Justice has been done

It’s late. We made the decision to stay up and watch the 4 hour Zack Snyder version of Justice League tonight.

It was a good decision.

The original movie was a disjointed crapfest that disappointed me to the core. As a huge DC Comics and Justice League fan, I was so sad after watching it. While I had little hope that doubling the length of the movie and adding in a bunch of scrapped scenes would do much to improve it, it cost me nothing but time to watch it on HBO Max (we already subscribe) so we figured what the heck.

In a nutshell, I was wonderfully surprised to be so very wrong. Yes, it’s long. And, yes, you’ve got to sit through a slow start story building and set up, but your patience will pay off as it all comes together to show a Justice League you actually root for, are inspired by, and want to see again. It even made me kinda like Aqua-Momoa a little. (I know I’m in the minority, but I do NOT like him or this iteration of Aquaman. It’s just not the same character I grew up reading about and loving.)

The weakest link, by far, was Ezra Miller as the Flash, a weak, whiny joke of a character that even an extended story and expanded scenes could not rectify. (Not exaggerating….he literally shrieks in a whiny voice in a couple of scenes.) But even he had a redemptive moment.

Bottom line, it was a VAST improvement over the first version, and should have been the version released from the start. And a couple cameos from another favorite DC character gave me comic-geekgasms. The only thing missing was an appearance from my number one guy, Green Lantern. (Although there was a referential nod in the beginning.)

If you like this genre, and either did not see the original, or saw it and disliked it, do yourself a favor…see this version. It’s worth the time. It was for us, anyway.

Although not everyone made it to the end…

Out, Damn Inflammation!

So, here I am at my Remicade Infusion Lab, hooked up and hanging out:

As of today, I am going from 500mg to 900mg infusions, and I’m moving from every 8 weeks to every 4 weeks, in the hopes we can prevent future Crohn’s flare ups. My recent MRI showed no signs of obstructions, twists, or adhesions (YAY!) which means we are solely dealing with inflammation. Hopefully, the Remicade will get rid of that. In celebration, I will be re-introducing solid foods into my diet this weekend. Slowly, and in small amounts, of course, but I’m still excited about it. I will do my best to keep off the 56 pounds I lost, but no promises. Wish me luck. Also, I only have 4 more days of Prednisone and then…you guessed it…Mama needs a Cosmo! Although my energy levels are still extremely low, I am otherwise feeling much better and in relatively good spirits. I know Jeffrey will miss waiting on me hand and foot, but we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good, now and then.

Speaking of MRIs, Jeffrey got me a new little car buddy as a “feel better gift” while he was waiting for me to finish with the MRI. (MRIs are not particularly, but they can be a little uncomfortable (especially in my current state) and are time consuming. So it was a nice little surprise and pick me up. Meet Murray, my car giraffe (Get it? “Murray” “M-R-I”?) He’s holding rolled up blanket, if you’re wondering.

Tomorrow is the first day of spring. Today, temps are still in the 30s (brrrr!) but the sun is shining like it’s making up for lost time (As well it should.) As of tomorrow, temps will climb to and remain in the mid-50s to low 60s for at least the next 10 days. THAT is music to my ears. If my energy reserves allow, I have a few projects planned…small, but it will be good to DO something again. I have some new spice jars to fill and label, and I want to switch to our spring curtains in the dining room. If I feel better than expected, I will reorganize my clothes closet, which is getting a bit disheveled. (I know – you’re aghast at my party animal ways.) I also need to watch the Zack Snyder cut of “Justice League” which was released on HBO Max yesterday. I need to see what all the fuss is about. I wasn’t a fan of the original when it was released, so let’s see if reediting improved it at all.

That’s about it for now. Everyone stay safe and eat a yummy treat this weekend, calories be damned! You never know when you won’t be able to.

Wonderful!

We just purchased all 3 seasons of the Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter that ran from 1975-1979 (with the most fabulous theme song ever created.) We already owned this series on DVD, but almost never watch our DVDs anymore, opting for what’s available on streaming. Now that we have the digital version, we will watch the whole series all the way through (again.)

I am so excited!

In the clear?

It’s been over 32 hours since I got my 2nd vaccination shot, and there have been no major side effects, so I’m thinking I’m in the clear. My Injection shoulder is sore (as expected) and I feel a little…run down, but that could also just be my current state of malnutrition, so I’m calling it a win. Of course, it will be two weeks before the vaccine takes full effect, so I’ll be counting the days until then. Not that I plan on relaxing my COVIDgilance (isolation, masking, and disinfecting) but it will bring peace of mind that I am as protected as I can be for now.

I am feeling guilty that I did not take Mogo for a spin yesterday or today. (Is it weird that I feel guilty for not taking my new wheels for a daily drive?) I considered taking him for a quick jaunt after work, but it’s bitter cold out and, quite frankly, I’m exhausted. (I am so tired of being tired all of the time. Is “fatigue fatigue” a thing?) I did purchase a few items for him, though: a small collapsible nylon garbage bag, a set of disposable interior wipes, and some hand sanitizer. On the way is a small tray that fits into the center storage console. I had one in Hedwig, and already miss having one in Mogo. It’s where I keep my work garage parking pass, Altoids, and a pen for easy access. It’s the little things, folks.

Tonight’s dinner consisted of “Mashed Potato Soup” (mashed potatoes thinned down with beef bouillon) with a chocolate pudding cup chaser. Not a feast fit for kings or queens, of course, but a nice step up from yet another Ensure. I am planning my slow reintroduction of solid foods, which will (hopefully) start this weekend. Safe bets are fresh fish, rice, eggs, and toast. Not the pizza and pasta I want, but it’s a start.

We had two days of nicer weather this weekend, but we’re back to bitter cold temps in the twenties, with a wind-chill factor making it feel like it’s in the teens. I am SO ready for warmer weather and returning greenery. I miss my bird-filled yard, rustling leafy trees, and early morning coffee on the porch. Sigh…

A week’s worth of words

Lots to share. It’s been a long week.

I may have been a tad bit premature announcing my road to recovery last weekend. After doing well for a couple days at home on the weekend, I had two days in a row of gut pain (Monday and Tuesday) shortly after getting out of bed in the morning and having my first coffee and delicious Ensure of the day. Fortunately, we realized right away it was the Mirilax I was putting in my coffee in the morning, which I immediately stopped adding and, the next day, the pain did not return. (We had suspected I might have developed an intolerance to Mirilax earlier on, but after they determined I was in a Crohn’s flare-up, we foolishly assumed THAT was the problem, not the Mirilax itself.) I had a follow-up with my GI last Thursday and all tests conclude I have acclimated to my Remicade dosage and need to increase it to obtain the same anti-inflammatory effects it has been providing me since 2014. So I will get an increased dosage, and start getting my infusions every 4 weeks, instead of every 8 weeks. Not thrilled about that, honestly, but if it works, it’s necessary and I’ll do what I gotta do to stay healthy. I have to go for an MRI this Wednesday as a precaution, to rule out any other issues like bowel obstructions or strictures. In the meantime, I have to remain on a liquid diet until it’s confirmed I have no internal impediments to solid food. Once that’s confirmed (assuming it is – knock on wood) I can slowly start introducing solid foods back into my diet, as I can tolerate. It’s a scary “trial and error” process, because the wrong food and/or amount can send me into painful gut spasms. Fortunately, my GI prescribed me anti-spasmodic pain meds (why have I never been prescribed these before?) in the event I have any further episodes at home while re-introducing solids. That gives me some sense of safety in reintroducing food. Make no mistake, I miss solid food and want to start eating properly again, it’s just scary because I don’t want to be in pain any more. I’m kinda over the pain. A lot. Still, one cannot live on Ensure, V-8, Bouillon, and Apple Sauce indefinitely. (Although it’s a great way to lose 56 pounds in 3 months, if you really want that narrower waistline bad enough. But I don’t recommend it.) What do I miss most, besides chewing? EVERYTHING! I want it all: Pasta, Pizza, Tacos, Sandwiches, Casseroles, Salads, Eggs, Pancakes, Cookies, Wine, Cocktails…you name it, I crave it. I also miss sleeping every night. The Prednisone is causing insomnia and I am having a terrible time sleeping. Many nights I don’t sleep at all, some only 2-3 hours in total. I am slowly tapering off the P-sone (as one must do to avoid adverse reactions) so I hope that starts to improve soon. Surviving on liquids and little sleep has left me extremely energy-less, so I have spent most of the week just resting and napping during my non-work hours, when I can.

BUT, that’s not all I’ve done.

I finally got my “new” basement office together and I love it. We just replaced the mishmash of non-matching office furniture with a proper, larger desk and matching bookshelves, and it looks and functions so much better. See for yourself

L: Before; R: After – Along the back wall separating my office from the comic book room. I replaced my art supply cabinet and awkward bulky corner shelf with two matching shelves on either side of the doorway.
L: After; R: Before (not sure why I stitched these pics in reverse order of the others) – Far wall had that large clunky corner shelf I mentioned above and small book case, which I replaced with 3 tall bookshelves and moved the smaller one in front of the stairs. Soooo much more shelf/display space and it looks much “cleaner” and more organized.

L: Before; R: After – My makeshift tiny desk with metal file cabinet and 2 clunky deep stackable shelf units (all different colors) were replaced with a larger desk with built in drawers and cabinet.

I am so happy with the result and enjoy working at my desk and in this space so much more now.

There was another big change at Sassyland, as well: A new car. (Gasp!) We were just about to pay off my existing car, Hedwig, my black 2016 Subaru Forrester, which I love. We started discussing whether I should trade her in or keep her. She had a dent from a mysterious “collision” that happened in the parking garage at work one day two years ago while it was parked – I suspect the doings of a disgruntled co-worker, honestly – which we intended to have fixed but never got around to doing. If I traded her in now, we could pay it off by the time I retire in 2026, and then my car would be both dentless and only 5 years old, instead of 10. We even got a surprising trade in offer for Hedwig, much higher than we expected. Additionally, preliminary research showed we could upgrade to a 2021 model without increasing our monthly payment. And, last but not least, I could get the model I was looking at in a shade of Green, which was REALLY appealing to me, because Green is my favorite color. After some discussion, pros-and-cons lists, further research, and contemplation, we decided to go for it. On Tuesday, as I was not feeling well enough to go, Jeffrey headed to a car dealer that had the model in the color I wanted, for discussions and a test drive. On Friday morning, we returned to the dealership together to sign papers. An hour after arriving, I had a new ride! Meet Mogo, my new 2021 Subaru Forrester Touring, in Jasper Green:

I absolutely love him. Lots of new bells and whistles, and he drives even smoother than Hedwig. Mogo is named after a Green Lantern – a sentient planet that is a member of the Green Lantern Corps, responsible for policing Space Sector 1014. Can the name be more perfect for my new car? I think not.

Speaking of Green Lantern, I scored MEGA deals in obtaining these two key issues of the Green Lantern Comic Series from eBay recently, both for incredible deals. Although they still weren’t cheap, they were cheaper than anything I’ve seen in forever, and feel very lucky to have gotten them both. And while not pristine, they are both in excellent condition.

On the left: Issue # 85, the first mainstream comic to deal with drug addiction, made even more poignant since the addict was Green Arrow’s bow wielding sidekick and former Teen Titan, Roy Harper A.K.A. “Speedy”; On the Right: Issue # 87, featuring the first appearance of John Stewart as the “back-up” Green Lantern of Earth. Arguably, John Stewart’s popularity has far surpassed Hal Jordan’s, since being featured as the Green Lantern on the on the 2001-2004 “Justice League” animated series and the subsequent sequel series “League Unlimited” from 2004-2006.

In yet more comic collecting geek news, I just completed my 3 volume set of Alex Ross artwork : Volume 1: Mythology (his DC Comics artwork) which I received a couple years ago for a birthday present; Volume 2: Marvelocity (his Marvel Comics artwork) which I just received in the mail today; and Volume 3: Dynamite Art (his Dynamite Comics artwork) which I received as a gift this past Christmas. Alex Ross is one of my favorite Comic Book Artists, using real life models as reference to obtain as realistic looking images as possible for his characters, and I am thrilled to finally own all three volume collections of his work:

And, finally, I received my second vaccination of Pfizer this morning. Wahoo!

I was in and out of the vaccine center in 20 minutes, which included a 15 minute precautionary wait time after getting the shot. If there was an award for “Smooth Vaccination Operation,” SUNY Albany would win it, hands down. So far, no adverse effects, but it’s only been a few hours. I do feel extremely tired but, to be fair, I felt that way before the shot. I took tomorrow off from work just in case, as I heard some people start to feel flu-like symptoms 24 hours after getting the second shot. I hope I don’t (Jeffrey had no adverse reactions to his first or second Moderna shots) but I’m prepared to stay in bed all day tomorrow if I’m one of the unfortunate few who has a stronger reaction. (And with my track record…)

And that’s all the news unfit to print. Stay safe , everyone, and maybe wish me luck that I’m eating toast and rice by Friday!

Sunday Snooze

It was a fun weekend celebrating the BF’s 53rd birthday, but it taxed me. I’m still recovering, only able to eat very little at a time, and building up my strength and stamina. After a couple days of light activity, I am wiped out. So, after Jim left this morning, we got the house back in order and have retired to the sofa with the dogs for movies and family napping time. I’m not sleeping much at night (thanks Prednisone) so I’m getting most of my sleep through napping. But the real incentive to stay put and relax are these two angels sleeping by my side.

What a week

It’s been a week. There’s always a “manic” period after a long bout of illness when I feel compelled to make up for lost time and try to do more than I can (and should.) While I am definitely feeling better and improving every day, I had a slight misstep last weekend when I prematurely attempted to increase my food intake (both in type of food and amount) so I spent Sunday in quite some discomfort, cursing myself for making bad choices. Thankfully, everything resolved by night fall and I’ve been more cautious (and pain free) since.

I’m on a high dose of Prednisone – not my first time – the harsh P and me are old friends. While it is a wonder drug for resolving Crohn’s flare-ups, it can have some nasty side effects, which I’m experiencing more of this time around, perhaps because I was so depleted for so long; perhaps because I’m a hop, skip, and jump away from 50. Whatever the reason, I’m experiencing random bouts of nausea, irritability, severe appetitive swings (from “ravenous” to “can’t be bothered to eat”) and insomnia. (Which is why I’m writing this post at 3:24am.) Despite all that, the good far outweighs the bad, so I’m powering through, although I’m definitely looking forward to the tapering and eventual discontinuation of the med all together. Mama seriously needs a cocktail, folks (which is, for the most part, a big no-no on the Pred.)

I was able to jump back into work fairly easily this week, and am actually enjoying being productive and working a full day sans pain and discomfort. Upon learning I had been hospitalized, my co-workers sent me a get well gift: a giraffe jigsaw puzzle. It was very thoughtful and appreciated. Unfortunately, I missed out on the chance to interview for a job in another unit (same position and salary as my current job) that I might have been happier in. Because I was so sick, I was unable to sit up and make it through even a video interview, so I had to cancel. Without knowing how long I’d be hospitalized for, or when I’d feel well enough to interview again, I did not request they reschedule my interview, and they did not offer to do so, which probably means they weren’t all that interested in me in the first place. Oh, well. Que Sera Sera, as the lovely Miss Day would sing.

In other news, we’ve been “redecorating” my basement office (which is where I have been working from home for the better part of the year.) When we first had the basement refinished last summer, I set up my office space using whatever mismatched pieces of furniture we had collected over the years to create a makeshift workspace and save a little money. I decided it was time to upgrade, so we purchased 5 new black book cases and a new black desk, every piece of which Jeffrey assembled almost completely by himself. (The man is a frikkin saint, I tell ya.) It looks amazing having all matching sleek new furniture. I have some final organizing and tweaking to do, then I’ll share before and after pictures. I love my “new” basement so much. I could close off the rest of the house and just live in it full time, if it had a bathroom (which we’re actually discussing adding) and a kitchen space. I love it that much.

This weekend the BF, Jim, comes into town to celebrate his 53rd birthday. We were originally planning to go to his place in CT to celebrate with him and his hubby there, but in the midst of my health issues, we cancelled those plans, erring on the side of caution, and agreed if I was feeling well enough by this weekend, he would come here instead. We have a few treats and surprises in store for him. We are birthday people and enjoy celebrating each other’s – as well as our friends’ – birthdays when the opportunity presents itself to do so. It will be a fun weekend, even if I can’t join in on the food consumption and cocktailing.

On a final note, I’m pleased to share that the northeastern cold streak is finally starting to pass and we’re seeing rising temperatures, a sure sign spring is on the way. I will be glad to say good-bye to the snow and bitter cold temps, and once again be able to enjoy my morning coffee on our back porch, basking in the glow of the new morning sun while being serenaded by the songs of the early birds.

It’s the simple things in life, folks.

Stay safe, everyone.

Home free

I’m shocked to be posting this so soon but … I guess I’m back?

Health issues came to a head pretty quickly after my last post. I remained in bed in non-stop pain Sunday through Wednesday AM, and finally threw in the towel, called my GI and said I needed help. He had me come in immediately (not an easy task when moving or getting up is extremely painful) so Jeffrey helped me shower, dress, and pack a bag (We knew where this was going.) To nobody’s surprise, my GI sent me to the ER and by 1:30pm Wednesday, I was lying on a gurney in the ER, pumped full of morphine and in my own little pocket of heaven. (Aaahhh, morphine.)

I was sent for a CT scan, whereupon it was determined I was in a Crohn’s flare-up (my intestines were inflamed) which explains all the pain. I was admitted to the hospital for what turned into a two night stay during which I was pumped full of IV fluids, antibiotics, and steroids for two days and kept on a liquid diet of broth, jello, tea, and sherbet cups. (Which was like a feast for me after days of being to unable to even SIP something without experiencing cramping pain.)

Here was my Wednesday – Friday stay in my luxurious private hospital suite with a view.

Knowing I’d likely be admitted to the hospital and not allowed visitors, Jeffrey had the foresight to pack me a bedside buddy:

The bottom pick is after a day of fluids and steroids and being pain free for over 24 hours, for the first time since December 2020.

What made this whole thing shocking was that it was “just a flare up” of Crohn’s. No intestinal obstruction or twisted bowel, no surgical intervention needed, no new layer of disease or body breakdown. We had ourselves convinced I wasn’t coming back from this whole and unblemished, but we were wrong (thankfully.) Just a quick 2- night stay in a hospital with steroids and BAM! It was like the last 8-12 weeks just washed away and I was perfectly fine. So Friday morning they discharged me and sent me home with a simple prescription for Prednisone and a “stay well.” That NEVER happens to me. It’s always a long haul recovery and new dietary restrictions or discoveries that I have some new condition or chronic illness to contend with. Not this time – and I am so NOT complaining about that.

I am now safely, soundly, and happily home with hubby and hounds (and grateful to be) walking around like the last 2-3 months never happened and it was all just a bad dream.

My welcome home crew resting peacefully (and deservedly so) yesterday after a long and stressful ordeal:

I can’t believe this was all resolved so quickly but I am so beside myself with joy and relief that it was. So I guess my dark and doom-filled last post was a bit heavier handed than was necessary (although completely true at the time.) While it has been an awful, painful, almost unbearable two months…it is all over now and I’m feeling like my old, sassy self once again.

Now, if only I can keep the 45 lbs I lost from coming back, which won’t be easy, since I accidentally ordered 4 cases of pudding (96 pudding cups) , instead of 4 packs of pudding (8 cups) for my “road to recovery” (for which I need to remain on a low residue diet.)

Oops:

On a side note, through the diligence of a good friend, just before everything hit critical mass, I secured my first vaccination shot (Pfizer) at SUNY Albany on Sunday, February 21st. Side-effects from the shot may have amped up my symptoms, but I don’t regret getting it one bit. Second shot scheduled for March 14th, 3 weeks to the day from my first shot.

It may just be a happy 50th birthday in May fir me this year after all.

Thanks for the well-wishes, everyone.

Stay safe!

Sassybear

Pause for pain

Hey folks. I’m going to be taking a hiatus from blogging for a while. Unfortunately, my health continues to be all over the place. Most of my days are now divided between excruciating pain, severe pain, low pain, and on very few occasions, no pain (Man, do I love those day.)

Most days, it’s a struggle to sit up at my work desk (yes, even at home) and get through a full work day, and I don’t always make it, but that’s where my focus and energy have to be, because I do not have the luxury of quitting or not working. By the end of my workdays, I’m just too emotionally and physically drained to really write much of anything, and I just can’t keep posting these “I’m in pain” posts because it just feels wrong and gratuitous (i.e i’m pandering for sympathy.)

So why post this at all you ask? Because I have been truly lucky and fortunate to develop friendships with many of my blogger buddies, and I am genuinely touched knowing that if I disappeared for a long period of time without explanation there would (probably?) be some inquiries and I don’t want to worry anyone. And I’m not super responsive to texts and emails and comments lately. Being in regular pain for hours, days , and weeks on end is exhausting, debilitating, and has really frayed my gay nerves (ha ha – still shreds of humor though) my patience, and my civility. What little control I still have over my attitude, emotions, and communication I need to use to ensure that I stay as positive as possible, and don’t take it out on Jeffrey who has been, once again, the most amazing superheroic caregiver and concerned spouse that I could imagine existing. There are days when he truly is the only thing keeping me going. (and you all know the comfort and support my two beautiful amazing dogs give me, so that kind of goes without saying although I just said it, didn’t I?)

So thank you for your understanding and patience if I disappear for a while; and thank you for understanding if I don’t respond to texts or emails or comments right away or for a while. My sole focus is to get through each workday and evening without this getting worse and not needing to go to a hospital. While I realize it’s probably time for me to seek medical attention, I just can’t put my safety from Covid, over anything else right now. So no unnecessary office visits until I’m fully vaccinated (which I will be by the end of April.) rest assured, I am in constant touch with my G.I.

I know this might sound really awful to go through to everyone (and it is) but this is, unfortunately, not the first time I’ve been through a horrible gut spell for a long period of time, so don’t assume what is coming across as a lack of panic is my refusal to seek help or be smart about this. The fact is, I have a severely compromised digestive track, that has been through hell for the last 22 years, and certainly isn’t getting stronger or better or healthier as I age (“I’m almost 50, folks” as my retired in DE friend Ron might say.) I also have multiple other conditions that make a lot of food and ingredients in foods dangerous to me, and no matter how careful we try to be, and how educated we try to get, sooner or later we misstep or miss some thing all together, or worse yet, some new allergy or problematic food response develops. I have been incredibly fortunate to make it as long as I have with “as few” episodes of these as I’ve been through, and experience tells me, if I just make it through this and adjust enough things in enough ways we will figure out what’s causing it and I will get better. If not, The first thing I will do post vaccination is seek medical help.

I know some of my blogger friends (or their partners, family, or friends) are also going through difficult health times and choices, too, and I truly feel for them and I’m concerned for them as much, if not more, than I am myself. So I get I’m not the only one struggling. I do.

Because I’m obviously feeling emotional and sentimental in writing this post, I need to say please take care of yourself, take care of each other, appreciate your health, don’t take risks you don’t need to (mask, distance, hand wash, sanitize, isolate, vaccinate! It ain’t over yet, folks.) when there are so many things we don’t have control over. I know there are far many more problems in the world than just not being healthy, but man, does being healthy make dealing with all the other problems a little bit easier.

I’ll be back as soon as I can. Thanks for reading this long diatribe and all of your words of support. I look forward to the day I can put this behind me, start blogging again, and show off my massive weight loss before I can properly eat again and gain it all back.

Be safe.

Sassybear