Sunday, September 27, 2009

can't sleep and pregnant kitty

I've been lying in bed since 8:30pm trying to sleep (very tired). My legs and feet have hurt all day and nothing has been helping - can't get comfy. I think I overstretched something in PT on Friday. :( I'm hoping a solid dose of my pain meds will knock me out soon.

Another thing that is keeping me up is thoughts of an abandoned(?) kitty that's made my backyard her home for the last week or so. I figured out yesterday that she is pregnant. She is a tiny Siamese. She'll let me get pretty close but won't let me touch her. She used to hop the 6' fence in my backyard but she is too big now to do so. She's been starving and I feel terrible that I didn't realize this sooner. I put some food, water, makeshift catbox (she is housetrained), and a "bed" on my back patio where she's been sleeping. She is responsive to my efforts in this respect.
It's been really hot here for the last few days, which doesn't help my worrying. She's clearly uncomfortable and the movements in her belly are big enough to think that she'll have the kittens soon. She's tried to get into my house, with success, yesterday. She appreciated the AC and seemed more comfortable physically. I left the door open for her today and she didn't want to leave. I have a cat already and keeping them apart is very difficult. Since I don't know anything about this cat, I don't want to get my cat sick. I thought the kitty had left my house but, hours later, I discovered she had been hiding under the couch (she camouflages well!). My friend and I shooed her out of the house out of concern for my own cat's comfort/health.
I've knocked on doors around the neighborhood to see if anyone is looking for her, but I've had no success. My concern is that she is from one of two neighbors that treat their animals poorly. The fact that she is pregnant is one indication that they've slacked off on good care.
Do I leave the cat outside and hope that she'll feel comfortable enough to have her kittens in the box I made (cardboard box with towel inside and "windows" cut into the sides for airflow and for lookout)? I can't catch her, so should I try trapping her and then isolate her in a room in my house? Do I call the county shelter to come pick her up? Neighbors I was able to speak with today, who live on either side of the "irresponsible" ones with lots of animals, said that they would not trust them to take care of a pregnant cat. The people who I think possibly own the cat, did not respond to my knock even though I could tell they were home. I did not look like a solicitor for sure. I don't want to come off as judgmental but I have a really sensitive heart when it comes to animals and mistreatment.
Oddly enough, I've been praying for strength to go into the local shelter to adopt an adult cat as a companion to my cat. Do I take this cat in? Is it wrong, especially if no one claims her? I'd get her neutered as soon as possible, and find good homes for the kittens (hopefully neuter them too beforehand). If I can catch her, I'd definitely bring her to the vet as soon as possible to check her health, see if she has a microchip, get her neutered, and update shots as needed. I don't think she's ever been to the vet (was just a kitten herself a year ago). I'd feel better letting her go if I know she can't have more kittens and is healthy.

Anyone with advice is welcome to respond. I am really torn on what to do.

Thanks. I'm going to try bed again now that I've gotten the kitty issue off my mind for now.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Movin' to Seattle

I've been reluctant to post on this subject but I think it is time... we're moving! This is a good thing for so many reasons but I am mostly excited to live in Seattle. Where we live now is a hot, dry, too sunny, miserable place during the 8 months of summer. We both love the winters here, which are wet and cool. I also miss my native New England and the Seattle area feels more like home.

Currently, my hubster is living in a rental in the Seattle area by himself until I can join him. I gotta say that living in two states sucks. He got a great job and is able to give up being self-employed, which is a good thing considering these economic times. He is less stressed and will now live only 5 minutes from work.

I am giving up a good job that I've had for 9 years, but my boss has agreed to let me stay on part time via computer and Skype to do the things I am best at - editing and grant preparation. It will take the new person a long time to pick up the daily duties I have and to learn my boss' personality, never mind these more specialized tasks. We are calling this a "soft transition". I should also explain that my boss is amazing and has given me a lot of flexibility (no pun intended) to work around my EDS issues, including letting me take 90 minutes from my day to go to PT twice a week.

I'll be able to work from home and not deal with a 30 minute commute every day. I think that will help my EDS and fatigue. 

I'm having serious second thoughts about my plan to help my boss. I thought I would be strong enough to live here by myself until the end of the year. We've had two really lovely weekends up in Seattle together, including a surprise birthday weekend in Victoria, BC. It's been sooo difficult to come back home without my Love. Now we won't see each other for 2+ weeks because of work deadlines. At least I have my cat, but even she is not enough.

All of our furniture is still with me at our house, but we are planning to ship it up to our rental in October. I'll stay here until ___ and then bring myself, my cat, my car, and the little bit of stuff I'll keep with me to our new home. We know we are very lucky to have this opportunity to move to Seattle but we also can't afford to sell our house, so we have to find renters. It is hard to think of other people living in my home, eating from my fruit trees, and clipping my flowers. It's probably the fear of the unknown as well - I might feel more comfortable with the tenants once we pick good ones.

I'm excited to meet some new EDS friends in Seattle. I've already found two EDSers I think I'll get along with, and one of whom lives not far from us. Ironically, I've just met two EDSers here in my current area. Perhaps God is using me to help them meet and provide support to each other - they both have young children (same age actually) with EDS as well.

I've got a lot on my mind that I'd like to share but it's all slipped away at the moment. My growling stomach is using all that brain energy! :)

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 7, 2009

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is held annually in September and is a worldwide effort to bring together people who live with invisible chronic illness and those who love them.

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know:

1. The illness I live with is: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility Type

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2006

3. But I had symptoms since: birth, though the pain aspect didn't start until my teens.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: to my expectations of myself and what I can do with my husband, around the house, with my friends, for a career... 

5. Most people assume: I'm "normal" (read: not in pain, exhausted, etc)

6. The hardest parts about mornings are: waking up unrefreshed. Putting my painful feet on the ground. Wondering if any of my joints are going to act up.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: House, MD for the humor (the medical stuff is not always accurate though)

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: how do I choose? I think it would have to be my car. 

9. The hardest part about nights is: knowing I am not going to get enough refreshing sleep.

10. Each day I take ~15 pills & vitamins. 

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: have had various results. I believe they should be complementary to traditional medical treatment.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Invisible, but my snarky answer is to say neither!

13. Regarding working and career: On a good day, I hope to go back to school for a Master's in teaching or acupuncture but I know there will be limitations on what I can do after graduation - like I can't handle a large class of students and would probably have to do special ed or tutor. I can never be self-employed and I don't think I can work full time. 

On a bad day, I don't think anything is possible and just want to hide under the covers. 

14. People would be surprised to know: I used to love middle eastern dance.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: the effect it has had on my marriage. I was diagnosed 6 weeks after our wedding and I've since had more pain and joint problems than ever before. I feel like I've let my husband down, though I know that is not true. 

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: create realistic expectations for my work performance with my boss with no repercussions. Help others with the disorder.

17. The commercials about my illness: what commercials?!

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: dancing.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: dancing. Cute shoes (just kidding!).

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: blogging and being proactive with the EDNF.

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: spend the day in bed with my hubby.

22. My illness has taught me: to listen to my body. Also, to know who my true friends are.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "You are too sensitive."

24. But I love it when people: let me help out with projects that utilize my strengths without taxing me - I can be useful, creative, and maintain my boundaries. (I also have to say that I love it when people accept that I need to go home and sleep all day)

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: "I love you."

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: it's not all in your head. AND That there is no such thing as an EDS specialist MD, you are the specialist who needs to educate your health care professionals (educational material and support are at

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: that I finally have a name that explains why I've had the problems I've had forever, and that I am relieved to have this diagnosis. 

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: make dinner and do the dishes! On a medical level, was to believe that I was in pain and work with me to find a pain med that helped take the edge off.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: it's a chance to get the word out about EDS, which affects 1:5000 people and is more common than people think. 

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: like one more person has learned that Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome exists.

Do you want to write your own "30 things..."? 

Get the scoop at!

Find out more about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and the 5-day free virtual conference with 20 speakers Sept 14-18, 2009 at

Read Nkolika's blog - "An Artist's Musings: How flexible are you?"

I know I haven't been too active here but life has been a bit chaotic - most of it non-EDS related.

I found this informative post from a lovely woman - an artist and MD - in Africa. She found a video on "Snake Woman" (cringe worthy!) and provides a summary of EDS and hypermobility. She is also a very good artist (check out the link to her amazingly inexpensive artwork on Etsy).

Check out Nkolika's post here and watch the video.
An Artist's Musings: How flexible are you?

(Also read her other posts.)