Nostalgia: Finding the Joy Through the Pain.

FullSizeRenderShe writes!

The space that was once my therapeutic safe space has turned into a space I look at and occasionally dread. It is an awful feeling when a source of comfort turns into… darkness.

This is my life right now.

I fight for comfort. And yes, Momma still needs a beer, but not necessarily because of my children anymore. BWHAHAHA!! OK… sometimes.

I do have to put a little alcohol on it because of my chronic condition. My cute little tagline has become reality, and whether that’s something you find to be “a problem” or not… it works for me. Not every day. Ok ok… sometimes! Geez. Moderation is everything. But… other than Valium, the pills don’t always work. Also — Botox. I’ve had to undergo surgery 5 times this year for trigger point injections in my pelvic floor, and will be spending New Year’s Eve in the hospital — kids and all! Wheeeeeee!!

Pass the damn alcohol.

Because of my chronic condition without a cure, I’ve had to come to terms with a few things. First of all, find the joy. Find the fucking joy. Where’s the joy? What joy can I find in this shit?!! What CAN I do?!!

Ok: I “get to” watch a hell of a lot of tv in bed. Many people might even consider that a “luxury” — being “stuck” in bed because I can’t sit or stand for long periods of time without excruciating pain. I might have, once upon a time. I don’t as much anymore — but I don’t recall a time in my life when I’ve ever felt “bored” — even now.

I still find ways to be active within my community when I can. Writing, social media marketing, event planning, singing, volunteering, etc. Because, ya know what?! I’m not dead. I can do much of the above from my bed, from my laptop or smart phone, and still do when I can. Want to hire me? Email me — let’s chat. Momma’s got some medical bills to pay. HA!

When I’m not doing much of the above, I’m juggling family life, appreciating my kids’ laughter, music, art, stories, etc. They are my reason for living. Goodness, I’m SO lucky they are good to me. I’m not saying that to brag at ALL. They can be little shits like every kid. But can I freeze them at 7 and 11 please?!!! The sweet things they say and do for me make me burst into tears! Joy.

My friends are also an incredible source of joy. They check in with me and just… get it. They drag me out when I need to. And damn it — I DO need to get out — as much as I’d rather stay home and hide under the covers sometimes, going out for a beer with my friends and feeling like ME again means the world. The hubs doesn’t think I drink nearly enough.

My condition will not define me.

Finally… when I am in the cusp of those lonely isolating moments — I turn to my old pal television. We cut the cable cord earlier this year; I thought it would hurt, but it only brought me closer to my old friend. I’m now commercial free and LOVING it!! TV has always been there for me. As I grew up, I belly-laughed with my dad though Roseanne, Carol Burrnett and SNL sketches.

Today, I nostalgically dive through Saturday Night Live clips with my kids. They have fallen in love with Wayne’s World, Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet, and anything with Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. This goes beyond SNL to the wonderful world of Parks and Rec, though we haven’t dove into 30 Rock… we’ll get there.

My kids also love to watch The Goldbergs which is nostalgia HEAVEN for an 80s kid like me. If you were born in the 70s and haven’t watched this comedy GOLD… please do yourself a favor and just pick and episode or two and GO. I have yet to watch an episode and think “eh.” I love them all — and it’s hard to find a sitcom I can enjoy WITH my kids. A lot of them can be cheeseball — or just too many sex jokes. Nothing in between. The Goldbergs — somehow — have managed to find that middle ground. Thank you!

For me… having to say goodbye to Parks and Rec and Mad Men this year was a bit painful. They were my friends. Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson? Pals. That Peggy Strut was EVERYTHING. I always felt Joan Harris was my spirit animal — and the episode of The Christmas Waltz will forever make me wonder “what if” for a second between Don Draper and Joan… before I pull back and realize — it’s every platonic friendship I’m grateful for.

This is my life. I haven’t even mentioned how many times I’ve watched episodes of Ab Fab, or… goodness — Gilmore Girls as that IS my go-to comfort food. I am Lorelai Gilmore after-all. Except, instead of coffee… I need beer (or, rather — add beer to my coffee needs) instead of Luke’s, I go to Bob’s more than a gal should. The rest? Fairly spot-on.

I know. I’m insane.

Bare with me, I haven’t written therapeutically for awhile… but really, the places we go to find comfort shouldn’t be judged. Especially if we are suffering in one way or another. What else can we do? If we don’t laugh, we’ll cry. We long for joy and comfort. Nostalgia seems to fit the bill. Look at television these days… even current shows are going BACK to the old days to tap into our nostalgic haze. Many of the shows that I watch don’t take place in present day. When I’m not watching my “present-day” shows like Scandal or Transparent I go to Netflix or Hulu for my commercial free fix of something like… iZombie which is practically a reboot of Veronica Mars! I mean… come on — nostalgia at it’s finest.

The movies have been doing it for years. How many sequels and prequels can one movie have? Look at Star Wars?! JJ Abrams — I love you. You’ve not only reinvigorated a series FROM THE 70s, but you made me want to rewatch Alias! You can’t tell me Rey wasn’t in some way inspired by Sydney Bristow!! GA!!

And look at Lin-Manuel Miranda!! Hamilton!!! I’m obsessed. My daily soak in the tub wouldn’t be complete without reliving the last two decades of the 1700s through a hip-hopera. WHAT?!! Talk about nostalgia. Immigrants: they get the job done. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Download the soundtrack, my friends. Omfg.FullSizeRender (4)

My point, and I do have one — is that we all have to find our bliss in some way shape or form. For me — there are days I can’t leave my house because I’m in so much damn pain. It sucks. But I can’t just sit and cry and scream about it. Ok, some days I totally do!! But what the hell good does it do?! I used to feel better writing/venting about it… until the last couple of years — now I can almost count on an inbox full of judgy hater trolls after hitting publish wondering if I’m writing about them, among other choice words. Uh… No? I’m generally venting about… LIFE, people. This used to be my sacred space… doesn’t Tina Fey have a new rule about not apologizing for her jokes? I should look into that.

Because… talk about blowing a funny writing fuse.

The point is… I am writing now. I don’t know if I will continue to write in this space… but I’m writing today. It does feel good to share and spread awareness.

Know that if you are suffering from a mental or physical illness, you are not alone. I am suffering. I may never be cured. I am working on treatments. I am working on getting through each day. I am so grateful for those who talk me through it. Who hug me through it. Who don’t judge me for my genuinely happy posts on social media and just… get me.

I may never be “better.” But I’m trying. I’m still me. I’m powering through the best I can. Embracing the joy… and my beer! This chronic illness doesn’t have a cure, but I refuse to let it define me. And I appreciate those of you who still see the real ME behind the illness more than you could ever possibly know.

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New layer…
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Lessons from a Shattered iPad. 

We are those “wacky” parents that don’t allow our kids to play with electronic devices outside of our home, except in extreme circumstances.

We have a “no phones at the dinner-table” rule, and our kids probably yell at the adults more often than we yell at them. It’s pretty rare to see our kids with an electronic device at a restaurant now — they know it’s rude, and if we’re out in public, we are to — get this — interact. Look in people’s eyes, and have a conversation. If they don’t feel up to chatting, they can get creative with paper and markers.

I know, we’re SO strict.

However — because we don’t take our devices out of the house very often, they have set screen-times at home, and, well, we’re fairly lax (see also: lazy, cheap) on the whole “case” thing. My iPad case fell apart a few months ago, and the kids got annoyed by the flimsy case, so they removed it, and we never invested in a new one.

Recently… my 10yo was walking with the iPad while playing a game (also on “don’t do that” list… but… no one was watching her, so, whatever!) and somehow, she managed to klutzify the situation — and BOOM!

All I heard was:

MASSIVE EAR PIERCING SCREAMING CRYING YELLING AND… NOOOOO!!!!!!

Did she break a bone? Should I dial 911?! 

If she knew how to swear, she would’ve.
She’s a good kid. She doesn’t.
Maybe we should check her DNA. 

When I found her a split 5 seconds later, I had to stop myself from MASSIVELY SCREAMING AND SWEARING AND YELLING AT HER! OMFG! BEER ME!! NOOOO!!! 

My 7yo was also a mess… naturally, they both loved my iPad. They played with that thing more than I did. My use was more for reading e-books and work… ok, ok, and the screen-time sitter in the morning, let’s be honest here, I’ve got shit to do. 

I turned off the iPad immediately. But the thing, as you can see?! Smashola.iPad Smash

We have about 4 square feet of ceramic tile in our entire house. She managed to drop it right. there.

The hubs has dropped – and repaired – his fair share of iPhone screens… but he was not so sure about this iPad repair.

After I cooled off, breathed, and tried to console my 10yo, my brain swirled to that awful commercial the girls and I have made fun of over the last few months. Ya know, the one where the kid in a cape jumps on the dishwasher door and the mom looks at him, sort of laughs it off and calls the Sears repairman? And then the kid looks at the magically repaired dishwasher like he’s gonna do it again? The kid didn’t learn his lesson. My kids and I hate that damn commercial. My own kids think the commercial mom is a terrible mom for not following through and teaching the kid a lesson.

But… *is* this the same damn situation?!

My kid didn’t throw the iPad.
She didn’t jump on it.
She didn’t do it on purpose.
No capes were involved.

Accidents happen, but there are still consequences for actions — even if they are accidents.

When we were kids, wait, wait — let me grab my cane — back in my day… if we hit a baseball into the neighbor’s window — whoops — but you KNOW our parents would make us go apologize in person and do chores to pay for that window, right?

As adults — we get into a car accident — we have to pay for the repairs. Sometimes, more than that… a ticket, points on our license, etc.

Responsibility. What a concept. 

Shit happens. And whether it’s an accident or on purpose, as parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our kids learn that their actions have consequences.

Parenting is hard! Our 10yo is a good kid. She’s smart. She doesn’t require punishments often, and this was a really tough one, since she did already lose the iPad. But, so did her sister. And so did her parents for that matter!

So… I went old school. I gave her a list of chores to make up for the tools and the repair guy (dad) to free her debt. We talked about it the whole way, so she was aware of the situation and why it was happening. Taking responsibility for her actions and whatnot. She was not super happy about it — but it has been a good lesson for all of us.

The good news is that even though the chores, and the lesson were tough for my 10yo, she eventually accepted everything, and the iPad was… wait for it… FIXED. YES! We will chalk this one up as a win — all around! Woohoo! Beer me more!

I’m pretty sure I aged 15 years and earned 500 grey hairs dealing with this issue. But it is one of those things I knew the hubs and I had to attack with a strong united front — not simply throw money at, not say “poor kid” and blow off. The consequences of those actions could’ve been detrimental to the future of our parenting, and to our children.

Maybe we do sound strict, awful and heartless. It sucks to grow up!

Hopefully our “strict” attitude will lead to raising two healthy, happy adults that respect boundaries, who understand that good feeling that comes from taking responsibility and helping others.

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Pelvic Floor Botox: The Final Frontier?

Warning — as you can probably deduce by the title, this is not a post about beer. I may talk about alcohol. I’ll also discuss private body parts and probably swear a little. If that makes you uncomfortable, you may want to skip this and read something like my previous post about beer and bacon. You’re welcome. Oh, and I’m also not a medical professional. I’m sharing my personal story as a dysfunctional pelvic floor patient… and person. Let’s be honest here. 

Over the last 2 years I’ve filled you in on my struggles with my dysfunctional pelvic floor. 

I’m dealing with daily chronic pain because of an issue called Pelvic Floor Myalgia. I’ll link you to past articles, otherwise this one would be three times as long. Plus… goodness. I’m sick of my own health chronicles by now. But, here you go. 

My Broken Vagina 

Pelvic Dysfunction, What’s your function? 

From Operating Table to Beer Fest in 24 Hours

My issues have spiraled beyond my vagina and pelvic floor over the last year. I can’t sit without some level of pain — wow. Sitting: don’t take it for granted, my friends! I’ve been injected with pain relievers into my vagina so many times I had to start going to a surgical center because the issues were becoming too deep for my urologist to reach while I was conscious. 

Good times. 

I also attempted a round at a pain clinic where they tried to do a nerve block on my pudendal nerve with the idea they could eventually cauterize the nerve. (Call me crazy, but, I don’t believe it’s “one” nerve) This route was too good to be true. I was treated like I was on a conveyer belt… and I felt worse instead of better. And was given a swift “well, this could take several rounds before we figure your issues out…” As in, we can see you every 3-4 months for more nerve blocks that may or may not work — so it could take a year before you feel any level of relief. Wait, what?!! Another YEAR of this?! And it’s all a big ass question mark?!! Do I slit my wrists or yours?!! 

So as an alternative to suicide, I went back to my trusted urologist, and we talked… Botox. Yes. Botox in my pelvic floor. For a pretty vagina! Ha! Right. My DREAM COME TRUE!! Now, if you don’t read that heavy sarcasm font, I’ve always been an aging gracefully gal. While I have fun dying my hair to what I feel is my “true” soul-color: red. It’s not about covering up my greys. And I haven’t felt an urge to cover up my wrinkles or stretch marks. They are what they are; maps of where I’ve been and what I’ve been through. Talk to me again in 10 years, but that’s how I feel today. 

Botox is not solely for cosmetic purposes anymore. Botox can help shut up wicked muscles and nerves that are causing trouble. Like mine. In my pelvic floor. Causing all sorts of issues. Firing up my sciatic nerves, down to my feet. Giving me back and hip issues. Sparking migraines. My body was a mess. Those dirty little bastards needed to be paralyzed. 

I tried to read up on Botox for pelvic floor issues before I went in, and the little information I found frightened me. Most of what I read in articles and forums said I’d feel worse for 2-3 weeks before I’d feel better. IF I’d feel better. 

Awesome. IF?! Really?! Insurance isn’t even covering this since Botox is not FDA approved and it’s an IF?!! Fanfuckingtastic. 

But, I didn’t have anything to lose at this point; it was Botox or continue to suffer… so — 2 weeks ago, my urologist put me under and administered 200 units of Botox into my pelvic floor via trigger-point injections. 

I went home… and felt… terrible. 

For about 2 weeks. 

Yes. What I didn’t realize, was that I’d feel like I’d have the flu. That “hit by a truck” flu. I don’t know if it was the botulism in the Botox so close to my stomach or what. And I don’t know if this was simply my personal experience or if this was a typical side effect because I don’t have many friends who can relate to this. It’s not like getting your tonsils or appendix out. 

The craptastic icing on the cake? My trusty alcoholic remedy that usually helped relieve my pain? Beer. Whiskey. Tequila. Nope. Couldn’t do it. For almost 2 weeks. Even the Vicodin… ugh. I felt terrible. My typical remedies made me feel worse. I could barely get out of bed. 

I felt dizzy. I felt nauseous. I blacked out a few days after surgery for about 5 minutes. Simply sitting at a table — my eyes wouldn’t focus. It’s like I went blind. I woke up the next morning with shoulder and chest pain. The nurse at my urologist’s office heard my symptoms and sent me to the ER, and I had an EKG 5 minutes after checking in because my symptoms pointed to a heart-attack risk.*

I’m FINE. 

In fact, the doctors kinda blew me off after the EKG, bloodwork and other tests came back normal. “Drink water. Don’t stand up so fast.” I felt SO stupid, I didn’t want to tell ANYONE… but the hubs reminded me of that immediate EKG when I checked in… “Nope — we did the right thing by getting you checked out! Fuck that. Do NOT feel stupid. You are alive, not stupid!” 

Over the following week, I still felt like I was stuck in some sick circle of hell… and I know I’m still not out of the woods, and will still have to live my life one day at a time for awhile. 

But…

My pelvic floor is actually softening up, and my pain seems to be subsiding. 

I can sit for longer periods of time without wanting to cry. 

My sciatic nerves haven’t been acting up, and my migraines have lightened up quite a bit as well. Any pain I’ve had has localized back to the pelvic area instead of spiraling out of control. 

The Botox… is working. 

Did you hear me?! *grabs megaphone* The Botox is working!!! It’s paralyzing those dirty little bastards!! 

If everything continues down this positive path, the Botox should last 3-6 months… and from what I read, in some cases, it could be permanent! BWHAHAHA!! I’m absolutely not counting on THAT in my wicked case. But, I will take 3 months. And I can rinse and repeat, and know what to expect for the next round, because I can get this done again in 3 months. 

I’m only 2 weeks post-op here, but yesterday… oh, yesterday was a beautiful day. I finally felt a glimpse of the old Kelli coming back. I actually felt like drinking again!! I laughed. I smiled. I flirted with a bartender.** I drank some really good beer. 

Look out. I’m making a comeback, bitches. 

*PSA — heart attack symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, especially in women. An EKG takes 5 minutes at the ER. Seriously people. Don’t underestimate peace of mind over, ya know… death. 


** Yes, I’m married. I was out with the hubs. Who do you think was encouraging me to flirt with her?! 

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  • About Me

    Kelli Williams

    Kelli Williams

    Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...

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