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A heartfelt THANK YOU to Minneapolis Police, Minneapolis Firefighters and HCMC first responders from the wordy disabled poor blogger who lives in Downtown Minneapolis…..

Trigger Warnings: This blog is being written to highlight what Minneapolis first responders are up against and my gratitude for that.

I’m not writing this to antagonize families such as of those of Justine Damond or Philando Castile. Their stories have been told, will and should continue to be told  and have made global headlines.

What hasn’t made headlines, is the dangers that our Minneapolis Police, Fire and HCMC paramedics face everyday and their stories aren’t told.

I don’t for second,  believe that there isn’t a need for BLM and other advocacy groups but they have voices that best represent them, that it’s not necessary that I advocate for them, too.

The expectations of what put on our first responders, everday not just locally but NATIONALLY, is NOT being acknowledged and that’s the reason for this blog.

I’m concentrating ONLY  on Minneapolis first responders because I live in Downtown Minneapolis.

Thanks….

So my boyfriend and I went to Davanni’s in Downtown Minneapolis, on Saturday, it’s a local chain of pizza/italian restaurants and I see a member of , actually he was a ranked member of the MFD and I thank him for his service and he humbly says it’s not necessary, which when I tell him where I live, while he remains gracious, but he understands better.

It happens to be and I’ve mentioned it before, in previous blogs, I live 2 blocks away from Hennepin County Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center and county hospital.

It also happens to be, and I don’t mean any ill will for the non profit that owns my housing, that where I live, happens to be a “mixed bag” of sorts, when it comes to people who reside in my building.

While about over 1/2 the people who live where I do, are like me, grateful for their housing, good neighbors and are law abiding citizens whether they work or disabled, like I am, there are a lot of people who engage in really scary behaviors of illegal drug dealing and usage and other criminal acts both on the property and near it.

There’s both a lot of wealth and poverty on this particular block of mine. And while I’m 99.5 % positive, that there’s criminal type of activity in the wealthy properties, it’s just way more blatant, on my side of the block.

While the non profit I reside in, does it’s best to ensure our safety, such as  one can’t have a felony and live here, and they do comprehensive backround checks, that doesn’t mean that some residents and their friends who come on to the property don’t engage in illegal felonious behavior that makes quite a few of us feel extremely unsafe.

Even though the non profit goes out of their way for that to not happen, such as cameras in the building and security patrols at night and on weekends, which is truthfully NOT much of a deterrent for that kind of behavior.

Since I moved to Downtown Minneapolis, there is NOT an instance where I’m not bothered by being asked for cigarettes, drugs, sex and money or dealers wondering if I’m looking to buy, everytime I leave my house.

So it’s not that we just have the criminal aspect, but the STUPID criminal aspect, to be honest. But it’s the stupid criminal aspect that has the propensity to be violent, that makes this so scary.

Usually when I get asked that, I just say sorry, don’t have any money and am super broke. If I get asked for sex by a male, I tell them I have a jealous girfriend who just got out of prison. If it’s a female, I tell them I have a jealous boyfriend who got out of prison. If I’m asked for drugs, I tell them I’m on probation and jokingly say that I’m  not willing to go back to jail again, so sorry I don’t have any illegal drugs, such as Heroin, Meth and Marijuana, to name of few, but wish them well on their search.

Now, NONE of what I said, is TRUE. OTHER than that I’m not in posession of any illegal substances.  The reason why I operate that way, is because,  the LAST thing that you want to do, is operate on the defensive, to someone who has barriers are being inappropriate, and are showing that they are operating with irration that’s criminal in nature, or could potentially lead to a crime,  that could be a REAL and MAJOR  safety threat to oneself and their loved ones.

But in no way am I labeling people just because their poor, have mental illness issues or homeless, as lot of people like that are not only vulnerable to crime, but would NEVER be a threat to another human being and that’s the last type of prejudice that I’d want to project,  due to the stigmitaztion already, that exists with those populations, which I fall into 2 of them, right now and am an activist for all 3 of them, in addition to the other activism I do.

So when I’m harrassed though, I’m courteous, apologetic and concise to them, then I move on. After this happening for several years now, I don’t leave my house without looking REALLY MAD about something, to try and deter this kind of behavior, so I get less bothered.

And truthfully I do feel bad if it’s possible that I might scare someone, being someone who’s scared but now could be considered a threat, just cause I’m a chick who looks mad enough to want to kill someone, but would never would hurt someone.

The ONLY time that I try to scare people, somewhat  on purpose, is when I’m walking around in Downtown Minneapolis, people have young children running around, who they aren’t paying attention to, and I looking like a crazy smoking chubby disabled chick, will kinda move closer to the kid (like within 5 feet, not super close),  in hopes that the parent will look up from their cell phones before their kid runs into incoming traffic, otherwise I’m paying enough attention, that should that child be at risk for that, I’d throw the cigarette down and grab them, before they get ran over, but luckily I’ve never had to do that.

Usually when a parent sees me, they grab their kid, which is the outcome that I want. If they don’t like me, it ain’t my problem. I’d rather do that, then have on my head, that an innocent kid gets ran over because they have a parent who can’t look away from their smartphones and that I didn’t do anything.

As I have enough bad things that I’ve blogged about, to feel bad about myself for, which are justified. Doing what I do, stated above, isn’t one of them.

I will write a separate blog on public safety, another time. Because I’m digressing, but it’s worth the digression, to put on here, what NOT to do when one is harassed by someone with barriers but have inappropriate behaviors that could be a safety threat to someone.

BUT this is the point I’m trying to make. As this blog isn’t about ME. It’s about what I see that our first responders, being police, fire and HCMC paramedics, I’m overly observant in what I see they are up against, everytime I leave my home, which is necessary to try and not become a victim of some sort. Whether it’s someone who has violent tendancies or someone who is behind the wheel and is texting and driving.

And again, I’m not trying to disrespect or degrade the residents or the city of Minneapolis, that’s not my intent, either.

There is no profession, other than being a peace officer, where we expect them to not make a mistake in judgement, even though we expect them to risk their lives EVERY SINGLE DAY, to protect ours.

And the STIGMATIZATION of all law enforcement now, especially in Minneapolis, I find nothing short of horrifying.

Even doctors, have much more leeway, when their actions, lead to a death, in not being demonized than our police officers, have risk for. I’m not trying to be anti -physician, with that statement, just saying there’s an expectation of a ZERO error rate in law enforcement, when in our  society really don’t have that expectation on ANY OTHER profession, other than medicine, and  physicians aren’t up against the safety issues that police officers are up against.

Well, sort of. As in the case of physicians and staff , at our local major medical centers like Hennepin County Medical Center, Fairview Medical Center and Abbott Northwestern have both security and police presence to protect patients providers, staff and visitors.

Which sadly, is definitely needed.

12 days ago, there was a gas explosion at Minnehaha Academy, that sadly left 2 fatalities. That also made national headlines.

What didn’t make headlines, of course, is our first responders who are the first to show up when tragedies like this happen and they show up EVERYDAY, in life and death situations, here on our city.

It happens to be, that since I’ve moved to Downtown Minneapolis, 4 1/2 years ago, I thank a police officer or a member of the fire department, as well as HCMC paramedics, everytime that I see one.

I also thank other officers such as when I’m in St. Paul, especially Downtown and the Midway area.

If those officers, fire department and paramedics think I’m odd, being a chubby smoking (if the encounter is outdoors) old and odd chick with unruly red hair, who is thanking them, they don’t let on.

They are always beyond gracious that someone is taking their time to show gratitude.

I’ve seen others thank first responders, too, even when out and about, so I’m not the only one.

BUT,   what I haven’t seen is anyone, other than law enforcement initiatives, like pro-leo initiatives on social media, that where members of the public, in Minneapolis is taking the time to show gratitude and acknowledge the enormous responsibility that we’ve put on our first responders and their profession now is constantly scrutinized, stigmatized and condemned (again, not necessary to bring up what I said in my trigger warning), but we have the expectation that they’ll put their lives on the line, to save ours.

And not only that, if they aren’t at risk for DYING for what they do, they are unduly burdened now, everytime they respond to a call, of potentially having civil and  criminal ramifcations.

So this wordy blog is to hopefully make it safer as well as show ENORMOUS GRATITUDE  for those of us who do feel safer because of the MPD. And MFD and HCMC paramedics. All of them who we rely on, day in and day out to protect our lives, at risk of theirs.

So I will NEVER have enough words to THANK our Minneapolis first responders, but I’ve tried my best to do that, with this blog.

The only complaint that I have, is that I wish Downtown Minneapolis, especially Downtown East (I’m not calling it, East Town, I think that’s silly) Downtown West and the Cetntral Business District, as well as the North Loop, had MORE police presence, NOT less.

I just probably  should’ve said that I wish ALL of Downtown Minneapolis, had more of a police presence, all the time.

But, I’m not apologizing for feeling safer when I see police officers around, given my circumstances, which is why this blog was so long.

I couldn’t whole heartedly thank them, the impact wouldn’t be the same, without mentioning personally what I am up against as a private citizen, as well as what I see what they’re up against, in threat to their own safety and the stigma now put upon them.

EVERY. SINGLE. DAMN. DAY.

Note: Above reference to inital trigger warning. No need to reference any type of police misconduct. There are many places on and off the interent to do that.

This blog is being created by myself and for others who feel the same way that I do, about gratitude for our local first responders, for them to have a safe space to have their feelings acknowledged, that are outside of social media.

Where we  don’t have to face threats or untrue hurtful opinions, that we are pro-police brutality or racist, which I’m not and I know many who feel the same way, aren’t. But we don’t have a safe space on the internet, as a citizens, to express their gratitude to our Minneapolis Police, Fire and HCMC First Responders (and Minneapolis 911 operators, which I should’ve mentioned earlier).

Responses that are inappropriate for this blog, will NOT published. My response I’ll give you now, before you try. IF you think you can do a better job than a MPD officer, feel free to go to school and then, become a police officer.

Also comments that mock my writing skills as a really wordy disabled blogger will NOT published.

I’d rather try to show my gratitude for something that’s I’m so grateful for and vital to not just my safety, then to just keeping thanking police officers, fire department, 911 operators  and HCMC first responders with anonymity,  which is what I’ve done so far, but in my opinion hasn’t been enough,  and feel strongly enough to attach my identity to it.

And hopefully by saying something that shouldn’t be controversial, people can also show their gratitude for law enforcement officers, everywhere and they probably will do a better and more effective job, then I did.

But I had to try………

Additional note: I’m ALSO so grateful to Minneapolis 911 operators, who work so hard, are kind and calm, also and in such an extraordinarily charged and stressful circumstances and I should’ve thanked them better , in the above  body of the blog.

With the my disability sets, I can’t edit without adding words that would make this even more wordy and potentially comatose inducing.

I apologize for not originally giving them, their due, as well….

“It’s NOT fair/Bad Example”……

lisa1010smoking

You wanna bad example??? Or examples of things NOT being fair…

I’m not writing this blog for my subscribers, it’s to respond to comments regarding my weight, where for a refreshing change, as it applies to some in the bariatric surgical community.

Versus the “fat people” hate, I’ve been getting lately…..

Here are your trigger warnings: I talk about intentional weight loss, so if that it’s a trigger or profanity, please don’t read.

HOWEVER, if you’re like some weight loss surgery peeps who like most people can’t figure out how someone almost 16 years post gastric bypass keeps off some weight (a little over half, at this point) and are confused what my 2nd bariatric surgery was, I’ll make it crystal clear and through in some proof, and I’ll hopefully I’ll NEVER have to blog about this again.

So, I’m minding my own business, today (like I do EVERYDAY) . I’ve been homebound last couple of days due to not feeling well, when I get an email regarding my gastric bypass “reversal”.

Well it was an email reaming me out by someone who had bariatric surgery around the same time that I had my reversal and was calling out me out on the fact that I have kept off some weight (at this point over 1/2 excess and regain, which by bariatric surgeons’s standards makes my gastric bypass, a SUCCESS, as the usual universal standard for bariatric surgical success, is keeping 1/2 excess weight post operatively…Heh)  and they had gained all their weight back by their 4th year post operative gastric bypass  and was looking to have a revision, even though they said they had been fairly compliant.

And had found me both on ObesityHelp.com and my Facebook page and had an issue that I could exercise and eat what I want, but that I was playing with fire, eating carte blanche and ruining my surgeon’s efforts to not only help me once, with weight but TWICE. As they didn’t believe I was reversed, but revised.

I am not saying the above with any judgement, as far as weight gain, post operatively. I know from being in the weight loss surgery communities now, for almost 16 years there is so many factors, that play into weight regain.

As well as my own experience with gaining my almost all my weight back, starting almost 7 years post gastric bypass due to psych meds.

The specifics and timetable of complications, regain and “reversal” are covered in many blogs on here.

I usually support the weight loss surgery community as a long term peer, best through OH.com. 90% of what I have to say is to help others, is received positively, including and especially from OH.com staff. The other 10% is really negative from fellow bariatric surgical peers, purposely misconstrued because I think my “reversal” status, if a bariatric patient can believe it, scares the HELL out of them, and that I get, if they are not emotional terrorists about it. Or my issues make them feel better about themselves, which makes them an emotional terrorist, picking on me, for no reasons.

While I support people who’ve had complications and/or reversals , through my blog, Facebook and OH.com, OH.com allows me to give advice when people ask for it, as a long term peer, even when they didn’t have complications, but the many different life adjustments that happen life long post weight loss surgery.

And UNLIKE most of my peers who’ve had nearly life ending and life ruining complications, I’m weight loss surgery positive, with ALL the weight loss surgeries, including gastric bypass.

Because while I know people who’ve died waiting for a serious medical intervention for bariatric surgical complications, I also know people who died for weight related health reasons who died WANTING, more than anything, bariatric surgery.

This is what I don’t understand. NO ONE is forced at gunpoint to read ANYTHING I write on the internet.

I go out of my way, for free, given all this free time I now have, that I NEVER asked for, due to multiple complex medical, mental and cognitive disabilities, to try and help people, the majority of time I’m on the internet.

I admit, I wasn’t perfectly compliant. I was a moderate smoker, at the time of my gastric bypass, who NEVER quit. That’s it. I didn’t drink alcohol, I take/took my vitamins, ate with compliance and exercised.

I didn’t ask for a gastric bypass reversal, which is what I had. I had to have one to save my life and to maintain what little life that I would have, should I live through my complications, should the reversal work.

And guess what??? The only thing that is not even guaranteed, is that one will most likely live through their reversal vs. die from their complications. Or have somewhat of a better health outcome, because no one goes into bariatric surgery either thinking they will have complications or weight of a starving person, or in my case, where I was heavier than most people reversed, the labs of a starving person, multiple complications and a primary reason for reversal was so I didn’t internally bleed to death.

And before any weight loss surgery peeps blame me as a smoker, while I don’t advise smoking, I know people who smoked a lot and drank a lot and never had a G.I. bleed.

I don’t go to anyone’s spaces on the internet, tell them what they are doing wrong with their life, how they should look, behave and weigh.

All I’m asking is for the same fucking courtesy…..

You wanna know what’s not fair, as it applies to me, as well as my family, is that I was compliant.

That I should’ve been known as a bariatric specializing Certified Personal Trainer and successful small business owner who was a mother of 2 and loves her kids more than anything.

Not the trainwreck that my life became post gastric bypass, epic nervous breakdown and suicide attempt in 2008, that makes me NOW, known as the wordy reversed chick.

I will try to help almost anyone, with anything I can, as far as my time, to help, restricted to online.

But please don’t be a bariatric surgical peep telling me that life post operatively from a gastric bypass perspective, was fucking more fair to me, it was NOT. Even though I’ve heard stories and supported people who had it worse than me, and if they lived, they don’t go around telling others how unfair it was, compared to other bariatric surgical outcomes that didn’t have complications. Or people who had not as many major ones.

Not to mention those who did die from their complications.

Not all reversed gastric bypass peeps can eat like I can. And guess what, I can’t eat carte blanche, but I can eat somewhat normally, after almost 7 years post reversal and that I’m grateful for.

And am not going to apologize for that. Or living the little life that I have, without micromanaging my weight and what I eat, for the rest of my life.

My bariatric surgeon in early 2010, during my 1st hospitalization of that year, when I was begging for a revision, wouldn’t revise me, due to the extent of my complications. 6 months later when he brought a reversal to save my life, he made it clear, that was my only choice to live and while he never made one negative comment about my weight (as he understood meds played into my enormous regain, without being able to eat much or keep down what I ate, due to those bleeding ulcers).

As well he NEVER suggested any type of non surgical weight loss treatment, but did it make it clear, that if I’d gain a lot of weight, I’d most likely be ineligible for ANY of the bariatric surgeries, regardless of how much I weighed (if I’d become morbidly to supermorbidly obese) or if I’d develop co-morbids, but I was more at risk for dying due to how I responded to a perfectly performed rny.

So that’s why I make some effort to keep some of my  weight off. And don’t feel like I failed the world at large or the bariatric surgical community that I’m not thin, any longer.

I’m really fucking sick of having to explain all of this. Over and over again.

And of all of the judgement people have NO problem throwing my way.

I get that there are people out there, who have to I guess blame, bully and bother complete strangers that NO ONE is forcing them to pay attention, to.

I’m not even fucking asking, for people to pay attention to me.

IF you really care about what’s unfair, how about kids who get cancer and killed in schools??? Or about both children and adults who lose loved ones due to illness, accidents, injury??? Which is what I’m kind of really stressing out about, mostly. Among other things. I live 2 blocks away from a level 1 trauma center, which I hear the sirens all the time.

And here in Minneapolis today, an innocent person died due to being at work and people were injured when a school had a gas explosion. And it feels worse to even have to think that if that gas explosion occurred 6 weeks from now, it would’ve been catastrophic.

So hopefully that clears up how I feel about people having no problem harassing me, in this case about my gastric bypass reversal but trying and being able to keep some weight off.

And if you don’t believe I had a reversal, here you go:


There’s no coding for gastric bypass reversals. The above should tell you anyone, even though it’s really none of their fucking business, and certainly not to judge, if discredit, my medical history, that I’ve only been forthcoming about my medical and mental health issues to help others.

Although if you’re going to do something so shitty, like others do to me about my reversal and regain/keeping some weight off issues, better to do it to me, than to someone who’s possibly in both medical and mental health crisis and you could seriously emotionally harm.

I’ve lived through enough shit that while I don’t love all the inaccurate assumptions about my life and life choices, I’ll be okay.

Someone else, though, may NOT be. Knock this kind of shit, off……

Seriously!!! For those who do this kind of crap, shame on you!!!

Note:  You can’t defend the hate and hurtful comments that I and others like me, receive in these instances. Don’t even try. The only reason why this is being blogged is that I’ve gotten enough crap about all aspects of my weight and bariatric surgical outcome and I”m really fucking sick and tired of it.

And have a right to defend myself and others like me, who may not have a voice……

And if for whatever reason, people can’t see how toxic they are, when they tell people who didn’t ask them for input, about why someone, post operatively is able to keep weight off, when they can’t, feel free to ENJOY(for the wrong reasons)/RESENT/THINK I’M THE UGLIEST WOMAN WHO’S UNFORTUATELY FOR YOU STILL ALIVE of the pics of me living my life and what I look like to being okay looking to horrifically sick, when it’s been HELL to life when it was great, but at least I’m ALIVE (pics, at all different weights in the last 2 1/2 decades), in my previous blog, that was meant for those who hate on me, cause I’m too fat….

Also note, when a blog that I really shouldn’t have had to write, requires me, to go into my medical records and it’s something that’s painful for me (also discussed in many other blogs) for an hour to hunt “proof” of having a gastric bypass reversal, I had to edit blog within 90 minutes of publishing, for clarification of intent….

6-6-1996 BA296 ORD-LHR/Oh What A Flight!!!

(Note: I’m not normally in the habit of reposting blogs. This blog that I wrote and published exactly a year ago, reminded me of a happier and much more productive time in my life.

If anyone would’ve told me that in the 21 years following what this blog is about, my life and almost everyone else’s, for those of us who’ve been around awhile, and have managed to escape, horrible tragedy, obviously people have some major changes in their lives, mine is stranger than most, given the fact that 10 years after this EPIC moment in my life, 10 years later,  in 2006, while my life still was completely different, in the fact, instead of being a very overweight loving single mother of one, I’d be a very sick (to get even sicker and nearly die, including my daughter who she and I nearly died when I gave birth to her in 2003 but I’d be a very thin single mother of 2, still hoping to launch her own business. And I also nearly died because of my mental health ( “my one and only” suicide attempt in 2008) and for years gastric bypass complications that  I would’ve died without my gastric bypass being reversed in 2010, I still can’t get over, the twists personally that I’ve gone through.

Let alone, still trying to grasp that while we were still a fairly evolved society, I don’t know if anyone knew that 21 years ago, from this date, life would be in both wonderful and horrific ways, the way it is now.

But because my blogs have been so serious and on the sad side, this year, I needed the reminder of ONE absolute AMAZING thing in my past, that I can be somewhat proud of. As while I didn’t get to choose being on that flight, my being really good at my job at the time, was what got me the opportunity.

IF you need to share something amazing either past or present, that was a happy life changing moment in your life , feel free to do that in the comment section of my blog.

And while I’m thinking of London and Paris, fondly of the past, I’m heartbroken what’s happened there, in the last 2 weeks to 2 years, let alone globally, sometimes it helps to remember where there’s life, there’s hope and fighting the good fight, in all types of evil and  hopefully that’s how we can honor those who’ve lost their lives in such tragic circumstances. As well as all those who are no longer with us, for whatever reason. Peace ❤ )

princessdi

( pic above found on internet, last year and was what Princess Diana was wearing (and so was her double) when boarding BA296 on 6-6-1996 from Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow/ no copyright infringement, intended )

(No copyright infringement intended with above image and video)

For Zoe Arielle, Zachary, My Mom and Dad……

You’re probably thinking, where the heck have you been the last 3 months, Lisa?

Not gonna talk about that today. I will talk about what I was doing exactly 20 years ago, but I probably should add some back story, whether you’re a new reader of my blog or you’ve read previous blogs of mine.

For most of my working life, I did customer service, as a job. I had been employed for over 4 years with CVN/QVC (QVC bought CVN in 1989) and in Fall of 1992, when 9 months pregnant with Zach, I moved, lost a job (was laid off) and had him in a 2 1/2 week period of time.

For the first 2 1/2 years after Zachary was born, I did childcare. It allowed me to work full time and be with him. The first year, I was a nanny. The 18 months after that, I worked in a home daycare.

In 1995, I decided to go back to working in customer service. I missed having a job with benefits. So I ended up getting a full-time  job at Carlson Marketing Group, on the account for British Airways where we managed their Frequent Traveller Programme for the U.S. (brit speak for frequent flyer program).

I had amazing skills of getting really interesting jobs in “white collar offices” and/or large companies, based in Minneapolis, for  below “blue collar” pay. Even though most of my working life, the benefits at any company I worked at, were good.  I was paying almost 50% of my income at the time, in rent for a 1 bedroom apartment that Zachary and I lived in and I grossed $30 too much for food stamps.

The irony of the above, will become relevant in a few paragraphs, please be patient with me.

But life at that time, for the most part, was lovely. Zach and I did ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) in the evenings, twice a week and I had facilitated for the last year, a single parent support group for over a year at that time, at my local YMCA.And I was really good with money, then. And my parents helped out with automobile related issues, which helped.

Working on British Airways for CMG, for the most part, was a great job. And I had amazing communication skills, which was needed, given the diversity of their clientele. We had to deal with celebrities, heads of Fortune 100 companies and obviously their staff. And while BA was a demanding client, they treated us well.

In late Spring of 1996, BA had a contest for us, not saying the specifics of it, about excellence in customer service. Because I had so many letters of gratitude from customers, I decided to enter. So I sent about a dozen letters in. And didn’t think anymore about it.

What I won, when I found out, a few weeks later, was a trip to London. Okay, that’s AWESOME.Because at that time, other than being in every state you could drive through between Minnesota, out east to New Jersey, as well as flying to New York, a couple of times and one trip to Florida, when I was 15, I had NEVER been out of the country.

However, this was to be in a video for training purposes. At that time, that was a little less awesome, if I’m going be honest, as this was 5 1 /2 years before I had my gastric bypass and I wasn’t happy with my weight. And I certainly didn’t love being photographed, let alone the thought of being in a video that many people would see. But to get paid to go to London, as a 26 year old single mother??? I’m not going to decline it.

We were to leave less than two weeks from the time we were notified. Because there was a government shut down at the time, we had to get our passports the day we departed.

Okay.. Enough back story… Here we go…..

***Thursday/June 6th, 1996***

It’s early morning and I leave my apartment dressed in business attire, to drive and park at the airport parking lot of Minneapolis/St.Paul International. Both British Airways and CMG were picking up all the expenses related to the trip and I had dropped Zachary off at my parents, the night before. He was 3 1/2 years old at the time, and I had not yet been away from him any longer than 24 hours.

My co-worker who also won, met me at the airport and we flew together from Minneapolis to O’Hare on Northwest. I can’t remember all of the terminals, now, other than British Airways was in terminal 5, and Northwest’s terminal didn’t have lockers, so we had to go to I think terminal 3, to drop our luggage off and then took a cab to the Kluczynski Federal Building.

We arrive and because this was post OKC bombing, security was tight. And when make it to the same day passport office, it seemed like there a bazillion other people in line waiting to be taken care of.

We get helped and then are told to come back after lunch, to pick up our passports. So my co-worker and I go to a really cool bar and grill, and the television is on, specifically the news. It’s showing Princess Diana, not terribly far from us, as she was in town for breast cancer awareness.

So not only am I going to London and getting paid for it, but I manage to be in Chicago at the same time as Princess Diana was !!! This is getting more awesome by the minute.

So we get done with lunch and then things get a little nerve wracking. Our passports are taking forever, by the time we get them, we quickly grab a cab to get back to O’Hare, there is so much traffic on Edens Expressway, as well as our moronic cabdriver had to stop and get gas that we are risk of missing our flight.

By the time we get to terminal “whatever” to pick up our luggage, get to terminal 5, we have a little over an hour before a flight is to depart and as we check in, they are already starting to board. Because we were on business for BA, we were flying Club World, which just had been renovated, as BA did a rebranding of sorts, in 1996. It’s beautiful and the seats are HUGE.

I get seated away from co-worker, who was kind of on the annoying side, thank goodness and am in awe of where I am. That soon changes when a flight attendant who knew me by name, approached me. “Miss Kasen, I have something for you. You left your return ticket on your flight into Chicago, so we called your employer and here you go”. I thank her, but now I am still an awe, but feeling like the biggest IDIOT, in the whole world.

Shortly after, as I had the window seat, the passenger next to me, gets seated. He’s a nice older British gentleman, and while were getting acquainted, he gasps, pointing out, “Look, there’s Princess Diana!!!”.

So now I’m doubly in awe, still kind of feeling like an idiot, though, as not only am in Chicago at the same time as Princess Di, I’m actually at the same airport.

FIVE minutes later she boards the plane. I can’t remember what the plane was, I think it was 767, not sure. I know the makeup of the plane was cockpit, First, Club World, galley, where we boarded, another Club World and then Economy. However because I was in the back row of Club World, in front of the galley, I was the very FIRST passenger she saw and she made eye contact with.

OH MY GOD!!! I HAVE NOW SEEN PRINCESS DIANA WITH MY VERY OWN EYES AND HAVE MADE EYE CONTACT AND I LOOK LIKE A WHITE PURPLE SPOTTED COW!!!
(the outfit I was wearing was LITERALLY big blobs of purple and white pantsuit that like cost me a day’s pay, at Catherine’s that I got a few days before the trip)

As gorgeous as she ever was in photographs, she’s just as, if not more so, stunning in person. She’s traveling with a body double who’s dressed identical to her. And with a fairly large entourage who was seated in my section of Club World. We are offered a glass of champagne, once they are all seated (which I declined).

As the flight starts to depart, there’s a lot of fanfare so to speak. There’s a ton of security and as well as the press on the ground. In my case, I had a slight fear of flying, but thought that this flight with Princess Diana on it, would have to be probably one of the safest flights in the world.

There was some unspoken agreement that no passenger would speak to her. She did come back to my section of Club World, to speak with people who she was traveling with (I did check the flight manifest, when I got back to work, as I had access and she was in First, basically by herself and one other couple).

We had like a 5 course dinner. As well as for First and Club World (sorry, I should probably reiterate, BA called First Class, just First, Club World was business class and I forgot the catchy name for economy, at the time) had access to “raid the larder” which was set up in the galley behind me, which was a buffet, in case one got hungry.

I was too excited to eat anything more than dinner. Not to mention, that nice British chap, seated next to me, pretty much fell asleep from the time the flight departed, until we arrived early Friday morning in London. Because the seats extended out, it was hard to leave mine, without disturbing him. I think I went to the bathroom only once, right before we arrived, to freshen up. I was too busy Princess Diana watching, the whole entire night.

Our flight arrived like 40 minutes ahead of schedule. They were brilliant in the fact that Princess Diana and her entourage, were not only the last to board, but they were the last to exit the plane. So everyone then, knew she was on our flight. I smiled in awe at her, one last time, when exiting the plane and got fast tracked through customs. Got my luggage in amazingly short time.Then shortly after that, took a shuttle to Forte Crest which was the hotel I was staying near Heathrow.

Well now, I realize, I’m talking more about the trip, then just my flight, exactly 20 years ago, feel free not to finish reading or take your chances, as it is an interesting story.

That’s actually true and not fictional, which I can’t get over, to this very day!!!

This is the awesome thing that I didn’t know as this was my first (and ONLY) business trip. When you get into town, you can check in immediately. We were only scheduled to work for 4 hours, the next day, in the afternoon to film the video. However, while it was 7 a.m when I was checking into my hotel in London, it was only 1 a.m in Minneapolis, so I had like 6 hours to kill before I could call ALMOST EVERYBODY, but especially my Mom and Dad, to tell them about my absolutely AMAZING flight to London, with Princess Diana being on my flight!!!

I take a shower once I get to the hotel, change into more casual clothes and decide to go exploring London. Which I don’t find out, until I’m there, is about 30 miles away from Heathrow, which I go through to get there. I get to central London and take a double decker bus. London is extraordinarily beautiful. I have some extra money, as my parents gave me $400, that I could go to Paris, if I wanted, or to have some extra money, as some things couldn’t get expensed, until I returned.As Sunday would also be a day that I could do what I want, I was only working that Saturday afternoon, so I had planned on going to Paris on Sunday.

I get back to my hotel at 3 p.m. on Friday (6-7-96). I decide to call my Dad at work (he had his own business, that I would occasionally and my sisters worked for him, in transportation and my Mom was with Zachary) tell him about my trip so far and was happy that Zachary was doing great.

After calling my best friend at the time, to tell her, then I decide to get room service for an early dinner and they would say in the U.K, I was all knackered out. I fell asleep for like the next 10 hours, but woke up in plenty of time, to make sure I was ready, when getting picked up by someone who was employed at British Airways, to take us to the venue, outside of London, to film the video.

Other than remember some famous guy from the BBC, who was cute, I don’t remember that much about making the video (and I couldn’t bear to see it, truthfully, when it was released) . I remember after we were done, as there was 3 of us (they also had a  male customer service representative from Florida, where they subcontracted their South American Frequent Traveller Programme), my co-worker in addition to appallingly badmouthing CMG, made arrangements to meet the grandaughter of a customer from Liverpool at our hotel. I explored Central London with the cute guy from Florida, such as Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Hard Rock Cafe, but we ate at back at the Forte Crest for dinner on Saturday night. As long as we ate at the hotel, it would be automatically paid for by British Airways, if I ate outside of it , I’d have to expense it back to CMG, when I came back.

It bears mentioning that the weekend I was in London was during the Euro 1996. So London was super busy . And because of that, the concierge at my hotel, couldn’t book a professional guided sight seeing day trip to Paris. So I ended up taking the Eurostar (the “chunnel”) the next day to Paris, which was about a 3 1/2 hours trip.

While I was seated next to a guy from Turkey on my way to Paris, who was awesome, the English Countryside was awesome, going under the English Channel was awesome, but I was kind of tired. And I really missed Zachary.

Also I didn’t get into Paris, until like 3 p.m. On a Sunday. And they aren’t kidding when they say Parisians for the most part, don’t like “tres grosse Americanes”. It was uncomfortable. So yeah I got to see with my own eyes, Place du Concorde, the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe and Versailles (well their exteriors, didn’t have the time or patience to actually go in them)  with my own eyes, I was tired. And I was kind of upset with attitude, so  much other than buying a ticket to SEE Paris, didn’t spend one single franc IN Paris.  I remember fighting with my very french cab driver because my French wasn’t so good. I thought it was fascinating though on my way back to Gard du Nord, that I saw a prostitute fighting with someone in the middle of the street and that Paris, like London, has no windows screens. Even though they do have bugs, there.

I actually returned early to London. I spent twice as long as getting to and from Paris, as I did in it. Ate something one I got back to my hotel, late that night, and had to get ready for an early flight departing out of Gatwick to Pittsburgh, early Monday morning.

My co-worker, who was starting to make me feel like a very annoyed genius, had a great idea of eating breakfast at the hotel to save money. There’s construction at Gatwick, and by the time we go to check in, we miss the chance to board. And while the check in lady, at British Airways at Gatwick was lovely, it was embarrassing as my co-worker was quite abrasive to her, which made us look even more unprofessional.

We get re-booked, luckily on a flight the same day, but departing Heathrow to O’Hare instead, still in Club World, which I was shocked because if I was that agent, I would’ve put us in Economy, if not the baggage compartment.

So we get to Heathrow and check in. When we go through security, my co-worker thinks it’s hilarious to tell the nice handsome male security guard that I have a bomb in my bag, in country that’s prone to a lot of terrorists attacks. So that requires him pulling us both out of queue, him getting female security guard to search me and my possessions. I then kind of lose it with my co-worker and tell him he’s a “%$#( idiot”, which the guard reiterates sternly to him, and we’re lucky we didn’t get in anymore trouble than that.

By the time we get back to Minneapolis, it’s mid Monday evening. I miss my son terribly. I get in my car, which I actually kiss the driver side of the door (which had a lipstick stain that couldn’t  be removed) as between planes, cabs, shuttles and the Tube, I never want to take any form of public transportation again and go to my Mom and Dad’s house and get my son, who I’m ecstatic to be back with and we go home.

I understand this was way more than just talking about that time I went to London, as a 26 year old single mother of 1, exactly 20 years ago.

When people ask me though, what’s the best things/most exciting things that’s ever happened to me, if I would name the top 3 things, it goes like this. My children are tied for #1. My flight to London with Princess Diana on the same plane is #2. I’d be lying if I didn’t cop to what I thought 10 years ago, in Summer of 2006, where I had  by  then, Zoe and Zach, was thin and fit and even though I was so horribly sick, I still had  hope that things would get better as being #3. And I’d launch a successful business, and be able to do what I wanted for work as well as provide nicely for my children, who were and still are, of course the loves of my life.

Not sorry for feeling like  a 6 hour flight with Princess Diana beating out 6  1/2  years of being thin. But not going to lie and say that there wasn’t some good things about being thin, either. After being bullied for being heavy all my life.

More people can say they lost weight  than can say they shared a flight with Princess Diana or seen her in person. I was devastated when she died 14 months later. But understood as I saw the intense press scrutiny, at least a little bit, with my very own eyes.

So what I’ve been up to lately (not much) and why I’m so stuck in the past, whether it be 20 years ago or 10 years ago,  still will be again  discussed in future blogs.

Sorry this was so terribly wordy…..And I apologize to those who may be triggered my weight talk.

p.s. I forgot to add that I talked to quite a few celebrities when I worked on BA at CMG. Miss Joan Collins, being one of them. Let’s just say she wasn’t acting in Dynasty, she’s quite the witch….

p.s.s. If the title alone of the  blog threw you, BA 296 is British Airways flight from Chicago O’hare (airport code “ORD”) to London Heathrow (airport code “LHR”)..

p.s.s.s. It probably will also be shocking that because we dealed with the elite, I could politely hold my own with customer’s who while rich or better yet rich and famous, would make one miserable if they thought their frequent flyer account was off by 1,000 miles. I read the Wall Street Journal.  I knew almost every airport code, globally, made myself familiar with almost everything international and had memorized the frequent flyer programs of BA’s Top THIRTY competitors. I could politely say to the  CFO at Goldman Sachs that it was just the same for an upgrade from Club to First on Emirates from London to Dubai, like it was on British Airways. And this was before I had my own personal computer at home, to study, anything. We had no such thing as intranet, like I did at UHG.

As always, same rules apply, comments that are triggering to others, and me included, as it took a lot of effort, to write this, will NOT be approved. Thanks!!!

Those pictures….

A brilliant blog about the conversation we need to be having about skin cancer, as the month of May is Skin Cancer awareness.

While I’m better suited for mental health activism (which May is also Mental Health Awareness), a local adored brilliant, kind and compassionate meteorologist started a blog, regarding his own battle with squamous cell carcinoma and now trying to raise awareness, support and prevention with this excellent blog.

Ian Leonard...

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately some of us are more aware than others. I am acutely aware of Squamous Cell Cancer, it stole a third of my bottom lip last year. Sadly I have plenty of company. Over 5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in the U.S. each year. Of those, more than 400,000 cases are directly linked to indoor tanning.
I was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada. In the depths of Canadian winters we measured snow in feet and rarely saw temperatures above freezing. The folks who were lucky to travel to warm destinations came back to the Great White North with dark tans and smiles. I wanted that tan. I wanted to smile and show off the teeth my parents dental plan had paid for. No passport necessary. No planes or hotels. Instead, a quick 20 minute nap…in a tanning bed. Unlimited tanning…

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need 2 find a____ ??? …… reflecting on the 1st anniversary of Prince’s death….

 

It bears repeating my normal disclaimer with this blog, that anyone in medical and/or mental health crisies need to seek immediate help from emergency services such as calling emergency services and/or immediately getting to an  acute care facility i.e. hospital ….

Okay, with that being said, the last thing I want to do, even though my blog regarding Prince is drug related, it’s with trying to be crystal clear, that I don’t think that Prince’s legacy should ever be him being the poster child as a warning for accidental overdoses and that should hopefully never taint his legacy, as I go further along, I’ll make it clearer that in this blog, I’m only highlighting certain issues, in respect. I go in more detail about medication issues in past blogs and will continue to do so, in future blogs.

The irony is in my case, personally , is that I haven’t left my house in almost a week due to running out of pain meds a day after a refill was due. Which confines me to home and not capable of much and my life circumstances allow for that. Even though I’m not going through withdrawal, I’m more vulnerable than usual, not being able to get a handle on severe chronic pain.

Where I tie in my personal medical complexities, such as a unique body physiology that drugs of all different therapy classes, in all different delivery systems (IV, oral and patch) I metabolize bizarrely or have awful side effects, or I have a good outcome but potency and longevity of a medication is compromised.

I did have an issue when put on a trial of the Fentany patch at a low dosage that I’ve discussed that with perfect compliance that 24 hours on that patch knocked me in a horrific opiate withdrawal for 5 days, almost 6 years ago.

My blogging about Prince’s cause of death and my own issues with opiates,  isn’t to talk about removing stigma, in this case. I don’t think that in his particular case, it would’ve helped him much and that’s not the reason for this blog.

To make sense though maybe for me and others would be discussing the absolutely appalling lack of options in 2017 that patients with severe chronic pain issues have for treatment options that unfortunately can play into addiction and abuse and sadly, what we are now in, Opioid Epidemic with tens of thousands of people dying every year due to opiate overdoses.

Even drugs like buprenorphine, which was being brought to Prince, when his body was discovered, in hopes he’d go to California for rehab, people struggle with addiction to that medication as well, and people have died from accidental overdoses and a few from perfect compliance with buprenorphine and Suboxone.

How is it that we have 100 different ways and options to send a pic of a lunch we can take and send via a cell phone, to someone halfway around the world , if not in Space, but we have such AWFUL options, when it comes to so many major medical issues, that go beyond just medication, in this day and age???

I do have a few more things to say and I said some of it, in a blog that I wrote about Prince, 6 months ago. As horrified as I am, in how he died, I’m slightly only less horrified in what’s happened after his death. I don’t think the public needed to know every minute detail surrounding his death, when he couldn’t have made it clearer, how much he valued his privacy, when he was alive.

I, for once, don’t have much more to say than this. That’s due to respect and the sadness I have surrounding his death, that words are failing me, out of emotion, in this case.

Other than he and his music will reign supreme for so many,  for  many more generations………

Note: Same rules apply. Respectful dialogue is encouraged even if it’s with a differing opinion. Triggering or disrespectful comments will not be published…..

A very SCARY and unique approach on how to reduce Murder/Suicides…

Note: The nature of this blog requires the disclaimer that IF anyone you know and/or oneself is in medical or mental health crisis and/or is in danger of hurting themselves and/or others, PLEASE  seek treatment IMMEDIATELY from qualified medical/mental health professionals in a crisis facility and/or contact law enforcement, immediately…..

Several days ago, here in Minnesota, a young father when going through a child custody/relationship issue with the mother of his child, shot and killed her, her sister, her father and her mother is still hospitalized, before killing himself. He had an accomplice who had taken the toddler at the time of the shooting, who was found safe, a couple of hours after the murder/suicide on Friday.

As well as the shootings in Coral Gables, Florida, when a recently fired personal trainer, killed 2 former co-workers before killing himself,  on Saturday.

As well as the other domestic murder / suicides that have happened in the last week, that I just don’t have the sanity points to address and for that I’m sorry for multiple reasons, mostly because of the tragic loss of lives.

Today (as when this will be published on WP, the date will be 4-11, when it’s still 4-10 here in the U.S.) a man shot his wife to death and 2 young children (who weren’t thought to be intentionally targeted)  which  as this was in her workplace, AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, before shooting himself in San Bernardino, California.

One of the children, an 8 year old, is also now dead (he wasn’t at the time that I started this blog) .

Because this just happened several  of hours ago, as it applies to the California shooting, maybe there will be more details released.

Like motive for the shootings . Which won’t mean much. As far as bringing those who were killed, back. And I’m not being glib, but if human life doesn’t have sanctity to a person, the location where they kill a person, won’t either.

I’m going to try something new, with this blog. I’m going to blog as both as an activist and a person, who continues to be horrified seeing all these murder/suicides.

I’m doing this because this IS NOT the first time I’ve blogged about murder/suicides. And because I lack both the credentialing and the credibility, as someone who has mental health issues but isn’t violent, to do anything else but to bring awareness, in hopes that there will be major initiatives started to try and reduce these tragic deaths, as an activist.

And while I can’t help much more than that, I can say things that other people can’t, with wording that other people can’t, because they have consequences. I don’t make money on my blog(which is on purpose)  and with my not working or having anything resembling a normal life. I have the leeway at times to say things that others don’t.

This is what I have to say to ANYONE who is thinking of killing their kids, their spouse/significant other either current or former , their parents, other family members ,  friends, children in a schools, complete strangers because they feel somehow they were wronged. Or maybe they were wronged somehow but it’s not a case of self defense but revenge:

So,  IF  you’re thinking  of harming or killing others cause someone did you wrong, I’m going to try and appeal to your sense of decency,  before acting in a horrific irrovocable manner.

Thinking about doing  something and doing something (although I can honestly say that I’ve never ever thought about hurting another human being, as my particular batshit crazy will  hopefully never have a body count ) are 2 completely different things.

I come from the philosophy that it’s better to let things and people go and try to get some peace of mind and realize that everyone should have that right.

And maybe for you,  that will require serious acute professional help.

If you’re in crisis and are thinking about hurting another/others and yourself  or just others and don’t have insurance, hospitals are required by law, to help you.

There is NOTHING honorable about revenge. Especially revenge that causes death in ANYONE. Which most of the time, most murder/suicides are about.

I’m not saying I don’t have empathy for those who are hurt emotionally, physically (sometimes an accident, sometimes on purpose) and/ or financially, that you don’t have a right to be upset. I don’t know you or your circumstances.

But channeling your anger or hurt in vengeful deadly retaliation is WRONG. It’s not badass, it’s not cool, it’s not noble. You aren’t going to somehow be redeemed, if you believe in an afterlife. The person/people who’s death/s  you’re planning aren’t the piece of shit, YOU ARE, should you carry this out and kill a person or people.

You can either try to heal by yourself, or  with professional help.

I’m BEGGING you to try the get professional help before you hurt yourself or another human being. Whether you are getting help for the sake of others, if you can’t do it for yourself, as if you’re thinking about killing others and then yourself, the people who you kill will NOT be your ONLY victims.

As the people who love and care about YOU, will also be emotionally harmed for the rest of their lives, who have to survive a loved one killing other/s and then themselves.

As well as the people who are in close  proxomity of these horrific tragedies who have to witness them, whether an attempt on their life was made or not.

Would you want someone who you love, who’s life you find value in, to DIE this way?

BUT if the above doesn’t work. of trying to get you to realize, that you won’t be glorified after your death but vilified should you kill another/others and then yourself or for those who just pick the murder route.

And for GOOD reason.

SO,  if you can’t see because you are in such an irrational place, the horrific tragic consequences of manifesting your deadly ill will that  just is going to fucking heinously end others lives and perhaps your own. And irrepably emotionally devastate those who love you that you’ve left behind, in a murder/suicide.

PLEASE try this instead, if your deadly rage won’t subside. Write a detailed letter to whoever has  done you wrong.  Don’t give it to them.

Leave it in a place that’s NOT ANYWHERE NEAR another human being but that’s somewhat  conspicuous.

Then fucking take your pick of ways to fucking kill yourself that won’t interfere with another’s peaceful right to life or at least with the least amount of impact to others lives that you can at least congratulate yourself for not killing, OK?

Because at least that’s  the least cowardly and cruel of options you could entertain, if you absolutely CANNOT  get over your deadly rage.

YOU WILL NOT  see the consequences, regardless of what you choose to do, because you’ll be DEAD.

But at least you won’t be reviled for the rest of your life, from just about everyone else in society, because you refused to get help.

But at least you didn’t take out other human beings who’s lives that you are ABSOLUTELY  NOT ALLOWED to decide when and how they die,  and if it’s  with you. And that’s something where you can at least be proud of.

And for that, people close to you, that you may care about, you will have broken their hearts. And while they won’t ever totally heal, you won’t have completely ruined their lives because you killed others, in addition to yourself.

And, at least the rest of the world won’t think you’re a rotten piece of crap like those who kill others and either kill themselves or worse, let themselves live.

And again, as it’s worth repeating, while you won’t see regardless of what you choose, if one is entertaining murder/s and then a suicide, it might help, if you just fucking kill yourself,  in bringing out an outcome in the future, to save someone else from making such a tragic choice and that they’ll get help before killing themselves and/or another.

Or it might help to bring about positive change in the future, but  that we so desperately need NOW.

And if you don’t hurt another human being, that’s also something you can find solace in, too.

I’m not mocking suicidality at ALL. In my first 2 blogs, on here, I discuss my personal issue with that, as well as resources for help and healing for those who are JUST suicidal.

But NO ONE can help someone if they can’t find the means to get help, when they want to to commit murder before killing themselves. Or those who just murder.

But I figured at this point, I had nothing to lose by trying for those thinking of murder/suicide to get help. And what to not do, if they can’t get help.

So in the above, you have both alternative options other than murder and resources for when in crisis but not capable of hurting another (it’s on my 2nd blog and I can’t copy and paste, you can find it on here, by looking at my blogs from August of 2013).

And I honestly hope you’ll believe me, when I say, that I really wish you had more options for help with rage and irrationality, then you apparently have right now.

And last but not least. What I wrote above, was pretty FUCKING  crazy, right?

For sure. But it’s a little, um no, a lot fucking LESS crazy and irrational to try and talk someone out of killing another/others than to actually think about killing another and/or to go through it.

How we as a society can help try to reduce murder/suicides:

PLEASE don’t make this a gun control issue. If someone wants to kill in this manner, weapon of choice, isn’t the issue, the desire to cause fatal harm IS.

Make this an issue about murder/suicides also WITHOUT demonizing or stigmatizing mental health issues, further. Not everyone who has mental health issues is capable of either harming either themselves and/or another human being/other human beings.

We need more support services in place for both mentally ill people in crisis whether or not they are endanger of hurting themselves or horrifically hurting or killing other human beings .

There are multiple reasons  we need more supportive services in place, to reduce murder/suicide. is that people who don’t necessarily have a record of violence or mental health are snapping and are committing murder/suicide.

I honestly believe that social media and the new technology cycles ,is feeding into this, it’s NOT helping people, in some of these cases. This is  hurting and harming human beings, sometimes fatally, as they people are losing the ability to differentiate that people are NOT  expendable and that others aren’t meant to exist and/or can be erased for others pleasure and or to punish, due to the ego-centric society we are vastly becoming (actually have already arrived) and it’s getting more harmful, not better, with so many people living most of their lives on a digital device.

I, truthfully will probably NOT attempt another blog quite like this. I realize how bizarre it was for me to say not only what I said, but in how I said it. While the nature of my “normal” activism, does put me in situations where people in both medical and mental health crisis do contact me, they do so, with my warning them to get IMMEDIATE professional help and I’ve never been contacted by someone who’s been in crisis but was at risk of harming another.

But I figured there was nothing to lose at this point, with writing this. It will be read by those who think similarly to me, but can’t say what I’ve said to potential murderers (which I’ve struggled in writing this, as well as debating on whether or not to pull this blog) , in the manner I thought it and thought that I had nothing to lose by expressing what I thought above, in writing.

For the whole fucking internet, to see. For hopefully a potential murderer to see. For people to think maybe I went to far or was being irrational myself, in what I’ve tried to do, that others will start a dialogue on what we initiatives we need to have in place, to try to reduce murder/suicide.

And if someone thinks they can do better, than letting a disabled blogger try this, HOPEFULLY YOU  WILL.

My thoughts and prayers, as always are with the victims, their families and friends left behind in these tragic deaths.

Note: I welcome all respectful differences of opinions. Especially professional insight. Anything not constructive will NOT be published. Anything that could potentially be a danger to another, including myself, will be forwared to appropriate parties.

One last thing, I do want to add and I couldn’t in good conscience put in the body of my blog. I used to volunteer at a battered woman’s shelter. On a crisis hotline, a long time ago.

And while the warnings are in place, should this be an issue/motive for the CA murder/suicide where if there is a past history of domestic violence and one partner leaves another (as this is not gender/sexuality specific issue) when a domestic violence victim leaves their abuser, can be the most dangerous if not DEADLY time, for the victim, in domestic situations, with past history of domestic violence.

Update: In San Bernardino murder/suicide there was a past history of domestic violence, in the history of the murderer, that information, which had NOT  been stated in the news articles I saw, at the time this blog was originally published.

Additional note/update/clarification: I had technical difficulties both with internet and WP as the time I wrote this blog. Edits I thought that took place, didn’t and unfortunately for my subscribers, where intent was definitely even harder to gauge, because of missing words, or such as in the case of the St. Paul murders, I had thought I updated the right day but it didn’t show when I published and I apologize for that.

The OTHER “O” Epidemic- Truths & Consequences regarding the Opiate Epidemic……

Note: Sometimes I have to digress to make a point, due to disabilities . I’m continually told as an activist but not a  clinically trained professional that my insights are valuable to others, by both patients AND clinically trained professional medical and mental health professionals who’s guidance and input I seek, both personally and in regards to the activism I do.

Because I realize that not only do I have to be my strongest advocate in my own care, but for those who don’t have a voice. Or those have consequences due to stigma due their own truths, for many reasons, personally and professionally.

While I will always strongly preface any of my (or anyone else’s) medical and mental health blogs that nothing can replace evaluation and treatment for  medical or mental health issues , in person, especially while a patient is  in crisis, the obstacles that both patients and clinically trained providers are up against,  will be clearly evidenced in this blog.

Here we go….

According to the National Safety Council, in 2015, over 38,000 people died due to traffic fatalities. Another 4 million people had to seek medical attention of some kind, due to being in a traffic accident.

That’s the largest increase in 50 years, which is quite alarming. While I could hypothosize the many reasons what’s played into that, such as distracted drivers, there’s probably many variables that I’m sure anyone could get more information on, by researching like I have, statistics from Department of Public Safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration and other related organizations.

This has to STOP. And the best chance of doing this is by making the manafacturing of cars and motorcycles, purchasing them and driving and riding in or on them, ILLEGAL. There are many options to reduce the need for cars and motorcycles these days.

People could take public transportation, people could live close to their workplaces and their children’s schools. There’s bicycles and of course walking which also has the added health benefits of exercise.

Although anything potentially on wheels, can have grave if not fatal consequences on people and people DIE everyday as a result of that.

Win/Win situation for EVERYONE, right? I mean everyone knows someone who has been seriously injured, if not sadly killed in a traffic accident.

THINK OF HOW MANY LIVES COULD BE SAVED IF WE BANNED MOTOR VEHICLES for the private sector and strongly regulate ANY form of private non motorized transit that’s on wheels?????….

And before you y’all think I lost what’s left of my mind and spelling abilities when I reference the “other O epidemic”, I know automobile is spelled a-u-t-o-m-o-b-i-l-e not o-t-t-o-m-0-b-i-l-e, and NO, that’s not what I’m really referencing or the reason for this blog.

The reason for this blog is the “Opioid Epidemic” and how the fear of both prescription opiates and illegal drugs is causing not only a war on drugs but a WAR on patients who need these medications, not only as a last resort but also as a long term solution for their severe chronic pain.

I don’t discount at all, from all different agencies, whether it be the CDC, NIH, FDA, SAMSHA and AMA, the concern about how many people are either accidently overdosing on prescription opiates, or it becomes a gateway to illegal drugs and not only the deaths that go along with an overdose with drugs like that, but what tragic deaths that also OCCURS, in the process from manafacturing, distribution and consumption of all these illegal drugs that are out there, is also killing thousands of  people.

In 2015, the death rate was approximately the same for drug overdoses as it was from traffic fatalities-approximately 33,000 people died from overdosing, annually.

People might think that I went way out of my way to be wordy ,with my ridiculous traffic analogy, but that’s what type of excuses are used by medical and mental health professionals when it comes to prescription medications, medications I’m talking about are prescription opiates.

I’ll give what I think the AMA and physicians, especially are up against as well as organizations in defense of them fearing narcotics:

Patients LIE to physicians and psychiatric professionals, like all the time. They also self medicate with medications for reasons such as trying to control emotional and mental health pain and mental health issues with both prescription narcotics and illegal ones. I mean I get that Oxycodone is meant for severe pain of a broken back, it ain’t meant for a broken heart or busted psyche.

OR patients due to barriers don’t realize they actually have both a physiological and psychological dependence on medications that DO make them more of  a risk for abuse, addiction and that addiction can ABSOLUTELY lead to both intentional and accidental overdose to either prescription opiate or illegal drugs.

Sometimes with the aid of alcohol contributing to that, sometimes, not.

I’ve also had friends die due to accidental illegal drug overdoses, very innocently starting off with severe chronic pain or medical emergencies that lasted a long time (such as what I do in the weight loss surgery community when it comes to long term severe complications status post gastric bypass, that’s what the reference of the “other O epidemic”, because I write about bariatric surgery and “Obesity”, on occasion) that started with prescription opiate needs that did cause them to become addicted to IV meds that they made their opioid  tolerance so high, they did end up transferring to illegal drugs such as Heroin, when not in weight loss surgery crisis and found themselves in a different kind of crisis with addiction and ended up looking for a dealer instead of help and accidentally overdosed and that’s devastating and tragic.

So it’s NOT that I don’t have an idea of the fears and consequences by the both professional medical,mental health providers, government and society in general,  when thinking about the consequences that these medications potentially come with.

Because I’m definitely NOT discounting at all how serious and real, this all is.

And that these medications and the potential consequences of abuse and addiction, can be fatal to patients and devastating to both providers AND loved ones who are left behind.

Physical pain is also VERY subjective at times as far as what’s considered to be unbearable pain.

Not to mention, statistically as most physicians (including my own, who does all my medication management) will state,  that the longer a patient is on narcotics, the more their medications are increased, eventually they will hit a wall, so to speak, where their tolerance will become so high that not only increases their chances of potential of addiction, abuse as well as both accidental and intentional overdose, it also counteracts the effectiveness of opioid medications and they will NO longer work. PERIOD.

Also, unfortunately, sometimes patients have a sudden adverse reaction to a narcotic even with perfect compliance. Even if they are on an opiate the first time or a short time.

This actually happened to me with Fentanyl (duragesic patch). When dealing with hospitalizations due to my gastric bypass from 2003 to 2011 and certain procedures IV Fentanyl would make a procedure barely bearable. And I would get bounceback migraines from it, which I do from any IV narcotic, as well as hives.

I was put on my 1st trial of the Fentanyl patch, almost 7 years ago in Spring of 2010 and couldn’t keep the patch on and was put on oral pain meds which I had been off for almost 2 years, due to the time I was in the system (I did get narcs when hospitalized for ulcers while in the system from 8-2008 to 1/2010. It also bears mentioning I got OVER $17k in backpay in 2 installments between late 12/2010 and mid 1-2010) and when off narcotics with money did NOT go looking for a dealer prior to being able to get treated again by  my long term PCP.

2nd trial of Fentanyl in Summer of 2011? Not so lucky, as the first where just one patch fell off and it was too problematic to wait another 72 hours, so I had also gotten a special adhesive to keep the patch on for 2nd trial (I was also allergic to the adhesive OF the Fentanyl patch) and 26 hours without any abuse, meaning I put patch on appropriately and as directed, projectile vomited the whole entire 26 hours which I spent in my bathroom and then went through FIVE days of hellacious opiate withdrawal.

That came with the NOT so fun side effects of intractable shaking , vomiting, sweating and auditory and visual hallucinations, which I’m not prone to with my particular mental health disabilities, when going through serious opiate withdrawal.

Which I’d caution ANYONE from going through any kind of withdrawal without medical supervision like I did.

This ALSO occurred from a low amount of  of Fentanyl, 25 mcg q 72 (meaning 25 micrograms every 72 hours). Because I’ve had adverse reactions to quite a few other medications in all different therapy classes, I already knew that unless I was at home or in a hospital, NEVER to start a new medication, unless I’m at home.

So the above is not meant to be a “patient” insight portal, I’ll make that point, soon enough.

Most of my doctors would agree, including my Primary Care Physician, who’s been my doctor for almost like 18 years now, does ALL my medication management would agree, I’m not easy patient to treat. I don’t have anything resembling a predictable outcome when it comes to both medicine as a science AND medicine, well from a pharmacology perspective.

Both my bariatric surgeon and my PCP have seen me bizarrely be completely lucid to medications that knock out most of their other patients and be practically knocked out by IV Compazene, which is anti-emetic, but I’m a difficult patient to medicate, overall due to how bizarrely I metabolize meds.

And most people don’t nearly die from technically performed perfect gastric bypasses, pregnancy and childbirth and IUDs like I nearly have. Most people don’t usually get as many adverse side effects as I do from a lot of medications, in all different therapy classes and delivery systems.

And it doesn’t help in my case, that medicating me for one aspect of my medical issues can cause a trigger or side effect for another.

But while I can say as an activist that some of us may be harder to treat with our own unique physiological makeups, from a patient perspective, we ALL are unique in our own way and deserve an individual patient tailored approach to medicine.

That’s where the silly car analogy that I used, isn’t so silly when you think about it. The hoops that severe chronic pain patients have to jump through now, who aren’t addicted and are honest about their narcotic usage, are going to possibly lose the ONE AND ONLY treatment option that does HELP.

And while I believe and will write in seperate blog, about the need for more treatment options when it comes to everything, those of us who are in need of long term solutions to managing our pain, have tried EVERY other non narcotic or even non medication treatment out there and pain medications are a last resort, it’s a last resort that we are seriously in danger  of losing completely.

I wish there could be more of an honest dialogue by both patients and providers in the evaluation of how to treat severe chronic pain that isn’t caused by a terminal disease, long term.

And for those who suffer from addiction issues to be forthcoming with their providers, that take in account their physiological and psychological makeup, because it isn’t fair that just because while thousands of people do habitually abuse controlled substances or are at risk for transferring to illegal drugs, will ruin it for those of us who aren’t at risk and this is not only a MAJOR quality of life issue, this becomes a potential life or death situation, in those of us who aren’t medicated at all or are undermedicated for our own unique physiological makeup but would NEVER obtain medications illegally.

Now in my case, I have very temporarily when in crisis both medically and  mentally, TWICE now in my life abused narcotics. Once for 5 days proceeding and including my suicide attempt in 2008 and 7 years ago, for 3 days when in medical and mental health crisis.

And I know if I’d EVER do that again, I’d be cut off. But we are talking a period of 8 days of non compliance total in a span of almost THIRTEEN years, that I’ve been on them.

IF though I really believed as a medical activist that drastically regulating narcotics would save people’s lives, I’d be the first one to defend that. I had a horrible outcome with a gastric bypass, I don’t tell people not to have bariatric surgery. I had 2 pregnancies and 1 delivery that nearly killed my daughter and I, when she was born, I don’t tell women not to get pregnant or have children on the offchance their lives will be endangered if they have a baby, and I also don’t tell women not to have IUDs given after what  I went through with Mirena.

And even though I was in a serious car accident in my late teens, I don’t tell people not to get in a car or drive in one, even though I witness reckless behavior with drivers, EVERYTIME  I leave my home.

And if I’m going to be honest, I think Fentanyl IS an EVIL drug. And I couldn’t truthfully say that if I didn’t go sick from it, that even with compliance on it, that for how I reacted once I was able on my 2nd trial to keep a patch on for longer than an hour that if I could become physically addicted being compliant on such a small amount, it was nothing short of a blessing to me, that I got so sick to be spared an addiction of that nature.

More bizarrely, as physically sick that I became on it and with going through opiate withdrawal, I remember one thing that stands out.

It actually DID treat the pain that it was prescribed for me, it just wasn’t worth it, obviously, due to the nature of the horrific side effects.

But at the heart of the matter, all the stringent regulations and elimination of usage of opioids in pain management, could possibly do is actually kill more people. If people have a predisposition to addiction or even if they don’t, those who can’t  obtain  prescription opiate drugs legally will obtain them illegally.

And with these medications being eliminated will only create a market for more illegal medications to be manafactured and distributed.

OR you’ll have patients like me, who has to take an enormous NSAIDs to get the effect of the high strength but very controlled in doses of opioid medications, that I’m on, I’m feeling that I and others like me are  being sentenced to die as a result of that.

Because it’s not realistic that those of us who are narcotic compliant and have exhausted non opioid treatment therapies are just going to take NOTHING for severe chronic pain that already greatly limits our lives.

My heart hurts though for those, like myself who’ve lost cherished family members and friends due to opioid abuse.

But banning opioids or stringently regulating them, isn’t going to save lives until we address further the human nature of addiction, with a patient tailored approach to medicine which we are sorely lacking, is going to increase the danger of illegal drug abuse, addiction and fatality, it’s not going to reduce it, without a more through dialogue between patients and providers and government.

In the meantime, I make NO apologies for being both angry and terrified that I fought so hard to stay alive, to make this little crappy life of mine have some meaning, where I’m going to die a long drawn out physically even MORE  painful unnecessary death due to NSAID usage, when I’ve been 99.9% of the time medication compliant on opiates, which I’m still on, but not for much longer.

So this is going to make things a lot worse, not just for me, but millions of other people with severe chronic pain who aren’t terminal, until we can have an honest dialogue about human nature and addiction and have better treatment options for so many physical and mental health diseases, syndromes and issues that actually don’t cause more problems than they create.

I’m in NO way saying, that there shouldn’t be regulations in place, such as having systems in place for those who “doctor shop” or illegally obtain prescriptions and/or use multiple pharmacies to get scripts for abuse, addiction or to illegally sell on the black market. I’m also not saying that prescription opiates shouldn’t be a very last resort in treating severe chronic pain.

I am not adverse to being drug tested or that others should be  and I think it could help if we could talk about as a society, addiction and abuse should that happen, that patients don’t get penalized if they aren’t engaging in illegal behaviors or that present a danger to themselves or others, of being able to tell their physicians that.

But at the rate we’re going in society, thinking that eliminating prescription opiate usage as a last resort for some of us, making them INACCESSIBLE ,  is going to be present a bigger threat to our safety and lives, than the usage of these medications could ever be a threat to us.

Note: Respectful disagreement of opinion or in dialogue, encouraged. Disrespectful comments will not be published. Thanks….

Also note, this is where somewhat of an explanation of my perspective, is helpful to have a balanced dialogue. And why I couldn’t just write as an activist “Don’t eliminate prescription drugs for everyone because not everyone abuses” wouldn’t do anything for the cause,  other than being concise, BECAUSE, I freely admit, I have EVERYTHING to lose, especially my life, at this point…..

 

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