Tag Archives: Socialising

Nothing Left But Happy Memories And Mess

Dear Audy,

Another year, another million dollars…please? That really would be super helpful.

I am slowly but surely recovering from frivolous fabulousness on NYE. Binge drinking might be bad, but occasionally, it’s a whole lot of fun. I didn’t set out to make myself ill, however drunk me is much more prone to thinking vodka shots are a good idea than regular me. The shots were definitely my downfall. The upside? I don’t remember the messy part, so as far as I’m concerned it was a great night!

NYE is always more fun when you don’t have high expectations. I much prefer to spend it having a few drinks with friends than out raving or wandering the streets somewhere. This year, I had a small gathering at my place (including fellow bloggers Jen & Megan). We drank and ate and aired grievances about the year just gone. Airing grievances is much more fun than making resolutions!

Midnight brought the fireworks, as it usually does on the last night of the year. I live near a large area of park and ovals and it was a happening place for illegal lighting up of the sky with colours and sparkle. Making our way outside to watch the display, my little gathering found itself drunk face to drunk face with some naked neighbours. Yep, naked. In the street. In that way that is only hilarious if you are rather wasted.

After some friendly and chaotic partying with our (then clothed) newfound friends, the girls and I crashed out in the lounge room for some drunken snoozing and talking drivel.

Me and Jen, I like to think she’s looking off toward a wonderful year ahead!

Thankfully, Jen had avoided the vodka shots and was capable of looking after my messy self. I shall say no more, trust me, you don’t want to read about the rest of the night!

December was a pretty stressful month, rounding out a rather crazy year. I don’t advocate getting drunk as the only way to have fun, or something one should do all the time, but occasionally it is a wonderful way for me to just throw out my worries and have fun for a while. Sure, there’s the hangover, pain and clean up price to be paid, but I’m happy to pay it now and then so I can let out that steam that tends to bottle up inside.

I feel like I have thrown off the worries from last year, just chucked them out and I can go forward focusing on the little ways that I can keep making my life better. I am sore, but I am positive and that’s the main thing – it’s rather impossible to move forward without a little faith that things can improve and that accomplishment is a possibility.

My plan for the year ahead is pretty simple: continue trying just as hard as I possibly can. I will keep overcoming my pain and I will keep adding things to my life and building up my strength. That’s about it. I’m not going to make any grandiose statements about this year being my year, or some such rubbish. We all know that life likes to surprise us. The only resolution that really matters is to handle every challenge that comes our way as best we can, with integrity and a mind open for learning.

My plan for the day ahead is a little Feldenkrais and then a small sewing project. I need to get back into the seamstress seat. I have been watching Project Runway like it is the only show on Earth lately and have built up enough inspiration to last me for months – provided that I can physically follow through with my plans!

I wish you much joy and success for the year ahead, Audy!

Love & Fresh Beginnings,

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  • A Beautiful Wedding And A Beautiful Disaster

    Dear Audy,

    Sunday was the big day for the gorgeous bride and groom whose upcoming nuptials I was celebrating the weekend before.

    My mission to make three dresses this year was derailed by flares and injury-type setbacks, so I planned to re-wear Loretta, whom I constructed earlier this year. Sadly, I trusted Spotlight a little too much when I purchased her fabric. I didn’t pre-wash and as a result, I suffered the tragic loss of her white layer to a rather bright pinkish colour. I thought I might still be able to wear her, but a try-on revealed that bright pinkish is not a good colour on me. Lesson learnt: always pre-wash fabric before sewing a garment, no matter where it came from.

    Thankfully, Penelope was there to clothe me appropriately for such a special occasion. I even wore Mama’s pearls, something that always makes me feel like a cheeky yet fancy little girl. Perhaps it was nostalgia, or merely happenstance, but my prince and I were a little bit cheeky. That time between the ceremony and the reception needed filling and we were in a picturesque, historical building that needed exploring. This pic was snapped on a secret balcony that we most certainly were not supposed to be on, but that bore a stunning view of Melbourne’s most spectacular theatre, The Regent.

    The wedding itself was truly a fairytale, the looming storm added a richness and charged atmosphere to what was already a beautiful ceremony. I had never before attended a wedding that involved Jewish traditions and was moved and delighted by many of these.

    The reception kicked off with the Jewish Hora, a spectacular display of joy and madness. I could not help but join in, I felt steady enough on my feet to handle stepping in a circle.

    It was an incredible experience, almost everyone in the room was on their feet dancing and smiling with enthusiasm. The bride and groom were iridescent amongst the wonderful chaos. I couldn’t help but laugh with pure delight and clap along as they were hoisted above the crowd on chairs and as the groom was thrown so fabulously high that he appeared to fly along a line of men with trampoline arms.

    In retrospect, I could have had more sense than to put myself into such a crowded and bumpy situation…but how could I resist that sort of fun? There aren’t many times in my life when I have been involved in such an expression of shared joy, everybody was getting into the groove with reckless abandon. Of course I had to partake in that action!

    Naturally, because of the injury magnet that I am, my involvement didn’t turn out so well for me. In a total accident, I copped a heel to the forefoot. A high heel, not particularly high, but narrow like a stiletto. I was wearing Mary Jane style flats and fate decided to spice things up a little more by having the stopper on that heel catch under the front of my shoe momentarily, causing both of us to tug and sway as we tried to unhook and keep our balance.

    I tried to exit the dance floor with a little grace, but had nearly collapsed by the time I hobbled the ten metres to my seat. I swear, it felt like that shoe had gone clear through my foot. A napkin of ice under the table helped to me to stay calm, disconnect from the pain and enjoy the dinner and formal part of the evening. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sustain being upright for long and had to leave very early. Silly foot, I was having such a lovely time!

    I’ve mentioned before that a helpful method for overcoming tough times can be to actively focus on happy memories and to recall the merry emotions associated with these. When something unfortunate happens, it’s easy to have the memory of that cover up all traces of happiness that also occurred when and where the accident did. I am focusing hard on remembering how fantastic the day was. I don’t want those memories to get drowned out by one painful incident. A little bad luck doesn’t have to override everything.

    I think I’m going to be laid up for a while with this one, Audy. My foot is all sorts of pretty colours and not up for things like weight bearing or toe twitching (sometimes this happens unexpectedly and makes me yelp). I’m trying not to get upset and mostly succeeding, there’s nothing much I can do except rest and wait for it to heal. If it doesn’t show signs of doing that by next week, I’ll bite the bullet and get a doctor to take a look inside.

    To tell you the truth, I’m really quite tired of needing doctors to look at my insides, I have pictures of most of my skeleton!

    I need my crutches to get around the house and using them is like riding a bike. I do enjoy their extend-an-arm function for things like picking clothes up off the floor and switching light switches. I have short limits on how far I can get on them though, my CRPS riddled wrists aren’t so great for walking on.

    Fortunately, I have plenty to watch during my couch confinement. I’m currently enjoying the first seasons of Project Runway and Pretty Little Liars. The pain and painkillers are mostly blah-ing me out, so it’s not taking too much to keep me distracted.

    Things are going to be limpy for a while, but I’ll get by. If you happen to be reading this, happy couple, please don’t worry! Enjoy your honeymoon adventures and happy love bubble – to think of you doing so makes me smile all over 😉

    Love & A Little Wincing,

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  • Pacing To Be Able To Push For Rich Rewards

    Dear Audy,

    Don’t you love it when you’ve had a really good time somewhere and the fun of the event stays with you for days afterward? Bathing in the happy memories that I have been creating has been my method for dealing with the recovery time and pain that comes after physical exertion.

    My huge effort last Saturday resulted in a very quiet week for me. There has been plenty of extra pain, but whenever I start to feel down about how sore I am, I consciously make an effort to think about what it felt like when I was having a good time and to really consolidate those memories as useful and important. The more I practise this, the less effort it takes. I have faith that, with time, I can train myself to recall happy moments in the way that anxiety can cause me to repeatedly recall painful ones. You know that feeling, Audy, the one where you get all amped up and stressed and your mind keeps focusing on small things as though they are important? I want to do that in reverse.

    I am pleased to say that by resting all week, I was able to find the energy to go out to a friend’s hen’s day on the weekend. It was an action packed Saturday including a lot of food and champagne, some painting, a Bollywood dance and some pretty damn awesome karaoke performances. Yes, the Backstreet Boys are good for something…

    Sunday morning brought pain galore! But you know what it didn’t bring? Regret. I don’t, for a second, regret pushing myself so hard to participate in activities that I knew would bring painful repercussions. How could I regret having such a good time? Even as the day was progressing (especially whilst dancing) I could feel my pain levels rising and I just kept choosing to mentally rise higher as well. If the pain can do it, so can I. “I can be in pain and still have fun”, I told myself, as many times as I needed to.

    I don’t recommend pushing chronic pain this far on a regular basis, but thankfully, my friends don’t get married regularly and so that’s not going to be a problem. Special occasions can sometimes require special effort, that’s part of what makes them special. I don’t mind that, in my case, special effort can mean enduring extra pain. Life is far too dull without the special parts, they are well worth the effort.

    I’ll spend this week resting and I am confident that I’ll be ready to go out and enjoy the actual wedding next weekend! Thinking positively about upcoming events is another part of my strategy; I can’t control what the pain will be like on a particular day, but I can decide that no matter what my body feels like, I am going to go and do something. I simply need to have a backup plan for if things are really bad. I call that backup plan “The Fonz” (my wheelchair). I am discovering how to think positively and realistically at the same time, it is quite the challenge but one that I think is worth taking on!

    Love & More Partying,

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  • Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! …And Sleep.

    Dear Audy,

    Holy cow, when did Thursday happen?! This has been a very slow week for me, indeed. It’s all OK though, things are slow because I am still recovering from having a brilliant day on Saturday!!

    In my last post, I mentioned the days of rest and preparation that are needed in order for me to have enough energy to go out for a few hours and have fun. At the moment, I am resting at the other end of adventure; it also takes days to recover!

    After enjoying the pleasure of fun for fun’s sake last Wednesday. I went out for a little fun for special occasions’ sake on Saturday. Three special occasions, to be exact. That’s a lot and I knew that I was really going to be pushing myself to make it through the day. Knowing that meant that I was able to pace out my excitement (and caffeine) and get through the day without doing too much damage.

    First stop was my nephew’s first birthday party. His mum had done a great job putting together a party for all his friends and relatives, complete with awesome train cake.

    I wasn’t able to stay too long on account of my next stop, a BBQ birthday celebration in a sunny park, was all the way on the other side of the city.

    I settled into my little automobile, cranked the air-conditioning (and the music, KT Tunstall was my singalong rockout star of choice for the trip) and tried to keep my body as relaxed as possible for the drive. Things went really well! It was, by far, the furthest that I had driven my car in a long time. The best part was that such a drive took me to see old and dear friends that I hadn’t been able to see in a long time! It can be hard to catch up with friends that are close to an hour away, but hopefully being more mobile will mean that I get to do it more often!

    The drive home wasn’t as long and strenuous; I was able to break it up with one final birthday celebration for the day. The adorably excitable, Carly Findlay from Tune Into Radio Carly was kind enough to invite me along to dinner at the Docklands for her birthday. I met some of her fabulous friends and enjoyed a yummy dinner at the (almost) end of a big day.

    My energy (3 cans of V worth) was running in short supply by the time our search for a nearby, decent bar to have an after dinner drink in proved fruitless (you need the fruit to make the wine to put in the decent bars that you also need, it’s very important, Docklands), I had to bid the birthday girl and her party adieu and get moving towards home. I was tired and sore by the time I got back to my car, but I got in, got my driving shoes and gloves on and focused on staying relaxed and remembering all the fun I’d had as I rode the quiet freeway home.

    Where I promptly went flop. A well deserved flop. A flop that has continued ever since!

    The recovery has been painful and a bit boring as my brain has not been running at full speed. I’m alright with that, though, just think of all the things I was able to do in one day! Going full pelt and needing to rest so much isn’t a sustainable way of planning my life, but sometimes it’s necessary and I’m so happy to think that I might be able to cope with those days again. Coping has just taken on a bit of a different meaning, it’s no longer grouped in with the impossible.

    I shall continue my week of recuperation as I, once again, want to go out and enjoy myself this coming Saturday. Haha, six days between activities isn’t all that long, really… 😉

    Love & Well Paced Good Times,

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  • Behind The Scenes Of A Fun Night Out

    Dear Audy,

    Hello! I am feeling well, hurrah!! Well, well in the sense that my silly chronic pain hasn’t gone anywhere, but I have gotten to a better level of coping. October and November brought a lot of minor injuries that caused major flare ups. I am happy to say that I think I’ve recovered from the worst of it and can get back to finally moving forward and feeling human again.

    Talkie time! Just a few words on the thrill of leaving my house for the purpose of fun and the challenges that come along with doing so.

    Having fun with my lovely friend Jen.

    I didn’t know this until I read Carly’s post this morning, but today is International Day for People With A Disability. I am one of those! I am glad that today is one where I feel like I can celebrate being in control of my pain, rather than feeling smothered by it. Sure, I’m extra worn out from doing things this week, but I feel like I know what to do to recover effectively and that makes feeling the pain a bit easier. Things are easier when they aren’t scary and unknown. Expected pain is more tolerable than the kind that comes out of nowhere, like a wrecking ball.

    The second piece of exciting news is that Ramp Up, ABC’s new disabilities website launched today. I have spent most of this morning reading through the wonderful articles that are already up, some by people that I’m lucky enough to know and some by people whose writing makes me want to know them better. If you feel like reading some very insightful and enlightening articles, head on over there! I’m excited to say that I will have some contributions published over the coming weeks, I’ll let you know when they are up for you to read, hurrah!

    Now I shall sit back and relax happily, knowing that it’s necessary rest and knowing that if I treat my body well, it will let me go out and have some more fun tomorrow!

    Love & A Quiet Day,

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  • Loretta, My Love.

    Dear Audy,

    Loretta…my, what an adventure she has been! I love her though, it’s okay to love dresses, right? In an ‘I wanna get inside her’ kind of way? That’s how she makes me feel and I don’t care if the whole world knows it!

    (With the most expensive headband I have ever impulse purchased. I justified this purchase by recognising that I was unlikely to ever see another tiger lily headband!)

    When I envisioned Loretta, I didn’t know that she would take as much time to finish as she did. Thankfully, I got her done in time, just a couple of hours before the wedding that I wanted to wear her to!

    I went off-pattern a little, I am so happy that it worked out, although I did have to do quite a lot of learning along the way. I decided to add lining because I wanted to use the pretty, floral fabric, which, as a very thin cotton, would not make a dress on its own. I wanted a skirt that was fun to flounce around in, so rather than sew the lining in, I separated it and the outer fabric at the waist. To try and get a little more frou in my frou, I only sewed pockets into the outer layer and the effect is that the whole skirt flows out a little at the hip and into a lovely shape.

    I hit a hiccup when I went to sew Loretta a belt. I had the fabric all wrong and ended up in stretched-the-wrong-way Hell. After quite a bit of huffing and puffing, I decided to scrap the belt idea, make the most of the wonderful invention that is ribbon and get on with hemming the skirt. I knew that hemming would take quite a while. With all her pleating, Loretta has quite a fair distance around the bottom. I had decided to hem the outer layer shorter than the inner layer so that there would be red showing to blend with the red in the collar and around the waist. Also, after I decided my face should be a part of this outfit, with my new red lipstick.

    When I went to hem the lining, I realised that it certainly was a wonderful thing that I had messed up with the belt. I learnt that I really wasn’t going to get very far just sewing up the edge, there was just too much stretch. Instead, I discovered what binding is for! It took forever to pin in the binding, zig-zag the edge and then pin it up again for the final round of stitches, but it was worth every pin. The skirt turned out fabulously. Had I not done some learning at the belt stage, this might be a very different post!

    I had an absolute ball wearing Loretta to the wedding. Long skirts are comfy and fun to dance in. Yep, I danced. Yep, I am paying dearly for that, but jeez it was FUN! It’s a special occasion thing, but wine can really help with stopping me from worrying so much about the painful consequences of having a good time like that. Sometimes, I just need to let loose and actually move, even if it involves a few days of owies afterward. I am so happy that I am at the point again where that is an option, for so long the pain has just been too incapacitating for dancing to be possible at all. Not to mention, I am ever so lucky as to have a handsome prince who doesn’t mind dancing with me. I don’t even mind admitting that he has far better moves than I do!!

    I am exhausted after a long week of sewing and then partying it up, but really, the hard work just made the letting loose part that much more thrilling! I can hardly express how wonderful it feels to achieve things, to set goals and actually get there again. The pain still gets frustrating, but I am learning that I can let that go and still build up the happy moments.

    My goal for the next dress is to not be finishing it on the day of the wedding to which I am planning on wearing it. I enjoy sewing far too much to need to go into that high pressure stress zone. This time, I will give myself more time than I think I’ll need. Yes, I’ll just hand it out to myself, like the magic keeper of a magic clock, I will create time.

    Love & Excitations,

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  • Dear Joss Whedon, Thank You.

    Dear Audy,

    Yesterday was a fabulous day! A big day, but crammed full of exciting goodness. In the afternoon, I went to catch up with the lovely Jen. I was rather late, so we didn’t get to get chatty as much as is customary for a catch up, however we did get to watch Miley be an annoying teenager in The Last Song. I was expecting a sappy teenage romance, however that movie takes a nasty turn toward the actually sad in the second half and the world should really be warned! Or, just pay a little more attention to the title than Jen and I did…

    Friday evening brought a time I had been looking forward to for weeks, an evening with Joss Whedon! Well, not like a date or anything, just a opportunity to share some air and bathe in the presence of one of my heroes. Joss might not actually be a super hero, but he did create several that I have been enjoying on repeat for over a decade now!

    20100828 Joss_Whedon_by_Gage_Skidmore_3
    (click for source)

    Joss was speaking at The Melbourne Town Hall as a part of The Melbourne Writers Festival. The atmosphere was practically glowing with the combined admiration beaming from the audience. In the moments before Joss came out, anticipation seized a good deal of oxygen out of the air and an excited voice thanked the sponsors as their logos were projected for our viewing pleasure. The lead sponsors were greeted with applause……aaand now I must take a second for a confession. As the screen filled with the logos of the smaller sponsors and the audience and voiceover hushed, I was that dingbat that loudly said thank you and added a few claps. I sincerely apologise, not to the sponsors, to whom I am grateful (it was JOSS WHEDON!), but to everyone around me that was subjected to my unintentional display of doofustry. Sometimes I get excited and just say things out loud, this can often caused awkwardness for someone with a perpetually loud voice and a propensity for spontaneous clapping, especially in an echoey room.

    The Q&A session was pretty much what I expected. I didn’t really go along to learn how to be Joss Whedon, like my 18-year-old self would have. Once you have been around the block a few times you start to realise that people are all just people, even famous, talented people. No two people are exactly alike and these days I am of the opinion that the only person we should set out to be like is the one that we will become if we stay true to ourselves. Joss is a funny guy and listening to him talk was giggly times, however anyone looking for a secret about how to create genius on a page or screen might have been surprised to hear that there isn’t actually one. Many talented writers and artists will say the same thing, if you want to create something, just create it. Believe in it. Trust your instincts and if you want to get it out there for consumption, then go and get it out there. I think that deep down most writers are aware of this. The hard work of it, though, can be a simplistic truth they are hoping to avoid. I love listening to how other people’s minds work and often pick up little insights inspired by their stories, however I have always known that the only thing sitting between me and a finished manuscript is a nice little lack of discipline.

    I was none too impressed when the people lucky enough to gain a go at the microphone asked lame questions about how they could become him. I held my tongue, but what I really wanted to yell was, “You can’t be someone else, moron! Not only that, but you just wasted an opportunity to ask Joss Whedon to do the dance of joy. WHY DID YOU WASTE THAT?!”.

    The thing I found most amazing whilst sitting in the same room as Joss Whedon, was thinking about how much the characters and worlds he created have enriched my own life. I grew up around the same time as Buffy, Willow and Xander and always found these characters so relatable that in some part of my mind, it almost felt like I really knew them. Buffy Summers is an amazingly strong, beautiful, charmingly imperfect and exquisitely vulnerable character. She battles with demons, real and emotional, mostly she wins but she has also experienced great loss. I’ve always found her struggles with real life, college and general society after high school incredibly well portrayed. Life is hard and being special in high school doesn’t necessarily translate when you enter the human adult, massive, population. Buffy develops as a person, she falls in love, she makes mistakes, she learns and she never pretends to have all the answers. I have always loved this realness about her and often, in times of upset, I find comfort in putting in the dvd of an episode in which Buffy has faced hard times and found the strength and courage to battle on regardless.

    20100828 buffy_stab
    (click for source)

    I’d be writing a book if I started on about the wonders of the Sunnydale mythology, so I won’t. What I do want to tell you about is how strange it was to sit there, watching a man speak, just a man, and thinking about how his thoughts, his dreams and the things he imagined have influenced my world. Our worlds are what we perceive after all and I have so many memories of times and discussions with others, even costume parties, that have been influenced by the creations of Joss Whedon. How bizarre it is, this connecting of minds and lives between people through art and writing. I love that we live in a world in which one person’s actions really can touch many, teach many, or simply entertain them – something to be greatly valued, never underestimate the life improving qualities of boredom antidotes!

    Thank you, Joss Whedon,

    for creating what you create,
    for making me laugh,
    for making me cry,
    and for embracing that little bit of insanity that makes your work incredible.

    Thank you.

    My big night out also included a lovely dinner with a friend and a long awaited real life meeting with the squee-happy and tweeting giggler, Miss Kimberley from Pop Couture. It’s always so exciting meeting someone that I have been chatting on Twitter with for about as long as I have been chatting on Twitter. I’m yet to have a negative experience with one of these meetings and I love the refreshment of knowing that there are real people, being real people online now, even if it still pays to be a little cautious. Meeting Kim was great, we only had time for a brief chat but it was fabulous to be able to get to know one another a little better and I am looking forward to meeting up again sometime!

    Physically, I am pretty exhausted today. Happily, I am not in as much pain as I was expecting. I really am getting better at managing my pain, my expectations and how I react when I am experiencing high levels of pain! Improving my reactions is making it possible for me to truly have a good time again, to be able to let go of my worries and really enjoy being social again. It just takes a bit (a shitload) of practise, that’s all, and I will be able to pace my way back to a more fulfilling and productive life. Today I must rest, but I rest on happy memories – and really, that’s what life’s all about.

    Love & Legends,

    P.S. Hungry for more? Check out a bit about Joss in this recent article from The Age.

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  • A Good Vehicle For A Glorious Rush

    Dear Audy,

    Several exciting things happened yesterday. It started with the nap that I took early in the afternoon…what, you don’t like a slow build?


    Driving myself places makes is like being 18 again. It’s a freedom that being a navigating passenger just can’t provide. Sure, I have to wear sexy, thick soled shoes, thick socks and padded gloves, but who cares? I can drive again. Just as long as I don’t have to do anything the next day that involves leaving the couch.

    Why was I driving, all by my lonesome, into a cold and drizzly Melbourne on this wintery Monday night? To meet awesome people, that’s why. With all of my stuck at homedness, I don’t get a lot of opportunities to enjoy the company of people that I don’t already know. Thank goodness there is Twitter. Some time ago, I made a bubbly new friend whilst tweeting about the Australian TV Series Rush. Having met up with Carly once during the comedy festival, I was happy to accept her invite to come and hang out with her at a premiere screening for season 3 of Rush. Turns out that was a good idea! Here’s a little look at the highlights from last night:

    Not only did I get to enjoy Carly’s company, I was also privileged enough to meet up with Jenna and Renne, both of whom I have been tweeting with for so long that I can’t even remember how long. Always wonderful to meet online friends in the real world! Especially when they turn out to be friendly, fun people.

    Take a breath, this story is about to get even more exciting…I also experienced what must be the exact opposite of becoming acquainted online before in real life! Megan was great fun to hang out amongst hot actor boys with and writes a great blog that I can now enjoy reading – as can you, if you follow that link!!

    SO MUCH EXCITEMENT! It’s fun to get excited. It’s fun to have fun!! I am exhausted now, but it was all worth it. My fangirling days are mostly behind me (I think, check back in a month or so when it’s nearly time to be in the same room as Joss Whedon), but I had an awesome time feeding off the fanergy of others. Look, I know that sounds dirty and looks wrong, but it’s staying. One more time…fanergy. Being around excited people is as infectious as being around depressed ones, except in a much, much more brilliant way. I loved hanging out in the fanroom!

    Not to mention, those boys are a bit of alright, yes? My prince is shooting across dirty looks every time a Rush promo comes on TV, which is a lot. Being a pretty lazy fan, I kinda tuned out part way through last season, but it would appear that’s my loss. The screening was very entertaining! I like shows that make me laugh and I also like shows where things blow up and Rush packs those together nicely. Not to mention, those boys are a bit of alright, yes? Yes.

    Love & Fanism,

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  • Progress, Lovely People & A Painful Pacing Lesson

    Dear Audy,

    Wow…what a busy week it has been in my world! A couple of posts ago, I spoke about the difficulties that come along with trying to socialise whilst suffering from chronic pain. I was pretty determined not to turn into a suburban hermit and so socialise, I did.

    I finally got to meet up with Carly, whom I have been chatting online with for some time and delightfully, she is just as bubbly and friendly in person, and Jen, whom I met through Twitter (“useless medium”, my rear end) and who will actually go and see The Last Song with me, which we know will be sappy and predictable and that those are probably the reasons we’ll love it. It’s one thing to connect with like minded people online, but a far greater thing when those connections turn into real world friendships. For a long time, I have been unable to do much socialising at all in the real world and so to be at a point in my rehabilitation where I can fit in my friends and make new ones is pretty thrilling. Next week I have plans to meet up with a couple of CRPS sufferers who also live in Melbourne, the lovely Lisa, whom I’ve met briefly before and Nicole, whom I connected with through Facebook (a cluttered medium, but not useless).

    Last Tuesday was the first time I have independently driven to the city, seen a show, chatted over dinner and driven myself home in, quite literally, years. I hit a hiccup on the way home when I got stuck in roadworks, I hadn’t bargained that extra half hour into my ‘ankle will make it approximately this far’ calculation and ended up a bit sore at the end of it. It was worth the pain to have some fun and I learnt that I need to allow a bit more room for unexpected happenings when I’m figuring out how much action is too much.

    In this vid, I’m babbling a bit about pacing and the way in which I kinda failed at that this week…it’s not such a bad thing, every time one fails at pacing, one learns how to be better at pacing!

    So now it’s Saturday night and unfortunately, I won’t be making it to that birthday party. I am that thing I mentioned. It’s not all bad though, my legs might not want to be stood on, or even down (they pretty much just wanna rest on cushions and that still hurts a lot!), but I’m keeping my chin up. My prince is out picking up some food and wine to make up for the fact that we aren’t going out for dinner and drinks and we have plenty of movies just screaming for a screening. I hate having to cancel plans due to pain, however the blow is lessened slightly by the fact that I have at least been out and about in recent days and that the birthday girl is super understanding and I can make it up to her another day.

    I shall keep breathing, relaxing, resting and, like all other flares, this one will go down in time.

    Love, Friendship & Patience,

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  • A Medication Miracle, Or Just Some Long Overdue Luck?

    Dear Audy,

    It has been a long time coming, but I’ve managed to have a few successive good days! How brilliant!! I’ve managed to drive myself into the city for my Feldenkrais appointment, finally visit a friend in her new home, go out for dinner and a comedy show and attend a friend’s birthday party…all in four days! That’s usually enough activity for my whole month. I can’t be sure whether the drop in my flaring can be attributed to being disciplined about practising Feldenkrais and relaxation when I feel the flares amping up, or to the new medication I am taking, amantadine.

    pic by Josh Janssen

    There I am, out and about and looking rather like a muppet.

    Last week I went back to see a pain specialist whom I saw when I first developed CRPS. His attitude had changed a lot since the days when he first told me that the pain would clear up within 6 months (I wish!). After hearing my long and complicated story, he suggested I try taking amantadine, which is a medication primarily used to treat Parkinson’s disease and (randomly) Type A influenza virus. The doctor explained briefly that the drug works by inhibiting receptors in the nervous system. A quick Google hasn’t shown me any information relating to the use of this drug with treating neuropathic pain, but I did manage to get a bit of an idea about how amantadine might be helping.

    Amantadine helps people with Parkinson’s because it is an antidyskinetic, which means it helps to stop the involuntary movement of muscles. Exactly how it does this is not known, but the developers do have a fairly strong theory, “Symmetrel (brand name for amantadine) works by increasing the production of dopamine from specialised nerve cells and by blocking acetylcholine receptors”. This is relevant to CRPS because “The most recent theories suggest that pain receptors in the affected part of the body become responsive to a family of nervous system messengers known as catecholamines. Animal studies indicate that norepinephrine, a catecholamine released from sympathetic nerves, acquires the capacity to activate pain pathways after tissue or nerve injury. The incidence of sympathetically maintained pain in CRPS is not known”.

    So, what I understand from those big words up there, is that amantadine helps people with Parkinson’s by blocking neurons within the sympathetic nervous system that are designed to receive signals destined to involuntarily move a muscle. That known, it makes sense to me that it could be beneficial to CRPS because symptoms include a lot of sympathetic nervous system malfunctions, such as swelling, sweating, temperature changes, etc., as well as the pain itself. It’s my understanding that by blocking the acetylcholine receptors, amantadine might be blocking some of the pain signals from getting through my system. Amantadine works to restore balance in a system suffering too little dopamine and/or too much acetylcholine. “If there are more excitatory chemicals than inhibitory chemicals, we will have more pain. If there are more inhibitory chemicals than excitatory ones, then we have less pain.”

    What I do know, without trying to understand science that goes above my muddled mind, is that since I started taking this medication, my condition has improved remarkably. I have had my first break from flaring in a really long time, I’ve been able to be active for more of the day, drive more and actually enjoy being out because the pain isn’t overpowering everything. I’ve still have flares in my arms and legs, however I have been able to calm these down using relaxation techniques, within hours rather than days and the pain isn’t reaching the incredible heights that it has before.

    I still have a long way to go and a lot of rehabilitation to do, however it’s amazing to be able to get a little bit of life and independence back. With the pain lifted a little, I have more strength to build myself up and strengthen my body against future flares. It’s too early to say whether or not the amantadine is the cause of my recent relief, however if it isn’t then we are wading in weird coincidence waters. I still need to take things easy because I’m well and truly still in the woods (indicated by the threatening burny tingles in my fingers from typing) but I am taking the time to enjoy this improvement, after the pain of the last few months, it is well worth celebrating!!

    Love & At Long Last, Some Good News,

    Note: Click quotes for sources.

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