I know, it’s been a long time

The months have flown by and we are now in November.  I have about 1/3 of the house packed and we load the truck on December 6th.  God help me, please!!

As you can tell we are still moving to the Midwest.  This is similar but different from the last times we’ve moved.  Why?  I’m so glad you asked, because I would be in the same amount of completed packing, because I was working full time.  Now it’s due to my body not cooperating with me from Scleroderma.  However, thankfully I march on with help from family and friends!!

This morning while going through my emails I came across an article about Chronic Illnesses.  The article was written by a fellow sufferer of these illnesses.  Mind you, she has Lupus, Sjogrens, & Rheumatoid Arthritis, however, they are all in the same family as my Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma).  All of these diseases are debilitating, painful as well as frustrating when one has been an active person.   If you have time, it’s a great read.  You can read it here.

Every point she made is so true.  I was glad to know I’m not the only one feeling this way.  HOWEVER, I must say that I have the BEST set of friends and family.  They don’t judge me for what I can or cannot do.  They are very willing to help me with whatever I need, if I only ask them.

She talks about having to grieve daily over the new daily things she cannot do.  Oh. My. Gosh.  She is so right!!   I know to those that are well, this makes no sense.  But to those of us that suffer, everyday there is a new degree of things that can’t be done.  As I type this, I can see my fingers curving more and more.  I’m not able to spread my hands.  Here’s a test, take a ruler, open your hand and spread out your fingers.  Measure from your thumb to your little finger and note the measurement.  I just did this and I measure 5 1/2 inches.  Weird!!

When my husband holds my hand, if we interlock fingers, his fingers only go to my middle knuckles because the rest are stiff.  Another thing to grieve, not being able to interlock fingers with my hubby.  It’s a sad and scary thing to realize what normal function is gradually slipping away.

She talks about the pain.  Oh yes, the pain.  You know the pain can be a real pain in the a** and it is EXACTLY as she mentions in this article.  What I find frustrating is the FDA in all their infinite wisdom, changed the medication I’m on and limited the amount of pills given at a time.  Not only did they do that, they DO NOT allow refills.  So that means, I have to go to my doctors office each time to get a new script and take it to the pharmacy to be filled.  The ONLY people this hinders are those that have a legitimate reason to be on these medications.  Those that use them to get high, will be able to obtain them some other way.  Can you tell I’m just a tad frustrated?  Oh well, Let It Be as The Beatles sing  OR Let It Go as in Frozen.    Or as her article reads, “Not giving up, but giving up.”  Some would think that is strange, but it really isn’t.  Giving up trying to figure out the whys, what-for, the infinite wisdom of those in charge … etc.  It does make for a better blood pressure reading.

When hubby goes off on something, I just look at him and tell him, I can’t change it.  OR, I don’t have the brain space to deal with that right now.  Which is true!  I now get overwhelmed.  This person who used to be an Escrow Officer handling thousands and millions of dollars now gets overwhelmed and has to stop, breathe and focus my brain and write down what I need to accomplish for that day.  AND not be disappointed that I didn’t get everything on my list checked off.  I spend a lot of time shaking my head at myself.

Her 3 things are very helpful.  I also a fourth thing, which should be my first thing, that is my faith and trust in God.  My fifth thing, which should be my second thing, is my counselor.  Without her, I would not have made it through this year and preparing for this move.

 

 

Dog Days of Summer

It’s been pretty hot around here.  Thankful that it cools down when the sun goes down.  I’ve been busy dog sitting.  I had a puppy for a few days.  It reminded me that I don’t want a puppy … EVER!!!  LOL  Oh.  My.  Word.  “No Bite” was my vocabulary for all 3 days.

Then I had a Westi/mini poodle mix.  We fell in love with this little guy.  He was the perfect size and liked to cuddle.  Now I have a Blonde Cocker Spaniel.  As it’s hot outside and we have no a/c – I called his mom to get the name of their groomer.  He’s getting groomed tomorrow.  I hope that helps with his panting in the house.  I feel so bad for him.  He’s also been a joy.

A friend and I went to the park to visit.  On the way back, there’s a cherry tree, with a note that says, for 20 minutes,  pick all you can.  So we were picking cherries and piling them in our shirts.  It was fun and good exercise for my hands.

Can you believe it is already July?  I have to start packing now so I’m ready in 6 months!!

Our neighbors had a yard sale and hubby got me a Schwinn 5 speed cruiser bike for $10.  We just need to get a tube for the front tire and change a couple of cables and I’ll have wheels!!!  LOL   Now to see if I have balance!!  I’m excited and can’t wait to use it.   Hubby was happy as he was able to get a new full set of camping plates/kettle/etc.  along with table top propane heater and a propane lantern.  Big score at this yard sale!!

Since I haven’t been working, my nails have grown long, to the point that I cannot type.  LOL … I guess I had better think about filing them down.

Well, just thought I’d stop in and say hey!  I’m still here and doing good, considering!  Y’all have a safe and Happy Independence Day!!!

Now the big drum roll

The results of my CT scan shows that Scleroderma is in my lungs, affecting 3 lobes, hence the 25% loss of lung function.

With little known about this disease, the only thing my Rheumy could suggest was Cytoxan, which is a Chemo drug.  Yes, it will bring all the side effects with this and  … AND … no guarantees this will work on slowing down the progress in my lungs.  With a possibility that it will give me cancer in another organ.

Friday, I was a mess.  Yesterday I decided that the odds were NOT good and I was not going to go on this drug.  If it did not work, my body would be screwed up even more than it is and my immune system would be nil, therefore, I would not be able to be around the grandkids.  So …. NO …. I am NOT going to do this drug.

The other alternative he gave me was to go to UCSF for a second opinion on treatment.  I’ve done my research and the clinical trial at UCSF is the Cytoxan for one group of people; the other is CellCept (another drug that will mess you up).  No thanks.

I know my docs with the hippocratic oath they have taken will not like my decision, but I am searching for a more natural treatment.  I know I have to be careful with herbs and things that will support my immune system, because my immune system is already working overtime attacking my body, so there is quite a bit of caution I need to heed.

Worst case scenario – whatever natural remedy I decide to do, doesn’t work, I have had a better quality of life than putting toxins in my body being isolated in bed.

Yes, somewhere down the line I will be going on oxygen, but that time is not here and I’m not going to worry about that until the time comes.

I could tell my Rheumy did not like giving me this information.  He’s even surprised how rapidly this disease is growing.  But, I have faith in God and I ask Him everyday to guide me in my research process.

Drum Roll Please

Okay, maybe just a small one – I’ve been complaining about breathing or not having enough of air or feeling that something is hindering my breathing – The doc did a breathing test yesterday and I’ve lost 25% pulmonary function.  That is why I get tired, as my reserves are not there.  He also said that it is a good thing I’m not working, so I can rest when I get fatigued and if I have a down day, to rest.  Pushing myself on a down day is not good as I would be worn out and it would take longer to get better.

But … with that said, I’m to stay active  … one of the things I do, if I’m not active at home, I’ll walk around a block.  The fun thing I’m doing is dancing to a cleaning mix on Spotify.  I try not to put too much stress on the knees, but I get my heart a racing.

A dumpster was delivered to my house yesterday.  So I had better get back to going through boxes!  Ugh.

Y’all have a wonder-filled day!!

The First Day of February

Disclaimer – I’m not responsible for any typos or non complete sentences as I’m blogging under the influence.  

The progression of my disease keeps  me in pain.  I’ve had to back out of a couple of meetings due to my body not cooperating with the morning.  I miss Toastmasters and Women of Grace, because I’m doing good just getting to work before the doors open.

I’m now walking with a cane.  I don’t know why I hadn’t done this before as it takes the weight off my knee, so hopefully it won’t be as painful AND I need to stop being stubborn and just use the darn thing!  The cool thing about this cane – it was my brother’s.  Hubby cut it down for me.  I’m still getting used to being in sync with walking and steps, but I’m getting there.  I still cannot go up a flight of stairs.

In March we are traveling to Nebraska to meet our new granddaughter.  Then after that we will be going to Vegas to visit family.  I’ve been debating on taking advantage of the wheelchair offered at the airport.  I probably should use the wheelchair that way I won’t end up over exerting myself and be down for a day or two of my 1 week vacation at each destination.

I left work early yesterday as my knees decided to rebel and the pain was affecting my thoughts.  I couldn’t stay focused with the throbbing.  Hubby picked me up and brought me home.  He surprised me with the cane, as it had been a couple of weeks that he said he was going to cut it down.

I think my knees finally had enough as it had been an active week at work.  The constant walking/moving/up and down out of the chair was enough that they finally decided to quit working.  My right knee wouldn’t bend without shooting pains.  I get aggravated but there isn’t much I can do.  Well, I could start taking a mild form a chemo drug (in addition to the other ones) to see if it will work on the pain, but I’m still being resistant to this option.

I have applied for a handicap placard so we can park closer wherever we go.  I’m hoping to have it before we leave for Nebraska at the end of this month.

I’m excited to travel and see my kids/grandkids but apprehensive as I’m not as mobile as I was the last time I saw them.  Heck I’m not as mobile as I was last March.  Strange how fast this disease is progressing and affecting me.  I’m thankful hubby is going with us as I know I would not be able to travel without him.  I know he gets frustrated being my caretaker, but he really is there for me.

We’ve talked to my doctor about disability.  As it takes so long I guess I really should look into it.  If I continue to progress as fast as I have these last 7 months, what will the next 7 months look like?

The 30th was one of our pastor’s birthdays.  Actually the one I have a good working relationship with.  I made him the Better Than Sex Cake (that’s what it’s called) or as my brother-in-law calls it, “The Chocolate Death Cake”!  LOL, I was glad to hear he really liked it.

Sunday is the Super Bowl.  Which team are you rooting  for?  As my Steelers and  hubby’s Vikings are not there, I don’t have  a  preference.  I saw a preview of the puppy and the horse commercial (of course it was Budwiser) so I may be watching for the commercials AND to see Bruno Mars.  Other than that, I don’t have much interested in the game.  Personally, I think the Broncos will dominate the game.  But kudos to both teams for getting to the Super Bowl!!  How cool is that!?!?!

I’m going back to bed to get these legs up!  As I spend so much time in bed, I may need to get a new mattress or switch the one from the spare room to our room.  I’d really like to get a memory foam mattress and I keep eyeing the ones on Overstock.com … but that will be in time.

Well, y’all have a great weekend.  Talk at you later.

Happy New Year, 4 days late

I started the new year with a bang – sick – again!  I am not amused nor amazed!  Of course, hubby is worst than me.  All I can say is – Not. Again.

I was so happy to say goodbye to 2013.  It was a rough year, starting from the beginning.  I had high hopes that 2014 would be better, that is until we came down sick.  There’s an awful flu going around that can turn into viral pneumonia.  I’m worried that is what the hubs has.   Being viral, well, not much they can do.  He’s been on antibiotics to keep any infection at bay, but his ribs are hurting evrytime he coughs or sneezes.   He does have the strong cough syrup, I may give him another dose so he can sleep.

Looking out my window, the sky is blue and the sun is shining bright.  I have the front door open to let some air in.  I really just want to go out there and wander.  My knees are not letting me do too much wandering these days.  They hurt and I wince, sometimes scream, when I have to move them.  I’m not thrilled that the right knee is getting as bad as the left.

The time is getting closer for the new grand-baby’s arrival.   I can’t wait to meet this little bundle of joy.  Thankfully both mom  & baby are doing well.

Not much else is going on from this side of the computer.   I hope you have a great weekend!