On Meniere’s

Ménière’s disease /mnˈjɛərz/,[1] also called endolymphatic hydrops, is a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance to a varying degree. It is characterized by episodes of vertigo, tinnitus, and hearing loss. The hearing loss comes and goes for some time, alternating between ears, then becomes permanent with no return to normal function. It is named after the French physician Prosper Ménière, who, in an article published in 1861, first reported that vertigo was caused by inner ear disorders.[2] The condition affects people differently; it can range in intensity from being a mild annoyance to a lifelong condition.[3]
-From Wikipedia

I had an idea to do a 24 hour stream at some point during the summer for charity. I wanted to do it for something that most people aren’t aware of, is chronic and doesn’t have a cure. Meniere’s disease fit the bill and it’s something that I suffer from. Unfortunately it looks like there are no legitimate charities, patient support, or research organizations that focus on this disease.

It’s an exclusionary diagnosis. This means that people who are classified under this disease don’t have all the same symptoms, don’t have all the same triggers, and ultimately end up making drastic lifestyle changes to manage symptoms or simply get through the day. I’m lucky that my episode ended on a relatively good note. I deeply wish that there was some way for me to help others who are soldiering on.

Lately on the subreddit there’s not been a lot of chatter but something that’s been getting a lot of activity is a post about physician assisted suicide. Unless you’ve suffered through prolonged bedrest or similar situations you don’t really understand how helpless and useless you feel. Imagine feeling a little dizzy when you go to bed and then the next morning you can’t get up. Can’t see straight. Can’t even move without the world tumbling around you. Puking until there is nothing and then puking more. Learning to eat while lying down because you don’t want to scare your husband by not trying to eat. Feeling like a failure to your child because you miss them walking for the first time and your milk dries up because your body doesn’t have enough fluids anymore. I won’t lie and say I didn’t think about suicide. If my initial episode had gone on for a few more weeks it might have been a viable option for me.

I’ve always been a naturally depressive person and have always had a certain amount of anxiety. I think post-meniere’s it has kicked up to 11. Every outing is a potential trigger. Every time I physically pick up my children it goes through my head as a potential disaster. I wonder now if my Dad had meniere’s (there’s not been a clear link genetically) but I remember him holding on to the walls in the hallway of our home to walk to his bedroom and my mom complaining about the hand prints. I guess I don’t have anyone else to blame for the multitude of hand prints on my walls, I can certainly see the ones that have saved me from falling throughout the day. Of which there are many.

Some other symptoms are ephasia (a loss of words), congnitive issues, and (of course) hearing loss. All of which add to the overall stress and anxiety levels along with an absolute lack of control.

So why the heck isn’t anyone aware of meniere’s or other vestibular diseases? Why isn’t there a meniere’s day? A ribbon color? A charity to rally behind?

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Low Carb Lows

Before and after pictures would be pretty pointless at this point. I didn’t anticipate a lot of what’s happened this month. I certainly thought I would’ve lost more than 11lbs/5kg, considering I didn’t cheat at all for the first two weeks. Then we were travelling and we tried very hard but I’m sure we went over a few times. This Saturday when we went to the movies we had to cheat; we go to the movie theater maybe once per year so popcorn was mandatory. Then there’s the matter of insanity that has been my hormones. Out of the past ~5 weeks I’ve been on my period for 3. I had no idea this was common and somewhat “expected” when you’re on keto. That’s okay, I can deal with the extra hassle of it all. But that also means I plateaued for 3 weeks. Which has done glorious things for my own motivation and desire to keep it up. As I’m sure you could understand. Combine that with the meal planning, shopping, cooking, and portion controlling every single meal we’ve eaten for the past month…

Some metrics:WL

  • Neck 3″ loss
  • Underbust 3″ loss
  • Waist 2″ loss
  • Hips 2″ loss
  • Overall loss 11.8lb
  • Average Loss/week 2.9lb
  • Projected date for reaching goal weight: 12/5/14

Real Estate Search Day 1100ish

We’ve now been house hunting for more than 3 years.

I could go on a pernicious and vile rant about how house flippers are on par with major corporations in terms of evil done to communities and low income families.

Frankly, I’m just tired of it. If it’s got 4 walls and isn’t falling down I’m ready to see the house.

This is what giving up looks like.

Rant: Not exactly kind

Disclaimer: This is a rant post. I’m ranting and painting with some particularly broad strokes. I know this isn’t everyone this is one experience that I chose to share.

There was an “early” morning rant on twitter and a few people from TWITGuild had chimed in and were having a discussion about how corrupt and terrible The Komen Foundation is/can be. They were discussing how they felt the ribbon campaign was a waste of time as probably everyone (in modernized countries at least) is aware of breast cancer. I completely agree by the way, breast cancer “awareness” is old hat and every bit of money should be spent on research and diagnostics. We all know how the ribbons and “save the ta-ta’s” sexualized and detached the disease and left the woman out of the conversation. 100% agree and look at how we are constantly sexualized in every form of media to the point of absurdity ( I did a whole other post about a smidge of this). Exploiting women who are suffering just furthers the notion that our society is in a terrible state and needs to be, I don’t know any phrase I attempt to put here seems to be incendiary to the nth degree, educated? The other side of the coin is that people will take advantage of the sympathy received because they were/are ill. For monetary gains. It sounds ludicrous but yes it exists. A breast cancer survivor that I know actually bragged about how she got discounts (or sometimes even free goods and services) around town because she had been ill. She made it abundantly clear that she felt she was entitled to these things. Just thought I would throw out there that there are probably more people taking advantage of their situation in sick and disturbing ways.

I understand that this person I know if just one person and my sample size is overwhelmingly small but I felt the need to share the story anyways.

Journal: Diagnosis Miserable

This post is rant-y, angry, and purely to vent my rage at my body. Feel free to ignore it if you’re not into reading it accordingly. I’d remind you that this has never really been a gaming-exclusive blog, but that’s pretty obvious already.
I have meinere’s disease. I had never heard of this previously and to my recollection, I didn’t know anyone who had it. I’ve seen a figure that over the course of your life you have a .05% chance of getting it. Pretty rare compared to things like cancer or infections. Doesn’t mean it’s any less debilitating for you and your family. After the last GW2BWE I was exhausted. I hadn’t marathon’d with both kids at all. Monday I was slowly getting them back into the rhythm and we recorded Guild Wars Reporter. I was already feeling not great and you could hear it in my terse responses and attitude. Tuesday was better. While cooking dinner I was lightheaded and shaking with what I thought was just hunger. I realized after dinner that I hadn’t had any coffee and just attributed the whole thing to caffeine withdrawal. The next day I was puking up everything and could barely walk. A local clinic said it was gastroenteritis and it’ll pass in a few days. Keep hydrated, blah blah.
Tomorrow that will be two weeks ago.
I’ve been to the ER since then, lost at least 15 pounds, and been out of bed maybe once a day.
My daughter innocently tried to murder me while I was sipping from a water bottle. The adrenaline and energy used to get the water out of my lungs left me practically catatonic for nearly an hour. Not a good thing when you’re home alone, with small children, and unable to walk without assistance. Thankfully one of Ben’s cousins is staying in the spare bedroom and will be watching the kids for the next two weeks. I’m depressed, bored, lonely and miserable. I miss my children when they’re out of eyesight. I want with every fiber to get up and go be with them. I’m slowly adapting to our new normal. I’m so proud of Ben for taking the abuse and keeping it together when we’re both scared out of our minds. I’m angry and stuck in a broken body thanks to my ear.
Did not see this coming.
My brother had a similar thing happen and it only took 6 months for him to get better. Missing 6 months with my children? I think I will actually go insane.
Here’s to hoping I’ll be better soon.
Also, this was all typed on my phone and I don’t really have a way to proofread it. Sorry.

On International Women’s Day

EDIT: I have a lot to say about the things that make me angry lately. If it’s not your cup of tea then mosey on to another blog in your reader. On International Women’s Day I felt this post (that I’ve had somewhat drafted) to be appropriately updated and published.

Let’s talk women’s health. It’s a sticky icky topic that most men find confusing or just awkward. It needs to be well known. Cecile Richards said on The Daily Show last night that “99% of people use [some form of birth control].” Along with some other juicy factoids like, “For many women, we are their only medical provider, we are their doctor, the one doctor’s visit they get a year is at Planned Parenthood. That’s why, again, I think there’s been this ground-swell of concern when politicians say ‘we’re going to end not only Planned Parenthood but all family planning in America’.” “I did just see some national polling, 69% of American people not only support Planned Parenthood but believe that we should get federal funding to provide the services that we do.”

Then why aren’t 69% of candidates for family planning and preventative health care for women? Because they’re old, white men who want to stay in power and voters aren’t willing to switch sides after 20 years over something that they only slightly care about. If we went to a time where “suddenly” condoms were taken away, abortion clinics shuttered, and women had to go to a full-cost doctor to get prescriptions at full-cost for their daily pill there would be anarchy. Well, ok, not anarchy but we would see an immediate rise in birthrates, infant and mother mortality rates, HIV/AIDS, back-alley dangerous abortions, and the various dwindling of resources that all of that entails. If more teenagers already in bad situations get pregnant constantly, who do you think will be paying for their food stamps, baby’s health insurance, prenatal care, formula, etc.? Preventative care and education is paramount to saving more money and resources in the long term.

“Those are issues [unintended teen pregnancy] that 90% of Americans agree including folks from every religious persuasion.”

My mom was a laymidwife, so my friends had a habit of asking me just about any sexual related question under the sun. Some of the questions I got from not just boys, but girls too were appalling. From getting pregnant while on their periods to when/what is douche. Someone had actually asked me if they could get pregnant from giving a blowjob. Hand to God. Obviously, teen sexual education in Texas is woefully lacking. Abstinence only works at single-sex boarding schools. Or at least that would be the only place I can imagine it working. In fact, I think this should be a part of sex education. It’s not a prophylactic, it’s a matter of giving a girl a pocket calendar or an app for their phones to track when they are fertile and when to avoid sex. It’s not perfect but if girls had to track their cycle in detail for health class every month (as a grade) maybe they would get into the habit of taking charge of their own sexual health. Unfortunately that sounds a bit more harsh than I’d like.

There’s also this. This, I think, is actually worse than being forced to listen to a heartbeat (a variation passed where it is voluntary) or forcible transvaginal ultrasounds. As someone who had a transvaginal ultrasound during my first miscarriage I can attest to how horribly invasive they are, especially during a deeply emotional time. Preventing women from knowing if they could die from an ectopic pregnancy is by far the worse attack on women. If a man had prostate cancer, a doctor would perform surgery to remove a portion of the gland if needed. They would ALWAYS offer that option if it was viable. Why wouldn’t they do the same for a women with a potentially life-threatening health problem? The worse part of this? Her family would have no legal recompense should she die as a result of this information being withheld. A bill to protect doctors from families who pass blame of disability makes sense. The method they’ve chosen to employ is poor in the best of circumstances and horrifying in the least.

I think the status quo needs to be upended if these are the sort of things we’ll allow in our country let alone our world.

(transcribed here)

P.S. That’s way more often than I’d ever thought I’d type “transvaginal.”

Rant: The Education Dilemma

Let me lay some groundwork for my opinions before I share what’s peeved me off. Most of my family and my husband’s family is in the education profession areas. Yet I hate math. Ignoring the large amount of math I have to do every time I plan a quilt.

In contrast, graduates earning the worst grades came from IDEA Public Schools and La Villa ISD, where administrators admitted they have a lot of college-readiness work ahead of them.

“There’s access, and then there’s success,” said Tom Torkelson, CEO and co-founder of IDEA, which has sent 100 percent of its graduates to college. “There’s clearly a lot more we have to do to ensure student success when they leave IDEA.”

http://www.themonitor.com/articles/college-57813-school-graduates.html

It sounds terrible but it seems as though that people have forgotten that not all kids are smart enough to get through college successfully. I’ll concede that college/university takes a deep amount of determination and that if people do work hard enough and are reasonably intelligent they should be able to get through it successfully. What I hear most from teachers is that if kids are genuinely making an effort they’re more likely to succeed later in life. How many kids do you know that doggedly attach to a goal and complete it? Without a good support system? Without someone driving/nagging them? Not many.

As a charter school they believe they have the cream of the crop thanks to their entrance exams application process. It’s like a reflection of our over-indulged society in America. My child is mildly above the status quo so he/she must be catered to because he/she is intelligent. When did parents become so stupid? Was it all from the constant affirmation that they’re special or unique? I’m getting more than a little off track. I find education infuriating.

Bottom line: Any school that thinks that every child needs to attend university is blind.

Rant: Sick Children Insanity

I’ve had one hell of a month. It all got started when Pops slept over at my mother-in-law’s house and caught a flu-like infection from my stepsister-in-law in the days before Christmas. By Christmas, Honeybun and I had it too. Last week Ben finally succumbed. This morning Pops woke up runny, coughing, and gagging on mucous again. He caught a cold last night while we were outside working on my Volvo. Right now it’s afternoon naptime and Honeybun is already having sneezing fits. She refuses to wear pants and overalls have apparently ceased production so it was only a matter of time. We’re now on day berjillion of my sinus headache and while it’s decreased in intensity it comes back in full force whenever one of the kids bumps into my head. It happens a few times a day.
Why were we out working on my car in 30-40′ weather? Oh! My car got an orange sticker saying it would be towed because its inspection had expired. It’d never been a problem for the past year for them but this January was the time the apartment office wanted to take care of it. My car is special to me and that’s pretty much the only reason I still have it. However it’s also a year younger than it should be to be exempt from emissions testing. Quite frankly, even if I got it running I’m not confident it would pass the first time. Anyhoo, unless it has its inspection up to date by tomorrow they’ll be towing it to some random lot. So in a last attempt we put in new spark plugs after replacing the battery last weekend. There’s a plethora of things that could be wrong and we’re trying to eliminate the cheapest ones first. Today I’ve been calling tow services to get quotes for towing it over to my mother-in-law’s house where we can work on it more leisurely. Then my mom calls and reminds me of an autoshop up the road. Going to be giving them a call very soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me internet. I need to catch a break today.

Embargo Denial–GW2 News Leaks

asura_thief1Let me go ahead and say this: I love hearing about the new features of Guild Wars 2, most of the time it gets me even more excited to play the game than previously. Keeping that in mind, the last thing I want is for someone to put that information out there without the express permission of ArenaNet. GameTrailers.com leaked some video that I’m sure some of you watched/heard/read about. By now, I’m sure most people have seen as much as demo players at PAX East will be privy to (aside from actually playing the demo).

There’s been a long history during the development of Guild Wars 2 that they release information in advance to help out community sites, magazines, and other media outlets prepare for announces appropriately. Unfortunately, time and time again the ball is dropped somewhere and it’s an awful experience for everyone involved (yes, even the fans). Think for a second if you had saved up for the past six months to go to PAX East to get some juicy news from the ArenaNet booth and that experience was suddenly ripped away from you by a few overzealous people. Kinda sucks, eh? We saw it happen several times already and I’m not going to place blame on anyone in particular, but after a certain number of times shouldn’t you be willing to double check the dates with your source? I’m sure some of you will disagree, but I think the experience is a valid point.

The other thing that really upset me was the way community sites/independent sites jumped all over it as if they were all trying to proclaim “FIRST” in their most obnoxious voice. What redeemed them in my eyes was the way people, when they found out it was “accidental” leak, almost immediately pulled the information from their sites in order to be respectful towards ArenaNet’s policies. But what really crawled under my skin was when ArenaNet then changed their minds in the middle of the day and let Massively know they could publish their article with information from GDC. After that, everyone else felt comfortable relisting the posts/threads/etc. I can dig it, but once it’s gotten out there do you really want to try and suppress it instead of just rolling with it?

I’m sure I’m not the first person to be upset over the whole debacle, but I may be the only person who’s going to applaud them over the way they rolled with it this week. The way the blog posts have come out, fluidly with abundant information that appears to have been prepared well in advance, tells me that they were ready with a lot of these posts for this week. Granted the Thief reveal wouldn’t have happened until Friday at PAX, but the majority of what we’ve read this week wasn’t about the Thief.

EDIT: I apologize for the weird stream of consciousness of the article, I needed to vent desperately and somehow my personal blog is servicing this area of my life.