The Pain in my Ass

I bet you think I’m talking about a person, don’t you? Nope. I am, literally, talking about a pain in my ass. To be precise: my piriformis muscle. Yeah, I never heard of it either, but it sounds a lot better to be talking about the pain in my piriformis than the pain in my ass.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever blogged about this before, but I’ve been having back pain for a long time. I’d say, oh, 6 years or so. Right after my son was born, almost 4 years ago, I finally went to see my doctor about it. She sent me to an Osteopathic Physician. At the age of 34, I was told, after a series of x-rays, that one of my legs is longer than the other. And that walking and running (thank you, navy) without a lift to equalize the length of my legs had caused my spine to curve in order to compensate, and had pushed the top of my tailbone toward my spine which caused it to press on 3 discs in my lower back. Which are now arthritic. I have also worn out the outsides of my kneecaps because of the awkward gait I’ve had since taking my first steps.

What does this have to do with a pain in my piriformis, you ask? For the last year, I’ve been telling my Osteopath, while she was adjusting my back, that my left hip hurt. The pain has continued and now is so bad that I can’t even sleep on my left side. She believes that a trigger point in my butt is to blame. She thinks I should get a cortisone shot right in the old keister to get the muscles to release. I’m guessing this means I have a tight ass. And not in the complimentary way, either. Too bad. I always wanted a JLo booty.


The Piriformis Revealed, or Everything you didn’t want to know about my ass. (Note: this is not an actual image of said ass.)

For some reason, the idea of a needle being injected in such a vulnerable place is unsettling. I’m not afraid of needles. I don’t like shots, per se, but I don’t have an irrational fear of them either. This spot, however, is making me have some Navy bootcamp flashbacks and I’m thinking maybe I was slightly traumatized by one little incident there.

In the first few weeks of basic, my division had to go down to the medical facility and we all had to get a massive round of shots. It was pretty standard military medical care. We rushed on over there, waited for a really long time, and then had to line up and walk through what felt like the bottle conveyor belt from the opening theme of Laverne and Shirley. We walked down a line, stopped when told, and a nurse on either side of us would give us a shot in the arms. Then we’d take a few more steps, stop, and two more nurses would give us two more shots in our arms again. I don’t remember how many I got; I wasn’t all that concerned. Then came time for the penicillin shot. They separated the girls from the guys and marched about 20 girls into a room at a time. They must have been coming out a different door because we wouldn’t see them again until we too had bandaids on our butts. When my turn came around, I marched into this big sterile room that had a long table in the center with no chairs. Ten of us lined up facing the table on one side and the other ten on the other side. We stood there looking across at the other girls while we were told to drop our drawers, bend over, place our forearms on the table top and wait for our shot. Once the shot had been administered, we were allowed to pull up our pants and wait until we were all ready to march out of the room. I wasn’t all that nervous, although it’s kind of weird leaning over a table bare-assed with strangers (both male and female nurses) hanging around behind you. But then the girls across the table from us started getting their shots. And we could see each pained expression, every tear escaping every eye and each poignant gasp as the giant (I kid you not, it was gianormous) needle was plunged into their backsides. To make matters even more horrific (yes, it’s possible, wait for it…) one of the girls in my line jumped or twitched or something and the needle snapped off in her ass cheek. Blood and penicillin were spurting, nurses (they were actually nursing students, I later discovered) were scrambling around, shouting commenced and there I was, leaned over a table, cold air on my cheeks, in a horrified eye-lock with the girl across the table. Our telepathic conversation sounded like this:

Are you fucking kidding me? We’re dreaming this right now, right?

No, it’s really happening. This is a goddamn nightmare. Can you believe we actually signed up for this voluntarily?

My ass is so cold right now that I’m shivering.

Don’t do it! I’ll bet that’s what happened with the girl currently sporting a giant needle in her ass. You shiver and that shit’s gonna spurt!

Oh. My. God. I can’t bend over this table another second or I’m going to scream, scream I tell you!

You take out the Petty Officer on the left and I’ll take out the one guarding the exit. Ready, set…

I’m next! Holy sh- Ow! Ouch, ohmygodthat’sagiantneedleinmyass!

Thank God that’s over. Let’s never speak of this again. In fact, I’ve already forgotten your name for all time.

Can you blame me for not wanting a cortisone shot in the keister? I’m scarred for life when it comes to shots in that region. Instead, I went for a trigger point therapeutic massage this morning. It was both relaxing and painful. Now all I have to do is convince my husband that its beneficial to my health to become a member at Massage Envy and get a massage once a month so I can avoid the dreaded butt shot. I’m not so sure my penicillin shot story will move him to part with the money. Maybe if I act it out for him….


Body Therapy

How much time do you think a woman spends thinking about her body? As a teenager, I know I used to obsess about it. As a single adult, I spent quite a bit of time lamenting it. When I was in the Navy, I spent many hours cursing it. If I could gather together every single minute that I’ve spent thinking about my body over the entirety of my life, I think I would have enough time to….

I don’t know what I’d do with that much time, actually. There are so many things that I wish I had time for. I’d write more. Learn photography. Learn another language. I’m thinking Spanish since its the second most widely spoken language in the world. And it might come in handy if the hubs ever moves me to San Diego. Maybe I’d take a cooking class where they teach me all those knife tricks. I want to be able to chop all my vegetables in seconds!

And maybe the last thing I’d do, if there was any time left, is exercise. Yep. For all the time I spend being unhappy with my body, all that time feeling disgusted or ashamed, I still hate to exercise.* Why is that? I can give myself all these excuses as to why, but I don’t think any of them are legitimate reasons. Part of it is that I have some anxiety attached to it (and I’m still trying to figure out why that is). Near the end of my time in the Navy, I was having panic attacks just thinking about group PT (Physical Training) and I only had to do it 3 mornings a week. But I’d think about it as I trudged up the hill at 4:30 in the morning to get to the field where we met. And I’d think about it the next day because I’d have to remember to set my alarm at night. I’d panic while I was running, doing calisthenics (although I never heard that term used) and even just going for a stroll if I was thinking of it as a workout.

Here I am, about 3 months out from a birthday that will get me even closer to 40, and I still have moments that I waste thinking about my body. When I was younger, I thought about losing weight for social reasons. Don’t we all think we’ll find love once we’re the perfect size?** But now that I’m middle aged (I shudder just to type that), I think about it more for health reasons. I’m not that old, but I feel like my body is slowly falling apart. And I wonder (more time wasted!!) if its because I’m overweight. I’d like to feel good physically. And I’d like to be a good physical example for my kids.

Today I’m having one of those “I’m disgusted with myself” days. No reason for it. Maybe its the heat making me feel like a hot air balloon or maybe its just part of my inner insanity coming out to reek havoc. Who knows. All I know is that I think I’m gonna go take a cold shower and feel guilty while I eat some ice cream.

*Since yoga is something that relaxes me, I don’t consider it real exercise. Even though it makes me sweat. Ugh!

**It’s a myth! Don’t believe your own lies.

How much time do you think you spend thinking about your body? Constantly? Only when trying on clothes? Not at all? (liar!)

Memorial Day

It was on Memorial Day in 2002 that I started to seriously think about joining the Armed Forces. I was hanging out in New York with my friend Shannon and her sisters to celebrate the holiday with the traditional family BBQ. But Shannon, whose father is a Vietnam War Veteran, has always been very passionate about the military and veterans and she had more than just a BBQ in mind for Memorial Day.

It was Fleet Week in New York, 2002. Thirteen U.S. Navy ships and their Coast Guard entourage docked in Staten Island and opened up some of their ships for tours. The pier was packed with people and I don’t think I can put into words what I felt, seeing those ships towering above us, flanked with men in uniform. It was eight months after 9/11 and the patriotism on that pier was tangible. I could taste it in the back of my throat.

We toured a Destroyer and I asked the tour guide if I could see the female berth (sleeping quarters). Because I was already imagining myself walking around that ship in uniform and I wanted to know what my sleeping arrangements would look like. Normally, that is not part of the tour, but I guess the guide saw my interest and asked a female sailor to take me into the berthing unit. It was awesome. There is just nothing like seeing the real deal up close and personal. It was small, and if you’ve ever seen Battlestar Galactica, they’ve got the racks depicted perfectly. I was mesmerized. I could imagine myself there.

Shannon had set it up that we would each “adopt” a sailor for the day and take them around New York as a way of thanking them for their service. So we met the three sailors that we would be showing around town and off we went. We had a BBQ at Shannon’s parents’ house where her dad brought out a photo album of his time in the Army. This astounded his daughters who said they had never seen this photo album and had never heard him speak of Vietnam. He told the sailors (I wish I could remember their names) about seeing his best friends dying right there next to him during a fire fight and I swear you could have cut the silence with a butter knife.

After the BBQ we went out for drinks, on us. I talked at length with the guys about their service and confided to them that I had always secretly wanted to join the Navy. In fact, I had talked to a recruiter in high school, but when she called my house, my mom told her I only filled out the post card for the free poster! Talking to this sailor, I started to feel like maybe joining up wasn’t such a huge undertaking. He told me that if I wanted to join that he didn’t think I’d have any problem doing it. His words lingered with me for two months before I darkened the door of my local recruiting office.

Boot Camp. I'm on the left.

Boot Camp. I’m on the left.

I wish I could say that my time in the Navy was of some service to my country. That is what I wanted it to be. Sadly, it wasn’t. But I walked away from it with a whole lot of positives. I met some great people that I still consider my friends. I met my husband, who I was able to support from afar while he served our country fighting in Iraq. And I learned something very important about myself. I can do whatever I decide to do. The only thing that prevents me from doing something is my own mind, my own insecurities. If I want to make something happen, all I have to do is do it and not give up. That is what being an American is all about, I think. We don’t give up. We stand up for what we believe in. We do what we have to do.

Today I am thanking God my husband came home from Iraq healthy and whole. Today I am grateful for the American men and women who give up a lot of their own freedoms and comfort to serve and protect us on a daily basis while we go about our regular lives. Today I thank the men and women who have died in service to their country – in service to us.

Happy Memorial Day.

100 +3 Things About Me

I love lists! Others may not, but I’m following some guidelines here. One of them says you should have a list of 100 things about yourself. Really? Do people really want to know 100 random things about me? I guess so. Since you want to know me so badly, I wrote 103 things. So there.

  1. I don’t like to be told what to do.
  2. I like folk music.
  3. I also like mainstream pop music no matter how hard my “music” friends try to get me to listen to cool stuff.
  4. I had to switch to listening to a Christian Rock radio station because my daughter started making up songs about taking her clothes off.
  5. I’m addicted to Cape Cod Sweet and Spicy Jalapeño chips.
  6. I have 2 tattoos.
  7. I want another one. A BIG one on my upper arm.
  8. I don’t think I have the courage to get a big tattoo where people can see it.
  9. My favorite color is green.
  10. I want to learn to sew.
  11. I got married in Arizona, even though I’ve never lived there.
  12. I’ve lived in MD, PA, RI, MI, OH, ME, NY, IL (for 10+ weeks), CA and CO.
  13. The 10+ weeks in IL were when I was in boot camp.
  14. I was in the Navy.
  15. I got out of the Navy earlier than my initial commitment.
  16. Not fulfilling my Naval contract is one of the only things I truly regret in my life.
  17. I love to sing really really loud in my car.
  18. I grew up always having a cat for a pet.
  19. My husband hates cats so I may never have another.
  20. My parents named me Tamara so that they could call me Tammy.
  21. I chose the pronunciation of my first name when I was 2.
  22. It’s pronounced Tam-ah-rah.
  23. I hate it when people call me Tam-air-ah.
  24. I studied Russian in an immersion program in the Navy.
  25. My Russian name was Tam-R-ah (without the hyphens. Or the “h”).
  26. I don’t always notice when people call me Tam-R-ah since that’s all anyone called me for almost 2 years.
  27. I went by the name Tammy until I was 21 and I met another girl named Tammy who I didn’t want to be confused with.
  28. I’ve been using my full name ever since.
  29. You can tell how long a person has known me by what name they call me by.
  30. My eyes look blue in pictures, but they are really a blue-green hazel color.
  31. I say my eyes are blue on my driver’s license. Or any other form that asks my eye color.
  32. My husband’s eyes are brown, so I thought I would have brown eyed brunettes when I had kids.
  33. I didn’t. I had one blue eyed blonde and one hazel eyed brunette.
  34. I grew up always wanting 2 kids.
  35. Then when I was about 24, I decided I was too selfish for kids.
  36. I watched my friend give birth when I was 26 and decided maybe I did want kids after all.
  37. I had my first baby at the age of 32.
  38. I had my second baby at the age of 34.
  39. After my second baby, I wanted more kids. Maybe 2 more.
  40. I tried for almost 2 years to have my third baby.
  41. I had 4 miscarriages in a row.
  42. After that I decided that I was going to stop trying.
  43. After being checked by a fertility specialist to make sure I didn’t have any underlying health problems (I didn’t) he told me his theory was that my eggs were deteriorating.
  44. I’m 37 and my eggs are bad.
  45. This makes me simultaneously defensive (of my poor eggs) and sad (my poor eggs!).
  46. I met my husband in my Russian class when I was in the Navy. (He was Army.)
  47. No one in our class of 40 knew we were dating for almost 2 months.
  48. I dated my husband for 6 months before he asked me to marry him.
  49. We got married 5 months later.
  50. I have been married for 8 years.
  51. My husband, Mike, is my best friend.
  52. He is also still smoking hot and has the best butt I’ve seen yet.
  53. I used to work as a graphic designer.
  54. I drove the people I worked with crazy by making them play 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon with me while we designed ads.
  55. I get bored pretty easily.
  56. I’m a natural strawberry blonde.
  57. I’m 5’9″ and wish I were about 5’5″.
  58. I hope my daughter doesn’t grow to be as tall as me.
  59. My first job was having a paper route when I was 12.
  60. Then I bussed tables at a Country Buffet Restaurant when I was 16.
  61. Then worked at Wendy’s, Arby’s and a movie theater’s concession stand. In that order.
  62. I went to Hofstra University.
  63. I am still in touch with a lot of the friends I made in college.
  64. I met most of them my freshman year.
  65. I truly love my friends and would do anything for them.
  66. I studied Publishing so I could become a Book Editor and read books all day for a living.
  67. I discovered its a lot harder than that and it’s kind of boring.
  68. Instead, I went into the Publishing Industry working in Print Production.
  69. I interned at US Weekly when they were still just US Magazine.
  70. It wasn’t very cool.
  71. It taught me how to fix copy machines.
  72. One of my favorite books growing up was A Wrinkle In Time.
  73. I read so much now that I don’t know if I could pick a favorite book.
  74. I mostly read Science Fiction and Fantasy Young Adult Fiction. And Romance. Occasionally, I’ll throw a classic or serious literary fiction into the mix.
  75. I’m writing a novel – YA Fiction. I’m planning a trilogy.
  76. I daydream about becoming the next Stephenie Meyer (There are no vampires in my books, btw).
  77. I’ve already Pinned pictures of the house I’m going to build when I’m a zillionaire.
  78. I’m addicted to Pinterest.
  79. I tried to teach myself how to play the acoustic guitar, but it took too long for my fingers to callus and I got bored with it.
  80. I played the flute for 6 years.
  81. I downloaded Peter, Paul and Mary’s Greatest Hits to burn a copy for my mom for Christmas, but I really did it so I could listen to it. (Shhhh… don’t tell anyone!)
  82. My favorite Billy Joel song is in french and I still don’t know what the hell he’s saying.
  83. I used to play the song over and over again on my mom’s record player when I was a tween.
  84. Yes, I remember record players. And Eight Tracks.
  85. I cry very easily.
  86. I hate trying on clothes because I’m not a fan of my body.
  87. I’m overweight.
  88. If I had a wish from a genie, it would be to make me love to exercise and eat vegetables.
  89. I don’t like to exercise or eat vegetables.
  90. I hate sweating or being too hot.
  91. I force myself to eat vegetables.
  92. I’m gifted with the ability of spatial recognition. So if I’m at a store and I’m looking for a piece of furniture, I can eyeball it and know whether it will fit in the space I want to put it in.
  93. I like puzzles.
  94. I suffer from depression and anxiety.
  95. Sometimes my anxiety makes me uncomfortable leaving my house.
  96. I love Xanax.
  97. I need alone time to recharge.
  98. My favorite season is autumn.
  99. I always sleep best when its raining.
  100. I hate big government.
  101. I can easily pass up desserts like donuts, cake, brownies or ice cream, but chocolate candy? Never!
  102. I bite and pick at my nails. (It drives my husband crazy.)
  103. I’ve written 103 things about myself, but still feel like you couldn’t possibly know me just from reading this.