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I see I’ve gotten a little burst if new blog followers! Welcome! I thought I’d re-introduce myself for the folks who are brand new to my blog.
I started this blog over five years ago (wow, time flies!). When I started, this blog was anonymous, and although I have been a lifelong animal communicator, I didn’t embrace the human side of my medium work until my early 30s. I think it just took me that long to build up the confidence and courage.
I remember the day I told the spirits to stop bothering me. I was probably 8 years old or so. A small mirror on my dresser moved on it’s own.
I’d had a tough time with mirrors. I still do, actually, I can’t really see anything in those curved security mirrors, my brain just doesn’t translate it. As a kid, looking into mirrors, I would see flickers of things behind me, just out of focus. I understood they were people, and they were trying to get my attention.
The day that little mirror, with the magnifying side facing out, slowly began to rotate towards me as it sat in my dresser, I on my bed, I got incredibly angry. I don’t think I yelled with my voice, as that would have attracted the attention of my family, but I remember the rage rising up in my body and coming out if me with the firm order and declaration: “STOP. DON’T EVER DO THAT AGAIN.”
The rule of “no moving objects around me” still stands. I prefer to live without that adrenaline, thank you very much! Mirrors continued to be a hazard, though.
I think I was 12 when, at a sleepover party, we played “bloody mary”. The idea was, you say this rhyme / prayer and whisper “bloody mary” three times before running into the bathroom, turning off the light and looking into the mirror. This supposedly conjured the virgin mary crying bloody tears in the dark bathroom mirror.
Every girl squealed “I see her!” when it was their turn. I was trepidatious, but I didn’t want to exclude myself. I chanted the chant, and off I went to the dark bathroom… and when I opened my eyes and looked into the darkened mirror, I did not see Mary, but only myself… and then an old man standing directly behind me.
I screamed with genuine terror and actually peed my pants. I didn’t want the other girls to find THAT out, so I changed back into my day clothes and told all the girls I’d gotten my period. I didn’t go home, I managed to last out the night, but I went into my sleeping bag and refused to open my eyes again until morning.
I had known about my “psychic Oma”, my father’s paternal grandmother, since early childhood. My mother talked about her and occasionally asked me questions about whether I saw anything, but I always told her no. I don’t know why. There was something about the intensity of her inquiries. I didn’t want to go down that road.
With the image of the old man in the mirror, came this instant knowledge that he was related to the household, and he had died recently, of something that made it difficult for him to breathe. All if that, all in a flash.
At this point, I decided to have a conversation with god. I was raised with a loose unitarian background. I went to church because my best friend’s mother took her every Sunday, so I learned the basics kids learn in Sunday school, but I can’t say that is where my faith in, or belief in god, came from. It was just the first framework in which I learned how to relate to god.
Even when I learned that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy weren’t real, I felt that god was different. I wrote letters to Santa, I git chocolate from the easter bunny, exchanged teeth for money from the tooth fairy, but I didn’t have these quiet conversations with them the way I did with god, or feel a sort of answer.
Now that I’m writing this, I’m trying to recall the first time I had a conversation with god. I was not taught to pray at home, but we said grace at my friend’s house. I think my earliest education in faith came from a little book my mother would read me at christmas. I’ll have to think about that some more. It’s just, at some point, I started having private whispered conversations with god, and would get a sort of reassurance or affirmation in return which I had implicit faith in.
So at twelve, when I wet myself in fear from seeing this old man in the mirror behind me, knowing he was dead, and he was asking something of me, or I was supposed to do something about him, in the bright light of day, as I walked home, iI asked god to make them all stop. No more people spirits. Not until I was ready.
At the time, I imagined I would be ready in my 60s, as an older woman, ideally retired and wise, who had plenty of time to give to people who wanted to talk to their spirit family. I saw myself doing this as I visualized the great-grandmother I had never met. Once I could somehow embody my idea of her, I could handle this spirit stuff.
But until then, I just wasn’t capable. I wasn’t prepared to handle it. Even though I had heard these stories of my Opa’s mother, I didn’t actually have anyone helping me, at the time. I didn’t know how to learn, and it was overwhelming. It was too hard to live with the idea if spirits popping up everywhere, asking for attention. So I asked god to hold them off until I was ready, and I felt a weight shift. Not lift away, just settle into a different, more comfortable position.
Shortly afterwards, I saw Sonja Fitzpatrick on Sally Jesse Raphael, and I understood I was doing something my psychic Oma never did – animal communication! In my teens and twenties, I read every book ever written on the subject (there were around 20 at the time!). I practiced with my dog, and with many other wild and domestic animal friends. In my mid-twenties I started to practice animal communication more openly, and started to get word-of-mouth clients.
But I skipped over something here. After my sleepover scare, my mother discovered Sylvia Browne. She even let me stay home “sick” on Wednesdays sometimes so I could watch Sylvia on Montel Williams at 11am, before he was moved to 4pm. My mother bought many if Sylvia’s books and I read them too. We had many conversations about spirits and psychics. Then my mother branched out spiritually. She started reading about Zen Buddhism, and she brought home a copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which was far past my own reading comprehension skills at the time. As we did kitchen chores, she would tell me a little something of what she had read, and asked what I thought of it. My Mom also became a reiki practicioner, and practiced on me, teaching me energy work. Slowly, over my teen years, thanks in great part to my mother, I started to build a spiritual framework not only for my own faith but for the work I do now as a medium.
When my partner, Sweetie, and I moved to the west coast of Vancouver Island, I felt ready to expand. I just *felt* ready, and I knew that this work was there waiting for me. One morning in October, I went down by the ocean near our little rented cottage, listening to the sea lions barking want with two eagles perched on an old cedar tree overlooking the water, I put my face directly towards the sun and closed my eyes. Feeling the sunlight on my face, I said another prayer to god. I said I was ready for all of it now. I felt capable, and so, I volunteered.
Then I felt a tap on my shoulder. I opened my eyes.
Of course, no one was there. Not in body. But I had my reply, and I was so happy.
Soon after, I started this blog. I started the “people spirit” work quietly at first. I documented my early conversations with famous artists and musicians whom I knew nothing about to begin with. I also talked at length with Sweetie’s deceased relatives. This was practice for me, because I was able to let down my guard without worrying about getting it wrong. It was also easier to get confirmation of things that came through in sessions.
That’s why this blog is called Psychic in Training. We never stop learning, anyway. Since starting the blog, I have also started a podcast, with a more educational slant (where as this blog is more of a diary.) you can hear me talk for hours about what I’ve learned, and you can hear me talk with some cool animals and people on http://joyfultelepathy.com/
You can also find my professional website here: http://www.tofinopsychic.com/
If you think you may be interested in booking a session with me at some point in the future, I suggest you become a blog member. A few times a year, I send out emails with specials just for blog members (and many of those specials never make it on to the public blog, they get booked up after the emails go out.). You can become a blog member here.
I try to post a couple of entries per month, and there are hundreds if older posts for you to explore! Remember to read the comments, and pay attention to the handles who comment. This little blog is a pretty tight group, and many commenters have been commenting from the beginning! I will also see your comments, even on the old posts, and I usually respond within a day.
Welcome, welcome new blog friends! I hope you enjoy it here. Kate
If you search this blog for “The Weight of It” you’ll find my past entries on my body weight, how it relates to what I’ve been going through in my life, my theories on energy and weight gain / loss, how stored memories can come up again as we lose weight, and how weight is one of the mechanisms our body has to help us survive painful times.
I have been writing about this since I started putting on weight after my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I have been gentle with myself, most of the time. I tried to stay gentle, but it wasn’t easy. I have cared for myself as much as I could through the very surreal weight gain, and the frustrating past two years as I have tried to release / lose the weight.
I have learned a lot, and I have changed my mind about a few things surrounding my weight and my body, and since it’s January, the official month of weight resolutions, I’d like to share something radical with you:
I’m never going to diet again.
This includes “lifestyle changes” that involve restricting food. I’ll explain why:
After my mother passed away, and we moved into our wonderful, quiet, nurturing new home, I really believed that at some point the weight I had gained during the traumatic time of my mother’s decline, and all the stress surrounding that, combined with the stress of living in a house where our need for sleep and privacy were not respected – that the weight would resolve itself.
In the past, I’ve been able to “fix” my weight by restricting food types, by counting calories, or both. (I have never lost weight through exercise. I get stronger and healthier, but I naturally eat more to make up the calories burned – which is what bodies are designed to do.)
It has been curious, and then frustrating to me, to employ the methods I have used to trigger weight loss in my body and to hear my body say “NOPE!” right back.
My body has absolutely refused to get smaller.
I worked with a nutritionist for a year and a half. For the first six months I continued to gain weight, even though I was restricting myself to the diet she prescribed for me (which was very good, balanced, all those things. Not a crash diet at all.)
My body refused to respond. Eventually, we hit on the right combination of protein and fat, and I lost 10 lbs… then I gained it back in the months following.
My body just refuses to get smaller.
I have never been through this before. The worst part was, after over a year of trying to get my body to lose weight, I started to feel like a failure every time I ate something like ice cream.
It’s kind of painful to write about or to admit, but you guys, I’ve developed an eating disorder. Restricting my intake for so long, and despite my efforts to be kind to myself, evaluating my weight as “wrong” for nearly two years has done damage to my psyche and my self-love.
It is funny how grief and trauma morph into different things. I have two wonderful friends who have eating disorders that became physically dangerous for them, and who talked about it quite openly, and so I was able to see myself in what they described. I knew this was a road I did not want to continue to go down. I had to tread carefully, and I had to stop dieting the way I was trying to diet.
I read “Intuitive Eating” years ago, and I liked it. In fact, I’ve been employing the tactics in my weight loss strategies for years. I am mindful and aware of what I eat, when I eat it. This is actually why I did not stick with veganism – my body needed meat. Not everyone’s does, but mine does. I honour it, and I eat meat with appreciation, and I do my best to source it responsibly.
I already have a lot of the tools to combat this eating disorder, this weird new illness that was struggling to assert itself even as I have been healing myself in other ways.
That’s why it was so tough for me. I have thought of myself as “healthy” only when my body is at a certain size. If I’m “overweight” I’m “unhealthy” physically and probably emotionally.
Except, that isn’t true. That’s a message I internalized from my environment. I work in health care, and there’s a generally accepted idea that overweight = sick.
I have been sick, too. I’ve been in a lot of pain, and since my surgery (hurrah!) I’ve been marvelling at how HEALTHY I suddenly feel! Life without chronic pain is MARVELLOUS!
I feel so great right now, in part, because of the choices I have made for my body leading up to the surgery.
When I saw the surgeon and booked the surgery last March, she told me I should lose weight before surgery. She told me again on a subsequent phone appointment. I wasn’t offended, I was *already* trying to lose weight. I had been for over a year at that point.
I started to do some research about my surgery, as I like to be an educated patient. I watched youtube videos of my surgery. I read medical student texts on the explanation and the procedure. I watched videos of how the unconscious patient’s body was prepared for surgery. I did all of this to help talk to my body about what it was going to experience, because even though I would be anesthetized, my body would still be experiencing the trauma of surgery. I have learned through somatic experiencing therapy that surgery *is* a type of trauma, and there are all sorts of things you can do to minimize the trauma you retain from the surgery, which can reduce your experience of pain and improve your healing and recovery.
By reading texts, watching videos, and learning everything I could about the surgery and the potential risks, I was talking to my body, preparing it for the surgical experience, so the trauma to my body would be lessened – it wouldn’t be such a shock to it, and it would hopefully not retain new traumatic memories from the experience.
One of the things I came across in my research was a study that charted 500 women who had the surgery at this hospital, and the incidence of surgical complications as it related to their BMI (their weight.)
Let’s talk about BMI.
There are numerous articles and studies for you to discover, but just for fun I’ll link one from everyday feminism here.
For me, the BMI BS thing goes back to the first time I lost a LOT of weight. I am going to talk real numbers here.
When I was 23, I was unhappy. I decided to lose weight and fix my life. I no support. My boyfriend at the time actively discouraged me from dieting because he “didn’t want to support you when you fail.”
It took me another six months to dump him, (we were living together and it was complicated) but I eventually kicked him to the curb AFTER dropping from 180 lbs to 130 lbs and looking HOT af.
The validation I received after losing 50 lbs was actually completely disillusioning. I started to get promoted, I would get comments like “wow, you can really see it in your face!”, I started to receive much more unwanted sexual attention from men, both known and strangers on the street, and despite all the positive reinforcement and compliments, I also started to get “skinny bitch” comments from colleagues at work.
That’s when I learned that women are really screwed no matter what their size. No one gets complete acceptance. Replacing the judgment aimed at “overweight” people (slow, lazy, stupid, undeserving of respect or space) was a barrage of new judgement which was equally untrue (drug addict, sexually available, stuck up / bitch).
I maintained that weight loss through restrictive eating for two years. Those two years did quite a bit of damage to my body and my psyche, so after a scary incident where my kidneys protested by threatening to shut down, I was forced to modify my then very strict diet.
I moved to veganism, and in hindsight, veganism wasn’t just convenient from an ethical / animal lover point of view, it was exchanging one restriction for another. promptly gained 20 lbs after the switch to veganism because I was consuming less protein and more fat. The kidney thing had scared me though, and it was during this time that I really absorbed intuitive eating. I learned to listen to what my body actually wanted, and if I wanted something to eat, I allowed myself to eat it.
I reintroduced meat, and immediately felt better.
I realized that I am much happier at 160 lbs than at 130 lbs. At my skinniest, I was cold all the time. I rarely allowed myself to enjoy food. I put an enormous amount of energy into planning meals, preparing them and eating ONLY what I had planned to eat.
I wasn’t revelling in life. And I like to revel. I think revelling is part of the POINT of life.
So I reintroduced ice cream.
I settled at 160lbs for a few years. We moved out here, we started our coffee roastery, and we let it go after a two year upstart (no regrets, and it is now thriving as Foggy Bean Coffee under it’s new owners, our friends.) During that time though, I went back up to 180lbs.
And I became a very typical statistic. Diets don’t work. 95% of people who have lost weight for any reason in their life, be it diet, change in locale, illness – any reason, will gain it back. Most gain it back in 2 years, and the rest within 5 years. It took me nearly 10 years to return to 180, but return I did.
And like everyone who has lost weight and gained it back, I took on a little extra on the up-swing.
It hasn’t been a straight line. In fact, I’ve been up to 160, down to 150, up to 170, back to 160, gentle “corrective” changes for 15 years now. Those “corrections” didn’t feel bad at all. They felt good, and kind. It wasn’t hard, giving up dairy, sugar and flour for a while. Well, it was hard for the first couple of weeks, but once the weight started to drop off, it was easier.
But this time, the weight didn’t come off. It refused. My body said, “NO.”
I hated to argue with my body, but argue I did. I brought the nutritionist on board. I bought a subscription to a tracking program that would help me calculate my macronutrients (so I could decide if I could have a piece of toast or if I should choke down another egg.)
I started to be a little bit mean to my body, quite frankly. Not a lot, but a little. I was angry with it. I was doing everything I did before, why wasn’t it working?
To top it off, nearly a year into my struggle, here comes my surgeon telling me I need to lose weight before the surgery.
I was getting panicky.
Then I made a decision.
Maybe my body knows what’s good for it. Maybe there’s a reason I’m not losing weight right now. Maybe, losing weight is *not* something I should do right before surgery.
I did more research, and I found out the reason weight loss is recommended is because of BMI, and the “increased incidence of complications” as related to BMI. Before, I had accepted that at face value, but now, I wanted to know more. Exactly what were these complications?
And what risks, if any, was I incurring by severely restricting food in the months before surgery, out of fear of “complications”?
Surprisingly, quite a few. By kicking my diet into a new gear of restriction just to lose weight before a specific date, I was battering my immune system. I was kicking my metabolism in the crotch, and I was stressing my major organs.
And I was kicking my brain in the crotch too, every time my increased restriction failed with a “binge”. It’s not a binge the way one might classify it, with thousands of calories consumed in a sitting, but blowing my calorie allowance for the day certainly made me feel like a failure.
I was forming an eating disorder, and I am so grateful I recognized it.
I started to research some more, because it seemed the risks of me forcing myself to lose weight before surgery were actually higher than I think my surgeon appreciated. After all, although my BMI indicates I am “overweight” at 151 lbs and “obese” at 180 lbs, which is ridiculous, my body has never felt strong at less than 160 lbs. Years ago I decided the ideal weight of 150 lbs as prescribed to me by a BMI chart was just wrong, so I was really halfway to this conclusion anyway.
I researched the ACTUAL risks associated with higher BMI and hysterectomy. The big risk was, with endometriosis, the more fat on the abdomen, the more difficult it was to find all of the endo and excise it. It’s easier for surgeons to work with thinner bodies.
Fair enough, for the surgeon. But was the surgeon really taking all the risk factors of weight loss into her recommendation, and weighing them against the benefits? Was worsening an eating disorder worth it? Was it worth the hit to my metabolism, and the assured CERTAINTY that this mean-to-my-body weight loss would trigger a regain PLUS even more weight afterwards?
You know what the other big risk was? Complications of wound healing.
And I did have that.
I made a conscious decision to not lose weight before the surgery. Instead, I focused on being as physically strong, and as mentally prepared, as I could be. I called the surgeon’s nurse and explained that I had, in fact, been trying to lose weight for over a year, and it just wasn’t happening for me. Was this going to affect the surgery? “Well, they prefer you to lose weight, but most people don’t.”
Good enough. I wasn’t going to either, then.
So I had my surgery, and I went in calm. I focused on breathing and relaxing to minimize the chances of my body taking on trauma, which might come back to bite me later as PTSD. I’ve been making so much wonderful progress in somatic experiencing therapy, and I’ve learned a lot about preventing trauma. There are some simple, easy things that can be done, to keep the blood pressure down, to prevent the brain and the body from imprinting “TRAUMA! HORROR!”
I think if I had just spent the past months being mean to my body and bullying it into losing weight, that my body would have felt abused GOING INTO a surgery. That’s not a good start!
I wanted my body to feel loved and cared-for, going into surgery.
Which brings me to the anesthetic experience. I did ask my guide Aries to help me remember what happened spiritually, during the surgery, as long as I did not become conscious of the surgery. I did not want to have an out-of-body experience, or do anything that might compromise my physical body. I didn’t want to go far from my body during surgery, because my body needs the support of my spirit.
So what I experienced was very similar to other health crises in my life. I saw my loved ones, my great aunt Ruth, my mother, my grandmother and grandfather, my Oma, my many animals, and several spirit friends. We had a sort of spirit tea party while my surgery went on. There was socialization, hugs, praise – it felt like a graduation party, actually.
And then, after what seemed like only 5 minutes, I was awake in recovery. I checked in with my body, I used breathing and pelvic floor relaxation techniques to calm my bladder spasms and to take the edge off some of the discomfort. My pain was well-controlled and my body was calm.
The surgical ward where I spent the next 24 hours was not awesome, but I had Sweetie there most of the time to help me. She advocated for me when one of the nurses screwed up my medication (she didn’t read the whole chart) thank GOODNESS Sweetie sorted that out, because we had brought my bladder medication with me to the hospital, and the hospital pharmacy did not stock it. The worst part about the whole surgery was the bladder pain I experienced when the bladder drugs wore off and my next dose was delayed by this rather scattered nurse, and I felt SO MUCH better when the catheter finally came out. The catheter also was not draining my bladder, and Sweetie had to stay on top of that too, until we finally convinced the staff to just leave the drain bag on the floor. Ugh! That was not fun at all.
The weight-related complication happened right as I was to be discharged. One of my lap sites started bleeding again. I had to wait six hours until there was a doctor free to suture it.
It occurred to me that even though I had a higher than “ideal” BMI, they still used the same closure techniques that they do for thinner people. They just taped it over with steri strips.
When you have some fat on your belly, that fat is going to shift and bulge with movements like getting up from bed, or sitting on the toilet. These movements had caused one of the lap sites to shift under the steri strips and re-open.
For heaven’s sake! Why didn’t they just suture my wounds closed in the first place? Wound healing complications are a known and common occurrence with higher BMI women!
When the very wonderful internist arrived to put a single stitch in me, I decided to speak plainly.
“I think this popped open because I’m a bit fat, and this bulges when I sit. Could you please suture it up very strongly, because this particular spot moves around no matter what I do.”
“Sure! How about I put three in?”
I actually needed those sutures. The other three lap sites closed up quickly, but that site that just happens to move a lot every time I do, naturally remained tender and took an extra week and a half to heal. It’s fine now, though.
I later had a conversation with a friend of mine who is classified as “super-obese” and had been terrified by a previous obgyn about giving birth by c-section, as the wound healing complications can cause years of suffering. She was panicked when, after two days of labour, she *had to* have a c-section. Fortunately, the OBGYN on call knew much more about wound-healing in large women, and he assured her he would set her up with a wound vacuum, and she would heal as quickly and completely as any other woman.
A wound vac is really an incredible piece of equipment. It’s a sponge you place over the wound, and then you cover it with a saran-wrap-like dressing that connects to a tube, which connects to a small canister vacuum the size of a lunch box.
The vacuum creates a mild pressure drawing blood to the wound allowing it to heal quickly, and any interstitial fluid, or anything else that needs to drain off, is gently pulled away by the vacuum, so an infection never has a chance to happen. In some cases, the sponge used has silver in it, so if there in an infection, the anti-bacterial silver quickly resolves it.
My friend healed up quickly and told me to DEMAND a wound vac if I experienced any healing complications!
This whole experience has validated a niggling thought I’ve had in the back of my mind, ever since my body said NO to weight loss even though my surgeon and my nutritionist and my GP and even ME said “PLEASE lose weight!”
I backed away from war on my body, and my body has really come through for me. I have NO PAIN, you guys!
So I’m not going to go into this new year being mean to my body with diets. And I’m not going to be mean to my brain anymore, by thinking, every day, my body should be smaller.
If I force my body to lose weight through restriction, there is an eating disorder waiting for me. The more I read about eating disorders, I realize how close I came to making myself really sick. I feel like I dodged a bullet.
I wanted to understand why I am 180+ lbs now, and why my body really, REALLY wants to stay here, at least for now, and maybe forever (because I want to be okay with that.) According to my research, part of the reason is probably because I have restricted food and therefore calories in the past. My basal metabolic rate is lower.
That’s what a lot of people have a hard time understanding. When people see someone who is fat, they imagine this person must be gorging on a regular basis to maintain that weight. In fact, it is far likelier that this person has a history of restricting food, and has cycled up and down before landing at this larger state. Or this person had asthma as a child and the lifelong exposure to prednisone from a young age caused weight gain. Or the person’s body is helping them to bear trauma, just as I wrote about in a previous “The Weight of It” post. Or maybe all of it! And other reasons!
The really important point is that a fat person does not owe anyone an explanation as to WHY s/he is fat. It’s personal. But all of us in our “overweight” states deserve respect.
I say “overweight” because guess what – I don’t think I’m actually overweight for my genetics. I have thought about this quite a bit, about how my genetics play into my diet, and therefore my body.
I did not do well as a vegan. When I would restrict dairy, flour and sugar to trigger weight loss in the past, when I would reintroduce them, my body would REJOICE! In fact, sometimes I just don’t eat ice cream for a few months until I *really* want it, just to experience that food euphoria again.
In my research, and search for guidance, I had several conversations with Aries about my body. Every time, he would tell me my body is physically healthy. My surgery would go well, and it was best for me to maintain my weight before and after surgery. He has showed me images of many other women with Bavarian / Eastern European origins, and we are not a delicate lot. We are rounder, heavier, firmer. In fact, in my current state, were I a woman of pre-1900s Germany, I’d be downright average. (In Hitler’s time, the beauty ideal of the Nazis was a slender figure.)
Aries has frequently popped some old-school German women’s clothing styles into my head, to draw attention to how the make and cut of modern-day clothing is not as useful to my body as a more traditional chemise with utilitarian support / corset worn OVER the shirt would be. Under-the-clothing bras will just never be as comfortable as an over-the-shirt support corset (not the fashionable restricting ones, the utilitarian working ones.)
I looked it up, it’s called a Dundl. I would love to wear something like this every single day, but I don’t feel like I can pull it off outside of a Renaissance faire right now. The ones Aries shows to me covers much more chest than the modern versions of which I can find photos, but I’ve found a close approximation below.
Maybe with age, I will ripen into eccentricity.
So I am not going to fight my body, in fact, I’m going to love it, just as it is. If my body decides to lose a bit of weight, that’s okay. It will just shift in it’d dietary desires, and I will listen to it. I find that, just as prescribed to counter binge-eating, if you never restrict food in the first place, you end up eating less of it overall.
I will keep my scale, and I will step on it once in a while, but I am not going to set a goal weight ever again.
Because I have a body that, for the first time in years, is free from pain.
And that is more than enough!
Hi everyone!!! I wanted to do a quick post to wish my wonderful blog family a MERRY CHRISTMAS! This is my very favourite holiday, and this year I have more blessings than I can count.
My recovery from surgery so far has been as perfect as possible! I am so lucky. All of the support I have received from my community has made all the difference. My most challenging task is to stick to my list of permitted activities, because even though I feel AMAZING and full of vibrant health, if I do the wrong motion or activity I could set my recovery back significantly – so I won’t risk it, don’t worry! It’s just that I never imagined I would feel so great this early in the game.
I think I was living with a lot more daily pain than I really acknowledged. Now that it is gone, I feel euphoric, and joyously optimistic about the future!
I really can not wish for anything more for Christmas.
Christmas is my very favourite time of year. Although I was surrounded by Christian culture growing up, Christmas for me has been more about family and community than Jesus. For some reason, I feel closer to Jesus around Easter!
Community is my church. I am blessed to have every one of you in my community, so I want to thank you for that, and wish each one of you MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Let’s all hug our families, both biological and chosen, human and animal, living and in spirit.
It is our community that makes us strong, that lifts us up when we are vulnerable, and resounds with joy when we are well.
May your home, families, and communities resonate with love.
See you in the New Year!
Well, yesterday was a tough day.
I was told at 3:30 pm yesterday that my surgery was cancelled. You all know how much goes into making this happen, so I was devastated.
Sweetie was a freaking Tiger. She politely but ASSERTIVELY and powerfully dealt with the nurses and surgeon insisting that we could not simply go back home and call the office to reschedule in the New Year. The logistics for us coming in from out of town are complex and expensive. The date has already been pushed back twice.
Sweetie is generally categorized by people as shy. She isn’t shy, she just doesn’t make a lot of small talk or as much eye contact as people expect from women. But when she locks on, WOW.
Fortunately, the surgeon agreed to do my surgery next Monday. She said it was their office’s error in booking three out of town women on one day.
My surgery was supposed to be the first one in the day, but I was bumped to third by a patient who had a history of sensitivity to anaesthesia, so I ended up with the cancellation instead of her.
I have so many blessings to count. I am very lucky to be able to stay in Vancouver a week and get the surgery next week, instead of waiting until the new year.
Tonight, Sweetie and I are going to a comedy show – something we used to do in our early dating days. We will make the best of this week, and we welcome all your prayers that things go smoothly and my surgery ACTUALLY HAPPENS on Dec 4 th!
UPDATE: Surgery happened and went perfectly!
I will be in surgery two weeks from today! I am very much looking forward to it!
I have now turned on my email robot, as my focus needs to be on preparing for and recovering from this wonderful, healing, medical miracle I am about to experience. My Office Goddess, also known as Sweetie, will be working very hard helping me, so she won’t be able to focus on my emails very much until the New Year.
I am going to try out a new service, called “Sane Box” which my friend recommended to me, so I hope I will not lose any of my wonderful blog friends emails during this time. However, if you do not hear back from me, please feel free to re-send your email to me so that it hits the top of my inbox.
If you would like to book a session with me, please don’t wait! You can book a session here.
Right now I’m booking into March already!
Wish me luck with this fabulous surgery! I will post updates when I am home and perking up!
WordPress informs me I started this blog SIX YEARS AGO!
Not only did it completely change my life for the better, but I have made SO MANY amazing blog friends! I think that most of my very first readers are STILL READING!
That’s really something special! Thank YOU for reading!
Well folks, if you’ve been following my health saga this past year and a half, you’ll be celebrating with me when I say I finally got my surgery date! I’ll be seeing one of two specialists in Vancouver who can give me a 70% chance of a complete cure, and I’m confident I am going to feel *loads* better even if I do need to manage some issues on an ongoing basis.
The theory is that I have one of two things going on: Either I have adenomyosis, which is a condition where endometrial tissue is actually *in the muscle* of the uterus, where it causes debilitating pain during the secretory cycle. After twenty plus years of this, the theory is the pain is being referred to surrounding organs such as my bladder. I suspect and hope this is what’s going on, because my pelvic floor physio therapy is helping quite a bit, in conjunction with my dietary changes, the curcumin anti-inflammatory (which I now have to stop taking as it increases risk of bleeding during surgery) and pacing exercises I’ve been doing, and frankly, the loving support of my dear friends.
The other possibility is that in conjunction with adenomyosis, I may also have endometriosis, causing swelling, pain, and bleeding *into my peritoneal cavity*. If there is endometriosis on my bladder, this would explain a lot. And if it’s there, I am being taken care of by one of the top surgeons in the country.
I am extremely grateful to be able to travel by plane to stay for a week in Vancouver and have this surgery. A regular obgyn would *not* have the skills to handle endometriosis. Conventional treatment of cauterizing endo has an extremely high failure rate, with close to 80% of women experiencing a return of symptoms within two years – some of them within weeks of the procedure. Far more effective, is the method of “excision”, where the endo is cut out, rather than burned off. The cautery apparently does not remove all of the disease, so it regrows, recurs, and spreads.
Endometriosis and adenomyosis afflict 10% of women everywhere, and very likely more than that. Only the cases that are severe enough to warrant extensive investigation are ever discovered in the first place, and many women go through at least 10 years of referrals and surgeries before they even receive a proper diagnosis. Endo can affect fertility, quality of life, self-esteem, jobs, family, and intimate relationships. I have learned a lot about this in the past six months, and the moments of astonished “That explains a lot!” have really added up.
So, surgery soon! Hurray! It’s November 28th, so if anyone would like to give me some reiki during the evening of November 28, I will happily reciprocate when I am healed up.
I wanted to write about an extremely strange experience I had this weekend, which resulted from dealing with this condition.
I have had to go to the ER for medication to bring my pain down to manageable levels, for the past four months during my period. This is not fun. Going to the ER is a last resort for me. Fortunately, the injectable medication, a powerful anti-inflammatory called Ketorolac, works quite well for me… but only for 6 hours at a time.
After hearing so much about CBD on Channeling Erik for so many years, and after reading the testimonials of many women with endometriosis who have found CBD combined with a trace amount of THC has controlled their pain more effectively than narcotics, (Ketorolac is not a narcotic, but the next tier of pain management is narcotics.) I decided to ask my doctor for a prescription, which she happily provided.
That was my pain control plan this month. I talked to my doctor, my pharmacist, and the techs through the company which I obtained the high CBD strain of marijuana, and a syringe of a product called “Phoenix Tears” which is a concentrated form of THC, but is measurable / dose-able in the syringe form.
At every stop, I was very clear, I did not want to get high. My goal is to *increase* my functionality, maybe make it possible for me to get more done during my cycle rather than being confined to bed for four days.
I had a plan. Try one capsule of CBD, then four hours later, a second capsule. If that didn’t work, I would take a *tiny amount* of the Phoenix Tears, as the pain-relieving effects of CBD sometimes need a bit of a THC kick to get them going.
I was advised to start with a “grain of rice” size amount of THC. **** Basically, 1 ml. I took 0.5 ml
**** EDIT: CORRECTION!!!! I apparently *completely freaked out* one of my nursing friends who I had no idea reads the blog, but this person came to me to clarify exactly how much I took. I should have written 0.1 mL was recommended, and I took HALF of that! Here’s the visual:
If I had taken 0.5 mL, I would have had to take half of the entire syringe – that’s not what happened! I kept it in the fridge, and had to run it under hot water for a minute to get it soft enough to even push out of they syringe. I took the *smallest amount I could manage to dispense.* Teeny-tiny.
It was challenging to try to translate the 5 g / day of medical marijuana my doctor recommended into CBD and THC dosing. I spent a lot of time on the phone. The chemical composition of each strain of plant can vary significantly. I talked to the pharmacist who is educated in medical marijuana products, I talked to the *legal distributors* of medical marijuana products by phone, I consulted other women taking it therapeutically for endo. Everyone had slightly different answers, and I went with what I thought was the most conservative plan, with products I could measure.
Here’s the math in case you’re interested:
The entire 1 ml syringe contained 500 – 600 mg of THC. That is max 60mg per 0.1 mL. I took half of that, 0.05 mL, which would be 30mg of THC. I had been advised that 50mg is a good starting place. I probably should have been advised to take 10 mg. Dosing advice varies *wildly* and I thought I was being conservative, as at every turn I emphasized I did not want to get high, I was trying to improve my function. I don’t even know how I could have diluted this product down enough to get only 10 mg.
It was simply the wrong product for me.
It *destroyed me*. I have some limited experience of smoking week recreationally, and I had no issues with it. But smoking is very different than ingesting.
I felt like my consciousness was kicked right out of my body, and I was barely coherent. I couldn’t move my own limbs, I couldn’t communicate except for “uh huh”, or maybe a few words with extreme effort.
Despite being absolutely out of my body crazy high, *I was still in pain*.
Folks, this is the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life.
I have broken bones. That’s not really a significant pain compared to what I’ve been experiencing with my bladder and uterus, but for comparison’s sake, let’s call a broken toe, collar bone, or torn ankle, a 6 on the scale of 1 – 10, where 0 is no pain at all. Broken bones, soft tissue injuries, a 6.
When I hurt my back a couple of years ago, my coworker found me at my desk, tears streaming down my face. The ER doc offered me morphine promptly. (I turned it down.) That pain was a 7.5
My period pain has always ranged from a 6 – 7.5 for most of my life. It’s incapacitating, but not ER – worthy. The bladder pain that started up last summer was an 8. It was crazy.
The problem is, when you say “bladder pain” it doesn’t get treated as promptly as back pain. I was told to take ibuprofen, until a week later when I demanded he do something else, he prescribed Pyridium which thank God, worked. (I switched doctors after this.)
I have never experienced a severe burn. I have never experienced nerve pain. I have never given birth to a child. So those of you who have, probably do know what a 10 on the pain scale feels like.
I apparently have a hypersensitivity to THC. This is new. It’s likely a combination of being THC “naive” (ie, I am not a smoker), the formula of the Phoenix Tears, and the way I ingested it. (Smoked marijuana wears off in 30 min. Ingested THC lasts for hours… 30 hours in my case. Everything I’ve read says it should have worn off after 8 hours.)
As intense as the THC acted on my nervous system, it didn’t *touch* the pain. What it did do was completely derail all of my usual coping methods.
I gained a new appreciation for all I’ve done over the years to cope with this pain. I’m used to ignoring / shutting it out, working with it and through it, honouring it and reducing my activities, coping with it, grieving the losses, and using the miriad of meditation techniques I’ve honed over the years to reduce my perception of pain and improve my experience of it.
When I was high, I couldn’t focus enough to do *any* of those things. In fact, the THC worked against me, and it caused me to focus in on my pain, and feel it more completely and acutely than I’ve ever experienced it before.
Pain is an interpretation of the brain. The nerves send signals to the brain that are usually triggered by tissue damage, and the brain rings the alarm bells. When you have chronic pain, those nerves can start to get trigger-happy, and start convincing your brain you’re in *far more* pain than you actually are in.
This is where neuroplasticity comes in, and this is where my somatic experiencing therapy, pelvic floor physiotherapy, and meditation has been incredibly helpful. I don’t catastrophize my pain, I try not to resent it or let the physical pain cause me too much emotional suffering. I’ve been managing pretty well, considering, but when the pain sneaks up to a 7 or an 8, I have to go to the ER, because I need help.
Well, without my coping skills, my ability to moderate my pain experience – and with my nervous system all jacked up from this new chemical in my system, I hit a pain level I had never experienced before.
It was pretty terrifying. I knew I wasn’t going to die, but I definitely thought, “This is what dying of cancer feels like, except I’m not dying, so I can’t let go.”
That was the first of a few interesting thoughts, which brings me to the purpose of this entry:
Spiritual Experiences I *think* I had while high and in intense physical pain.
First of all, I must emphasize, DO NOT TRY THIS. I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT. I am writing about it after thinking on this for a week, and I feel like writing about it will at least bring some significance or purpose to what otherwise is a terrible four days. I feel like there must be some reason for me to go through that, and I honestly feel something has changed.
I can understand, now, why some people travel to use ayahuasca under supervision of an experienced shaman. I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT, but I get it.
Of all of the “God Moments” I’ve had in my life, moments of pure joy and clarity, THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. Even without the pain, what I experienced during this high was not the same as the joy and unity I’ve experienced during sessions, during meditation, and even while galloping with horses.
This was not a God Moment… but I think it was spiritual.
I think I actually was severed from my body, because I had the following thoughts.
Before I go on, remember, these are *ideas*. Remember to engage your own sense of truth here, and while you have an open heart to my experience, you may or may not agree with me that a part of this experience was spiritual. I am happy for some readers to just write off this whole experience due to the presence of drugs in my system.
So here we go:
I felt like I was travelling through levels of consciousness. At one point, I realized “Here is where people with “locked in” syndrome exist.”
If you don’t know about “locked in syndrome” it’s where everyone thinks you’re in a coma (ie, unconscious and spiritually, you are not suffering and you’re quite as free to explore as if you were dreaming or dead.) If you’re “locked in” you’re not unconscious. You’re CONSCIOUS. You FEEL EVERYTHING. You just can’t communicate in any way whatsoever, and everyone around you thinks you’re unconscious.
I passed through a state of consciousness where I couldn’t communicate or move, but I was aware of not only my pain, but of physical touch. However, I had no sense of time. While Sweetie was driving me to the hospital, I asked her to tell me the landmarks we were passing. Every time she called out a landmark, I knew that only 2 or 3 minutes had passed, but I *felt* like we had been travelling for hours.
I passed through a different state where I became hypersensitive to the non-verbal cues of others. However, as inexperienced as I am with THC, this could have been a singular effect of the phoenix tears. Or perhaps my feelings of insecurity and vulnerability were the sole effect of the drug too. Maybe it was just paranoia.
I was pretty damn sure I was being judged for being so high, and I felt very self-conscious. I also felt very angry when one person said, “Well, they work!” referencing the phoenix tears. I think I said, “No they don’t. ” in response. I wanted to explain I’d taken them for pain, and I was still in *so much* pain, but I couldn’t get more words out, and I had the impression I wasn’t being listened to or taken seriously.
Officially, I’m confident none of the medical staff actually judged me, they’re my coworkers and friends after all. At some point during the intake process, which could have been mere moments later but felt like a very long time, when the nurse asked me if I was still in pain, I burst into tears and sobbed my heart out.
Then I realized, “This is what babies feel like.”
We’ve got to remember that babies are fully conscious, thinking, comprehending beings too. They just can’t express themselves well, they haven’t developed decent motor control, they have no coping skills, and a limited ability to focus. Babies are incredibly sensitive, vulnerable, fully conscious beings.
I’ve been thinking about babies a lot. It must be the upcoming hysterectomy.
Once the lovely nurse brought me an injection of Ketorolac, and it started to work after a short while, the ball of searing hot lava in my pelvis started to release and I was able to lay on the bed with my legs stretched out instead of curled up. As the pain abated, the rational part of my brain was able to examine the high.
At some point, another nurse came in, who is actually a good friend of mine, and I started talking to her about her dead friend and what she had to say. This is a *huge* breach of protocol for me, and terribly embarrassing. Yet, on the child-like level of my brain, it was such a relief and enormously fun to simply parrot what this familiar spirit had to say to my good friend. She was utterly professional during it all, which is exactly what she should do, but it only reminded me of my own unprofessionality.
At some point, the giggles kicked in. I have no idea what we were laughing about, but I know it was generally perceived as Sweetie and I having some fun. This was also a shitty experience for me, because *I* wasn’t laughing. It felt like a seizure, or a convulsion. It felt a lot like the crying I’d done earlier, except I wasn’t in pain. I have no memory of what we said, but I was aware I was laughing and that people thought I was fine, yet I felt profoundly *un-fine*. That whole conflicted ball of yarn I blame entirely on the THC. Again folks, I DO NOT RECOMMEND.
I think this is the main reason I don’t recommend it – it’s really impossible to tell what was a legitimate spiritual experience, and what was just an effect of the THC. I will have to have a conversation with Bob Marley again.
As the pain lifted, it seemed the tether holding me to my body loosened.
I felt like I was travelling through time… and what a cliche thing to say… but it was profound.
Again, this is a very typical high-as-a-kite revelation, but I wanted to write about this because it *actually jives with information I’ve been receiving during sessions*.
I remember telling Sweetie, “Hey. You know how we are planning on making this one change, and we have this long game plan? Well, I see shortcut, and it’s this other option.”
I was more specific, but as this discussion is ongoing with Sweetie, we’ll keep it to ourselves for now. But we have continued the conversation, and we may move forward on it next year. We’ll have to see!
The sensation of travelling through time came with a simple but total realization. Maybe it’s better described as an alignment or attunement to a different reality. Time has absolutely no spiritual relevance.
I’ve written about this before with George Harrison, but I have never actually felt like I utilized the information for myself. It’s not astral projection – that’s something I occasionally experience in sessions or meditation. This was more complete. I want to use the word “catastrophic” because this perspective obliterates every sense of separation, of distance, and of chronology. I saw the universe.
I know. I was high.
This is the point where I debate whether this experience is actually something I should write about. I DO NOT ENCOURAGE the use of any substance, weed, mushrooms, any drug or alcohol, for the purpose of spiritual exploration. I DO NOT RECOMMEND.
This is the reason for so many decades, mediums and ministers would tell people that family members who had committed suicide were either looped straight back into life (Sylvia Browne) or they were being safely held in limbo (most other mediums plus some churches) or they went straight to hell (some other brutally conservative religious types who lack compassion.)
The reason we hesitate to speak the truth around these tough topics is that we do not want to encourage someone to do something that will cause them to put themselves or anyone else at risk of harm. And again, I cannot emphasize enough how unpleasant this experience was for me. I have had FAR BETTER and more profound experiences in meditation, and I believe if this had never happened to me, I would still have come to these understandings and ideas eventually.
I’m simply choosing not to stuff this experience down the memory hole. I truly wish I *had* experienced this during meditation instead. I’d feel more confident about sharing it.
But it is what it is, and I don’t want to waste the experience.
So, there I was, with my consciousness holding the universe as gently as a child with a chicken egg. I recognized it’s shape from a previous conversation I had years ago with Erik. I regarded it with contentment and interest (as I was no longer in pain.)
Then I noticed something. The universe isn’t the shape of a donut. It’s the shape of a cell in the midst of mitosis.
We are in the right side of the universe. And the left? *That’s a whole freaking other universe!*
It’s FULL. That other universe is FULL! It has expanded to the point of slowing down, then it appears to stop for a while… it stops until it buds off a completely new dimension.
New infinite space full of dark matter and potential.
That universe is not full of because of physical matter… it’s full of consciousness. All the beings in this universe have manifested so many spiritual lives, so many realities, so many timelines, incarnations, possibilities, scenarios examined, lived, released to the cloud consciousness.
You know who lives over there?
Our friends, the ETs. Lots of them. SO MANY OF THEM. They are not even that separate from us – their universe and our universe is separated with a permeable membrane. The very universe is like a cellular organism, and it’s contained within the tiniest electron in the smallest atom in existence. It’s a paradox that makes existence possible.
The multiverse is an organism that is all-encompassing, and while the universe seems boundless, it is expanding and slowing down.
The universe manifests physically, therefore it has limitations. Each cluster is a multiverse. All of it together is infinity.
The purpose of each universe is to create a container of physicality and linear time. It exists to be limited, so that infinity can be pared down to finite chunks of trillions of years, with stars and planets billions of years old, which hold consciousness that allows life to form on planets in physical form. Life allows for even smaller, more finite formations of time. Life gives us the illusion of limitation. Limitation is a container for this experiment. Each universe, an experiment, an expansion, a bubble off of another universe, our twin who is already grown up, our clone who is our parent.
If I had been sober, I’d have more confidence in what I’m writing here. The context of the THC in my system deserves scrutiny. But before you write these ideas off entirely, remember my post about the chickens.
I was thrilled to discover that chickens see the world in psychedelic colour. A few months later, my friend sent me an article on a recent study concluding that chickens can see the electromagnetic trails left by insects, and this led to a study of the purpose of the iridescence of feathers, and that birds may be communicating, visually, much more complex information than we currently understand… because we can’t see the iridescence of bird feathers with our human eyes. Usually we can’t.
It struck me that the chickens were showing me a world I had heard described before – by people who have taken magic mushrooms. (I DO NOT RECOMMEND! I have never tried them but Sweetie has, and she DOES NOT RECOMMEND THEM!) Okay, okay, you know I do not want you guys to go out and experiment with drugs, but I think we have all watched enough movies depicting the psychedelic state of mind to be able to imagine what these chickens were showing me.
It made me wonder, well, actually it has made me conclude that sometimes humans are capable of experiencing the same sensory input of other species… we just have learned to interpret our physical world differently. If mushrooms brings this out in humans, it just supports my idea that the reality or sensory experience we go through when under the influence is, potentially, a valid state. The paranoia and utter self-consciousness I was experiencing I’ll put down to the drug, but the rest of it I’m interested in kicking around.
Maybe it’s not “just a hallucination” but an actual energetic input we are sensing when our conditioning to tune it out has been disabled.
Like my own ability to block out pain was taken offline by THC, maybe these substances just remove all of our default settings.
Those default settings have a purpose. They help us function, they help us relate to each other, they help us focus long enough to accomplish things like writing a blog entry or developing an effective medication.
I LIKE my default settings, and I prefer to push my boundaries under my own steam. But this experience with THC has reinforced a few of my theories, and even though it was terrible and I DO NOT RECOMMEND, it still seems significant.
I saw the universe. I understood the multiverse. For me, making lemonade here, it was a spiritually significant experience, which almost makes the pain worth it.
By the way, as I was writing this post I wondered “Have spiritual experiences under the influence ever been studied?” And indeed, it has.
Both articles seem to corroborate my experiences with pain and THC. Even though the articles address mushrooms and not THC, it’s still very interesting.
Thank you, everyone for reading this through!
As a little easter egg at the end of such a long entry, I’m going to give you a little heads up:
*I am now taking bookings for New Years Report Cards!*
New Year Report Cards are now done verbally, over the phone with you, because I can get *so much more information* into a phone call than a written document. However, if you still love getting your New Year Report Card in .pdf form, if you ask me kindly, and give me some extra time to get it done, I’ll happily oblige you.
As I have blocked off the entire month of December for my surgery recovery, I am now officially booking into January 2018, so book your report card soon!
Note: In this post, George always talks about his kids, plural. As far as I know, he has only one daughter, and google couldn’t tell me if George has any grandchildren. Still, every time I heard “my kids” not “my kid / my daughter.” That’s an apparent inaccuracy in the conversation, but I prefer to leave it as it came through.
George Carlin: (shows up with big cigar and glasses, like George Burns.) Well, you didn’t specify which George you wanted. There are a lot of dead George’s you know. Just the dead comedians ALONE named George could fill an above-ground backyard pool. (As I review this before posting, George shows me all the dead Georges filling a the backyard pool with pee.)
K: Heya George, it’s been a few days since we talked, and I was hoping to get some of what you said down.
G: Okay, sweetheart, give ‘em the RECAP!
K: Over the Thanksgiving Weekend (in Canada!) I discovered one of George Carlin’s stand up performances on Netflix that I had *not* previously seen. I can’t understand how this one slipped by me, because I’ve been a Carlin fan since I was a teenager. The performance is “It’s Bad for ya,” 2008.
George has said in other performances that he doesn’t believe there’s anything after you die. He was an atheist. (George breaks in: A former Catholic, atheist, be specific! Disillusioned Catholics are their own breed of Godless. They can’t go the wishy-washy halfway measure of “I believe in SOMETHING, I’m just not RELIGIOUS!” Fuck no, a former Catholic has to KILL GOD in his heart to be free of all the GUILT. Even when you use your logical brain, your Catholic guilt creeps in – when you’re raised thinking that God will condemn you to hell for eternity just for touching your own penis for pleasure, you have to KILL GOD just to be able to crank one out!”
So George was a hard-core atheist who didn’t believe in an afterlife, and I was remembering that, and remembering our earlier conversations with George Carlin, and chucking over George’s rant in “It’s Bad for Ya!” about how spirits have more important things to do than watch over their loved ones. And then we got to talking.
It was along the lines of, well let’s jump in –
G: Yeah, you were asking if I watch over my kids. And I do. That’s not the only thing I do – I have some very serious shit to take care of here. One of the first things I did is I fuckin’ went to the WHITE HOUSE! When you’re dead, there’s NO SECURITY!!! No security for the dead! I went straight to the white house, as soon as I had checked on my kids (daughter, grandkids – I can’t actually find evidence that he has grandchildren, but that’s what he said) I said to myself, “Where’s the first place I want to HAUNT?”
I went straight to the White House, and do you know who I saw there!? F. D. R. (Franklin D. Roosevelt). He’s still there! He NEVER LEFT! He is still watching over the bullshit and the bureaucracy. F. D. R. So I said, “Hey, Frank, what are you still doing here?” And we had a nice little conversation. You know what he said to me? “I’m still working.”
K: At this point in the conversation, Sweetie started to ask questions. When I’m talking with these guys, my brain is turned ¾ the way off. At this point in the conversation, I honestly didn’t remember what the initials “F.D.R” meant. Sweetie knew, though, and she had questions.
S: How did he die?
G: He was poisoned. He was assassinated. Ever since the war (Korean war) I always figured the government, the military, just like the corporations, just like all rich, ruling class people through all history, is just out to use and abuse the citizens of the country so that someone can get a hold of some power, or hang on to it for a while longer. I have been under no illusions about whom the government serves. Not its citizens. Not unless serving the citizens is a way of propping up power. But I’m not a conspiracy theory guy. I believed until that moment that F.D.R. had died of NATURAL CAUSES, and it was just this country’s bad luck! NOPE!
(At the time of this discussion, I had no idea that there is an actual “FDR was poisoned” conspiracy theory. Sweetie googled it after our discussion.)
G: I didn’t know how to feel about it, you know? I was heartened that here is this guy, still doing a job – some of the *really important shit* I was talking about (in his act.) Then I thought, HE’S STILL DOING HIS JOB? Is the White House FDR’s Hell???
So I asked him that, because I wanted to know if *I* was in Hell after all. All Catholics carry this fear, and I realized that most atheists – a few of them will admit it – they’re scared shitless that they won’t make the cut into Heaven. If you’re raised Catholic, no normal red-blooded, hormonal, flawed, selfish, self-absorbed, greedy, jealous, blasphemous human being would EVER make the cut into Heaven! And the rules are just a bunch of made-up shit anyway! Rather than modifying their thinking, getting mired in the made-up bullshit that religions and governments create to control us, it’s better for a lot of humans to just believe there’s going to be nothing. That’s better than a life of fear. It was the right choice for me, and if any man or woman wants to believe there is nothing after death – I say GOOD! Then do something with your life!
Let the kids believe in God though, and let them believe in Santa.
So FDR is sitting in his chair. Not a wheelchair, a regular chair, beside the couches, and he said to me, “This where I want to be. This office was where I connected with millions of people. I can still help the people of this country. As long as I can help the people, I will work here.”
Even though I’m dead, it’s comforting to me that a guy like FDR still gives a shit about the job that killed him. My kids are down there. I still CARE about what happens to them. That’s when I knew I was in Heaven, not that I call this place Heaven, but I knew I wasn’t in hell, because * FDR fucking inspired me * – I was in awe of him, and that hadn’t happened to me in a very LONG time. I knew that I could only feel that kind of awe in the good place, so that’s when I decided I needed to come up with some really important shit to do here too.
K: What do you do on the other side now? Do you watch over your family?
G: Yeah, I will always watch over my kids. It’s hard, not being able to pick up the phone or drop in unannounced. Well, I do, but she (daughter) doesn’t always notice. She notices some of the time, she laughs or says hello. But humans sleep a lot. It’s fascinating to watch your family, but after a while, you’re ready to take on some new responsibility.
K: Do you have a job?
G: I am the angel of death! (laughs) Well, one of them. I specialize in guys who don’t believe – the guys who think there’s nothing after you die. I LOVE it. Some of these guys, when they realize that they’re dead AND they’re still conscious, they try to shut their eyes and go to sleep – they want to be dead so badly, that they PLAY DEAD when they finally arrive! These guys don’t want to talk to their mothers or fathers, to hell with their ancestors, they believed they’d stop existing so they’re going to ACT LIKE IT.
I get to fuck with them a bit. Not a lot, just a little. Just enough so they know it’s me. Most of these guys have seen my shows, they know who I am which is why I’m the perfect guy for this gig. I’m the angel of death to atheist George Carlin fans! It’s like “It’s a wonderful life” for atheists. I love it. It gets them out of their shell, when they realize they’re Alice in some afterlife LSD Wonderland and I’m a part of their hallucination.
FDR in the Oval Office showed me how he was still connected to all the people his presidency had affected – millions of people. (Shows me FDR tugging on a large cable-like umbilical cord.) All my life I worked to make my life *mean something*. I felt that at its core, life was a meaningless, random existence, and if it isn’t – if there is some greater intelligence, I couldn’t invest in it or get caught up in trying to please it. All I knew for sure is I had whatever short life I would live, and then ultimately I would disappear into the infinite abyss. I know I’m not Jesus. Two thousand years from now, NO ONE is going to know who I am. Unless they make a bible out of my performances, which I think is highly unlikely!
FDR showed me I still have this tie to all of the people that my shows have affected. People would write to me and I knew I had fans, that my comedy had helped people, but I did not realize what I did in life would matter to me after I died. I didn’t think anything would matter, but it does. I am tied to all of the people who connected to my comedy, or anything else I did in life. What am I supposed to do with this tie?
So I followed it, and I followed it, and it branches out into a million other ties. It was like following a road that keeps branching off, and I’d just randomly take a branch. Left, right, up, down, whatever. When I got to the end of one of these ties, there’s a young man there, and he thinks he’s all alone. He had his family standing around, there was a bunch of tall guys (Spirit guides or angels? George doesn’t know) but this kid, this young man was just curled up refusing to look at or talk to anyone.
So I walk over there, and I asked, “Can I help?” A lot of people would call me an asshole, but if I saw someone stranded by the side of the road, I’d help them. That’s what you do. You pull over and ask if you can help.
This kid looks up at me, because he recognized my voice. That’s all it took. He knew my voice, my energy, that’s all it took to get this kid talking. It didn’t take very long, either, because once he was able to get over the fear of dying that had turned into a paralyzing fear of being dead, he was able to process his death fairly efficiently. It felt good, for both of us. I liked it.
I went and checked on the kids again, they were still sleeping, and I’d already haunted the white house, tried to set off a few of their alarms, but here’s haunting gets boring very quickly. There’s no point to shit disturbing for the sake of disturbing shit. It’s still a pile of shit at the end of the day. I always disturbed shit WITH A PURPOSE. In my life, I tried to focus on what was important, and in my act – I tried to WAKE PEOPLE UP. You know what I mean by that.
Now, I still get to do it. It’s the best job I’ve had in a looooong time.
K: Is it like employment? I know you wouldn’t be paid exactly, why do you call it a job? Duty?
G: I always loved to work. I loved to travel and talk because you never knew what was going to happen. That’s what this gig is like. You never know who is going to come over, or what their life was about, and why they don’t want to face their own death. Some of them are fine with being dead, but they’re astonished they still exist – those guys are fun! I spent two weeks showing around this old WWII veteran who just died how to travel through time. I still learn from these guys too – this guy was not an atheist, he wasn’t religious, he went to church because that’s what his family expected of him. He lived a good life, though. After serving in WWII he went to Korea, after that he said he just thought war is the worst kind of hell, and every day he wasn’t at war, that was a good day. So he went to church almost every Sunday, but he said he didn’t believe in God, because of the war. How could a God let such terrible things happen?
Let me tell you, buddy!
So this old veteran lived the rest of his life believing that hell and heaven were both on earth, and that after death there would be nothing. When he died and realized there IS an afterlife – he said “It was the happiest day of my after-life! I can’t wait for my wife to get here! She was right all along, of course. I’ll have to admit it so that it’s HER heaven too!”
Isn’t telepathic communication so efficient? (George doesn’t use the words “heaven” or “hell” these are words I am substituting for what he’s showing me, and it’s a close enough equivalent.) Heaven is not fluffy clouds and pearly gates. Well, there are pearly gates if you need them. I went to them just because I wanted to tell people heaven was CLOSED. Come back tomorrow! But they wouldn’t let me do that.
K: Who stopped you, St. Peter?
G: Naw, my family. Being dead makes you rediscover your family again. I didn’t want to be the guy that was harassing people at the gates. That’s new. I used to BE the GUY who would lock the gates! You know what made me an asshole? Just fear. Fear and sadness. I truly believed that mortal life was all there is, and I did my damndest to make my life mean something, and to leave something of value for my kids. I’d look around and see all these people just WASTING their lives, working dilatant jobs to fill their pockets with cash to fill their houses with crap in a vain attempt to give their lives meaning.
Now that I am here, I can relax. It’s very… relaxing.
K: Are you “at peace” George? (referencing his last stand up performance.)
G: Yeah, it’s damn good. Talk to you later, Kid!
I had a LONG day on the phone today. Life sometimes necessitates long periods on hold with government, banks, utilities, and phone companies. I try to get into a zen place before calling. By this afternoon, i started to run low on zen, see my twitter feed in the blog sidebar for reference.
While on hold (today i was on hold for three hours, forty five minutes, total) i puttered around my office, cleaning and organizing.
Guess what i found?!
These two poems my mother wrote shortly after visiting me in Ucluelet.
I THOUGHT I HAD LOST THESE. See, i wasn’t in the habit of carefully filing the letters my mother sent to me over the years. I have many of them, but some I intentionally discarded.
For the last two years i have been kicking myself for losing these poems. I thought i had unintentionally – or possibly INTENTIONALLY recycled them during one of my many space clearings. I didn’t think i would intentionally toss these poems, but i didn’t keep every letter my mother had ever written to me, and thats something i regret too.
So I’m on hold, I’m cleaning the office, and i FIND these poems in a photo album. I am POSITIVE they were not there before. I have been actively sorting and organizing photos for a few months now and i am sure i would have noticed them folded at the front of my big photo album i had been adding photos to.
As I’m reading the poems and tearing up, the government customer service agent comes online. “Hi, this is Janet. How can i help you?”
Janet is my mother’s name.
Don’t dismiss these coincidences. This is how they say hello.
Ive been posting photos of blue birds that keep popping up. A blue heron last week, which my mom noticed was a special sign for me, and a particularly cheeky stellar jay, which my mother had admired when we saw the old growth forest on mears island.
So thats my little miracle for the day. Love you too, Mom.
All my prayers and love to my friends in Texas, particularly Houston, and my friends in Florida, those who have evacuated and those who are now picking up the pieces.
This is more of a personal update.
I posted on facebook last Saturday that I’d landed in the ER after a half-shift of work. I thought I was good to go to work – MISTAAAAAAKE! (opera singer). I managed to make things a lot worse for myself by attempting to “push through”.
In some way, I wish I was “push through it” sort of person. I certainly have the mindset and the willpower to work through pain. The problem is, when I ignore pain for too long, it does one of two things: it makes me puke, or it makes me pass out. Saturday, I was feeling dizzy. I was concerned that I was having a blood pressure, or even anaemia issue related to my ongoing uterus issues (still waiting for a hysterectomy date!) Fortunately, I was fine. “Fine” as in, nothing wrong with me other than me being in pain. I felt better after laying down for a couple of hours, no longer dizzy.
I did get screened for an ectopic pregnancy – LOL! My nurse friend assured the doctor that it was *highly* unlikely I was pregnant. “Well, you never know!” replied the doctor! You do see all sorts of things in the medical field, but there would have to be something SERIOUSLY wrong if I was pregnant. I’d have to be sleep-banging the neighbour! When the nurse poked his head back into my cubicle and announced the test was negative, we both had a chuckle.
I will be getting a six-week heads up for my surgery date, so as of today, it’s still at least seven weeks out. One more cycle, at least – maybe two, to get through. I’ve been taking curcumin to control inflammation, and it’s helped. I’m going to ask my physician about CBD oil with THC to help with pain control next cycle. I have tried as best I can to stick to the endo diet, but I’m finding that very challenging to maintain, honestly. Ugh. It will be very interesting to see what comes up after my hysterectomy. If I DO have endometriosis, it’ll be diagnosed during surgery. It will be so good to have that information. I do have the worse flare-ups around my cycle, but my bladder pain seems to have subsided quite a bit! This is GREAT news! I think the curcumin plus the diet modifications have helped a lot with that, although I have not been as physically active this year as I would have liked, because long walks or hikes tend to set off a flare that could last a week. It’s better to gradually increase physical activity, rather than have a big long walk a couple of times per week – but the problem is I have a set back every cycle. The hope is that the hysterectomy will stop the set-backs, and I’ll be able to go on a steady healing incline. Apparently endometriosis and interstitial cystitis tend to show up together, which makes me wonder if my bladder issues were more a result of chronic inflammation.
It’s possible whatever undiagnosed issue with my bladder has healed over the past year. Maybe the curcumin and the diet is either keeping the issue at bay or has helped to heal it. Perhaps all the therapy and somatic experiencing techniques have been working to help re-program the way my brain processes pain. It’s most likely a combination of everything, and it will take time.
I have become fascinated with pain theory. Once pain has gone on for a few months, and they can’t find any actual tissue damage, you’re categorized as “chronic pain”. People with chronic pain can have acute flare-ups, but the way chronic and acute pain is treated is different. In my case, and the case of many women who go to their doctors complaining of menstrual pain, the pain is labelled “normal” and you’re sent on home. For me, and many other women, this results in us living for years, or decades, with acute pain flare-ups which progress into chronic pain conditions.
Poor Abraham Lincoln’s wife may have experienced such an affliction. Yet history seems to have pegged her as mentally ill or just a huge bitch. Can you imagine what it would be like to deal with this stuff, without pain medication (well I guess there was laudanum?) without modern appliances, without even sanitary pads? And being followed by paparazzi? Some women experience pelvic pain and hormonal disturbances *every single day of their reproductive lives*. Maybe Mary Todd Lincoln was one of them. That could look a lot like insanity, as the years progress, as pregnancies are lost, anemia becomes chronic, the pain closes in, and the diagnoses are dismissive or worse, threaten to imprison her rather than provide any relief. Thank you “female hysteria”! Sheesh! Yes, I have SO MUCH to be grateful for!
The theory we have for me right now, is that two decades of monthly menstrual-related flare-ups could have resulted in a phenomena called “complex reginal pain syndrome”. So for me, even though the problem has been with my uterus and possibly endometriosis, the nerves could be so overwhelmed by pain signals that the pain sensation is starting to refer to my bladder and surrounding pelvic organs.
That theory would explain my symptoms, and explain why the urologist couldn’t see anything wrong with my bladder. So it’ll be interesting to see if my surgeon finds endometriosis. It would explain a lot.
Another possibility is adenomyosis. I also check all those symptoms. This condition could also result in complex regional pain syndrome. Adenomyosis is basically endometriosis but within the walls of the uterus. It’s typically very painful and curable with a hysterectomy! I’m almost rooting for this one J If there’s endometriosis, then that’s a condition that I will need to continue to manage the rest of my life, or at least until menopause. Heck, I could have both, or something else!
Whatever it is, chronic pain requires pain management that goes beyond medication. The psychological part of dealing with pain is often the most challenging. Many women hang all of their hopes on the surgery as a cure. The thing is, the surgery might not be a cure. I am confident it will help a lot, or else I wouldn’t be doing it! But I’m not going to hang my whole emotional well-being on the hope that it will fix everything. It might not. And I don’t want to be flattened if I’m faced with a worse-case scenario, because frankly, I’d rather focus on counting blessings. What you consider a “blessing” can be relative to what you expect, so I like to manage my expectations to create more opportunities to celebrate.
Surgery doesn’t always fix pain. Only a multi-disciplinary, medical, psychological, and naturopathic / nutritionist, and physiotherapy all combined has been shown to yield good results with chronic pain. Not one of those things alone has been shown to be as effective as all of these things combined.
I’ve been continuing somatic experiencing therapy, which has helped me ENORMOUSLY. I’ve thought a lot about how I can describe this therapy. Cognitive Behavioural therapy is easy to describe – it helps you change your perspective on your situation. It helps you see options you didn’t see, and it helps you make different choices and change habits.
Somatic experiencing therapy helps you use your brain to talk to your nervous system. Remember when I was talking in “the weight of it” about how our bodies help us by taking on experiences that we can’t always handle or process in the moment? Well, I’m hoping that not only will somatic experiencing therapy help me with what I now realize is actually PTSD from a looooooong time ago (don’t worry, I’m doing so much better!) but I am hoping that somatic experiencing therapy will help me process what my body is holding on to, what it doesn’t want to deal with, and why it’s fighting weight loss – even though excess weight could be making endometriosis (if I have that) worse. More fat = more estrogen = worsening endometriosis. I should lose weight. I have been trying for two years.
But chronic pain fights weight loss too. Pain = cortisol = adrenal fatigue + increased estrogen. Increased estrogen = increased endometriosis progression + weight gain, which causes a further increase of estrogen. It’s more complex than that, but that’s the gist of this weight gain cycle. Even without the endometriosis, the estrogen / weight gain cycle is fairly well established in naturopathic and nutritional guiding care principles, there just hasn’t been a lot of formal medical studies yet.
My experience of weight gain has been that I always and only gain weight while under some sort of unusual stress. My current weight resulted from the gain that happened while my mother was sick, and since she passed, I have not been able to lose much. I managed to lose 10 lbs, so that’s something. But it’s not what I have been hoping or trying to lose.
By the way, I am completely OVER feeling bad about my weight. (I’m fabulous!) I am done being hard on myself, or judging myself. My body right now is the result of my life and experiences. I do my best to take care of myself, and to balance my life. I’m not going to label myself anything bad just because I haven’t figured out this particular weight loss challenge. It’s possible that with this chronic pain, it’s extra-difficult for me to lose the weight right now. I’m just happy I’m no longer gaining, and that I have lost 10 lbs. That’s a thing to celebrate! Yay!
Anyway, I have noticed in the past when I have a significant amount of weight to lose, that as the weight comes off, I find myself emotionally processing events that happened the last time I was at that weight. In my 20s, I gained weight while living with a roommate who cycled off his medication shortly after I moved in. He decided I was trying to ruin his life, and I ended up having to flee that apartment while he was screaming at me and throwing dishes. I called friends, grabbed my cat Leo and my dog Mocha, and rented the first pet-friendly apartment I could find. It was in a not-so-awesome building, somewhat unsafe with gunfire occasionally audible at night, cockroaches, mice and bedbugs, but it had a door that locked and that was all I needed at the time.
I continued to gain weight after I moved, and six months later I was able to start losing. A year later, I was back down to the weight I was at when I had to run from our shared apartment in fear – I found myself having nightmares about the incident, and thinking about it at random times during the day. I would shake and shiver with the memories. But after a time, that all passed, and I was easily able to get down to a more accepted weight.
There was a lot going on around the weight I gained from 2012 – 2015. My mother was diagnosed in 2013, but in 2011 – 2012, our dream business didn’t work out and we needed to move into less than ideal living situation, with little privacy, little quiet, and a lot of stress. There was added financial stress at the time, and just when things were starting to stabilize, my mother was diagnosed and my ability to cope with all of the stresses in life was severely challenged. For two years, my whole life became focused on making enough money to be able to visit my mother before she passed. In the end, I had to make a decision about whether I would go see her right before she died and miss her funeral, or not see her again before she died, and be able to attend her funeral and maybe make myself useful in the weeks that followed.
Right at that time, we had an opportunity to rent a house in Ucluelet. I think that most people reading this haven’t experienced life in an area with a housing crisis. Let me explain:
A housing crisis is declared usually when there is less than 2% vacancy rate. When I moved to Toronto in 2000, there was less than 1% vacancy rate. What this does is skyrocket the rent landlords are asking for, and the quality of housing available plummets. We are talking dirtball landlords exploiting desperate people. My partner at the time was lucky to secure a bachelor apartment in a decent neighbourhood because his relatives knew the superintendent of the building. We were lucky to get an apartment that was infested with cockroaches, was 450 square feet, and cost 2/3 of our combined income.
I lived there for five years before I was able to find something better. In a housing crisis, you have to take what you can get, pay through the nose, and hold on until you can find something better through networking.
Sweetie and I had been desperate to move for a year and a half. We looked at every place that came up for rent. We saw terrible things. We saw a place without heat or closets. We saw a place that didn’t have a sink in the kitchen. We saw a place infested with spiders. We saw an insanely tiny expensive place that had roommates.
We were seriously considering leaving the west coast. We hated to consider it, but we couldn’t last where we were much longer. We were so desperate for sleep we would spend days off combing the beaches for quiet nooks in which to nap. Once we had to move our nap spot three times before a dead seal which has washed ashore finally made us give up on the idea of REM sleep.
So when my co-worker bought a house and told me her rental house was going to be available, it was a glimmer of hope. A tiny splinter of possibility. A lot needed to happen.
First we needed to buy a car. That was a tough negotiation, but thankfully it was successful. It took six hours to negotiate a price I could afford. Once we had the car, we applied for the house, and got it.
The end result was I had to move right when my mother was dying. From the outside looking in, it seems like I could’ve waited to move. Some other place would have come up, right?
Probably not, guys. This house was a rare opportunity, and we needed to jump on it, or else resign ourselves to starting over in a new town. If you still doubt me, I’ll add that the tenants who replaced us in the Tofino house moved out just a few months later, and the tenant after that was a zombie for lack of sleep for over a year until she moved in next door to us, when we helped her network into that place, along with another friend who had just been kicked out of her cabin because the owners wanted to turn it into a vacation rental.
The housing situation out here is brutal and cutthroat. So when I say I had to move, I had to move. It wasn’t a selfish or greedy thing, it was a survival move. It was that, or start over in a new town from scratch, which would have been even more costly and an even bigger risk.
All of that? Stressful. Right? There were so many things going on. I found the limits of what I could cope with, and I found my ability to handle anything remotely stressful had totally broken down. We moved, the universe and our friends stepped in to help hold us up, and thank God, we are doing so much better now! I am so very grateful, so so grateful!
While all of this was going on, I was steadily gaining weight in a way that felt unstoppable. I tried to stop it, y’all. But here’s where weight loss and gain becomes even more complex: there are social and psychological reasons we eat what we eat. For me, when I’m gaining weight, I know what I need to do. I need to stop eating dairy, sugar, and flour. I need to get at least 60 g of protein per day. I need to get used to feeling hungry all the time.
You know what I don’t have the energy to do when I’m under stress? Plan meals, shop, prepare meals, and ignore all of the internal monologue about how much I’d rather be eating flour, sugar or dairy. I am *still* finding it challenging to stick with my nutritionist’s meal plan, because I don’t get the food high from the nutritionist’s food.
The food high.
You know what I did the day before I checked into the ER? I had been in bed all day, having called in sick to work, having taken a scary amount of ibuprofen and Tylenol #2, I ate some chocolate mint ice cream.
I shouldn’t be eating it at all. When you’re in physical pain, and you’re really in that MOMENT, all you want in that moment is to feel a tiny bit better. You know what makes me feel better?
A freaking food high! A food high!!!
I don’t think everyone experiences food highs. But we recognize each other. We *know* what true food love is, and it’s not the healthy kind of love. It’s a dirty secret love. I honestly believe the food high is comparable to a mild narcotics high. Ice cream is my heroin. That in itself is a blessing, because I’m not an actual user of heroin, and I’m not so egotistical as to believe I couldn’t fall down that rabbit hole if the pain got bad enough. Did you know that women with endometriosis sometimes turn to heroin for relief? That usually happens after doctors stop prescribing them narcotics for pain management, because endometriosis isn’t yet a well-understood dis-ease, and when these women lose hope they reach for the cheaper-than-legal-narcotics temporary solution. Yep. This war on opioids is just going to create more heroin addicts. We can’t abandon people in pain, or label them as a drug-seeker and expect them to somehow get better without assistance. I digress.
So I ate the ice cream. Sweet Jesus, I elevated out of my body for a good ten minutes and just floated on that sugar high. For 30 minutes I had no pain at all.
Was it worth it?
Well, after the pain came back, no it wasn’t worth it. The pain came back after only 30 minutes, and I’d blown my calorie allotment for the day.
But during those 30 sweet, sweet minutes, I was high, man! I actually felt good!
So this is why food is going to be a lifelong thing I need to manage, especially where pain is concerned. I remember that towards the end, my mother couldn’t enjoy much, but she still liked milkshakes.
I hope I still enjoy milkshakes right to the end. Dairy and sugar definitely makes my overall condition WORSE, and maybe it delays my healing when I do eat it. I’m not sure. I know that my nutritionist, my naturopathic doc, AND my surgeon would prefer I abstain from inflammatory foods entirely, at least until after my surgery!
But the food high, the pain relief. That’s why I may never again go completely vegan, completely endo-diet, etc. In fact, when I fell off the vegan wagon, ice cream was my gateway food. I can’t look at the mint chocolate ice cream incident as a failure – it’s actually kind of awesome that something as inexpensive and readily-available as FOOD can elevate my mood and provide profound short-term pain relief.
It’s not great, and it’s not terrible. It just is a part of my life. I’m both grateful for it, and a tad resentful of it. Why can’t I enjoy a mango as much as Suzanne Somers?! Because I’ll always be chasing the chocolate dragon!
Well, not forever. I think that once I’ve done a lot of the emotional processing (via therapy), that my food issues will even out. It’s just a much longer, more involved process, this time.