The Scent of Home

Putrescence. Fluids oozing out of old garbage. Piss. And an underlying, lingering, modly dampness that swathes the mucus membranes of your sinuses so that you fear you will never breathe freely again.

I’m back in NOLA, and it feels like home.

Life is simply better when I’m here – nevermind that when I’m here I’m on leave from the real world. Things just fall into place. I get a long awaited call. Some radom conflict back home resolves itself. The appointment for my next tattoo gets confirmed. All the good stuff.

You can feel the powerful magick and energy in the air and as you walk around in the humidity, it seeps into you. Possibilities expand. And they are spectacular.

Working Hours

I am hoping to change my hours of work to something more comfortable for me and the rest of the family. Everyone other than me is a night owl and I crash so early that I feel I miss my time with them. I also suck at mornings.

My job is only 24 hours a week, a pittance. But I still feel drained and exhausted by it. I’m not sure why it’s such a challenge – and I’m working on figuring it out. I am doing regular bloodwork, monitoring my diet and exercise and tracking my sleep. My work environment has undergone a few transformations in the past 6 months, that have resulted in more stress, too. It’s all connected.

I’m struggling.

I wish I wasn’t. I wish I felt strong and caught up with my own life. Instead, I feel like I am always running behind, unable to be conscious of my own self, my body and my mind.

I feel overwhelmed by emotional turmoil. I am sinking in the waves and white waters. I try to catch my breath and centre myself – but there is no calm. Everything keeps churning.

My usual refrain plays over and over to my slowly numbing ears. I’m tired. I’m lonely. I’m worthless. I am a hindrance to others, never a facilitator.

I become numb, not because I no longer hear that refrain, but because I’m saturated with them. I’m soaked. I don’t think I can hold any more of their message within me. I am full of it.

Three weeks, rash free. And fingers.

So I’ve made it three weeks without more than 20g of carbs a day.  And I have not had any rash this entire time.  This is the longest I’ve gone with clear skin in more than 18 months.  I’m impressed.  But I still want to eat toast.

Also, my fingertips are too sore to play the Uke tonight.  Must rest them.

Today’s low-carb meal

Cream of Chicken Soup – Homemade, with whatever was on hand in the fridge version.

I’m still hanging on to the Keto diet.  I’m still in Ketosis. And I have now been more than 2 weeks without a facial rash.  Yay to less dermatitis!

In the soup:

  • PC broth carton, Ramen flavour (I had never seen this flavour before)
  • A small bit of onion, celery and carrot (mirepoix)
  • Zucchini noodles
  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Dash of fish sauce, dash of soy sauce
  • Chicken breast, cooked and chopped
  • Spicy hot pepperette (one small one sliced very thin)
  • Table cream (18%) – enough to whiten the soup, not to make it thick.
  • Fresh pesto (drizzle on top before serving)
  • Shaved parmesan (just a bit on top)

It’s actually very tasty.  And filling.  But I still miss toast.



Doctor’s Advice

I had an appointment with my specialist for my skin on Thursday past (it’s now Wednesday, almost a week later) and while discussing the remaining options for turning the battle again my rash in my favour, we touched on food. I have already tried going dairy-free. I did a full six months avoiding all my favourite foods (cheese, mostly, but butter too), and after my facial rash continued to gain ground, becoming more insistent and more consistent, I admitted defeat.

So. Dairy isn’t the answer to my woes. Next up: Gluten. Yup. Straight out of my doctor’s mouth came these words, “Since you’ve already tried giving up dairy, with no success, it’s time to try eliminating gluten. In fact, I’d recommend you give up almost all carbs and try the Keto Diet. The most recent studies show great results, including reduced mortality.  I’m not kidding. The science is pretty sound.  Look it up for yourself and if you’re willing, give it a try. I bet you’ll be feeling better, running longer and experiencing fewer skin issues within a couple of months.”

So, after my appointment, I had my last carb binge, eating 4 slices of toast, and vowed to myself that I’d at least give it a try. I figured I could do a week of gluten-free eating at a minimum and I’d see how I feel about going on a Keto Diet (there are quite a few to chose from these days).

I posted about my doctor’s advice on a social media page (my personal account, not linked to this site) and heard from a few friends who’ve had great luck with going Keto, and I admit, I was curious.  So.

So now I’m on day 6 of a Keto Diet.  I hate the word diet, but there it is. I’m on a diet.  A fat eating, carb-avoiding diet. I bought the book, “The Keto Diet” by Leanne Vogel, and a container of Ketosis Test Strips, so I can test my urine for ketones, and lo – I am in ketosis. That means that I’ve eaten enough fat and few enough carbs that my body is burning fat and using ketones for energy rather than glycogen.  Note: It’s not ketoacidosis, which is a bad thing that can happen to diabetics.

Many years ago I tried the Carb Addict’s Diet, which was also a Keto Diet.  I didn’t last very long on it. My love of bread is great. This time I have more hope.  My hatred of my dermatitis is strong and a great motivator.

Coping Mechanisms

So. I am trying to keep my head above water here. That means reaching into my tool bag and testing every single tool I have, trying to find a way to keep myself moving forward.

I’m back at the gym. I’m cycle commuting to work. I’m about to push myself out of my comfort zone by joining Roller Derby. I bought myself a Ukelele and I’m following a bunch of online lessons. I’ve bought tickets to music events, including stage musicals and raver-style block parties. I’m planning a trip for Halloween, to get me out of town and give me something to look forward to (LA/West Hollywood, here I come). I’m still looking at NOLA real estate for my 50th birthday. I’m organising the girls trip for my mom, daughter and I to Greece and Italy.

I’m not sure what else I can do before I break down and beg for meds from my family doctor.

In the coming weeks, I hope I can post a few silly photos and maybe even a few videos of my daughter and I getting silly with the Uke!


I’ve been struggling. A lot. A whole lot. I don’t even know how to say it properly. I am in pain — stupid, ridiculous, emotional pain that makes no sense and has no discernable roots in reality. Instead, it is the kind of pain that starts in the brain. Maybe it’s chemistry. Hormones. Norepinephrine and Serotonin. I don’t know. I just feel the weight, the hurt, and the confusion.

I keep telling myself that tomorrow will be better, that I will, “Be okay”, some other time. I don’t believe a word of it. But still, I continue because I have no other choice, for now.