Getting High and Making Dumplings

You know, some days I feel better than others. I’ve been reading some different treatments for Cluster Headaches. The other day, I found that caffeine may be an effective treatment, if taken just as the headache starts. So… I bought some caffeine pills. They have had some positive effects for the headaches, which is lovely… They’ve also given me TONS of energy, and for a little while, I feel great (comparatively speaking, of course)!  Now, the downside is that I’ve totally overdone it. This little project that I started a week ago… well, let’s just say that I have a bowl of dumpling filling going sour in the fridge. I ran out of strength mid-project… I haven’t recovered yet (Yay, the joys of fibromyalgia!) It can take some time to recover from overdoing it.

Anyway, here are some pictures and descriptions of my recent venturing back into the world of cooking. Hopefully the website won’t freak out with as many as I’m posting….

Cutting up some boiled chicken breast
Cutting up some boiled chicken breast
Shredding said chicken breast
Shredding said chicken breast
Cutting up some cabbage
Cutting up some cabbage
Equal parts shredded cabbage and chicken breast
Equal parts shredded cabbage and chicken breast

I like my dumplings with very finely shredded filling, some people like to taste the ingredients separately… not me.

Equal parts ginger and garlic
Equal parts ginger and garlic
Mixing all of the ingredients together into one homogeneous... thing
Mixing all of the ingredients together into one homogeneous… thing

 That’s chicken broth in the bowl behind the salt.

Nicely mixed
Nicely mixed
I used pre-made wraps... 'cause I'm lazy
I used pre-made wraps… ’cause I’m lazy
Filling the dumplings
Filling the dumplings
Starting the process off!
Starting the process off!
These freeze nicely, so I do a bunch at once.
These freeze nicely, so I do a bunch at once.
Put a bunch on a cookie sheet with wax paper, but make sure they don't touch!
Put a bunch on a cookie sheet with wax paper, but make sure they don’t touch!

Once the cookie sheet is full, I freeze them. Once they’re frozen, I can take them and put them in a freezer bag.

Nice, hot, wok
These freeze nicely, so I do a bunch at once
Gently wok fry. I like them crispy.
Finished and ready for eating!
Finished and ready for eating!

Okay, so there are some dumplings I made. They taste good, so long as the cabbage hasn’t had time to get strong. Then they taste cabbage-y. Some people like them with strong cabbage… I’m not one of those people.  I made a bunch, and then got sooooooo worn out I couldn’t finish. I refrigerated the filling to “finish them tomorrow.”That was about a week ago. The fridge smells like cabbage. The filling needs to go… I still hurt so bad I can barely move, so I haven’t even been able to cook and enjoy these things! Fortunately the finished dumplings are frozen and will be good for a while now.

Hope you like this post, it’s part of a new section called “broken dad cooks” – if you like it, share it with your friends. post it on facebook! Tweet it on twitter! link it in your blog!

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Happiness, Weepiness and Cluster Headaches

I don’t drink. But sometimes I wish I could drown myself in a tankard of something (that’s the ‘hip’ terminology, right?). Problem is, I’d become an alcoholic pretty quickly. I’ve got enough addictions, thank you very much. To add onto that, I’d be a mean drunk. No… like, alienate everyone who ever loved me mean…

Cluster headaches are a frustrating thing. For some people, they are so severe that they cause the victim to do whatever it takes to end the pain. I’ll leave that to your imagination. Requisite to point out: I’m not there. The last several days, I’ve enjoyed a significant bout of the cluster headaches. I’ve spend my evenings trapped in a dark room, and my nights and days wishing for anything to solve the problems. I’ve wondered about self medication. I’ve considered (though not too seriously) the drink. Truth is, the only over-the-counter solution that I’ve found is caffeine. So I drink a lot of Diet Dr Pepper, and pop caffeine pills. Problem is: Caffeine can also cause cluster headaches. I’ve got another term that starts with cluster for that circular dilemma…

These things are funny, too, because they really add to my fibro-fog. This morning, I cooked some eggs and toast, plated them and put them on the table. I walked away to get a glass of water, or something, and 15 minutes later, having started and forgotten a dozen other tasks, I realized that I had eggs (now cool) and toast (now dry) sitting at the table for me! I was halfway through eating when Nathaniel called me into the other room to get him something or another… I forgot them again!

The men of my family are notoriously emotional. We comfortably share and express emotion… But with these darn headaches, I just look like a crazy person. For example, I’m feeling pretty happy today, overall. Nathaniel’s being cute, and Ezra’s enjoying school. Other than everything, things are going pretty well for me. The problem is, every time I smile or laugh, the headaches are so intense that I cry. It’s not as if I laugh until I cry… If I even crack a smile, my eyes weep and I sob a little.,, immediately. The end result is a laughing weeping person. and not like somebody who’s sad that has something to laugh at, nor like a sad person who’s laughing to the point of tears… no, more like smile/sob-stop. More like I’m some crazy person that should be avoided. Maybe nobody notices. Certainly, Julie is pretty understanding, and the boys are unconditional in their love… but thinking about how crazy I must look makes me smile a bit… and then weep.

Late Night Productivity – Insomnia and Caffeine – Current update

I’m going to ramble a bit. Well, maybe not ramble, maybe it’s more of a rant. Maybe it’s just a silly post. I guess we’ll see the outcome at the end.

It seems like I really only get things done in the middle of the night.

By “get things done” I really mean, “not getting things done with more efficiency than normal.” The thing is, I don’t sleep, but in the middle of the night, when everyone else is sleeping, I get the ‘deepest’ thinking done. Sometimes I get my grocery shopping done (much to the chagrin of my landlords, I’m sure), and a lot of my writing happens at night.

Tonight is no exception. I was sleepy at around 10, but I also was experiencing an excruciating headache. I have to make a choice: try to sleep with my head trying to pop, or take headache medicine (which is loaded with caffeine), and not sleep. Tonight (or last night, I guess, as it’s now early morning) I chose to have my head stop hurting, a bit.

A bit after I took the medicine, I had a lovely panic attack. So I sat, holding Bruce, hyperventilating and weeping to myself, waiting for the panic to stop. There was no cause. Well, maybe there was, I was hurting pretty bad. The headache was ebbing, but my arms and legs felt like they were about to burst (that’s the fibromyalgia). Maybe that caused it, but the anxiety is pretty new to me, so it’s difficult to identify the triggers. Anyway, after that passed, the caffeine kicked in. So here I am, wide awake. I’ve gone to the store (we needed cotton balls and light bulbs). I’ve planned out some learning tools for Ezra. I’ve figured out a fix for a problem with my trike. I’ve killed a spider (shudders). I’ve learned to cook stroganoff (our next dinner). I’ve listened to some podcasts. I’ve explored the deep places of the mind that are usually only tapped by the stoned. I’ve gotten a lot done… The problem is, that I have a lot to do tomorrow, but I will have no sleep. Ezra will be up in the next hour or so to get ready for school.

I started with a new pain specialist last week. With high co-pays, I’ve put a lot down. I started with the initial evaluation last week. I was excited to get a hopeful update. There are apparently some treatments that can help remove some of the pain in my back. Then I’d just be dealing with the headaches, the fibromyalgia, the stomach pains. The back pains would be significantly reduced, if the treatments are effective. I just about cried. Seriously, to have a little hope in terms of my pain is a big deal. It’s been a while.

I started this week with a physiological evaluation (necessary before any pain medicines can be prescribed). That was a couple of hours on Monday. Tuesday, I had a a couple of hours training class with a few other new patients to learn about the uses, effects, and dangers of certain drugs. I get tomorrow, er, today… today off, and tomorrow. I have physical therapy on Friday. Next week, I’ll go in for some tests on my back to see if the treatments will work, followed by a follow-up at the end of the week.

These guys aren’t kidding around! All of these appointments are with a team of doctors that work together in their independent specialties and communicate about their patients to create pain management plans that are more significant than “take this and call me in a week.”

They did start me on Lyrica. I’m a bit worried about that, because one of the side effects is ‘significant weight gain,’ which would be… bad… as I’m already 65 pounds overweight. Oh, wait! 55 pounds! I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last month! I’ve had to go hungry, a bit (which is hard for me. I like food… a lot…)

So I guess that’s the basic update. No great topic, no great story. Just a bit of a rundown.  If you’re still reading, thanks! I hope it was somewhat enjoyable.

Headaches and… Cancer?

As a young missionary, I began experiencing headaches. Not little uncomfortable things. Massive, severe… pain. Lots and lots of pain. I’d lock myself in a dark room and m3ake my companion have to sit in the apartment just waiting on me to feel well again. I went to the doctor, obviously. our conversation went something like this:
Doctor: “well, there are some possibilities.”
Me: “okay.”
“It could be stress headaches, but based on your description, I don’t think that’s it”
“It could be migraines, but I don’t think that quite fits the bill”
“it could be some muscles spasming in your neck, but I don’t see any signs of that”
“it could be a tumor…”
“Let’s check your blood pressure”
“wait, it… what?”
“your blood pressure is high, did you exercise before this appointment? Or are you nervous about something?
“you… nervous? why would I be?”
“i’m going to order a cat scan on your brain, but let’s reduce your sodium intake for that blood pressure, okay?”

Turns out, the doctor said that my “brain is perfectly normal.” Take that, deniers! I didn’t have a tumor, but the headaches continued. The problem with headaches, and all neurological disorders, to be honest, is that there are HUNDREDS of possible factors that can lead to the same symptoms, so diagnosis can take a long time, if it ever really happens at all. My headaches didn’t fit the bill for migraines because they were too frequent and too short. I wasn’t really able to monitor frequency at the time because all I could concentrate on was the pain.

I believe in the Bible. I believe James’ council (5:14), I had the elders lay their hands on me and offer me a blessing of healing. What I got was not that. I remember KYLE BROGDON acting as voice for that blessing. I remember his determination to command my body to be whole, to heal. I remember this because it’s what we both wanted. We both wanted to be able to work, to not be limited by my headaches. I remember his almost… awkward?… hesitation as he gave me these words instead: “you will not be healed of this affliction. You will have these pains the remainder of your life.” If you’ve never had the Lord confirm truth to you, it may be a difficult thing to understand, but at that moment, I had the truth of his promise confirmed to my soul. At the time, I believed it to be limited to the headaches. I’ve been shown since that it is not my place to put limitations on the Lord.

My headaches haven’t gotten better. I’ve been able to identify that they happen 4-8 times a day, and last 30-90 minutes, which better fits cluster headaches than migraines, but I’ve no official diagnosis there, either.