chronic pain · pelvic floor dysfunction · Red Hot Chili Peppers · spirit animals · tattoos

The Snake and the Sparrow


How are you?

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written anything here, so today I said to myself…what the hell. I was uploading pics to use here when I came across a cool shot of my legs after I got them freshly tattooed a year ago. I thought–I’ll tell the story of my snake and my sparrow. People will be dying to hear about that. Right?

But first, let’s hear a song from the Red Hot Chili Peppers album One Hot Minute. How about this one. It reminds me of the time my sister and I went to see RHCP because we mainly went to see the opener Foo Fighters. This was in 1999. We got to the venue when over the speakers came the announcement that Foo Fighters would not be preforming because Dave Grohl was experiencing a health issue. Pretty sure he had a stomach virus thing. We were so bummed, but on we went to enjoy the show. Our seats we had purchased that day were clear up like in the 5th to the last row. Way up there. It was actually scary climbing and descending those stairs. Which we did often because my sister drank 5 beers throughout the night. She would look at me and go, “I want another one.” and I’d go, “you want another one?” and she’d go, “yeh.” So there we would go, holding hands, to get more beer. It was fun.

So at one point that night, Flea sat on his amp with his bass and sang this song and my sister and I laughed and laughed.

Okay, on to the tale you’ve all been waiting to hear.

So remember back in late 2017/early 2018 when I was amazingly sick with fucking pelvic pain? Of course you do. I talk about it a lot here. When I actually talk here. Anyway, during that horrific time, I tried all kinds of things to help myself feel better. One of the better things I did was get massages from my friend Rowynn. She’s also a hypnotherapist and we did some of that work together too. She really did try to help me figure out what the hell was going on at the root of my pain and she did help me immensely.

One time while she was working on me, I had a very clear vision of three-headed snake snapping at people who were trying to take advantage of me or be mean to me or screw with my pretty much nonexistent boundaries.

See? Even then, before I knew I had TMS or even knew what TMS was, I knew my repressed emotions were playing a part in my pain. Hell! They were what caused the pain!


The snake I saw is a symbol of protection and wisdom.

I ended up getting a rattlesnake tattoo on my right leg. My friend Matt did it. It’s awesome.

The snake has also come to represent my pain which was centered in my tailbone. Something upset me or stressed me out? My tailbone hurt. Bad. I couldn’t sit for any length of time. I had such pressure there that it felt like my entire ass might fall out all the time. Sometimes it would burn. Sometimes it would buzz. It always scared the hell out of me. It took me a long time to figure out I needed to listen to what my pain was trying to tell me.

Rowynn will still ask me if I’m struggling with something—what’s your snake saying?

A little while after I was introduced to my rattlesnake, at another appointment with Rowynn, I had a clear vision of a little sparrow sitting in the doorway of a cage looking back and forth like it was thinking to itself—“can I really just fly the hell out of here now? I’m free to go?”

That vision was a wake up call. Like—all the shit that has ever held me back–is gone. Even the old me, who was constantly searching for ways to make everyone else happy, while all the while pretty much ignoring my own wants or needs, was gone. When I endured that pain, I isolated myself. I ignored everyone in my life with the exception of my husband and kids and my one friend Rowynn. I had to. I couldn’t deal with my pain AND having to deal with other people.

It was a very hard but educational time. I changed so much.

That little sparrow looking around at the open sky made me cry. I also envisioned her taking off. And that was very inspiring.

The freedom to do or don’t do what I want and for who I want! Even the freedom to just really be myself. With no apologies whatsoever.

I am the sparrow.

Soon after that vision, I got a sparrow tattoo on my left leg. My friend Naomi did it. It’s awesome.

When I got the sparrow done, I explained to my tattooer buddies…

The snake means

*Leave me the fuck alone!*

The sparrow means

*I’m getting the fuck out of here!*

So there you have it. The story of my snake and my sparrow. Two bad-ass spirit animals, if you will,

always with me in my mind and on my legs.

Tattoos done by Naomi and Matt at Thrill Vulture Tattoo in Westerville Ohio ❤️

pain · pelvic floor dysfunction · recovery · thankful · Thanksgiving · TMS

thoughtful & thankful

I’m getting a slow start to my day today. I love Thursdays because they’re my laziest day of the week. We had our first wintry mix precipitation fall early this morning and we lost power for a bit. I’ve been puttering around, reading my book by flashlight. I also put together a grocery list since today is grocery day. Got a hold of my son and found out he is joining us for dinner the night before Thanksgiving, so that’s a nice little surprise.

Power came back on after a few calm and quiet hours.

You know, normal every-day life stuff. Nothing crazy.

But you know what I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this week?

How sick I was this time last year.

Truth is I was a mess. This was before I knew…or before I could 100% verify…what was causing my pain that I was living with every single day.

As I walked our dog yesterday, I recalled the awful nagging pain in my pelvis. It was always there, sometimes horrible, sometimes not, sometimes it would go away for a short time. I’d wake up most days feeling okay, but scared, because I knew the pain would eventually come and it always did. If anything remotely stressful happened, my pain flared. It was, at times, excruciating.

I got through last Thanksgiving (and most of late last year) thanks to anxiety and pain medications. I was walking through a labyrinth of hell, wondering why this had happened to me, and trying to find quality caring doctors who believed what I was telling them or had any sympathy for me at all.

I felt lost and like hardly anyone cared about me.

And I hurt basically all of the time.

It was the most frightening time of my life.

I didn’t know if I’d ever feel right again and I wondered if I would make it through okay.

That’s a scary-ass thing to have to ponder, in case you didn’t know.

I was able to put on a brave face and get through the holidays with my family, even though they all knew I was ill and I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted. They were very sweet and understanding. But it all made me incredibly sad.

I remember.

I don’t think I will ever forget.

My illness has been one of my life’s biggest and most important teachers.

I’d like to say I am thankful for my pain, but truly, I wish I would have never had to go through all of that just to learn the lessons I did. Perhaps a more pain-free way to learn would have been nice. But, really, I guess a real kick in the ass is one way to get to figuring shit out, you know?

Speaking of my ass, I’m so thankful I can sit here on it, pain-free, and write this blog post.

I’m thankful I can get up, go out the door and walk my dog all over the place and not feel the nagging burning pressure pain with every step.

I’m thankful I can grocery shop and manage to stand in line waiting for my turn to check out without feeling like my bottom is going to fall out onto the floor, basically wanting to choke the other shoppers and cashiers for living normal lives while I’m dying just trying to buy freaking food.

I’m thankful I can stay up past 6:00 pm with my husband and watch tv and eat dinner with him instead of being in bed for an hour already, sad, unable to get up and enjoy his excellent company.

I’m glad I’m able to be among the general population and even if someone pisses me off, my pelvis won’t spasm and bring me to my knees.

I’m thankful I no longer have to take pain medication just so I can feel normal for a little while.

I’m thankful that I no longer need anxiety medication and that I naturally don’t shake from fear all day long anymore.

I’m thankful for those who remained my people when I was not my normal happy-go-lucky self. I know I was hard to listen to then, but they stuck around.

I’m thankful for my kids–human and fur–who waited and were sweet to me while I fought to come back.

I’m thankful for my friend who took care of me mentally and spiritually and physically. Great massage therapist, great listener, great sharer of guacamole.

I’m thankful for my husband who saw the very worst of me last year but never left me alone and helped me every single second of every single day til I was back. And still. And apparently, after all of that, he always will.

And lastly, I’m thankful for my persistence and my bravery and my intuition and

my self-orchestrated recovery.

Next Thursday, I’ll sit for a spell on a restaurant chair and eat Thanksgiving dinner with people I love and there will be no pain.

Just happiness. And lots of food.

Last year, fear had a hold on me. This year, I know how to wrestle the fear and keep it pinned to the ground.




pelvic floor dysfunction · recovery · TMS

Where I’ve Been


Not sure if anyone out there will read this, but here’s hoping someone might find it helpful or interesting.  I’ve been wanting to write it for a long time now. I suck at writing anymore. I never make time for it, even though it’s all I really want to do.

Anyway, it feels good to be sitting here with my cup of coffee in my newly redecorated room, typing away.

I wanted to pop in to say hello again and to let you know after 10 months of suffering from scary pelvic pain, I am better.

I think…no, I KNOW…people who have no experience with pelvic pain hear that and think–huh. That sucks. But how bad can that be?

Before I had it, I had never really heard of pelvic floor dysfunction. I had no idea how or why someone would get chronic pelvic pain. And given the fact that I’ve always been a physically healthy person, I figured I was immune from ever getting something like that.

I was wrong.

Turns out I developed chronic pelvic pain created by stress and anxiety. I had what they call a hypertonic pelvic floor, meaning my muscles that compose my pelvic floor were constantly clenched until they went ballistic and started spasming. Which, if you can’t imagine what that feels like–ever have a Charley horse in your leg? Or a muscle spasm in your back? You know how that kind of pain knocks the wind out of you and brings you to your knees? It’s the same thing, but in the muscles that surround your nether-regions.

Yes, it’s as fucking horrible as it sounds.

Just thinking about it freaks me out. My pain was so bad for so long, just remembering it now scares the heck out of me.

I went from being someone who woke up every day and did a million + things to someone who woke up and instantly thought–I don’t want this day to begin. And I’d stay in bed, sometimes all day. Because I was afraid to move. I was scared to death of the pain. I was scared of the idea of always being that way–sick and unable to do anything the way I used to and afraid I would never feel better or happy again.

I thought life as I had always known it was over.

I had a very hard time talking to anyone who wasn’t my husband or my friend who understood and had true sympathy for me. Everyone else didn’t understand, didn’t care to understand, and my tolerance for people wanting things from me–even if it was just a conversation with the “old Susan”–was non-existent. I mean, if they couldn’t help me, or even just shut up and listen, I couldn’t have anything to do with them. I was envious of people who felt fine and were able to take their lives for granted. I resented people who only wanted me in their lives when I could be the funny girl they were all used to. I know I freaked a lot of people out when I got sick.

Oh well.

I was no longer the girl I used to be. And I thought above all else I really wanted to get back to being that girl. Little did I know, my brain and my body set me on a course to intense discoveries and changes I didn’t even know (or more like didn’t want to know) I needed.

Anyway, I have to stop tip-typing away here and start getting ready to go to my in-laws to visit for my father-in-law’s birthday.

I’ll come back soon to tell you more about this experience I’ve been through. I know there are people out there who suffer with pain every day like I used to. I’d like to put my story out there so people know they can get better. I know when I was sick, I spent all day and night online, trying to find some sort of hope and camaraderie for what I was going through.

I’ll also talk about fun stuff here because I love fun stuff and today I can enjoy fun stuff once again.

Speaking of fun stuff, I’m off to do all kinds of it today.  So I’ll talk to you again soon.

Before I go, please enjoy a picture of my dog. This is what it’s like for me every time I try to do…well, anything.

She’s cute though, huh.

penny in my face