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.................

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I've not been here in a week. Yes, Layla and I spent the week together. How did it go? For the most part wonderful. However, it is getting more difficult to do some things alone. Bill has been doing our laundry for quite a while now. Remember, I bitch about it every once in a while? Well, with him gone and a almost 5 year old here, I had to do laundry. I actually can go up and down stairs, you just can't expect ANYTHING from me after I climb back up... at least give me 5 minutes to catch my breath and be able to talk freely without gasping for air. A nearly 5 year old doesn't understand this so much. That was difficult. Also... grocery shopping. Loading her in the car is no problem, walking through the grocery store is not a problem if I go slow. Even loading the car after shopping is not a problem. But, unloading groceries and bringing them into the house is a problem. We had a pretty good week all in all. I was glad to see Britt and Bill come home.

I am still not sleeping. It's been a month or longer now. Last night I slept pretty well. I still wake up and roll around for a while before going back to sleep. My legs have been terrible the last couple weeks, and seem to be getting worse every night. For the last 2 nights I also have had terrible spasm's in my right arm and hand.
The breathing to me seems about the same. Britt and Bill have noticed that I am taking "deep breaths" more. Britt mentioned it the other day. I don't even realize I am doing it. I have just felt like I can't get a good breath in, or I need to slow down my pulse or something. It's odd.

Sadly, Layla and I didn't go walking once while Bill was away. And, sadly or not so sadly... depending on the point of view... I didn't watch what I ate very well the entire week. I am actually fairly sure I gained, probably not a lot..maybe a pound, at the most 2.
With Britt here I decided I would loosely follow the Weight Watchers program and keep measuring myself, keep an eye on my food groups and once a week get on Britt's scale to see how I am doing. I promised myself if I can't do it on my own and if I begin to gain weight I will go back to WW.
I am so hoping the snow quits, the high winds calm down and Spring finally arrives, so I can get back out and walk. I really enjoyed it, and it made me feel like I was taking care of myself.
With no walking, and now especially giving up WW... I feel like I am sliding back into old habits. I Won't Let That Happen!! I promise. I will still come here and be accountable for my weight and exercise. It helps to know I have to be open about my weight issues. It isn't always fun coming here and tattling on myself. It isn't always good for my ego.. but it is necessary.
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Today is the 4th of April, I got distracted and never finished the blog up there. I went to my primary care doctor Friday. She changed all my meds again. I hope these will help. I am now on a new anti-inflammatory, a new restless leg medication and, Yes finally an anti-depressant. She tells me the anti-depressant will also help me with insomnia and if last night was any indication... Yes, they all work better. I actually slept last night.
There was one hitch with the visit though... She had me tracking my blood pressure and pulse rate all month. I did it twice a week on one of those machines at the store. She was happy with the blood pressure, not so happy with the pulse rate. She said she had always assumed that I was just nervous when she took my pulse at her office... not the case... my pulse was once @ 101 and that was the lowest all month. It mostly stayed in the 106 range. The gave me a EKG and it showed 101. They also gave me a chest X-ray and it showed new scarring. I am assuming that is Emphysema progressing... I didn't ask. So, tomorrow I go up to the hospital and have them put a Holter Monitor on me for 24 hours. She mentioned Tachycardia and again.... I didn't ask.

I am almost to the point where I am handling what's wrong at this moment. Anything new and I think I can wait to hear about. It did explain those deep breaths I have been taking. She asked me if I felt like my heart was racing, or if I had heart pain... It sounds stupid... but I honestly can't tell what is heart and what is lung pain, or shortness of breath. She said that is pretty normal. Hmmm :) Imagine that I am almost normal in one area of my life. LoL She did point out to me that I am an interesting patient. That I have very unusual things happening to me at an early age. This is one time in my life I am not trying to be "ahead of the curve".
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So now today is April 5th and I will finish this blog. I just got back from getting wired with this heart device. I'll have it on for 24 hours and the probably a few days before I hear the results. They also did some blood work on me.

I can say here in the privacy of my blog that I am scared and worried about this heart thing. My dad died of a heart attack after years of heart and lung issues. His Dad died of complications of lung disease and heart problems... My Mom died of heart failure after years of lung problems and heart issues. Her mother died of a stroke and heart problems.... my gene pool really stinks. So, to find out I have any heart issue just stuns me! I don't know why I thought I could avoid it, but already? Before I even turn 50? I get the feeling someone up there doesn't want me to be a gray haired old lady. It makes me a little frantic and wanting to cram all life living into a summer! Is that understandable? I just need to remember to breath and take it one day at a time. I swear it's getting more difficult everyday to do that.

I have been around people who whine about illness's and aches and pains. And, I REFUSE to be like that. That's one of the reason's I love this blog. It let's me do a little whining without totally feeling like a loser. It just seems like it is always something.

I'll do better at posting more often. With the girls moving in our routines have been out of whack a little.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Copd Foundation

Healthy and Active Living For every COPDer, it’s important to keep an active lifestyle. By being physically active, you’re helping both your mind and body. Your COPD may restrict some of the activities you used to do, but it shouldn’t stop you from doing many other things. And keeping your body active, either by exercising or in pulmonary rehabilitation, you’re improving your lung function and state of mind. Your doctor or respiratory therapist can help find the best routine for you and give you the encouragement you need. Try to maintain a healthy weight. Based on your doctor’s recommendation, you may need to gain or lose weight. Heavier individuals may find it easier to breathe if they lose some weight, and lighter individuals may need to gain weight so they don’t lose too much weight during an exacerbation. Talk to your doctor about what your ideal weight should be and design a reasonable weekly exercise regimen so you can work towards your goal. It also doesn’t hurt to eat healthy snacks and drink lots of water. Avoid germs at home and during outings. Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose. This helps prevent spreading germs into your body. Rearrange your home. Put the objects you use the most in easy-to-reach places. You can also purchase many useful products that will help make moving around much easier for you, such as shower stools. These products and gadgets can help make some tasks much easier for you, and if basic tasks take less effort, you will be able to do more things you enjoy! Other useful tips for healthy living include: •Get plenty of sleep. When your body is tired, you’re more likely to get sick. •Avoid getting fatigued by doing a little at a time. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. •Call your doctor at the first sign of a cold. It’s good to keep your doctor informed of any changes you experience. •Stay busy. Pick up a new hobby. It’s never too late to start something new! •Learn all you can about COPD! Talk to other COPDers and become educated so you can take charge. Air Quality in Your Home: It Matters The air you breathe can have a profound impact on your health, and indoor air can sometimes be more polluted than outdoor air. Since most people spend the majority of their time indoors, the quality of your indoor air is vital to your well-being. There are a variety of actions you can take to improve the quality of the air that you breathe in your home. The three major threats in a home, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, are allergens, irritants, and dangerous chemicals. Allergens can cause a response from your immune system and they come from pollen, dust mites, and pets. Irritants won’t necessarily cause your immune system to react but can include volatile organic compounds that can make breathing more difficult. Common indoor air irritants include chemicals used in the painting, finishing, or staining of new furniture. Polyurethanes in paints, strong pesticides, tobacco smoke, and chemicals in cleaning products are irritants as well. Sometimes these chemicals have odors that you can detect but sometimes they don’t. Smells coming from new pieces of furniture are often representative of chemicals that are irritating your lungs. Dangerous chemicals include carbon monoxide and radon; though they’re less common, they are still very harmful. Take steps to purify the air in your home. You can start by talking to your doctor; you may be surprised at their willingness to talk about air quality. You can also: •Ventilate your home by opening windows and running exhaust fans, •Prevent smoking in your home, •Remove clutter (because clutter collects dust!), •Minimize dust mites by washing your bed linens weekly, lowering the humidity level, and keeping your pets off your furniture, •Keep your floors and carpets clean, •Install an air filtration system, and •Reduce your exposure to household chemicals such as paints, varnishes, and cleaning products. Visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation’s website for more tips on how to improve the air quality of your home. Taking Medicines… Strictly It is very important for you to follow your medication schedule precisely. This includes following the directions closely, refilling your prescriptions with time so you don’t run out, and seeing your doctor at your regularly scheduled appointment even if you feel fine. Also talk to your doctor about taking immunizations for the flu and pneumonia. You can look into local pharmacies and grocery stores that may offer these shots for free during the seasons. Pulmonary Rehab: Therapy for Your Lungs Pulmonary rehabilitation can drastically improve your lung function and help slow the progression of your COPD. Pulmonary rehab is a combination of exercise, disease management training, and counseling. There are various components to a specific rehab program, and your regimen is decided by what you and your physician feel is best for you. Your regimen can consist of exercising, nutrition counseling, and education about your disease. Instead of just dealing with one physician, you may be working with a team—specialists in the different areas that make part of your rehab program, such as doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, dietitians, and exercise specialists. In order to design the best rehab program for you, your physician (or team of specialists) may conduct a medical evaluation which may include getting your health history, list of current medications you’re taking, a physical examination, and possibly a spirometry before and after you take a bronchodilator medicine. Your rehab program will help you set goals which are the types of activities and exercises you want to do. This will include both exercise regimens as well as daily activities like doing chores and walking around the neighborhood. Your exercise regimen will help strengthen the muscles in your body as well as your lungs. Education about your disease is a very important step in improving your health, and this may be part of your rehab program. You may learn about your symptoms, available treatments, and techniques to manage your symptoms including what to do in an exacerbation. Your rehab team is dedicated to helping you reach your goals. They will check in with you regularly to see if you’re reaching your goals and what they can do to help you. Exacerbations and How to Deal with Them Exacerbations are times when your COPD gets worse. COPDers may have one to two exacerbations a year but the cause may vary. Exacerbations will worsen as your COPD progresses, therefore it’s important to take the necessary steps to help prevent the fast progression of your COPD—including taking your medicines, following your pulmonary rehab program, and eating healthy. Signs of an exacerbation are: •Wheezing •Increased cough •Increased shortness of breath •Increased mucus production •Shallow or rapid breathing •Increased heart rate •Change in mucus color •Increased temperature •Impaired mental status Make a plan with your doctor for treating your exacerbations. Find out if your doctor wants to see you when you get one, and ask how you can get a quick appointment as soon as it happens. Your doctor may prescribe medications so that you can stay at home when you do get sick. There are rescue medications available to take in the moment of an exacerbation. (See the Treatment Options section for more information on rescue medications.) Treat your exacerbations as soon as possible. Always pay mind to how you feel and if you have signs of an exacerbation. Anxiety and Depression Many COPDers experience anxiety and depression with their disease, and it’s common for COPDers to be scared or start to miss their old hobbies but there are many things COPDers can do to become informed and empowered. •Talk to your doctor about getting antidepressant therapy. This can include talking to someone about your feelings and/or taking prescribed medication. •Many COPDers have found that learning about COPD helps them lessen their anxiety. Understanding what is happening can help you find a way to feel your personal best, which can include exercise, hobbies, and making changes to improve your home. •COPDers feel better talking to fellow COPDers about their experiences. A COPD support group is made up of individuals with COPD who meet to share how they feel and exchange tips for simplifying daily living. Many COPDers find encouragement in talking to others who are experiencing the same thing. (Remember: 24 million Americans have COPD! You’re not alone!) If there isn’t a support group nearby, you can always call the C.O.P.D. Information Line for free at 1-866-316-COPD (2673) and speak to a volunteer COPDer that staffs the Line. The Line is open Monday through Friday from 9AM to 9PM, Eastern Time
Wild Rice Salad

Ingredients

2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup wild rice
1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and halved, reserve marinade
1 (6-ounce) can green peas
1/3 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
3 green onions, chopped, white and green parts
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds, for garnish

Dressing:

1 1/3 cups canola oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic, minced

Directions
In a 1-quart pot with a lid, bring 2 cups water and the salt to a boil. Add the rice and stir well. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain excess liquid from the rice.

Meanwhile, combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large bowl, combine the rice, artichoke hearts, peas, green pepper, green onions, tomatoes, reserved marinade, and half of the dressing. Toss well. Cover and chill or eat at room temperature. Just before serving, toss again and taste. Add some of the remaining dressing, if desired. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve.

Cinnamon roll bread pudding
(Sandras semi homemade)...

Ingredients
1 (4.6-ounce) box instant vanilla pudding mix (recommended: Jell-O)
2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 pound leftover or store-bought cinnamon rolls, quartered
1 1/2 cups chopped dates or raisins
1/4 cup chopped almonds or pecans
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly spray the inside of a 3-quart casserole with butter-flavored cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together pudding mix, evaporated milk, almond extract, and pumpkin pie spice. Add rolls, raisins, and pecans to bowl. Stir together until well combined and bread is saturated.

Transfer to prepared casserole dish and dot with butter.

Bake bread pudding in preheated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and serve warm in martini glasses.


Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
A few ribs celery and leafy tops, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or grated then ground into a paste with salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons rosemary, finely chopped, a few sprigs
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Combine chick peas with onions, peppers, celery, garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary in a medium bowl. Dress salad with vinegar and oil, salt and pepper.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spinach & Pasta Bake

2.5 Points Per Serving

1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. parsley flakes
4 oz. low-fat mozzarella cheese
3 cups reduced calorie tomato sauce
5 cups pasta noodles (rotini, rigatoni, mostacolli)
1 cup raw spinach

Cook noodles until slightly under done. In a small bowl mix ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes. In an oven safe dish layer pasta, cheese, spinach and sauce until all ingredients are used. Save a small amount of mozzarella cheese to sprinkle on the top. Layer ingredients 2 to 3 times depending on the size of the dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375ยบ for 35 to 40 minutes.

Makes 8 one cup servings.

Per Serving: Calories...126 Fat...2 g Carbs...18 g Sodium...291 mg Fiber...1.2 g

Diabetic Exchange: 1 meat (medium) + 1 carbohydrate.
Tabboli Salad

1 English cucumber peeled and diced
1 cup green onions
cherry tomato's 1/2'd 2 cups

1 cup Bulgar wheat (tabboli) in a large bowl
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
stir and let set room temp for 1 hour
until liquid is absorbed.

add to veggies

1 cup fresh mint chopped fine
1 cup chopped parsley

2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
give a big stir to blend

This can be just a lovely salad, or add to pita bread with sliced asiago cheese.
This will be another short blog. I am so tired today.

Bill left this morning, so Layla and I have 6 days to ourselves. It's just fine with me, we get along better when it's just the two of us. She is an only child and you can really tell. She wants someone to entertain her all the I am trying to teach her how to play by herself and she does really well most the time.

I went to Weight Watchers this morning and didn't stay for the meeting because I didn't think Layla would sit there quietly for an hour and not ask me a million questions. I did lose 2.6 pounds. :) Yeah for me. I figured this week I would lose weight if only because I walked so much.

Well, I can't seem to keep my eyes opened any longer tonight. I'll catch up with everything tomorrow.

Monday, March 22, 2010



Behind all those trees is where my walking trail is. Of course this picture was taken last summer so the trees aren't quite that full or green yet, but it's still beautiful.
See that white "snag" is standing tall above the tree line.. where the birds are perched? That was a dead tree (duh! LoL obviously!) that they have sunk in concrete and propped up for the birds to perch on and nest in. The trail runs along the river and then curves back again.. 2.5 miles.

Layla and I walked today. She did great 1/2 way around. We were playing with cat-tails and throwing rocks into the water. Then all of a sudden she decided she had walked far enough! LoL She said that "little kids are NOT supposed to walk this much", and she thinks "it's dangerous for little kids to excercise like this!" LoL
We finished walking and she fell asleep on the way home in the car.

I was thinking as we were walking that prior to me getting sick I would have taken a sweater for Layla and I and the keys to the car and started walking. Oh no, not anymore. Now all my pockets are full. I have the keys, but I also have a rescue inhaler, gum because even without excercise my mouth gets desert dry and a cell phone because god only knows the emergencies we could have at any given moment.

I am trying to talk her into walking again tomorrow. So far she is not interested. Tomorrow is my WW weigh in again. Oh Joy! I think this week I should have a fair loss. If I gain weight again.. I am worried about my poundage future!! I need something in my life I can control. Yes, eating took over when smoking went away.. but I have tried so hard to eat healthier, to make better choices and to do without things that used to comfort me. So, this weight loss is more to me than just a diet. It is me gaining control of something. It is me trying to make some part of my physical being healthy.
Poached Champagne Chicken Breasts

4 skinless boneless chicken
1 shallot diced
1 bottle champagne
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon flatleaf parsley whole not cut up

In a saucepan with a lid...
melt butter add shallots
Pour in Champagne and lemon
Salt and Pepper
Add Chicken breasts and parsley and cover and simmer 15 minutes.

remove 1/2 cup champagne broth to a sauce pan add...
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon each flour, butter, nutmeg (add a little more flour if needed to thicken)
wisk together thick and creamy.

Pour part of sauce onto plate and place chicken breasts in puddle. Then pour rest over breasts. Top with a little extra parsley if desired.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So, Bill and I went back walking on Friday. Only we walked the other Link River Nature Trail this time. It was WONDERFUL! The bird society has taken over the 2.5 mile trail and made lagoons for the geese and ducks to nest in, complete with islands and all. There are large snags (dead trees) propped up 30+ feet tall for the larger birds, like eagles. It is just a lovely walk. Again, it took me a while, and Bill was as patient as ever. It brought me to 4 1/2 miles in 2 days.
YEAH for me!!
I decided that I would make a goal to do 5 miles a week, weather permitting. I am not in any way making an excuse for myself not to walk, I am however realistic. I know last summer there were days that I stayed in the house. It was just too hot for me to go out and breath well.

We are at an elevation here of 4300 feet and at times I get breathless easier here than I do when we visit elsewhere. I noticed being near the ocean and having the cooler climate and lower elevation helps me. But then when the rains start and barometer drops I also have a hard time... so I am not sure anywhere would be perfect all the time?

I still am not sleeping. Maybe a 2 hour stretch every night. I am in bed a total of 9 hours and sleep about 4 or 5 total. It is frustrating.

Bill is leaving Tuesday for a week, and Layla is going to be here with me. I was going to call the doctor and ask her to give me something to help me sleep. But, with it being just me and Layla... taking a new medicine that will make me sleep is not going to work. I'll wait until Bill and Britt get home to make any medicine changes.

We have had some warmer weather. Meaning... It has gotten to above 60 during the day. I am not sure why but my bedroom has been so warm at night that I have a hard time sleeping. I am not sure if this is Emphysema or Menopause. Which ever one is besides the point.. it's miserable.. so today I had Bill put the air conditioner back in.
I am high maintenance!! LOL

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am tired so this will be brief tonight, I'll try and get back here tomorrow and write more.
I talked Bill into walking with me today. I know it's boring for anyone to walk with me. I can't go far without stopping and catching my breath, I pant like a dog and have been known to gasp for air every once in a while.
Anyway... We walked 2 miles on the Link River nature trail. It was fairly flat and easy walking. A few hills, well mountains to me.. to most people small inclines! LoL
I set a unoffical goal for myself to walk 5 miles a week. It will have to be weather permitting of course. Today I almost called it off because of the cold wind. It really takes my breath away. I just went slow and stopped A LOT!! LOL Bill was his patient self, bless his heart. Anway... It felt good. I'll have to remind myself how beneficial that is for me.

Still not sleeping. Last night from 2:00 on I may as well have gotten out of bed. Oh, probably not, but I am sure after that time I didn't get more than another hour of sleep. My legs were going crazy last night. This means to me the new drug the doc put me on is not working. I will try and remember to call her next week and let her know, maybe she can call in something different to the pharmacy for me before my next appointment with her.

Bill is going North to help Brittney move early next week. Layla will come here with me. It's like we are making a trade. LoL We usually do pretty well when it's just the two of us. I am hoping that I can still do some type of walking with her. We'll see.

O.K. I am off to bed, more tomorrow.



Bling Finger Sandwiches

Ingredients:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained and patted dry
1/2 cup finely minced green olives
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 loaf soft white bread, crusts removed
1 loaf soft wheat bread, crusts removed
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves, for garnish, optional
2 tablespoons bacon pieces, for garnish, optional
2 tablespoons poppy seeds, for garnish, optional
2 tablespoons chopped pecans, for garnish, optional

Directions
In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese and mayonnaise. Split into 4 approximately 4-ounce portions, and put into separate bowls.

Combine pineapple and 4-ounces cream cheese mixture and set aside. Combine green
olives and 4 ounces cream cheese mixture and set aside. Combine cucumbers and 4
ounces cream cheese mixture and set aside. Combine pecans and 4 ounces cream cheese mixture and set aside.

To assemble sandwiches, spread the fillings on top of white bread slices and cover with wheat bread slices. Cut each sandwich into triangles, squares or circles. Arrange on a large platter by sandwich filling. Garnish with parsley, bacon pieces, poppy seeds, or pecans. In gold ink, write each sandwich filling on a small card, attach it to a toothpick and place it in the center of each pile of sandwiches, identifying the filling.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ok, Let's get this over with quickly and then I can get on with the rest of the blog.
I gained 1.4 pounds this week. UGH!!! I know what happened, I can tell you where I failed, but it doesn't make it any easier to take. I absolutly hate going there and seeing that I have gained weight! It's the worse!

So.............
Time to get back on track and do what I know I should. Next week I will hope for a change. This is different for me being accountable, and opened and honest with my weight struggle. For a years I knew I was gaining weight, but it never was talked about or discussed. Maybe it should have been!

My breathing has not gotten better, but it has not gotten worse. I have given up using my rescue inhaler, only because I think 4 puffs in a half hours time is just too much. And, I am not getting any benefits from it.

Layla and Britt went home two nights ago and I thought that with Layla out of my bed I could sleep better. Nope. I have had cramps in my legs at night so bad. Most of the time I can just lay there still and have them not get too bad. Occasionally though it gets so bad I have to jump up and walk it off. It's the restless leg thing, and it drives me crazy! It makes it impossible to fall asleep and once I wake up with my legs bothering me, falling back to sleep is impossible.

I seem to have slumped back into a little bit of depression. Is it possible to just be a little there? I find myself bitchy more than pleasant. I can snap in a split second. And, sadly most of the time Bill is in my line of fire. If he just knew how much I loved him and depended on him. If he only knew how lonely I get, and how so often I just want to be held and told it will be O.K.. Is it my job to tell him that? I just don't have the desire right now to get into "that" conversation with him. If he only knew how much I struggle just to get up and move about, and put any kind of pleasant face on! If he only understood when I pant like a dog, it's hard to feel good about anything else. How if clothing is too tight I suddenly panic and lose breath. I give him a lot of credit. He has been WAY pateint with me. He has told me he is afaid to ask many quesions. I think part of why this disease is so hard to live with peacefully is because our illness does not show. There is a saying for those who live with this... "Sick lungs don't show" so people don't think your sick. It's the truth. I think if he could understand how scary it is to struggle for a breath and not being sure you will get the air you need. The best way I can explain it is diving under water and going too far down and not having the breath to make it to the surface. It's that feeling of wanting air and needing it, but not being able to get it.
It's that frustration that I think causes my "little bits" of depression.

Things are looking up for Britt. Life does not seem as stressful right now. I am going through some things with my step dad and step mom. It's a really long story and one I am not wanting to make public. But it's dealing with my Mom and Dad's death and their partners starting over again. Only with people who my parents would have NOT been alright with. I have missed my mom anyway. And, I have been having issues with my step father. It just makes it all hard.

I will be so glad when we can all just be. No stress, no death, no illness... you know just have a year to relax and enjoy what we have. To be able to be grateful for little moments. To enjoy time with grandkids and family. I can't remember when the last time was we could do that without something overshadowing it. Maybe our time is coming. Maybe it's here now.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pineapple/Ginger Chutney

This delicious chutney recipe is perfect to serve with just about any grilled meat.

Ingredients:

•1/2 cup chopped onion
•1/2 cup honey
•1/2 cup white wine vinegar
•2-1/2 cups chopped pineapple
•2 tsp. curry powder
•1/2 tsp. ground ginger
•1/2 tsp. salt
•1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Preparation:

In heavy saucepan, mix all ingredients. Cook over high
heat until boiling, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to
low and cook, stirring occasionally, until pineapple is
tender and mixture is thickened, about 20-30 minutes.

Cool completely, and refrigerate for up to 4 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The girls got here Thursday night. The main reason they came down was so Britt could see her boyfriend before he leaves Monday to go back to Iraq. So, I knew I wouldn't see much of them. Britt is getting ready to move back here. I am probably repeating myself here, I can't remember if I mentioned it or not. Anyway.. They are going back home tomorrow afternoon. I'll miss them until they are back for good. I can't wait to have my girls close by!

My breathing is still difficult. I wonder if it is the weather? We have had winter come back for a few days and it is bone chilling cold outside. Maybe the barometer or something? Another question I will have to ask the doctor. I know the steam from the shower this morning about killed me. I love hot showers and I am not going to give them up easily! Honestly though I was beyond breathless getting out of the shower this morning! It took me at least 10 or 15 minutes to gather myself.

As for this breathing problem. I am doing my best to not let it get me down. I have to say this morning a few tears came to my eyes. Not because I was in pain, but because it is SO frustrating and scary to struggle for a breath. All it took was for Bill to say... "You look pale, do you want me to get your oxygen?" That was a first! I hope it takes a very long time for him to ever ask me that again!!

Now to my "healthy eating" and watching my weight. For some reason this week I have been craving all the foods I am not supposed to eat! I don't think I have gone too far overboard, it will be another interesting weigh in. I can't recall if I had this many doubts before when I was doing Weight Watchers? I know I used to be a lot better at tracking my eating habits last time. I guess I'll find out Tuesday how I have done and let you know.

Peach and Strawberry Crumble

Peach and strawberry crumble

In a large bowl..
1 1/2 pound fresh peaches peeled and sliced thinly
about 1 dozen strawberries halved and added to bowl

2 tblsp lemon juice
1 tblsp corn starch and wisk together and pour over fruit

1/4 cup brown sugar into bowl stir in well

pour into 8x8 baking dish

2/3 cup of flour into food processor
2/3 cup of rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 teas cinnamon
pinch of salt
added into food processor and mixed for a minute
then add....
1 stick unsalted cold butter cut diced into cubes
blend until pea sized balls form (not long)

sprinkle on top of fruit spreading out to cover entire top
into 350 oven for 40 to 45 mins until bubbling

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yesterday all day and again today I have been breathless. I walked across the street today to my neighbors house to help her with Weight Watcher points and just walking there and into her house left me panting. I was embarrassed. She wanted to know if I was O.K., she wanted to know if I wanted a drink of water... I just shook my head no because I didn't have enough breath to answer her. When I finally got my breath I apologized and told her I was fine. It's really the first time anyone "outside" the family has seen me like that. REALITY! Anyway, then Bill and I needed to run to the store to pick up a few things for the girls (they are coming back home today until Sunday) and I told him either he had to find a place to park right up front (with my handicap sign) or he had to drop me off at the door. We walked through getting what we needed and by the time I got back in the car I was done!

So, now before my girls arrive I am here on the couch with my laptop resting and trying to regain any airflow I can. I can tell you though... my rescue inhaler is not working like it used to. Now, when I need it badly what I used to fix with 1 or 2 puffs now takes 4. They tell me not to use more than 4 puffs at a time. Well, what's next? That question goes with the rest for my doctor next month. Our weather went from being fairly warm to down in the 20's and 30's at night. I wonder if that effects my breathing? And, if from now on I will have to watch the barometer for changes in the weather? Or, I could rent myself out as a weather forcaster for some extra income! LoL This is really getting ridiculous!

Did I ever mention that I was having a problem with the smell of the oxygen? The very first day I got it (January 21st of this year) I told Bill there is a strange smell. I told my doctor a few times about it. He said try and wash the cannula's. I tried that, I tried hanging them outside to air out for a few days, I tried spraying them with perfume, I tried rubbing oranges on them. LOL Well... yesterday I called the oxygen company and they said it could be the concentrator and they brought me a different one and guess what... NO ODOR!! I think they must have oiled the machine or something and not cleaned it well enough. It had a chemically smell, or like silicone or something. I dunno... I am glad my oxygen doesn't stink anymore though. LOL It was so strong that it actually would wake me up and night stinking.

So, because the girls are coming.... Well, not only because of that... My house needed to be cleaned. Especailly we needed to vacuum the floors. Did I ever mention I used to have a slight cleaning problem? LoL Well, I came by it honestly, my mom used to vacuum the street in front of our house when I was a teenager! LOL
Since this diagnoses and especially more in the last few months I cannot handle dust. I can polish my furniture, but vacuuming is really hard on me. We have dogs and I am not sure if it's because of the dander from them? Or, if it's just dust, or maybe just pushing that thing around on wool rugs gets to me? Anyway, Bill has taken over vacuuming, and it is bugging me to death!! LoL I know in the grand scheme of things it's not a big deal... but what used to take me an hour to do he does in about 10 minutes. It's like speed cleaning. Far be it for me to bitch though!!! Ok Ok, I bitch. lol
This is one part of this disease that really bothers me. This is a slice of independence I want back. To be able to do my own laundry, clean my own house, mow my own yard... these things I miss. I have adjusted my standards as far as my house and clothes go and I don't let it bother me now when the grass gets longer than I like.
It's just a few more things to get used to these days.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yesterday morning I went to my Weight Watchers meeting then came home and Bill and I went to Fred Meyers and wandered around for an hour or so. We came home and I put away all the groceries I started feeling tired.
I had bought a rotisserie chicken and by the time I finished shredding it I was exhausted! I went in and sat down and really was so tired I fell asleep within minutes.
Bill being the "helpful" guy he is.. came in and woke me up and handed me my pajama's and told me to go to bed and get comfortable and take a nap. It was only 3:00!
I stayed awake but had this really heavy feeling in my chest, more on the right side. It was like I was struggling to get air there. I used my rescue inhaler and it did nothing, so I went in and turned on the oxygen and watched T.V. for a while.
After I was on the oxygen for about an hour I started to feel better.
I was amazed at how fast I got so tired, and how I really had NO energy to do anything. I am not sure what caused this. And, I am not sure what to call it? I read a lot about Copd/Emphysema... I hear the word Exacerbation a lot, and I am wondering if that's what this is? Another good question for my doctor.
Once in a while I will get that feeling in my chest. It's like there is something 1/2 way down my wind pipe blocking any air that wants to get passed. Each time I breath in there is a sharp pain. This pain for the last month or so has been on the left side. This is the first time I felt it on the right side.
Anyway... I stayed in bed all night. I might as well have gotten right back up again because I didn't sleep. I just laid there with the oxygen and waited for my chest to quit hurting, then I waited to be able to fall back to sleep, which didn't happen until around 1:00 a.m. or so.

The doctor gave me new meds for fibromyalgia and one of them replaced the restless leg syndrome medication. Well, I don't think it's working. I am awake all night with feet and legs that feel like they are on fire. I have had cramps in my feet and legs and every time I move I the cramps start. I'll deal with it the rest of the month and talk to her when I see her in April at my next appointment.

Now... I went and weighed in yesterday at WW and I lost 2.6 pounds. That is a grand total of 7 pounds in 7 weeks. I am good with that.
I have said over and over again that Yes, I do want to lose weight. And, of course... like every other woman out there (men too) I would love to twinkle my nose or take a magic pill and lose all my weight at once. But since that is not possible... then I want to cook what I want, eat (for the most part) what I want and still lose weight. Is that being unrealistic? LoL

Being on Weight Watchers a few times I have learned that tomato and pasta sauces are very filling and low in point value. So... I have made all kinds of them by scratch and then freeze them. I have some with ground turkey and turkey Italian sausage. I have some with artichokes and vodka. I have some with red wine and sour cream. They all are very flavorful and low in calories. Even with the vodka, wine and sausage. A while ago I got rid of all the "white flour" pasta and replaced it with whole wheat. It is much lower in carbs, calories and fat and sodium.
I even have started using whole wheat spaghetti noodles in stir fry's instead of soba noodles.

This is the way to lose weight! With good flavorful foods that are healthy. Having Copd and Emphysema, the first thing the Pulmonologist told me was to stay away from Sodium. All food has it, the trick is to find foods as low in sodium as possible. It's like a game now.
So we are learning to stay away from most packaged foods and processed foods and cook from scratch. That is the only way I can limit the amount of sodium and fat that we are getting.
Of course Bill resists this. While I am buying spinach at the store, he is over in the bulk food barrels buying chocolate covered peanuts, and candy corn and snickers bars. LoL

Anyway... god my attention span isn't good anymore. LoL]]
I was really pleased that I lost weight last week. I cooked good meals, even with sauces and just kept my portions under control and didn't have seconds... And LOST WEIGHT!! It can be done.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Curried Chicken and Rice Soup (adapted from 365 Slow Comfort Foods)

Well I was thinking of you yesterday when I went to Weight In I was up .8 -it happens. It was a tough weekend. Anyways I made one of my favorite dishes that is if you like curry.

2 T. canola oil (I used olive oil)
1 lg. onion, finely chopped
2 T. curry powder (this is NOT too much!)
1/2 t. cumin
1 T. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 (10-oz.) can chicken gravy (I used ff Heinz turkey gravy)
4 c. water
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trim off visible fat) -I used chicken breasts and it worked just as well
**2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 carrot, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 t. salt (or more)
1 t. pepper
1 c. unsweetened coconut milk (I used light)
2 T. lime juice
3 c. cooked rice **I didn't mix the rice in but added it to each bowl to keep track how how much
**Heat the oil and saute onion until softened. Add the curry powder and cumin and saute until fragrant. Add ginger and saute until it sizzles. Stir in the gravy; scrape into slow cooker.
**I just cooked it slow and low on the stove until the tatters and carrots cooked up
*** Add water, chicken, potatoes, carrot, salt, and pepper.

Cover and cook on LOW 7-9 hours, or on HIGH 3-4 hours.Remove chicken and shred. Set aside. Either
1) sieve the soup over a bowl to catch the liquid and then puree the solid ingredients in a blender, or
2) use an immersion blender to blend the soup. Add the chicken back in. Add coconut milk and lime juice.

Cook without boiling until heated through, about 20 minutes.
(Actually, mine was still so hot--because I used the immersion blender--I didn't need to heat the soup after adding the last ingredients.)

Serve over rice in soup bowls. I do not have NI. This soup, before the rice is VERY low point!

It made about 8 cups.

From my friend LaVonne

Monday, March 8, 2010

The girls went home yesterday and now it's time to get back in our routine. It's different to just have Bill and I wandering around our house. Much less obligations.
For the first few days after having Layla here we wander around kind of half enjoying the peace and quiet, and half wishing she were still here. She is almost 5 and has the only child syndrome of wanting your total attention, and gets a tad demanding at times. LoL
They will be moving back here at the end of the month. It's been a while since they lived near us (meaning in the same town). Britt is going back to school and she'll be putting Layla in pre-school until fall when she will start kindergarten. I am looking forward to being able to pick her up for play dates when I want too and not always out of necessity. It will also be great to be able to go to lunch with Britt, or go shopping together.. or just hang out and watch a movie every once in a while.

I am so glad that spring is approaching. It will be nice for Bill to get out of the house and do some golfing. Winters tend to be long here and we get cabin fever at times really bad. Sometimes being locked up together can get testy! LoL

We made a deal that since my diagnoses we would get out and do more things. There are so many places to go and things to see that aren't very far from here... we just need to start doing them. That's one thing I can give my mom credit for. Her and my step dad really enjoyed their life and saw so much. They moved from Alaska to Mexico and spent 10 years there. If they wanted to see something, they just went and did it. I don't want to look back at my life and say... We should have done this... or we never did go there. To some extent I think we all will have regrets, but while I can I want to do everything possible.

As for my Copd/Emphysema...
It seems my breathing isn't as bad as it was a few weeks ago. The pain in my left lung now comes and goes, but is not constant. That makes me wonder what it is? I am having a few issues with the cannula's I use for oxygen. They seem to have this smell I can't get over. I think it is the silicone they use. And, it's only certain lot #'s.
I still am having sleep issues. My primary doctor thinks it is a symptom of Fibromyalgia. Last night I had such bad leg cramps that anytime I would move my legs I would start getting cramps in them. Miserable!!!

This week I have tried to watch my Weight Watchers Diet a little better. I still am trying to not "diet" and just eat healthy and make better choices. I am not necessarily in a big hurry to drop a gazillion pounds. I would be happy to just be able to eat smart flavorful foods and lose weight because of my choices and not starvation. Don't get me wrong, if I could take a magic pill and lose 50 pounds I would do it in a heart beat! LoL But if I am being realistic then a pound a week would be nice. It is going to take some getting used to portion sizes and when I eat this... I do without that... is that called sacrafice?! LoL
Tomorrow is my weigh in again. I'll let you know how it goes. Last weeks gain of .6 pounds can not happen again. If it does then I will have to re-evaluate my methods.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The girls are still here. They will go home Sunday, so we get to enjoy them a few more days. Britt enrolled in Spring classes at KCC (community college) to get her basics out of the way, and then she will go over to Ashland to finish her Masters. I am so relieved for her to make her decision and stick with it. It was a big step for her and it took a lot of guts. I worry about her, but she will always be fine. She is such a strong and independant young woman.

Bill and I went over to Medford yesterday so I could see the dermatologist. My appointment went fine except for one suspicous spot on my cheek, which he took a needle biopsy of and then froze it. He said I will be getting a call from the lab and let me know the results. Probably next week. He said he is just airing on the safe side, but thinks it looked fine. It's just with my skin cancer history he would rather be safe than sorry.
So... I have a spot on my cheek that is turning dark brown and then black. He said it will most likely come off in about 10 days. Until then I will look like one of those women with a big ugly mole on their face! LOL
As if my self esteem wasn't bad enough these days.

Anyway... after the doctor's office we went to Cosco... bought a bunch of "big food" we don't need. Went to lunch, then went and looked at cars. We are going to be trading in my Durango, and I want something small that gets good gas mileage. To fill up my Durango is about 60-70$ which just kills me!
So, we looked at This cute little thing. I test drove it, and fell in love.

It's a Kia Soul. We are going to wait until after we help Britt get moved, and Bill is taking one more solo trip to Idaho and needs the room of our Durango. Then I'll go get it. :)

A while ago I mentioned how embarrassing it is for me to tell new people/friends that I have Copd/Emphysema. Today I told one of my best highschool friends. I am sure she will be just fine with it. I am not sure what I am so worried about... Well yes I do. Emphysema has a stigma about it. You hear that word and think Black Crusty Lungs, shrivled up old people.. those horrid pictures they show you to get you to quit smoking. Well... Those pictures are not the picture of Emphysema. It is me, it is your friend, it is anyone.

When I have good days I can almost forget I have this disease. I can even feel good about me. For the most part though one of my biggest struggles is to try and remember I am not an old lady. It's not that I am vain. It's not that I don't think there is more to life than a pretty face, or a thin body. Because I have known some really beautiful ugly people. It's just difficult for me at times. My idea of vibrant doesn't include an oxygen canula or an inhaler! LOL

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I know I haven't blogged in a few days. I have been holding off waiting to go to all my doctor appointments. No sense in continual complaining if nothing can be done, right?! LoL
Yesterday I had an appointment with the Pulmonologist. I was mentioning I had a pain in my left lung and was afraid he would prescribe more steroids. Nope. Actually, he says he is sorry I have pain but all blood work ordered and breathing tests show that it is Emphysema/Copd and we already knew that. That my lungs do not make sounds when listened to, and I have no fever, and even though I get more winded now my oxygen level was not any worse, and this is normal progression. So... He will see me in 4 months unless I have an emergency then call his office. Otherwise my GP can manage my care. I am relieved that I will not be on more steroids. I was a little disappointed that he couldn't give me a magic pill to stop the pain in my lung and make my breathing easier.

It did make me realize that there really is so little to do for this disease. It helped me understand that my lungs will hurt and my breathing will worsen. That is normal now.

Today I had my appointment with my GP. She is going to begin treating me for fibromyalgia. She says she is almost certain that this is what I have had for so long. I began some new anti-inflammatory and some other medication for RLS. My blood pressure was under control today so, no high blood pressure meds.. for that I am happy. She wants me to check my blood pressure weekly or more jot down the #'s and bring them into her next month.

It's one thing to take my daily medications for Copd/Emphysema.. they aren't in pill form, just inhaled. I hate pills! I always have been a terrible pill taker. So just having 2 pills to take everyday is a little annoying, but I'll take them. I am hoping that the anti-inflammatory will help. I have so much pain in my hips and back and feet, and I have had every since my back surgeries. I just hated taking pain meds and took myself off all of them and have learned to deal with the pain. To suddenly not have any pain would be such a nice surprise. Actually just to be able to sleep all night would be wonderful, to be able to get up out of chair and not hobble until my hips and legs remember how to work.

We did talk about anti-depressants and I told her I have been feeling much better lately. That I will keep an open mind about them, and if I feel I need them in the future I will be sure to let her know.

I have one more appointment this month and that one is Thursday with a Dermatologist. This doctor I have to go to Medford (about 80 miles away over a mountian pass) to see. I had a dermatologist here in town but he was killed last year. So tomorrow is my first appointment with him. I have a list of things I would like done, but I am afraid he will just look everything over then make appointments for treatment. And, more trips across the mountains. LOL
I had a malignant carcenoma about 8 years ago on my face. Had it removed and had radiation treatments for it, and haven't been back to be checked since then. That's what happens when you don't have insurance. So, I'll let you know what he says.

I had my Weight Watchers weigh in this morning and I gained .6 pounds. Grrrrr!! I suppose with everything I did this week .6 pounds is good and it could have been much worse. So... I am getting back on track. I told Bill "No More Cookie". And, it's back to the Zero points soups for lunch. I bought lots of veggies today and cut them up and bagged them, for those times I need a snack. Also bought some more Pop Corn, and fat free pudding for my sweet tooth. Also a TUB of sherbet! LOL It's fat free and satisfying at night when I need to feed.

I'll keep you posted on next weeks BIG LOSS!!! Count on it!! LOL This gaining weight is for the birds! Actually, even though I ate cookies, I still ate so much healthier than in years past, and for that I will give myself a pat on the back. Now, back on track and losing instead of gaining!!!

I am not a Shrimp or Fish eater. But, it is really good for us. So, I bought some shrimp and will try a few recipes and see how I do. I made Shrimp Scampi for Bill and Britt the other night. They said it was really good. Of course it was... It had a cube and a half of butter in it! LOL
I just need to pay attention to what I am eating, and plan ahead more, and watch portions.
Tomatoes and pasta sauces are really versatile and low in points. So, I am going to make a bunch and freeze it into servings for Bill and I. We have pretty much done away with white flour pasta. Most of our pasta is whole wheat now, which is a lot healthier and low in calories and higher in fiber.
I found some recipes for pasta sauces to change things up a little. Some have meat, some don't, some have fillers like artichoke hearts, others have peppers and onions. It'll be interesting to try them and see what we like.
I'll post the good ones.

Britt and Layla came on Saturday for a visit. They'll go home tomorrow. It is so nice to have them here. It's not very often that both of them are here. We usually just have Layla and then Britt comes to pick her up, or we drop her off. So, spending a little time with her was nice. She got to see some old friends and barbecue with others so that was good for her.

I'll do better about blogging. Some days I really have to find positive things to write about, other days just finding new ways to complain about the same old things! LOL