She Blessed Us with Her Last Spoon

My dear friends, Esther and D, the Little Princess and I went to see my Piano Man at Radio City Music Hall. My flesh and bones and I were having one of our great days—in fact, we’ve been having a fantastic week when it comes to pain—but D (who has lived with Lupus since she was in her teens, and has gathered an intricate bouquet of complications as the years go by) was discretely strolling through pain hell.

The Little Princess and I arrived a wee bit late. We found my Piano Man, Esther and D already waiting for us in front of Radio City. We greeted each other with hugs, laughter (and the Little Princess and I received much teasing over our tardiness).

After my Piano Man left us, to join the orchestra, I examined D’s face. She looked radiant, ready to enjoy the evening… Anyone who doesn’t exactly know her well, or who doesn’t know what severe pain looks like, would have probably thought that all was well. I almost asked D about it when I saw the first long blink, but chose to let her be. Sometimes, all it takes to worsen the pain is for someone to remind us that we are in agony.

We loved the show.  My Piano Man was extremely hot and the Rockettes were sparkly.
Radio City 2015 (1)

The Little Princess kept us laughing—she danced in her seat, sang, explained the plot loudly, and when Santa told the audience, “What do you say when Santa tells you Merry Christmas?” she shouted, “I say, hooray!” at the top of her lungs. Esther, D and I roared. Between bursts of laughter, I watched D take a few deep breaths and squeeze the back of the chair in front of her until her hands began to shake. I still said nothing.

My Piano Man met us after the show, took our picture, and we said some quick goodbyes—he had a second show. Esther lives on the other side of the city. So she, too, kissed us goodnight.
Radio City 2015 (2)

As the Little Princess, D and I walked towards the subway, I said to D, “Thanks so much for spending this time with us.”

“Oh, no,” she told me, “thank you! I had the best time.”

“We did, too,” I said, watching as the Little Princess twirled around and giggled at the imaginary camel she walked on a New York City sidewalk… tied at the end of red and gold streamers. “But I know you’re hurting.” I rubbed one of D’s shoulders, ever so slightly and she winced. We laughed, and stopped in front of a closed shop, so that D could change out of her dress shoes.

When D stepped out of her shoes, I grabbed them and put them in her bag. “Thank you”, she said, and those words conveyed the thousand little stories everyone who lives with chronic pain knows.

“No,” I said, “thank you a million times for loving us so much that you are willing to give us one of your precious spoons.”

Then we laughed, delighting in the merry way in which the Little Princess continued to skip and twirl, as she scolded her imaginary camel for “pooping on the sidewalk” and not on stage, where it would have been “so hilarious!”

In the past, I was sure that it would be impossible to explain to healthy people what living with a chronic illness was like. But in her response to “I Shall Not Cry over Dead Flowers”, my dear Emma, mistress of Little Gothic Horrors, introduced me to “The Spoon Theory”.

If you live with a disability or chronic illness that affects almost every aspect of your life, you probably want to read “The Spoon Theory”, by Christine Miserandino. If you are friends with (or a relative of) someone differently-abled or chronically ill (and you wish to know what his or her days might be like), then you should read Miserandino’s article.

“The Spoon Theory” uses, um… spoons *cough* to measure how much a person living with health issues might be able to safely accomplish during a specific day. It stresses the importance of prioritizing, it reminds people in pain to say “No” *even to themselves* when necessary… And in the clearest of ways, it tells those who get to spend time with someone living with pain just how lucky they are.

I feel blessed whenever D hands me her last spoon. Not just because I love her and enjoy our time together… But because I take her company for what it is: a miracle the universe shines into my heart, while chanting into my mind, Look, dear witchy woman, and see!
Sun through Red Tree

Stone from the Grave of the Father… and Feeling the Love and Smiling

Last year, while I was very sick and my back and left hip were being a bastard(ish) duet, I spent a lot of time in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other special therapies schools. I was the youngest person in almost every class… and the most talkative… and most cackly, too. When the pain was at its nastiest, making bad jokes and laughing truly helped. But nothing was as effective (at the art of dealing with pain) as finding ways to help other people ignore their own agony for a bit.

I haven’t seen any of the people I went to therapy with since last spring. So I was more than surprised when I received a box from Robin, a stroke survivor. She was in therapy in order to relearn how to use her extremities. Her case was particularly difficult because she was a metal worker, something that involved precise use of her hands. One day, we were exercising side by side—she worked her fingers by sculpting a dragonfly out of something that looked like playdough and I wrote on a standing desk (to see if my shoulder, back and hip alignment could handle the stress). After a short while, my bad shoulder and arm began to shake. I kept on writing…

“If your body is complaining that much,” Robin said, “you should stop.”

“Not yet,” I told her. “I’m going to beat my old time record of 47 seconds, become a crippled handwriting champion, and make this bastard shoulder my bitch.”

Robin laughed. Her mirth echoed through the physical therapy room. The wonderful sound gave me a boost, and I wrote for nearly a minute without stopping.

We continued exercising together, moving through the different machines and stretching stations as a pair. Robin told me about her stroke, how she felt useless at first, how the process of getting better made her “feel like she was dying…” But after some time, she started to feed on what she had left—her love for her work, her expertise, her obstinacy—and was now working on giving birth to herself.

“I might have to steal your words and your healing approach,” I said. And I did. If a 62-year-old woman could reclaim her Self, from the claws of pain, then so could I.

A few days after that, I wrote “Wet Dragonfly Wings” and gave it to Robin.

More than a year has gone by… But earlier today, I got home from the hospital to a package from Robin. It contained a silver picture frame—decorated with dragonfly wings and flowers—a golden pencil holder, and four pairs of fantastic socks.

I was rather happy when I got home, since my doctors told me that my gut and bones are getting better… but Robin’s gifts multiplied my joy. And because the Universe felt that my witchy self should be even happier, I also received a chest and two jars I purchased from Eliora, plus a tote and sweet little witch I won from a giveaway hosted by Tales of a Needle and Thread.

Are you wondering about the first bit of my title, my Wicked Luvs? Well, that part was inspired by a gift that makes me grin every time I look at it. Some weeks ago, my friend Esther went to Edinburgh to present a paper. Because she loves the Harry Potter books as much as I do, she brought me a stone from the grave of Thomas Riddell, the real person “believed to have inspired” the name of the character in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series. So there you have it, I have a stone, “from the [grave of the] father, unwillingly given”. Bwahahaha! *cough, cough, cough* Ha!

1* picture frame, refurbished by Robin
* the darkest of the two stones is from Esther

2* pencil holder, also refurbished by Robin

3* yummy socks, from Robin (I asked her if I could share one of the “Wicked” pairs with a wonderful lady who loves purple. She say “Of course!” They are on their way to said lady)

4* chest and jars by Eliora (can’t wait to tell you what I’m doing with the wee jars)

5* my tote, witch and chocolates from Tales of a Needle and Thread (thank you, Kerry!)

6* say hello to my little witch 😀

Magaly Guerrero- Nov 13* now say “Hey, sexy!” to the Wickedest Witchy Writer of Them All

In a world that seems completely rotten with meanness, ridiculous bickering and all sorts of pain-causing nonsense, there will always be a person (or 13) who takes the time to give (love, things, time, an ear…) to others. And that, my Wicked Luvs, is the reason why I always try to blog about what I’m given and the things people do for me (when they don’t have to): we need to remind each other that there are people who don’t suck.