never-ending

I’d like to believe that there’s a part of every single person that believes inherently that they are destined to do great things.

I mean, if we don’t all believe that, what are we doing?  Are we really content with just being mediocre?  Being middle of the road?

I don’t think that’s a thing.

And yet, in the months I’ve been home, I’ve come to see my restrictions so clearly it can be frightening.  I’m tired — all the time.  Not sometimes, or in the afternoon, or after a long day.  All the time.  When I’m rested, when I’ve eaten well, when I’ve slept through the night (it does happen!).  I’m always tired.  Sometimes it’s mild — like, whoops, I went to bed too late, but I can power through this day.  Sometimes it’s so all-consuming I’m unsure whether my brain will ever function normally again.  When I’m really tired, I forget things.  A lot of things.  It feels like I’m drunk, or perhaps drugged … like the world is faraway, and I’m seeing it all through water.  I play a game every morning, just to test myself.  I always try to remember what movie was on when I fell asleep.  Sometimes it’s easy.  I remember right away.  Sometimes I have to ask John.  Sometimes I just can’t remember, and I get so frustrated.

Today I wondered if I would ever be able to do anything ever again, the fatigue was so shattering.

And yet, I have to believe that if it’s something I care about, something I feel passionately about, I’ll get it done, I’ll figure it out.

There are a million things I want to do in my life.  And I certainly don’t want MS to be the obstacle preventing me.  And as I lay in bed after my nap today, I also knew deep down that I don’t want to be mediocre.  I don’t want to come and go through this life and not leave a mark.

I think I’m finally ready to figure out my next phase, my next step, the next chapter of my life.  If I can stay awake long enough! 🙂

 

 

sometimes

Sometimes it’s virtually impossible to be positive.

Despite this blog and my obsession with Instagram ([at]simplygwyn if you are curious) I’m a pretty private person.  I don’t relish in other people’s misfortune (or fortune) and I don’t always like to share my own.  Have I had tough times?  Oh, yes. Have I had amazing triumphs?  Yes, it could be said.  Do I tend to share those specifics either here or via my social media identity?  Usually not.

Today has been a brutal day.  For many reasons.  MS, obviously.  I finally slept through the night but I woke up exhausted and without motivation to do anything.  Feeling that way is frustrating, sometimes as though I’m watching myself through a thick pane of glass, all the details blurry and no way to communicate to myself.  It’s hard for others to understand — there’s nothing physical that signals my distress, my struggles.  I look fine, so I should be fine.  I discriminate against myself using that logic all the time.

When you start a day feeling listless and then one thing after another pummels you — it’s very hard to rally.  I rode my bike — something that helps sometimes, but doesn’t always.  I did one of my longest rides ever — 32.1 miles in 90 minutes.  Yay!  Go me …. I think.

John got home close to 4pm and brought in the mail.  Yup, I’d been such a slug all day, I hadn’t picked up the mail on Lucy and my afternoon walk.  It happens folks, that’s the reality of my life.  In the mail was a delightful form letter from our new insurance advising me that after review, my MS medication would not be covered and all future costs would be 100% our responsibility.

Whomp.  Whoosh.  Air sucked out of my lungs, tears stinging my eyes.  And this was at the end of an already brutal day.

I’ve been on five drug therapies for MS.  I’ve read all kinds of blogs and posts about controlling MS without drugs.  I drink green smoothies religiously.  I can be enormously fussy about the food I eat.  I work hard every day but I cannot NOT be on medication.  Before Tysabri I had Lydia (my cane, for those who weren’t reading my blog in 2014).  I could barely walk up stairs.  My disease progression was aggressive and scary and bad.  And now, here I am.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has decided that they won’t cover the only medication that has ever worked for me.  Somehow, a huge insurance company now controls my life.  Literally, my life.

Today, it must be said, has not been a good day.

 

doctor daze

Now that I’m in my third year of Tysabri I get to see Dr. M four times a year — every three months.  Plus side, only two of those visits require MRI scans.  Minus side — it’s four times a year I feel outside of myself, unable to articulate myself, overwhelmed by fear.

Yesterday, as John and I made our way back to the car, hot tears stung my eyes and I clutched my paperwork tightly in clammy hands.  I’d felt five years old in that office.  I’d felt out of my depth, unsure, wrong.  It’s a terrible way to feel.

I go to see Dr. M armed with a list of queries typed haphazardly in my phone.  I don’t know why I even bother.  The answers are always the same.  It could be MS.  It could be something else.  It could just be aging.  It could be something different entirely.

Do doctors want us to spend our lives in and out of waiting rooms, forever chasing answers to unanswerable questions?  Here’s a referral to a urologist, one for a psychiatrist, another for a gastroenterologist; here’s one for a DIFFERENT neurologist, because that’s not in my realm of practice.  Perhaps also a cardiologist?

Clearly, all us sick people have copious amounts of time and energy at our disposal to spend time on the phone (making appointments, haggling with insurance, etc etc), driving to and from all the appointments, following up on treatments and recommendations.  It’s a true joy to be told the same thing over and over.

They just can’t be sure.  It might be this, it could be that.  Have you seen so-and-so yet?

And it’s not just me.  It’s my mother, my father-in-law … so many other people struggling for answers, for a direction.

As we approached 95 from 76 I turned to John.  “I think we need to make doctor days sushi days.  Can we do that?”  He smiled and nodded.

consequences

I’ve been thinking a  lot recently about consequences.

A little bit about how as we get older, we are much more aware (wary?) of the consequences of our actions.  Some thoughts about how when we were young other things informed our decisions – fun, experience, etc.

Sometimes consequences have to be dealt with even if we wouldn’t have chosen the action.  I deal with the ‘consequences’ of MS every day, and I have to admit, I mostly wish I didn’t.  But here’s the thing — some consequences of this disease have been good.  I’m infinitely healthier than I might otherwise have been.  I get more sleep, I eat better food, I work out a.lot more than I ever might have. I drink a ton of water every day.  None of that is bad.

But I also have to think about everything.  If I do something physical, what are the risks of hurting myself?  If I hurt myself, how long will it take this broken down body of mine to heal? I recently went to Hilton Head for a few days with  my parents.  We drove down (it’s a long ride in the car, let me tell you!) and I flew home.  I tried as hard as I could to maintain normalcy for this finicky body but despite my best efforts, I spent about 36 hours after getting home trying to recover.  From what, you ask.

Excellent question.

From life.  From the dehydration I accidentally caused myself by not keeping up with my water drinking.  From the strange schedule that my body couldn’t find the rhythm to.  From fatigue caused by not sleeping in my own bed, in my own sheets, with my ceiling fan and window.

I know, this all sounds ridiculous.  I need to buck up, stop being such a fuss pot.

I one thousand million trillion percent agree.

Only, it doesn’t work like that for me anymore.

I quit my job at the beginning of the year.  For many reasons.  Being wildly unhappy was the final catalyst, something I’d pushed down for years (I understood the consequence of giving up my salary and wasn’t ready to take the leap for a long, loooonnng time.  That maturity and awareness had not informed my earlier years of job hopping because I didn’t think about the financial consequences quite as much in my early to mid twenties and before MS).

Anyway, I quit my job.  As the months have passed, I’ve come back to myself in so many ways.  I’ve remembered who I was before I was so completely miserable.  And I have also become more aware of how everything — and I mean everything — is affected by my disease.

Which brings me back to consequences.  Every action I take has a consequence.  In some ways, our lives are the result of the consequences of our actions.  Every time I decide to stray from my routine, my body manifests the consequences.  I’m not one of those people who can pop an Advil or two, drink a tall glass of water, and not feel the effects of a day at a bar the next morning.  I feel all of the effects.  Pain in my body from sitting on a bar stool, pain in my abdomen from eating too much processed food, pain in my head from having one too many glasses of wine (despite also drinking a water with each one).  And worst of all, the pain of unrelenting fatigue.

Here’s the thing, too.  Sometimes, adrenaline keeps me going for a few days.  When I was in Hilton Head, i didn’t feel bad.  I felt a little sleep deprived but nothing horrible.  It wasn’t until I got home that my body succumbed to all that ailed it.  When I was working, I pushed through.  I knew my responsibilities and I got things done.  I didn’t really feel the fatigue or the emotional toll it had all been taking until it was over, and my body collapsed from the sustained effort to keep going.

It’s a delicate balance, the art of considering the consequences and choosing what to do and what to pass on.  I know that people must look at me sometimes and wonder what my problem is.  “But she looks so healthy!  She looks better than she used to look!”  

Yup.  But I don’t feel better than I used to feel.  I am not, in actual fact, healthy.  I mean, relatively, I am.  But I still have a disease eating away at my brain and spinal cord.  I still have to journey to the hospital every twenty-eight days to be infused with powerful medication.  I still feel the slow deterioration of my abilities.  I am still so, so, unbelievably tired.

So yeah.  I’ve been thinking a lot about consequences.  How to minimize them.  How to choose wisely.  And I’m still so, so tired.

focus

One of the things I struggle mightily with is staying focused.  I seem to recall a time when it wasn’t that hard.  But now, being unemployed and having M.S., I feel like after the wicked fatigue, the brain fuzziness is the worst.  This morning I stood scrolling through my phone for a good 40 minutes in the kitchen.  For no reason.  No purpose.  Just reading random articles about Steelers training camp and looking at people’s vacation  photos.  What’s the point of that?  I mean, the photos are always adorable (or funny) and I do care (maybe too much) about the status of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  But couldn’t I have used my time more efficiently?

Um, yes.  Yes I think I could.

And then, this afternoon, following some intense procrastinating, I finally made my way downstairs to the garage and set up my ‘Insanity’ workout.  And then wasted even more time.  Doing … I don’t even know.  I. Don’t. Know.

When I go to bed at night, it’s usually too late.  But I promise to get up on time anyway.  Which I don’t do.  Then, when I finally drag myself out of bed, I’m running behind whatever phantom schedule I’d made for myself the night before.  Today, when John came upstairs after his morning workout, all I said was “I have to make better decisions.”

And that is certainly part of it.  But another part of it is the idea that when you don’t have structure in your life, everything feels amorphous.  You just float around, certain there will be enough time.  Confident that all will be well.  There is something weirdly relaxing about that.  And I am lucky enough to feel that way because John is successful enough that I don’t need to work.  But it’s also a little disconcerting and disorienting.  I’ve spent my whole life independent.  Taking care of myself.  (Well, y’know, after my parents took care of me and I learned how to do a little bit of adulting).

But I’m so tired and so air-headed nowadays, that the idea of going back to the workforce is absolutely terrifying.  I think back to the end of my time at my last job, and I was so unhappy, I struggled so painfully every day to just keep my head above water….  Could I do it again?  Could I find the strength to have a career and keep my health under control?  Is finding out worth the risk?  I don’t know.

I read a quote recently — something about happiness is what you find beyond the fear.  It was the idea that if you felt uncomfortable or unsure, that maybe it would be worth pushing through to see what exists on the other side.

So I decided I would push through.  I would conquer my fear and reticence to try to sell skincare online.  I would reach out. I would embrace it.  What could the worst result be?  A no?  And so, this August, I am going to fully embrace selling Rodan + Fields skincare.  Because it is the best stuff I’ve ever used (and if you know me, you know I’ve been obsessed with skincare for a long time), because the people who brought me into the company have been unbelievably supportive and encouraging and I think it will be a work environment I can believe in and be proud to be part of.

I hope it helps me find whatever it is I feel I am missing.  I hope it is a positive experience.  And I hope I can help other people discover these great products (that might sound like a line, but I do inherently believe it).

 

revisiting an old friend

A few weeks ago, John and I spent the weekend in Mansfield so he could help his dad do some projects around the house.  This left me at a loose end, but I was determined to stay as healthy as I could so we got a portable blender and I brought up all my smoothie goods, plus my laptop to google some work outs.  We set up our tent and canopy, plus the love seat bench that we got this year with our REI dividends.  And when I was finally motivated (aka, ran out of ways to procrastinate longer), I looked up some things on You Tube, and got to getting sweaty.  I didn’t hit my move goal though, and that frustrated me. Three days in 2017 I haven’t hit it, and one was because I couldn’t manage to find a good workout.  Grr.

I was fairly determined not to let that happen again this past weekend.  I still packed up my blender and my laptop.  We set up the tent and the canopy (and Lucy, on her long lead).  But this time, I decided to pull the trigger and sign up for Beach Body On Demand. Because I’ve never done a workout that I’ve found as challenging yet satisfying, as ‘Insanity‘.

I think maybe I thought that since I’ve been working out regularly that somehow the program would be easier?  Um, not really.  I mean, some things were ‘less hard’ but let’s be honest here.  Those workouts are killer.  And now — added bonus? — there are a million different versions of ‘Insanity’.  I stuck with the original because I knew it was tough and I hoped it would burn calories.  And because I’m a little insane, I did two workouts in a row.

For the past two days, my legs have been so unbelievably stiff and sore, I wondered what in God’s name I’d been thinking.  I would never do an Insanity workout again.  But, then I decided to stop being a baby, and I fired up the laptop yesterday afternoon.  It was a very tough 40 minutes.  When I climbed on the bike for a cool down afterward, it felt like a cakewalk.  And then, I pulled myself up the stairs, and decided to take a bath with salts, in the hope that it would help my poor legs recover.

It did!  I woke up this morning and didn’t feel like my legs were dying.  Not only that, but for the first time since I began riding my bike last year, I was enthusiastic about a different kind of work out.  I got up, looking forward to my date with Shaun T, and set about my day.

I remember doing Insanity several years ago — before the MS.  It’s challenging in different ways now — I have little to no bounce in my legs, so I am working on that.  But I am less angry at Shaun T this time around. In fact, I’m not angry at all.  He makes me smile.  I feel encouraged. I am really enjoying it, and how it’s forcing different muscles to work harder.  Working out every day isn’t really anyone’s idea of a good time (well, maybe someone?  but I don’t know that person) but I am feeling really glad about my decision to branch out and do different things.  I need to work out every day — it keeps me strong, it keeps me focused on being as healthy as I can be. And to be honest, it’s a little bit of a relief not to ride the bike for an hour and fifteen minutes every day.  Although, I’m sure I’ll start to miss it eventually.

fridays

I realized today, as I rode the elevator up from the parking garage, that I’ve been coming to UPenn for meds for two and a half years.  I’ve known my nurses for a long time.  They smile and wave as I sit in a bed, getting juiced up for the month.

Tysabri.  What a game changer.

It took me awhile to try it.  I spent 2014 in a downward spiral of frustrating physical handicaps – Lydia (my walking cane), numb limbs, the inability to climb stairs — and my favorite, when my right hand would just stop working out of nowhere.  I’d been on Avonex, Copaxone (my least favorite), Gilenya (oh lordy, the testing) and finally, Tecfidera.  Nothing worked.  My body was sliding into utter disintegration and chaos.  I burst into tears a lot, got huffy and wallowed in feelings of defeat and despair.  Dr. M prescribed Tysabri three times before I actually made an appointment.  Three times.  Three mailings full of shwag I would never use (bags, neck pillows, etc etc) and a welcome packet with smiling people who looked less like MS patients, and more like catalog models.

My first infusion (after sitting for hours in a room with John and Dr. M hashing it out) was on December 17th, 2014.  Hubs came with me because the entire experience was a little overwhelming.  My second infusion in January 2015 was three days after I was diagnosed with shingles (that’s right, shingles — I was thirty-five).  I didn’t really notice a difference, but John did.  Around April he casually mentioned that I could walk from our living room to the bathroom without reaching out to hold walls and countertops.  By July of 2015 I wasn’t even using Lydia that much.  I would forget her at home on work days.  We moved into our new house, with two flights of stairs, and I was okay.  I had to hold onto the railing and take my time.  But I was okay.  Slowly, it got easier.  I made the transition from taking one step at a time to one foot after the other.  It was a little like learning to walk all over again.

I wore heels again for the first time in March 2016.  I still can’t do stilettos, but a nice wedge or a thick boot heel?  Yes, please!  And then, this June, I got my first manual car for the first time since 2012.

I still have tough days.  I find the brain fog comes a lot more often, and a lot earlier than it used to.  But I ride my bike every day.  I eat as well as I can (which isn’t always great, but I do my best).  I come in for my medicine without fail.  All these lovely things help me live as close to a normal life as I can hope for.  I won’t give up wine (I know plenty of MS peeps who stopped drinking and I agree, it doesn’t help the brain fog at all, but man, it’s so tasty).  I still have cheese and gluten (albeit sparingly).  I try not to think about the terrible things my medicine has caused in other people.  Because for me, Tysabri gave me back my life.

In a small way, I have come to associate Fridays with medicine.  I know that Fridays are great for the working world — last day of the week before the weekend.  In my world, every fourth Friday is when I get to come into the hospital to fill up on whatever it is that makes my life better.  I’ll take it.

today’s goals

I definitely woke up  much less stiff and sore this morning.  But I also had to do a very modified work out yesterday (due to my sore knee).

Hubs and I are headed to his parents this weekend so John can help them do some projects (which involve climbing on the roof, so I’m guessing they are both serious and necessary).  I’ve struggled with travel since the whole MS thing, because I am a creature of habit, and those habits involve food (ahem, smoothies).  So yesterday, I set about finding a small, portable blender so I can have a smoothie in the morning while we are away from home.

Amazon really dropped the ball.  I originally ordered a blender that had a guaranteed delivery date of tomorrow, just to have the tracking information update this morning when I checked shipping.  Thanks Amazon, so glad I have a Prime Membership and infinitely more glad that it’s so efficient.  Smoke could be seen coming out of my ears and in a rage, I cancelled the order.  What good does a blender do me on Monday?  No good at all.  None.

So, today, my goals include hitting my Move goal (aka burning over 800 calories according to my watch), drinking at least four bottles of water in preparation for meds tomorrow (being hydrated means the nurses can find the veins and saves me additional angst because I really don’t love needles) and finding a portable blender at either Kohls (I’ve googled, it seems they have quite a selection) or BBB (I’d rather hit the jackpot at Kohls – it’s closer to home).  I’ve done my meal planning for the day – salad for lunch and veggie noodles with chicken sausage for dinner (I had sushi last night, because Hubs had to go meet a work associate at the last minute and take him to dinner).  We also have to pack up the truck for the weekend — tent for camping in the yard, air mattress, blankets etc etc.  I’m still trying to figure out what workouts I will do while in Mansfield.  But I’m sure I’ll come up with something.  Additionally, the paper has begun to accumulate on my desk, so I should probably sift through that before going away for a couple days.

Ah.  Life.  Always keeping you on your toes.  Wishing everyone a great day filled with lots of smart food choices, a healthy sweat and tons of hydration.  It’s a humid one in Southeastern PA, so I’m sure the MS will be buzzing!  (Literally.  It feels like buzzing in my fingers and hands).

a day in the life

I’ve had a rough few months.

Not in a bad way.  In a good way.  But the past few months have not been easy.  I’ve felt really lost a lot of the time.  I keep coming to this blog wondering what I’m doing.  What do I have to say?

What do I have to say.

I started this blog about six years ago, with the idea of learning to cook and sharing the amazing recipes I was sure I would be making.  And along the way, I got MS.  Which really changes the shape of a person’s life.  About a year and a half ago, I started to work out in earnest.  To be fair, I don’t know if I had a specific reason.  Just the idea that I knew I should be working out, and we’d spent some cash on a stationary bike.

Earlier this year, I though to myself, I should make this blog about MS.  But lemme tell you something — that is both challenging and slightly depressing.  MS is not fun.  It challenges a person every day in every way.  But it also makes you look at things from a completely different perspective.

Would I be biking nearly 170 miles a week if it weren’t for MS?  Maybe.  But probably not.

Would I have an addiction to green smoothies?  Um… I’m going to guess no.

Would I constantly be trying to push the boundaries of my dietary restrictions in the best possible way, and make things that normally sound dismal delicious?  Absolutely not.  I mean, I think we all start to get healthier as we age — recovery isn’t as quick, and we learn that taking care of this body we were given really does help lead a more fulfilling life.  But I think the extremities of the consequences I deal with really helped clarify my life.

I really don’t like absolutes, so when I try something new, I think of it in an 80/20 capacity.  I’ll be good 80% of the time, and take my chances 20% of the time.  Over the past few years, I’ve found this approach works best for me.  I think everyone responds to boundaries differently — some of us might like the all or nothing approach.  But all that all or nothing accomplishes for me is a truly terrible attitude and massive resentment and unhappiness.  That isn’t to say that over time I haven’t found certain things are better at 100% (green smoothies are an example — a day without a smoothie means feeling much more lethargic and foggy, having lower energy and waking up in gripping stiffness and pain the next day — all of which I’m sure, sound amazing).  But across the whole spectrum, 80/20 has become my go-to.

And as I struggle each day to make the best decisions I can (I succeed sometimes, but I also fail … a lot) I thought maybe it might be something I could share here.

I have meds on Friday, which means I’m tired this week.  And the heat and humidity of July are not my friends.  When I woke up this morning, after about ten hours of sleep, my entire torso ached every time I inhaled.  My legs were unbelievably stiff, and my left knee hurt.  I mean, hurt.  Which I find so depressing, because it means I won’t have a good ride on my bike, if I ride my bike at all.  And that, in turn, means that my “Move” circle on my watch might not get completed.  Highly unsatisfactory.

I knew John had a long conference today (we are still adjusting to him working from home – finding routines and rhythm). I tried to make my bullet point list for today — things I wanted to accomplish.  I was going over to a barn near my house that does therapeutic riding with disabled children with my mother, but otherwise, nothing on the agenda.  I’d done some grocery shopping yesterday, so I figured I’d make something yummy.

I did a slight variation of a black bean & citrus salad that I first made years ago (from Iowa Girl Eats).  Let me tell you something ~ making a recipe when you are infinitely more comfortable in the kitchen is so much more fun than freaking out about measurements and ingredients every five seconds.  This recipe *could* be healthier (I used Israeli cous cous cooked in chicken bouillon instead of quinoa and water) but it’s still a pretty good one.  It’s definitely a recipe that makes me feel both healthy and happy.

What I used:

1 1/2 cups pink grapefruit segments

1 can black beans (rinsed)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 ears of fresh corn (cut off the cobb raw)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 cup dry Israeli Cous Cous

1 1/4 cup chicken bouillon

 

 

 

 

 

Dressing:

Juice of 2 limes

1/2 cup EVOO

2 tsp Cumin

Salt & Pepper to taste

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

1.  Combine cous cous and bouillon in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer.  Cover and allow cous cous to absorb liquid — about six- eight minutes.  Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally so the cous cous doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  Once the pearls are inflated, transfer to a  bowl and let cool to room temp.

2. Combine grapefruit, beans, corn, cilantro and cranberries in a medium to large mixing bowl.  I fold together with a spatula so that the grapefruit doesn’t break down too much.

3.  In a separate bowl, squeeze lime juice and combine with EVOO, cumin and salt and pepper.  Whisk together.

4.  When cous cous has cooled, combine with other ingredients, pour vinaigrette over and continue to mix until well combined.

5.  It’s delicious.  Trust me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m heading down to the gym now ~ I’ll probably do some burpees and squats (depending  on my knee) and then about 20 miles on the bike (again, knee dependent).  I’m hoping to get back to a regular yoga practice soon — my muscles are feeling tight from all the cardio and strength work outs.  Hubs and I have sweet potato noodles to make for dinner tonight (Wegmans = the best).

I’m already on my third bottle of water, so if I focus, I could probably get four in today (which may help with the soreness and stiffness).

 

conundrums

Having MS.

It’s sort of like everything all the time, and nothing at all.

I don’t really know how to better describe it.  How it affects everything, and is always on my mind, but at the same time isn’t that important at all.

When I talk about my MS, I usually feel like it’s a throwaway comment ~ not that big a deal, just the norm.  But then, halfway through the words coming out of my mouth, I realize (usually from the changing facial expression of the person I’m talking to) that perhaps, my comments are a little more jarring to them.

I guess it’s like …. nope.  I can’t think of anything that it might be like.  It’s just … my baseline, my reality.  I don’t want sympathy.  I don’t want pity.  But I also don’t know how to exist without it anymore.  It’s such a huge part of my whole life.  It influences everything I do, everything I wear, every decision I make.  I am no longer myself without the MS.  I am MS, it’s become part of my framework.

I don’t bring it up on purpose … and what I mean by that is, it’s so much a part of every aspect of my life, I don’t know how to exist without acknowledging it.  Yes.  Maybe that’s it.

I guess my throwaway bio on Instagram and Twitter are the truest of true … I am an MS warrior — BUT, I’m so much more than that.  Sometimes maybe, it’s hard to remember that there’s so much more, when I lead with such a wham bang punch.