A Major Accomplishment


Hello, fellow spoonies and friends! It’s been quite awhile, hasn’t it? Well, this spoonie has been very busy working hard to complete one of the biggest professional accomplishments of her life. I am happy to report that after six very long years, I have successfully defended my Ph.D.!

This journey has been a tough one in many ways. I always knew grad school would be a great challenge, but I could have never anticipated that my biggest challenge would be my health. When I started school, I was relatively healthy. However, a year into school everything changed. It began with short, infrequent bursts of pain in my pelvis. Over time, the pain started coming more and more often, and it began to spread. Eventually, it became less of  ‘am I in pain?’ and more of a ‘how bad is the pain?’ scenario.

During these early stages, the uncertainty of my condition and the physical toll it was taking on me caused a lot of friction between my adviser and myself. As a graduate student, you are expected to put in a lot of effort but especially TIME into your thesis work. I just wasn’t able to quite keep up with the pace that was expected of me, but I was sure that I would be able to accomplish my goal with some accommodations. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find a way to make things work, and I elected to finish my Ph.D. in a new lab.

This decision was probably one of the hardest I have ever made. I think in part because I wasn’t receiving a lot of support from my program to do so. I was warned that it would be difficult to find a new adviser because “no one wants a sick student”. Ultimately, I decided to push forward because I truly felt it was the best decision for myself, and I did find an adviser who was willing to take me on.

That was almost four years ago. It has continued to be a bumpy ride but with the support of friends, family, and my new lab I was able to push through. This journey has taught me a lot about myself and the strength that I truly have. It has also showed me who and what is truly important in life.

The most valuable lesson my PhD taught me!

The most valuable lesson my Ph.D. taught me!

2014 in review

When I first started this blog, it was just a way to help me accept my new and changing life with fibromyalgia. I am beginning to realize it has become so much bigger than that. It has allowed me to connect with an incredible community of fellow spoonie bloggers that I can look to for support. However, the best part is knowing that I am helping give others in similar circumstances hope and support as well. Thank you for being a part of this journey! 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 810 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Fibro Tools: UP by Jawbone (Review)

A little over a month ago, I wrote about my excitement over purchasing an UP fitness tracker in my post The Fight Goes Hi-Tech. Was the purchase worth it? The short answer is YES! I’ve learned a lot about my sleeping and fitness habits. The only negative would be not knowing what to do with that information (I’ll explain). Here is a little more information about my experience with the UP by Jawbone.

Comfort: The UP band is coated in hypoallergenic rubber and wears like a bracelet. If you size it right, there is plenty of space for the bracelet to move around which is good for me because too tight a fit would aggravate my allodynia.

My stylish red UP band

My stylish red UP band

Ease of use: Once you get used to the UP is quite easy to use. However, it did take some time to figure out how to change between the various modes. I have the UP24 band which can monitor sleep, steps, and exercise. However, this particular model needs to be prompted to measure your exercise or sleep. To do this, you have to press a small silver button that resides on one end of the band. The pattern with which you push the button differs depending on what you would like the band to do and sometimes it might take a few tries to get it into the right mode if your timing is not quite right. There is another version of this band that can automatically detect the various activities if that is of interest to you and in your price range.

Back side of UP band

Back side of UP band

Acquiring your data: As for getting your data from the device, that is rather easy. You simply have to plug the band into the headphone jack of your phone, and it will sync the data from your recent activities onto the free UP app.



What the data looks like: There are lots of ways to look at your info, and I’ll just go over what I feel is the coolest representation. Whether it is activity or sleep, you can get a visual representation of the data as shown in the graph portion of the data summary. However, you also get a breakdown of that data. For example, for the sleep data below I can see how much of my time was spent in sound sleep (REM) vs. light sleep. It also tells me how long it took me to fall asleep and if I woke up at all during the middle of the night.

Summary of sleep data

Summary of sleep data

Step data

Step data

What have I learned: Well, I apparently super suck at sleeping. Far too many of my sleep data summaries show that less than 50% of my night is spent in sound sleep. Most nights I am lucky to have better than 20-30% sound sleep. My husband can fill in some information for me; for example, if my snoring was exceptionally bad or if I was tossing and turning a lot. If you are lucky, your sleep should be more like 50:50. Apparently, I am capable of achieving that but it is a rare occasion indeed, and I’m not sure what I am doing on those nights to get that. So I know that I am not sleeping well but so far have been unable to do anything about it. Except for realizing that since I don’t sleep so well, I should, at least, go to bed earlier to try to get more sleep. I am getting a sleep study done in a few weeks though so maybe with that they will be able to figure out what may be able to help me.


Ideal night’s sleep

Other useful aspects: One feature that has been especially helpful for me is the Idle Alert. You can have the band alert you when you have been inactive for a given period. Given that, I am at my computer a lot lately. My neck and shoulder muscles on my right side have a tendency to be needlessly tense and computer work only makes it worse. Having this alert helps me remember to take stretch breaks to help keep my pain levels from getting super out of control. Having this feature on does drain the battery a little faster than usual but it is worth it to help keep my muscle pain at bay for as long a possible. I usually take this time to take a short walk around the hall, which my doctor was happy to hear since he says that staying active throughout the day even if it is just brief walks here and there is good for me.

Other thoughts: When I first purchased the band, I was excited that I could have the band wake me up as soon as I enter a light sleep cycle close to my desired wake-up time. The idea of using this feature would be to reduce drowsiness by not being woken up in the midst of a REM cycle. I use this feature, but I can’t say that it has helped reduce my morning drowsiness. I don’t think it is a fault in the logic of the system. I am sure the for an ordinary person it would work just fine. However, since I don’t get a whole lot of sound sleep to begin with I doubt there will be much that can allow waking up without a sense of fatigue or drowsiness. That just comes with the territory of being a spoonie

Overall, I am happy that I purchased the UP band. I think that if maybe I begin tracking my days more thoroughly in a Pain Journal and combine that information with the data from my band I may get more useful information. Maybe then I can see patterns that correlate to nights with better sleep or days with lower pain.

A Roller Coaster of A December

Hello, readers! Did you miss me? I sure have missed writing and hearing your comments. I made a promise to myself that I would try to post to this blog twice a month but try as I did; life got in the way this December. To be honest, December felt like the epitome of “when it rains, it pours”.

You can say that again!

You can say that again!

Part of the trouble comes from the perpetual state of stress brought on by the graduate school. You can be pretty much triple that stress right now, however, since I must graduate by March/April and there are a million things to get done for this to happen. There is writing my paper, finishing experiments, searching for a job, preparing for a conference in February, and I had a presentation to give to a group of my colleagues.It is the strangest thing being so close to then end of this journey called grad school, but feeling farthest away from the finish line. All I can do is what I have been doing, taking it one day at a time and remembering my limits.

With the beginning of December, also came a rather nasty cold that I couldn’t shake for over a week. If you are a fellow spoonie, then you know that a cold isn’t just a cold anymore. Those spoons that we so desperately try to manage slip away so much quicker when a cold comes around.

By the time I got over the cold, I then had to contend with the muscle aches that have been plaguing the whole right side of my back (from my neck to about my middle back). While I was sick, I didn’t go to the gym to get my yoga on. I am not positive, but I think the lack of yoga did my back in. My mid-back was so tense it would start to spasm so much it felt like it was falling asleep or going numb on me. It had been several weeks since my last trigger point injections, so the doc agreed that it was time to give me some more. I ended up getting SIX! I usually only get two or three.

Aftermath of six trigger points

Aftermath of six trigger points

Sadly, I didn’t get to reap the benefits of the trigger point injections because another problem crept up right away. The night before I got the trigger point injections I woke up at 2 am with terrible stabbing pains just below my diaphragm. The pain subsided enough after some time to let me go to sleep, but I began to have the pain again intermittently throughout the day. Two days later, the pain got even worse. I could feel the stabbing going all the way from my upper abdomen to my back. It was pure searing agony. I could barely stand up. I went to a random GP that could fit me in that day who had blood work done to check my liver, kidney, and pancreas function. However, she said it was more likely some gallbladder problem or ulcer or GERD. My panels came back mostly normal except my CBC, which showed a heightened WBC. The next day I went to see my normal GP, who was concerned about the high WBC and made me get blood drawn again to recheck those numbers. She seems to be for an ulcer/GERD diagnosis so started me on Prilosec over my vacation in hopes that would help. However, I got a call later that day that my WBC was still high and, in fact, was a little higher than before which concerns her. Oddly, I am not showing any other signs of infection like a fever, so I have no clue what is up with the funky blood work.

Fast forward, a day and it was time to head off to South Carolina for Christmas vacation. However, I was given a very clear warning by my doctor that should I show any signs of a fever I should go straight to the ER. So instead of enjoying the fact that I was going on break I had this looming worry in the back of my head that I would end up in the ER over break (it wouldn’t be the first time or the second for that matter). Luckily, my pain has largely subsided, and I showed no signs of a fever. I did, however, have the misfortune of getting a 48-hr bug just in time for Christmas Eve/Christmas.

At this moment, I am happy to report that I seem to be doing well. I will be going back home in about two days and will have to get my blood work redone to check if my WBC is still high. Then my doctor and I will move forward from there to decide what should be done.

I imagine that the next few months will be filled with lots of these ups and downs. There will be no avoiding the stresses of graduation and the job search and just life with fibromyalgia in general. However, as always I must remind myself I have overcome so much to make it here today. I’ve made it through all of that so surely I can make it through this as well. Who knows, maybe I can even make it through with a little grace.

My new motto

My new motto

The Fight Goes Hi-Tech

UP Fitness Tracker by Jawbone

UP Fitness Tracker by Jawbone

In my fight against fibromyalgia, I am always looking for ways to improve how I am managing and tackling my symptoms. Recently, my good friend Lauren brought to my attention an interesting and seemingly simple way to track things that can impact my fibromyalgia. Turns out Groupon had a special deal on UP fitness trackers by Jawbone.

What truly caught my eye was that not only did it monitor fitness but it could also monitor your sleep cycles. All you have to do is wear the band, and it can track your activity and sleep levels. This little device can measure how long you sleep and even breaks that time down into how much is spent in deep vs. light sleep. I’m hoping my doctor, and I can use this to figure out how to improve my sleep habits, which should reduce flare-ups. Another feature that I thought was cool that because it can monitor how deep your stage of sleep is, you can have the UP wake you up when you enter a light sleep cycle within up to 30 minutes of your set alarm. Since morning grogginess/fatigue is a huge issue for me, I’m hoping that being woken up during a light sleep cycle will help me feel less sleepy and, therefore, more productive in my morning.

The fitness tracking features are also cool. It acts as a pedometer so you can track your steps. You can even set a goal for how many steps you want to take. There is an activity alarm so that the band will alert you if you have been inactive for a given amount of time. Given that I spend a good portion of my day at a computer, and this can aggravate my neck/shoulder muscles, I need this feature. I plan on using it to remind me to take stretch breaks while at work. You can also time workouts and then input the activity for that time to keep track of your exercise activity.

The battery is supposed to last about ten days and only takes 80 minutes to recharge. To look at your info all you do is plug in the band to your phone and it will download your data to a free app. My band arrived last night. I just charged it up today, and I’m very excited to use it. I’ll let you know in a few weeks if it has proven useful in my goal of taking back my life and not letting fibromyalgia control me.

Treating Myself

New hair = new me

New hair = new me

October and what has passed of November have been a crazy busy! I have a million things going on: finishing the Ph.D. (I swear I’m really getting close to finishing), running a science outreach program, preparing for my second archery competition (a team affair with specified training times), and volunteering a bit of my time at the range (with the eventual goal of becoming a certified archery instructor). Sometimes, I find myself thinking, “What are you doing? Haven’t you learned that you need to slow down?” I guess the answer is no. However, I am starting to realize that it isn’t a matter of just slowing down. That might be true if all the things I was doing were stressful but I feel like even though I am busy, many of those things keeping me busy are things that make me happy. It makes a difference. Even though I am probably at the most hectic point in my life since developing chronic pain, my pain levels have been surprisingly manageable considering.

I don’t want to sound full of myself, but I am incredibly proud of how I have managed things lately. I have been making some positive changes to help manage my symptoms while taking care of my various responsibilities. I honestly feel like a spoonie warrior, and it is vital to celebrate these accomplishments no matter how little they may seem. So last week I decided to treat myself. First, I got a nice hot stone massage, which was so amazingly heavenly. I had never had one before, but I am sure it will not be my last! The very next day I gave myself another treat and got a hair cut. Haircuts are truly a treat for me since I go to a rather pricey salon. However, when you have curly hair the phrase “you get what you pay for” is quadruple-y accurate and I finally found an amazing hairdresser who actually understands how to cut curly hair since she is a curly girl herself. With that said I still had been avoiding getting haircuts more than once a year if I could help it. It’s only been six months since my last cut, but I just felt like I wanted a change, so I went kind of short. I LOVE IT! I feel cute, spunky, and like I can tackle anything!



Never Ending Blood Work

Aftermath of yet another blood test

Aftermath of yet another blood test

Friday morning I had yet another doctor’s appointment. This time, it was to get a referral for a sleep study to check for sleep apnea. I know I’ve snored for a long time, but my hubby mentioned that at times it almost seems as though I’ve stopped breathing. Perhaps it is just that I have stopped snoring, and so it seems unusually silent, but my family has a history of sleep apnea, so it is worth looking into. Even if it didn’t run in my family, it would be worth getting checked out since sleep apnea is associated with higher risk of heart problems and high blood pressure. Hopefully, I do not have sleep apnea but even if it is just snoring, I’m hoping we can figure out some strategies to minimize it. There is a good chance that the snoring is adding to my fatigue levels and, therefore, my pain levels so if there is a way to address it I want to figure it out.

I got my referral, however, my doctor apparently had more things on her mind. With winter fast approaching and my history of low Vitamin D levels, she wanted me to have my levels checked. There is some research suggesting there is a link between low Vitamin D levels and chronic pain levels. The jury is still out on this link (some studies have reported there is no connection) but if there is a chance that bringing up my levels can help with pain management I’m willing to try it. Also, Vit D does help your body absorb other important nutrients (calcium, zinc, etc.) so it certainly doesn’t hurt to make sure you are getting the proper amount.

To get my Vit D levels checked, I needed yet another blood test. At this point, I’ve honestly lost count of how many times I’ve needed to have my blood drawn (something like at least five times a year for the past six years). No joke, I have permanent indentations near my elbows from all the needles I’ve had poked into me.

Now, to be honest, needles don’t bother me. My mom is a certified phlebotomist, so I’ve seen her draw blood from patients many times. I only want to comment on how strange it is that this is so normal to me know. I could walk to the hospital laboratory in my sleep. Usually, when I go to have my blood drawn, I’ll see one or two phlebotomists who recognize me from previous visits, which is saying something considering how many people go in and out of that place. I think even my lab mates have gotten used to me showing up in the lab with my elbow bandaged up.

When it comes down to it, Friday was just another day in my spoonie life.

The Spoonie and Yoga


From the very beginning of my journey with chronic pain, I was sure of one thing: I was willing to think outside the box when it came to treatment strategies. As I began to figure out, appointment after frustrating appointment, this was a complicated situation so the solution to getting my life back would likely also be complex. Many doctors tried just throwing pills at me, maybe in hopes of shutting me up or maybe because they honestly thought that was the only way to help, but I hated this solution. My fear with this strategy is that the medications were only masking the solution rather than actually trying to treat/address the underlying issues. I also hated the awful side effects. Many of the medications make you feel like a zombie all day every day. Other medicines, particularly the pain meds, made me incredibly dizzy and nauseous. Neither of these side effects were worth the amount of relief the medications were actually providing. So I made a choice to look into alternative therapies to help manage my symptoms.

I’ve already talked about how I use massage therapy for pain management but even before this I tried yoga. As a former dancer, I was no stranger to yoga and my sister in New York who is a yoga instructor encouraged me to take up yoga for pain relief. The exercise of course has the benefits of increasing pain tolerance levels, but I was particularly drawn to yoga for its focus on both the mind and body. Regarding the physical benefits, I knew that yoga would provide me a way to not only stretch my ridiculously tight muscles, helping to relieve tension on my joints, but it would also assist in strengthening them. Regarding the mental benefits, yoga is a proven method to promote stress relief and deep relaxation. I was also hoping yoga would help increase my self-awareness allowing me to pinpoint problem areas and be better able to express where my pain was originating to my doctors.

Initially, I opted to pay the rather lofty fees for individualized yoga therapy. To be honest, when I first made the decision to try yoga for pain management I was afraid. My pain had prevented me from being active for many years, and I didn’t fully believe I could be active again. I was terrified of trying a large class and injuring myself because I wasn’t aware of how to modify the pose for my ability level. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t afford to keep up with these sessions, but I knew I was on to something that could help me. I felt my muscles slowly loosening up with each session. For at least a few hours, sometimes even for a day, I noticed that my pain levels were decreased. I won’t lie it was frustrating that the progress was slow, and the relief wasn’t long lasting, but then I remembered it had taken a some time for my muscles to get to the state they were in, I couldn’t realistically expect them to improve overnight.

Sadly, I let life get in the way of my path towards healing. It got in the way for good 2-3 years. My life is still plenty hectic, but my doctor reminded me that there are many ways to tackle my treatment and yoga should be one of them. He also shares my philosophy of trying to minimize the number of medicines I need to take. I knew he was right about starting yoga back up but let’s face it yoga can get expensive as can gym fees. It just so happens that around this time, I received a flyer in the mail from my local YMCA. The membership pricing was affordable, and there were plenty of yoga classes for me to choose from. So I went for it and have been going to yoga once a week for almost two months now.

Expectation vs Reality

Expectation vs. Reality

I’m not going to lie my yoga practice is far from pretty. I’ve fallen over several times, and I have to do many, many modifications. My muscles doth protest occassionally, but I just take my time and do what I can. I can already feel my back loosening up. Before my first yoga class (this time around) I could barely touch beyond my knees during a forward fold. Now, I can almost reach my ankles! I can also feel my core getting stronger, which I suspect may be why I am having less intense muscle spasms in my back as of late. I’ve also seen improvement in my archery form after starting yoga. Yoga is also helping me have some much-needed de-stressing once a week. Sure the exercises can be a bit strenuous, or at least for my spoonie body, but I always leave the class incredibly relaxed yet alert.

Truthfully, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. There has been some increased pain, particularly in the hours after a workout session, following the introduction of exercise back into my life. Usually, I’ll feel great for a few hours after class (got to love those endorphins) but towards the end of the night, I’ll notice some additional aches and pains. These are not really any worse than my typical fibro aches and pains, but they are more targeted. In particular, my knees feel the achiest probably because of how incredibly tight my IT band and other muscles surrounding it are. My doctor assures me that this is not unusual and that I may even notice a slight increase in pain levels before I feel the full benefits of the exercise (increased pain tolerance, better flexibility, etc.).

My progress may be slow, especially since I have only been able to fit one yoga session in a week, but I am noticing little differences here and there. I’m sure over time those small differences will add up to reveal some big improvements. I just got to stay focused on my goal/intention and remember that slow and steady wins the race.




Trigger Point Injections


My home away from home

Monday morning and instead of going to work I headed the doctor’s office. Does that intro sentence sound familiar? If you are a regular reader of my blog, then it should because that is pretty much how The Importance Of A Good Doctor post started (almost exactly a month ago). I basically have a regularly scheduled check-up bout once every month (maybe two months if I’m doing super well but that is a rarity), but I can also always get put in immediately if my pain levels get unbearable. These check-ups have become a tradition- Monday morning at 9 am in the same exam room without fail.

Sadly, this time, I had to report that I’ve been having an increasing number of cluster headaches. Cluster headaches tend to happen in cycles that last several weeks to months but then can go into remission for months to even a year. The hallmark of a cluster headache is that it tends to affect mainly one side of your head/neck (for me my right side). Sometimes it feels like a hot screwdriver is being jammed into my forehead and twisted around. Other times, I get excruciating, searing pain in my eye. sometimes I can feel the burning pain radiate down the right side of my neck. Unlike migraines, I don’t tend to get nausea or sound sensitivity, but light can make it worse, and I do tend to have dizzy spells. I’m not sure why but I am particularly prone to bouts of cluster headaches in late fall, early winter.

I’ve also noticed that my headaches are correlated with periods of time when the neck and trapezius muscles on my right side are particularly tense. I mean so tight that I start having pins and needles sensations in them. Although sometimes I feel like my whole body is a trigger point, I am most prone to develop trigger points in this region. If you aren’t familiar with trigger points, you can think of them as a sort of muscle knot. Have you ever had a massage and noticed that one particular area was much more tender/painful than others? Have you had sore areas of your muscles that when you press on them cause pain to radiate to other places? That is a trigger point. It’s a chicken-egg thing when it comes to my trigger points and these headaches, but I certainly know they don’t help matters.

After some chatting about what my headaches were like, things that seemed to trigger/worsen them, and how frequently I’ve been getting them (at least 2-3 times a week), my doc decided to prescribe me some Isometheptene. However, since my frequent trigger points tend to exacerbate the headaches the doc, as I suspected, suggested we try trigger point injections. I am no stranger to trigger point injections, and I certainly am not afraid of needles but that doesn’t make them any easier to get. What happens is that a needle is inserted into the trigger point to deactivate it. My doc tends to inject a local anesthetic (immediate numbing relief) and some corticosteroid (long lasting relief). Ok, so it isn’t as simple as inserting the needle into the trigger point. Usually, they move it around in the area to spread around the medication. Every once in awhile if they get a sensitive trigger point your muscle will repeatedly twitch, which is super irritating and at times painful. Usually, my doc will also gently massage the injection area to help spread the medicine around a bit.

I ended up getting three injections, two of which twitched quite badly. However, as always I survived my headache has reduced in intensity. Luckily, I had a scarf to cover up the band-aids because it looked like I may have gotten bit by a vampire. I suppose that is appropriate though since Halloween is just around the corner :p

Just cause they help doesn't mean I have to like them

Just cause they help doesn’t mean I have to like them

P.S.- If you aren’t able to be treated with corticosteroids, the injections can be done with just the lidocaine for immediate numbing relief or with not medication whatsoever (dry needling)

Anybody Home?


Me (to my brain): “Hello? Is anybody home?”                                                                                                                                                                                   Brain: “Sorry, I am experiencing technical difficulties right now. Please try back later.”                                                                                                         Me: “When would be a good time?”                                                                                                                                                                                                     Brain: “… …. …. …”



You know one thing all those commercials don’t tell you about? With fibromyalgia comes not only pain but also cognitive dysfunction. It has probably been one of the most unexpected and frustrating aspects of my disease. It is so common for me to feel literally as if my brain has abandoned me altogether at points. Finishing up my Ph.D. requires a lot of concentration and focus and being able to think clearly which perhaps makes it an even more frustrating problem. Thankfully, I am all but dissertation so I can pace myself somewhat accordingly to try to avoid mistakes.

Here is are just some examples of how my brain has abandoned me recently:

  • The other day I was in the kitchen cleaning up, and I put some rice in a container so that I could wash the pot, but then I lost the container of rice. I had no clue where I put it. I looked in the fridge, the freezer, the microwave, the oven, several cabinet, but nothing. It took me two hours to find it. I put the container in the cabinet with the baking supplies, but I have no memory of doing so.
  • Leaving my water bottle at the water fountain then getting up from my desk five different times for the express purpose of going to get it but forgetting halfway through.
  • Almost walking out of the gym locker room without my yoga pants on o_O (true story)
  • Standing in my bathroom for five minutes holding my fibro meds because I couldn’t remember if I took them already or not.

Now I know what you probably want to say. Oh, we all have lapses like these. I’ve lost my sunglasses only to find they are on top of my head the whole time. I know, and I get that, but the thing is with fibromyalgia these lapses are way more frequently like several times a week, sometimes even several times a day. Things I should firmly remember I have way too much difficulty recalling. I can have a conversation with my hubby and if I get distracted for more than a second will completely forget what I just said. When doing experiments, I have to check, and triple check my solutions or samples because I just feel like I can’t always trust myself. I feel like I might end up like that guy in “Memento” that has to tattoo things on his body so he can simply remember them.

In retrospect, some of the lapses are quite humorous like the rice thing. However, at the time when my hubby tried to make me laugh it off, I just couldn’t. I was just too upset/frustrated to laugh about it. I just felt defeated and a bit useless. I’ve been talking with several members of my spoonie family, like the lovely Sarcoidosis Soldier (check out her blog) who recently wrote about this very topic, about it and they’ve made me realize that I just need to learn to brush it off and laugh at it because they will happen often.

So to all my friends and family, please be patient with me and help me learn to laugh at these things because it seems that I’m:




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