Chronic Pain Feelings

Do not mock pain

 

I found this image on the Chronic Pain Support group website. I found it very helpful to verbalize what I’m sometimes thinking when people are shitty to me.

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This blog is made possible thanks to this GoDaddy coupon CJSIGLERC. If you want to blog yourself, I highly recommend it, check it out.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

My Review of All The Light We Cannot See Part 2

all the light we cannot seeHere is part 2 to my review

This is from the publisher:

1. The book opens with two epigraphs. How do these quotes set the scene for the rest of the book? Discuss how the radio plays a major part in the story and the time period. How do you think the impact of the radio back then compares with the impact of the Internet on today’s society?

I touched upon this in part 1, but the radio represents how far we “think” we’ve come, but that humans can’t even comprehend how all things in the universe works. We make judgement calls, thinking we are right, and we don’t have all of the information. Who would have thought we could have gone to the moon? Who would have conceived that antibiotics would change the course of human life expectancy? There are things that we cannot see right now, science, spiritually, and socially. If you had asked someone in the 1770’s if we would have had a black president, it would have been scoffed at. There is so much we have yet to see.

2. When Werner and Jutta first hear the Frenchman on the radio, he concludes his broadcast by saying “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever” (pages 48–49), and Werner recalls these words throughout the book (pages 86, 264, and 409). How do you think this phrase relates to the overall message of the story? How does it relate to Madame Manec’s question: “Don’t you want to be alive before you die?” (page 270)?

I think it is the cliche that life is short, don’t waste time with things that don’t matter — lead a good life. This coincides with Naziism. Open your eyes, don’t let hatreds destroy you and so many other lives.

3. On page 160, Marie-Laure realizes “This…is the basis of his fear, all fear. That a light you are powerless to stop will turn on you and usher a bullet to its mark.” How does this image constitute the most general basis of all fear? Do you agree?

I think it oversimplifies things. Take example death, everyone fears death. Death is powerless to stop, it comes for us all. Is the ultimate fear that death will shine it’s light on you and mark you? Sure. I don’t discount that. This statement is just overly simplistic. Fear can be a many thing. There are worse things than death. Fear of death just might be the strongest until something very, very bad happens to you.

4. Reread Madame Manec’s boiling frog analogy on page 284. Etienne later asks Marie-Laure, “Who was supposed to be the frog? Her? Or the Germans?” (page 328) Who did you think Madame Manec meant? Could it have been someone other than herself or the Germans? What does it say about Etienne that he doesn’t consider himself to be the frog?

I think the frogs in the situation can be the Germans or the French. Either way you look at it. The French could sit there and not resist, and they will slowly die. It can also mean that the Germans can slowly pick away and the Jews, Poland, and anyone else … before anyone realizes that the holocaust has happened.

5. On page 368, Werner thinks, “That is how things are…with everybody in this unit, in this army, in this world, they do as they’re told, they get scared, they move about with only themselves in mind. Name me someone who does not.” But in fact many of the characters show great courage and selflessness throughout the story in some way, big or small. Talk about the different ways they put themselves at risk in order to do what they think is right. What do you think were some shining moments? Who did you admire most?

The person I admired most was Marie-Laure’s father. He always did the right thing no matter what it was. He put his daughter first. He put the museum first. He lived and died a noble, honest, wonderful human being.

6. On page 390, the author writes, “To shut your eyes is to guess nothing of blindness.” What did you learn or realize about blindness through Marie-Laure’s perspective? Do you think her being blind gave her any advantages?

Blindness here could also mean against the German machine. There are many forms of blindness, not just physical. So many Germans and people around the world closed their eyes to what was going on. No one could have guessed the amount of people who turned a blind eye.

7. One of Werner’s bravest moments is when he confronts von Rumpel: “All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready?” (page 465) Have you ever had a moment like that? Were you ready? What would you say that moment is for some of the other characters?

I think another way to simplify this is to state when did a character not have an angle? Werner’s was indeed Rumple. Before that, when he doesn’t turn in Marie-Laure is that he personally had an angle. He wanted to know of the people in the house. Rumple was true sacrifice and doing something solely for another.

Fredde was clearly when he poured out the water. He had taken stuff his whole life, because he felt like his life wasn’t his. He went to the school for his mother and father, he sucked it up when the teacher beat him. The water was his stand.

Etienne’s moment was leaving the house to find Marie-Laure. He loved his brother, but fear kept him inside the house. Etienne left for Marie-Laure.

8. Why do you think Marie-Laure gave Werner the little iron key? Why might Werner have gone back for the wooden house but left the Sea of Flames?

It was the house and the inhabitants that were priceless, not the diamond.

9. The 1970s image of Jutta is one of a woman deeply guilt-ridden and self-conscious about her identity as a German. Why do you think she feels so much guilt over the crimes of others?

The crimes were horrific and countless. To use the theme of light and sight, some of the crimes were not as easily seen. It goes beyond the gas chambers, the soldiers dying, and civilian deaths. The crime of all those lives around the world that would never get lived to their fullest.  Jutta’s life was not the same because of the war, and not just due to the rape. She lost her brother, her sense of self, and her security. She lost her identity. She lost the relationship with her brother. It’s apparent in Volkheimer. He didn’t die, but in a way, he did. He leads a bland and purposefully empty life because of his unconscionable actions. He realizes now, too late, what a horrible person he was. Is there redemption? Maybe. But a lot of the characters, and a lot of the people who are still alive in this world, may not, or should not (depending on how you feel) achieve.

 

Do you think she should feel any shame about her identity?

Jutta? I don’t know what she did. What she represents? Yes. It takes a village, as they say. A better example if Fredde’s mom. Did she outright kill anyone? No. Did she let the German machine work for her? Encourage it? Send her son to be a part of it? Yes.

10. What do you think of the author’s decision to flash forward at the end of the book? Did you like getting a peek into the future of some of these characters? Did anything surprise you?

I think it added to the story. Much like Age of Innocence, you must follow the characters from beginning to end to really get a sense of their lives, of what living in that time period meant. To simply talk about how connections between people come about, doesn’t make much sense unless you see the progression. To live life through Marie-Laure and Werner is to understand their place in time, their struggles, their desires, the impact of the world around them. That’s how we understand the impact of the events that occurred in their lives. It aids our understanding that there are things we cannot see — like how different the world would be in 2015 as compared to 1945. To fully understand that as Marie-Laure sits on the park bench, the world around her no longer comprehends the time she grew up in. Kids these days do not understand the world of Marie-Laure – the choices, the false assumptions, the reasons for the violence. This occurs time and time again. Vietnam, race relations, and currently gay rights. It’s a theme that is current in our world – the statement is usually noted as wanting to be on the right side of history.

The story is more impactful, the theme is more impactful, when you see it applied from start to finish.

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This blog is made possible thanks to this GoDaddy coupon CJSIGLERC. If you want to blog yourself, I highly recommend it, check it out.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

My Review of All The Light We Cannot See part 1

all the light we cannot seeI just finished All The Light We Cannot See.

I give it 5/5 stars. It is the best book I have read in a really, really long time.

Not only was it a great story, but it really makes you think.

These are my thoughts on the book. If you have not read the book, do not read.

I’m going to answer some book questions that have been posted on the internet. Here goes.

(This is part 1. It ended up being longer than I thought, so next week I will post part 2.)

1. First of all, did you like the book overall? Why or why not? Along with that, did you like Doerr’s style of writing?

I loved this book. It has to be one of the best books that I have read in a long, long time. Not only was the story great, but the writing was elegant, intricate, and splendid. The story made me think. It made me want to simultaneously hurry through it to find out what was going to happen, but also to linger on the beauty of each sentence. Some times superfluous writing can be superbly annoying. That was not the case here. 

2. Along with style, how did you feel about the time going back and forth between future and present?

I often find it irritating, here, I found it really moved the story along and gave the reader a chance to absorb everything that was going on, especially in the grander scheme of things. 

3. Favorite character?

That’s a tough call. I’m sure this is cheating … I start to say both Werner and Marie-Laure, but truly, Marie-Laure drives the story. It’s Werner that is most complicated and through so many different characters do we get to observe and relish through his eyes. Werner is my favorite. He is all the light that will never be, the light that could have been, the light that had such a chance to make an impact in the world — extinguished too soon. 

4. What do you think? Do you agree with Madame? Is doing nothing a kind of troublemaking…as good as collaborating?

This has long been debated about WWII. Were those who stood by, and let Naziism take over, were they just as bad? Were they culpable? There are, of course, varying degrees, but yes, almost as bad. I do believe it snowballed to the point in Germany where it was next to impossible to speak out. Those who did were murdered. Yet, in the beginning, oh how things could have been different. 

5. What did you think of the main character being blind? How did this change the story for you?

It makes the reader immediately feel for her. Her light, was of the physical nature. She literally could not see. It’s an important theme of the book. 

6. Is it easy or difficult for you to believe in curses and things of that nature? The supernatural, if you will? More specifically, did you believe that if Werner had had the stone at the end, he might’ve been saved?

I did not believe he would be saved. To me, the diamond represented the theme of things we can not see. We don’t know how or why things are connected. We then try to explain things — through myth. 

7. Was anyone else annoyed by the conversations that happened at the end of the story???

Yes, I wanted more. With all of the extensive writing and prolonged storytelling, it was unsatisfying to not hear the characters explain more. However, I think, perhaps, it was just a writing technique — to make the reader feel unsatisfied like all the lives were in WWII. 

8. What did the title mean to you?

What the title means to me, is everything. 

First, it eludes to the fact that there are so many things out there that we cannot see. The story focuses on the radio. We cannot see radiowaves, we cannot see microwaves. There are whole spectrums of light that we cannot see. We can’t see the internet. In some ways, it is magical (like the diamond). 

So, yes, at the end of the story, when the author states that perhaps, there are souls moving through the world, can we really say for sure that souls are not? In 1945, could one really imagine the internet? Just because we can’t see something, doesn’t mean that it’s not real.

There are so many things we do not know — so many ways the world is connected …

 … like our characters. The world is connected in ways that we cannot understand. Things happen, time moves forward, one thing effects another — we might not be able to see the reason, if there is any, but yet it occurs, regardless of our understanding of it. 

So why not a God? Why not our loved ones with us, always? 

Maurie-Laure is another example of all the things we cannot see. It’s a theme, like the radiowaves. She is blind — she can’t see anything. The author even states that closing your eyes is still not the same thing as being blind — there is still light to be seen. Werner sees some stuff, in regards to how life is lived, but it is Jutta, and Fredde that really see the way the world works. If there were more of them, people who really saw … perhaps WWII never would have happened. 

How we think that we HAVE to do something. We erroneously see/believe that it is necessary. Like WWII. Germany felt they had to do all of those heinous things. They didn’t. Now, hindsight shows just how blindingly wrong they were.

The book is riddled with examples of doing the wrong thing not seeing that it wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

Werner throughout his schooling alongside Fredde, is an example of this. 

I also loved the correlation with the physical nature of the concept. Society thought that we could “see” so much with the radio, but there was so much more we could see. First television, then the internet. So much more than just a radio. 

Which coincides with how things become obsolete — like the radio. 

The radio was everything in WWII. FDR fireside chats next to the radio, information being dispersed by people like real-life Etienne’s. People on the front lines communicating via radio positions, asking for ground support … now? Obsolete. 

All that fighting over WWII, for what? Germany is not supreme ruler of the world. However, now it has taken a place next to the US, England, France, and China. All those lives lost. All of it obsolete, unnecessary, and a waste. 

Another theme is the metaphysical nature of all the light we cannot see. Light is a flame. To put the flame out is to extinguish it. To make dark. A life is like light, and so many lives were extinguished. The line in regards to Werner … what he could have been. All that light, all those lives, that we will never see. We will never see the light they could have shined on other humans beings through their love, their kindness, their connections. All the light those individuals could have shined on science, on technology, on literature. All gone. All extinguished because a failed society didn’t see what they were doing was wrong.

Until next week! I’ll be back for part 2!

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This blog is made possible thanks to this GoDaddy coupon CJSIGLERC. If you want to blog yourself, I highly recommend it, check it out.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

 

Good graphic that explains our chronic pain feelings

Chronic Pain feelings

 

 

Thanks again to Chronic Pain Support group for posting this.

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This blog is made possible thanks to this GoDaddy coupon CJSIGLERC. If you want to blog yourself, I highly recommend it, check it out.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Family coming to visit!

DandelionsI’m super excited because my family is coming for a visit! I just found out on Saturday!

Oh, and they are coming THIS Friday!

They are also not very motivated so they are staying with me, in my 700 square foot apartment! It was too late for them to get a hotel room and at this point, too expensive.

Yikes! 4 people sleeping on air mattresses in my family room!

So, for those of us with pain, we know how stressful it can be for family members to come for a visit.

 

Physically:

  • Trying to/wanting to pick up the house
  • Take it easy to save spoons, although this rarely helps on the day
  • Extra grocery shopping
  • Pushing yourself because you want to keep up

 

Mentally:

  • Dealing with people not necessarily understanding your situation they want you to do more than you can do
  • Being confronted with what you can’t do or participate in
  • Feeling misunderstood, people judging you for what you can or can’t do
  • Missing them when they leave
  • Having to rely on friends to help prepare for your visit – feeling bad about this

 

Dandelions 2There is always so much that goes on in our chronic pain heads. People also don’t realize we can’t just be easy breezy. We can’t just roll with things like we used to or want to. It takes planning, help from other people, and a mental fortitude to stick up for yourself. Especially since they are staying with me, I will need to do an expert job of speaking up for myself when I need to go lay down. I can just hear my brother now “oh, you’re fine”.

Regardless of all that, I am so beyond thrilled they are coming. I love my little nephew and niece and am so, so, so happy to see them. Plus, it’s a little emotional as they are moving back to Michigan in a few weeks so this might be the last time I see them for years.

Wish me luck!

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This blog is made possible thanks to this GoDaddy coupon CJSIGLERC. If you want to blog yourself, I highly recommend it, check it out.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Physical Therapy- again

Hello Kitty Bike for my niece

I think I might get this bike for my 4-year old niece, I mean, how awesome is it!

So I went to physical therapy on Monday, June 21st. It went fairly well.

Walking there was easier than I thought it would be. It is literally in the same building as my apartment, but I still have to go out the front door and walk up a slight slope. My back seemed to be fine from that.

The front desk lady was really nice. That helps. Scheduling future appointments with her should be a breeze.

Then I met my therapist. He is a boy, which I’m not sure how I feel about that, but it is what it is. He is the owner of the practice, so that is good.

He seemed to really listen. I liked that. Also, there didn’t seem to be any judgement coming from him. I also liked that. That first therapist I saw when all of this started totally and absolutely judged me. She wanted me to do an exercise and there was no way I could do it. I told her that and after, I don’t know, one or two exercises, she said “You have to be able to do this.” No, I didn’t. I said I was willing to do exercises with her, but maybe she could modify it or come up with a new one. She basically said if I couldn’t do that, then I couldn’t do anything.

With how very limited I am now, I could see someone raising an eyebrow and questioning how little I can do. I did not get that sense from this guy. I will call him B. In fact, I kind of rolled my own eyes when B asked what was wrong with me and I said “an annular tear, but no one seems too impressed by that.” He said that he thought annular tears were worse than just herniations and that the pain could be very bad. That made me feel like he believed me. That made me happy. Too often I feel like people think my condition is no big deal and that I should be better by now.

B gave me two exercises to do and then suggested PT twice a week. I think that sounds reasonable. We discussed the fact that I said I don’t need to be cured, but it would be nice to be more mobile and to be able to do more stuff.

I hope for improvement; what can not happen is that I get worse.

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This blog is made possible thanks to this GoDaddy coupon. If you want to blog yourself, I highly recommend it, check it out.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

 

Updates on hurting myself; new diagrams including referred pain, dermatomes, and flexion patterns

Straight-leg-testI tried increasing my hamstring stretch 3 days ago on June 18th, 2015 by about an inch. Typically, I place my leg on a surface that is 15 inches high, then a surface that is 16 inches high, and finally a surface that is about 17 inches high.

I’ve been doing that stretch for about 9 months now. I took a break after the Minkowsky doctor appointment that tore my back up again for a few months. Before that, I have been doing that stretch since about 2012.

When I fExercises for low back imageirst moved to San Diego, I could barely get my foot onto the 15 inches high surface. There was so much pulling on my right psoas. It took months before I could get it done comfortably. With the 17 inch high surface, I had a hard time actually lifting my leg up, I think my SI Joint was too rigid and immobile.

However, I’ve been stagnant for a few months now. So, I thought I would increase by about an inch, maybe 1/2 an inch. Basically, my fingertips usually rest at the top of my knee. On the right side I moved my fingertips to the middle of my knee cap. On the left side, I did the same.

I did this for a week with no problems.

Then those few days ago, I did it again. The right side is always way tighter than the left. So I kept the right side the same, but on the left side I moved my fingertips to just after my kneecap. I rested my weight on the leg.

I felt no pain at the time, I was actually quite cheerful I was making progress.Sciatica Pain

I woke up the next day and was like, ouch. This is going to be a bad pain day. But, I figured, no big deal, you did something slightly new that last week, you did everything right, if you have more pain, that’s just the way it is on the road to recovery.

Yeah, save for the fact that I’m experiencing pretty impressive nerve pain.

My right foot is equally numb and prickly. My right calf is very weak. I don’t feel like I can stand on it by itself for very long. There is also a weird, almost like constant charley horse in my right calf, which I realize is referred pain. When I lift my right leg, it stabs there. Not out, away from my body, but like a knee raise.

anterior_hip_muscles_Again, this seems highly unusual that that much pain would come from simply increasing a stretch, which I feel I did safely, by a half inch to an inch.

I’m so frustrated.

Therefore, I’m going to include some diagrams I spent looking at last night to figure out where my pain is coming from.

It is definitely L5-S1. Most of my pain is in the back side of my calf, on the lateral aspect of the right calf. The location on the foot seems to spread depending on, oh, who knows.

Here is also a good link from U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (1994).

On a side note, really? 1994? Couldn’t we have fixed back pain by now? Shouldn’t there be an injectable or something?

 

From that article, I found this diagram to be the most helpful …

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 10.32.12 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is another good article with a really good image. The article is basically a back pain guide

L4-S1 Pain distribution

 

 

 

 

 

Here is one final image that I really liked:

dermatomal map of nerve root distribution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading. I will still post on my physical therapy appointment later in the week.

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This blog is made possible thanks to this GoDaddy coupon. If you want to blog yourself, I highly recommend it, check it out.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

 

Updates for the week – massage therapist, psychologist, and social security

HeadmassageSo far, it’s been a fairly productive week.

One of the very nice ladies from my support group mentioned she had a friend that was a massage therapist. We will call the massage therapist LR.

I called LR yesterday and left a message. She was very prompt in her reply to me via text, which I actually like better than phone conversations.

She was very professional and very sweet. It is, as you all must know, very hard to describe our life circumstances to those around us. It’s embarrassing for me to have to explain to people that I can’t really leave my house. Do you know how hard that is for someone who used to work as a nurse, take call, play in 3 separate soccer leagues, walk her dogs, go to the gym, and have a pool membership? Sometimes, despite all that I did, I still liked to simply walk downtown for fun. So to tell someone I can’t even leave my house to get a massage, it breaks my heart just to have the words come out of my mouth.

Yet, she didn’t make me feel stupid. She was like, whatever! I was so appreciative of that. We worked out a price, which she had great ones, and scheduled a massage for next week. I’m excited. I hope it helps ease my stress level a bit. It will be my first massage in about a year.

As for the psychologist, that is proving difficult. The irony of the situation is I could see a massage therapist not wanting to come to my house and massage a client in her bed. If I was going to say no to that or a psychologist over the phone, I’m fairly certain the in-bed massage would win the declination category.

Yet, it’s the psychologist that I can’t seem to pin down. I could sign up for one of those monthly subscriptions to an online psychologist, but that’s not for me. To have to reexplain my situation over and over and over again? Please see above …

I’m gonna keep working at finding one though. There has to be someone out there willing to do it.

footmassage1As for Allsup, they finally received my paperwork stating I will pay them, even though I have signed that document about 2k times. Now, they can move forward with my appeal. I am fairly surprised that the customer service representative I talked to over the phone still didn’t understand that the only thing that has been filed for the appeal is a request for more time. We had two months, and the hold up, apparently, was my payment paperwork. I have not been with MetLife since November. They had 5-6 months to get me that paperwork before it became an issue. That is what held up my appeal. They have seriously dropped the ball on so many occasions I can’t believe it. I will not care if I win though. I’m pretty scared. As I’ve stated in previous posts, my finding a job, even if I can do it, will be next to impossible. I know, I know – they say I can work at a fast-food restaurant. Mmm-hmm. It’s like they did not read my medical records.

That’s about it. Oh, I did sign up for PT again. It’s on Monday. I’m terrified. I got pressured into it though, even though I see why this person wants me to try it again. It’s just, I would never be in the situation I currently am if it wasn’t for two physical therapists.

Next week, I’ll let you know how the PT goes.

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This blog is made possible thanks to this GoDaddy coupon. If you want to blog yourself, I highly recommend it, check it out.

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Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com