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What a pain in the neck (and shoulder, back, hips, and legs)

What started as flank pain shortly after Christmas has slowly evolved into continual low back pain. If I’m lucky, it stays in my lower back. But I’m running short of luck lately, so I’ve had the fun of experiencing both referred nerve pain/discomfort (pains in my shoulders, arm “sockets”, arms extending down to my wrists, hips, and legs; and also right foot numbness) and the associated muscle aches and pains one would have with a spinal fracture AND a retrolithesis of L5 on S1 which also causes nerve pinching. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that about two weeks ago, I broke down and asked Dan to take me to the ER. This was after I had seen the urologist, who sent me back to my PCP, whose lackey (our family physician office is also a teaching one, so we often get a resident rather than an actual physician; also, our particular physician deals with “chronic” patients who have chronic issues, so he is in somewhat high demand and it’s next to never that you can get an appointment with him unless you schedule one at least a week in advance) set me up with a referral to the practice’s networked orthopedic specialists.

I saw the urologist on a Tuesday morning, and my PCP that evening. It was Wednesday night, after eight hours of unanswered messages and unreturned phone calls to the doctor’s office that the pain in my back, left shoulder, and arm “socket” were so bad that I couldn’t take it, so to the damn ER we went. They did a shoulder x-ray to rule out any physical problem, and after the obviously negative results the somewhat abrupt attending ER physician finally listened to me and realized that it was just shitty back pain and a pinched nerve causing the horrible pain. They gave me a shot of Toradol since I can’t take NSAIDs orally (ulcer; also, gastric bypass surgery doesn’t just reduce the size of your stomach to a small pouch – it also reduces the amount of blood flow to it, so even if I didn’t have an active ulcer I still need to steer clear of NSAIDs), which helped a bit, as well as some Tramadol.

I saw the orthopedic specialist last Friday, and she ordered x-rays, didn’t say what all she saw on them, but noted during an extensive physical exam the overall muscle tightness in my back and shoulders, as well as something she has a term for that essentially means the nerves for my left leg are being adversely affected – my left leg is weak, and I wasn’t able to respond effectively to push/pull/lift/strength tests. A couple of days later I saw my PCP (again), and he ordered topical Lidocaine patches. These things are awesome – they don’t take away the pain and muscle tightness completely, but they certainly help!

The orthopedic specialist set me up with an MRI for February 4th, but due to our health insurance company not providing authorization in time, it was pushed to today. I showed up 15 minutes early, but because MONDAY and JUST MY LUCK, the machine was malfunctioning. The tech spent about 30 minutes trying to get it up and running for what would be a 15-minute scan, then gave up and rescheduled me for Wednesday.

So, I continue to bide my time, and deal with this shitty back pain and associated muscle pain and referred nerve pain that makes everything from my kidneys to my bladder to my hips to my arms (right now, my right one) hurt. Whine, bitch, moan. Rinse and repeat. :/

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New Year’s Weight Loss Tips

It’s just about to strike midnight on the 31st of December, and you, perhaps giddy off good company and champagne, decide that enough is enough- 2015 is going to be the start of a new, healthy age of wellbeing for you and your figure! Fast forward to the morning and, apart from a painful hangover, the question begins to linger over your par-pickled brain: how am I actually going to go through with this spur-of-the-moment idea? Well, there’s no need to mull over the question any longer- you can become the person you want to be this year and it’s not as difficult as you might initially imagine!


Find Out Your BMI
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a formula used by health professionals that takes your weight (kg), dividing it by your height (metres squared), categorising you in to a number of groups that run from underweight to extremely obese. Finding out this score will allow you to know how much work you have to do, and will give you a baseline from which to measure your future progress.

Make a Diary
No, not about your slow descent into cake-less madness! instead, create a diary of everything you eat during your day, the food’s calorific content and every ounce of exercise you undertake. With this notebook you’ll be able to identify which things are acting as impediments to your goal of living and feeling healthy.

Be Mindful of Portion Sizes
Yes you now might be eating lots of vegetables, fruits and other natural goodies, but if you’re eating a heaped dinner’s plate-full then you’re still going to put on weight no matter how good your intentions are. Look at your plate. Half should be vegetables, a quarter should be carbohydrates, and the final quarter should be reserved for protein. Easy!

Indulge in Online Gaming 
Just because you’re on a regimen of sorts doesn’t mean you have to live the Spartan lifestyle, and a beneficial, exciting thing you can do whilst losing weight can be to play games! A slow game of solitaire at worldofsolitaire, games of mahjong that invoke a zen-like feeling in one’s mind from 247mahjong, or even playing online roulette at All of these games, as well as being a lot of fun, which will take your mind off over eating and snacking, an additional benefit of these types of game are that they’ll help keep your brain active and healthy too, a requirement just as important as weight loss itself! Most players of games wherein players can play with and win cash set themselves small limits prior to playing as well- so as not to lose control of their finances- and this setting of limits can be very useful in conditioning your “just say no” attitude when it comes to eating and snacking.

Keep to Mealtimes
Each day have a breakfast that is around 250-350 calories, a 350-450 calorie lunch and a 450-550 calorie dinner- these are estimates because, depending on your body, you may naturally require less or more energy metabolically- and rigidly stick to one snack a day, totalling between 100 and 250 calories.

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Dan and I have been spending entirely too much time inside doctors’ offices and hospitals. I would very much enjoy going an entire week without going to a single medical appointment. And yet here I am, the night before yet another endoscopy!

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Hire a Motivational Speaker for Your Next Event

With the new year in full swing, many companies are working on pulling together their annual meetings and conferences. With so much to choose from in terms of speakers, more companies should consider hiring motivational speakers for these events. Much of the content of these annual meetings is technical and informational. End your event with a bang by having a dynamic, energizing speaker as your keynote. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are two great speakers based in the South.

Charles Marshall
Charles Marchall’s motivational speaking centers around how to be successful in today’s world. He applies humor to help every day men and women find strategies for success in their own lives. Marshall specializes in clean humor, making him a great speaker for corporate events.

Siran Stacy
A former college and professional football player, Siran Stacy has a wealth of sports inspiration to draw from. In 2007, however, Stacy’s van was hit by a drunk driver, leaving his wife, son, and 3 of his daughters dead. This traumatic event which left Stacy with only his four year old daughter changed his life forever. Siran Stacy speaks from a lace of faith on the topics of strength and perseverance through unfathomable circumstances. Click here to find out more about Siran Stacy’s movivational speaking.

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I am Titanium (one year later)

One year ago today Titanium joined our family. He bonded quickly with us humans, but bonded especially with Felix. The two of them are inseparable. He shared his conjunctivitis virus with Felix, but that’s okay – conjunctivitis and FIV go hand in hand, since immuno-compromised cats can’t fight off the virus. But it’s pretty minor; we’ve had pink-eye flare-ups maybe three times total between the two of them in the past year.

Titanium is a total lover, though he’s a little derpy, and he mouth-breathes, and in typical Russian Blue fashion lovessssssssss to love you with his face. Oh well. Favorite activities: snuggling with Felix, snuggling with humans, head-butting and nuzzling the closest human, howling in protest at our closed bedroom door, and did I mention snuggling with Felix? Also, he’s turned into a bit of a porker, which flies in the face of the typical FIV+ cat being underweight. Heh.


I think #FIV cats have an extra affectionate gene. Titanium cuddles, purrs, head-butts, gums,  kneads, flexes, rubs, trills...he does it all! #cat





The FIV+ boys

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