My Story in 59 Words

Art By Maranda Russell

My Story in 59 Words
Written By: Maranda Russell

I am a product of the heartland,
and many years of dedication.

I am a survivor of abuse,
and the proud parent of creation.

I am separate from my family,
but still trust their education.

I hear earth’s voices unite in song,
and join their recitation.

No doubt my life will face its trials,
yet I strive for graduation.

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Could Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Be Caused by Toxic Mold?

Hello everyone! So today I’m sharing a book review vlog video I made yesterday. For anyone who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, or similar chronic illness, or who has a special interest in those subjects, this book might be something you would want to check out! If you have already read the book, let me know your thoughts!

Author Self-Interview! (Fun Facts About Me)

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So the idea and questions for this post come from the Usborne “My First Story Writing Book” which is an awesome resource for helping kids learn creative writing skills! I thought it would be fun to answer some of the questions they ask myself and share!

I live with…
Myself
My husband, Steve
My 3 cats (Spyder, Mao Mao, and Icky)
Depression
Yearning

The most unusual thing about me is…
I’m a physical and mental trainwreck (who knows what is actually wrong with me???)

My worst fear is…
My husband dying.
Being alone.
Having to support myself entirely.
Spiders getting into my ears.
Getting sicker or being in even more pain.

I feel happy when…
People appreciate and compliment me.
When I am being creative!

My biggest ambition is…
Make more money as a freelance writer/book reviewer (maybe review books for bigger companies).
Work with kids again. Maybe hold more children’s writing workshops in the future.
Grow my blog/vlogs.
Advocate for those with chronic illness and mental illness.
Sell more art on ebay!

My first memory is…
Riding in a stroller and being frustrated that I couldn’t get out!

How Accurate are Blood and Skin Allergy Tests?

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Well, I’ve officially started allergy shots. Not long ago they conducted a skin allergy test on me to see if that might be contributing to my chronic ear/sinus/respiratory infections. They had already once run an allergy blood test on me (which showed I was only allergic to dogs), but they said the skin allergy test was more accurate and wanted to see what it read. So, I took a week off from all allergy medicines (which was awful in itself in many ways…and who knew that going off Zyrtec could cause withdrawal symptoms???), and then went for the allergy test.

They ended up poking me almost 100 times, checking various strengths of 27 different common allergens. By the time the lady had gotten to the third round of testing (around the 60th shot), I was really struggling to make it through. Fibromyalgia makes your pain response to anything worse anyhow, and getting stuck that many times can begin to feel like some kind of medieval torture device. By the end, my arms looked like cheese graters, with rows of holes all over them.

I waited a few minutes for the nurse to tally the results and found out I was allergic to 22 of the 27 things they tested for, which means 3 vials worth of shots that I’ll have to take for the next 3-5 years. While the ENT doctor does not think this alone is at the root of my chronic infections, she definitely thinks it could help.

The thing that frustrates me greatly is that I was tested for all this stuff by blood test a few years ago and it only showed ONE allergy! How in the world could the blood test be that inaccurate that it didn’t show one other allergen, when I am allergic to at least 21 other common allergens to the point that I need long-term treatment? I know for a fact many of the things I tested greatly allergic to in the skin test WERE also things they tested for in the blood test. In fact, for the skin test, I tested LESS allergic to dogs than many of the other allergens that didn’t show up at all in the blood test! How could the first test have been so inaccurate, and do physicians know exactly how inaccurate the test can be? If so, it sure would have been nice if someone would have told me back then. Maybe it could have helped prevent a few years’ worth of pain and suffering!

I’m curious, has anyone else had both tests and had such widely varying results? If so, did anyone ever explain to you why? I would sure like to know for myself.

Bad Night

Tonight was a bad night. The pain, isolation, and despair came crashing down so hard and fast that I crawled off the couch and collapsed onto the carpet, on my side, in a loose fetal position and just wept. I gripped the beige carpet fibers in my fingers and pulled as the tears pooled below my cheek. I pinched myself. I aimlessly pummeled the floor. The anger exploded in that way it always does, boomeranging right back into myself. I considered my options. All the ways it could end. The option of reaching out for help. The feeling that grasping for that help would only inconvenience others. After all, my husband has to work tomorrow, he needs his sleep. I can’t take the car, who would bring it back to him?

Eventually, I made my way outside. Hoping the cold would numb it all. I walked on the icy, wet grass and then took a seat on the deck stairs. Soon my feet were frozen numb, and my body curled inward, instinctively seeking to conserve its heat, even as I wished that I could bear it long enough to freeze. Dark thoughts of black toes breaking off soon made hypothermia a less attractive ending. If only it were like a Jack London novel, a slow nodding off into warm, cozy whiteness.

Eventually, I found myself back where I started, on the couch, hoping to find comfort on electronic waves, here in the place where lost things seem to gather in today’s society. I soon stumbled across someone else crying and hugging a giant stuffed giraffe and it soothed the edges just a little. Now, I can only hope tomorrow is brighter.

A Few Words About Applying for Government Disability Benefits

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(The below was written out of simple outrage from what I have seen happen to fellow human beings who are genuinely too sick and weak to work, but are expected to wait years for any help from the government programs they have paid into all their lives. I am fortunate to have other resources to survive on while unable to work, but not everyone is so lucky. Many homeless you see on the streets are actually disabled veterans and citizens who deserve so much better…)

Applying for government benefits, even those you have worked for and earned yourself, can be a ridiculously long, complicated, and humiliating process BECAUSE they design it to be so. They want to break you down, make you give up, make you give in. They expect the sickest and weakest among us to jump through hurdles on command, knowing it is almost an impossibility unless there are others propping us up.

Honestly, I think they hope that you will die on your own before they have to do a damn thing. I can picture Uncle Sam with fingers crossed, hoping you buckle under the stress and poverty, or even end up taking your own life from the hopelessness and despair of feeling useless, discounted, and vilified by a media that touts how “easy” it is to fool the system and labels those who are disabled as leeches or lazy.

Apparently discrimination laws don’t apply to the government either, since they clearly indulge in age discrimination, something every lawyer will blatantly tell you up front. Even publicly, you can find legal representatives in the field explaining why you are simply fucked if you dare get too sick before age 35, 40, or even 50. So if you are a young adult or middle aged person struggling with a chronic illness or severe pain condition, you had better tell it to get lost and come back in 10 or 20 years. Yeah, that works. After all, young people aren’t allowed to be sick or disabled.

You know, it is really funny, that many of the same people who are so public about being pro-life are also always trying to cut social safety net programs like disability or make them harder to access. If they could, I think sometimes that the government would perform adult abortions on those too weak or sick to continue to prop up their sick, twisted system. Getting rid of us all would be so much easier, wouldn’t it?

Moving Sale! Selling a House is a Pain in the…

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So…my husband and I are in the process of selling our home and looking for a smaller, less expensive place. We simply don’t need a big house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full basement, and lots of other room just for the two of us. I have quickly learned that getting a house ready to sell is a nightmare in some ways though! Here are a few things we are dealing with:

*This past weekend we had a moving sale. Man, that was rough! Getting stuff ready for the sale, dealing with all the people the day of the sale (two of which got in a heated exchange over a tea cart they both wanted), having people trying to wander off and take stuff from parts of the house that were NOT for sale (one even took a couple pictures off the wall), having to get the leftovers ready for charity to pick up, and throwing out my back so that now, two days later, I can barely do anything.

*My idea of clean is obviously not a realtors idea of clean. I am not an extremely dirty person, in fact, I’m normally quite organized, but I am kind of bad about dusting, washing windows, and other stuff like that I simply don’t think of much. I also tend to have to pick what tasks are most important due to my health problems, so when I do clean, obvious messes, stains and frequently used areas get first priority.

*Having four cats makes it really rough to get a house in showing shape. They constantly make messes, and get cat hair in every square inch of the house.

*Apparently, when showing a house you have to “stage” everything. I’m supposed to take a normal, lived-in home and make it look like the showcase floor of a furniture store or something. Not enough furniture = bad. Too much furniture = bad.

*I never realized there were so many things wrong with our home until seen through the eyes of a realtor! Other people often comment that our house is really nice, but after listening to the realtor, I felt a little bit like I was living in a shanty or something.

*Trying to fix the timing so that we will have a new home to move into at the same time we find a buyer for our current home is stressful. Really hoping we don’t end up having to live in a motel or something in between!