surgery is the right option, but it's pretty brutal right now.

Anyone want to come do my laundry for me?


Surgery Decisions

I met with the surgeon today. I have done quite a lot of research and talked to many people at this point, and I'm confident this is the right choice for me. I'll be having a microdiscectomy at the beginning of March.

This is a nice little demo of the surgery:

I should be back to working from home within a week and back at the office within two. MAYBE if we get an amazing snow dump in April or May I might even get a few runs in this season.

Fingers crossed now for a quick insurance authorization process.


Dad Stories

My aunt posted this lovely response to the video I posted of my dad singing Hound Dog. This is so like him, and it's heartwarming to know that the video wasn't of him singing some unknown version of the song, but his own application of the lyrics:
While Kenny was working at Hawkins Petroleum Equipment Co., every now and then when everything was quiet in the office, he would cut loose with the actual rendition of "Hounddog", about as loud as he could. It would certainly wake us all up! Then one day he was experimenting and found that the words to "Hounddog" would lend themselves to several familiar gospel tunes. I think the only tune that he couldn't get to work with the "Hounddog" words was "Amazing Grace". Fortunately. That's my story for today.
My favorite part of this is her the "Fortunately." I love my family.


Family Song Circles

I just found this video of my dad singing the original version of "Hound Dog" with my aunt. This is definitely a treasure, and I wanted to share.

Soundtrack of my Soul #8

The Band Perry

Oh Pioneer
I sing your song
It's the hymn of those who've gone before and those who carry on
Your work is hard
But the future of us all rests on the shoulders of your heart

Where are we going
Oh I don't know
But still I've got to go
What will become of us
Oh I don't care
All I know is I'll go anywhere

Oh Pioneer
So young and brave
Be careful of the careful souls who doubt you along the way
You orphaned child
Your mother is adventure and your father is the wild

Where are we going
Oh I don't know
But still I've got to go
What will become of us
Oh I don't care
All I know is I'll go anywhere

Let your heart not be troubled

I won't run when bullets chase me
I won't rest where arms embrace me
I will love when people hate me
I won't hush, no you can't make me
Send the dark but it won't break me
You can try but you can't change me
Take my life, they will replace me
I won't hush, no you can't make me
I won't hush, no we will sing

Where are we going
Oh I don't know
But still I've got to go
What will become of us
Oh I don't care
All I know is I'll go anywhere

Let your heart not be troubled


There, I Fixed It

My client gave me a terrible powerpoint format to work in the other day, but I did the best I could. In slideshow format, the various pieces show up with each click so you can walk through it in a presentation:

Apparently, they were really attached to the idea of bright shapes and curvy overlaps, because this is what they came back with:

I sometimes wonder why I even bother.


Guest Starring in a Rando's Video

I had a super flattering experience this afternoon that has left me feeling pretty dern good about myself.

Having spent the last week in a corticosteroid-induced hormonal haze, I've been feeling pretty fat, old, and lazy. Everything hurts, all the time. Last night I stayed out a little later than normal and couldn't get into a solid sleep until almost 7 this morning. I woke up at 2 feeling pretty crappy about myself for wasting away the day. Easiest cure for that is to get out of the house, so I laced up my tennis shoes and headed up to Huntington Park. It's a pretty shady park, so it doesn't get the sun in the afternoons, but the walk up is a couple of blocks straight up an incredibly steep hill and the reward is a pretty decent view in three directions.

I noticed one totally flat bench without a back and decided it would be perfect for my physical therapy exercises. Luckily, it was in a back corner of the park out of the way of most of the people. This is an important factor when your exercises include pelvic bridges and something called the dead bug. There was a group of 4 guys in their mid twenties nearby, but they were occupied with some videos they were taking of each other.

I had my headphones in and was rocking out to the genius list based on Fun.'s "One Foot" (my current anthem). Out and about in the city, though, I always leave one ear open just so I can hear what's going on around me. Safety first, ladies. The guys couldn't tell this, though, and at some point in the middle of their video they started talking about me. It seemed like they were doing some sort of demo for a vlog or something in which they talk about stuff and maybe do some skateboard stunts...very Wayne's World. They were definitely in the middle of recording their "show" when all of a sudden I heard:

"Hey, check out that girl doing exercises over there." 
"Dude, you should go talk to her."
"She's a beautiful girl."
"And she's healthy, man."
"Go talk to her."
"She's busy, I don't want to interrupt her."
"Don't be a pussy. Just talk to her."
"No, man, she's like a fine painting in a museum. I want to appreciate the beauty from here. If you actually touch the paintings, the security guards come chase you down."

I couldn't hear everything at this point, but he extrapolated on the painting idea for awhile and they moved on to some other subjects. A few minutes later, I heard:

"Dude, really, just go talk to her. It'll be fun."
"I don't know man."
"Ask her to be in our video, worst she can say is no."

I finished my exercises and could have hung out for a bit, but it started to sound like they might actually make their way over to me. I got up and walked away, standing a little bit taller. Sure, it would have been fun to talk to them and maybe even be in their video -- but I really enjoy the idea of being a fine painting.


Runny Peanut Butter

Lesson learned:

When making no-bake cookies in a corticosteroid-induced emotional frenzy, refrain from using Trader Joe's peanut butter. It's too runny and the cookies won't properly dry. Which means every time you go to eat one the next day you have to wash the peanuty residue off your hand afterward. This is especially troublesome if said steroids are causing constant nausea, leaving you unable to eat except in tiny increments of chocolate-coated peanut buttery oats.


Side Effects

A lot of you are asking me how I'm feeling. I know that you want to know if the back pain is gone. I know that what you want to know is whether the injection worked.

I can't tell you that yet. I'm just not sure. The pain seems to have subsided some, but the overall pain from the injection is still there.

What I can tell you is that I feel miserable. The side effects of the steroids make it really difficult to even consider writing, but I wanted to give whatever update I could. This is how I feel right now (all of these are totally normal side effects of the steroids):

unable to sleep
unable to concentrate
teeth-chattering cold

I just feel generally extremely uncomfortable. This is not a pleasant experience. I'm not sure how all of those things can be true at the same time, but they are. This is not my favorite feeling.

The Other Woman

Having been the other woman unknowingly, and then knowingly, and then having it turned around so I was threatened by the other woman, I feel like I have a little bit to say on the subject. One of the things that is most difficult is that even after the relationship is long over, even after you don't even want to be with the partner anymore, there is still this feeling of primal hatred for a woman you don't even know. Even when I felt sorry for her, even when I felt like she could be someone I liked, I still had this undercurrent of hate. If I'm truly honest with myself, I probably still do.

Caroline Bromley posted a list of lessons regarding the other woman on Thought Catalog, and I found myself wishing I had had this list taped to my mirror while I was in the thick of these emotions. So I'm sharing it here in hopes that if there is anyone out there dealing with this currently or recovering from the effects of having been there, that this helps, even if just a little bit.

The one that was most important for me?
Nobody is out to get you specifically. Everybody just wants to be loved and is fighting as hard as they can for themselves. 

Read all of them here


It's back

oh hello pain

Injection Update

Steroid injection today. Terrible awful experience, but seems like already helping pain a bit. Feel weird and loopy and nauseous and achy, but hopeful.


Electromyograph Update

This was by far the weirdest thing I've ever had done to my body. My muscles are twitching and I ache in places that aren't anywhere near where needles were places. I am now a total believer in reflexology. This is crazy.


This is what I'm doing with my afternoon.


Normal muscles at rest make certain, normal electrical signals when the needle is inserted into them. Then the electrical activity when the muscle is at rest is studied. Abnormal spontaneous activity might indicate some nerve and/or muscle damage. Then the patient is asked to contract the muscle smoothly. The shape, size, and frequency of the resulting electrical signals are judged. Then the electrode is retracted a few millimetres, and again the activity is analyzed until at least 10–20 motor units have been collected. Each electrode track gives only a very local picture of the activity of the whole muscle. Because skeletal muscles differ in the inner structure, the electrode has to be placed at various locations to obtain an accurate study.


Back Problems Update

I saw the spine specialist today. He showed me the exact damage on the MRI. 3 discs are affected, but one is very clearly showing disc material pushing against the nerves. They are doing an electrodiagnostic test next week to determine how much muscle function is being affected by each disc issue, and they are doing a steroid injection to try to shrink the material. We'll know in a few weeks if that works, and then will have to start making some decisions about potential surgery. I feel very confident that I am working with the right doctors and am thankful for such an amazing support network in all of you.



She leaned a little into the ledge of the roof deck as he took an almost imperceptible step toward her. The conversation had been lively and constant all evening, but before this she hadn't been sure whether he even found her attractive. Waiting for him to interrupt her with that first kiss, she continued talking, not sure of how to stop.

"...so now I'm here, living in this beautiful city," she gestured with her head to the tops of the buildings they were overlooking, "and I feel pretty lucky..."

"Yes we are," he said as he moved toward her. He wrapped his arms around her in a hug and pulled her close to him.

A hug? This was not what she had been expecting. As soon as she felt herself relax into it, he pulled his face back without letting any space come between them.

She watched him watch her. "You're studying me."

He caught the hint of a question in her voice. "Not critically," as he leaned into her and put his lips to hers.

She waited for him to open the kiss. For an agonizingly long time, he remained still - pushing his lips gently into hers while holding her body against him. She felt something go off in her head.

Are these fireworks?

She felt an urge to move - to pull his lips into hers, but somehow knew better. She gave herself permission to trust him. In an almost meditative state, she started to feel all the nuances of the kiss. She felt movement in the stillness. She felt his hands on her back. She felt him meeting her in this moment.

Seconds that seemed like hours later, he pulled her into the open kisses she had been expecting. They were sweet without lacking sensuality. Soft without lacking power.

They paused for a moment and he gestured toward the nearby table. She sat atop it so that he could stand above her. They continued kissing without escalating. It felt like hours. Years. It felt like something she wanted to do forever.

And then, in one slow movement, he raised up and placed her head against his chest.

Really? We're making out on a first date and he wants to cuddle?

He wrapped his hands in her hair and gently held her there, pulling her into him. He held here there for three long breaths, then four.

At first she simply indulged him. But somehow both suddenly and as if it had been building up for eternity, something inside her came loose. She stopped counting breaths and she found herself pushing her forehead into him. As he held her, one arm around her back, one hand cradling her head, she relaxed into him. She felt herself completely surrender to this moment. Trusting this man to hold her, trusting him to know that she needed to be held, trusting him to kiss her just as she needed to be kissed.

Something inside me is breaking.

Tears were starting to fill in her eyes when the security guard abruptly opened the door and told them the roof deck was closing. She buried her face into him and then quickly wiped her eyes as they laughed at the interruption.

He handed her a tissue once they got into the harshly lit elevator.

Does he know I was about to cry?

"I know I always need one after being out in the cold like that."

Maybe not.

They moved outside to the sidewalk and she started to suggest another location, but something in his eyes made her ask how he was feeling.

He told her it had been a long day, that he'd like to end it on a high note. He held her hand as they walked the few blocks until they needed to go in different directions. They kissed again and said goodnight.

She walked home feeling...feeling what? euphoric. excited. violated. and completely abandoned.

Anxious and not understanding why, she let herself text him to thank him for the evening and let him know she'd like to see him again. He responded that he'd like to see her, too, but her nerves never settled.

She awoke the next morning knowing something had shifted. The more she thought about it, the more emotional and anxious she became.

It isn't this guy. I don't even know if I really like this guy. 

She checked her phone for the tenth time in as many minutes.

What the fuck is going on? What is wrong with me?

She closed her eyes and let herself remember how it felt when he first kissed her. She let herself feel him hold her against his chest. She gave herself permission to relax into the feeling. And she started to cry.

In almost four years her ex had never once held her this way. And the man before him? Never. Maybe she hadn't let them. Never had she been so gently forced to let down her guard. Never had she realized how much she needed to feel safe in someone's arms. She sobbed. And laughed. She cried in thankfulness for this beautiful gift, and in sorrow for not knowing if she would ever have it again. She cried because she was finally admitting that she had never in her life, her entire life, really felt completely safe. She cried because she understood this was just a moment in time, and that she may never have it again. And she cried because she knew this was the beginning of something much bigger and truer than she could fully grasp.

Something inside me is breaking free.