Sunday, June 23

Inspiration: Carly Fleischmann

Looking for a little inspiration today? Then look no farther!

This short (under 2:30 min) documentary just won a silver medal at the Cannes Film Festival--in fact, I think you could say, it took the festival by storm! 

This film captures what it is like to be autistic--to not be able to speak or express your desires, to be trapped within your own body, constantly fighting against the external stimuli that throws itself at you as you try to focus on what is happening just at your own table at a cafe.

If you are ADHD you might relate a bit...

The amazing thing about this short film is that it was conceived and written and acted by an incredible young woman, Carly Fleischmann who is herself autistic and was unable to communicate until she was in middle school when they discovered she could control ONE finger to type very sophisticated and intelligent thoughts out on a computer...and not only did her world open up, but so did ours because Carly has an amazing way of actually explaining what it is truly like to be autistic!

There are 2 ways to watch this film on your computer--I suggest trying both ways. The first is an interactive way, where you use your mouse and just sort of move it around the screen as the dialogue progresses. Things (faces, sounds, etc) will come into focus or highlight more, giving an idea of what it is like to be autistic and not be able to block out any stimuli.  

The second way to watch it is by clicking on "Film Version" at the bottom of the screen and it will sort of do the unblocked stimuli for you. 

I then suggest going back and watching it in the first version but don't touch your mouse and see how much stimuli still gets through when Carly is simply trying to just look at her hands.

While they recommend listening via headphones, this isn't actually necessary.

Now on with the show!!!


So what did you think? Were you as impressed as I am????

As a follow-up, for those of you who read this  who have FM, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and/or ADHD--could you relate to Carly more now than you could have prior to the onset of your symptoms?

I know it is much, much harder for me to focus, hear, listen, and really be involved in a conversation when in a busy environment, or when I am in a lot of pain or am overly tired. I cannot clearly think or express my needs in those times. And I even "stim" more during those times (an expression doctors typically usually reserve for autistic spectrum people) by shaking my right foot more--and I truly cannot control it even when I try! 

Carly described stimming when she was on The Doctors in the following way:

She explained a stim is a akin to a nervous tick. Many people twirl their hair when they are nervous or tap a pencil on a desk as they try to work on a problem. These could be considered stims.  Carly’s stims though comes through because of an overbearing amount of stimulus in the air. Noise, people, movement, light or any number of things bombard Carly Fleischmann on a daily bases, making her cover her ears and rock back and forth to try and stop the stimulus from getting through to her brain.
I love that Carly pointed out that to some degree, many of us, if not all of us, stim to some degree or another at some points during our day to day lives!!!!
I hope you were as touched and inspired as I've been by Carly!

If you want to learn more about Carly, her website is and you can also follow her on Facebook at 
Thanks for allowing me to share a bit of inspiration with you today!!!
~XOXO~ Mary
Just in case you want to hear a bit more about Carly or autism in Carly's own voice, here's a couple more things you might like:
While on The Doctors, they also asked Carly what people most urgently needed to know about Autism. And her answer was quite clear.  
People need to encourage autistic people to be the best they can be. Carly said she wants people to believe in her and believe in her abilities to do whatever she wants to do in her life.  
She's already written a book and made a short film: what else can this young lady do to inspire us all?!?

BTW--This is what Carly wrote about her experience in Cannes (keep in mind typos occur when typing w/one finger!):

Oh my Gosh! Silver Silver Silver. TAKE THAT Ashton Kutcher ! A MUST SHARE WITH ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. This Film was even endorsed by Ellen Degeners on her twitter page and now this amazing honor. WoW!

Conan O'Brien, Anderson Cooper and even Sean Combs or aka, PDiddy were at the Canne's Lion Festival in France this week. Everyone was there to see awards go out to amazing films, but the biggest shocker was a Autism short film called Carly's CafĂ©. “That’s mine.” 

I came up with a film that would allow people to experience what autism was all about without having to have autism. My fathers ad agency came up with a way to pull it off and supported my vision. They produced it with a lot of their friends and connections. This film that I am proud to say won a silver medal at the Cannes lions Festival yesterday in France is shocking the world. A huge thank you, to everyone who gave up time to put this film together.

Anderson Cooper 360 you need to talk about this on your show. Are you afraid to talk about autism?

I am so proud of this short film. Not only because it shows people what it's like to have autism, but because it's interactive and allows people to experience something and take something back from a film unlike any other film. 

This silver medal goes out to everyone in the autism community from parents to anyone on the spectrum who has autism and just wants to be understood. I am so proud to say that we showed the world what autism is all about. My dream and my hope is that one day soon, we can share different peoples stories of how they live on the autism spectrum. 

Conan O'Brien, Anderson Cooper, Sean Combs and Ashton Kutcher watch out because Autism has taken over the movies! 

Merci France, vous avez pensĂ© au monde que l'autisme est important. 

From my iPad
To see the film go to:

Saturday, June 22

Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection

So.....Yesterday, I had an lumbar epidural steroid injection in my lower back (between L5-S) to help bring relief to my incessant lower back pain. The past 8 weeks have been off the charts with pain & I've fallen twice on stairs. 

I've had this "Back Pain in Exacerbation" since at least 2006 and had multiple MRIs and X-Rays on this location. I was told "you are riddled w/arthritis"--followed by "oh, no-you're not!" OR "It looks like degenerative disk/joint disease, but it shouldn't be causing the pain you're describing"...hmmm: I've been thinking it is! 

Especially since I had immediate relief just from the bupivacaine (like lidocaine) that they inject w/the steroid--but now I think the steroid is kicking in. Sweet holy relief!!!

I was a little nervous about the epidural but it was guided by an MRI from a couple years ago, and I was in an CT scan while they gave the epi--with contrast so the Dr could guide the needle into the right place. Piece of cake. Felt no pain. In fact, fell into a half sleep during the procedure! LOL

Though the steroids gave me an almighty headache last night, it's gone and the relief has come today. SOOOOO HAPPY!!!! 

So very grateful for my Rheumatologist who listened to me about my off the charts pain and requested to view recent MRIs and immediately sent me for this procedure... And for the Anesthesiologist who confirmed I was not nutty but that I did indeed have Lumbar Facet Joint Arthropathy (degenerative joint disease--especially of on the right side of the L5-S). And he confirmed that the swelling would indeed "cause this much pain"!!!!