I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous...Now Read My HIPS!

Now Read My HIPS! is returning very soon. My blog is currently under construction. I am doing some minor renovating and will begin blogging for the New Year, possibly before. I can't wait to start up again. I have missed all of my followers! I love every single one of you! You have helped me to become who I am today! I could never have continued my blog without all of your support. Please be patient, and please continue to support this blog as well as my other blog Chronically Mommy. Pass this information on to anyone that you know may be interested in knowing...To be continued...

I had my shoulder and both hips replaced, and I am changing things up a bit on this blog! I began belly dancing in 2010! Yes you read that correctly!! I am going to be blogging about my experience as a woman with several joint diseases and conditions who had her shoulder and both hips replaced who now belly dances and performs! I still have pain, but I want to blog about how I have fun too! Now Read My HIPS! Please read Chronically Mommy (chronicallymommy.blogspot.com) for info on health/pain.

Hi, I have avascular necrosis in my shoulders, hips, and knees, psoriatic arthritis, sjogren's, fibromyalgia, and hypermobility. I found out that I have autoimmune arthritis in my cervical spine and a bulging disk in my lumbar spine. Seven years ago my spine orthopaedic surgeon told me I had a small amount of autoimmune arthritis in my SI joint. The question still remains: Is the spinal involvement due to Psoriatic Spondylitis, which is a more severe form of Psoriatic Arthritis or is it a new diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis? Whatever the diagnosis, the treatment will remain the same. I had my left hip replaced in 2003 & my right shoulder replaced in March of 2010. I literally gave my right arm to be ambidextrous! LOL! Lastly, I had my right hip replaced on May 10th, 2012.

I began belly dancing. Yes that's correct! I began belly dancing in 2010, so now it is time to "read my hips." Pain is still another part of my life. It is just a question of when, where and how much, but I would like to use this blog to write about my experience as a woman with several joint diseases and conditions who had both hips and a shoulder replaced and now spends her free time belly dancing and performing! I belong to a dance troupe since February of 2014, Seshambeh Dance Company. I am dancing weekly with my troupe in an advanced class and on Saturdays with another class which focuses on exercise and being a strong woman. I am performing a lot more often now, at least 4 or 5 times per year! Join me in my journey!

At times, I take 16 to 20 pills a day. I go every 4 weeks to the to get a 2 hour IV for my autoimmune arthritis diseases. Just when one thing seems to be doing better, something else goes downhill! My attitude, however, is always going uphill! I am 42 years old, have been married 16 years, and my husband and I adopted Mick in Dec. of 2010! I have a lot on my plate right now, but I take it one moment at a time. I believe that God will never give me more than I can handle. However, I do need to learn to ask for help sometimes instead of always doing it by myself!



(Formerly "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!")

Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I've never done before.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these daya are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me, help me, help me, oh.

Now Read My HIPS!

Now Read My HIPS!
Asmara "Beautiful Butterfly"

Blog with Integrity

BlogWithIntegrity.com

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Year I Became A Zombie...Trick or Treat!

The next edition of the blog carnival will be posted on Monday, October 18. The theme: Trick or Treat! Halloween is coming soon and we started thinking, wow, medicine is like Editrix Jenni's favorite holiday. Sometimes you get treats, and sometimes you get tricks. We'd love to hear about the ups and downs of your experience. Show us the highs and lows, and the surprises!


Palms sweaty, heart racing, tremors, chest tightness, high blood pressure, nervousness, anxiety, agitation, urinary incontinence, goose bumps, rapid breathing, chills, restlessness, panic atticks, inability to sit still, nightmares, unusual dreaming, abnormal sleep pattern, insomnia! These could be the same effects before, during and after a scary movie or a haunted house. These are examples of side effects from different medications.  I figured this topic would be fitting with Halloween around the corner. When you have chronic illnesses, you have many different medications to take. With the many medications, you have many side effects. Because you have so many side effects, you have to sometimes take even more medications to counteract the awful effects. And sometimes, you can even make more side effects from the added medications to counteract those original side effects. It can become an endless cycle!





I was once misdiagnosed with depression when I went to the doctor with hip, knee and shoulder pain. I told the doctor I couldn't walk up the back steps. The doctor was thinking it was possible that I could be showing signs of multiple sclerosis. An MRI and CT scan were performed. They came back negative. The doctor told me that there were no lesions. He said that I most likely was having symptoms of depression because it can cause pain as well as the more common symptoms. I was sent to a psychiatrist and was indeed diagnosed with depression. By then, though, I do believe I was depressed that no one could figure out what was causing the disabling pain that was making me unable to put one foot in front of the other or reach above my head. I was put on an antidepressant, and at first it did nothing.  Then I was put on a different one, then another, and then another, etc., etc., etc. until I had tried every single SSRI out there. I was told that I probably needed to increase the dose. I was put on one of the many that I had tried only on a higher dose. I began to feel extremely energetic. My thoughts began to raise. My mind began to wander. My legs became restless. I felt like I was losing myself. I was getting racing thoughts. My psychologist told me that I must have been diagnosed too soon with depression. I must have bipolar disorder where I have both mania and depression. I was put on a cocktail of drugs for bipolar depression. I got all the manic symptoms under control, and basically the depression was under control too. I felt absolutely nothing! How can you feel nothing when you had been in so much pain before? I knew something was terribly wrong. I can tell you this. I hate being in pain, but I never ever want to feel "nothing" again. I got to a point---here comes another Halloween reference--where I was turned into a living Zombie. I WAS "night of the living dead." I sat and stared for hours. I could no longer drive a car. I lost my concentration so I could not even comprehend a 30 second commercial let alone a 30 minute T.V. show or a 2 hour movie. I couldn't hold a normal conversation because I didn't even feel like I was in the same room as the other person talking with me. I felt like I should have just walked around moaning "brains, brains..." My walk was more of a "cogwheel," and my tongue was stiff when I tried to talk. I even drooled slightly. What had happened to me? Would I ever get through this?

Well, I was misdiagnosed, number one. I never had depression. When I was given an antidepressant, my body had an adverse reaction to it. I had a manic episode caused by the antidepressant. I was never bipolar; the medication that was given to me for the wrong diagnosis caused a severe side effect that mimicked bipolar disorder. The medications for the bipolar disorder never helped the bipolar disorder, they only caused multiple side effects, therefore turning me into a living Zombie!

I moved away to another state. I had no medication left over. I woke up from a terrible curse! Someone cursed me and turned me into a Zombie. When the curse wore off (the meds ran out), I woke up as a whole person again. I had no depression, no mania. You know what I did have? I had a hell of a lot of pain; that's what!  Trick or Treat!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Favorite Hobbies Help Me Cope with My Headache Pain--Wanna Find Out How?


Hobbies are so important, and as I've gotten older, my hobbies have changed often. It seems that I always seem to go back to those hobbies that involve some sort of passion of mine. The more I enjoy doing things, the happier I am, therefore the less stressed I am, and the less migraines I tend to get. Although when I was younger, I believe my migraines were brought on primarily by hormones and other issues of my physical body not being balanced out right, I am pretty positive that my migraines in my thirties are more due to stress and anxiety. Yes, I have a lot of physical body imbalances, and I'm sure I have hormonal issues as well, but I am dealing with daily stresses that I just didn't have years ago. We are adopting a child, I have physical disabilities and chronic pain from joint diseases (aside from the migraines), my husband is up for tenure, I am going through a spiritual journey on top of my physical journey, we have moved 3 times in 8 years, I can no longer work, money is always an issue, my dogs are getting older, my oldest dog is now blind with diabetes and 3 legs, my other dog hates every other dog he encounters, we sold our house in KY so we live in an apartment, we are looking to buy a house when my husband gets tenure, and the lists goes on and on. And many of these issues were never even a thought in my head years ago, or even in my twenties.

A new hobby that I have recently picked up is painting. I began by painting a picture of frogs on a log with a cherry blossom tree above them and a bird on a branch. I got carried away with way too much in the picture actually. So I had a friend of mine help me paint a giant picture for our baby's nursery that we are getting ready for when we finally adopt a baby. I had imagined a giant painting of a tree behind the crib, but since we are in an apartment, I didn't want to paint it directly on the wall. We would have to paint over it when we move out, and we would be unable to take it with us. We found 4 canvases at Big Lots for "way cheap" (I'm all about finding the best deal--if that could be a hobby, it would be top on my list), and we decided to put 4 18" by 24" canvases together to paint the giant tree on. I had found online a "heart tree", so we pulled that picture up on my laptop and painted it freehand on the canvases. I am so proud of us! I have decided now that I can really paint if I put my mind to it. I find it very relaxing, and it really makes me not think about anything but what I'm doing at that moment--PAINTING! The painting turned out beautiful. It is a tree with hearts in place of leaves, and a little child is reaching up and grabbing one of the hearts from the tree. Since then, I have painted an angel under a cherry blossom tree, a new painting of frogs, a turtle, an owl on a branch, and another painting of a frog and a dragonfly. I am having so much fun!

A couple hobbies that I tend to do and come back to again and again are sewing and floral arranging/making wreaths. I have a sewing machine, and have made everything from place mats to doggie's scarves to clothes. I put it away for a few years, and I have recently brought it back out to make curtains for the baby's room. I also like to buy artificial flowers, grape vine wreaths, vases, and the mixture to make the water that turns solid. I have made wreaths for every occasion and holiday, and I make sure to change the wreath on the front door for each season and holiday. I also like to buy beautiful, real-looking flowers and put them in small vases and add rocks or marbles to the bottom, and then finally add the mixture that looks like water but is a solid. I usually just have one single flower in the vase like a red rose. I also like to buy or pick fresh flowers and arrange them in large vases. I love to mix the colors with bright green leaves and watch them bloom! When we had our own house, I did more of all of this stuff mainly because we had a lot more space, and I could set everything up in the basement.


Going with the flower subject, I enjoy gardening. There is something very therapeutic about gardening! Since we do not have a yard anymore because we live in an apartment, I can only take care of my 3 house plants. I would probably enjoy growing my own herb garden which I can do in my kitchen or my sun room. The wonderful aroma of an indoor herb garden would really be a nice addition to our home!


This is taken from our adoption profile. You cannot click on it. There is no link to anywhere. On the adoption website, it takes you to our profile, but it doesn't here. Sorry for the confusion!

I enjoy spending time with my fur kids. I believe that playing with them, touching them, and petting them lowers my stress and anxiety more than any other activity. So any hobby that involves my fur kids will definitely reduce my migraines.

I love music and dance. I was a professional dancer, which I have mentioned before. I used to dance at a performing arts center 3 hours a night when  I was very young. I would become a part of the music and literally feel myself inside the music and the music inside me! Now that is a wonderful hobby to reduce stress and help with migraines, but for many years I was unable to dance because of my joints. I will never be a professional ballerina again because my joints are too badly deteriorated. I have however recently begun to dance in a Nia movement class. I am getting the same feeling where I and the music are one. It really works well to relieve stress. I have also begun belly dancing. It is a little more difficult, but I am focused on the belly dancing and nothing else for that one hour. The exercise is good for me, and I am having fun, which is really important to reduce stress and anxiety and pain!

And my two fairly new hobbies are blogging and my blog talk radio show. I have always written in a journal or a diary. I felt as though it helped to write down emotions, things that were bothering me mentally, and when my pain was really bad. I always would look up inspirational quotes and focus on them for the day. Then our world became so computerized, everything and everyone was online. I began to blog about my spiritual journey first on My Path of Self Discovery, then I started my physical journey blog about my chronic pain, etc. Now I have a Blog Talk Radio show that shares the name of this blog I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous! I talk about chronic pain and healing. I have many different subtopics that I will address. The show will be every Friday night at 11 pm ET. After my first Blog Talk Radio show, I was asked to be a guest host on Egun and Then Some... They also asked if I will continue to be a guest host on their show weekly with my own chronic pain segment! So I haven't set that up just yet, but I will let everyone know when that will be. You can check out my first show about me, Dana Morningstar, and what the show has to offer.  My next show is about "The Worst Pain Ever!"  The call-in number is: (714) 459-3943. I am basically still journaling like I used to do, but people all over the world are eavesdropping into my brain, my life, my world. It is an amazing thing! I feel better when I talk about what is bothering me. I feel even better when others can comment about things that they are experiencing as well, which journaling alone does not have. Now with the Blog Talk Radio show, people can literally "hear" my story and listen to other people's questions. I have to say that it is really helpful for my pain issues and it is a hobby that can also "literally" be passed on. Anyone can read my blog and listen to my Blog Talk Radio show! My stress and pain is decreased, and I help to decrease others' pain and stress in the process, which really makes me happy!

Basically, in summary, all of my hobbies are therapeutic to me, not just for my migraines, but for my other chronic joint pain conditions. They reduce anxiety and stress, lower my pain, make me happy, cause a distraction, keep my mind focused on the hobby and nothing else at that time, and most likely lower my blood pressure as well. They keep me calm, relaxed, and feeling much, much better!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Funniest Thing About Chronic Illness

The theme for this edition of ChronicBabe's Blog Carnival is: The Funniest Thing About Chronic Illness. It's not all tears and struggles. Sometimes chronic illness is damn funny - either to us or to others. Sometimes we use humor to deal with the hard times.

You may ask yourself, what is so funny about being chronically ill? Well, I'll tell you--belly dancing..

OK,OK,OK...second question that would automatically follow the first one is: What the hell is a chronically ill person doing belly dancing? Well, let me tell you the story before you "laugh out loud" or "roll on the floor laughing" or even "pee yourself laughing". Believe me, you will pee yourself with this story.

I was a professionally trained ballerina, who just happened to develop several chronic pain and joint conditions. I stopped dancing in high school because my boyfriend at the time had hockey practice and his games on the same nights as some of my dance classes. I chose my boyfriend over dance. This was a bad idea because dance to me was a passion. I thought that I could always go back to it at any point in my life. I never thought I would end up so sick that I couldn't actually dance again. Because it was such a passion of mine the thought of never being able to dance again was a serious loss for me. I went through all the stages of grief before I could accept that I could not ever be a professional ballerina.

Lately, since my medication regimen has been working pretty well for me, I have been feeling pretty good. I have reached a point where I felt like attempting an exercise routine. I have still been struggling with fatigue, but for the most part, I've been feeling well enough to start "moving." I began with swimming laps, added a water aerobic class, also started doing yoga and pilates at home, I bought some small light hand weights and ankle weights, I purchases a shake weight, and I felt really fine doing it all. It seems to give me more energy every time I exercise, especially the more challenging work-outs like the water aerobic class. I take it on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I decided it was time to add a dance class...

A facebook friend of mine teaches a Nia movement class on Tuesdays and Friday nights at an all ladies gym near my home. It is a South African Dance/Movement class that focuses on balance and movement. It is a lot like Tai Chi, where you switch from balancing in one position to another or one side of the body to another side, incorporating the healing arts with it. I loved it so much! I felt the music inside me just like I did when I was a ballerina! I felt like I was a dancer again. I am so thankful for this class because it is so easy on my joints, and I really work up a sweat!

Then I found out about a belly dancng class near my house. I decided to push myself a little further. I went for the first time last week. It was at another apartment complex in their clubhouse. There were 5 students and the instructor. Everyone had a coin scarf around their waste except me because I missed the first class so I hadn't purchased one yet. Three of the students and the instructor had a belly-bearing top. I chose not to bear my belly. The thing about belly dancing is that you really use a lot of the hips and the belly as well as the arms. They worked on arms the first week that I missed, so the week I started was to focus on the hips. Of course it was! Now I have arthritis and avascular necrosis with a total hip replacement of the left hip, and my right hip is partially collapsed. Are you started to see why belly dancing was funny?

We began with the vertical and horizontal figure 8's, then the hip lifts and hip shimmies and finally the leg shimmies. Everytime I tried to do anything with my hips, I moved my knees. You are supposed to separate the two and have the hips move as one unit by themselves. I would laugh so hard because no matter how hard I tried, I could not separate the two. The instructor even would laugh with me. She said to bend my knees slightly, and that should help. It didn't. She came up to me and placed her hands on my hips to try to help me move them without moving my knees. She said it would take practice, but I will eventually get it. Every new hip movement, those darn knees would move right along with the hips. It was crazy. I didn't get mad at myself, but rather I would laugh uncontrollably. The laughter was contagious because everyone would laugh with me as I tried so hard. Then when we finally were taught the leg shimmies, she said that this was the only time we were not to move our hips, but focus on the knees and move them in and out to make it look as though our bodies were vibrating. She looked at me, laughed, and jokingly (yet seriously) said I should be able to do this one because I can actually move my knees. I began to move my knees, started to speed them up...faster and faster. I was doing it! Everyone was laughing louder than before because I was doing it perfectly, and no one else could do it!!!!!!!!!!

After class, I paid my fee, bought my coin scarf and a CD of music to practice with. I told the instructor how much I enjoyed the class. I said that it was challenging, I knew it would be, but I love a good challenge. I said that I love to dance and that I was a professional ballerina years ago. It is nice to get back to dancing. I said I know I am struggling a bit, but I will practice everyday. I promise. I told her that I am struggling with the hips and knees being connected I think because my left hip is replaced and my right hip is partially collapsed. She looked at me with a surprised look on my face. I said that it was OK to laugh with me. I wouldn't take a class if I couldn't laugh at myself. I like a class where I can poke fun at myself and be a normal person. I am having so much fun dancing again. I may not ever look like the perfect belly dancer, but I am having a lot of fun doing it. I know I look funny doing it too, but it's all part of the fun of it. It's OK to laugh with me. Don't stop laughing on my account. After all, I'm a person with chronic pain and several joint and mobility diseases, and I'm taking belly dancing classes. That sentence alone deserves a laugh!

Walk Team

Walk Team

2012

2012

2012

2012

Belly Dance

Belly Dance
Before the Performance 5/6/12
Watch live streaming video from arthritisfoundation at livestream.com