Cortisone, Cannabis, and (Pepsi)Cola

My people!

So, I totally suck at the more brief, casual posts. Maybe you’ve noticed. But if this posting more frequently thing is ever to actually get off the ground, I basically just need to get over myself, right?

Therefore, I present to you my attempt at getting over myself, which means I’m just gonna try and fart this out and not reread and edit it 18 times.

Wish me luck.

My (five-fingered) therapist once said something to me that I will sum up as, “If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.” We were discussing my many and varied health problems, and I was lamenting that it seems my body really does just hate me sometimes. His point was that, quite obviously, your physical health is your base foundation, and when you physically feel like shit, you are much more likely to mentally and emotionally feel like shit. Because physically feeling like shit is fucking obnoxious, right? And when you feel like shit on a very regular basis, especially if you struggle with mental health in general, you may begin to feel very sorry for yourself. You may even decide you deserve to feel like shit. Then, in your wallowing, you may even intentionally do things that you very well know will make you feel even shittier, just to keep the cycle going because obviously you are just meant to SUFFER, DAMMIT.

Self-loathing and self-sabotaging are beasts of seriously epic proportions, friends. And overcoming them is a constant, painful, exhausting, but very, very necessary battle. Because what we tell ourselves about said selves matters. Like, A LOT. Narratives are extraordinarily powerful and important, these stories we tell ourselves about our world and our place in relation to it. And just like a toddler who wants you to read them the exact same book five times every single night for two months without fail, we get really fucking attached to the narratives we create about ourselves. We like to listen to ourselves tell them over and over again, wrapping ourselves up in their familiar, comfortable symbolism and assumed truths, so we can simply wallow in our misery and leave it at that. Because the familiar–even if literally uncomfortable–is comfortable for us. We are creatures of habit and routine and the known will almost always feeler safer and more attractive than the unknown.

But at some point, if you want to be happy and you want to move forward in life and evolve and reach your potential and all that fancy stuff, you need a new narrative, one that more accurately reflects reality, and one that will actually help you achieve all those very achievable things.

For me, then, part of this new narrative I’m creating for myself includes deciding that, despite my shitty in some respects gene grab bag, I don’t actually deserve to feel shitty all the time. Many of the issues I deal with can be managed fairly well, but that is a choice that needs to be consciously made, and for a long time, it was just not one I was ready to make. But as a dear friend once phrased it, I was finally sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, you know?

It’ll be two years this summer since I suffered through a low-FODMAP diet in order to ascertain the food triggers for my super fucking obnoxious IBS, and which I HIGHLY recommend for anyone suffering the same. It’s taken some time to come to terms with the fact that I can’t just fucking eat food like a normal person, but I now have almost complete control over how my GI system feels and performs (it still seems to come out of nowhere sometimes, but far, far less frequently, thank the gods).

And having that measure of control over how I’m physically feeling has been incredibly gratifying and eye-opening, so I decided I was ready to move on to properly addressing another daily irritant–the osteoarthritis in the base joint of my left thumb (the right hand has the same issue, but even though I’m right-handed, my left is what’s become unmanageable at this point, go figure). I suffer from hypermobility in my joints, and while it can be extremely entertaining to make people cringe and squirm by bending my fingers and thumbs all over the place, it’s, surprise, actually not that great for my joints. I started having pain in my thumbs by my early 20s when I would do things that put the wrong kind of pressure on that base joint, such as using chopsticks, because I am a contrarian at heart and although I’m very adept at using chopsticks, I hold them weird because I don’t like doing things the way other people do them because ODD. By 26, when I was living and freezing (or sweating) my buns off in Montreal for a while, I became nearly unable to use my hands at all and was officially diagnosed with osteoarthritis–FOR FREE, I might add, because universal healthcare, FTW, bitches.

But that was a very long time ago and I retain none of those medical records, so literally no medical professional believes that I actually have osteoarthritis because clearly I was on the young side when it was diagnosed, and still technically am for arthritis, which is, generally a degenerative, and, therefore, mostly associated with the elder set type of thing. So I wear braces when it gets bad and ice it and take copious amounts of ibuprofen and use topical anti-inflammatory gel and basically just deal with the almost constant pain the best I can. But in the past year or two, things have gotten bad, real bad, and I finally gave in and went to the doctor for it last fall (and yes, it takes something getting that bad before I go to the doctor because even though I adore our doctor, I just despise doing things like going to the doctor or taking medicine in general because inherent weirdness). We settled for a cortisone shot that day because I’m youngish and otherwise somewhat mostly healthy and, of course, I don’t have arthritis.

Needless to say, that helped for a little while and then the pain and inability to properly use it came back with a vengeance. So I went back to the doctor early this spring and we decided on an x-ray, followed shortly by an MRI since the x-ray didn’t show much, and LO AND BEHOLD, shit’s FUBAR in that joint, people (I relished a bit in the smug satisfaction I felt upon getting the results and my doctor’s accompanying comment, not gonna lie). So off to a specialist I was finally referred, whom I just saw yesterday, and after manipulating it and reviewing the x-ray and MRI results, he, of course, was all, yep, shit’s FUBAR all up in there. Thankfully, he agreed that surgery is definitely on the agenda, where they’ll take a tendon out of my forearm and use it to rebuild the joint at the base of my thumb because SCIENCE! For immediate relief, though, he gave me another cortisone shot.

Now, as we were talking and he was asking about previous remedies and I mentioned the cortisone shot last fall, he asked who my primary care physician was and was glad to recognize her name as someone he personally trained to give this type of cortisone shot because it’s not easy to get it exactly where it needs to go inside the joint. He told me that most primary care physicians won’t even attempt it, but that if it had given me at least some relief, she most likely positioned it well enough. But I remember my mom going through these cortisone shots many years ago in the lead up to surgery for her osteoarthritis (yay, genetics), and I remember how incredibly painful they were for her, and how I had to accompany her once or twice so I could shift our manual truck for her as she drove (hers followed a much more logical route, as she is also right-handed, destroying her right thumb joint first). And I remember thinking when I got my first shot that it didn’t seem to hurt nearly as bad as I had anticipated based on the reactions I had seen from her all those years ago, and patting myself on the back a bit for clearly having such a high tolerance for pain.

Then I had an actual orthopedist give me a cortisone shot, and, well, let’s just say it was obviously very well placed.

How do I know?


Like, SO bad. Like someone drove over my hand with a semi and then set it on fire. Or, more accurately, set my actual bones on fire. Ice and ibuprofen were barely taking the edge off. I was in so incredibly much pain, I was whimpering and biting back screams (someone must think of the children, you know). It hurt so much, I could barely think straight. It hurt so much, I couldn’t even eat. And you KNOW the shit hurts when I can’t eat, my gods.

So you know what I did after the husband was home from work? I got high. And you know what else? It fucking helped. SO MUCH.

And I should be completely honest and admit that was not the first time I got high since quitting. I smoked once at the four-week mark, and then, ironically, the day before yesterday as well, not anticipating wanting/needing to smoke again for quite some time, but there we were.

And I am very okay with my choices. I don’t feel like I’ve failed myself at all. In fact, smoking again after a bit of a break has actually confirmed for me that it’s not something I will ever go back to as a regular habit. It’s just not the state I want to exist in all the time anymore. I remember the appeal, yes, for sure. But it was much more appealing when I was content to just wallow in my misery, when I felt I deserved to be unhappy. Because nothing matters as much when you’re high or otherwise inebriated. I’m in pain, I’m fat, I haven’t showered or left the house in days, I can’t see my bedroom floor for dirty clothes, I can’t see my kitchen sink or counters for dirty dishes, my children have spent a majority of the day watching TV and eating only somewhat healthy snacks in lieu of proper meals…

MEH! I’ll just get high! Then who the fuck cares about any of that anyway??

Except, because of my new narrative, the one in which I don’t deserve to continuously feel like shit, I don’t want to not care about that stuff. I mean, I’m not fucking Martha Stewart (yet…?) by any stretch, or some fucking Pinterest-worthy Mother-of-the-Year nonsense, but I am making conscious, daily choices in an attempt to–even if achingly slowly and in wee, tiny increments–continue moving onward and upward in my really rather beautiful, blessed, brimming-with-possibilty life. And being a stoner just has no real place on that agenda.

Who knew?

Wait. Apparently I did?

Anyway, to end, I have a(nother) confession to make. Since ditching pot, my need to consume caffeine has gone way up from its already normally somewhere in the clouds existence, and you know what I’ve been drinking in addition to my daily 4-6 cups of coffee and usual can of Zero Ultra Monster (this is also a fairly new thing for me, judge if you need to)?

Fucking PEPSI. And since HFCS–while perfectly fine to consume in general, despite what the scaremongering natural-fallacy-obsessed crowd would have you believe–triggers my IBS (along with honey and molasses and anything else particularly high in fructose), I drink the REAL SUGAR Pepsi, and it must be in a can because it’s crisper and tastes better that way.

Unless I’m at the taqueria, in which case, glass bottles are called for, obviously.

And I hope this amuses those who know me because, in general, I rail against consuming soda on a regular basis quite vociferously, and have spent many years of my life not drinking soda at all. But it was one of my main cravings while pregnant (and NEVER Coke because that shit tastes like ass–Dr. Pepper is okay, though, of course), and since then, it’s been much more of a struggle to stay away from it, and now I’m sober all the time and, well… Reasons.

So, while I don’t intend to always and forever drink Pepsi on a daily basis, it is, for now, my new crutch.

And a tasty, satisfying one it is, at that.

(Also, I am somewhat sorry to say that it still looks like you guys get over 2000 words even when I’m just trying to fart something out. Clearly I have a problem.)

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