Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Mast Cells, College, and Finals oh my!

 Hello again, 

Considering my last post was on my birthday and it is now May it's been a while. How have you been? It's has been rather hectic these past few months between school, college research, and the ever so complex medical side of things. We have not quite a month left of school and once it is over I'll hopefully be back to posting semi-regularly; I have some things planned! We have a bit more information on my current situation medically, as I'm still stridoring...Its been two months :( 

It turns out that what neurology thought was a tic/Tourette's syndrome is actually a rare form of Dystonia- Laryngeal Dystonia I have an appointment with the head of the movement disorder clinic at BCH in two weeks and pulmonolgy and ENT have been following closely, I see them next week. Currently we're trying a Mast Cell Inhibitor to attempt to bring down the swelling at the back of my throat and see if it does anything as we have had a hypothesis that Mast Cell Activiation Disorder (MCAS) Might play a component if it tests positive in a genetic test that either the MDC at children's or Pulmonary will conduct along with screening for other genetic mutations. 

Switching gears to school and summer plans; we get out on June 13th with normal school days up until the end of the year with finals built into them. This week feels more like the end of a semester though! I'll be doing a 2 week program at MassArt and being a TA at the MFA for a week other than working and going down to Providence to see a friend!  I do have a few post ideas that I need to write and a few stories in progress that I will hopefully find the time to finish once the school year is over. 

Sorry for disapeering for so long I had many times where I wanted to hop on and write something but life has gotten in the way lately, oh well! 

If you do want to keep up to date I suggest following me on Instagram-
Art account (more active of the two) @Thedisc0panda
Personal/Disability advocacy account @Maxstock2020

Until next time,
Max

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

I'm an adult now!!

Today at 10:30 AM this morning marked my 18th birthday...yikes! Sure I'm legally an adult but in the words of my special educator (who is 31 and very much a big kid in an adults body) "you don't really start full fledged adulting until you're like...35 or over." Yesterday marked winstons 21st birthday also a big milestone! As for any kind of party myself, some of my old friends that are not new to this blog (Tony, Greyson, Abbie, ext.) and some of my percussion friends are going into the Bristol lounge in Boston for a nice dinner. My Aide and ASL interpreter from last year who moved back to Maine surprised me today by coming to visit...and knock some sense into the replacement interpreter who signed up thinking she could work on her own stuff for her history masters and only help with history work, she's been replaced by the other TA who can't sign fluently but is willing to learn and has learned to use the real time captioning device we have. The former interpreter even brought me a present (and she made us cupcakes because she stress bakes and she loves us) over all it's been a good day!

Until next time,
Max

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The return of the stridor

Of my various, complicated, and just plain annoying medical problems the main issue for the past five or so years has been something called Stridor. Not to be confused with Aragorn from lord of the rings who's alias is strider, Stridor is defined by the CHOP (the children's hospital of Philadelphia) as;

"Stridor is noisy breathing that occurs due to obstructed air flow through a narrowed airway. Stridor breathing is not in and of itself a diagnosis, but rather is a symptom or sign that points to a specific airway disorder.
The timing and the sound of your child's noisy breathing provides clues to the type of airway disorder:
  • Inspiratory stridor occurs when your child breathes in and it indicates a collapse of tissue above the vocal cords. 
  • Expiratory stridor occurs when your child breathes out and it indicates a problem further down the windpipe. 
  • Biphasic stridor occurs when your child breathes in and out, and it indicates a narrowing of the subglottis, the cartilage right below the vocal cords." 

The stridor that I have is Biphasic stridor caused by paradoxical vocal fold motion also known as vocal cord dysfunction and occurs when the vocal cords close during inhalation and open during exhalation, the opposite of their normal motion, in addition to paralysis of both vocal cords. The paralysis and Pvfm are not as bad as they once were but the thing is, the stridor returned out of nowhere. I had a coughing fit last Monday around 10:45 AM and that set off wheezing which then set off the stridor. I've had a cold the last couple of weeks though not bad enough to be the kind of virus that usually triggers thing. As for specific viral triggers we do not have any and the flare ups are not a set pattern. They usually occur once to four times per year. This particular flare up is confusing, and annoying and occurred at not the best timing as a new term will be beginning soon as is course selection for next year. Final projects are already beginning to be outlined in class. We don't see Dr Hartnick my ENT until next Friday though we are calling the pulmonary department to set up an appointment today and he will have the reports from the ER and impatient unit. It's all a big continuing mystery. I don't know how I got through classes every day in 7th grade stridoring especially when it was at its worst point...

For more information on stridor click here: CHOP stridor full article
For more information on vocal cord dysfunction click here: National Jewish Health VCD article
For more information on vocal cord paralysis click here: Mass Eye and Ear VCP article

Until next time,
Max

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

College help

Since my second semester of Junior year is fast approaching (it starts tomorrow!) and college is looming on the horizon; I need your help. I've begun to compile a small list of colleges and universities that I am interested in looking at, but I don't know many colleges with good accessibility departments or who are willing to listen to someone with complex chronic health care needs, do you know any that would be worth looking into?

Please comment if you have any ideas at all it would be a big help!

Until next time,
Max

Friday, January 18, 2019

Lock and Key (Kit)

The formal introduction and partial backstory of the one and only Carter “Kit” O’neil!

“So how’d you end up in Morrowind anyways?” Valan asks passively, not looking up from his book. “What?” He looks at me with hazed red eyes. The most interesting thing I've noticed in my time in Morrowind is the Dunmer, though for the most part having the same eye colour, have incredibly expressive eyes. Valan’s reflect a curiosity and defiance though appear to have a hazy film over them, Samantha's in contrast are a clear bright red and while they can seem warm and welcoming at times, at others they make her seem as cold and distant from the world as the castle she grew up in. Yuuri’s eyes are full of life but can be serious, and Takayama’s always seem a bit sad, though it's understandable. “I told you my past, how I ended up here. Now I'm asking about yours.” Valan replies. I sit up, having passed out earlier. “Fine, I'll tell you but it's a long complicated story.” Valan shoots me a look “Well at least for me it's a long and complicated story. But you deal with Sammies longer more complicated stories so it should be easy for you. And you're just listening.” I sit next to him and take a breathe. “It all started with a lock and a key...or really a lack of a key.” Valan puts the book down and leans toward me, intrigued. “Continue.”

FLASHBACK TO A YOUNGER KIT

The streets of Daggerfall can be a twisting maze of stone and brick with dead ends and alleys, and always with opportunities ripe for the taking. Having grown up near Daggerfall I knew my way around rather well, connections to thieves in the area only helped with that. “Morning, Carter.” A hooded man says with a sneer “Got any jobs to do? Or have you been sleeping again?” I quickly show him a slip of paper, marked with the symbol of the thieves guild, a rhombus with a circle in the middle and he nods. “The house is two streets over on the left side. Fifth one down. You'll know it when you see it. But be careful, this is no easy job. The house is locked up tight.” I take his words into consideration, stop by the guilds fence a block over disguised as a baker selling bread and pick up a few extra lockpicks. I overhear a mention of the same house I'm supposed to rob as I wander through the market, picking up the occasional pick pocketed item as I go. The speaker is a tall imperial woman, finely dressed, and with an unmistakable attitude. Your typical snobbish noble lady. I notice a glimmer of gold peeking out of her pocket, a key of sorts. Maybe it's the key to the house? Walking by I pretend to drop something leaning over and grab the key on my way up, she doesn't notice it's gone. Making my way over to the house I find, sadly it's not a key to an outside door, I'll have to pick it. With a sigh I walk around the perimeter finally settling on the back entrance and pick my way in. Now, to find what I was looking for. Searching the house from top to bottom I find the safe in the master bedroom, so that's what the key went to. Making my way to leave I turn towards the bedroom door-

-And walk right into the woman.

“Oh, hello.” I say with a nervous laugh before bolting for the door. I manage to get to the city gates, nearly toppling a ginger haired man and his brunette companion who seemed to be arguing over a journalism controversy. “So sorry.” I apologize quickly to the two and the brunette woman gives me a kind smile before noticing a black haired women walking down the street. She looks rather intimidating with her hands stuffed in her pockets but lightens up when she notices the other two. Turning my attention from the three people I quickly I try to get out of the city and get a few paces before being surrounded by guards. With a sigh I agree to go quietly, I’ve never been the best fighter.

Having agreed to arrest I spend three days in jail, though Daggerfall has a surprisingly nice one. The bed is soft and in good condition, the food is excellent, something I never expected to say about prison food. And the guards treated me fairly well. On the day of my release I quickly grab the small bag of stolen items, hiding it in a satchel as I leave. “We’re sorry to see you go, Kit. Come back and visit?” One of the guards jokes. I give him a grin and a nod “Well of course!” We shake hands, having been arrested in Daggerfall before the guards by now know it'll happen again. Instead of antagonizing me, they simply go with it. I haven't murdered anybody or anything, just mostly organized burglary or the occasional extortion.

Going home I find a letter on a table addressed for me, huh. It's from the guild in Skyrim. Opening it I find it's from one of the guild heads, I’ve been reassigned. The guild as a whole needs someone to work for the branch in Skyrim, but stationed in Morrowind. “Interesting.” I murmur and place the letter back on the desk. Going over to the wardrobe I begin to rifle through clothing “I wonder what the weather's like in Morrowind.” Reading over the letter again I find out I'll be stationed in both Vvardenfell and the mainland, operating out of Blacklight and Vivec. Taking a few days to pack my things I set off for Skyrim.

“As you must be the new lad.” A man says happily when I walk into the Riften guild. “What's your name?” He asks urging me to sit down with a man who I assume to be the one who contacted me. “Carter O’Neil. But you can call me Kit. It's my middle name.” They nod “Kit it is then.” They walk me through the details of the assignment, introduce me to the fence and the head of the guild. He's not a very nice fellow. Odd and rather mean. “Go to Windhelm, there’ll be a boat waiting for you.” The second man explains and gives me a few things for the journey. “And if the Dunmer are hostile to you at firsts just know they're like that to everyone. It's a cultural thing! Bad time of it with the Imperials will do that to you!” He calls after me as I leave, following the tunnels through The Ratway.

 I turn north toward Windhelm. Why must it be so cold in this country?! It snows for the better part of the two day journey but finally The City of Kings appears over a ridge, it looks as cold and grim as I've heard. “Bloody Lovely.” I mutter to myself clutching my coat closer to me and begun to trudge through the snow down toward the city, passing a large statue of Talos on my way. Then retract as I notice some items of value at the shrine “But Carter! that's sacrilegious!!” I laugh mimicking my mother, she’d be furious if she knew about this. “So just don't tell her at dinner next time you idiot.” I sigh to myself and continue walking.

Staying over at the Inn for a night I go to the docks at first light. Wandering through the Dunmer ghetto, The Grey Quarter, first to get some information. Most are immigrants, by now wishing they were back in their homeland than stuck in this dreary place, even with the ash and tribunal. Many of them mention The Morag Tong, an assassins guild and the only legal one in Tamriel, though only in Morrowind. They also mention someone called the Nerevarine, of whom I’ve heard of before but never knew exactly who or what they were. “Look for a red haired fellow. Around your height a little taller. And he's legally blind. His names Valan Velothi.” The bartender at the cornerclub explains. Why would a hero be legally blind? How would an assassin be legally blind?! “What was Azura thinking?!” I ask surprised though I file away the information to look up later. “By Azura who knows. He's usually with a girl named Samantha Arryn, she's a former princess, terrible family or something, she eventually escaped somehow. The castles up in the mountains so it's a bit hard to get in or out of. Sammie keeps him in line for the most part...or she joins in his antics. They're both in Vvardenfell mostly, and another friend of theirs is from the mainland. Seki Yuuri, or to you, Yuuri Seki. Even just by the name gives you a little idea, they're a bit different. He’s a bit different from the other two in terms of certain cultural aspects. I think you'll like him.” The bartender explains as he cleans glasses. “And if the Nerevarine tries to get you involved with any Telvanni mages, don't volunteer for any experiments unless you have a wish for injury, death, or...uncertain complications.” He explains the Great Houses and the complex system of honorifics, as well as basic alphabetical characters and phrases.  I take a sip of my drink and nod before paying “Well thanks for ‘Morrowind: people and culture 101’ I appreciate it. If you ever want ‘High Rock: the two parts of the country hate each other and we have good food 101’ just look me up.” The bartender chuckles “You sure you can't stay longer? You're awfully fun to have around. With the sarcasm and illegal activities you'll fit in quite well. And remember to look up the Morag Tong they're a valuable asset!” I bid the man goodbye and he waves as I leave before going back to cleaning. Finding the boat on the docks I set off to Morrowind.

Landing in Morrowind I begin to learn my way around. Many people are hostile at first as expected but others are kind. One day when not looking I walk into someone, stepping back I realize it's the same people the bartender mentioned. A blind red haired man and a black haired woman.

 “Welcome to Morrowind...Outlander.”

BACK TO PRESENT

“Aaand so then met you two then I met Yuuri and now I'm here.” I finish explaining and Valan begins to clap, either sarcastically or genuinely I'm not sure. “Very nice story. Though I still think I win for most interesting one.” He grins. “Well I'm not the one who hears Azura and other daedric princes in his head at random times.” I argue back and he sits back in his chair with a grin “Exactly.” He says crossing his arms.

...Oh you smug bastard.

THE END!




Saturday, January 12, 2019

2018 year in review

Well we've started a new year, and for the past few years I've done an annual year in review to kick off the new one. Happy 2019, let's look back on 2018 month by month.

January:
-Got my Roger System and tried it for the first time
-Finished my self portrait made of dots
-I was sick
-There was a little bit of writing
-Lots of art
-OC!Cats exist now???
-Comic work was revived and still continues off and on

February:
-I was still sick
-My cousins bar mitzvah was enjoyable
-One of my best friends, Jordan, sent me some paper dolls of Phillip, Anna, and Valan and I love them so so so much
-Wind Ensemble audition practice was in full swing and I didn't have much time to write
-A lot of vent art happened
-Valan/Yuuri is semi canonical I guess
-Xavier needs a nap

March:
I explained on my personal IG (@maxstock2020) #whyIsign and about my hearing loss and my relation to D/deaf culture
-My 17th birthday came and went
-My polycystic ovarian syndrome and kidney cyst got worse
-Ali made another appearance
-March was not a good month overall
-Ms Suitor gave me a bag of kitkats for my birthday which was really nice

April:
-Wind Ensemble Auditions and results!!
-Wrote my first thesis on the holocaust and war psychology/impact on civilians
-More art particularly watercolours
-Started on character references
-Valan mostly took up April
-Depression spiral toward late April

May:
-Sammie's Birthday
-I went to the zoo
-Takayama explains about his kids
-Fluff! Lots of fluff!!
-My hearing got worse

June:
-Fluff
-Angst
-Deaf culture explanations
-No more school
-Ms Suitor left
-Band played for graduation

July:
-I saw Jordan quite a few times
-Hung out at the MFA for some classes
-More character references
-More fluff
-Temporary hiatus

August:
-We brought Winston to college
-Chicago was fun
-More MFA classes
-School Started
-More fluff and angst
-Started working as a silverware polisher at a resturant and quickly made friends with the chefs who call me the silverware fairy and give me free dinner

September:
-Less writing as school got into full swing
-Ali gets a Birthday party
-Some more references
-We get a new medical lead

October:
-Participated in Inktober for the first time
-Was sick a lot
-Got approval for a new HA
-Issy Appriciation week occurred

November:
-Sickness
-So Much Sickness
-Headaches and seizures and blurry vision ended up with an ER trip
-Everan needs a hug

December:
-The break was much needed
-School is stressful
-Writing is happening
-Lots and lots of art (my art Instagram is @thedisc0panda if you would like to follow and see more of my artwork)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Happy 2019 everyone I hope you had a nice and restful holiday season. Mine was hectic, but overall not that bad. More to come on that later. I go back to school tomorrow but one of my goals for the year is to try to get back into posting more. I am in the process of scheduling some posts for the next couple of weeks, though I doubt I'll be able to post regularly here until April or the Summer, junior year and disbility/health issues have been taking up most of my time of late. None the less I will be back at some point hopefully healthier and hope you have a happy and healthy new year!