Category: health


3 things I am totally not loving right now…


Hey, everyone!  I hope you are all safe during this crazy-weather season.  Without cable, I don’t have access to the 24/7 coverage of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction down in Texas, but I have family in the Houston area so I am keeping up with things through my mom or snippets of news I see online.  So far, thank God, they are all safe and have not lost anything to the flood waters.  My prayers are for all those who are trying to live through this and for those who have gone down there to help.  God bless them all with safety and meet their needs!

THING 1 I AM TOTALLY NOT LOVING:

the weather

I wanted to pop on and share a few things that I’ve been doing lately… like looking for a remote job, for one.

I’m hooked up with RRR (Rat Race Rebellion), Remote, LinkedIn and Indeed.  I have been on LinkedIn for ages and never thought about looking for work there, but more to promote the blog and network with people.  It was suggested to have a resume on Indeed as well, so I went to sign up on Indeed only to find out that sometime or other, I had already set up an account there.

Sheesh!  I hate when I don’t keep track of that kind of stuff, but I made sure my info was still correct, updated the resume and never really thought any more about it until I got an email through Indeed.

I was SO excited at the prospect.  The lady said she was an attorney relocating from Pennsylvania to Kentucky in a city near me and needed an assistant for both office and personal errands.  It sounded like a great job and I was really thinking “What a great blessing!”  

After letting her know I was interested, she asked for some info about me, just an informal bio-type of thing so I told her I was an empty-nest mom, married 32 years who had worked in bookkeeping, office management, retail management and most recently in various call-center jobs including a few government contracts.  I told her I’d homeschooled my sons and how they are doing in their jobs.  For some reason, I feel a need to include this somehow on my resumes because it seems to be proof that I did a good job.  (ha ha!  I don’t go into how it was mostly God that did it because He had to hold me together through most of it!)

So anyway…she replied that it sounded like I was perfect for the job and she wanted to “secure me” now as she was going to be leaving for Turkey soon to arrange to bring her two children back with her.  She told me this stuff in that second email, but her mother currently cared for the children but no explanation as to why.  This was sort of odd to me, but then when she said she wanted to advance me a weeks’ pay and have me start immediately “to test proficiency” and so that I’d be ready to help her get started as soon as she got back when “mind you there will be a formal interview when I return” so it seemed legit enough but something about the way she had misspelled some words (a pet peeve of mine, however, I don’t think I’m nazi-ish about it) and that it seemed as if English wasn’t her first language (also not something I would normally judge someone on, but an attorney in America?  I’d think being well-versed in using the language would be a must, ya know?)  So I got suspicious about it.

I haven’t been able to find ANYONE in the Pennsylvania town she gave as her current location by her name.  She hasn’t given me the name of a firm, so I assumed she was opening her own practice here, but there should be SOME mention of her name if she’s been practicing there at all, right?

** sigh **  Oh, and did I mention she wanted to pay me $500/week to work part time?  That is of course why I was thrilled to think about taking the position, but then to advance me that sight-unseen?  Um… say it with me, FISHY!  So, I found a forum on Indeed and asked if there was any way to check out a potential employer through the website.  All I got was “If it sounds fishy to you, it probably is.  Scammers make me furious!”

She wanted just the name of my bank, and then the other info she asked for would be available on my resume.  So I’m going to reply that she can find all that information there and then I’d prefer her to pay me through Paypal this first time until we can do the formal interview.  Let’s see what response I get from that.

Gah.  I’m so sad.  I thought for sure God had dropped the perfect job in my lap!  (almost perfect–it was still going to require that I drive 40-some miles several times a week each way to work in the office– I really want a remote job but thought for part time, it would probably be a good way to get out of the house a bit)

Ah well… if He DID do this, it will all work out, but if not, I am so thankful He gave me the good sense not to just shoot her my info in a fit of giddiness about a part-time $500/wk fake job!

Have any of you dealt with this kind of thing?  I mean, I’ve seen the emails that say “Work from home, 5 minutes a day and make $100k/year!”  Ha!  Those are so obviously a bunch of crapola.  But this one was much sneakier.

How would you respond (or would you respond at all?) to a job offer like this?

THING 2 I AM TOTALLY NOT LOVING:

deceitful people online (or in real life, for that matter!)

The other thing I am not crazy about right now is the high cost of dental care.  If you know me, you know this has become the bane of my existence!  Due to diabetes, my teeth are more prone to decay anyway, but I also inherited just awful teeth from my mother.  She was about my age when her teeth just began to fall apart.

Thanks, Mom.  Mine are doing the same right now.  Seriously, there’s a lot to be said about good “teeth genes” because my husband takes MUCH less care of his teeth and has had maybe ONE cavity in our entire marriage.  My kids, thank God, got some of that trait from their dad.  Well, thank God for the good “teeth genes” but not for their dental hygiene habits.  They are as bad at caring for their teeth but have little to no problems with their teeth either, so praise God for that one!

My teeth are just SO brittle and they are literally falling apart.  Not all of them at once, thank the Lord, but enough of them to cause me a lot of trouble and getting them fixed is just ungodly expensive!  I’ve had so far about 4 teeth pulled either because of a deep cavity that I opted not to fix or because the tooth just broke and instead of paying for a crown, I said, “Just pull it!”  That plan has worked fine until the last one.  The tooth had just crumbled apart after having a chunk break off of it a few months prior.  Of course, my dentist had been nagging me to let him fix it.  After it crumbled that way, it left some fragments in the gum that were like little knives that I tried to manage.  At first, they would only cut my tongue occasionally and I could deal with that.  But then, since I have some allergies and also something called geographic tongue (yes, it’s a thing…click on it and see what that’s about!) so when something causes a reaction, my tongue gets very angry and sore and it hurts like the devil!  By the time I’d had enough and set up the appointment to have those fragments pulled, I was afraid I’d possibly set up cancer because there was this ugly, inflamed hole in the bottom of my tongue where it had rubbed against those tooth-fragment knives for so long.  I’m serious…it was a defined hole with a scary white ridge around the edges.  And it HURT so bad!!!

Thank God, though, once I got those fragments pulled, the hole healed up and went away, but now I have just one molar behind that one and the gap left by the missing tooth feels massive which makes it feel like I don’t have much to chew with on my left side.  And now, as of about a month ago, an old crown came out on the top right leaving behind, you guessed it…some little tooth fragments.  Thankfully, they aren’t nearly as huge or sharp so they’re not bothering me except that with only one molar behind that gap as well, once again I have little left to chew with over there.  And while the fragments don’t cut my tongue, it does hurt like crazy if I accidentally bite down on something

with those little suckers.  Try as I might, it’s hard not to let a bit of food slip over in that gap and it will mash against those fragments and send pain shooting through my face.  It usually bleeds too which only adds to the ghastliness

of the situation, right?

I have decided I won’t spend a bunch of money to fix my crappy teeth anymore.  What I WANT to do is have dental

implants, but then again, that definitely is going to cost a ton of money.  BUT it should be a more permanent solution, so that’s what I am holding out for… I’m just not sure how long I can hold out.  My oral surgeon recommended I wait til absolutely necessary to do that.  He said he has an aversion to yanking out perfectly good teeth, especially from a diabetic. And then there’s the whole process of implants… pull any remaining teeth, wait possibly up to 6 months for that to heal, then place the implants, go through the healing process for them and then several visits to make sure they are properly fitted and aligned and so forth.

So, I’m waiting.  Impatiently, but I’m waiting all the same.

THING 3 I AM TOTALLY NOT LOVING:

dental work and expense

So, friends… what kind of things are going on with you lately that you just really hate?  Do you also struggle to afford dental care?  Do you have dental insurance (because I do, but it’s not worth a whole lot once they tell you what they won’t cover!)?  Are you a fanatic about dental care or do you avoid it?  I guess I’m somewhere in the middle.


the thing nobody wants to discuss


About that title… I had a post all-but ready to publish yesterday. I was looking for photos to use in it when I ran across something on my Facebook timeline. I have searched all through the year it happened and cannot find it. There are about 4 days missing and I even went back several years to see if it was there instead, but no. It was about something really important.

And tragic.

And controversial, of course.

I am SO upset that I can’t find that post because it linked to an article, which is what started the post in the first place. I debated just giving up on the idea of even writing about it at all, but guys, it’s REALLY important and I’m being serious here.

I feel like, as so often happens, the enemy is attempting to thwart something that would bring God glory, so even though I can’t find the post or article, even though I’ve spent literally almost FOUR HOURS looking for it, I’m going to go ahead and write about this.

I think there may be someone out there who needs to read what I have to say today. It’s something that feels like one of those “God nudges” so I’m not going to ignore it. Please bear with me since I will have to explain SO much because I don’t have the linked article!

I’ve found only one article that is even halfway similar to the post I mentioned in my FB status, so I’m going to put the text link here, but I’m not linking to the article. You’ll have to copy/paste into the address bar to read it and I encourage you to read it. I just don’t want to popularize it by linking it from my blog.

http: //www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2014-08-suicide-selfish-wanting-someone-live-pain/

The blog post I saw back then was just a few days after the suicide of Robin Williams. The lady’s point was that suicide was not selfish and I didn’t agree with her.

Now, before you get riled up at me, I didn’t start a debate with this woman. I merely created a status stating that I disagreed with no links to her or mention of her name, etc. I didn’t want to increase her pain since she linked her feelings to the loss of a parent by suicide. I didn’t and won’t even pretend to understand how one would begin to cope with such a tragedy. I was not and am not trying to pass judgment on her, her parent, RW or anyone else!

However, given the fact that RW’s decision to take his own life was linked to depression, and depression is something I know, I’m going to address it. I know depression well. Depression and I are like ** this **.

I’m not going to deny it. In my worst, most desperate moments of deep depression, I have pondered committing suicide myself. More than once. If you know anything about depression, you know how it can grip you, how it can strangle you and make you feel like there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for you to go on.

I want to interject here that my thoughts and opinions about all this are filtered through my faith in Jesus. If you do not consider Him to be your Savior, then you are not likely to understand my intentions here. Just be aware that you MUST use this faith-filter in order to even begin to know my intent.

I believe without doubt or hesitation that my faith in Christ is the only reason I didn’t go through with ending my life. Perhaps it was guilt over the thought that I would be disappointing Him if I carried it out. But when I had lived a couple of decades with depression, after I had resisted the temptation to get rid of my pain through suicide, I finally learned something that has kept me from ever seriously considering it again.

My life is not mine.

Before, when I was younger and would consider suicide, I could only think about how death might bring some peace to my aching heart. I thought about how not having me around would take undue stress off my family and loved ones. I thought about how things would stop being so hard, so painful, so worthless.

 

In short, I thought a whoooole lot about one thing: ME. I was too young and immature as a Christian– because yes, sometimes even us Christians think about ending it all– to realize that I am not the “owner” of my life.

That probably seems like a strange thing to anyone without faith in an eternal God and Creator. But here’s how it works… if I believe that God created all things, all humans, then I must recognize that God is the Giver of Life. If He gave this life to me, then in reality, it isn’t really mine, is it? Especially when you go further and add to this the realization that our lives, our time on earth, is just “borrowed” and we must one day, when this life is over (whether by our own hand or not) give an account for how we used our time here, it really sobers you up in a hurry. It makes you put down the spirit (as a liquor) of persecution, of pettiness, of self-focus and yes, selfishness.

While I pondered how I could not imagine dealing with one of my own parents committing suicide, the way this lady was, I then put my children in that spot. If I thought it would be hard for me to cope with, why on earth would I consider putting my own children through that? How utterly selfish and thoughtless of me! That thought is possibly more of what kept me from killing myself when I was a young mother. I couldn’t dream of doing such a thing to my babies.

It was later that I realized what sort of thing my suicide would be to God.

I believe that all things are created for a purpose. I think most Christians believe this. Even bad things can be turned into good ones through Christ. I have lived that doctrine out many times! So, if God created me, He gave me life and meant it as a gift, something precious to be treasured and used for His glory…then how dare I think I know when it should end and how dare I contemplate ending that life myself?

How dare I??

When I put it that way, I am stunned and ashamed that I ever even entertained such thoughts. And don’t get me wrong… I still fully understand what it’s like to be in such a deep pit, lost in such total darkness and in such great pain that you think there’s nothing left but death. I am not trivializing the way that feels at all.

I wouldn’t dare do that, either!

But…I am adding to it another thought. A thought beyond the temporary (but sometimes extremely too-long) pain that is depression. The realization that this is not my life. God gave it to me. He intended me to use it to glorify Him. What glory do I bring Him if I let desperation and depression SO overcome me that I take my own life? What glory is it if I dismiss His might and power to keep me safe, to direct my path, if I throw away the gift He gave me? Where is my faith if I let what I KNOW to be the work of my enemy destroy my faith that God is enough. That He is mighty enough to deliver me from this, just as He made a dry path through the Red Sea for Moses. Just as He provided a substitute sacrifice for Abraham as he prepared to prove his faith in God by sacrificing his only son, Isaac. Just as He closed the mouths of lions and kept Daniel safe and sound. Just as He walked in the fire where the three Hebrew men (who refused to bow to an idol) had been thrown. *

How??

Once my mind was healed enough to realize what suicide actually is to God… a virtual slap in the face. A statement that He actually doesn’t know best. That God can’t keep me safe or heal me. That He doesn’t care and the gift of life He gave is worth nothing to me.

And most tragic of all, that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross wasn’t enough for me.

I am not wise enough to state or debate about whether committing suicide will keep you from entering Heaven. I know some people believe that as much as they believe the sun gives light, but I don’t. I admit that I could be wrong. ** chuckle ** We all know, I could certainly be wrong about a lot of things, especially something so spiritual and eternal as this. So I won’t debate it but I can’t think God would “undo” the promises made when a person accepted Him because they later became so despondent and so wracked with grief and pain that they made a foolish, albeit eternal, choice. Again, I DO NOT KNOW THIS and I’m only stating my opinion. You decide for yourself if you must ponder the question.

I am so thankful that my mind is no longer so clouded. That even when I am deeply depressed I can remember Who I belong to. Yes, I do STILL get depressed. Not sad, not discouraged, but deeply grieved and almost physically unable to smile it seems. Depression for me is hugely physical and not just emotional or psychological. It’s like having a heavy black cloth thrown over me that I must fight to get out from under. When I’m there, in the darkness which can feel completely isolated, I can recall that God made me and He DOES have a purpose for me. Then I can ponder what He wants me to learn from this season.

I hope my rambling and sharing has helped someone out there. I hope it speaks to your heart and prods you to look at God’s word for healing. EVEN when He doesn’t “cure” your depression, you can still rest in Him knowing that He doesn’t forsake and He knows the plans He has for us… plans for good and not harm; plans for a purpose and to bring us to right where He needs us to be.

As I like to say, I don’t have to understand it. I just have to trust God with it.

Email me if you have questions or want to talk through anything.

Blessings…

  • scripture references for the miracles mentioned in this post:
    Exodus 14:16

Genesis 22:3-14

Daniel 6

Daniel 3

 

Additional encouraging scripture:

1 Corinthians 10:13

2 Thessalonians 3:3

Hebrews 10:23

Isaiah 12:2

1 Thessalonians 5:24


finding peace in the pieces


Ah, broken hearts. They’re the stuff great songs are made of, am I right? And if you have one, they are like the longest, most painful night of your life.

Unless you’re like, 4 days old, you’ve had a broken heart. At least once! At this point in my life, I’ve had many-a broken heart. Like they say, time usually heals them but some take more time than others.

I don’t spend a lot of my time worrying about having my heart broken from things like a death in the family or a betrayal by someone dear to me. If you know me, you know I’m not really a “worrier”. I really do try to leave it all in God’s hands and be as content as I can be with His plan and His determined outcome.

However, in the past couple of years, I have just occasionally and quite randomly found myself mulling over how I would handle it if something tragic happened to one of my children.

I don’t know why, really. Well, yeah, I do. It’s the enemy trying to steal my joy and keep me from concentrating on God and what He wants me to do. Then there are the times I fret over the fact that it worries me being some sort of forewarning. I’m telling you, I can drive myself crazy with it if I don’t stop it quickly.

I have several dear friends who have lost their children from illness or accidents. Some of them just amaze me with how they have handled it. They have a peace and a joy that I can’t quite comprehend. Others of them tend to dwell and hold their sadness close, even after a decade or more.

I’m just not sure how I would do. I want to think I could allow God to take it and I could find peace again, but somehow I can never feel confident about that. It’s like I wonder how I’d do with a test such as that. Like Job losing ALL his children in one fell swoop on top of all his bodily torments and other losses. I just marvel at how amazingly God can sustain our frail human hearts.

So anyway, the reason I am pondering all this stuff is that I had a terrible heartbreak this weekend. We lost my sweet little puppy, Max.  I am so heartbroken to lose him.  Tommy came in Saturday with a look on his face that told me it couldn’t be good news.

He knelt down beside me and said, “Honey, Maxie’s been in an accident,” and that’s all it took.  I said, “Is he gone?” and when Tommy confirmed, I just dissolved into tears.  I’ve had pets all my life.  Mostly dogs, but sometimes cats when I was little.  We’ve lost countless dogs over the years to either accident or illness and I have always been upset, but never like this.  Of course, growing up, we never had inside dogs and somehow, when they don’t live right “in amongst” you, you don’t get quite as close to them.  We had an inside dog before Max, but he was never as attentive or as “stuck” to me as Max.

We got our sweet Max, a little “Malti-Tzu” (Maltese/Shih Tzu mix) when I was at one of the most dark, depressed states of my life.  I needed him and he needed me.  We got him from a lady who had taken him even though she knew pets weren’t allowed in her apartment.  She kept him crated all day while she was at work, so over 8 hours.  He was a mess, all long and matted.  He was afraid of men because, as she told us, her boyfriend didn’t like Max and would yell at him (and who knows what else).

It took awhile, but soon he was not just my baby, but Tommy’s buddy as well.  He loved people, most people, well…after he had barked at them a bit and decided they were okay.  We have a few friends he never took to though and I’m pretty sure it was because they had sort-of loud or a different tone to their voices.  Otherwise, though, he made friends pretty quickly.  He was very protective of me which at first, I think was a behavior held over from the yelling boyfriend of his previous owner.  The first couple of times Tommy moved to hug me, Max would leap between us and like I said, the first couple of times he made a faint growl at him, but soon as I assured Max that it was okay, he stopped making any aggressive sounds.  Soon, it was done just because he was a nosy little stinker.  He would wedge his way between us with this “Whatcha’ll doin’?” look on his face.  He had a huge personality.

Max loved to play and was really a joy to watch.  He would skip and run and sling his “baby” or ball around then run to catch it.  He loved to drop his balls into containers then act like he was on Mission Impossible trying to get them back out.  He’d drop them in Tommy’s boots, the laundry basket, my purse… you name it.  It was such fun to watch him play.

Max also loved to cuddle and sleep.  Bless his heart, when I had a bad day and could barely keep my head up, he was just as game to lay in bed all day with me as he was to be up following me all over the house.  I think this is the main reason I’m so devastated over losing him.  I’ve never had a dog that loved me so good.  He just wanted to be with me, no matter what.  He was entirely too cute for my own good.

Even though he wasn’t one of those “yappy” dogs that barked all the time, the house seems so quiet without him.  I think it’s because the sound of him jumping off the couch or bed to run see who was outside or his little feet clippety-clipping behind him on the tile have become comforting sounds and I miss them terribly today.

Max had a huge sense of adventure and was, like I said, game for anything Tommy and I were up for.  He loved to travel and was the best car-riding buddy ever.  We took him with us along on more road trips than we can remember.  He loved to ride and would get so excited about a car ride, but soon as we were on the interstate, he’d be out like a light.  The interstate was like valium to him!

Max went camping with us, he’s gone to various cookouts, hikes and bon fires.  Fishing at the pond was a favorite.  He even went for a ride on the four-wheeler, but that wasn’t his favorite since we had to rig him a “seat” (aka: milk crate with harness) because he would NOT be still and let me hold him!  He wanted to jump off and chase every critter we saw.  

He even rode with Tommy on his bike once.  I’m not sure he liked it a whole lot, but he liked being with us.  He was better satisfied as long as he could see me riding behind, but if I got in front, he would have a fit to climb over Tommy’s shoulder.  We wanted to try another camping trip like this with the bikes and try him in a basket, but we never got the chance.  Max was willing to try just about anything we did as long as he could go with us.

Max was a peculiar little poot, too.  He had this thing, maybe all little dogs are this way, but if any dogs were around who were bigger than him, he HAD to make it clear that HE was the boss.  Our old chocolate lab, Samson, was a prime example and he probably

made Max worse because of his own super-gentle temperment.  Sam was always the gentleman, to a fault!  He was never the least bit aggressive unless you threatened his food.  And sometimes, he’d even share that with Max.  He never took the ball away from him, love his heart.  He always let Max get the ball.  Maybe that’s because Max would start growling and snarling like a rabid skunk if some one threatened whatever he considered his.  And of course, ALL THINGS were his.  Humans and toys alike.  And if another big dog came around, even one of our boys’ dogs (Corey has an Austrailian Shepherd and Casey has a Golden Retriever) if any of the big dogs was aggressive with the other, he would be all over them as if to say, “HEY!  Shut it down!  I’M the only one who gets to do that!”  It was really hilarious and I’d have to explain to other people that he wasn’t really being mean, it was just his way.  Bahaha.  Max definitely had a unique way of socializing.  But he still had lots of buddies.  Seriously, even the dogs couldn’t help but love him.

Max was the sweetest, craziest, noisiest little pup ever and I am really heartbroken right now.  After crying my eyes out for almost two hours solid, I’ve collected myself and can ponder why.  I don’t know why this had to happen at this point in time.  I don’t want to dwell on how it happened

other than to say it was an accident and happened right in our driveway.  Max was, as anyone who’s been here knows, a horrible one to run up to and around and under vehicles as they approached or left the house.  We tried every way we knew to break him of it, but he would not be stopped.  The only way was to forcibly hold him or just take him inside.  It never failed that I would no sooner let him out in the yard to play than someone would pull into the driveway and I’d have to go out and try to catch Max or watch with my stomach clenched as the person tried to slowly bring the car or truck closer.  Whether it was a delivery truck or someone who had been here a million times, he would go at it barking like mad and running as close to the tires as possible, so honestly, I wouldn’t blame the person responsible at all.  This person has no clue that they even ran over Max.  Another reason I don’t want to dwell on it is that I could end up getting mad or even more upset.  I know this person was distracted with trying to hurry home even though they know how Max is and have had to deal with his antics a million other times.  For whatever reason, God saw fit to let this happen and I am trying to cope.

 

 

Which brings me back to my first thoughts up there of fretting about how I’d deal with it if something awful happened to one of my boys.  I am wondering if God isn’t letting me know that this is not the worst thing ever.  He knows that I would have been in much worse shape if I was dealing with losing one of them.  Why I need to realize that now is something I don’t want to ponder long.  I think it’s become more of a thing with me ever since Corey moved to Ohio.  I felt like I was literally losing him.  I realize now that was silly since we actually talk to him and Melissa and even see them more often than we did when they lived a stone’s throw away!  The moving and now this has all taught me never to take anything or any one for granted as I am so apt to do.  

I’m so thankful that God put Max in my path (I found him on Craig’s List!) when He did because we really did need each other.  I hope he felt every bit as loved as he was.  Especially after spending part or maybe all his life feeling like he wasn’t wanted.  I loved that little fella SO good and through him and my family and others, God brought me out of the deepest pit to recover my joy.

It feels terribly lonely today though and I have cried through sorting for pictures to share with you and have realized I don’t want to feel like this.  No pup can ever replace my little Max, but I need the companionship of a silly, funny pup.  I have been busying my mind in the search for another Malti-shuh or whatever they are calling the Maltese/Shih Tzu mix.  The characteristics of both breeds are just what I need, I believe.  But it’s hard to find them except from expensive breeders, which we can’t afford or people who are no longer able to care for aged dogs, which I don’t need.  I need a younger dog that can be trained.  Corey believes we can train a dog to help alert us to low blood sugars which would be extremely helpful!  I know this breed isn’t the top recommendation for this sort of training, but right now I’m determined that I need a little one that will be a cuddly furbaby, too.  Even if they can’t be FULLY trained to alert, I know that dogs have the natural ability to sense things like that and it would still be helpful even if they don’t know proper alert actions.  My mind may change but as it stands right now, it doesn’t much matter.  We can’t afford to just purchase a pup from a breeder and besides, I’d rather not do that anyway.  I’d like to be able to get a younger dog from an owner who has discovered they can’t care for the dog or maybe has had an unexpected litter of pups.  I’d like to find one less than a year old and even a straight-Shih Tzu, Maltese or even a Yorkie would be great.  (just throwing this out there in case anyone knows somebody who knows somebody… heh)

My experience with Max tells me that for the most part, the combination of Shih Tzu and Maltese traits are just wonderful other than the drive to chase, which is high in most small dogs already.

I’m thankful for the time I had Max.  He was like medicine for my hurting heart.  I know God has another dose of good medicine out there somewhere and at the right time, he or she will cross my path.  In the meantime, I’m also thankful for my family who has been so sweet in understanding my heartache and sweet Tommy, who I know is also heartbroken but has been so strong for me the past couple days.  I am blessed and highly favored.

Go and tell your family and friends you love them and hug your pet.  Any and all of them are blessings to be treasured!  Always remember there is peace among the pieces of your broken heart if you just let God handle the reassembly.

BLESSINGS!!!


the look of love


Do you ever wonder what God’s love looks like? Well, I’m going to show you just one of many shapes His love can take. Observe:

God’s love

Yes.  That stack of medical supplies is just one example of the way God’s love looks to me.

Let me explain.

If you read here at all, you probably picked up on the fact that I often worry about money.  I honestly don’t worry about much else.  Maybe if one of my kids is sick or hurting emotionally, I’ll be concerned and prayerful about that, but things like medical crises and being sick or injured myself doesn’t worry me.  I think that God has shown His hand SO many times in that way that I no longer spend very much time worrying about my health or things like that.  But money (or rather, the lack of it!) has always had the power to bring me to my knees.

Worrying about how we’ll pay the bills or afford to fix something can mess me up big time.  I will fret so much about it that I almost just freeze.  Nothing more so than when it comes to the dire necessities.

God has grown my faith and matured me a lot in the past several years when it comes to trusting Him.  I don’t say that to brag, but to point out His grace in being patient with me and giving me second, tenth, eighty-fourth chances.  It has always bothered me that I worried so much about money.  I’m always trying to figure out how to make more of it, how to generate more income or in times of serious need, I start thinking of things to sell and we just don’t even have a lot of that when it comes to making a quick hundred or so.  Yes, for us, an extra $20 can sometimes be very hard to come up with, just so you understand my frame of reference.

After some wonderful sermons that have been speaking to me about growing my faith, I determined that I would stop fretting about money and paying bills.  I would begin to wait, lean on and trust in God to meet these needs.  And before I knew it, a perfect opportunity presented itself.

I was almost completely out of supplies for my insulin pump.  I had called the supply company already over a week ago trying to sort through a balance they said I still owed.  I explained to them that I have a second insurance policy that should have paid the balance.  They said I had one amount from the first of the year already in collections and another balance.  After being given the run-around and being told various things by various people, I finally had a sales rep tell me they don’t “participate” with my secondary insurance company.

Nice.  After having TWO different people who were supposedly from the company’s insurance department assure me “we will get that filed with your other policy right away”, now a sales rep tells me they don’t even take the other insurance??  ARGH!

I have no patience when it comes to this kind of stuff.  It sets me on edge and makes me a nervous wreck.  There’s just something about being told you have an outstanding balance of almost $1500 that makes me queasy.  When it’s all we can do to get the utilities and mortgage paid and have a little left over for groceries while juggling a stack of hospital, doctor and lab bills from month to month?  It just overwhelms me and sets me on a track for a real fear-fest.  Echos of “how are we going to afford…” and “where will we get that much…” begin to cripple me.

So here I sat, down to ONE line set and three reservoirs having visions of having to go back to multiple daily injections and thinking about how awful my levels would become without a base rate of insulin from the pump…  I just stopped and thought, “Okay, God.  You’re going to have to take care of this.  I can’t see ANY way to come up with this money, so I’m going to just trust You.”  It’s much easier to “trust” God when you have at least an idea of how it might be possible to make something happen.  That’s why He does things like lead several million people to the edge of a sea with a murderous army pursuing them…so He can show Himself and it be known that without a doubt, there was NO WAY they could have escaped without God’s provision.  (Read the story of Moses)

He erases any chance that a thing could have “just happened” or that man could have had anything whatsoever to do with it.

That’s where He had us.  We were already behind on one of our big payments and thinking we would barely scrape by if we paid the big ones this week, then the lesser bills next week.  Now this?

I was thinking about how I could maybe use another reservoir but reuse the same line set when this reservoir was empty.  That’s risky and can cause an infection at worst or irritation at best.  I was trying to think of EVERY POSSIBLE SOLUTION all the while saying, “I’m going to trust God with this.”  Even though, in reality, I wasn’t really trusting Him completely.  I have to say, though, I was doing better than I would have in the past.  At least I hadn’t allowed myself to fall into a deep depression and cease to function.  I hadn’t curled up anywhere to cry.  I was actually doing better than usual, but still… I hadn’t let go of trying to solve the problem myself while I was “trusting God”.

Shame on me.

The very next day after getting the news that we would have to pay $600 of the full balance before they would let me order again, I got a text from a lady who has been doing my physical therapy.  She works on Tommy’s back too, so we have both gotten to know her.  She’s really sweet, but struggles with self-worth and depression too.  We’d been trying to get her to come to church with us, but it hadn’t worked out so that she could.  I ended up sending her this sermon after telling her it would do her a lot of good. I told her to MAKE the time to watch it when she could concentrate and pay attention.  So she had called me when she got to listen to it while driving a couple hours to another town for a job.  She was almost in tears and said I was right, the message was exactly what she needed to hear.

So then, the day after getting the news about having to pay the huge amount before I could order supplies, she texted to see if I was coming in for an appointment that week.  I told her no, I wouldn’t be there til the next week.  I forgot to mention, she is now moving to Georgia (moving this weekend, actually!!) so she said she would be gone by then but she had something to give me and could I stop by the office.  I said I could come by after lunch.

When I got there, she hugged me as usual and I chit-chatted with the receptionist while my friend went to get this mysterious “thing” she had to give me.  When she came back, she handed me a plain old envelope and told me not to open it until I was gone.  We hugged again and said our goodbyes.  She promised to keep me updated on how things were going, I told her once again she was going to do great and everything would be fine and then I left.

When I got to my car, I couldn’t stand the suspense, so I opened the envelope, which was sort of “puffy” and inside I found 10 bills totaling $70 and a note explaining.

I was floored when I saw that it was cash.  I mean, what on earth?  I wondered why in the world is she giving me money since I knew she was a bit worried about having enough to make the move and get settled before starting her new, better-paying job in Georgia.

The note explained that she felt led to “tithe” wherever she was spiritually fed.  I’m still not sure what I think about that, but anyway, she said I had helped her so much and the content of the message I’d sent her had been exactly what she needed and she knew that was only through God.

I sat there, stunned, thinking this is God showing me He’s handling things.  I mean, it’s not every day people just give me such a sum of cash, ya know?  So I KNEW it was God but still, in the back of my mind I was thinking, “This is great, God, but it’s not nearly enough… but I am going to trust You still…”

When I told Tommy about it that night, he was flabbergasted too.  He said it was just God giving us reassurance that He was taking care of it.  He said that someone had offered to buy one of his hobby tools and that might get us another $400 so we were encouraged and went on about our lives hanging onto the peace that God would take care of it.

Yesterday when Tommy came home from work, I knew something was up.  He came in telling me he HAD to tell me something.  It’s always serious when he comes directly to me instead of checking on something he’s been working on in the shop.

He began telling me about going into a place where he had to buy some things for work and also some that were needed for his dad’s old pickup they’re rebuilding.  I thought to myself, “Great.  This is going to take forever and there’s a possibility it doesn’t even concern me at all, he’s just excited about something!”  I will admit, I’m not very patient when it comes to listening to Tommy tell me some long, overly-detailed story about what they’re doing to that truck.  Ha.  I don’t know half of what he’s talking about and I’m not super-interested in how it’s coming along until he can tell me it’s done!  He gets so excited about stuff sometimes he HAS to tell SOMEone ALL about it, and I am usually that someone.  It doesn’t matter to him whether I understand him, whether I care or even if I listen for the most part… he just wants to tell it and ‘get it out’ of his system somehow.  It drives me crazy because I seldom EVER do that to him.  He would croak if I told him every time I got excited about finding a new way to get stains out of his clothes or if I went into great detail about how difficult it was to do my own nails or something that he has absolutely no interest in.  He doesn’t seem to mind that I don’t care how many times they tried the whatsit in the thingamajig to get the whatchamacallit up to 2000 RPM’s or whatever.  sigh

ANYway… this wasn’t that kind of tale, thankfully.  He started telling me about talking to a lady who worked there who also has type 1 diabetes and was having a bad day with high blood sugars and when her sugar finally came down, she was feeling really awful.  He then said they got to talking about supplies and insurance and it came up that we were having trouble getting my supplies.  She looked at him and said, “Oh, well the way my insurance is now, I actually have some extras.  I can give her at least a box of each.”

Tommy said he almost started bawling the same way I was in tears at that very moment.  I was just FLOORED.  So THIS is what God was planning??  And all that time I was trying to figure out where we’d find the money to just pay what absolutely had to be paid soon enough for me to not run out and all along He had it more than well in hand.

We made plans to meet her at a local store at noon today and when we got there, she handed a bag through the car window with not one, but THREE boxes each of line sets and reservoirs!  I was just stunned!  God had provided above and beyond what we even asked for!We thanked her profusely and then started talking.

Tommy knew she hadn’t been in church in awhile, so we invited her to go with us.  She seems to want to but is hesitant.  Most people are, I guess.  Even when they know they need to get back in church and back on track with the Lord, we always seem to draw back as if we don’t know how much better life will be.

We told her we’d call her in the morning, so I’m praying something changes her hesitancy into eagerness or at least willingness to go with us.  She’s a single mom with a young daughter so I’m really hoping she will come.  Perhaps, just maybe this is the reason God lined all these things up?!

I don’t know, but once again, He has provided.  I’m so thankful for His patience and His grace.  Now we have time to gather the money needed to at least let me order supplies again.  What the lady gave me is almost three months’ worth of supplies.  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?  We offered to give her some money (remember the $70 my friend gave me?) but she refused to take it.  I was really hating to have to part with that cash if I’m being honest, but I would have given it to her if she’d taken it.  I feel so ashamed that I wasn’t more willing to give it away since it was given to me.  See?  I am still struggling with feeling a sense of want.

All the more reason I am SOOOO thankful God is patient with me.

Has anything like this ever happened to you?  Do you worry about money too?  If so, how do you deal with it?


I feel ya, Tinman


My joints and a bunch of other stuff that probably aren’t joints have been just killing me lately!  I mean, some days, I swear I’d spray some WD40 all over me if I thought it would cure me as well as it did the Tinman in The Wizard of Oz.  Just a few squirts and he was good to go, right?

Sadly, I haven’t found anything to work like that for me.  I’m thinking this is a combination of weather, age and tendency.  All of the ‘itises’ run in my family.  I’m getting up there to the point that my poor old joints are getting to be well-used and prolly tired.  And we’ve had rain for days.  Cold rain!  That last little kick in the pants from winter called “Dogwood Winter” around my area of the world.

My doc has had me going to physical therapy already and after a couple weeks doing that, my right hand began to go numb and the fingers be really stiff.  I’ve already had carpal tunnel surgery in my left hand years ago and was at one time supposed to have the right hand done, but it got better enough that I didn’t have the surgery.  So I figured I’d surely have to have it done now.  I called my doctor and sorta demanded that I have the surgery set up, so she reluctantly made me an appointment with a neurologist in town.

In the meantime, my physical therapist, A, suggests that I let the occupational therapist work on the hand.  She calls in a request to be referred and so now I’m seeing the OT as well as the PT.

Surprisingly, the therapy has been working.  I really think all this rain made it a lot worse and so as the weather clears up, I think things will feel better too, but the exercises the OT has me doing for my hand actually do help so much more than I dreamed they would!  So now I’m debating whether to go see the other doctor.  I mean, if I NEED this surgery, now would be the time to get it done since we have destroyed our deductible and eaten through our out of pocket limit too!!

Tommy has been referred to the physical therapist too so hopefully, his back and legs will start feeling better.  But during all of this therapy, something went haywire with my left shoulder.

The PT has been working on both my shoulders, basically trying to strengthen the muscles that have grown weak after years of trying to hold incorrect positions to help ease the tension pain in my neck.  I mean, for 20-plus years I’ve dealt with this awful neck/shoulder pain without any real or lasting relief.  I’m pretty sure a local chiro made the problem so bad when he tried to tweak my neck.  That’s when the migraines started, at least.  I had those for a year or two before seeing a different type of chiro who got rid of the migraines, thank God, but could never get my neck to stop hurting.  Then I met a chiro through Emmaus who worked on me at camp once and she did wonders for it, but it was almost a two-hour drive to her office in Middlesboro, so I couldn’t really keep that up.

So now here I am, trying to keep myself from becoming a Tinman.  Ha.  The other thing, a big reason to pursue this is that I would REALLY love to get back to cycling and one of the worst pains I had from riding my bike wasn’t my butt.  It was my neck and shoulders. I’m SO hoping that I can get to where riding my bike doesn’t make my neck and shoulders hurt so bad that I have to just stop.  It gets to a certain point, like the point of no return, that it hurts so bad and won’t let up.  I have to stop what I’m doing and I’m still in pain.  Lately, it’s been hurting to the point of tears, so I’m really praying the therapy will fix me up.

I can’t take pain meds because of the CGM.  Apparently, acetaminophen causes the readings to be off and some suggest the same is true for ibuprofen.  Also, ibuprofen can affect blood sugar control.  So, I decided I’d try taking plain old aspirin for the pain.  The PT suggested it, actually.  She realized I really needed some relief from the worst of the pain before I could get back to doing any sort of exercise.  I took three doses of aspirin on Saturday and by about two hours after that third dose, my ears were screaming.

I’ve had tinnitus for years.  Since I was 16 and our old pediatrician diagnosed it.  He asked me a bunch of questions trying to determine what may have caused it.  When I told him I’d been having more sinus headaches and had been taking the aspirin I found in the kitchen cabinet, he said, “Ah.  That’s probably the culprit.”  For years now, when I happen to tell another doctor this, they blow it off and say it couldn’t have been the aspirin.  However, since then, I hadn’t taken any aspirin other than a chewable once every couple of days for blood pressure/heart health.  So by the time I’d taken three doses of regular aspirin, it felt like my ears had been plugged with bubblegum and the screeching that is normally tolerable was 10x higher.  It was horrible and I was so afraid that I might have done something permanent to my hearing.  Thankfully, that slowly dissipated and things went back to the normal squealing that I’ve learned to deal with.

SoooOOooo…that’s where I stand.  Hoping and praying, working toward feeling better and being more pain-free.  


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~

 


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!


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!