My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Monday, January 31, 2011

not loving Monday

I seem to have two settings lately: doped up or miserable.
When I'm doped up... I'm in a fog, sleepy, nauseous, unable to move without a great effort.
When I'm miserable... I can't even stand up... I'm exhausted, nauseous and unable to move without a great effort.
Notice the similarities?
And I feel so guilty. I feel like I am *somehow* to blame for this situation. Like...I somehow caused my kidney stones. I know it's because of my past brainwashing... but I feel guilty for being a slacker at work... I went into the office today and couldn't stay... the pain was taking my breath away... but I can't take vicodin and work... I feel guilty for not doing the housework... or anything, really. I don't know why... but I'm just ashamed of these circumstances... embarassed by it... embarassed that I'm so weak.
I feel alone. Jim and Angie have both offered to help if I need anything... the girls from church have offered... Crunch&Munch spent the afternoon with me Saturday. But still... I feel isolated and alone. I feel like I'm not part of the outside world any more. My parents and grandmother were here this weekend and I didn't get to see any of them. Angie's parents and sister and niece were here and I didn't get to see them. Makes me feel like a leper...
I'm sick of tv. Sick of online games. Sick of reading. Sick of sleeping.
I'm too hot... too cold... starving... nauseous.
I did a very bad thing today. During the window of time when the effects of the meds are fading enough for me to drive... and before the pain kicked back in at full force... I had to get something to eat... and there was nothing in the house I wanted. I don't have the strength to walk through the store... so I drove thru McDonalds... and you would THINK I would have gotten a salad or something healthy. Nope. Chicken nuggets kids meal, complete with fries. I ate all the nuggets, half the fries, a box of apple juice and... a baked apple pie. Gluttony.
I have to work. I have to get out of this house. These things need to pass.
*end of whine*

reasons to love Monday

Happy Monday y'all! I'm feeling really joyful this morning... which is completely out of context for a rainy Monday... but I'll take it. We don't have to understand a good mood to appreciate it, do we?

I had a rough day yesterday... had a good bit of pain and I'm so grateful that I went to the urologist on Friday and that she took me seriously... because as uncomfortable as I was even while "comfortably numb"... I can't imagine how miserable that would have been otherwise. I suppose it would have involved an ER visit. This morning - so far - it's not too bad. The anti-nausea meds have helped with the worst of it. I can handle the pain (to some extent) but I couldn't handle the nausea.

Sooooo... with that said... here are a few of the Reasons I love Monday this week:
1. the ability to mitigate some of the pain... it could be a lot worse, right?
2. not feeling nauseous or dizzy
3. Austin is already awake and drinking coffee... don't have to beg him to cooperate this morning
4. MILD weather... it's rainy but at least it's not cold or icy
5. I'm going to work today and I'm glad that I'm able to at least attempt it
6. my awesome co-workers and boss who have been kind and concerned
7. my car is running...
8. I got child support yesterday
9. the groceries lasted all the way to the end of the pay period
10. lunch is already made for today...
11. the kitchen is semi-clean (I cleaned it last night)
12. the house isn't TOO messy
13. most of the laundry is done and put away
14. I live in a peaceful little corner of the world... no political uprisings, drought, war, misery...
15. Today is my Aunt Ginger's birthday! All that I am as an aunt... I learned from her. She didn't have her first child until I was 13, so for all of those years, all of my "childhood"... I was her little girl... and she spoiled me, spent time with me, let me play with her dolls (and trust me, she has UH-lot of dolls!) made paper dolls for me, let me have spend the night parties at her house and made me feel special. I know that I wouldn't be half the aunt I am today if I hadn't had her example.

Hope wherever you are, whatever you're facing, whatever the weather and whatever else is going on in your life... that you'll find reasons to love Monday too!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gant girls baptisms

Aunt Heather and Jamie...

Sweet little angel girl bows her head during the opening prayer before her baptism...

Jamie's eyes looked weak to me today... me and Jamie-gurl today...Me and sister a year and a half ago... I think I had a better hair day today... I was (intentionally) wearing the same dress.
Pastor Daddy helps Jamie into the baptismal pool Flashback to Sarabeth in July 2009... they look identical, don't they?

after the dunking! Jamie today...
and this was Sarabeth, 18 months ago...

Jamie took this picture of me...

Punday Sunday

A successful diet is a matter of mind over platter.
If you don't pay your exorcist you get repossessed.
A boiled egg is hard to beat.
To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

I love puns! My brother is a master punmaker... he can pull a pun out of just about any subject. I'd love to hear any you have... I had to google to get these I used today. I'm not that creative. I try... usually the best I come up with is following up one of Bubba's puns with, "that's punny"...

I know. sad. The thing I love about puns is they sometimes take a minute... it's more highly evolved humor... and it requires a more highly evolved grasp on language.

Anyways... today my precious Jamie gurl is going to be baptized. I'm going to be back in the bapistry with her... not in the actually baptistry pool, you understand, just back stage with her. My favorite place to be in any situation... behind the scenes, right in the thick of things without the pressure. I'm only going to stay long enough for the baptism because I am seriously uncomfortable.

I'm so grateful my doctor set me up with meds on Friday because otherwise, I would have ended up in Urgent Care begging for some. They just take the edge off... don't really take the pain completely away... but I've been pretty much Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds this weekend.

Yesterday Crunch and Munch made the drive to the hills to hang out with me. He brought food and I cooked it... and then we watched basketball all afternoon... and then he went and bought a slice of cake for each of us from Glenda's... great, yummy, homemade cakes... we had a good time. It's not all relationshippy... I'm not in that place with him and I may not be in that place with anyone, ever. It's the great conundrum of my life... I *think* I want to be coupled up but I don't seem to fit in a partnership. I seem to thrive more as a single girl with options. Stupid Cupid.

My eating was bizarre yesterday. I have this odd bi-polar appetite thing going on where I'm constantly nauseous, at times miserably nauseous... but I'm hungry. I just have to eat really slow or eat small meals. I had a bacon biscuit yesterday morning... have been wanting one for months and I just went for it. For lunch I fixed my favorite meal: broiled tilapia over fresh spinach, broiled tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and parmesan. I made my 3bean salad, taboule and white bean hummus with baby carrots to dip. Super healthy lunch, right? And then for dinner... I had a piece of black walnut cake. I stayed within my points... but it wasn't the most nutritious menu.

Austin and I had a chat yesterday about his lack of appreciation for the limits of my resources. I discovered that he has been purchasing pay per view movies every month. I rarely look at my satellite bill and always pay a little extra every month, trying to get ahead... but the amount has been steadily going up. I dug through my stack of unopened mail and found the past few months of pay per view... and he has been buying 5-10 movies per month at the rate of $4.99 each. What aggravates me is that 1. he hasn't asked. 2. I've told him that one a month is ok but that I can't afford more than that. 3. we can rent movies for a fraction of the price at the redbox 4. if he buys a movie, if it's something I'd like to see... I'd like to know we bought it so I could see it too. He just flat out doesn't get it.

And of course... I'm down to one fork, one spoon and two bowls... I have one glass... it's ridiculous. I have no idea what he's doing with my dishes. The child just sucks up resources to the extent that I can't keep up with purchasing to replace what he ruins/wastes/loses. Not to mention (because I already have) the way he wastes food. It's just so discouraging. I am so ready to divorce this kid.

If he doesn't stop buying pay-per-view movies... he's going to be down to only paper view for entertainment... as in books.

Not a great pun, but I tried.

I've got to figure out how to block pay-per-view purchases. Life with Austin would be hard no matter what, in a two parent, two income family with two healthy parents. But being the only parent, only income and not well... I'm just completely overwhelmed with him. Yesterday he was begging for money to buy snacks for him and his friends. He took the hot dogs and buns that I had bought for us to eat this weekend over to his friends house to feed everyone. I can't afford to feed us... I mean, I'm seriously out of money and living off the bounty of the pantry... and he's taking what I have and feeding other people. So frustrating. AND OF COURSE... I didn't get the child support that I should have gotten on Friday. THE LEAST his father could do, since he is absolutely no help with raising the kid... is make sure the money comes on time.

BUT... I have decided that I won't be buying more phone time for him this month. When it runs out, he's without until he makes some major changes.... starting with... finding and cleaning my missing dishes.

Gosh. This entry took a dark turn, didn't it? Let's end it on a lighter note:

Adolescence—when a lad forsakes his bosom buddy for a bosomed buddy.
Banning the bra was a big flop.
Sea captains don't like crew cuts.
Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
Two banks with different rates have a conflict of interest.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumor.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

the scale is moving again!

The lady weighing in beside me at Weight Watchers this morning shouted "Yippee" and threw her arms up in the air on the scale... it was just like the commercial with the girl in the wedding dress drinking V-8... only this lady was fifties and wearing sweats and... well, anyways... it was similar... and it was so awesome that we all laughed out loud with her. She and her husband are both doing Weight Watchers... and you know how men lose so much faster. He lost 5 pounds and she lost 5.2 pounds! She was as excited about losing more than him as she was about her loss. (It was her first week).

I didn't have *quite* as dramatic an experience on the scale but as you can tell by the new ticker above, that durn scale IS moving again. I lost 1.8 pounds since my last official weigh in (two weeks ago) and I'm at a new low weight. I can feel the mojo begin to flow again! It's gonna happen... that lovely extended maintenance period has ended. I'm a loser again.

I made a quick grocery run... got enough stuff to get us through to payday... picked up my new drugs that are supposed to help me through any painful episodes... straightened up a little more around the house and now I'm tucked into the nest. Happy Losing Saturday, y'all!

dividing lines... common ground

My brother posted a little note this week on his Sunday School class page about the things that divide us as people... some of the most obvious are race, politics, religion, sex, sexual orientation... but just now... as I was folding laundry (don't faint... it's that time of month - Laundry Folding Time)... I thought of a few more dividing lines...

How about... ability to fold a fitted sheet while standing up? Martha Stewart can. I can't. I require the use of a flat surface (usually the floor)

And... speaking of using the floor... are you someone who always breaks out the ironing board whenever it's time to press a few wrinkles? Or do you employ whatever's handy... such as the bed, the floor, etc? (this was the cause of a three day argument with Darby... it's funny now... at the time I was in a state of WTF?)

Are you in the toilet paper over the top or from the bottom of the roll person? (Or are you like me and the toilet paper never makes it on the holder?)

Make your bed every day or not? (As I've mentioned before, I'm in the "sleep on top of the covers" camp so that my bed is always made)

Are you one of those people who can never leave the house without makeup... or do you not care?

Breeder or not?

Cat person or dog person?

Do you have a pile of clean laundry waiting to be put away or are you one of those organized people that immediately folds and puts away straight out of the dryer?

Shower or bath?

Boxers or briefs?

I had a good one yesterday... my doctor asked if I prefered my anti-nausea meds in pill or suppository form... just for the record, I'm on Team Pill.

Country or city?

Rock or country?

Are you one of those people that always wears some sort of foot covering? Or are you (like me) as barefoot as you can be, as much as you can be?

Are you introvert or extrovert? I think we've already established that I am an extrovert - an anti-social extrovert, but extrovert nonetheless.

Night owl or early bird?

Eggs scrambled or fried?

Smoking or non-smoking?

Wine or beer?

I mean... there are just so many things that differentiate us from each other... and you are never more acutely aware of these differences than if you're in the dating pool. Every. Single. New. relationship requires that you answer these questions as part of the vetting process. It's exhausting.

Do you eat every meal at the kitchen table? Or are you - like me - unable to remember the last meal you had at a table that wasn't a restaurant.

Sing in the shower? Or no?
Sing along to the car radio? Or not?
Floss after every meal?
Wash your hands every time you to go the bathroom?
Chapstick or blistex?
Vanilla or chocolate?
Coffee or tea?

And then there are those multiple choice affiliations like sports teams... so many things to make us different.

But I guess... what we have to keep in mind... are the things that make us the same: we are born, we grow, we love, we live, we die.

Everyone has something that is their *worst thing* that is happening to them right now. A friend texted me yesterday about the kidney stones and said, "it could be worse, right?" Well. Sure. And I know that it's not the end of the world as we know it... but for now... my pain is my worst thing. And whatever is heavy on your heart, mind, wallet or ... well, kidneys... is your worst thing. It's all relative... related to how it affects us.

Everyone has basic needs... air, water, food, love...
Everyone has basic rights... freedom, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness...
Everyone poops.

And one thing that really amazes me, the longer I write this blog, is how much I have in common with people from all over the world... My old boss, Kathy, once remarked about me that I have a gift of finding something in common with every single person I talk to. There's always something... always some common thread... some way that you can connect with others... some way that you can find compassion for them... and I think you live your best life when you focus on those similarities more than the differences.

Time to get ready for weigh in. Let's hope today that I'm a loser!

Friday, January 28, 2011

my doctor visit

Today's doctor's visit was everything I had prayed for... truly...
After my regular doctor essentially said to me yesterday, "your infection is cleared up so... you're fine"... end of story... and didn't even address the pain, nausea or anything else... I was really discouraged. I came very close to just letting it go then.
Except for the fact that I'm really uncomfortable.
So... I saw the urologist today and she was simply amazing. Everything I needed her to be. She was concerned. She listed to me. She asked a lot of questions. She did a thorough exam. She said the fact that the infection is cleared up and I'm still in pain is a huge red flag for her. She didn't make me feel like I'm over-reacting. She said - what I said - pain = problem. You have to figure out the cause of the pain.
Sooooo... she did an ultrasound and some xrays and confirmed that I have kidney stones. Have. Present tense.
She gave me a stack of prescriptions to get me through the weekend. None of the stones are currently causing any blockages and they seem to be small enough to pass... not comfortably, but without surgery.
She scheduled a CT scan for next week to get a better look at things and then a follow up appointment next Friday.
Does anyone else hear the sound of the cash register?
It's only money, I guess.
My weekend plans are to rest... I have a friend coming to hang out tomorrow... and then Sunday is Jamie's baptism which I'm going to ... no matter what. I'm hoping I'll be able to get behind the scenes shots like i did with Sarabeth... and... I'm hoping that whatever needs to come out, will come out before Monday!
A girl can hope, right?

friday morning

Friday doesn't seem like such a big deal when you've missed a lot of work... but... I'm still glad it's Friday.
I worked THE WHOLE DAY yesterday. I was so nauseous on the way to work... in so much pain that I was in tears... and I just prayed my way through.
Other people are praying for me too. I don't care what anyone else thinks... I believe that prayer makes a difference.
You know... there are times when I start to feel alone in the universe... when things aren't necessarily BAD... they're just stagnant... and when things aren't going the way I think they should... and I wonder why God isn't giving in to all my whims and wishes... and I get a little rebellious and think, "what good is it to have a relationship with the Master of the Universe if my life is still so blah"...
And then... I go thru a time like this... and I realize that *something bigger than me* is holding it all together for me.
I didn't have the strength to work yesterday - at all - much less a whole day - and it happened. That wasn't by sheer force of will because I'm too weak for all that.
It was a big deal to me.
I guess... there are people who will apply some kind of agnostic logic to the situation and call it the power of positive thinking... but I've got to tell you... I wasn't thinking positive... I was whining and defeated and discouraged and hopeless. I was feeling really alone and... afraid... and unsure or which way to go... and I got an email from one of the girls in my bible study group... and the light came on in my head, "wait a minute... I'm not so much alone... "
I started my morning on the phone with my regular doctor... my infection is cleared up, the last urinalysis was clean... but I'm still in pain, significant, take your breath away kind of pain, in my back and I still am battling nausea - even though I'm not taking any meds (other than a pain pill after work). So my doctor's nurse said, "Dr. Parker thinks it's just an institial cystitis flare up at this point". Ok. SO why does my back hurt? She said, "I don't know". I said, "um. do we just ignore this pain and nausea?" She didn't have an answer.
I called my urologist. See... I was supposed to have a follow up cystoscopy in March of last year but I put it off. I wasn't having problems. I couldn't afford it. I didn't want to go through the pain (those things make you miserable for about a week afterwards). I said, "I've had an infection which appears to be cleared up... but I have this horrible back pain that started at the time of the infection and hasn't cleared up"... She wanted to review my chart and decide what to do.
So when I was at that point of... I just can't keep going... the urologist's nurse called back and said, "I think we need to see you..." And so I'm doing that today.
Am I alone in this... here's my conflict... I'm in pain, enough pain that it's affecting my quality of life... I'm nauseous and dizzy... that, to me, signals that something is wrong. But after two visits and numerous phone calls to my regular doctor, I'm basically just getting a "you should be fine"... I feel like she's not hearing me. YET... I don't want to go to any unnecessary expense... I don't want to be a hypochondriac... I have no idea if this back pain is still kidney pain... if it's in any way related... but I don't have any way of knowing which way to go with this. I feel like... just ignoring it... as if I could... rather than having to spend the time and money trying to do what my doctor should do...
And yes, I'm firing my doctor. The phone call yesterday did it for me. I'm going to call the office manager today and say, "I really feel like i haven't gotten good care"... it costs too much, I can't afford to keep going back for the same thing and have her treat the obvious things... and once she runs out of the obvious things, whether or not I feel good, she considers me healed.
I'm not willing to live at this quality of life. I need better.
And because I don't really have an "advocate"... you know, a significant other to go with me to the doctor and speak up for me and say, "this lady is really not well"... or go all Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment for me... when I don't FEEL WELL I don't have the energy to manage my own health care... to say to a doctor or a nurse... "you aren't answering my questions"... "what you did for me didn't make me better"...
And the flip side of that is I HATE MODERN MEDICINE. I don't want to be at their mercy. I don't want to take medication, have tests done, etc. Yet... I don't know what other path is available in the way of figuring out what's causing this pain and/or fixing it.
Here's the other thing... what was diagnosed as pleurisy is in the same general location as my current pain, same side, it's just that the pleurisy hurt on the front and this is on the back. I've had a lot of undiagnosed pain on that side. I pointed it out to my doctor when I had my physical back in September. I said, "I have a lot of pain here... " and pointed... and she said, "Hmmm... that could be a lot of things..." Ok. Like what?
If this post sounds like a dog chasing it's tail, that's because that's how my thoughts have been over the past few days.
So that's where I am today.
I had an odd thought yesterday... the "thing" I had taken off of my forehead in 2008 (you can see it in some of the old pictures on the sidebar) was the same shape as the things in my lungs. I wondered if those things were in any way related. Like... an odd growth of cells... that they have labeled a "granuloma" in my lungs... they called the thing on my head a "nebus sebaceous"... and the same thing in my sinus cavity is a benign cyst. I'm just lumpy.

Bitty is still missing. Rebellious brat.
Baryshnikov is 63. Wow. I wonder if he still dances.
We're expecting beautiful weather this weekend. I'm hoping I feel well enough to get out and soak up some sunshine.
And... that's all I've got for today. Have a good one, y'all. Keep praying.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

thankful thursday... keep on living!

Since I know that Cyndi is waiting patiently for this morning's edition of the blog... I'll go ahead and get this entry written... *grin*.... I love my friends~!

It's been a trying time for me lately - as you well know because I whine and complain a lot. Yet, I'm completely honest when I tell you that my spirits are high this morning. I feel so much peace... and I think that's a precious gift, the ability to find peace in the midst of a storm. I'm thankful for that feeling... that although I'm tired... I'm not defeated.

I'm grateful for my job. My boss has been compassionate and concerned... my co-workers have been wonderful... nobody has been hateful to me about the time I've missed from work. It means the world to me... I know my absence has increased everyone's work load. It felt good to be back at work yesterday. I worked about 6 hours... eventually the pain brought me down. I sipped sprite zero to keep the nausea under control... but when I got to the point that I found myself STANDING at the computer because it hurt too much to sit... I knew I had to go. I was grateful to make it that long. I'm hoping to work the WHOLE day today.

My Bitty boy is such an ungrateful kitty... after that beautiful tribute to him yesterday...he somehow managed to slip out last night. It was super cold... below freezing... so I'm sure he's one miserable kitty right now... missing mommy's electric blanket. But he's a gypsy and he's an animal and although I yubs him... (love him, for those who don't speak kitty cat)... I know he's just doing what God created him to do. We can domesticate these fur babies only so far.

Stubby wants you to know that he is thankful this Thursday that he's once again an only child. Goofy boy has been doing happy streaks... living like a king... and honestly... I slept better last night without the boys fighting off and on all night.

My weight FINALLY went down yesterday... it was 182.5 yesterday morning... so it seems that the plateau is busted. Not being able to keep food down is a great diet trick. Just kidding. I don't recommend it. Actually... what I have been able to eat hasn't been the healthiest... when I'm nauseated I crave greasy and spicy food. I don't know why.

Yesterday morning started off really rough... just battling to find the strength to go to work was enough... but then Austin missed the bus. Yikes. I had to abandon the glam routine in the middle of the process and settled for a low bun yesterday. I fixed a protein drink to try to get some nutrition in me... (thanks Cyndi but I couldn't keep it down... one sniff and I was retching)... and then on the way to the school, Austin tipped over my big water mug and spilled water all down my car seat... I was sitting in a puddle of ice water the whole way to work. You know what I did when the water was spilled? I laughed. Yep. I laughed. My poor kid just knew I was gonna blow my top at him and I laughed. Because - really - you reach a point where you say, WHAT ELSE?

And of course, as my boss pointed out, things like not having cute hair and wearing a wet dress will keep you humble. Because... after all... I need a little humility in my life, right?

It just made it that much more precious when I was able to get home... slip into warm cozy clothes... take a little vicodin to ease the pain... and know that although I hadn't accomplished everything I wanted to during the day, I had accomplished/survived a lot. Two good friends texted to check on me... and I felt warm, safe, mellow and loved. God is good.

Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of my friend Natalie's husband, Michael. Michael was an incredible man of God who served Him with all his heart and soul... but Michael battled bi-polar disorder and the manic phases were out of control. Michael feared the impact of his disease on his wife and their beautiful daughter, Jorjanne... and so he chose to end his life. Natalie and Jorjanne are two of my favorite people in the world and a testimony to how you can take a tragedy and use it to make you better instead of bitter. I'm so blessed to have them in my life and I'm thankful for the example they live every day. Jorjanne wrote me a very sweet thank you note last year and I have it tacked to my fridge... I just love them so much!

It's such a small world... Jorjanne's teacher is a girl that I grew up with... two hours away in Riverdale... and not only did we grow UP together... we cheered together in 9th grade. When I figured this out and told Jorjanne she giggled... I mean... it's funny enough to think of Aunt Heather as a cheerleader but her TEACHER was a cheerleader? Too much!

I think ... what I'm most grateful for today... is that life does go on. No matter what gets thrown at us, whether illness or death of a loved one or something as simple as ice water down your dress on the way to work... life is going to go on regardless of our troubles. We have a choice to let those aggravations/disappointments/tragedies either get us down, keep us discouraged and defeated... or we can just. keep. going. I'm thankful today that I'm still going strong... and i hope that wherever you are, whatever you're facing... that you'll find something to be thankful for today.
Love and hugs!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bitty's World

Our usual Whiny Wednesday post has been replaced this week with a peek into the fabulous, luxurious world of my fur baby, Itty Bitty Ferocious Kitty... he's crazy about the electric blanket... he is either ON it or under it about 90% of the time...

that is... when he's not on my lap... or curled up with me in any way he can possibly think of....
My feet on the recliner with a blanket over my legs... creates the perfect cat hammock...

and it's not enough for him to lay with me... he has to hold onto me...

I usually drape the electric blanket over the back of the recliner - like a nice big heating pad - and leave part of it on the bed for the kitties to cuddle on... Bitty's favorite activity is to submarine Stubby while he's on the blanket... and Stubby's favorite game is to play whack a mole!

Bitty is my constant companion... if I'm on the potty... he's beside me nibbling toilet paper. If I'm in the shower... he's on the side of the tub watching... if I am cooking... he climbs on the counter to watch (until I put him down)... he helps me load the dishwasher... helps me pick out my clothes in the morning... helps me put on makeup... he even supervises when I brush my teeth!

I'm feeling better today. I have figured out that if I don't take any meds at all, I have pain but no nausea. The pain is taxing but it's better than the nausea. I have to go to work. I just have to. I'm worried sick about getting fired... worried sick about this one illness (ok, this illness on top of the strep throat and flu and bronchitis that I've had over the past three months) will completely change my life. I'm trying to trust God... I mean... I did ask Him to show me His power... and since then, I've spent a week in horrible pain, unable to eat, unable to work... yep. He's still God. Make no mistake.
And what have I learned? Well... I'll say that my perspective has changed quite a bit. I was expending a lot of energy trying to find Mr. Right... and after the past week, that seems so unimportant. What matters most is being healthy... having the strength to do the things I need to do in the course of the day... and keeping a roof over our heads. I remember the last Epic Kidney Infection like this... and even though I was married at the time... it was just as bad - actually, it was worse. Being single didn't make it any worse... and that's my greatest fear, being sick and alone. And...well... I'm not alone... and I guess... ultimately... when I'm healthy and able to work and take care of my kid, my life isn't that bad.
Someone asked me if I thought I'd ever find love again... "settle down" again... I think is how it was put. Well. No, honestly, I don't think I'll ever find love again... and I'm as settled as I think I'm ever going to be. I still want the little cabin in the woods that is mine - all mine - and I want to be here, in the mountains, with the people who make life worth living. If at some point, God saw fit to bring into my life a person who could respect and compliment the life I have, that's great. I'm just not going to waste any more time wishing my life away or searching for that person.
I'm gonna get a shower and go to work. I appreciate your prayers and good wishes... it's not going to be easy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

more news from tues.

I made the right decision. I was never well enough today to even sit up. So... just like that... in January... I've burned through all of my sick leave for 2011... which... is fine, because I'm not going to get sick again this year.
There. I said it.
I'm throwing down the gauntlet and DARING my body to fail me again.
I'm over it.
Or, I will be over it, as soon as I'm over this.
The good news... TCM has had some good movies on... the kitties have been really good company... Austin has learned to automatically check my big mug of water to make sure it's full... and... surely, SURELY by now I'm over the worst of it, right?
Today I've eaten... a hand full of cherries... a small bowl of raisin bran with skim milk.... a banana... an oatmeal creme pie (don't judge... )... lowfat popcorn...
And... most of that didn't stay down for long.
Cherries are not so pretty in reverse.
I'm jes' sayin'...
The worst of it is the dizziness. I think if not for the dizziness, I would have been much better off.
Today I couldn't even focus on my La-la Laptop for long.
But the kitties... they stuck beside me.
I got the sweetest thank you note from Jamie for her birthday gift... complete with a really sweet picture of the two of us.
Jamie-gurl is going to be baptized on Sunday. It's a big deal and I'm excited.
AND I will be there... I don't care if I can only make it long enough for the actual baptism.
Tonight will be early bedtime for me... gonna make sure I can work tomorrow.
AS GOD AS MY WITNESS... I will work tomorrow.
Please, God?
I won't be awake, Lord willing, for the State of the Union show tonight. It would just make me mad anyways.
Spend, spend, spend. Am I the only one who gets that the more in debt you get, the more uneasy the economy becomes?
I mean... that's the way it works in my house and I see our household budget as a microcosm.
But... I've already talked about politics enough today.
Can I just tell you how sweet my kitties are when they snore?
Ok... that's it.
Love and hugs.
Bigger and better things ahead.

my internal struggle

I'm blogging under the influence this morning. This is just a warning... in case I come off as depressed or ... I don't know... whatever... just remember that I am under the influence of some strong pain medication and feeling some really intense pain... but that's when I really want to blog, when I can be my most authentic self... because I think that my gift is transparency... the ability to humiliate myself before the world wide web.

I had this discussion with my boss yesterday....

(sidebar) Let me suck up for just a second and say that I'm so grateful for my boss. As Lyn pointed out last week... I miss a lot of work. And I know he doesn't like it and would prefer me to be at work. It's a strain on everyone in my office. The unfortunate current reality for me is that I'm not healthy enough to work. I hold out great hope that I'm going to be much better very soon.

Anyways... we had this discussion yesterday about how so many people are struggling financially and most are embarassed to admit it. We deal with a lot of these people in our business... people who are calling to complain about the cost of insurance or whatever other thing they can think of... many times the truth behind the complaint is their financial limitations. And I think I'm the best person to deal with these people because I really get it. I. really. get. it. And D said that few people are as open about their financial situation as I am... well... I guess I can just say that God made me chatty and transparent for a reason. Hardly a day passes without someone thanking me for letting them know that they aren't alone. If my greatest contribution to the world wide web is to give people a format where they can say, "me too"... then I'm honored.

My internal struggle today was in desperately wanting to be at work. I've got a few cases I'm working on and I need the production numbers and the commission in a bad way. Yet... I'm so dizzy that I can't move my head... I'm so nauseous that I can't even keep water down... and the pain today is similar to what I dealt with Saturday night, late, when I am convinced that I passed a stone. I'm having muscle spasms that reach from my bra strap to mid thigh... the pain takes my breath away. I know that I am not able to work... but I fear, truly fear, that I am going to end up losing my job because of this illness... and the others that I've had over the past few months. I got dressed... I fixed my hair... I tried... and... I just can't.

I reached a point of desperation when I just called the office and said, "please don't hate me..." and started praying. I just had to give it to God. If this illness costs me my job, then God has a plan for my life that doesn't involve that job. Oh... how I pray this isn't the case... I don't want to have to start over again... but I know that I can only do what I can do. And I know that God is/was/and will always be in control.

I appreciate your prayers and any encouragement you can give. I want to be whole again.

taboo topics

What are the subjects you're not supposed to discuss in polite company? Politics and religion... but I did pose the following question recently:

"Ok... any other questions out there? I'm enjoying this introspective..." and my friend, Mr. Drake, who still holds the title for the BEST COMMENTS EVER on my blog... asked this thought provoking question:

So, other than "We're right!" What do you wish liberal people understood about conservative people & visa versa?

I think rather than speaking for all conservatives, everywhere, or trying to parrot what I've heard on Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, I'll take this opportunity to explain my political and religious views. The truth is... I'm probably more libertarian than conservative... but I'll let you decide for yourself.

I think all men are created equal and have the unalienable right to life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. I think this means that, within reason, we should have an economic system that allows everyone the opportunity to create the best life possible for themselves and their family. This doesn't mean that anyone owes me a certain standard of living... I must create it for myself. I think there have to be some checks and balances... labor laws, minimum wage, etc... but I believe that we have created a system where a precious few are paying into a system that benefits far too many for far too long. I believe we have created a welfare state where too many people have given up the pursuit of happiness and have settled for whatever they can get for minimal effort.

I believe the government should support infrastructure such as public schools, roads, public safety... and I believe there should be a system in place to provide health care for those who can't afford it for themselves. I don't believe health insurance should be mandated in the same way that auto insurance is mandated. My kidney infection is not a threat to your health in the same way that my wreckless driving might be.

I believe that if we made some drugs legal... it would benefit society. If law enforcement spent less time looking for that tiny little baggie in someone's glove compartment... and more time protecting us from those who seek to do real harm... we would be better off. I believe we spend too much money incarcerating people who have recreational drug habits. I liken it to prohibition. If people want to drink... let them drink. If they want to smoke pot... let them. And let them face the consequences for their actions. As long as they consume these things in the privacy of their own home and pose no harm to anyone else... leave them alone.

I disagree with abortion as a means of birth control. I disagree with abortion AT ALL beyond the first trimester. I believe that life begins at conception and although for myself, I would never seek an abortion, I don't believe I have the right to take that right away from someone else. I do believe, however, that abortion is murder and the abortionist... and the mother who aborts a child... are murderers.

I'm not a fan of the death penalty. Or war. Or any time a life is taken by another human. I think only God should end a life. However... unfortunately... there are times that it's kill or be killed... and there are people whose wicked ways can only be stopped by stopping their life. I personally, however, want no part of it. If I was ever on a jury where the death penalty was the ultimate outcome, I don't believe I could convict knowing that my decision could end a life.

I disagree with the income tax. The current tax system discriminates against the middle class and unfairly burdens a few with the support of many. I believe in a flat tax or fair tax or sales/consumption taxes. That way, everyone will share in the tax burden. People with limited income spend less... therefore they would be taxed less. People who can afford luxury items, would be taxed accordingly. I disagree with "sin taxes"... higher tariffs on items like alcohol and cigarettes. They don't discourage the behavior and unfairly impact lower income people.

We are trying to support a socialist government on a capitalist economy. That's why we're broke. If you spend more than you make, it doesn't work. Trust me, I've learned this the hard way with my own budget.

I disagree with "blue laws" such as no alcohol sales on Sunday. It doesn't increase church attendance. People still drink on Sunday. I believe that we should honor the Sabbath and keep it holy... but... isn't the Sabbath on Saturday? I don't know... I don't believe you can legislate morality. I don't believe we should legislate what goes on in the bedroom. I disagree with segregation and discrimination of any kind. Reverse discrimination... such as affirmative action... is discrimination.

I believe Jesus Christ was the son of God who came to earth, died as a sacrifice to pay for my sins and was resurrected... just like the bible says. I don't think any religion knows everything or that any bible scholar has it all figured out. My faith works for me. I believe that God hears and answers my prayers. I believe that living life according to the bible is a good choice, regardless of whether or not you believe the bible is the true Word of God. I believe that there are many acceptable translations of the bible but that too many years have transpired for us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt which translation is the most holy, purest version. I believe that God helps us, if we ask, rightly divide the Word of God... and helps us understand and apply His truths to our lives. I believe that it is impossible to explain faith... and that those who want to believe, will find reasons to believe... and those who refuse to believe, cannot be swayed. I believe that nothing that happens in my life is a surprise to God.

I believe that we have gotten so far away from our roots - from the bible, the Constitution, from right and wrong - that we no longer have a clear understanding. Life is no longer black and white... the gray area is too large. I believe we think we know more than we really do. I believe we talk too much and don't listen enough. I can respect someone who has different views from mine, as long as they can articulate what they believe and why. I believe that our economic system has put such a huge strain on families that mothers have to work just to make ends meet... and I believe that mothers not being home with their children was the beginning of the decline of our society. It's not that I don't believe women SHOULD work... I just believe that God ordained certain roles in the family and that because women had to enter the work force, some of those roles stopped being filled. It is rare for there to be two parents working together to jointly take care of all of the needs of all family members. There's always someone whose needs are not being met.

I believe that part of my health problems come from trying to fill too many roles... I'm worn out. I didn't sleep much last night. The shot I got yesterday caused an allergic reaction. I'm itchy and nauseous again... and dizzy again... and in pain still. So... maybe I shouldn't have tried to write an intelligent post today... but there it is... the world according to Heather... there's more... but I'm exhausted.

Thanks for asking...

Monday, January 24, 2011

newsday tuesday - on Monday

There are a few things I wanted to share while I have a few moments...

I worked half a day today. It was incredibly painful and discouraging. I'm not 100% and I hate that. My work family is wonderful and they have all been incredibly patient and kind. I'm blessed. I plan to try again tomorrow.

I went back to the doctor today and she was all the things that made me like her as a doctor in the first place. I don't know what her deal was last week... but I got the kind of attention I needed today and I feel better - emotionally, if not completely physically. I'm a "second antibiotic" kind of girl. I hate it. Think about this, moms and dads, when you're feeding your kids beef and chicken that is loaded with hormones and antibiotics... my body doesn't respond to antibiotics. And no... I'm not blaming my parents because we didn't know then what we know now... and we certainly didn't know that I'd grow up to have the various chronic conditions that would require frequent antibiotics making them even less effective. Today I got a shot... which is what we should have started with... and a stronger pain medication... and a secondary pain medication. They sent the "lab sample" off to grow a culture... again, something that should always be done with me because the types of infections I have - strep, bronchitis, etc - always have an unusual underlying bacteria. I've got cooties, apparently. It's a common thread with all my infections.

So there's that. And... as she did the exam today... she felt some ovarian cysts... which is consistent with the granuloma disease that I have... they're in my sinuses, my lungs, my kidneys and... so it would stand to reason they would grow in my ovaries too. So far, all the granulomas/cyst formations that have been found have been completely benign and have only served to cause mild discomfort and increased risk of infection. But... they're there.

Today Austin got his new schedule and - as he requested - he's taking the Catalyst Christian Learning Center class and he's taking chemistry. It's a full course load for him and it's going to be difficult but he's excited and enthusiastic. He was chattering nonstop about the Learning Center and "Miss Natalie"... who he's known most of his life... and I'm so grateful that God has worked it out for him to have that Godly influence in the middle of his school day, every day. The class is small - only a half dozen or so kids - and the focus this semester is dating and marriage. He needs - desperately - a Godly perspective on relationships because he hasn't gotten it in his home.

How cool would it be to find out you were Oprah's long lost sister?

Something happened last week when I was really sick... and laying here miserable... my neighbor was playing music really loud... and normally, that is the kind of thing that really gets under my skin. But something made me mute my tv and actually listen to her music... she was playing one of my favorite songs, a contemporary Christian song that I feel has really defined my life... "does anybody hear her can anybody see... does anybody even know she's going down today... under the shadow of the steeple, among the lost and lonely people... searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me... " I cry almost every time I hear that song... because it talks about the loneliness and emptiness that some people carry with them when they come into church... and how desperate they are to feel a touch of a savior. But it wasn't just that she was listening to the song... my neighbor was singing the song at the top of her lungs... not just singing... she was crying out to the Lord... and I recognized in her, in the voice that carried through the wall of our duplex... I recognized that desperation in her voice because I've sung the same song in the same spirit so many times. I was so blessed to hear her singing. I just sat here quietly and listened.

Anyways... that's what's happening around here today... I'm going to be better soon. I just know it.

reasons to love Monday

As of Saturday night... I was still not able to sit up... and I was beginning to get worried... will this ever pass? Am I going to be dizzy/nauseous/in pain for the rest of my life? Have I - in the words of Organic Rose - "angered the gods"??? Am I taking the wrong meds? Seeing the wrong doctor? Is it psychological? Visions of poverty flashed through my head... around midnight Saturday night there was excruciating pain... I was up most of the night... unable to get comfortable...

And then yesterday... the clouds parted and the sun broke through and I was actually able to be vertical for several hours. I'm hopeful! I'm getting better! Looking back... I think the pain during the night Saturday was a stone passing... and I think finally... after a week on antibiotics... the infection is clearing up. I'm also thinking... that, as usual, I have had an ear infection along with the kidney infection. I don't know why they always come together for me... but they do... and I think that may have had something to do with the dizziness.

At any rate... this morning I'm not nauseated and only mildly dizzy. I haven't taken any meds and I plan to hold off on taking them as long as possible. I'm having some back pain but it's bearable. I'm going to shower, go into work and hang as long as I can. I can't imagine that I'm going to make it the whole 9 hours but I'm going to try for at least half a day.

So... reason number one to love Monday - I'm going to work!

I haven't had an official weigh in this morning but it looks like the scale is moving in the right direction finally...
Yesterday I had an epiphany about the weight loss. (and recent lack of weight loss) One of the wonderful emails I got (thanks to those of you who commented, emailed, sent messages... you made my day!) encouraged me not to give up on the weight loss since I have been in a plateau for two months. I have chosen not to see it as being stuck... from my perspective... despite numerous obstacles... I have MAINTAINED my 30 pound weight loss for 2 months! I think that's a huge triumph. I've battled through holiday overeating.... holiday depression... two courses of antibiotics caused by two significant illnesses... one significant snowstorm... I don't see this two months of the scale being at the same weight as a failure... is see it as a success. And I'm really proud of myself!

More reasons to love Monday? Hmmm....
I made taboule yesterday so I have a yummy lunch ahead of me.
I couldn't finish my greek yogurt with honey and banana yesterday so the second half of that is waiting for my breakfast.
I found some awesome antibiotic free/hormone free/nitrite free beef hotdogs and had one yesterday... it was really, really good. I'm having another for dinner tonight.
My electric blanket... spread over my recliner... makes for a huge heating pad that covers my whole back.
I've added a tracker to my blog page and it looks like I'm getting about twice as many hits a day as I thought.
Austin halfway cleaned the kitchen yesterday so it's only half messy this morning. (glass half full)
Spring is getting closer with each passing week.
The next "sky is falling" winter precipitation event that was predicted for tomorrow is looking like a non-event. That's good news.

WHAT? I just saw that White County schools are on a two hour delay... what?
I guess I better investigate... well... it looks wet... but that's all. Of course... sometimes we are impacted by the weather conditions at higher elevations...
And... ugh... that rush to the door to check out the weather brought a wave of nausea. Y'all keep me in your prayers, light a candle, pull the pin out of my voodoo doll... whatever it is you do to appeal to your higher power. I know that God has a reason for this season of life for me... and I know I'm going to get through this just like everything else that has come my way...

No matter what... I'm gonna love this Monday... and I'm going to be grateful for every single positive thing that happens... and I'm going to accept every single negative thing that happens... and I'm going to keep moving forward, keep believing for better things... and know that God has a plan for me.

love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

over hill, over dale... as we hit the dusty trail...

June 2005... Cody (right) and his best friend/brother Jimmy Lee (left) have a moment of prayer for Coach Bear who was getting stitches in a nasty cut in his eye...

This is Jimmy Lee now... all grown up... and serving in Iraq.
He's one of mine... one of the kids that grew up alongside my kids... who was a brother to Cody... he called me (still calls me) mom... and he's over on the other side of the world fighting for our freedom. I told him before he left that I'm proud of him... and that I'll pray for him every day until he comes home safe.
I hope you will too... God bless Jimmy Lee... and all those serving with him...

inquiring minds want to know...

Three more questions from my "trolling for comments" entry this morning... they're all thought provoking...

If you could ask me ANY question and I had to give a completely honest answer, what would you ask?

I think you are completly open & honest....but would ask if why you stayed as long as you did with Darby being so mean, especially to Austin.

I stayed with Michael for a couple of reasons. I kept hoping that something, somehow, would turn him back into the man he presented himself to be in the beginning... and into the man he promised me that he was. That's the first reason- optimism. The second reason is stubbornness. I made my bed and I felt like I had to lie in it. I burned a lot of bridges. I stepped out in faith where he was concerned and I needed it to work, I needed the validation of being able to salvage a lost cause. And honestly, truly, I felt I had nowhere to go. I felt like I didn't have any options. I had no money saved... I felt like a bad life for Austin and I with a roof over our heads was better than being homeless. The thing about being in an abusive relationship like that... you begin to see yourself through the eyes of your abuser. You believe the lies they feed you. I believed that no one else cared... that I had nowhere else to go... You have to understand that in the year I was married to Michael, I had lost several of my closest friends, I had lost my relationship with my little brother, I had lost my two oldest boys... I was isolated and scared. The other thing... I had prayed for guidance and I believe that God kept telling me to wait. "Be still and know that I am God". I heard this over and over again... and truly... when the wheels came off the wagon and it was time to go... everything fell into place in a way that only God could have orchestrated. There were lessons that Austin and I both needed to learn... and I pray that there were lessons that Michael learned as well... in the time it took for us to be able to leave.

One question is hard. I guess this: How has your evolving faith effected the way you feel your emotions?
It truly is hard to separate emotions from spirituality. My faith gives me optimism that I might not otherwise have. It gives me hope... strength... peace... in the face of disappointment. My faith protects my heart. Because I believe that I am a child of God, because I believe there is a guiding force, a greater power in my life, because I believe that He has already designed a plan for my life... I feel a confidence I might not otherwise had. That's the up side. There's also a measure of guilt that I feel from time to time... when I doubt God's plan, when I don't have the patience that I need to follow His plan for my life... when I feel alone, I feel like I'm doubting His promises for my life. (guilt affects Christians, too, you see!) When I draw close to God, I feel stronger. When I rebel from God, I feel weak and alone. At the end of this life, if I find there was no God, truly, I would still have lived a better life just based on the hope I have in Him. That hope has carried me through a lot of things I might not otherwise have survived. I think we all need something bigger than ourselves to believe in.

"Is there one piece of advice that you were given in your life that you didn't follow that you wish you had?"
I don't think I'm very good at listening to advice. I'm far too independent and stubborn. I'm just one of those people that has to figure it out for myself... and even then... I'm slow to listen, slow to learn from my own mistakes. I'm one who has to make the same mistakes over and over again. One thing I wish I had done was been more responsible with my finances. I wish I had been more conservative with my spending, especially during times of "feasting" when it didn't take every penny I made to pay the bills I have. I also wish I had listened to my own instincts and followed my gut... I wish I had trusted my own inner voice.

Ok... any other questions out there? I'm enjoying this introspective...

split personality?

Here's a great comment from my friend Lyn... I started to just comment below it but I thought it might be good to make it a real entry. Really a thought provoking question/statement...

You seem far more confident on "paper" than in real life..almost all social events that you plan you cancel other than going to bible study and anything tha involves Michael. You get invited to a lot of things you don't got like to IM and text but not talk on the phone (except recently) You seem to be pretty much a loner except for going to work and church. You rarely have anyone come to your home and you don't seem to have know to go for a drink that kind of thing. Now don't get asked..LOL and I am a bit of a hermit myself so I am certainly not judging!!!! I have just always thought you appearar so bubbly and outgoing on your blog and FB but in real life not so much... am I right??

It's funny because I have people who say to me that I'm extremely confident and yet... I have sort of an inferiority complex. I always feel like I'm gonna be the last kid picked for kickball. I think more than anything... I really just don't try to market myself or live up to any social obligations. There's a saying, "if there's something you really want to do, nothing can keep you from it... if it's something you really don't want to do, nothing can make you do it".... and that's sort of how I live my life. I don't do things I don't want to do.

I do have girlfriends... really, amazing girlfriends... I've had (and still have) the kind of people in my life who are friends for a lifetime. I tend to have the kind of people in my life who I can pick up with at any time without feeling like there's been any interruption even though it may be 5 years in between the times we get together.

I'm a homebody... not necessarily a hermit... but my job requires me to be really social so when I'm not on the clock, I tend to be anti-social. I struggle with going into social situations as a single person (that's the confidence thing) and often feel sort of on the outside looking in.

There is a part of me that feels above/below the fray... I've had a discussion with others who have had near death experiences and there seems to be a common thread... you just realize that life is too short to spend time doing things you don't want to do. I don't trust people and I purposely try to make sure there's not anyone in my life that I NEED. I try to make sure I'm completely happy with just me... and maybe I've taken that too far.

I'm wired more like a guy than a girl, even though I'm very feminine... I don't like to treat shopping as a social event, it's business to me... and I would rather spend a day watching football than giggling with my girlfriends.

I definitely need to be more social... and there are several people here "in real life" that I'd like to spend more time with... I think that's a great observation, Lyn and it's rather ironic considering that when I moved to Jacksonville, you were the ONLY person I knew there... and yet... I never saw you the whole time I was there. I know that had everything to do with the situation I was in... but it's really crucial to understanding why I am a bit of a loner... if people can/will turn away from you based on the decisions you make in your life... is it worth building those relationships in the first place?

I don't like surprise visits... I tell people that my welcome mat says, "call first"...

going back to that, "if you really want to do something" statement... Michael is the kind of person that I can be myself with... there are few people in the world that I feel that way about. His love is so unconditional that I know I can be my real self with him and not be judged. He feels the same... as a performer, people expect him to always be charming, gorgeous, witty... and sometimes he doesn't feel like being any of those things. Sometimes I don't feel like being the girl I am on paper.

My closest friends here in the mountains are my bible study girls and that's why I hardly ever miss bible study. The teaching is amazing but the fellowship is my lifeline. Alisa is the only girl out of five kids, just like me, and she has that "male" sense of humor that I do. She and I tease each other without being afraid of hurting each others feelings. Cyndi is a "yankee" and she's been through a lot of hard times... she's very frank and honest and we connect on that level. Angie is a single mom, she's been hurt in the same ways that I have, life hasn't always been good to her but she is loving and giving and accepting... that's why we are so bonded. These are the people I trust the most here.

My sister-in-law Angie (not to be confused with bible study Angie) is the person I would consider my best "real life" friend... but she is so busy that it's almost impossible to spend time with her. Whenever she asks... I'm available. My friend Natalie, who I absolutely love, adore and respect, is similar to Angie. And honestly, there are quite a few people here in the hills that I would love to spend time with but can't because they are so busy. And, to some degree, some of the ladies that I would like to spend time with, I can't because I work full time and they don't. Their free time is during the work day when their kids are in school... my free time is in the evening. We connect online and we bond online...

As for the phone... I'm too a.d.d. for phone conversations. When I talk to someone, I try to give them my undivided attention and it's rare that I want to/am able to just sit and do nothing but chat. HOWEVER... when I do talk to someone on the phone... they know that they have my undivided attention and they know that I'm intentionally spending time with them. The phone guy (ha! he ended up with a nickname) is a really intelligent person who is able to carry his end of the conversation. When we're on the phone, he truly DOES capture my attention and imagination. I so thoroughly enjoy talking to him that I don't mind the time on the phone. Usually I'm just annoyed by being on the phone... he doesn't annoy me.

I am, however, truly bubbly and outgoing. I consider myself an antisocial extrovert. Anyone in real life want to weigh in?

Thank you, Lyn, for giving me the opportunity to think these things over. I definitely need to be more intentional about social interaction...

trolling for comments - audience participation time

I am determined to write an entry where I discuss neither the weather nor my health. I am also starved for human interaction, having been basically stuck in the nest for the past six days. I've been talking to the cats so much that I'm not even sure if I remember how to use consonants in my speech. "u needz uh num-nums?" So... I'm going to pose a series of questions for my blog readers. Answer them all... answer one or two... answer here, on facebook or email me at ... I don't care... just pull up a chair and TALK TO ME, please!

1. How do you know me? Real life of cyber world only? If you know me in real life, when was the last time you saw me?

2. Name, age, location?

3. How often do you stop by?

4. How do you get here? (computer, phone, etc..) Do you connect via google reader / facebook link/ what?

5. How long have you been reading my blog?

6. What subjects would you like me to blog about?

7. If you could ask me ANY question and I had to give a completely honest answer, what would you ask?

8. Do you blog? Here's your chance... leave a link so that my readers can connect with you... and if you leave a link I promise to pimp your blog in a future entry!

9. Are you married or single? Kids or no kids? Gay or straight?

10. Who is your favorite "character" in my blog?

Ok... that should give everyone something to respond to... don't let me down, y'all... at least say hello!

Friday, January 21, 2011

observations from the nest

I've had a lot of time to think lately... I mean... I was sick with the bronchitis and stuck in the house... then the holidays with their long weekends... the snow that kept us stuck at home... and this recent round of misery... I've been here... just me, the cats, the laptop, the cellphone, the electric blanket, the remote and... my thoughts.

I'm learning a lot here in my nest... I thought I'd share a little bit of that wisdom with you...

1. Lawyers don't like insurance companies. They talk real ugly about us all day long. I try not to take it personally... but... geez... if we REALLY didn't pay claims, how long do you think we'd stay in business?

2. My child is severely lacking in compassion. I'm hunkered over the toilet... dry heaving... and he sticks his head in the door... not to offer me a cold compress... not to hold my hair back... not to ask if I need anything. Nope. He wants to complain that we're out of ground beef and he can't grill a burger. When... he wants to know... will I be going to the store?

3. Anonymous comments have no place in the blogosphere. Anonymous people, even if they give themselves a "name"... are able to act without conscience. This blog is a blog with a conscience, therefore everyone who leaves their impression must have a conscience. There's no room in my life for meanness. (read previous post)

4. Dr. Oz is a big old geek. Adorable but geeky. Twice this week I've seen him dance... or attempt to... but it's sweet and charming that he attempts knowing he can't do it. Or. Maybe he doesn't know he can't?

5. I have a hard time asking for help. I've had several offers of "do you need anything" from people who I KNOW sincerely want to help and instead... I tried to catch myself in between the pain/nausea cycle and make a quick run to the market. I was miserable. I was literally praying my way through, afraid that I was going to require a "clean up on aisle 3"... oy.

6. My doctors office provides horrible customer service. I called yesterday morning at 8am and said, "gee, i'm really not doing well... " and explained to the nurse what my current reality is. She said, "I'll give the doctor a task and have her call". Instead... the nurse called back four hours later and said, "we're going to change your pain medicine". Nice. Sure. Whatever. I waited THREE hours and then went to the pharmacy and they still hadn't called in my new prescription... which means... I have to get BACK OUT whenever they do bother to get it filled. If I waited 7 hours to give my clients what they need... I wouldn't be in business very long. I'm just sayin'. I called the doctor at 4:30pm and they said, "we've been really slammed today so we haven't had time to call in your prescription". Really time for me to find a new doctor. And... is there anyone who wants to run by the Rite Aid in Cleveland and pick up a script for me?

7. I love Francine Rivers. I finished another book of hers today and I just love the romance, history, relevance and spirituality she weaves through her novels. I've always loved romance but in these books... the main character does something that I've never managed to do... fall in love with man while still keeping her relationship with God a priority. I'm working on it. The problem I have is that "Godly" men look down on me because of my more "liberal" views (compassion for gays, not reading only the KJV). And men who aren't Godly don't understand my relationship with God. He's out there somewhere, I hope...

8. There are a lot of people on facebook during the day. Do y'all not work? Or do you get on facebook at work? Mercy.

9. Oprah yells too much. Her voice gets deep and she BELLOWS... plus... she has too many commercials. I don't dislike her... but if I was a female impersonator... I'd want to impersonate her.

10. My kid is getting wonderful supervision at school. I haven't always been able to have the kind of confidence in a school system that I have now. Yesterday they were working on his schedule for the upcoming semester and I received 3 phone calls... from Austin, from his "file holder" (the person responsible for his IEP) and from the counselor. Oddly... and completely out of character... he has asked to drop study skills and take chemistry and the Catalyst Christian Learning Center class. Chemistry is quite ambitious for him... and while no one wanted to DIScourage him from taking it... they are afraid he won't keep up with it. However, he wants to go into a veterinary science and so he needs more science... so they think that it might be good to expose him to it now so he can determine whether or not he can do it... and then maybe adjust his career aspirations if needed. His IEP requires a co-teaching set up and there isn't a chemistry class with a co-teacher so they are planning to assign a parapro to the class to act as his aide and keep him on track. (I'm telling you, these people are great). But they want us to take the weekend to discuss it before he starts. Austin has in his head to do it... so there's really no discussion and - worst case scenario - if they find he's not keeping up, they'll switch him out. I'm really excited that he wants to take the class at the Christian Learning Center (here's a link to an old article about it, if you're interested: ) Basically... they bus the kids off campus for Bible based learning. What I love more than anything is that my friend Natalie runs the center and I know that it's a great program... (by the way, there's a picture of my brother in the link). I think this will be a challenging semester for Austin but I'm glad that he's willing to challenge himself.

11. I hate the commercials. I have suffered more grief and disappointment because of that website than... any other I can think of. POF is of the devil, I'm convinced.

12. It simply amazes me that my weight is not dropping. This is proof positive of how much antibiotics interfere with my weight loss process... and reinforcement for me to NOT eat food with hormones or antibiotics in it. I have thrown up more than I've ingested in the past four days and my weight is up. I have only had one week out of the past two months that I have eaten beyond my weight watchers points limit and I am the same weight I was two months ago. Something IS NOT RIGHT. I have weigh in this morning but I'm not sure I feel up to driving, walking, standing in line, etc. I'm too shakey. I've got two hours... we'll see...

It seems like every day I get a note or comment from someone who is reading my blog and actually enjoys it. I consider that high praise and it keeps me coming back every day to share whatever there is to share... and I understand that lately it's not really exciting... my health and the weather... woohooo... how exciting (not). Thank you for coming... thank you for liking it... and thank you for letting me know you like it. The past week could have been really lonely for me and it wasn't... thank you for being out there.

Have a great weekend y'all! love and hugs!

Anonymous said...
sounds miserable.The life long pity party.Some things will never change.Only you can turn this around.There has to be something that you are doing or not doing to cause all this grief.Have you tried psychological counseling? Coupled with proper medical doctors, they may be able to get you re-balanced.Joey

Who are you and why are you so mean to me? This isn't the first time you've said something hateful on my blog... the first time, I just ignored you.
I'm not unbalanced.
Why do I need psychological counseling for a kidney infection/stones?
What would I be doing to cause a kidney infection? I challenge anyone to show a more healthy and balanced diet than what I eat...
Why is it a life long pity party? because I acknowledge my frustration with a week of pain?
Because I have a few medical conditions that cause me to be more susceptible to infection? Interstitial cystitis. Granulomas. Allergies.
You are a jerk. Do me a favor and stay away from my blog. Life is hard enough without you stopping by and spreading your hate. Find someone else to pick on.
I am blocking all anonymous comments on my blog.

you're all invited to my pity party

Pain bears down on me.
I eat something bland to be able to take pills.
Take pills to get rid of the pain.
Get nauseated and throw up at least part of what I ate.
Lay as still as possible until the nausea passes.
Start to feel better.
Believe it's passing. Get all cocky and hopeful and do things like... put in a load of laundry... put dishes in the dishwasher... feed the cats...
Then... pain comes back again.
And the cycle repeats.
This is the cycle I've been in since Tuesday.
I'm beyond frustrated.
I really believed I was going to work today. I do have a great boss, (thanks Lyn, for adding to my stress! although I don't believe I'd lose my job because of illnesses - he knows how hard I'm working at being healthy) but I don't want to be out. I am worried about missing so much work. Yet... you have to be able to do things like... sit up... to be able to work.
Today I have added a migraine to the mix.
I'm mad.
I'm scared.
I'm frustrated.
I've been living off dry toast and mushy white rice and my weight is up.
Austin got mad at me last night because I wouldn't run to the grocery store and buy the kind of food HE likes to eat.
I guess he's learning a lesson in all this... don't waste food because it doesn't always magically reappear in the house when you leave it out to rot.
I have had a couple people check in on me... make sure we don't need anything from the store...
Austin says, "please send teenager food"... I say, "we've got plenty of rice left and that's all I can manage to eat"...
I'm going to call the doctor when they open this morning and say, "really? should i still feel this bad?"
Is this normal?
Well. I guess, if I think back... the kidney infections of 2008 and 2009 WERE both this bad... with the nausea - which we attributed to the medications but I'm nauseous even when I first wake up in the morning when there are no meds left in my system.

Anyways... so that's what's happening around here. Sorry to be such a drag. Sorry to whine and complain. Sorry, co-workers, for being a slacker this week. Sorry, son, for not keeping your normal buffet stocked for you. Sorry, kitties, for cramping your style. Sorry, blog readers for not having upbeat, encouraging, inspirational posts.

It's gonna get better.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

thankful Thursday... horizontal edition

I never made it to work yesterday. I barely made it to an upright position, as a matter of fact. Ever the eternal optimist... I got a shower... and started the glam routine... and... without going into detail... it became apparent that I wasn't getting very far from my bathroom... the nausea and dizziness was (and still is) overwhelming.

Because my doctor was not as thorough as I had hoped/expected... I can only guess that the pain/nausea/etc is from infection and possibly kidney stones. At times the pain is so intense that I can't sit still, talk, breathe... and at times it's just a soreness... pressure... aching... cramping. I've been trying to eat bland stuff... yogurt with honey... white rice... I had potstickers for dinner last night because I was starving. That's the odd thing about the nausea... it's not the kind that accompanies a virus where you have NO appetite.... it's the kind of nausea I had when I was pregnant (no, I'm not pregnant, haven't been exposed and couldn't accomplish it if I was)... it's the kind of nausea where you're STARVING and can't stop thinking about food but every bite you put into your body immediately goes into reverse.

And I've gotta tell you... I'm bitter about this whole thing. I DESERVE to be healthy. At least that's what I think. I've been doing the right things... living my best life... there's no reason for me to be all housebound and unable to work and unable to take care of my kid (who needs very little care) and unable to do anything except lay here with the recliner all reclined back and become a champion of online gaming.

SOOOOooo with that said... this Thankful Thursday required a little deeper digging than usual... but I'm gonna give it a shot because I do believe that gratitude and a positive attitude can be a healing force as much as the synthetic chemical crap that I'm reluctantly putting in my body. Here goes:

1. I'm grateful that my meds were cheap and that my doctors office always just accepts whatever amount I can pay.
2. I'm grateful this happened early in the year and that I had a few paid sick days I could use. I hate that they're ALREADY going to be gone but I'm gonna just have to work harder to stay well throughout the rest of 2011.
3. I'm grateful for my nest. My recliner is the best.
4. I'm grateful for social networking and all the sweet people who said they were praying for me. I know for some people... it's just a phrase... but I also know a lot of people in my life really DO pray for me, fervently and sincerely and it means the world to me.
5. I got a great laugh when I called to order delivery chinese for Austin yesterday (because there's no "Austin" food in the house and I don't feel like going to the store)... they recognized the address and said, "We haven't heard from you in a long time... did we do something wrong?" and I explained that I had been dieting and hadn't been eating out... he said, "Chinese food won't make you fat... have you ever seen any fat Chinese people?"... which was really funny... but it got funnier when my friend Scott reminded me about Buddha. Ha!
6. I have had to cancel my planned picnic with Crunch-n-munch for the second time. The first time was due to a teacher conference... this time due to my unexpected visit to urinary tract hell. I'm not grateful for that... but I'm grateful that he understands. He's decided to give up blogging (already) as it felt more like a chore or obligation than what he thought it would be... I understand that having a daily blog is not for everyone. Few people have such an action packed life that they have something exciting to talk about every day... I'm thankful that blogging, for me, is not a chore but is a way for me to check in with people who truly care what is happening in my life, even if it is boring. Sometimes I think it's the fact that I find my boring life amusing or can tell my boring story in an amusing way that makes people want to hear about it. Or maybe the trials and tribulations of Heather makes you feel like your life is WONDERFUL in comparison. HA! Whatever the case, I'm grateful for the opportunity, grateful for the ability and grateful that people come here to read every day.
7. I'm grateful for my kitties who keep me company when I'm not feeling good.
8. I'm grateful for plain fat free greek yogurt... high in protein... low in points... helps my tummy.
9. Although I normally avoid white rice because it's one of those foods without purpose... I'm glad I had some on hand... and I'm grateful for my rice cooker because I was able to "double cook" the rice... I cooked it, added more water and cooked it again so that I could make a softer, mushier, stickier rice to help my tummy.
10. I'm grateful that Austin has been cooperative and even has been slightly compassionate. He has refilled my big cup of water a few times for me.
11. I'm grateful for the friends that have checked in with me over the past two days... Angie, Crunch&Munch, the one without a nickname that I'm not ready to name, Cyndi, Organic Rose... and others... y'all give me confidence that if I died, someone would find my body before it started to rot. (single people really do worry about this)

I'd like to pretend that I'm going to make an attempt to go to work today but honestly... I'm not even able to pull the recliner into a sitting position... I can't imagine being able to get dressed and drive to the office and put in any kind of time that would deserve compensation. SO... I'm grateful for a restful day here in the nest.

Hope you find things to be thankful for today... even if you have to dig. Love and hugs, y'all.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

gloom, despair and agony on me...

Anybody remember (or admit to) watching those old HeeHaw shows back in the 70's? That was a normal Saturday night around our house. I had no idea who Elvis was until the day he died but I knew who Buck Owens was... anyways... they had this one skit they would do where the hillbilly men would sit around sipping from their jugs of moonshine singing this song... "gloom, despair and agony on me... deep dark depression, excessive misery... if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all... gloom, despair and agony on me"... And then they would each take turns sharing their woes... it was sort of funny.

That's what Wednesday is like on this blog. I'm a fairly positive person... partly because I'm an eternal optimist and partly because I have an enormous capacity for burying my head in the sand... but on Wednesday, I bring out the moonshine and sing the blues.

Beginning Monday night I started thinking I had a urinary tract infection going on. I've had enough of them to recognize the symptoms. I also have interstitial cystitis - diagnosed many, many years ago before anyone had ever heard of it. I have a lot of little random things like that - the cyst in my sinus cavity... the granulomas in my lungs... some structural deformity in the walls of my bladder. It's *likely* all related. I've done some research on the granuloma disease and it can manifest itself in different ways like that. It's all relatively minor stuff that isn't a big deal, definitely isn't fatal and mostly just means that I'm susceptible to infections in those areas more than the average girl.

At any rate... I was uncomfortable yesterday morning but I thought... I'll tough it out... antibiotics always screw up my weight loss and I'm trying so durn hard to bust through this six week long plateau that THE LAST thing I want is to go back on antibiotics for ANYTHING. However... as I was driving to work and considering the situation... and feeling increasing discomfort... and remembering my medical history and the kidney infection in 2008 that landed me in the ER... and the kidney infection accompanied with (small) stones that plagued me in 2009... I decided that the best course of action was to be proactive. I made a doctors appointment and went on in.

If this is too much info for you... feel free to skip... I'll keep it simple... yep. Infection. Looks like more of those little stones are working their way through. All of this is causing a flare of the interstitial cystitis which is crazy painful. I got an antibiotic... the numbing meds for the urinary tract... and some strong pain meds. All 3 make me crazy nauseous but you have to weigh out the crazy painful vs. the crazy nausea. AND... knowing that the worst is probably still yet to come... I have to tough it out and take my dizzy/nauseous self into the office and make the best I can out of it because it is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Just like with the bronchitis in December... I'm highly aggravated and disappointed with my body. I feel like... I'm giving myself the best that I possibly can as far as nutrition is concerned and this old bag of bones is still not giving me the best results. I'm discouraged by the unexpected expense in a pay period where we were already going to be struggling. I'm frustrated by the time away from work and the threat of more time away. I'm embarassed that I'm once again sick... because people assume that I have somehow done something to cause myself to be sick or to suffer from infection and that I'm weak. I'm not.

AND... in the middle of that pity party I find out that Regis is retiring... what is this world coming to? It's the end of the world as we know it.

Sweet Organic Rose who is the caretaker of Loganberry Heritage Farm extended the invitation to bring me to the farm for a week to recover... with herbal remedies and wholesome food... and that is soooo tempting. How much would I love to just tuck myself into the care of someone so wise in the ways of natural healing? But of course... there are the kid, the cats and the job to think of... and despite my attempts to completely avoid pharmaceuticals... here I am, back in the grip of pills again... it definitely makes me want to run away and stick my head in the sand and pretend that if I just keep pushing through and eating right it will all go away.

The other frustrating thing was having to manage my healthcare. Meeting with my doctor yesterday it felt like she had never even glanced at my chart. I had to recount the entire medical history for her. One thing I expect, especially in a small town, is for my doctor to at least familiarize herself with my history. She said, "have you ever had this problem before?" Really? REALLY? DO you not remember doing an ultrasound on me in this very exam room barely a year ago? Do you not remember stressing me out over the fact that there is ALWAYS blood in my urine and insisting that I see a urologist even though I could ill afford it? Do you not remember insisting that the urologist do a cystoscopy on me ASAP? Do you not remember shaking your head... studying for an antibiotic that might work after several others failed? Am I expecting too much from a small town doctor? I left with mixed feelings... I hate to overdramatize and demand extreme measures at the first sign of anything but I hate to repeat the same steps that have always failed in the past... I get an infection... I get a mild antibiotic... the infection doesn't clear up... it gets worse... I get much sicker...

And I'm still coughing stuff up from the bronchitis in December. I meant to mention that but was so frustrated by the fact that she acted like she had never seen me before... that I completely forgot. Which made me even more upset because you can never actually get a return call. I think I need to find a new doctor.

Anyways... now that I've gotten myself all stirred up. The good news is that Austin woke himself up again this morning and has been getting himself ready without any input from me. That's always a good thing.

OH... and the other frustrating thing about being a single sick person is that there is no one to take care of you. I needed a Shirley MacLaine to my Debra Winger in Terms of Endearment, rushing to the pharmacy and demanding that they get the pain meds ready as soon as possible. Instead... I had to wait over an hour... and when you're in pain... an hour is a very long time. I sat in my car and read a book... but it would have been so nice to just go home and tuck myself in for the night and let someone run pick up those meds for me. Instead... I had a house full of teenagers... and once they left (and Austin went with them) I had a stream of people banging on my door looking for them (ok, only two but when you're whacked out on pain pills and nauseated and dizzy and trying to sleep, two is too many)... and my neighbor decided to blast music so loud that it was rattling the pictures on my walls.

Ok. I'm done now. I'm mad. I'm frustrated. And my weight is up. Time to glam and head to work.