Saturday, December 16, 2017

I Ruled

Ruled out Tramadol, that is.  

Being a possible catalyst for migraines, that is.

Season's Greetings, All,

A lil of the lately:  I've gone from November 28 until today, December 16 sans-tram, (using only paracetamol as a poor pinch-hitter), and I STILL ended up having, not only multi-day pretty harsh headaches, but three official migraines as well.  

Basically, how it is when I take tramadol 4-ish days per week.

I just really wanted to be sure about the stuff in relation to my migraines and I'm actually damned glad that I need not rule it outta my pain-control tool belt.

I'm also glam dad, (lil migraine humor there), to not only have gleaned that tram is NOT to blame for these insane cross-cranial/corporal assaults, but also, that after these years of regular use, I am NOT dependent on the stuff; as I went through no typical signs of withdrawal while off it.

Nice to have that confirmed.

And yay too, in that my scant style of using tramadol (just one daily dose of 37.5mg), is working for avoiding dependancy.

(My R/x is for it is at a much higher dose, "up to 4, 37.5mg doses/day".)

In other related brain-pain news, since that last post about the fireplace being a possible migraine trigger, we have enjoyed a few blazes at the hearth, migraine-free apres.

Much to celebrate indeed actually.

Even more goodness is that a new and groovin' teeeune is well on its way to fini, this one heavily acoustic-guitar driven and I'll share it here when ready.

On that note and considering the date, I close with extra-warm wishes to all of vous out there who continue to pop in here now and then.  

Cheers and let us all rock 2018 like hurricanes.


: J

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"I'll teach you to burn!"

Yesssss, lesson bloody-well learned as this morning, after being migraine-free for a blessed and astounding month+, I woke with a doozy and was dragon-puking in no time.

That was some hours ago and Tony has finally gotten his daily bread/meds 'cause I crashed hard after taking the triptan--which never works fast enough and always seems to knock me out.

So, this lesson--this warm, soothing, glowing lesson I ingested for most of yesterday, (left), he's cute, isn't he?

My lil fireman...

This is the second time (which I've noticed), that a harsh migraine has followed a fire day.

MmmmmmHMMMMMmm! [A la Florence from the Jeffersons.]

So, while this new likely knowledge is indeed likely power, it's with a sad soul that I likely bid farewell to future fires never to flicker.

And also on the subject of the burn, I coughed some this morning--as is the tradition post volcano-barf and noted the sputum was, greyish.

Reminded me of my ole chimney-sweepin' days.


On another migraine-trigger note: As I said, I've been migraine-free for quite a spell 'til today.  I think that's in direct relation to my cutting out alcohol on days when I take tramadol.  It seems that those days, all too often are followed by migraines.

(My R/x is quite mini, in the form of a tramadol/paracetamol combo of 37.5mgs/300mgs, 1/day.)

In regards to that booze-tram mix, over this past year I've been trying to take the tramadol less and less, making it as effective as possible when I do take it.

In the past, when on holidays and tramming daily, I've had minimal migraine issues--and holidays up 'til now at least, have meant a glass o' wine a day on average.

So what I see is: that unless I take tram regularly, I will likely have to deal with migraines following winey/trammy lunches--even if it's just a measeley glass and a half, ffs.

Or not drink at all on those occasions.

Or try paracetamol only on those periodic lunches out.

DAMMIT, JIMS, this knowledge biz is maaaaaaddening!!!

But if it helps anyone else out there dealing with the apparent mystery-hell of migraines, I gotsta share.  (One in ten suffer from migraines out there, btw.)

And if on the next fire day, ('cause I just know I'll get freaky-cold enough to crack), a migraine follows, I'll note it here.

And then have a mental funeral pyre for the fire itself.

+++vibes to you All,

: J

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Gluten-free/Lo-Carb 'Za

Greetings, Readers and Nibblers,

Just wanted to share my positive experience with the increasingly popular, (among lo-carbers and gluten-freeers), cauliflower pizza crust.

Been a-juanderin' how good it might be for a while and last week, I gave it a whirl:

While a different experience from traditional za--and how could it not be--it turned out damned delectable.

P even enjoyed it and that's sayin' suMm.

It had crunch, chew and surprisingly not much of a cauliflower flavor either.

And it's pretty easy to make happen, especially if you use a food processor.

I did the grating a la main and while a bit of work, always a satisfying affair--to me.

Here's how it goes:

1. Preheat the oven to bake, (mine was around 185C).

2. While that's warming, grate a few cups of cauliflower, being sure to pick out any too-big chunks.

3. Mix the grated cauliflower with about a couple cups of grated mozzarella, (the dry type, but I used Emmental, due to the lower sodium content), two eggs and mix it up good.

4. Spread that out on parchment paper as thinly as possible sans-any gaps and bake for about 20 minutes 'til golden brown.

5. Take it out and spoon on and spread out some tomato sauce of choice--homemade always the best one, but if not in the cards, try to find the most healthfully made one.  SO MANY ready made sauces are loaded up good with glucose syrup.

6. Top with some oregano and any other Italian type spices you fancy, more cheese, parmesan and toppings of choice.  At the time, I only had tomatoes around but for the carnivores, thin-sliced chorizo would rock.  

7. Bake again and dig in.

Now I'm hungry, what better time to hit the market!  Not.  ;)


: J

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Scar Trek


Can't believe I haven't posted in here since March.

Likely has a lot to do with getting a slice of the flu (only a slice, thanks to the flu-vaccination), at that time and the insane coughing and sinus swelling that have been stealing my dear z's since.

One not-on-line factor has been a successful trip to the Rocky Mountains and back last month to see much-missed family and friends again.

Some dear ole pals drove some LONG miles just to see my ole arse again and again, I raise my morning joe to you all--and to those who wanted to, but just couldn't.

"Successful trip" meaning, I made it there and I made it back, needing this time, to break up the flights into 4; Paris to Montreal and the next day, from there to the Rockies.

And wow, did the time zone changes take a toll this go round.  There were multiple migraines, notable GI woes, unbelievably amped up coughing that lead to major muscle spasms and even more sinus balloning.

My nose is officially no longer a friend of the desert-like dryness over there.

And all the while trying to keep the damned tramadol use to a minimum.

I have been back in France with my Sweet P now for 6 days and only over the last 36 hours have I regained the ability to walk more than a meter or two without having to stop, winded--and with heavy and hurting thighs.

Which is nothing new.  That kind of trouble has followed travel many times since this new patient life began due no doubt, to the efforts and stresses of airports and luggage-lugging and well, simply not in being bed by my usual 7 or 8pm, so I'm not freaking out.

But I am burned out and slowly recovering from it all.


In other news, in an effort to stop this ongoing cirque du shnoz and nightly cough-a-thon, on June fourth, I switched from the usual BP med, (ACE inhibitor called Ramipril), to the other renal-assist BP med, an ARB, Irbesartan.

(Ramipril for many, causes quality-of-life-threathening coughing problems.)

I also saw an ear/nose/throat doc yesterday for the equally troublesome Rhinitis that just did not leave after that flu cleared up, and he prescribed the usual steroid regime,  (Beclomethasone spray); assuring me that the treatment remains local and would not get absorbed into the blood stream.

Got the ok from the prof as well to take it so I started this morning.

The ENT doc also checked out my vocal chords, glands, throat, ears and thankfully, the only problems he found was the sinus inflammation.

After the fair shake of 3 months of the naturo-approach: thyme teas, Manuka honey, neti pots and rosemary steams, etc., it's clearly high time for some stronger amo.

Apparently, the spray takes a few days to take effect.  I'm to stay on it for 2 months and looking forward to these ripped up coughing muscles finally getting a break.

Back to this less-on-line-ness these days.

While in supa-natural Western Canada, I took a conscious break from all social media and it felt GOOD.

The more I was off of fessbook and friends, the more I truly FELT just what a colossal waste of time and chi those feeds/"force-feeding tubes" are.

Not even touching on the psychological effects of bearing (false) witness to the constant virture-signalling and consumeristic displaying that clogs up said feeds.

Now that I've been back in the French saddle for a while, all signs continue to point to no-social-media-GO, so nothing personal, to the actual pals using facebook noting my lack of participation as of late.

I of course check in now and then for personal messages, or to share creations, but that is it.

(On that note: new rather enjoyable near carb-free recipe test coming soon.)

I shall close with multiple cosmic-high-fives to every sweet soul out there who, during my treks to and across Canada, showed me some delicious kindness.  Those select saints will likely never know how nourishing their mindfulness was for me as I slowly crept from gate to gate in airports, stood at a 90 in line-ups in spine-fire in my blue-blocking specs as the eyes got smaller and smaller in the cranium vice.

Even wrote a poem about two in particular, a couple of lovely young Mexican bucks who for hours, physically guarded my precious bench every time I needed loo breaks.  That bench was mana where I so gratefully was able to be horizontal before fiiiiinally taking that last, long night flight back to Paris.

Back to blessed sea-level said my veins.

I must say, for May being Vasculitis Awareness Month, I no doubt made at least a few people out there quite aware of the ferocity of the MPA beast and its claw marks.

Now, time for a hot bath and hopefully after, a micro stroll, (or more, I hope, legs-willing), with my dear ole therapy dog, Tony--who is also not as fast on his feet anymore at over 13 Labby years old now and bless him.

Thanks for reading.



Friday, March 17, 2017

"Dig If You Will", a Portrait.

Hey, All, (especially the Prince fans),

This morning, after a night of his, "Diamonds  and Pearls" as the sound track for all my crazy dreams, I power- (Generation, haha), watched a few interviews and a posthumous special on the mini musical mage and it made me realise that I hadn't shared the portrait I made of him recently.

(An ornery chest cold has been an extra drain on the chi.)

So here it is, called, "Dig If You Will", in acrylics on canvas board, 30x40cm:
Hearing again about all the pain (both hips pretty totalled and should have been replaced, apparently), he had been in for too many years; trying to control it with opioids, strengthens my staunchness more to endure mine without those highly effective, but as he sadly proved, lethal drugs.

It would be surely grand to be spared this grind by taking tramadol daily and more than just the sliver of a dose that I do, but I know, ("I know, I know, I know"), that the more I can learn to handle this fire in the spine and the aching hips and pinched up nerves etc., (even if it means being horizontal for most of the day),  the more likely I'll get to enjoy this big world longer.

Hopefully longer than Prince did, even.

Too bad he never saw the green light that for so many, is medical cannabis.

I have no doubt that I'm still here at least in part, thanks to it. 

Here's to ALL of Europe sooner than bloody later, FINALLY making it available to the many people out there who really need it.

'Cause if the opioids don't kill all of ya, they'll surely kill your liver.

Another reason why I take only 37.5mgs of tram a day and usually, only 3 days out of the week.

After a few years on that scantily clad drug regime now, all systems are still go and with no dependancy issues either, thankfully.

PRINCE, if you can feel this, THANK YOU, AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN.  

And if u can c this painting, I hope you dig it.

Now, time to hit the yoga mat and fortify this core some more.

+++vibes, with extra ones to anyone out there living with just too much damned pain,


PS: For those interested, this piece is available for purchase as a print.  I'm still not sure if the original will be up for sale eventually or not.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Leaves

Hello again, Readers,

I think it's high time for a bullet list of all the improvements I have noted, especially now that it's been one year exactly, off prednisone.

These improvments could also be the result of--results, referring there to my ANCA test results, which for 3 conseutive blood testings, (since August), have been a mind and body-hugging negative.  (ANCA testing, for those wondering is how docs, along with signs and symptoms, determine the disease activity of MPA.)

So yeah, over this passed year I have been enjoying the hell out of an official return to painting and graphic art, to songwriting and music production and for a month+ now, even a return to out-of-house studio voice-over work, (mornings only).

That's a whole lotta goodness.

I have noted too over this past year, that on the days I take zee painkillers, (the one that works, being a combo of low dose tramadol + paracetamol), the hours I do have are FAR more productive than they were a couple years ago.

Sure, I'm still often asleep by 8pm or earlier, getting more migraines more violently than ever, (the pred was surely masking that condition too) but here is a list of the harsh stuff that for a few years, became the daily grind, that are no longer:

-random 10-scale stabbing, repeating pains virtually anywhere, MANY times per day.  (Enough to cause vocalization and part of the reason for my not returning to studio life sooner.)

-notable but "normal" headaches almost daily

-ice pick headaches

-certain skin problems

-extreme muscle weakness

-muscle cramping

-arthritic-like hand pain

-knee pain and fragility, (I no longer need knee braces while out walking Bone.)

-major power naps in the afternoons

And these days, I am seeing FAR fewer episodes of what I can only call grimness--deep black and viscous.  AKA depression.  And when those clouds do roll in now, they hang around for much less time.  I am certain that prednisone and the deadened adrenals it caused were quite involved in those numerous bouts of BS over the course of the treatment.

Et voila, all in all, those are some tasty improvments.

And on the subject of tasty, since being off pred I have also loosened the leash on the diet and have been enjoying the hell out of chocolate now and then, baguette and pain au chocolate too, (a weakness I sorely missed during those treatment years), as well as other muses of bouche.

I recently learned painfully, that still, I must not eat saturated fats en masse, as after some yummo tempura'd tuna in a resto a few weeks ago, I paid a mighty price in full torso colicy cramping that went on for way too many hours once the food hit the intestines and whoa.

Living and learning.

And on that note, back to my online Stanford lecture, whilst I put some finishing touches on a new Prince portrait I've been birthing.

From me and my new leafy self, wishing you all ++++vibes,

: J

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A few months/a few years, potato/potahhtohhh:

Greetings Readers new and old,

It has been the longest blog-break ever methinks and it's due to a few things--some good and some great.

I'll start off while my nose-tip is still frosty, from the long-ish jaunt back from where?  From the recording studio where I worked so often before the big renal shut down!

Yes, folks at home, I am fizzy with delight to be sharing that I am now officially, back in the voice-acting saddle! Since returning to my favo lil production house in town a couple weeks ago, I have already done three spots, with likely another one on la menu for next week.

I'm still only in proper working order in the mornings and it's great that the studio is working with my somewhat limited availablity.

Back in February '13, I had contacted them saying that I would likely be offline for "a few months". Mmmmmhmmmmm, THAT turned out to be FOUR YEARS and whoa.  It's downright gob-smacking to see that written down.

Talk about the long game.

But so worth it and I hope that that gives hope to the folks out there who, due to any long-term illness/treatment/damages, find themselves wondering if they'll EVER feel good and strong enough to work again.

Bless time.

And patience.

And medical science and technology.

And meditation.

And not only have I finally returned to out-of-house studio work, I have also been back full force at the painting, pastelling and graphic arting!  Since August I have produced a number of new works, with more in the hopper as I type.

Here's a lil sample of the latest, I call it, "Young Madge in Bath", (oil pastels + graphic).

ANNNNND: another vault tune I wrote back in 2000 is also ready!  I'm currently working on some visuals for the video and so long as I don't go too deep in those waters, the song should be let outta the barn shortly.  It's a funky lil number and I enjoyed thoroughly getting back on the electric guitar for this one.

In other health news, since that last blog post, I've had a number of actupunture sessions.  That was my first experience with that and while I noted a slight increase in chi on the actual days of the treatments, I honestly didn't feel much improvement overall and so I don't think I will be returning, relaxing as it was with my sweet lil Vietnamese Dr.

Next on the possible-de-paining to-do list is physio, which I will start as soon as I poke around for the best possible practitioner for my spiney shituation.

So voila.  VOILA-ISSIMO, I'd say.

Actually, not quite.  I have something kinda silly to share, something about what I used to think was involved in acupuncture.  I actually used to think, (light term-usage there), that those hair-thin needles were like, half a foot long and that they were inserted into actual organs.

I know: WtfH?!?!?  Granted, this was in my youth but still, talk about bolding and underlining that "you-me-ass-assume" meme.


Now time to get horizontal for a while.

So far, I'm quite diggin' this 2017 thing.

Hope it's the best one yet for us all.


: J