Author: lauramccain

I like to write, dance, create arty stuff and learn as much as I can about all sorts of things. I am someone who wants to do more. I have a lot of interests and not enough time to pursue them. Mostly I'm trying to figure out how to navigate my way through this existence. Writing helps me to read the map. I live in Bloomington, Indiana and work at Indiana University. I've been in Indiana for 13 years and I'm still surprised that I live here.

Some new light

Previously

A few weeks ago I talked about being sick and having extreme tingles. I was beginning to think I might be experiencing my “new normal.” This must be how people with chronic pain feel most of the time.

Getting help

It occurred to me that relief could be found with the help of a chiropractor, so I made an appointment with the doctor my brother and sister-in-law see.

First, Dr. Morrow talked with me about my issues. Then he examined me and found that the range of motion in my neck was far below what it should be for someone my age (almost 48.) He took some x-rays and scheduled me for a follow-up appointment for the next day.

Diagnosis

My neck is a mess! A normal cervical spine has a curve like this:

Case courtesy of Dr. Andrew Dixon, Radiopaedia.org. From the case rID: 32505

Mine curves the other way. It’s called retro lordosis. I also have some disc degeneration, spondylosis, and a few other minor things that I won’t bother mentioning.

The fix

Luckily, things can get better. I’ve started getting spinal adjustments, ultrasound treatments, and traction three times a week. I’ll be getting physical therapy as well.

I’m feeling so much better. My range of motion has increased, and I no longer feel so broken.

I’ve been feeling angry at my body for having MS, being overweight, walking weird, etc. Nothing good can come from thinking that way. I need a paradigm shift!

Moving forward

Now that I’m feeling like a human, I can get back to regular blogging. I never realized how much energy you need to sit in front of a computer and type and think.

Coming soon

I see the Hematologist find out if my MGUS has progressed to Multiple Myeloma.

Sneak preview: My M protein number is higher than it’s ever been. 1% of people with an MGUS go on to develop Multiple Myeloma each year. The odds have got to be with me.

Illustration of dice

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This week in goals

I’m going on record with a list of things I’d like to accomplish this week. We’ll see what happens.

  1. Exercise at least 30 minutes every day
  2. Try making stickers with my Cricut
  3. Write and schedule at least 3 blog posts
  4. Finish my Instagram presentation for work
  5. Do some digi scrapping
  6. Avoid compulsive news consumption
  7. Don’t beat myself up for not getting it all done

One thing is guaranteed. I will compulsively create designs with the Assembly app.

Abstract vector art

A YouTube channel about MS

I’m always on the lookout for information about Multiple Sclerosis. Recently, I found Dr. Aaron Boster’s YouTube channel. Boster is a clinical neuroimmunologist specializing in multiple sclerosis (MS). He is based at OhioHealth in Columbus, OH.

Here’s a recent video from Dr. Boster about MS symptoms. He explains how one symptom can effect other symptoms. I recommend visiting his channel for more useful videos.

Look for Aaron Boster on these social media channels:

Not quite right and doodling

I came down with a cold, or something that resembled a cold, a few weeks ago. I took a Monday off and then worked the rest of the week. I did the same the next week because I thought I was better. I should have taken a few consecutive days off because it seems that sitting at a computer can wear a person out.

When I sat at my desk for too long I got a pretty severe tingling sensation on one side of my body. This is an MS symptom that I’m more likely to experience when I’m sick or when I haven’t had enough sleep. When I get the tingling it’s usually mild. These extreme sensations make me worry that the disease is getting worse. It probably isn’t, but it’s easy to jump to negative conclusions.

I think the tingle is related to my tight neck and shoulder muscles. I need to look into a way to tame the tension in those areas.

My blogging has suffered because I’ve been too tired to sit at the laptop. I get upset with myself for not blogging regularly. I haven’t had the energy for digital scrapbooking either.

I’m mad at my body for betraying me, but that’s fodder for another post.

I managed to do some doodling while lounging on the couch this weekend. This was drawn by hand with a Micron pen and then scanned and processed with Art Card for iPhone.

 

Doodle digitized

Me being me

I think of so much to write about when I’m in bed at night. I think deeply and poetically. Now, with the iPad on my lap, I have little to say.

I was posting a lot to the blog a few months ago. I felt I was at the threshold of bringing my blog to the next level (whatever that means). Then I slacked off. I told myself it was okay not to post several times a week. It is okay.

I wrote about watching a Ruth Soukup webinar on blogging. What I learned from the webinar made me wonder if I really do want to be a full-time blogger. Would it be enough to continue being a hobby blogger? I wouldn’t mind earning a bit of extra money with ads and affiliate programs. Am I giving up because it might be too hard? Maybe.

Here’s an article with advice for bloggers interested in affiliate marketing.

It’s always the same for me. I have too many interests, and not enough focus. A couple of weeks ago I got excited about digital scrapbooking—again. I’m paying for monthly unlimited downloads from Pixel Scrapper Digital Scrapbooking. Am I going to make it worth the money? I really don’t know.

I’m probably not going to magically transform into a person who focuses on one hobby. I’ve been like this for almost fifty years. I need to learn to embrace my quirks. What else can one do?

I reckon I’ll keep on keeping on. I’ll try and entertain the world with my hodgepodgey all over the place musings, poems, artwork, etc. I can only be me.

Supermarket Meal Kit #2

I tried the Stouffer’s Roasted Tuscan Style Chicken meal kit a few weeks ago. I was pleased with its easy preparation and good taste. This week I tried another one from Stouffer’s — Braised Pork.

Front and back of meal kit box
Front and back meal kit box

The meal’s four components (pork, potatoes, broccoli, and sauce) came frozen and packed in plastic.

Frozen pork and sauce in bags
Frozen broccoli and potatoes in plastic

Step 1:

Thaw sauce in its bag in boiled water.

Saucepan and frozen sauce in bag

Step 2:

Heat some oil in a skillet and cook the potatoes.

Potatoes cooking in skillet

Step 3:

Heat more oil and cook the pork.

Pork cooking in skillet

Step 2.5:

Microwave the brocolli in the plastic while the other stuff is cooking.

Illustration of microwave and photo of broccoli in bag

The whole thing takes about 25 minutes (like it says on the box). The instructions say bto mix the pork with the sauce and serve the potatoes and broccoli on the side. I mixed it all together. There was enough sauce for everything.

Completed meal. in skillet
The finished meal!

The pork tasted great! The veggies weren’t spectacular, but still good. I liked this meal better than the Tuscan Chicken.

One of these days I’ll talk myself into trying one of the meal kit services like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron. I’ll keep your informed.