Doctor report

It’s been almost a month since my last post. A lot has happened. I don’t share a lot about my mobility struggles and difficulties leaving the house to go to the doctor, but thought you could use a small update.

I have had an abnormal pap smear and was then sent to a gynecologist. They wanted to do a biopsy and they were unable to get past the cervix. There was some abnormality to the feel and I was told there were too many ‘red flags’ and to expect cancer. I was then sent to a gynecological oncologist (gynecologist who is a cancer specialist).

He attempted the biopsy and found a cervical tumor which prevented him from taking a biopsy of the endometrium. When results came back, it confirmed I had cervical cancer. Next step is a PET scan next week. That will tell us what stage the cancer is, exactly how big it is and if it is contained in the uterus or has spread to outlying tissues. After that, a day surgery to put in a port to be used for chemo or radiation treatments, an exam to find out if the bladder or rectum is involved. Surgery might be indicated, but if it has spread and the surgery won’t take care of the problem, the doctor will opt for just radiation.

So, yes, I have cervical cancer, but next is to find out how far along it is and what the next step in treating it is. I have lots of prayer support and am strangely calm. I am choosing to believe I am blanketed in Grace and will wait to see what happens.

For those of you who are praying people, I wouldn’t mind you adding me to your list. I’ll keep you in formed.

And so the journey continues…

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Random Memories of my Dad

memory of my dadMy dad died in August 1989 right before my 40th birthday. It was a great shock. He was a very strong-willed man. He had a dry sense of humor that came out sometimes and a temper. He had lost a lucrative job when he was around 40. He was a trouble-shooter in his company and was sent to various locations to straighten out their messes. Once he began standing up for slightly shady practices against their clients by the owners, he was let go. Finding white-collar work after 40 was difficult. I think his inner anger was frustration at what had happened and at his inability to be the major breadwinner.

I have odd disjointed memories of him. I totally admired him but was slightly intimidated by him. He was very intelligent with an above average IQ and he could remember every book he ever read with an almost photographic memory. I remember when we were kids we would ask him to tell us about a subject for school. He would define it and tell us the history behind it. We knew we could depend on him to tell us anything until he caught on to us kids and began telling us to ‘look it up in the dictionary or encyclopedia’.

I remember him taking us on family vacations. They might be only overnight or weekend trips to places not too far away, but we went somewhere for many years. We would buy snacks for the car and it was a grand adventure. I remember walking around the top of Mount Capulin in New Mexico holding his hand. The wind was blowing and I was a little scared but he held on to me and protected me.

I remember a time when he was  unemployed. I remember him mopping the kitchen floor to help out Mom, and I remember him baking strawberry or cherry rhubarb pies. They were a favorite of his but I didn’t like them much.

After I was married, I remember typing up his resumes. He was forced to take jobs at service stations pumping gas and later worked for the City in the maintenance department. It was a great trial for him. Many of his coworkers didn’t even have a high school education and he couldn’t relate to them very well. The fact that he had been reduced to this type of work was difficult for him, but he put on a smiling countenance.

I have a childhood memory of sitting around the kitchen table eating supper. I would ask for him to pass the butter and when I reached out my hand, he would spread a dab of butter on the top of my hand. We would all giggle in surprise and appreciation of his clever sense of humor.

I remember him being very self-contained. He was content to stay at home, watch tv or read for entertainment. He was strongly political. He had served in the Army in the Korean War. He listened to religious programs on the radio and I remember him talking to them or ranting at the radio. He listened to Tennessee Ernie Ford and had some of his records. I remember him sitting at night and reading the Bible. When we were older, he began taking us to church. Later in his life, he gave to many social and religious charities always thinking there were others in the world more needy.

I remember the first time I saw him in a pair of tennis shoes. I was so accustomed to him wearing a suit and dress shoes when searching for better work, that to see him ‘ordinary’ was a little shocking to me. He thought my surprise was funny.

He loved us very much, but was never able to express it openly to us. I only remember seeing my parents embrace and share a kiss one time. I remember a time he got so angry he put his fist into a wall which left a dent, but he never believed in touching any of us or our mother. He loved his family but his anger took its toll on our younger brother. My brother was 10 when I got married, so I was not around much. I think Dad was worried about what would happen to Brother when he was gone. He despaired of him ‘making something of himself’ and was verbally abusive to him.

When my mother wanted ‘more’ in their relationship and later divorced him, I think he was surprised. He didn’t know just because he was content, she might have more needs.

His death left a big hole in my life. He was the first family member I lost. As the oldest sibling, I had to be the strong one and make the arrangements and the phone calls. Even after death, he gave of himself. I found out he had signed papers to give his eyes and a lot of his skin to help others.

It’s odd that he popped into my head today and these disjointed memories surfaced. The main memory was of a strong, humorous man I was slightly intimidated by. I admired his intelligence and his strength of will. I feel he helped to give me a recognition that faith in God was important. He gave me the love of reading. My handwriting is very much like his. And he unknowingly taught me to fear conflict or strife in the home. I think I learned to never want anger because it was strong and scary and could be something uncontrollable. It taught me a stoicism and a refusal to rise to express anger with others.

It has been 26 years since his death and now I realize, it must be close to the anniversary of his death today. I know it was in August and perhaps that is why he came to mind today. He gave me many things which helped shape me as the person I am today. My body type came from him. My Scottish, German ancestry came from him. I remember his smile and his dry sense of humor. Most important, he will always hold a special place in my memories. After all…he was my dad.

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just Waiting

monkey-557586_1280I hesitate to share really deep and personal things sometimes. I feel either they are so personal it is not something to pass around to just anyone. Or no one would be remotely interested, or…they are one of those TMI things…you want to know, but when you start telling it, the person puts up a hand and says OMG…too much information! LOL

My days now fall in the later category. I’ll give a little quick background for new readers to catch up. I am handicapped and home bound. I can get up and down and transfer from chair to bed, from chair to bathroom etc. on my own but with effort. My knees have bone spurs in them that prevent me from straightening out my legs. When I stand, it is at a bent over crouch so my center of gravity and all my weight fall on those really low bent knees. And, I need both knees replaced. The last time I went to the surgeon to investigate knee surgery, the doctor looked at my x-rays and said, ‘you have really bad knees! You have REALLY bad knees! …uh…you have REALLY bad knees!’ It was a little amusing since I REALLY already knew that.

The result of that visit was to learn I needed to lose weight before they would even consider doing surgery on my knees. My lymphedema also causes some reluctance in the surgeon since knee surgery sometimes damages some of the lymph node clusters in the legs near the knees. I already have a compromised lymphatic system which causes the swelling in the lower extremities so it is almost ‘damned if I do and damned if I don’t’. But I have been trying to lose weight with surgery as a future goal. So far I have lost 50 lbs. since August 2014. The lymphedema impedes my losses sometimes, but slow and steady counts for much.

That brings us up to now. I have had an abnormal pap smear and have some bleeding a couple of times a month. The abnormal cells in the pap smear, the bleeding, and a thickness of the endometrial layer is all of concern and raises red flags to the doctor. I tried to get a biopsy in the office but the gynecologist was unable to reach the spot. There was some abnormalities in the ‘feel’ of things also, so next visit is to a gynecological oncologist. What you say? That just means a cancer doctor who specializes in gynecology. He will try to get the biopsy done, perhaps under anesthesia and we will see what comes next. If there is cancer, it will be cervical or endometrial and the treatments are different. One would mean a hysterectomy. The other went over my head so I will wait to find out. A friend of Daughter also found on the internet that cervical cysts can cause irregular bleeding and swelling etc. so she is hoping for that as the lesser of evils. I am strangely calm, being uplifted by many, many prayers but thought you would appreciate a report. It will be a couple of weeks before I know anything new. Until then…the journey continues…One Foot In FrontCMYK

Posted in blog, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Are you Artsy-Fartsy?

AA2109Are you what I call artsy fartsy? You know what I mean. You are always finding new things to make, to create, to paint, to crochet… whatever. I’ve learned over the years that family and friends will only tolerate your creations for so long and then they are done. But I can’t seem to stop!

I was always interested in painting but was never able to take any classes. When Donna Dewberry appeared, I got all excited. I painted tables and lamps and bars of soap and mailboxes. I painted wooden boxes and vases. I even painted  the bellows on my fireplace that you use to blow on your fire. Family brought all kinds of things home from garage sales for me to paint. But, what was I supposed to do with the stuff? Sometimes it is hard to find that group of people who love hand crafted or hand designed one of a kind pieces of art or decorative items.024

I decorated cakes for almost 30 years. But my idea of fun was never to slave over a hot oven and let strangers come over to pick up a cake. That leaves working for someone else for a salary. I loved the creative side of decorating. I loved working with fondant and making bows and frills and pearls. I loved learning new scrollwork or lace decorative methods but it is long hours for not a lot of money. You have to love it to stick with it as long as I did, but you can get tired of anything after too long.

008 (4)I learned to make rosaries. I fell in love with the feel of making something with my own hands. I loved learning how to twist the wire and encompass the beads until I had something beautiful as well as useful for personal prayer. I made mission rosaries to give away to faraway places and got a lot of satisfaction from knowing I was helping to spread prayer all over the world. Arthritis and carpel tunnel in my hands caused me to quit for a while.

I crocheted afghans. I loved buying new skeins of yarns. Such colors. Such textures. My closet was overflowing with bags of yarn. I would start one project and then see something else I wanted to try until I had bags full of started afghans. Even when I finished one, my mother had crocheted for years and beat me to the family at giving out gifts. Arthritis and the attention span of a turtle caused me to move on to something else.

I hand painted some Christmas cards. I sewed. I did embroidery and tried needlepoint. I even tried petit point…omg how tedious. I moved on to reading and became a couch potato and an armchair activist and found Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing and Big Farm. Time passed.

030But the one sure thing about artsy fartsy people is, they always have to be doing something with their hands. Now I am making jewelry. Playing in my beads again. I began with rosaries since I knew how to do that and it was satisfying. I then moved on to earrings. Then necklaces. Then sets. Then I discovered bracelets. Who knew bracelets could be so much fun? I love cuff bracelets. I love bangle bracelets and I love memory wire bracelets. I made ankle bracelets. How cool. And now I am making rings to go with all the other jewelry items I am making. I really love making something out of nothing and seeing a beautiful decorative piece of jewelry come to life.

070So what do I do with all the stuff? A girl can only wear one pair of earrings at a time. And my ideas can make more bracelets than anyone could ever wear. The answer is to try to sell some of it. I don’t intend to get rich. I just want to sell a few things so I can buy more wire and more beads. I have to be able to make more stuff! LOL

I discovered Etsy. It is a worldwide online storefront of many people selling their things. Who knew? But, you can open up a new storefront and sell your creative endeavors. Do you paint? Do you make cards? Do you crochet mittens? Do you make bookmarks? Do you decorate lamps? Whatever you do that others admire, can be sold. When you go to etsy you get 40 FREE listings. That means, one listing for each product you put into your store. I started my etsy store with 12 rosaries and then went crazy. If you think you would like to try this, click here.

Facebook_Revised (1)So to all those artsy fartsy people out there, jump on in…the water’s fine. I’m having fun and selling a few things and getting to be creative in the process. Join me…it doesn’t hurt to try.

Fotor0619142229

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Leave a comment

Small Update

still-a-way-to-goI find myself not writing because my world is so small and self involved that I can’t imagine anyone interested in reading about my day. But there are a few of you out there who sometimes ask how I am doing and want to be kept in the loop.

I went to the doctor about a week and a half ago. I always dread going to the doctor. My everyday tasks, transferring from chair to bed, from chair to bathroom, etc. are things I am used to. But transferring to wheelchair and then from wheelchair to a car is difficult. There are less hand holds and the car doors in most cars don’t open wide enough to get my walker into the opening enough to help me. I find myself trying to support my whole weight with one arm held awkwardly in and out of a door window or something while trying to shuffle backwards enough to reach the seat so I can plop down. Doesn’t sound that major, but I end up using a lot of extra energy and muscles that I don’t usually use as well as straining the already weak knees. And then there are the unusual gyrations needed to getting an exam. The result is usually a good week of regaining my strength and recovery afterwards. In the meantime, my ordinary every day tasks become mountains to climb once again. Everything is once again difficult, sometimes needing extra help and I have to fight against getting discouraged from the backward steps I seem to have taken.

Rottenecards_36476476_6ttcfk6sftWhen you are fighting against age and immobility there are always times of one step forward and three steps back. It is something you learn to live with. And you learn to recognize the tiny successes. Today, the knees didn’t buckle when I transferred from bed to walker threatening to drop me to the floor. That is a great thing! Or, today, it only took one try to get up from the love seat and into my chair on the way to bed.

The biggest struggle is to continue to celebrate those very small steps forward and sluff off the bigger steps backwards. As long as there is recognizable forward momentum, it’s all good. But enough of the depressing stuff.

008I’m still making jewelry. I’ve slowed down a bit because my drawer of finished items is getting full. I am making more than I am selling, but I am still selling a few pieces. I learned how to make ankle bracelets and that was fun. I learned how to make memory wire bracelets recently, finding out that is what a beginner with no experience can do easily. It was simple and fun. A good way to use up small quantities of left over beads to make something pretty.

024I enjoy watching the YouTube teaching videos and learned a lot and experimented a lot. I have more earrings than I could wear ever, but I’m learning a lot and improving with every project. I find that ideas come to me from something I saw and in how I could try something a different way. I usually come up with very nice items that make me proud.

I got a surprise visit the other day from two of my favorite Franciscan nuns. I have been friends with the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ since I first met them in 1990 and they are precious to me. It is a wonderful security blanket to know you have a community of praying nuns watching your back. The visit lasted about an hour. I rambled and shared about my past year and had therapy and prayer rolled into an hour-long visit and wrapped up with hugs. It was awesome!

I’m still reading and deleting emails. I’m still watching tv. I caught a marathon of Law and Order SVU the other day and got hooked. I don’t know why I never watched that show before. It’s been on forever and has really good writers. I still play Harvest Moon infrequently but a lot of time is wasted on growing my farm in Big Farm. It is a cool online game that can be a little addictive if you are not careful, and sometimes requires you to spend some of your own money to buy gold to use to play the game. If you are very careful, and quite patient, you can get by for a long time without doing that. So, while I’m waiting for crops to grow, I’ll check out my Etsy store and check to see if anyone has taken a peek or bought anything.Facebook_Revised (1) The Etsy store front is very cool. If you have anything you would like to set up in a store front, for a reasonable price, you should give this a try. It costs $.20 for each item you set up in your store. When I started, I only had 12 items for sale. If you like what you see, you can get 40 FREE listings. Take a look here.

The other day I read about someone looking for some of their listed store items on google.com/shopping. I was curious to see if any of my items had made it to the search engine so I went browsing. I was excited to find that on google.com/shopping if you type in ‘finger rosaries‘ in the search box, about 8 of my rosaries were on page 8! Woo hoo! If someone is really into diehard shopping excursions, they might actually find some of my stuff and my shop.

It’s been raining a lot in our area. Whoever designed our house was on drugs or something. The back-end of our backyard is about 12 feet higher than the end in front of our back door. So when it rains, run off water flows down hill and right into our living room door. If it is a slow sprinkle or steady rain, it is usually not a problem. But in downpours or continuous days of rain when the ground becomes saturated, we get flooding. Hubby has dug ditches to use as moats and run offs but lately we have gotten so much rain that isn’t working. He came home from the store one day with a set of ‘sand bags’. They were little pillows you put out and when they get wet they expand and stretch out and absorb the water. That helped for a time. But we’ve gotten wet carpet about 3 times in the past couple of months. It is getting a little old to have to sit in the humidity listening to a myriad of fans blowing all day and all night long.

imagesAnd so, it is one day at a time. Just keeping busy and focusing on the very small ordinary day-to-day tasks and counting myself blessed that I can avoid falling. I’ll see you next time I check in. I’m in good health, but usually wait until I have enough to report before I write. Everyone take care…until next time.

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I’ve been making a lot of jewelry

Fotor061912335As with any hobby, I tend to go all out. I am currently making jewelry. I started with my rosaries and then tried my hand at some earrings. I discovered YouTube and watched some videos and learned some new techniques. That led to making  bracelets and then necklaces. That led to buying more beads. And wire. I am having so much fun! With each new piece I make, I learn more and I improve my skills and the look of my jewelry gets more polished.  Looking back at a couple of my first bracelets, it’s almost embarrassing.

I posted on Facebook. But since I was always a wallflower and not very outgoing, my list of friends is not that large. It doesn’t take very long before your friends and family start rolling their eyes when they see another listing of something you are wanting to sell. Now I don’t want to get rich! I just want to buy more beads! I love the beads! All of the colors! All of the sizes and sparkles and shimmers! I do love the beads!

en_isell_1I opened an Etsy store.  At first, I had about 12 rosaries in my store. I made new things. I added bracelets. I made more things. Then I added earrings. Then I made necklace and earring sets. Then I did something different…I made bracelet and earring sets. My store got bigger.  I was on a roll! I sold a couple of things. I got excited! I bought more beads. I bought more wire. I made new pieces. My store got bigger.

008I have a drawer near my work area I put the finished pieces in. The drawer started getting full. Packages of earrings, packages of charm bracelets, packages of rosaries, and packages of necklaces. Package upon package. All pretty and shiny and colorful. All creative babies sitting there staring at me wanting to find a new home.

I discovered twitter. I tend to be an armchair activist anyway, so it wasn’t difficult for me to start gaining followers and finding more followers. I found a group that supports and encourages hand-made, hand crafted and one of a kind or unique pieces. They tweet pictures of their creations once a week for an hour. Just what I was looking for! Now I had permission to spam all of my followers.

I gained some followers for my etsy store. I have a lots of likes, many favorites and a lot of people who say they like my things. But my drawer is still gaining more than it is losing. I make more pieces. I find I get ideas at odd moments and get excited. I spend a lot of time figuring out how to create something my mind comes up with. I have a lot of fun. I buy more beads. I buy more wire. And my drawer of packaged creations continues to grow.

So today, I decided to write a blog and post some of my pictures. It’s a way to spend time doing something other than making a new piece. I realize it doesn’t take that long to write and post a blog, even with a lot of pictures, but it will take my mind in another direction for a short time. I hope you enjoy the pictures. If you just happen to notice something you like you can always stop by my store for a visit. Or tell someone else about my store. Take care of yourself. I’m doing well and just keeping busy. Until next time…later

Fotor0619142229

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Leave a comment

Recovering from an almost binge day

snacksI used to live my life binge eating. I grew up around relatives who liked to have piles of food for each meal and encourage us to ‘eat up’, ‘gotta stay strong’. I came from old German stock. There was the German Scottish old school idea to eat up and clean your plate. In my immediate family, we were six and sometimes I felt like I had to eat quickly before the food was all gone. We never went hungry, so I’m not sure where that idea came from, but I remember eating quickly so I could get seconds before the food was all gone.

At school it was the same. Lunch time was short and I learned to eat quickly so I’d have time to finish. There was also the problem of being bullied and made fun of because I wasn’t thin and I also wore glasses. In the 60’s that was the kiss of death. I was insecure, and afraid of everything and wanted to sink into the background. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself and was very withdrawn. I have a very strong memory of junior high (middle school) orchestra. I played the violin. I remember the girl sitting behind me bouncing her violin bow on my butt and laughing when my butt would shake. It’s amazing what you remember from childhood.

Food became my best friend. It was a comforter for me, made me feel better, didn’t judge me, and was always there for me no questions asked. I learned to eat in private and hide the evidence. I ate at night, and in the car when I was alone. We were best friends. My favorite binge foods were chips and chocolate. There were many times when I would eat a 1 lb. bad of m & m’s with a large bag of potato chips or Doritos.

Over the years, I have gained and lost a lot of weight. I have gradually learned to not be afraid of food and not to crave food. It is better to get to eat something once in a while than to never eat it and let it prey on your mind. But it took a long time to get to that place.

I have never been a normal weight. There have been periods of time when I have been thinner, but I have never been thin. Because of my mobility issues and the desire to get more healthy and stronger physically, I started a program of keeping a food log and charting what I eat.

loseitIt is working for me. Since August of 2014 I have lost 42 lbs. It has been slow going. I have discovered how much my lymphedema really does affect my body and my weight. But the weight is coming off even if I would like for it to go faster. I have a certain amount of calories allotted to me each day and the number adjusts depending on my weight. I keep track of what I eat with the Lose It online program. When I stay within my allotted amount of calories each day, my chart stays ‘in the green’. If I go over my allotted amount, my chart turns red. I never let my chart go into the red. Our family has become proficient at reading labels, tracking fats, carbs, calories, sodium and measuring with cups and tablespoons.DSC_0860

When my weight seemed to slow down to a crawl, daughter wondered why it was happening. She began researching on the internet. The only problem with that is, there are many opinions on what is and isn’t good for you, and what does and does not help in weight loss. Some things she would try out on herself before recommending it to me.

One thing she read about seemed to make some sense. Your body can become accustomed to the amount of calories it gets over time. If you greatly reduce the amount, your body will think it is being starved and will start hanging onto nutrition and fats to keep functioning, and will slow down the metabolism to help in the process. So, one side of this thinking believes you need to keep tricking your body. That once a week you should have a day of overeating, to reset the levels again of what you take in and need to live.

images (19)To me, that sounds like how I used to diet. I would starve all week, have my weigh in and then pig out and eat anything I wanted for the rest of the day. I would then have to work all week long to make up for the pig out and the losses wouldn’t be consistent or steady. I would fear getting on the scales again the next week to see if I actually did lose anything. It taught me to fear food and fear the scales and fear being out of control.

So for a long time I didn’t want to try daughter’s idea. Daughter tried it a few times and her weight loss seemed to be quicker and progress faster than mine did. Now she can overdo it more often, not worry about it, add some extra gym time to combat the excess and has been steadily losing. Sounds like what ‘normal’ people do without worrying about it doesn’t it?

When she first suggested the ‘day of excess’ I was too afraid to try it. I had been successfully losing despite how slow it sometimes felt. I was eating what I wanted for the most part without craving something I felt I couldn’t have. It became  normal to turn down certain things as being ‘too costly’ too eat. The calories I would have to account for, or the fact that a double cheeseburger and a large tator tots would use up almost an entire days worth of calories taught me to choose smaller amounts or less caloric alternatives. This is working for me, so the idea of having that day of excess made me afraid I would lose control and would go back to eating the way I did in the past.

While I have had my occupational therapist trained in lymphedema wrap therapy come out and wrap my legs, I have discovered that the weather affects certain people and certain diseases. In my case, when the barometric pressure changes, (easier to say when the weather changes), my body swells and hangs on to every bit of fluid it can. Since I wear a catheter I began to notice my daily output sometimes slowed down despite the fact that what I was drinking was usually the same. And when we began paying attention to my legs and the swelling, sometimes during the week my legs would get hugely ‘puffy’ and the therapist would tell me all of her lymphedema patients were the same way on that particular day.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a 5 lb. gain on my weekly weigh in and looking back, remembered that most days my catheter had been less full and my legs had been puffy. So I can recognize when the scale is going to fight against me despite my efforts at ‘staying in the green’. This past week I weighed in and stayed the same, despite having a week of every day leaving a few allotted calories uneaten each day. I hadn’t been paying attention to my legs or output, so was a little bummed out. A day of ‘whatever I wanted’ sounded good to me.

Now, that meant that for breakfast I added two eggs to my oatmeal and bacon and fruit meal. I began looking online at the nutrition counts of various pizza joints and the emotional and physical satisfaction I might receive from eating that compared to what I would have to log etc. My other possible choice was Kentucky Fried Chicken. We ended up getting Popeyes fried chicken, biscuits, some mashed potatoes and green beans. We also had some fresh ears of corn in the fridge we decided to cook to go with it all. Sounds fairly innocuous, right?

Now keep in mind, my daily allowance of calories at this time is 1686 calories. My ear of corn was 77, a half tablespoon of margarine, my half cup of their sauced green beans was 40, half cup of their gravy mashed potatoes was 110, two mild chicken thighs was 560 and one biscuit was 260. Yumm! And then decided I wanted another biscuit, (gasp!) and a wing which added another 260 calories for the biscuit and 210 for the wing. This brought my meal up to a grand total of 1682 calories! You see where this is going right? I had already eaten breakfast that day and a small lunch. So, since I was already over my calories, and had intended to go over and not worry about it, I put this out of my mind somewhat.

I stay up late all the time. I have never been a morning person and am more of a night owl. I usually allow for a midnight snack in my daily allotment, so despite the fact I had already put my chart ‘in the red’ by quite a large amount, I still had my late night snacking to add to my day. This time, emotionally, I seemed on the verge of ‘binge mentality’…of being out of control and wanting to eat north america, so to speak.

So by the time I went to bed Sunday night, I had added 444 calories of snack foods to my day. Subtract the 84 calories I had ‘earned back’ from my exercises during the day, and my daily total was 1024 calories ‘in the red’. I have not had a day like that since I began this Lose It program last August. It was a little disconcerting to realize that I could so easily be on the verge of reverting to former eating habits.

But today is a new day. I woke up, eager to get back on track. I like the way things have progressed. I like my daily log. I like keeping my chart ‘in the green’. I can pick and choose, and rarely want something I can’t have or am not willing to fit into my daily log. I don’t crave or want to eat cookies and sweets and usually don’t keep them in the house to tempt me. And I like spreading my calories out over the day fitting them into meals and snacks.

And so, it is half way through my day, my mind is ‘back to normal’ and I have only eaten 792 of my daily calories, leaving 894 for my supper and midnight snacking. Piece of cake! LOL Back to normal feels much better. I don’t like the feeling of excess, emotionally or physically. I haven’t been that full in a long time and it is not something I want to do very often.

So…the journal in the life of a home bound, handicapped, elderly foodie continues…

See you next time.

every-morning-has-a-new-beginning-orlando-espinosan

 

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s just a hobby

images (16)I’m never the first to try something. It’s probably been around quite awhile before I even hear about it. I love technology and am fascinated by new things, but I’m just usually the last to know.

I told you last time I was making jewelry again. It started with my rosaries which I learned to make years ago on a private retreat. I guess I am an artsy fartsy person at heart because I am usually attracted to those types of things.

download (4)So I dug out the beads again. I was instantly enamored again with my beads. I love picking through the colors and sizes and then find a way to make something new and different. I love browsing catalogues and finding new beads. I could spend a lot of money if I had it to spend, but I’m always limited by my budget.

I make something and get so excited at how it turned out. I admire it and marvel at the finished product and then immediately want to make something else. It’s an endless cycle. I’ve been on that cycle many times. It usually doesn’t turn out well for me, though.

025I remember when I discovered Donna Dewberry and One stroke painting. OMG. I was smitten! I love art and love to paint. I wanted to paint as a minor in college but couldn’t afford it. Everything requires supplies and some aren’t cheap. It must be the curse of the artistic personality…to always want to be creative and find out it requires a little money to be able to pursue that. Anyway, I painted mailboxes, and glass vases my family would find at garage sales, and lamps and tables and soap until I had painted almost everything I could get my hands on. Then, to continue I tried to sell my stuff, but alas, I was behind the trend and the market was already saturated. Shabby chic was running out of steam just when I discovered it.

This time, being behind the trend paid off for me. I found YouTube. I know. I know. It’s always been there, I just never really paid attention. Well, now you can learn to do almost anything by finding and watching a video on you tube. How wonderful! So now I spend a lot of time browsing wire wrapping techniques and trying out what I learn and coming up with new jewelry pieces.

013My rosaries turned into rosary bracelets, and then rosary bracelets became dangle and charm bracelets. And then I rediscovered earrings. I remember a lot of what I’m seeing from years before. Back then I spent money buying how to books to learn. Now all I have to do is watch a free video to learn a new or forgotten technique.

Of course all of that learning has a huge draw back. I had to branch out and buy 24 gauge wire to go with my 22 gauge wire, and then had to buy 20 gauge wire to make the earring wires to dangle my creations from. And then I needed more beads so I would have a variety to choose from. And then I had to get some lobster clasps so I could make the charm bracelets. And then I needed more chain and another pair of pliers. Oh my. I’m having fun now.

So I am knee-deep and mired in another hobby. I do love my beads. I love the variety. I love picking through them and putting them together and creating something fun. But I am accumulating an astonishing number of creations. I heard about Etsy and opened an Etsy store. How exciting. And then I had to buy a domain name so I could have my store be found easier. But who am I kidding? Once again, I am behind the trend. There are tons of people selling things on Etsy and who knows how many storefronts on the internet.

First I posted on Facebook and realized I don’t have that many friends who want to buy jewelry. And then I found my Etsy store. And then I found twitter. If you are not my friend on twitter, you haven’t been spammed by my pics of earrings.

That’s when I begin the process of self-doubt and start wondering. Is my stuff too expensive? 003Does anyone even like this type of thing anymore? Or am I just really just one of a million and not different enough to make someone want what I make? Or is it just because you can buy cheap earrings at the dollar store or Walmart? People still need rosaries. And mine are affordable and pretty. Are they not pretty enough? I see other rosaries out there for quite a bit more money but they are made from more expensive materials I can’t even look at without cringing.

My earrings are cute. I have good taste and put nice colors together. It is always aesthetically pleasing. So what gives? Why isn’t my stuff selling like hot cakes? Sigh…if I am not careful, pretty soon my interest in this will wither and wane because I can’t seem to find a home for it all.

I guess the lesson to be learned from all of my different hobbies is this. The hobby is not to find a way to get rich, or even to make a living from. It is a hobby. It is a way to pass time. It is a time of fun and learning and creativity. And when your house gets full and closets are bulging then it’s time to move on. When the supplies out run the money, it’s time to move on.

For now…I am having a lot of fun. There is that underlying need to want to share the excitement with others and to get a bit of affirmation, but that just might end up unfulfilled again. After all, it is just a hobby.

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Follow the Minerals | Opinion | teleSUR English

Follow the Minerals | Opinion | teleSUR English.

This is something I was not aware of. Interesting to find out there is something out there more valuable on the worldwide market than oil and even gold. What a prize for their country. And what a bargaining chip! Scary.

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Leave a comment

Hormone attack

emotions-e1288602244802Nothing much new going on here. I’ve been getting my lymphedema wrap therapy for a couple of weeks now. It’s not bad, but having a mummy leg is sometimes uncomfortable and it feels a little tight sometimes, but it is beneficial.

Had a hormonal day yesterday and it has run into today a little. You know the kind I’m talking about. You wake up and everything seems normal and something sets you off and before you know it you are on a crying jag for no reason. I have no idea what happened or where that came from, but just dealing with the overflow of unwanted extra emotions is almost debilitating! You waste a lot of time trying to figure out what the heck is going on, and worrying, and thinking odd thoughts, and fighting paranoia, that it is exhausting. Thought today was going to be better, and had an accident in bed before I got up and had to call the home health care nurse out to change my catheter that just got changed yesterday. Oh well…all good now…on to better things.

008 (4)I started making rosaries again. I had given it up for a while. Arthritis in my hands stops me from doing things sometimes or makes me take a break. Anyway, always loved playing with the beads, shopping for beads, making rosaries, earrings, and just having fun. So, I tried to sell a few rosaries on Facebook and actually sold a few, so kept buying stuff and making more. As I tend to do, I accumulated a drawer full so decided to open an etsy store. And I’ve gone nuts. I opened the store with about 10-15 rosaries and then thought I needed more things in my store and kept making more. And then I discovered you can get great beads from China with free shipping and I have to shop the bargains! So I’ve been browsing eBay. Hubby now says I’m going to 99 cents him to death! But I am having fun!

15929414Do you remember browsing the Christmas toy catalogues that came out every year when you were a kid? That’s how I feel. I just need to be able to buy and shop and spend but the pocketbook is not cooperating. Oh well…mom always did like to window shop. I’ll have to be content with looking for now.

Now I’ve discovered YouTube and learning new things! OMG how did I never know how cool YouTube can be when you need to find out how to do something? So I’m just making rosary bracelets now and earring/bracelet dangles and hunting for bargain beads. My pocket-book just doesn’t have enough coins in the bottom. And I discovered how to make cool purse charms so that might be my next project! I need to sell something.

images (10)And then I discovered twitter. I spend a little time on there each day and realized it is almost impossible to get some friends there, because unlike facebook, there is not a general news feed that everyone sees. You just see stuff from the people/places/things you have friended.  Oh well, there are worse ways to read the news.

My diet is going well also. Always slow, the lympedema hinders the weight loss, but I’ve now lost 42.6 lbs. Not too shabby since last August! I really love the LoseIt program.

Just a quick shout out and short blurb to keep you caught up with what’s going on with me. Staying healthy and well. Hope you all are hanging in there also! And so, the journey continues…see you next time.

107547

Posted in blog, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

One more day, one day at a time

lymphedema-2I started the lymphedema wrap therapy at home a little over two weeks ago. Each step brought back some memories of when I did this for the first time about 8 years ago. By the time you finish with all the wraps, you have a leg that looks like a mummy and you have used about 15 different sizes and widths and kinds of bandages/wraps. Within all of that are various sizes and shapes of a special foam rubber to help the entire process. The goal is to stimulate the lymphatic system into doing its job a little better by the pressure of the wraps. It is in turn uncomfortable and feels very tight and your movement is slightly limited from the bulk, but the therapy works.

We have moved from one leg to the other. Meanwhile, I have ordered a velcro thigh wrap images (4)to wear everyday on my leg to take over where my knee-high boot or compression knee-hi hose ends. That might be interesting. Just a new step in the journey forward.

What I didn’t remember is the effect the weather and barometric pressure has on lymphedema patients. There is something about the change in the barometric pressure that causes us to swell up like balloons with the change. It is a little shocking and disconcerting. Just a new wrinkle in the day-to-day journey. Add to that the extra difficulty in walking or moving whatever limb you have wrapped and how it hinders everyday functions.

il_570xN.761746535_d8ihSo when I’m not focusing on all the above, I am making new rosaries. I mentioned before how I go in spurts with my interests. Right now, it is in making the rosaries. I will make them until I run out of supplies and start accumulating more than I can sell and then I will move on to the next project. It keeps life interesting, but hubby sometimes rolls his eyes at the accumulating mounds of hobby materials in the closet.

I sold a couple of rosaries on a ‘for sale’ group on Facebook, got teased by another person when that fell through and opened a store on Etsy. That happened just when attention for my rosaries seemed to wane. I’m beginning to think I am always one step behind the current trend or interest and seem to find the market saturated when I jump on board. Visions of selling Avon flash to mind.

Anyway, that’s what new with me. Just hanging in there, doing my exercises, mostly, and having the wrap therapy 3 times a week. And filling my time with various things. One day at a time. And so the journey continues.

.hands-545394_1280

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Leave a comment

Just keeping busy

keeping busy

I’ve posted before about what keeps me occupied. And I always go in spurts. I might watch tv marathons for an entire weekend and then I’ll be sick of tv. I’ll read for a while and then not be interested in reading for months. I like to crochet and have just finished a pillow for my sister. Now, I’m tired of crocheting.

008 (4)One of my favorite things to do was to make rosaries. I was on a private religious retreat one time and watched while one of the Sisters was making one. I like artsy fartsy things, so was immediately I was intrigued and wanted to learn. I’ve made them off and on ever since. Sometimes my arthritis will stop me for a time, and sometimes it is just that I have no more people I can give one to.

Someone recommended I go to etsy and check out 010their plan. I now have an etsy store. This is a shameless self promotion. I only have a small amount of rosaries in my store, but am waiting on more supplies. I can’t wait. And I want you to go take a look!

Single decade rosaries, full rosaries, are what I have available now. Rosary bracelets will be one thing I’ll be adding soon. Tell your Catholic friends and family. Collectors are welcome. Most of my rosaries are geared toward the everyday use but some will be made from more expensive components like Sterling or Silver plate. Come check it out…

en_isell_1

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Leave a comment

Starting something new

winding-road-71367_1280Over the past ten months I have talked about ‘the journey’ I have been on.

I never thought about life as ‘a journey’, at least not consciously. It is a concept we always know is a part of life, but we tend to define ourselves by what we do, what we get good at doing, or talents we use to walk our various paths, work or play, not just that we are on a journey to somewhere. To where, is a topic for another day.

I have mentioned before that I have lymphedema.  If you look in dictionary.com you will find

[lim-fi-dee-muh]

Spell Syllables

  • Examples
  • Word Origin

noun, Pathology

1. the accumulation of lymph in soft tissue with accompanying swelling,often of the 

extremities: sometimes caused by inflammation, obstruction, or removal of lymph channels.

For me, it began many years ago with a bout of cellulitis in my right leg. Simply, cellulitis is an infection or inflammation of any of the tissues of the body, characterized by fever, pain, swelling, and redness of the affected area. That means, on the calf of my leg, I noticed a swelling area that became hot to the touch and when I went to the doctor to check it out, I found out it was an infection of ‘stagnant’ fluid stuck in the tissues of my leg that hadn’t been removed properly by the lymphatic system. You take antibiotics to get rid of the infection and forget about it.

Only, a couple of years later, I got cellulitis again, and then again, and over time it returned once more. The last time, my right leg was almost twice the size of my left leg. The antibiotics couldn’t get rid of the infection and I was put into the hospital for intravenous drugs to combat the infection. That was when I was diagnosed with lymphedema. The only thing you do for it, is treat it by wearing compression garments for the rest of your life to help remove the fluid and to prevent cellulitis. (I found out later, that some women, who have had their lymph nodes removed under their arms for breast cancer treatment, will develop lymphedema in their arms.)

So I spent some time in the hospital to get rid of the infection which was persistent, and ended up doing intravenous antibiotics at home for a time just to make sure. After that, I went to an outpatient therapy clinic for lymphedema therapy.

lymphedema-massage-treatmentThat meant, I laid on a low table while a therapist massaged the path of the lymph nodes in my legs and then put an elaborate and bulky combination of wraps and foam rubber on my leg until it looked like a mummy’s leg. It is huge, bulky and hard to move around. The object is to mimic the job of the lymphatic system and remove the excess build up of fluids within the tissues of my leg. The treatments lasted for several months wrapping first one leg and then the other. In my right leg, I lost 25 lbs. of fluid. In my left, I think it was about 12. After that, I learned about the fun of wearing compression hose daily. I like to think of them as support hose on steroids.

lymphedema-2That was 7 or 8 years ago. During my last year of work, I began to notice that my thighs were getting larger. Because of my age, arthritis in hands etc. and knees that don’t cooperate when asked to, I went from panty hose, to knee hi hose and thigh highs once in a while when at home. I began noticing my thighs were in my way more, when taking care of business in the bathroom at work. At first I thought it was just my difficulty in my mobility.p348346b

After I left work and began my time of home health care and being home bound, I noticed once again that the thighs were getting larger. When I started developing ‘rolls’ on the insides of my thighs, I realized they really were getting bigger and that my lymphedema was probably to blame.

I called the two women who had given me my lymphedema therapy at the outpatient clinic and made an appointment for an assessment. When I discovered that insurance and medicare wouldn’t cover home health care and outpatient treatments at the same time, I had to cancel the appointment and arrange for occupational therapy trained in lymphedema therapy to come to my home.

And so, last Friday I got my left leg wrapped once again like a mummy. My worry was I wouldn’t be able to get up, or get to the bathroom dragging the huge bulky leg once it was wrapped. I remember having a hard time before just getting it on the bed at night and now I am much less mobile than I used to be. That turned out to be a non issue. What I didn’t remember was the pressure. But I also developed areas on my leg that were uncomfortable to the point of being painful. My foot felt like it was swelling to the point of the toes feeling like they needed to pop and it felt like there was a tourniquet around my ankle. A patch behind my knee on my thigh felt like it was being cut by wraps that had slipped a little and were now acting like a band digging into that area.

I tolerated it for two days until I didn’t feel like I could flex my ankle any longer and took off the wraps. I had not done that before and was reluctant to do it this time knowing I need this therapy to help my legs. Once I removed all the many bandages and wraps, my skin felt a little like shriveled up sandpaper and was so tender to the touch, I cried out when I put my calf up onto the bed. I remembered a few times of having this sensitivity after removing my compression hose at the end of the day, but this was much much worse.

So when the therapist comes again this afternoon, to remove and redo my wraps, which I have already done, we will have to talk about all of this and see what options we have. I don’t think we will have to quit the therapy wraps, but maybe be more careful the wraps aren’t too tight around those tender areas or something. You never know how your body is going to tolerate a certain treatment. We are all different and you never know until you try it.

And so, my journey has taken a new turn. The road is always twisting and turning and ambling one way and another, checking out side paths and veering off the main road. But it always moves forward. And so, the journey continues…

 

207a42670a455007c6705a8fce071cd9

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Keeping busy

keeping busy

Since I am house bound, I spend a lot of time watching t.v., reading, blogging, ‘window shopping’ on eBay and playing Harvest Moon on my Wii.

017I like to crochet and recently have made a few pillows for my mother and sister. The only problem with that is my wrists tend to complain after crocheting for a while. And my attention span fades when it has to fight against the nagging pain.

I recently returned to an old love. I like to make rosaries. I love to touch and feel the beads and pick out the colors and sometimes have more fun playing with the beads than actually making the rosaries. I learned how to make my own rosary years ago on a private retreat. I made mission rosaries and sent them to various places around the world. It was fun and satisfying. But arthritis made me stop for a while.

Since I started some physical therapy exercises, including wrist exercises, I decided to dig out my beads and try see if I could still remember how to make a rosary. And once again, I’ve become addicted to picking and choosing the beads and making the rosaries. The only problem is, you can only own and use so many rosaries. So, I decided to put some on eBay and maybe get enough money to be able to buy some more beads. LOL A girl can’t have too many beads! The problem is, browsing beads on eBay can be addictive.

3 23 2015 003_copyWhat I am finding out, is that there are so many factory made rosaries on the market that prices are really cheap. I use base metal components instead of sterling, for everyday use and fashion my rosaries one bead at a time. A lot of love and effort goes into even the simplest of my single decade or full-sized rosaries.

001I just thought I would share what is keeping me busy lately. And if you know of anyone who might be interested in a hand-made rosary, you can always drop by and check out my eBay listing. See ya next time…

Still kicking…

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Having an “OFF” day…

pooh-having-a-bad-dayToday was one of those days. The kind of day where you are blindsided by emotions that come from outer space, or Timbuktu or out in left field. The kind of day where you feel odd, ‘off’, just not normal but don’t know what’s going on. Why is today different? I have arthritis pain every day. My body parts take turn rearing their ugly heads to be obnoxious. One day it is my knees. The next it will be my shoulder and arm or my wrists. It is just a part of life. I take some Tylenol and don’t worry about it.

hormonesToday, everything was bothering me. Everything was hurting. And my coping mechanism was totally absent. It was as if I was hormonal. I thought my hormones took an extended leave of absence when I went through menopause. But every once in a while they show up unexpected like unwanted house guests. They always blind side me and since I wasn’t expecting them, I get overwhelmed.

So, after a few hours of continuous nagging pain, my emotions spewed out. I made hubby come out to talk to me and unloaded on him. You know, going down the list of ailments or pains and a few tears and nose blowing in between. Hubby asks what he can do to help, and of course there is nothing he can do. I just needed a sympathetic ear. When it was all over, I felt better. I guess I just had to let out some of the frustration and junk that sometimes builds up without noticing it until I was “full” and had to dump some of it.

I don’t know that it was this easy when I was younger, but if I have learned how to dump quicker and get it out sooner in my old age, than Halleluia! I didn’t want to post anything about how depressing depression can be and how utterly embarrassing my lack of coping skills during such an episode can be. But after the crazy emotions were gone, my natural tendency to recover showed up. I’m thankful that has become more of the norm than it was when I was young.

Anyway, the terrible, depressing day turned around and ended up fine. (Thank you Lord.)

I’ll see you next time with something more relevant.

And the journey plods along…

one step

Posted in writing, personal, blog, culture, religion, humor, inspiration, people, American, musings, miscellaneous, social, Christianity, economy, reflections, faith, poetry, | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment