[Journal] All flare and no play make Abi something something…

I’ve had an interesting month. Filled with both ups and downs, some more workable than others. Most notably, the reason I’ve been fairly absent is that I’m now on week 3 of the flare from hell. You know how every now and again you get a flare that blows all the others out of the water and leaves you standing there naked, wondering how you ended up in the middle of an arms testing facility? Yeah, one of those.

Moving in with my mother has come with it’s own stresses – we’re now living in a confined space, an entirely new set of boundaries needs to be established (or, more importantly, adhered to) with my mother and my privacy, I have very little space for work – especially important given that it’s not only how I earn money, but also how I destress! – and a whole kettle of conflict issues when the aforementioned points are brought to a head. What this means for  me is that, given how my body reacts to stress, I’ve been a hot mess for the last few months of living here.

It all started with my body going “you know what we haven’t done in a while? Bled like we’re dying out your reproductive organs”, and so it did. Despite all chemical reasoning not to (contraception for period control is THE best invention of the modern world, hands down, when it works), my uterus went flying full-speed into the glass door, and then spewed a torrent of filthy language that would make German grandmother blush when it realised that I was trying to ignore it.

I thought “fair enough, we can deal with this” and despite me being roughly as amicable as a herniated mako shark’s asshole, we got through it. But the problem was, my fatigue didn’t go away. It just got worse and worse and worse.

Queue now where I’m sleeping for roughly 14 hours a day just to avoid heart palpitations from exhaustion, I’m in constant above-average pain and my mental health is beginning to suffer from it all and you can kind of understand why my blogging has been non-existent despite intentions to keep this updated more regularly. I’m in the process of damage control and I’m hoping that every day that passes is one day closer to when this god-forsaken flare decides to give up and go home, but until then, I’m almost entirely bedridden aside from one low-impact activity a day – today’s was going to my GP.

In regards to that side of things, I’m doing well. I finally have a GP who has taken my issues seriously, isn’t treating me like a drug seeker (a moment’s pause in thanks for whatever god helped with this one) and is actually proactive in the management of my condition. To make things a little more rough, my specialist recommended that we wean me off my anti-anxiety in favour of another antidepressant I’m on for the Fibro and CFS, so that certainly hasn’t been helping my moods at all, but the plus side is that the meds they’ve put me on – Pristiq – have helped my moods like nobody’s business when I first went on them. Today we’ve brought me up from the trial dose to the full standard dose, which should do me absolute wonders and stop me being such a heinous cunt. The only thing I need to keep an eye on is that magical surprise lactation issue one boob seems to favour for this particular class of meds, but if my choice is offering people one squirt or two with their coffee and having amazing moods, or hating everything and everyone and having normal chesticles, I know what I’m going to pick. Besides, there’s probably good money in those sorts of pictures 😉

The downside of the doctor’s visit is that it’s confirmed I need to get my weight under control. At the beginning of this year, I was 110kgs. It’s not amazing. I’ve gotten it down to 105 with roughly two months serious work, but I was told that, while I’m not pre-diabetic, if I don’t shed the weight and get down to a manageable size, I’m going to be looking at diabetes in the future. It’s entirely understandable, but it honestly hit me like a bit of a brick to the back of the head, and I couldn’t understand why it was so upsetting beyond the fact that this should be a concern of mine, and then it dawned on me – when you’re chronically sick, you eventually get used to a certain run of fuckery with your body. Things are wrong, but you know what those things are, and they kind of become the neighbours you love to hate. You deal with them every day, but at least you know where you stand with them. When you add something new like this to the mix, it opens the entire cycle of grief all over again because it simply feels nothing short of betrayal from your body.

All of a sudden, your patched together little world is showing signs of the threads breaking, and you’re not certain how you’re going to sew it together again. It’s one of those things where, at least in my case, I had accepted that I had my conditions and there was a certain security in knowing that my conditions were more or less the way they were going to be, with some minor deviations on a broad scale. But this is another issue left of wing. I suppose it’s a bit of a fire under my arse if nothing else. I was already working towards weight loss and finding the old ‘me’, but this has gone to show that in order to keep my body functioning at what MY level of health  is, I need to actually work for it. It also really makes me question the whole ‘fat acceptance movement’ thing. I’m a big girl. I’m not going to deny that, but I’m not morbidly obese. Even when I was 65kgs, I still had broader shoulders and larger biceps than my boyfriend. I don’t fit standard women’s size shirts in the shoulder, and when it came to corset fitting, my ribcage was larger than average. But what this doesn’t change is that I am fat for my body type and that’s where my issues are rising. My body is not happy being this big, and so I’m working on fixing this. However, when I see girls almost twice my size promoting their size as being ‘healthy’, I do wonder how that works for them. Is their body simply coping better with their size? Are they simply in denial about the risks to their liver and pancreas with carrying that much weight? Body positivity is a wonderful thing, and I’m slowly learning how to love my broken, bunky little body, but I don’t think I could ever love the idea of putting myself at risk of disease. I don’t know. I feel like this is a kettle of fish probably best brought up in another blog post.

There have been plus sides to all the shenanigans, though. I’ve got the business back up and running. I made two sales in the last fortnight that has given the the “you can do the thing!” feeling again, and I’ve signed up for what I hope is the first of many courses ranging from silversmithing through to enameling, engraving, stone setting and all sorts that should add to my skills nicely. I am a little stressed about the fact that I have to take ‘stationary hobby business’ through to ‘making $180 a week’ in a matter of 3 months, especially when I don’t have a dedicated work space and, for a good portion of it, my desk has been a sheet of MDF across the bed. I’m presently in talks with the mother about getting a caravan or a demountable for the backyard that I can effectively make my office, but it feels a little like pulling teeth right now.

I also do have some kind of secret good news to share, and I figure this is the best note to end my blog on 🙂 Long story short, once this flare is over, I’ll be taking part in a weekly video presentation for spoonies, by spoonies. Covering everything from hobbies and relationships through to dealing with hospitals, mental health and more. I’m a little limited right now given my health and how long it’s taken me to write this blog post (brain-hands relationship has gone on holiday!), but it will be exciting to be involved in a project like this.

I’m going to leave this here and go and get some sleep.

❤ Abi

 

 

 

 

[Journal] Bringing you up to speed and 100 unicorns project

So, some of you may have noticed that all my journals since January have been rather short and there hasn’t been an abundance of activity on my blog. I’m here to explain why.

Back towards Christmas, we knew my grandmother wasn’t doing so well. She was very old, had seen a lot of shit in her time and her whole body was shutting down on her after years of medication abuse, two open heart surgeries and enough other health issues that make me look like a Spring chicken. When she passed away around the 17th of January, it was sad but no real surprise. I’m fairly certain the only thing that kept her holding on so long was her sheer stubbornness, both a blessing and a curse that all European women seem to have.

We got past the funeral, barely. With family issues (because there is always family issues at a funeral) seen to with as much grace as I could muster, we got to the paperwork and the Will. Everything’s set in motion and I found out where we stood on a few matters regarding the house, inheritance and, again, family. This is after spending roughly a fortnight pulling my hair out, swearing in every language I know and wanting to set people’s pubes on fire.

So, with that being one of the shortest run-downs of an overly bullshit and dramatic time that I think I’ve ever written, we’re back up to date and the situation stands thus:

The manthing and I are moving. Yes, again.

We had been in this present rental roughly a year and the universe caught wind of how nice and peaceful things had been and decided to let off a metric tonne of napalm under our arses. What it boils down to is that my mother dearest can’t live alone. Now that’s not to say that she’s physically incapable of it, but moreso her mental health suffers greatly from being isolated to the point where she barely leaves the house. She needs human company. While manthing and I will enjoy not having to pay rent for a while, at this point it’s a secondary consideration.

Once we move back home, we’ll handle the rest of the Will and estate bullshit, eventually sell the place, end up moving to another rental closer to where we want to live in 9 months or so, and then finally buying somewhere permanent where my mother will remain with us.

In between all of this, I’ve had two major flares, have been working on packing an entire house into boxes and all sorts of mundane bullshit at the same time, which is why the posts have been short and sporadic at best. Manthing and I are presently at the point where we’re at the apex of the move. Roughly half the house is packed and in boxes (and I’m taking a well-deserved break from it all to write this), so in theory that means I should have a little more time for blogging and comic writing in the next few weeks, but I’m not holding my breath.

Now for the fun part. I’ve started something I’ve decided to call the 100 unicorns project. I know. The name is just so full of imagination.

What this boils down to is that, over the next… well, whenever, to combat my depression and anxiety, I will be drawing unicorns. 100 of them, to be exact. Now, I had planned to do 365 days of unicorns, and paled at the thought of having to hold the pencil with my foot while in the shower trying to bathe the pain away, so I figured 100 was much more reasonable. I could space them out every few days, or do three in a day, so long as I stuck to the plan and kept drawing. They could be sketches, paintings or even some kind of jewellery item, so long as they fit the theme.

It’s nothing too crazy, but I adore unicorns and I also like not feeling like shit. And you all seem to like drawings, so it’s the perfect motivation. So, you all have 100 unicorns to look forward to over the next (hopefully) 9 months or so. That’s two a week and then a few on the side, right? Anyway, back to packing!

[Journal] Procrastination

Firstly, wow. I am majorly behind in my blogging. The last month and a bit whizzed by me in a bit of a blur. I worked until 2am every night up until my biggest market event and put everything on hold – social life, games, comics – then I worked over the weekend of my big event with the help form some very special people, and then I hit the drop after the event where my body reminded me exactly how hard I had been punishing it. Of course, this is the end of week 2 after the event and I’m only just getting some time to myself. The entire week after was supposed to be my “off week” and just happened to be filled with every appointment known to mankind. By the time I finally had a spare moment to jot down a blog entry or comic, my body turned around and laughed at me.

I’ve more or less spent the last two weeks dealing with the nuclear fallout of pushing myself harder than I should have had to, but without my normal 12 month runup to the event, I had to do 365 days of work in just under 2 months. I was NOT happy. To further my frustration, almost every bit of equipment I needed died in the arse. My PC? $1000 fix. It’s a long story, trust me, but I couldn’t really avoid the cost. The embroidery machine more expensive than my car? Eating projects to the point where it couldn’t be used. My body? Well, we had the food poisoning incident. Hell, even the event itself managed to try and do us over by throwing emergency storm warnings at us and flooding the stall. Once we got back, my car tried to shit out it’s own transmission, I ended up with (thankfully!) a mild case of tonsillitis because some chucklefuck decided to share a drink with the chronically sick girl without using their fucking brain, several hundred dollars in medical bills and general chaos.

The event turnover wasn’t as awesome as I had hoped, but I made some wonderful friends over the weekend, got to spend time with both my big and my little sister, the amazing gentleman that I call my (adoptive) father and that side of my family. When we got home, I crashed pretty hard and it’s been a very hard slog to get the most mundane things done. Today is a very good example of that. I’ve been telling Manthing that I’ll wash the dishes for two days now, but the thought of standing, using the bathroom and moving in general is filthy exhausting, and even if I had some kind of energy, the pain I’m presently in rules most stuff out, too. I’d be in bed rather than writing this blog if there was some hope of me actually getting to sleep.

I’ve spent the better part of the last 3 days watching this amazing guy (if you haven’t seen Vet Ranch, go do it now) and just trying to survive. On the plus side, I found the most recent comic I uploaded in a pile of papers on my desk and also noticed that According to Abigail has officially cracked the 40 comic mark. That’s pretty damned impressive if you ask me. Getting out of bed on a bad day can be hard enough, but this is actually a really cool achievement and one that I’m keen on continuing. My honest to goodness dream is that I’d LOVE to see my comics in print some day. An actual, physical book to hold.

For now, though, I’m content to keep on doing what I’ve been doing. I’ve also noticed that there’s quite a few more followers since my last blog, so here’s a hello and welcome to those of you joining us for the first time. May I say “I’m sorry” in advance for the shameless swearing, creative descriptors and general shenanigans you will find here. For my regulars that I can’t seem to shake, you all get gold stars for putting up with me this long. You guys must be suckers for punishment or something ❤

I'm pretty much exhausted at this point so I'm going to sign off. At the very least, I hope that this post lets you all know that I'm still alive and kicking and hope to bring you more comics in the coming weeks.

Keep being awesome ❤

I hate birthdays

Sketch430369Night before our house inspection, my body is in the process of going full retard. The household has collectively spent the last week cleaning like Dobby on a bender of red bull and cocaine.

I don’t relish the idea of strangers walking through our house to inspect the place now that it’s for sale, but that’s one of the perils of renting, I suppose.

IInterestingly enough, it’s now four days until my birthday – that fateful day I was stolen from a place of carefree floating, bladder kicking and the god forsaken jam, ice cream and gherkins my host would eat. I like to think I made a good parasite for what it’s worth. I can’t say I’m terribly looking forward to my birthday this year.

As usual, events like thing bring with it a lot of terrible memories from my old life. Massive domestics between mum and dad, being put into utter tears on what’s supposed to be a special day, being told you’re the reason the house isn’t eating tonight because you wanted a little backyard party with your friends. Shit that just doesn’t go away easy. Every year, my birthday was the day I got blackmailed by my mother about finances, hated by my father because he wasn’t getting the attention, molested by my grandparents because mum made me go see them and then got laughed ant and teased by my peers because I was the token poor kid and couldn’t afford the birthday cake for the class or the fancy party at the mini golf place. Every year I had secretly hoped it was all a giant ruse and, on my special day, I’d come home from school and all my friends would jump out and yell “SURPRISE!”. My parents never really knew my social life well enough to orchestrate something like that and my sister was in no better position, so it was one of those fitful, bittersweet hopes that helped me get by the rest of the year but came back to bite me on that day.

Since those years I’ve done what I can to make the best of a shitty memory and to try and put some new ones over the top. Once my sporting club surprised me with a trip to the riding ranch with the rest of the guys. Watching medievalists climb on to horses and not fall off was one of the funnier things I’ve seen. I’ve organised little get together here and there, working within what I can afford and around the busy lives of friends. I’ve genuinely done my best to try and shrug off the mantle of bad memories, but given all the shit at this time of year right now, it’s been harder than most times around.

We have to find a new place to live. I’m (very recently) being investigated for breast cancer. I’ve had a major flare in both the pain and fatigue departments. I guess the shit is just blocking out the more shiny memories right now and I’m really not feeling it. To be honest, part of me just wants to pretend it’s like any other boring day of the year and that my birthday doesn’t exist at all, but I’m sure I’ll regret that just as much in the long run.

Manthing ‘snuck’ out of the house tonight to get me a present. I had been avoiding blogging about this for a while now ( good old head in the sand trick) but having that kind of attention cast my way made me feel all kinds of uncomfortable. I can’t even explain why. I kind of wanted to curl up, not let him leave the house and pretend nothing was happening. I almost suspect part of my brain of trying to deliberately sabotage the situation so I just have another bad memory of the day, because at least that’s familiar.

Right now, I’m going to try and do that sleep thing and simply focus on getting past the inspection tomorrow.  Once that’s done, we find out when they want to hold the open homes and we can work out plans from there. Just work on breathing easy and taking things one day at a time.

Return from Mars: Part 2

So I may be lying a little. There won’t be a part 2 at this rate. I’ve basically spent the last week arguing with a weather change that is determined to keep me bedridden and in pain. As a matter of fact, I’m going back to bed the moment I’m done typing this. I just cant wrap my head around the way to write a summary of the rest of the event. Suffice to say it was really good and I had heaps of fun. Heck, I’ll even upload a pic for you all once I get my shit together.

It’s snowing about an hour away and my body has decided that this is also the perfect time for a pain flare, so I’ve had to call off the markets this weekend and have spent this week being an irritable she-hulk of a bitch between bathtubs, bed and painkillers. Ironic, considering I bought myself one of those FitBit things to try and get my health back on track.

I’ve been reading blog posts on the stealth (yay for inboxes!) so I’m wishing you the best of luck with all your shenanigans, AZ. In the mean time, I’m going to go and hide somewhere warm and be miserable for a while

That sleep thing.

So, it’s 3am. I can’t sleep because of any number of reasons, but the top on my list today are:

  1. That fucking leg pain. The kind that creeps up as a little ache at first and you think “nah, it’s not going to be an issue” so you only take one painkiller and hope for the best, but inevitably, it turns into “Oh fuck, my leg/hip/knee/ankle/etc” and you wish you had added another two painkillers and a sleeping table to the list of ‘shit I put in my mouth’.
  2. My market on Sunday. Due to both the move and then the possibility of dying, I cut out almost all work-related stuff since January. While it is one of the perks of being your own boss, far be it from something that does you any favours on days like today.  I need to do this market on Sunday or I run the risk of losing the prime position I was allocated by the very understanding market manager there. I have to remind myself that she also runs a buisness.
  3. My MASSIVE market at the end of this month. Last I checked it was still March. Now, thankfully I did something clever and put together my ‘market pack’. In there is enough stock to get in the car and go to any given market this side of the mountains, however this one coming up at the end of the month is one of those ‘make or break’ deals that you wait the whole year for. Thus far I’ve doubled my profits each year. My hard work has paid off to a degree and I get an excuse to romp around in a fancy dress. This year, however, it’s three days rather than two. You wouldn’t think that extra day would make a massive difference, but it does. And I have expectations to reach this year. Not only those of the people that see me, but my own ones. I am the most asshole boss there can be, sometimes.

I know I shouldn’t be blogging (yes, manthing, this is directed at you, you bum head <3) at 3am, but what else can I do. I’m too bloody tired to get my head together to make a comic (though I do have a few sitting pretty for tomorrow) and I’ve beat another gym and raised my pokemon all to level 45. My Charizard kicks some serious arse, by the way. I thought you should know.

Anyway, I’m going to try and go back to sleep, or at least lie there and tickle manthing and see how long it takes him to roll over and snuggle me (or elbow me in the nose. Either or.) while I give my best sloth impression. By the way, if you read this before I get up in the morning, for the love of all things holy and purple, DO NOT WAKE ME UP! Just let me get up, because chances are the rear-end of a camel will have a better disposition than me tomorrow.

Still here!

We’ve had a few massive storms come through this week and it would appear that our internet has suffered greatly. Not sure if we’ve just been diverted or if we’ve had some of the wiring in the house fried, but it’s been three days and this is the first time I’ve been able to load my blog page (let alone anything else online! Say goodbye to business :/ ) so I thought I’d pop in quickly and give you all an update.

I’m still around, just not sure how long our internet is going to be cludged up. What that means is that I can’t upload new comics until we get the online situation sorted, but that doesn’t stop me from making them on my end. I’ve got a few to upload and have been trying to work on one a day here. It’s unlikely, however, that I’ll get them up until after the weekend even if the net decides to play ball.

Manthing is doing his last day at work on Friday and is becoming my full-time carer. It’s kinda scary and a little worrying about how we’re going to manage finances until they sort his paperwork out, but we always manage. I’ll also have to adapt to having help around the house. I can get more done, be more active and actually go places \o/ Also means we can work on our relationship a little, rather than the usual snuggle and smooch before we fall asleep. I’m hoping it all goes well.

I’m also in the shit-end of a big pain flare. Daily levels are sitting at 6-7 with peaks of 8-9 depending on how much my body hates me/how stupid I am. I’ve had to learn how to take things easy lately and let my body rest when it needs it, or else when I eventually decide to lie down, I get no peace from the pain at all and outright CAN’T sleep. I’ve also found that drawing the comics is a very therapeutic activity before bed and allows me to tell my brain to STFU.

Anyhoo, just a quick check in from me. Will update in the next few days with some more comics 🙂 Stay awesome!

My Bucket Theory

A plastic yellow bucket.

A plastic yellow bucket. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last two weeks I’ve been dealing with a fairly intense pain flare. The last three days have been the worst with me having issues doing simple things like using the bathroom, showering and dressing myself. Painkillers that are supposed to be effective for about 3 hours are having a useful effect of half that time in my body at present and I’m completely exhausted from the lack of sleep and the general drain that the pain is putting on my body.

I had a bit of a melt down the other day with my last post. When I deal with pain, I generally apply something I call the Bucket Theory. It goes like this:

I have a bucket. On a normal day, I wake up with a bit of pain into the bottom of the bucket and carry it around. It’s not too heavy and kind of like having water in a bucket. It moves and can splash up against the sides during a pain spike if I’m not careful with the bucket. As I go through the day, other issues collect in that bucket. Bills, chores I need to do, things I need to remember. Stress and concerns are in there too, kind of like rocks in a pond. The more issues in the bucket, the more it displaces the pain and makes it more noticeable, the same way putting rocks in a bucket of water will make the water inch up. There’s also something like a balloon in there. The less sleep I get, the bigger that balloon gets. All of the  creative things I WANT to do kind of float on the surface like oil and are prone to being either ignored or aren’t eye-catching enough with everything underneath the surface. I occasionally have good things happen, but they still take energy from me, so consider them things like small coins or shiny marbles in that bucket.

Now. Some days I’ll wake up with a lot more water in that bucket than other days. On a bad pain day like today, my bucket is 3/4 full. It probably started about half full, but I had an awful night’s sleep so that balloon is taking up a fair bit of space. Today I have things that I need to get done. I have to call a car dealer about the car I bought – it has so many issues it shouldn’t have been sold with a roadworthy certificate. That’s a BIG rock. I have to call and visit two mechanics. Another two fairly large rocks. The house is a mess. A medium sized rock. More annoying than anything, but still requiring a LOT of my energy. There’s a good dozen or so little personal rocks and pebbles in that bucket and several fairly large business issues in there. There’s a shiny coin or two in there thanks to my best friend possibly having her baby today. There’s also a large rock thanks to the idea that (because of this pain flare) I won’t be able to be there for her.

Rock Me Baby

Rock Me Baby (Photo credit: Bruce McKay Yellow Snow Photography)

The bucket is pretty damn close to full and very heavy. In fact, if I’m not careful with how I carry it, water splashes up and over the edges and it requires a lot of my concentration to remain on task with all the things in the bucket. I had some plans to do something fun today, but with the bucket splashing about, those have fallen out the top. The only way to make the bucket a little more empty is to take some of those rocks out by getting the job done, but you can only take the out AFTER the work is done and you have to be carrying the bucket the whole time.

When that bucket hits critical mass and the water starts to flow over the sides, I have had enough. I cry, I get angry and upset. I’m stressed out and I have hit my limit. My body reacts the same and I have a complete blowout. This takes a few inches off the top of the bucket, but I have to work like mad to get the rest of the rocks out there since there are new ones tumbling in all the time.

It’s a very rare day when I wake up with a mostly empty bucket, and even then I get the idea that I can cram as much floaty creative things in there as possible and end up filling up my bucket that way anyway. I’ll have had fun, but I’ll be completely out of energy and sore as hell by the end of it.

The biggest problem is trying to explain this concept to people that don’t suffer chronic pain. You can’t quite get across the idea that hauling that kind of stuff around all day can also take it out of you. Just from CARRYING that bucket. That’s without even thinking of anything else that’s already inside there. So I really hope that this little explanation helps to get the message across – not just for me, but for anyone who has trouble explaining this concept. You’re all more than welcome to reblog and share this piece if you find it relevant.

Now, I’m off to try and empty my bucket :/