Category Archives: Awesome

Everything is BATMAN!

An Unbreakable Bond

Picture: Chi the cat.This post is about my cat, Bubbles. Yes, it’s the internet so, of course, I have to share about my cat here! ^w^

I had no choice but to leave her behind in Philadelphia, three years ago, when I traveled a thousand miles away to a better life in Minnesota. It was a heartbreaking decision for me to make, as I love my cat so much! However, if I had chosen to stay with her it was more likely than not that I would have died in that place in Philly long ago. Then her fate would have rested on the local animal shelter that often euthanize animals after two weeks of non-adoption. My mother took care of her, the best that she could, in the years apart.

The entire time I was in Minnesota, I missed Bubbles like crazy, I often had dreams about her. However, it would take a while for me to settle into my new home and save enough money to transport her to me. The spring of this year, 2016, it finally happened! Bubbles have been with me in Minnesota for a few months now and she’s a very happy kitty for it. She purrs all of the time and is my shadow, never too far from me and follows me from room to room in the house.

As I’m writing this post, she’s sitting next to my laptop with a continuous pepper-mill purr. (ㅇㅅㅇ) <– “Meow!”, kitty emote.

The cat and I seem to have a very strong bond with each other, I would go as far as to claim that it’s an unbreakable one. The truth is, I had helped to birth and save her life when she first came into this world. This story is a bit gross and a little detailed, so you may skip the next paragraph! ;^_^>

Gross Bit: When kittens are born, they are encased inside a mucus sack, which the mother cat chews through and release the kitten for their first breath of life. Bubbles’ mother was uninterested in this process and left the tiny kitten to struggle for oxygen within this sack. Twenty-one year old Dani had panicked, grabbed a non-sterilized plastic fork, punctured the sack, then ripped Bubbles free for her first breaths. I repeated the process for her four siblings as well.

Not Gross Bit: Bubbles’ head was a lot misshapen, compared to her siblings, and her eyes were a lot too big for her tiny face. I doubted that she was going to survive, as I noted her “bubbly eyes”, hence the name choice for her. I tried my best to not get attached to this kitten with the strange eyes… but it was no use. Bubbles and I were best friends from that moment on.

Fast forward fourteen years later: I was nervous about seeing Bubbles again in Minnesota because we had been apart for almost three years. I had lost a considerable amount of weight than when she last saw me, my hair was different, my clothing too, and most of all I wasn’t morbidly depressed as she once knew me to be. I worried that she wouldn’t recognize me anymore, that I would be a stranger to her.

Picture: Powerpuff Girls - Bubbles with cat.I was beyond excited to see her again, of course, but I felt a little anxious too. My sister bought the carrier to my room, after a guy named Todd had transported the cat across the country to our front door (for the hefty fee of $500), and she left me and the cat in the room for a moment. I approached the carrier, opened the cage door, and cooed, “Bubbles… it’s me. Do you remember me?” She recognized me right away and instantly hopped into my lap purring wildly. It was such a relief!

I hugged her and apologized, “I’m so sorry for ever leaving you. And I’m so glad that you’re here! You’re really here!” For a week, it almost felt like an impossible dream, that it wasn’t real somehow. I was so very happy to wake up late nights with Bubbles sleeping next to me and to sleep every afternoon to find Bubbles cuddling next to me. I will NEVER leave her again! No, no, no, no!

Bubbles was given a new kitty dish, a new camo-print collar and tag, a few toy mice (one with catnip), a new litter box (which I clean every week), and a trip to the local vet to get all of her shots updated and to remove her rotten teeth. Since she is an older cat, her teeth had become so very rotten, all except for one canine which she still has. It hurts my heart that she was suffering for a few years after my absence, unable to eat her food properly, which lead to a massive weight loss. She arrived in Minnesota with a bleeding mouth, many of her teeth had broken off and was just bleeding roots, and very much underweight from her struggles to eat. The local vet in Minnesota was very sympathetic for Bubble’s situation and decided he would come into work on his day off to fix her issue, for a very fair price.

As of now, Bubbles is very well taken care of, she gained back her healthy weight, and has adjusted to her new life a bit faster and better than I did when I first moved to Minnesota.

I didn’t worry too much about her getting along with the two pups belonging to my sister and roommate, a dachshund/chihuahua mixed named Apollo and a Shih Tzu named Fierro (Fifi, for short). Bubbles have lived with small dogs before, so she cautiously observed the pups, before deciding that they were cool enough for her entourage. She enjoys running around the house with Apollo and she use to enjoy having naps next to Fifi.

Sadly, a month after Bubbles arrived, Fifi passed away from complications in his elderly years. Fifi was sick for a very long time, with an enlarged heart, but he was happy with us all the same. He enjoyed cuddling with Bubbles and vice versa. May he continue to rest in peace. Fifi, you are still missed. u_u

I do enjoy having my best friend with me again. She can be a pain in the butt sometimes, figuratively and literally… as she does enjoy sitting on my backside, as I rest across my bed and write or blog with my laptop in front of me. And sometimes she gets a little zealous and will unleash her claws. Ow, ow, ow! Stop it, Bubbles!!! >_<

However, I have no regrets and every moment I get to spend with her is priceless.

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Bubbles in front of my laptop.

Today’s song is: Voia – Almost Human. Thanks for reading, as always! ^_^v

-D

About TommyEdisonXP!

Picture: anime girl waving hello.Hey there, readers! ^o^

I wish to share with you one of the coolest YouTubers that I follow, named Tommy! He’s a blind movie critic and vlogger, with a very beautiful heart and a wicked sense of humor. How I came across his videos in 2015 is a long, but hopefully entertaining, story!

As you all may know, I suffer from an eye disease called Keratoconus, which greatly impairs a person’s vision. I had reached the end stages of the disease in late 2014 and I was experiencing a really tough time. I began to have more accidents of stumbling down stairways, walking into walls, and a few near misses around the stove while cooking. My world was increasingly getting smaller, as I began to not be able to read any text on my own without the help of a screen reader online, and I could no longer read tangible books or subtitles to movies.

At some point, it was suggested to me to learn braille and to train in using a white cane, in order to prevent me from harming myself on stairs or walking into walls, and so that the stove could be labeled with braille to help make cooking easier on me. However, I was a bit anxious about using a white cane, I worried that it would be too difficult to learn and I hardly knew anything about it.

So, being the YouTube brat that I am, I logged on to find a few videos explaining how to use a cane. At this point, every video was a blur to my eyes, no matter that it was set to 1080p HD, but I figured I could get the gist of the movement at least. I watched a few videos and began to feel a little better about the idea of a white cane, but it wasn’t until I came across Tommy’s video: How Blind People Use A White Cane, that I felt “Yeah… I can do this. It will be okay!” ^_^

I fell in love with his spirit and “dad jokes” right away, as he made me laugh A LOT. So, I decided to watch more of his videos, where he answered curious questions of what it’s like to be blind and I was thrilled that he did movie reviews because I LOVE movies! After an hour of browsing his channel, I subscribed and began sharing a few of his videos on my Twitter: NerdyGrlDani. I often share the coolest things on my Twitter wall, it’s just what I do. =p

After a while, I got a new follower named Ben Churchill, and I had no clue who this man was. He never seemed to leave a “like” to any of my other shared links, only the Tommy videos, which should have given me a clue… but I’m a bit slow sometimes. I figured, “Hmm, he must really like Tommy’s videos. Perhaps he’s struggling with blindness too.” And I decided to keep posting more of Tommy’s videos, so my new follower could always enjoy them too. Yes, I’m so very silly! You don’t have to leave a comment telling me as much, I’m aware! ROTFL!

It wasn’t until after my successful corneal transplant that I was able to actually read the end credits to Tommy’s videos and realized that Ben Churchill is the producer and a great friend to Tommy!

Picture: oh my god meme.

You see, I had a free screen reader that could only read closed captions to a video and not actual rolling end credits. Heehee! So, I was kind of floored that for months the producer of Tommy’s videos was following me and liking every video I posted. I immediately began to follow him in return and the given “likes” took on a slightly new meaning for me. He appreciates that I share the videos, but I appreciate him and Tommy much more for making the videos!

This is why I’m giving a little shout-out here and sharing the channel to all of my readers. ^_^

Tommy was born blind, yet he taught me that it’s possible to find happiness regardless of a tough card dealt in life. My eye issue is nowhere as tough as his situation and yet he didn’t give up or feel sorry for himself, as I was starting to do for myself. He’s been on more adventures that I have been in my entire lifetime, he’s very positive and happy within his life, he doesn’t let his blindness hold him back. It was a true inspiration to me and continues to be so.

And now I leave you with a hilarious video of his: SIGHTED PEOPLE THINK I’M DEAF?.

Thanks for reading, as always! Have a great day and good luck on your journey! ^_^v

-D

I’m On The GO!

Picture: Pokemon - PikachuYes, this a Pokemon GO post. So, if you have no interest in this topic, it’s best to step away right now and catch my next post. Heehee! ^_^v

There are so many negative or complaining posts about this Pokemon craze/hype/phenomenon out there on the interwebs. However, I feel compelled to share a positive and honest post about what this game means to me. We all have our opinions and that’s fine, but this is my turn to share something really profound and a bit personal.

I suffer from severe anxiety (agoraphobia) and PTSD. This is not a new confession for those who regularly follow my blogs, but I figured that I should mention it for the sake of context for those who may be passing through or new followers.
Hi, there! And welcome to my rambling blog! ♪( ・ェ・)ツ彡

The truth of the matter is, I rarely leave my home, except for attending therapy sessions or doctor’s appointments – mostly back and forth to Mayo to check the status of my recent corneal transplant. Which, by the way, is healing extraordinarily well and is a complete success! And I visit the local hair salon once a month. On average, I leave my house three times a month, for no longer than two hours or much less. This is due to a crippling fear of being outside and around other people.

So… I began to see Pokemon GO showing up EVERYWHERE on every YouTube channel that I follow, all over Twitter and Facebook, and then featured segments on my local news station “Kare11”. Even my favorite science channel, SciShow, did a video about the science behind Pokemon GO: How to Make Pokemon GO. I am a huge fan of Hank Green (the host of SciShow and Crash Course, director, screenwriter, cinematographer, musician, etc.) and it is beyond awesome that he loves the game as well! ^o^

I don’t own a smartphone, never had a need to own one, and I pretty much felt that having one was a waste of money. After all, I had owned a basic cell phone and used it to make phone calls and the occasional texting. So, I was left out when the Pokemon craze first started, until my sister offered that I could try the game on her smartphone.

The first thing that I had noticed was that I was reaching for my black Converse high-tops and eagerly asking my sister to come outside with me, along with her dog named Apollo, as I was marching towards the door of the house with the willingness to go outside around 10pm at night. I haven’t been that brave and willing to do such a thing since age 14 (I’m currently age 35), back in Philadelphia! I was determined that I wanted to catch a Pikachu that was said to be wandering around my neighborhood, yet we never found it.

However, the end result was that I had fun trying, I was OUTSIDE, and I didn’t have a panic attack. Most of all, I wanted to do it again and felt a little disappointed returning back to the house, which is the complete opposite of what I usually feel when I return home – a sense of relief and thoughts of, “I don’t ever want to leave this safety zone!!!”. The following night, while borrowing my sister’s smartphone,  I put on my shoes and went out hunting again, as I was hoping for a Pikachu. I didn’t find one, but I’ll never give up!

Picture: Death Note - L with cell phone.This weekend, for the very first time in my life, I bought a smartphone. And I went on a “drive-by” to further away Pokestops with my sister and roommate, in order to collect a nice haul of Pokemon and items. I was near a Gym and joined team blue, Team Mystic, and I still dream of catching a Pikachu. Normally, when my sister and roommate choose to go out someplace, rarely do I tag along. My mental issues are crippling and I usually start gaining a panic attack just thinking about going outside. But now, I think I can tag along more often.

I bought this phenomenon to the attention of my therapist, who’s a VERY good therapist and I have been a patient of hers for the past three years. Because of her treatment and my hard efforts, I no longer suffer from crippling depression and low self-esteem, however fighting my anxiety has been a real bear for the both of us. Her response was, “I’ve been trying for years to get you to agree to go outside, unsuccessfully. And now you’re leaving the house because of Pokemon GO. Oh, my god, this makes me look bad! Don’t tell anyone!”

LOL! I guess I’m telling people, but I’m strongly arguing that this has no reflection on her skills whatsoever. The issue is, the motivation to simply go out for a walk just for the sake of it, was not motivating enough against my deep-seated fears. Gaining exercise was always a prize on the table and twice we had made the goal that I would have morning walks or runs. And twice, that goal was not met. I love to walk and run, a LOT, I miss doing it as I had done it often in my youth before the anxiety showed up and began flipping tables on me.

I don’t know how to explain it, but with Pokemon GO, I completely put aside all fears long enough for the promise of a Pikachu or some other pocket-monster. Walks and runs seem possible for me now. Yes, granted, that I will stop in the middle of exercise every now and then, to heed the call that I’ve come across another Pokemon to catch. Let’s not split hairs, shall we? o_O

Yes, I am aware these are digital animations that aren’t real nor exist in the real world. I am aware that it’s just a video game, with an addictive hook of “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”. I am aware that we’re just specks on a speck, orbiting specks, among more specks, in an endless sea of specklessness (aka, billions and billions of universes in the grand scheme of life itself).

That said, the game is fun, it encourages me to get outside, and it’s a handy tool along with therapy to help break my long battle with severe anxiety. I fail to see the negative within my particular case. Without this game, I would be all too willing to return back to my hermit lifestyle and continue to struggle to find the motivation or excuse to brave the outside world.

It’s okay if others hate the game or do not have an interest in Pokemon. I don’t care nor mind that at all. It’s okay if others wish to complain about the bugginess of the game – which I will only remind everyone that this a very new “beta” type game, that wasn’t supposed to be released this soon. So, with all beta and alpha games, you have to realize that developers are still working on it and this is not the final product! However, I understand the frustrations, because it’s a cool game and we all want it to work at our convenience. Patience, grasshoppers! ^_-

What I take real issue with is those who choose to make fun of/mock/bully those who are enjoying the game or wish to destroy others’ fun. I think Jacksepticeye said it best in his Pokemon GO video, so I’ll leave his speech here: INTO THE WILD | Pokemon GO #2 (Jacksepticeye).

Bottom line is, DON’T be an asshole. Let people like what they like. Be kind to each other!

And for the players; do be safe out there and use common sense, don’t go into dangerous situations. That Pikachu is not worth it if it means wandering into the middle of the street, onto live train tracks, or getting stuck in trees! Be smart!

Picture: Ash and Pikachu.

Today’s song is: All The Way – Jacksepticeye Songify Remix by Schmoyoho. I think it’s a great song for Pokemon GO hunting! Hahaha! (*≧▽≦)ノシ))
And much love to Jack, he’s beyond awesome!

Thanks for reading, as always, dear readers! Good luck in your hunts! And for those not on the GO, good luck in all of your endeavors today, as well! ^_^v

-D

Let’s Become Blue!

Picture: blue hair anime girl.Some weeks ago, I decided to trade in my blonde hair for royal blue. Why? Just because I felt like it. =p

Okay… sigh… I’ll explain the reason why I change hair colors and fashion styles, from time to time. It may be a lame or boring story, but that’s okay. ^_^

Ever since the age of eleven, I gained a fandom/crush on the late David Bowie. I have often attributed my love for blondes to him, as he was literally the first blonde haired man that I was exposed to in my youth, via his music videos on TV (and much later in my teens, within the movie “The Labyrinth”, of course). If there was someone else that started my propensity for blondes before him, I simply can’t remember them, but I can never forget my first impression of Bowie.

He is THE reason why I didn’t hesitate to express myself in weird or “not normal” ways in my youth. I so admired his devil-may-care attitude of expressing himself honestly in his music, shows, and life. So, he was a real role model for me growing up and I shall continue to miss him dearly! u_u

David Bowie once said in a documentary, that he didn’t believe that he had a nice singing voice at all, so he didn’t want to bore his audience by just singing. That’s when he decided to perform all of his song as different characters or an expression of what the song meant or felt like to him.

It stuns me silly, that the man believed that his voice wasn’t good enough, when his voice was extremely ethereal or not of this world. The reason why I paid attention to my first Bowie video (Let’s Dance), is because I heard his voice before my eyes traveled sharply towards the television screen. The video itself wasn’t that interesting to eleven year old Dani, however, Bowie’s voice was so very attractive to my ears. After the music video was over I sat there in total awe and thought, “What… what the f@#k did I just experience!?” Thus began my fandom and crush of Mr. Bowie. Heehee! ^_^

In my young admiration of him, I decided to express myself in anyway that I wanted to or could get away with lawfully. As a young teen, I was the only punk/goth that lived within my neighborhood. All of my peers had the opinion that I was weird and a “freak”, they made fun of the music that I loved (goth, punk, and metal rock), they threatened and physically beat me for being different. Yet, I didn’t care. I continued to be myself and later I met another punk/goth that lived in the suburbs, named “Tray”. Her and I got along great and understood each other well.

In my mid-teens, I began to meet a lot of British goths online, who accepted me completely, and would spend the late nights chatting with them in MSN messenger or on MySpace. Ugh, I feel so OLD now! And yes, this is the why and when I acquired my British-speak (slang and idioms) within my usual vocabulary, even though I’m American-born. ‘Murica! ^w^

Picture: girl-anime-music-illustration-demi-lovato.However, I didn’t keep the strict “goth” look of dark hair, dark makeup, bell-shirts, and so on, forever. Granted, this was my honest expression of who I was in my teen years, but at some point I had to evolve a bit, so my hair color and fashion choices would change over time as I grew older. By age fifteen, I abandoned the gothic apparel and wished to express what I felt in a new way. I went through the phase of wearing dreads and denim vests.  Yeah… I cringe at that period of my life. >_<

My best friend at the time, Kesha, was going through her Hawaiian shirt phase – think of the show “Magnum P.I.”. Hang on… she did have a very Tom Selleck personality at the time, as well! LOL! Yes, it was the mid 90’s, but my friend and I seemed to be stuck in 80’s fashion. We made for a very odd pair in public, to say the least, but we didn’t care. We were expressing ourselves in the way that we wanted to.

After that awkward phase, I began to dress more contemporary and dyed my hair cherry-cola red, by age twenty. It was an expression that I was just an every day young woman, with a hint of my previous rebellion (red hair). The red hair continued on until my late twenties, but my wardrobe changed by age twenty-one. I began to dress in uniformed basic black clothing. It wasn’t goth or punk styled, just plain black pants or leggings, and black shirts. I would buy the clothing in bulk and would wear no other color than that.

It was my expression of what I honestly felt at the time, devoid of any color on the outside, but full of color trapped within myself (as black is a mixture of all the colors in the rainbow, I often cited). My rebellion was still there (the red hair), but the colors within me was “contained” and “conformed” to fit in with the rest of society. It may have been a very pretentious expression, but it were mine to make nonetheless.

By age 33, I dyed my hair blonde, completely. It started as a honey blonde and it was an expression that I was going to be happy and continue to live my life, after the death of my loved ones in the previous year. I picked blonde, as again I thought of David Bowie and I wanted to reflect his happiness onto myself.

I wished to changed from my black uniform, as well, and flirted with the idea of colorful baby-doll dresses and black leggings. Honestly, wearing dresses always feel like I’m “in drag”, it’s really not my style at all. However, I felt so pretty with my new blonde hair and thought I may enjoy to go full Bowie, but I didn’t quite know what to choose. I had been bland-black uniformed for so long and haven’t worn a dress since I was forced to as a little girl.

Then I moved to Minnesota the following year and, before I could choose again, my hair began to fall from my scalp, as I was suffering a major vitamin D deficiency. I did cry a lot, when it first happened, because my hair has always been my means of self expression.  Without it, I felt as if I was silenced, in some way.

However, in one last daring attempt of self expression, I asked my hairstylist to give me  a “side-cut” on the left side of my head. I figured, “I can’t make it any worse. I’ve already lost chunks of my hair elsewhere.” I was pleased with the results and have kept the side-cut, even after my hair grew back again. I let the rest of my hair grow long on my right side and fade back to its original color, however I kept a thin platinum blonde streak on my right side.

My clothing choice became black graphic t-shirts of my favorite things or YouTubers, each unique and colorful prints. Sometimes I add a little gothic accessory here and there, like my striped finger-less gloves for winter travels. ^_^

Picture: beautiful blue hair anime girl.My inner self has upgraded a bit, over the last couple of months, and I began to feel “stale” with my blonde streak expression. So, I decided that I wish to become blue, royal blue to be exact. The color blue is said to have the meaning of, “trust, honesty, loyalty, inner security, and confidence”, which I can relate to those ideas.

The color has a very calming affect on me and affords me a younger look. With my new glasses, I’m completely satisfied with my expression and shall keep for it many months! And that is the full story of why I am now blue.

I believe that I’ll keep changing my style for the rest of my life, as I’m always changing and growing as a person, and I enjoy expressing each new inner change with my outer appearance. I truly believe that everyone should have the right to express their inner selves in whatever hair and clothing fashion they seem fit to do so in, as long as its not illegal to do so (for example: no wearing a necklace of infant heads, that sort of thing.). I do enjoy observing the many expressions that others dare to share, as it makes the world a lot more colorful and enjoyable place to live in.

I could end this post with David Bowie’s “Changes”, but… I like this one a bit better: Rebel Rebel. Thanks for reading, as always! ^_^v

-D

Rest in peace, Sir Bowie and beloved Minnesotan, Prince Rogers Nelson. Thank you both for teaching me how to be brave within my self-expression and not being afraid to break the “rules” in order to be myself! ♥

My Last Eye Update!

Picture: happy anime girl.I’m happy to announce that this will be my last eye update for a very long time! My corneal transplant was a huge success and I am very happy to report it.  ^_^

Let me start off with the proverbial disclaimer, that this is just my personal story of success, as the results of corneal transplant may and do vary with every case of Keratoconus. Every story of this procedure is different, as every case of this rare eye disease is different. If you’re curious about corneal transplant or other eye treatments for your disease, please seek the advice of a trained professional in order to find the right treatment for you! Now, onto my personal story…

Leading up to my surgery, I felt a lot anxious and worried about it, but I was more anxious to just get it over with and began my recovery. I was so determined, that I refused to let a blizzard get in my way of the surgery! Dr. Maguire had called every patient personally, warning us of the huge blizzard to hit Minnesota on February 2nd, and offered us two options: To either reschedule or the option of staying in a hotel close to the clinic and braving the fifteen minute trip through a major storm.

I’m a very stubborn woman, I did not wish to wait for another week or so, and therefore I choose the risky option of staying in a hotel and braving the storm.  My sister (Kelli), roommate (Edith), two small dogs (Fifi and Apollo), and I gathered into my roommate’s car and made the hour and a half trip to the hotel,  in the middle of the night to beat the blizzard.

The money that I had saved up previously had came in handy, as I was able to pay for a two night stay at a swanky three bed hotel room. It was beautiful, with added wi-fi and cable TV, and I enjoyed watching Doctor Who on the BBC America channel. As we slept there during the rest of the night, the blizzard hit hard and it was white-out conditions by morning.

It was difficult to see any of the roads, my roommate struggled to drive us to the clinic, and the car was filled with such anxiety. There are a lot of winding roads on our travels and many ditches, which other motorists were driving off into, and a trailer-truck was jackknifed on the highway from an accident. I sat in the backseat of the car, with a very frighten little dog,  we were all covered head to toe with melting snow, my heart was racing and hoping that we would get there safely.

I have to admit that my roommate is a very excellent driver and she got us there and back again in one piece! I owe her for indulging my stubbornness and getting me to my surgery on time! Edith ROCKS! ^o^v

Dr. Maguire and staff was very relieved and happy that I had made it for my surgery. Everyone was so kind, helpful, and understanding that I was a lot nervous and anxious about the whole thing.

As they lied me down on the operating table and placed the oxygen mask over my face, I whimpered and began to have a panic attack. I told the anesthetist that I was a bit claustrophobic and he was kind enough to remove the mask and administer the oxygen in another way, placing the tube next to my chin instead, and coaxing me to take deep breaths. A second later, I was unconscious and they began the surgery.

I woke up without pain and an eye-shield over my left eye. I was still out of it, from the anesthesia, so the first thing I said to the nurses was “When do I get my eye patch? I want to be a pirate. I like pirates…” Then I said randomly, “I’m such a science nerd! I want to go to school to study physics.” I fell asleep again…

When I opened my eyes a bit later, my sister was sitting next to my bed, and Dr. Maguire was no longer in scrubs and wearing his usual suit and tie. He explained that everything went well and that I could go back to the hotel for rest. Then my sister presented me with two stuffed kitties from the gift-shop, one has a mustache for some reason, the other was a cute little fluffy black kitten. I sat the fluffy one on my tray, as the nurses gave me a bit of yogurt before I left the hospital.

By the time I reached the hotel, the pain began and I was super sensitive to every light. We had to turn off everything and it hurt so much for me to even look at the screen of my cellphone. This doesn’t happen to everyone who have the surgery, it seems that I’m just super sensitive to light after my surgery and it triggered migraines, which was the bulk of my pain. The next day, I returned to the clinic and a nurse provided me with dark glasses, which made my situation a lot less painful.

Dr. Maguire dimmed the lights of the room and preformed my first eye test. The moment felt like a freaking miracle! Just less than two days after my surgery, my left eye have the acuity of 20/100, without glasses or any other corrective lenses! I can’t remember my left eye having this much vision, because it’s been well over sixteen years since I’ve been able to read anything with that eye, long before I was first diagnosed with Keratoconus.

The best part of it is, my acuity will rise even greater over the next couple of months, this is just the very beginning! My sister confessed to wanting to cry in that moment, because I could not read the huge E on the top of the chart before, and now I was reading three lines below the E perfectly. Dr. Maguire was very pleased and impressed with the outcome, as he gave a hearty “Hooah!” (US Army response of affirmative) and noted that my current vision is “walk around vision”. The best is yet to come and I’m certain that I’ll be okay from now on. ^_^

My journey is not over yet, as I have an appointment next week, and more appointments after that, to remove stitches and to check on my progress. However, just as I am stubborn in spirit, my body is stubborn to continue its course in healing. The pain has fallen by a lot in the last few days and my sensitivity to light is fading away. In fact, I’m writing this usual rambling blog, just four days after my surgery, without the aid of Rupert (my screen-reader). What do you think? Pretty good, eh?

Anyway, I know that the majority of my readers aren’t here for such eye ramblings and I will return back to my usual inherited madness and randomness. I just wanted to leave just one last post about my eye issue, which will hopefully be resolved for the next ten to twenty years! I’m happy and excited about my future! Hooray!

As always, thanks for reading! I’m going to rest a bit now, but I’ll catch you on the flip-side! ^o^v

-D

P.S. – I owe all of my thanks to my sister, Edith (roommate), Julie (best friend), Mahonia, Dr. Brenda (my therapist), all the medical doctors and nurses, and most of all to Dr. Leo J. Maguire, who has put his expertise to hard work in order to help give me a second chance in life. I very much appreciate all of the support I’ve gotten from everyone, mentioned or not, as it taught me that the world may not be such a bad place after all… at least not all of the time. And yes, there should be an annotation above my head that reads, “Dani will remember that.”  =p

My Trip To Mayo!

Picture: undertale by boorim-d9azmo3.I wish to update everyone about the situation with my eyes! There is good news and bad news, but the good outweighs the bad by far, leaving me with a lot of hope and determination.

However, I’m a long winded sort of person, so if you want the final details of my diagnosis and the plan to sort it out, it’s okay to skip to the TLDR part. I really want to post a record of my whole adventure of my trip, for future reminiscing sake! ^_^v

December 21st, Monday, 11:45am: A cab had arrived outside of my house, for me and my sister. The driver was particularly polite and thoughtful, as he marched up the pathway to our door and knocked, to make sure that we knew he had arrived.

It would be a long journey, because the Mayo Clinic is located an hour and thirty minutes away from our home. My sister and I were well prepared, she had charged her phone and I had charged my Kindle Fire the night before.

The cab driver, who will remain nameless (because for the life of me, I didn’t think to ask him his name. I’m terrible!), greeted us with a smile and said cheerfully that we were going to have a fun journey.

I had planned to enjoy the scenery for a while, before using my Kindle, however I had quickly realized that there weren’t much scenery. There was nothing but endless farmlands, in the middle of winter, miles of barren trees and dead fields.

Fifteen minutes into the ride, I gave into my boredom and listened to Bill Nye’s book, “Undeniable”,  on Audible . It is a very awesome book! I enjoyed my ride to and from Mayo, while learning so much about Evolution from Mr. Nye.

However, the poor driver was not prepared and his mobile phone died ten minutes before we were to reach our destination. My sister and I could only offer sympathetic moos to his situation.

The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota is the size of an airport! Waiting outside of the main osculating doors, there were a group of staff members standing in the frigid cold, in thick uniformed coats. Their job was to open car doors for patients, to bring wheelchairs to patients who needed them, and to direct patients to where they have to travel for appointments once inside the main hall.

I believe that these men was very good at their jobs, friendly and understanding, and most helpful. They are very dedicated to their job, as the low temperatures of a Minnesota’s winter is brutal at best. My sister and I were greeted with a smile and one of the men said, “Please, come in and out of the cold.”

The driver knew that we would need a ride back to our town after our visit, however we could have gotten another by calling the company. The driver was determine to wait for us, even though we insisted that it would take at least two hours for our visit. I was scheduled to have a lot of tests done, after all.

The driver insisted, “No! I’ll wait, it’s no problem!”. He exchanged numbers with my sister and we entered the hospital/airport/mega shopping mall. I’m kidding, of course, but seriously the building was so very huge! And the hospital has its own underground rail system (a “subway” for my US readers, or a “tube” for my UK readers).

I was told that people from around the world visit the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and I don’t doubt it. It was a lot crowded and I had to convince myself to not freak out, due to my anxiety disorder. However, I kept telling myself in my head, over and over again, “I’m here to gain my eyesight back. This is important. Calm down and keep breathing!”.

It did help that everyone was so kind, greeted each other and myself politely, and there were many smiles to be counted. I didn’t have a panic attack and managed to stay calm, which I am very proud of. ^_^

The tests took forever, two and a half hours, because my eyes are worse off than I had hoped. The technicians had a difficult time getting my eyes to register on their machines, although I was highly fascinated by the technology and the thermal images of my eyes.

The poor driver was still waiting for us and my sister had to inform him that he would have to wait a bit longer still. He insisted on waiting for us, even though I hadn’t yet met with the eye specialist for my final diagnosis and treatment options.

The doctor’s assistant asked me of when I was first diagnosed with Keratoconus and I decided to be completely honest in my answer. I was first diagnosed in Philadelphia, thirteen years ago, but I didn’t believe the diagnosis. I was age 22 and foolish, with the attitude that I would get a second opinion, which I never did.

Then I moved to Minnesota, three years ago, still believing that I had only needed new glasses, and I was diagnosed with Keratoconus again. At that point, I could no longer be in denial of it, as my eyesight had became so very dismal.

In mentioning that I had originally lived in Philadelphia to the doctor’s assistant, she must have told him, as he entered the room full of cheer and excited. My doctor is also a native of my old city! Furthermore, Dr. Leo Maguire specializes directly in Keratoconus and performs the surgeries needed to correct it.

Picture: Anime boy flipping through pages.TLDR: The bad news is, that my disease is in the end stages, meaning that Intacts and RGP lenses are no longer an option for me. My only option is Corneal Transplant, which requires more recovery time and care.

The good news is, that I’ve been placed to the top of the donor list and my surgery is scheduled for February 2nd, 2016! My left eye will be repaired first and I must wait six month for the second eye. However, it’s common for most patients to be satisfied with excellent vision in one eye and be done with it. I may just let my right eye stay as it is, we shall see! Yes, that’s a bad eye-pun. =p

Doctor Maguire explained that I will notice an improvement in my spacial vision immediately after the surgery, which means I will no longer walk into walls or stumble down stairs! Whoo-hoo!

However, it will take two – three months before I am able to read on my own again, to write my science notes, and to cook safely on my own. That means, I’ll have to keep my screen-reader (Rupert) for a little longer.

I don’t mind it, as I’ve grown attached to Rupert’s chipper voice! I may miss him, after my left eye improves from the surgery. Although… I will NOT miss the glitch of Rupert falling into a loop of, “main menu” or “video ad is playing”, until I hit the “Crtl” button for him to stop! Otherwise, he’s been a very helpful companion these past months.

The cab driver waited for us for us at the hospital three and a half hours! We were so grateful for his kindness that we gave him a hefty tip. We will call on him specifically for this journey, as I’ll have to visit the Mayo Clinic often in 2016.

Corneal transplant requires more after-care, like removal of stitches and monitoring that my body doesn’t reject the transplant. Although, Dr. Maguire has assured me that the rate of rejection is very low, and the visits are just cautionary.

I am writing this very long post (my longest ever!) as a cautionary tale for others with Keratoconus. If you have the opportunity to choose Intacts or other eye procedures in the early stages of your disease, just DO IT! It’s unwise to wait, as the disease will progress to the point that your only option is corneal transplant.

CXL is almost useless, as it only prevents further damage but doesn’t correct the damage that is already done. It’s only a good option, if you receive it at the very beginning stages of the disease, when your vision can still be corrected with RPG lenses or high prescription glasses. In the US, CXL is not FDA approved and not covered by insurance, so this procedure can be a lot expensive for low income individuals.

Intacts Corneal Transplants do correct the damage and is covered by most insurance companies, but it works for those who are in the beginning to moderate stages of the disease.

Corneal Transplant corrects the damage more so than Intacts, but a patient must be at the very end stages of the disease to qualify for the donor’s list. It is covered by most insurance companies, however the recovery time and after-care is much longer than Intacts or CXL.

In spite of it all, I feel happy and lucky. I will get to see again in the spring of 2016 and gain my freedom back! It will be a tough journey ahead, but I am determined!

Picture: Fullmetal Alchemist - Winry.And, because my insurance will pay for my surgery fully, I am left with two thousand dollars that I had painstakingly saved over the last two years. I plan to go on a “shopping spree” with five hundred (mostly to buy all of the science gear that I always wanted!) and the rest I’ll save for a “rainy day” or any post-operation needs.

I will have to wear an eye-patch for a while, after the surgery, but I look forward to being a pirate! Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Ugh… I hate rum. lol, ;(u_u)>

Thanks for reading, as always! And happy New Years! ^_^v

-D

10 Best U2 Songs For You!

Picture: The band U2.I wanted to share a special post, as an early holiday gift for my readers, so I decided on this idea! I’ve been  “fan-girling” over the band U2, probably long before such a term was created. I feel SO old… u_u

Anyway, I own 14 albums of the band and I love 93 of their songs in total so far. I know the lyrics of all 93 songs by heart, because that’s how much I love them. Which means, making a list of only ten songs was both a lot of fun and really HARD at the same time!

I hope that my picks will be helpful to any curious generation that have never heard these songs or can only recall that one song they’ve heard before in high-school.

The following songs are linked from the official U2 YouTube channel: U2VEVO. Do check it out to find more videos that I may not have included in this list. ^_^v

Picture: U2 The Joshua Tree#10 – With Or Without You.
This is one of many beautiful love ballads! I once shared this one with a curious friend and he exclaimed, “What am I listening to!? This is the best thing I ever heard!”. And I replied, “Yes, dude, keep listening… it becomes more magical with every progressing note!”.

#9 – Love Is Blindness.
And heartbreak… This a beautifully haunting song by The Edge, lead guitarist of the band, a song written during his divorce. It’s very well done and one of my favorites.

#8 – Magnificent.
With Bono’s haunting call and Larry’s strong steady beat, this song is one that I can’t help but to sing along with!

#7 – Ultra Violet Light.
I love the original (non-live version), but I have to admit that the energy within this live act is so much fun! This is what an U2 concert is all about. Great song!

#6 – Walk On.
A very encouraging song indeed! It’s one of a few that I listen to, whenever I need a bit of encouragement in my life. If you ever start to doubt yourself, this is the perfect song to listen to, I believe.

Picture: u2 how to dismantle an atomic bomb.#5 – Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own.
Another love ballad! I can’t stop myself for belting out the notes along with Bono, no matter how many times I’ve listened to this song. My favorite line of this song is, “A house doesn’t make a home!”. Whoo! Yeah, preach it, brother!

#4 – Ordinary Love.
A song tribute to Nelson Mandela! This song is so very soulful, I wind up dancing to it, in spite of myself. The lyrics are beyond philosophical and warms my heart.

#3 – I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.
I love the animation of this music video. My favorite line of the song is “It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain, as you start out the climb”. I can completely relate to that statement and it is helpful to remind myself to take my time in life. I’ll reach the top someday, I’m sure of it!

#2 – Invisible (Live Version).
This is one of the great songs from U2’s new albums, “Songs Of Innocence”. I often sing and hum this one to myself on a daily basis. One of my favorite lines, out of many within this song, is “There is no them, there’s only us!”.

Picture: U2 Beautiful Day.Honorable Mentions: These are just a few of my most favorites, although they weren’t included on the official channel, and that’s the only reason why they didn’t wind up on this list – They are: “40”, The Fly, Zoo Station, Electrical Storm, New Years Day, Sleep Like A Baby Tonight. Do look up these songs on your own, they’re brilliant!

#1 – Where The Streets Have No Name.
One of the classics, and the song I use to sing a lot, as a teen. I love this video a lot, so much energy and passion within it! ^o^

There are SO many songs I would like to include in this list. If I could, I would list all 93 of my favorites, but that would take days for me to write and for you to read! LOLz! I do hope that the VEVO channel will upload more videos in the future, for new fans who may be wandering through.

Of course, I will spoil my readers with a bonus video! My best friend sent me this one, Happy Birthday 2U, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s song performed by Bono and The Edge! It was a good find and I completely enjoyed the video very much.

Thanks for reading, as usual! And Happy Holidays, everyone! ^_^v
-D