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A tampon, a magnet & an irony…

Sounds like a cheesy joke about walking into a bar, don’t it?

Could be! But…

It’s a story, actually.  Brew yourself a cuppa and come enjoy it with me.

[enter sparkly, tinkly sounding chimes…kinda like the sound of those record “books” that told you when to turn the page]


The only thing I had on my mind as I lay there, alone, in a tube…?

“This is kind of like being a tampon.  Yup.  I’m pretty sure.  No, there isn’t only one way out, for it’s open at BOTH ends, mind you…”

Because that’s the way I rock it.  Badass, Tampon-style.

Last Tuesday was the first MRI I’d ever had and if the choice was up to me, I’d really rather that be the very last of them.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d Google-ed.  I’m smart.  I knew what it was made of, what would happen…but you really don’t ever TRULY know until some girl’s shoving you up into a tubular casing, right?

I hadn’t realized just how close to the top of the tube I’d be…I was pretty certain that if I’d stuck my tongue out I’d touch its ceiling.  I was also pretty certain that if I did, as my luck would have it, the magnet would rip the damn thing off.  Kinda like sticking your tongue to a metal pole in winter.  And besides, tampons don’t have tongues, silly girl.

They gave me my alarm button.  Headphones playing some tunage.  Off up into the abyss…

Flash forward to today…Physio-terror-py.  Somehow I got a dose of quasi-luck (as my day on the whole was just plain shit) as my therapist is freakin’ FRAAAAAB-JOUS!!!! (sung all sing-song-like, hands flappy-wavy out in front)

Nothing in particular that you wouldn’t have experienced yourself, except for…maybe…the tears…cuz y’know…it could happen…to my cousin’s sister’s boyfriend’s aunt or sumpthin’.

Because it has come time for me to realize what everyone, including myself (seriously, I’m not from the friggin’ dark ages) has realized as becoming the inevitable…

For that Friday, January 20, 2012:

My body finally gave me it’s own middle finger salute.

MRI results came in today.  Been reading them…over…and over.  And I mist up…over…and over.  Not quite for what it says…but for all those things it does not say.

What is says is this:

1.  T10-11 to L2-3 is normal. \m/ FTW!!  (<—–I loathe that acronym, but all the cool kids seem to like it. Target market. Ya.)

2. L3 to S1:

[enter trademark breath intake, stage left]

I have multiple disk space narrowing.  I have multiple disk desiccations (the discs are dehydrated/dry…contributing to pain levels).  I have multiple disc protrusions (herniations).  I have one disc that has a “central annular tear”.

Let me enlighten you on that one (as taken from WikiAnswers):

“This “tissue” (the disc)  is actually a shock absorber that cushions the stress on the spine with bending, twisting, lifting, etc. It has a central area of extremely tough protein-gelatin like material that is the cushioning part. This gelatin material is surrounded by a ring of thick material that is called the annulus and is layered much like a tire. Think of the outer portion of the annulus as the tread of a tire.

There are blood vessels and nerves in the outer layers of this “ring” of tissue. As we get older the central gelatin material begins to dry out and the bending, twisting, heavy lifting begins to put more pressure and weaken this outer ring of fibers. They can actually tear from stress, resulting in a significant amount of pain (picture this as occurring in the center area of the “tread”)… When rupturing of this annulus occurs we call this a herniated disk. With this herniation comes some of the thick gelatin material oozing out.”

I have multiple bilateral joint facets of osteoarthritis.  Already known, but the fact that they could “see” it!! Omg…I just had what everyone with invisible illnesses aspires to have… PROOF.

[enter finishing trademark breath intake, stage right]

So.  I will participate in physio-terror-py three times a week for the first two weeks.

THAT, my friends, is the GOOD part.

“WHAT? What on earth could be the bad part?”, you say in an ever-so-eloquent drawl of surprise…”I mean, c’mon.  Lupus?  Fibro?  Rheumatoid Arthritis?  Type 2 Diabetes? Sjogren’s Syndrome?  Raynaud’s Phenomenon?  Pericarditis?

What more is there?!?” (emphasis on the “is”. but you probably already knew that.)

By now, I’d like to think we’re friends.  You know me well enough to know that I fall down rabbit holes and come up wearing corsets and brandishing swords.

Now, I’m being shoved into holes to illuminate my decay.

Damn.  That, my friends, is a wee tad on the suck-assery side.

After my list of do’s and do-nots’ by my therapist…I am humbled by the reality.

I am a 37 year old mother managing five children and their related issues, a job and a household.  I do this daily, not wrapped in a corset, but a vice-grip of joint and muscle pain in the throes of flares that seemingly run concurrently to each other on any given day.

I can scarf down a handful of pills each morning, noon and night…but these are the hardest pills to swallow.  “Moderation.”  “Rest.”  “Listen to your body.”


Aw, fuckernackles….ya done gone went and used the “P-word.”

I know I’ve pushed it (shut up).  I know I haven’t listened when I should have (again…).  For the first time…well…for the first time I am really…truly…scared.

I know the prognosis is “good”, please don’t misunderstand my difficulties.  It’s the way I *am*…what makes me…”Me”…that must, for the sake of continuing to have any quality of life at all…re-evaluate circumstances, situations and realities.

I was recently informed that I’d been chosen as a Finalist for one of the four categories I’d received nods for…It was actually the “TMI Health Activist Award.”

Dude, this next year is gonna be as real as real is ever going to get.  My journey was so difficult to start, but now that the momentum is increasing, and being that I recognize that even if ONE thing I write about here can be related to on some level by someONE, someWHERE…


Keep your arms and legs inside the blog at all times.  😉


  1. Natasha

    Hang in there, sweetie.

    Massive congrats on that proof. Celebrate with a good and much-earned cry. Then again in happier mode, when you’ve got the spoons, dig deep into that rich proof pudding and savour it :^)

    Those are evil little pills, and I remember just how hard it was to swallow each. Over and over, again. My P-word is “process.” I kept hearing it. I kept having to go through it. It was like a pill swallowing me. Now it is more like a pool I do laps in. Still can’t find the damn ladder out of it :^P

    It was really hard for me to stop steamrolling my way through life. I’ve *mostly* learned to pace myself. *Mostly* Took a lot of mental gymnastics and fancy re-frameworks, and a few years. The key part of this for me was creating a new map, and an explain-i-story that put me on it. Nutshelled: Unlike the fairytales where the dragon has carried off the heroine, and sword-swinging by her or her hero can defeat the dragon, in my case the dragon has already eaten me, only no-one noticed. The dragon is like the Tardis, in that it is huge on the inside. So huge it is the (then) new landscape that I am in. Sword-swinging at it is useless from inside, as there’s no way for me to know what to hit at. I didn’t see the dragon coming for me, so I have to figure out the shape of that dragon, and what it is that I do that feeds it and helps it grow stronger. I can’t stand my ground and face it down, because it already ate me. I have to figure out how to stop feeding it, so that I grow stronger and it grows weaker. There is no way back to the landscape I was in before. There may never be anything other than the interior of the dragon. Maybe one day someone will discover where it’s asshole is … and can direct me to it.

    May you learn what feeds your dragon.

    • Brynn

      I think that is a beautiful way to express the processes necessary for survival, really…and if I ever get to a point wherein I can actively participate, I don’t mind slaying a dragon a new asshole with you. ;o) xoxo

  2. Marie

    Um wow… like wow.

    *applause* proof is so key.
    A respected treatment person telling you “what is so” is also key.

    Prioritize eh? Reflections on a conversation you had with another mom today comes to mind.

    Keep rocking, researching and rolling on ahead.

    Thank you for sharing. Your on-going effort to educate and share with the masses are a constant reminder to me what is important, who is important, and where my priorities lay.
    (and just so’s you know? I haven’t figured out how to shift my mindset either)

    If you ever need a sounding-board (my shoulders are pretty comfy too), please let me know. I’m just a few blocks away.

  3. Iris

    Oh Brynn,
    I guess you have answers now – but the challenge of setting priorities, and deciding what you can and can’t do – that is awful.
    I’d say “take care of yourself” – but we both know that’s the biggest challenge of all.

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