Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cupcakes and Country Music

I accompanied Hubs on a recent business trip and a fun-filled week!

Jackpot at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville!  It was at the old Ryman Theater because of the Rockette Christmas Special and was it special!  We saw the following artists:

Martina McBride

Jake Owen

Rodney Atkin

Rodney Atkins Banner

Carrie Underwood!!!!!!!!!

and about 3/4 through, the host said that "a guy" who doesn't seem to care when and where he performs anymore had shown up to sing us a song (unannounced and unplanned).  Lo and behold, out walked Vince Gill in jeans and a sweatshirt, fresh from the Tennessee/Kentucky game across the street! 

On the way home, we drove to downtown Franklin on a hunch, and walked up and down Main Street.  So many neat shops.  We came upon the most delectable cupcake creations - Naticakes!

We had no idea the shop has only been open a month or two, but thoroughly enjoyed it and found her mission admirable:

Naticake's Mission

They rotate out the flavors, but here is the menu:

Naticake's Menu

I tried the Opera Cupcake and was in heaven -

Almond Cake, Chocolate Ganache Filling, Coffee
Italian Buttercream Frosting, Dark Chocolate Curls

Hubs picked the Vanilla Bean Cupcake -

Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Pastry Cream Filling, Vanilla
Italian Buttercream Frosting, White Chocolate Curl

And here is a recent article -

"Cupcakes For a Cause"
By Lisa Karvellas
Nashville Lifestyles, 11.09

If you EVER get to Nashville, do make a short trip south to Franklin, head to the main street downtown area, and try out your own taste of Heaven!  The buttercream frosting is so light and delicately sweet.......just perfect.  Mine had a slight coffee flavor, perfectly complementing the almond flavor cupcake with a surprise of chocolate ganache in the center!   Andy didn't give up a taste of his Vanilla Bean cupcake, so I can't personally comment.  lol  But he did love it, and he isn't a cupcake lover typically.

Have a great day!



Oh no that did NOT just happen!

Oh my, so not a good day!   We ate out for brunch at one of our favorite little restaurants and then headed toward Sam's, a large warehouse store.  I was pushing the cart and only 5 minutes or so, I did NOT feel good.  

I decided I better get to the bathroom.

Where I stayed.

Hubs actually calls my cell phone and it rings.......while I'm trying to hide out in the stall and not be "noticed"?  Hello?  I hit the ringer to turn it off and send him a text that I'm fine, I'll be out later.  And I'm thinking "Hopefully!"

To add insult to injury, my toilet won't flush.  I had to take the top off and find the thingy inside to get it to flush.  And that sucked, because most women like to keep flushing the toilet, because we all know that covers it all up and no one knows what is going on in that stall.

Only thing I could do is change stalls, but not until I could sense the coast was clear.  I, of course, had worn some very distinctive shoes so that anyone who saw those shoes under the stall would know just who THAT girl was.  Yep, me.

Eventually, I rejoin the family shopping and while looking at items, Hubs starts to feel the same thing, so HE runs off to the bathroom.

Kiddo and I go over to the furniture area to sit and wait for him to come back.  And then it hits me again.

I go flying off to the bathroom with kiddo pushing the cart, thrilled of course, because this is what ALL 17 year olds want to experience.

I disappear into the stall again.  And I camp out.

Hubs sends me a text from his toilet - we are both a mess.  Was it the lunch?  Most likely.  We did eat the same thing.  Who sends sympathy texts back and forth from toilet stalls?  2 miserable folks, I can assure you.

What seems like 30 minutes later, we emerge around the same time to find kiddo DYING of embarrassment, just standing by the cart wondering how do you look cool when you are abandoned in Sam's by the bathrooms?  He had chosen NOT to eat at that restaurant.  Turns out he made the smarter choice.

We decided to head home before anything else happened.

I'm still not OK.  Hubs is.  Guess we have a restaurant we won't be visiting again.

In other news, I wonder what I will weigh tomorrow?  lol  Surely a few pounds less!

Story shared to give you a nice chuckle for the day.  lol


Thursday, November 19, 2009


Today on Dr. Laura radio program, a female called in and could barely talk for the crying. She has a close family member who drinks too much and is causing  pain within the family.  She wanted to know if she and her other family members should stage an intervention.

Dr. Laura asked if she knew why she was crying.  Through tears, the caller said "No, why?"

Dr. Laura said "That is how you are dealing with your anger.  It is time to mourn, M O U R N, your family member, and let go. He has it in his power to stop drinking, and he chooses not to.  Let go.  No more crying."

Good advice.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pimento Cheeseburger with Fried Green Tomatoes

Have you ever heard of such a thing? This was the weirdest item on a menu I think I have ever seen. But I was adventurous and ordered it. I did have the fried green tomatoes on the side and hubs ate those, but I have to say - this was YUMMY! We are traveling and in North Carolina at this time. The restaurant - FATZ Cafe. Quite a good restaurant.

I did order a baked sweet potato instead of french fries, but was too full to eat it!  They also have the yummiest rolls (Famous Poppy Seed Rolls) - but they are deep fried.  Can't eat too many of those!  And their sweet tea is to die for!!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Spinal Cord Stimulator Updates and Info

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is an amazing technology and I learn more and more about it every month that goes by.  It works by blocking pain signals from getting to the brain.   I've had mine installed since January of this year and it has changed my life!  I have the ANS/St. Jude Eon Mini.  My unit can hold up to 20+ programs, but I have been happy with 2 - a daytime program and one for sleep.  They are the same program, but the sleep setting is much lighter.  I keep my unit on 24/7 as the nerve pain breaks through too strongly if I turn it off at night.

This is a photo of my best friend, the remote control!  I put that antenna to the left over my IPG - implanted pulse generator in my upper right buttock, and use the device to the right to turn the unit on and change or stop different programs.  If I am having a surge of pain, for instance, I pull out the remote control and turn the buzzing up or make it stronger to help the pain.

My first exciting bit of news is that  I discovered a new tweak that we can all do on our own.  The photo below shows my remote control, with my previous favorite program displayed (#5).  Do you see that electrode to the right of the number 5?  That is not normally seen.  Once you have your program open, you click on that grey button by my thumb, and it will bring up that electrode on the screen.  You then use the up and down buttons at the top edge of the unit to make that little mark go up or down the electrode.  What this does is give you extra ooomph on your stimulation.    If you've never tried this, I recommend it!  The instructions for this are actually in the booklet that came with the unit, but I had never noticed it before!

Program #5 has been my all-time favorite.  It is a constant buzzing, like "buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz".  However, it must really use a lot of battery, as I was having to charge every 3 days or so.  Most others reported online that they charge no sooner than once a week, and many can go even longer.  I was wondering if something was wrong with my battery (IPG - implanted pulse generator)?  I wasn't really worried about it, but it was a little annoying to have to charge so often.  Here is a photo of my charging belt -

And here is what it looks like on:

I went in and had my rep give me a program that feels more like a jackhammer - BUZZ   BUZZ   BUZZ  BUZZ and I LOVE it!!  The surprise is that even though it feels so much stronger and I would swear it uses more battery than #5, I am now 1 week out from recharging and my battery is totally FULL!  I don't know how long I will be able to go without charging, but it looks like at least 2 weeks?  That is a huge change.

Lesson I learned - just because a program feels strong does not mean it pulls a ton of juice out of the battery.  With #5, I thought if I asked for an even stronger sensation, I would have to charge even more often.  I was wrong!  So I really recommend you keep an accurate log and give your rep specific requests on what you would like.  You never know when you might stumble on a great, strong buzzing without using a lot of your battery!  So now #8 is my Day program and #4 remains my sleep program.  The other programs (1, 2, 3, 6 and 7) will likely be deleted one of these days.  My rep is super careful not to delete anything, even if she is changing a program, she will make a copy and change the copy.  That way, I can always go back to the exact program I did have that was working.  I've heard some reps delete programs, and if the new one doesn't work as well, the patient is stuck trying to figure out how to get their other program(s) back.

When my rep printed out my program information, I had her write down which programs were for what - day, sleep, extra pain, etc.  Should my remote control ever die and a new one needs to be shipped to me, this could speed up the process if she were able to call in the settings.  Otherwise, I would over night my "dead" remote control, the programs would be copied, and my new remote control would be shipped over night to me.

I asked if I could have an extra remote control and learned that we can only have one remote control "married" to our IPG at one time.  So having an extra would be of no use.  This keeps us from going up to another SCS user and copying their programs into our remote controls (something I would never have thought of!  lol).  One day, my remote control appeared to not work, and while I started my lamaze breathing prior to a full melt down (LMBO), my engineer hubby got it working again.  I honestly didn't know what I would have done if that remote control had died.  This is why I decided having an extra one would give me more peace of mind.  Ah well, no such luck!

I still thank God every day for the opportunity to have the SCS in my life, giving me relief from the unrelenting burning nerve pain I would be experiencing without it.  I still have a high level of pain, but the SCS buzzing (like a massage chair on the inside!) really allows me to function mentally and not be shut down and overwhelmed.  The SCS technology is not a cure; it is a wonderful adjuvant therapy for chronic pain sufferers.  And I am one thankful girl!

Have a great day!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Central Pain Syndrome

That is what I am dealing with now - what appears to be Central Pain Syndrome, which has hit me completely out of the blue.  Entirely related to my severely damaged lumbar nerves but completely unlike any of the other pain I have experienced to date.

This new pain is a burning feeling from my bra strap to my hips, on my back.  It is only on the skin, but feels like the worst sunburn you have ever had.  You know when you got that sunburn and could hardly touch your skin to put the aloe or the cream on it?  Imagine that but worse.


Clothes touching
Air blowing on it
Cold air
Any touch, particularly light touch

The doctor has prescribed some lidocaine (Lidoderm) patches that I can wear 12 hours a day, to see if it can calm the nerves down.   I can wear 2 a day, and they are 10cm X 14cm, and I can cut them and put them in a bunch of different places if I need to. 

What is Central Pain Syndrome?
Central pain syndrome is a neurological condition caused by damage to or dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. This syndrome can be caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors, epilepsy, brain or spinal cord trauma, or Parkinson's disease. The character of the pain associated with this syndrome differs widely among individuals partly because of the variety of potential causes. Central pain syndrome may affect a large portion of the body or may be more restricted to specific areas, such as hands or feet. The extent of pain is usually related to the cause of the CNS injury or damage. Pain is typically constant, may be moderate to severe in intensity, and is often made worse by touch, movement, emotions, and temperature changes, usually cold temperatures. Individuals experience one or more types of pain sensations, the most prominent being burning. Mingled with the burning may be sensations of "pins and needles;" pressing, lacerating, or aching pain; and brief, intolerable bursts of sharp pain similar to the pain caused by a dental probe on an exposed nerve. Individuals may have numbness in the areas affected by the pain. The burning and loss of touch sensations are usually most severe on the distant parts of the body, such as the feet or hands. Central pain syndrome often begins shortly after the causative injury or damage, but may be delayed by months or even years, specially if it is related to post-stroke pain.
This is related to my 3 back surgeries, possible spinal cord stimulator procedure and permanent nerve damage in general.  I have had the numbness and shooting pain for years........this burning pain is fairly new.  I have had a smaller section that has burned for months, but it was so small and I just plain ignored it.  Had no idea it would spread, but nothing I could have done to prevent it.

I have found some yoga type pants I can wear and keep the waist band rolled down and have much less pain, so I will wear those for now until this calms down (as I hope it does), and I keep my shirt tucked in my bra strap when at home.   I am considering getting something like Wintersilks to wear under my clothes, which will keep the sensation to a minimum.

It should get better with time as my brain learns to disassociate, or so I'm told.  I'm looking forward to that.  

Question of the day:  If this is triggered by cold weather, shouldn't we live where it is much warmer, say...........Texas? 

Time to go reread my Resiliency post.  lol

P.S.  GREAT NEWS!! The Lidoderm patches do not "rip" off, they actually peel off easily.  Huge relief!