Walking into a new and brighter life.

Walking into a new and brighter life.

The healthy me

The healthy me

Finding your way around

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This I know.................

This I know.................

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rosemary and Strawberry Scones

In food processor

1 tablsp rosemary
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teasp baking powder
1/4 teasp salt
pulse to blend

unsalted cold butter 6 tablespoons into smal pea sized cubes into food processor pulse it until it is a course meal consitancy

measure 1 cup heavy cream

in a bowl dump dough mixture and slowly add with a wooden spoon the heavy cream

Keeping dough as cold as possible
flour surface and dump dough out
squish together with hands then roll out with rolling pin
into circle 10" round 1/2 inch thick

ready baking sheet with silicon baking mat
strawberry jam
cookie cutter heart shaped

cut dough and lay on baking sheet
with a 1/2 teasp measure (circle) make a dent in the center of the scone... fill with strawberry jam 1/2 teasp

bake at 374 for 20 mins until edges are golden brown

remove to wire racks and cool


in a bowl
2 tablespoons water
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups powdered sugar
wisk until blended

with spoon drizzle small amount over scones. let set 30 minutes until glaze sets up

Poached Salmon with Lime Basil Cream Sauce

creme fresh
salmon fillets

In a large pot simmer water with 1 lime juiced
4" piece of ginger peeled and chopped large chunks
1tsp pepper corns right in water
once water infuses with "FLAVORS"
then add... 4 salmon steaks into water bath 5 to 7 mins simmering.
Will be pale pinkish/white color and firm

Remove from bath and place on platter

Lime basil creme sauce...

1/3 cup basil into food processor
1/2 cup sour creme or creme fresh
zest of 1 lime and juice of 1 lime
into food processor with all above
salt and pepper. blend then store in container

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tomato/lemon/goat cheese Pasta

salt water for pasta
cook full pound spiral rottini pasta until al-dente about 8 min

dice 1 pound roma tomato's (minus seeds)
2 tblsp salt
pepper to taste
zest 1 lemon on top of tomato's
roll lemon and squeeze juice into tomato's
add cooked pasta
1/4 cup oil olive
add cubes of white goats milk cheese about 1 cup
and mix well and serve


1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 (4 lb.) boneless pork loin, tied
3 lg. leeks (white & pale green part), sliced
6 shallots, finely chopped
2 c. dry white wine or vermouth
1 c. stock (chicken, pork or veal)
4 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper

Rub pork loin with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roast in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Sprinkle leeks and shallots around roast. Continue roasting one hour more or until 170 degrees on meat thermometer.
Remove roast from pan and keep warm on platter.

Add white wine to roasting pan and broil briskly until reduced by half. Add stock and whisk in mustard. Turn heat to low to keep warm.
The last 2 nights have just been miserable. Both nights I have not slept more than 1/2 hour at a time. Both nights I have ended up taking the oxygen canula off and leaving it off thinking that was part of what the problem was. Doesn't seem to be the oxygen or the canula. Also the last couple days I can not get a good breath in. My chest feels tight, almost like someone is sitting on it.
If I didn't have a doctor's appointment coming up I would be calling him to see what I can do to get some relief. As it is... I can wait until Monday.

I have been going through recipes. I am not sure if I mentioned about my mom's recipe's. But, I have lost a bunch of them and it just makes me sick.

She died a little over a year ago. She was the ultimate entertainer! She loved to cook and she was wonderful at it. When she died my step father decided I either didn't deserve or shouldn't have ALL her recipes. So, he took her recipe boxes and with no rhyme or reason took all her recipes and put them in piles. Some he gave to me, some he gave to his daughters... who DO NOT like me. Sadly, that just means many of mom's recipes are lost to our family forever. Now my step-father has little to do with me or my brothers. It's so sad that things ended up this way.

Anyway, back to the recipes. With the recipes I have of hers I plan on putting together a book. I also have many of my grandma's (my mom's mom) recipes, so between the two of them I should have enough to make a decent book. I put out a note to mom's sister and my neices to send me family type recipes that they have too.
As I get the recipes I will be posting them here. I hope you'll enjoy them.
Speaking of food. LoL It's time I figure out what's for dinner.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Steak soup Weight Watchers 4 points

LaVonne said...
I hope I am doing this right. I saw this receipe on food
network and edited it some. Very good.

Steak soup

POINTS® Value: 4
Servings: 6


2 tsp McCormick Ground cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp McCormick Ground black pepper
2/3 pound(s) Beef, strip sirloin, trimmed, raw
3 tsp olive oil
1 cup(s) onion(s)
8 oz canned mushrooms
1 clove(s) garlic clove(s)
4 cup(s) fat-free beef broth
14 oz canned tomatoes with green chilies
9 oz spinach


Preheat a grill to medium-high. In a small bowl,

combine cumin, garlic powder, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Rub the spice blend over all of the steak pieces along with

1 tablespoon of the oil. Let rest at room temperature,

about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, add the remaining 2

tablespoons of oil and heat over medium heat. Add the

onions and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in

the mushrooms and garlic and saute until mushrooms

are tender, adding extra oil if needed. Pour in the

broth, crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat

and simmer while beef cooks.
On a hot grill sear steak until golden brown on both

sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from grill to a

cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Cut beef into

strips and stir into soup, along with spinach. Season

soup, to taste. Transfer to serving bowls and top with a

dollop of sour cream and tortilla chips. (add additional

pts )

February 24, 2010 2:58 PM

Springy, Fluffy Marshmallows

These homemade marshmallows are not only easy to make, they set as perfectly as promised: puffed and lightweight, bouncing off one another as I tossed them in the container.

Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows

About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer.

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out (learning from my mess of a first round). Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

You can also use 1 inch cookie cutter, sprayed so it won't stick to marshmallow.

Do ahead: Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.
Did I mention I hate not sleeping?! I finished the last of the steroids two days ago and thought I would automatically start sleeping better. Not so far. The last two night I have had leg cramps. Finally this morning I gave up trying to get back to sleep and just got up at 4:00. Maybe later today I will go in a take a nap. The muscles in my legs are so sore. Moreso my calves and feet, and moreso my left foot and calf. The cramps were terrible... you know the kind you have to get up quickly and hop around. I still am having spasm's in them. Ughh

I forgot to mention a few days ago I told Bill about this blog. He knew I was "blogging" but he didn't know what about, and I am not sure he even knows what a blog is. He doesn't get too involved in the computer stuff. Anyway, I thought since this blog is so personal he had a right to know he would be mentioned from time to time. I told him one of these days I needed to sign on and have him read it. I am not sure if he will or not, but wanted to give him the option. I just didn't want to keep any of this from him.
I haven't mentioned it to Britt, unless she has seen the links and mentions about it on facebook.

Yesterday I mentioned to Bill that I needed to get motivated to walk everyday. It is one of those things I struggle with. Most days, and especially lately my breathing is uncomfortable at best. Add excercise and it increases that. However, I need to move, and the more excercise I can do the better for my lungs, weight loss, and everything else. The doctor explained to me that people with lung disease have problems moving oxygen through their bodies. Excercise helps circulate oxygen. I started out last summer saying I would walk everyday, and I did a pretty good job sticking with it. Winter got here and I quit walking. We found a great place to walk indoors, and yet I havne't been once. I need to set a new goal, instead of everyday... something reasonable to start with... 3 days a week. If I can keep up with that goal then I can aways add days.

It's amazing to me how much my breathing has changed since last June when I quit smoking. It never did get better by the way. The only thing quitting smoking did was get rid of my hacking cough. Sometimes I wonder if my breathing has gotten worse or if I am just not trying to hide it from everyone anymore? When I was smoking and huffing and puffing around trying to keep up with fast walkers or doing any physical activity I would do my best to TRY and hide my gasping for air. LOL I am sure no one was buying my performance.

These days I just don't care. The only thing I still want to hide is myself at night when I go put on the canula and start up the oxygen concentrator. I moved into the guest room and I just don't want anyone to see me with that canula wrapped around my face.
It's one thing have people see me breathing hard, it's something totally different to see me on oxygen. However.... Layla thinks "it's cool". I just remember how powerful that image of both my parents was to see. No matter what the reason, when you see oxygen on someone you just don't forget that image easily. I don't want to be thought of that way. Not yet.
Is that just being vain? I don't think so, and if yes... then so be it.

Well the sun is coming up and I can see that it snowed a few inches last night. So much for my early Sring! I am going to post a few recipes later. Until then....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pastel Butter Mints (in time for easter)


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp pure peppermint extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound of powdered sugar, plus a little extra


1) Cover a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, corn syrup peppermint extract and salt. Slowly add the powdered sugar and blend together.

2) Remove from mixer and form a round, smooth ball. Add small amounts of powdered sugar if needed. Coat your hands with powdered sugar if the dough feels sticky.

3) Butter mints are traditionally tinted pastel colors... very pale yellow, green, pink and white. You only need small amounts of food coloring to acheive this. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts on wax paper. Set aside 1 part for white. To color each portion add 1 drop at a time of coloring until desired color is achieved. After adding each drop.. knead color into dough until the color is evenly distributed.

4) Pinch off a small lump of dough and roll it between your palms to form a ball 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Set the ball on teh prepared tray and flatten the top by pressing on it with the flat portion of a knife. If the knife sticks dip it in powdered sugar. Repeat until all the mints are formed.

Air dry the mints on the sheet for at least 4 hours, or overnight, turning them over once to dry the bottoms. Store the mints between layers of wax paper or plastic wrap in a covered container.

I had a light bulb moment and figured out most of my tech issues on my page. :) That is soooo unlike me!!!! I normally am running from one shiney thing to the other.

Now to just figure out why the music echo's itself on this page. Hmmm. That one may take a while.

I was so glad to fix the Recipe issue. I wanted them to show up but be seperated from my daily blog. Well, they are kind of. It's the best I can do.

Chicken Salad w/ Tarragon

4 chicken breasts skin side up on baking pan
drizzle olive oil over top and sprinkle with lots of salt
and pepper

bake 350 for 35 min set aside to cool remove skin and cube

in a large bowl...
dice 1 cup celery
2 tablespoons tarragon
3/4 cup mayo (I use best foods lite)
stir together with 2 teas salt 1 tea pepper

This is better after it is refrigerated a few hours to let flavors blend.

peanut lime dressing

3 tblsp peanut butter in a bowl
2 tblsp brown sugar
2 tblsp canola oil
2 limes juice

wisk thoroghly until blended. add more lime or water if not thin enough.

(serving suggestion... cook whole wheat spaghetti noodles until ad-dente. drain and cool completely then add dressing.)

Peach porchada

This is great in the Winter warm or cooled down in the Summer and served with a peach slice in glass.

Into pan add.......
6 cups water boiling
1 cup rice
2 teasp vanilla
1 stick of cinnamon
3/4 cups sugar
8 wedges of peaches (1 1/2 peaches sliced)

when it comes to boil cover it and let simmer until water is loosely incorperated into rice. will be very milky, goopy.

Remove from heat and pour into blender. blend until smooth and creamy. From blender pour through a seive and strain larger pieces of rice and peaches

pour back into sauce pan and add 2 cups water. Heat through for warm drink. Remove and refrigerate for cool drink... If drinking cold then after blending only add more water if you need to thin it down some.

Creamy Corn and Vegetable Soup


4 cups fresh corn kernels or 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen, thawed
2 cups nonfat milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium zucchini, (about 1/2 pound) diced
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
3/4 teas salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Put 2 cups of the corn and the milk into a blender or food processor, until smooth. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and zucchini and cook, stirring until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups of corn and the broth and bring to a boil. Add the pureed corn and tomatoes and cook until warmed through, but not boiling.

Add the salt and season with pepper.

Pecan breaded Chicken Breasts

2 chicken breasts pounded to 1/2" thick (you can ask the butcher for them this way, or do it yourself in a sealed ziplock bag with meat hammer)

maranaded in buttermilk for an hour

1 cup pecans toasted and put in food processor chop and add to
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

take breasts out of liquid and coat in panko mixture pressing firmly into crumbs
In a sauce pan over med heat add enough oil to coat bottom of pan.
you want chicken resting in it, not submerged

cook over med to med low heat Do not turn until you peek and its golden brown about 4mins on each side

drain onto paper towel to drain off oil

Mom's Sweet and Sour Meatballs


1/2 green pepper minced
1 egg
2 teas minced onions
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
1 cup pineapple juice
1 teas soy sauce
6 teas water
1 lb lean ground beef
4 tablespoons corn starch
3 teas vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Mix beef, egg and 1 tea cornstarch, salt, minced onion and pepper. Using small scoop make into balls. Brown meatballs in saucepan with oil. remove meatballs from pan and wipe clean, add pineapple juice and simmer for 10 mins. add 3 teas cornstarch, soy sauce, vinegar, water and sugar and cook until thick. add pineapple and pepper and meatballs.

Serve over rice

Grandma's Easy Corn Chowder

cook 1 slice mild onion in 1 tablespoon butter until onion is tender.

Add 2 cups diced potatoes and 1 cup water.

Cook over fire until potatoes are tender. Add corn kernels from cob about 1/2 cup. 1 pint milk, 1/2 teas salt, a little pepper and 1 tablespoon butter.

Bring to boiling point and serve immediately.

I love how she says "cook over fire"!

Catalina Dressing


1 can condensed tomato soup
4 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons minced onions
1/4 cup vinegar

Put into blender and puree.
Chill at least 2 hours before using


1/2 lrg head cabbage, finely chopped (green or purple)
4 green onions, chopped
1 pkg. Top Ramen noodles (chicken), crumbled
1 pkg. sunflower seeds


2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 c. salad oil
1/2 tsp. pepper
Flavor packet from the noodles

Mix together except the noodles and refrigerate a few hours. Add crushed ramon noodles about 1/2 hour before serving.

Pineapple and Shrimp Salad

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of cubed pineapple and 1 1/2 ounces chopped cooked shrimp. Add 1 teaspoon of chopped mint or cilantro, and 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice; toss to mix. Serve over shredded lettuce or baby greens; season to taste with salt and pepper.

{Any time I use Shrimp I roast it (unless recipe calls for something different)

single layer on a baking sheet 400 oven for about 8 minutes drizzled with a little Olive Oil till pink. just salted and peppered to taste.}

Shrimp Salad with Orange


in a large bowl...
zest of 1 orange about 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoon orange juice
1 cup mayo
1 teas salt
1 teas pepper and wisk together
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

into bowl...
1/4 cup red onion diced
1/4 cup fresh dill chopped finely
2 tablespoon drained capers

on a baking sheet... 2 1/2 pounds peeled and devaned shrimp drizzled with olive oil. Salt and Pepper in a single layer.
roast in 400 degree oven for 6 to 8 mins until pink and firm.

add to big bowl then add
sauce (mayo) and mix well
add veggies and herbs
salt and pepper

let set for about 1/2 hour in frig covered with plastic

Southwestern Avacado and Black Bean Salad


in a bowl add...

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 tea hot sauce
2 tablespoon lime juice (more to taste)

salad base......

romain lettuce
1 cup cherry tomato's cut in half
1 avacado diced
2 cups fresh/frozen corn (thawed out)
2 cans of drained and rinsed black beans
1 cup diced pepper jack cheese

poor dressing over salad drizzle more lime over top if desired
Sorry I didn't blog last night. I don't know why but for some reason that is when my lungs are at their worst. Maybe it is from a day of packing my large butt around lol I dunno, but last night I just gave in and went to bed at 8:30. That is really odd for me, I usually stay up well past midnight. Especially lately since I haven't slept very well and have taken up the hobby of clock watching. DON'T YOU HATE CLOCK WATCHING?!?! I swear there are times at night I am sure I slept for hours and when I look at the clock it's only been 45 minutes. Last night I even tried covering the clock (Bill's idea), to see if that would help. Well, I woke up still but I just didn't know what time it was!

So, (((Drum Roll))) I went and weighed in this morning. I was sure that I had gained once again. NOPE! I lost 1 pound. I'll take it. A pound is a pound, and losing is still losing.
This will have to be a long term life changing decision to lose weight and be healthy and not just a weight loss program to me.
Bill is borderline Diabetic and his blood pressure is through the roof so this will be a godsend for both of us.

The weather has changed. We have a winter storm warning and high wind warning in place for the next 2 days. I didn't notice so much when I went to WW this morning, but coming home I could tell a difference in my chest. It was really hard to get air in, I used my rescue inhaler and that didn't do too much to ease it. I am thinking it is the "low pressure" the weather man is always talking about. I felt like this last summer while we were visiting Brittney in Lebanon. The heat and humidity level knocked me out. The air was so heavy that I couldn't get a breath. It was like breathing thick soupy air, if that makes sense. That's how I feel this afternoon. Even walking around the house is hard today.

I am just adding to the list things to talk to my Pulm Doc about. I am wondering if there is a different medication that would make me breath easier? Maybe changing dosing of my current meds? Perhaps a different rescue inhaler that I could use instead of stronger meds? I am always leery of increasing dosages. I feel like if there is a need to increase dosages then that just means the disease is progressing. DUH! Sometimes denial is a nice place to live in. I guess that is one way this blog is useful to me, I can look back and see weeks and months.

My one dilemma is I begin to feel like a whiner so I think to myself... "it isn't really that bad so I don't need to document it". That is not helping me or anyone else reading this. So... I fight and make myself write Every Little Thing. LoL So, if you visit here and think... MY GOD SHE WHINES A LOT!!! LOL I am sorry. That's kind of the point here.

I have been kind of re-doing this page. I need to learn a lot about how to do graphics. So, if things change around a little I apologize. Once I get it the way I want I will leave it alone.
I want to be able to add recipes here as well and have them show up in the "list" on the side of the main page. I thought adding a page exclusively for recipes would work, but it doesn't allow single listings... only one VERY long continuous one. And, I hear you can't comment on them. So... I am working that issue out. I also had music on here, but suddenly it got haunted and started playing 2 songs at once, so I removed it until I can figure out how to fix it.
If any of you are tech smart and willing to help a girl out holler. LOL

In the mean time I'll keep adding recipes. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I went in for a sleep study not long ago. My Pulmonologist ordered it, to check my oxygen saturation levels at night, and my breathing. The results of that nights sleep resulted in my oxygen concentrator at home with me now, but it showed I didn't have sleep apnea. It did show that I woke up 19 times due to restless leg syndrome. For years I had told my doctors I had problems with my legs. It started not long after I had my first back surgery. My legs when I would sit for a period of time, would feel like someone stuck an electrode into them. I HAD TO MOVE them! It would be miserable on an airplane for more than 2 hours, or a long car ride.
So I was put on medication for RLS (restless leg syndrome). The medication is so new that it is not covered by my insurance (of course!) and it's quite expensive. I got online and checked with the pharmaceutical company to see if they had any programs, but they don't. I just cringe when I go get it filled every month. What cracks me up are the possible side effect and precautions.......
May cause... drowsiness, sudden sleep, obsessive behavior. Strong sexual urge, compulsive behavior... gambling, eating, cleaning... kind of attention grabbing side effects. I have none of the side effects and it really does work.
It's amazing to me that it would wake me up so often. I had no idea. I haven't really been able to tell much of a difference if I am more rested or not. But that could have something to do with the steroids too. LoL Notice I blame everything on the steroids? LOL

I mentioned that I joined Weight Watchers a while ago. I am having a hard time following the program this time. I know why. When I quit smoking 9 months ago I did it cold turkey. I had to quit. I think I quit smoking by substituting food for nicotine. Obviously that's why I have gained so much weight. About 25 pounds since June. I do fine all day until from about 5:00 until I go to bed, then all I want to do is eat. It's amazing how much time was taken up smoking, now I am looking for something to put in my mouth.
I just wish I would have realized when I quit smoking what I was doing. I think giving up my food cravings are just as tough as the smoking. Well, Maybe not as tough, but close!
So, in the words of every struggling dieter out there..... I will do my best to lose weight slowly and along the way begin to eat more healthy. I just hate to think about going to the meetings on Tuesday and getting on that scale. It is very humbling to get on the scale and have it show you gained weight!
I promise, gain... lose or remain the same I'll let you know how I am doing. I am hoping that with the coming of Spring maybe a little extra exercise can do nothing but help!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spring fever has hit me. I am sure like everyone else I just want to get out of the house. This has been such a long winter. For weeks I felt like I couldn't go outside, the cold air really bothered me this winter.
So, seeing sunshine and blue sky's just beckon me outside. The last 3 days I opened up all the doors and aired out our house.

Today I hit the kitchen and started doing some spring cleaning. Of course Spring cleaning means these days hot water and a cloth. Anything stronger than soapy water and Bill takes over. I learned my lesson with bleach a few months ago!
I took all the stuff out of the cupboards and washed all the shelves then organized everything and put it back.

We have a 90ish year old house and the kitchen is the smallest room in it. I have to take advantage of every little nook and cranny.

I still seem to be having this lung issue. I had said that I was going to call Monday if it didn't ease up. Well... Silly me! I let this month get away from me. See what happens when my attitude cheers up?!? lol It is almost March and I have an appointment the 1st with my Pulmonologist and another on the 2nd with my Primary Care Doc, and yet one more on the 4th with a Dermatologist. So... I will just give it another week and see how I am feeling. They are so good to me at my Pulm doctor I hate to bother them. They really are awesome and call and check on me and go way above what normal staff does for their patients! I am very lucky to have them.
My doctor cracks up at me (I think he thinks I am wacko ;) ) because when I go in, he'll say... "How are you feeling" and I ALWAYS say... fine. LoL He says... "You don't sound fine" I say... I just don't want to complain... (laughing at how stupid that sounds) he says... "Yes Kellie, but I am your doctor and that's what I get paid for!" lol

So... Now I make a list if I have things I want to bring to his attention. (his idea) That way I won't feel like I am complaining, and I don't forget anything. So... Already for my visit in a week I am making my list. First question are these steroids. Are they working? How long am I going to be on them? Why can't I sleep, is it the steroids? Lung pain? Would pain meds help? I need to let him know I am only taking 1/2 of the dosage for the RLS meds. I think he said that was fine, but I can't remember.
I think he should be pleased that I have (or seem to) come out of the depression I was in. I am sure there are still lingering moments, but I can see a wonderful improvement.

I just can't do stress anymore. It has such a terrible effect on my breathing, heart rate and moods. Honestly I was getting worried about myself. I think I was a moment away from a break down. Just too much had happened in too short of time, and I couldn't process it all.
I had a brief talk with Bill, and let him know I was going to avoid stress, conflict and all that goes with it AT ALL COSTS. I just wanted him to be aware I can't be as involved in our kids problems, our friends issues and he and I were going to HAVE to start working things out, or I was going to check out.

I couldn't go on like we were anymore. He and I are talking now. Brief moments, but we are talking. He is understanding more what I am going through physically, and how my physical limitations are frustrating. It's a delicate balance for him. I need his help, but I need to have my independence also. We'll figure it out with time. At least I am hopeful now. Which, I couldn't say not long ago. We have made huge leaps as far as communicating.
I know part of my problem beside dealing with this lung disease is I am in menopause. I have moods that come from nowhere! YIKES Go figure it would have to be a multiple issue. I couldn't just deal with one thing. LOL
I have heard a saying...... God doesn't give you more than you can handle. Well... The big guy needs to re-evaluate my capabilities. I have been to the edge a few times lately.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I had to giggle to myself tonight. Actually I think I laughed out-loud. I have been determined to start eating healthier. To shop and cook fresh food, low sodium, low fat, heart and lung healthy. You know, the way we should have been eating our entire life.

Well... Bill had always cooked for us. He was great at comfort food, gravy's, casseroles, chili, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy... Yup! I said comfort food. It is amazing I didn't tip the 200 pound scale long before I did!

Well about 3 weeks ago I started cooking. I joined Weight Watchers and Bill's food just wasn't going to work. Slowly I have gotten rid of most of the canned veggies. They are just loaded with sodium! I have filled our freezer full of chicken and veal and turkey and shrimp. I am not a fan of fish so the shrimp and chicken is the closest I can get! LOL We have some red meat but very little. I even bought turkey Italian Sausage and turkey bacon.

I started buying non fat sour cream and making ranch dip/dressing with it. I made our own Catalina dressing (low sodium and sugar), and even made my own version of blue cheese dressing with feta instead of blue cheese (lower in fat).

I got rid of whole milk and started buying 2%, and low fat buttermilk and low fat condensed milk to make sauces. I tried Healthy Choice Cream of Mushroom soups and the Cream of Celery.. they are wonderful to make nonfat or lowfat sauces.

I have re-stocked our pantry with every vinegar imaginable, every oil, spice, bread crumb, cooking sherry and wine, fresh herbs, bran cereal... you name it I have tried to find ways to be healthy and still add flavor.

I made oatmeal, raisin and bran muffins today. They smelled so good, Bill went into the kitchen and grabbed one of them and took a big bite. The look on his face just CRACKED ME UP!! LoL He said... Oh No! Even the muffins???

The poor guy will go down kicking and dragging his feet. He went to bed the other night with a cup full of semi sweet choc chips to snack on! LOL

When I was at the store today I saw some Rotisserie chicken that looked so good. I removed all the skin and bones and shredded it, I put 1/2 in a container and froze it and the rest I saved for dinner. While I was skinning it, Bill came in and looked like he wanted to cry! , he snuck some of the chicken skin before I could throw it away.
I used a taco packet and heated it on the stove, then cut up onions, tomato's, 2% cheddar cheese shredded, fat free sour cream, red leaf lettuce, salsa and limes and then served them in these wonderful flat bread things I found, they are kinda like really high fiber tortilla.
It was really good! Very low in fat, low in sodium and heart healthy. I think I liked the chicken with the taco seasoning as much as ground beef.

Anyway... It's fun trying new things. I am always looking for recipes that I can figure out how to make healthier. I even made a Faux Fried Chicken dinner the other night that wasn't too bad. It was made with Panko bread crumbs and bran flakes then baked in the oven. Bill will survive and hopefully along the way we can lose some weight and feel better.

On a side note.... My lung is still bothering me. It just feels very tight and when I breathe in it's a sharp pain. I didn't call the doctor today. I decided I will try and take it easy this weekend and call if I need to on Monday. I sometimes feel like a whiner or cry baby. Like I just need to realize I am going to have these issues and they will get worse, so I had better not do too much complaining now. I am a little concerned if I call they will extend my steriods and I am so close to finishing this round! LOL

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Today was another beautiful day. Our weather has been unusually warm and I have been taking advantage of it. I started walking last spring shortly after I was diagnosed. When the heat of the summer got here I quit and went into hiding inside my house. If I was lucky enough to get an early start I would walk until it got too hot outside. Then... Winter arrived. The cold air just took my breath away. I tried scarves and they worked until I would get winded then I couldn't breathe either. So, I went back inside again.
I am wondering where I could live better? I think I need a climate that is neither too humid and hot, or too dry and cold. LOL I need paradise. I am sure it is somewhere in California. ;)

Anyway... the last 2 days I have really enjoyed our beautiful days! We have went walking every morning, and afternoon. Not for long, but long enough to get some fresh air and take advantage of the warm sunshine on my face. It makes me want to get outside and plant pretty flowers. To put out my patio furniture and have morning coffee outside. I know it's too early. This happens every year about this time. We will have snow again. We will have a rainy March.

I bought some Primroses at the grocery store to put in my kitchen window. They are so bright and colorful. Awe.... a little touch of spring.

I mentioned yesterday that I had a tightness in my left lung. Tonight it is really bothering me. I have used my rescue inhaler and it's not working. I may go and get my oxygen and see if that helps relieve some of the pain. If it's not better or continues I am going to have to call the Pulmonologist tomorrow.
I am still on the steroids I have 5 days left. I'll be so glad to get off of them for a while. I haven't been sleeping very well and I am sure it's due to the steroids. That just starts a vicious cycle of being tired during the day and wanting to nap, but if I do then I guarantee that I will be up again that night.

I have been trying to round up recipes from my mom. Sadly, after she died my step father and I were having problems and so many of our families recipes were given to his children and now lost to me. :( I am now trying to contact mom's sister and nieces to see if hopefully they had some of them.

I am trying to get enough so that I can put together a family recipe book, complete with pictures and stories about our gatherings. My mom was such great cook and she really knew how to entertain. Her tables were always beautifully set. I miss her.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Not long after I was diagnosed my doctor suggested I find a support group. Of course the little town I live in didn't have one and I wasn't going to drive over a mountain pass 2 hours to attend... so I looked around online. I found this site. I was so overwhelmed by the stories and the support system there that I just go there and read other peoples struggles and tryumphs. Everytime I go back I am so humbled by these amazing people and all they are going through. http://daytodaywcopd.proboards.com

This is the place to be if you are nearing transplant stages of this disease. There is so much great information there. Actually even if you are newly diagnosed this would be the place to go. I am somewhat embarrassed to say I am like a voyere there. It's like peaking into my future, so I squint. Sound silly? These people are facing lung failure and heart issues and do so with such strength and compassion for each other... it is amazing.
When I have days that I am feeling sorry for myself I wander over there and do some reading. I always leave stronger and more grateful for what I still have.

This may sound funny, odd or whatever.... but.. I am trying everyday to remember things will get worse. Not that I mean to dwell on that fact... but to realize I have to appreciate what I have now. To be grateful for each thing I CAN DO, and not dwell on what I can't. That looks easier than it really is.
I have been having this really tight feeling in my left lung. Like someone has a hold of it and is squeezing. It can be pretty painful at times. Each time I just do my best to relax and eventually it gets a little better, it hasn't went away, but gets to a point where it is tolerable. So... When this happens I remind myself... It may be uncomfortable... but I am still walking around, I am still able to walk through the stores, I can still do most housework... There is still A LOT I CAN DO. So... these things that get in my way I can still live with, and I can accept that.

The last 3 days I have felt lighter and free-er than since I can't remember when. Things are getting better for my daughter, and just that fact is a huge weight lifted. But it's more than that............. I think I finally get it.
I have a choice... I can feel sorry for myself, I can dwell on all things icky... or I can live. I can make plans. I can start a project. I can be me again. Only this me is one who understands how precious every breath is and it makes good days sweeter!

I hope this blog can reach the people I intended it too. I hope that somehow my walking through my life wide open will shine a light on what someone else may be dealing with.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Have I mentioned that I love my doctor and his staff?! They are so good to me. When I first started seeing him I was self pay and cringed at the testing he wanted to do. Of course I had no choice. If it really was Emphysema I had I needed to know the severity so he could chart my treatment.

Shortly after I was properly diagnosed I was divorced and applied for SSI and medical assistance. I was prescribed Spiriva, Advair and Pro-air (rescue inhaler). Still with my medical coverage I was paying a fairly high co-pay for the Spiriva and Advair.

I got online and looked up the pharmaceutical companies of those drugs and found out that they have programs to help people with medications expenses.

I wanted to post the programs I used with the hopes maybe someone else could use the help.



Spiriva® HandiHaler® Patient Assistance

How can this program help?
This program helps people with no prescription coverage save on Spiriva HandiHaler. The program is managed by the Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation, a Pfizer partner.

What Pfizer medicines are available?
Spiriva is the only medicine available through this program.

How can I learn more?
To find out if you are eligible for this program and to get assistance in enrolling, call

For Advair the program is called... Bridges to Access (GlaxcoSmithKline)
P.O. Box 29038
Phoenix, Arizona 85038-9038

Their website would probably have a phone #

With both of these programs you need your doctor or nurse to be your Advocate and they will need to fax the information to these companies along with a 3 month prescription for your medication. Your medication will be delivered to the doctors office and you can pick it up there. You will need to re-apply every 3 months or have your doctor/nurse re-submit the claim and send a new prescription.

I didn't check but I assume that even the rescue inhalers would be part of these programs. If your taking a different medication find out the maker of the drugs and get online and look for programs. They ALL have them!

I get so angry when I hear people say they can't afford their medications. All pharmaceutical companies offer these programs. There are guidelines you need to meet as far as income, but even then they offer assistance. Put your doctor and staff to work for you. They even can supply you with samples until the programs can get started.

Anyway, I just can't say enough about my doctor. I really am very lucky. Even my primary care doctor is a doll. It sure does make it easy to trust them and talk to them about the issues I am having. I hear so many people say they don't have much faith in their doctors and I think that is terrible.

Neither one has come out and told me I need to lose weight, but I know it will make me breath easier. I started Weight Watchers and had lost 5.8 pounds. I went this morning to weight in and had gained 1.6 pounds... so I am back to losing only 4.2 pounds.
I hate that I gained weight this week, but wasn't too surprised. I need to keep track of what I am eating better... and watch the portion size.

I don't mind losing weight slowly. I am trying to do my best to cook healthier and be more conscience of what kind of food we buy. Bill is borderline diabetic and we both are right there on the verge of hyper-tension so we really have to do a better job of watching what we are doing. Easier said than done.

I think I have (realistically) about 50 pounds to lose. Wouldn't it be nice if by this time next year I will have met my goal?!! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

I have only been not smoking for 9 months and I Can Not imagine how bad I would be now if I hadn't quit!
I am on steriods to try and build up my lung volume and they are MISERABLE things! My face and hands are swollen, I can't sleep at night. I just hate this. It seems every month I get a new symptom. I think my problem right now came from when I had breast surgery in January, from the anesthesia. When I came home from the hospital I had congestion in my lungs and it's still there. The thickest stuff I have ever seen. So, according to my doc this will be the course of action each time I get colds or flu symptoms... Antibiotics followed by Steriods.

When I first got this diagnoses I searched and searched for information. I was surprised how little I found. That is one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog. I would love to wander upon a blog like this. Not that it is full of information, not that I am a wonderful writer... only that it is an honest look of daily life with this disease. From what I gather I am not that unusual as far as symptoms go. With the exception of my age and the advanced degree of the Emphysema, I am just like any other sufferer.

Depression, Anxiety, Anger, Fear, Shame... the list is long but all of those are common feelings with this illness. My biggest issue has been a overwhelming ANGER. Anger at myself for doing this to me. I watched both parents die from lung and heart disease. They both smoked, they both ended up on oxygen near the end. Here I am now with a oxygen concentrator in my house! I can't tell you how that effects me! Every night when I put on that cannula my parents cross my mind.

I belong to a couple Copd groups and the biggest question there is the Grades of Progress and how they come up with them.
Many have questions about the FEV 1 test and how it is graded.
Some have Chronic Bronchitis and others have Emphysema and some don't know the difference.
It is difficult talking to the doctor sometimes. When I was first diagnosed I would take my daughter with me. The words and phrases coming out of my doctors mouth scared me so much that I couldn't remember one thing he said after I walked out of his office. So... my daughter helped me, and helped me remember to ask questions.

Here is some very useful information~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Grading COPD

You can have COPD that's quite mild, a little worse or very bad. If it looks as if you might have COPD, your doctor will give your illness a grade to show how mild or severe it is. The grade helps your doctor decide what treatment you need.[1]

There are four grades, and the table below shows what they are and what each one means. If your doctor gives your illness a 0, it means you might get COPD, but you don't actually have the disease yet. The highest grade, 4, means you have COPD and it's very serious.

You'll see two abbreviations in the table below: FVC and FEV 1 . These are measurements used in spirometry tests.

FVC stands for forced vital capacity. It is the total amount of air you can blow out after taking a deep breath.FEV 1 stands for forced expiratory volume in one second. It shows how much air you can blow out in the first second of the test.To grade your COPD, doctors look at your FEV1 score. They also divide your FEV1 by your FVC (often written as FEV1/FVC). This gives them a percentage that helps them find out how well your lungs are working. To learn more, see Spirometry.

Stage of COPD Test results Signs

0: At risk Your lung test is normal. You have had symptoms, like coughing up mucus, every day for some time.
1: Mild You have one abnormal lung test result (your FEV1/FVC is less than 70 percent). You have one normal lung test result (your FEV1 is at least 80 percent of what it should be). You may cough a lot. Sometimes you cough up mucus. You feel a little breathless if you walk quickly.
2: Moderate Both your lung test results are abnormal. Your FEV1/FVC is less than 70 percent and your FEV1 is between 50 percent and 80 percent of what it should be. You cough more. You may get breathless if you work hard, walk quickly or do household jobs. You may take a few weeks to recover from a chest infection.
3: Severe Both your lung test results are abnormal. Your FEV1/FVC is less than 70 percent and your FEV1 is between 30 percent and 50 percent of what it should be. You may not be able to work and probably find it harder do jobs around the house. You cannot walk upstairs or across the room very well. You get tired easily. You may show signs of a weak heart.
4: Very severe Both your lung test results are abnormal. Your FEV1/FVC is less than 70 percent. Also, your FEV1 is less than 30 percent of what it should be or it?s less than 50 percent of what it should be and you have other signs that your lungs are failing. You can no longer go to work or do jobs around the house. You cannot walk upstairs or across the room very well. You may show signs of a weak heart.

Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease. 2005. Available at http://www.goldcopd.com (accessed on 28 November 2008).


chronic bronchitis

Your doctor may say that you have chronic bronchitis if you have a cough that brings up phlegm, if it lasts for three months or more, and you have had it twice in two years. Smoking is a common cause of chronic bronchitis.


Emphysema is a long-term disease of the lungs. The walls of the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs become thin and less elastic. This makes it harder for oxygen to get in your blood and carbon dioxide to get out of your body. It makes you cough and feel short of breath. Smoking is the most common cause of emphysema.


You get an infection when an organism, such as a bacterium, a fungus or a virus gets into a part of your body where it shouldn't be. For example, an infection in your nose and airways causes the common cold. An infection in your skin can cause rashes such as athlete's foot. The organisms that cause infections are so tiny that you can't see them without a microscope.

© BMJ Publishing Group Limited ("BMJ Group") 2010

When I was first diagnosed I was graded Moderate. Once all the testing was done it was moved to Severe.

My last Fev 1 result was 41 that was taken in September of 2009.
I wanted to put a note in here that I have been on steriods since my last visit with the pulmonologist. I am not fond of them. They make me puffy feeling and they really do interfere with a good nights sleep.

When I was diagnosed with this I started obsessing about reading articles. I found every website that had anything to do with diagnoses, treatment and nutrition. If this was going to be part of my life I wanted to know all about it.

What I found honestly wasn't much. There just isn't many spots out there for people to go get information. So much of the treatment options and surgical options are outdated now. That is one reason I wanted to do this blog. Perhaps someone newly diagnosed will happen upon it and learn something. Or, realize they aren't alone feeling sadness, depression, anxiety, stress and fear.

We are not alone going through this. Our families are struggling too. I am finding out more and more of what they are going through now. Bill is as scared as I am. Maybe even more so in some ways. It was always his job to take care of me. Now with our divorce and this hideous disease that we can't stop, he is helpless. With me having a shortened future, it makes him think about his life too. We can't plan for anything, but we are aware our journey was shortened.

Anyway... Somewhere in the early days I read about nutrition and what a role it played in Lung health as well as Foods that help build my immune system.
I talked to the doctor and he told me in the beginning not to worry too much about my weight. I had just quit smoking and it was obvious I was going to put on pounds. Now the time has come where losing weight will help my breathing.

I joined Weight Watchers 3 weeks ago. The first week I had good success, losing 3.8 pounds the first weigh in. The 2nd and 3 week I missed the meeting because of surgery and a death in the family. The 4th week I went to the meeting and had lost another 2 pounds. Not a terribly high weight loss, but it all adds up.

Weight Watchers has worked for me in the past. And, it fits a healthy diet plan. Low Sodium, Low fat and high in fiber. A healthy Lung diet is colorful veggies. Red, yellow and dark greens. Apples and Pomegranites and dark red fruits are great as well.

It has just reminded me of all the foods we are supposed to eat. I am finding I still CRAVE salt! I wonder if that will go away. Honestly there is salt in EVERYTHING we eat, it's harder than you would think to stay away from it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

After our lovely drive home yesterday Bill and I seem more relaxed with each other than we have been in a long time. For over a year now almost monthly something tragic has happened... Either a death, one of our kids have had issues, health issues, surgeries... you name it, it seems we have been through it. It has taken a toll.

We are both now aware that there needs to be attention paid to our relationship. That is no small feat for us. We have never had to work on our relationship in 27 years. It just always took care of it's self.

He admits he is scared to death of my disease. He isn't sure what his place is, especially where the doctors are concerned. I am going to have to talk to my doctors and in some way explain that Bill and I may be divorced, but we remain close and he takes care of me. With this divorce we are not sure who should know what.
He wants to be a part of my medical experience. I think it would be good for him. It is hard enough for me to grasp what my future holds, I am sure for someone who is not living it... it would be impossible to understand.

It is hard to get used to not being able to do the simplest of things I once could. For instance, I can no longer climb stairs to do laundry, and there is no way to move the washer/dryer upstairs... so Bill has been doing all our laundry. Think about that ladies... I was once picky as to how I did laundry. Now... if jeans are washed and dried with my bras and nice shirts... I just grit my teeth and smile.

I used to be such a freak about having a clean house. Now I get so out of breath vacuuming that it isn't done as often as needed. I don't dust as frequently as I used to.

I can't do yard work like I once loved doing. Mowing the yard is totally out of the question. Even planting can be a little much. I drag hoses around to water the yard and gasp for air.

If it is too hot, I don't go out. If it is too cold... I stay inside.

Small things like not being able to use bathroom air freshener is annoying. I had to ask Bill to quit using his Cologne (Aramis) because the smell was too strong. I had to quit using all my favorite perfumes because the smell was bothering me. Lotions the same thing. Even smelling bacon cooking sometimes takes my breath away.

These are things that over the last 9 months I have had to learn to give up. They may seem small, but these small things add up. It's like I have to learn how to be a different person.

If I have a learning curve... I didn't think about how odd it must be for Bill. How much more he is needing to do for me.

You know I talk about life expectancy. I want it understood I have not "marked the calendar" or anything like that. It was meant to give me a realistic guide as to how serious this is, and what I might be able to expect. There are many variables to that. The number of colds and flu and infections I experience. The number of exacerbation's due to pollutants... such as forest fire smoke, smog, inversion layers during the winter or even household cleaning products perfumes. Each time my lungs are damaged now it just hastens the damage.
Unfortunately, once damaged, lungs do not regenerate and to date there is no cure for Copd/Emphysema.

I am not sure who reminded me, but stress is as damaging as any infection. In order for my lungs to remain strong the rest of me needs to stay healthy as well.

I have made a decision that I am going to call my primary care doctor (who I adore by the way) and set an appointment to talk about anti-depressants. The thought of them makes me feel like I am somehow not taking responsibility for getting to this point, or that it makes me weak. I know that many people use them successfully. I was hoping I could do this on my own, but I feel like there are so many other battles I need to deal with, I will give in and ask for help here.

This journey has so far taught me that ... When I least expected it I found strength, and found out it's O.K. to need help.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When I started this blog a few days ago I promised myself it would not just be a sad medically depressing place to come. I intend it to teach me something along the way. Perhaps a way to live a life of meaning, to find out how to be true to myself and to find my inner grace.

I talk about grace a lot, I know. It's silly how that came about. It all started with body lotion ordered from QVC called Amazing Grace by Philosophy. I don't wanna sound like a sales person..... But OMG that stuff is awesome. LOL
About the "grace" though... On each bottle someone has wrote about a life of grace.

~~ : life is a classroom. we are both student and teacher. each day is a test. and each day we receive a passing or failing grade in one particular subject: grace. grace is compassion, gratitude, surrender, faith, forgiveness, good manners, reverence, and the list goes on. it's something money can't buy and credentials rarely produce. being the richest, or even the poorest, can't help. being a humble person can and being a helpful person can guide you through your days with grace and gratitude.~~

I don't know why that touched me so, but it really did. It is my new goal. It is how I want to learn to live my life.

I'll keep this part breif... but when you are faced with mortality you begin to reflect on your life and how you want to be remembered. It isn't morbid or sad... it is human nature to want to be remembered in the best light. To know you left this earth richer for your being part of it.

Bill and I drove Layla to Oakridge today and met Britt there for lunch. I love that drive. Oregon is beautiful and it does me good to be out in it. The Willamette Pass is one of my favorite places. It is like driving through wonderland in spots. The big old trees hanging over the road, mossy covered branches that look like they are in a lush green velvet. There is a beautiful river than runs along the road in spots that is so peaceful.
I enjoyed the drive so much and relaxed for the first time since I don't know when. After we dropped Layla off Bill and I actually had a really nice drive home. We didn't talk about anything serious, and that was nice... for the first time since I can't remember it was just comfortable being quiet with him.
It made me hopeful that we can get past this and be alright.

My next move... I still have not been open with my friends and some family about being sick. I am worried more about my friends. There is a icky stigma that comes with the word Emphysema. I just want to be me and not "the friend with the oxygen tube" stuck in her nose. I know part of that is paranoia on my part... but I am not yet 50 years old. Most of my friends are still very young and active and I am not sure if they could possibly relate to anything I am experiencing or going through. I know I should give them a chance, but once they know I can no longer hide behind the idea I am O.K..

I'll work on it.

I had a good day and that's what I am holding on to!

Friday, February 12, 2010

When I quit smoking June 4th, 2009 @ 2:30 in the afternoon (it cracks me up that I can remember that date and time, but can't remember anything else all day, everyday! LOL) I joined a wonderful quit smoking site. It was called BecomeAnEx.org
I highly recommed it for anyone wanting to quit smoking. The support I recieved there was AMAZING. I met people there who will forever be my friends. I then joined another site called Friends Helping Friends and there I started a COPD/Emphysema group. It is just a place we can all go and bond. After all this disease is unique. Those who suffer from it all share an experience any one of us would rather not have.
To be breathless is frightening. To know you will eventually die by struggling for air is horrifying! So... Yes... those who struggle with this form a very tight bond.

It is in one of those blogs that one of my friends commented and it was a Duh!! Lightbulb moment. I have been off the deep end, for lack of a more creative name for what is bothering me.
I am STRESSED to my max. I can feel my heart beat out of my chest. I cannot seem to have a calm, normal conversation with my husband, without either bursting into tears, or yelling. I have had my granddaughter here for about 2 weeks. I ADORE her. I have actually found myself being not nice to her (verbally short), which is not like me.
If I keep up like this I will not only have a lung disease, but will be hospitalized with a heart condition.
Anyway.... (god I get sidetracked easily lately! LOL) One of my friends commented that... Like an infection... anger and stress can make you sick, it can make breathing symptoms worse, and can do just as much damage.

I knew that. I know that. Why can't I get a grip? Why are my emotions so close to the surface? Why can't I get happy?

It occured to me that "THESE ARE MY GOOD DAYS. THIS IS MY TIME TO ENJOY". LIFE AND MY ILLNESS WILL ONLY GET WORSE FROM HERE ON OUT, so I had better find a way to enjoy these "good times" before they are gone too soon!

Sooner rather than later... I won't be able to go for my morning walks without oxygen with me. I won't be able to walk around my house "hose free" during the day. I won't be able to go to the store without my oxygen. Not just the oxygen... I won't be able to play with Layla, sing her songs without losing my breath. Read her stories without gasping pauses.

This is my time. These are my months, years to do all I can. Because like it or not, want to admit it or not... I will in a short time be limited. When I want to go visit someone... I will make plans for oxygen to be there ahead of me or take it with me.
If I go to the store, will I be able to walk through? or will I need one of those carts? I can't even imagine what I won't be able to do. I guess I prefer not to think about it.

So... Tomorrow we take Layla back to Brittney. I will come home and do whatever it takes to get my marriage back on track. To lighten up a little where Bill is concerned. To try and get him to understand this lashing out is directed at me, and not him.
Then maybe I can start living what life I have left.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I am not sure what the deal is lately. It seems like I can't recognize any signs of my previous life lately. It started with my diagnoses in June and it's just gotten worse.

I know I talk about Bill like we are still married. And, for what it is worth... I feel we are. A piece of paper doesn't mean we still don't care for each other, and that we haven't shared and experienced everything with each other for 27 years. It just simply means that we had to divorce so I could get medical coverage.
I am so angry because of that.

I will have to write another blog to talk about Americans without affordable health care, and insurance companies charging outrageous prices and penalties for pre-existing conditions.
For now... I'll get back to the topic.
Since the divorce and since my diagnoses things have gotten just terrible between Bill and I. Once in a while he will write me a note, buy me a thoughtful card, and even has written a couple poems.... But... things ARE different, and the longer they continue this way I am afraid we will never be able to get back to the happiness we once had.
I know a good portion of it is me. Even Brittney tells me I have changed. I don't know how to feel about that? Of course I have changed! I have been given a life expectancy from doctors of about 10 years (with good results and care). My body and breathing are changing monthly now it seems. I have such anger at myself that I can't seem to find a way to let go. Anger because I did this to me. Anger and resentment because I think Bill also blames me and can't let go of that. I guess it's O.K. for me to not forgive myself, but I don't think it's O.K. for Bill. Double standards shouldn't apply, but I am being honest.... I can't help it!

I told him today that we need to be able to talk about the changes I am going through and me being sick. He says... "if I don't talk about it, it hasn't happened". He is a smart guy... He knows better. Not only do we not discuss my extreme breathing as I call it, we don't talk about the oxygen, the pills, the inhalers, the doctor trips, my not being able to walk more than minutes at a time without resting.

I feel like I am doing this all alone. When I come home from doctor visits... he doesn't ask questions. When I go for tests, he doesn't ask results. I am afraid. I am scared of what is to come. I talk to friends online at least once a week sometimes more about what is happening to me, but my own husband who I see daily asks nothing, and doesn't want to talk about it if I bring it up. I get so mad. I have HUGE anger. I am like a toddler needing to "act out" to get attention. The only way we have discussions is if I get mad.
Then I can't talk long anyway, because now it seems when I get anxious, or nervous, or worked up... I get out of breath. I can't raise my voice for extended periods of time because my chest tightens up so much I can't breath.

We are under a tremendous amount of stress. Not only with me and my medical issues, but are worrying about Brittney and her health. She is going through terrible times at work and to top it off a week ago she was in a accident. She had just dropped Layla off here and was heading home to deal with her work issues and a car ran a light and she T-Boned it doing 50 mph. She is terribly bruised, and sore. Her car was totaled.
I think the Union Attorney is filing a Tort Claim (not sure what that is or means)on her behalf tomorrow for her job. It is just very stressful, and having Layla here doesn't help Bill and my problems.
We are just avoiding contact mostly. He has been going to bed at 7:00 every night. Even when Layla isn't here he does that though.

My doctor told me my last visit if I can't get my blood pressure under control then starting in March I will need to start high blood pressure medication. She also suggested that I start anti-depressants. I told her to let me try and fix myself. To give me a month to see what I can do.

I can tell you so far I haven't fixed myself and possibly things have just gotten worse. We are taking Layla back to Britt on Saturday and I am hoping I can somehow manage to begin healing things with Bill. I know that will help 80% of my stress and fear and anger issues.
I'll let you know how things go.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I used to blog on yahoo 360 then that shut down. I moved to multiply and that just wasn't my "cup of tea". Then I went to a few more places and finally decided I would just start my own blog.

I am sure it will have moments of bitching. Times of feeling sorry for myself, and being menopausal. But I wanted somewhere I could just go and write. Write about what I am going through with this illness. Write about how afraid I am at times. About my struggles with depression. Write about being a mom and grandma. I intend to make this a brutally honest view of my life. I somehow think my life is not that different from many.

I think we all share certain struggles. Yours may not be an illness or depression.... But I would guess there is something there at times you wished you had someone to talk to about it. I am a believer that if you can get it out of your head and verbalize how you feel it makes it somehow less powerful.

This is not to say this will be a spot to only Bitch, Moan and Feel Sorry for myself. I plan to start putting together recipes from my Mom, Grandma and Family. I promised after Mom died I would put together a cookbook for her, it's been over a year now so I suppose I had better get on with it.

Also, it is my wish to be able to come back here a year from now and see that while I still may be struggling with my lung issues, I will have figured out how to live without regret, to find purpose, and to get past the thoughts of death that haunt my dreams. At this moment, it is those queit times at night when thoughts fill my head and sleep. I need to figure out a way to put this "life expectancy" issue out of my head and realize I had better get started living while I still have the chance. Why doctor's even feel obligated to mention life expectancy is beyond me! LOL

So..... Happy 48th Birthday for me. I can only hope this year will be better than last. I believe life Ebs and Flows... It is time for the tide to change.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Myspace Comments

When I wake up in the morning I will be another year older. Face it... 48 is not the END of the road. The road is just getting worn out with more pot holes.
If I had my way I would stop here. I have a feeling the next years will be much different. It is for that reason I am here blogging. I am going to need all the stamina I can get to make it.

Last week the doctor asked me what makes me happy. I had no answer for her. I shrugged my shoulders. That is unacceptable!

Of course I have the typical answers. I do adore my daughter and granddaughter. I do look forward to visits with them. It just seems we are all going through so much right now we don't have that spontanious joking and laughter that we usually have.

I have had so much change this last year it's hard for me to have a anchor point of stability. I lost my mother, my husband of 27 years and I got a divorce, I quit smoking and was diagnosed with Copd/Emphysema, I gained 40 pounds. Ughhhh... That just is daunting to even write it all down.

I am living one life at home, another life outside the house. At home I am living with my ex husband as though we are still married. It's a long story! Once I walk out my front door alone or with him we are divorced.

It wasn't our first choice, but necessary for me to get medical insurance. I am not sure how you would feel about someone being dishonest to gain benefits? I was not sure how I felt about it actually! I am afraid to tell anyone. Very few people know about it. Our close friends think we are still married, and those we just meet think we are divorced but close. I can't tell my own doctors about it for fear they will need to report me. I am getting SSI benefits. Big deal right... 400.oo per month is not worth anything. What I needed most was to qualify for medical insurance and this was the only way I could get it. I worked my entire adult life as a business owner. We paid employees but never paid ourselves. I didn't pay into social security for years and now when I need the little $$ and benefits it could give me, I didn't qualify. Instead I was given SSI. I honestly don't know how people can live on this. I am sure they can't.

It has been a terrible time for our relationship. We started with a pact that no matter what happened we would ALWAYS be together, that just because we weren't married legally anymore didn't mean sqat to us. Well... funny how stress and anger, resentment and depression can play havoc on a relationship. We are struggling to find why we stayed together in the first place.

I have a tremendous amount of guilt with this Emphysema. Both of my parents had it, and you would have thought I knew better than to follow in their footsteps. It honestly scares the crap out of me. I have seen them both struggle for air. I have heard the gurggling sounds coming from my mom in the hospital. I never wanted to be here. I feel like damaged goods. I feel like I have promised my daughter the same pain as I had watching my parents die of this. It's not pretty!

I am getting carried away with my first entry. I just wanted to document on the eve of my 48th Birthday my frame of mind. It is my hope that within a year I will be back here on my 49th and discover I learned something about myself. That I found out I am stronger than I think I am. And hopefully... that I figured out what "makes me happy".