Archive for March, 2011

Booking it

March 30, 2011

Earlier this month, right on schedule, I completed the chapter on teenagers. And by right on schedule, I mean less than one hour before my book partner showed up for our monthly work session. Cutting it uncomfortably close, I know, but rather than letting this dismay me, I took it as refreshing proof that deadlines can still motivate the journalist that lurks within.

Now I’m deep into my 80s Ladies, which is how I quickly began to refer to the women who are the focus of the third chapter in the all-important “decades” chapters. (Obviously, I’m not proceeding in order.) Of the six women in their 80s we selected to interview (of 52 respondents), I’ve seen four, scheduled an interview with a fifth and am stalking the sixth. The elusive sixth candidate has some leg pain, you see, and she needed to consult a doctor and we’ve been chatting about it … several times, but as of yet, she’s been unwilling to set a time to let me come talk with her. I remain optimistic.

Anyway, four interviews done, two to go and chapter deadline is mid-April. I like seesawing back and forth between the older and younger survey respondents, because of the fascinating diversity in their life stories. The teenagers I spoke with can’t even visualize coming into their sexually active years in the type of society women in their 80s and 90s experienced. Two of the teens had double-digit partners, one had seven, another eight. In the two oldest decades, it’s a rare woman who counts more than one lover in her entire life. And I found the teens to be talking and, yes, gossiping about sex openly with friends of both sexes, even as the older generation struggles with some of the more direct questions on our survey.

Which is not to say older women don’t have fabulous sex lives. Au contraire. Most of the teens I interviewed would be jealous of an 82-year-old I met this week. Though her husband’s prostate cancer has curtailed their lovemaking the past two years, prior to that, the couple was quite active — as in every day.

“So … even in, say, your 60s?”, I ventured to ask, ever the skeptical reporter. “Well, probably only four times a week then,” she conceded — and “always on Saturdays and Sundays!”

That’s some serious enthusiasm. Count me impressed, especially as the details of their routine were revealed. (You’ll have to buy the book!) Needless to say, our interview ran overtime, and I was an hour late dropping my car off to get a new radiator. Real life always finds a way to intrude, doesn’t it?

Speaking of real life, my springtime Florida existence is getting close-up inspections from two of my favorite Texans. One visitor just left and next up is Mom, arriving a week from tomorrow. Which means I need to continue being efficient in order to warrant a bit of time off with my company.

Of course, if I know Mom, she’ll be encouraging me to write, write write — even while she’s here.

If only I had the work ethic she dreams of for me. This book would be a wrap!

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A month without migraines

March 19, 2011

It happened.

For the first time in 15 years I went a whole month without a migraine headache. In fact, I’m approaching the six-week mark. My last headache was Feb. 7, and although I’ve had two or three days with aura, no migraine developed.

I know. Can you believe it?

I almost can’t. I go along and live my life, do the things I always did — but I don’t spend all that time sick, and fighting being sick and wondering when the sick feeling will end and then wondering when it will come back. Now that I don’t accommodate all that pain and suffering, I wonder how I was able to find space for it.

See, there’s all this time now. Every single morning is a morning when I can get up and start my day thinking about breakfast and work and exercise and errands and accomplishments. And I have slid into this world so quickly and easily that now I fear any return to the old ways, when mornings were all about whether or not it was going to be a migraine day and if so, how to adjust.

I saw my neurologist this week for my quarterly Botox migraine shots (ugh) and when I told him I’d finally assembled a successful arsenal of defense weapons against my headaches, he said he liked that image. I said I believed both the braces and cranial sacral work were contributing factors, and he agreed, calling the latter physical therapy. (His acceptance of alternative medicine is one of many reasons he remains my hero.)

The bad news is that a few weeks of success isn’t enough for him to recommend I stop taking Lyrica, the anti-convulsant I began taking in August as a migraine preventive. (You see ads for it on TV for fibromyalgia patients; it’s used much more rarely for migraine sufferers.)

I dislike taking medicines longer than I need to, and this one brought along the unwanted side effect of a solid tire that now sits around my waist, mocking my efforts to banish it. I am hopeful that once I stop these meds, I can lose the inches, but we’ll have to wait and see. My fear is that by the time I get off Lyrica, the tire will be entrenched and immovable, mine to enjoy for a lifetime.

Sigh. One thing at a time.

The braces are surely helping to reduce migraines as well, and now that I’m into my eighth month, I understand why the dental specialist said, “you underestimate the mess you’ve got going on in your mouth.”

Boy, did I. My whole structure — top and bottom teeth — was tilted inward, not outward. And reversing that is like turning a river: nothing about it is easy. The rubber bands I’ve now had for a month are pulling individual teeth up out of their sockets, creating uneven surfaces where my back molars were once smooth. I know they’ll all even back out later in the process, but meanwhile … ARGH!

To review: almost 2 years of quarterly Botox injections, 8 months of Lyrica, cranial sacral work and a massive braces project. These are the most recent (and most successful) weapons I unleashed against my migraines.

Big guns indeed, and they do bring their own messy side effects. But the results are worth it. Life without migraines is an unbelievable joy.

Next week: Book update, I promise, filled with fun stuff teenagers told me during their interviews about sexual desire.