Tyler’s Confession

Tyler made his Sacrament of Reconciliation, or first confession, this past weekend. I’ve been a really bad Catholic mom, normally not taking him to church. Being depressed, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around getting ready for mass, dressing, hair, makeup, and getting Tyler ready. We usually call Sundays our “lazy Sundays” or “do nothing days” and spend the day in our pajamas.

Tyler has a more difficult time sitting or standing still during the service than other children. Although he has never been classified as hyperactive, he swings his arms around, lays down in the pew, or stands on the kneelers to see better. I have gotten a lot of stares but I know he can’t help it.

When Tyler started the Parish School of Religion (PSR) in first grade I explained to the Head of PSR that while Tyler was in a mainstream class at school he was receiving some special services and that he was subject to tics and wild movements with his arms and was delayed in fine and gross motor skills. She didn’t think it would be a problem, and for first grade and up to now in second grade it hasn’t been.

Although there have been no problems, I’ve always gotten the sense that I was unpopular with the Head of PSR. I’m a separated woman whose husband is Agnostic and I have a boyfriend. We are not the typical Catholic family, that’s for sure.

Anyway, Saturday was the big day when Tyler would make his first confession. He was his usual fidgety self. I tried to calm him down but got little results. Just before the children were going to share their confession with the priest, Tyler told me he had to go to the bathroom. Ahh! He didn’t know where it was so I took him. Suddenly we were approached by the Head of PSR.

“I’ve been watching you!”, she said to Tyler, “And you’ve been doing nothing but fooling around, stop laughing this is a very serious day! And what are you doing up?”

“He has to go to the bathroom!”, I protested.

“Well he should have gone before we started!”

After chastising him some more she left.

“I think she is really cranky”, Tyler said.

“Yes, baby, she is.”

Looking back, I feel I should have defended Tyler better. I’m angry that she yelled at Tyler as if I wasn’t even there. Maybe I felt like a kid myself being yelled at, going back to my own days of Catholic teaching.

Soon Tyler was standing in line for the priest waiting to make his first confession. He was his usual, bouncy self, even making the girl behind him laugh.

Tyler may not be able to stand still but he is always smiling and laughing and his good nature is infectious. I’ll be damned if I’m going to stifle it.

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Help a Disabled Woman in Poverty This Holiday Season!

I’ve known Amy for a few years and I think we met on Twitter due to having Fibromyalgia in common. Amy, like myself, has many diagnoses including Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Hashimoto’s Disease and Epilepsy. She also, like me, suffers from Bipolar Disorder. Of late she’s become a great help to me because I feel she really understands what the disease is like, and I feel comforted talking to her on the phone or chatting with her on Facebook.

Amy and her husband are in their early 30s and are both on disability. Although they receive food assistance they sometimes can only eat one meal a day. She doesn’t own any pajamas, which is what she is most comfortable in, that are not covered in holes. Her husband needs new shoes and owns just one pair of jeans that do not fit. This month she has to renew her car insurance and license plates and make a large health insurance payment.

During the holiday season would you consider helping Amy and Jim? Even if it’s just a few dollars, if my readers each donate a little something that would mean a lot to them.

Amy also has a great and courageous blog, Lady of the Ozarks – Survivor which I encourage you to read. On the right side is an area to click on where you can donate directly to her.

Let’s help Amy and Jim have a happy holiday season!

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Just Can’t Get There

I have free membership to my local YMCA. My pulmonologist says I should walk twenty minutes every day. My diabetes nurse educator says exercise and weight loss will lower my blood sugar. My therapist says walking will help with my depression.

If that isn’t enough motivation I saw my endocrinologist a couple of weeks ago. Due to having ulcerative colitis in my teen years I didn’t make enough bone growth and so at this early age, before menopause, I have low bone density. She insisted I exercise and work out with some small weights to build bone. “Can I get away with walking?”, I asked her. “Yes, but you need to walk 45 minutes seven days a week!” She promised doom and gloom if I didn’t do it.

And still I haven’t walked into a gym.

I guess I am just depressed, even though I know working out will help my depression. I want to lose weight too, but I just can’t seem to find the motivation.

I just lay on my couch.

I should feel grateful that all of my pain is gone and that I am able to work out, and I am grateful.

I also know that not working out is going to hurt me as I age.

And yet I just lay here.

Maybe I’ve been sick for so long I don’t know what it is like to feel physically well?

I told my therapist that I would get to the gym and then I cancelled my next appointment with her because I felt bad that I never went. I know, I know, counter-productive.

I’m currently in my pajamas at 10:56 a.m. and I haven’t showered in two days. My house is a mess and I need to pay my bills.

During the week I feel the need to plug in what I call my “do nothing” days, where I stay in my pajamas, go on the computer and watch Netflix. Mentally I feel the need to have these days and they make me happy. But today is a second do nothing day in a row and that’s not good.

I know that once I get to the gym I will want to go back and that it has the potential to change my life.

But I just can’t get there.

What’s holding you back?


photo credit get holistic health

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The Silver Sneakers Program

On disability and can’t afford a gym membership? You may be eligible for the Silver Sneakers Program.

The Silver Sneakers program was designed for retirees but if you are part of a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement Health plan due to being on disability you may be eligible for a Silver Sneakers membership.

To find out if your health plan participates in Silver Sneakers, click here.

There’s no excuse for me now. I could walk to the YMCA that participates in the program!


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Light Box?

The increasingly darkening days have led me into greater depression in winters past. That, and the fact that Northeastern Ohio has very few sunny days in the winter have me thinking about SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Some people brush it off as the Winter Blues but experts say SAD really exists. According to the Mayo Clinic website, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subtype of depression that comes and goes based on seasons. Symptoms specific to winter SAD include irritability, tiredness or low energy, appetite changes, especially a craving for foods higher in carbohydrates, and a heavy leaden feeling in the legs or arms.

Risk factors include being female, age (younger people are more at risk for SAD than older people), and having clinical or bipolar (me) depression.

Treatment for SAD includes medication and light therapy, the latter of which I am interested in. In Light Therapy, “you sit a few feet from a special light therapy box so that you are exposed to bright light. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood. It generally starts working in a few days to two weeks and causes few side effects.”

The problem for me is the cost. The boxes and lamps cost $200 and up, not exactly in my budget. But is it worth it to get out from under my winter depression?

Do you have a light therapy box or lamp? Has it worked for you?


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Universal Orlando Resort: Flash Sale!

(My partner, Destinations in Florida, has a very special offer for you. Universal Orlando Specialist Veronica Mazarelli tells you what you need to know!)

Starting tomorrow, November 4, for 72 hours ONLY, you can take advantage of Universal’s BEST OFFER of the year! So let’s plan your amazing vacation, right in the heart of Universal Orlando Resort!

You’ll save on an escape at Universal’s newest on-site hotel, Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Relax in classic retro-style with ultra-modern comforts! Add theme park tickets and make it a complete Universal Vacation! Theme park admission is a 2-Day Park-to-Park Ticket with the 3rd Day FREE!

PLUS get these two FREE benefits:

Upgrade to a Family Suite for FREE and stretch out with handy amenities and space for up to six


Two FREE Blue Man Group Tickets to add even more fun!

Just be sure to hurry. This first-ever EPIC SAVINGS EVENT ends
on Thursday, November 6!

Email me​ at Veronica@DestinationsInFlorida.com​ for more info… or to get your FREE quote! You must book between Nov 4-6.

And for our MamaSick Readers… book with me, and you’ll also get FREE BUTTER BEER & a FREE TUBE
to use at Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s Lazy River!

(Free Butter Beer will be given in the form of a Universal Gift Card in the amount of $5 per person. You will be able to pick up your Gift Card right at your resort when you check-in.)


Resort stay is a minimum 3-night stay, Sun–Thurs only, at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Must be booked during offer period, November 4–6, 2014.
Booking must be for travel on these selected travel dates: November 4 to 25, November 29 to December 24, 2014 and January 4 to February 12, 2015.
New bookings only.
No Cancellations/Refunds.
Must be paid in full at time of booking.
Hotel stay and Blue Man Group show for Sun–Thurs night only.
Not valid for weekends and holidays.
Block-out dates apply: Dec 25, 2014 to Jan 3, 2015.

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How to Get Co-Pay Assistance

A couple of weeks ago I was diagnosed with Narcolepsy, or excessive daytime sleepiness. What a relief it was to have an answer and to know there was a medication out there that could help me!

But when I ran it by my pharmacy I found out that that my co-pay was $239.00 which wasn’t in my budget and my insurance wouldn’t allow me to accept the coupon that the pharmaceutical company who made the drug offered.

My advice for trying to get co-pay help is to call the pharmaceutical company directly. Through them I was able to network until I finally found an answer for me: Caring Voice Coalition.

“At CVC, we recognize the needs of patients with rare and chronic diseases. By providing assistance through the programs we have available we hope to meet not only the financial needs of patients but to also to provide them with important support and educational resources,” according to Jennifer Previtera, Director of Communications for Caring Voice Coalition.

CVC supports diseases that include Huntington’s Disease, Complex Partial Seizures, Severe Chronic Pain and Narcolepsy, and they were able to provide me with 100% of my co-pay. For a full list of supported diseases click here.

Some of the other services CVC provides are helping patients find new or improved insurance coverage, patient education and helping to navigate through the SSI/SSDI process.

What if you don’t see your disease listed here? Click here on the Caring Voice website, or
as I said, call the pharmaceutical company who manufactures your drug for help.


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Finally An Answer

I had my sleep studies on September 22nd and September 23rd.

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It took the tech 45 minutes to hook me up to all those bells and whistles and then I simply went to sleep without much difficulty.

The daytime, multiple sleep latency test, was a lot more challenging. They woke me at 6:45 and I had to change into my regular clothes. Every two hours they let me nap for 15 minutes. It was hard to stay awake and one time I fell asleep. It was eerie as they yelled at me through the ceiling to wake up.

I saw my pulmonologist and he told me that I have excessive daytime sleepiness, or narcolepsy! It felt so good after all these months to have a real diagnosis and that it wasn’t just in my head!

The bad news about this scenario is that the number one choice to treat narcolepsy is Nuvigil, with the copay for my insurance being $239.00. I just can’t swing that. I’m going to call my doctor and see if there is anything cheaper that I could go on that works nearly as well.

Another cause for concern is that some of these drugs can affect my mental illness. I am also going to call my psychiatrist to see if she recommends these types of drugs.

My pulmonologist did say I will not feel better right away. I do feel worried that nothing will work for me and I will have to live like this forever. I want to get my life back, want to be in control and want more energy and awake time for Tyler. I slept much of the day away today.

But as I said, there is such a relief to know what is wrong with me. My worst nightmare would have been them saying that my tests were normal!

I will keep you posted as I continue this journey.

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To My Son On HIs Eighth Birthday

If you would like to look back at some other birthdays here is Tyler’s seventh and sixth birthdays.

Dear Tyler,

Happy birthday…not sure what to call you because you really hate it when I call you baby, and you ask for me to please not call myself Mommy. It’s “Mom” not “Mommy.”

This was the first year we did not give you a traditional birthday party. It is so hard to find enough kids to get together around this time of the year. We spent more money on toys to make up for it. You loved your Minecraft toys, your Super Man, Mr. Freeze and Flash figures and the new Captain Underpants book.

It’s nice to know that dad and I are friends enough so that we can go out for your birthday as a foursome, with Jaques included. Your birthday dinner of choice was a tunafish sandwich at Subway and four donuts from Dunkin, although I suspect some will get stale.

You joined Taekwondo in August and really like it. We let soccer go this season.

We now look forward to Halloween where you are going to dress up as the Flash.

We went to Disney World this year and we were all amazed.

I wonder if you will remember your 8th summer as “The Summer of Sleep”?

I go for a Sleep Study test on September 22nd but until then, I seem to be sleeping more and more. No one is sure if it is of a depressive or physical nature. Thank God for Jacques,video games and now for back to school because I have a very hard time staying awake for more than a couple of hours at a time during the day.

I explain to you that this is a temporary situation, but “temporary” is hard to grasp for an 8 year old.

Happy birthday, my…baby. Shoot, it’s my blog and I’ll call you that if I want to.


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With Robin Williams Gone I Feel I Can Tell My Story

(Warning: Triggering for suicidal behaviors and thoughts.)

I’m not sure why but it has taken the suicide of comedian/actor Robin Williams to finally allow me to tell about my suicide attempt.

I skirted the issue when I came back from a long state of depression and suicidal ideation in my September 4, 2012, “Dropping Back Into Life” blog. I didn’t feel my readers were ready to accept that I had tried to kill myself, and I even now I realize this comes with a risk.

Despite currently being in a state of depression, I am not suicidal and hope never to be again. But mental illness is unpredictable. It took me a while to look at my attempt and not be properly horrified by it.

Back in January of 2012 I became dangerously depressed. Being turned down for disability in December, along with non-stop pain and dry mouth from my meds and another diagnosis, this one requiring a procedure, fighting for food stamps, again…I felt like I just couldn’t do it any more. Blog-wise, not realizing that this was part of my depression, I felt uninspired. The ideas had always flowed so freely and now there didn’t seem to be anything to write about.

I was at times depressed to the point of near catatonia. I also felt as though I had Alzheimer’s. I couldn’t remember how to shop for groceries or how to cook.

I became agoraphobic and had much difficulty leaving the house.

I also felt like I could not take care of Tyler, that he deserved a better mother. He was only five, he would forget me, and be better off without me. Any mother would be better than me.

Everyone around me, including my therapist, thought I needed a break. That I was too stressed out from everything going on and would benefit from having a kind of vacation in my home.

My mother-in-law flew in to help me, to be followed by my mother, but I just got worse.

The pain from my illnesses, the agoraphobia, the dry mouth, fighting for food stamps and other benefits, thinking that I had failed Tyler as a mother; I just wanted it all to end.

On January 24, 2012, at about 3 a.m., in my pajamas I took the amount of pills I thought it would take to kill me and got into bed. I felt relieved. When the 7:00 alarm rang for school I was angry that it didn’t work. I told Grant what I had done and he called 9-1-1.

I stayed angry for many months, but realized it was more difficult to kill yourself than I had thought and would not try it again, although I would think about it constantly.

I guess I am coming out now because Robin Williams was always thought by people to be so funny and happy but inside he was struggling with a very dangerous illness. His death shows that we never really know a person and hopefully this will open up honest conversations so that people in need will not feel ashamed to reach out and their friends or family will not be afraid to get involved.

It feels good to come out to my readers and the world and I realize I shouldn’t have kept this a secret for so long.

I feel blessed that I did not complete my suicide attempt and that as hard as life is, that I am still around for it.


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