Thursday, January 31, 2019

This Cold Weather is Kicking My Butt!

Greetings from Kentuckiana.  Like many we are mid-polar vortex and SO freaking cold.  Today is 6 degrees out.  It's a veritable heatwave because for the moment the wind has stopped so the windchill is equal to the temps.  I don't know about you, but when it's this cold, my body revolts.  My hands, feet, shoulders and knees are NOT happy with this weather.  I saw my Rheumatologist on Friday and even then my hands and shoulder were in beginning stage flare because of the cold.  She said that being off NSAIDS because of the ulcer is not doing me any favors either.  Oh well, we press on as always. 

The advantage to working at (and being a student of) a university is the occasional "Snow Day".  I was so thankful that yesterday, when it was in the negative teens all day, we had the day off.  I got a lot (2/3) of homework accomplished and didn't have to be out in it.  I was rather hoping that we would have a 2 hour delay like the rest of the schools in the area today to give it time to warm just a bit today but no luck.  In about 15 minutes I will have to head out to start the car and clean the snow off from Tuesday night.  I can't complain too much- Jim didn't have the day off and was mega layered up (including a face mask) because he works loading trucks and is in the cold much of the day.

Today I am thankful for:

GLOVES!  I don't know what I would do without them on days like today! 

Stay warm friends and if you, like me, have a rough go when it's this frigid out- take it easy on yourself.   

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Please Stop This Ride, I Want to Get Off.

     It's been an exhausting week.  We haven't been overly busy at work but it's still a lot.  Sales are down which means those on the mountain-top reevaluated my payroll and decided to eliminate the only non-management full time position on my roster yesterday.  She's a very nice lady and we've worked together for over 10 years now.  It's was SO hard to have to tell her that per position had been eliminated- but I am sure it was much harder to be on the receiving end.  Once I finish homework this weekend I am going to have to spend some time working on the new division of responsibilities for the store.

     That was the end of the week.  The rest of the week was a medical pain in the backside.  Every morning I wake up more and more swollen and without the anti-inflammatory.  The amount of time that I am stiff is getting longer too.  Another effect of the lack of anti-inflammatory is that the bulging discs in my neck have pinched a nerve.  That means that if I spend any length of time looking down (like- at a keyboard) I go numb from my left TMJ to my finger tips and I have a heavy ache from my shoulder to my elbow.  It's hard to lift anything or even wear my backpack when it constantly feels like you are poking a heavy bruise. 

     My title today is Please Stop This Ride, I Want to Get Off.  If I were in the medical field it might be fascinating how interconnected all of these systems of the body are and how treating one thing leads to another or having one illness leads to another.  Being the recipient of the constant new diagnosis and treatment, on the other hand, is not fun, not interesting and is getting entirely too old. I am 51 years old and just cannot imagine another 20 or so years of compounding illnesses.  If things stayed status quo, I could come to terms with it- but I feel like I am on a roller coaster, slowly climbing to the top of the hill, inching closer and closer until...WOOSH, the bottom drops out and down we go, screaming to the bottom only to start it again.  I used to love roller coasters- until my life became one.  Maybe just a break, until I finish school, would be enough.   I wonder if that could  happen? 

Oh well- the weather outside is horrific (low 40's and intermittent torrential downpours today, dropping sharply tonight and bringing in 3-6" of snow with it overnight) so today's a good day to stay home, nap, do homework, and make a nice beef stew for dinner.  NO need to get out in this weather.  Be safe everyone!   

Monday, January 7, 2019

School Is Back In Session!

     Today is the first day of the Spring term.  I am having a bit of "What in the world did I get into?" this morning that actually started last night when I opened my Geography textbook.  In reading the opening, I am interested in the Human Geography portion but that is the minor part of this course- this is essentially Earth Science- which I haven't even thought about since I took the class in high school in 1982.    The only part that piqued my interest is climate change.  I am woefully ignorant about the science behind it so that will be interesting.  The hard part- it's all online and not a....motivating subject for this non-sciency (yes, I made that up!) girl.  

On the bright side- I am very much looking forward to my Communications Law and Public Relations Writing courses this term, both of which start today.  One is my lunch, the other starts at 6pm.  In Comm Law we have a major term project that will require us to do a Freedom Of Information Act request.  It's a group project (ugh) and so we will have to agree on a subject but that should be interesting.  In PR Writing, our term will center on all aspects of PR writing for a single company/organization of our choice pending approval.  One would think the layup would be doing it for work but the fly in that ointment is- I don't want to be treated any differently than any other transfer student by my professors or fellow students so I don't mention my job in class unless directly asked or recognized. 

Healthwise, I am worn smooth out because of the current schedule but more- my body goes back and forth with swelling and pain due to the lack of anti-inflammatories.  I told someone the other day that it would take less time to say what DOESN'T hurt than outline what does.  I am also struggling with eating for my ulcer.  I really, really miss tomatoes and second thing I miss is chocolate.  Friday night was Jim's birthday and it took me almost 2 hours to find a restaurant that he would eat at and that I could eat.  It's not as restrictive as some- and I shouldn't complain at all compared to what my dearest friend just went through ( totally restricted elimination diet)- but as someone who cooks a lot with tomatoes, vinegars, cruciferous veggies and whole milk- it kind of stinks. 

My List for this week is what I am most happy about right now.  I will work on that after homework tonight. SO-  Count your blessings today and think about what makes you happy.  It's time so it's AWAY WE GO!  

Friday, January 4, 2019

Back to School Rush time- again and again

   Another Back-to-School Rush is in full swing.  For me that means working every day through the 12th.  Of course, now that I am a student as well, it also means getting my head straight for learning as well as busting my cookies in the store.  Last term I took my first Hybrid course.  That means that we meet one day a week on campus and the rest is online.  I much preferred that to fully online classes because that one day face-to-face allows for the immediate questions and answers that I need to feel like I am going in the right direction.

    Spring is a slower time for the store so I am going to attempt to take three classes this semester- one face to face, one hybrid and one online.  What that will require is a lot of discipline on my part.  It will also require that I manage my energy levels to the nth degree. 

    The challenge to that lies not only in the Fibro and RA but some things that cropped up within the last few months.  I was very sick in the Fall - the recurrence of Bronchitis and Pneumonia was a multi-month process and left me beyond exhausted.  When I didn't bounce back my doctor did blood work and discovered that I had developed severe anemia.  Combined with the acid reflux I have been fighting for years now, I ended up at the GI doc who diagnosed GERD just by looking at me and my history and then went a step further.  A few weeks ago I had an endoscopy and he found a big old linear ulcer to top it off that he felt was caused by so many years of NSAIDS.  So now- they have pulled me off the NSAIDS, added lots of iron, doubled the Prilosec in the morning and added RX strength Zantac at night.  It's a lot but my energy level has *almost* righted itself but I am hopeful.  I just have to work with not being on anti-inflammatories.  We are also in the process of changing my RA drug but that's another saga for another time. 

     In the meantime- wish me lots of energy as I tackle these classes this term.  It's one step closer to being done with my degree!  Until next time, I hope your weekend is filled with blessings. 


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Looking back at 2018- Looking forward to 2019

     2018 was a real roller-coaster.  As I sat there on New Year's Eve reflecting on the past 365 days, I realized just how up and down it went.  If I needed further confirmation, it was the dozen or so posts that I had sitting as drafts that I deleted to clean up my year.  2018 also seemed to fly by like a Supertrain bound from Boston to New York.  I cannot believe we are already in a new year. 

     I waited a day in order to give myself time to really think about all of this- and fortunately I had all of yesterday to make notes at my leisure as I sent the husband up to South Bend for the NHL Winter Classic.  He's a HUGE Boston Bruins fan and I got him a ticket for his birthday.  He went solo because Hockey is not my thing and it's not a huge sport out this way.  He was very content to make the 4.5 hour (each way) drive in order to see his favorite team in Notre Dame stadium and I was content to stay home with the pups and set my desks up for next semester, get a little housework done and pamper myself at my leisure. 

     In reflection- here is what I realized.  In 2018, I allowed myself to get so caught up in school, work, and more emerging health issues that I lost time with some important things.    I didn't spend enough time with my parents, my only writing was for school and rather than fight my illnesses, I just let them wash over me and take me directly into a pity party.  When I am in the throes of that mindset, I withdraw and "deal with it" (without dealing with it) solo because the only pity I want is my own.  Silly isn't it?  It takes something jarring to pull me out of my own head and thankfully, the end of the year did the trick.  That said, I did have some real highlights in visiting Josh and his family for a week, and yet another fun haunt season. 

     In looking forward to 2019, I am not making resolutions. Everyone knows we don't make it 6 weeks with resolutions so instead I am setting goals.

1-  I will address the new issue of a big old ulcer and the resulting anemia head on.  This means diet and taking the yukky medication as directed- no matter how hard it is.

2-  I will do my best to schedule my school work in a manageable schedule.    I have three classes in Spring and more than likely 2 in Fall and I will not procrastinate the homework but schedule time within my day to complete it without being overwhelmed.

3- To that end, I will work to achieve a work-life balance that includes time for self-care in addition to downtime to rest and recharge.  These are things I am not always good at even though I know they are beneficial to both mind and body.

4.  I will make it a point to spend more time with my family- be it Jim and the pups or my parents.  None of us will be around forever and we need to enjoy the time we have.  I also know I have a week with the entire family in June and I will savor it. 

5.  I am going to take 30 minutes a day for reflection and devotion.  I have my early mornings that I am essentially listening to the tube and playing games while my body catches up with my mind waking up and it will be easy enough to "schedule in" 30 minutes.  I will either meditate, write here, write in my journal or my "52 Lists for Happiness" workbook- anything to help get my head on straight to be able to start the day with a clear mind. 

     One "tradition" that I have been considering that I am going to incorporate into this year is a focus word but you know me- I can't just ease into anything so I chose two.  My two words for 2019 are: 


    To practice Gratitude, I am going to start by the simple act of saying "Thank You" to those who matter.  To practice kindness, I am going to begin by really listening and thinking before I speak; measuring my thoughts and reframing with kindness before I reply.  As someone who can be very blunt and sarcastic- that will be the toughest beginning but I am going to commit to it.    

On that note- Thank YOU- for your support for all of these years and for taking time out of your day to read this blog.  I appreciate your comments here and on Twitter and that you've stuck with me through the tough times and the good times.  I hope your 2019 is truly blessed.