Christmas Whine

How was your Christmas? Mine was a mix of good and bad. Besides my chronic challenges I had a miserable cold and had somehow managed to strain my back. I was in a lot of pain, and walking, even sitting, was absolute agony.

If it wasn’t for Jacques, I think Christmas would have been quite bleak. He did absolutely everything; cooked, shopped, wrapped gifts, all while I just laid in bed or managed to make it over to the couch.

We got the tree up on the 23rd, the latest I have ever put up a tree and that day Jacques was still buying lights of which were slim to none. He first came home with lights with white wiring that would not do for a green Christmas tree. He was able to return them and got white lights the color that makes me think I am living in an office they are so bright white.

I need sunglasses for this tree!

I did add five new ornaments this year to my all cat-themed Christmas tree, one of which was this Caribbean pink kitty:

And there’s always my all cat Nativity scene:

I don’t know what was wrong with the mail this year but three of Tyler’s gifts didn’t come and he told us it was a great Christmas anyway. I’m so proud of him!

I’ll end with a picture of him putting the cat angel on the tree. No pictures of myself to put up here as I wasn’t wearing a bra on Christmas morning and it showed.

Hope your Christmas was a Merry one!

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No Grant in 2017

For the past two years I’ve had my co-pay for my hypersomnia medication paid by a non-profit agency. Even the generic of the medication is expensive, with my co-pay being over $300 a month.

In October I got a letter from the agency saying that I would have to apply for a grant for 2017. This
was new because I have automatically had my grant renewed every year. The start date to apply was December 5th, so I put it on my calendar.

On the afternoon of the 5th I said “Shit!” because I hadn’t applied for the grant yet. I went to the site and found that the money for Narcolepsy had already been allocated. There would be no help for me. I called the agency and they said I should keep checking the site because more funding could come through. I check it everyday.

There is absolutely no way I can afford the medication by myself. I have been rationing my pills, saving them for days I need to stay up through the day. But after they run out I will go back to sleeping a good part of the day.

I hate when Tyler is home and I have to take a nap. That he has to be on video games as I sleep the day away.

Meanwhile, somehow I managed to sprain my lower back. I finally went to the doctor last week and she prescribed muscle relaxers, heat, massage, etc. I am reading this book that says back pain is the result of tension, a problem you can’t face, so your brain manufactures the pain. It comes highly recommended by Howard Stern of whom I am a big fan. If I get anything out of it I’ll be sure to let you know!

My Christmas shopping for Tyler is done except for his stocking but I haven’t gotten a tree yet or sent Christmas cards out. Pressure!

How are your holidays going?

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Organic Aromas: Pure and Simple

(This is a sponsored product that I was given without cost. The opinions expressed are all my own.)

The Nebulizing Essential Oil Diffuser by Organic Aromas offers the most effective dispersal and the most complete rendering of both the natural scent and the therapeutic properties of 100% pure, organic essential oils on the market. This unique device is entirely safe, extremely quiet, makes no mess, requires no heat and does not use any water.

Using nothing but pressurized air and a combination of delicately hand-blown pyrex glass, this nebulizing diffuser works without the need to heat up the oils and without the need to add water to the diffuser.

When unboxing the Organic Aromas diffuser, I was met with a pleasant scent and a discount code for one of your friends or family for 15% off their next purchase. You can also receive discounts when you sign up on their website.


The diffuser comes with only a few parts; the base, the glass reservoir with micro-tubes, a glass cap, droppers for cleaning and a power socket.

Assembly is so easy (if I could do it anyone can)!

Insert the narrow end of the glass reservoir into the rubber grommet stopper on the wood base.

Add the pure essential oil into the bottom of the reservoir, only about 15 drops is needed. You will get lots of uses from the bottle they give you.

Put the glass cap onto the glass bottle.


Connect the power supply to the base and plug the power supply into a wall socket.

Turn on the switch at the bottom of the base in a clockwise direction. The switch can be adjusted from a lower output to a higher output.

As soon as I turned the diffuser on it began misting and then turning a variety of beautiful colors.



So not only do you get a nice scent you also get something that is beautiful and relaxing to look at! I liked how I was able to control the power of the scent. The scent smells great and depending on the setting can be used to scent a small room or a portion of a house.

The diffuser runs for two minutes and stops for one minute. After two hours the diffuser will turn off automatically. That’s good for me because I tend to have brain fog and forget about such things! I felt really safe using the Organic Aromas diffuser.

Cleaning is simple. It is recommended that you clean the diffuser reservoir once a week if you use it for two hours a day.

Remove the glass cap.

Use the dropper to add plain rubbing alcohol for cleaning the micro-tubes.

Turn on the power for five to ten minutes in order to clean up the micro-tubes.

When the diffuser is dry the cleanup is done.


There are more instructions for deep cleaning but they are equally as simple.

A variety of diffusers can be purchased here. More essential oils which include rosemary, lavender and ylang yang can be purchased here.

I really enjoyed this unique way to use essential oils to ease anxiety, improve depression, stress and even provide relaxing visual stimulation.

Organic Aromas is a definite winner with me!

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After over a year of chronic nausea I am very happy to say I have finally been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Celiac is an autoimmune disease. When wheat, barley and rye are eaten a person’s body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.


Celiac disease is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications that include Central and Peripheral nervous system disorders, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and even some types of cancer. It can take years to diagnose a person with Celiac so I guess I am lucky I found out relatively quickly.

There were a few times throughout my illness that I looked at Celiac Disease but I only had one of the symptom, which include vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss. My doctor says people may sometimes not have any symptoms.

Currently the only treatment is a gluten-free lifestyle. That means no baked goods, pasta or pizza with gluten – forever. When I got my diagnosis I ate my last piece of pie, pumpkin, and on my birthday I went to my favorite pizza place to have my last real pizza.

I’ve been gluten-free ever since and it hasn’t been so bad. Jacques has been great in researching and making gluten-free recipes for me. Pretty much anything that is made with gluten can be made without it and taste pretty good. I’ve already found a bread and spaghetti that I like.

It’s no fun to have Celiac but I will gladly go on a gluten-free diet if it means an end to this nausea. I’m still getting nauseated sometimes but it can take weeks to feel good again.

I am angry with my former G.I. doctor who tossed me aside after I came out negative for one test she ran. I’m also angry at my (former) therapist who suggested that my nausea was a symptom of my depression.

I feel my story is a lesson that you should never give up and believe in yourself. Don’t accept an “It’s all in your head” diagnosis.

Do you have a story of a journey towards your diagnosis?

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Uncommonly Good!

Although this is a Sponsored Post the opinions here are all my own.

When I was first approached by Uncommon Goods to do a sponsored post for them my answer was a resounding yes! I have known and shopped with them for years and their catalog was the only one I didn’t toss out. Now Uncommon Goods is trying to minimize their impact to the
environment by shifting more business online, limiting how many catalogs they mail, and printing their catalogs on either recycled paper (virtually all of which is from 30% post-consumer waste) or paper sourced from FSC certified forests (which are harvested in a sustainable manner).

I always knew Uncommon Goods was a unique site but I didn’t know they feature products that contain recycled components and do not sell products containing leather, feathers or fur – they’re committed to selling products that do no harm to people or animals.

If you would like to read more about the company’s mission statement you can do so here.

Now it’s on to their unique goodies!

Uncommon Goods is a site that you literally can do all your holiday shopping on, along with the other special moments of your life. The site has lots of anniversary gifts for women, many $50 and under.


I love this “You are always loved” spiral necklace, hand-stamped pendant. From an East Indian artist, the silver is upcycled and is a reminder that the woman in your life will always be loved, cherished and appreciated.

You can buy it here.

To take a look at all of the anniversary gifts for her, click here.

For men I like this Stump Ring, personalized with his initials and that special woman in his life.


The artist works out of Brooklyn. You can purchase it here.

For more ideas for anniversary gifts for men click here.

I also love this up cycled Cotton Sari Robe which is made from rich remnants of reclaimed saris. It features a patchwork of reclaimed saris by a cooperative of artisans in a village outside of Rajasthan, India.


Buy it here and click here to take a look and see all of the unique gifts for women.

Uncommon Goods also has great gifts for kids, your kitchen and some just for fun for special occasions and holiday shopping. I hope you’ll take a look and find something you won’t see anywhere else!

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I’m Out

This blogger is asking for your help. She is not asking for money, she is only asking that you take a look at her book, and if you find it interesting, to please buy it. Her story really got to me. I’m “out” too until my next disability check but luckily I have a boyfriend and even an ex-husband whom I can turn to. Her story shows me that someone always has it worse than I do.

I’m out. Of money, that is. It’s official. I went to the grocery store today to pick up some essentials and I got the dreaded “Insufficient Funds” screen on the debit machine. Though it’s killing me to do so, I’d like to ask a favor.

If you haven’t already, please buy my book. If you have, or if you have a friend who might like it, please direct them to it. Reblog, share on social media, have a parade down the main street of your town or city, whatever it is you normally do to get attention. If I can get to $100 in royalties, Amazon will pay me next month – they hold smaller amounts.

Blog continues here.

Book Cover For Linda G HIll

Book Cover For Linda G HIll

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More Ways to Help The Spoon Lady!

Christine Miserandino, creator of the Spoon Theory, is at the halfway mark towards her Go Fund Me Goal. Years of steroid use for controlling her Lupus have caused most of her teeth to fall out. Her dental and her medical bills are enormous and she still needs more dental surgery.

Christine’s Go Fund Me Goal is $50,000. If you haven’t donated yet, even five dollars would be helpful. And if you really can’t help, please share this post or her Go Fund Me link on social media.

But there are even more ways to help! How many chronically ill bloggers have been touched by Christine? How many of us consider ourselves “Spoonies” or even have “Spoons” in our blog title? You can help get the word out by putting a badge publicizing her fund, like I have done in my blog! You can get the code here.

And finally, the website Conscious Crafties, which sells items made by chronically ill people, has made a special shop for Christine where all the money sold from the items goes directly into Christine’s Go Fund Me account. You can take a look at Christine’s Shop and the Conscious Crafties website here.

Christine’s fundraising goal may seem like a lot of money but I have no doubt that she can achieve it!

As I said, if it’s difficult for you to donate money, I hope you will consider some of these other options!

Thank you.


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The Best Book I’ve Read This Year (So Far)

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 3. October is National Book Month, tell us about the best book you’ve read so far this year.


The best book I’ve read so far this year has got to be a book I recently read. Author Megan Miranda is a Young Adult writer and this is her first novel for adults.

Nicolette has the summer off from her job in Philadelphia to help her senile father sell his house in her small town in North Carolina. Going back home brings back memories of her friend Corinne going missing without a trace. Now, ten years later, another young woman has also gone missing and Nic has to find out if her family has anything to do with the disappearances.

The book is told backwards, from Day 15 to Day 1. It is confusing at first but then you realize how actually ingenious this story is and it makes you want to read the book all over again.

In my opinion, this book is better than Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. I’m not sure why it hasn’t hit big yet but I think it is a real gem!

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From the Prep to the Results

If you are a bit squeamish, you may want to skip The Prep part!

My gastroenterologist moved over to the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic and it turned out I was abled to be scheduled for an endoscopy/colonscopy on the 29th of last month.

The Prep

If you’ve ever had a colonoscopy you know how delightful the prep can be. For the uninitiated, here is my story.

You have to drink this giant laxative drink in two hours, every 10 minutes. I was taking the drink and chasing it with some clear Propel so it wasn’t too bad. But as I kept drinking it got harder to keep down. It didn’t work right away, but when it did look out! I rushed to the toilet where I prepared to spend the next few hours seated on the throne with a good book. At one point I was “evacuating” and I had a bucket in front of me to throw up the drink.

It turns out it is not so easy to sit on the toilet for a long time. I found it uncomfortable and painful, plus I was already exhausted. I finally had to take my chances and sit on the nearby couch. Big mistake because when the urge came there was NO holding back. I destroyed a few pairs of underwear and had poop running down my legs.

Finally I thought that the worst was over. I was so tired I went to bed. Suddenly I had to GO. I ran to the bathroom which required a trip across my kitchen floor. I crapped all over the floor and then I slipped in it! I was down on the floor covered in poop.I made it to the bathroom and then cleaned up the floor and myself as best as I could in the middle of the night. Jacques washed the floor on his hands and knees, God bless him.

The Procedure

Jacques and I arrived at the clinic and checked in. I was going to be sedated so I had to give a urine sample to test for pregnancy. I go to give a sample and I CAN’T pee. Me, with my overactive bladder cannot pee a drop. They hooked me back up to my IV bag with the hope that the fluids would make me go. The nurse told me that I was the first procedure scheduled and politely told me to hurry up. PRESSURE!

I tried again and it was still a no-go. I apologized to the nurse. I saw my doctor and he was pacing back and forth. Everyone was waiting for me to pee.

Finally I had enough of the IV fluids to give a sample.

I was a little scared because I had never had an endoscopy before but I don’t even remember going under sedation. I felt nothing. That is why you SHOULD have these tests, because even though the prep is a beast, you feel nothing.

When I was recovering, the doctor told me everything look good except it looked like my stomach was irritated, like a Gastritis type of thing. I asked if this was the cause of my nausea but he kept saying, “Let’s how the biopsies come out”, which made me a bit nervous.

The Results

The doctor called me and told me the biopsies were consistent with Celiac Disease and he wanted me to get a blood test done.

At this point I am praying it’s Celiac’s. Although this would mean a gluten-free life style I would gladly give up wheat, cakes, pasta, etc. for the chance to have my life back.

I just want a diagnosis!


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One of Our Own Needs Our Help

If you have a chronic, invisible illness you more than likely have heard of or even refer to yourself as a “spoonie”. If you haven’t heard the term “spoonie”, it came from Christine Miserandino’s The Spoon Theory as a metaphor for showing healthy people what it’s like to be chronically ill. The basic idea is that everyone starts the day off with a certain amount of spoons, or units of energy, but people who are ill use their spoons faster than those who are healthy. For example, it may take a healthy person one spoon to get ready in the morning but it may take a sick person five spoons.

I first read Christine’s “Spoon Theory” in 2004 and it came at a time when I really needed it most. I had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2003, leaving me with chronic pain, swelling and exhausted. I was losing a lot of friends and the respect of many family members, especially when I told them I couldn’t visit them for Christmas because I was just too sick. There responses ranged from “But young people don’t get arthritis” to “You’re too pretty to be as sick as you say you are.” Losing the respect of family and friends had me in a deep depression and I felt very alone. At the time, Christine’s But You Don’t Look Sick website has a forum where I literally came upon thousands of people who were just like me and who were facing the same issues! Christine’s work became a lifeline for me and still does to this day.

But now, the woman who has changed lives for so many chronically ill people needs some help of her own. Although I have known Christine to be very sick in the past, she always seemed able to accomplish anything and be strong for all of us.

To say that Christine is having the toughest year of her life is an understatement. In January of this year, she gave birth to a stillborn baby girl which was also life-threatening to her.

Christine has been undergoing extensive jaw and dental surgery. The 20 plus years of steroids for her Lupus have wreaked havoc on her mouth. In addition, Christine throughout her pregnancy was throwing up five to seven times a day. She also has a disease which leaves her with little saliva in her mouth. The effect of all of these things have left her needing six teeth extracted, four root canals and filings. Now her teeth are literally falling out of her mouth.

Her physical and dental issues have left her with a mountain of medical bills with more to come. Her parents, who have supported her throughout her life, have maxed out their credit cards.

I know Christine to be a very proud and private person and I know she would not be doing this unless she were in extreme need. A friend of Christine has created a Go Fund Me site for her with the title “Help Christine Smile”.

If you have been touched by “But You Don’t Look Sick”, “The Spoon Theory”, have the words “spoon” or “spoonie” in your blog or call yourself a spoonie, I urge you to donate whatever you can to Christine’s campaign. I realize that a lot of spoonies have their own medical bills or live on disability but even as little as $5 can go a long way. Millions of people know of “The Spoon Theory” and “But You Don’t Look Sick” and when you think about it, reaching her goal should be an easy one.

If you are a chronic illness blogger, I ask that you also post for Christine. Post, tweet, retweet, share on Facebook, etc. so everyone can know that for the first time in her life, Christine is asking for OUR help.

If you do not have a chronic illness, I also ask that you thank God you are healthy and donate whatever you can to the woman who has changed so many sick people’s lives.

Thank you.


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