geanniegray.com

a blog about life with diabetes, depression & dysfunction & how to manage them with HOPE!

Author: Geannie


living with food allergies…


That is SUCH a lame title guys, but I wanted people to know exactly what I was talking about.

Yes, eye roll  I know that’s unusual for me.  Ha-ha-ha.  Sheesh.

This is sort-of an update too because there’s been a ton of stuff going on around here.

First of all, yeah, we are dealing with allergies again.  But this time, it’s not me!  And it’s not like hay fever type allergies.  Tommy is just plagued with a whole list of food allergies!

I’m talking some weird foods, stuff he eats all the time…or used to, that is.  We were both floored when the results came back.

Shoot, we were floored when they were finally able to even do the prick test on him at all!

This is what happened when they began writing the reference info on his back:

YIKES!!  Yeah, his skin began to get really red and puff up as soon as they started writing back there.  Keep in mind, he had to go off all antihistamines and his usual allergy medicines for a week prior…and he could only make it to five days.  We called the allergist’s office and got him in early in Lexington instead of waiting for him to come into our local office as planned.

You could have literally read the writing with the ink wiped off because each stroke they made with the ballpoint pen had welted up.  It was crazy and then things began to get a little weird in the office…

The nurses got really alarmed.  The one who’d done the writing was all but done by the time Tommy finally said, “I don’t think I can stand that anymore.”  And that was after telling her almost from the start that it was itching.  I mean, he was willing to tolerate a bit of itching, but it kept getting worse, so she stopped with the pen and did the rest with a felt-tip, which also caused redness but no welting up.

Instead of going right ahead with the pricks, she went to get another nurse… who then went to get the doctor.  We had to wait about 10 minutes for him to come in and during that time the first two nurses brought in another nurse to check it out.  Then they asked if he was okay, was his chest tight or hurting, could he breathe okay… He assured them he was fine other than the horrible itching.

They came in to ask another time before the doc finally came in to see what all the fuss was about.

He wasn’t as alarmed but it concerned him.  He said he hadn’t seen anyone react that bad before.  He and another nurse, I’m assuming she must have been the most senior nurse or had the most experience, discussed how to complete the testing.

They came up with the idea to just make dots on his upper arm instead of writing out the numbers.  So she dotted his arm up but at the same time, she had to write down each allergen on a paper that matched up with the dots so they could keep things straight.

Once they finally got all the dots and pricks done and could give him some antihistamine and inhalers, we ended up with this buttload of things he showed allergy to.  Things like wheat.

Wheat, people.  This was NOT celiac disease like our oldest son, Corey, has… that’s a breakdown of the cillia which makes you unable to properly digest and absorb nutrients from wheat products.  However, it’s pretty much resulted in the same type of diet.

Except that Tommy’s also allergic to tomatoes and cauliflower and turkey and walnuts and vanilla and carrots…

Oh, there’s more.  But this little sample of his allergy list just gives you an idea of how hard it’s been to feed this man ever since then!

Seriously!  It’s been tough, but thank God he’s adjusted fairly well.  He went through one short-lived episode of self pity when he claimed there was nothing for him to eat ANYwhere!

As they say in the infomercials:

But wait, there’s more!

That would be funny except for the fact that in the middle of all these adjustments, he had to also deal with the food restrictions that come with prepping for testing at the gastroenterologist’s office too.  Yeah, he had the upper and lower scope thingies done so we spent five days trying to keep straight his allergy restrictions along with his scope-prep restrictions.  Talk about confusing!!

That list added grains and leafy green veggies along with fried foods.

We had already planned to visit Corey and Mel in Cincinnati during that time so I’m not sure if that made it easier to eat out or harder, but we sure got some weird looks from the requests we made.  Ha ha!

After the scopes were done, he was told in no uncertain terms to avoid all NSAIDs from here on out.  She said they were poison and were destroying the lining of his stomach.  sigh

We THOUGHT he was off all NSAIDs except his former doctor had given him something for pain quite some time ago telling him, “This won’t bother your stomach”. Turned out the new medicine was just another form of NSAID so it was actually doing the same thing.  Gah!!  I’m so glad Tommy is no longer seeing that doctor!

Okay, SO the reason he’s got so much damage from the NSAIDs is because he’s taken them off and (mostly) on for a long, LONG time.  For the pain in his feet mostly, from the tightness and pain in his Achilles tendons and all over.

The first time he went off them, within three days, he seized up like the Tin Man without his oil.  He was in misery which is why the other doc put him on this new “won’t hurt your stomach because it’s not an NSAID except that it is” medicine.

Tommy was really worried about how he was going to work or do really anything without some sort of pain relief.   When we looked at the alternative medical offerings, we were not impressed so we turned to the trusty ol’ innernets.

We researched natural herbal remedies for inflammation and came up with tumeric over and over. Okay, yeah.  I’d heard of using tumeric for pain and arthritis years ago when I worked in the natural food store, but I’d long since forgotten about it.  We came across the recipes for something called Golden Milk which, oddly enough (or not!) I had seen floating around on Facebook as well and I was very interested in trying it already.  Even before I knew about this benefit.

Ever since Tommy’s allergy testing, he’s been SO much more committed to healthy eating, something I couldn’t ever get him to do seriously before.  So he was instantly agreeable to trying golden milk too.  It was made with ground tumeric, cinnamon, black pepper and ginger all mixed together with milk and sweetened a bit.  We liked it and began having it every night before bed.

At that same time, I was also giving Tommy tart cherry juice to drink because it also has anti-inflammatory properties.

And we waited to see what would happen.

When after three days, he wasn’t hurting a ton worse, we declared it a success and made the tumeric and cherry juice a part of his regular regimen.  Before when he went off the NSAIDs, he was mostly bed-ridden within three days of stopping the medicine.  His entire body would get so tight and it would be excruciating for him to move.  Not this time, though.  The natural remedies seemed to be working awesome for him!

You can’t imagine how thankful to God we are for that!  As always, God provides what we need!   Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:22

Jesus says: “And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”

We tweaked our recipe, of course, tracked down some fresh tumeric thinking it had to be better for us.  The jury is still out on that one.  I’m not sure if it’s because the benefits aren’t noticeably better or if it’s because I detest how peeling and grating tumeric turns your hands orangey-yellow!  Ugh!

Okay so we had made it past getting him off the harmful medicine without being incapacitated but his stomach was still bothering him.  We went to see our family doctor who advised him to stop eating a few more things to see if that would help and switched his “stomach medicine” to something else.  But he didn’t get better.  In fact, the pain got worse.

We decided it must be his gall bladder.  Both the family doc and the gastroentrologist had mentioned possible gall stones as the reason for his pain.  So we hit the ‘net again looking for answers.

Annnnd, we ended up doing a home remedy called a gall bladder (or liver) flush.  I’ve mentioned it in more detail in another post so I’ll refrain here, but if you missed this post, let me just say that “flush” is a completely suitable name for this “procedure” because you do a LOT of it, your intestinals AND your toilet.  We both did it since we learned that most anyone over 40 probably has some stones even if they don’t have symptoms.  There were a lot of small, soft-ish stones so for us both, so I’m sure that is probably a good thing to do at least once anyway (if you are healthy enough, yadda, yadda, medical disclaimer)

We were SO hoping to avoid a gall bladder surgery for Tommy, thinking we could possibly flush the stones out at home, but even though the pain lessened immediately after, it soon was back up to speed.  Once it got so bad that Tommy was taking off work, he said Enough and we headed back to our family doc again.  She set him up for a HIDA scan to make absolutely sure his gall bladder wasn’t working.  The scan showed he had about 21% function, so it had to come out.

He got in for that fairly quickly, which was great.  He healed up well and is now back to his old self, minus the crappy diet.

We’re now eating SOOOOoooOOOOO much healthier!  We are eating non-GMO and organic as much as is possibly in our smaller town.  We often drive 80 miles to get the healthier food we need and want.  We’ve found some veggies Tommy can eat, so I keep those in stock for snacking and meals.  We eat a lot more fish now since turkey is off the menu for him and a lot of beef is discouraged by his doc.  He got sick of chicken real fast!  Tommy has a smoothie every morning with banana, tart cherries, blueberries and oatmeal in almond milk.  Tons healthier than even the “healthy” breakfast smoothie he used to always stop and buy each morning, not to mention a TON cheaper!  To avoid wheat, we just look for items labeled “gluten free” and stick with that.  We found some great GF tortillas that he really likes and most of the time, we can get GF bread at the local store, but lately, it’s been gone from the shelves and I’m not sure why.  He’s not crazy about the frozen GF bread, so I don’t buy it unless he’s mentioned bread several times.  Then I’ll buy it and we make sure it’s always toasted.  He was so excited when I found some GF waffles in several flavors and on sale, too!

That GF food is exPENsive, lemme tell ya!  A few more things on his allergy list are coconut, sweet potato, catfish, cod, raspberries and grapes.

No, that’s still not all, but those are the biggies we run into most often.  Corey has finally found someone who has a harder time finding food to eat than him!  When we were in Cincy last was during Tommy’s overlapping diets… allergy restrictions and his scope-prep diet.  Corey would say, “Hey, we can go here.  They have a great GF stir fry that..” and I’d stop him with “Dad can’t have rice before the scope.” or when he suggested we make buckwheat noodles with pasta sauce for a meal… “Dad is allergic to tomatoes.”  Sheesh!

I know it probably sounds like we go overboard with all these allergies, but he was determined to follow the allergist’s orders to completely go off all his triggers for a couple months then slowly add one thing back at a time.  Tommy has really been great at sticking with that.  I would have just chucked it when it came to asking someone for something else, but not Tommy.  If there was no substitution, he would go without.

Besides that, we have seen first hand already that he actually is allergic to somethings when we’ve accidentally consumed them.  Like that time I put coconut milk in his smoothie instead of almond and his neck and chest turned red, itchy and welted up.  Or the time he forgot and put grape jelly on a PBJ then had an itchy throat the rest of the day.  They’re not huge reactions, but knowing he reacts adversely to those things makes him realize how much better he feels now that he’s off them.

Tommy was off work a week after the gall bladder surgery and had been off about two weeks total before that from being so sick or having a test or doctor appointment.  Since we had a 3 day vacation thingie we’d bought the year before and it was about to expire, we booked a place in Florida and took off!  He decided since he’d been off this long, we should just go down there and recoup.

Actually, our doctor told me we needed a vacation.  So it was medically sanctioned.  Ha ha ha!!  We had a nice time.  It was beautiful the day we arrived and the next day, but the last two days were very overcast and windy, but the ocean was still amazing to watch.

Sunset at Fort Walton Beach near Destin

Anyhow, that’s where we’re at right now.  Doing lots of new things as far as our diets go and it’s been good and mostly fun.  (I still hate olives, though, but Tommy loves them and they’re one of his favorite snacks).  We’re trying new things, trying to enjoy it as much as we can with the acknowledgement that if we don’t take the best care of ourselves that we can, we will not be able to enjoy life as much!

True confessions:  We drove 10 miles each way several times so we could have our meal at Whole Foods!  We felt so silly but every time we went, we would see a lot of other people in there just to eat, not really shopping.  Hey, it may just be food bars in there, but that’s some good food!  I personally loved it.  I think maybe Tommy was a bit disappointed that we didn’t find a lot more things he could eat in the restaurants.  Poor fella.  I’m like, “Dude, we’re down here right on the water.  Where people fish ALL THE TIME.  There’s gonna be seafood everywhere and where there’s seafood, there’s gonna be breading and frying and lots of gluten-y/wheat-containing foods.”  I really don’t think that had even crossed his mind on the long trip down there.

But it all turned out alright once it sat in that we couldn’t go in any ol’ restaurant and order a meal and he couldn’t order up a big seafood platter like he would have done in the past.

You know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.  Well, these old dogs are learning.  Very slowly, granted!  But we’re learning.  Ha!

Alright…I’m out for now.  Hope to get back to posting more regularly now!

Blessings~

 


impossible


You know how things become “hip” and “trendy” so fast these days.  Like the one that immediately comes to mind (and is very much done, for the most part, so yeah, it’s old, but it was super-annoying!) is the RickRoll (<–click the link for definition & lengthy exposition of the rickrolling phenomenon).

Or that meme that you find repeatedly or in various forms all over social media and the internet in general.  Like, it become a sort of techno-folklore type of thing.  (overused memes, linked in case you’re confused about what I mean…ha!)

OR (yes, I’m getting to my point here…) like all those baby-fied Noah/Noah’s ark things.  All sorts of things…baby toys, wallpaper border, wall hangings, bed sets, play sets, notebooks, stationery…you name it!  It has or has had something that was Noah-ark themed made of it.

I never got into that.  I didn’t give my boys any things that were made that way. To drive the point home for you, check out this link!  I mean, it’s like Noah’s ark-o-rama!  GAH!

Now, the above photo depicts, among other things, some top-notch cake-decorating skills but also is representative of my point that the whole story of Noah has been turned into a children’s story at best; a fairytale at worst!  This cake is for a baby shower.  It’s adorable, don’t get me wrong.  But the theme, the actual story, whether the person who ordered it believes it’s truth or fiction, is really a little questionable.  This is from a “story” (for lack of a better word right now) about when God found the earth so corrupt and wicked that He found it necessary to wipe the slate clean.  A time when He instructed the one moral man He could find who still followed God’s teachings to build a gigantic vessel (that took over ONE HUNDRED YEARS to build, by the way) for a nature event that had never yet happened (it had never rained at all, let alone flooded!) and then to fill it with two of EVERY creature on earth (plus the extra ones God instructed Noah to take).

~blink, blink~

Can you even imagine?  That’s what gets me every time.  What a wholly unfathomable idea it all was…

I can remember when my boys were young and we were homeschooling when we came to the scripture about Noah.  Often, I’d take the boys outside to read the Bible to them and we would talk about what we had read.  I can recall how it just hit me suddenly what a gigantic faith Noah had to have.  I mean, at that time, the earth sort of “watered itself”.  The dew was sufficient to create enough water to sustain all the vegetation in the world and even to supply all the people with enough water.

I’m drawing from my reading of Many Waters, by A Wrinkle In Time author, Madeleine L’Engle.

The Wrinkle in Time Quintet Boxed Set (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, An Acceptable Time)
(I love this series of books and recommend you give them a read if you haven’t already!)

 

Ahem!  So when I say that, I mean that in Many Waters, the imagery was that of a dry, arid atmosphere.  Like a desert, I guess.  And scripture doesn’t indicate if there was a body of water nearby, so I really don’t know if they could, at that time, even imagine what sort of thing was about to happen or why in the world they would need to build such a “contraption” as the ark.  Who knows?  Perhaps they had never seen any sort of boat before?

I tried to get across to the boys how HUGE Noah’s faith had to be for him to just go ahead and do what God told him when he had never seen or even heard of rain or a flood before.  I told them it would be like God telling them to build a gigantic whatchamajigger (because they wouldn’t know whatever word God would use… they wouldn’t understand what He was talking about if they’d never seen it before, if it had never even happened before) because purple, singing flowers were going to fall from the sky.

Seriously.

What if God told you something like that?  Don’t you imagine it was along the same lines with Noah?  I can almost imagine this sort of conversation happening…

“Yes, I’m going to send water down from the sky.  Yes, I know it usually appears on all the leaves.  But I will…yes.  Yes, I know you’ve never seen water come out of the sky before, but I am going to do it that way this time.  Yes…enough to cover the entire earth.  Yes, Noah, I know you’ve never seen that much water in your life.  I know you can’t imagine it.  It’s okay though.  I always do what I say I will do and this time won’t be any different.  Just trust in Me, do what I ask you to and you will get to see something that has never ever happened on earth before!”

Wouldn’t it be the same way for us?  I honestly wonder if Noah even questioned what God was talking about, or maybe he wasn’t fully aware.  I really think about this thing a lot.

I really think about this thing a lot.

I mean, did Noah just trust God so fully and completely that he didn’t even bat an eye?  That’s pretty awe inspiring if you ask me.  And here I sit, questioning and wondering if God can or will help us be able to pay our bills or do something or other, and I fret and worry about it.  What a little-faith-er I am!!  I can’t even have faith that God will sustain us with the things we need let alone to do something outlandish and be considered crazy by the world just because He said to.

I had big plans of showing how various factions of society look at or consider the Ark and the whole story of Noah.  From the hostile to the mocking to the sold-out to the “adventurer/historian/myth-buster”.  There are all kinds of opinions and views about Noah’s Ark.  It’s probably one of the most visible, socially acceptable stories in the Bible, even when it’s completely wrong or based in emotion.  You may come across a representation of the ark anywhere!

Go read the account of the ark with this in mind.  Think of how they lived back then, think of what it was like to live that way and how it would be to have God ask you something like that in a time of such rampant evil and violence….

The World When Noah Was Alive….Genesis 6…

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  ~Genesis 6:5


stormy weather…


It’s getting to be tornado season around my house.  It’s a little funny (not ha-ha funny, but odd-funny) for me to say that since we have been blessed to avoid any huge damage from tornados since we’ve lived here.  That’s over 20 years now!  But there have been some bad ones come through very close to us over the years.

I don’t mind a thunderstorm every now and then.  I like the feeling of being safe and protected in my house while the thunder rages outside.  It reminds me of how tiny we are in the grand scheme of things.  It reminds me of how awesome and huge God is and conjures up visions of Him sitting amongst the clouds, flicking His hand to instigate bright flashes of lightening and earth-shaking booms of thunder.

It also usually always makes me think of how amazingly cool it would be to see a storm from His point of view.  I mean, how cool would it be to be able to look over God’s shoulder, or rather, probably, from atop His shoulder, and watch all the action from the topside?  I think it’s fascinating to ponder how utterly awesome that would be.

Heh.  Do you ever think about things like that?

One of my daughters-in-law is really afraid of storms.  Not so much that she’s panicking, but she doesn’t care for them at all.  I have never really been afraid of them.  I actually liked to be outside watching when one rolled in.  I know.  Not very bright of me, right?  Ha!  But it’s true.  I can remember one time when a storm was rolling in over our house.  I was nine or ten years old, I guess, and Dad made me go outside and get some lawn chairs I’d left out in the yard.

As I opened the storm door and stepped outside, the wildness of the winds hit me in the face and the darkness of the sky became up close and personal and I felt incredulous that my dad had sent his poor little daughter out in that weather. Heh.  But I knew he was watching me and wouldn’t let me back out of it, so I ran as fast as my legs would go.  I grabbed up those two chairs, slapped them together and ran for dear life back to the garage to stow them and get back in the house as quick as I could.  

Being all by myself out there was a bit more scary than I had anticipated.

But watching a storm with someone else is a little different.  Another time I remember is when we got caught in the barn when a bad storm hit.  I think it was maybe Mom and my sister this time.  We ended up getting some hail with that one and it was so cool to me to sit in the hay up in the loft and listen to the fury outside.  I think we had some puppies at the time, so that was lots of fun, too.

Or it could be that I’m completely mixing up my memories.  You never know with me these days.  Never the less, at one time in history, I was caught in the barn during a hailstorm and the crazy, loudness of the ice hitting the tin roof was really amazing.  It’s like you have absolutely no control and no choice but to hunker down and let God’s enormous-ness happen all around you.

I dunno… maybe I’m just weird thinking about stuff like that?

Another, more recent time I remember was when my boys were young and we’d gone camping!  We didn’t get hail that time, thank God, but there was lots of lightening and thunder and all we could do was hunker in the tent (yes, a TENT!) while the rain battered against the thin nylon.  The very idea that some flimsy fabric was the only thing between us and the wild weather outside was pretty sobering.  And of course, I did some praying in there that the stitching and fabric would hold!

I’m pretty sure that’s the four-day weekend we spent when it would rain at least once a day, then be beautifully sunny.  Tommy and I ended up buying extra tarps and reinforcing our rain protection that time.  The boys thought it was great fun.  Mud didn’t bother them at all.

smile

Fun times.

This time of year also brings birthday month.  Casey’s birthday was last Sunday.  Corey’s will be the Sunday after this.  I can’t believe they are now 24 and 28!!  I mean, seriously!?!?  When did I get old enough to have an almost-30-year-old kid?!?

Thinking about them being this old makes me really wonder if I’m ever going to get a grandbaby.  I try not to talk about that, especially to them, but c’mon you guys!!  You’re not getting any younger!

I can’t imagine having been married this long and not having any kids.  Of course, our marriage is nothing like either of our kids’ marriages.  Casey and Tay continue talking like soon as she’s done with her BSN (which is next month, hallelujah!) they will be up for having kids.  I guess I can’t see it though because they’re never still long enough.

They are both constantly running to this or that meeting, some sort of sporting event or party or concert or just getting together with friends.  It makes my head spin!  I mean, you have to plan months ahead if you want to do something with them and then it’s likely to be a no-go if Taylor has a lot of homework.  Sheesh!  I just wish I had that much energy!  Ha!

Anyhow, yeah… I’m staring 50 in the eyeball right now and most of my friends have at least one grandbaby if not more!  I feel so left out.  (heh)  That’s only when I let myself think about it, though.

Right now, I’m just trying to work up to where I can ride my stinkin’ bike again!!  Tommy and I went out Sunday afternoon and I couldn’t even finish six miles!  Of course, I hadn’t been on that bike in a good year, so I’m trying to cut myself some slack, but it sure felt horrible to realize how much stamina I have lost.  How much endurance and ability.

It definitely proves the phrase “Use it or lose it” because I’ve definitely lost it.  Every last bit of it!!

But here’s to better things and a stronger body.  Please, Lord!  🙂

Okay, that’s all I have on my brain right now.  Take some time to watch the sky today and think about what and Who stands beyond your view…

Blessings!

Psalm 95:4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.

5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.


playing catch-up


That’s what you can consider this post.  Me trying to update you on all that’s been going on with me and the hubs in the health and medical happenings department.

I’ve indicated a few times that he and I both have been really busy getting all sorts of tests done and then, when something comes up on a test, having some procedure or other done.  Unbelievably, this year it’s been mostly him having procedures.  More about those in a sec…

So far this year, I’ve had a mammogram (joy. not.), an eye exam (got my new glasses & can see MUCH better now, YAY!) I’ve had several blood draws, which is usual for me, I had another sleep study done (after about 8 years?!) and have a new C-PAP machine now, I had my first stress test and echocardiogram done looking for the source of my constant fatigue, that led to seeing a cardiologist and having my first-ever heart catheterization done, which came out fine, I’m finishing up my allergy shots along with getting weekly B12 injections, and now I’m going to physical therapy to get my shoulders and neck back into shape after going for years with constant stress-related pain.

Ha, I told a friend the other day if I could just get some new teeth (I want to get implants as soon as I can) and some liposuction, I’d be almost good as new!

As for my poor hubby, Tommy’s had a bunch of tests run as well.  I finally talked him into seeing my doctor and he really likes her, just like I said he would.  She has been working to find the source of his stomach problems.  He’s had scopes done, both directions, which led to the gastroenterologist telling him again to get off the NSAIDs.  He thought he WAS off them, but come to find out, the meds his old doctor had put him on for the pain in his Achilles actually was another form of NSAID, so his stomach had gotten all messed up again.

He was so worried about having to stop them since every other time he’s gone off pain meds, he has been just wracked with pain and barely able to walk, let alone anything else.  So we began looking for natural anti-inflammatories.  I found a good source for tart cherry juice concentrate and started him on two cups of that a day along with drinking “golden milk” which is a turmeric drink.  Turmeric is a very powerful anti-inflammatory as well.

After having his allergy tests done, we found out he is highly allergic to a ton of foods, weird things that are so common it was pretty discouraging to think about how we’d avoid them.  Like apples, tomatoes, and vanilla!  Just sit there a minute and think about how many foods are made with those ingredients!!

He has done really good with changing his eating habits but soon, his stomach really started to bother him.  I’ve been telling him for the past several years if he didn’t lose some weight, he was going to regret it.  He’s the type who will do the opposite of what you tell him just for spite, so he’s not been trying at all to modify his eating.  So now, with several doctors telling him it is a MUST that he eat differently, he’s finally on board.

When our doc began testing to see what was up with his stomach, she mentioned gall bladder, which put us on the search for ways to avoid having to get it removed.  That’s when we did the gall bladder/liver flush.  Tommy ended up doing it twice but still had to get his taken out.  Turned out he didn’t have stones, but instead his gall bladder was just grossly infected.

They had a horrible time getting him sedated, or rather, intubated and we left the surgery center with a letter from the doctor and anesthesiologist to keep with us in case he ever had to be sedated again.  Seems he has a very small airway along with a strange alignment of his esophagus that makes it impossible to intubate him in the normal way.  He has to have a bronchi-scope instead, which is a whole different set of tools for the anesthetist.  During his gall bladder surgery, they had to stop everything while the other tools were located and brought to the operating room.  Apparently, it was very stressful and maybe even dangerous to have to do this.  I didn’t understand all that she was telling me, but she said to make sure the doctors got that letter before he has another surgery or sedated procedure.

After the surgery, Tommy seemed to start doing better.  His terribly bloated stomach went down which made us realize that he’d probably been sick with that for a couple of years!  We didn’t realize it was bloating instead of just weight gain!  However, he has continued to have pain in his upper/mid back area.  So our doc sent him for another CT scan to check his kidneys.

This would be his fourth scan-type test this year after an initial ultrasound, then a CT for the initial stomach pain, then a HIDA scan, now this CT and then, after finding cysts on his kidneys, they sent him for another ultrasound to see if the cysts were something serious.

Turns out they aren’t and now doc wants to send him to the chiropractor thinking his back pain is muscular instead of internal.

I wasn’t thrilled about that since I’ve been a ton of times to this chiropractor without getting any relief for my neck and shoulders.  I really love the gal that works on me at physical therapy.  She’s a former masseuse so she also does some massage on my neck and shoulders, which helps a lot.  She’s trying to help me build up the muscles that are weak from years of trying to accommodate my misalignment due to pain.  The reason the chiropractor hasn’t worked for me is because all those muscles are so tight, even when the chiro aligns me, my muscles will pull things back out.  Until my muscles are retrained, any alignment isn’t going to stick.

I’ve been to the PT three times now.  Yesterday was an unusual day, though.  I was late getting there, which made me nervous and stressed anyway.  She put me on this bike to do hand pedaling and then over to the pulleys to do some exercises when I began to feel extremely tired.  Tommy texted about that time to tell me my sugar was pretty low.  I had seen it about the same time and walked over to my purse to get something to treat the low blood sugar with…but all I could find was one solitary Tootsie Roll!!  My little zip bag I keep stuff for lows in was empty!!  ARGH!  I remembered then wiping that out when we were on vacation but never thinking to restock it once we got home.

By this time, I was beginning to sweat and feel shaky.  I texted Tommy, who had been planning to come by the therapy office to get his computer out of my car.  He had already come and got it though, so he was already gone when I asked if he could bring me a Mt. Dew or something.  By this time, the therapist had noticed something was up with me.  I told her what was going on and she spotted the number on my CGM app on my phone… it was 54 at the time and trending straight down.

She said, “Is that what your sugar is?!?”  “Um, yeah,” I told her.  Then she and the receptionist both started to wig out a little.  I felt so stupid having to tell her I had NOTHING to treat the low in my purse NOR did I have my glucometer with me.  I’d left it at home charging, thinking I shouldn’t even need it.  But now, I could have used it to be certain what was going on … to determine if the CGM was correct or not.  Obviously, it was, though because I began feeling really crappy.  The therapist ran to get me something she’d brought to work with her.  They were some kind of health-food choco-peanut butter things and I ate them, feeling like an idiot having to eat up her food!!  She told me it was fine and said: “they aren’t that good, but here…”  LOL!  I guess maybe I was doing her a favor by eating them??  Ha!

I knew they weren’t going to do the trick though since they weren’t very sweet and had a lot of protein in them.  Tommy called me about that time and told me he was coming to bring me something to eat.  Then I felt horrible that I was making him have to come all the way back because I’d forgotten to restock my purse.  I told the ladies (only the receptionist and therapist were there at that time) that my husband was bringing me something when the receptionist said she had a Mt. Dew and some honey in her car.  I told her not to bother, that he would be here soon.

The therapist said, “Go get your stuff.  I’m not going to sit here waiting on him while she passes out on me.”  Sigh.  So, I downed the soda when she came back and handed it to me, mumbling ‘thank yous’ and ‘I’m sorry’s’ between gulps.  They both assured me it wasn’t a problem, so I relaxed a little.

By the time Tommy got there, I was in the middle of getting the post-hypo freeze and slowly, my numbers started to come up from LOW to 42. He sat down on the table beside my chair and during the recovery, the subject of his medical stuff came up and he asked the therapist some questions about what would be best for him to do.

When I was finally up in the 90’s, they had decided between themselves that the therapist would text our doc to ask if she could see Tommy and try to help his back before the chiropractor.  I ended up not having any therapy yesterday, which stunk, but I think Tommy and I both felt better about him possibly getting to be in with the therapist instead of the chiro.

We will see what becomes of it all.

By this point in the game, we only lack a few hundred dollars meeting out out-of-pocket limit, so we are going to get all the therapy and tests done that we can and take full advantage of our insurance!  Lord knows we’ve sure spent a buttload of money on our health this year and it’s barely April!!

I sure do wish I could get my teeth done on the medical insurance, though!!  Siiigh.  Oh well…

Oh!  I forgot to tell you that in the middle of all this, we took a short vacation to Destin!!  It was actually “prescribed” when I was back in with our doc, talking about all the various appointments we had already had and those coming up soon, she said, “You guys need to take a vacation!”  I asked her to write a script for it.  Ha.  Anyway, we had bought this three-day package last year and it was going to expire soon, so we decided to just do it.

It was fun and nice to get away, but next time we go to Florida, it definitely needs to be longer than just three days.  Hopefully, that can happen before we get too old to travel by ourselves.  Heh.

Okay.. I think you’re all caught up now!!  Later!


belonging


I think it’s kinda funny, since God can be a very humorous sorta deity, that the word “longing” makes up the majority of the word “belonging”.

I mean, isn’t that what we all long for, at least part of the time?  We want to belong.  We want to be part of something.  We want to be accepted and loved.  We long to BE.

I’ve spent most of my life not knowing where I belong, never being sure of myself.  I was never gripped by a desire to do something so much that I “just knew” it was my “calling”, it was what I was supposed to do.

I’m sure that a lot of people who know me in real life may not think words like “insecure”, “doubting”, “confused” and “aimless” describe me, but they do.  I mean, they sure describe how I feel about myself.

I hate the feeling I have when I’m chatting in a small group or even one on one.  Before long, another person comes along and suddenly all attention is toward that person who (usually) I don’t know. It’s not that I’ve lost the person’s attention but that I sorta cease to exist.  Maybe it’s just me. But I don’t know what to do with myself.

This happens on a pretty regular basis and it’s not with one particular person or group.  And I don’t even think people realize that it bothers me.  I feel like, “Okay…no one’s talking with me anymore.  No one is including me in this conversation.  Do I leave?  I feel like I’m eavesdropping or creeping if I just hover around the outside of this circle.  Do I say bye?  See ya later?  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do!”  Most of the time, I’ll just wander quietly away, leaving the group or the other two people talking.  Most of the time, I don’t think anyone notices.

I really need to know if I’m the only one this happens to.  I mean, if not, then thank God and give me some tips on how to deal with it.  But if I am “the only one” who experiences this, well shoot, that’s pretty doggone sad!!

So with that little glimpse inside my mind, you should get a sense of how I feel a lot of the time.  Just insecure, uncertain if people like me, doubtful that they want to talk with me, confused about how I can feel this way but be able to get up in front of a roomful of people and give a talk.

I’ve pondered this a lot, as you might imagine.  Why am I this way?  Why do I feel so unsure about whether I am liked by others, whether I’m wanted in a particular group?  The conclusion I’ve drawn is that I still carry a statement in my head that my mother said to me once.  Don’t worry.  This isn’t gonna become a mom-blaming post.  I love my mom, but she said something to me once that I’ve carried with me.  Well, no.  That makes it sound like I choose to carry it.  It has just followed me, stuck on a loop in my mind sometimes.  Other times, I only hear it when something like the above situation happens.

I was probably around ten or eleven years old at the time.  We were probably at a baptism or something after church.  I remember being in a sort of overgrown area, gravel and bunches of Queen Anne’s lace and clover. Baptisms were done outside in the creek, of course!  My closest friend had asked if I wanted to come play ball at her sister’s house with all her other siblings.  She was the youngest of six so three of her siblings were already married and having kids.  I went to ask Mom if I could go.  She immediately said no, which was usual.  We were never allowed to go many places without Mom being there, too.  I protested and she said, “They don’t really want you over there.  She’s just being nice and inviting you.”

At the time, all I remember feeling was fury.  I was so mad at her for not letting me go.  It wasn’t until decades later that I realized I still hear those words in my head whenever I’m in a crowd or trying to decide whether to go to a party or a shower or any sort of gathering.  I hear, “You aren’t wanted in that group.  Nobody really cares if you are there.  They don’t like you.  They won’t tell you not to come, but that’s only because it would look bad if they did. They just don’t want you.”

I would never tell my mom this.  As a mother myself, my heart breaks when my boys let slip with something I said to them that was really hurtful.  I don’t want to hurt her, so I would never tell her about this.  (don’t worry.  she thinks the internet is where the devil lives, so she’ll never find my blog or anyone else’s for that matter!)

Finally pinning down the root of this thing has been good for me.  I’m not comparing my mother with satan, but these days when I hear those words, I know he is the one saying them.  Sometimes it takes me awhile to realize after I’ve already let the sting of rejection wash over me, but I’m trying to get better at that.

That’s how I feel about my book. I get these nudges that I feel must be from God that I should write it and I feel that some of the things in it would be helpful for others who are struggling…be it depression or a marriage problem like we had or just knowing someone else out here has and is dealing with the same things.  Then here comes that voice…“Why in the world would anyone want to read about you!  laughter  You’re nobody and your little life is nothing to be excited about.  You can’t even put the words together anymore, so how will you do it anyway?”

Today, when my ancient laptop refused to boot up, I instantly started hearing “This is a sign that you should give up on the book.”  I have my draft saved on here.  Over 8,000 words that I worked hard to get out of me.  The thought of doing it again was horrific!  So, I am going to save my draft to a thumb drive.  I know.  It’s about time, right?Obviously, the hubby came home and “fixed” my computer with just a few keystrokes.  I don’t ask questions, I just go with it.  And I continue to ponder the latest sermon series at church…all about growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has just been like an extra push when I’m sitting there listening and there’s scriptural confirmation that I need to “just do it”, as they say.  This one really hit me hard…

 

“It is difficult to sense the presence of God in your life when you ignore the purpose God has for your life.”

The “main point” of becoming a Jesus follower is to lead others to follow Jesus.  So in that way, we all know what our purpose is.  We don’t have to wonder.  Your way of leading people to Jesus is probably a lot different than mine.  I feel like within that “main point” lies our purpose, our gift, our God-given talent. If we will focus ourselves on “the main point”, then our purpose, our “reason for being” will become clear.  Does that make sense?  For instance, if you have a musical talent, you can use that talent without the “main point” in mind or you can do what you love, what you’re best at, as a starting point to show others the love of Christ. Like if your gift was music…you could play and sing just any old songs, or you could use your talents to share Christ with people.  See?

Okay, well I’m just going to hope this made sense to you.  It seems to take me so long to get posts together anymore that I am writing a single post in two or more sessions and I lose my focus.  I really hate that and am hoping to get past this soon.  I have a ton of stuff to catch you up on but for now, I’ll close this one.

Blessings!

 

 


changes!


Yes, there are some changes around the blog.  I realized pretty quickly that I made a huge mistake with the domain name choice I’d made…  I had no clue there was a book out there called “My Life in Dog Years”!  I’ve used that phrase or analogy for decades to describe what it’s like living with diabetes.  It’s like living in dog years!  You feel seven years for every one you actually live!

Sheesh.  Then my techie kid chimes in with “Mom, people probably think your site is about dogs..”  That never even dawned on me!!  Argh!

So, I changed my domain name.  I tried to choose one I could keep and/or use even when/if I ever publish a book.  Obviously, it won’t be titled My Life in Dog Years!!  Hopefully this way, no matter what the title eventually is, I can use this website.

I think I’ve finally got a decent start on the book.  I have about 8,000 words so far.  I’ve decided to write it as a memoir.  I just can’t seem to separate my life into categories and write only about diabetes or depression (they are like siamese twins, ya know?) or just my marriage stuff.  Everything is linked and I couldn’t figure out how to write about one single topic without needing to explain a ton of other stuff.

What I need now are some proofreaders!  I’d love to have a few people who are willing to read what I have, or at any point in the process,   I have some people in mind that I want to ask.  Some with knowledge of books and what makes a good read, some with technical knowledge to help with places that I am hard to understand.  Others with a little more knowledge of the story to tell me if what I’ve written is accurate or sensitive enough while remaining true.

I’ve been told this is what I need the most.  Readers to help during the writing process who would be willing to help out in exchange for an acknowledgment in the book.

I am so tired right now.  There has been a ton of stuff going on with both mine and Tommy’s health, but I’ll save all that for a later post.

Blessings!


getting back to nature… sorta


Hey!  I’m back.  We’ve had lots of appointments and “to dos” lately and I haven’t been able to post anything.  Not sure I’ll be able to put together anything comprehensible today, but we’ll see what I can come up with.  grin

Today is daughter-in-law Melissa’s birthday.  I hope my card got to Ohio in time!  I also had an appointment with my endo this week which went really well.  Despite my struggle with highs, my A1c was the same as last time.  I guess that’s not too shabby to stay at 7.3 for six months?  I would love for it to be lower at the next check up though, and hopefully, the tweaks to my insulin pump settings will do that for me.

So far, I have really been seeing the effects because I’ve had several lows in the past couple days.  Nothing serious, thank God, or crisis-causing, but after dealing with highs, the lows can be a little more scary than before.

The thing is, for the non-D out there, lows can come out of nowhere for no reason with no warning.  Especially if you are like me with hypo-unawareness, lows seem to just appear!  I had no symptoms of being 60 or 50, so when it gets to 40 and 30, I’m a little surprised (and panicked!)  That’s why I’m so thankful to have the Dexcom now.  At least that kind of thing doesn’t happen nearly as often as it would otherwise.

The only way it happens even with the Dex is that I can miss a calibration and the readings be off, like 20 points.  That’s not much if you’re in the 120-150 range, but when you’re in the dirt below 60?  20 points is the difference between conscious and not.  (remember my experience in November?!  yikes!)

So yeah, I’m trying to be much more diligent about at least timing the calibrations so that there’s not one due in the middle of the night.  That’s what happened before.

Anyway, so Tommy and I did the gall bladder/liver flush a couple weeks ago.  (see this post for deets)  My personal opinion is that it’s not horrific.  It’s not pleasant by any means, but it wasn’t a nightmarish couple of days.  And there was plenty of evidence that we both had some seriously gunked up innards!  Sheesh!  Since Tommy had been religiously drinking the apple juice as prescribed to soften stones, there was not a whole lot of “solid” evidence for him.  I only drank maybe 3 cups of apple juice total in the five days prior (when you’re supposed to drink four cups a day!!) so there were tons of pea-green “stones” anywhere from the size of a dried pea to a stinkin’ lima bean!  We also both reacted differently.  I was up about 2 hours after drinking the last of the potions for the first day (the olive oil and lemon juice) going to the bathroom.  He was able to sleep all night without getting up.  He started out with thin results whereas I started with thicker but definitely not-normal stuff.

I KNOW!!  I KNOW!!!  How gross that I’m telling you guys about our poop!!!  But c’mon now.  I’m getting close to the age where that’s normal conversational material, right?  Ha ha!!  Besides, we’re attempting to regain some health and hopefully help Tommy (and ultimately me too!) avoid gall bladder surgery!  So cut me some slack and go do the flush yourself!  I betcha you’ll be talking about what you discover too!  Ha ha ha!!  Seriously, I tried to be as tactful as possible here…just be glad I didn’t post you some pix as well!!  gasp

Changing the subject but not the topic, we’re still drinking “golden milk” every night.  (you can find the recipe here and one list of benefits here)

the most recent health craze: Golden Milk

FYI:  neither of the recipes on the links above are exactly the recipe I use.  I’ll try to do a post about that soon so you guys know exactly what I’m using here.

As for what it’s done for us?  Well, if  you recall, I told you after having the scope done on Tommy’s stomach, the gastroenterologist told us he has GOT to stop taking NSAIDs once and for all.  She took him off of them about 4 years ago but his GP put him back on something else we were told wouldn’t bother his stomach.  We’d never heard of the drug before and I guess were so busy and concerned by how much the pain was limiting Tommy (the man could barely walk) we didn’t question it.  Turns out?  It’s a form of NSAID.  Nice.  So his stomach is once again raw, irritated and close to developing ulcers and bleeding.

While Tommy was still mostly under the sedation, he mumbled and almost cried about this because he knew the doctor had already said in the procedure room that the NSAIDs had to go.  He was saying things like, “how am I going to walk?” and “how am I going to work?”  sigh  I felt so awful for him.  He was worrying so much about this stuff.

When the report came back that he needed to have a HIDA scan (which is routinely when gall stones are suspected) he began looking up all sorts of info about the gall bladder and came to the conclusion that it was important and not nearly as disposable as most doctors like to say  it is.  We decided that God didn’t put any spare parts in there, so we’d start researching ways to heal the gall bladder naturally with diet and nutrition.  (note that I’ve been trying to get the man to change his diet for several years now, especially this last year when he quit cycling and began to put on a lot of weight… rolling my eyes here)

Anyway, that’s when we ran onto the stuff about tumeric being good for the liver and gall bladder.  I’d been wanting to try golden milk already just in the hopes that it would help me sleep better.  We bought the few ingredients that we lacked the next day and made a batch.  We were pleasantly surprised with the taste and committed to drinking a cup of that each night.  We also started him drinking two cups of tart cherry juice each day.  Tart cherry juice is known as a great anti-inflammatory agent as well as tumeric.  So we hoped using both of these along with a lot of dietary changes (because of his allergy testing) would keep him from seizing up and having awful pain.

Orangey-yellowy tumeric root…

So far?  This is two weeks post-flush and about a month after the scope and he’s been using nothing but the cherry and tumeric (sometimes taking capsules of each of those along with the drinks when he hurt more than usual) and he’s doing really, REALLY well.  Seriously, before he would have been almost bedridden in about three days without those NSAIDs.  If we could start riding again, I’m sure it would help even more, but with his dad wanting to restore this old pickup (and Tommy loves doing it to, but it would be nicer if he could work on it in his own time instead of his dad’s schedule, which kills any time to ride bikes sad face) it doesn’t look like we’ll be doing that with any regularity.  He might surprise me and start getting on the trainer.  As for me, I’m riding outside!

The weather around here has been hinting spring for a couple weeks now and I am itching to get my bike out.  I’m going to be so bummed to see how far back I’ve gone since I haven’t ridden in over a year now, but maybe I can build back up quickly…ish.  ??

At this point, it doesn’t matter.  Frankly, I’m thrilled to be feeling good enough to even think about riding.  And that’s, I believe, another benefit of drinking golden milk each night.  I think it’s helping me feel better.

Hmmm…well, I wasn’t planning on this being all about golden milk and our experience with it so far, but in case  you’re all curious about the latest “fad”/trend or whatever you like to call it, and decide to try it before I ever get (finally) a post up about how I make it, let me share a few tips and a bit of info with you….

First of all, the body doesn’t readily absorb tumeric on its own.  That’s why there is (or should be) always fresh ground pepper corns in the recipe.  (if there’s not or it says you can omit it, don’t use that recipe or site!)  FRESH ground black pepper corns, yep, the same kind people have used for eons to flavor their food, is one catalyst for

DON’T SKIP THE PEPPER!!

helping the tumeric absorb.  Don’t skip it.  I am not a big fan of black pepper, fresh or otherwise, so I was a little hesitant, but when you blend it with everything else, you can’t even see the pepper, let alone taste it.  It just calls for a pinch so the other flavors easily overcome the pepper.   You can also just put in 2-5 peppercorns when you heat it then strain those out.  I’m too lazy for that.  Whichever way you do it, make sure it’s fresh.  It’s important for proper absorption.

Second, I don’t make the recipe that calls for making the tumeric into a paste.  No particular reason and I believe there’s no way it could make a nutritional difference.  It’s just easier to me to put in the powder.  I HAVE finally procured some fresh tumeric root (by driving 80-some miles to Whole Foods) so soon as I’ve used up the ground that I have on hand, I’ll try the fresh.  We already use fresh ginger root   and love it!

we try to use fresh ginger all the time!

Third, I DO NOT USE COW MILK!  I had to give up dairy years ago because it turns my head into a nightmarish snot factory before it even hits my tonsils!  UGH!  So, we use almond milk.  If you can find organic soy, that’s okay, but to me, it comes out way too frothy.  Now, I love me some froth, but there’s just so daggone much with the soy milk, you have to about scoop it off to get to the liquid!  Too much work for me!  I’ve also used coconut and it is great for this!  I would continue using it, but Tommy’s allergic, so… I only use it if he’s not here and I’m making for myself.  sigh

Fourth, I heat the milk in my Vitamix.  I am slap in love with that thing!  I’ve had it close to a year now, but have DEEPLY DESIRED one for decades!  I finally found a deal offering major discounts on returned units, so I jumped on it!  I use it at least once a day, but usually more than that.  I make Tommy a frozen fruit smoothie in the mornings and then I make our golden milk in there in the evening.  Lately, I’m also blending coconut oil into my coffee, too, so that’s at least three times most days!

check out that froth! just the right amount is heavenly!

Fifth, get organic ingredients whenever possible.  I know that’s a big buzz word in health news these days, but I think it’s important to ingest as few chemicals as we can.  Lord knows we are bombarded with enough harmful things out there that we can do nothing about.  I try to do whatever I can when I can.

Okay… there you go.  Oh wait… here’s a page I found talking about the benefits of tumeric.  It appears to be written by someone for whom English is a second language, but it’s very readable anyway.  It just points out the importance of the pepper!  Don’t leave it out!  😉  Use the whole-kernel/strain method if you have to!

Let me know if you try this…what you think of the taste and what it does for you!  YAY!


watching God do His thang… (& other random mind dumps)


Okay, so you guys know, if you know ME or if you’ve read here much at all, that I am a “retired” homeschool mom of two twenty-something sons.  Yeah, I’ve been “retired” for quite some time!

Homeschooling was the greatest, most best decision we ever made.  Yes, even though I had plenty of days when I was quite certain it was the WORST decision we ever made.  I think as a mom OR dad, wanting to do the very best for your children, we all have those doubts when trying to determine what’s best for our kids.  Even though we were happy having the boys at home and I loved being a stay-at-home mom teaching my boys, there were still days that it seemed like a really baaaad choice!  There are probably those moments in anything we pursue that is ultimately good.

I would never say I was a “great” homeschool mother.  I wouldn’t even say I was “good” at it most days.  But I tried my best to meet the needs of my children.  I know families with 8+ children who have a whole posse of little virtuoso in a variety of areas.  Music, mathematics, communication, entrepreneurship… you name it.  Many of those kids are now doing extremely well in their adult lives.  My boys are no exception to that.  I feel like, at least for me, this is the litmus test as to whether homeschooling was a success.

While my youngest son chose not to finish high school, he is still doing well.  He never attended any other type of school than at home.  My boys have quite different personalities and while our eldest enjoyed learning at home, our youngest had a different bent.  He wanted nothing to do with anything that came hard to him.  If it wasn’t easy or something he was extremely interested in, he just didn’t want to do it at all.  And he was several times more stubborn than his mother, so this made continuing his education at home very difficult.

I don’t want to rehash old problems or bring up too much from a really hard time in our family, but our baby became very rebellious, very hateful toward me specifically.  I’m not sure if that was just because I was the “authority” figure  for the large part of his life at that time (since I was also his ‘teacher’) or if it was more personally directed at me, but it was very obvious and it broke my heart.

By the time he was 14 or 15, he began to just refuse to do his lessons.  He had a car by this time, one he had bought himself and was working on to have ready by the time he got his license, so of course, he spent a ton of time doing that.  When he’d  refuse to read anything else, no matter how hard I’d tried to find literature that would interest him, he would devour anything about his car without hesitation.  And yes, I did try to allow as much as I could for the how-to car reading to count toward his school, but that wouldn’t fill all the requirements.  But no matter what we threatened or how hard we explained why he needed to do the other work, he would just refuse.  He wasn’t super-in-your-face with his refusal, but he’d sit for hours NOT doing the work you gave him.

Needless to say, I was frustrated beyond words and it became harder and harder to deal with.  It didn’t make it any easier that the boys’ father wasn’t really a disciplinarian in that area.  I’m trying NOT to sound disrespectful or like I am bashing Tommy, but he just wasn’t involved with schooling very much.  He felt that was my job, my territory, and when I would come to him with concerns or problems,  he just wasn’t very helpful in addressing them.  I think he felt like he and Casey were more alike and Corey and I were alike so he usually seemed to “side” with Casey.  I say “sided” because that’s how it felt.  In hindsight, I think Tommy just didn’t know what to do, he wasn’t fully aware of how bad things had become and that’s what informed his actions.  The way most things go in parenting, we always just do the best we know how at the time and I think that’s what happened here.

All these years later, we discovered that there were things happening in Casey’s life that we had absolutely no clue about.  He shut himself off from us and seeing how he rebelled even more if we tried to approach him, we just gave him space.  We had no clue he needed us to break through his walls, to be praying for him in specific ways, to help him navigate some horrible things.  When I was made aware of this stuff, just a few years ago, it broke my heart all over again.  What kind of mother am I to not know??  To not see how much my child needed his parents to intervene??  Even if he was pushing me away with all his might, how could I not know how much he was hurting?  Those thoughts bring the tears, even now.  Nothing is more heartbreaking as a mother than to realize you failed your child in such a huge way.

deep sigh

All of that to say, even with all this failure and heartbreak, I don’t regret homeschooling my boys.  And to see them today, both successful in their jobs, both contributing, functional adults in spite of their “lack of socialization” (pshh!) is a balm to my mama-soul!

You may not know, but Corey, our eldest, recently moved with his wife to the Cincinnati area for a new job.  The company found his profile on LinkedIn and sent a request for his application!  Out of the blue.  Realizing this, as a homeschool mom, was a real boost for me personally.  I mean, after all the naysayers either aloud or privately saying my children would suffer from our choosing to teach them at home?  I thank God for this affirmation that we did what we should have at the time.

Casey and Corey have always worked together in their grandpa’s business (my dad), which is a combination of various plumbing-related things.  They’ve sort of grown up in the trade, working summers from the time they were barely teenagers to the year Corey put off his graduation in order to help my dad when his only other employee at the time (my father-in-law) had suffered a heart attack and dad sorely needed the help.  Corey was not quite 17 when he made that decision and because we homeschooled, it was totally possible to do this.

When Corey left to take this job, it left Casey with a role he hadn’t ever filled before.  And let me say, this was a job too good for Corey to pass.  It was higher pay with commissions and bonuses, less stress of being responsible for both office work and keeping track of and working on jobs and less being resented because to others, it seemed Corey was doing less because of his time doing office work.  There’s also benefits like retirement and 401k plans that aren’t available with my dad’s business and room to advance.  There’s also a respect that Corey didn’t get here at home.  No one who knows the situation could possibly fault him for taking the job.  As much as it pained me to see him move, I can’t deny that in so many other areas, he’s a lot better off than he was here.

It really took him leaving for my dad and Casey to realize how much Corey was actually doing.  So as far as the resentment shown when Corey informed them he was leaving, there’s now a respect that had never been shown before.  It always hurt me so much to know that the boys, both of them, were dealing with so much stress and tension from my dad, who seemed to not understand or be willing to admit that doing things the same old way weren’t working.  Any new idea the boys came up with was met with scorn and most times, ridicule so they had to continue doing things a more difficult way while bearing the weight of their grandfather’s disapproval.

I love my dad, don’t get me wrong.  But he can be impossibly bullheaded sometimes.  Like most of us, I guess, only… well, more so!  I think now that these changes have been made, he’s beginning to see that there need to be new ways of doing things than he’s done all his adult life with his various businesses.  I just hope Casey can continue to urge him to make the changes.  Casey is much better at communicating or at least confronting my dad than Corey was.  Casey will get in his face and tell him when he’s being irrational  or stubborn where Corey would just bite his tongue and let Pap carry on his own path.  Overall, I think Corey’s leaving has been a positive thing all around.  I had been very worried that it would be only negative here at home, with the business. but it seems to have ushered in some new realizations so I’m hopeful things will be better here as well.

Casey is now having to step us as more of the salesman for the company, the “people-person”, which had been Corey’s role most of the time.  And granted, I think both the boys would agree that Corey has an easier time with that than Casey most of the time.  Although Casey is learning and he does very well most of the time anyway, it doesn’t come as naturally to him as it does Corey.  It’s been good to see Casey maturing in the way he sees the business now that he doesn’t have his brother to leave all that to.  Maybe I’m a little biased since I am the eldest in my family, but I think it’s just easy for the younger to leave things up to the elder.  It’s like a natural role so when there’s never an opportunity for the younger to take the lead, they will continue to let the older sibling tend to those things.  It’s not that Casey is unable, it’s just that he’d never really had to before, so in all, it’s a good thing, I believe.

In case you’re wondering about that title, it was intended to refer to how things just fell into place with Corey moving and getting this job.  He has all this time he never had before and he’s figuring out what to do with himself.  That’s a good problem to have.  Granted, some of that no-time-for-himself thing was because he was also serving as youth pastor at his church here.  Not only was he dealing with all the stuff from the business, he had kids calling on him at all hours with various issues plus all the activities that were most of the time scheduled by someone else without consulting Corey first.  It was just a lot on his plate.

But the whole thing with this new job just sort of happened all at once.  They contacted him, he sent a resume, then went up for an interview, the next week he went for another interview and then the offer letter came.  All that happened in less than a month beginning around the first week of November and then they wanted him to start in January!  They had to settle their house, pack it up and get rid of what they weren’t keeping, deal with settling Corey’s part of the business, find an apartment and figure out how to get moved up there all at once!  It was crazy times, let me tell ya!

And this poor mom had like ZERO time to adjust to all this.  I mean, like I’ve said, I never dreamed either of my boys would move out of town, let alone out of state!  And even if I thought one of them might move, I always figured that would be Casey, not Corey.  It was like total shock!

Thankfully, I got to spend time with them after Tommy and I helped the kids find an apartment, so we had first-hand knowledge of where they were and what kind of place they had, what type of area they lived in and all that.  I think they really appreciated our help.  It all went so smoothly, with only 4 of them (Melissa’s uncle and cousin came to help) unloading the UHaul and getting done right ahead of the snowy rain?  That was just God, y’all.  He was just working through the entire thing.

They went from a 1400 square foot home with a full finished basement to a 1000 square foot apartment with a small storage room about the size of a closet!  Needless to say, they got rid of a ton of stuff.  Their apartment is nice, cozy but roomy enough for them.  It’s also roomy enough to house a few guests for a few days (or a week.. I stayed with them almost a week at the end of January).  Ha.  Their dog, Timber the Australian Shepherd, has adjusted extremely well.  Even with the company changing start dates on Corey and having him start a couple days before he even had his work van organized, he’s done really well and has been noticed by the management and owners.

Casey seems to have adjusted to the new role he has and although he’s working a lot, he’s doing well, too.  I would honestly be tickled if he would move up there and take a job with this company too.  They recruited Corey because of his experience in plumbing and the fact that he has his Master Plumber license and they have just started expanding their business into plumbing and need licensed plumbers!  But Casey doesn’t seem interested and that may have more to do with his wife, I don’t know.  Shoot, if Tommy wasn’t less than five years from retirement, I would be pushing him to move up there and apply with this company.  It’s been voted one of the top businesses in Cincinnati several years in a row and anyone who knows about it says it is an awesome company.  They really have a stellar reputation and they do business in such a no-nonsense way that seeks to accommodate customers while also taking great care of their employees.  They have an open-door policy among management, which in this company means there are NO doors in their offices!  How cool is that?  You won’t find many companies that think this way!

Anyway, I guess all this is just to give God ALL the credit for working things out so well.  For helping me deal with my anxiety over the sudden move, for making things smooth out here at home as well as for Corey in his new home and job.  Now, if the boys would just allow God to move and work in repairing their relationship, I’d be super-thrilled!  Over the last few years, the boys have seemed to get this growing tension in their relationship.  I think it’s been partially due to dealing with dad and the stress of working with him and each other and the changes that came with their marriages and adding new family members.  Casey and Mel were almost like brother and sister when Corey first got married.  It was good to see him be so at ease with her and watch them have fun being around each other.

I think after Casey moved into the basement of my parents’ old house (where Corey and Mel lived–the three of them bought the house together for some reason I’ll never understand–my dad arranged the whole thing) things seemed to change and I don’t know why.  Maybe it was the dynamics or maybe the proximity?  I just don’t know.

Things just change over time, and I know that.  I just never dreamed they would drift so far apart or that one would push the other away.  Growing up, they were each other’s best friend.  As they began to get a little older, into double digits I guess, they spent more time with other people, had the chance to make other friends.  Corey, like I said, is just generally more outgoing and quick to extend himself to make a friend.  Not that he tried to leave Casey behind.  It wasn’t like that at all.  Most of the time, Casey was included in whatever Corey did, whoever Corey hung out with.  I guess maybe as time went on, Casey began to feel like he was in Corey’s shadow?  I don’t know why.  At least, I never saw Corey treat Casey with anything other than patience.  Maybe I didn’t see everything.  I don’t know.

I mean, obviously with the things that Casey got into when he hit the teens without me even having a clue, how would I know what was really happening?  Did I miss things between them, right under my nose too?  I tried so hard to do everything I could to help them learn and have fun and do the things they wanted.  How did I mess it up so bad?

How could I fail so bad?  So big?  Our one son barely acknowledges us most of the time and has many times brought his brother to tears the way he’s shut him out, shoved him away in the past 3-4 years.  Why did I not know he was struggling with something dark and evil?  He was a teenager.  He was surly and aloof.  We thought he needed his space.  We gave him his space and apparently the space for this evil to get an even tighter grip.  He grew more and more hateful toward me.  He seemed to just despise me and I didn’t know why.  I thought it had to do with school, but apparently the evil had given him more fuel to just add to his resentment toward me.  I have been so hurt, so heartbroken over the way he’s treated me.

My response to hurt, after it goes on for awhile, is to just shut down.  To just shut myself off from the hurt by avoiding it, the person causing it, to steel myself to it.  So I just tried to keep from losing it.  After trying to reach out to him, trying to show him how much I cared and having him push me away, I just quit trying.  I avoided him or shut my emotions off when it came to talking to him.  Maybe he saw that as proof that whatever horrible thing he thought of me was true?  I don’t know.   It was just the only way I knew to deal with it.   So yeah, I guess I just allowed my heart to harden, to turn to stone  a little bit.

If you read about The Dark Secret, the really depressing, maddening thing that was going on in our marriage for almost 20 years at the time all this was happening, you might realize, I was hardly hanging on to reality sometimes.  It was all I could do to keep from losing it most days.  Add to that the awful state our finance tend to stay in.. more so now than when the kids were at home.  I guess it’s because the both of us have so many stupid medical bills, take so much medicine now, but for some reason, we seem to never have enough money.  We really don’t splurge on anything, but still we always have to juggle the bills trying to keep from going under.

All of that is a lot for my brain.  I have a really hard time not being dismally depressed.  I have to constantly tell myself I am blessed.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  Then I get a notice that the bank balance is dismal, or a reminder that my youngest son doesn’t like me or a bad blood sugar or I run out of a medicine knowing I have to wait for the next paycheck to get my refill…  that’s all it takes for me to just slide down into the pit a little further.

Soooo…after explaining my title and now sorta obliterating it with my random bout of ‘the dumps’, let me say that I still cling to the fact that God loves me.  He has my best interests at heart in everything He leads me to and leads me through.  I don’t know why I tend so heavily toward depression.  I don’t know why my relationship with my youngest son is such a mess or why we didn’t know he needed us to rescue him from himself when he was a kid.  I don’t know why we have to constantly struggle to make ends meet.  Why we can’t ever rest because we can’t seem to keep our bills paid.  I don’t know why we had to endure all those years, those decades with our marriage in shambles.  I don’t know why He kept us together through all that other than to receive the healing we did.  To show us that it’s never too late.

So as I sit here, in tears, hurting and wishing I understood, wishing things weren’t the way they are but having no clue how to change it.  Worrying how we’ll pay for things, if I’ll ever not hurt when I’m with my baby son, if I’ll ever be able to have all my kids together, daughters-in-law included, and not have to worry that they’re trading barbs or if what they’re saying carries a double meaning, worrying that we will have spent our entire marriage scrapping, struggling to have enough money to pay bills and buy medicine.  Feeling SO tired of worrying.  So guilty that I worry when I am supposed to trust God.  Feeling like such a failure in so many, many ways….  just know that later, maybe not tomorrow, but later, soon… I will be better.  I’ll realize things aren’t as dismal as they seem, that God’s still got me.

God always has me.  This I know.  <3

 


I’m bAAaack!


Hey guys!  I’m back from my unintentional hiatus.  As I have alluded previously, things around here have been crazy what with the kids moving to Ohio and me being sick and now the hubbs is dealing with some medical stuff.

He had allergy testing a couple weeks ago and lit up like a Christmas tree for a LOT of things.  Mostly foods and environmental.  Several trees and grasses (hay fever), the usual indoor culprits (dust thingies) and a whole list of the oddest foods.  Strangely enough (or not!) most of the foods were things he had eaten recently.  WEIRD!

So, we’ve gone off all these foods.  I’m talking things like wheat (yeah, his celiac tests came back negative, but he’s allergic to wheat and I don’t quite understand that just yet), carrots, grapes, coconut, apples…WHA??  Yeah, weird.  Oh, and turkey!  Pecans, walnuts, sesame seeds… sweet potatoes, cauliflower, tomatoes!

Poor guy, he was pretty stunned and dazed.  You’d think after living all these years with a type 1 diabetic, he’d be used to the concept of not being able to eat certain things, but nope.  He seems so baffled.  It’s all I can do not to say, “See?  Welcome to my life!”  heh!  But no, I haven’t done that.  But occasionally I REALLY want to!

On top of finding out about all the allergies, he then had to begin the prep for a double scope.  From the top and the bottom.  Yikes!  So then he had to go off things like rice (which is what most ‘wheat free’ things are made of) and fresh fruit and veggies (seriously?) and nothing purple, red or blue… that was only for 5 days, thank God.  Then on the last day, he had to do liquids only and take that nasty diarrhea stuff then drink like 40-some ounces of clear liquid immediately after.  Egads!!

He did okay but it was a challenge figuring out what he could eat.  During the 5 day thing, we were in Cincy with Corey and Melissa, so that actually helped since Corey has celiac disease and has learned what to avoid for that.  We just basically put Tommy on a celiac diet with the added restrictions from his allergy test and/or his prep diet.  My brain was fried after all that food juggling!  And that’s not counting my own food restrictions like dairy and super-acidic foods that either give me horrible sinus issues or cause my tongue to swell and crack.  (yes, crack…it’s so painful!)  It’s a wonder we can find anything to eat between us! Ha ha ha!

So back to the scopes.. this was the same gastro doctor he went to for scopes before, so we were thrilled to get in with her.  It was probably three years ago when he had his first one done and we hadn’t seen this doctor since.  Anyway, she said there wasn’t any new damage, thank God… no ulcers or any thing like that.  But his stomach was a raw, irritated mess.  She said the same thing about this irritation, which he also had on his first scan years ago…get off the NSAIDs.  He’s been on those off and on (mostly on) for ages because of the pain in his back and legs, specifically his Achilles tendon.  It tightens up so much, it had tears the last time he saw a rheumatologist.  He went off the NSAIDs then, but ended up in misery so the GP he had at the time put him on a “new” pain med that he said wouldn’t bother his stomach.  Yeah, whatever.  And so now, he’s been having pain under his ribs on the right side, classic gallbladder/stones symptoms, so he’d had an ultrasound the week before.  We hadn’t heard those results though and they hadn’t forwarded them to the gastro doc, so we had to wait around to get those.  The report from the imaging center only said the tech saw nothing that “needs immediate attention” but the gastro doc wasn’t good with that and told us she’d look at it herself.  The next day, they called Tommy to schedule a hida scan.

Hmmm… me thinks there WAS something needing attention on the ultrasound.  A hida scan is when they put that radioactive dye in an IV and then have you hang around for scans over a few hours to watch the dye move through the gallbladder.  Nice.

I’ve had radioactive dye stuff done before.  It’s scary to think about, but apparently I survived without issue (that we know of, at least!) but we don’t want to do that if we don’t have to.  Besides, we’ve already knocked this year’s deductible in the head with these tests and don’t want to add more bills to the heap.  I’m sure the hida will be uber expensive.

ANYway, so Tommy started looking up stuff on the gallbladder online, which was surprising and exciting.  He usually is all, “Well if the doctor says I need to, I won’t question it.” while I’m all like, “NO!  Don’t do that, I don’t care what the doctor said!”  Heh.  And I joined him in the research til we found all this info on a gallbladder flush.

Maybe you’ve heard of this before.  I guess I sort-of had during my time working in the health food store, but being the youngster I was, I didn’t really ponder it.  Back then, with my fully functional 20-something body, it all sounded gross and like something only old people needed to think about.

Well, guess what, Poopsie!  You’re OLD now!  sigh

We looked at several sites and watched a bunch of videos detailing what the gallbladder does and what the flush does for you.  One doctor said, “If you’re 40 or older, you WILL have some gall stones which may or may not give you symptoms or at the very least, you will have developed sludge (thickened bile) in there which leads to stones.”  Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?

Ugh!

When Tommy realized that the gallbladder helps the liver in filtering toxins and such, he was all like, I NEED my gallbladder!  At this point, we knew that if something showed on the hida, they’d most likely want to take his gallbladder out.  So after months and months of me telling him he needed to change his habits or he was gonna be big as a horse and have a heart attack…he’s ready to commit to changing his diet.

Of course, I have to do it too.  And I get that.  I mean, I don’t stick with a diet unless he’s at least supporting me if not also doing it too.  It’s just easier that way.  He’s just not always willing to be talked into being supportive!

I figure a flush will not hurt me either.  I mean, I am in that magical area they talked about…”over 40″, so I’m sure I have my share of sludgey-crapola in there too.

We made a run to the Aldi in the next town over since they have so much affordable gluten free and organic stuff.  We got organic olive oil and lemons and apple juice.  Yes, even though he tested positive for apple allergy, and he DID have some slight allergic symptoms (looking back, that is) after eating apples like a slight scratchy throat, we figure doing the juice instead of whole apples would be less irritating.  The pectin in the apples is supposed to soften the stones so they come loose or become soft enough to pass out of the gallbladder.

We read anywhere from 5 to 14 days to either eat 5 apples a day (Gah!) or drink 2 cups of apple juice twice a day before doing the actual flush.  Then, you go on a very low- to no-fat diet for a couple days then choose your day to flush.

Obviously, you need to stick close to home/the bathroom for this.  So even though we (he) don’t have time to do a full week with the juice before the hida scan (this coming Thursday!) we’re still going to do it.  After the apple juice days, on flush day, you stop eating at 2 pm then you begin a schedule of drinking an Epsom salt/water mixture at 6 and 8 pm.  They have you lie on your right side after each dose (to allow the mixture to gravitate to the gallbladder).  The Epsom salt helps open up the bile ducts in the gallbladder so the stones and sludge can move out easily.  At 10 pm, after you’ve gone potty (so you don’t have to get up during the night), you drink an olive oil/lemon juice mixture and go to bed.  Again, lying on your right side, as still as possible for at least 40 minutes.  At 6 am, you drink another dose of Epsom, lie back down, then same thing again at 8 am  and then at 10 am, you can eat.  They say very light, bland foods and wait for the “magic” to happen.

By this time, of course, you have effectively given yourself the screaming trots which is the mechanism by which that sludgey-stoney goop is to exit your body.

Yay.

Oddly enough, none of these instructional sites give any detail about how long or how um…er.. intense this phase of the flush is, but I’m guessing it’s gotta be pretty daggone epic.

On one site where we found this flush recipe, the guy (an Oriental doctor, I think) asks for photos of your results.  BAHAHA!!  Um, nope.  I don’t think so, pal.  I’ll be doing well if I can find the handle with my eyes closed to flush the toilet, okay?

Oh yeah, in an effort to keep him from being in so much pain from going off NSAIDs, we are using tart cherry juice and tumeric.  I’ve wanted to try the tumeric drink (sometimes called “golden milk”) for awhile after hearing that it’s good for inflammation and helps you sleep.  I could use some-a that.  So we also bought coconut milk (which, for any T1D out there, has NO CARBS!) and organic tumeric.  I made a batch last night and it’s not bad.  I was afraid the coconut milk would be strong, but it’s not.  I don’t really like the taste of coconut which is weird since I use coconut oil for everything!  Anyhow, coconut was a 1 on Tommy’s list of allergies, meaning it was a mild irritant, so we’re going to use it anyway with the hope that getting his gallbladder flushed will relieve these silly allergies!  Anyhow, I thought the golden milk was actually sorta bland, so I think I’ll use a little more cinnamon next time.  I ended up putting apple juice in it last night.  Heh.

So there you have it.  You’re mostly caught up on the doin’s around here.  Hopefully, this ol’ gal will start feeling better soon.  I’ll let you know AFTER I’ve recovered from this flush.

Tah-tah!


hello, twenty-seventeen!


Hoo-wee!!  It has been a wild ride already around here folks!  That’s the main reason I haven’t been around here much.  My life has literally gone nuts!  Heh.

You know my eldest and his wife were (are!) moving to the Cincinnati area.  We started right after Christmas helping them get packed up.  They had to downsize a LOT, which wasn’t entirely a bad thing.  They went from a 1500 square foot home with a full, finished basement, two kitchens, a two-car garage, the land and outside areas to go with to a just-under 1000 square-foot apartment, no garage (although they can rent one that’s attached to their building!) and a tiny storage room!

That alone would have been enough to boggle my brain, but I have to say, Melissa handled it well.  She is a funny one.  She’s not super attached to things and was happily tossing all sorts of things.  I’m glad she could do it but it was hurting my head to watch her purge so mercilessly.  Ha ha!  Then again, I lean toward the hoarder rather than minimalist.  sigh  Ha!

We took several of their larger items but can’t fit the piano here, so I’m hoping my parents can put it in their basement.  It’s so old, I doubt they could get much out of it even though it looks great.  It’s severely out of tune and it sounds like from what the kids had been told by a couple of tuners, because of the age, people don’t want to tune it.  Gah!  I dunno…. it’s been so long since I played, I’m not sure it’s worth hanging onto.  No one else in the family plays and we really don’t sing as a family anymore, so I’m not sure why we even need it.  I just hate to get rid of it.  It’s the used piano my mom bought when I was around 5 or 6 to take lessons herself.  When I began to sit down and play what she had just practiced, I became the one who was getting lessons and those didn’t benefit me a whole lot.  She started me with an old and old-school teacher who was all about theory and note reading, not at all interested in any natural “talent” or playing “by ear” like I was want to do and had always seen my Papaw do.  By the time I was in fifth grade, she found me a younger teacher who finally realized I was just going to learn the music she assigned my and play it by ear or from memory.  When I was about 11, Papaw recruited me to the piano at church to accompany congregational hymns, so I had to rely heavily on playing “by ear” so when I’d show up at lessons with a hymnal, asking the teacher to show me “how to play this chord” and then immediately pick it up once she’d showed me, she sorta gave up.

She came out to the car with me one day and told Mom she didn’t wanna take her money any more because she couldn’t really teach me anything else.  Bahahaha!!  Yeah.  I’m not sure it was so much a compliment as a statement of fact.  It surely wasn’t because I had learned all she had to teach!  I had no use for doing the little theory exercises or reading music beyond what I absolutely had to.  It was hard for me and I really sucked at it.  If you could “hum it for me” and I could figure out what key you needed it in, I could at least play the chords enough to accompany you.

Okay, enough about the piano!  For now, it’s still sitting in the house down there.  The business is still using the office that was built onto the back of the house years ago, so people are still going in and out of it.  Also, for the time being at least, Melissa’s younger brother is still living in/renting the basement although I’m not sure how long that will last.  Mom told me she has told him to be looking for another place.  This after she told him he could stay there awhile.  I know know what that’s about, but it’s pretty typical.  I hope he can find somewhere and not have to move back home, especially since he just proposed to his girlfriend over Christmas!

So Melissa and I took off in our vehicles, I took our car up so Tommy could drive the UHaul and we’d have a way back home.  She had a bunch of more delicate stuff in their truck, along with their Australian Shepherd, Timber.  We headed out about noon on Friday leaving the guys behind to load the big furniture in the UHaul and the plan was they’d be up the next day.

Corey had quite a few guys lined up to come help but only two actually did along with his dad and it turned out to be enough.  They had no clue how much room they’d need, so they got a 26-foot truck since it was the same price as the  22-foot truck and planned to let Tommy be the “fitter” since he’s good about packing a ton of stuff into a small space.  He started out trying to get as much stuff in as possible but soon, they told him they only had so many pieces left and he had to get them to repack and spread stuff out!!  They had a TON of room!

Mel and I got up there without too much incident.  Our GPS’s didn’t agree at one point and we ended up getting off a wrong exit in town.  It was right during rush hour, so when I tried to stick with her through a light and blocked the intersection for a second, some butthead in a little economy car blew right up to the passenger side of my Challenger and started on the horn.  Honking and honking as if that was somehow going to ‘make’ me be able to move when there was no space for me to go!  Argh.  That was a little nerve wracking, but we got through it okay and made it to the apartment complex in good time.

We were both pretty exhausted, and I was still battling the remnants of my months of being sick with a nasty cough so I stayed with Timber most of the time while Melissa made trips back and forth carrying in some of the stuff we’d packed.  We hadn’t really thought out how we’d handle Timber while unloading stuff, I guess.  When she had got all she could manage herself, I went out to the car and carried in the few things I had to have out of it.  We had also put some of their stuff in there, so it was packed full too.

Corey called to say they were talking about maybe heading up that evening, just him and his dad, instead of waiting til the morning.  So in about four hours, they had arrived and it was a good thing after all.  Showing up with limited items at an empty apartment when the weather is frigid, you’re tired and sick can be a lot more deflating than I had counted on.  I think Mel felt the same way.  She was a bit more upbeat than me, but seriously… as I looked around, thinking about the place, sensing its smallness and of course, the sparseness of it, if it’d been me moving, I’d have been seriously depressed.  Maybe it was just me still processing the fact that my kids actually were moving away from me.  I’m not sure, but I hope it didn’t show as much as I felt it.  If I’d been by myself, I’d have cried!

At this point, a week after the fact, I can’t remember what else we did that night.  I am pretty sure we made a few trips to the store for some odds and ends.  Even though it was almost New Year’s Eve and we hadn’t bargained for any stores being closed.  They needed a pad lock for the UHaul and there were a few other things we had to have that night.  Dinner was one of those things, so we got some food before coming back to settle in for the night.

We blew up our mattresses and slept fairly well.  Thankfully the kids’ mattress was in the truck since their bed went flat during the night!

The next day, Melissa’s uncle and cousin came to help unload.  I hadn’t realized until then that the former plan for some of Corey’s friends to come up to help had been changed.  No one else was coming.  Mel’s uncle had arranged for several of his friends to come help, but not until later in the day, so when it became clear that they would have everything done before then, he called to cancel his guys and the four of them got it all unloaded just before lunch (and the rain!)  It worked out perfectly.

Tommy and I stayed til Monday, which helped me feel a bit better about them moving.  I was able to see that the apartment was nice, it was quiet and not so wildly different than being at home.  I got to interact with a lot of people and put to rest the notion that Cincy is full of mean people.  (seriously, I don’t if it was the people who just really didn’t want them to leave or they were relating their own experience, but people kept telling them everyone was rude and mean there).

Even though I felt better about them moving, it didn’t stop the tears from falling when we finally said our goodbyes Monday night after supper.  Tommy had already mentioned staying another day so I had no clue if we’d end up going home or not!  When we got to the restaurant, he didn’t know where his phone was, so that immediately became a possible “reason” we would have to stay.  We had already packed up the car and were ready to leave straight from the steakhouse, so the phone would have to be back at the apartment for us to stay.  It was sort of funny as we all walked out toward our vehicles, looking at my phone trying to locate Tommy’s… it appeared to be in the car and it was apparent that Tommy was disappointed.  He said if it wasn’t for needing to be on the job, he would just take a vacation day and stay.  And here I thought I was the one having trouble letting them go!

It would have been nice if we’d been able to stay and leave the next morning because we were sure exhausted once we finally got home.  It was just after midnight and we had several things that had to be unloaded (the rest could wait) and the dogs and chickens to take care of.  Poor Max was still outside, so I had to try and clean him up some before turning him loose in the house.

As soon as I could, I collapsed in bed and in what seemed like just a few minutes, I woke up sick as a dog.  I was coughing and snotting like nobody’s business.  I felt horrible!  So after battling a similar blech for months and finally getting almost over it, I’m starting from scratch, fighting it again.

ARGH!

Here’s to NOT having all of 2017 be the same way it started!!  Ha!



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