Monday, October 19, 2015

A chemical love, but a love all the same // mystery prize monday

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Well this will be fast and informal. I have two deadlines fast approaching, and I'm catching up on thank you cards, mystery prizes and sea glass necklaces to those of you who donated. I did not want to post again until I've dropped the last of those in the mail. However! I realized that with the most recent post, I may have leaving you hanging just a bit.

It's been two months since I've had any alcohol, and I miss it less than I thought I would, although the release of Highland Brewery's Cold Mountain Ale might be a tough evening to get through. It's been three weeks since my last tomato.  It's been four weeks since I've had any fruit except pears. It's been four weeks since I've had anything to drink besides pear juice.

Except Coffee. Every day I drink a Trader Joe's sample cup of coffee and as a result, I've fallen in love with Trader Joe's. Their ridiculous gourds, their collection of orchids. All those cheerful team members. It's an artificial, chemical-based love, but it's love all the same.

I tried to stop drinking coffee completely and I my brain stopped. It was during those days of rain we got a few weeks back, when the hurricane veered south but we caught the fringe. I sat at the computer and wept because I couldn't write without my brain, and alright, I could live without writing, I've never claimed otherwise, but who would tell the good people of Western North Carolina where to find their 10 spookiest halloween adventures?
It was Kelli who saved me, mother of the coffee-drinking Chihuahua, of all people. She scraped me off the couch, she buckled me safely into her Subaru and drove me to the grocery store. She administered a sample cup of coffee (she is a nurse, after all) we bought Mums, and suddenly I felt cheerful again. "My god," I said, the caffeine lighting me up like a Christmas Tree. (God help me should I ever become addicted to something stronger.) "It's like I'm seeing this grocery store for the first time. It's so colorful. Look! A baby holding a carrot!"

Kelli said, "Yes, dear." As if she were my husband of fourty five years. "Yes dear."

Since then I have returned to Trader Joe's every day for my daily swallow, and before you judge me too much, please understand that I always make a purchase. Some days it is a 19 cent banana. Or a white and orange striped 'lil tiger' mini pumpkin.

It's completely disconcerting but until someone comes up with a better plan, I'm sticking with it.

I fired my IC specialist. She was not special. She was not good for me. That felt good.

I saw an acupuncturist the same day I fired my specialist. She spent two hours just listening to me. She nodded at the end and she said, "This all makes sense."

Then I flew home to Vermont.
Sometimes when you're stuck in a cycle of chronic pain, you have to change the scene. Something has to change and you've tried everything else. I'm 30 years old and I went home to my parents house. I took walks with my mom around our land. It was a late foliage this year in Vermont, almost as if it were waiting for me. I arrived at the peak and all week watched bright gold leaves glitter down from the trees onto the dirt road. It was like walking through a music box.

I wrote my articles during the day and in the evenings I watched Veep with my mom and dad. Then I would fall asleep.
Some of my good friends from Seattle just happened to be visiting Vermont to see the leaves, and we hiked to the top of Deers Leap in Killington. I didn't feel any pain on that hike. I was very cautious, moving slowly, as if I were glazed head to toe in a very thin egg shell. I moved like that for five days. On the flight home I sat in my seat still as a statue, like those people who were frozen in ash after Pompeii erupted. I was a fly suspended in amber, the amber being the complete disbelief that I felt such relief after 3 months of agony.

I've been back in Asheville for a week and the pain has not returned. I'm not cautious any more, not because I don't think it will come back, but because I know it will, eventually. So for now, I find myself filled with a raging, howling sort of energy. The other morning, Dave watched quietly as I ran sprints through our tiny kitchen, touching one wall and then the other before I disappeared into the shower. A few minutes later he watched me devour a stack of his famous Egg Dipped Frozen Pumpkin Waffles (they're amazing) and he said, "Someone's feeling good today."

It's like this. You've been maybe a little bit bedridden, and then one day you're up out of bed, and you're very very very behind! And you must work very hard to catch up. And that's where I am.

Where are you?

That is our mystery prize monday question. Where are you? And I don't mean your physical location. I am not going to say anything else. I know you guys will run with that question in whatever way you need to.
If this is your first Mystery Prize Monday, here's how it works. Leave a comment, and then help yourself to all the other comments that everyone else leaves. We have a good community right here. I'll choose the winner by randomly selecting from within the comments. The winner gets a hand written photo card, and a mystery prize package delivered right to their mailbox.

As always, I can't wait to hear what you have to say. I can't wait to know where you are. I've really grown to love you. 

56 comments:

Ashley said...

I am in the throes of a medical mystery. My brain chemicals, thyroid, hormones, all the lot-altered and catty whomped. I am exhausted.

Melina said...

Okay I have to jump in right here and say that Ashley- I HEAR you. This speaks to me. I completely understand being in the mars land of medical mystery and it is exhausting. One day at a time, girl. or if you need, one minute at a time. You're not alone. I wish that sentiment truly carried the weight that it needs to carry. You're not alone and it will get better.

Cailey Rogers said...

I can tell you exactly where I am- I am happy! And your question rings so true to me right now because happiness IS a place, where I am, it's a destination and I worked extremely hard to get here. Now, I am looking around enjoying the scenery. I am happy! I am here!!

Katie said...

Geez, Melina, hope you know how much I look forward to these posts!

I am in a good place right now. I'm enjoying my new job and getting to know new coworkers. I'm re-forming a social group in my hometown. I'm running again. I'm dating someone new, being cautiously optimistic and not over-analyzing the way I usually do. (Or, at least trying not to.) It's a really good place, filled with a lot little happy, normal, bright moments, and I hope it lasts, because for far too long this year I spent time in a bad place.

So glad to hear you're feeling better. Have a great week! :)

Aimee LH said...

Nothing like a visit to Vermont to start a mend cycle. So glad you've found some bearings. And I agree, Trader Joes is amazing.

Right now I'm at home, after working 66 hours in a week after attending a writing retreat that changed my life.

marinj said...

I'm happy but confused. If that makes sense. I'm so happy with my new job and am feeling like I'm starting to fit in and belong. I'm confused about deeper issues in life, like forgiveness, fear, trust, etc. The battle of life, right? :)

Pam said...

Where I am is my "heavenly" happy place. I'm where I always wanted to be, near my Granddaughters and in the south!! Home..... In a beautiful house I never thought I would ever have, surrounded by love, with my Man!! I thank God everyday for all the gifts I have. Yep, I'm happy!!!

Take care of yourself.

rebecca said...

Motherhood. 4 wonderful children whom I love with all my heart. I am also drowning in loneliness not because of my children but because of suffocating insecurities to numerous to talk about.

Sarah said...

Where am I? Everywhere! Feeling spread a little thin right now, with the busiest time of the year for me at work just about to end in a few weeks....hoping that I can come out on the other side with my shit together and get some more down time for myself and my family!

It's peak of the foliage here in MA, too....I love days when it is raining leaves of all glorious fall colors! It's my absolute FAVORITE time of year!

Keely said...

I am in desire! I'm often on my own, lately, and I'm longing for quiet company on some outdoor adventures and maybe some kisses if the stars are right. I'm drooling thinking of an cold gin and tonic, and I know I can't have one for weeks (dry village in the arctic). And OMG ice cream. I have some prospects, some tentative plans, and I'm having to wait and see what comes of them, because life out here in the middle of nowhere moves slow, and that is totally awesome, in the way that reveling in any feeling is luxurious. So. I'm luxuriating in longing, which is a painful sort of pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless.

Jaralei said...

I'm at the end of the first truly good day I've had since moving to a new town a month and a half ago and starting a new job. I was so unsettled those first weeks - didn't have a gym, didn't mountain bike which is what I do, didn't climb, didn't have any adventures, my new apartment chaotic, my diet completely ransacked, no friends...such is the way of moving. Suddenly the pieces are starting to come together and I'm building a new life, shooting for even better than my last chapter, aiming for the stars. And I think it's going to be ok.

DeNae said...

I am lost in my head, scrambling to escape, or at least vacation from the nonsense going on in my noggin.

Jaralei said...

P.S. Also today made contact with a new climbing buddy, so climbing is again on the horizon for me, after a whole summer of no climbing partners. Be still my heart!

Aimee said...

I'm slowly climbing out of my own brain and physically and metaphorically stretching my legs. Winter was good but spring has been hard. I'm back out walking and hiking daily (running was breaking me) and feeling like I am more in charge of my life and time.
I've finally made the changes that I needed to help me feel healthier even though they were hard. The kid is cool and happy and fun to be around. I am happier than I have been in a couple of months and feel like I have momentum to keep climbing up and out.
So overall im in a happy place

Elizabeth said...

I feel like I'm slowly emerging from the loss of my pup in the late summer. Finding my balance amid the new kind of loneliness took a while, and I don't think I'm quite there yet. I'm also finding my balance in being 35 and having the response on OKC drop to quite literally less than 5% almost overnight. Today was a good day and I think it will be a good week, because I'm off work and family, including my baby niece, is coming to visit.

Kate said...

I have resigned my job and am preparing to move for the third time in 3 years. I can't wait. My partner and I will be living near the beach and I will be able to have my first dog ever that's not my family's dog, but MY dog! Can't wait to go running in a new place and explore and enter a new chapter. Bring it on!!

Elisa said...

I am so tired. Of this city. Of constant motion. Of working so hard and still only coming out mediocre. I started a club and nobody came to the first meeting. I'm supposed to pick up and try again. But I'm tired and my sanctuary is miles from here. Drinking my morning coffee, protein shake to come. Another day filled with motions.

Lori Delgado said...

I am here. I'm not sure how I am surviving here, there isn't much rest, there is much validation in what I am doing, and it's lonely but, I'm here. And, I plan on kicking "here's" ass so I can get through this, and move on to something better. The something better is going to be so good too. So, so, good. I'm just not sure what it is, or when it will come, but it is going to be better! Right?

So glad you are doing better and can enjoy fall! :-)

Sara said...

I'm anxious. My husband lost his job and I'm in grad school. We were planning on moving in the next year ahead anyway...so he's looking for jobs in the new locale. I'm scared he won't find a job, but also that he will, and we will have to live apart.

Monique said...

I am tired, footballed out (son plays and just made playoffs), battling my thryoid issues, and wanting a long vacation away to rejuvenate. A new job is needed too...14 years at one place and not much movement. Feeling low some days but taking them one at a time and remembering change can happen in a moment.

Ariel said...

Torn between two extremes? We're in the process of buying a house which is so.exciting. but also so fraught with self-doubt (should we have looked more? are we settling? is the immediate neighborhood fine or scary?). My job is awesome and awful all at once. The people I work with are kind, generous, and fun, but they're also sexist and short-sighted and it's a fight to get the respect I or my team needs. My husband is starting a PhD program which is exciting for him and so good for our future, but it also means that he's distracted, absent, and I miss him. It's my favorite season, but also it means that my favorite things and places about Idaho are coming to a close again for another year, soon to be wrapped up in deep winter. So, I feel like I'm strung across an expanse, thrumming between two poles.

Phyllis M. said...

I am happy and content. This life that my husband and I are building together is so beautiful; more than I ever expected. Our little boy, Hardy Rhett, will be turning a year old in 3 weeks. He is everything little boys encompass; he's magical, curious, wild, happy, loud and loving. This little boy has taught us more about life, living and love than anyone else or anything else ever has or could. In many ways; our lives started when he came into this world. His first breath melted us into a million pieces and our hearts have been on the verge of bursting every day since. "I have everything I need and nothing that I don't"~Zac Brown Band.

Emily said...

I'm on the edge - I feel like I'm about to figure it all out (how to find more hours in the day, how to be the source of financial support my family needs, how to always be in the moment with the littles), just need a bit more time. AND, at the same time, I feel like I will never ever make any progress on those things. One step too far to the left, "Ta-Da" got it all figure out. One step too far to the right...stuck in the mud of "now" forever [not that "now" is terrible, I just know it could/should? be better].

The edge is dangerous and I'm digging it - just hoping to end my visit here soon!

Sebby said...

I am in stasis currently. It is shoulder season in Montana, so it's too cold/rainy to mountain bike and tougher to hike, but there isn't any snow yet for skiing.

I am also waiting to see what is going to happen with the GF. Honestly, I thought I would be moving to Denver to be with her, but now she is hating Denver and her job so we are waiting to see what comes next.

Oh, and it's almost Halloween so I need to get my costume in order. That part isn't waiting...that is actually fun.

PS - so happy we got to see you!

Georgia said...

I floating. I'm newly pregnant and so overjoyed! It's my secret so far.....sssshhh!!! I walk around with the biggest loopiest smile and nobody knows why! But I can say it hear. I'm pregnant and I'm so happy!!

Melina said...

I'm so happy too, Sebby!

Stephanie Abdon said...

seeing a light at the end of the tunnel

Jes said...

I'm in the middle of trying to be ok with adulting, even though it means losing some of the freedom I once had (new job with a 100 mile a day commute--hooray for living in smaller mountain towns?). Been wondering if I made the wrong decision. But now it's here and I've got to learn to live with it. Wishing I had a home to go to when I'm feeling this way but glad that I have the friends in my life that have made this place home!

Marie said...

I'm in a happy place, feeling as if finally, my ship is coming in. But, scared at the same time, because one never knows this for sure, but one day at a time. Hoping this is it for me.

Ann said...

I'm juggling. The demands on my time are all ones I've chosen, ones I want to keep, and yet I feel frazzled. A quick evaluation shows that none can really be eliminated right now, so onward we go!

Cait said...

I am cautious. Cautiously optimistic about dating a man who squeezes my palm in concentric circles when I tell him I'm anxious and who texts me to ask how many babies I've caught that day. I am cautiously dipping my toe into the waters of feeling like a "real" midwife, as my training wheels slowly come off. I am hopeful, and anxious, and sometimes deeply lonely, but I am surviving, and it feels good.

Mom Starting From Scratch said...

I'm re-motivating myself to lose the same flippin' 30 pounds that I've gained and lost several times over. Just taking little steps, trying to go for a half hour walk every day, and practicing portion control. I can't let myself get discouraged over the fact that the weight keeps creeping back, but instead I try to think about, "How do you want to FEEL?"

Abby Scorsonelli said...

I'm in a friendship rut. How do adults with small children (too young to really participate in organized activities) make friends with other couples and families?? I mentally screen couples I meet--do they like to kick back with a beer? Are they laid back with their kids? Do they hate talking about politics and finance as much as we? A random invite to come over for dinner seems too forward. I feel like I'm dating!

Beth said...

I am busy and I'm making it work. Busyness doesn't have to be a disease, despite what they tell you in all those self-help books. It can be something wonderful, where you begin to prioritise exactly what makes you happy and forget all the rest. Soon my semester will be over and I'll return to a more normal pace, but for now I'm making peace with the busy.

Sorry to hear about your IC. I hope it stays away as long as possible. Enjoy that coffee!

Rachel said...

I'm right here, and the one who holds my heart is thousands of miles away, so I guess I'm there too. I'm tired and I'm sad, and the things that normally fill me with joy -- sunshine and bare legs in late October, vibrant pops of fall color, a hard workout, good coffee -- have made me want to weep today. I'm trying to shake off the melancholy that's settled in to be HERE, present and alive in this moment. Tomorrow is a new day, hey? The world is always brighter in the morning. fingers crossed.

Jill said...

So relieved to hear from you, that you're doing well. I am in one of those days where I feel like I am purpose-less, wandering (in a bad way), direction-less. A quarter-life crisis, I think they call it. I feel stuck in a job I'm no longer passionate about but not sure what else I can do or want to do. Nothing seems possible, really. I'm afraid that this (dead-end job, daily boredom) is all it will ever be. And that scares the living daylights out of me.

Win said...

I am living my legend (Thank you Scott Dinsmore at Live Your Legend), it feels so good to follow my heart and start my own business. I am so proud of myself!

So glad you experienced some pain reduced days!!!!

Kelsey Imondi said...

I'm lost in the world of being a first time Mom. Figuring out going back to work. Finding time to make myself happy and spend time with my husband. Some days I feel like I'm in ten places at once, or at least I need to be.

Melina said...

@Kelsey!! First time mom? Congratulations!!

Sarah P said...

Here is where I am: I am sitting next to a stack of books, over a hot cup of coffee regardless of what time of day it is, scribbling in a notebook. Repeating neumonic in my head all night long. One of those places, and I'm (fairly, most of the time) quite happy to be there!!

Anonymous said...

Those are the coziest pictures! I'm great, I am here in MI where it's fall turning to winter and I am pretty cozy myself. First few months of self employment have flown by and have proved pretty fruitful, which is such an incredible relief. I am standing on my own two feet for the first time in a while and it feels pretty fantastic. I'm so happy to read that you're feeling better- thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Those are the coziest pictures! I'm great, I am here in MI where it's fall turning to winter and I am pretty cozy myself. First few months of self employment have flown by and have proved pretty fruitful, which is such an incredible relief. I am standing on my own two feet for the first time in a while and it feels pretty fantastic. I'm so happy to read that you're feeling better- thinking of you.

Erin Macauley said...

Ever heard anything about Highly Sensitive People? Neither had I, until my dear friend came to visit for a long weekend and I had a meltdown because my partner decided to give she and I some space to go to lunch by ourselves. I'm still on that drive, on that walk, where she rubbed my back while I cried bewilderingly and she talked about her husband's struggles with so many of the same things I wrestle with.
I'm cautiously hopeful that I may now have a framework for understanding (and explaining!) myself. It's been nearly two weeks and I've successfully run interference on triggers that normally would cause anxiety of the sleep-deprived jaw-clenched tight-chested barely-sob-stifled kind.
The absence of it is a similar euphoria to the absence of pain. So glad you're in that place at the moment. XO

Kathryn Jackson said...

I am in a conflicting place. I am so very happy in my relationship and we will be celebrating one year this weekend. I'm also scared about the future. Will my new business actually work? Will he be able to finish school and have more steady work? Is struggling worth it when you love what you do? I wish there were easy answers to these questions, but there aren't. Lately I've been having a hard time staying in the moment and choosing healthy ways to cope. I did go to a yoga class yesterday, so I'm counting that as my win for the week. Back to basics :)

Danielle said...

I'm in a season of change. I've been so down in the dumps about everything and nothing at all, at the same time -- the extra weight I've gained, taking longer to get pregnant than expected, the stresses of building a house... In the grand scheme of things, life is good and I've decided it's time to suck it up and add some positivity to my life. Time to change my diet and get healthy again. Time to stop focusing so much on babies, it will happen when it happens. Time to think about how dang lucky I am that I am even in a place in my life to get to build a house.

brandee said...

I don't really know where I am. Somewhere right in the middle of learning how to yell my tangled feelings towards God on a dark and windy road in Tennessee. Learning in the middle of the yelling (to my surprise) that the reason I find myself hiding from the kindest, bear-like, asian friend that I secretly love is actually because of an ex boyfriend that up and left. I'm somewhere in the middle of two sisters who are alternating having babies while I'm still single at 28, and trying to figure out what kind of man I even want. I think I'm where I'm feeling the need to have courage to be myself and do the things I dream about, especially creatively, rather than find someone else who is like me to pull me along into my passions, so I don't have to do any of the scary stuff.

I'm sorry you were in pain, and so glad it's gone. I hope it stays gone forever, even though it's easier to expect it to come around again, so you don't have the rug pulled out from under you again on an odd Tuesday. That is exactly the hope-thing I am trying to navigate when it comes to my heart.

JoShaun Woodsy said...

I'm at the crossroad of scared, worried & anxious as well as hopeful, cautiously optimistic & patient. 3 weeks in total has brought us some serious, life "zagging" changes when we would rather be "zigging".......job loss, 4000km move, 2 jobless ppl in love, 2 pets to attend to, unsure of basically anything.
We can't catch a break.......financially or stable work wise or setting roots in a home....we just haven't been stable in 3 years.
Glad you are feeling better & you're writing is inspiring. You're dog is awesome. You're marriage is beautiful.

Amanda said...

I'm on the upside of the end of the dreadful first trimester of my second pregnancy. Which means I'm just somewhat tired all day instead of extremely tired, and no puke. Food tastes better too. Here's to feeling slightly more like ourselves!

Susan S said...

Oh, Melina! I am so glad that you've gotten started with acupuncture! It won't prevent the IC, but it will sure help you deal with it. So happy also that you have the sense of yourself enough not to stick with a medical provider who isn't working for you. Good job, woman! Never stop looking for the right person to help you!

Where am I? Two weeks from driving to Minneapolis for a 2-week internship in Health Information Management and one and a half semesters from finishing my frappin chappin bachelor's degree. At which all interviewers and other professionals in my field seem to look and say, "Oh, isn't that cute." So, after I'm done with this degree, I'm turning right back around and starting the master's. But all I've ever really wanted to do is be a farmer. That's where I am.

Caroline in the City said...

I am on a wild ride right now: new partner, new job, everything fresh and new. Awesome and scary at the same time! Waiting for the 'ride' to level out just a bit, but trying to enjoy the stomach-dropping turns at the same time! Good for you for searching for a doctor that works for YOU. I think that all doctors are for someone, but not all doctors are for everyone!

Sarah Andersen said...

My location is currently: very in-tune to myself. It is by far the most beautiful feeling I've felt in my life. I feel like I truly got a hold of who I am in the last few months, and now everything I do, say, and think comes a place of very honest intention. I recently started dating someone new, and while it sounds obvious and at the same time cliche, I have been truly myself and it has been truly rewarding. I say the thing no one wants to say, I do the thing I want to do but would normally hold back on, I act like I love myself... because I do. It is the most liberating place I've ever been.

Emma said...

I know you're not looking for a geographic answer, but that's the best way to sum me up right now. Today, I'm sitting on a pillow on the floor of my new apartment in San Francisco. None of my furniture is here yet (hence the pillow), so it's just me and my dog and an echoey apartment. I moved out here for my dream job, and don't know many people in the city yet. It's been a leap of faith. Today it all feels very real and a little scary. My dog is listening intently, ears pricked forward, trying to determine whether the new sounds are friend or foe. But the apartment is sunny, and I'm trying to just focus on that.

Anonymous said...

Long time lurker here -- I'm sorry you're going through this! Your story reminded me of Joan Didion's "In Bed" essay, where she writes about her life with migraine. It's a great short piece of writing, I'm sure you'd be able to relate.
Hang in there!! :)

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the heck I ended up in this place that I haven't thought would be my life. My mom came finally and just her cooking dinner and picking up random things, straightening the bedsheets, and watching my toddler while I take a walk allowed me to breathe a bit better. My husband suffers from a debilitating chronic progressive disease. He moans and groans in pain so often, can't move without grimassing, and is trying to hold on to his beloved job.
Fall is beautiful and tomorrow is a new day!
I am glad that a visit to your home helped to find some relief! Vermont is beautiful.

colleen said...

after 6 years, 3 months, and 14 days, I've left a job I never imagined I would. I know that sounds insane, as I'm a college graduate who works at a grocery store, but well you never know where your path will lead. I quit my job not knowing what I would do next, and the universe handed me a golden apple so to speak in the form of a job offering from a local 1 shop co-op willing to pay me significantly more to do physically a lot less. I never felt more right in my choices. Lina, I know you know the struggle I've been having out here, but I figured I'd put in for mystery monday, because dammit, I'm feeling lucky. xo.

Jess B said...

I'm so glad your IC is clearing up for the moment! I do hope it's long term. I have IC, too. Not a terrible case but avoiding acidic everything (except coffee, I slowly came to tolerate a cup or two a day) has left me pain free for years...well at least as far as the IC goes. I have an ridiculous incurable spinal disease too but hey, so it goes. Good luck on the deadlines!