I Disappeared

Where have I been? That’s a good question. I’m still here. I just haven’t been blogging. I’ve thought about it off and on, especially when I read other people’s posts. But I couldn’t seem to find the motivation to do it myself. But today, here I am.

I’m still working full time, for the next 528 days. That’s when I can take early retirement. I am so looking forward to that (like you couldn’t figure that out from my countdown, right?).  There are days when I’m not sure if I can make it through the next 528 days. I’ve now been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (or rheumatoid disease, which I prefer to call it, because it’s so much more than arthritis), osteoarthritis, neuropathy, and the latest diagnosis, fibromyalgia. No wonder I’m in constant pain. Whew!

The fibromyalgia diagnosis came about the last time I saw my rheumatologist. I told her that I was having pain all over, that the blankets, at night, hurt my legs and feet.  I told her that my hands hurt all over, not just in the joints. She asked several questions, then did the pressure points test. Uh yeah, those all hurt…a lot.  So we talked for a while (she’s the best about talking, listening, and explaining things), then she told me that there was no blood test for fibromyalgia. She said, with everything I had told her, my answers to her questions, and the locations of the pain when she tested those pressure points, that I could add fibromyalgia to my list of ailments (my words, not hers).

So we discussed various medications that we could try, the pros and cons of each of them. We decided to try Gabapentin first. I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about taking that particular medication. I’ve heard some real horror stories about the side effects of it. But I have been in so much pain, that I was willing to at least try it. One of the other things that sold me on the Gabapentin over the other drugs, was that it could possibly help with my sleep (lack of sleep is an entirely different blog post, let’s just say that I haven’t slept well for several years). So I picked up the prescription and started taking it. She started me on a really low dosage to see how well I tolerated it. I’m glad to say, no hallucinations! I didn’t notice a decrease in the pain for the first week. And it made me a little drowsy, but not enough to actually sleep well. We increased the dosage the second week and again the third week. By the end of the third week, I noticed significant pain relief, but only for a few hours. I was also drowsy enough to sleep for a few hours.

I called my rheumatologist after the third week to let her know how it was working. At that time, she doubled the dosage and instructed me to call her again after a month on this dosage. So the higher dosage does help me sleep better. I’m still awake several times during the night, but can usually go back to sleep fairly quickly.  The higher dosage does help more with the pain, at least while I’m sleeping.

I’m going to continue with this treatment and see where it takes me. If any of you have fibromyalgia (or RA, OA, or neuropathy), I’d be interested in hearing about how you cope. Good luck to us all with our treatment. Here’s to a relatively pain free day (I dream about those kinds of days.).

Elemental

This is true for so much of our country…anywhere politicians have sold their souls so big business can operate unfettered by pesky regulations…anywhere citizens turn a blind eye to the corruption in the name of jobs…anywhere any of us see what is happening and turn away. We must channel our righteous indignation to bring about change. When you step into that voting booth, remember this, most politicians, most leaders of big business only care about us as a means to fatten their offshore bank accounts. Fight back…don’t give in…and don’t give up.

Cultural Slagheap

My dad, a lifelong firefighter, used to teach Hazardous Materials Response and Safety classes to first responders.  The first informational point he covered at the beginning of the course was how to read the classification marks on transportation tankers—the little diamond-shaped signs, usually mounted on the back of the tank, that announce via numerical code what kinds of chemicals are stored in those transport vehicles, and what levels and types of health risks would be associated with a spill in the case of a wreck.  The first homework assignment he gave was for the firefighters to go home and stand on the main cross street in their neighborhoods and home towns for about an hour, and write down the numbers on every tag they saw pass through that intersection, then go look up the numbers.  Dad said that the next week, when those students came back for class, invariably there’d…

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Decluttering challenge, days 12, 13, 14

Oh man, you’d think having four days in a row off work would allow me the time to declutter, take some pictures, and write about it.  You’d think.  I’ve just felt awful though.  Kind of feels like a waste of time off.  I had planned to do so much while I was off and was lucky to make it out of bed by noon.  Oh well…so my decluttering didn’t go quite the way I wanted it to.  Instead of tackling my closet, I pitched out enough magazines to cover days 12 and 13.

Then today I cleaned out the fridge.  You know all of those salad dressing bottles?  The ones you bought thinking they sounded good?  And then they turned out to be not so good?  Yeah, threw out several of those today.  Also a few carrots that I somehow overlooked to the point where they just didn’t look all that appealing any more.  Found some green onions that I had to pitch.  Wish I would have found them sooner, I could have cut the green part off and planted the bulbs and grown some more green onions in my house.  But I didn’t so I couldn’t.

Anyhow, I ended up getting rid of 15 things out of the fridge today, so was able to surpass my goal of 14 items. For the month of January, I’ve now managed to eliminate 127 items from my home.  I have to admit, it is becoming more difficult to find the number of items I need each day.  The refrigerator cleaning made for a pretty quick search today, but now it’s clean.  So tomorrow?  Not sure where I’m going from here.  Plus I have to go back to work tomorrow, so exhaustion and time play into it as well.  What I really need to do is start (or even finish) my search tonight, but I have other things I want to do too…argh!!  Why does life have to be so hard sometimes?  Ha!!  Yeah, because I have it so tough, right?  Whine, whine, whine…

What are you whining about  working on this evening?

Scout on the treadmill, literally on it~

Scout on the treadmill, literally on it~

I think Scout is trying to tell me something…like, “Hey, you need to start using this thing.  If you’re not going to, I will.”

Decluttering challenge, day 7

While the wind is blowing outside (wind chill’s well below zero), I’m sitting inside all cozy in my toasty warm microfleece pajamas.  Yes, I probably will actually get dressed at some point in time today and may even venture outside later this afternoon when the temps creep above zero.  I’ve got to attempt to get in my car and start it, get it cleaned off.  I will have to return to work at some point in time (Thursday, I’ll be there Thursday…for sure.).  And I just received a text from CVS letting me know I have a prescription ready for pickup, so will definitely need to swing by there in the next few days. Honestly, I’ve been just a little afraid to step outside and breathe in the bitterly cold air.  Breathing has been enough of a struggle for me over the past two weeks without adding that to the mix.  But the weather guy promised me we’d have temps in the 40s by the end of the week…oh yeah, and rain.  Just got to shake your head at the twists and turns of the weather in central Indiana.

I’ve kind of been watching some of my neighbors try to get their cars out of the parking lot.  They’re having a lot of trouble.  Apparently all of the rainy, icy, deep slushy mess we had froze everyone’s tires in place.  I’m serious, when I came home Sunday afternoon I was traipsing through slush that was at least three inches deep.  Once the arctic freeze descended, that slush became rock-hard ice.  Not good for the tires, I wouldn’t think.  I did see a couple of young guys manage to get a car out with a lot of pushing and rocking back and forth, so I guess it’s possible…you know, if you happen to be a young guy with a lot of strength and immunity to cold.  Since I’m neither young nor immune to the dangers of cold weather, we’ll see what happens when I finally make it out there.

In the meantime, I’ve been fooling around on the internet, catching up on some blog reading, enjoying browsing some new-to-me blogs, pinning this and that, checking up on my friends on facebook, all those things I don’t have time to do when I’m not snowed in.  Now I remember how nice it is to have a snow day…it’s been a long time since I’ve been home with nothing pressing to do and feeling well enough that I can spend the day out of bed.  I’ll be rejuvenated when I go back to work on Thursday…I’ll need to be, there will be a lot for me to do.

I decided to get my decluttering mission for the day out of the way early.  I went in to my spare room and opened the closet door, quickly picking up the needed 7 items for today.  Easy.  Not a lot of thought or time went into it today, but I found some things I’d been holding onto for many, many years.  Time to release them.  These things will go to Goodwill where someone else will be able to find joy in them.

Heading to Goodwill

Heading to Goodwill

Okay, what did I find?  Some fall colored magnolia bushes.  I like them, I used them for a couple of seasons, I saved them anticipating that I would use them again.  But they’ve been in that closet for probably 3 years.  Time for someone else to enjoy them.  Three sewing patterns (a stuffed Annie doll, some geese items, and aprons).  You know what?  I’ll never use any of these.  Why not allow them to go someplace where someone might find them and realize they’re just what she’s been looking for?  A little country wreath…yes, I could have repurposed this.  But I haven’t…in over 5 years…so let someone else make use of it.  A cute cow mama and calf…not really my style, but I bet they’ll fit in with someone’s decor.  And a crystal (faux) bell.  Nothing valuable, but any of these things might bring some enjoyment to the right person.  If you can catch me before I get out and drop these off at Goodwill, I’d be glad to let you have anything here.  If not, well…they’ll be on the shelves of the Goodwill store on Liberty Drive in Bloomington soon.

So on day 7 of this decluttering mission, I released another 10 items (you know, if I count each item individually) to bring the total to 49 items.  Forty-nine things gone from my house.  I want to ask you something…when you declutter, do spring cleaning, organize…however you refer to it…do you find yourself feeling lighter as you release more and more stuff?  See, I do…and I am wondering if there is a connection between clutter and being overweight.  My personal experiences seem to suggest that the connection is there.  What are your thoughts on this? And how do we make use of this information to keep us healthier?

Here’s to a healthy September

I like this take on the traditional food pyram...

I like this take on the traditional food pyramid – note the incorporation of water (and tea, it says) along with physical exercise at the top. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hard to believe it’s September, isn’t it?  Where in the world did the summer disappear to?  Since seeing my doctor last week, I’ve decided to rededicate myself to living a little healthier.  You know the drill, eat better, move more, go to sleep earlier, reduce stress.  We all know that’s how to be healthier, but it’s easier to talk about it than it is to actually do it.

Anyhow, when I saw my doctor, we talked about my pain and sleep issues.  Of course, my weight has to have some impact on everything.  I promised her I’d work on eating better and exercising more.  She’s very understanding about how difficult it is to exercise vigorously when I’m in so much pain.  She did suggest several forms of exercise that are a little gentler on my joints, so now I really have no excuse.

I started the month off with my calorie intake at the low-end of the range and 35 minutes of walking.  And of course, I visited SparkPeople.com to log everything.  Now to get some sleep…

Do you guys try to lose weight before the holidays so you can splurge a little at all of those holiday shindigs?  I’ve  done that in years gone by, not sure how well it worked for me though.  I think this year I’m just going to try to eat healthy most of the time and have a little something extra maybe once a week…so Donna, maybe you shouldn’t bring your delicious peanut butter cookies to work…

How do you like your juice?

I never really gave my morning juice much thought until I bought a juicer and started experimenting.  I downloaded a couple of ebooks for my kindle and have browsed through the recipes at SparkRecipes.com.  That gave me a lot of ideas about what to try.  My first attempt was…well…not something I’ll be trying again any time soon (or ever).

Green juice

Green juice

 

I used a couple of apples, 2 carrots, 1 stalk of celery, and a couple handfuls of spinach…yeah, not all that tasty.  I think the celery did it for me…I know it’s supposed to be good for you, but…uh…not really doing a lot for my taste buds.

Yesterday I juiced a couple of apples, two carrots, and 12 cherries…much better!  Tonight I juiced some oranges…for, you know, orange juice!!  My favorite so far…surprise, surprise!  I also juiced an apple and 12 cherries…tasty and such a pretty color…sorry, no picture of that…maybe later.

One thing I’ve quickly realized is that I’m going to have to figure out something to do with the pulp…I feel so wasteful just throwing it away.  I’ve read that some people use it in smoothies or soup…might be worth a try, you think?

If you have some suggestions for combinations that would make a tasty juice (or if you have any ideas about what to do with the pulp), let me know.

Tiny homes

English: Red Pinterest logo

English: Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit this, I spend way too much time on Pinterest.  Usually I pin things to my food boards, or IU basketball, or gardening…but one thing I’ve been seeing a lot of pins about lately have been these itty bitty teeny tiny homes.  They’re so darn cute and mega affordable.  With just me and the cats, how much room do I really need?  I’m thinking perfect retirement home back in the area where I grew up and where so many of my good friends still live.

Of course, you can build your own for even less, but that wouldn’t be practical for me.  Surprisingly, there are numerous companies  that build them for you for not much of anything.  Who knew that people all over the country make a living building tiny homes?

There’s one here in Bloomington that I drive by every once in a while.  I’ve always thought it was absolutely adorable, complete with fenced in yard and flowers and vegetables.  If I’m remembering correctly, it also has solar panels.  Maybe I’ll see if I can find out who built it…

I’ve been thinking about moving to a smaller place for a while now (I live in a townhouse).  As much pain as I’m in all the time now, I’m finding it more of a burden to have all this extra room.  Extra room means more stuff and more cleaning.   It would be nice to pare down, to get rid of a lot of things that are just taking up space.  Funny as it seems, I think I’d have more space in a tiny home simply because I’d get rid of so much stuff.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll keep pinning anything that catches my eye and dream…