Lifestyle Changes

As the chronic pain becomes more and more prominent in my life, I’ve had to make adjustments in my life style. 

Like when I finally got an electric grinder for coffee beans a couple of years ago. I loved my mechanic one but due to wrist pain it became impractical to use. Still have it but can’t use it anymore. Now it is a conversational piece, sitting pretty on a shelf.  

This week, I caved in and got a 2in1 stick vacuum cleaner during Prime day. Apparently I scored a huge deal too, $30, tax & shipping included. We’ll see how it performs, though. Hopefully it has sufficient sucking power to do the job and it is light enough for me to handle thus reducing the pain associated with dusting and sweeping. Hopefully.

I hate having to use electric tools. They leave such a huge carbon print! So for me, it is quite aggravating having to turn to electric things because of the pain. Stupid pain.


Fast forward half a day


Well, there it is.

As a stick vacuum, it is definitely light. As a hand-held, it’s a bit on the heavy side but I think I can manage as I imagine I won’t be holding it for extended periods of time. The suction power is unexpectedly good for such a tiny thing.

I vacuumed the living area (open concept kitchen/dining/living room). It did its job and it did it well. It took care of all the dust bunnies and cat hair that had accumulated while I was away with just one sweep. 

The floor is looking quite nice but I am not as tired, overheated or in pain as I would be if I would have swept the same area to obtain the same results.

Then I decided I tried it on a small rug.

Before vacumming

After vacumming

After using the red lint thingy

That’s almost four weeks worth of cat hair. I had last cleaned it the week of my birthday. 

As you can see, the vacuum cleaner is of little help there.

But since I don’t have carpets or big area rugs, that won’t be much of a problem for me.

As for packaging – another source of aggravation- thankfully this one is not as wasteful as some I’ve seen. Most of it is cardboard, which can be recycled [yaaay]. Nonetheless there’s plastic wraps (three) that will sit on a landfill for thousands of years. If they don’t end up in the oceans and in the belly of some poor sea creature, that is.

In conclusion, the 2 in 1 vacuum cleaner does everything a broom does, but faster and with a lot less effort. Basically, it is an electric broom that can double as a [very heavy] dusting wand.

Akk things considered, it seems to be a good fit for me*.

The Night Furies however, who had never been anywhere near a vacuum cleaner, wholeheartedly disagree. They are positive the stick is the devil incarnate. 

Jay & Kaylee seem to be of the same opinion.


* Good for me, but bad for the planet. I so wish I could afford to have a self sufficient home, powered entirely with solar panels and wind turbines. 

The one where I want to throw a tantrum

Here is something I am currently struggling with.

Well, struggling is a bit of an understatement.

As I grow old-er, I am learning to make peace with my health issues and the limitations they impose on me.

The chronic physical pain has been inexorably taking me away from all the activities I love, all the physical activities that had made me happy since childhood, such as cycling, skating, rock climbing, hiking, working out, dancing. Some days I am more successful than others in not resenting it but in general I have come to terms with it.

Same -more or less- for the chronic emotional pain.

A few years ago, I was fortunate to be referred to a four-week long day hospital program where I was trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Best thing that could have happened to me, mental health related.

I find CBT tremendously useful in my daily life. I have internalized and incorporated CBT in my coping mechanisms and my life is more balanced and happier as a result. It is not an “and she lived happily ever after” story, of course, but I am very grateful for it. Continue reading

Bloody Vicious Cycles

Here I am, stuck in another one of those bloody vicious cycles we all know so well:

I’m in pain therefore I don’t exercise ==> I don’t exercise therefore I am in pain.

Throw a funny funk (aka depression) in and it just makes for a lovely recipe for another vicious cycle:

The more depressed I get, the less I am inclined to get out of bed, shower and go out ==> the less I go out, the more I get depressed.

In summary:

Vicious Cycle

Losing this particular battle at the moment, I’m afraid.

And it is not that I necessarily need human contact. I am quite happy on my own. But I do need nature contact. I need to feel the wind in my face, hear the birds sing, smell the grass, take the view in.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy meeting with friends over coffee and cake. Mmmm cake. I love hearing about what’s going on in their lives. I love laughing with them and even crying with them. And I love coffee and cake. Mmmm cake.

But I enjoy solitude, quietness, stillness. I don’t go insane over not talking to anyone for extended periods of time like some people tell me they do.

Nature, on the other hand, nature I can’t do without. Watching goofy squirrels work and play. Birds fly. The sound of water. The sight of threes. That I can’t can’t do without.

I could certainly do without ze physical pain, though. For sure.

That, however, won’t happen unless I go out and walk. Or exercise otherwise. Which is not happening. Because I am stuck in that bloody vicious cycle right now.

Need to break free somehow.

Time Heals Everything, they say

So I believe it is time to write a post that has been in my head for almost a year but was too painful to put into words.


As some of you know, I had to stop dancing about a year ago, due to generalized intense joint pain.

For those of you new to my blog, I used to train, compete and perform with, teach, deejay and do social media for Swing Dynamite, a Swing Dance school in Ottawa. In fact, Ottawa’s only dedicated Swing Dance school.

Anyway, it was as if all my joints had suddenly decided to give up on me.

My ankles, my knees, my hips, my elbows, my wrists, my knuckles, my shoulders… even joints I didn’t know I had* hurt.

Not that I was any stranger to pain, mind you. Pain can even be considered my longest lasting friend, considering it started when I was 11 and I met my oldest friends when I was 12 back in 7th grade.

Every time I danced, I was in pain. Every time. But I also got a lot of joy out of it. The joy exceeded the pain by far so I danced.

However, it got to be that the pain over-weighted the joy so I had to stop. Continue reading

Healing by Purrs

A cat purring on your lap is more healing than any medicine in the world, as the vibrations you are receiving are of pure love and contentment.- Author unknown

This quote usually -but most likely erroneously, attributed to Francis of Assisi, fully exemplifies my day yesterday.

I spent the whole day with Jay by my side, with a healthy sprinkling of kneading, purring and headbutts by my new friend, sweet miss Patches.

Meet miss Patches

Meet miss Patches

I didn’t go out at all. Which makes me feel guilty because I didn’t go looking for Satchie. But on the other hand, today I am in a lot less pain, which is always nice. My body needed the break, for sure.

But most of all, I am in a much better state of mind today. Being reunited with Jay has made a huge difference. Even if he had to go through the stress of being in yet another brand new place, the third one in the same week. I hate putting him through all this but I would like to think that being with me also helps him. He’s starting to settle by now and I love to hear his heartwarming cooing every time I touch him or call out his name.

I am still worried, of course. I am still heartbroken and my heart won’t heal until I have Satchie again with me. I am still anxious about not having secured a place for January 1st. I am still angry that I will have to spend the holidays alone because of some stupid Border agent.

But I now know that this too shall pass and that eventually things will be okay.

Yeah, yeah, you were all right. You all knew I would. Even I knew I would.

Damn. I’m too stubborn to give up even when I try to convince myself that I do want to give up. I hate it but there’s nothing I can do. Millions of years of evolution hang heavily on me. We are all wired to survive no matter the pain.

But… dude!

Purring kitties.

That’s where it’s at!

Oh, and coffee. Let’s not forget coffee. Thanks to my current host for welcoming me with a cup of coffee and to the fiance for bringing me some of that good old Colombian magic beans!

You win

I hate life.

There I said it.

I have spent decades finding gratefulness for what little I had. No parents? oh, who needs parents anyway, I can totally fend for myself. Pain? Oh, at least I have a roof under my head and I have food on my belly. Being told that everything is in my head? Oh at least I have my books and a great imagination. I can always escape to better worlds in my mind when nobody is looking.

I have tried to find strength and peace in the beauty of the little things. The birds coming to my balcony. My cats. Later on, when I finally made it to Canada, the falling leaves, the snow. The squirrels and chipmunks. The groundhogs. The Rideau canal. Swing Dancing.

But the truth is my life has been crap since day one. I was born extreme premature and spent the first months of my life in an incubator. The doctors told my mother not to get too attached to me because I most likely wouldn’t make it. And yet I did. I am pretty sure some god(s) with a lot of time in their hands and a very twisted and sick sense of humour had something to do with that. Perhaps they even made bets on how long I was going to last after all the things they had in store for me.

I spent my the first two years of my life in and out of the hospital and after that in an out of the pediatrician’s office with recurrent ear and throat infections which are the cause of my bilateral hearing loss.

I had no friends, as it is so common for children from very dysfunctional family environments.

Nonetheless, I puttered along. Hating every minute of it. Continue reading

Surviving is not living

Of pain life is made

intense pain and grief.

In pain we are born

and in pain we leave.

We may loudly profess

our chains we can break

But the embrace of the shackles

no, that, we can’t shake.

Hoodwinked and confounded

we reach for the stars

forgetting our fetters

despite the old scars.

Cruel are the gods

always laughing at us

hurdles and moats

putting in our paths

And what do we get?

and for what, I do ask

well, nothing but pain

now, where is that mask?

Who mourns our losses,

who dries our tears?

We’re here to entertain them

throughout the long years.

Surviving is not living

but that’s all we can do

and then one day, maybe

we will be gods too.


I, just like everybody else with and invisible illness, am not in the habit of complaining out loud about the aches and pains, about the fatigue, about the anxiety, frustration and even anger that is the result of the myriad of symptoms of most invisible illnesses.

Like everybody else, I putter through life by virtue of sheer willpower and stubbornness.

Most often than not, I refuse to acknowledge the issues.

Most often than not I have a smile and a kind word for everyone.

As you, my wonderful blogging community know, every once in a while, I break down and just want to say fuck all. It’s like having a coca-cola. I don’t like soft drinks. I really don’t. But about once a year, I get a craving for a coke with lots of ice. The bottled kind, not the watered-down fountain one. Preferably with lots of popcorn or pizza.

So today is that day.

Not for the coke-craving thingy.

For the fuck all thingy.

I’m frustrated.

The trigger? Oh, something really stupid. I need to go to a store that is far away in the land of suburbs and outlet malls. Getting there by bus is a hassle. Transferring buses and a fair bit of walking.

Really not a big deal in the big scheme of things. But factor in knees and hips pain when walking and anxiety and the picture gets dark.

Then I get thinking how annoying and frustrating it is that when I am in Lansing, I have access to a car but not to my money while when I am in Ottawa, I have access to money but not a car.

Once the scumbag brain goes down that path, there’s no stopping it.

To top it all, even my teeth and gums hurt today.

I’ll go away, as you all know. In a few hours or tomorrow at the latest, I’ll be my usual bubbly self again.

But right now, I am saying HASA DIGA EEBOWAI

And that’s that.

Here’s a giraffe on top of a building f. For no reason at all


No going out for me today

I got woken up by the pain today. That doesn’t happen very often as I am quite used to pain by now.

The cartilages of most of my ribs where they join the Sternum (costal cartilages) are tender at best and downright inflamed and painful at worst. It is a condition known as Costochondritis.

Today is one of those “at worst” days. I can feel the lumps, especially on my left side.

Costochondritis. © Mayo Clinic Foundation

In the image above, blue means normal cartilage. Red, means inflamed cartilage.

I guess that means I ain’t going anywhere today. No way I can wear a bra in this condition.

Oh well. It is too hot to go outside, anyway. Maybe I’ll try to do some drawing today. My sketch pad must be feeling very lonely.

When you get tired of drinking lemonade

*Warning* RANT ahead. Read at your own risk.

I am normally good about ignoring the bad things and focusing on the good things. Not in a “I-am-putting-all-in-a-pile-in-the-back-of-my-mind-and-OH-SHIT-WTF-is-this-monster-let’s-have-a-meltdown” kind but in a “If-I-have-to-do-this-at-least-I’ll-have-some-fun-while-I’m-at it” one.

In other words, I’ve spent all my life making [and drinking] lemonade. And that’s ok. I do have lots of fun as you all know. Sometimes I even make chocolate cake instead of lemonade.

Wish it were that easy

Continue reading