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Have You Heard of Kratom?

UnknownKratom, Mitragyna speciosa, is a plant in the coffee family. It is native to Southeast Asia in the Indochina and Malaysia botanical areas. Kratom is indigenous to Thailand where it has been used in traditional medicine.

Kratom is not an opiate, however, it is thought to behave similarly to an opioid receptor agonist (like morphine). It is used for pain management and energy enhancement. While it has been used recreationally, its use is not detected by typical drug screening tests. More sophisticated testing can detect some metabolites. Pharmacological effects of kratom on humans is not fully understood including its efficacy and safety.

Adverse effects of kratom may include palpitations, seizure, muscle pain, insomnia, fatigue or chest discomfort.[8] A number of deaths have been attributed to its use.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration stated that “Kratom is not controlled under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. There are, however, several states (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin) where it is illegal to use kratom.

I have been using kratom for several months for pain and energy. I will use kratom for a few days and then stop the kratom and use cannabis for a few days and then oxycodone for a few days – repeat. I do this so that I don’t develop a tolerance for any one thing.

To purchase kratom, you can go to www.getkratom.com. There are other sites, but I know getkratom has good quality and that the herb is fresh. Be careful of local herb shops where the kratom could have been on the shelf for months.

As with anything, consult your doctor before using kratom. Please use it responsibly for your safety and so that we can keep it legal in the US


Medication Responsibility

I had a huge wake up call regarding being responsible around taking my medication. Evidently

th I had quite the experience the other night although I remember none of it.

It all started with Sunday night and Bob telling me I hadn’t taken my meds yet when I thought I had. He was so sure, though that I took them – again. The next morning I couldn’t wake up. We were supposed to be leaving at 9-10 AM to go to Brookings, Oregon  (3-4 hour drive) to meet Bob’s son and his fiance and their baby daughter, Sawyer. I slept the entire ride there. I do remember once we were in our room, Pat and Courtney came to the door.  We said hello and that is all I remember until I woke up in the hospital the next morning restrained, intubate, catheterized and had no idea where I was. I didn’t know where Bob was. I couldn’t talk because I was intubated. Nightmare! 

Finally heard from Bob about 6 hours later. I guess he had taken me to the hospital in Gold Beach and they couldn’t manage my care. So they flew me to Eugene. Bob was not able to go on the flight plus we had company. I remember nothing about an ambulance ride or a flight.

Once I was awake and extubated, they removed the restrainsts. However, they put me on suicide watch even though I assured them it was an accident. Every time they gave me a pill, took my blood pressure, etc., they asked if I felt like hurting myself even though I was clearly alert, in a good mood and far, far from the picture of someone with suicidal ideation.

The take away from this is that I have to record when I have taken my meds so that this NEVER happens again. I am using a notebook and just listing date/time I took my last meds.

My only wish is that I could remember it all. An ambulance and a plane ride. Wheeeeeeeee!!! That must have been quite exciting. lol

Please, if you don’t already, record when you take your meds. You never know when you might slip up and double up on them.  For all the joking, I never want to go through that again.


Ending the Conversation In My Head

thAs some of you know, I have this ongoing fight with myself that I “should” have a job or I “should” do more around the house. I walk around feeling like I am doing something wrong because these shoulds are all over me.

This afternoon, I was sitting doing a jigsaw puzzle on my iPad when some of those “should” thoughts came up. I stopped working on the puzzle and just had a frank discussion with myself. I am retired and I am disabled. I can’t work. I’ve tried. I crash and burn every time with my illness escalating with each cycle. I am also 53, my husband who is 16 years older is retired and he wants me home with him. So, I am retired.

I told myself: Enough! I am not having this conversation or feeling this guilt ever again.
Forget retirement for a minute. None of us with serious illnesses should feel guilty over not working at a job. We are criticizing ourselves much more harshly than a friend or loved one would. I know my husband feels better when I am relaxing and enjoying myself rather than working like crazy and flaring up my disease.

Frankly, I tell people I am retired because I am not considered disabled by the government. I had a tough judge and extenuating circumstances that blocked me from being disabled through Social Security. However, I do have a handicap placard and anyone who knows me would say I am disabled by my illness.

I am ending the conversation in my head and doing my best not to feel guilty any longer.
And, by the way, it is no one’s business regarding the reason you aren’t working. Guilt is a useless emotion. At least in this situation.


What Does It Mean

What does it mean
to say hello
if goodbye does not exist?

What does it mean
to have sun on your face
if you’ve never felt the evening brisk?

What does it mean
to closely hold a child
if you were never held when young?

What does it mean
to the forest air
if your song is never sung?

And, can you still
walk with God
if no one ever walked with you?

The joy is there in His love
If you only let it through.


Mystery #1 (working title)

Now that I am feeling better, I am back to writing. Below is a bit from my very first novel.


I don’t know why I believed the party would be fun. Jason blows out his breath in disgust. Knee-high weeds tug at the legs of his jeans as he trudges through a field on his walk home. The night is so hot and humid his lungs struggle to separate oxygen from water.

The party had turned into a drunk-fest and that just isn’t his scene. Jason also doesn’t believe in drinking and driving, which is why he is walking. Berating himself for the one beer he did have he slaps at the overgrown weeds. “Face it, buddy.” Jason sighs. “You aren’t a jock and they aren’t going to allow you in their club just because you knock back a brewsky.” Crickets chirp their agreement.

Jason is well aware of his “geek” status. “It shouldn’t be such a big deal that I prefer computers to tossing a ball around.” Jason defends himself. It is though. Especially to said ball-tossers. “So what if they don’t like me?” He throws his shoulders back pulling himself up taller and straighter. I have other friends, don’t I? A tentative expression on his face, he comforts himself with the knowledge that instead of playing games, he is already working towards his career goal of computer programming. Acceptance letters from several excellent colleges are

King City, Texas September 2006


spread across his desk at home. He just needs to make a final decision within the next two weeks. Yes, his life is on track with his dreams.

Smiling Jason knows that his life is going quite well. Then the smile curves downward as he thinks of the one major disappointment in his life. It is a problem that he doesn’t quite know how to resolve. The problem has a name. Anne. Anne Shaye is his best friend. She is one year younger than Jason and a junior in high school. They have lived next door to each other their entire lives. Anne is surprisingly mature and it is towards each other that they turn when one of them needs a shoulder to cry on or someone to celebrate with.

Warmth fills his heart as he pictures Anne. He exclaims to the night air, “God, she is so beautiful, fun and sweet.” Then the heat of embarrassment makes its way up his neck and onto his face. The picture of Anne is so real that he reaches out to run his fingers through the pale, baby fine, blonde hair that just brushes her shoulders. Even in his dreams her blue eyes smile at him and he loves her giggle that is too often absent. Jason’s heart breaks for her. Anne has it hard. Her parents are not nice people. Jason has an almost basal need to protect her.

Jason stops walking. He is distracted as he looks up at the stars shining bright in the clear night sky. Barely noticing the slight fish-smell from the lake as it blows across the field, Jason resumes his trek home. A lone bullfrog sitting Buddha-


like witnesses how Jason uses a deep breath to gather his courage. “I’m in love with her. I have been for a long time.” Surprising himself with the words that he has never said aloud before now, he self-consciously looks around just to make sure no one could have overheard. But, she is wasting her life on Gregg. He is her boyfriend and he is not good for her. Not good for her at all. Punching his fists in the air relieves a little of the anger knotting his shoulders. I wish I weren’t so afraid it would destroy our friendship if I were to tell her how I feel. What if she doesn’t feel the same? Shoving his hands into his pockets, fear shudders through him at the thought of a life without Anne. Shaking his aching head, he tries to rattle lose an answer to his problem.

Headlights of a car pierce the darkness of the night. Jason grimaces in annoyance at being pulled from his reverie. What could they be doing driving across the field, he wonders. He notices the car seems to be coming right for him. Is it someone I know? Wishing the headlights weren’t so blinding Jason realizes that he can’t see the driver or even the make of the car. A jolt of fear courses through his body. Are they trying to scare me? His mind goes into a scramble trying to remember if he has pissed anyone off.

A twisting, turning in his solar plexus tells him that the car is stalking him across the field. It is closing on him fast. Jerking his head around he searches for safety. Seeing nothing but empty field he alters his course hoping the car will just drive on by. It doesn’t. There is no escape as the car turns to follow him.


Raw terror flames his feet into a run for his life. His mind thrashing about in a futile attempt to figure out whom it could be. He chastises himself for even going to the party.

No doubt the driver means him harm. Beginning to run a zigzag pattern to hopefully outmaneuver the car, Jason struggles to think of his next move. Fingers of fear curl fist-like in his gut. His plight worsens when he trips over a rock in his path. Staggering, he rights himself ordering his legs to run. His breath is labored from the exertion. He has never been so afraid. Jason is screaming and pleading for someone to help. No one is there to hear. The nearest house is barely in view. The car is almost on top of him when he loses his footing again. Falling in slow motion he knows there is no escape. The headlights of the 4,000-pound weapon a perfect spotlight for his dance of desperation. I don’t want to die. As real as if she is standing there he sees Anne holding her arms out to him. Tears spill down his face as he says, “Anne, I love you. I will always love you.”

As the left front tire of the car rolls over his skull, Jason’s world goes dark.



Obtaining New Levels of Health

Those of you who know me, know that I am in an upswing with the illnesses I have (lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, gastroparesis and bipolar disorder). Whew, is that as overwhelming to read as it was to type? Imagine living with all of this. However, I have great doctors who have done things to help me balance and manage these illnesses.

The one thing that I have done (and it made a significant difference) was to quit working. I closed the support group in February. That was a hard step to take, but I became healthier without the stress. We did still have our cannabis business and I was customer liaison and had just become the head grower when we made the decision to close that down. However, once we did, I gained another level of health.

I have continued to do fairly well despite we sold our house, we are living out of hotels and waiting for our new house in Lincoln City, Oregon to close.

Thought I would write this as a quick update and will write more on different aspects of these changes in the coming weeks.


Ending All Hope

I have a story to tell.
I hope you will take a moment to listen.
It doesn’t end so well.
You see, love on one side is missing.

I didn’t even bother to wear makeup
because I know I am going to cry.
I’ve had no one to talk to for so long
and it’s all bottled up inside.

The pain she caused when she deserted me
when she proved she didn’t care,
the incomparable hurt that ripped at me
laying my insides bare.

I’d given more than she knew,
cared more than she could imagine.
was more loyal than she deserved.
this evident when she so easily slashed me.

Slashed me from her life,
from all that we had built together.
Slashed me through the midsection…
fatally ending all hope that we can recover.


What Life Holds Next


Many of you may have already heard or read that I had to close down the fibromyalgia – chronic fatigue syndrome support community that I ran for six years. It was about 800 members strong.

While it breaks my heart to give up what I considered my life’s work, I just became too ill to keep up with all that was required. My initial concern was for the members and how they would handle the loss of a support system in their lives. They have been enormously amazing. Many, many have taken the time to write and thank me and reassure me that I am making the right decision by focusing on my own health. With the exception of one member, no one has given me a hard time about closing the community or the loss of the group. The goodwill outpouring has brought tears to my eyes and those of my husband’s more than once.

I don’t know what my life holds next for me. I have several interests and hobbies. Most of you know about them, I just haven’t been able to participate in them in a long time. We have three goats that I would love to get back to playing with, along with our two dogs. I write novels and would love to finish one and get it into publication, at least as an e-book. I took up knitting not all that long ago and then had to drop it. I would like to get back to that.

If my brain ever returns, I would love to read again. I used to be a creative artist with oil paints. I don’t know that is in the cards again. Too many chemicals, but maybe I can figure out another way to work art into my life. And, I always loved to cook if I can get the energy to stand in the kitchen again.

I guess what I am saying is I don’t know where I am headed at this point. I have some guesses and some directions I would like to head. We will see if my body cooperates.

I have long wondered what the stress of working was doing to keep me sick. I have wondered even longer than that what immersing myself in the world of illness all day, every day was doing to keep me ill. I tend to be very suggestible. Was all that illness talk keeping me more ill? This is going to be interesting going forward.


Robbing Myself of Thriving and Joy

Originally posted on Pain Ninja on Oct 9, 2012.

photo-182A few months ago, I was doing amazingly well for being chronically ill and having chronic pain.  I had stopped all opioids and my pain levels had become more manageable by using natural methods such as EFT, meditation, breathing exercises, etc.  In fact, most days I had little or no pain.  Woohoo!

And, then I got cocky!  Oh man, did I get cocky.  Despite being cautioned by my husband, therapist, health coach and doctor, I ran headlong into life acting like I had the healthy body of a teenager.  After all, I had pretty much conquered pain.  Surely this meant that I was basically well.  Ha!

I don’t remember the order, but all of the following contributed to…One. Big. Fall.  I tried to stop a medication I had been on for years, I began my pain coaching business and was working with clients, we decided to make some big changes in the large support group that I co-lead.  After not really driving for over a year, I tried to drive into Portland for a doctor’s appointment.  I tried a new kind of massage that (initially) sent me back into screaming pain.  And, I was working pretty much seven days a week.

CRASH!!!  **cue sound of squealing brakes and grinding metal like two trains colliding**

Yep, you probably saw that one coming, didn’t you?

Stopping the medication didn’t work and I had to resume taking it.  I love pain coaching, but it was taking a lot out of me to be on the phone so much.  The driving experiment was an epic fail.  It took me an entire week to recover.

My poor body was jerked all over the place with stress, medication changes, and lots and lots of overdoing.

I stopped thriving.  Through all of this, I lost my joy.

Depression began to set in and I felt powerless to stop it.  That is until I realized that the problem was how I was just pushing myself to get through the days and not having any fun or down time.

I even took a week off and had all kinds of plans for creative projects.  I didn’t do them.  I was just flat too exhausted and too depressed.  I ended the week off wanting another week off.  I felt like I was back at my job in corporate America working too many hours and not loving it.

I badly needed to find some joy.  Joy alone is a powerful pain reliever and immune booster.  My body and psyche deserved to experience joy.  We all deserve to experience joy.

What about you?  Are you feeling joy daily?  Are you taking care of yourself and not pushing beyond your limits?

It isn’t easy, is it?  So many times we try to shoehorn our bodies into acting like they are not chronically ill.  This can only end in disaster.

I heard this quote on Kris Carr’s “Crazy, Sexy Cancer” movie:

“We accept our ailment as an assignment; an occasion to go deeper into ourselves to heal our bodies, feelings and lives.”

What a novel way to look at chronic illness.  It made me wonder what it would be like to honor my illness.  To treat it, not as an unwelcome guest, but as one of my greatest teachers.

Could my illness lead me into joy if I stopped fighting and pushing against it?

I have decided to experiment.  I am dropping the pushing and its resultant crashes.  I am going to honor, love and appreciate everything about my body.  EVERYTHING!  That especially includes the illness and pain.

I am going to try to only work 2-3 days a week.  I am going to reinstitute some of the things I love to do such as knitting, reading, painting, cooking and writing.  I am going to find out what other lessons my illness has to teach me.  Then, I will come back here and share what I discovered.


Own Fears Allayed


Fingers trail along edge of sheet.
Another day in bed.
Hard not to feel defeat
when illness taps your head.

You didn’t ask for this…
Didn’t want it for sure!
To spend your days in the whisper and hiss
of all the doubters you endure.

It’s in your head, they like to say,
all who think they know,
what it’s like day to day
to live in this body you own.

What does it matter to you, you wonder?
What difference could it make?
Why would they judge you, you ponder?
What’s shocking is their hate.

They demonstrate their own smallness.
Their tiny egos brazenly displayed.
All in an effort I guess
to have their own fears allayed.