Showing posts with label home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home. Show all posts

Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to Move forward with severa Systemic diseases, Lupus, Sjogren's, RA & knowing when everything feels so out of sorts, even with the New Year Upon me....

A piece of me feels as if I am blocking out all that we went through with Mom, then losing her in June so suddenly. Then the ordeal of paperwork, and all that happens even after the funeral is over.

Then I've went from one issue such as both ankles severely twisted, to sinusitis, to pneumonia, to Lupus flares, then to take such a horrible fall. and break my right hip in two places... to wind up being in the Rehab on Christmas, and maybe for awhile after the 1st of the year.

I just know that things have to get better. I am so terribly tired of being ill in one way or the other. I tried so hard to NOT allow this to happen to me. I knew my chances of a fall could lead to a break of a bone or joint. That is one of the very last things I wanted r needed. But, when I hit that hardwood floor two weeks ago the coming Tuesday, I knew it was not good.

I wanted to believe that it was bruised badly, yet when I could not drag it on the floor without screaming out in pain, I knew then it was bad.

I've been in a turmoil over the state our nation is in. Now with the "person" that is to be our new President, totally terrifies the hell out of me. I cannot fathom him having enough tact with out own Congress, much less any other nation.

I am having to almost "hide" my feelings this season. Here I see many families, together, excited about kids, Christmas, and this very special time of the year, yet I feel left in a "dark fog" wondering once again why I feel "punished", why did I have to take a fall as I did, and break a hip. And what are the chances that I wind up having another surgery if this hip does not work without an entire replacement since the osteoporosis could cause issues.

Frankly, this is one of the very 1st times I've been this worried about my own health issues. I watched my Grandmother and my Mom be able especially my Grandmother take care of themselves for YEARS alone. Now, I fear everything, from just getting out of the bed to going home. I've always been so bound and determined to do my stuff myself. Now, between the Lupus, the RA, the Osteoporosis, and now a broken hip, that I will lose some of my independence, which that thought bothers me badly.

The latest is I have a huge hematoma where the surgery was done on my hip. I knew it had been looking like a I had "2nd hip" and was sticking out but I just thought it was swelling. But when the nurse went to put a new dressing on it yesterday she found it was much more than swelling, and they took pics of it, and sent them to my doctor. Sure enough it is probably a  huge hematoma, and they are putting ice packs on it 4 times daily, and I won't even get the staples out for another week.

My foot still hurts and I still think I have a hairline fracture in it. I guess I should ask for it to be X-Rayed again. I am just so sick of being poked and prodded on, I hate to say that anything hurts.

I have to wonder if anything in my life will ever become "normal" again?


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy 4th to You and Mine is just "here"....

I hope everyone is having a great, but safe Holiday weekend! Sadly, my daughter and son in law did not get to come up this weekend. Their work schedules were crazy busy last week, and I know they were too exhausted to make this 6 plus or more hour drive up here. So, I do miss them not getting to come up. But, I DID find the color of paint for the cabinets over at the other house I wanted to use on them, so I went and got a quart of it to try. After messing around with Lowe's and really not getting much help, and then Wally World was WORSE! The "woman" had no clue about "paint" and was filling in, and she had been working in Automotive section of the store, so I know one lady was trying to match paint to what she had gotten there before and this girl could not get it matched what so ever... I finally said to heck with it. I went to Sherwin Williams yesterday, got service of exactly what I wanted... I even already had the colors picked out online, and he answered my questions, I had my quart that I could try first with me, and was out the door in a flash. Sometimes you just have to pay the extra, and get with someone who knows what the hell they are doing. Now, for the white enamel, I may go with a lesser expensive paint, and get Wal-marts BUT I noticed really their paint prices are really not much cheaper than Sherman Williams when it comes down to it And Lowe's almost has TOO MUCH to pick from... I did buy some stuff at Lowe's the other day to try on the hardwood floors for cleaning them first, then they will need to have some places probably stained, which I've tried already and it is looking good... then of course that wood is going to soak up wax since it has been not waxed in many many years and has had carpet over it for 20 plus lots more years. 

Mom and Dad carpeted over it in the living room, hall and dining room long years ago and it just made me sick they covered up those floors.. I don't think I am going to completely "redo" them like in this house... it is extremely time consuming, and then to really seal them with the Polyurethane in this heat right now.... would probably make you sick to smell between completely redoing them and then sealing them. I am going to put area rugs down like I did in here anyway, or that is what the plan is. So, there won't be a great deal of wood showing as far as in the middle of the rooms. I already filled in one spot, where long years ago, Dad had termites. He has repaired one of the spots, but this one may not have happened until after they got into it before. Anyway, it looks fine, and I put a bit of stain on it, so by the time that is waxed, I think it will be okay. Again between furniture and area rugs, it probably won't be seen that much anyway. But, the "carpet" they laid in the dining room and kitchen is GLUED down like what you see in doctors offices and office buildings. 

So, I don't see being able to save that floor, only changing that ugly mess they have in there. Which I think going with some type of linoleum maybe that kind of looks like wood, or something that is much lighter in color, and that is not so dark. I noticed just me beginning to paint in the kitchen already has made it "brighter" in there and not so dark. Mom got to where she never opened blinds, and it seemed she stayed in the dark all the time. It drove me nuts.... I finally began going over there at the last and opening up blinds and doors when the weather was cooler, just to "feel" like you were not standing in some dark spot.... But, there are lots of older homes that have that "darkness" to them... I know my Grandmother's neighbor (I always was scared of the woman LOL) her house was like a tomb, it was so dark when we went over there. I thought she was some kind of "witch" or something... I think she really did not like kids... but there was just something about that house that always seemed creepy when we went over there. Now I have something going on with my Oleanders. They have been growing and blooming, and now all of a sudden either something is "eating" on them. or there is something like a fungus on them from all the rain we had back weeks ago or something. I've got to look it up, because they are losing their leaves, and the "beans" that appear before they bloom, almost look like something is eating on them... it is just strange.... anyway, as you can tell not much going on here.... just still working on this house and the other one, and trying to get things done.... one foot in front of the other.... Rhia

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Setting The New Year Tone as I Deal With RA, Lupus, Sjogren's, Trying to Complete a 3rd book, Life, Family and so much more...

Every Year so many of us have a "List to Live By"... for the New Year. Some call it a list of "resolutions", "Changes", a new way, a different attitude, motivation for making things different, making what you want in life happen... Whatever you "call" it... we try to set the "tone" for our New Year.

Whether "chronically ill" or not... each of us want things to "change". Now, many of us may be completely satisfied with our life "as is"... but human nature gives us this innate intuition to never stand stagnant, to always want to evolve, to make our mark on the world, or at least our own home and community. As a whole, although when you hear the news it does not sound like it, I still feel "human nature" basically wants to "do well"... to help, to be that change maker...

As I have prodded through these past 7, 8, 9 or more years of chronic illness and chronic pain, I've noticed that it seems for the majority of us that are chronically ill, whether it is an Autoimmune Illness, Heart Disease, Cancer, or any number of diseases, syndromes and/or illnesses "we" as a whole tend to try even harder to "change" what that disease is doing not just to "our bodies and lives" but to all the others we see on a daily basis suffering from the very same illnesses. We tend to be more a part of the "change makers", whether that means a local community awareness, or a National Campaign and being an "Ambassador", Volunteer, Activist, a "voice" such as helping so many of our non-profits, such as The Arthritis Foundation, The Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, Lupus Foundation, The Pain Foundation, and the many, many, charities and organizations that "go to bat" to fight not only locally, in our states, but nationally to make awareness known within our Governmental Bodies, to get finances for more research, the race for a cure, for answers as to "why" some of us suffer so badly from such horrid illnesses, what causes them, how to treat them without destroying a patients life, and how to give people back their quality of daily living!

So, when our chronic illness and/or oain issues bring us to the place we no longer can "work" our jobs, or do many things we once could do, we find ourselves seeking a way to help STOP these diseases from ruining more lives in the future. With the technology, and how we have evolved globally, with a few key strokes, we can contact our state, our county, our city, and our National Government Officials. We can provide all types of very usual assistance without leaving our homes to "make that difference" we so want to make in life. I know some people that probably spend more hours a day now as a volunteer, activist, etc... than they did actually working a 9 to 5 job that nearly killed them... but we can "take off" for a week if we are ill, or work an hour a day, or a few hours a month.... however much "we" want to put into assisting these foundations, is so appreciated. And many of us, like myself have been even honored and rewarded by being sent to Washington DC to stand on Capitol Hill and tell our stories! So, activism, can be and is such a rewarding part of a chronically ill person's life. We feel we are "contributing" even though we may not be able to work hours a day, or leave our homes... we "make a difference"... and not even spend a penny... but give of ourselves and our time... which is definitely valuable... sometimes more than money... the value of "our time"....

I had been looking on Twitter a bit ago, and there was a great idea that I decided to not only to share, but to do. Take an empty jar, and each "good thing" that happens within the New Year, jot it down on a small piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then in the start of the next New Year, get those out and read them. As I said, all too often we "recall" all of the crappy, the bad stuff, that happens within a years time, yet we don't remember those "good moments" and maybe they are "small" but memorable. Then see just how many have filled that jar from that year before. I have already been able to write down 3 or 4 things and put in the jar, and this is the middle of January! Maybe I will need 2 jars to "hold" onto those good moments... those moments that help to make the bad ones seem not so bad.

So, the "title" of this post, is a bit deceiving in some ways. I gave the impression this was going to me more about my own "revelations" for the New Year, and the "tone" of how I "want" my year to be for 2016. I've never been one to set expectations to high, but I do try to give myself "goals" to achieve... yet I have also had to learn that when you have illnesses such as Lupus, RA, Sjogren's.... and so forth... those things you "want to achieve" may get put on the back burner, for those times you are in a "flare", or you are having surgery, or sick, or going to the doctors... there can be all kinds of things that interfere with those "good intentions"... and it is not that you may not achieve them... just not in the time frame you thought you would. I had wanted to be a published author for 20 years plus, and then was with two books within less than a year between them! My 3rd book, has been sitting here mainly completed on my computer, but needing to be put in some type of order now for gosh 3, 4 or more years. But, life and illness... have had to come first... thus the book WILL GET PUBLISHED, but I no longer "pressure" myself... Due to things beyond my control over the last almost 3 years, I began getting it together, then had to leave it... now it will take me weeks to even get back into where I am, what I have in it, and how I want to continue... and I will get there... but I have to feel well enough "physically" to be able to sit at the computer several hours at a time, hopefully with little interruption for weeks, at least 2 or 3... or I will never be able to "delve" into where I am, and where I want to go forward.... so I may not be able to do as much as I want on it, until I have the cervical neck surgery... I can't sit very long at the computer typing right now because of that disc... when it presses down on the nerves, and I have pain in my shoulders and down my arms into my thumbs... it makes it very difficult to "find my voice" to write...

It is different with my blog... I can write a bit, get up, do a few things, and come back to "finish" the post...

But, the "tone" for my 2016 is to try my best to get as far on the 3rd book as I can to prepare for it to be published. I also need to get myself back into "physical shape" and I mean back to walking when it warms up, taking the dogs out walking, and getting out of the house... but I also face at least the one surgery... and maybe two this year... my lower lumbar and sacral spine gives me hell when I try and sit for very long also... and after Friday's ordeal of driving and doctors in Dallas all day long, I have suffered with a great deal of back and side pain... hell I've wondered if I have another kidney stone, the pain has been so bad off and on...

So, the "tone" again is to do as much as I can personally to my home, bless it's heart it needs so much work, and myself... and try to "enjoy" each day whether ill on the sofa, sitting here at the computer writing, or online...walking my pups... walking myself... and hopefully spending several times this year for a day or overnight stay at Winstar! Gosh how I miss that Casino! I walk in and the world melts away, at least for that time you are there...

So, take time to "set your tone" for 2016.... make yourself a "good moments" jar... and in 2017 (when I get to trade in my Prius for a New Model) see how many of those truly make you smile.....

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cellulitis, Antibiotics, MRSA, Catching Up, and what "normal" is when you battle with autoimmune illnesses

Gosh Lord knows I need all of the prayers I can get for sure... I did find out yesterday that this stomach mess that began last Friday maybe a "stomach bug" going around. I spoke to my pharmacist about a medication, and they told me that lots of people had been in over the past week or so, with the same thing... really nauseated, feeling lousy, and be "sick" to their stomach... I kind of thought that maybe what it was after I spoke with Mom Sunday over the phone and she was sick Sunday morning with about the same thing. I believe mine was a bit worse just due to the fact, I had already had such severe intestinal issues from the antibiotics, and I am just "worn down" from the cellulitis, not sleeping, the heat does not help and so forth... hopefully I will NOT encounter any more of that mess for awhile. I am still NOT at 100% though. Yet, at least I am COMPLETELY THRU with the antibiotics. I officially took the last 2, yesterday evening. Although the "lump" is still not completely gone away, I think I will just see what happens over the next couple of days. I certainly do not want another round of antibiotics, especially since they are some they use to fight really, really tough cases of infection. I do not want to become "immune" to them and then not get what I may need, if so happened I did come down with some type of very bad infection... MRSA always remains in the background when I think about having to take antibiotics. Although my PCP does not just hand them out for anything, but with me being more prone to having an infection, I have had to take more than I really want to over these past few years. I GO TO the Cardiologist this morning. Just a routine follow up, but her appts are always too EARLY... this one is at 11AM so not too bad, but I always prefer to have appts. very early afternoon about 1PM... that way I have all morning to do things and get caught up on stuff, and I don't waste time having to get ready for a doctor in an appt that is way early... Then the rest of the week is actually pretty quiet as far as going to doctors etc. I STILL NEED to go have the damned Chest X-ray done... I got sick and had to postpone it again... and I know my Rheumatologist is really wondering what the heck is going on. Anyway, I will be playing catch up on lots of stuff over the next few days... so I appreciate everyone and your well wishes and prayers... and I hope things "settle" a bit now, and I will feel better over the next few days, get my strength somewhat back, and be able to get back to "life" rather than a sofa and movies 24/7... Hugs to all... Me

It SUCKS big time, when you feel your life is totally out of your own control, and you have no way to "fix" things... you just have to succumb to the sofa, resting, and putting a whatever you could call "life" on hold.

This past 6 weeks or so have been a total nightmare. Combine all of the issues with the lump on my thigh, cellulitis, high powered antibiotics, my own lower back, pain, stiffness, and a seemingly "worsening" of RA symptoms. My hands and wrists, along with fingers and thumbs are really bothering me worse than they ever had. My right hand has several swollen joints and even the cartilage between my fingers seems to be swollen, puffy and very stiff.

I have actually missed my Orencia now for the 3rd week (in fact I usually take it on Tuesdaus - but after all of the issues with cellulitis on the top of my left thigh in a place that seems where I usually do the Orencia Injections, first of all, with the infection I feared taking it, and 2nd of all, I am not through researching it, but I feel I may have gotten a "contaminated" needle giving myself the injections... I am a stickler for the skin being very clean, and make sure that the alcohol swabs get all in the area, and I always have clean hands, and usually put a bandaid over that spot at least for a day... and I realize with any type of autoimmune issue, I am more apt, more prone, to have these types of issues, but when you get so ill, that your entire life goes on hold for several weeks, it is surely difficult to deal with. 

Anyway, I just completed two 7 day rounds of Rifampin and Bactrim - I hope and pray after 14 days total of these two powerful antibiotics, this cellulitis is gone, and what small "lump" that is left, will just take a bit of time for my body to "absorb" it. I've never had to deal with cellulitis before. So, what portion I do know about it, is what my doctors, my pharmacist and my own research has told me.

I don't want to have to take anymore antibiotics if I can avoid it. I already have infections at times like pneumonia twice in the past year or so that require them. Thus, I worry so much about getting "immune" or something mutating to where the antibiotics do not work. Actually that scares the hell out of me.

But, I must be sure that all signs of infection are gone. I can't take a chance for sure. Plus I feel if this does not do the trick, I will have to be hospitalized and put on IV antibiotics, which I don't have time for, and is surely NOT a convenient situation for me financial wise, time wise, and due to me being here, with the pups, and no longer having another person here to help out, I just can't be gone several days to the hospital. Of anything that sucks about being alone, to me is just that. I can deal with "alone", like many of us do. What I can't deal with is the times I need to be gone for more than a day... then that requires so much change. I must find someone to watch after the pups, and that is not an easy thing... fortunately there is a young woman, along with her sister and Mom that do come to your home and watch after them. But, mine are both so totally ruined, they have a hard time with a stranger, or with me being gone for any time over a day, or a day and a night... so it is like having kids... you can't just leave them at the house for a few days, run off to the hospital... you must have them watched over... My Pug, is really get very stiff herself... she is up in age and has a difficult time getting around... can't jump up on the sofa anymore by herself... and she requires a bit of extra attention, plus I give them both medications daily and so forth...

Even though some may not comprehend how an animal or animals can be so much of your life, but they are... anyone that is an animal lover, and has or had a dog(s), cats and do forth totally "get it"... they become a part of your family and for me right now, they are my family...

Even though I think I should have "more time" now, I feel as if somewhere my time is being "sucked" away... the days feel shorter, and the number of things that need to be done, longer... and I never seem to be able to find enough energy to complete the tasks that I should be able to... I've tried everything... lists, organizing, I multi-task, although not as well as I used to be able to... but it is like life goes into overdrive... and rather than slowing down, and things getting "less" all needs are more... whether it is my own health, my Mom's, the house, the pups, everything seems to suck time away... I spent over a week more or less on the sofa... so I have all of this stuff piled up... and all of it important in its own way... but it is impossible for me to handle it all anymore... the age, the autoimmune illnesses, along with everything they bring and take away... my body feels "worn" out rather than better....





















 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

When it finally "dawns on you" why you seem so totally living in "chaos" even above the drama of Chronic Pain and Chronic Illnesses

I have spent moments, hours, days, weeks, even I am sure YEARS trying to figure out exactly "why" my life seems to be in a "chaotic" whirlwind almost daily.

Yes, having autoimmune and/or any type of "chronic illnesses" along with "chronic pain" puts your life in turmoil more often it seems than not.


Yet, that still does not explain why, with only 2 adults, 2 pups, in a tiny two bedroom, barely over a 1,000 sq foot home, and a back and front lawn that are definitely average in size, along with a "back forty" a small bit of land that up until this fall had the neighbors sheep and goats on it, so we never had to be concerned on it. Why it seems that EVERY DAY of my life I look around, and I am constantly dusting, vacuuming, mopping, sweeping, picking up things, doing laundry, taking out trash, scrubbing tub and toilet. Yet both inside and out, I feel like it appears that this house is dirty, and it is just falling down around me every day a bit more.

When I bought it, I put a LOT of money into it, there was still SO MUCH "restoration" that needed to be done, yet the money ran out. So, even though there was at least 10,000.00 or more put into it, for painting, redoing floors, carpets, furniture, redoing plumbing, a lot of the electrical rewiring, lots of new plumbing, a brand new shower/tub, a new toliet, taking in a wall, knocking one out to have a bit of closet space and to make the bathroom larger. Yet, when it came to redoing flooring in the bath, kitchen, doing the finishing work i the laundry room, a carport had to be put up, and now the list is still endless.

We had some storm windows put in, and had a great deal of insulation put in the walls and attic. Yet, one bedroom did not get the new windows, and the windows are so old, the glass brittle, they lack most of the correct Pins and "glazing" that should be around them. That entire room has really never had been redone, so it needs paint, the windows repaired, a new ceiling fan, carpeting laid, and along with now the outside of the house needs a complete paint job, and some rotten board repaired.

So, I see one of my "mistakes" was not considering just how much MORE I needed in finances to really PUT this home back to its original state. I lacked about 5,000.00 back then, and now with other things going on, it is more like 10,000.00  more that needs to be put in... a new roof, the ceiling in many of the rooms really need to be either repainted or redone. The floors in the kitchen, bath and laundry room laid in. The walls that are in the bath need to be some still put in, and/or "mudded" and textured for paint. So, I should have known that without ALL of those funds, trying to "make" this house "look" neat and clean is very difficult, if you still have "portions" that are not yet up.

So, I look around, and even though SO MUCH work was done, and ALL for the most part myself and my husband did it all. From redoing hardwood flooring to painting, texturing, putting in a larger shower/tub, all of the plumbing, still the house no matter HOW MUCH I clean it, to me it looks dirty. I can dust, mop,sweep, do laundry, and almost every day it could be done again. Nothing ever looks "clean". Even though I KNOW it is, when it is "old" stained, and needs replacing, it just never appears to be clean.

Of course, then there were a stove/oven, the refrigerator, the washer and dryer, bed, furniture for the living room, and the list of all of those things, from the "renovation" work, to all of the other items needed to run a home, lawn mower, weedeater, tools... we had to buy a huge array of tools, saws, screwdrivers, wrenches, tree trimmers, you name it, of course if you do lawn work, and work around your home, you know just how many tools that can take. Blinds, curtains, sheets, towels... yes, we had "some" of these after being together for a pretty good length of time, but even those were beginning to show their own signs of "wear and tear".

So, then come along, and I became "chronically ill" - with autoimmune illnesses, that led into many surgeries, doctors, tests, you name it, I went through it. It seemed endless. Then, many of the things I could do, no longer was I able to do, when it came to the DIY around the house. I had both knees replaced, a shoulder replaced, surgeries on other joints, my neck had to have surgery, then I had "double hernia" surgery, not that long ago... thus me being able to even, "mow", do things in the yard as I once did, many things in the house, either I cannot do them anymore, or it takes me 5 TIMES as long as it used to.

My energy level is constantly up and down. The fatigue at times is just horrid. The brain fog, now has "captured" my mind so much, that even trying to write some days seems like it might be impossible.

So, now after being in this home, that we loved, we wanted, we wanted something we could "FIX UP" ourselves... yet, now it needs a new roof, we need gravel under the carport, windows finished in that back room, carpet laid in there, the house needs a painting all over... and again the list is endless .... and again it seems no matter how much I clean, how much I sweep, it seems nothing is ever "finished" or clean.

Texas is known for its "dust" that seems to come from no where. But, there is a constant battle with a grey dust that seems to settle daily on everything. As I said in the beginning, it just seems endless.\

What makes it even worse, I would much rather be here, at the computer, writing my book, so I can get it published. Yet, that always seems to be the "last" thing on the bottom of an endless to do list. So, by the time I reach down and pull up more things to be done, I am too worn out, physically, mentally and emotionally to really put myself into the writing as I want to.

So, now I sit here, daily, wanting so badly for things to just STOP for a few days, stay clean, not have endless errands to run, or things to do like shopping, mail, laundry, cooking, mopping, paying bills... all of that could just be put on hold for a few weeks so I can have some quality time to write...

Right now, it is almost 1 PM. I am on "empty" as far as energy, with sheets to be put back on the bed, and other clothes to be hung up or put away. I need a shower, and I'm drenched in sweat from the humidity. I have already swept, done laundry, mopped, dusted, including under the bed, behind it, and so on, it id trash day and after a holiday and a massive amount of bad weather I had 3 can FULL of not just trash, but limbs, and 4 other huge limbs too large to cut up. In between, I've done some things on line, but I am worn out from these past few weeks of energy.... and it seems there is never a break. I began trying to work on the inside windows in the back spare room. Well, that is going to take time to sand down, fill in so many places with wood putty and then get them ready to paint. After that, they have to be fixed from the outside with the pins and glazing which is very time consuming. I have a total of 5 windows, all of which need that work on them. I actually still have a broken windows from the hail storm last year. I had hail break a window when I was ill with pneumonia, so it is taped up and sealed up the best I can until I can get it measured and have someone to help me put it in. I can, but I need another person to hold it in place, as I can't hold it and pin it at the same time..


So, hind sight is "20/20".... there are so many things I look back on now, and so wished I would have done differently. I can't tell it all here in one post, but from some of my "relationships", to homes, to where I am living in the nation, to health problems, jobs... and TIME to write my book! That is probably THE MOST important thing to me, is to FINISH THAT BOOK AND GET IT PUBLISHED! But, how does ONE person do it all? And then have enough "time and energy" to feel like doing it all, and then spending time on my book daily.


By the time I've been up since sometimes 5AM, and 4 PM rolls around, I am totally exhausted. I wished I had an easy answer... I wished I had any answer.....



Friday, July 18, 2014

Cute Story about Neighborly Neighbors & Their Friendly "Battles" Over the Years

I debated about posting this here first, or putting it on my blog with a link to it here. But, for now I will post it here because it is a "cute" little ordeal that has actually been going on for around 50 plus years. My Dad & Mom lived in the very first house my Dad had built in 1950. It is tiny. 2 small bedrooms, a small living room, a very small dining area that also is where the washer and dry are, a fairly small kitchen & alas the bathroom is just like a tiny box! We are talking about just less than 1,000 sq. feet! Back then that was in some ways considered HUGE! Many just could not afford a "huge" three bedroom brick mansion, with two baths and an attached garage. I begin telling this because you kind of have to get a bit of "background" about the neighborhood, & get the jest of why this is so freaking funny, especially to me. Mom & Dad had (and Mom still has the woman) a couple next door to them that they had known from day one of being there. Over the years they had cook out's together, went dancing together, Dad worked with the husband for many years at EBF etc. The wife, had been a nurse (at one time the only one that delivered babies with the doctors), and she was extremely dedicated and even after she retired, she went back to work for one of our doctors, until he retired, and she had too many issues health wise, so she had to give it up. Anyway, both my parents and them played "penny" poker sometimes on a Friday or Saturday night, went out to eat, and Dad and the husband were always kidding one another, from Dad Calling him a "tight wad", to him calling Dad silly stuff also. They would every once in a while get pissed and they may not talk to one another for a day or so, and then right back to the friendship as it always was. They had 2 boys. They were both several years older than me. And the neighbors house, like ours was very small, about the same size as Mom's & Dad's... and they raised those two boys in the tiny home. She still lives there till this day, just like my Mom... both chose to stay in the home they had always been in since marriage.
She, as a nurse, really did many, many things to help me. She was like a 2nd Mom, and sometimes it felt like my "1st Mom)! LOL... she taught me to crochet, make baby caps, and took me shopping in Dallas when she went... She was always teaching me something or doing something and would usually invite me to come. She is the very reason I so wanted to become a nurse. I "worked" as a volunteer Candy striper, she allowed me to do everything from learning to use the "autoclave" (back then it was used to kill the bacteria etc on the instruments.. there was nothing, or not much disposables back then. They washed, cleaned and then wrapped the packs of what was needed in certain surgeries etc... then put them in the autoclave to sterilize them. I even had my picture in the local paper one year holding the first "Christmas" baby in a red stocking we always made for them to go home in.

So, as you can tell our families were close, almost like being family members to one another. But, if Dad decided to go out and get a "portable gas grill", that family has to "one up" Dad, and have one put in the ground permanently and build a deck around it. If Dad painted the house, so did they. If Dad bought a new truck, you can bet they would have a new vehicle.... LOL, it got to be just funny, because they just could not stand for Dad and Mom to do something, without them feeling the need to also do the same or something similar. She had helped us out over the years when we were ill, or had a health issue, we always went over to talk to her first. But, just after Dad passed away, and just after I got back to Ennis to help Mom out, little did I know that her friend was "helping" Mom with her affairs financially, etc... but SHE bless her soul is just PUSHY as hell. She always wanted to tell everyone what to do, what to say, where to be, and if you did not do what she said, you can bet she would get pissy, and not speak for a day or so... But, as I said just after I got here back in Ennis, Mom & her had "words" over something I think... what I do know is that the woman, who had been like another Mom to me, quit speaking to me also. Even if she met me in the store, I could have ran over her, and several times I looked in her the face and said hello, but she NEVER said a word to me. Now I know my Mom sometimes can say something, & she may not mean it to sound "degrading" or in a bad way, BUT people take it that way. So, I feel my Mom might have said something or the friend did, & whatever it was it really hurt their friendship and mine, and I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT! After I got here, Mom no longer needed her "friends advice" so I think that was part of it. She wanted to be able to tell Mom how to kind of "run her life"....now I am here and I am the one helping Mom out with the affairs... Well, about 2 months ago, after YEARS now of not speaking they began to speak a little... thus it is not all patched up but there is a bit of communication between them... NOW comes the FUNNY PART!!!! LOL... Last week I was at Mom's for the most part as they replaced her roof. Well, the gentleman that owned the roofing company came into tell us they were through... and then he said, your neighbor wants me to give her an estimate... MMMM, you must have known one another for a long time!!! We kind of looked at one another weird and asked him why he thought that. Well, Miss Goody-two-Shoes had commenced to telling him Mom should have had that replaced years ago, and blah, blah, blah, about how Mom should do this, & that I may not be giving her the best advice ---HAHAHA ----- We had to laugh in the first place, the ONLY reason for her having her house roofed is because she just cannot stand to be "one-upped" by Mom... and then that is just like her to mouth off about someone, and of course it had to be Mom and I! So, we told him a "condensed" story of the thing, and we all three had a great laugh over it, PLUS HE GOT THE JOB!!!!! So, whether she did need it or not.... I was happy he got the roofing job... And to read me tell the story, it is not quite as funny as "watching" it evolve after all these years... just goes to prove the old saying.. "Some things never change"... she is the same as she was when I was 10 yrs old... and I bet Dad and her Husband are in heaven still teasing one another... and her Mom & Her are, still the same... a few years older but still "friendly rivals"
about how Mom should do this, & that I may not be giving her the best advice  ----LOL

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Annual Family Christmas Letter for 2013....

                   How Can It Be Christmas 2013 Already?



I’ve been contemplating over writing this “annual Christmas Letter” for weeks. Although it is a tradition, and I am not one for altering traditions; life in itself gives you no choice BUT to alter, change, move, forward, backward, and sometimes even upside down, as far as the traditional sense goes.

I do just sit here in wonderment of just how quickly this year has flown by. It seems each February that rolls around (my birthday month), makes that year fly by swifter than the one before. As kids we fuss that it takes such a long time for holidays, a new school year, Summer to arrive, time for us to have our driver’s license, time to graduate… 
After you are out of school, in a job, possibly have a spouse, a family, and all of the hustle and bustle that goes with those things, time seems to “turn a page” in a greater way than the years before. Marriages seem to go by more quickly, kids grow up just all too fast, and then you are again by yourselves, with an occasional visit from the kids and the Grand kids. 

As I watch my own Grand kids grow, they are also growing from one stage in childhood so fast, and the next thing you know, they are like my Grand Daughter Heather. Here she is a teenager and getting her driver’s license as they turn 16 in the blink of an eye. My oldest Grand son James jut turned 8 on the 6th of December. As I looked at all of his  birthday pictures on Facebook earlier this morning, my memories were of him, just practically a newborn a few weeks after we moved back to Texas in 2005. I am amazed as I think about them visiting at that time, with their first newborn son together; yet now their is the 2nd one Logan, who is sure not a baby anymore either. It was so cute to see Logan right beside James every step he made in those pictures! He follows his “big brother” around everywhere he goes. Then again I see Heather, the oldest as a young woman, not the tiny 2 year old child she was when I first met her. Time has flown by, and it does just seem to fly more quickly with each turn of a page in life. 

We tend to take “time” for granted. So, rather than spend this moment of time fussing about how time flies by, I’ll spend these few moments to let you know a bit about the homes of our families.

Mom is doing well. In fact, she is doing much better than the rest of us in many ways. Her health is good. But, she did go through a bit of a scare with her heart earlier in the year. She had been a bit short of breath, but she called me one morning to say she could not even walk to the mail box without being very winded. So, I called, got her into the doctor, and they thought it was her heart. They wheeled her over to the ER at the hospital next door. Her EKG, blood work, and all indicated she did not have a heart attack, so that was a good thing. In fact her doctor kept her overnight, and monitored her heart, along with doing labs every few hours to make sure nothing was awry. He wanted her to see a cardiologist just for the sake of making sure all was okay. in fact I took her to my own cardiologist, who is just wonderful. Dr. Meg Sullivan put Mom with a couple of other tests, and one was an echocardiogram. There was a “severe” abnormality of her mitral valve, which would not have been caught on an EKG or blood work. It was “sloppy” and loose, thus blood with oxygen is not all getting where it needs to be, thus causing her to be out of breath. The first “echo” was showing this in the “severe” range. That usually means open heart surgery, the only way to repair that valve. I think they have some doctors doing it with a scope, but I am not sure just how well that is going yet. Anyway, I asked Dr. Meg if we could do something “else” before we consider going through a huge surgical procedure. Mom was of course stunned and certainly NOT ready to even think about open heart surgery and I was also quite stunned myself. I think our cardiologist saw that neither of us were exactly thrilled and in fact both of us, Mom and I were in shock. That was the last thing we expected to hear. So, the doctor did suggest that Mom could “increase” one of her medications, Lasix, so it would take MORE fluid from her body. With that, even less sodium intake, adding more Potassium to her schedule, and “decreasing” the amount of fluids she drank daily. Believe it or not, it worked! The Lord was certainly on her side and all of ours. Two weeks after she began this routine, they did another ultrasound on her heart. Not only did the issue go from “severe”, but decreased that “sloppiness” so much, that her mitral valve was almost “normal”, rather than appearing diseased! Talk about miracles! That was a miracle. So far, that was at the first of the year, she has not had any real issues again. I am sure it may come to give problems some day, but for now, she had a 6 month check up about a month ago, and all appears to be well. I was extremely thankful. Mom has been so very fortunate health wise, that I am not sure she would stand to go through something that dramatic as far as a surgical procedure. She is having some horrible pain issues with her right shoulder. It has gotten so bad she is unable to even comb her hair. I’ve been fussing for her to see our Orthopedic surgeon. I feel it could be her neck, since I went through much of the same with mine. After having a shoulder replacement on the right, then also having cervical neck surgery due to continued pain in my right shoulder blade, I fear her issues could be cervical neck related also. Other than this issue with her shoulder, and of course she is having more problems with arthritis, and a bit “feeble” like having to watch going up and down stairs, holding onto rails more, and that kind of thing, she is doing very well to be 78 years old. She sends her love to all.

Both Jason and Amanda; along with Amanda’s husband and three children are all doing okay. Jason recently took a job not far from where Amanda and her family live; about 30 minutes out of Corpus Christi. So, he spends quite a bit of time with her and her family. I  am happy that they have one another close now. They have been close to each other, ever since they grew out of that “kid sister - older brother” stage years ago. It is wonderful to see them enjoy one another and have a good relationship. She stays on the go as usual. Never a dull moment with the three kids and their friends and families. She just doesn’t know “yet” how to sit still very long! Reminds me of “me” when I was her age. 

Jason decided to change a few things in his life. He is out of the career for now of any type of law enforcement, and is now working for a company out of Corpus Christi in the oil business. He seems to like it, and it seems to be less stressful, of course than the law enforcement jobs. Jason has some issues health wise with what seems to be symptoms of Fibromyalgia. He has had “aches and pains” with his joints for several years now. As of this past year it seems that some other symptoms have cropped up. These newer symptoms seem to exemplify more in the range of “FM” (Fibromyalgia)/“CFS/ME” (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). He has been taking some medication that seems to be helping and our hopes are that he shall continue to see improvement, and be able to continue on with all of his dreams and plans for the future. 

Well, “our home”. Actually things have been not nearly as “upside down” on the health front as the past few years had been. In saying that, I have had “new symptoms” and side effects from the Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses. They have not been the most pleasant to say the least. I suddenly developed “double vision” the first part of this year. We first thought it was because I was not getting much sleep. So, I was overly tired most of the time, thus it was effecting my eye sight. I went through several doctors/specialists, lots of tests, including a “temporal artery biopsy”, and in the end, one of the best specialists in the field told me, “Frankly, he thinks it’s the Lupus, but is not sure exactly why it is”. He put a totally different type of glasses on me, with spheres in both lenses. They do a great job correcting the double vision, while I am wearing them. With them off, I still see “double”. Although we are still a bit baffled by it all, we also know when it comes to these autoimmune illnesses that have kind of “taken” over; there sometimes it just “not” a “diagnosis” or “explanation” but to say it is one of those. 
I have made change in the RA medication. I am taking “infusions” every 4 to 6 months. The hope is that this medication will somewhat control the RA pain AND our greatest hope is that it will slow down the progression of the damage to my joints. I have my thumbs that are just in terrible shape. The use of my hands continues to get worse each year. Until I have just about lost all use, or the doctors insist on “fusing” the thumb joints or replacing them, I just do things to help assist me in opening things, buttoning, holding and so on. My only other “oddity” is that I recently developed an “oval lump” on my lower left abdomen. I was at three doctors, had a sonogram, and no one could figure it out! (what’s new)… Finally, one of my regular physicians’, PA (assistant) saw me again, and “bingo” she found the problem right away. Of all things I have a “hernia”, actually I now have 2 hernia’s, one on each side; left and right. Only me! From all I have read and been told, hernia’s (inguinal hernia’s) are EXTREMELY difficult to find in females. Plus, they are usually “genetic” in nature. When we are in the womb, well before even “sex” is determined there are two tubes that form, and after that then the “sex” of the baby happens. But, those “tubes” especially in females can be “weak”. That weakness tends to run in families. So, as my PA told me, my own daughter could be subject to having a hernia or hernia’s also. It is only genetic as far as they know, more on the female side. Even though male babies, often have a hernia(s) when they are born, or very small. But those in themselves, supposedly are not “genetic”. I thought it was “wild” but I did some research and that is exactly what I found. I guess we learn something new no matter how old we are. Life to me stays absolutely fascinating for that reason! No matter how lousy I feel, or what is going on, I still love learning something new all the time! Especially when it comes to the “medical realms” of life. 

Jim, is also having one heck of a time with a shoulder/neck problem. He recently had an MRI, and in fact we have not gotten the results as of the time I am writing this letter. Our hopes are, and fingers crossed, that he is not facing surgery. But, it just does not look good. He stays in a tremendous amount of pain, and of all things, the pain is almost unbearable each time he sits down at the computer to work. Well, being the he designs and develops web sites as a career makes it a bad situation all the way around. I pray that rather than be some that needs surgery, that it may be something that is a “chronic inflammatory” process, which possibly corticosteroids in a larger dose, for an extended length of time, and some powerful NSAID”s maybe the answer. Surgery is just not something he wants to face at all. Plus he is without health insurance at the time. As anyone knows that works for themselves, with things in a mess as they are in our country with the health insurance situation, we are not sure how we will face something surgical in nature. But, I know that our “Higher Power” is watching over us, and “He” will make everything happen as it should be. 

I swore I wouldn’t make this long, but here it is, long as usual. I’ll just say a couple more things. I did have my 2nd PUBLISHED book go out earlier this year. I now have TWO books published, and they are on amazon.com   …   I use the “pen” name of “Rhia” or “Rhiannon” Steele. Both are Poetry/short Prose books, and are named “Ramblings of A Seasoned Soul” and the other is “Time Tattered Musings”. If you want to and have a moment look them up and you can “Look Inside the book” on Amazon, on both and read a couple of pages in them. My hope was to have a “3rd” book out by now. My “dream” to  be a “published” author has came true twice! Yet, my ultimate dream is to have the journey of my life in a book published. I have the entire “story” in bits and pieces all over my computer as well as in my blog online, and dozens of “handwritten” journals I’ve kept since I was around 14 years old. Every time I try to “begin” the book though, I just never quite come up with how I want that very first paragraph, page; the first chapter to sound. All of us have “a book” in us, is what I had a dear friend say to me. In a way that is so true. We “all” have a story about our lives, and how we got from point “a” as a youngster to point “b” in our present, plus we have ideas about point “c” where we hope to be in the future. But, some just never write it. I want to take that step and tell my story. Much of it, I’ve never shared with anyone. Much of it, I have shared but with only those I felt could totally understood where I came from. Yet, everyone that knows me well, especially Mom and Jim, have continued to encourage me to write “the” book, book… as I call it. 

I hope to accomplish that “dream” and write the “ultimate”, “Book, Book”, this year. That is if the “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise”, as the saying goes. As far as the “rest” of our family, “Tazzy” and “Bubba Gump”, our two “fur kids” are just as spoiled rotten as ever. They are getting older also as we can tell. Tazz, our Pug, is the oldest. She came with us from Seattle. That was in 2005. She was about a year old then. Bubba, is a
“Chi-Weenie”, and he is a character. They both keep us laughing, and talk about “separation anxiety”. They “cry” if I or Jim leave to go to the store! Bless their hearts, they are so accustomed to the both of us being with them. But, they are a joy, even though they can aggravate the heck out of us as times also. Just like 2 kids for sure!


My “projects” are many. It seems I always have my “fingers” in a different pie. I recently became an “Active Volunteer” for a non-profit Foundation that is trying to help bring awareness to Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses. I just “graduated” from a several month class learning about the Foundation, and all they are accomplishing. It is truly an amazing story. The “founder” began about 4 years ago, after she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She wanted to make a difference and she has truly already done “miracles” through what started out as a “Buckle Me Up Movement” and a bracelet she made with a “belt buckle” at her apartment in San Francisco. From there it has grown to her and 4 “co-founders”, became an official non-profit foundation, and is about 35 volunteers strong and growing quickly. She has honestly accomplished things in 4 short years that many would never accomplish in a life time. And ALL of us have one or more Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses. The Foundation is International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis. I would love it if you have a moment to take a look at their website. Even it does not really tell just how incredible this truly is and how many lives she and all of us as a team shall touch! You can visit the website at: 
http://www.ifautoimmunearthritis.org  …
Also, I will be doing some blogging on their own blog, which is called “Systemically Connected”. Plus my own personal blog, “Gaze Thru Pain - Lupus/RA & This Foggy Brain” is the name of it, and the URL to my blog is :  
http://rhiannonsrisetodreamstate.blogspot.com 
I have to laugh, of course, as I say every year; I’m not going to make my “Annual Christmas Letter” so long! Of course it is always long, and probably longer than usual. I find as I write, there is lots more that went on during the year, than I think did. 

My hope… Our Hope is the you and your families are healthy, happy, and enjoying one another throughout the holidays. May you find peace, joy, and most of all love throughout 2014 and beyond. Know that we think of you often; even though we aren’t close physically, in our hearts and spirit we are always right there.


Much Love, Merry Christmas and A 2014 that shall be Wonderful!  Rhia,Jim, Tazz, Bubba… and All of Our Family!!!! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

AAI(Autoimmune Arthritic Illnesses & Our sense of smell (Odd or Phantom Smells), Sight, Hearing, Tasting, & Feeling?

I've noticed that often my sense of smell is either "off", strange, or my home, along with the outside around my home smells putrid!

I can walk around my home, as I did just this morning, and everything smells horrible! I was thinking to myself and mumbling that I really needed to "clean" because my house plain STINKS like my dogs left a "puddle" in every room! Now I know that sounds funny, and it is kind of funny, BUT in all honesty, I can walk into a room, or walk outside on my front porch and feel like my entire world is smelly. I smell smoke often outside. Which at times there are those that are grilling, or it is the emissions from vehicles. At this time of the year, people also are beginning to burn their fireplaces also. So, the smell of smoke can be truly justifiable at times in those instances. Yet, I can walk out the door, and smell everything from something "dead" like a mouse, to a "moldy" smell, to the smell of what I consider "bug spray" and the list goes on.

I have also smelled many perfumes that absolutely smell like "Raid" when I just smell them out of the bottle. Yet, they may smell wonderful once they are on someone. Now, I have this crazy smelling as I said as if my entire home smells like "the dog pee". I am a bit paranoid because I have two full grown "puppies", dogs, yet they will always seem like puppy's to me. They are totally house broken, but as they have grown a little older they tend to decide to get mad when we go out and leave them. I at times come in to a puddle of pee on my hardwood floor, which does NOT make me a happy camper. They both have anxiety separation issues, always have. Even if one of us is at home with them, they get upset because we are not both here.

Anyway, I began to do a little bit of research to see if those of us with these various form of Autoimmune Illnesses have issues with their sense of smell. And by "gosh" I am correct! There is definitely many of us that do suffer from various type of "smell" disorders. We do either have a "lack" of the ability to smell (Sjogren's is certainly one that can cause that), or you have a phantom smell disorder where it is not there but we smell it.

I've also seen people say that there sense of smell is actually "more keen" with some of this AAI's. They can smell things that are much further off than other people.

When it comes to all of our senses, smell, taste, feel, vision, hearing… they can all be effected in one way or the other by the diseases, syndromes and illnesses. I have double vision that came up almost a year ago. I've been through 3 eye specialists. Two of them highly specialized, being "Neuro -Opthamologists". After months and months of tests, lab work, and a temporal artery biopsy, they NEVER did truly FIND THE REASON for my DOUBLE VISION!! Thus they blame it on the Lupus!

I developed "Tinnitus"… of which the ENT doctor said " you'll get used to it"… there is really nothing they can do for it… you learn to "drown out" the ringing, whirling, buzzing noises…

Of course then there is the "Vertigo" - that also is not just my mind thinking I am spinning and moving… I DO spin, move and gyrate, at times without the medication, Meclazine… now I just learned a very interesting fact! There is a newer medication that came out called "VertiCalm". I saw it was for "dizziness" motion sickness etc… so I was of course once again "My wondering and wandering mind wanted to know what it was?" I look it up and it is exactly what I take that does not require a script BUT you have to ask them for it at the pharmacy, Meclazine. I've been using it for a very long time… for the vertigo, dizziness, and movement disorder. I take two every morning of my life, and sometimes when I have a bout with it, I have to take a couple more during the day. Now here it is over the counter, out from the back of the counter, and I bet it's going to be MORE EXPENSIVE, than the one I buy from behind the counter. I get like 90 or 100 tablets for usually between 4 to 6 dollars. Since I happen to find this due to a coupon for it, I will bet it is much higher than that for a lot less tablets. It will be interesting to see next time I'm out what the difference is.

So, I've touched on hearing, smelling, and tasting somewhat; along with vision.

The sense of touch I am not so sure about. I don't know that our sense of touching is really effected by any of these illnesses. I have problems with extremely "tender" skin. Sun is a huge "no-no". It can bring on a flare, or certainly make your "wolves mask" much worse, or both. Predisone, along with the other corticosteroids also makes my skin very thin. I bruise extremely easy, or just a small "knock" again furniture when I vacuum leaves terrible bruises. Some of those take months to fade. I have some that are just a "permanent" part of me.

Just to add a bit of humor to this really terrible issue as times with the senses. As far as "touch or feel" I know I have this "urge" when I go anywhere to look at new clothes, that I have to "feel" the material of everything. I am sure as a whole women do that when they shop. But, texture in fabric is a big thing when I am shopping for clothing. I believe that is just one factor of being the "female" gender.


I would love to hear from all of you in regards to these 5 senses. How if you are effected with your particular illness(es)?