Berserk Jacket of Doom

I’m done messing with it. I used my post Hospital time (in spite of the percocet making me lazy)to get my shit together and do the last of the sewing.   Stay tuned for the beginnings of a Strictly Thrash Vest. Until then, here’s muh pride and joy :

Bands: Absu, Jex Thoth,  The Devil’s Blood, Purson, Mayhem, King Diamond, Abyssic Hate, Immolation, Pungent Stench, Incantation, Mortuary Drape, Blood Ceremony, Electric Wizard, Samael, Burzum, At The Gates, Funeral Mist, Misfits, Morbid Angel, Averse Sefira, Sadistic Intent, Bathory, Angelcorpse, Beherit, Black Sabbath,  Arghoslent.  

Cheers y’all! 

-Thom

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My Christmas Present to myself 

I finally printed and framed my two best Concert Photos,


 On the left: With Harald Oimoen from DRI last December. 

On the right : With George Fisher at a Paths of Possession Show in December of 2005.

It’s not a big present for me, but I like it 🙂

Have yourselves a Happy Holidays!

-Thom

Muh composure 

Is honestly pretty strong lately.  I had a period where I was kind of getting sucked into the old blacker than death pit of despair.  It’s not as easy to do as it once was,  but I stay vigilant nonetheless because I fully realize what I’m screwing with. I am really trying to be good to myself here and not let it get away from me again.  

Mentally,  I’m in a pretty excellent place. One of optimism and hope. I’m staying positive and taking decent care of myself as far as staying up on all my meds and eating right. Haven’t eliminated gluten but have significantly cut back on it and I’m pretty sure it’s the reason my belly is tightening up. I do need to start using the elliptical again, it’s pretty much the perfect workout for me. Soon, honest.

Still having a fair amount of swollen joints so my Doctor got me started with Humira injections yesterday.  It’s pretty easy to do and doesn’t hurt much at all,  at least so far. My Doctor has said if the DMARD meds do their thing I should be able to cut out ibuprofen which can spike my blood pressure.  I didn’t really feel any different yesterday after the shot in my thigh. Woke up feeling rather strange the morning after but not particularly sick. Just really weird like.

So yeah,  things are sort of in a state of flux, but for the best methinks.  I’m grateful to be treating my RA with some proper meds and things have been lovely as ever on the home front.  I’m chilling on the couch with my bestie Ms. Roxy at the moment,  as I so frequently do. 

The only thing I find myself worried about now is getting sick. I’ve been warned that if I’m sick on Humira day I should skip it.  Honestly the potential effects for this one are pretty scary but I decided to give it a try because my Doctor said it would be cheaper than methotrexate and most likely have better results.  At least after everything processes with the patient assistance program he signed me up for. If not for this I doubt we would have considered a biologic as they are hideously expensive generally.  As far as the getting sick thing, allow me to clarify. I’m not being a hypochondriac or looking for something to go wrong, I’m just being realistic about the fact of being on two Immunosuppressives.  Aside from paranoid handwashing I’m just going to start packing sani-gel and try to avoid the bus. I see a lot of cycling in my future. Could be a good thing though, in fact I’m sure of it. 
On that note, I feel compelled to mention that my better half and my family are being really awesome and supportive about this whole business.

That’s why it kind of pisses me off when I hear people go on their rants about big pharma or their conspiracy theories about medical science.  I’m not saying that there isn’t profiteering and shit like that going on, not by any stretch. It’s just that there are a lot of good health professionals out there who bust their asses to help their patients. I’m grateful as hell to have an excellent care team. I feel it’s a pretty dick move when people try to tell folks with chronic illnesses that they know better than our physicians.  I grow  tired of people and their belief that there is some organized effort by big pharma to slaughter the population. I have three Physicians who look out for my various health issues and I’m grateful for each of them.

Proper diet, exercise,  probiotics, these are great things that I include as part of my routine.  But early aggressive treatment is how you prevent irreversible joint damage.  I have seen photos of advanced Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I do not feel like taking my chances. I have a dear friend who is trying to convince me that medical science is out to murder me and that a person at a health food store can cure my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Bipolar Disorder with the right combination of herbs and supplements.  I’m not buying it,  to be perfectly frank. I know of a person who was a good friend of my sister who’s acupuncturist convinced him to stop taking his psych drugs.  Two weeks later he blew his brains out with a shotgun. I think I’ll stay on the meds.
Aside from that,  I’m also thoroughly sickened by the election.  Both parties giving me shit for voting Libertarian and assuming that they own my vote. They can both kiss my ass. I don’t want more of the same. I will vote however I damn well please and you can all live with it.  

So yeah,  that’s about where I’m at. I hope you enjoyed my hopelessly disjointed thoughts. 

Cheers.

When all things are considered…

I’m strangely content of late. It’s actually rather nice. I’m keeping up with my obligations and looking forward to my vacation in Alaska  next week. As for my health,  it’s pretty solid. I’m seeming to get some ADHD coverage from the Wellbutrin I was prescribed for depression,  so that’s a plus I’d say. I’m not sure what my current status is diagnosis-wise. If it is Rheumatoid Arthritis it’s the Seronegative type, as the blood work doesn’t really support this as SED rate, Rheumatoid Factor and C-reactive Protein are in the  normal range . I have to see a Dermatologist to get a biopsy on one of my nodules. If there are palisading lymphocytes then they are rheumatoid nodules, according to the Rheumatologist. At any rate,  I’m not particularly swollen or inflamed right now,  at least not badly. 

    It’s very strange the way my pain and fatigue wax and wane. Most days I feel relatively strong and capable.  But some days I flare up and come home feeling like I’ve been beaten by a golf club. As for fatigue,  I’m a fairly crazy coffee drinker, but when it hits, no amount of caffeine will move me. I had a day or two that I slept way too much and pretty much felt drunk and disoriented no matter what I did to kick myself into gear. My fatigue and stiffness have mostly been sparing me lately, for which I am grateful.  When the fatigue does hit nothing can touch it. 

    So if not RA, then what? My Mom came with me to my last appointment with the Rheumatologist.  At one point she looked confused and said  ‘So does he have RA or not?’. He said, ‘I’d bet my car on it but I’m not ready to bet my house.’. Which I presume is doctor-speak for I dunno. We shall see I guess.  My flares are erratic and won’t bother me for a decent amount of time in between.  I can’t really figure out what aggravates it. I had lots of swollen joints when I first saw my current doctor. That plus nodules which I still have on many knuckles. Also the xrays revealed some erosion.  The prednisone helped a lot but steroids are not for long term use. Anyhow,  the crucial thing is I’m alright and not feeling sick or sore right now.  

    On the Metal front life is good. Last show was a bit of a mixed bag.  Great bands but too much Metalcore filler.  Got to see Brazilian Death Metal Juggernaut Krisiun as well as Nile, Cannibal Corpse,  Revocation and SUFFOCATION SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE DAMNIT! I GOT ROBBED DAMNIT! Oh well.  It’s just that they are the primary reason I went to that show. I was sorely disappointed.  Seeing Master in a month and DRI in December.  Hoping to get my copy of Harald Oimoen’s book signed! Metal Nerd for Life.  Aside from that,  just doing my thing. Finally decided to quit shaving my head too. Ha!

    Keeping up

    I’m trying to become more prolific with this blog. My small cult of readers seem to somewhat enjoy it and it gives me a medium with which I can observe my life and thoughts as if I were an outsider. I’m hoping to eventually start doing some creative writing as well.  I’m something of a poet at times but the inspiration rarely strikes me. I like words. They put thoughts into practice and ascribe meaning to the seemingly mundane. 

    I plan to do a post one day strictly about all the concerts I’ve been to and the related awesome memories. Perhaps I could do a post about things I enjoy cooking. I’m just trying to think of ways in which I could diversify my content a bit. 

    I’m trying to avoid the usual stream of consciousness stuff that I so frequently resort to.  I’m not trying to play to an audience as much as I’m simply growing bored with same old rundown and generalized updates. I’m well aware that my life really is not THAT fascinating. 

    As unfocused as this particular post is, I feel it’s important to have a brainstorming session of sorts with myself. I’m not certain what my strong points as a writer really are. I’d like to think I have a few, but honestly I’m far too critical of my own work most of the time.  I’m not above taking some feedback from my readers as long as it’s understood that I’m not really doing this for you. 

    I have a few upcoming events which should give me some fresh subject matter to ruminate upon. Next Sunday I’m going to see the Summer Slaughter tour with Cannibal Corpse,  Nile,  Suffocation and many other bands. If nothing else I’ll have lots of fun to gush about.  I’m going to Alaska in a month and am quite excited about it as well.  It’ll be farther than I’ve ever been from home and I plan on taking lots of pictures and being outdoorsy as all hell. I’m a bit nervous about traveling that far but it’s an adventure not to be missed.

    Some of my posting will still consist of Mental and Physical health updates. Some of my friends read this blog and it’s an easy way to keep my dear ones in the loop. I’m dealing with two chronic illnesses and WordPress is a wonderfully supportive environment for those like myself. Admittedly,  I need to start using the reader feature more and be more interactive with other bloggers. I’m slacking with keeping up with the blogs I like reading and for that you all have my profuse apologies.  I’m trying to branch out a little without getting sidetracked from the original purpose of this blog. Above all it’s a place where I can be myself.  

    For those who read and get something out of it I extend my thanks. Thanks for making this more than just a space for me to bitch. As I said,  I do this mostly for myself but it blows my mind how many subscribers I have now.  Not bad for what was originally intended to be a ‘Hide out from my family and complain about my issues’ blog. I’m glad I relaxed and went public with it. My family doesn’t always understand me and I don’t always get them, but I love them dearly and I’m glad they more or less accept me and my various  quirks.

    So yeah,  that’s about where I’m at with the ol’ Planet Berserk.  Thanks for reading and being a part of this strange exercise in documenting my thoughts. 

    Regards-

    Berserker 

    On recovery

    Well, it’s been fifteen days since I’ve had any drugs or alcohol.  At first it wasn’t that big a deal.  I felt way better all around and thought it would be a cinch.  Deep down I knew that this would not be the case.

    I AM a lot better all around,  make no mistake.  I’m eating way better, sleeping better, have more money and am in general functioning at a significantly greater level. For the first week or so I wasn’t even really thinking much of using.

    However,  reality is setting in. This is both a wonderful and terrifying thing. My brain is working much better than during the twenty-some years I was stoned, drunk and otherwise altered. Sounds awesome,  right? 

    Not entirely. I am finding myself absolutely flooded with emotion and anxiety of late. As long as I keep busy I’m fine. I’m going to NA meetings every day, talking to my sponsor regularly and beginning to do step work. It’s when I stop moving that the floodgates open wide.

    All the mental turmoil I’ve drowned in a haze of substances is bubbling to the surface whenever I get down time. I’m doing my best to develop some real coping skills but it’s harder than I thought just to relax and take a breather.

    The day I decided to give it all up everyone seemed to want to sell me drugs. I’ve been strong so far and kept my distance.  I’m trying to ‘Run with the winners ‘ as they say. If I have shit on my mind I pick up the phone and call someone who is committed to staying clean.

    Still, I feel exhausted. My body hurts and my thoughts are scattered about when I stop moving. I have issues with chronic pain and used opiates in various forms for many years. I thought I was self-medicating but what I was really doing was murdering myself one dose at a time.  Suicide in slow motion barely articulates the hopeless routine of self-destructive behavior I was locked in to.

    I kicked the poppy derivatives and thought I had myself under control.  After all,  I never lost a job to drugs and always paid my bills, albeit badly and barely. No matter how well I was doing I simply could not stop drinking and smoking weed. I never had a spare cent to my name and frequently went hungry in the name of maintaining a buzz.

    Today is my fifteenth day of complete sobriety. I’ve caught up on bills and noticed many positive changes in my life. It’s scary, though.  It’s as if I’m learning to live all over again from point A or square one or whatever.  I’m having issues with anxiety mainly as well as some depression.  My meds are keeping this stuff fairly well in check but psych drugs can only do so much. I’ve thoroughly convinced myself of one ironclad truth: I WILL NOT GO BACK TO LIVING LIKE THAT.

    I’m tired of hurting my family, my friends and myself.  I’m simply sick of being sick. One of the things that has really stuck with me is something I read in a recovery related book: Your bottom is wherever you choose to stop digging.  I didn’t ruin my life as badly as many people do. I am certain, however that I could and would have if I had stayed the course. 

    I have a somewhat strange concept of God or whatever.  But the night I made the decision to change my life was the first time in years that I honestly through bouts of sobbing asked my deity for help. I don’t want to fucking do it anymore and I can’t do it myself.  Trying has nearly killed me too many times to count. 

    Lo and behold,  little blessings are already revealing themselves to me. I made a Metalhead friend at the groups,  which is something I haven’t had in ten years.  I have food in my fridge.  My job is so much less of an ordeal to soldier through.  Little by little,  I’m rediscovering the friend in myself that I was sure I had exterminated.

    I’ve seen recovery work genuine miracles for friends I was sure were going to die from their addictions. It’s time to work on my own.

    All systems go. Today is the first day of the rest of my life and in spite of all the crazy shit in my head I am cautiously optimistic .

    If you know me personally,  just be aware that I haven’t been myself for longer than I care to remember.  You just might find yourself getting to know me for the first time.  I don’t think that I’m a bad guy, just a little dark and messed up.  But I’m working on it. 

    That’s a promise.  I  leave you with a photo of one of my favorite bands of all time. Napalm Death. I’ve seen them live three times and plan to do so many more.

    Your humble narrator –

    Thom

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