geanniegray.com

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

Category: me


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~

 


belonging


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

Blessings!

 

 


changes!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings!


getting back to nature… sorta


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the most recent health craze: Golden Milk

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

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

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

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

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

Orangey-yellowy tumeric root…

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

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

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

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

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

DON’T SKIP THE PEPPER!!

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

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

we try to use fresh ginger all the time!

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

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

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

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

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

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


hello, twenty-seventeen!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARGH!

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


that place between heartache and happiness


That’s where I am these day.  Torn, and swinging wildly between, being overjoyed and heartbroken enough I have to fight back the tears.

To some it may seem trivial.  Maybe it is something other people expect to happen, but for me, the thought that this might happen has never entered my mind.

My baby is moving away.

I knew that a company in Ohio had reached out to Corey about a position and that he’d gone up for a meet-and-greet-slash-interview.  I knew he’d sent them the resume they requested.  I knew he’d been looking into the company, trying to learn more about them, see if it was something he even wanted to consider.

I also knew that all he’d discovered was very positive and desirable!

After the first meeting, he was disappointed because the man from the finance department of the company (they are big enough to have ‘departments’) told him they had initially wanted him for a management position, but then his age and lack of experience with a large company made them think he might not be ready for that yet.

Yet.

To me, at that time, it was encouraging.  I mean, I told you I was torn, guys.  I wasn’t kidding!!  I was so proud that a huge company like that was considering hiring my boy for a high position, not to mention that they instigated the contact!  It didn’t bother me that they were leery of him due to his young age and his lack of a college degree.  Most places are very big on a piece of paper from a university that says you know certain stuff.  I am of the opinion, however, that personal experience and the ability to teach one’s self and learn whatever is necessary is much more valuable than a degree that may or may not be a true indication of the person’s knowledge.  Of course, there’s not a lot of quantifiable proof for personal experience and the ability to self-teach either, but I’ve seen for myself that it’s a definite advantage in many areas of life.

I guess, deep down, I was content with knowing that Corey could attract attention from a big company, that he presented himself well and wasn’t lacking in any way from being homeschooled.  I mean, it was on his resume, after all.  They knew he had been taught at home.  I sorta felt that would be the end of it.  Which wasn’t a relief entirely because, confession time:  I’ve been praying for both my boys to be able to get away from all the stress they have with their jobs.

Yes, I should have been praising God for answered prayer, but you know how it goes.  Sometimes God answers in a way you never considered.  Kinda like praying for patience, so God lets you break your leg.  “There.”  He might say.  “Patience is earned, my child.”  All the while, I imagine He’s snickering to Himself.  Bahaha!

But seriously, it would be a big relief to see them have jobs where they weren’t constantly being brow-beaten and put down and having to deal with my dad.  I feel like I’ve posted about this whole complicated mess-of-a relationship before, but I’m not positive about that and I can’t find any reference to it, so I’ll try to explain while keeping it short.

My father has always been an entrepreneurial type of fella.  Always had his own business.  Everything from a coal tipple to a paving business, a wood burning stove store, therapeutic massage chairs to spray foam insulation.  You name it, he’s prolly done it or at least thought about it.  Excavation is where he always excelled.  He was good on a dozer and so began a core drilling business.  That led to him being asked to help bulldoze roads during a forest fire so the firefighters could access the fire.  Finally, he began this current company in 1994 originally doing only dozer and backhoe work.  It evolved into the plumbing arena and he had to get permits and such.  During that time, he learned about and got into the underground camera and jetting business, which is mostly what the business does now.  It’s considered a “plumbing” company, although dad has never been a plumber.  He always had to employ one, though and now, both my sons are licensed plumbers.  Corey has his master plumber’s license and Casey has a journeyman’s license.

The boys began working for my dad when they were teenagers.  Originally, it was just to do the extra work, the grunt work.  Wheelbarrowing dirt out of the way or digging trenches, that kind of stuff.  And it was just as needed because for the last 15 or so years, Dad’s only had one or two regular employees and in the last 10 or so years, that’s been older men like himself.  Not young men who could lift and heft and work hard, but older men who were a little more feeble and less agile and able-bodied.  I felt okay with that and I was happy about the experience it gave them.  Most kids their age had no clue about the real work-a-day world, ya know?  My boys did and they were learning all kinds of stuff about using tools and how things work.  Most of the time, they’d work pretty much full time during the summer months.  Soon though, dad started talking about when Corey graduated and could come in full time and all this crap about “handing down” the business to him one day.

That made me nervous.  My dad is a workaholic.  Even in his mid-seventies now, you can’t keep him still.  He can barely get around sometimes but insists on working.  It worries me to death but he’s as bullheaded as he is anything else, so you can’t tell him anything.

My dad has always been what some would call a “loudmouth”.  Ha ha.  Sometimes that’s a more apt description than others, but he’s very outspoken, opinionated and pretty judgemental.  Ever since I was old enough to realize it, I have seen that people either love or hate my dad.  They either get his brusque manner and laugh at his blustery speech or they despise his attitude and think he’s a blowhard.  I guess on both sides there’s a little truth, but in these past few years, he seems to have leaned even more toward the brusque/harsh side of his personality.  I think some of it is just the growing older process but the boys say he makes remarks about how he’s lived to the age his older brother and father were when they died so now he’s just “living on borrowed time” which is ridiculous since our days are numbered by God, not our ancestors!!  I don’t understand why he would think this way when he knows better.

So anyway, I tell you all of that so you might understand just a little why I have wanted my boys to not be working with or for my dad.  It has made them bitter and hard, more so for my youngest for some reason.  He’s never been a really ‘soft’ kinda guy anyway so that may just be his natural tendency.  But it is so worrisome.  Especially when he also lives right beneath my parents,  ya know?  He doesn’t really escape that stuff at all.  The boys don’t really have a grandfather relationship with him since he has treated them more like employees, disappointing employees at that, than like grandsons.  I have worried for their self-image and sense of self-worth for years because of how Dad is with them.

I know that sounds horrible of me, but it’s just the truth.  Telling you otherwise, pretending otherwise, doesn’t change the facts of the matter.  My parents harbor a LOT of negativity, which is one reason I don’t go around very much.  It just drains me.  It makes me feel ill, beaten down, hopeless and sad.  I struggle with depression enough as it is, and so I’ve found that my battle with it is easier if I don’t spend a ton of time with them.  Yes, that DOES make me sad, but self-preservation is important especially when I tend to become non-functional when I get in a deeply depressed state.  I pulled myself out of that once and I don’t want to ever have to do it again.  Is that wrong of me?  To guard my emotional, and also my physical, well-being?  If it is wrong, then I don’t know how to cope otherwise because spending time with them, lots of time, will inevitably lead to me spiraling into a horrible place where I shut down and then don’t take care of anyone or anything.  I’m not sure how they live in that darkness.  It’s like a tangible cloud of negativity and animosity.   They can’t speak about someone without pointing out all the perceived or concocted flaws the person has, they can’t be encouraging about any situation that isn’t exactly what they would choose for themselves, they are judgemental of everyone and don’t even think that your past won’t follow you toward them because they will never let you forget that thing you did but no longer do, no matter how much you have changed.

So… I feel like I’m rambling and I honestly don’t know how to end this post.  Apparently, the start date has been moved up to January 9 from January 23 so it’s even more of a time crunch!  Melissa wants to paint some of the walls so the apartment isn’t so “vanilla/boring” so she and I will go up a day or two after Christmas and stay for a couple days to do that.  For that, we’re having to decide which vehicle to take.  They have one vehicle between them, a 4WD pickup, we have our 4WD “second” vehicle (a pickup, too) and our new car, the Challenger, which we’ve never had in snow before.  It looks like it would be best if we took the car, but then there’s the issue of weather and Tommy’s insane obsession with keeping the car spotless.  Yeah, right!  I want it to stay awesome-looking too, but there’s only so much you can do if  you actually want to use the vehicle, ya know?  So anyway, I think we can get everything we’d need in there since the back seats fold down… you know, step stools, extension handles and all the painting material.  Then we’ll need to go buy paint unless she plans to do that here, then we’ll have to haul it up with us along with some air mattresses, clothes & food items.  The apartment is central to EVERYTHING almost, so running out to get anything we’d need won’t be a problem as long as the weather holds.  Then the guys will come up with a pickup load of stuff that weekend, I guess.  And we’ll be ready to start the actual moving process.

The kids are going back up there this weekend to finalize some stuff, and look at one more apartment that will now be empty to see if they like it better.  I think they’ve settled on this first floor one though even though the other is a tad bigger, it’s on the third floor.  With their dog, it will be a lot easier to be on ground level plus only first-floor apartments can have barbecues!  They grill out a LOT!  So…

I’m trying to steel myself for the wild rush to begin.  I’m praying for strength and focus and to stay well so I can help them all I can!  I’m taking advantage of every opportunity to be with them while they’re getting all their ducks in a row.  I’m not sure how I’ll survive this, but I know I will.  Like I said, I’m reminding myself multiple times a day that God promises to take care of us, to prosper us and not harm us.  I just need to stop looking at how much my heart hurts and focus on waiting to see what God’s going to do with this big change in all our lives.

Try to overlook me while I process everything, okay?  Thanks.

 


the worst one yet: a hypo story


So yeah, in this post I mentioned that the reason it was delayed is because I ended up in the hospital that evening.  I promised to tell you about that, so here goes…

I’ve been really REALLY sick since the end of August.  If you’ve visited at all in that time frame, you probably know this already.  I was just miserably sick with some sort of bronchial-slash-allergy illness from Hades!  I was on and off antibiotics and steroids and all sorts of allergy medication, nebulizer meds, inhalers and nasal sprays.  I was using an oil diffuser, vitamins and herbals, teas, Vicks on my feet… you name it and I tried it.  For the longest time, I just could not seem to get better at all, or I’d get better for a couple of days and then go back or get worse.  Finally, FINALLY, I started to feel like I was over the hump and improving a little.  I had started immunotherapy and either that was helping or The Sick just got tired of me at last and went to torment someone else.  I honestly don’t know.  I just knew I was thankful to feel almost human again!

That was a couple of days before Thanksgiving.  I felt good enough to help plan the meal.  I even baked a turkey sans stuffing specially for Corey because poor Mom couldn’t seem to understand that even if she only put stuffing inside the turkey, it could still cause his celiac to flare and had loaded hers full of regular, gluten-laden stuffing.  I also made him some gluten free dumplings, gravy and dessert before going up to Mom’s to make my usual batch of dumplings for the rest of us.  It was a great day, the best Thanksgiving we’ve had in a while.  My cousin Gabe was able to be with us and about six other random friends of ours or our kids were there with us unexpectedly.  I was thankful that my parents didn’t flip out having so many people over, but they seemed to enjoy it once the initial shock wore off.   We were there until almost 11 pm playing games and having a really good time.

That was on Friday.  Yes, I know Thanksgiving is on Thursday but for whatever reason, Mom had decided we would do our Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, and so we did.  So I got through the weekend fine and continued to feel better.  So much better I was beginning to tackle the house, which has been in a horrific state of neglect for MONTHS now.

Then on Monday, I once again was feeling really good.  It’s not often I have days like that, and especially after being sick for so long, so I was relishing the fact that I didn’t need a nap before noon and that I was actually able to finish several tasks without getting wiped out or discouraged.  It was starting to seem possible to get the house in shape enough to get ready for Christmas!

I had gone to get my allergy shots around 9:30 so being dressed and out and actually getting an errand completed by that time of day was a major accomplishment!  I switched out some laundry, folded and put a load of it away, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, washed the big dishes and put them away and scrubbed the sinks.  I felt like I had conquered the world!  The only downer at that point was that my sugar had been hovering around 200 for much of the day.  I ate leftover dumplings with Tommy for lunch around 11:30 and had struggled to get the number down ever since.  By 2:00 it was still up and of course, my CGM was “screaming” at me every five minutes.  It just kept alerting me that my sugar was high.

Really?!?!  Yeah, I know already!  I really love my CGM and it’s a great tool to have, but I wish there was a way to make it not continue to make that noise after you already know it’s doing whatever Dex is alerting you about while you’re trying to correct the problem!  Gah!  I had started a post earlier and now it was finally finished.  I just needed some photos to compliment the theme, so I was busy searching, uploading, transferring and editing so I could publish when I suddenly got extremely tired.

It wasn’t a “low” tired, but then again they never seem like “low” tireds.  sigh  I just figured that all my energy had been spent and it was time for me to recharge.  By this time it was about 3:30 – 3:45.  While I’ve been sick, I got in the habit of just laying down whenever I felt tired and napping instead of fighting it.  I figured if I slept for 45 minutes to an hour, I’d feel lots better and could get some more done around the house.

That’s the last thing I remember before the ambulance.

I can remember hearing unfamiliar voices.  I can remember the sort-of fading-in of voices asking me questions … it was like tuning in a radio station.  I couldn’t understand the words for a time until I got them “tuned in”.  Then I would hear someone talking about me.  Saying what my blood pressure was, talking about turning “her” or that “she’s starting to come around”.  I think that last sentence is what caused me to realize what was going on and open my eyes.

Somehow, I knew I was lying on the floor of my bedroom with my head at the foot of the bed next to the closet doors.  I remember wondering how so many people were able to fit in such a small space then I began to wonder what in the world had happened.

About that time, I heard Corey’s voice and spoke his name.  I’ve gotten in the habit, ever since I started having those sudden severe lows, of stating what I can see or hear in an effort to let people know that my brain is operating, at least a little.  Then I saw Taylor’s face and spoke her name.  Both of them said things like “it’s going to be okay”, “you’re okay” and “it’s alright now”.  I started trying to ask what happened but must not have been doing a good job when a man to my right leaned over and told me his name was Daniel.  That’s when I knew I was in real trouble, or at least I had been.  I could see his EMT uniform and the creepy blue gloves on his hands.  Beyond that, I couldn’t tell anything else was going on with my body other than I was freezing.  I began saying, “Cold.  Cold.  COLD.”  That’s when they counted and I could feel them lift me with a blanket and plop me onto a gurney.

I could see I was being wheeled through my kitchen and out the door onto the porch.  It hit me then.  The realization that I’d been the cause of yet another medical bill.  I began saying, “I’m sorry.”  And I was, both for racking up another bill to pay and for worrying my kids like this.  Corey told me there was no reason to be sorry.  I continued telling them I was cold because folks, a post-hypo freeze is nothing to be toyed with.  One nurse later told me a severe hypoglycemic episode can put you near hypothermia!  I believe it!

They loaded me into the ambulance and both Daniel and Corey climbed in on either side of me.  I began asking Corey what had happened.  He started off by saying I had probably busted my nose, but it was okay.  That was puzzling because my nose didn’t hurt.  I touched it and it felt fine.  I didn’t know what he was talking about.  Then I felt the stiff remains of dried blood on my face, then the stickiness of something else… Corey gently wiped at my face with a tissue.  “It’s okay.  You’ve got some blood on your face.  We’ll get it off in a minute.”  I said, “Sticky.”  He said, chuckling, “Yeah, I got a little syrup on your face.  We’ll wash it off soon.”  Then I asked him again what happened.  He said, “You got really, really low, Mom.  But you’re okay now.”

I listened as he and Daniel talked about me and then about the job.  Daniel remembered hearing about the EMT Cadet program that Corey had been part of before it shut down.  He said, “I could tell you’d had some sort of training by the way you handled things in there.  She’s up to one-nineteen now.  That’s much better.”

When the ambulance stopped, I remember noticing all the red brick and then seeing Casey, Melissa and Taylor standing outside the open doors as Corey and Daniel began to move me out into the cold air.  Then I saw Tommy, who I hadn’t even had time to wonder about.  They got me into a little room in the ER and another guy came in and tested my sugar.  “Sixty-nine,” he said.   Then he asked Daniel what my sugar had been last time and decided to give me a second dose of D50.  I’m not sure why this was done since by then I was able to eat and drink.  After researching about D50, I learned that it’s not good on the veins and Lord knows, I have bad enough veins to begin with!

I finally began to get warm after about 2 hours.  And my sugar began to rise too.  I had found out by now that Tommy had had Corey remove my pump as soon as he found me passed out.  I connected back to it and bolused for the 170+ sugar.  From that moment on, I would have to fight for every single unit of insulin I received during my 22-hour stay.

The hospitalist had me disconnect from my pump.  Don’t get me started on how little most hospital staff know about diabetes.  In this instance, since at that point we weren’t sure what had happened and thought maybe it had been a pump error that caused the severe low, I was okay with removing my pump.  However, I was NOT okay with the hospital’s method of dosing.  Nor with their schedule for testing my blood sugar.  According to them, if it wasn’t done on their glucometer, it wouldn’t be scanned into the system.  Whatever.  I still don’t want to wait til  you think it needs testing.  So when I check and it’s 198 and I tell you I need some insulin, don’t tell me it’s not time, you’ll bring it with my supper or you will be right back with it (then don’t come back for three more hours).  It was INFURIATING trying to manage my sugars in there.  

Also, don’t confuse your medical degree with my decades of first-hand, 24/7/365 experience of dealing with my own disease.  Thank you.

I’d forgotten how horrible diabetes-in-the-hospital can be.  When I complained to the hospitalist about the fact that my sugar was approaching 400 and I had asked several times for insulin, she told me in the ER (because apparently, if you work in the ER, you only know abut ER stuff??) they usually see diabetes patients with sugars well above 600 and have no clue they are running that high.  I informed her that —I— was not one of those patients and when my sugar got above 200, I felt sick and I wanted to keep it under that.  She agreed and said she’d write it in the chart.

I don’t know what “it” was, but the treatment I got regarding my insulin in no way resembled control.  I won’t keep going on about this.  Maybe it’s fodder for another post instead, but the reality of ill-educated medical staff when it comes to diabetes is just epidemic!

Okay, so when Tommy and I started going back through the history on my pump, we saw that I had somehow (“somehow”) given about 20 units more insulin after my meal of dumplings.  Obviously, I had needed more than I estimated, but not THAT much more.  When we looked at the times of the boluses, we could see that I’d given several of them either in my sleep or at such a low level that I didn’t realize what I was doing.  All I can figure is that I went to sleep frustrated over trying to give enough insulin to get my blood sugar down and had heard my CGM go off so many times that day that when it continued alerting, now for lows instead of highs, I would automatically bolus thinking it was still saying I was too high.

That and also what the pump trainer said… after bumping up my basal rates in tiny increments over the last several months, having the lung infection then being on all those meds, and then finally getting well, my body went back to its former insulin needs quicker than I expected or could adjust for them.  So it was another perfect storm as far as situations that combined to cause this horrible low.

I’m just immensely thankful to be alive.  I’m working to train myself out of the habit of just hitting that bolus button before testing and actually not to use it at all, but instead use a temporary basal rate to correct highs and an extended delivery (a square or dual-wave) bolus when I eat so all the insulin isn’t hitting my system at once.  Tommy, bless his heart, has been off all week watching over me and helping me test these adjustments to see exactly what works best.  He gets extremely stressed and fretful if my sugar gets to 60, which is something I’m not used to.  He’s usually the most calm, collected person I know, but after seeing me bleeding, lying in the floor seizing and thinking I was dying right in front of him, he now worries any time my sugar even hints at going low.

I am truly blessed with the best family ever.  If not for my hubby, who had called to check on me when I was around 50, but I don’t recall talking to him.  When he thought I was treating my low myself, he hung up with me, but then got busy with his work and didn’t call again until 30 minutes later when his app alerted him.  When he couldn’t get me on the phone, he called Corey to see if he could go check on me.  As soon as Corey found me, he called his dad and just said, “You need to come home, Dad, it’s bad.”   Tommy called 911 immediately and tore out of the work site heading home.

I’m not sure when Taylor and Casey arrived, but I’m pretty sure Corey called Casey and he called Taylor so she could come straight to the house when she got home from work.

Hopefully, my sharing these kinds of things will help you understand how hard it can be to manage and regulate diabetes.  That it’s not a cut-and-dried medical issue, not one-size-fits-all treatment and not even this-works-every-time because ultimately, Diabetes does it’s own thing sometimes and it doesn’t have to make sense.

It’s a cruel, exhausting disease so when you meet a person with diabetes, be kind.  Be sympathetic.  Be nice.  Shoot, just be that way all the time, but please extend a hand to the PWDs in your life.  As the meme goes, be kind to PWDs, we deal with enough pricks already.

Blessings,

G~


getting back to business…


Wow.  I dunno about you guys, but this has been a crazy, mostly-yucky few months for me!  Between this god-awful allergy/bronchitis/whooping cough/sumpin’-sumpin’ and then getting that molar pulled followed swiftly by a lovely dry socket, I have been, let’s just say not fit for company.

Thank God I am finally feeling better.  I still don’t have my voice back though.  Yeah, yeah…funny.  Ha.  Ha.  I can talk at least, but it’s just squeaky and crackly.  I’ve never had laryngitis or whatever this is called for this long.  Usually a week or possibly two and I’m over it, but this is nuts!  I never realized how much I hum or sing harmony along with whatever song is playing.  I notice it now because I simply can NOT do it!

It’s definitely true, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.  Well, except for that tooth.  I don’t miss it.  I can finally swallow and talk (or squeak) without it jabbing into my tongue all the time.  Yay for that!

Okay, so let’s catch up.  I guess everyone is getting ready for Thanksgiving now.  I swear, every year at this time, I always feel like time just speeds up even faster than normal.  No matter what vows I make to do better “next year”, be more prepared, the holidays always seem to catch me off guard.  I’ve decided, at least for me, it’s that we’re all trying to wring the last bit of summer out that we can, so we’re rushing around doing summer things and then suddenly BOOM! it’s fall.  Ha ha ha!  That’s sure the way it has been this year, too.

For several years of our married life, autumn has found us doing some major remodeling on the house of some sort.  So then as Thanksgiving looms, we are rushing and working all hours to get done so we can host at least one gathering of family.   One year, we were almost done painting the last of our three biggest rooms!  Another year I think we had just swapped furniture in the living room and family room.

This year?  Well, no big projects going on, but one is in the pipe.  We actually have material stacked up in the hallway waiting for the chaos to commence.

We built our house.  Well, I say “we” but y’know, my man built it.  Seriously.  He framed it and did the wiring and plumbing.  We hired all of the drywall, siding, roof and foundation out.  We were thrilled snotless to be finally getting a house after living eight years in a 12×60 single wide with a toddler!  Then we had lived several months with both the boys in my parents’ basement.  We were ready for some space!  We thought we had tons.

We were wrong.

Of course, we tried to save money, build it nice but not extravagant by any means. And we really DID think we had given ourselves plenty of room.  Most of the rooms are perfectly fine, but our master bedroom is just cramped.  That’s the only way you can put it.

We have your typical 3-bed/2-bath ranch style house with family room, living room, utility room and dine-in kitchen.   Our original floor plan had a walk-in closet in the master bedroom that jutted out into the kitchen.  My dad convinced us that it was going to make the kitchen way too small, and he was right.  I would have hated the kitchen if we’d done it that way.  So to remedy that, we basically shoved that closet back into the bedroom, made it smaller and gave up a chunk of space we — thought — we could spare.

We were wrong.

The bedroom has two doors and one 36-inch window, plus the two hinge-type closet doors.  One door opens to the kitchen, the other is a pocket door that opens to the walk-thru master bath which then leads through the utility room that then opens up into the kitchen as well.  IF you are still with me after that, you are amazing.  Can I just say that right now?  🙂

So our bedroom/bathroom/utility/kitchen have a circular path through them and we use all of those on a regular basis.  ANYway, so for a couple years, we’ve sporadically talked about pushing one wall of the bedroom into the living that we seldom use anyway.  Our front door is in the living room and opens to our porch.  We don’t use that door much and it is directly in line with a larger arched opening into the family room.  It’s a straight shot from one to the other.  To the left of the arched doorway, if you’re facing in toward the house, is that little hallway to the two bedrooms.  So if we pushed the bedroom all the way to the front door, it would basically create another short hallway from the front door to the family room and connected to the current hallway in an L shape.   Doing that would give us about 120 extra square feet in the bedroom.  That is some much needed space!

The main reason we never started the project before was because of the cost of flooring.  The other stuff is not terribly expensive and can be bought in smaller batches as it is used and needed.  But not the floor.  And we are getting rid of all the carpet, remember?   And, as my mother is always so quick to point out, “Carpet is the cheapest” but we want wood, sooOOOOoo…. sigh  There’s our conundrum.

Sometime last week, Melissa texted me a post from Facebook where the sister of someone we know was selling several boxes of nice hardwood flooring.  We looked around online to compare prices and even if it was discounted a little from retail, it was still going to be out of our ability to pay for, so we politely declined to buy it.  They came back with a slightly cheaper price and we thought and figured again, but things are very tight right now with Tommy repairing this other truck, so we still couldn’t afford it.

Somewhere along the line, I mentioned all this to my mom.  Just while chatting on the phone.  In typical mom-style, she asked how much the people wanted for the wood.  She would buy it for us “for Christmas”.  She insisted until I said I would talk it over with Tommy.  He reminded me of how many times our parents have helped my sister and her husband out financially, so he said go ahead and let her buy it.  So now we have nine boxes of hardwood stacked in the hallway.  It is just enough to do our entire bedroom…the way it is now.

If we expand the room like we want, we will need another three boxes.  We’ve found that, contrary to what the floor-selling people told us, there is a place local that we can get more of this same color/style wood, so that’s not a worry, although it will be around $300 to buy the additional wood.  We wouldn’t have to have it just yet.

We’re not quite going to this extreme, but close…

We kept talking about this whole idea and decided that if we were going to stay here, and after 25 years, I’m pretty sure we’re not going anywhere, we should probably go ahead and make the house like we want, more practical and comfortable while we are still able.

We’re not spring chickens anymore, in case you didn’t know.  So now I’m thinking about logistics, the moving our bedroom into one of the spare rooms, the fact that doing that requires renting a carpet cleaner because Max occasionally thinks that’s his bathroom 🙁 and we didn’t realize it for awhile.  GASP!

There will be ceiling to repair/redo, which means Yay! I’ll be getting rid of the popcorn in the bedroom, but Urgh, It will be a job doing it back slick.  Tommy doesn’t seem to have any reservations and I’ve never seen the man not do something he set his mind to, so I’m not worrying about it either.

I’ll get to repaint the bedroom, like I wanted to already since we got rid of all our old bedding and got new allergen-free/resistant stuff.  Getting the carpet out will help the allergies a lot and so I can paint the room to match the new spread I got for the bed.  It’s grey, in case you wondered, a very light grey and it’s just a quilted cotton coverlet type, but the main reason I got it was because it can be thrown in the washer.   I’m going to use some tone of blue as an accent, I think.  Maybe even do one wall a different color.  Here are examples of my color ideas for wall paint:

I’m thinking something like either of these two shades for the main grey color….

I couldn’t find any bedroom pix with the grey/blue combo, so here are a couple living rooms with the tone of blue I’m thinking for accent…

or possibly…

We shall see.  As of right now, I made the mistake of looking around for some images of “remodeling chaos” and up popped a bunch of Pinterest stuff and “after” shots from professional remodeling jobs.  Now I’m all like, dang!  Have you seen my house?  Better yet, have you seen my bank balance?!?

Can you feel me?  Yeah…I gotta stick to the real world here in Po’ville where we barely scrapin’ by.  Ha, ha!

Nothing like moving large pieces of furniture from room to room to make you realize how much space they actually take up.  That’s what I dread the most, I guess.  Living with the added mess and chaos that just comes with a remodel.  When you have to move one room into another while the other one is still there.  Not knowing where anything is because you had to find a whole new place to put it where it wouldn’t get in the way in a room it doesn’t even belong anyway.  See?  

Oh well… soon, maybe.  You know I’ll keep you posted.  And with my actual pix possibly!  Ha!


it’s back! (& delayed!)


ADDENDUM:  This post, originally began on November 1, has been a tad delayed by life and sickness and monumental elections and dental appointments …. you know, the normal stuff that happens to me.  😉  So anyhow, I wanted to explain why this post starts off talking about my birthday but ends up over a week later!  Hey, that’s how I roll!!  Read on:::

Well folks, it’s that time of year again.  The leaves have turned all my favorite colors, the air is getting that “crisp-clear” feeling, the days are shorter and nights are longer and nippier.

And…

It’s my birthday!

I don’t know about you, but in my “old age”, I’ve become pretty ambivalent about the anniversary of me rolling around.  I was about 19 or so when I realized that birthdays were not going to be as fun as an adult as they’d been when I was a kid.  I was a young married woman, probably working at the time, but I don’t recall where.  And we were feeling the squeeze of real life around the wallet/pocketbook area.  Ha ha.  Yeah, those money struggles had become real and I was still figuring out how to deal with it.

I’d never known a thing about finances in our family growing up.  Mom and Dad never let us know if money was tight and my sister and I never lacked for anything we really needed and while we certainly didn’t get whatever we asked for, we didn’t want for anything, either.  We always had everything we needed, so I was clueless about money management or dealing with lack.

Boy, did I make up for that as an adult!  Wow!  I don’t talk about this a lot because it tends to make Tommy, my husband, feel bad.  So understand, it’s not that he doesn’t make good money.  He has a good-paying job and does tons of side jobs to earn extra when  he can.  But diabetes is expensive.  That’s all I can figure.  It’s healthcare that keeps us in a chokehold financially.

And don’t even get me started on that.

I was talking about my birthday.  So I have this….uh…sorta dream, I guess.  To me, it’s just more of an idea or a desire.  I’m 49 today.  Forty-nine.  For-tee.  Nine-uh.  HAVE MERCY!!  When on earth did I get this old?!?!

It’s not that I don’t FEEL old.  Trust me, I do.  I often say I have the mind of a much younger person in the body of a MUCH older person and the two never have the same agenda.  As I’ve said about the name of the blog, My Life in Dog Years,  I feel TONS older than my actual age and I blame diabetes for that.  But still… I’m not ready to be almost-50!  See?  I can’t even enjoy being 49, I have to obsess about how close to 50 I am now.   Bahaha!

this will SO be me…  LOL!

Okay, so here’s the thing.  I lost about 30 pounds last year riding my bicycle and just trying to be healthier.  It was AWESOME to actually drop those pounds when it’s such a hard thing to do as a type one.  Taking the insulin hormone and also thyroid hormone, it’s just very hard to drop any weight doing the same things other people do.

So… being SO sick these past almost-three months (I’m still dealing with congestion issues, random coughing fits/asthma attacks and my voice still isn’t fully recovered, so I’m still that cross between Mickey Mouse and a zombie from The Walking Dead.

Back to it being my birthday…so yeah, I’m closer to that milestone of 50.  And the dream or desire I have is to be more fit by the time I turn 50.  So at this point, where I’ve gained back the weight I’d lost and I’m frustrated about it.  But honestly, I can’t change it, as in that I can’t undo it.  I guess it makes me even madder when I think about having to “redo” or “re-lose” all the weight I’d gotten rid of and then more!  I would LOVE to be at least 50 pounds lighter.  Not to match my age, ha ha ha!  But because I think I would feel good, at least tons better, with that much off me.  And I could be “satisfied” with myself at that weight.  But I don’t want to set that goal and not hit it.  So I am just saying that I want to weigh less by the time my 50th birthday rolls around.  In my mind, I want to weigh at least 30 pounds less.  And I think that’s doable.

After being so sick all this time and still not completely over it, I sure don’t feel like trying to get fit.  I can’t really exercise because of difficulty breathing and the asthma issues.  And I’ve fallen into the habit of eating some junkie foods, and right now, it’s hard to even think about giving them up.

Now this issue is something I KNOW can be done.  I really feel like once I feel better, not sick anymore, it will be easier to switch back to healthier eating.  I think because I’ve felt so lousy that I have tried to comfort myself with foods I really love, ya know?  Does that make sense?  So I think once I am not so sick, I will be much more able to switch to mostly veggies and stuff.

And I haven’t even told you about all my mouth issues.  I have about died during all my awful coughing, not only because they were body-wracking coughs, but because I have this broken molar in the back of my mouth.  It’s been broken for awhile.  I hate going to the dentist, people.  Both the physical experience of it and the daggone expense!  And this tooth wasn’t hurting me, but occasionally when my mouth would become super-sensitive and reactive to certain foods, it felt like that jagged tooth got sharper.  I’m sure it didn’t, but I could sure feel it more than at other times.  It had a point and it angled toward the back of my mouth, sorta pointing toward my tonsils.  It’s a bottom molar, right under my tongue. So every time I coughed, that thing was stabbing the heck out of my tongue.  So much so that by the end of the first few weeks, I had a VERY sore spot and when I finally decided to look at it, there was actually a hole worn in it.

It was EXTREMELY painful.  Every time I moved my tongue, it hurt and you can’t do much of anything without moving your tongue.  Go ahead and try it, you’ll see.  Your tongue moves even when you are just swallowing!  So I needed this tooth gone.

My usual dentist had talked about putting a crown on it, but it’s had a filling in it since I was a kid, and of course, that’s been replaced and expanded several times over the years.  There obviously wasn’t much actual tooth left.  I just couldn’t see sinking more money into it, especially when it seems my teeth just keep getting weaker as I get older.  I actually have another tooth right behind this one that’s been broken even longer.  It’s on the outside and not as much trouble as this one, but it does also need work of some sort.

And I want you to know, lo and behold, another tooth on the other side had a small part crumble off of it not two days after I’d called the oral surgeon to be put on the call-in list!!  GAH!

So yeah, as it would have to happen, the office called me the morning of my birthday to say they’d had a cancellation and could I come in that afternoon.  Well, I sure couldn’t afford to pass up the opportunity, so I got to have a tooth pulled for my birthday!  Yay.  (not)

Now, I’ve had about 3 or 4 other teeth pulled over the years.  Like I said, my teeth tend to be really weak.  I blame my poor mama for that.  Her teeth are exactly the same…they’ll just literally fall apart!  So I’ve had several that have broken or just basically split open and crumble out.  I’ve never gotten a dry socket with any of them.  Not a hint of trouble, really.

But this one… it’s really hurting.  And yeah, I ended up with a dry socket!  I got it pulled on the first of November, right?  By Thursday, I was dying.  It had just gotten a ton more painful, so I called the doctor’s office and they had me come in.  He rinsed it and packed it and told me to stick to soft foods and all that.  So okay… I went home and it really didn’t feel any better.

And remember, this is the week of my birthday.  My kids had originally planned to take me camping but when I got so sick, and it turned off cold, we decided to scrap that idea.  They told me to figure out what I wanted to do and so I chose something I’d been thinking about for awhile.  I wanted to do a Breakout game!

I saw these online a few years ago and thought it would be the most fun thing to do with family or a group of friends, but we’d never had a chance to go.  I chose The Hostage scenario for us and got the room booked and all.  So when I started hurting so bad, I was crushed at the thought that I might not even get to go or take part.

It ended up working out okay, though, thank God!  I didn’t feel great, but at least I wasn’t hurting nearly as bad.  We went to Breakout first thing.  It was so much fun!  If you’ve been thinking about going, I highly recommend it!  The kids are all wanting to come back… more likely with their friends and small groups, but maybe they will let us tag along too.

So the tooth thing… I’m still having trouble with it.  The last time I went was two days ago with it hurting like crazy.  He found a small bone sliver sticking out of the gum and filed it down, using only topical numbing stuff and this loud, sand-y/drill-y machine that would slip off the bone and hit my gum occasionally.  Needless to say, I hurt worse after I left.  He asked if I wanted him to pack it again to which I replied, “I dunno, what do you think?”  I wanted to say, “You’re the dental expert here, not me.”  but I didn’t.  He said he could but then I reminded him of how it hurt to have it packed and the packing never seemed to stay in for more than a couple hours after which I am left to fret with trying to keep it in place as long as possible, which hurts, until I finally just take it out, which also hurts.  GAH! 

So we decided to try it without the packing.  He said if I felt like it needed to be packed, I could just come to the office that afternoon and he’d take care of it.

I went home, took a Duexis and grabbed an ice pack, threw off my jeans and sweater and crawled in the bed.  I felt a little better after I woke up, so I didn’t go back for packing.  As of this morning, November 10, it’s actually feeling a tiny bit better, but I’m afraid to say that, so I won’t.  Heh.

If I could only scrounge up some energy and focus, I’d be flying.  But that, sadly, is NOT how I roll.

Til next time, my peeps!

Blessings…

 


do you have dreams?


Not the kind when you’re asleep that you can’t quite remember when you wake up.  I’m talking about “big” dreams…some people call them goals.  Things you wish for, think about, plan to do, ponder and well…dream about doing.  

The current series our pastor is in at church is mostly about dreams and what we are doing (or not doing) to accomplish them.  It’s brought home a really uncomfortable truth for me:

I don’t really have goals and dreams.  Is that weird?  I’m not sure.  I’ve actually always known that I tend to not set goals and thus, I don’t really dream dreams for things I want or would like to do.  

Maybe it’s because I deal with depression, but I’m not sure I can blame it on that.  I need to poll my depression peeps and see if that’s a connection we have as folks who struggle to be happy sometimes.

I feel like my lack of goals stems from the fact that I want to avoid being disappointed.  I don’t want to fail to meet said goal, and so my solution is to just not set one.  And that’s always seemed to work for me.  heh  Not that I consciously did that, it’s just how I operated.  It’s how I still operate for the most part.

Tommy and I have talked about this, at least partially, a few times.  He likes to “window shop”.  He’ll get a big idea that he wants something we could never afford and he’ll go look at whatever it is, looking it up online or going to a store to check it out.

I don’t do that.  For instance, if I wanted some fancy dress, (I don’t, but if I did…) I would avoid all the fancy dress stores.  I would avoid any online store that sells fancy dresses.  I figure if it’s a given that I’ll never be able to have the thing I desire, I won’t look at the thing knowing it can never be mine.

Maybe Tommy doesn’t feel that way.  Even though realistically we can’t afford his desired thing, he will look at and research and learn all he can about it.  Maybe it’s because he doesn’t feel it’s an impossibility?  Maybe he thinks one day he might actually get the thing he wants. 

I dunno…he and I are very different in that area.  I seldom spend on myself.  I’m not as bad as I used to be, like when the boys were still at home, but I only bought clothes for myself if I absolutely HAD to have something and then it was only off the sale racks.  I didn’t feel like it was “fair” for me to spend on myself when the boys or even Tommy needed something else.  Whether that something else was clothes or a hobby item or maybe a birthday gift.  I never felt it was “okay” to spend on myself.

And that’s not because Tommy did anything to make me feel that way.  He’s never been a control freak about our money.  Maybe that’s part of my refusal to spend on myself…the fear that he might make a rash decision to purchase something we couldn’t afford so then I needed to be “the responsible one”.  Or maybe…maybe I cloaked my self-denial in the title of “responsible”??  Hmm….

Not that he’s terrible about doing that, but in years past, it happened a few times.  Money we’d agreed to use for an improvement to the house, for example, bought go karts instead.  That was a bad time in our marriage.  The times he spent what I considered ungodly amounts on fishing poles or guns or some hunting item… I would be livid about that.  And looking back, I probably had a right to be since we could barely pay the bills most of the time.

Then I’d feel guilty because Tommy is a hard worker.  Anyone who knows him knows he works all the time.  Especially the past few years.  He never tells anyone ‘no’ he won’t fix their broken whatever or  no, he doesn’t have time to diagnose their car or some machine that isn’t working.  

Then when I had times like I’ve had the past couple of months, being so sick I couldn’t even keep up with the bare minimum chores around the house, I’d feel like a big bum and start thinking “What right do you have to begrudge him some splurge item?  You never lift a finger around here…”  Maybe that’s another reason I have always refused to spend on myself.

I guess, if I had to say, “THIS…this is my dream,”  since I’ve never really given it a lot of thought, it would be to be debt free and not have to worry about money.  I don’t wanna be rich, like I don’t want to live in a mansion.  I’d love to be able to fix what needs fixing on our house and do some remodeling.  We need to replace the siding and windows desperately.  We need to pave our driveway and finish pouring sidewalk to the shop.  The landscape needs serious attention and we need to get rid of the carpet now that I’m trying to get rid of dust/dust mites and so I’d like to put down hardwood or tile in the four rooms that have carpet.  I’d like to expand our bedroom which was too small to begin with.  Originally, our closet was going to be in the kitchen, not “in” the bedroom, but when we changed the layout of the kitchen, we pushed the closet into the bedroom, which took up a considerable amount of room.  If there were only a twin bed in there, the amount of room would probably be adequate, but a king-size bed plus two chests and a dresser leave very little room.  It’s cramped and makes me feel claustrophobic.  I’d also sorta like to expand the master bath, which is a decent size, but not laid out well since it is a ‘walk thru’…you can come into it from the bedroom on one side or from the utility room on the other side.  That leaves very little storage space after you add the commode, tub and a double vanity.  We put a pocket door between it and our bedroom because otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to use the bathroom at all!  So I’d like to expand it and if we went to that length, I’d really hope we could put in a jacuzzi, which I would use all the time.  heh  Nothing fancy, just something to bubble the aches and pains away and big enough for Tommy to feel comfy in whenever he takes a bath.

Beyond that?  Well, I’d really like to paint all my oak cabinets, in the kitchen and the bathrooms.  I’d like to eventually get new living room furniture.  What we have now is in good shape.  Mom bought it for us several years ago but I’d love to have a matching set of what I want, ya know?  Not just what’s on sale or what I can afford to get by with..but something I really like.  I’d love to have a nice leather set with the big brass tacks and deep, soft cushions.

Then?  Then I’d love to be able to give gifts without worrying.  I would love to be a gift giver, but we always struggle to buy gifts for our family, let alone giving to others.  Like, I don’t go to showers, baby showers or household showers, because many times, I don’t have money to buy a decent gift without worrying if we’d have enough money to pay bills and if we do happen to have a bit of extra so that I could buy a gift, I don’t go because I’m worried that someone else, down the road will be offended when I don’t buy for them.  I think I probably get that from Mom.  She keeps track of who bought gifts when and for which occasion.  She keeps track of how many daughters or sons she has showered and whether or not they or their parents reciprocated for her children.  Ugh.

Anyhow, for all my talk about overcoming fear and not being afraid of anything because God is our Father and we shouldn’t be afraid of anything… my biggest fear is needing money.  That we won’t have enough money.  Worrying about affording necessary medicines or supplies.  I’m not sure why I am like that.  I mean, we’ve never been well off by any means, but as a kid I never worried about money.  Mom and Dad never let us know if things were tight or if there were worries about having enough for that month.  I think they always had plenty, but Mom did tell me about when I was in junior high and needing a dress for the prom (needing?!?) and they didn’t have the money and she put it on a card and then was able to pay it off in a couple months.  I had no clue.  I had no idea they couldn’t afford to just buy whatever we needed because they always did.

I don’t think our boys knew every time we worried about having enough money, but they knew that things were tight.  That’s why they had to work for what they wanted, which, I think, has made them better men.  Nothing was ever given to them.  They earned it all and I guess that’s why they have nice things today and take such good care of their belongings.  I never really learned about money until I got married and then it was sort of a shock.

We didn’t really have money problems, after marriage, until insurance became a big issue.  When we didn’t have insurance for awhile, it got really scary really fast.  I found out no one wanted to insure a woman with diabetes, and if they DID perhaps say that they would, they wanted an arm and a leg to do it.   I think that’s when my fear of never having enough really settled in.

I’m the type of person who will use a product so sparingly that I don’t get its full effects, or I’ll start trying to spread it out to last as long as possible or I’ll stop using it so I “don’t run out”….  I know it’s bizarre, but I can’t seem to help myself.  I hate sample products.  I hate them because what if I find that the product is really great and I want to keep using it?  What if it’s expensive and I can’t afford to buy it?  Then what?  Then I’ll just be sad because I can’t afford it, so I just won’t use it at all.

I’m not kidding…that’s how my mind works.  

Now, is it that I “love money”?  Because we know, loving money is the root of all evil, right?  No, it’s not that.  I don’t “love” money.   I just want to have enough so that I don’t have to worry about not having enough.  Ha.  Honestly.  I don’t want to be rich.  Comfortable, yes.  But then, God doesn’t call us to be comfortable, huh?  However, living the way we do, struggling and worrying about how to pay the bills feels like I’m not doing something right.  It makes me feel like I haven’t done whatever I am, or we as a family are supposed to do.

And it’s not that we’re wasteful.  I mean, yeah, we’ve made mistakes over the years, but to say we waste money on stuff, I can really say we don’t.  We don’t have cable, we don’t have any satellite radio subscriptions or anything like that.  We don’t have a lot of toys.  I mean, we have our bikes, which have been good for our health, when we were riding, that is.  And I hope we will ride next year and get back into like we were last year.  We don’t have a new vehicle.  Ours is over 6 years old, and it’s a base model.  We only have one vehicle that can be considered “nice” and Tommy usually has an old beat-up truck of some sort.  Right now, he’s trying to fix the 2009 F150 so we can trade our 2010 F150 to a car for me and still have a 4WD truck for winters.  And he got this truck in an even trade for a 2004 pickup so we don’t owe anything on it.   Since I started this post before THIS one, you now know that we were able to trade, and for an amazing car, the one I have maybe not “dreamed” of, but wanted the most and we love it!

Our house is financed for way less than it is valued because we built it ourselves, so we do have equity in it.  Of course, without being able to make repairs and updates, it won’t retain as much value.  sigh

When I started selling Mary Kay a couple years ago, I thought I’d just do it to get the discount.  I thought I could get enough together to make an order with the girls and Mom, but one is allergic to it and the other buys from someone else and so just two people don’t need enough for a minimum order each time.  Of course, then I got sick…that nasty arm pit rash, increased sensitivity to scents and the depression.  I really had to just quit and I felt like that was God’s way of moving me away from that.  I was torn between feeling like a failure and that it was a good experience.

I wonder if this is really true...

I wonder if this is really true…

Then I started feeling like I should try to do something to help add to our family finances, so I started looking into medical coding courses with the idea that I could work from home.  I had gone so far as to reach out to the college and seeing what paperwork I needed to be getting in order so I could enroll.  The more I looked into the actual market though, the more I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to get a position working from home.  I saw that most of the job postings asked for 3 years of experience to work in an office, let alone working from home.  So then I got this strong feeling that I should try blogging again.  I read and I researched about making an income from a blog and after a few months of that and talking to Tommy and praying and just feeling convinced that this is what God wanted me to do, I jumped in with both feet.

And here I am.  I haven’t earned a dime and have spent MUCH more than that on this blog and I still don’t have any regular readers, let alone anything resembling an audience.  Granted, I haven’t been very regular with posting lately, but I’m not beating myself up over it since I’ve been sicker than a dog.

Now I tend to second-guess myself a lot.  Usually, when I get to that point, I end up quickly reassuring myself that this IS what God wanted and wants me to do.  I feel like I’ve just not figured out HOW to do it yet.  I obviously haven’t figured out what my “niche” is, if I even have one.  I haven’t found my voice.  I haven’t decided if I’m bold enough, brave enough to really put myself out there like I envisioned.  Dirty laundry, ugly moles and everything.  And this applies more to the book I really feel I’m supposed to write.  I’m wrestling with whether I “tell all” and risk having people get hurt or mad at me.  If I don’t “tell all”, then what’s the use in telling anything?  Why bother?  I used to think that no one would want to read what I want to write, but when I talk to people about those stories, they are very interested and either tell me I should write a book or tell me when I write it, they’ll read it.

Honestly, I thought writing a book would be tons easier.  Yes, I am that naive!  I know what I want to say, what I want to write about, but man…putting words on paper (or a screen) is much harder when it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty.  That makes me wish I had access to writing classes.  I did a class with the boys when we were homeschooling that I found to be a lot of fun.  It was more about fiction writing, but it helped you understand about various forms of writing and using creative writing. It wasn’t a super-formal class, but I think we all enjoyed it.  Well, maybe not Casey,  my unconventional learner, but Corey really enjoyed the story writing exercises.  

Anyhow, so yeah, am I the only person who doesn’t really have dreams and goals?  Surely I can’t be the only one.  I mean, it’s pitiful enough when I realize this about myself… what kind of person doesn’t have at least one goal or dream?!?!  But to be THE ONLY person who is that way??

That’s pathetic!!

Or… do I actually have a dream and it’s more that I’m afraid to actually call it that?  Maybe it’s that my ‘dream’ is too vague?  I can’t clearly see it?  I don’t know.  But I want to figure this out, or at least look into it a little deeper.

Am I just a big scaredy cat?  Am I merely afraid to dream a big dream?  Am I so opposed to possible failure that I just refuse to set any goal?  Do I have to have “a dream”?  Should I have one…does every person need to “have a dream”?  Hmm… deep thoughts.

Let me know what you think!

(If you would, please comment on this post.  If you CAN’T comment OR if the process to use the comment feature is giving you problems or is too much trouble, please email me:  geannie [at] live [dot] com  I’d like to know what I can do to make commenting easier!  THANKS!)



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