What is going on???

Did we buy a house built on a burial ground?  Are we to be cursed forever?  I can have positive thoughts and depression in the same day…..yes I am feeling the bipolar bug a biting.

I wanted to write a memorial anniversary post about Sandy on the 18th, but I was losing consciousness at the headache pain neurologist office because I had such a migraine.  I couldn’t even wear my hearing technology, I went in deaf, because sounds hurt so much.  I had my sunglasses on and a hat to block out as much light as I could.  Stuart took care of everything.  I passed out twice, once I didn’t know where I was when I came to….and it had only been seconds.  I could barely talk, and I can’t even hear my own voice.

It’s those days that make it hard to find the positive.  And to top it off……

Stuart got laid off the day before.  Out of the blue.  Company got some new investors and started restructuring….’nuf said.

I probably have a ton more to say, I have hit some posts here and there….I’m sorry.  I still have 400 emails in my inbox.  If you have emailed me…I promise I’ll get to it….or resend it please…who knows what is lost in that pile.

My head is hurting so much.

I must get off the computer.  I’m not on here every day. I hope after getting back on Botox on the 7th, it will get better…may take a couple of months of treatments.

thank you all of sending healing thoughts my way.  I send out health and wellness thoughts to you all each night.  I breathe in your pain and out healthy thoughts.

(oh and don’t worry about the Bipolar Bug…I’m seeing both types of exterminations soon…yes I know it can’t be killed, but they can get it more under control.  I don’t want to feel like I’m just waiting to die.  But days like my trip to the neurologist, I feel like that….or I did.  I’m so confused about feelings right now and I know not to trust them.  Also hormonal time…so my emotions are being toyed with…as long as I know this, I can handle it.)

(I wanted a cool graphic for this, but just didn’t feel like drawing….in too much pain.)

Thank you to all who have commented here and I haven’t been to your blog, or at least not very often….I care more than I can say.


“Ow! Ow! Ow!”

I was awakened, after being asleep less than 2 hours, by hearing the words: “Ow!, Ow!. Ow!”.  Imagine my surprise when I realized the words were coming out of my own mouth.  Suddenly I realized just how much pain I was in.  My head was at an odd angle and my neck was screaming with pain, my head was throbbing, and my stomach and bladder were causing extreme discomfort.  As I hobbled to the bathroom I found the words, “Ow!….” continuing to come from my mouth.   (Funny thing, I can’t really hear me say it, but when I woke up it really did sound as if the words were coming from outside my body….strange how deafness works sometimes.)

I stretched my neck and put ice on it and it felt much better, my head was also starting to ease some.  The pain in my bladder and stomach were a different story.  My stomach literally felt like it was being eaten from the inside out.  Over production of acid is not a pleasant feeling.  I tried to eat a little something to calm the pain down, I took extra medication for my acid reflux, but it takes time to work.  I’ve never had it so bad before, I could not touch my stomach without it causing more pain.  I would love to have been able to take Maalox, it was always my go-to fix when my stomach was acting like this, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find Maalox or any medication like it that I can take, they all have something that will cause my fructose malabsorption to attack.  I’m happy to report after a couple of days of a pretty bland diet, and extra acid reflux medication, my stomach is once again pain free…..for now.  I do try hard to not eat anything that will cause excess acid production, and I don’t think I did eat anything offending before this, however, stress can also cause excess acid production, and the pain from my bladder was causing me much stress.

When I first saw the doctor here I was having pain in my bladder and she tested my urine and found nothing, I have an irritable bladder and we decided it was just spasming.  So when this pain started I thought it may be the same.  Unfortunately, this pain kept getting worse and worse.  Every time I moved it hurt.  Sitting was very painful, so was walking.  I’m sure everyone who’s ever had a UTI will also know that I was having to go more than usual, but couldn’t urinate once I got in the bathroom…and it was very painful.  All of this started on Sunday, the 3rd, I had just finished my antibiotics and steroids for the bronchitis 2 days before.  I couldn’t believe I had an infection again. I upped my already large amount of water I drink, trying hard to flush things out.  By Thursday, the 7th, I was convinced it wasn’t irritable bladder talking, something was wrong.  So off to see the doctor again.  Unfortunately, the doctor I’ve seen before is out on medical leave. (I hope she is alright, I mentioned before that she had pneumonia last month, so I’m a bit concerned.)  I saw another doctor in the office.  Not someone I really want to see again  I felt like he talked down to me, as if I was not able to understand things.  Stuart thinks I’m a bit too sensitive, and maybe I am, but this visit started off wrong (and Stuart later told me that he didn’t have a good feeling about this doctor either).  I told the doctor I have profound hearing loss and could not hear him.  He raised his voice a little, but didn’t look at me when he was talking, it didn’t help when I did see his mouth as he had a lot of facial hair and I couldn’t see his lips well enough.  I had to rely on Stuart to tell me what was going on.  He asked if I’d been running a fever, I explained that my normal temperature is 97.4F, and it has been around 99F recently.  He said, that’s not a fever, everyone fluctuates. (Then why ask me??)  I told him about just finishing antibiotics and just couldn’t believe I had an infection so fast….he says that antibiotics don’t stop you from getting something else….but it was the way he said it, as if what I said was stupid.  I never said they did, I am just overwhelmed that I’ve been sick so much recently.  I asked him about a medication I have for irritable bladder that is expired and wanted to know if I should get a new prescription….he went into this long tirade about how medicines don’t explode after the expiration date, and how there have been studies that medication that hasn’t been opened is good for years after the expiration date. I was so confused at how he was talking to me….and yes I heard most of that.   I told him that I know different chemicals have different half-lives, and I didn’t know the half-life of this medication.  Well he just went on and on about how drugs are not food and they don’t just lose it because of the expiration date.

He did examine me, but I didn’t feel that he listened to me very much.  That’s ok, I talk too much when I’m nervous anyway.  He told me my urinalysis was negative, but that could be because I was drinking so much water it caused it to dilute the urine too much.  He said I had all the classic symptoms of a Urinary Tract and Bladder infection so he was going to treat me for it.  He gave me an antibiotic specifically used to treat this type of infection, and told me if I wasn’t better in 48 hours to call the doctor on call or I could wait until Monday and call him.  Yeah, that’s not going to happen if I can help it.  I’m feeling better.  Not well, but better.

On another note….I’m so very proud of myself today!!  I took a bath by myself!  I even washed my hair!  I haven’t taken a bath or washed my hair without Stuart’s help in a very, very long time.  I’m thinking over a year.  Don’t worry I wasn’t being irresponsible.  Stuart was in the house and on alert for my call.  He also just couldn’t stay away the whole time and came in to check on me.  But I did fine.  A little wobbly, but that often happens with temperature  changes (cool room, hot water).  Or it just happens any time….heck most of the time…so I’m getting pretty used to it and how to handle it.  Being extra cautious, have hand holds, non-slip surface under my feet…..

(at this point I got too hot while writing this and started to feel funny, so I had to put it down.   Today, Tuesday February 12th, is the first day I’ve felt like coming back to the computer.  I think I’ll end this post here  If I start where I left off I’ll be writing another VERY long post….so I’ll have to write more soon)

Being Sick when you are Chronically Ill

sickduckI’m sure it’s not the same for everyone who has a chronic illness, but for me, being sick on top of it is very hard to deal with.

First when you get sick, you often have to distinguish if your symptoms might be from part of your chronic illness or illnesses.  That can be very difficult sometimes.  I often feel like I’m catching a cold but it goes away in a few days, so for those few days I don’t know if I’m really “sick” on top of things or not.  I also have a lot of gastrointestinal issues due to food allergies and intolerances, it’s really hard to know if I have caught a bug or if I simply got a hold of something I shouldn’t have eaten.  This can be very disturbing sometimes, and it can make me less likely to seek medical attention for things until it has been going on for a while.

(a lot of this post is a recap of what has been happening with me the past few months.  Please feel free to skip this narration, I felt I needed a place to put it all in one place.  The major points I want to make are in bold at the bottom.  thanks for understanding…and if you read everything, you are an amazing person.  *smiles*   It took me three days to write this, between feeling icky and having a vertigo spell….so please forgive any errors…grammar, punctuation, spelling, even train of thought…yes brain fog is heavy these days.  thank you my dear friends.)


I’ve written about how sick I’ve been over the last few months….I mean really sick, on top of my chronic conditions…what a mess.  But I’d like to give you a run down of what happened and how I think I really goofed up and made this hang on longer than it had to.

The third week of October both Stuart and I caught colds, it delayed our leaving for Tucson by a week.  At the end of the cold I had this nagging cough hanging on, I’d heard from many people who live near us that they too had been suffering from colds that seemed to hang on for weeks with a cough, so I wasn’t so worried.  We started our trek across country, my breathing got worse, especially when we’d stop for the night.  I assumed I was having a lot of allergies erupting on top of everything.  Often our hotel rooms had a perfume smell, air fresheners, and one smelled like someone broke a bottle of cologne in the bathroom (we did ask to move from that room, but there was a convention in town and no more rooms were available).  We would have researched and found more allergy free accommodations for me, but those places would not allow cats, and Max needed a place too.  We do however always make sure we have a no-smoking room.

By the time we got to Tucson I was having a very hard time with the cough and breathing issues, but again, thought it was more allergies.  I felt that most of the stuff was coming from my nose…but I was wrong, that was only part of it.  Soon after we got here I started having severe vertigo attacks…Meniere’s was not kind to me.  I know the trip took a lot out of me,and I hadn’t been watching my salt intake as much as I should have..so I just thought my one of my chronic illnesses was in acute mode.  I still didn’t think I was really sick, sick.  (big mistake)  In the back of my head I knew I should go to the doctor for the cough, but I was so busy going to the doctor about my ears….and the holidays were upon us, it’s pretty hard to get in to a doctor as a new patient that time of year…so I thought I’d wait.  (again, not a good idea)  I continued to get sicker, no energy, coughing more, not being able to take a deep breath…..ect.  I did not get to enjoy one bit of the holidays (oh how I wanted a family holiday gathering, but I spent all of it in bed).  Finally, I told Stuart to, “Yes, please call and see if you can get me in to see a doctor.”  (he’d asked many times before and I said no, really I thought it was allergies, ragweed was in full bloom here when we got here, and the house we are staying in had been empty for a long time so lot’s of dust…I didn’t think the doctor would be able to do much more than I was.  Yes, I know…silly girl treating herself, but every spring I have severe allergies at home and I’m put on Flonaze, and 2 antihistamines.  So I did that, I was also taking an expectorant to break up the mucus and get it out….really all good things, and the doctor agreed, but I needed more.  And the Flonaze was causing me to have miserable nose bleeds. so that stopped.)

First trip to the doctor, (don’t you love a first trip to a new doctor, explaining all the reasons for your medications, all the things you have going on….ugh!  She actually said I was a very happy person for having so much going on with me.  I thought, well I could show the sad, depressed side of chronic illness all the time, but who would that help?  I may be ill, but I’m still a good person.)  I found out my minor Asthma (I haven’t had but a few attacks in the past 20 years or more, and only when I’ve been around strong allergens or perfumes.) has turned out to be pretty serious.  And I have Bronchitis…the Asthma probably got so bad because of the Bronchitis….and allergens.  So antibiotics, and a steroid….call in 10 days if not all better.  Stuart called after about 7 days because I was worse.  Ironic thing…my doctor had just gotten out of the hospital with pneumonia.  Actually scared me a bit, what if I had pneumonia…many of the symptoms were there, even the cold chills.  But then I laughed at myself…I had the pneumonia vaccine in May, I had to have it before I could get my Cochlear Implant. (that’s what I get for trying to diagnose myself with just the internet.  We can get some clues from there, but I’ve learned never to think it’s absolutely true for me.  Always consult a professional, or two.)  So I saw my doctor again on the 21st, 2 weeks from the first appointment.  Still not breathing well…ect, and my sinuses really hurt.  Diagnosis?  Still Asthma is going crazy, now bronchitis is considered chronic, and I have a sinus infection.   I was given a stronger antibiotic, prednisone (oh joy, more steroids), and I had a breathing treatment in the office with a nebulizer, for the first time in months I could breath, it lasted for hours, I was thrilled.  I was told if the cough was not much, much better in 3 days to call back and I would get a nebulizer for home.  But that night I started coughing so hard I pulled a muscle in my back.  I couldn’t walk without being in severe pain, putting weight on my left leg was almost intolerable.  Thank goodness for my walker, but darn the fact that I haven’t found a bathroom door that my walker will fit through!  So, I could get from the bed to the bathroom, then hobble inside.  What a mess.  I didn’t sleep that night, stayed on heat and ice, and luckily the next day it was much better.  I still rested with ice and heat to insure it got even better, but I could walk with minor discomfort.

So…yesterday Stuart called the doctor’s office…after 3 days, to tell them I need a nebulizer.  (really, I can get a nebulizer, I need the medicine that goes in it)  Unfortunately, they close early on Friday, and didn’t get the prescription called in before the end of the day…so I have to wait until Monday.

Another thing that I’m having trouble with.  Migraines!  Did you guess?   I had very good results from the Botox injections, but they have worn off…I am looking forward to March 7th, when I can see my neurologist at home and have the injections again.  (deep sigh)  I’m having a hard time with pain medication.  I was taking Hydrocodone, but it started making me itch, I’m allergic to Codeine (at least I’m told I am, I had the allergic reaction when I was pretty young, I don’t remember, but why would it be wrong?), Oxycodone makes me stop urinating, I’m allergic to Celebrex (I know this one is right, I have the ER trips to prove it.), and all NSAIDS hurt my stomach (thanks to an old doctor who had me taking Ibuprofen by the handfuls).  Before I left N.C. my neurologist put me on Tramadol (Ultram), well it makes me itch too!  So I’m stuck without a pain reliever stronger than Tylenol.  It’s been rough.  (I do still have other migraine meds, but sometimes you need a pain reliever…when I pulled that muscle it would have come in very handy!)

This post has become MUCH longer than I’d planned. I needed to put all of this in one place, and I wanted to make a point…but I think my point may have gotten lost.  Here’s the summary of what I’d like for you to take from this post:

  • When you are Chronically Ill, you need to pay close attention when you get sick.  Do not assume it’s your “normal” ill feelings.
  • Do not put off going to the doctor, if you don’t have anything worse than a cold, what did it hurt? (Yeah, our doctors may think we come in too often, but really if our doctor thinks that we should probably find a new doctor.)  I’m sure we often feel we go to the doctor too much, but don’t play around with your health.  Don’t be scared because if you are out of town and not close to your doctor.  Who knows a fresh pair of eyes may be helpful in many ways.
  • Often when you have a Chronic Illness you have less resistance to fight off sicknesses, like the “common” cold, than healthy people.  I know my body works over time just to take care of me with my chronic illnesses, throw in getting sick and there just isn’t enough resistance in me to put up a good fight.  I should have known better, and gone to the doctor sooner.

So the biggest point I want to make.  Know your body.  Know how you feel on a day-to-day basis, if you get sick, pay very close attention and take care of you.  You are the only one who can say if you need to see a doctor.  But don’t be like me, please see a doctor before things escalate into a more serious sickness.

I know I will always listen closer to my body than I have the past few months.  Just because there are other things going on in my life doesn’t mean my symptoms aren’t something I should pay attention to!!


Not Just for Wrinkles….

Botox is now used to treat migraines.  I know you saw me post that I was getting my shots on October 3rd….and I did…more in a moment.  However, isn’t it amazing that Botox will help migraines?  Or at least I hope it will.  I’ve been reading about it, and it seems to, I know someone who has been getting the shots for a while now and she has had wonderful results.

Botox is for people who have tried many other treatments but still have 15 or more migraines a month.  In trials it prevented about 9 of those headaches.  Having half as many migraines as i do now would be amazing.  However, I also read that people who took the placebo reported having 7 fewer migraines a month….a difference of 2…not so great.

There are a number of side effects you could have, but I haven’t noticed anything.  On the Allergan site (they make Botox, I found that funny since they are known for contact lens stuff) it says, “It may take several weeks to see a response. In clinical trials, patients showed a response at their 4-week evaluation. After 2 treatments (at 24 weeks), BOTOX® was proven to reduce headache days each month.”  I was told by my doctor (and I know others have been told this too by their doctors) that you will notice a difference in 4-7 days, normally about a week.  I hope the doc’s right, I’m ready for relief. Also, considering I won’t be able to get my second injection for about 5 months I might have waited until then for my first treatment if it takes 2 treatments to be proven to reduce the number of headaches each month.   (We will be in Tucson, AZ for the winter, so I can’t get my next injection until March 7th).

I’ll keep you updated on how my headaches are doing.  Allison, from Taking Life for a Spin, recently had her first treatment and after about a week she reported she couldn’t lift her eyelids.  You can check out her story here: Unresponsive Eyebrows.

So, how did the treatment feel you ask…what exactly did they do???

I had 31 injections….here are photos from the Allergan site showing the injection sites.  One of mine was a bit different, Cochlear Implant in the way.

Forehead injection sites
photo from http://www.botoxchronicmigraine.com/botox-treatment-expectations/
Injection sites sides.
This was a bit different on my left side due to my CI.
photo from http://www.botoxchronicmigraine.com/botox-treatment-expectations/
injection sites Occipital
photo from http://www.botoxchronicmigraine.com/botox-treatment-expectations/
Injection sites back of head and shoulders
photo from http://www.botoxchronicmigraine.com/botox-treatment-expectations/

What did it feel like?  My doctor told me it would feel like little bee stings.  Well I’ve only had big bee stings so it was much less painful that I thought it would be.  The needles are tiny, but the solution does sting a bit, and some of these areas were pretty sensitive on me, but it wasn’t bad.  I’d do it again.  : )   It went really quick, my doctor really knew what she was doing, just a few minutes and it was done.  I spent much more time waiting on her to come in the room.  : )

So like little bee stings, yeah, but remember I got stuck by the whole hive!  hahaha.  No…I promise it wasn’t bad at all, it was nothing like some of the other procedures I’ve had!!

After I got the Botox injections, I also got an injection for the migraine I had right then.  (one that had been going on for nearly 2 weeks)  So after my visit we got a bite to eat and I came home and slept for 6 hours!  What a way to spend the day…a good way actually.  The shot in the butt helped my head pain, and he shots in my head will hopefully help me to have less head pain, and I had a good 6 hours of sleep straight through.  I did feel like I wasted the day, then I thought, “What else would I have done?”

Oh….I forgot the funny part of the story! But beware…this is Way Too Much Information!

I had been having cramps and all the symptoms of having a period, with no period, for over a week.  That morning I woke up and felt fine, I thought….hmmm, guess I’m not having a period this month.  (I am 49, I’m expecting to start skipping some periods)  So I got dressed, and left for the doctor’s, we get half way there and I’m hit with a horrible cramp.  I thought….no, no, no…I didn’t bring a thing.   Of course, when we got to the office I go to the rest room and yep, I started.  Well, If you are a woman, I’m sure you’ve all had this happen at some point in your life, and what do you do?  No dispenser on the wall….so…Toilet Paper to the rescue…and pray it’s good enough for the time being.  So I went and waited and waited for the doctor, and had all my shots and 2 hours later we were leaving…and I forgot, yes, I forgot about my makeshift protection.  So we go out to eat lunch, and go home and I walk in the door and remembered.  How could I have forgotten?….well the shot could have had something to do with it, but, but, ewwww.  Luckily, it wasn’t that bad.  But I will never again assume I’m not having a period!!   Lesson learned!

Personify Your Health – #HAWMC Day 28

Prompt for today….Personify your health. If your health focus were a person – what would they be like? Describe them. Visually, emotionally, physically, and personality-wise. What kind of person are they?

I’m again using one of the Bonus Prompts.  I liked this one more than the original prompt.  However, once again, I took a different take on it.  Recently I made a mask showing what I looked like on the outside to most people, and then on the inside I showed my true self.  I felt this answered all the questions put forth in this prompt, but with a little creative flair.

Some of you have already seen this, but I think it’s worth repeating, and for those who haven’t, I hope you enjoy!

Outside of Maxk. by W. Holcombe
Inside if Mask
by W. Holcombe
Mask Inside Top
W. Holcombe
Mask Inside Bottom

Lesson Learned the Hard Way – #HAWMC Day 17

Today’s Prompt: Learned the Hard Way. What’s a lesson you learned the hard way? Write about it for 15 today.

When I read this prompt I knew exactly what I’d write about, but not exactly sure the story I’d tell.

photo from http://www.terrygivens.com

I think with my health, the Greatest Lesson I Learned the Hard Way was that Doctors Do NOT always know, they CAN’T always fix you, and they WILL lie.

At 10 I broke my arm, it was a silly way to break a bone, so no one really thought it was broken, until the next day.  My shoulder, and my arm down to my elbow was black and blue.   Amazing. My mother felt such guilt because couldn’t believe it could be hurt that bad.  You see, I was climbing up the side of a hill, not a big hill, I grabbed a root that was sticking out to help pull me up, and it let go.  I fell back.  My feet were only inches from the ground.  I fell on my left arm.  It was my RIGHT arm that was hurting.  No one could understand.  No one but me, you see, I heard the bone snap.

We got to the Navy clinic, and they performed x-rays of my arm.  It caused quite a stir.  At one point, I counted 8 doctors in the room trying to get a glimpse of my x-rays.  They were confused.  Was my collar-bone broken too?  What was all those lines?  We better send her to a specialist.  So my whole side was immobilized, and we were sent to the big Navy Hospital, downtown Charleston, SC.  My mother hates to drive in traffic.  She didn’t get her license until after I was born.  But my father was at sea, she had to be brave, and be the only parent.  I remember being in much more pain during and after the x-rays.  Could they not be a little more gentle with a 10-year-old child?  and maybe give her something for pain?

So we arrived at the big Hospital, to this little girl, it was the biggest building I’d ever seen.  Again, there were many doctors looking at my x-rays.  Many having no idea what they were looking at.  Finally, saying this is very rare in such a young child.  And then taking my mother out in the hall.

That should have been my FIRST lesson – Doctor’s KEEP SECRETS.

When they returned my mother looked a bit confused, stunned, and scared.  I was told I had broken my arm.  But I also had a bone cyst.  A fibrous mass in my bone instead of a solid bone.  It was “NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT”.  However, we needed to keep an eye on it, and I’d have to have a special cast.  I couldn’t have a whole cast, just a partial cast, because the cyst “needs to breathe” – I will never forget that phrase, I was only 10, but I thought, so I have some foreign thing living in me that has to breathe on its on?  What really was happening, was the tumor would make my arm swell and go down and swell and go down…ect….so a regular cast would not work.  And this was in 1973, so those fancy hard velcroed on casts weren’t around yet.  (actually, the very first one of those was a prototype made for me! after my surgery, isn’t that cool?)

So I broke my arm 5 times.  They kept saying they were watching it, and I wasn’t supposed to be doing anything strenuous because I could break it.  Um, Someone opened a door into me while I had a cast on (was days from getting it off) and broke my arm.  I don’t think I was being strenuous!  I never learned how to play any sports, I wasn’t allowed, I am so uncoordinated and so dumb about any sport activity.  I’ll be asked to play soft ball, I’m so embarrassed, I’ve tried to play, and volley ball…ect.  I can’t do it.  I simply have no eye hand coordination and I’m like a 2 year old learning to play a game.  But I digress.

Finally, I was almost 16, I had stopped growing, it was time to operate.  The bone in my right arm had not grown at all in the past 6 years!  They took some bone from my left hip, shaved it off from around the tip of the pelvic girdle.  (I know what you are thinking, she has chronic pelvic pain, I don’t think it’s from this, most of my pain if on the other side.)  They opened the upper right humerus of my right arm and scraped out the mass, and packed it full of the hip bone pieces.  So they had to fuse together.  (yes, my father says I can literally say, I carry my ass on my shoulder!)

So then the lies start to come together.  While I’m in the hospital I started to hear things.  Like the tumor that was removed.  And the malignancy.  I was given medication via IV, that had a little radiation symbol on it.  I got very sick.  And I was in the hospital for over a month.  I was never told the whole truth.  You know I’m not even sure my mother was told the whole truth.  I do think my father was.  It was that kind of times.  Tell the father, let him decide what to tell the family.  But from the things I got a hold of in the hospital, and the questions people answered before they thought about it….it sounds like, I had a tumor.  Yes, this I do know, I did hear the doctors say that…well, over hear.   I also over heard from the nurses when they thought I was sleeping.   It was mostly benign, but had some malignant cells.  I handled the chemo and radiation treatment well.  “It’s a good thing they got it when they d

That quote still haunts me.  They waited 6 years for my bone to grow.  If they had operated earlier, I probably would have had NO CANCER.  I would not have lost so much of my childhood.  I would have had a solid bone, yes it would have been shorter, so what!  It still is!!!  And I still have pain from it!  They still didn’t fix it.

And remember I was never told this.  I heard it all second-hand.  Not long ago, I tried to get my records from the Navy Hospital.  They said I needed my father’s authorization since he’s still alive.  If he was dead, it could even be harder from what I’ve heard.  I asked him to get them for me.  “For what, you don’t need that.”  I tried to explain, I’m having a lot of medical problems now and any information from my past might help my doctors now.  “I don’t believe that, it’s too much trouble.  I don’t know why you’re always wanting to bring up the past.”  Okay????  Where did that come from?  but I guess no medical records.

So my Lesson I Learned the Hard Way…Doctors do not know everything!  Doctors can’t always fix everything. and Doctors will Lie, or in this instance, at least keep things from you.

However, I have had them lie to me at different times….that was a Lesson Revisit.

Quick update – The little family is doing fine.

Penelope and Chris on New Year's Day

My friend and her husband have arrived.  Not as much to worry about as I thought.  (Yes, insomnia played a big part in all of that.)

Turns out she doesn’t have preeclampsia, so all the rules have changed.  She had a lumbar puncture and found out her cerebrospinal fluid pressure was way too high!  I sure can relate to that huh?  So they drained some of the fluid, and they are hoping to keep that under control.  She may actually make it to term!!  (yes, that means they will be here longer, but that’s ok.)  They don’t know if they can keep the intracranial hypertension (the fancy name for high CSF) under control, or if it will turn into preeclampsia also, so they have to keep a close watch on her.  Of course, we are hoping she can carry to term, and will not have to spend any more time in the hospital before delivery.

She can’t do the stairs much just yet, but that’s mostly because she’s so sore from the lumbar puncture.  She’s still having headaches, they drained a lot of fluid, perhaps too much too fast (IMHO) so it’s taking a little while for her body to regulate the pressure.  Hopefully the headaches will ease soon.  Right now she’s sleeping.

Penelope is such a lovely person, and her husband Chris is so gracious, I don’t think this is going to be very stressful on me at all.  Actually, it could be very helpful in many ways.

I was feeling a bit anxious about Stuart having to go to Alabama for a week, probably the week of the 13th, if they are here I will feel so much better.   I didn’t want  to miss our sign language class, so I plan to drive to class that night, I think I’ll be fine, but just needed to know if I got into trouble there would be someone I could call for help.  I’ve already mentioned it to Chris, and he was happy he could help.

It completely slipped my mine last night that Chris is a cook!  He’s already thinking of creative things he can make that are meat all our dietary restrictions.  He even assured us that he knows how to be careful with gluten products.  He’s offered to clean house, cook…anything.  I think he just needs to relax a bit.  After a while, he can worry about doing more things around here, but for a little while, I think they just need the peace and quiet that is our home.

They have both been gushing about how wonderful it is to have a peaceful place to stay.  They are so worried about wearing out their welcome, but I told them, that we’d just treat them as if they were roommates.  Their room is theirs, our room is ours, the rest of the house is community space, and as long as they don’t expect us to wait on them hand and foot, they shouldn’t be any trouble at all.  I don’t get to see Penelope nearly enough, I haven’t seen her in a couple of years at least.  I’m happy they are here, and so glad we get a chance to renew our friendship.  (not that we haven’t been friends even though we have been apart, but this is a great chance to get close again.)

We may move the little TV in their room for a little while, when Penelope feels more like moving around we’ll hook the cable box back up to the big TV down stairs.  Stuart and I rarely watch TV, we’ve actually been thinking about getting rid of cable.  When we watch shows we normally watch them from the computer.  It’s easier to watch what we want when we want, and not have to rely on the DVR to record the shows we want. (it often screws things up).  The only thing I really watch on TV live, is cartoons.  But I can always pull those up on Netflix.  (yes, I am love cartoons.  Just like a kid, I can watch them over and over and not get tired of them.)

I love that we are able to offer our home to our friends.  They are special people.   It also makes me feel less isolated, and needed.

I will admit, my husband actually made me a bit more nervous about things last night.  When he said he didn’t know if he could handle people being in the house for so long, I got worried.  Then that jumped to wondering all about what they may need, how we could work things out…ect.  But now that they are here, I think everything will be just fine.  (just liken you all said…I should have known.  Thank you my friends for the reassurance, and guidance.)

About my sleep.  Once again I didn’t get to sleep until about 6am. I woke up at 1pm, right before they arrived.  Again, I had the terrors while falling asleep feeling like everything is spinning around.  Again, I had bad dreams, not nightmares, just troubling dreams.  and Again, I woke up with a headache. Not severe, thank goodness, though it soon turned into a full-blown migraine.  I have to figure out a way to make these things stop.  I know I don’t have much control over the migraine issue, I’ll have to see the neurologist if this continues after my recovery period is over.  But you would think something could be done about the spinning and dreams.  Sometimes I’ll take a Valium a little before bed, and that helps with the spinning sensation, but it makes my dreams a bit freaky sometimes.  And I’m not too sure if the doctor would approve of me taking a Valium every night.  I’ll ask him on Monday.

And about dinner.  I just tasted the sauce and meatballs, oh my goodness, I will have to post this recipe.  How delicious!  And so easy.  Stuart loves meatballs but I always hated making them.  Now, with this recipe, I can make them much more often.

Turns out Penelope can’t eat the sauce at all.  She can’t eat beef either, or tomato products.  (I think the tomato products may just be because of the pregnancy and heartburn, but I’m not sure.)  Chris, is going to make her some pasta with a little chicken, spinach, pesto….  Yes, as I said he can cook!  She won’t know what she’s missing though, these meatballs are wonderful.


image courtesy of sodahead.com

This post is for the Chronic Babe Blog Carnival all about Gratitude.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.  Everyone here knows the people I’m grateful for…my dear blogging friends, the friends who have stuck by me…and most of all my precious husband.

I could write an entire blog post on how grateful I am to my husband for all he does, but I think I gush about him enough.

One of the biggest things I’m grateful for is this blog!  Picnic with Ants…gives me a place to get out my emotions, to know I’m not alone, to work out problems, to make other’s aware of what my Ant’s are…especially Meniere’s Disease.  When I started this blog I was fighting my illnesses tooth and nail.  Thanks to my friends on here, I’ve learned to accept them as a part of me.  No they don’t define me, but they are a part of me, and I will learn to walk with them.  That in no way means I’ve given up, it simply means I accept this time in my life.

This is a safe place for me.  A place where I can be myself, and if people don’t like it they don’t have to read it, however, I’ve very grateful for those of you who do.

At times I realize I’m grateful to be in this place I am right now.  In a way, yes, I’m grateful for this disease, we call Meniere’s…and my list of other conditions.

I have learned so much during my struggles with chronic illnesses.  I’ve always been a compassionate person, but I think I’m more compassionate.

I notice things I didn’t really see before.  I’m grateful to my doctors who are trying everything to give me some relief.  To the staff at Duke for all the things they do that I don’t even see.  I’m grateful for the orderly who was so kind to me while wheeling me to the recovery room, and stopped by later just to make sure I was alright.  I’m grateful to the guy at my grocery store who knows I’m hearing impaired and will make sure he looks straight at me when he talks and enunciates his words so I can read his lips if I can’t hear what he’s saying.  I’m grateful for the technology that is available today,my computer, my hearing aid…and possibly in the future a cochlear implant.  All different technologies, but all help me communicate so much better than I could without them.

I’m also grateful

  • I can still appreciate the seasons
  • I can still read and escape in a book.
  • I can research doctors, illnesses, treatments…just think a few years ago we couldn’t do that as easily as we can now.
  • I have doctors who don’t mind questions I have, are thrilled that I’ve researched my condition, and who genuinely care.
  • I have health insurance…and that bothers me, it just shouldn’t matter…but it does.
  • that things continue to change.  One day I may be very depressed and blue, but the next day I may see the sun and find the clouds that were so thick over my head are clearing.
  • For my dog and cat…especially my dog.  She has been with me for 18 years, she’s now 19.  A year and 4 months ago we were told she had a very aggressive form of bladder cancer, they couldn’t operate, and she would last at most another year, probably much less.  She doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.  I guess no one told her she was sick.  : )
There is so much in my life I could whine and bitch about…and I do from time to time (more times than I want to admit), but there is so much I’m grateful for…much more than I could list here.
Thanks to Chronic Babe for making me think about all the things I’m grateful for.

Good day.

Stuart’s interview went well.  He is very interested in this job, says it’s like a previous job he had that was his favorite!  He has to meet a couple more people, but it sounds very promising.

I can hear in my left ear!  Not clearly…a bit distorted and still low, but I can hear what Stuart says without looking at him (if he’s close).  It’s a little hypersensitive, but it’s a great sign!

Less sore every day, but still sore.

Just had to share!

Think we’re going to watch a movie now…with captions…but also with sound…let’s see what I can hear?


See life changes every day.

One step at a time.

How my life has changed….and the straw that made the camel’s back snap.

First, I’m feeling a bit better physically today.  Not as much pain, and not having that weird feeling you get after being sedated.

This is the first time after having this procedure that I do feel like I had surgery.  (I may have mentioned that yesterday.  Forgive me if I did.)

Over the past couple of years my life had changed A LOT!

My biggest health problem went from being my hip, to the Meniere’s.

Almost everything in my life has changed dramatically starting in the winter of 2009.  That’s when the Meniere’s came back full force, and I went bi-lateral.  By April of 2010, I was getting the Endolymphatic Shunt Surgery in my worst ear to stop the attacks from happening every day.

It worked, for a while.  By October of 2010, I was ready to talk about the surgery for my left ear, the attacks had returned, happening many days per week.  That’s when I was asked if I’d be interested in the research study.

And if you’ve been following this blog you know the rest.

But just how has all of this changed my life?

  • I wasn’t working when this started because of my hip, but planned to go back to work at least part time.  That isn’t going to happen.
  • I had a little reprieve from my symptoms earlier this year.  For 4 months.  I was almost normal.  I took it for granted, and keep looking for the magic button they pushed to make it better again.
  • I’ve lost a good part of my hearing.  I can’t hear in my left ear, and even with my hearing aid it’s a bit off on the right side.
  • I don’t know how to be a friend to my old friends any longer.  We did things, went places, … you know things you do with friends.  I can’t do most of these things now.  Even when I am feeling better, my hearing is so off, I find it very difficult to spend time with people unless it’s one on one.  Restaurants are horrible, Malls…no way, parties are often torture.  Even just having one person, if they aren’t in front of me talking straight at me, it’s hard.
  • A friend recently told me that she was hurt that I didn’t put more effort into our friendship especially during my good period.  I look back and realize, I didn’t do much with any of my friends, I tried a couple of times, but my hearing was still such an issue.   And people were very busy because, life went on without me, and I was crazy busy, because, life was restarting for me.  It was difficult to get back in the swing of things, by the time I finally felt I was finding my footing….it all came crashing down again.  I look back and think…if I had known this would happen, I would have spent that 4 months much differently.  (certainly not spending most of it trying to become foster parents!  That’s not going to happen now…but I didn’t expect to only feel better for 4 months.  So most of that time, we spent wrapped up in trying to be parents.)
  • So I realized, I don’t know how to be a real friend to the people who were my friends prior to my illness.  I try hard not to have my illness be my life, but in a big way it is.  I have to think about everything I do….how will it affect me, and my illness.  How much will it take out of me.
  • When I do see my friends I try to look better.  I get out of bed, if they come over, put on something decent (even a bra!) and at least make it to the couch.  Lately, that’s a very big deal.
  • When I was feeling better and driving, and would try to meet my friends, I was scared.  I hadn’t been spending time with most people for a while, and I was uncomfortable, talking with them, trying not to talk too much about me.  But my life was changing so much, that was hard.  And now, my life is static, and it’s even harder.
  • Many of my friends don’t like to email, text, or IM…and right now that’s the only way I can communicate.  So it’s hard.
  • I can’t keep my house as clean as I’d like.  We decided to get cleaners to come in, but that might not happen again….(more about that later).
  • I feel like I really needed some time away from here..away from this house…..just a change of scenery.  I was scared about seeing my friends in Tucson, how they might react to my hearing, and health issues.  But we’ve been emailing and texting…so I don’t think it would that big of a deal.  My best friend there is Japanese, so she has a hard time communicating too, I think that makes her more understanding about my communication issues.  But, the trip isn’t going to happen.  (again, more of that later.)

I’ve been feeling like I couldn’t post a lot of things lately.  Things that have really been weighing heavily on me. (like not knowing how to be a friend….I don’t want to be just the “sick friend” people tolerate.  If I’m your friend, I want to be more than that.  And right now, I don’t know how.  I can still listen and try to give advice (if you are willing to “talk” with me by writing.)  But it does seem to take a lot of the personalization out of the situation and I know that’s hard.  I realize how hard these things are for my friends, but I wonder how many know how hard it is for me.

They have their busy lives…I get to watch the world go by without really being able to join in…they can work, exercise, have children, go to dinner parties, go shopping….things normal people do.  I can’t.  And it hurts…down deep inside…that I just can’t.  I don’t fit in.  And I don’t want to be pitied.

Oh, and our house is only 4 years old, and we have to get a new toilet.  For the master bathroom.  They said it would be cheaper than fixing it.  It broke where the tank and the seat are connected.  So one night I went downstairs, and found water everywhere.  So I’m worried about possible mold problems.  I’m being shrugged off about it.  Just put a little Kilz on it….on the ceiling downstairs, yes…but what about between the upstairs floor and the ceiling downstairs?  We had to move from a rented house once because of mold…I don’t want that to happen with this house.

Another straw landed on this Camel’s back today….I think I heard it snap!

Stuart was told his job will end in one month.  They’ve decided they can’t afford him.  *sigh*

He has an interview tomorrow.  But this breaks my heart.  I feel like he will feel he has to take the first thing he finds that pays anywhere near enough, just so we can survive.  I can’t help.  I can’t do anything to bring in some income.  I really want to do something.

This sucks.

But surely, it will get better from here.

Things have to go up from here.

I feel like I’m one of those old cartoons that have been flattened by an anvil…..now just peel me up and pop me out…and things will be better!!

Oh heck, we’ve been through a lot, we’ll get through this.

Life is changing again.

Perhaps it’ll be fun.