Bait and Switch

I feel like I’ve been taken.

Went to the Doc on Tuesday to follow up on our last appointment and get the results of my CT.  Negative, as expected.  Doc is convinced I have fibromyalgia, and wanted to start me on Cymbalta.   If you’re not familiar with it, Cymbalta is an antidepressant.  However, it is also prescribed specifically for fibromyalgia pain.  Having reached the end of my rope and willing to try almost anything, I dutifully read the literature she gave me (explaining the horrifying possible side effects) and filled the prescription.

I got home from the pharmacy, took out the bottle and was astounded to find that the bottle contained not Cymbalta, but Effexor.  Effexor is of course, another antidepressant.  So I called the doctor to find out what was going on; she said that Medicaid will not pay for first tier drugs until the cheaper drugs have been tried and failed.  Nice of someone to tell me.  She said they’re in the same class, same side effects, and that it was worth a try.  So, that night, I took it.

Since then, I’ve had a bunch of strange symptoms, some of which I’ve had before but not this bad, and some totally new ones. So I went to check the side effects.  I was terrified at what I found out.  Yes, the side effects are similar to Cymbalta, and yes, it is used (off label) for fibromyalgia sometimes.  That was the good news.  The bad?  Effexor has the worst in it’s class record for withdrawal symptoms.  Coming off this drug for some people seems to be as bad as heroin withdrawal.  Incapacitating dizziness, nausea,  what they call “brain shocks”, a painful sort of zapping feeling in your brain and down your neck and shoulders.  These symptoms (and more) can last from two weeks to several months.  The stories of the people who’ve experienced this are terrifying.

I feel like they’ve been trying to get me to take antidepressants so hard that now they’ve pulled a bait and switch.  I was willing to try the Cymbalta since it is supposed to help with fibromyalgia pain totally aside from it’s anti-depressant effects. But instead, I’m on a dangerous drug that probably will not help, and will make me feel horrendous when I stop it.

As far as I’m concerned, the side effects I’ve already experienced are enough to stop taking it.  Insomnia, dizziness, hiccups, nausea, headache.  Most of what I’ve read say that the withdrawal symptoms happen after six weeks of treatment, so hopefully with only four doses, I won’t have any problem.  I’m just so angry that I wasn’t told. 

In more pleasant news; Murphy got to ride in the Ojai Valley Little League parade float for the fourth of July.  He was proud.  As were we.  I tried to get a picture but of course, my phone chose that very moment to notify  me that the battery was low, so the float had moved before I could get close.

We went to the fireworks too, and that was fun; they do a good job every year. Ojai is such a great community, and the parade really illustrates its diversity; hippies, Mexicans, Indians, Hindus, kids, cars, tractors, dancers, bands of every sort.  It was HOT though.

My plum jelly has been a hit; I ended up with 24 jars. Still have a few more plums, but haven’t really had the strength to do much with them.  Tried dehydrating them to prunes with less success; they came out rock hard.  I think next time I’ll try halving them.

Witches Brew Roving

I’m spinning for the Tour de Fleece; it’s an annual event held during the Tour de France, where spinners all over the world commit to spinning every day the race runs, and often set specific goals.  I’m on a Ravelry team, the Lantern Rouge, which is a “I’m not sure I can spin every day but I’ll try” team.  I’ve spun at least a tiny bit every day but one, and on the fourth, watching a “Firefly” marathon, I managed to spin a full ounce!  Here’s the fiber I’m spinning; the colorway is “Witches Brew.”  I was aiming for  fingering or sport weight, but I think it’s ending up more worsted.  I really like it so far; today may be a plying day as my bobbin is almost full.Tour de Fleece spinning

If I finish the pound of this fiber I have before the end of the Tour, I have some gorgeous merino/tencel blend that I’ve been waiting to spin until I was “good enough.”  My last few bobbins have been  lovely and even, so I think I might be ready to give it a go.  I spin so slowly though that I might not finish the pound; that is a LOT of fiber!  I have no clue what I’ll make from the yarn, but I can’t wait to see how it looks plied.  I may do one bobbin navajo plied and one plied back on itself to see the difference in the colors; should be fun!

Off to clean my room; I’ve been feeling so badly that everything has been let slide.  Disaster area doesn’t begin to cover it.  Ever seen “Hoarders?”   Approaching that level…

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Fiber Post

While I talk a lot about my diet, the fiber I’m speaking of this time is not dietary.  I’m going to talk about my fiber obsession. I’m currently spinning on several bobbins; here’s a few pics.

This is a huge ball, around a pound, I think, of blue/green wool I’m spinning really fine.  At least this bobbin’s full.  The next may be a larger grist.   I love the colors in it, despite the  neon green; bright colors are normally not my thing.  The only downside is that because it’s so fine, it seems like I spin for hours without making the bobbin more full. But it’s so lovely, I’ll get over it.

Then there’s the chocolate Shetland that I’m spinning, hopefully for socks. I’ve never made socks from handspun, but I really want to.  This wool is so springy and fun to touch; I just love it.  It’s going a bit faster, since this is less fine; I’m hoping for a three ply fingering weight, but I suspect it’ll be a two ply.  There’s only about four ounces, a tad less, actually, and I’m about three quarters done.  Then the plying begins!

Then there’s the lovely pink I spun up lickety split one day.  Again, pink is not normally my color; I’m a blue and dark red sort mostly; but my fiber stash inexplicably is full of pinks.  This is cotton candy pink.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.  It plied up at a heavy fingering weight, heading towards sport weight. I’m thinking I’ll use it in a Fair Isle design someday.

Anyway, that’s what’s on the wheel.  I won’t bother going into what’s on the various spindles I have going; I can’t even keep track myself.

As for actual projects, again, there are several; this pair of socks I made when my husband was in the hospital.  It was nice to have something to work on while I was sitting beside his bed when he was asleep.  I also made a pair of worsted bed socks, which I don’t seem to have photographed.  I also whipped up a throw rug for the kitchen, knit out of some chenille I had hanging around. 

One of my “stretching my skills” projects is to make two socks at once on two circular needles.  I’m not a huge fan of circs for socks; I learned on dpns and I’m good at them; no ladders.  On the circs, I tend to leave ladders, and worse, I find it very fidgety.  Especially since one of my needles has a bad join that catches.  So these socks are going very, very slowly.

I’m also crocheting a shrug for myself, and a doily based blanket or pillow cover (haven’t quite decided where these are going yet) that I have also neglected to photograph.  I had started a lace scarf that I have since given up on; it was not coming out the way I wanted it to and became too frustrting.

So that’s the current fiber play.  After the Shetland is done, I have some hot pink silk queued up for it’s turn on the wheel.

Catching up

Sunday, I had the chance to meet several of the people from my online fiber group, Sheep Thrills.  I can’t even begin to tell you how interesting this was for me, in many ways.  These people have been so supportive to me online, and I really enjoy reading their posts.  They’re very intelligent, diverse, eclectic and kind of intimidating to me, being not exactly a social butterfly.  I know I need to get out more, I need to make friends, become more balanced.  So I made up my mind to go.

I’m so glad I did.  I had a wonderful time.  Within moments of my arriving, Carol and Janet made me feel so at home and welcome; I set up my wheel, patted the kitty named Misty, and settled in to spin the day away.  Karen, Randall, Kathryn, Laura, Elena; everyone was so nice and had lovely fibery goodness to touch and feel and admire.  Carol showed off a basketful of shawls she’d made, and they just blew me away.  I wished I could have stayed longer, but the exhaustion and pain got to me, and I had to leave around four pm.

The problem with doing things then became quite evident.  By the time I got home, I was in agony and so tired I could barely move.  Some heavy duty medication helped.  Yesterday I did, well, mostly nothing.  Today, I slept til noon. Woke up exhausted. So exhausted, that this post, started on Tuesday, wasn’t finished til Friday.  I had so much more to write, but it’s all disappeared into the ether.  Maybe I’ll find it again someday…

On My Own

Well, the financial situation being what it is, I can’t go see my TCM practitioner anymore.  No more herbs, no more needles.  It’s so hard to know if it was helping or not, because my symptoms are so cyclic.  I’m going to keep the diet recommendations, at least for a while, to see if I notice any change with just the herbs gone. Then maybe I’ll try going back to my old diet (true vegan.)

Right now, I’m sort of back to baseline; knees hurt but mostly everything else is relatively pain free, itch died to an occasional flare, abdominal pain just barely starting its upswing, tired but not exhausted, brain fog minimal. This is the optimal time in my month; the one week that I feel fairly normal, functional.

I’ve been working on my plants;  discovered an infestation of caterpillars that ate all my arugula and watercress and is now attacking my kale.  At least now I know what’s happening.  So every morning now I’m out picking caterpillars off the undersides of my cauliflower and kale.  And combing the internet for organic solutions to pests.  I find it’s a case of too much information; every website has a different recipe.  I  may have to rely on good old fashioned hand removal.

My cukes have a ton of flowers; and the squash does as well.  I really hope to get some squash; it’s one of my favorite veggies.  The heat this week has been hard on all my plants; a lot of these fall veggies aren’t used to triple digit heat.  That is the advantage of having them in pots though; I can move them into the shade when I need to.  One of my tomato plants doesn’t look like it’s going to make it; the other seems ok.  I’m not sure what happened; it’s not the caterpillars; the leaves just wilted and died.  I can’t ever tell if it’s too much water or not enough.  It was right beside the other tomato plant, so they got the same; not sure why one is ok and the other isn’t.  If anyone out there has any advice, I’d love to hear it…

I washed some alpaca fleece, which surprisingly did not dry in the heat yesterday.  It feels soft and lovely though; I can’t wait to spin it.  I’m a little concerned about how I’m going to prepare it though.  I have combs, which I’ve never learned how to use, but I’m not sure they’re suitable for alpaca.  I got this fleece directly from the shepherdess, who treats the animals like her babies.  It’s so cool to know the name of the animal that gave the fleece.  She gave me three bags, one of which I am dying  to get my hands on, but I wanted to practice with the white first, since I’m a bit rusty.  Lucien has the most amazing fleece, fawn-reddish color, and the loft is just amazing.  Right now, he’s tucked away til I get my mojo back.

I’m still job hunting.  It’s very discouraging. Most of the time I don’t even get the consideration of a rejection, I’m simply ignored. I do have an interview tomorrow, so cross your fingers.

What’s wonderful is that after an initial meltdown over finances, I’m finding that trial is bringing us together as a family.  We’re focusing on what we can do, how we can help each other, appreciate each other,  and I have taken a few more steps learning to trust.  Personal growth, and all that jazz.  It’s still scary to be unemployed in this economy, but I love my family so much, and it’s so good to know how strong we can be.

Time to go check Craig’s List for jobs again; and plan dinner, which is going to be Greek Lemon potatoes, brussels sprouts, and tofu, I think.  Gonna get creative… uh oh!