mini update…it’s all about me

20180902_140241It’s Labor Day, for most it’s a time to a honor the workers of America, and send the summer off with a bang.  For me, Labor Day this year marks my 14th wedding anniversary.  I can honestly say, I’d marry this may again in a minute!  It sure doesn’t feel like our wedding was 14 years ago, yet, it feels like we’ve known each other forever.

We had planned to go on a day trip to just get away, but things haven’t quite turned out as we’d planned; maybe we’ll make it there soon.  Instead we went to the botanical gardens here in town, it was like walking into a secret garden, I really needed to get out and commune with nature.  I’m so glad we Stuart talked me into going.

(I’m actually starting to get sleepy, but I really wanted to post this now, so I haven’t read over this, please excuse any and all errors, if something doesn’t make sense, let me know.)

sleep: After reading the comments left of my post about my lack of sleep and extreme fatigue, I have tried a few things and I think I may have discovered a couple of things that may have been contributing to it.

  • One – allergies.  It was suggested that this might be the case so I checked looked up what might be causing that, and found out that ragweed is causing MODERATE pollen counts.  I’m very allergic to ragweed, so I increased my antihistamines and have been doing a saline spray.  I wish I could use a Neti Pot but it causes vertigo.
  • Two – mood swings.  Someone mentioned that when she is feeling the way I have been that she knows she is a bit manic.  Well that sent up bells and whistles.  I realized just how quick to anger I have been lately.  I’ve been cutting myself off from people.  I am trying to make an effort, but it has just been so hard.  I’m simply having a hard time putting forth the effort.  I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting my people.  I’m also having uncontrollable crying spells.  Today (I’m wring this on Sunday night) I just couldn’t stop my eyes from leaking.  It annoyed the hell out of me.  So, have I been a bit hypomanic, that would cause the anger and the lack of sleep, but it doesn’t explain the tears.  Could I been depressed?  Is it possible to be experiencing both at the same time?  After being diagnosed with bipolar I over 22 years ago, you’d think I could figure this out, but I must admit my moods have not been as stable this past year as they have been for many, many years.  I’m not having full blown mania or severe depression, but I’m having a very hard time coping.  I’m also having a very hard time holding my tongue, and unfortunately I have been hiding how I’ve been feeling from almost everyone (I do share these things with Stuart, we are in this together) including someone who is causing me some severe anxiety.  I’d really like to cut this person out of my life, but it’s just not possible, at least not right now.  I’m trying hard to just let it go, and be gentle with myself.  I understand that I’m really getting upset because this person is not behaving as I expect people to, it is these expectations that I have to let go of.  But the drama is affecting other people in my life and that is causing me more anxiety.  I’m sure most of that makes no sense, but it felt good to get it out, even if it is a little cryptic.
  • Gabapentin – I’ve been taking 100 mg of gabapentin 3 times a day for a while now, and it hasn’t really bothered me.  I take 200 mg at bed time and 100 mg upon waking.  If I don’t take this my arm goes to sleep and aches, my back hurts more and my aches and pains are more intense.  Since moving here I’ve needed to refill my prescription a couple of time and I noticed that the manufacturer is differnt than the one who supplied my pharmacy in NC.  I can’t help but wonder if that changed things.  so for the past couple of days I haven’t been taking my morning dose and honestly I haven’t been nearly as sleepy during the day. That’s unfortunate because my pain has increased quite a bit.
  • Stress and anxiety.  We’ve talked about this before, but I have spent a number of hours awake lately when I simply could not shut my brain off.

What I discovered was not an issue.  My use of medical marijuana.  For the most part I’ve been using mostly CBD during the day. You can read recent studies on sleep and CBD on NCBI  To make sure the CBD was not causing my insomnia and/or my daytime fatigue I decided to stop taking it for a while.  After 2 weeks I saw no difference with my sleep, but did notice an increase in my headaches and anxiety.  I haven’t been using any cannabis with THC duing the daytime.  I have still been taking it right before I go to bed, it does help me sleep for about 4 hours at least.  (note I’ve been using marijuana to help me sleep for a couple of years now)

Increase in physical symptoms: I’ve been much better for a while now…my vertigo has been almost non-existent at least 9 months now.  This past week, it has been worse again.  I haven’t been having full rotational spins for the most part, but I have been seeing things move and I feel like I’m moving.  I’ve had a few spells this week that caused Stuart to come home early to help me.  I haven’t thrown up from vertigo in quite some time.  Even before I stopped having vertigo on a regular basis, I had stopped vomiting.  I normally use a little cannabis to stop the nausea and vomiting, but I was trying hard this week to not do that, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t causing me to lose sleep.  Well, it wasn’t and I will be using it to help with the vomiting the next time I have vertigo.  My migraines have also increased, and I don’t feel like the gammaCore is doing much.  That makes me sad.  To be completely honest, I’m having a very hard time staying in the present and not freaking out over the thought that I might get back like I was.  I’m already afraid to drive again.  Shoot.

House search: We still haven’t come close to finding a house that is suitable, there just aren’t very many houses that have the features we want/need.  Now we’ve found a little snafu on our credit report that we need to clear up.  It’s sad when someone has a credit score of over 800 and the ability to put down a down payment of over 20%, and we are having trouble getting pre-approved.  There’s something wrong with that picture.  We are hoping we can get it straight soon.  If not we’ll just rent for a while. I’m trying hard not to stress over it.

Eating:  I still feel like food is controlling my life.  I recently had a week where I wasn’t starving all the time and I was able to stay in my calorie range.  I’m terrified of gaining all that weight back, yet I can’t seem to stop eating, and that is simply tearing me up inside.  I did find a cool app called Mealime and it has been a great help in planning meals that are pretty easy and healthy too.  Now if I could just control the snaking, especially in the middle of the night.  How did I go from having to force myself to eat, to overeating?

Doctors: It has been a challenge finding doctors here.  Most of the doctors I found on the BCBS site who said they were accepting new patients actually weren’t.  I do like the PCP that I found, except for a couple of things, I’m hoping those things will resolve themselves after we get to know each other better.  (like she isn’t comfortable prescribing my Valium for the vertigo.  I don’t take if often, but if I’m having vertigo that is the only thing that helps calm it down.  I do not take it as an anxiety medication, nor do I over use it.  My last prescription of 90 pills lasted me almost a year!  She doesn’t seem to understand that it is the best vestibular suppressant out there.  I will have to find an ENT.  I want to see a neurotolgist here in town, but he only sees patients that have been refereed by an ENT.  So I have to find one of them first.  Argh, what a pain!  I am hoping he can treat both my Meniere’s an my migraines though, so I really hope I can get in there to at least talk to him and see if he can offer any help at all.  I do like my neurologist now, well what I learned in my first visit to see him anyway, but I do not like how hard he is to get in touch with, nor do I feel like his staff is very helpful.  Recently I had a seizure, my first in a very long time, the next day he called my neuro and left a message about it.  No one ever called back.  I had a seizure and NO ONE CALLED BACK?!?   The doctor who operated on my wrist was not as thorough as I felt he should have been.  Every time he was in the exam room with me I felt he was always on his way out the door.  I didn’t feel like he answered all my questions and I didn’t feel like I had clear enough discharge instructions.  He also didn’t even talk with Stuart after my surgery.  Talking to me right after I wake up is not a good time to expect me to retain information.  They did send me a survey to fill out and I spoke up about my feelings, I’m proud of myself for that. I was told by the resident who took my stitches out that I could have pain from the healing for a year. wow!  Didn’t expect that one.

That’s all for now….I guess that was a bit longer than a “mini update”  perhaps I should have called it a “maxi update”  🙂

*photo taken by W. Holcombe at Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tucson, AZ – all rights reserved.  Please do not copy without permission.

 

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Eyes Wide Shut

I’m so tired.  I’ve experienced fatigue before, but nothing like this.  I can’t stay awake, except at night, when I can’t sleep.  I’m restless, yet I can’t get it together.  I started exercising more this past month, but this past week I haven’t been able to do more than what is absolutely necessary.  A little while ago I put some dishes in the dishwasher and now I’m ready to take a nap.  I am having a very hard time keeping my eyes open.  Lifting my limbs is a challenge.  This in conjunction with extreme brain fog, yes writing this post is a challenge, it’s also why I haven’t been able to follow through on promises made.  I really hate that.

What changed?  I honestly don’t know of anything that has changed so much in the past week that would cause this.  I don’t think I’m sick.  I’m not running fever or anything like that.  My headaches haven’t been worse, they aren’t better, but they aren’t worse.  I haven’t increased my medication.  I am taking CBD oil during the day, but I’ve been doing that for over a month now, so that’s not new.  I’ve actually been taking less this week because I keep forgetting.  As it has been pointed out to me countless times by numerous people, I have been under a huge amount of stress, but honestly, the stress hasn’t really intensified recently, it’s been pretty steady for months now.  I’m dealing with it pretty darn well, if I do say so myself.  The only thing that has my mind racing is our house hunting, it’s taking longer than we expected, and it’s just getting to me a bit.  I’ve decided to step back from the search for a few days at least, a bit of breathing room, get refocused and start again next week.

I’ve been using marijuana to help me sleep for a long time.  (full disclosure, I was using it long before we moved to a legal state)  for some reason it’s not working like it used to.  I can’t sleep, yet I can’t stay awake, what’s up with that?  When I try to go to sleep at night I just toss and turn, often I just give up for a while and get up.  It’s hard not to snack in the middle of the night when you’re up all night.  OK, I’m exagerating a little, I am sleeping …some…

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My sleep last night recorded on my Fitbit.

Okay, my brain is not working.  I’m about to fall asleep…probably not really, but I feel like it.  It is storming like crazy right now.  Monsoon season is almost over, as much as I’m tired of the storms every day, I’m going to really miss them when we go for months with no rain.  Plus, they are really cool.

Some reasons I might not be sleeping…hmmm….pain.  My wrist is getting better, I’m not having those horrible sharp pains and I have much more range of motion.  I can pick up dishes without extreme pain! That’s awesome!  But, now it hurts all the time.  The pain is not as intense, but it’s always there.  I bought some CBD salve yesterday and I’m rubbing it all round my wrist and hand, not the actual surgical site yet, I get my stitches out on Friday. after that I’ll rub it all over.  Cross fingers it helps ease the pain a bit.  I feel silly complaining, it’s not that bad, it’s just constant.  (sometimes I do still have some sharp pains, I was just reminded of that a few moments ago when I tried to help with dinner)

Thank you all for listening to me rant.  I do accept that this is the way it is right now, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to figure out what is going on and take care of myself the best I can.

Any suggestions?

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness Monday – Storm

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Monsoons 2018, by W. Holcombe. all rights reserved

 

“You can’t calm the storm,

so stop trying.

What you can do is

calm yourself.

The storm will pass.”

~ Timber Hawkeye

 

“You will not be

the same after the

storms of life;

You will be stronger,

wiser and more alive

than ever before!”

~ Bryant McGill

 

“The great benefit of

practicing mindfulness…

is the presence of mind

within a storm

 of emotions.”

~ Phillip Moffitt

 

*photo was taken in Tucson, AZ , off my front porch, during monsoon season 2018.  It’s am amazing time, I wish I could get better pictures for you.  The monsoons are full of beauty and power, but…another of it’s secret powers is to cause super duper migraines.  Ahh.  Please do not use this image without permission.

 

 

Visiting Aqua Caliente Park

Today we visited Aqua Caliente Park, it’s located on East Roger Road in Tucson, AZ. I never expected to see anything like this in the desert. Funny though, I saw several oasis in the Sonoran Desert outside of Palm Springs, CA; when we lived there, yet I never expected to see it here.

You can read about this park on the Pima County website, but I’d like to share some of the sites I saw there, I hope you enjoy them.

First you’ll find the Flora, followed by the Fauna.  (some of the plants are not actually native, but they’ve been here a very long time)

 

 

The fish in the photo by himself was a monster!  If anyone knows what kind of fish he is I’d love to know.  I’m pretty sure he’s not a catfish; if he is, he looks different than SC or NC catfish.  🙂   ***I just read that the part has grass carp and bass in it, I think this might be a carp.  I think it should be noted that none of the fish or turtles are native.  However, here are many bird species that call this place home.

The frog was also huge!  Bigger than my foot! He was so patient and let us take a photo of him, there was another frog close by, but he didn’t want his picture taken so he jumped in the water very fast.

I had severe migraines all week, I was lucky enough to have a few hours respite and a few more hours with the pain reduced enough that I could function, still at a slower pace and I was probably a cranky bitch at times, but I’m grateful I was able to enjoy part of the weekend.

*I have one last photo to share, but I’ll save that for Mindfulness Monday 😉

**Remember all photos and artwork on Picnic with Ants are personal property and are not to be shared without permission from the creator.  (in this case, Wendy Holcombe took all the above photos and is the sole owner of all rights)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meaningful Monday – Suffering

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“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching,

and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be.

I have been bent and broken, but

—I hope—

Into a better shape.”

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“There is the solitude of suffering,

when you go through darkness that is

lonely, intense, and terrible.

Words become powerless to express your pain;

what others hear from your words is

so distant and different from what you are actually suffering.”

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

We must look deeply in order to understand

the needs, aspirations, and suffering

of the person we love.

This is the ground of real love”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

*photo by W. Holcombe.  Baby Opuntia (prickly pear) Cactus.  Please do not use without permission.

I did things a little differently this week, the not all of the quotes would be considered “mindful”, but I felt they were more meaningful this week.

 

 

Quick update…much more to come

I’m tired.

I sat down to write this and all I can think is, “I’m tired”.  Hell, I’d say I’m pretty exhausted, and I still have so much to do.  Just praying I can accomplish much more before I completely collapse.

On the 23rd the movers came and packed up our house to move us from North Carolina to Arizona.  We started our trek across the country the next day.  We had planned to take it slow, drive about 4-5 hours a day, as long as we got there sometime this week we thought that would be fine.  After the second day we got word that our stuff would be arriving in Tucson on Tuesday (the 29th), if we drove 8 hours a day for the next couple of days we would be there in time.  It wasn’t a huge deal if we weren’t there when everything arrived, we had people who could take care of it for us, but I could tell that the thought of us not being there when they unloaded was stressing Stuart a little, so we decided to make it happen.  We arrived the afternoon of the 28th, and our stuff arrived at 8:30am the next day.

The trip here was pretty uneventful, just a few little things bare mentioning.  For most of the trip I had a stomach ache.  Gastritis was hitting me hard.  I could only handle bland food.  That’s a little challenging when you are driving across the country with a little dog and have an allergy to wheat.  I ate a lot of oatmeal and baked potatoes.  One night I did venture out and had steamed chicken and broccoli with rice…no sauce, and I did okay with it.  I’m happy to say that my stomach calmed down now after we got here, I even had a piece of pizza.  The pain in my stomach was so bad the first day that I seriously considered going to the ER, but I just had an endoscopy done and it only showed gastritis, so I was pretty sure it was just flaring.  (Gastritis is a general term for a group of conditions with one thing in common: inflammation of the lining of the stomach.)  I have been wondering why my stomach hurt so much on this trip and the only thing that I can think of that was different was that I stopped taking turmeric last week.  (I know you are all thinking, stress, but I have been under a lot of stress the past month and I haven’t had a stomach ache)  I’d been taking tumeric for months (maybe a year) for inflammation, but I wasn’t sure it was doing much.  Now I’m beginning to think it was reducing the inflammation in my stomach.  I started taking it again last weekend, and I haven’t had issues since.

I must admit the pain caused me to be one irritable cranky bi…umm…witch.  Things that normally wouldn’t phase me in the slightest were suddenly getting on my nerves something awful.  Yes, the stress of moving did not help.  I was feeling a bit emotional about leaving the Southeast.  It just seems a bit final.  I simply don’t know if I’ll see some of those people ever again, I’m not dwelling on it, but it makes me sad.  And not knowing what to expect with Stuart’s stepmom was also probably contributing to the stress.  I really hate that word.  I hate that just normal day things that we have to deal with can cause so many physical symptoms. Stress is not always a bad thing, but it can do havoc on your body.  And I hate it when a doctor tells me that “it’s stress”, argh!

So the trip was good except for my tummy ache and being a grump.

On the 29th the movers delivered our stuff and I saw the house for the first time.

When I walked up to the house a hummingbird came right up to me, I took it as a sign that this is a good place. (both my and Stuart’s mom loved hummingbirds, I have a couple of meaningful hummingbird encounters, I may share those on another day)  The house has a good feeling about it.  The house is old and small, but it’s well taken care of, and it has an amazing yard.  Not the kind of yard you have in the Southeast, but a cool Southwest yard.  It also has a pool.  I’m so excited about that!  Oh, I’ll post pictures soon, I’ll show you everything!

After the movers left we went and had lunch with Stuart’s dad and Margaret.  It was the first time I’ve seen her since the accident.  I wasn’t sure what to expect so I prepared myself for the worst.  She is still a dear sweet woman whom I adore; but she had no recollection of meeting me before, or knowing anything about me.  I didn’t expect her to, so I wasn’t disappointed.  I was pleased that she remembered Stuart was here last month, that was nice.  She may not remember that tomorrow, but she remembered it today.  We had a pleasant lunch, then it was time for us to leave and she became agitated.  She is convinced they are trying to poison her.  You see, she doesn’t like to take her medication, so they put it in applesauce to give it to her, but she tasted it.  It was that taste that made her start believing they were trying to poison her.  I’m told she calms down fast and she won’t remember that, but it affected me.  She was very happy for the rest of the visit, she talked and talked. She made the comment that she likes everything.  When I simply smiled when she said, “No really, I just like everything.  Well, I don’t like someone right up in my face waving their hand, but mostly I like everything.”  (this was before the poisoning episode)

She is so in love with John (Dad).  When he walks in she lights up, and runs over to him and hugs him and kisses him.  It’s so wonderful.  They are still so much in love.  He is a very good husband.  Tonight Stuart was telling me that they don’t know if she’ll continue to remember him.  She has lost most of her short term memory and it keeps encroaching on every day.  She will start forgetting those she has not for the least amount of time; Dad and she have only been married for 7 years so she could start forgetting him in the not too distant future.  The longer she has known someone the longer she will remember them, she may not remember their correct age; for example she may think her son is her husband, because if fits with she is in her memory.  It makes me sad.  They are so much in love.  Dad once told Stuart that as much as he loved Stuart’s mom, Margaret was his soulmate; it breaks my heart that they had so little time together.

Margaret does seem to enjoy the time we spend together.  She just talks and talks, about anything and nothing, but some of her stories are quite entertaining.  I enjoy talking with her, my only problem with that is that I can’t hear a lot of what she says; I follow her body language and mimic it, that seems to be enough for her, but I really wish I could hear her better.  I don’t know if I can be with her alone if I can’t hear it well, I may not understand that she needs assistance before she gets agitated.

I started writing this last week, but we had a time getting out internet connected, the cable company isn’t in much of a hurry to send technicians out to a house to get them turned on so I couldn’t finish it.  For some reason, the WordPress app wouldn’t let me do anything on my own blog.  I couldn’t even comment of a post.  And the last reason I haven’t been able to post is that I haven’t been able to type very easily.

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getting the steroid injection in my wrist….at least my doctor was super cute.

Right before we left my right wrist started hurting and my thumb was partially numb.  Just exactly like how the De Quervain’s tendinosis in my left wrist.  That is pretty strange; it’s not acutually that strange for people who have had it, but it’s alson normally found in women who have babies.  The act of repeatedly picking up a child can cause it, but me?  Why am I getting this?  I have no idea what I’m doing, I thought I’d figured out what cause it in my left wrist, but now I’m not too sure.  Well, I got a shot in it on Wednesday, crossing fingers it works and I don’t have to have further treatment.  So that’s the reason’s I haven’t been posting about this adventure.  Well those and being incredibly busy.

I’ll write more about where we are living now soon.,,,With more pictures.

It’s really happening….life is changing fast.

“Everything changes, nothing remains without change.” ~ Buddha

Okay so I started this a number of times and just can’t get my words to come out right, so I’m going to try the mindful writing for this post and see how it goes.  What you are about to read will be written with my eyes closed and I’ll be taking a deep breath after each sentence….let’s see how it goes.

Okay, so deep. deep breath.  In.  Out.  Breathe.  I must take time to do that more often.  The simple act of stopping and breathing with intention has helped to calm my mind and open my awareness.  How wonderful that such a small action can do so much.  It is amazing to me.  Again.  Breathe.  In…. Out…..  calm.

Now let’s see if I can write what’s on my mind.

We will be leaving for Tucson in a couple of weeks.  Stuart starts his new job there on June 11th.  Everything has been falling into place.  Well, kinda, sorta.  Enough has fallen into place that it all feels right.  This feels like we are making the best decision for all.

A couple of weeks ago Stuart went for a job interview in Tucson, while there he also looked at houses for us to rent.  Not only was he offered the job, but he found a little house for us to rent while our house sells and we start looking for a house to buy out there.  As I said, it all seems to be falling into place.

Suddenly I was hit with the fact that we’d be leaving in about a month and I may not ever see many of the people on this coast again.  I’m being realistic here, not pessimistic.  We don’t travel much, I don’t travel well, and a lot of my family is getting older.  I scrambled to try to make planes to see everyone.  We tried to make plans, but first Stuart got sick with a cold, then I caught it, and my cold turned into a cough and an ear infection.  I’ve been running a fever for a week.  I just started on antibiotics, and I’m hopeful I’ll be all better before we leave, but it caused a lot of trouble.  Between both of us getting sick and people on vacation, I’m only going to be able to see a select few.  I was devastated.  It really got to me.  My anxiety got very high and I was just so sad.  Then I started telling myself I needed to just let it go.  No regrets.  I can only do what I can do, if I can’t see everyone I just need to let it go.  I’ll keep in touch the best I can.  All anyone can do is their best.  So, I let it go.  It is the way it is.  I accept it and I’m okay with it.

Then there’s the worry about the move itself.  I did start to get all worked up about it all, then again, I started using my new mantra.  “Let it go”  Deep breath…. in and…. out.  It’s all good.  I will take each day as it comes and deal with it at that time, I will not worry about what may be, that only causes more anxiety and I need to let that go.

I was feeling really good about things.  Letting go of what I couldn’t change, accepting each day as it comes, and taking care of things that I needed to take care of.  (like getting all my records from doctors, getting all my prescriptions filled, looking for new doctors, taking Kiki to the vet and getting her ready for the trip….so much to do, and I’ve been getting it done)  My therapist even mentioned how well I was dealing with all the change and how mindfulness has become so ingrained in me.  I admit, I was feeling pretty good about it all.

Then the bottom fell out.  I expected to get to Tucson before Stuart’s step mom’s Alzheimer’s advanced too much.  She didn’t know who Stuart was when he was there, but that didn’t surprise me too much, she’s really only met him in person once…well a few times over a 5 month period when we stayed in Tucson one winter, but not other than that.  She knows Stuart’s dad, and see seems happy.  But this week, due to side effects, they had to take her off the medication that helps slow the progression of her disease.  They expect her to decline rapidly now.  Dad doesn’t know how much longer she will know him.  It breaks my heart.  and it scares me.  I’ve never been around anyone who has Alzheimer’s.  I don’t know what to expect, especially if it is so advanced.  I’m afraid I won’t handle it well.  I just want to make things easier for Dad.  If that just means washing his clothes and stuff, that’s what I’ll do.  I’ll help the best I can.  That’s all I can do.  M is in the best place she could be for this, and I’m sure they will help me know how to deal with the situation.  I’m also reading as much as I can to learn more about it.  Frankly, that disease scares me.  The thought of not remembering my husband, that rips my heart out.  What would be worse, watching Stuart go through it.  It just makes me sad.  I’m working on being okay with the way things are.  Accepting that I can’t change it, and simply being okay with it.  Yes I think I said that before.  I also got news that I can’t really talk about on here, but it has stressed me out!!  Getting to the place of acceptance on this is going to be harder.   No, I can accept that it’s happening, I’m just not sure what that will mean and how it will affect me, more so, how it will affect Stuart and Dad.  Stuart’s not worried about it, he’s annoyed by it, but not worried.  So why am I?  I have to accept this, and be okay with it.  This will take a lot of deep breaths.  Sometimes my husband puts his head in the sand about things.  I hope that isn’t the case with this.  I know it will all be as it will be, and I’ll deal with things as they come up.  I will try my best not to worry about what may be.  One moment at a time.

Well I think I’m done for today.  I’ve spilled a lot out, but I’ve been vague enough that you are probably wondering… “what on earth?”

 

 

I had a little DQ.

DQ
No, I didn’t have this DQ!  Darnit!

In February sometime I started having wrist pain.  On the inside of the wrist right below the thumb, I would have sharp pain with certain movements.  It especially hurt to hold my phone or tablet.  That caused a big issue since I draw on my tablet and I had a pet portrait I was working on.  Luckily the portrait is for a friend who is also chronically ill, so she understands these things.

While at Urgent Care for another matter, a suspected UTI, I had the doctor take a look at my wrist and she said I had tendinitis and needed to rest it and it should be fine in a couple of weeks.  I put it in a brace and waited.  The pain and swelling got worse.  After about 3 weeks, I went to see my primary care doctor.  She took x-rays and they didn’t show anything.  She referred me to a Hand Clinic.  Of course, it took a couple of weeks to get in there and during that time, the pain got worse.  The brace was not helping.  The brace stopped me from flexing my wrist up and down, but not side to side, and that’s what was causing the most pain.

While I waited I kept doing research to try to figure out what was wrong.  If you search for wrist pain, you will find carpel tunnel, and not much else., and I did not have the symptoms of carpel tunnel.  You really have to dig to find other causes.  Finally I found something that fit my symptoms – De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.  There was even a simple little test to diagnosis it.

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Finklestein test for De Quervain’s tenosynovitis  (image source)

The Finkelstein test is performed by placing your thumb against your hand, making a fist with your fingers closed over your thumb, and then bending your wrist toward your little finger.  If you have severe pain, you probably have De Quervain’s tenosynovits.

 

 

 

 

 

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image source

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is inflammation of tendons on the side of the wrist at the base of the thumb. (see image left)  So yes, a type of tendinitis, but not one that will get better with a brace.

Last week I saw the hand specialist and he confirmed my suspicions.  I have DQ.  He even drew a little picture explaining it.  He told me the brace was useless, to just get rid of it. (freedom!) He said that a steroid injection in the affected area cures the condition 80% of the time, some people need a second injection, and very rarely it requires surgery to open the tunnel and make more room for the tendons.

20180408_151815.jpg So I got a shot.  He tried to be gentle but, Oh boy did that hurt!  He said I should feel some relief immediately because the shot has some numbing medication, and I would feel lasting relief in a day or two.  If the pain comes back after a couple of months, I’ll need another injection.  If it comes back after that, then I’ll need surgery.

I didn’t really feel the immediate relief he spoke of, but the next day it was like a light switch cut off.  The pain was almost completely gone.  By day two, I barely felt pain at all.  Now, I’m still barely feeling any pain, every once in a while I’ll get a twinge, but that’s all.  I’m amazed!  After 2 months of intense pain, I had one shot and it’s gone!  Wow, if only everything I had could be cured so easily.  Yes, I know the pain could come back, but I’m taking this as a win!

What causes this?  They aren’t exactly sure.  It can be from repetitive motion using the wrist, like picking up a baby (I can’t tell you the last time I picked up a baby).  It is often seen in new mothers and middle aged women.  It could be caused by hormonal fluctuations, or other conditions like arthritis.  Anything that causes swelling really.  I’m thinking mine was caused by the way I was holding my tablet while drawing, it put a lot of pressure on my thumb and bent my wrist.  I’ve since gotten a new computer and I don’t hold it like I was holding my tablet, so I’m hoping I don’t have a repeat of this.

Last night I was even able to finish my latest pet portrait.

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What do you think?

 

* painting by W. Holcombe.  All rights reserved.  Do not use without permission.

 

 

Mindfulness Monday – Beauty

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“In every bend of time

there is some surprise,

joy and beauty.

Mindfulness is the

light to discover it.”

~ Amit Ray

 

“Beauty surrounds us.”

~ Rumi

 

“Because of your smile,

you make life more beautiful.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

“Everything has beauty,

but not everyone sees it.”

~ Confucius

 

* As I was walking into the doctor’s office, I saw this flower; it was all alone in the middle of a parking lot, sharing it’s beauty.  I had to share it with you.

photo by Wendy Holcombe.  Please do not use without permission.

How I Grocery Shop With Chronic Illness

 

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image from pixabay.com

 

For a very long time Stuart has been the shopper in our family.  Not that he likes it, but it was necessary.  We also had someone cook for us for over a year, when we had this service she did the shopping for what she made and we just had to pick up other necessities, that really helped, but over the past few months I’ve started cooking again.  Even with my increased symptoms I’ve been able to keep this up;  I say “I”, but actually, we cook together most nights, it’s just more fun that way.  Grocery shopping was once again totally Stuart’s responsibility.

I have been able to go to the grocery store with Stuart, most of the time, but it just takes so much time and he has a lot of responsibilities outside of that.  I was feeling pretty guilty that I couldn’t go on my own.  I really wanted to take some of that responsibility off of him.  So I looked into ordering our groceries.

This started when we I took him on our weekend getaway.  I found out I could order groceries locally and have them delivered to our house.  It was great!  For the first delivery the fee was waived, however, I was expected to pay a tip.  After that first delivery it was just too expensive to pay the fee and a tip every time I ordered groceries, so I started searching for other options.  Different stores offer different options so I did my research.  The grocery store we use most often offers both delivery and pick up.  You can order your groceries online and either have them delivered or pick them up at the store.  Picking them up is cheaper, and it is really not a big deal for us.  Stuart just drops by and picks them up on his way home.  He doesn’t even have to get out of the car.  It cost about $5 each time, or $99 a year.  After we tried it for a little while and saw that it was a good fit for us, we went ahead and paid for the year.  We get groceries every week so that is a pretty good deal.  And we are not expected to tip.

Each week we plan out our menu and I order it all on line.  You can give your shopper notes to make sure you get just what you want.  For example, I can ask for green bananas if I want, and if I want part of my bunch of bananas to be green and part to be ripe, I can have that too.  Most of the time I have been very pleased with the produce I’ve received.  There have been a couple of times that I wasn’t thrilled, but I’m not sure if it was the shoppers fault or if that was all there was to choose from that day.  I make sure and give more detailed notes now, I let them know if the produce isn’t at it’s peak, I’d rather pass that day, or they are authorized to get a different variety.  (like if I order a regular cucumber, they can substitute a hot house one…something like that)

This has worked out so well.  We save money because we aren’t picking up things we don’t need.  I have the sales right there in front of me, so it’s easy to see when things we normally use go on sale and I can stock up on them.

It does have a few hurdles.  Not everything on their site has the ingredients listed and that’s really important to me.  So sometimes I have to Google it.  It can be harder to compare items to make sure I’m getting the best bang for the buck. Sometimes there are things I know they carry, but they don’t come up when I search.  If I really have a hard time with that though, I message my shopper and just have them pick it up for me.

Now if it were just easier to meal plan.

 

Have you tried ordering your groceries?  What was your experience?

Do you have any tips for meal planning when there are sooo many food restrictions we have to consider?

Good Eating everyone!