Jun
2017

summer of healing: year 3

My ankles are burning.

How’s that for an opening statement?

I think that’s due to the biking I did this week, in addition to my usual workouts of pilates, yoga, and Zumba Toning. I’m not too worried. I had 16 needles in at my recent acupuncture appointment and still feel that there’s some inflammation, but overall my tendonitis (and whatever the hell else was the source of so much angst and pain between 2013-2016) has improved. Don’t ask me to run or jump, but I can take stairs, up and down, like a normal person rather than one at a time or sideways, and I don’t have to be driven right up to doors while someone else parks the car and meets me later.

I’m way more independent and the pinnacle of this independence was a solo trip to London in April for the Pet Shop Boys’ Teenage Cancer Trust gig.

#selfie #pethead #london🇬🇧 #teenagecancertrust AMAZING VIEW! Cannot wait for this gig!

A post shared by ⚜️Daisy Pignetti ⚜️ (@phdaisy) on

While I kept these “Tips for Traveling with Chronic Pain” in mind for the first few days, the more I walked around and felt no lingering aches and pains, the more I did each day. Being able to sit on the train or at the theatre in between walking to events helped too. Oh, and the cider, I guess!

First #cider of the trip! #london🇬🇧 #travel 💄

A post shared by ⚜️Daisy Pignetti ⚜️ (@phdaisy) on

[NOTE: I totally forgot pubs close at 11pm, so I never had the chance to have more than a couple pints!]

The PSB show was unbelievable, and I met some fabulous UK Petheads that I’ve been keeping in touch with on Facebook. I cannot wait to have another adventure like this soon; however, this summer I’m sticking close to home and working on the research projects I mentioned in my previous post. I’ve really enjoyed reading scholarship again, but need to get more words on the page and get in the habit of doing that everyday. I think a couple of things will be completed before the 4th of July, so that will give me some time to focus on the book-length project, even though I’m still trying to decide how to frame that. My original plan was a “then/now” since there’s a lot that can be said about New Orleanians’ tech use for civic purposes since Katrina, but I think I need to trim the “then” and concentrate on the “now” issues, e.g. crime, education, gentrification, and local politics. Ugh, even that sounds like too much!

Anyway, to return to the title of this post, my schedule for pretty much all of 2017 has been working out in the morning and then dedicating afternoons/evenings to academic pursuits. For June at least I’m able to teach a second Zumba Toning class, and here are a couple of the routines I’ve added:

This one I haven’t modified at all, except for the stomping/side twist move near the end.

In this one, I’ve found that I am still having trouble with single-leg balancing, so I’ve either kept the foot on the ground or changed up the footwork to keep my ankles happy.

This #scholarinspandex has to play it safe!

Apr
2016

tomayto tomahto tendonitis tendonosis

And the beat goes on… with the feet not improving much

Since a rheumatologist ruled out arthritis and fibromyalgia in February, my podiatrist [4th one I’ve seen] thinks my flat feet are the root cause [a mechanical issue] despite my wearing custom orthotics and living a life of limited activity. According to last year’s MRI, there’s not much in terms of inflammation, no tears, and no thickening of the tendons, which would change things from tendonitis to tendonosis. But given what’s described below, I really think this is term I should be using:

Symptoms can vary from an ache or pain and stiffness to the local area of the tendon, or a burning that surrounds the whole joint around the affected tendon. With this condition, the pain is usually worse during and after activity, and the tendon and joint area can become stiffer the following day as swelling impinges on the movement of the tendon. Many patients report stressful situations in their life in correlation with the beginnings of pain, which may contribute to the symptoms.

Swelling in a region of micro damage or partial tear may be detected visually or by touch.

Yet I managed to get another order of physical therapy, and the therapist says that no matter tendonitis or tendonosis the treatment plan would be the same, so this time I’m focusing on calf raises and hip strength. I’ll be honest, though: I don’t see myself ever returning to all the activities I used to do, not even walking. If the tendons haven’t healed by this point…and since all the docs I see are puzzled by how long it’s taking…. Ugh. I just want a pain-free life.

I know I’m repeating myself, but while I’ve been in a good mental place about a “new normal” in 2016, my recent trip to Seattle for a conference [which will get its own post because it was awesome] made me see how limited I really am when it comes to travel. I’m not sure why, other than a beat up pair of Keen boots that perhaps didn’t offer enough support, but I had a major flare up on my travel day and that made me anxious during the entire 6-day trip. Even with my husband traveling with me and knowing I could take an Uber wherever I wanted, the burning ankles drove me crazy since I hadn’t had that sensation in a few months. It’s also feeling like shin splints, and when it hurts more in my strong foot, leftie, I really start to freak out.

I don’t think anyone can really understand how chronic pain feels unless they have it. We’ve all had an injury or two happen, but this is something that I’ve been dealing with since September 2013.

Think about that.

Nearly 3 years.

Every day I have to put shoes on before I can take one step. Every day I count how many steps I’m taking to make sure I don’t over do it. Every day I need to plan out when I can stretch or eat so I can take my meds and supplements. And I’m not exaggerating when I say every week this year I’ve had some sort of doctor, PT, acupuncture, or chiropractor appointment.

All of that takes time and is mentally exhausting. Even though I know I should “rock what I got,” I can’t help but notice people moving in ways I can’t. Yes, I can typically get through my day with only minor aches and pains [although that’s because I hardly do anything weight-bearing if I don’t have to]. Yes, I have a renewed focus on my academic research agenda and I happily continue to teach Zumba Toning from a chair, but I can’t help but ask, Why won’t my feet heal? Other people with flat feet go about their lives. Why are mine so different?

I don’t know what this is, but I want one! Better yet, turn me into Gazelle from Kingsman: Secret Service!

Blogging about this, of course, helps, and I recently read about the chronic illness support network Suffering the Silence in “The Social Media Cure”:

Social networks “offer opportunities for people without pain to better understand the experience of having pain,” but they also offer chronically ill people the chance to convene with others who understand what they’re going through. They offer relief, if not from the symptoms of pain, then from the burden of explanation. (emphasis mine)

That final line says it all, and might be why my trip to Seattle was so problematic. I had some time to see friends I hadn’t seen in about a year and I know they noticed my lack of progress. Worst of all, some remarked, “You’re still dealing with this?”

With that, I need to end this post. I’m not angry at anyone, and if I weren’t experiencing chronic pain I probably wouldn’t comprehend it either, but I just wanted to give everyone an update.

Given my “day job” as an internet researcher, I know I’ll spend some time looking at the #spoonies, #invisibledisability and #sufferingthesilence hashtags.

P.S. If anyone with SAGE database access can get me full text of The thing about pain: The remaking of illness narratives in chronic pain expressions on social media,” I’d be forever grateful!

Jul
2013

Grecian Girl

Untitled by daisydancer99
Untitled, a photo by daisydancer99 on Flickr.

Long time no blog [again]. The excuse this time is an amazing 2 week vacation in the Greek islands.

I’m going to try and find a flickr widget to add to this blog sidebar, or even switch my WordPress theme [again] to make this more of a photosharing site, but until then here’s a preview pic taken on our last night in my happy place, Santorini.

Kali Spera!

Apr
2012

PCA/ACA 2012

Last week I was in Boston at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference. My session was part of the Virtual Identities & Self Promoting track and as you can see from the program, the papers focused on Using Social Media for Empowerment & Exploration.

What’s interesting is that I almost didn’t attend this conference. I answered a CFP I saw posted on the IABA listserv thinking it was for an edited collection because there was no mention of a conference, hosting organization, city or dates. Having spent a lot of travel grant money in Oxford, England, earlier in the academic year, I didn’t think I could pay for another conference. And knowing I’m going up for promotion next year, I wanted to focus on getting more publications on my CV.

But when I learned it would be a Boston conference, I decided to go for it. I lived in Boston between 1997-1999 when earning my MA from Northeastern University and loved it there. When some travel money came through from the Provost’s Office, I knew it was a go!

I had a great time listening to sessions about the relationship between social media & BBC’s Sherlock, and, how’s this for a title?, “Alan Rickman as Phallus.” I may edit this post later to include more links to info these presenters shared, but for now I wanted to link to my abstract and first solely designed/authored Prezi:

which should be accompanied by the working paper I have up on SSRN.

If you’ve read this blog at all the past few years, you’ll recognize this as a section from my dissertation and I’m quite excited to report that I’m in the process of writing up a proposal to turn the diss into a book!

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Mar
2012

spotify & ai se eu te pego

I know y’all are seeing that title and asking, Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

So here’s the story:

I’ve been listening to playlists on Spotify for a few months now. Way back when, I listened to Pandora radio, but I got tired of skipping songs I didn’t like, especially since they claim their stations “play only music you like.” Case in point, I think you all know I LOVE the Pet Shop Boys, but whenever I listened to my PSB radio station, all Pandora would play is Depeche Mode. I know it was the 80s and all, but that’s not what I was looking for!

So Spotify came along and I liked being able to subscribe to playlists based on my interests as well as playlists dedicated to movie and television soundtracks. And what’s cool is that these playlists are constantly updated.

My favorite playlist so far has been “You, Me, Dancing!” It has tons of the songs we use in zumba and other top 40 pop/club tracks. Last month I noticed a non-English song called “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” and I instantly loved it. Its sing-a-long sections and accordion solos reminded me of my folkdance touring days. There’s a story about a performance in France that I could tell here, but I’ll save that for later.

Anyway, yesterday when I was grading papers the song came on and I took a break to search for its singer, Michel TelĂł, on YouTube. I figured I would share the song with my zumba instructor to see if she’d like it. Well, turns out this song from Brazil is pretty much this year’s Macarena all over the world, except in America, of course. If you have heard of it, please leave me a comment!

Before I give you a selection of what I’ve found on YouTube, here are the lyrics in English:

Wow, wow, this way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God, if I catch you

Delicious, delicious
This way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God if I catch you

Saturday at the party
Everybody started to dance
Then the prettiest girl past in front of me
I got closer and started to say…

Wow, wow, this way you’re gonna kill me
Oh, if I catch you
Oh, my God, if I catch you

Nothing spectacular, I know, but wait until you see his smile 😀

 

The official video

The English version

The official choreography

[although there are some variations as seen in this German performance]

Check out the video compilation that starts out this performance as well as the audience going wild

And finally, what song is really a song these days without a Pitbull collaboration?

Too bad Mr. 305 didn’t have the choreography down yet when he called Michel out on the stage with him. His crazy helicopter spins crack me up though!

 

OK I’ve just realized that no one except me will actually watch all of these videos, so I’ll stop embedding them now. I do hope you give at least one a listen, and let me know what you think!

 

God, I love the Internet…

Mar
2012

Spring Break 2012!

Since my last post, I came down with an awful sinus infection and basically slept from Feb 28-March 5. Seriously! The antibiotics helped a bit but it really wasn’t until March 7th or so that I could work out again, answer emails in a coherent manner, and grade papers. My teaching was evaluated on March 8th, so that worked out, huh?

I’ve still got a ton of papers to grade and I could’ve caught up on those over Spring Break, but this is the first time in 5 years that my husband’s and my Spring Break vacations lined up. Within minutes of discovering that, I booked tickets to NYC to visit friends. And boy was it worth it! I put up my “out of office” email message on the 9th and totally removed myself from any academic thoughts, except from when we went to see Seminar.

What’s Seminar, you ask? Here’s the synopsis from the official website:

In SEMINAR, four aspiring young novelists sign up for private writing classes with Leonard (Alan Rickman), an international literary figure.  Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored.  The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this biting new comedy.

It was a great play, but I’d be lying if I said that Alan Rickman starring in it wasn’t the reason it came on my radar. In fact, it was my freshman composition teacher’s posts on Facebook that brought it to my attention. Ahh writing geekiness and fangirl social media-ness. 😉

Here’s me & hubby after the show waiting to meet Snape, err, I mean Mr. Rickman:

And there he is!

Special thanks go to my BFF Eric who was my personal paparazzo on this trip, but I have to say my iphone got some good snaps of Snape too [sorry, couldn’t resist]:

Here’s one final pic from our matinee experience; notice the fully autographed Playbill:

After the show we went to our fav NOLA-themed restaurant, Delta Grill and then had some drinks at Industry where a nice fella from Mississippi took this fantastic group photo of hubby, me, Eric and Nick:

Ack, I have got to get to grading, so let me finish up this post with some touristy pics, especially since this was hubby’s first trip to NYC:

FAO Schwartz and the Statue of Liberty

View from the Empire State Building

Rockefeller Center

Rupert G at the Hello Deli!

In front of Dave's studio with our black & white cookies

American Museum of Natural History

At the museum The Butterfly Conservatory was open so we walked through a room with hundreds of them flying around! Here’s a gorgeous one posing for us:

Two more pics, I promise!

Upon our exit of the museum…

Clam Shell

and later that night in Queens…

The best friends a girl could have!