Word Cloud – #HAWMC 30

Today’s Prompt:  Word Cloud. Make a word cloud or tree with a list of words that come to mind when you think about your blog, health, or interests. Use a thesaurus to make the branches of your “tree” extend further. http://www.wordle.net/

I did a little bit of a different take on this prompt.  I hope you like it.

Word Cloud Collage by W. Holcombe 2012, April

6 Sentence Story – #HAWMC Day 29

Today’s Prompt: Six Sentence Story. In this day of micro-blogging – brevity is a skill worth honing. Can you tell a story and make it short and sweet? What can you say in six sentences. Check out some here: http://sixsentences.blogspot.com/

Wendy and Stuart - wedding.

Wendy walked toward the ruins of the mission. She saw him standing by the entrance waiting with a smile.  Once he took her hand she had no doubts, this was the man she would spend the rest of her life with. She saw in his eyes he felt the same way about her.  They walked down the aisle together, a new future unfolding before them.

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

5 challenges, 5 small victories #HAWMC Day 27

Prompt for today:  5 Challenges. 5 Small Victories. Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus. Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going.

I think this is a very good prompt, and normally I’d be able to write it very easily, but the depression I’m feeling right now will make this more difficult.  (yes depression, but it’s deserved, I’m not clinically depressed at the moment.  I’ve had a lot to deal with, and the loss of a loved one, so I’m depressed.  Please no worries about my sanity. *smiles*)

A Difficult Challenge - Deciding on treatments.

5 Challenges – 5 Most Difficult Parts of My Health Focus

  1. The constant changing.  Things seem to be settling down, and wham I either get new symptoms or a whole new diagnosis.
  2. Making hard decisions.  Do I get the surgery that may help?  Do I try to live in the deaf world?  Do I take this drug even though it has some harsh side effects?  Do I get another opinion…..
  3. Keeping Positive.  OK, I’m not doing this very well right now, but it will get better.  I know it will.  (there see still positive! I just think it will take longer this time.)
  4. Risking leaving home.   This sounds like I’m afraid to leave home, and sometimes I am.  I have vertigo attacks with no warning.  If I’m more than 30 minutes from home and have an attack start, it terrifies me.
  5. How to keep my caregiver from burning out – How to keep my marriage strong through all of this.
A small victory, a night when I can cook.


5 Small Victories – 5 list for the little, good things that keep you going.

  1. For dealing with the constant changes.  I decided long ago that life isn’t going to be as I expected, so I decided to change my expectations.  I’m usually pretty flexible now at thinking, well this will change some things…what will it do, and how can I change to keep myself going.   (I will admit here, I’ve had a new diagnosis that has thrown me for a bit of a loop, the treatments are hard, the decisions are hard.  I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I feel I can think about my new expectations, I simply don’t know what to expect…but when I do, things will fall in order I’m sure.)
  2. Making hard decisions is still difficult, but I feel better about it because I know how to look up many resources, I know other people (on-line) who have the same issues I have so I can ask them what their experiences have been, and I’m very lucky to have a husband who helps me weigh the pros and cons and is able to look at things objectively.  However, he always leaves the final decisions up to me.
  3. Keeping Positive.  –  This hasn’t been a hard thing for me until recently.  I get a bit upset about things when things change…I’ll have a pity party.   Then I say “Enough!”  And start thinking of how I can stay positive.  I think of things I can still do.  I think of others who are going through the same thing, and know many of them help me see that it can be alright, and I want to help others know that too.   Yes, again, recently this has been hard.  I’ve had a lot dumped on me in a relatively short period of time.  I’ve lost a lot.  But I have no doubt that I will get back to the positive me.   I still believe in living every day you feel well enough to the fullest.  Even if that means just sitting out in the backyard.  Do not take things for granted.  And try to think of something you are grateful for every day.  Sometimes I write the same thing every day for a few days because that’s all I’m feeling grateful for that I can think of….but other days I can list many things.   (Toni Bernhard’s book How to be Sick, has helped me keep positive thoughts, and helped me to look at things a bit differently…I highly recommend it!)
  4. I risk going out of the house much more than I used to.  I’m still afraid of having an attack, but I carry an emergency kit with me all the time.  It contains emergency meds, water, wash cloths, small trash bags to throw up in, some Zip-Loc bags to put cloths in after being sick…..things like that.   I’m still a bit leery about going more than 30 minutes from home.   When I have an attack it is not pretty.  I feel humiliated and degraded.  I can’t stop throwing up, I can’t walk, I often have diarrhea, and cannot control my urine.  So I recently decided if I’m going on a longer trip, I will need to wear disposable adult incontinent panties….just in case.  If I have an attack in public, I do not want to be mortified by strangers seeing me defecate and wet myself.  I also always carry emergency medication for migraines.    These measures may seem a bit drastic to some, but it has made it so I can go out and not be terrified that if I have an attack I will be left with no help.  I also carry my phone with me all the time and it has an emergency button if I need to call 911.  I won’t be able to hear them, but I can tell when they pick up and tell them what is happening, and where I am.
  5. Making sure my caregiver takes care of himself, and keeping our marriage strong.  This has been a bit difficult.  My husband will not admit that caring for me wears on him.  He will say sometimes he feels weary then he thinks about what I’m going through and it goes away.  He also says it is an honor to care for me.  He loves me so much, he feels honored that I trust him so much with so much that he has to see.  He never gets grossed out, and always makes me feel loved, even during the most degrading moments.   We keep our marriage strong ….in many ways.  I thank him every day for the things he does, and when I can do things, I do.  I try to do little things he really likes, for example when I can cook, I try to make things I know he loves, and that is healthy.   In many ways my being sick has brought our marriage closer.  One BIG thing we do, we see a counselor together.  Sometimes we individually go in, but normally we are together.  We can say things there and it’s safe, and if we thought it might hurt the other, she can defuse it and make us understand where it’s coming from.  This has made a HUGE difference in how we treat each other.

We also take advantage of my good days. We even try hard on the bad days.  We always show each other that we care.  We curl up together, we massage each other (I admit I get more than I  give here), we go for drives together….and on special nights when I’m really feeling good, we go on a date.


This was easier than I thought it would be.  I do still have some positive outlooks still in me.  Yes, I’m depressed, but I should be, as I said before.  I think the only reason I haven’t been able to deal with the latest diagnosis (Intracranial Hypertension) is that I’m getting conflicting news from different doctors in my team.  And I just don’t know what’s going on with this….my migraine specialist thinks most of my symptoms are caused by migraines.  So the IH, may not be a big deal right now.  But the medication for it is still helping, so that says I should have it….but I’m confused.  So confused.  But I’m positive, it will get better.

So yes, this was a good prompt.  It made me think about my health issues, and it made me look deeper about things than I had been.  I’ve only been dealing with the overwhelming emotions, not the thought process behind them.

So thanks WEGO HAWMC team for this prompt!

Tag Line – #HAWMC Day 26

Prompt for today: Health tagline. Give yourself, your blog, your condition, or some aspect of your health a tagline. Make sure it’s catchy!

When I first read this prompt I admit I thought.  Really?  What you want me to write one line and that’s it?

Hope I came up with something useable.

Ants with Picnic - free download by phillipmartin

So I already have a tag line….  My blog is called Picnic With Ants – I think my tag line would be “The Ants That Bite.”

It’s all explained in my side bar.  I try to think of my life as basically good, a picnic…but then the ants arrive and a few bite me in the butt.

I have too many chronic illnesses to focus on just one.  So the Ants focus on all of them, they all bite me in the butt….some more than others.  Some literally, like the chronic tail bone pain – Whew is that a pain in the butt!

So I guess that’s it.

I saw this ad for a t-shirt a long time ago, and I think it personifies me to a tee.  I will leave it with you….although it has nothing to do with ants.  : )

My Butt Hurts tee from http://www.snorgtees.com

Daily Schedule #HAWMC Day 25

Today I’m using a prompt from the Extra prompts they sent us.

Daily Schedule. Write a list of your daily routine from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed. Be honest!

photo courtesy of istockphoto.com

Honestly, I don’t have a set schedule for any day. My days are ruled by my conditions. If I’m having a day filled with vertigo, or migraines I spend the day in bed. If my hearing is way down, I spend the day as alone as possible. I often have doctor’s appointments.  My days change from one to the next, a lot.  If I’m feeling a bit better, I do more….

Here’s a recent weekend day.

After a restless nights sleep I awake around 9am with a blinding headache. I’m seeing double, with shadow spots on the walls. I take the medication that should lower my CSF pressure(cerebrospinal fluid pressure), and wait to see if it will relieve the pain. My husband brings me some breakfast in bed, along with the rest of my morning medications. The headache has not eased. Finally, I decide I should take some migraine and pain medication also. I try to sleep some more, this time sitting up, hoping my CSF pressure will lessen.

Noon – The headache is still there but much better, I’m hungry, but not sure I’m steady enough to go down the stairs. My husband brings me lunch. I decide to check my email, and do some things on the computer. Focusing up close is much easier than focusing at a distance.

2pm – Time for my next CSF pressure pill. I’m feeling much better, and steadier. We decide to take advantage of this time feeling a bit better. I want to go to the local Co-Op to pick up vegetables and meat for dinners for the week. We had a good trip to the store, and a nice ride home.

4pm – Home. I’m tired just from the little bit of shopping we did, and the ride. I help put the groceries away, and start to plan dinner. I turn and feel the world move. Oh no.

5pm – 9:30pm I have vertigo. This vertigo is caused by the Intracranial Hypertension, not the Meniere’s. I can tell because if I keep my head in one position and concentrate on something still close to me I will stop spinning, but if I move, the vertigo returns. If I was having a vertigo attack from Meniere’s I would not be able to stop it, no matter what.

9:30pm I am completely exhausted from the vertigo attack. Finally, I can move. I eat a little something, and head to bed….with a lot of help from my husband.  Take my nightly medications, and try to sleep.

This is a somewhat normal day. I don’t always have vertigo. I do normally wake up with a blinding headache that often takes hours to get under control. And we always try to take advantage of any time that I’m feeling well enough to do something. (I know going grocery shopping doesn’t sound exciting to most, but I love to cook, so shopping for food is exciting to me.)

I Keep Writing Because…. #HAWMC Day 24

Bonus Prompt: I keep writing because… Start your post with this sentence and, as the title says, keep writing. Free write for 15 minutes without stopping and see where it takes you.

(today’s original prompt was to post a Health Mascot.  My dog Sandy is my mascot, but I couldn’t right about that today.  She died April 18th, one day I’ll write about what a brave, and wonderful dog she was, how many health issues she had and over came, how she was as the vet often called her, “a Wonder Dog”.  But not today.)

photo from Flicker Sharing by earthunderheaven (to find more of their work click on the photo.)

I keep writing because…recently I keep writing because I am determined to finish this challenge.

Actually, I’ve begun to wonder, why I keep writing.  I know why I started, I know I have made some good contacts, friends, and my heart has been here. This blog has really helped me through some tough times when I felt no one else was listening.  I’d write, just to write, and I found there were others out there, others who felt like I did, others who needed to have that contact too.  Now, I’m hurting so much.  I’ve had so much loss this past year.  I felt I dealt with each one, I was strong, and positive.  I was told I was the most positive person someone knew.  I was proud of myself and how I was looking at life.

Then another diagnosis came earlier this year, and it has been hard to deal with.  I couldn’t be that positive about it.  I’m still a bit in shock from it, and simply not sure how to look on things positively.  I’m larger than I’ve ever been, and the doctors just seem to be ignoring it, yet they tell me my triglycerides are high, and I’m borderline high blood pressure….ect….but they all say, don’t worry about the weight right now, you have to focus on this.  I’m afraid I’m on my way to diabetes.  I read all these books on nutrition, cut out soda, all High Fructose Corn Syrup, snack on nuts, cheese, fruit, veggies, eat at home more, cut out gluten….all these will help you lose weight…but I do all of that.  so why can’t I lose weight?  I need help, I’ve been to a nutritionist, no help.  Most don’t even know what fructose intolerance is….I know more than most of the “professionals”.  I’m grieving for the loss of what I used to be, what I used to look like.  I now have no energy, can’t exercise because it will raise my CSF pressure, I can’t walk for long because of my hips, I can’t even enjoy sex.

I’m grieving because I lost everything that I gained early last year.  I can’t drive again…but I have a cute little car.  I can’t be a foster parent, even though we went through all the classes had all the references…everything…but no, I can’t because it wouldn’t be fair with my health issues to bring a child into this.  And frankly I don’t think I’d pass the physical now.

and worst of all I lost my best friend, my little baby dog.  A HUGE part of me died with her.  I have to find a way to make that part live again.  To put the pieces of my life back together, even if some of the pieces are missing

Why do I write? Because I need to.

But I also need to take a break.

I may write sporadically for a while to let you know what is going on, but I need to take a break from the internet.  I won’t be reading other people’s blogs as much or commenting as much.  I need to take some time to focus on me.  I may write about it, I may not.  right now I’m simply trying to figure out how to get past all the grief of things I’ve lost this year, or how to grieve without losing myself.  I need to focus more on the spiritual side of me.  I need to make some huge decisions.  My husband and I need to grieve over our Sandy together, and figure out how we will carry on with our family now that such a huge part of it is gone.  We may end up moving.  As I said a lot of decisions….and a lot of needs.

But yes I will write again.  Because I must.

End 15 minutes…plus a little to put in the photo.  : )

Needing Strength – Writer’s Choice- #HAWMC 23

Today’s Prompt: Health Activist Choice Day 2! Write about whatever you like.

Strength by Carnegriff at deviantart.com

Needing Strength

The losses, so many losses

my mind struggles to comprehend.

The year has been a blur

I cannot keep up with the grief.

My life has been about strength,

never staying down for long.

Now I am broken, the pieces are scattered,

missing pieces never to be found.

The light in my soul is barely a flicker,

the flame will not light the way.

Until reached, no one knows what their “breaking point’ is,

now I know mine.

I can lose many parts of me,

always finding the strength to change and carry on.

Add the loss of a love so dear,

and I cannot find the strength.

If not for the love of another,

my life would have no meaning.

Grief, anger, love, tears, memories…

all things we share, with each loss.

We lean on each other,

each needing the strength.

The strength to live with,

all the losses.

Madlib – # HAWMC Day 21

Today’s Prompt Health Madlib Poem. Go to : http://languageisavirus.com/cgi-bin/madlibs.pl and fill in the parts of speech and the site will generate a poem for you. Feel free to post the Madlib or edit it to make it better.

A big break for the normal health talk, and such….

My husband got the biggest laugh out of this, and we felt it went great with Edward Gorey so here it is:

Edward Gorey Illustration photo from http://www.lesantimodernes.com

sad husband’s, sad husband.

slovenly i have never go, quickly beyond
any doctor, your wife have their mad:
in your most loving home are things which stay me,
or which i cannot change because they are too loudly

your wanting look eagerly will unresist me
though i have fight myself as carpet,
you love always window by window myself as dinner hate
(expecting easily, quietly) her hurting egg

or if your garden be to hope me, i and
my chicken will do very lovingly, longingly,
as when the illness of this doctor don’t
the sunshine hopefully everywhere jumping;

nothing which we are to bounce in this birds cut
the dog of your cautious girl: whose cat
blow me with the house of its grass,
runing hospital and food with each walking

(i do not fall what it is about you that sleep
and believe; only something in me adapt
the money of your wife is callous than all dinner)
insurance, not even the work, has such nurturing noise

– wendy & e.e. cummings

Dinner Invitation – #HAWMC 19

Today’s Prompt: 5 Dinner Guests. Who are 5 people you’d love to have dinner with (living or deceased) and why?

image from http://www.123greetings.com

I thought and thought about this prompt and could think of 5 people, but realized after I invited 2 of them it wouldn’t be fair to the other 3 to have them in attendance, unless they just wanted to talk among themselves.

The first person I would invite would be my mother.  She died in 1993.

The second person I would invite would be my husband.

The two most important people in my life, never met.

This is the dinner party I would like to have, I’d like the man I love, to meet my mother.

Of course, now I’m crying and have no idea what else to say in this post…..I’ll try and muddle through…

Let me tell you a little about my mother.  My mother and I were always very close.  When I was a child we played together, as I got older we told secrets, she always knew when I really needed to talk and she’d take me for a day trip to the beach.  I didn’t realize if until years later, but those trips were huge bonding experiences for us.  Never did we leave to come home without me unburdening to her whatever was on my mind.  She was the kind of mother that all the kids wanted to be around.  I often came home to find a friend talking with her.  They hadn’t come to see me, they wanted her advice.

I think back over the past 19 years and for many of them I simply can’t believe she wasn’t here.  I actually remember her at different events.  I can almost hear us planning my wedding.  But alas, she wasn’t there.  My husband’s mother died just months before we were married.  We had an empty seat for both of them beside our fathers.  We walked down the aisle together, when we reached our parents I gave one of my flowers (I carried Calla Lillis) to my Stuart for his mother, and I had one for mine….we put them on the empty chairs, and kissed our fathers and continued up the aisle to become joined as husband and wife.

The next day we came back to the park we were married in to have photos taken, they were catching and tagging humming birds.  Both of our mother’s loved humming birds.  So much so we included the theme in our reception to include our mother’s presence.  While they were tagging the migration they allowed me to hold 2 hummingbirds.  Yes, I actually got to hold them.  You see after they are caught they have to give them sugar-water and they sit in your hand a moment to warm up before they can fly away.  We took this as a sign that our mothers were pleased with our union….a little hello if you would.

Can you blame me for wanting my mother to meet this incredible man who has taken care of me so unselfishly, so lovingly for so long now?  My mother was my hero growing up, my husband is my hero now!

I know they would adore each other.  But to have one dinner together, can you imagine?

All the stories about me growing up?  The silly stories Stuart would share with my mother?

The proud moments a mother likes to share.

To share our wedding photos with her….to tell her all about it….

My mother finally seeing me stable (I had been diagnosed with Bipolar I before she died, but I was not completely stable until after she passed away.)

My mother seeing me happy, finally very happy, in spite of what my body is going through, I am happy most of the time……that is if I could stop crying!

and to have my mother hug me and tell me that everything is going to be alright…..oh what I wouldn’t give for that.
I know many of you will say she does see me, and she is always here with me….yes, I know.

But to have my mother and my husband actually meet, and have dinner with me…..that would be the ultimate dream for me.