Happy Holidays! Where Have I Been?!

Happy holidays! I’m typing this in bed on Christmas night in the pajama set my grandma gave me. Clearly she knows me well.

 

I kinda went MIA as far as my blog goes these past couple of weeks, haven’t I? I really didn’t expect to be so busy this month, otherwise I would’ve prepped some blog posts in advance…

My insurance company approved the knee injections at the end of November and my doctor wanted to start right away, so I’ve been travelling for those once a week. It takes about an hour and forty minutes to get to my rheumatologist’s office, so by the time I recover from those visits, I’ve gotta go back, and the cycle keeps on repeating itself. I’m told I won’t know if these lubricant shots are helping for at least 6 months. Two more injection appointments left and then after that I am doctor free for a whole week! What will I do with this freedom, you ask? Sleep, probably.

Aside from that, I have a saline bag waiting for me on Thursday, and maybe an iron infusion, too? We’re waiting on the results from my last blood test to see where my ferritin level is at. It was pretty good when we spoke to the hematologist in November, so we’ll see! I’m hoping to go to my family’s NYE party this weekend, but I can’t make a definitive decision until I get that saline bag because syncope and I got a little too close for comfort on Christmas Eve…

On top of all of the above, the insurance company finally approved one of the MRIs my rheumatologist ordered, but the catch is I only have until December 31st to get it done. Somewhere among the injections, saline, and even more blood work I have to do this week, I also have to fit in an MRI… Are we having fun yet?!

You can see why I’m stressed about feeling okay enough to make it to the NYE party this weekend.

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[Image Description: A selfie of Dannie smiling inside a gold border that reads “Merry Christmas” at the bottom.]

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My Fall Playlist 2017

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Photo by William White on Unsplash. [Image Description: A silhouette of six people playing music and dancing on a stage in front of gigantic neon letters that spell out “free” in all caps.]

“Music is the strongest form of magic.”
– Marilyn Manson

My Spotify playlists are forever a work in progress. I used to have one big “Favourites” playlist, but my taste in music changes all of the time, so that wasn’t going to work. Cut to last summer, where I jumped on the bandwagon of categorizing playlists by months and seasons. This way I can start fresh and just add the songs I’m into at the time. So far this system is working pretty well for me. Without further ado, I give you this year’s Autumn playlist!

My Spotify | Autumn 2017

Bad Mood – Miley Cyrus
Bad Ones (feat. Tegan and Sara) – Matthew Dear
Caskets – Party Favor, Njomza, FKi 1st
The Climb – Miley Cyrus
Find Yourself – Great Good Fine Ok, Before You Exit
Grand Canyon – The Wind and the Wave
Greenback Boogie – Ima Robot
Havana – Camila Cabello, Young Thug
Here With Me – Susie Suh, Robot Koch
I Believe in Us – LÉON
It’s Too Late – Carol King
Malibu – Miley Cyrus
Mykonos – Fleet Foxes
New Rules – Dua Lipa
No Distraction – Beck
Rivers – The Tallest Man on Earth
Runaway – Bon Jovi
Savages – Marina and the Diamonds
Shake – The Head and the Heart
Silence – Marshmello, Khalid
Suburban Wonderland – The Heirs
Sweet Emotion – Aerosmith
Take Back Home Girl (feat. Tori Kelly) – Chris Lane
This Town – Niall Horan
Tiger Striped Sky – Roo Panes
Turning Out – AJR
Weathered – Jack Garrett
Wolf – Skott
You Know I’m No Good – Amy Whinehouse

Stress and Chronic Illness

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Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash. [Image Description: Choppy waves in the middle of the ocean with an arm poking straight out of the water.]

I never really feel stressed. Usually I laugh things off or try to focus more on solutions rather than problems, if I can. So it takes a lot for me to get stressed out. Well, you guys…

I am stressed.

Every year my family gathers for a Christmas Eve party and then a New Year’s Eve party. Since getting sick, I’ve never been able to attend both in one year and there were even a few years where I could not go to either. If you’re chronically ill, you know how hard it is to travel, even if the destination is “only” an hour away. There’s the motion sickness issue, the blood pooling issue, the dizziness issue, the fatigue issue, the heart rate issue, the joint pain issue, and, hell, even gastroparesis wants a piece of me when I’m in a moving vehicle for an extended period of time. If I’m having an okay health day, I’ll push through it and go where I need to go, but if I’m already feeling like crap… Well, better luck next time.

Last year I was able to go for Christmas Eve, but not New Year’s Eve. This year I’m hoping to do better. Everything was looking good for me to be able to attend both until one of my doctors called to tell us the lubricant injections for my knees have finally been approved by my insurance company. Normally, this would be good news! Except we have to start right away and they have to be administered every week for five weeks at my rheumatologist’s office (an hour and forty minutes away). By the time this is posted, I’ll have gone for my first injection yesterday, which means my fifth and final injection will be the first week of January.

When you factor in all of the showering, traveling, the other doctor appointments, and the holidays… Pray for me, y’all, I’m going to need all the help I can get.

So what does stress do to my chronic illnesses? Here’s an example. Gastroparesis only let me eat half of my dinner tonight after not ingesting anything but my medication and half of a bottle of chocolate flavoured Breakfast Essentials all day. If I took one more bite, I was definitely not going to be able to keep it down. There’s much more, including the fact that I thought today was going to be the day that I finally full-on passed out, but we’d be here forever.

Chronic illnesses aside, I also have this blog and an Etsy shop to run during the busiest shopping season of the year. And people wonder why I laugh when they ask if I’m seeing anyone. Spoons don’t grow on trees! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about being busy. Okay, maybe a little… I like being busy and feeling like I’m actually moving forward instead of backward. The stress, however, I could definitely do without and I think my flaring chronic illnesses would agree with me.

But, yeah. Yay holidays and all of that stuff.

 

Review: “Fourth Dimension” by Eric Walters

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Title: Fourth Dimension (The Rule of Three)
Author: Eric Walters
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Average Rating: 2.75/5 stars
My Rating: 2/5 stars
Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Goodreads Description:
“In a world with no power, chaos soon descends. A powerful look at the disintegration of society in the wake of a massive and mysterious outage that has knocked out all modern amenities.

Fifteen-year-old Emma has moved house with her ex-Marine mother and younger brother. It’s a brand-new condo building, which explains the semi-regular power outages, as workers complete the units around them. So Emma isn’t particularly concerned when the latest blackout hits just as they are preparing to leave town on a long weekend camping trip. But then the car won’t start, and their cellphones appear dead — and all the cars outside their building seem to be stalled in a long traffic jam…

In the midst of what appears to be a massive power outage, with their camping gear packed and ready, Emma and her family canoe over to the islands, just offshore, to wait it out. But while they land on an isolated island, with a relatively hidden site, they are far from safe, as people become increasingly desperate to find food and shelter. And as the days pass, and the power remains out, the threat of violence becomes all too real.”

My Thoughts:
I received Fourth Dimension for free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Possible spoilers ahead.

Fourth Dimension started out great. The first chapter reeled me in with the believable dynamic between the main character, Emma, and her little brother, Ethan. They bickered and teased each other much like my brother and I did when we were around their ages and I loved it. Between this and the book’s description, the bar was set pretty high!

After the power went out, all hell broke loose, as expected. I enjoyed how their mom switched on her training from being a former Marine almost immediately to keep her kids safe. I also appreciated how Emma put aside her bratty 15-year-old routine to take on the roll of protective older sister with Ethan.

So why the two-star rating?

Throughout the entire book, I wished the story was told through the mom’s eyes. My favourite character has to be a tie between the mom and Chris. The beginning of Fourth Dimension was strong and hooked me in right away, but as the book went on it almost felt like a different narrator took over, even though it was still 15-year-old Emma. Everything became bland and matter-of-fact and there didn’t seem to be any emotion behind the narration anymore. What would have been a four-star review got bumped down to three.

Aside from that, things became very convenient for this little family of three. I won’t spoil it for you, but, given the circumstances, this family must have an army of guardian angels looking after them! Possibly led by Emma’s dad because the amount of times he’s mentioned can be counted on one hand. At one point I thought the author was going to bring him in with an obvious-but-awesome reveal, but that didn’t end up happening.

Speaking of, what was that ending? Can we just acknowledge that for a second? I felt like I was in the middle of eating my entrée at a busy restaurant and then suddenly I’m handed the bill. I didn’t even get the chance to consider saving room for dessert when the waiter was like, “That’s it, now get out of my restaurant!” That’s what really solidified the two-stars for me.

Do I recommend this book? No.
Will I be reading the rest of the series? No.

It’s December 1st

It’s December 1st! Do you know what that means?

Blogmas!

Ha! Hahahahahah! Yeah, no. We all know I can’t even keep to my regular two-posts-a-week schedule, let alone every day for 31 days. Better luck next year. Happy December, everybody.

December 1st also means it’s the final day to get 15% off on all handmade bracelets in my Etsy shop. Here are some of my favourites at the moment:

Since starting my shop back in April of this year, I like to think I’ve improved. My shop photography can still use some TLC, but I’m pretty darn proud of the bracelet designs I’ve crafted over the past seven or eight months! I’ve learned a lot about bead types. Take howlite, for example. It’s originally white, but it can be dyed all kinds of colours, like the turquoise howlite beads I’ve been using so much lately. It’s a cheaper option from the natural turquoise beads and the dyed colour works with the shade of turquoise that represents Dysautonomia. I’m a sucker for a good, bright turquoise!

I’ve also learned that gemstone beads can get really friggin’ expensive. Wowza! That Tibetan agate in the picture all of the way to the left? You don’t want to know the price for one strand of those babies. But they’re absolutely gorgeous, so whatever.

I love this expensive hobby of mine and I’m so glad I didn’t chicken out when I finally decided to open an Etsy shop. Ever since I started making my own bracelets, I finally have arm candy that fits. Where’s my small wrist fam at?! I’ve got your back! That’s right, you can choose your own size now. If you don’t see yours listed, definitely send me a message so I can make one special for you! Nobody should have to live without bracelets that actually fit. Seriously, it’s such a game changer.

Shop Here:
ChronicallyDannie.etsy.com