YA Book Review: “Without Tess” by Marcella Pixley

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“Without Tess”, written by Marcella Pixley, is one of the best YA novels I have read in a while. I rarely give books five stars when rating them, but this one I did. The story revolves around the main character (Lizzie), and her dead sister (Tess). Lizzie is the younger sister by a couple years and was only 10 when her older sister tragically passed away.

The real star of the novel is Tess. As you read through the book and relive vibrant memories Lizzie shared with Tess, you come to both love and sometimes dislike Tess. Tess was a true believer in magic. She was creative and passionate. She was both loving and loyal, but at times cruel and violent. She was mentally ill, and at times downright psychotic. This novel is a lifelike retelling of what it is like to grow up with an extremely mentally ill sibling. It addresses the love, the hate, the sadness, the pain, the rage, the guilt, and all the other emotions that come along with such a disturbing family dynamic.

I had a deeply personal connection with this book, both as someone who grew up with a mentally ill sibling, and someone who eventually lost that sibling, mostly due to that mental illness. At one point the book even made me tear up, which is extremely rare for any book to do. Definitely recommended!

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New Blog Theme, TMJ, and Being Silly for Halloween!

Hi everyone! First off, I want to say that I changed the theme (appearance) of my blog slightly. I don’t know if you all will notice or not, especially if you read most of my posts on WordPress’s reader function, but for those who actually visit my blog address, I hope you like the changes. I thought it was a bit more visually appealing, especially for sharing art and poetry, which I like to do.

Yesterday was the first day since my wisdom tooth surgery I was able to get out and have some fun. We didn’t do anything major, just went out to eat (still having to eat soft foods, so we opted for pasta), and did some Halloween shopping at Goodwill, where I decided to try on a couple “spooky” accessories:

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It was fun just playing around and being goofy after being sick at home for so long. The surgery pain is much better, although I’m pretty sure that this whole ordeal has brought on a flare-up of TMJ (a jaw joint disorder), which I have had issues with in the past. It still hurts to open my mouth very wide, talk much, chew anything, or smile big.

Another Post Surgery Update: If It Can Go Wrong, It Will

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Hello everyone! I don’t want to bore you all with the continuing mini-drama of my wisdom tooth surgery aftermath, but I know many of you genuinely want to know how I’m doing, so I decided to do another update, this time I’ll just bullet-list what has been going on the past few days:

  • Wednesday I went to the dentist in the morning, where he did indeed diagnose me with dry socket. He cleaned out the area and then put a clove oil soaked material in there. It didn’t hurt much when he did that, but the incredibly strong taste of the cloves made me horribly nauseated the rest of the day and made everything taste disgusting. It was so strong, my husband could smell the cloves across the room when I had my mouth shut!
  • The clove stuff did eliminate most of the pain for a couple days, but this morning (Friday), that awful deep, throbbing ache has returned off and on. I do have more clove oil I bought, but the scent alone of it makes me so sick, I honestly don’t want to use it. Right now I am trying to get by taking the maximum amount of Ibuprofen and Tylenol, while occasionally using Ambesol to numb the area.
  • I do still have opioids left, and it is extremely tempting to use them, but I took them so much the first few days after the surgery that my bowels have become clogged pipes 😦 I hope that isn’t TMI, but it is a common side effect of opioids, and when you already have IBS like I do, I think you are even more prone to stuff like that. I have been taking stool softeners like crazy, eating mushy prunes, and even broke out a little Exlax, but nothing yet.
  • By the way, I forgot to mention that after I got home from the dentist on Wednesday, the blood clot on my other lower socket became dislodged and lost, so now I technically have TWO dry sockets. That was SO frustrating! If it was going to come out that day, why couldn’t it do so BEFORE I visited the dentist? Luckily, that side does seem to be a bit further along in healing, so it isn’t as painful overall as the other side, but it is still annoying.
  • I have also been running a fever off and on, which seems a bit concerning considering the amount of Ibuprofen and Tylenol I am taking. You would think that would knock out any fever. I can tell right away when I am running a fever because I will get these intense sweats, and become even more nauseated and dizzy than I am already. Most of the last few days I have had to spend flat on my back most of the time due to that dizziness and nausea.

Well, that pretty much covers the last few days. I hope this is over soon. I appreciate all the concern and comments you guys have been leaving. It means a lot to me when I am feeling so poorly, even if I don’t feel well enough to write long comments back.

Medication Nausea and Dry Sockets – Wisdom Teeth Removal Update

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Image from Pixabay

I was pretty lucky the first couple days after my wisdom teeth surgery, so I was hoping for smooth sailing all the way…but I am running into some issues now. For one thing, the combination of antibiotics, pain killers, and NSAIDS started causing a good amount of nausea the last couple days. I often feel like throwing up, although I have been able to refrain from actually vomiting so far. I have suffered from emetophobia (fear of throwing up) almost my entire life, so I fight tooth and nail against it, but sometimes it can’t be stopped.

I am also starting to highly suspect that the tooth they took out on the left side of my jaw might be developing dry socket. There isn’t a blood clot in sight on that side and all you can really see is a big empty space with what looks like a little bit of bone sticking through at the bottom. I am trying to follow all the directions for recovery, including using a special mouthwash and doing warm salt water rinses, but the salt water is definitely making the nausea worse.

So, to sum it all up….I’m feeling pretty miserable today. My jaw is still sore, my ears are now aching as well, and it almost feels like it is getting harder to eat rather than easier. I’m trying to not let it get me down, but I am a little bummed that complications seem to be arising. I know if I wait it out, even the dry socket should resolve itself within 7-10 days, but that sounds like a long time right now.

In Case I am MIA Soon

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Hi everyone! I wanted to write a short post just to say that I might be MIA this weekend (and maybe longer, who knows?) because I am having wisdom teeth surgery tomorrow. The teeth are impacted and oddly placed, so unfortunately, it isn’t expected to be a simple tooth-pulling operation (which definitely shows in how much I have to pay for it lol). Thank goodness they put you out for it!

I’m sure I will be fine, but as those of you with chronic illness/pain know, nothing is ever easy when you have autoimmune issues and inflammatory conditions that crop up every time your body is put under any kind of stress. I am hoping it won’t lead to a major flareup of my fibromyalgia or CFS, but I am preparing for the worst just in case.

I hope you guys will keep me in your thoughts and prayers (if you do that kind of thing). I could definitely use some positive energy sent my way!

Gratitude and Positivity Only!

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Aren’t these “namaste/praying” skeleton and black cat figurines I found at Michael’s cute? They had an entire line of both skeletons and black cats doing various yoga poses and I had to pick up a couple of them. I picked these two because I love how this pose represents gratitude and a peaceful heart. Some people might think the skeleton one is kind of creepy (which makes sense considering these were part of a Halloween display), but I think there is something beautiful about the simplicity of a human skeleton doing yoga.

I used these figures on my altar the other night while I was doing a gratitude ritual. I decided to do an impromptu meditation/prayer session, focusing ONLY on feeling and expressing gratitude and thankfulness for anything I could think of which makes my life (or the world in general) better. I specifically chose to NOT ask for anything, request divine help, or focus on any problems or pains I am currently wrestling with. ONLY GRATITUDE. ONLY POSITIVITY.

So, how did it go? Well, it definitely improved my frame of mind and sense of well-being that night. No, it didn’t cure the deep depression I have been fighting with, and it didn’t open the floodgates to riches or worldly success (at least not yet!), but it did make me feel good at the time, and it is something I would recommend to anyone (including myself) who tends to become weighed down with negativity and pessimism.

Meditating with a Crystal Healing Grid

As you guys might know if you have read my blog for long, I have an interest in spirituality and new age stuff. Recently I discovered “crystal healing grids”, which are a simple tool for meditation and other metaphysical purposes. I decided to try them out, so I bought this raven/crow (I’m not positive which one it is supposed to be) themed one.

The official name of this grid pattern is “See Past the Darkness”, which I thought worked well with my issues overcoming my own kind of darkness (depression). It came in a little kit with the grid, the crystals, and instructions (although I tend to disregard instructions and do things my own way). In case you are into gemstones, the crystals used are amethyst (in the center), with clear quartz and Snowflake Obsidian alternating around the edges. These happen to be three of my favorite crystals, which is a bonus. I think it makes a pretty little decoration too:

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To be honest, I don’t know if meditating with stuff like this genuinely helps my depression or not, but I think that having something to concentrate on that represents positive thoughts and energy certainly can’t hurt!

If you guys are interested in trying out one of these grids for yourself, Ebay is where I have found them most easily, usually be just typing “healing crystal grid” into the search bar. You can find complete kits like the one I got, or just pick up a grid and use your own stones (or whatever else you wish to use). Happy hunting!

Symbolic Artwork for Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, PTSD, and More

While cruising the internet, I recently came across some mental health related symbols and sigils someone had created. I thought these were pretty cool, so I did a little artistic version of my own for the subjects that pertain to my life, such as bipolar, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, insomnia, and PTSD. They are very simple drawings, but I still like the way they turned out:

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If you enjoy my art, please consider supporting me by visiting my Ebay store!