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The title of this post does not report any facts. It's just a line that came from a series of bizarre, vivid dreams I had the last night of Finals Week.  I didn't get much sleep and woke up every hour and a half or so. I have to admit that I am feeling a lot better than I was. There's still a small level of background pain, but I'm not too stressed.  I'm certain I've passed all my classes and I received the lowest grade in quantitative reasoning.

It's also been a difficult month or so to get through. I knew going back to school would be tough, but I also know if I can't handle a full time work load, returning to the work force is out, if that is my goal. The difficulties of this month caused me to engage in introspection and reflection. It also reaffirmed why I don't like the OSI networking model or computer networking much in general.  At least computer networking is related to my career field.

First, I can be reasonably certain I do not have dyslexia.  I did wonder about this, but the errors I make are errors common in many first drafts. This is why editing and revision are so important.  It's also why I'm not big on freelancing for a penny a word any more. If someone wants me to waste my time and limited energy doing something that is not an unskilled task for low pay, they better have a reason beyond wanting to make a profit.  As for dysgraphia, it remains a possibility given some of the mistakes I've made on the quantitative reasoning tests, it remains a possibility. Dyscalculia remains on the table despite my roommate's disbelief in it.  (And to be fair, missing the first 7 homework assignments in quantitative reasoning did not help. This, at least, was purely my fault for not reading the syllabus.  I had to work damn hard to get a C after that.) I consider these blog posts to be a free writing exercise. Free writing involves no revision or error correction. Even if I do have dyslexia, it would not prevent me from writing professionally again. It just means I'd have to work harder. (Piers Anthony is dyslexic.)

The end of the semester is not the only stressor removed from my life. I also had Nelnet discharge my student loads because I am, according to their ruling, "totally and permanently disabled."  It still seems weird to me to be celebrating getting that news, but it's something I knew a couple of years ago.  It's silly that I have to have the government continually affirm what I already know.  However, I'm more happy that the student loans were discharged than I am  about the Department of Education agreeing I am disabled.

Also, I finally heard from the person who will be representing me at my hearing. I have slightly more confidence in the firm now, but I still keep hearing they have a reputation for screwing up what should be easily won cases. I have no idea if my case is easily won or not. I know that my comparatively young age works against me, but the lawyer was surprised that the social security doctors had limited me to sedentary work.  I also hope he gets my point about the treatment being ongoing physical therapy taking time out of the work day frequently for my EDS. (Now, if he can get the paperwork that confirms the EDS diagnosis.)  The only thing I worry about is the constant nagging from my lawyer's office may become a source of stress in the days leading up to my hearing.

On a final note, this Sunday is Mother's Day.  My mother and I had a distant relationship at times. I had a completely different worldview and she was a very hands-off parent even during her lucid moments. The greeting card industry's insistence on celebrating this holiday will make the next few days a bit harder than they need to be. During the last year of her life, my mother spent the entire month of May in a psychiatric ward at Geisinger Hospital in Danville. She became even more distant after that, and was placed on partial hospitalization by court order.  I didn't know what else to do other than try to force her to get help at that time.  I'm not going to question the actions I took  I'm not sure I would have acted differently now, although I might not have involved the police to deal with someone suffering from a mental illness. I realized that even though it seemed unfair at the time, it was a problem I had to deal with.  My mother didn't know who was really on her side and who was not.  

I suppose this is why I still occasionally wonder about schiozphernia or schizoaffective disorder, but so far, I don't show many of the symptoms. (Other than a history of raging asexuality, which as my readers should know, is more about pathologizing asexuality than it is about being a sign of a mental illness.)

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 The third week of classes is down, and I managed to approach the Networking Fundamentals professor and tell him that he was going to fast. I must not have been the only other person with that complaint, because he did slow down the next week. He even places the 32-bit version of Cisco's packet tracer in the class sessions for next week.  It's a good start.  I'm still not enjoying the class, but I can see it's usefulness. However, I plan on working on servers, not dealing with the cabling or the Cisco routers. Let someone else do that. Laying cables is a lot of physical work I'd find taxing and extremely painful.

Secondly, well, if anyone else reading this has EDS, except for the one person I *know* who does, can help with a problem, please do so. (I won't stop this person from providing advice, but last I heard from them, they were still running on a severe spoon deficit.) I've thought I'v'e suffered from dyscalcula for years, but now I'm wondering. After taking a quantitative reasoning course, I'm wondering if my problem isn't related to something else. I have the same terrible handwriting I've always had, and I think this causes many of my problems I've had with math over the years.  I know from previous experience that larger diameter writing utensils work.  (My third grade teacher tried this approach with many of her students with poor penmanship. This is the only time in elementary school I got VGs and Gs (As and Bs) in handwriting in elementary school. Too bad it would take three decades to figure out the reason for this.)  So, can anyone help me out here?

My hand should be entirely free of the brace soon. I've been using this time to get some writing in, but much of my time needs to be devoted to my school work. I just wish that the ODAR office would schedule my hearing soon. It would also help if the new adapter for my Dell would get here soon, but Fedex shows it as being in California.   There's another item I'm waiting for, and I'll be extremely upset if the folding cane I ordered from Amazon does show up on Friday. (Read on to find out why...)

For the past few weeks or so, I've been having difficulty accepting that I am about to turn 40.  I don't mean that I'm flat-out denying it, it's just that I've been trying to stave off the psychological blows that usually come with it.  Anyone who has or is about to reach this age knows what I'm talking about. Has my life so far made a difference? My life is half over,  what have I done with it?  Do I need to rush out and do more?  Heck, I'm no longer young. TV is no longer catering to *me.*  All of these things have run through my head at some point. Worse, is the thought that someday I might be gone and nothing I did will be remembered.  This is the case for most people sooner or later, however, and I at least can redirect my thoughts when this happens. 

There is one thing I am worried about, however, I told my roommate I wanted a Colt 1911 for my birthday. This was a ploy to get her to search and get a job. It worked. She's now teaching at the same community college I am attending.  However, I don't really *want* a handgun. In part, this is a matter of personal responsibility. I don't think I'm the type of person who should own a handgun, and I really think my roommate needs a gun safe. I've asked her not to keep her loaded pistol by her bed, but I can't do much about that.  At least I don't think she's planning on buying one.  If she is planning on doing this, I'll have to lie in the bed I made.  If she's concerned for my safety, a can of pepper spray would serve the same purpose.  She also needs to get over the idea that increasing firearms rights are going to fix the fascism of the Trump administration.  I can't get her to accept that firearms don't fix everything and that I'd rather not go out in one last blaze of glory. (She has some bizarre ideas that come from her siege mentality psychology.  I want to get the hell out of here if the Trump administration's fascism becomes a problem.)
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The year will end in a little over a day. Many people will be relieved to see the end of this year, and I am no exception. I will not be sorry to see it go.   My reasons are different, however. I do not care about the dearth of celebrity deaths. I do not think this is unusual, I just think that Generation X is now old enough to be losing their beloved celebrities. I will be anxious to see this end of the year because of a recurring theme. That theme has been nearly getting ahead only to have it pulled at the last minute. There’s also the bit at the end of the year which I will get into shortly.

However, let’s pause for a second. I usually use these to reflect on the previous year and include lessons I’ve learned.  Last year I had difficulty, but I think I’ve got some for this year. If there’s any upside to becoming chronically ill, it’s that it’s increased my empathy for other people who have been down or are going down the path I am now treading.  I would not want anyone to go down this particular path just to gain this knowledge. Anyone who has been there know how much it sucks. If they developed it long after childhood, they know how they viewed people in chronic pain before. I assume like me, they regretted it.

Forgive me, I’m trying not to complain. I’m grateful for the increased empathy.  It’s helped me better understand what other people are going through. I’m thankful for the opportunity I had to re-examine my beliefs and to be given an opportunity for personal growth.  Personal growth is always painful. I just thought it would never be so painful physically.

I’ve also had an opportunity to meet some wonderful, compassionate people. (Although I wonder if I’m coming off as a hypochondriac sometimes. I find it hard to believe some of the stuff I’ve been through in the past two years.)   I’ve even had to accept some of my relationships with family members were unhealthy and emotionally abusive.  I’m not going to mention which ones.

Now, I’m ending this year slightly scared, and at this point people may stop reading.  There’s medial stuff following.  

Ok, stop reading….

If you’re still here at this point, I got a call yesterday from my endocrinologist. For the first time ever, I had my A1C tested. Now, I know there’s a family history. I know being overweight, and having Hashimoto’s Disease are risk factors for developing Type II diabetes. (The last one is also a risk factor for developing Type I diabetes.)   I just thought she’d continue testing my glucose levels, which have always come back within the normal range.

Any way, they were elevated. I heard the phrase pre-diabetes. For the last day or so, I’ve had to wonder what this means. Does this mean I’ll need to inject things? Does it mean I need to test my blood sugar regularly? Does it mean I’ll have to make more dietary changes.

Today, after doing some reading I am calmer. It’s just most likely going to be controlled through diet and what little exercise I can do. It means that it will be mostly diet and calorie counting. Not wanting to develop diabetes is one of the many reasons I started exercising two years ago.  (And it was this exercise program that probably set off my fibromyalgia and led me to discover I had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.)  Things aren’t that bad yet.

But they could be if I don’t take this seriously.

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 I just got my PC Pro Certification. I have to admit I was a little worried about this. I have cursed TestOut throughout the semester and for good reason. Most of the labs are all or nothing scenarios that are either pass or fail.  The teacher grades them on whether or not they are done. I have an A in the course, and I think I'll continue to have an A after the final.

This leaves two more finals.  I think my letter grade dropped in both of them because of the back spasm absences, but at least the final can bring up the grade in English.  I really shouldn't have gotten the word counts on those two assignments confused.

Also, I'm still waiting to hear from the hand specialist to see how he's going to treat my TFCC tear.

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 I feel tired right now, but that’s not uncommon after the Hardware/Software Support Class. I’m taking a break right now in the commons area of campus, and taking some time out to write this. Even though there have been some difficulties this semester, I’m actually glad I did get the chance to go back. These classes have allowed me to rediscover my love of computers and possibly change my direction back to what it should have been.

When it comes down to it, I’m not at all sure Server Administration is the right choice for my major. I was thinking that it would be somewhat more portable than computer programming, but I’ve not heard good things about some of the later classes. I will not spend much time worrying about this. There have been a lot of fun things this semester, and I have the opportunity – if I’m lucky – to get the old student loans I’d forgotten discharged. (I’m trying to look on the bright side here. It’s not generally easy for me. Even though I am tired right now, I am in a good mood.)

I’m wondering if my decision to pursue a writing career was the wrong path for me, or if I simply became burn out on it after working for content mills for years. Either way, it doesn’t matter at this point. It’s also not worth dwelling on it. I’ve chosen something that fits within my current physical limitations, and it’s something I find enjoyable and challenging.

I do think that I need to go back over last week, even though it’s probably a bad idea. In some ways, getting the Ehlers-Danlos diagnosis was a great relief. It explains a lot that’s gone on with my body for a long time. Including the few nights where I stayed up crying all night that weren’t caused by my peers. I had blamed those nights on shin splints from soccer. It explains the clumsiness, the problems with my ankles, and some of my mother’s stories. (It also makes me wonder how much worse things might have been if I’d not gone through puberty for the wrong gender, but the Discworld’s Granny Weatherwax would soon set that kind of thinking straight. It doesn’t matter what might have happened because it didn’t happen.) It also explains why I have supernumerary teeth and accessory ossicles or whatever that podiatrist called them.

Right now, I’m trying to sort out good advice from bad advice, and I’ve been handed a list that includes Dr. Collins’s “ideal” diet for EDS. At least from her talks on YouTube, I’ve found out that there isn’t much research for what she recommends. These are just things she’s tried with her patients with good success. (From what I can tell, her advice would be more accurate if the patient figures out what items work for them rather than going on her list all at once. I’m planning on cutting out dairy, increasing salt intake, and I see no harm in eating fewer processed foods. I know from my own experience to avoid MSG, Caffeine, and Aspartame in large quantities.) 

I’m still in limbo as far as my disability claim goes. I know the hearing will not take place this year. There are only two more months left in this year. I do not know if having Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome on my records will help or not. It will be a ‘rare’ disorder if so. I’m also hoping I didn’t upset my rheumatologist by seeking out a second opinion. After awhile, I realized she was just being cautious and trying not to increase my anxiety levels. While it was frustrating, it’s something I cam to appreciate.

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I posted one of the short Asexuality 101 videos I've been doing. (These videos are also reminding me that now that my thyroid is back in order I need to get back in the gym. If only that didn't require money. Well, at least I'm getting out more now that it's summer.)  I posted one on my Facebok wall for promotional purposes.

While I did not exactly expect this to go over well, one of my real-life friends joins in and complains about how demisexuality  social was created by social justice warriors.   Well, maybe I shouldn't be too harsh on him. I've stuck my foot in my mouth many times on the Internet and I know I'll do it again, but it should be obvious that there are many things I do not agree with him on, and I have at least learned -- for the most part -- to skip by the posts of people whose views I don't agree with. It's not like their Facebook posts affect me.

I think he might have not believed me when I said I was one of three people reporting on Asexual issues in the world at one time.

Then again, I hope my energy keeps up for a while.  It might be because it's summer or because my thyroid hormones are at the right balance.  (Or that I'm pacing myself more effectively.)


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