Wednesday, August 29, 2012

it's times like these

that you find out what you're made of.

Pain was inconsequential to me for most of my journey thus far because I could just pop a pain pill and get on with my life in a mannor of speaking.

But these small nagging questions were popping up - where did I put that thing that I need so badly right now? When did I make that appointment for again? Why didn't I write it down? Did I get that done? What the hell is going on?

I was stuck in the movie Momento - I  was losing large chunks of my life. Honestly? I felt like I was losing my mind. It was beyond frustrating and for me, enough was enough. There had to be a better way to go about this. I just needed to start thinking about things differently.

The next visit to see the pain management doctor would results in taking narcotics off of the table entirely to see what she had to offer. The amount of options were actually quite startling (and what a relief that was!)! I had to wonder why narcotic meds were often the first line of defense when there were so many other avenues to treat pain? Was it because we the consumer are pushing for instant gratification so we are in effect training our healers to just give us a quick fix? Possibly. Or are we talking about peer pressure from the big pharm companies to hand out these dangerous little pills for the almighty capitalistic gain? Let's face it - a big part of what drives Americans is greed. But I refuse to believe that every healer is spurned on  by our pill culture - there are some good doctors left in the world, right?

So, in conclusion I've been off pain pills now for almost a month and I have to tell you that it's one of the best and hardest decisions I've made for myself. But I didn't go off because I'm healed or no longer in pain - quite the opposite. I struggle with chronic pain at different levels every day. Some days are better than others. Overall I guess I'm pretty lucky in retrospect. I read about people that have been in horrible car accidents and have several painful conditions and when it comes to the kinds of hell that people live in the list just goes on and on. This is not to say that one pain is better than the other - I just know when to count my blessings.

My new methodology is anything non-narcotic. We are starting different treatments now. Lidocaine patches are effective for me as they somehow numb the nerves that cause my legs to ache. Along that same vein is lidocaine cream with lots of non narcotic non steroidal anti inflammatory goodies in it. I get that tomorrow and have a lot of hope for that one. I've heard its good stuff.

I'm also trying herbs, supplements and OTC pain relievers. Once upon a time things like aspercream and tylenol precise and biofreeze helped but Im way past those now and into a completely different world of pain that those don't touch at all.

I still use heat and ice nearly daily. Heat is a morning get me going thing and then I follow that up with ice to knock back the swelling in my spine.

By the way we are treating Degenerative Disk Disease. That's the official diagnosis these days. I have two bulging disks and severe misalignment.

I will be trying chiropractic here soon. I was astonished when she suggested even pushed that treatment. I had read that its a big no no for us with bulging disks. I have a feeling that it would be still if she didn't know someone who specialized in treating those with such a condition.

I want to say that I will always be strong and take the road less travelled but I know that's a lie. I will try my hardest to stay here and just deal with things as they come. My pain does make me very desperate at times and I think it would just be easier if I just gave in - but just as I am breaking mentally and going down that darkened road of dispair something breaks and I kinda come back again.

I do worry sometimes about the mental ramifications that pain seems to have on me - I do get into a pretty awful funk but so long as I can crawl back out I find this to be just something that comes along with dealing.

This has been in the forefront of my life and mind for some time now and I think about it a lot. I can't help it. When I am in pain all I can do is to try to figure out ways to get out. Its like something is on fire and I have to put it out - and it feels like a cycle sometimes where when it wont let up and it drags me further and further down I claw harder and harder to keep from slipping too far down - that's when the best ideas come to me in the darkest of my times.

Just last night I was having a breakthrough pain and really nothing was touching it. I was wearing a lidocaine patch, had swallowed as much OTC pain medication as I could and was sitting on a heating pad. I just couldn't get comfortable. I laid down, I sat up. I walked around and I stretched out the backs of my legs. It just wouldn't leave me be! And in the moment of my terrible crunchiness I had an epiphany of sorts - I realized that I was thinking about this in all the wrong ways - I was still holding on to the idea that someone else could fix me better than I could fix myself. When did I stop being my own healer ? When did that happen exactly?

My mind was on fire with new ideas and the thought of doing more to help myself was not only exciting but really enlightening. I was going to get more proactive and take matters into my own hands more than I'd ever done before.

Before things were different - I could spend some of my time thinking about my back stuff because it didn't need me as much and perhaps that's where I went wrong?  If I had dedicated more time to being my own healer, I might be in better shape now? There's no way of knowing for sure and honestly it doesn't matter now. I can't change what has happened - now I need to move forward.

I have no idea what my rehab will look like as I've yet to do my research but that's the direction that I'm headed. I plan to get strong again - heal myself with exercise and therapy and stay strong. I've always had an advantage in life in that I have super tenacity. Im not capable of giving up. I don't even know what it means to do so and I'm going to use every ounce that I have for this. Its a do or die situation for me at this point - Every cell, every ounce of energy is being used up to treat and care for the pain in my life - I am getting further and further away from myself everyday. I miss being an artist. I miss being creative and working too many hours. I am completely disconnected from everything that makes me feel alive and like a whole human being. That has to change. This? Can't be my life and it wont be.

Im looking forward to the day when I no longer have to focus on pain any longer.

The journey does not end here. giving up is not an option.


Friday, August 24, 2012

the dragon has gone back to sleep...

for now anyway.

I'm feeling so much better and the pain monster fell asleep at about 11 pm last night. Suddenly I felt more relaxed and was able to start thinking about sliding into a tub of hot soapy water. Yes, it had been a few days since I'd bathed.

The fog has lifted and I can see and hear fully again. Pain makes me lose my sense of well being - I lose my sense of taste - nothing tastes good. I lose my sense of hearing.. I don't hear the bugs outside at night anymore.. I can't see the moon or her beautiful friends the stars...

Relief has brought me solace. I don't want to throw everything in site and I've stopped being a weepy mess. And? I was able to sit at my computer for longer than 5 minutes. Success!

I have an apt Monday to see my pain management doc. The only thing up for discussion will be non narcotic pain options. I really love having my sense of self and my witty humor back since the narcotics have left the building.

But I have finally arrived at the crossroads of no longer in denial and acceptance. I have a bad back. A really bad back. I'm done sugar coating this. I'm in pain more than I'm out of it. That's the sad reality but at least I'm dealing with it.

No more epi shots. No more things that don't work. lets look forward now. Lets look at solutions instead of all these noise makers that help me look anywhere but at the real problem. What is the real problem? I don't really know? I have two bulging disks that are pissed at me and scream more than they shut the fuck up. lets look at THAT.

but anyway... what I've been longing for all week ... creative time!! I need to plug into my light source and get charged up!!

So, lets get back to creating shall we? That was just a blip in the radar right? :)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I'm not feeling very witty or wordy today so you'll have to pardon my dry straight-forward and totally unimaginative writing for the moment.

There is no way to describe what it's like to have chronic pain unless you're living it yourself. I know, many of you do understand it. Many do not. *nods*

My issue is two bulging disks for a lack of anything more creative to say about it.

My symptoms and pain kicked into high gear about 6 months ago but have been off and on for the better part of 10 years. Obviously it was just all building up to these moments of my life when I would never ever underestimate the power of pain or is weight on someone's life again. Including my own.

I've been in a sort of denial for the duration of about 6 months. I didn't want to admit that just because I could turn the wrong way and throw my back out and be bed ridden for two weeks was any sort of sign that things were worsening. I just thought well, I need to do more yoga and well I need to ride more.

More yoga and more riding I did! Instead of taking it easy I was determined to get STRONGER and even added in some free weights to my regime. Did it work?

No. Sadly it did not.

The frequency to which I was injuring myself was becoming alarming. I could no longer grit my teeth a bare it.

That moment happened where everything sort of just fell like a house of cards and a crushing realization was upon me in a split second;

I was putting groceries away, carefully (im no idiot, I know what I can and can't do by now and bending at a 45 degree angle is always a game of Russian Roulette) into the car and BLAM!!!! I was seeing stars and the urge to throw up hit me so hard I had to hold into something and before I knew it huge, hot tears of frustration were streaming down my face.

I don't think until that moment I had ever once shed a tear over my back. Not even when I threw my back out horribly and couldn't get off the couch to even make it upstairs for 2 weeks - I think it was always just waiting ... buidling.. as true frustration does, for last straw.

I calmly wiped my face and threw the rest of the groceries in the back of the car, eggs be damned and drove home. Hot tears still pouring from my eyes.

It felt good to get mad and sad and just let that shit GO! When I got home my face was red and puffy and I just knew there was no hiding this from the wife. I admitted to my emotional break-down and hated to worry her. But I knew I was in trouble. Big trouble.

I iced my back as I always did and started the healing process but this time I was going to ask for help. I had enough of going it alone - I finally got hooked up with a doctor, got an xray then an MRI and then got scooted off to a pain management doc where I was to get my first of 2 steroidal epidural injections for my bulging disks.

Yay! I was going to FINALLY be out of pain and FINALLY be able to stop having to be at the mercy of these asshole doctors that load you up with super addicting drugs and then treat you like an addict. Jesus what a wonderfully shameful feeling THAT is. Can I have more please?

So I digress - I got my shot.. it was wonderful for the first 2 weeks until I got into some horseplay with my brother who is a brick shit house and innocently pushed me onto a couch where my epidural shot undid its self in a single second. Gah.

2 days later I was 10 kinds of fuckered up and my leg was back to throbbing. Not so much my spine just yet - it always starts with the leg and then just gets all crazy painful everywhere.

So in the meantime I was on a pain pill strike that I had to give up or surely someone was going to end up divorced (me) or dead (me) due to the fact that we were headed out of town for two weeks. Two weeks of sleeping in someone elses bed and two weeks of sitting in chairs Im sure I wont be comfortable in and two weeks of being in shit fuck pain again ... gah!

The pain pill strike ended and I caved. Good thing because I did another sweet ass 45 degree back blow out right before we left loading the car up. But this time? I was able to be quiet about it and just grit my teeth - pop a pain pill and no one had to know. And no one DID know until we came back ;)

So we get back and I get my shot and I wean off opiates once again. Woo Hoo.. I feel better and I got my tooth problem fixed pretty much at the same time. Might as well right? I used the lortabs from my tooth to finish my pain pill addiction. Nice. I was set. No pain in the tooth and no pain in the back ...

Until ...

I worked a nice long 8 hour shift on the torch about 2 weeks after my shot - see? I gave myself a good long break before I went back to work. I AM responsible about my back - and I didn't even yoga or ride even though we had 70 degree weather for 2 weeks.. I was good.

Saturday we go to the store. I merely GET OUT of the car and something went wrong. Felt some grinding and a pop of sorts and almost fell from the pain. OMG what did I do now?

I walked up to the house where the wife was opening the door and as hard as I tried I just couldn't stop the tears - fuck.

So I just cried it out. Let it come. Not so much over the pain but for the pain I knew was to come and the total agonizing frustration of being off work yet another week or two. I can't take it. What can I do? I JUST GOT OFF pain pills I AM NOT going back on. Fuck that. Suck it up. So that's what I did and I proceeded to take groceries in with an icepack in my shorts. Might as well be a productive invalid while I could still walk - it was going to hurt either way what did it matter now?

It didn't really. The damage was done. The swelling was starting and there was precious little I could do.

I used heat and ice and everything else I have at my command (which is an outright arsenal of creams and OTC pills and a back brace and a tenz machine) and pretty much just had to try to accept that this? Wasn't going to get any better - in fact it would prove to get far worse before it got better.

So what does one do when all the nice, easy conventional ways of managing pain are gone? Shots don't work or they do but they're so easy to screw up and for me the diabetic person, having steroids in my system was like trying to manage my blood sugars while someone is feeding me spoonfulls of honey. Sugar spikes if I even thought about food. The cost vs benefit (30 day periods too) wasn't working out anymore.

So I decided I'm done with the shots. Im done with narcotic pain pills and I can't see a chiro. They wont even touch me with two bulging disks. No massage nothing. So now what? Well theres a procedure that.. EH! No. NO FUCKING NO. No one and I mean NO ONE is allowed to touch my back yet. Not yet. NO NO NO because once that starts its all downhill. I've heard the horror stories. I've seen the results and they're not very promising.

Now mind you I know bulging disks are not considered to be at the top of the list of worlds most painful back issues - I know. But Im a someone that can tolerate LARGE and I mean LARGE amounts of pain without even flinching but this was kicking my tough little ass.

I see my pain doc Monday of next week but Im not hopeful. I am going to ask for intensive PT if I can afford it - I've heard it can be super spendy like as in 50 each time you go. But if Im not working that is probably not going to be an option.

Oh yea - we didn't even touch upon that part of this - the guilt of not being able to help support my family is just too much for me. And really if I don't work - we struggle. Hard. I hate it. Everything about it. I wish I had a job where we could get some sort of disability thing going ... but then I'd have to work a 9-5 lol Nah..  ;)

yes, I'm whining. I've earned the fucking right to whine. All i want to do is sit down, create and be happy. Make a little money for my efforts and just go on with things. I've had more down time due to my back in the past 6 months than I've had up. Im real over it.

So what now you ask? I'm asking the same thing. I heard something about lido patches? Numbs the affected area? I dunno? Worth a try. Yes, I know my pain could all be over if I would just take the fucking pain pills. I know. And they're not that bad. That's not the issue. The issue is that I can't seem to find a doctor moral enough to actually really and truly help me get off of these. They want to put you on but they never want to take any responsibility and help you to come off. Fuck that noise. I wont give my power away like that. And even if I did find a good doc that had a set of morals, I still wouldn't. I am just done with that for now and maybe forever. There has to be better ways. Like maybe acupuncture? Something? Some alternative healing ... its out there I just have to find it!

I think everything will work out in the end I just have to continue to be patient and right now Im thin on that. I do have hope still but every day that I spend in severe pain that dwindles. And every day that I can't create I become less and less connected with my light source. I need to work to be happy. Getting on that torch is the ultimate anti depressant for me and allows me to get a sort of meditation that I can't find anywhere else. Not even beautiful Yoga!

So in a way I wrote this post for you, the reader so you could know what I've been struggling with. From your perspective you might have heard about this shot or that.. my back hurting here and there and wondered why in the hell does Payton take so much time off? Slacker!! Heh. Lately that's exactly what I've been. And I wish I could say that I've done more than just build a website with my spare time but no, not really. I did read some good pottery books? Does that count?

I'll be back in the game soon. bare with me. I'm really doing all that I can.

I miss my life. I miss me. Pain free happy go lucky me.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Baby Octopi

So there was this adorable picture floating around on the internet of a baby octopus and the second I saw him not only did I fall in love but I needed to create him in glass. I could see him in my mind's eye nearly instantly. Every color and everything in between was suddenly right there - in my head and ready to be made. 

Usually, I sketch everything out and label all the colors before I start a project. This time? I just took a picture of it with my phone and brought it with me to the torch and dove in. And really? I'm not like crazy obsessed or all that in love with octopi! I do think that they're cool but this little baby octopus was just too cute! 

See what I mean? 

I sat for a moment and sized up my project and then just dove in! I started with a nice, milk glass for the inside of the baby - followed that by some pretty reduction brown for his markings- Then I had to somehow solve the problem of where his tentacles were going to go? If I were working with boro I could just make them go any which way but this was soft glass - I think that would end up being completely problematic so I had to think on my feet - My project was 90% done and I still hadn't given him his cute little arms.

Then it occurred to me - He just needed something to "hold on" to. Sure! Okay, that's easy enough. Make a nice bead and then sculpt him into it. I did - it went well and suddenly I had this adorable little octo in my studio with me!

This picture was snapped when I was still working on it so it's about 990 degrees. The colors always come up brighter after it's cooled. That dark blob of a bead? Ended up being a beautiful purple with pink and blue tones in it. Kinda amazing huh? ;) 

Kind of a better shot of the body - the lighting is a bit better here. That's my messy bench in the background that gets cleaned about once a year.. No really ;) 

And here he is cooled off to room temp:
These little creatures are amazing no? 

So I like this, I really do. I think it's not a half bad attempt! Write it down folks, I actually liked something I made! But I want to make some changes to dial in on those fine details that separate a nice bead from a realistic reproduction of a real life living creature. The bead is pretty but I want something that is tapered so it looks more balanced - and if I have something longer I can work on his tentacles a bit better. This bulky bead was kinda hard to work with. Here is my idea for the next go around ...
Now, this is more like me. Think, draw, label, plan and execute! Im excited to reach for a bit more realism with a few changes like giving him an iris to his eye and adding a few more details- giving him two rows of dots on his tentacles instead of one. Being able to taper down his beautiful arms so they look real by pulling stringers ahead of time! And then lastly I will make the clear outer part of his abdomen a bit fuller - so it looks more like he does in real life. 

I'm hoping to have a new prototype available to view by Tuesday. If you're at all interested in getting your hands on one of these guys let me know. Once I get the working prototype in place I should be able to make custom baby octopi! ;) 

Thanks for stopping by... 

Keep creating.. keep the light on.
Namaste, P

Thursday, August 16, 2012

burning question..

I've always wondered if any of you pay attention to the things that I write about my beads in the descriptions. And if you do, how much of what I say actually influences you to buy said bead?

Sometimes I just have to tell you what I was thinking or what my inspiration was all about - and sometimes I just made a pretty bead and really have no back story for it. But most of the time I end up doing at least a little write-up anyway.

The hardest part of listing beads is giving them a name - sometimes I just have NO CLUE what to call each and every bead child. Imagine if you just kept popping out kids! I think you'd find it difficult to keep coming up with new and different names.. imho.


So what say you? How much of your decision to buy a bead is based on a name or a description? I'd love to hear your input!

And no, I'm not going to start naming all my beads "Thing 1 and Thing 2" though for some of the lesser attractive beads I often wonder .... lol


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

a new dawn, a new day

spent the better part of the day working on my website and realized at that point that I sorta wanted to do a blog ... not the kind of blog where I blabb on infinitely ... nothankyou but rather a blog where I show and talk a little bit about my creative process.

Im not a huge fan of blogging because I never really have all that much to talk about UNLESS it's art. That? I can pretty much talk your face off about.

So, lets give it a go shall we? One of my most creative times of the year is coming up, so this should be a good time to test these blogging waters.