darkemeralds: Vape pen with a blue mouthpiece, cannabis cartridge attached, emitting curls of vapor (Cannabis)
I find that vaping is harder on my lungs than I'm comfortable with, so, having toked up a whole half gram of cannabis concentrate, I'm looking for alternatives.

I suspect that my uptake wasn't good (I coughed it all out instantly!) and that I might not have gotten adequate doses, because after that first miraculous end of toothache misery, I couldn't replicate the pain-relief results. Once the offending tooth was extracted and the local wore off, I was in misery and no number of hits on the vape pen had the slightest impact.

But I can't keep relying on ibuprofen, and I am not resorting to opioids. I have arthritis, it's a problem, and joint-replacement surgery isn't really on the table.

So, next stop: sublingual CBD tincture.

Also, actually doing the exercises I went to physical therapy to learn. And maybe not sitting so much.
darkemeralds: Vape pen with a blue mouthpiece, cannabis cartridge attached, emitting curls of vapor (Cannabis)
Lately I've been hurting more than mere ibuprofen can handle--osteoarthritis, mostly, but a motherfucker of a toothache right at the moment.

So, though I've never been much for getting high, today I tried medical marijuana for the first time.

It took a lot of homework for me to get here. I read books, attended a workshop, and spent several hours on Leafly. I asked my doctor (who, as a naturopath, is all for it). I researched cannabinoids, terpenes, strains of sativa and indica. I read about the different dispensaries. Learned something about the labyrinth of laws surrounding legalization in Oregon. Became engrossed in delivery methods. Decided on vaping. Vaping is fast-acting and doesn't stink the joint up.

Harlequin is a sativa strain bred for high CBD and low THC, which translates to "pain relief without getting high", and my neighborhood dispensary sells it.

So off I walked to Kings of Canna on 15th and Prescott, and came home half an hour later with some paraphernalia and drugs.

A white zip bag, a vape pen with USB charger, a cannabis cartridge, some retail packaging

But look! It comes in retail packaging. There are USB chargers and LED indicators. The only baggie in sight was the fancy opaque white zip-lock bag mandated by the State of Oregon for carting the goods off-premises.

It's a couple of hours and several hits of Harlequin later, and behold! The tooth isn't really hurting anymore.

Heh. Maybe I need a new icon.
A vaporizer pen with a bright blue mouthpiece. A cannabis oil capsule is attached. The device is emitting curls of vapor

ETA: And I really don't feel high. Maybe a teeny bit hazy. I might have eaten a box of cookies...
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
When you turn 60, joke-getting-old cards actually become funny. Who knew?

This one was from my little sister, who's only 58.

birthday card front showing two old ladies in a red car with shiny sunglasses and laughing. One asks Where we headed? and the other says I don't know!

birthday card inside showing same two old ladies. The second one is saying 'I thought you were driving!
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
My doctor and I are looking over the results of a recent set of blood tests. Since my tests a year ago I've given up most red meat, cut way back on dairy, gone vegetable-crazy, lost four or five more pounds, and added several walks a week to my exercise regimen, which already includes daily cycling.

The lipid numbers we hoped would go down have remained stubbornly in the red zone.

Before I can get all freaked out and start making a new list of dietary improvements, Doctor John says, "Your diet is damn near perfect, and you exercise way more than the majority of my patients. I do not want you planning more changes to your diet. I don't think further weight loss will budge these numbers either. At this point, I think we're looking at something genetic."

He thinks out loud about this for a while, then kind of slaps his forehead and says, "Oh! I know what we need to do!"

darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Chart)
I've lost more than 60 pounds and kept it off for a couple of years, but I'm still overweight and I don't want to be. These last 30 pounds have obstinately resisted all my tricks.

The problem comes down to cravings. Starch cravings, to be specific. I'll be in fine shape all day and then bam! I get home from work and turn into a ravening pancake beast. No power in the 'verse can stop me. By the time I come to, I've added several hundred excess calories to my day. 1

Why do I keep falling into this trap?

Carbs, cravings, and the pancake monster. )
darkemeralds: Healing hands with white, blue and violet rays of light (Hands of Light)
After listening for at least the fifth time to Margaret Lynch's training session on healing the second chakra, and feeling as frustrated by it this afternoon as I have the other times, I decided to do some tapping.

I work alone (and type really fast), so I've developed a method of recording as I go. The "tapping" is as much fingertips on keyboard as on actual meridian points. It seems to work.

EFT for the strange )

I don't follow anybody's standard protocol, I just raid Gary Craig and Nick Ortner and Carol Tuttle and Pat Carrington and Margaret Lynch for parts, and construct my own. The basic structure, however, is standard: negative setup statement repeated three times (with some choices inserted), followed by all the short negatives that pop up, until I yawn, or sneeze, or feel the emotional intensity drop, or get really bored. Then some positives, all while tapping around the points.

Then, if you're me, repeat till you can't stand it anymore, then call it a day.


Feb. 7th, 2012 07:24 pm
darkemeralds: A falcon taking flight from a falconer's arm (Freedom)
[personal profile] ranunculus recently posted about the beneficial effects a therapeutic dose of vitamin B12 has had on her overall well-being.

Many of the symptoms of B12 deficiency match those of hormone depletion--notably "brain fog"--and hormone replacement has already given me back my brain. I have no reason to think I'm clinically deficient in B12.

But the body's ability to absorb B12 from food diminishes steadily after 40 or so, and you can become completely depleted before the deficiency will show up in blood tests, so adding B12 to my regimen seemed a reasonable precaution.

Damn, Skippy. )

It's weird to think that all the vicissitudes of my younger years could have been relieved with some vitamins and hormones, and that all that damn talk therapy was probably pretty useless, but you know what? I'm getting used to the notion.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Hormones. Can't live without 'em, but look at this: getting 'em back reawakens the bitch within.
Here's an interesting conundrum... )


Jul. 14th, 2011 04:19 pm
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Remember the sensory-deprivation-tank in Altered States? I always wanted to do that. So today I did. No ayahuasca, just the tank.

Floating )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
"You look cute!" Tiffany all but shouted, interrupting her phone call to deliver this opinion to me in the crowded lobby. My friend Todd, escaping with me into an elevator, muttered, "She's trying to hook us up." I just laughed uncomfortably.

Comments on my post about Zumba made me grope a little harder to express why taking a dance[like] class was such a big deal for me. In a nutshell, I don't live in my body very much. I've made other attempts, I've made progress, but "overcoming the straitjacketing of physical shame is the hardest thing about going and practicing and re-trying."

To ground myself more reliably in the physical realm, I've taken extensive Alexander Technique lessons and have undergone a variety of body-based therapies (some of which I've written quite a bit about here). I've been a gym-bunny with 19% body fat, I've done theater and voice training, I've been a dedicated long-distance walker, and as everyone here knows, I've become an avid bike commuter.

But you know what? Sex. That's what. )

So this morning, when Tiffany declared me "cute," and my good friend Todd muttered, "She thinks we should hook up,"4 part of me laughed uncomfortably, and part of me said, "Oh, Universe, you work in such unexpected ways." Because I think I know a sign when I see one. And that sign said that I'm on the track of something significant.

The hip-swiveling of Zumba is just a bead on the scarlet gown of the girl who went to fairy prison five decades ago.

1(I just realized that the "single breath story" I'm supposed to be writing is about this restoration, and that's why I've not been able to finish it: not enough of it was conscious until just now.)
2 Not that I need or want any more money than I've got. I'm fine. Really.
3Too late ho-ho! Ha ha ha ha! Ho ho ho ho!.
4No, we shouldn't. People have thought it for years because we look alike and we're friends and of opposite genders and the same age. It'd be...sibling-ish.
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
Ooh, I got to have acupuncture today. It's been ages since I've done that. It's relaxing in itself, and very effective for the kind of pain/inflammation problem presented by piriformis syndrome.

But more than that: they talk to you. They listen. They (a practitioner, her student, and a supervisor) spent at least fifteen minutes just asking me about my health, habits, and history, and I felt heard and observed--a healing thing in itself, perhaps especially so for someone who lives alone.

And wow, has my profile ever changed since the last time I had healthcare. My diet is awfully good, my exercise habits are above reproach, my weight is edging down into "normal" territory, and I felt like a good little student getting A's in all the teacher's favorite subjects. It was ridiculously awesome.

It didn't hurt that it's a glorious May day, and that my appointment at the acupuncture college gave me an excuse to ride Eleanor O. for ten miles in the sunshine.
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (Bike Freedom)
I went to medical school over the weekend and have diagnosed myself with piriformis syndrome.

The piriformis is a butt muscle, involved in rotating the hip. When it gets balled up and inflamed, it presses on the sciatic nerve, and when the sciatic nerve gets pressed on, your ass hurts. A lot. And your thigh, and maybe your knee and calf too.

The syndrome has been building for a few weeks, and became acute last Sunday as I was shuffling through a crowded IKEA and couldn't readily get off my feet. The pain was...significant.

The treatment I've prescribed for myself is a series of fun little stretches, some of which involve sitting on a tennis ball. I'll probably get acupuncture this week, and I expect I'll wind up at massage therapy too. Maybe some BodyTalk if I can afford it.

The cause of piriformis syndrome in my case is almost certainly bike-riding. And stress. I think I'll try giving up stress first.
darkemeralds: Screencap from Life on Mars with caption Welcome To The Team (Welcome to the Team)
Something kind of interesting just happened here in the World's Tallest Basement.

Norm, my co-[over]worker, just told the boss that he's been having some very bad low-back problems and will be seeing a doctor tomorrow and might take the day off.

After the boss left, I turned to Norm and I said, "Norm," (I said) "Let me give you the benefit of a small piece of advice. I was once out of work for 18 months because of a low back problem..."

This is a true story. I described how a high-powered but sedentary job finally stressed me out to the point where my body took over and laid me down. A year and a half: that's how long it took me to recover. I didn't describe the more lurid aspects of the L4-L5 Herniated Disc Tango, such as having to literally crawl on my hands and knees to the toilet. But I will if I think he needs to hear it.

I also didn't actually say to Norm that this is a large part of my reason for taking a moderate and easygoing attitude to my job today. I think the message was clear.

I did remind him that everything currently on our shared plate of All You Can Eat Work will keep for a few days longer.

Maybe it's a turning point. I hope it's a turning point.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I went to Bev Martin the other day for help with my terribly slow writing. Bev's a hypnotherapist--one of my teachers--and a writer herself. I was sure she could help, and she did.

She used Clean Language, a questioning technique designed to guide the client to her own metaphor of change, completely uninfluenced by the practitioner. It's the inverse of standard hypnotherapy, which explicitly seeks to influence.

All the questions start with "And..." Each question feeds the client's own words back, and never makes assumptions, so the questions are odd and ungrammatical, and your rational mind gives up and hides.

It went something like this: )

Change work without change is just self-indulgence. Any change so far? Well, I got up an hour early yesterday and wrote a missing character in a pivotal scene that I've been avoiding for a month. I think that counts.
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I've been working hard over the past year or so on making meaningful inner changes. A critical job problem and some other trials and losses led to a few rounds with serious depression, at the nadir of which my inner voice delivered an ultimatum: "Do something about it or die."

Some stuff I've done. )

No, "there isn't any there there". I still live in the same tiny house. I still drive the same car. I'm still single, I'm still over 50, and I struggle with almost all the same issues as before. Recovering from depression, damn it, isn't a magic cure for other things.

But I'll say this for it: every hour that I live in the light rather than in the darkness is an hour of real life, an hour in which I can create or do or be something that I had no strength for in the past. I may never accomplish another meritorious thing in this life, but I got across the river.

"That's not much."

"It's enough."
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
In the spirit of the holiday season, I thought I would describe my experience of going to a shaman the other day. As I was lying there on the ritual rug having a gourd rattle shaken over me, I thought, hey, some people on my LiveJournal friends list may not have been to a shaman. I should describe this.

I used to go to an acupuncturist whose office was in a converted house in Northwest Portland. When my quest for a) enlightenment, b) healing of the Nameless Darkness In My Soul™, and c) relief from this weird and unaccountable swelling of one ankle went beyond what Mr. Needles could do even with The Seven Dragons, acupuncture's nuclear option, he referred me to "the shaman down the hall."

Intrigued--not to mention desperate--I made an appointment. The shaman down the hall, it turns out, was Sandy, a Reedie from the Sixties with a Philadelphia accent, a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and a specialty in trauma therapy. But he's also a trained shaman.

Shamans journey. They travel to Lower World and Upper World, accompanied by totem birds and animals, demanding a cure for what ails you, sometimes wresting the answers forcefully from whatever's hanging onto them. Then they either remove the problem from your body--extraction--or find and restore missing bits--soul retrieval.

Over the course of three years' work, Sandy encouraged me to learn the shamanic journey myself. I took several courses, and he helped me refine what I'd learned, but journeying wasn't a part of my therapy. We accomplished miracles with slightly more mainstream methods, and concluded our efforts three years ago.

The NDIMS™ made a big comeback recently. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that after three years of living in daylight (standing on my feet, being a girl) I was ready to deal with the next level.

Whatever. I called the shaman down the hall and asked if he could find my soul.

Exsanguination ensued. Twice! And yet I feel very grateful today. )

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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