April 15, 2011

The Story Behind the Pain

Hi there friends and fellow makeup junkies. This is kind of a long, personal post of mine.

I thought now would be a good time to introduce you to a little more about "me" as a person, and why sometimes I make frequent posts... And other times I'm kind of absent, distant, ditzy, and almost dis-attached. If you check out my profile, you'll note that I do have another blog attached to this account which is my personal one. There have been a lot of painful, and quite difficult posts I've made while trying to cope with a really bad back injury I've sustained from a car accident in 2007, and been dealing with it's serious emergence now for over a year. I haven't updated it lately, because honestly... There are many days I don't want to get up. I don't want to get out of bed. I don't want to move. I suffer daily with chronic pain. I try my best to keep it out of here- because I want glittery, happy, sparkles and smiles and general silliness to be shown. There's a "dark side" I attempt to keep at bay, and I'd like to think most times I'm successful with it.

Why now disclose and share this with you?
Well... First of all I'm becoming more of an "exposed artist". I never in a million years dreamed I'd make the friends I have over this past year with my "Adventures in Makeup". I thought sure, I'll most likely end up having a few people which are close friends following me... Wanting makeup tips, inspirational looks, recreated ones, and maybe even some DIY things. Asking questions. It started out that way. Then their friends joined, and by word of mouth, social networking, the wonders of google and a thousand other ways... People are finding me. Lots more people than I thought would. Honestly, I started this blog as a therapy for myself- to have something to do each day, to look forward to, whether it be creating a new eye look, making a tutorial, taking a picture. Something. My macro eye pictures are what people loved- and encouraged me to continue to "create" with, get different looks, shots, angles... Art. More and more people are finding me each day.

This has happened.
I've also discovered a wonderful world out there with other girls who share a lot of the same passions as I do. People who play with color, experiment with looks, take inspiration from anything and everything. Some of them, I've found, are doing the same thing I am- using makeup as a self-therapy to have something to look forward to each day. Dealing with chronic pain, depression, auto-immune disorders, and any number of other ailments. Then again- many of my friends here are healthy too. It's a mix of people, and I truly couldn't be more appreciative to call those of you who are reading this my friends.

For those of you who have known me in real life and for a long time, typically I shy away from having friends who are girls- because quite honestly, we can be very bitchy, competitive, cutthroat and downright mean to each other. I can't stand it. I don't want a friendship to be a constant battle of who's got the latest Coach bag, who can afford Louboutin shoes, who goes to the salon for a manicure every three days. That's not a friendship- it's an unhealthy rat-race between people who somehow have to "prove" they're worthy of being a friend. That's not the case with me. Respect me, treat me the way you want to be treated... And I'll do the same. I want to kick back, have a few beers (hasn't happened in a long time) or even just pretty drinks with those cute little paper umbrellas in them, discuss the latest funny story from around town while hanging in front of the fire pit in the backyard. Talk about drugstore sales on makeup, new department store products, what goodies are coming out of Ulta and most importantly (to me at least)- new indie MMU companies which are being discovered... Regular people, trying their best to get a business, their passion, up and off the ground and surviving in the real world. That's what we go bananas over. That's why the detailed reviews, the sharing of the goodies, the tutorials, the raves, some rants (for some small issues), and overall fun.

The last thing we typically want to talk about is our pain- how we can't remember how it feels to not be in pain. That it's been so long we can't remember what it feels like to be "normal". How we can't move a certain way because it's excruciating. How most of the time we're on the verge of tears but have to stay strong and hold it together because there are things that need to get done and nobody else is going to do it. How it's a struggle to not only get out of bed, but the monumental decision of the day is whether or not to put on an actual outfit or say whatever, I'm just staying in my PJ's.

Dealing with people when you do go out that snicker ask "So, who's the handicap one? Hah."
Yeah, I dealt with that actual comment the other week. My sister took me to lunch, so after I made the decision I wasn't going out in my PJ's, I put on some makeup and off we went to run some errands. I stayed in the truck mostly, because I can't walk around much. Then it was time for lunch. She parked in the handicap spot up front, because most of the other spaces up front were taken and I knew I couldn't walk from the far away spots, and a guy was standing outside there outside having a smoke. She flipped the placard down, and opened her door and got out quickly, but kept her door open to watch me. The guy puffing pretty much laughed and smirked when he saw this, and right as he made his comment I stumbled out of the passenger seat, losing my balance and able to prop myself up against my door and anchoring my cane to keep me from falling. I know it looked dubious, a very tall girl hopping out of an SUV, and another one in the passenger seat. The fact is... I'm great at hiding how tired and sick I look. I balanced myself, stepped away and shut my door calmly, and said "Me." My sister gave him a dirty look, I held my angry tears back, and we walked into the restaurant together. What I really wanted to say was "Hey there fella, don't you feel like an asshole now?". I didn't. Besides- he reeked of alcohol and was using the building to keep himself upright.... Another townie bar rat drunk at 3:30pm. I think my answer was enough. He's lucky I didn't wield my cane (laugh at that joke).

I myself am no angel- not by a long shot. I've done some pretty shitty things in my life, and I've hurt some friends of mine- intentionally, and unintentionally. While I realize I can't go back in time and change the hurtful things I've said and done, I make an effort to apologize sincerely. I don't like hurting people, unless it's something I'm being attacked for and have no other option but to defend myself- be it with words or physically. The latter is quite difficult now though. I've learned that some people don't forgive- I'm not entitled to make them change their minds. I've learned that some people truly appreciate apologies, but it takes a lot of time to build that friendship and trust back- if it's even done at all. I've learned I have to move onward, learn from my mistakes, and strive to not make them again

The makeup community I've found myself getting involved in and with has had its ups and downs. I'm very new to it, and I understand this. I don't know everything, and I'm sort of just posting for fun. Over time, it's evolved to now include other aspects of what I'm doing- collaborations, giveaways, requested tutorials, reviews on products, and a brand new project that I'm involved in trying to get off the ground with a few of my other friend bloggers. I never imagined I'd be branching out to include these. There are some people I really like and consider friends, and others I keep at a distance. The best way to explain that is I treat people the way I've been treated, the way I want to be treated. Those I interact with the most, and who are friendly with me, are ones I return to and ask for opinions and advice, and also have some of the silliest conversations ever with. Heck- we do it to each other. If I reach out to someone, I hope they treat me with the same respect I go to them with.

I'm not always received with a warm welcome- and you know what? It's ok. I'm not going to have a fit, pout, and rant about it. I realize that I'm not an expert, and I make no claim (right now of course!) to be... But hopefully very soon I'll become a licensed esthetician and MUA for hire. This is my goal. Better late than never, right? Right. I strive to be accessible, available to those who need answers to questions, inspiration, or whatever is needed. If I don't have the answer- I ask all my friends! Online, IRL, bloggers, everywhere. What I hope you see, and what I hope to convey, is happiness. Inspiration. Being a goofball, having fun because life is short and we should enjoy every minute we can! It's my goal to make sure that's the side of me  which is presented. I try not to let my pain get in the way of the videos or pictures I take- though sometimes I'm certain you can see it reflected in my face, my eyes. I want you all to see me as the bubbly, bright eyed, silly person I really am. That is the real me. It's not easy to pull it off each day.

Sometimes I can swear I've smiled in pictures I've taken, and and when I look at them I'm honestly stunned to see that the look on my face is rather blank. Not happy, on the verge of a pout, or eyes half closed and obviously medicated... Which I am. All prescription mind you. For this, I apologize. I don't always realize I'm so "blah". It's so very hard to see and feel myself like this... Most of the time I just want to sit here and cry. The "real", healthy, unmedicated me is used to working, go-go-going and getting things done. Being the life of the party, hosting get togethers with friends, going hiking, fishing, camping, seeking out fun road trips and places to go. To say that I can't do 90% of what I used to do is an accurate statement. The good news in all of this is at some point, the pain will lessen. The spasm will ease. The medications won't be needed. I'll be back to "me". What I don't know is when it's going to happen.

The rest of this post is quite long, detailed, and not meant to make you feel sorry for me. I don't want pity, I'm not posting this to make you feel bad about what's happened to me. I'm posting this because it's been my driving force to make each day better than the last one I've had. It doesn't always work- but I try. I'd like to offer you a little insight as to what you might catch from me sometimes, in glimpses. Right now, in regards to just my back, I've been diagnosed with arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and failed back syndrome.

The background history of this injury I've sustained I'll explain below.
On March 24, 2007 I had a very serious car accident. It was a rainy night for the majority of the drive, and I took a road which was a "shortcut" that would have saved me about 2 minutes of my time on my route home. It had been raining the entire way, but as I noticed the temperature dropping, I slowed down. This shortcut road is a small mountain. Instead of going completely around it the "long" way, I took the wrong way that night- and told my Dad I was farther up the road than I really was after he called to check where I was.
(The photo below was taken a few days after my accident.The first telephone pole, with the tire track leading right in to it, is what I "ate" that icy night.)

Less than a minute after hanging up the phone with Dad, I crested the hill on the roundabout way on the side of the small "mountain" doing far less than the posted 30 mph zone, more like 10-15 because I had seen some small icy patches, and immediately felt my tires slide. I knew at that point, I had lost complete control of my Scion tC. I tried to steer myself to the opposite side of the road to hopefully get into the snowbank and/or ditch there, but to no avail... My car continued to just slide forward, with my tail end trying to come around and spin. This particular road pitches right, on a curve, and bends inwards. Awful in the winter- and many an accident has happened there. Even though the side of the hill I had come up was all rain and just wet, this other side was all black ice and slushed over. Because I couldn't steer left, I popped my car into neutral to get it out of gear and stop it from pulling my car forward and making me go faster, turned to the right and tapped my brakes firmly to intentionally put myself into what I hoped would be a sideway-forward slide into the snowbank on the side of the road to slow me down. My intention was to stop my rear end from coming around completely and making me spin backwards down the hill. It half worked... The nose of my car ended up clipping the snowbank and catching it just enough so that my car skimmed it all the way down the hill and right into a telephone pole. I couldn't break through the bank because it was iced through pretty well, and my car wasn't heavy enough to dig in to it.

Airbags went off and I managed to throw my arm up so I didn't get the force full of it on my face, I was bruised, scraped, and cut by my seatbelt, and felt myself flung up and over my steering wheel. Upon that impact (less than 25mph because of the speed I picked up going downhill- accident reports estimate I was going about 18mph) I felt each and every vertebrae in my back go pop... pop... pop... pop. From my tailbone, to my neck, it felt like it was slow motion. I know I blacked out for a moment or two. When I came to, I turned the key, intending to back my car up a bit. I didn't remember the accident. Then I realized wetness on my neck, my kneecaps hurt, coughing from the fog, and my windshield was broken. I pulled the keys out and opened my door, unbuckled my seatbelt and crawled out of my car... Hands and knees onto the shoulder of the road, a 1/4 inch of ice coated everything, topped off with grainy slush that was now falling. Headlights- a firefighter was on his way home and saw me as I impacted. He pulled over on the other side of the road (he was going home and coming the opposite direction as me), slipped and fell on the road while making his way over to me while I crawled to the back of my car, and finally pulled myself up with his help, and stood there with him holding me still. His wife wanted to go get blankets, but he said no- we're staying where we are. Tried to call my Dad- but just my luck I crashed in one of the dead zones. The firefighter had radioed his department when he saw me crash and had the state police come out and an ambulance sent to the scene of my accident. I am so thankful I was alone- if there were anyone in the passenger seat, they would have been hurt worse than I was. I finally got through to Dad, sobbing while telling him what happened. He left immediately, along with my sister. It was 11:48pm.

The snow had picked up, stuck badly, accumulated quicker than what was forecasted and they were having trouble getting to accidents that night. It's New England. This happens all the time. Mine was the worst. My back immediately started spasming, and I was twisted to the right and down so badly, I couldn't stand up straight, they couldn't strap me into the gurney the way they wanted to when the ambulance was able to make it to me 30 minutes later. I remember hearing the diesel engine of my Dad's truck pull up, not seeing him. I could hear my sister crying, and Dad talking. I do remember a state cop laughing with my Dad about how much crap was in my little car- how did I manage to get all that junk in there? The Statie told them I was ok, just shaken up and would be transported because of the injuries they saw- scrapes, bruising, spasms. I had planned on cleaning it out the next day. They assured him and my middle sister I was alright, but wouldn't let them see me until I was brought to the hospital.

I remembered hearing the ambulance often hitting the gas, and I couldn't figure out why. Once they got me strapped as best as they could on the gurney, in a neck brace, and IV-ed on scene, I realized it was because it kept slipping backwards on the hill and would have hit my car had they not kept the vehicle creeping upwards. The road was so icy, the ambulance was sliding backwards down the hill. I managed to turn enough to see the State Police vehicle had parked his car in the snowbank on the opposite side of the road so it wouldn't slide... That's how slippery the road was. I managed to stay upright only because my heels were able to punch through the ice and into some of the loose sand in the shoulder of the road. It took us nearly an hour to get to the hospital, which would normally be a 20 minute ride. I hadn't suffered any serious or permanent visible injuries that would put my life in danger. My spasm eased a bit once I was medicated, but I was still twisted sideways. While I had the ride to the hospital, Dad and my sister went home to pick up my Mom who was stunned, worried sick, and had no clue what happened because they left in a rush, without a word. She had been asleep, and remembered the door being slammed shut when Dad and sister left to get to me at the accident scene.

I don't remember much... They had medicated me heavily, morphine was finally given because I was going in and out of consciousness because of the amount of pain I was in- and while that finally dissipated the majority of it, the funny news is that it made me an absolute chatterbox. I was told to be quiet, rest, sleep. I couldn't shut up. It was like, diarrhea of the mouth... Laughing at words, sentences, doctors and nurses coming in. My parents and sister talking. Telling me to shut up. Be quiet. I couldn't. I can't remember what was so funny... But it all was. Not one single phrase stands out to me, but it was hilarious. Not so much when I got up and tried to walk when they released me to go home later the next morning- I stood up and summarily fell down, with Dad catching my full weight as I lost my legs. From there, it was months before the spasm let up. I still went to work, but took my medications after my parents delivered me to the office so I could function. Painkillers, muscle relaxants, and I still got all my work duties done well before the end of each day. My back finally eased up after about 2 months of that behavior. I was terrified to drive. Didn't want a car. I got a Chevy Trailblazer. I still suffer from small anxiety attacks when I need to ride in a small vehicle. I refuse to drive any of them... To this day, they still scare me. I'm much more comfortable in a high up vehicle.

My back was an injury that was known. It would occasionally spasm, I'd deal with it for a few days, and be alright. Then one morning I got out of bed (after Christmas that same year, December 29th) without stretching because I had to go the bathroom all of a sudden and couldn't wait... Downstairs... I stepped on the first step... Bounced down 18 more on my tailbone, lumbar region, and whacked my head a few times too. I hurt myself so badly, I couldn't make a sound. Everyone home heard me fall, scrambled out of bed to find me at the bottom of the stairs, tears streaming down my face, my mouth open to scream- but silence. Dad had to pick me up, carry me to the couch, lay me down. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe, coughing or sneezing hurt. That was the second injury.

After 3 months of being back on medicines because of that fall, I did the work routine all over again. Drove to work, in pain, so I could carefully time my meds so I'd be ok to work, and ok to drive home in the afternoon. My back wasn't getting better though- and my doctor suggested I take 4 weeks off. I couldn't do that- I needed the money. He said fine, part time only- no more than 20 hours a week. I showed it to my boss second week in February. Not only did he fire me on my Birthday less than a week later, but my boyfriend at the time dumped me also- same day. Double whammy, and the cherry on top was I had my cousin's grandmother's funeral to attend now that I was newly unemployed. The 5 hour drive to MA for the funeral, in the backseat of a truck with not much room... I soaked my sweatshirt with tears. I remember every bump, each corner taken too hard, each pot-hole, speed bump, curb, stop sign, red light and quick braking. Excruciating. My palms were raw from my nails digging in to them so I wouldn't audibly cry.

Missed somehow in all this was my ligaments.
We knew my vertebrae didn't line up correctly- but there was no herniation. No screaming evidence of a bad problem that needed to be fixed immediately. Adjustments helped me. Physical therapy did not- I left in more pain than I went in with. After being fired and dumped, I visited Virginia where my brother was stationed for the Air Force, and met his (at the time) girlfriend. I ended up moving down, getting a job in DC. Long story short, had an awesome chiropracter who worked miracles on me and got me straight and walking again. Loved my roommate (bro's g/f), but then had a falling out. Moved in with best friend (a guy), and got a new job. Reconciled with bro's ex g/f, stayed best of friends with my guy friend roommate.

Then a spasm in March 2010. (It's the same one I deal with even to this day- it has not un-kinked yet) None of the doctors (who, by the way had all my medical information in regards to my back injuries with years of documented info) would give me the pain killers and muscle relaxants which would have eased this after a few days. Went to see specialists- one of whom actually wrote "give up" on my chart as a rehabilitation option. I was told my pain was all in my head, nothing was wrong with me, and I was just looking for medications. I started eating ibuprofen like it was candy- and it's not good for anyone... Liver damage anyone? I'm lucky- I didn't do any damage. After three weeks, I started to fall. No warning- my right leg would just give out on me. At work, driving, at home, in the shower... You name it, I fell. Stairs even. It was scary. More "specialists" telling me I was imagining things. I wasn't actually having pain, I was imagining it. There wasn't a reason I should be complaining. I'd have to wait 6-10 weeks to get an appointment, and the doctors wouldn't prescribe any medications without first evaluating me.

I finally called my parents and had them make an emergency run to come down and get me. They did on April 9th, 2010. Marathon trip home with Dad and my middle sister was from Virginia to New Hampshire in a day... More than a 12 hour drive on the 10th. It was awful, but they got me home. I slept for nearly 2 days straight. My doctor here, who has been working with me since I got back, was appalled with the condition I was. He cried when he laid eyes on me- twisted over, Dad holding most of my weight, while my right foot dragged behind me anytime I'd try to step. My doctor was in disbelief. He's dealt with me since my car accident- and couldn't understand why the other "doctors" would refuse medication and help.

He won't give up with me. I've since gone through countless medications, seen a quack of a neurologist who overdosed me on an awful drug that could have severely injured or even been fatal to me, been trying different ways and techniques to try and fix this problem. It's my ligaments. They're so badly stretched, they don't hold my spine in place- so everything moves around in there whenever it wants. A sneeze, a cough, a twist the wrong way- and I can feel it slip out. I can't get it back in- my doctor has to do it. Each time it happens, it hurts. But the spasm I had last year is still in my back. Still sensitive, unable to be touched with anything more than a light pressure. I've had at least a dozen nerve blocks since September, steroidal shots to bring down inflammation, arthritis medications, pain meds, muscle relaxants, fibromyalgia medications (to strengthen my nerve casings and make me less sensitive to pain), and we're barely making progress. At least I'm not crawling on my hands and knees like when I first came home. I'm back on the loopy medications, sciatica pain has returned even though nerve blocks were administered last week. When I'm on these meds- I have little to no motivation. I don't feel human. Don't feel pretty. I'm not inspired. I can't work, and I'm one of those get-'em-done go-getter types. I love to be kept busy, interact with people, find solutions. It hurts me inside that I can't right now. I was denied disability through work. I was summarily released from my job because I wasn't getting better, and they couldn't hold my position for me any longer. I'm currently unemployed, (temporarily) disabled, and a messy train wreck on many days. I feel like a loser, a mooch, being supported by my parents. I'm lucky to have them- very, very lucky. Not many people are so lucky to have parents who can support them in a time of need like this. You may also notice throughout the pictures of myself in the past year, I've dropped a lot of weight. It's the wrong way to do it- medications. I forget to eat, lose my appetite, and only remember when my belly grumbles. I'm close to 70lbs lighter than I was a year ago.

Along with all of this, I can't really "get away". I can't go out and drive because of the meds I'm on. I can't sleep on anything other than my memory foam mattress unless I want severe pain for days later. I move, I crack somewhere- unintentionally, and sometimes I have to make it crack to release pressure farther up near my mid-back and shoulder blades. Otherwise, I bind up and can't move very well at all. I miss the freedom of being healthy. I miss the social life I used to have. I've shut out a lot of people, shied away from my friends... And I despise it. There have been those who tell me to "suck it up and deal with it." Well, that's exactly what I'm doing. Part of my healing process is distancing myself from people, I don't want to appear or be seen as weak. I know most would disagree, and would want to help... But for me, going it alone most times is the best way for me to handle all of this. Other days, I want to be near my friends, I want someone or a few people close. I still need social interaction. Until you deal with chronic pain, until you try nearly every treatment (exception being surgery- I haven't had it) available, until you experience something on this slide scale and of this caliber... You truly do not know what living in constant pain is like.

And yes- while this is certainly awful to deal with... I remind myself each day:
Someone else always has it worse off than I do.
Yes, I hurt. Yes, I cry. Yes, I feel so alone, frustrated, unable to do things I want. I'm going through this for a reason. I don't know what yet- but I'm sure in time it will be revealed. And there are people out there who have much worse conditions and disabilities than I do. I will get better, I will be running and jumping and goofing off again. I'll be able to wear my silly high heeled shoes again. I'll be off the pain medications. I can't wait for that day to come. Some others aren't so lucky. But they persevere and don't let their disabilities control them... They're in charge of their lives. I am the same way, have the same fighting spirit.

I am thankful for my family, my friends. I count many of you- even though the majority of us have never met in person- as my friends. I hope you  understand a little more now as to why sometimes it seems I'm here a lot, and others I'm just sort of "off" in my own little world. This is why.

Pain drains your energy. It saps you of many interests. It hides inspiration, makes it harder to find. It truly is a little rain cloud that follows you everywhere.
I'm determined to see the sun again- and it will be soon.

I'll end this short novel now with a simple, but effective way to show that I'm appreciative of all of you.

Thank YOU for being here for and with me.

I'm consciously making an effort to get more motivated though... Because sitting around in this recliner each day kind of sucks. I don't want you to feel sorry for me- I'd much rather have happy comments and thoughts coming my way! And I certainly don't want this to sound like a pity-party post, because that's not the intention at all. It's just... Insight into me the way I am now, and the way I process and deal with things as they arise each day.

x0x0x0 ~*Snarky P


  1. Oh god Amanda, I could barely see the last half of this through my tears ... I'm so so so sorry that you've been given SO much to deal with - and that people haven't been very understanding (suck it up and deal with it?! Are you effing kidding me?!?!?!) - and I hope you'll get what you deserve, a pain-free existence, SOON. Big huge hugs for you, you're so brave you deserve a frigging medal <3

  2. Wow- you have an amazing sense of self awareness. That is really a blessing to be able to recognize your shortcomings and endeavor to improve or accept them.

    I knew when I read your posts about Orglamix that you were a real honest and forthright person. It is truly a gift that you have for writing, but also to make yourself vulnerable by being brutally honest is pretty amazing.

    I'm a good bit older than many of the bloggers I read, but I find that the internet seems to bridge that gap when you have a common passion.

    I hope that things improve with your health. Don't ever give up the self introspection and honesty, we're more like you than you probably think.

  3. I really feel for you. Have you looked into any alternative treatments? Acupuncture, reiki, etc. I've had some friends have a lot of luck with those things. I know some people think that stuff is all psychosomatic, but I've seen it help animals, who can't possibly know what's being done to them or why.
    I know how you feel with the 'who's handicapped' shit. I have asthma, bad enough to need a handicapped placard, especially in the winter. But I look fine, so I get a lot of shit for it. I feel like saying, "fine, I'll park in the back and walk up, then you can carry me the rest of the way after I collapse, wheezing, on the ground."
    As far as sucking it up goes, you're more of a 'man' than most of the people who tell you that. Incredibly brave, and also one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. You rock, and don't ever forget it.

  4. Oh my goodness! I very recently stumbled across your Facebook page and now your blog. How brave of you to put yourself out there for all to see. And how brave to deal with all you've dealt with and still find the time and energy to do this. It is amazing how crass and unfeeling some doctors can be; I work in a pediatric office and the doctors I work with are so caring that it is so hard to see how doctors can be this way but I've heard of it time and again. How lucky that you have at least one who understands what you are going through. I also like to believe that things happen for a reason; and oftentimes we don't know what that reason is for years and years. But now you know who the true good people in your life are and you can concentrate on getting yourself well. Just know that there are people out here in internet land who are rooting for you and look forward to your posts when you are able to do them. Stay strong! Hugs! :)

  5. I have conditions that are degenerative, and I, myself, am only going to keep getting worse, my pills getting stronger. I know spasms all too well, I have broken bones from them. I hope the combination of treatments eases your's soon.

    Thank you for your honesty and your courage. Your tutorials have brought happiness and inspiration to me, you have helped me when I have asked, and I thank you. Please have a speedy recovery so you can wear cute shoes for those of us that can't! :)

  6. Invisible disabilities. If they don't see a wheelchair, braces/crutches, or a very obvious physical characteristic that matches up with mental retardation, you must be fine.

    The doctors...I wish I could say it surprises me, but being in that auto-immune boat, all it does is make me sad. Besides, why the heck would someone convince themselves that they were in severe pain if they weren't? Doesn't it make sense to just think "Oh, hey, I feel better, I'm cured now!" if it's that easy?

    I have no idea what it's like to live with chronic pain, so I won't pretend I know what you're going through, but do know that I wish you all the best and much luck in your recovery.

  7. You are amazing, optimistic and beautiful! I wish I had dealt with my pain as optimistically as you do. I was in a roll over car accident so I can relate.

    I pray that you will be healed soon :) You deserve to be 100% happy!

  8. Your post was extremely inspiring and shows how strong and beautiful person you really are :)

    I suffer from backpains, too, almost every day, so all though I can never fully relate, I can understand you. My backpains are from unrealistically sized breasts ever since I was thirteen. Anyway, your post gives me more strenght towards the breast reduction operation I'll have.

    Hopefully you'll find a way to get rid of the pains someday soon :)

  9. Amanda-
    Thank you so much for posting this amazing story of your life. I can't image the pain, sorrow you had to endure these past 4 years.
    I knew you were special as a "makeup warrior" but this just strengthen my respect and love for you.
    Knowing about this and your daily trip to help with your mom.. I don't know how you were able. Again the only word I can think of is amazing. But this also shows the love of your family.

    My prayers are with you that a healing will be soon and you will be able to wear those sparkly 4 inch heel and dance all night.

    Stay strong and know you have people from one end of this country to the other pulling for you and reaching out their arms to help lift you up.

    As you know, like Anne I am quite a bit older than the other ladies that read your blog or convo via FB. But I value each and everyone of you and your insight to all things.


  10. I very much hope you get healed lady, and thank you for sharing your story. I'm very glad that firefighter was there for you.
    Whenever I'm being a mopey turd I also have to remind myself, there are worse off people. Like my dad even! He keeps hurting himself at work, he crushed a disk in his back trying to stop a motorcycle from falling off his towtruck, was too heavy. He had a lady back into him with her car and it affected his heart, he pulled something in his arm and it would wake him up at night and then a dog tore up some tendons in the back of his knee when he went to grab a car from a lady who said "oh the dog thinks he owns the garage" and she laughed. He can't walk around too much because his leg and back combined make him not very mobile. He has to make his physio trips weekly or he doesn't get workers comp and they make him do stupid crap like situps (before the back injury) when it was for his arm. Like situps help arms... It's weird to see your dad in pain, he's supposed to be the guy who kicks pains ass!
    Oh well, now I'm rambling. Dammit.

    So I'm sending happy sparkly, big fluffeh kitteh thoughs your way :) <3

  11. I think it takes a great amount of courage to share more than the "glittery, happy, sparkles and smiles and general silliness"--more than just the mask. It makes us vulnerable, when we are well aware that people can be just as cruel as they can be kind. I admire you, Amanda, for taking that risk with those of us who have not had the privilege of knowing you so intimately.

    It makes you more beautiful in my eyes to see your struggles as well as your smiles and especially the strength with which you cope with the pain, even on the days when you think the pain has won (by keeping you in bed, perhaps, or driving you to take time away from RL and virtual socializing--I believe these days are our body and spirit's way of making us rest a bit more to help the healing along). We are where we are and we strive to be the best we can--no one has the right to expect more from us.

    You are an amazing woman, Amanda, and thank you for sharing this with us. E ola--live on, girl, live on!!

  12. I've been a silent reader of both your blogs for some time now and I really think you are incredibly brave :) *hug*

  13. My heart goes out to you!! But I must say you go girl!!! :-) You have so much strength, even if it is not physical strength at the moment. I think you are an amazing woman and I LOVE the looks you create!!! I want to thank you for the looks you create and the reviews you do. It means so much to me. I know that I stay silent for the most part but I do read your blogs and want you to know that I'm here...even if it's just to listen!!

  14. To All: Thank you so much for your kind words my *friends*. Each one of you inspires me, and you're typically the reason I get up and create each day! So please- no tears should be shed for me. I survived, I'm surviving- and I'll get back to my old self soon! I celebrate the fact that I'm here each day- even if I'm not feeling great. I have YOU to look forward to... Just don't take that in an odd way LOL I try my best to stay strong- I think everyone does- it's just hard doing it all the time. I think it's important for people to know it's perfectly ok to have a breakdown, feel sad and vulnerable and weak- and also to know that there are people here to help them get back up. It's people like you, and the many other friends I've met here online, that give me the motivation and courage to keep getting through each day. All I can say is Thank You, and still it doesn't feel like it totally encompasses all the appreciation I have for everyone.

    @Erin: Don't cry!! Please! Each day usually is a little better than the last... I just wanted to let everyone know why I'm sporadically disappear! I'd be happy with cookies though :D Yummmmy!

    @Anne: Thank you for your kind words... I'm planning on sticking around for a while! I'm also thankful you're "here" with me too. Not to worry either- I've no plans on changing my blunt and honest opinions and admitting faults and wrongdoings when I've done such. :)

    @Zillah: Thank you doll... I've tried many things... But because my back is still so tender and inflamed, it's hard for anything more than slight pressure to be applied. The only exception to that rule is when I'm laying on my bed on my back, or on my right side- it conforms to me so there's really not that much pressure. On my list of "to do" as far as alternative treatments, acupuncture, reiki, and resonance healing are being researched, and I very well may try.

    I hear you on the asthma front too- I can't go out in winter without covering my face when it's cold, otherwise it sends me right into a severe attack. I take Advair now, which has gotten me off using my nebulizer 6+ times a day- a miracle! A story for another time, but I had attacks back in high school because of renovations they were doing, and the last three were the worst... They actually lost me, and third time didn't think they'd be bringing me back. But... Someone upstairs said "Nope, not yet." So here I am :) Still very thankful! I hope you're able to find some help with your asthma too- it's awful to deal with. :/ One of the running jokes in my family because of my middle sister is that I'm the 8th dwarf (from Snow White) known as "Wheeze".

  15. @Tenderhearts: Thank you so much.
    Needless to say, I was shocked at that doctor, who was a neurosurgeon. I was like "Hello, Hippocratic Oath anyone!?" I adore my doctor..... I'm just stumping him right now with how my back is not reacting to his many different approaches to healing. What I like most about him is that he's not about throwing pills my way- we're trying medications along with exercises, holistic cures, Eastern philosophy... It's quite refreshing to have a doctor who cares and who isn't giving up on me... Not matter *how long* it takes!!

    @Dawn: Oh hun... I'm so sorry to hear that about you. The degenerative portion of illness I think is the worst part- though I've never broken bones because of them... But it sure feels like I may have. You're a strong, beautiful woman- and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. It gives me so much joy that I have found a way to inspire you, and even more important- make you smile! I'm so thankful to have you as my friend :) And honestly... I do slip on the cute shoes from time to time... But I'm up on my bed when I do it, and I don't dare try to walk in them! Ha ha ha! Hope that made you laugh!!

    @Rebecca: Oh my gosh... I think that's scarier than what happened to me- but I'm so very glad you were able to survive an accident like that. I have to admit- I'm not always optimistic in dealing with my pain, but I definitely try to find at least one *good* thing each day that makes it better... It helps! We all cope different ways- just the fact that you haven't let it conquer you is speaking volumes in itself! *hugs*

    @Melly: Thank you... I hope your pain eases as well. I think any sort of back pain, no matter how "bad" someone has it... Is bad. Part of my problem is also similar to yours- I'm quite busty for having a 5'2" frame. Someone else can have them if they want them ha ha ha! I wish you the best of luck when you decide to have the reduction... And if you ever need someone to chat with or talk to, I'm here if needed :)

  16. @CherylsLoveOfLife: Thank you for your kind words, they're so very appreciated. Honestly- I don't know HOW I went back and forth with Dad to see Mom that week, but I did... I slept a lot! It was actually kind of comfortable as I made my little "fort" in the front seat... Blankets, pillows and snuggles... Meds to keep me asleep during the ride! I didn't want to stay home alone, and I didn't want my Dad to be alone driving all that way back and forth... So I just did what I needed to do. But I'm happy to report Mom's doing SO much better, and is making a quick recovery! She still has some left-side weakness, and her left hand is rather shaky... But otherwise, she's improving faster than expected :)

    @KittenMittens: Thank you :)
    It's hard seeing a parent in pain... Anytime you want to ramble, feel free! I don't mind at all... It takes my mind off my own pain. My Mom's had the same problems (just not a continuous severe spasm like I've had) since she was in her mid-20's. I sometimes think when I'm getting helped by my doctor and it hurts me, that they feel helpless because they can't do anything. It kind of goes against the "a parent will do anything they can to help their children." and all they can do is stand there and watch as my doctor tries to help.
    For me, it's hard watching my parents grow older- I'm used to the go-go-get-em from my Dad, and to an extent he's like that. But like our very old cat who's 19, he's been sleeping a lot more lately! He's nearing 70, but looks like he's in his early 50's.

    @RiverCityIzzy: Thank you my friend. Thank you so very, very much. I'll keep on keepin' on :)
    I'll be up and moving soon, dancin the nights away. I can't wait to show off my shoes, and hopefully I'll still have my moves! :)

    @Ki: Thank you :) I try... I do... It's just hard sometimes. But I strive to make each day "good"!! I'm also happy to make your acquaintance :)

    @Ashton: Thank you! I'm so glad we're friends, and I've had the opportunity to get to know you! *hugs*

  17. @Snarky P: Thank you for your kind words, and yes, that did make me laugh! :)

  18. I am proud to call you my friend and am so glad we met through makeup. You are such a strong person to have to deal with this kind of pain and not give up. I know that because you're so headstrong that eventually you will get wear high heels and not have to wake up in pain.

    Plus, I know that sometime soon you and I can go to a Red Sox game so you can hear my commentary in person! xD AND you need to get to play in my collection eventually, because two makeup addicts at once...whew! ;)

    I hope you start feeling better girl. You deserve it! <3 <3 <3



  19. @Dawn: Great! I made a funny ;)

    @Reggie: I'm so happy you're my friend too!!!
    And I'll totally take you up on a Sox game!! HAHAHA I think we'd both be a-cussin and callin... LOL, last time I was at a game we got three Yankmees fans kicked out of Fenway! ROCK ON!! :D

  20. Sending you all the good, positive, healing vibes I can - but it sounds like you're doing great on your own. Maybe not healed yet, but reading through this, you obviously have a fighter's spirit, and try to see things positively, and are very self-aware. (Not to mention *beyond* nice - I would have had it out with those quack doctors.) The only downside (and I say this sarcastically, as a poke at myself) is you're setting a horrible example for lazy gits like me, who don't have chronic pain but are chronically lazy and complain a bit. Oh well, I was planning on working on it anyway. ;) I love your makeup looks (really been enjoying yours and Wendi's Sin/Virtue looks), and love your blog, and thank you so, so much for sharing this. The more people realize invisible disabilities/diseases exist, the more compassionate they'll be. (At least, I hope.) Warm fuzzies and positive vibes!

  21. @kathyeffingjacobs: Love your s/n!
    Thank you so very much- I try to be positive as much as possible. Some days it's very difficult, but I try to at least smile each day :)
    And yes- even when I'm feeling well, I get the lazy bug often :p hahahaha... I think we're all guilty of it at some point or another!! LOL