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Here we go again

  1. Mick Mouse
    God, I hate this! It is time once again for the monthly reduction in my pain meds, so I get to look forward to another 2-3 weeks of going through mild/moderate WD's until my system gets used to the lower dosage. It's like I have had a bad case of the flu for the last 6 months now!

    Two more months and the Fentanyl will be down to the lowest available dosage, then I will make the jump from 25 mcg/hr fent patch to a 20 mcg/hr buprenorphine patch. If I have calculated correctly, that should be the rough equivalent of 12.5 mcg/hr of fentanyl.

    My hopes are several-fold...first, that a reduction from 25 to 12.5 will be easier than from 25 to 0. Secondly, that the switch to bupe will ease the WD's from the fentanyl. Thirdly, that I can then continue my taper on the bupe, from 20 to 10 and finally to 5, at which point I have a huge decision to make. Do I stay on a low dose opiate for the chronic pain, do I jump off completely, or do I try to find a medium of pain/pain relief that I can live with?

    The ratio of "pain that I can live with" to "amount of problems that the narcotics cause me" is a tricky one to find and maintain, but I have to do it because I am unwilling to live like this any longer.

    In the meantime, however, I hate this with a passion! I was sitting here last night in front of my little space heater, alternately freezing and sweating, sick to my stomach, feeling sorry for myself, etc., when I suddenly put things into perspective. I'm doing a slow taper, with my doctors knowledge and assistance, in the comfort and privacy of my own home. I can have any pharmaceutical assistance that I want in this, provided by my doctor. I have the support of my family and my friends.

    Seriously....how much easier could it be? How many of our members are-right at this very minute-going through the very same thing that I am going through, only with either a fraction of, or none at all, of the "benefits" I have? How many of us are curled up in a box somewhere or in some cold-ass house or apartment doing this? Without a doctor, without...anything?

    Suddenly I don't feel as sick anymore. I feel privileged, I feel lucky, I feel thankful....honestly, now I feel embarrassed, because I am making such a big deal out of this while others are suffering far more than I, in conditions far worse.

    I feel ashamed because I let things go this far and I cause such pain and heartache to those I love, but I also realize how incredibly lucky I am to even have someone who cares about me, because so many of us have nobody. I realized just exactly how important this place is, not necessarily just to me, but to those who may only have this place as a resource.

    Honestly, I don't know what I would do without all of you here. It is an honor to go through hell with you all here by my side. An honor and a privilege. All I can do is offer to stand with others as you all have stood with me. My sincere and heart-felt thanks go out to all of you who have jumped on this bus with me and have decided to help me see it through. I probably couldn't have done this successfully without you. And it is not over yet!

    Suddenly, I don't have such a problem. I have hope. Support. Friends and family. The sun shines brightly in a darkened room and hope blossoms like a flower. All because of D-F and the people who are here.

    All because of you! To say thank you seems inadequate, but it is all I have and I offer it freely, along with the promise to return the favor someday. I still have a long way to go, but I'm not doing it alone!

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  1. Mick Mouse
    Well, physical therapy has been completed several weeks ago. Finally! I am almost 6 months post surgery now, and I will be damned if it didn't work! Of course, it is still "healing" in that the bone has not become totally one complete piece, but nothing short of a major incident will screw it up at this point. I have probably a 90%+ pain reduction-in fact, the only pain I feel now is a dull ache around C-6/7, and it is infrequent. I have regained all of the lost use on my left side and the strength is probably the same as it was before the surgery. No numbness or tingling anymore.

    The current drug regimen continues to decrease, now it is multivitamen and calcium suppliments, TRT/tamsulosin, adderall/provigil, and MMJ. MMJ has been decreased somewhat and the calcium supplement will be stopped as soon as it runs out. My plan is to continue the NSAID until my final release, which should be another 6 months or so.

    Originally the provigil/adderall was used to offset the lethargy and fatigue caused by the narcotic use and because of suspected adult ADD, but my research has indicated that small therapeutic doses of both of these are nootropic in effect and have not only healing but restorative characteristics as well. So, to determine whether or not this is true, I have started small therapeutic doses of both of them combined, in order to judge the potential benefits.

    No narcotics! No muscle relaxers! No psych drugs! And to be honest, the MMJ has begun to get a bit tiresome as well, and I have been kicking around the idea of dropping it as well. Buts lets not get too big a bite in our mouth! We will see how that goes in the future.

    Speaking of the future, mine has gotten so much better that I have actually decided to re-enter the work force. Or at least give it a shot! Of course, I am not going to jump right in and start building nuclear power plants or anything, but I am now a medical courier hauling body parts from hospitals to pathology labs and back again. It is driving, which I consider to be fun and not a job, and I get paid for it to boot! 3 days a week, 250 milesa day, 450.00 dollars a week.

    For driving on the freeway with the window down and the radio up, singing Jimmy Buffett songs as loud as I can, and doing little or no actual "work".

    Life is good! Wait a minute! What was that? A brief flash of something.....was that light? Light at the end of the tunnel?

    Things might change tomorrow, but for now, life is good!
  2. Mick Mouse
    Well, I started to get a cyst-like calcium deposit in my wrist joint, so I stopped the calcium supplement until it gets reabsorbed. Still taking the Vit D though. I was about ready to stop the Calcium anyway, after 3 months the bone growth should be complete.

    Physical therapy sucks. But that it because they are taking such a (to me) conservative approach-they want to start with mild stretching and isometrics, while I am throwing the ball for The Dog and wanting to use free weights. But I comply.....for now!

    My final visit to the surgeon got delayed because he had an emergency spinal surgery come up on that day, so I will not see him and get released for another couple of weeks, but he said I could start the PT.

    Still no unwanted effects from stopping the Depacote and other stuff the VA had me on. I never really agreed with adding all of that anyway, but I was willing to try it, if for no other reason than to say I did and see how it worked. I have told the wife and kid to watch my moods and behavior and see if anything changes, to ensure an objective and un-biased view. If I really DID need psych meds and stopped them, I might not notice exactly when I crossed from reality to the other place, but the wife says she has no problems pointing out my deficiencies and fuck-ups. Besides, she has extensive experience in doing just that! lol!

    In all seriousness though, I do NOT recommend that anyone currently taking any kind of psychotropic medication abruptly stop or decrease their use without consulting a medical professional. It could have serious mental as well as physical negative effects.

    Just because that is what I personally chose to do does not make it safe or correct, and again-I advise that you do NOT do this.
  3. Mick Mouse
    OK, I am ending my first week with nothing but multivitamins and non-psychoactive medications in my regimen. Still on the TRT and calcium supplements/Vit D for the recent cervical spine surgery, but no muscle relaxers, narcotics, non-narcotic pain meds, or stuff like that. Also, no xanax or diazapam, no clonapin, depakote, or prazosin.

    I have even cut way back on the MMJ, and only use that every couple of days now. Although my medical crop just came in and I am sitting on a year supply again, at the old usage rate.

    I feel better. I sleep longer. At least, so far! As always, we will see what the future brings, but I have high expectations that being drug free is the way to be! I will be starting the physical therapy for the cervical spine surgery in 2 days, after wearing that stupid hard shell neck brace for WAAAY to long! Actually kind of looking forward to doing some free weights again!
  4. torn2bits
    St Dismas Novitiate,
    Always a great read of your blog, always.

    I'm sure you know but , with the depakote (sp) careful, it's known for liver problems.
    I'm sure the VA will stay on top of this for ya.
    Glad to hear you feel a little better.....TORN2BITS
  5. Mick Mouse
    Well, 9 weeks out from the surgery, and things seem to be going well. I have not started physical therapy yet, but will be seeing the surgeon for the last time the end of this month, so I should start then. Not too sure about this new PCP doctor, either. I had my first appointment with her and set another one for 3 months out, but I got a call earlier today from her office saying something about she was not wanting to renew certain meds. I was juggling several different things at once and put them on hold, and when I got back, they had disconnected. So, I guess I will call them back on Tuesday and see what is going on.

    Drug-wise, still no narcotics. I have cut out the muscle relaxers as well, along with the xanax and valium. I started being seen by the VA healthcare system, and the docs there seem to think that I have an "imbalance in certain brain chemicals and neurotransmitters"/

    Duh. Ya think? So now I am on a whole new round of drugs to "stabilize my moods", including depakote, prazisozen, and mirtazapine.

    Its like trading the frying pan for the fucking fire! But they are doing something, because now I sleep through the night and the nightmares have been muted considerably. This (of course) has positive effects on my "normal" day, so I have been sticking with them for now.
  6. Mick Mouse
    Well, surgery was on 4/28 and was just a bit more involved than they thought it would be, but it was done. Hit the recovery room and was probably 80% out of the giggle juice, and I remember my wife on one side and this nurse on the other. Nurse was asking the usual-how are you, what's your name, you know where you are, etc.-and it seems I told her that I was fine and I needed her to do two things right away-get this fucking cathater out of me and get rid of this damn pain pump.

    Of course, she was doing her thing and trying to "reassure" me, and the wife told her she should probably either call the charge nurse or do what I asked, because if she didn't, I would do it myself. About that time the charge nurse came in to see if I was awake yet and took care of the situation. It was kind of funny, in a blurry sort of way, because I vaguely remember this young little female nurse standing there looking totally lost while the patient told her boss what he wanted done and when, and the boss calmly doing it without question.

    Of course, I had told the staff in advance that I would have certain issues upon recovery because of PTSD and related things, so they were prepared and ready, but this little girl didn't have a clue. And she wasn't "little", she was a professional in every sense of the word, she was just not informed and quite (to me) young.

    Anyway, 2 days and 3 nights in the hospital. First night, I was.......heavily medicated. But it was more because of the PTSD issues than the pain-no pain pump and only one 2 mg dilaudid. Lots of valium and xanax though! 2nd day, I wake up, and still a little groggy, and take the pro-offered pills without thinking about it. Another 2 mg dilaudid. Refused all pain meds for the remainder off that day, but took one at bedtime. 3rd day, I'm going home! much to happy about that to need pain meds.

    So, the first three days, I made it through with three doses of pain meds. One I got home, it was a bit different, though. I brought home 10 days worth and went through them in 2 weeks, then got a refill. Used another 2 days, then stopped and have not touched them since.

    Fuck those opiates. I used baclofen at night and soma during the day, then switched to Diazepam at night and soma during the day. Now, It is a half dose of diazepam at bedtime and nothing during the day. That will cease here pretty soon, too.

    But just to throw a monkey wrench into the works, on May 5th, my PCP made the decision to leave the practice. So, now I have a new doc-who I have yet to meet-and I have to hope that she will be as effective as my last one. Plus, I am now enrolled in the VA, so that is a totally different set of hoops lined up in front of me, as well as a new set of doctors.

    Should be a fun few months ahead of me!
  7. Mick Mouse
    Well, just when you are ready to throw the banner reading "Mission Accomplished" across the deck of the aircraft carrier, some little detail pops up in the most annoying manner! But lets look at the positive side of things-still no opiates! The desoxyn is gone as well, replaced with modafinil. Cymbalta? Gone. NSAID's? Gone. All I am on right now is TRT, Provigil, Crestor, MMJ, and the occasional Soma. Well, those along with physical and mental methods of pain relief.

    And the not so positive side of things? It seems as if the recent neck work didn't take, so I will be going back to the hospital in Denver (Englewood, actually) so the good folks at Colorado Comprehensive Spinal Institute can cut me open again. This time, we will be doing a multiple level fusion at C3, C4, and C5. My doc said that 12 mm is "normal" for the diameter of the spinal channel, with 9 mm being bad and 8 mm or less being "catastrophic" because the cord itself is in contact with the surrounding bone at that point.

    Mine is 7.1 mm. In three separate places. This time, the wetwork is only scheduled for 5 1/5 hours and the doc says I will be out of the hospital within 72 hours after he buttons me back up.

    I am supposed to be on a self-administered pain pump for the first 24 hours and transition to oral meds as soon as feasible after that. Trying to decide if I want to risk a very short course of opiate therapy or just gut it out like the last time.

    Can someone call the nurse and let her know I am ready for the whole-body transfer now?
  8. Mick Mouse
    Well, the corollary to good news is that there is always bad news as well. The good news is that, not only am I STILL not using any opiates, but I have also cut out the muscle relaxers and anti-depressants as well! I will still take the occasional Desoxyn, but pretty much all I use at this point is Crestor and MMJ. And on the MMJ side, I have switched to a 100% Indica and have went to an edible-heavy routine, which has payed great benefits. I have started physical therapy and have regained substantial use of my hand again, as well as having the pain, numbness, and tingling decrease a measurable amount.

    The bad news is that my recent neurosurgeon reviewed my new MRI and x-rays we had done when this started happening and has said that there is "substantial damage" still existing and that I need to go and see a spinal reconstruction surgeon, which will be done in about another 3 or 4 weeks. It would appear that the new damage is of an extent to which my previous doctor does not feel confident that she could handle it, and she wants me to see this new neurocutter.

    But I'm not on opiates! And many other drugs have been eliminated or reduced drastically. So I guess that counts for something. I have made other, seemingly small changes as well, which can only help, I think. I have changed my diet and stopped using the microwave completely. I have cut the MMJ use to in the evenings only. I read more and compute less, play with my animals, and try to be nicer to my Pack.

    I am ready to have my consciousness transferred to a new and unbroken body, which I think should be available to anyone who has given at least 10 years of their life to the combat arms branches of the military (I gave 12). But while the prospect of additional surgery scares the shit out of me, it pales to what I think about going back on the drugs, which may be necessary afterwards.

    Hoo fucking ray.
  9. torn2bits
    St Dismas Novitiate,
    Your fight is amazing & I want to discontinue the opiates as well.
    May I ask your opinion?

    Have you ever had to take MS Contain Er?
    I want to taper and have cut my dose in half of the Morphine ER...
    Any suggestions when reducing the E.R. Morphine?
    Please,please any and all ideas and help would be a blessing.
    Direct Message me if time permits.

    Does cannabis help you alott with pain control.
    I honestly believe I would feel better away from Opiates..I'm sick of them all.
    Take care I hope you are feeling better.. Torn
  10. Mick Mouse
    Still no opiates! that might change in the near future, though. It is looking more and more like I will have to go back in for more work on the neck, because I have lost about 80% of the use of my left hand within the past 6 weeks, so something has gone wrong there. I am waiting on word from the neurosurgeon, but have also been hearing whispers of a spinal reconstruction surgeon being brought in as well.

    Wonderful. Now it will never end!
  11. Mick Mouse
    Went and saw the neurosurgoen today, and she said that everything was looking good. The lower back is as good as it is ever going to get, while the cervical region was about 50-60% repaired. Another surgery is down the road, but in the far future! I don't want to do this again.

    Still no opiates or opioids! I'm hanging in with the NSAIDS, Cymbalta, MMJ, and the occasional muscle relaxer. The neurosurgoen wants to add Lyrica back to the mix, but I will talk to my PCP on the next visit about that.

    Starting to pick up weight again as well, which is a good thing. i just have to be careful and not pick up TOO much, because the knee and hip problems are lessened when I am not so damn fat (i weigh 180 right now. lol!).

    I don't even think about the opiates and pain meds much any more, which is probably because I have been staying busy. And we all know that too much empty time is a BAD thing for people who have lots of drugs laying about the place!
  12. Mick Mouse
    Spinal surgery in the cervical and lumbar areas. They pumped me full of dope to prep me and while I was out, and then gave me on of those "self-metered dosing" devices for morphine. I have to say, it was tempting! But I was nerve-blocked, so there was not a lot of unmanageable pain anyway, and I had it removed from my sight-out of sight, out of mind! After the block was released, it was quite painful, but I managed to make it through without using the narcotics.

    Lots of other drugs, but no opiates or opioids. Strong anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, cannabis products, meditation, self-hypnosis, bio-feedback, but no dope!

    And "quite painful" is an understatement!
  13. Mick Mouse
    Almost three months now. A month out, I got hurt quite badly and was "ordered" by my doc to go back on the morphine after surgery. Ended up stuck again, of course.

    Two weeks ago, I cut from 240 mg of MSIR a day to 120mg. One week ago, I cut from 120 to 60. Today, I only cut to 45 mg., but I will cut to 30 in 3 days. My doc says those are "brutal" cuts and probably not safe.

    Just another day at the office.

    On a more positive side, the morphine is the only thing I went back to, so I don't have to deal with the oxys or any of that other crap at least.

    I thought I had a masterpiece, and find out it is still a work in progress. That is life though, isn't it?
  14. Mick Mouse
    Or maybe it should be "I'm still standin', better than I've ever been. Looking like a true survivor, feelin' like a little kid!"

    Still standing. That is about all you could hope for in the beginning of this process, that you would somehow still be standing when it was all over. I feel.....wrung out. Limp and ragged, and ready to be hung up to dry. But clean! The pain is, I don't know-exquisite? It hurts soooo good!

    Sounds weird, huh? The pain is clean and sharp, not dull and throbbing or masked somehow. It is.....refreshing. I'm alive again! I can feel every little detail.

    Once again, the battles begin.
  15. Mick Mouse
    "Because I'm free......free-fallin'!"

    There is nothing quite like the feeling of victory-better than any drug, better than any rush, better than any euphoria. And the feeling that comes from complete and utter destruction of ones demon is the sweetest of all! I still feel the urges at the back of my mind, the occasional tweek of pain that I know is nothing more than my traitorous body giving out a last gasp for relief thru drugs, the.....desire.

    But I feel them as a memory now, and not as an over-riding urge! And I am.....happy? Satisfied? "Non-bad"? Clear-headed may be the more appropriate choice of words. Like I have finally found the next gear and I can go ahead and shift up.

    It is not over, of course. It will never be over. Ever. But this time, I have won.

  16. Mick Mouse
    As bad as I feel (and it IS bad), I really did not mean the last remark on my last post here. Starting to feel a bit better, I think.
  17. Mick Mouse
    Death would be an improvement. The stomach cramps have been really bad, but at least nothing is coming out either end any longer. I alternate between freezing cold and this stinky, sticky sweat, and I go through towels and washcloths and shirts faster than they can be washed, it seems like. Tried some chicken soup earlier and it ended up all over the shower walls, but some of it stayed down.

    This was really stupid.

    Although, believe it or not, there actually have been some high points (no pun intended), if you can call them that. When you feel like death would be an improvement and your stomach is cramped up tighter than a virgins expectations, you are curled up on the bathroom floor because it really is NOT a good idea to get too far away from the toilet, and you can be smelled from outside the room with the door closed, they very last thing you expect is your woman sitting there and telling you about the cosmic laws of the universe and shit like that! I was actually laughing between barfs. They deserve an entry of their own though, so I will put them all down later.

    Until then-thanks a lot, you all. Hope you all feel like I do real soon!
  18. Mick Mouse
    This is really coming on a lot faster than I expected. Maybe because this time it is just the morphine, rather than fentanyl? I was going to move my laptop into the bathroom with me, but that probably is not a good idea. The wife came in a little while ago to see how I was doing, and she started fucking laughing at me! I was curled up on the tile floor of the bathroom (I'm burning up, and it was nice and cool) and she came in and I looked up, and she said I looked like one of the zombies from the Walking Dead. I almost shit myself laughing!

    Damn, I feel like hell.
  19. Mick Mouse
    And so it begins.

    I am incorporating my super-powers of self-delusion into this fight and telling myself that it is not going to be as bad this time, but for some reason, it keeps getting confused and tangled up with my abilities of power-vomiting and explosive shits. My super freeze abilities have been reversed, so now I continually go from hot to cold, freezing to sweating.

    It is hard to keep a sense of humor, especially when you feel like this, and especially when you already know what is in store for you over the next several days. But I will try! It is my theory that ALL devils, whether those of addiction or of religion, are defeated by, and run from, laughter. I guess we are going to find out!
  20. Mick Mouse
    Well, some cursory research on this Generlac stuff shows that is is pretty nasty! Apparently it is for people who are almost dead, but are still worried that they are not shitting right. It breaks down and causes an increase in ammonia in your intestines, which makes you have "loose stools". I am thinking that increasing ammonia in your system can't be good for you! I still have to look into it a bit more, but for now, I am not using it.

    I have looked over this blog subject from beginning to end, and quite frankly, I do not like what I see.

    I spent 5 years in prison, with nothing but Ibuprofen or Indomethacin for the pain and a few muscle relaxers when the spasms got real bad. I lightly exercised to keep flexibility and took a lot of hot showers. And while I hurt, I didn't feel bad.

    Flash forward a couple years, and I am addicted to opiates, opioids, cannabis, and SSRI/SSNI's, with prescriptions for these and a variety of stimulants as well, as well as having had to fight one battle already, to get down to just the drugs and strengths that I am on now.

    I still hurt, but now I feel bad all of the time. Physically, mentally, emotionally bad.....all of the time.

    What is wrong with this picture? I will explore this in more detail later, right now, me and my granddaughter are going to the library for National Donut Day.

    OK, donut day was pretty cool. We learned what went into a donut, how to mix it all up, and how to cook them. And, of course, eating them! She just turned 8, so she thought it was fun. We are going to the library every Monday to do something, it is the "kids summer movie and playhouse club", and every Monday we have something going on.

    But I digress. As I said, I have reread this part of the blog, looked at where I was and where I am, sat around and just thought about the whole situation. I have come to the conclusion that, if I am going to hurt anyway, I might as well feel good about it! It sounds like an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, but it isn't. And I can guarentee you, my faithful reader, that anyone who is or has ever been a chronic pain sufferer knows what I mean, they understand. You see, when you have suffered chronic pain for an extended period of time, it morphs into something both more, and at the same time, less, than pain. It is as if pain becomes an old friend, one you see every day, like clockwork-rain or shine. Like an old couple that have been together for 70 years. It becomes.....familiar. It still hurts! That will never change. But you understand it now, you know its strengths and weaknesses. Just as it knows yours. It becomes something that sits at the back of your mind, waiting for you to make a (figuratively and literally!) wrong move. Waiting to jump, dig in its claws, and settle in for an extended stay.

    You have tools, of course. Not good or effective ones, but they are there. The anti-inflamatories, the opiates, the opioids. But they all bring more to the table than they take away, and it becomes a zero-sum game. You get addicted, you get tired, you get sick. Until one day, you get sick and tired. You look at other therapies, you try inversion, physical strengthening, bio-feedback, massage, yoga, and Gods know what else. You find that, like everything else, some work better than others, while some don't work at all. You don't/won't/can't get out much, because of PTSD and whatnot, so you find others ways to not give up. You find forums, where you meet people and learn to trust them. They become.....friends. Family. They offer advice and you can trust it, because they are you. Broken. Damaged somehow. In the process of going up, or going down. Some are worse, some are not. It's a day to day thing, just like your life.

    A day to day thing.

    So where does that bring us, my dear readers? Many find that it becomes too much, even with the support, and they choose to stop the pain with a finality. That is not my way, I am much more likely to be the guy in the bell tower with the bag of sandwiches! No, I might break, but I will not fucking bend. I decided long ago to fight, and I am too stubborn to give in over a simple thing like hopelessness or winning in impossible situations. Many choose to use the tools, until the tools become them. Indistinguishable. You see, when you use the tools, you think at first that you are winning. Pain is vanquished, and life returns. The sky is blue, the birds are singing, and all is right in the world. Until the day that you forget to take that pill. Or maybe you are away from home and don't have it with you. Or you think "Man, it is a little worse than usual today. maybe I will take two-just this one time.", but the next day, it still hurts. It is obvious what has happened. For some, it takes longer to admit it than it does others. But in the end, we all face the truth-our tool, our helper, our palette of color with which we paint our worldis revealed for what it truly is. A leash. A slave collar. Manacles slapped on by an unfeeling bully.

    A death sentence.

    But some of us have chosen Life. We become willing to accept the pain, like the old friend that it is. But we.....I refuse to accept the badness. I do not like to fight. I spent many many years in the military, where I became very good at killing, but I never wanted to fight. I did horrible things to others while in prison-not out of choice or desire, but out of necessity-but I never fought. I have had many difficult times in my life, but I never had to fight for anything, because I was smart-smart people don't need to fight. But not liking something and not knowing how to do it are two different things. Like the famous line from the movie "Quigley Down Under", where Quigley just won the fast draw and shot the bad guy after being beat up first. Bad Guy (as he is standing there with a bullet hole through his middle) "But....I thought you said you didn't know how to use a pistol!" Quigley:"No, I said I didn't like using one. Doesn't mean I don't know how". Paraphrased, of course. But it illustrates my point.

    I just threw it all away. Everything-the morphine, the Marinol, the Desoxyn. The oxy and the buproprion.....all of it. I'm done, so let the fight begin. I will accept the pain, but I will not, under any circumstances, accept the badness. As you, my reader, can no doubt imagine, my next couple of weeks are going to be.....difficult. I did this shit once, as you who have been faithfully following my journey here know. The problem is that, at the last minute, I broke weak and stayed with some of my tools, instead of getting rid of the entire toolbox. This time, I threw out the tools, threw out the box, put it all in the trash, and watched as the trash man hauled it off. Man, if he only knew! Dude parties, this I know. If he only knew that he just tossed thousands of dollars of drugs in the back of the truck!

    I feel good about it now, but that will change in just a few hours. The Gate of Hell open wide, and beckon, and I am running towards them as fast as I can, because I am fucking mad at my Devil and I am going to kick his ass and take his fucking throne. But it will be a fight, because I have worshiped this devil for so long. It will be long, and it will be hard, and even under the apparent bravado, I know it is going to hurt. Bad. Very bad! I will curse myself for doing this, curse you-my friends and family-for allowing this, for letting me do this dumb shit, for not telling me "Dude, take it a bit slower. Taper down and then jump off." I will curse my gods, as well as yours. I will scream at Hecate, asking her why she lets this happen to me, who has served her for so long and so well.....all the while knowing that she lets me make my own choices, chart my own course. Make my way through the crossroads by my own skill and power. I will hate all of us, for a time. But I will not give in or stop.

    You see, while I have said that I do not like to fight, I have never said why.

    It is because I like it.....way too much. I like the pain, the adrenaline rush. I revel in the fear of knowing that you might lose, and pitting all of your strength, all of your skill, all of your power against your adversary regardless of the outcome. Forcing events to conform to your will. Going all in and not having a single good card in your hand, but smiling like you have already won. There is something about lost causes that appeals to all of us, I think. The last stand, the final bullet before you go to the knife, knowing the the world is arrayed against you, doing its best to crush you down.

    Standing there, small and alone, and saying......"No. I will not bend. I will not lose, I will not quit. Fuck you."

    Looking your fear, your demon straight in the eye while you bare your teeth, pull your knife, and go for his fucking throat.