Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Four Years...

...of writing this book blog/weirdly personal symptom diary.

I can't say it's all been rosy, but I think my little blog has given me plenty of reasons to persist in my endeavors, even when everything looks hopeless. After all, publishers love giving "established" blogs free books, and four years worth of book blogging (and God only knows how many reviews[!]) makes my book critiques an easy sell.

On the weirdly personal side of things: it's a book blog. There is no impartial reviewer. Of course things get weirdly personal here. The things I never expected to share, though, were my medical abnormalities: from fibromyalgia to syringomyelia, I have a lot of strange things happening with my body (and let's not even start on my mind). My life is complex without a book blog, but with it, I am more organized, more empathetic, and more connected to the world in ways I never dreamt possible.

Bad News:

For a variety of reasons, I don't feel like doing a giveaway this year. But know that I will try my best to comment spree any blogger who comments on this post (and though I try to do comment-for-comment, I have no expectation of that in return). Sometimes comment sprees can be one of the funnest parts of book blogging, and blogging in general.

If you're in the mood for book giveaways, you should probably sign up for the Shelf Awareness Pro newsletter- that's the one place I've been having luck with getting books.

Good News:

I have had some improvements in my health recently that I feel prudent to share: my legs have regained most of the feeling that was lost for so long. My left leg almost feels "painful" because I'm so used to not feeling any vibration/slap of foot against the floor- my left knee feels almost painful because I'm not sure I've been using it right for the past year and three quarters. I barely use my cane in the house, because we have plenty of walls and doorjambs for me to lean against if my leg buckles again.

What have I done for such a marked improvement?

I wish I could say definitively it was x, y, or z, but I believe it was a combination of any of these factors:

-Thoracic (AKA the part of the spine involving the rib cage) stretching and yoga was suggested to me by someone with a thoracic syrinx, EDS, and disc issues. I have a syrinx from my cervical spine (neck) to the end of my thoracic spine, and an extruded disc in my thoracic region. I seemed to worsen when I went to Physical Therapy and they began making me lift weights to improve my muscle tone, but prior to that I was briefed on basic thoracic stretches, so I knew how to do those exercises correctly and safely at home. I began trying this in February (or at least I think it was?). I never, ever skip stretching my legs and back at least once per day.

-Due to multiple factors, I've lost about 30 pounds. I'm nauseous from my (much needed) high dose of antidepressants, I have issues with swallowing (which is suspected to be something to do with the syrinx), and I just don't find most foods I used to love appealing because they're too hard to swallow. Therefore, I have been on a high protein diet with absolutely no carbonated beverages (which I choke on, now). I've been drinking green and herbal tea instead of Diet Dr. Pepper, which would make my 2016 self grimace.

-We had a water filtration system installed. Our house was built in 1903. Could it have something funky in the water that my blood tests didn't pick up? It's possible.

-My Savella was doubled, my propranolol was upped. It was suggested on the syrinx group page that people with POTS (something I am strongly suspected of having, but for various, misogynistic reasons, I was never tested for) have issues walking because of disorientation. Propranolol, though intended for my PTSD/anxiety, is also a treatment for POTS. Propranolol is one of the few drugs I've never had any *true* side effects for, so if your doctor suggests it, I would consider it more than others.

-I currently take a daily walk in the daylight hours (even if it is just a block). After, I usually do more stretching. I'm not sure it's helpful or not- sometimes, the walking makes my legs temporarily numb again, but it's better to use what I still have than sit around and mope about it.

Although it's possible that I will get worse again in the future and be more reliant on my cane again (currently, it's only being used for long distances and outside time), I am hopeful that this turn of good fortune with my health will last if I stick with my unofficial, un-medically supervised program. Of course, I'll be seeing my primary care doctor again soon to puzzle out my swallowing issues, but until then, I am satisfied with my results.

Thanks for sticking around, and if you have an opinion, please vote on my Disqus commenting avatar for guests:

Happy Reading!


  1. Yep, I remembered correctly that our blogiversaries are on the same day. Happy blogiversary!!! :) I was going to do a post about mine, but I've been going through some stuff that has sapped a lot of my emotional energy so I didn't bother. I'm considering writing a combo post about what's been going on and my blogiversary, but I don't know. I'm a bit of a waffle right now, LOL.

  2. Happy blogoversary, Litha!!! My blogoversary just passed two weeks ago (I know, I'm so on top of things) so hopefully I'll be doing a post soon. It's just so crazy that we've been here for four years already! I remember back when I first started, your blog was one of the first blogs that I ever followed. I'm so glad to hear that your health has taken a turn for the better. I hope that it'll only be onwards and upwards from here :)

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

  3. Happy 4 year blogoversary! I'm really happy for you that your legs have been doing better! Although I'm sorry to hear about all the food/swallowing issues :-/ I hope that things continue to get better for you, or as better as possible :-)

  4. OMG well done on 4 years!!! XD And don't worry about not doing a giveaway - I have only ever done one giveaway on my blog, for my 2nd anniversary, and it wasn't really that enjoyable, (i.e. I stressed out *a lot*) so I haven't repeated it!

  5. Yes, we're blogiversary twins (although I later found out my first blog post was later than April 4th, 2014 XD ). I considered postponing mine, but I am a terrible procrastinator so I decided it was better to just get something up. I hope your waffle state evolves into something with high grade Canadian maple syrup. :P
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting, blogiversary twin!
    ~Litha Nelle

  6. Congrats on your blogoversary, Laura! We've definitely been creeping on each other's social media for a long time, haha! It's been nice to have blogging buddies who've been around for that long. :)
    Thanks for the well wishes and comment, Laura!
    ~Litha Nelle

  7. Thanks Kristen! We'll see about my swallowing issues- my doctor has given me some antacids to try for a month to see if I stop choking. I think good things are on the horizon, but you just never know! :)
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
    ~Litha Nelle

  8. Thanks Cee Arr! I like giveaways, but yeah they can stress you out (especially if you're shipping overseas). I figured that this year is a good year for me to just be a nonchalant blogger, so I will be!
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
    ~Litha Nelle

  9. I have POTS and I was taking Metroprolol for it twice a day (sp?), but when someone on an EDS forum suggested taking daily doses of magnesium supplement for the muscle spasms that sometimes occur after some joint slips, both my blood pressure went down (bye bye blood pressure medicine) and my heart rate fluctuations decreased, so now I only have an emergency bottle of the Metoprolol. I also have the swallowing thing. Both are associated with my EDS, it's weird the similar symptoms. I also have the knee thing on inclines, too. Anyway, I am wondering if some magnesium might help you, too?


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