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Yes, I’m still in pain. I’m frustrated and admittedly depressed by the fact that I still have pain after having the surgery to correct the pain. I don’t know if its new, or if it’s just that its pain that was masked by the stronger pain that is now numb. But, it’s still there.

As you’ll recall from my post on September 7th, I am a casualty of the war on opioids. According to the powers that be, opioid pain medication shouldn’t be prescribed for cases like mine.

They, of course, don’t talk to the patients, they only make up these ‘guidelines’ (read: rules) and expect that everyone will fit into those tiny little boxes.  So, my pain doctors have reduced my opioid pain medication and will not prescribe more (suggested that if I want more I should doctor shop for a clinic that still prescribes opiate pain meds).

Unfortunately, I don’t fit into those boxes. Its important with people who have multiple conditions, to not rock the boat so to speak. I have Meniere’s disease (incurable), migraine with aura (incurable), chronic pain (not cured so far), hypothyroidism (on medication), and polycystic kidney disease (incurable). All these conditions – especially Meniere’s disease, I have to be careful to not take or eat anything that triggers a flare. The medications specifically for nerve pain that I tried last year put me into a tailspin and confined me to bed for a very long time. Yet these are the medication that have been ordered for me – or I will not be treated.

I didn’t choose to be a statistic. No one does. But I also didn’t choose to have a government agency (state or federal it doesn’t matter) tell my pain doctor how to treat me.  I’m tired of being likened to a criminal just because I’m a chronic pain patient.

So, I am experimenting with different tea blends to bring about pain relief. So far, my results have been moderately successful. Now, if I had been searching for a nice ‘go to sleep’ tea, I’d have found that several times over!

I’m trying:

Chamomile – in all the blends I’m using dried organic chamomile. Not only is it wonderfully relaxing, but it is also a great anti-inflammatory.

Wild Lettuce – organic wild lettuce has natural opiate “like” properties, without containing opiates. Which I really like because my ultimate goal was to be off pain medication anyway. However, it does have sedative properties that make it not really ideal for daytime use. But it puts me into a good restful sleep.

California Poppy – organic California poppy, the California State Flower, is a cousin to the opiate containing poppy but does not contain opiates. California poppy is analgesic, antispasmodic and can provide relief of nerve pain – which is what I have. So far, other than making me very sleepy, it does help with moderate pain relief.

Rose Hips – Surprisingly, rose hips – which I already loved due to their blast of vitamin C and immunity boosting powers – also helps relieve pain. I have been happily adding them to each version of the teas I make.

Valerian – although Michael hates the smell and generally walks right back out the door as soon as he smells it, Valerian is good for pain and is better known for its sedative properties. Although it doesn’t taste that good to me so I’ll probably add it to capsules instead of tea.

Lavender – Another surprise, lavender is a really good pain reliever because of its calming effects on the nervous system. (and it tastes good).

Rosemary – Which is a good anti-inflammatory.

I’m busy developing teas using these herbs and many more at this time to find an effective blend to relieve pain. But ultimately, I want this to be as convenient to me as taking the prescriptions are, so I also want to create capsules.  I’m also very aware that this might be an ongoing odyssey to find the right fit. Bodies change and needs change, maybe I’ll have to have a daytime version and a nighttime version – that seems realistic.

Today’s not a good day pain wise. I woke up with some pain, then got up and took a shower and by the time I was out the pain was excruciating – and because showers always destroy my equilibrium so it’s generally baths for me – I’m also dizzy. But in the morning, when I need to get upstairs to work, feed the puppies and take them out, there’s not enough time for a bath.

The Mankoski Pain Scale

I found a pain scale that really is the best one I’ve seen, and believe me, I’ve seen tons of them over the last few years.

Today, I’m in bed, trying to work through the pain.

Today, I’m a 7.

Good morning on this beautiful bright, crisp and clear day! Such a glorious day! Every window in the house is wide open and all the wonderful scents from outdoors are coming in and the breeze through the trees sounds so amazing!


I love the smell of lavender!

I was out early this morning plucking broad-leaf plantain and lavender (as well as trimming chives and pulling yarrow out from where it doesn’t belong!) and as I was immersed in nature I had so many random thoughts running rampant through my head. What is it about early mornings that bring on a peaceful calm and formerly hurtful thoughts don’t have the power to cause you pain at that moment. I cherish those times! AND, bonus! I’m not dizzy this morning! So here’s some of those random thoughts:

Random Thought #1: I woke up thinking about plantain and lavender and decided to start an herbal oil infusion for a healing salve and using fresh herbs when you have them is best. While I was picking I thought back to recent comments by people that have hurt. On Mother’s day my daughter posted a blog about how Mother’s Day is for children and how she hated the day growing up. She talked about how she could never be sure I’d received the gifts or cards she sent – I never got a gift, but I di

Plantain and yarrow

Plantain and Yarrow in the washing up phase

d get a sum total of three cards. She talked about how she was stuck in the middle and she’s right, she was, and again she’s right by saying that’s no place for a child to be. I sure wish she would remember who placed her in the middle – it wasn’t me.  So while she was denied a relationship with me, I was also denied a relationship with her. So… it was a lose – lose situation for her, her brother, and for me.

Like I said, I was hurt she would write those things, until I realized while I was out picking herbs this morning that she has every right to feel this way. And, that she’s not ready to accept the truth. That’s ok. I love her, and even if she never accepts the truth, I’ll still love her. You see… no one can take that away from me. So, as soon as I thought that, my resentment and hurt just melted away and it was such a lifting experience! So, Happy Mother’s Day my darling Daughter…

Random Thought #2: I’m so glad I decided to start Hilltop House Bed & Breakfast! I can’t tell you how fun its been to meet people and serve people. This morning while I was picking herbs I kept thinking about how to make the experience better for guests, how to improve upon the rooms. What is the image I want to portray with what I’m doing? And, what improvements I’ll make first when our Home Improvement Savings Account has enough to begin. You see, that’s where all the room rental funds are going. Straight into an account so we can make improvements to the house without financing them (I really like the idea of not financing our renovations!!). One of the first things I think I want to do is to replace the flooring from the living room, straight through to the kitchen. Make it all one kind, and no transitions. I would love a hardwood floor throughout. I think that would be stunning. So I’m busy looking at pictures, and every time I go to the hardware store I’m looking at flooring – when I’m not looking at plants or tools LOL! Having the time of my life and grateful to Michael that he doesn’t mind me doing this. He never minds whatever I want to try as long as it makes me happy – which I can tell you NEVER happened before I met him. Truly blessed that God arranged it so we would meet.

Random Thought #3: I developed an allergy to the adhesive on the TENS pads I was using and I’m back on paid medication until that clears up. Meanwhile I’m seeking out hypoallergenic pads (the snap kind) so if you know of any – please let me know! I really miss my TENS! I started out with the Icy Hot Smart Relief unit that we got at Walmart and loved it so much that Michael brought a Magic Pulse Ultra Massage TENS unit home from a trip he was on. I’m so impressed with the effectiveness of it. We went on a quick vacation to upstate New York and I used my TENS while fishing, hiking, jolting around in the truck on four wheel drive roads, and running up and down stairs that are so tall and steep you could almost get a nosebleed. And not once did I take a pain pill!  That was HUGE, and completely life altering. I can now foresee a life ahead of me. That having chronic pain is not going to be a prison anymore. For the first time in over three years, I was almost pain free.  Last year on this same vacation I could hardly function without pain medication – just trying to go on short hikes was excruciating – NOT ANY MORE!!

Random Thought #4: Why is it that every time you want to post about how fabulous the weather is, it changes to rainy just at that time?  LOL Oh well, it this keeps up we won’t have to water the garden today.

Have a great day everyone!


I am blessed with a wonderful husband, marriage, and home, I have incredible friends and live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I work at a career I adore and have colleagues who inspire me. I am free to pursue my hobbies and my husband lovingly supports me in all my endeavors. I live a blessed and happy life.  I have invisible illnesses that cause a great deal of physical pain, or vertigo depending on which one is acting up at the moment. I’ve learned there are no cures for either condition, but I’m not dying – that’s a HUGE blessing.

I have another kind of pain that exists underneath everything I do and is present every single day. I’m the mother of alienated children.

I regret so many things, mostly though I regret I was so stupidly naive about how cruel people can be. I was so naive I would never have thought that a parent and grandparent would be so abusive to my kids as to emotionally abuse them by systematically brainwashing them. I bitterly regret I didn’t fight like hell for them after I finally realized what was happening. I realized it when I picked up my kids for a visit and my son started screaming when he saw me and kept it up for 2 hours until he fell asleep in the car. Who does that?  God, that was some painful driving I can tell you.

This deep pain I live with bubbles to the surface at random moments. Like today when I was reading my daughter’s latest blog post and before I finished reading it I was weeping so hard, and missing her so much, my dog Patches was trying to jump into my lap to comfort me. She’s a great little wiggling bundle of love that gets so upset when she sees me cry.

There is another pain I live with every single day. One I rarely share and have never talked about on my blog. My son is a murderer. There, I’ve said it out loud to you. You know my secret.  My son murdered a man and is serving time in a Virginia prison.

The story is a sordid one. I keep thinking that if I’d had a chance to be more of an influence on him this wouldn’t have happened. He apparently became involved with a woman who was in a bad custody battle with her ex-husband and she manipulated (not my words, these were the words of law enforcement) my son into killing her ex, leaving two fatherless children.  She was alienating her children from their father. My son was so used to being with an alienating parent/grandparent he never saw it coming! He killed a man. Then, admitted it and testified against his girlfriend.

I tried so hard to get help for him before all that, I knew there was something wrong when he threatened me. I feared that if he were in front of me he would have hurt me. What a painful thing to think of your own son! I tried reaching out to his command in the military, I tried to write to him, I tried to contact my son’s ex-wife… Nothing worked and it only made my daughter reject me. So, now he has rejected me as well, tried to commit suicide, and wrote to me on that day to tell me I was unworthy of his love and even his handwriting since he had a fellow prisoner write the letter. He didn’t succeed in suicide thank God, but I didn’t hear about it for weeks since my daughter emailed me news of it to an email address that I rarely ever checked. (The first line of that email was “this is in no way an attempt to reestablish communications…..”)

I know this was something my son chose to do, but it is a knife in my heart to think that the sweet little boy that was mine to raise before he was alienated from me could do this. My heart breaks thinking about the children left behind, losing both parents (the mother is also in prison).

These are my pains. Physical pain is tough especially when it is incurable (we will attempt another nerve freezing procedure soon), but physical pain is nothing to heartbreak. I am happier than I’ve ever been, but the heartbreak of my kids is always beneath the happiness. Bubbling out at times from deep below the surface, to render me incapable of anything but weeping, then it slowly recedes like flood waters.