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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sorry I stayed away so long from my main blog

It really is true what they say... If you can't say something nice... don't say anything at all. I get really tired of myself and all my health issues. I so badly want the days back when my biggest problem is my hair won't do what I want it to. Which... by the way I still struggle with. And, these days it's those small things that turn a snow ball into an avalanche! As far as my health issues I can usually give myself a few days to pout then push them aside and pretend everything is alright. (I know that's not the healthiest of things to do!)

I have had some breathing struggles. Even with the 24 hours of O2 I have moments where I just can't get a breath that will last me. You know, those deep breaths that hit the bottom of your lungs. The breaths that you take before a sneeze, or after a good work out. Those are just gone to me now. It's like the bottom of my lungs don't exist, which is odd because according to scans it's the upper lungs that are most damaged.

My weight has again become an issue. I went back to Weight Watchers after about a 6/7 week absence, and gained 5 pounds. I am back up to 221, still 5 pounds lighter than I had been, but gaining any back makes me ashamed of myself.
I absolutely know that being overweight to this degree is making breathing more difficult. I absolutely know that I am so dissatisfied with my appearance that I am now avoiding people and places. And, I cannot do that! This is my time to live. This is my time to go places and see people and be in crowded malls. I am SO aware that the time is coming when I will not be going too much at all. That I will have to stay away from crowds because of risk of infection/colds/flu. I understand that I will not be able to walk far, and have to go to only stores that have carts I can cruise around in.
So... This weight has to go. It has become abundantly obvious to me that my outages will be limited in the future, they already are to some extent. So, no matter how comforting the food has become, I have to find something else as comfortable! Not only that, I need to find a way to be comfortable with myself at ANY size or weight! I can not hide myself away and miss what living and adventures I have in my future.

This vanity problem of mine has become an issue I need to deal with quickly. I am so self conscience of my weight, and then add to that a cannula around my face and WOW! It is my worse nightmare. The more weight I gained the more quieter I became, the more I stayed in the background, now add to that the cannula which draws looks and attention and questions and I just feel like everything I once knew is different.

Yesterday was Layla's 5th Birthday and party. She had a great party. She got a lot of wonderful presents and had a lot of friends and family there. I can't believe she is 5 years old! Even though most of the people there were family friends who I have known forever, or kids who now have kids that Britt went to school with... I hid my oxygen and cannula and never used it. For 6 hours I had zero oxygen. Last night I had such a headache when I went to bed. Today I am also paying the price. I am exhausted doing the simplest of things and out of breath talking on the phone to Britt. Sad! Pathetic! Bill didn't realize I hadn't used it at all and was kind of pissy with me when I told him today. He suggested next time we are at a gathering and if I don't want to use it always then for me to keep it in the car and excuse myself or sneak away and go hook up to the cannula for a while.
It really is vain and irresponsible of me to do that to myself. These are lessons I suppose I have to learn the hard way.

My doctors appointment is Tuesday. At my last visit with the Pulmonologist he said the CT Scan showed a growth on my Thyroid that needs to be addressed. So, Tuesday I am sure my primary Doctor will send a referral to someone for a biopsy. Who knows? And, I am not sure I need to be worried about it? Right now I am thinking I won't worry until I find out more information.

So, I probably won't be back to write again until maybe Tuesday night or Wednesday. I hope to make several more recipes soon and get them posted. I am looking around for a good site to make books on, so... If any of you have heard of any good sites holler at me. Thanks! :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

I think this is Grandma Gorsages, it is written in her hand writing.

1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup salad oil
1/4 cup prepared mustard
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon poppy seed
1/4 teaspoon curry powder

Mix well... makes about 2 cups

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mom's Beef Stroganoff

Slice 2 lbs of lean beef into 1/4" x 2" long strips.

In a large sauce pan, simmer 2 very thinly sliced medium onions in 4 Tablespoons butter until soft.

Add 1/2 lb. trimmed and cleaned button mushrooms, sliced very thinly and stir over moderate heat about 5 minutes longer until their juices have evaporated, adding a little more butter if needed.

Remove onions and mushrooms with a slotted spoon, leaving sauce in pan.

To sauce add 2 more tablespoons butter and brown beef strips over high heat, stirring constantly about 5 minutes. Beef should not be well done.
Return onion/mushroom mixture to pan and season with salt/pepper to taste.
Remove pan from heat.

Add 1 1/4 cup sour cream mixed with 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard, stir over low heat just long enough to reheat sauce without coming to a boil.

Serve immediately over egg noodles. Serves 6

Monday, May 24, 2010

Depression Soup

When I was little I remember the Methow River would freeze solid in the winters. The entire neighborhood would get together and have skating parties. There would be huge pots of Hot Chocolate for the kids and an even bigger pot of the best Soup ever! On the banks would be a Bonfire and benches to sit around. Growing up in Pateros during those years was really pretty darned close to the Norman Rockwell drawings.

I don't remember in my older years having that soup very often, so when I came across this recipe of Mom's I was THRILLED! It was written by her and she gives credit to Grandma Gorsage for the recipe, but had renamed it Skating Soup. :)

When I made it today the smell took me right back to the frozen river.

1 package (about a pound) of stew meat, browned in soup pot.
After browned cover with water and bring to boil with 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 large can stewed tomatoes.
Simmer for a couple hours.

Peel 3 large carrots and grate.... add to pot with 1/2 cup alphabets or barley.
Reduce heat and let simmer a couple hours.
Add 2 medium potatoes peeled and grated.
Add more water and 2 tablespoons of Kitchen Bouquet to season and add color.
Simmer another `1/2 hour.
Salt and Pepper to taste and add more Kitchen Bouquet if necessary.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mom's Taco Salad

1 head of lettuce, chopped
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chopped black olives
1 avocado diced
3 green onions diced
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 8 ounce bottle French Dressing
1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 large bag Frito's Corn Chips

Brown hamburger and add seasoning use slightly less water than the seasoning calls for. Simmer about 15 minutes then remove and let cool completely.

In a Large bowl combine all ingredients

If you are eating it all right away toss in Frito's and mix.

If not another option is to make the entire salad but serve the Frito's on the side so over time they won't get soggy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Some information for those already diagnosed

Diagnosed Individuals
Being diagnosed with COPD may mean changing a few things in your lifestyle so you can live a healthier and active life. It’s best if you talk to your doctor and follow the plan he/she outlines for you. Although the cure for COPD hasn’t been found yet, there are many things you can do to help slow the progression of your COPD.

Below you’ll find information about some of the challenges and changes many COPDers face. You can click on the options in the bulleted list to skip to a specific section. But before beginning a new treatment option, remember to talk to your doctor.

•Quitting Smoking
•Healthy and Active Living
•Air Quality in Your Home
•Taking Medicines
•Pulmonary Rehab
•Anxiety and Depression

Quitting Smoking: What Can I Do?
If you’re currently a smoker, the most important thing you can do to slow the progression of your COPD is to quit smoking now! Smoking can cause your COPD to worsen more quickly than if you were to stop smoking. It’s also important for your environment to be smoke-free. This means you should avoid being in the company of other people who smoke.

There are many options available to help you quit smoking. Options include gums, patches, and prescription medicine among others. You can find more information from the U.S. Government about the steps you can take to quit smoking by visiting the Smokefree.gov website.

I have belonged to THE BEST support site for quitting smoking. There you will find people in all stages of quitting. We have members who have 2+ years of being smoke free, and we have those who are just beginning. The members have used all types of ways to quit to be successful. I quit cold turkey, others use the gum, others the patch. Please if you are smoking.. come join us, read some blogs and ask for support.
The website is called Friends Helping Friends... here is the address...

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:

•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.

Chicken Divan

This is Jackie Carter's recipe.

4 chicken breasts
2 bunches broccoli (cut into florets)

Sauce... 1 Can Cream of Chicken
1/3 Cup Condensed Milk
2/3 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Teaspoon Curry Powder

In a large pot add chicken breasts, chicken bouillon cubes (3), A few Celery Tops (the leafy part), 1/2 onion.. quartered. Cover with water and boil until chicken is done.
Saving liquid, remove chicken to cool, then cube and set aside.
Into liquid add broccoli and cook until tender crisp, drain and remove onions and celery.

Into a casserole dish layer... broccoli, chicken, sauce.. repeat. Top with cheese and croutons.

Bake 350 for 30 minutes.

May be prepared a day in advance and cooked at last minute. If preparing in advance don't top with cheese and croutons until just before cooking.

Banana Bread

This is Mom's recipe.

In a mixing bowl combine...
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 mashed bananas
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a seperate bowl combined dry ingredients
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

add into creamed mixture, until just well blended, don't mix too much.
If desired add 1 cup chopped nuts.
Pour into greased and floured loaf pans.

Makes 2 loafs

Bake @ 350 45 to 50 minutes

Spicy Tuna Dip

This recipe came from Toni Hopkins

I promise "Tuna" doesn't thrill me, but this dip is WONDERFUL with Corn Chips! I also have made it with "lite" mayo and it still tastes great.

In a food processor mix

1 can Tuna
add tablespoons of mayo one at a time until smooth and creamy

Remove from processor and fold in a Can of diced Chile's (you can add a jalapeno pepper with seeds removed if you want more heat).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Introduction to Emphysema

Introduction to emphysema

The lungs are a pair of organs in the chest that are primarily responsible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the air we breathe and the blood.

The lung is composed of clusters of small air sacs (alveoli) divided by thin, elastic walls or membranes. Capillaries, the tiniest of blood vessels, run within these walls between the alveoli and allow blood and air to come near each other. The distance between the air in the lungs and the blood in the capillaries is very small, and allows molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide to transfer across the membranes.

Air reaches the alveoli via the bronchial tree. The trachea splits into the right and left mainstem bronchi, which branch further into bronchioles and finally ends in the alveolar air sacs.

When we breathe in, air enters the lung and the alveoli expand. Oxygen is transferred onto hemoglobin molecules in the red blood cells to be transported to the rest of the body for use. As oxygen attaches to the red blood cell, carbon dioxide, the waste product of metabolism, detaches and crosses into the alveoli to be exhaled. When we breathe out, the alveoli get squeezed by the elasticity in their walls and air is pushed out of the lungs.

What is emphysema?

Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lung(s) and occurs when the alveolar walls are destroyed along with the capillary blood vessels that run within them. This lessens the total area within the lung where blood and air can come together, limiting the potential for oxygen and carbon dioxide transfer.

In early emphysema, there is associated inflammation of the small airways or bronchioles that limits the amount of air that can flow to the alveoli. In more severe emphysema, there is also loss of elasticity in the alveolar walls that have not been destroyed. When the patient breathes out, the alveoli and small airways collapse. This makes it hard for air to get out of the lungs and makes it even harder for new air to enter.

As more of the lung is destroyed and the lung cannot maintain oxygen concentrations in the bloodstream, the body compensates by gradually increasing the breathing rate. After a while, even hyperventilation (hyper=more + ventilation=breathing) cannot maintain adequate oxygen levels, and the arteries in the lung begin to constrict or narrow. The heart has to work harder to push blood into these narrower blood vessels, causing the blood pressure in the lung arteries to increase (pulmonary hypertension). Over time, the extra work requirement causes the heart muscle to enlarge (hypertrophy) and can cause heart failure.

What is Copd?

What is COPD?
COPD is now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and is the only common cause of death that is increasing in incidence.

COPD is a group of lung diseases characterized by an obstruction in airflow. It includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which are most often caused by heavy, long-time cigarette smoking. Other causes of COPD are long-term exposure to industrial pollutants and scarred lung tissue. COPD can also include chronic asthma, which is a hypersensitivity of the air passages in the lungs. Bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma all have one thing in common: They limit the flow of air into and out of your lungs. As a result, you may cough, wheeze, have excess mucus, feel short of breath, and have susceptibility to lung infection.

Chronic irritation of the lungs causes inflammation, which prompts the lungs to produce more mucus. The mucus partially or completely blocks the bronchioles so those only very small amounts of air can get to the alveoli (air sacs). Eventually, the bronchioles become permanently narrowed, and many of the alveolar walls are destroyed, enlarging the air spaces. Air becomes trapped in these enlarged alveoli.

How Healthy Lungs Work
Breathing is your body's way of getting oxygen to your blood. Your lungs take in oxygen when you inhale fresh air and push out carbon dioxide - a gas produced as waste - when you exhale.

When you breathe, you take air in through your nose or mouth. The air passes through your throat into the trachea (windpipe) and then into the lungs. A dome-shaped muscle (diaphragm) lies below the lungs. The diaphragm flattens to draw air in as you inhale, then rises as you exhale.

The primary role of your lungs is to get oxygen to your blood. Air passes from the trachea into the bronchial tubes. These tubes branch, like a tee, into smaller and smaller passages, or airways, which are wrapped by bands of muscle. Air travels through these branches, eventually reaching the smallest airways (bronchioles), which end in balloonlike air sacs, called alveoli. Blood vessels surrounding the alveoli absorb oxygen into the bloodstream. At the same time, the alveoli remove carbon dioxide from the blood. The carbon dioxide is then exhaled.

Your lungs also clean the air you breathe in. The lining of the bronchial tubes produces a sticky secretion (mucus) that traps dust, smoke and other particles. Tiny hairs, called cilia, then sweep the mucus up the airways to the throat, where it is swallowed.

Risk Factors
In Industrialized countries, cigarette smoking accounts for most cases of COPD, but in developing countries other environmental pollutants, such as particulates associated with cooking in confined spaces, are important causes. Air pollution (particularly with sulfur dioxide and particulates), exposure to certain occupational chemicals (such as cadmium) and passive smoking may all be risk factors.

Diagnosing COPD
Your physician first evaluates your lungs to diagnose your condition.

A medical history will be taken and questions asked such as:

Do you smoke?

Have you been exposed to dust or other pollutants?

Is there a family history of lung disease?

Do you have any symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, excess mucus, chest discomfort or swollen ankles?

Your doctor will then give you a complete physical exam, which will include listening to your lungs and heart and examining your nose and throat. Your doctor will also order some tests. These may include routine blood tests, a chest x-ray to screen for lung diseases or damage from prior lung infections, and an ECG (electrocardiogram) to rule out heart disease as the cause of your shortness of breath.

Pulmonary function tests (PFT's) will also be ordered. These tests measure how much air you can take into your lungs and how fast your can blow the air out (spirometry); how much air you exhale and how much air is left in your lungs after your exhale (lung volumes): and how much oxygen is transported from your lungs to your blood (lung diffusion). These tests are done in the physician's office. You may be tested both before and after inhaling a bronchodilator, such as albuterol or atrovent, to check to see if your medications are helping you, and you may be asked to repeat the tests from time to time as part of your treatment plan.

Your physician may also order other tests to help diagnose your lung disease. These may include pulse oximetry to measure the level of oxygen in your blood at rest and after exercise; an arterial blood gas (ABG) test to measure the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood; and exercise bike test to see how well your heart and lungs work under stress; and a CT (computed tomography) scan to reveal the condition of your lungs.

When You Have COPD
With COPD, the normal flow of air is blocked by excess mucus and inflammation (chronic bronchitis), by collapsed airways (emphysema), or by tightening of the muscles around the airways (chronic asthma). As a result, you feel short of breath. You may also cough, wheeze or feel weak. Many people who are diagnosed with COPD have more than one of these conditions.

Chronic Bronchitis - is diagnosed when you cough up mucus and feel short of breath three months or more each year for at least two consecutive years. These symptoms occur when the lining of the bronchioles becomes inflamed and produces too much mucus. The swelling and excess mucus narrows the airways and restricts airflow into and out of the lungs, causing shortness of breath. The thin hair-like cells that line the airways (called cilia) that normally help to move mucus out of the airway, are also damaged, and therefore are unable to remove the excess mucus.

Emphysema - destroys the alveoli making it difficult for the lungs to absorb enough oxygen or expel enough carbon dioxide. The walls of the alveoli lose their elasticity and enlarge. As they enlarge, the diaphragm flattens, making it harder for the lungs to move air in and out. The bronchioles also become less elastic and narrow or collapse when you exhale. As a result, carbon dioxide gets trapped in the airways and prevents oxygen from getting to the blood.

Chronic asthma - is a hypersensitivity of the airways to allergens and irritants, which inflame the lining of the bronchioles. When the lining swells, the muscles in the bronchial walls tighten and go into spasm. This in turn further constricts the airways. Inflammation may cause the bronchial lining to produce excess mucus as well, which also blocks the airways with asthma; treatment can reverse the swelling and muscle spasms.

How is COPD Treated?
Although there is no cure for COPD, once your condition is diagnosed, your physician will decide the best treatment in your case, to slow down the progression and minimize the discomfort, depending on how severe the symptoms are and the underlying disease (remember that COPD has different causes).

First and foremost, you must stop exposing yourself to fumes or pollutants that may have caused your condition in the first place (i.e. quit smoking, eliminate 2nd hand exposure, etc) Medication may be prescribed for you. You must only take those medications your physician prescribes exactly as ordered. There are four (4) classifications of medications listed below with a brief description of how each works in your lungs and body.

1. Bronchodilators

A. Inhaled (Albuterol, Atrovent, Serevent)

Relax and open airways
Increase movement of cilia to help clear mucus
Help prevent exercise-induced wheezing
Help stop attacks

B. Swallowed (Theophylline)

Relax and open airways
Stimulate the diaphragm and breathing
Are very useful if symptoms occur during sleep
Are long acting

2. Corticosteroids

A. Inhaled and/or Swallowed (Many inhaled brands, Prednisone, Medrol)

Reduce inflammation and swelling in airways
Reduce mucus production
Decrease sensitivity of airways to irritants and allergens

3. Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications

A. Inhaled (Cromolyn, Nedocromil) and Swallowed (Singulair, Accolate)

Help reduce or prevent inflammation caused by allergies
Help prevent wheezing
Help prevent exercise-induced asthma

4. Expectorants

A. Swallowed

Help liquefy and remove mucus from airways

Oxygen therapy may be prescribed if your lungs aren't getting enough oxygen to your blood. A company that provides home health care services will be sent to your home by your physician's office with precise instructions on how much and when to use your oxygen (this may be all the time). The company will deliver your oxygen and train you to use is.

Using prescribed oxygen can help you avoid shortness of breath and be more active. If your lungs don't deliver enough oxygen to your blood (hypoxemia), you may become short of breath, have a headache, or feel tired, irritable, or confused. Prescribed oxygen is not addictive and causes no side effects. And it doesn't mean you have to stay home. You can take a portable unit with you.

Chest percussion therapy may also be ordered to help loosen mucus to be coughed up to help clear your lungs.

Pursed lip breathing is another useful tool for breathing easier and avoiding increased shortness of breath.

You may be referred to a pulmonary rehabilitation facility to be taught to use these techniques. This has been shown to improve exercise capacity and quality of life among patients with severe COPD and to reduce the amount of health care needed.

Lung Volume Reduction Therapy - Click Here to learn more about this treatment modality

In Summary

Eat a sensible well balanced diet, get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Conserve your energy but remain active as possible because prolonged inactivity leads to increased disability. Don't smoke and avoid exposure to irritants and respiratory infections.

Follow your physicians plan of treatment and call your physicians office if you experience any increased shortness of breath, have any fever or chills, chest tightness or if your sputum changes in consistency or color for what is normal for you.

Advanced Directives

Advance Directives and Do Not Resuscitate Orders
What is an advance directive?
An advance directive tells your doctor what kind of care you would like to have if you become unable to make medical decisions (if you are in a coma, for example). If you are admitted to the hospital, the hospital staff will probably talk to you about advance directives.

A good advance directive describes the kind of treatment you would want depending on how sick you are. For example, the directives would describe what kind of care you want if you have an illness that you are unlikely to recover from, or if you are permanently unconscious. Advance directives usually tell your doctor that you don't want certain kinds of treatment. However, they can also say that you want a certain treatment no matter how ill you are.

Advance directives can take many forms. Laws about advance directives are different in each state. You should be aware of the laws in your state.

What is a living will?
A living will is one type of advance directive. It only comes into effect when you are terminally ill. Being terminally ill generally means that you have less than six months to live. In a living will, you can describe the kind of treatment you want in certain situations. A living will doesn't let you select someone to make decisions for you.

What is a durable power of attorney for health care?
A durable power of attorney (DPA) for health care is another kind of advance directive. A DPA states whom you have chosen to make health care decisions for you. It becomes active any time you are unconscious or unable to make medical decisions. A DPA is generally more useful than a living will. But a DPA may not be a good choice if you don't have another person you trust to make these decisions for you.

Living wills and DPAs are legal in most states. Even if they aren't officially recognized by the law in your state, they can still guide your loved ones and doctor if you are unable to make decisions about your medical care. Ask your doctor, lawyer or state representative about the law in your state.

What is a do not resuscitate order?
A do not resuscitate (DNR) order is another kind of advance directive. A DNR is a request not to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart stops or if you stop breathing. (Unless given other instructions, hospital staff will try to help all patients whose heart has stopped or who have stopped breathing.) You can use an advance directive form or tell your doctor that you don't want to be resuscitated. In this case, a DNR order is put in your medical chart by your doctor. DNR orders are accepted by doctors and hospitals in all states.

Most patients who die in a hospital have had a DNR order written for them. Patients who are not likely to benefit from CPR include people who have cancer that has spread, people whose kidneys don't work well, people who need a lot of help with daily activities, or people who have severe infections such as pneumonia that require hospitalization. If you already have one or more of these conditions, you should discuss your wishes about CPR with your doctor, either in the doctor's office or when you go to the hospital. It's best to do this early, before you are very sick and are considered unable to make your own decisions.

Should I have an advance directive?
Most advance directives are written by older or seriously ill people. For example, someone with terminal cancer might write that she does not want to be put on a respirator if she stops breathing. This action can reduce her suffering, increase her peace of mind and increase her control over her death. However, even if you are in good health, you might want to consider writing an advance directive. An accident or serious illness can happen suddenly, and if you already have a signed advance directive, your wishes are more likely to be followed.

How can I write an advance directive?
You can write an advance directive in several ways:

Use a form provided by your doctor.
Write your wishes down by yourself.
Call your health department or state department on aging to get a form.
Call a lawyer.
Use a computer software package for legal documents.
Advance directives and living wills do not have to be complicated legal documents. They can be short, simple statements about what you want done or not done if you can't speak for yourself. Remember, anything you write by yourself or with a computer software package should follow your state laws. You may also want to have what you have written reviewed by your doctor or a lawyer to make sure your directives are understood exactly as you intended. When you are satisfied with your directives, the orders should be notarized if possible, and copies should be given to your family and your doctor.

Can I change my advance directive?
You may change or cancel your advance directive at any time, as long as you are considered of sound mind to do so. Being of sound mind means that you are still able to think rationally and communicate your wishes in a clear manner. Again, your changes must be made, signed and notarized according to the laws in your state. Make sure that your doctor and any family members who knew about your directives are also aware that you have changed them.

If you do not have time to put your changes in writing, you can make them known while you are in the hospital. Tell your doctor and any family or friends present exactly what you want to happen. Usually, wishes that are made in person will be followed in place of the ones made earlier in writing. Be sure your instructions are clearly understood by everyone you have told.

Decadent Chocolate Cherry Cake

1 Package Devils Food Cake
21 ounce Can Cherry Pie Filling
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
2 eggs well beaten

Mix until moistened and spread in a greased and floured 9x13" pan
Bake @ 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

1 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Milk
5 Tablespoons butter
1 Cup mini milk chocolate chips

Bring sugar, milk and butter to a boil. Boil one minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in choc. chips until melted.
Pour over a warm cake.

3 Bean Salad

Grandma Gorsage's 3 Bean Salad

1 Can Wax Beans
1 Can Kidney Beans
1 Can Cut Green Beans
(all drained well)

3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Vinegar
1/2 cup Salad Oil

1 Medium Onion diced
1 Red Pepper diced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Is best if refrigerated at least 4 to 6 hours prior to serving... or night before.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Adjusting to life with Copd

Adjusting to Life With COPD
Small changes can make everyday life with COPD easier.
By Krisha McCoy

Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPHPrintE-mailWhen you are diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you will have to make some adjustments in your life to help reduce your symptoms and conserve your energy. Taking steps to make your everyday life easier can help control your shortness of breath, fatigue, and other common COPD symptoms.

Here are some strategies you can use every day to help you adjust to life with COPD.

Participate in pulmonary rehabilitation. Pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD "can improve [COPD patients'] quality of life, their breathlessness, and their functional strength," says Jane Whalen-Price, PT, director of rehabilitation services at National Jewish Health in Denver. Pulmonary rehabilitation consists of exercise, nutritional counseling, and education to help you learn to live with COPD. It helps "COPD patients stay active and functional and not have to give in to their disease," she says.

Rest when you need to. Even though your pulmonary rehabilitation is important, you may need to take it easy now and then. "On days when COPD symptoms flare up, we tell our COPD patients to hold back from doing their cardiopulmonary exercises, and advise them to continue to do some of the milder exercises and their activities of daily living," says Whalen-Price. So listen to your body and give yourself a break when you need it.

Practice breathing control. Your respiratory therapist can work with you to teach techniques such as pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing. These can help reduce the shortness of breath you feel when doing activities. Find shortcuts for your daily activities.

Find ways to make your everyday activities easier to perform. For instance, when you get out of the shower, put on an absorbent robe rather than using your energy to towel-dry yourself. Ask for help when you need it.
It's important to have people around to help you with tasks that become too difficult for you to perform, even though it may be difficult to ask for help at first. So that you can continue to contribute to household maintenance, Kitty Weary of West Yellowstone, Mont., who provided COPD care for her father, husband, and mother, suggests what she calls "job swapping": While your caregiver is helping you with a task, offer to help him or her by doing something that is easy for you to do. Plan your day. So that you don't wear yourself out doing too many strenuous activities at once, spend a little time each morning organizing your time so that there are periods of planned rest between activities that are more strenuous.

Streamline your space. Make your home as efficient as possible by keeping things you use in the area where you use them. For instance, keep dishtowels right by the sink and your shoes by the back door so you can save your energy by not walking around unnecessarily.

Manage anxiety. Anxiety is common in COPD patients, and it can spiral out of control. "Anxiety leads to shortness of breath, which leads to more anxiety, which leads to more shortness of breath, and so on," says Weary. Engage in activities that relax you, such as reading a book or listening to music, and practice your breathing exercises when you do feel anxiety creeping in.

Being diagnosed with COPD will inevitably change your life. But by taking some steps to make your day-to-day activities a little easier, you can avoid some of the frustration and discomfort that often comes after a COPD diagnosis and continue to enjoy time with your family and friends.

Copd & Depression

COPD and Depression
The changes associated with a COPD diagnosis can increase your risk of developing depression.

By Krisha McCoy
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPHPrintE-mailIt is estimated that 40 percent of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) suffer from depression. Unfortunately, depression in COPD patients is often untreated, and that can put you at higher risk of disability and death. That's why it is important to learn how to recognize the signs of depression and seek help if you need it.

COPD and Depression: What's Behind the Link

There are many reasons that being diagnosed with COPD may put you at increased risk of depression. Some factors include:

Sleep deprivation. Many COPD patients report difficulty sleeping due to their COPD symptoms.
Appetite disturbances. COPD can make it difficult to eat and can cause you to enjoy foods less.
Lack of confidence. Having to use supplemental oxygen and having shortness of breath, a cough, and other COPD symptoms can make you less sure of yourself in social situations.
Inability to do activities you once enjoyed. When you have COPD, just performing activities you once enjoyed can become difficult.
Feelings of hopelessness. When someone learns of their COPD diagnosis, "the patient has lost a way of life, and they aren't going to get better," says Kitty Weary of West Yellowstone, Mont., who provided COPD care for her father, husband, and mother.

COPD and Depression: Warning Signs

If you are experiencing any of the following thoughts and symptoms, you may be depressed:

Disinterest in activities that were once enjoyable
Trouble concentrating
Sleep problems
Appetite changes
Thoughts about death or suicide
Unexplained physical symptoms

COPD and Depression: How to Cope

When you have COPD, depression can add to your already fragile emotional state. People who are depressed often feel disconnected from their family and friends, and tend to feel hopeless about ever feeling good. This can make it more difficult to take care of yourself and follow the treatment recommendations of your medical team.

If you are feeling depressed, taking the following steps may help you feel better:

Get medical help. The first step in dealing with depression is to talk with your doctor about how you are feeling. Depression is an illness that can be treated. Your doctor can help determine if you are depressed, recommend treatment, or refer you to a mental health professional as necessary.
Stay active. Exercising regularly and participating in your pulmonary rehabilitation program can help to lift your spirits.

Julie Walther Scheibel, MEd, a counselor at Concordia Seminary Counseling and Resource Center in St. Louis, says that stimulating your heart rate can help to improve your mood.

Join a support group. Finding a support group of other COPD patients can help, because you can share your experience with others who are in your same situation and you'll know that you are not alone.

Do things you enjoy. Even though your COPD symptoms may make it harder to participate in many activities, it is important to find things you can do that you enjoy.

Taking time out for yourself can help lift your mood.

Depression can be a challenge for anyone, especially someone who has a serious illness like COPD. But there is no reason you have to suffer. If you are feeling depressed, talk with your doctor immediately so you can get the help you need to feel better.
I have been pretty good about wearing the oxygen. The only thing I will have to get used to is packing it around with me. The canisters only weigh 3 pounds. But, with anything else in my "bag" it becomes a work out just to carry it around! LoL

I can tell the difference, with it... and without it. I don't use it in the kitchen only because I don't want to trip over the cords and break my neck. So, on those days when I am doing a lot of cooking I can really tell. I try and remember to sit down every once in a while and hook up to the cannula before I get too out of breath. It seems once I have gotten to a certain point I am playing "catch my breath" the rest of the day. I have also noticed how TIRED I am lately. I am not sure what's up with that. I would think with the added oxygen volume I would be less tired. The last 2 weeks I have actually napped, or at least found moments extremely hard to keep my eyes opened...and it's not for lack of sleep at night.

Yesterday was our 27th Anniversary. We didn't do anything to celebrate. I am not sure either one of us knew if we should or not?? This is the first year since we were married in 1983 that I didn't get an Anniversary Card or flowers, or we didn't do something special on our day. It says a great deal about how things are these days. Neither one of us if asked could define our new relationship I don't think?. Sad!

I was coming home yesterday from taking Brittney to school (since her car was in the shop) and drove by a nursery. URCH!!! Is that the sound of breaks screeching?? LoL
This time of year gets me always. I already planted annuals too early and the frost killed some of them in my planters on the front porch... I do it every year. It's just that when the first signs of Spring finally arrive I just can't wait!

I found the prettiest Heirloom Tomato plants! If you are a gardener you will understand that comment... If not... you'll probably think I am bonkers! LOL Anyway.. I bought a few of those then a couple more plants that produce earlier. So, I should have an abundance of fresh beautiful tomatoes this summer/fall. :)

A few days ago I had Bill tear up the front yard so I could make flower beds this year. Big circles! Really big... LoL Poor guy has been drug all over the yard 2 days now by the roto-tiller! Tomorrow we amend the soil and start planting! This excites me more than I can tell you! I love getting my hands in the dirt. I love planting and fussing with plants! I have decided to put tomato and trellising veggies in the center and flowers all around them. I have had a really hard time growing veggies here at this house. The front yard has been the only area that gets full sun. The back yard is shaded all day with our Walnut and Elm trees. So, I just never had veggies. It finally dawned on me that we don't need all that grass anymore... just more to mow. After it gets going I will post a few pictures.

I have a few more recipes to post too. I made 3 Bean Salad (excellent and will be great for this summer too). I also made Mom's Decadent Chocolate Cherry Cake. YUMMY!! Served warm or cold it is AWESOME!
I took pictures of both recipes, then let Britt take my camera. So, I will get back the camera tomorrow and upload the pictures and post the recipes.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Arizona Quiche

1 1/2 cups grated jack cheese
1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese
1 4 ounce can green chiles
1 cup Half & Half
3 eggs slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cumin
One 9" pie crust partially baked

Spread jack cheese and half of cheddar cheese evenly over bottom of the partially baked pie crust.
Spread diced chilis over cheese.
Combine Half & Half, eggs, salt and cumin... mix thoroughly then pour over cheese and chili's. Top with remaining chedar cheese.

Bake in 325 oven for 40 minutes.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Designer Oxygen bags

So, it's been 8 days since I was told about a lifetime of oxygen.. And it's actually been since Thursday May 6th that I picked up the "tanks" and nifty backpack they go into. Of course, I had to get rid of the backpack as soon as I got home. If I have to wear a cannula, then the oxygen tank will go in a designer bag. I will keep the backpack (icky thing) in my car for those times I need to be hands free, but besides that it stays in my bags.

I have worn it always in the car, but only into 3 public places. And, those times only places that aren't very crowded. I have to get used to wearing it. I have to get over the fear I have that people will treat me different if I have it on. DUH!!! OF COURSE THEY WILL!! I would be fooling myself to think that they wouldn't. With my parents I looked differently at both of them... Like they were more fragile, less mobile... just different. It takes a while to get over the "wisps" it makes when I breath in.

I don't know?? Truthfully, other people probably take it better than I do. My perception of myself is at an all time low. I have begun to gain weight again. As soon as I started worrying about new health issues... I gave in and ATE.

The new testing has started. More labs on Thursday and a Mammogram. Friday at 6:00 A.M. I had a contrast CT Scan. Who the hell schedules a test @ 6:00 A.M.?? I have an appointment Thursday with my pulmonologist. I'll find out about all the testing then.
There is no need for me to be worried, is there? I am sure that there is more lung damage... otherwise my oxygen would not be doing this dropping business. I am sure also that it is effecting my heart and that is why my pulse is so high. Besides the fact I have gained weight.
I get a little worried being optimistic, because everytime I am... the sky falls on me.

Bill got home from Idaho yesterday. When he commented about my oxygen... he only said.. "it'll get better and you won't need it someday". I wanted to scream, then pull out my hair and his too!! He just refuses to get it, and it just makes me feel like more of a loser when he has these unreachable expectations of me!!
I am sure in his own way he is thinking he is being supportive and trying to say all the right things. What is really happening is... I feel like he isn't listening to me. I feel like he ignores me when I talk about being so scared. I feel alone in this. I need him to GET IT and realize that I need support. We need to live in the real world instead of this make believe land where everything is always O.K..
Anyway... Wanted to check in, I know it's been a few days. I told you I need a few days to throw my tantrum and get used to the new addidition.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hamburger Tater Tot Dish

This was a favorite comfort food of mine that Mom would make.

1 lb lean hamburger
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 or 1 package of frozen tater tots

Pat hamburger into bottom of square or oblong baking dish. Sprinkle with minced onions then coat with cream of mushroom soup. Spread tater tots over top.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Good days don't last

This was part of my Febuary 12th entry......

"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."

This afternoon my small portable concentrator will be here. Those good days I talked about up there sure didn't last long, and I wasted time.

I have to quit that! It seems things are progressing faster than I thought. My friends and family are going to HAVE TO UNDERSTAND that it's not that I don't care, it's not that they are not important to me... but I won't sweat the small stuff anymore. If someone has a problem with me, that's their issue. I haven't on purpose hurt or ignored anyone. I just don't have time to deal with pettiness. I don't want to waste time on those who have drama or need attention.

This is my time to be selfish. Let me explain that..... I want more than anything to just live and be happy. I want those around me to be happy and enjoy the time we have. I want to laugh and make memorable moments. I will not let anyone into my life that wants to damage that. That's not too much to ask for I don't think?

One a seperate topic, I went back to the dentist today and... Now I have 2 infections, needing 2 anti-biotics. I go back in on Thursday and if it hasn't started clearing up then she will go in and surgically remove flesh.
LOL Jeeze... can I just get a break somewhere??? Please!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Corn Chowder

1/2 Cup Coarsely Chopped onion
1/2 Cup Butter, melted
1 Can Creamed Corn
1/2 cup Half & Half
1 cup chopped Cooked Ham
salt and pepper to taste

(optional.. boil until fork tender 2 potatoes then dice)

Saute onion in melted butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat until heated through... Do Not Boil.

Mexican Spoon Bread

This recipe was given to mom by a dear friend Oleta Journell. She made it so often I felt it deserved it's place beside our family recipes.

1 can creamed corn
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 4 ounce can diced green chiles (I would use 8 ounces next time)
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Combine the first 7 ingredients. Pour half of the mix into buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Layer Chiles then half the cheese.
Pour the rest of the mixture over the chiles then finish with the rest of the cheddar cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Lora's Dump Cake

Into a 9x13 pan

1 Can 20 ounce Crushed Pineapple (not drained)
1 Can Cherry Pie Filling
Mix together

Sprinkle 1 yellow cake mix over
Pour 2 cubes melted butter over
Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded coconut

Bake in 350 oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

A lifetime of Oxygen

This will probably be the hardest blog I have written up to this point..............

Friday I went in to my Primary Care Doctor for a follow up visit. I still hadn't heard the results from my heart test and I was expecting a good outcome.
We went over all my new meds... working fine! We went over sleeping through the night now... Good news! Then we discussed the results of my heart test. All in All good she said. :) Then she said it still was a mystery as to why my heart beat is so fast... why my pulse races. She said the test revealed that my resting heart beat was 104, and with exertion it soared. So we discussed causes.
She put a oxi monitor on me and sitting my oxygen level was 92 (I think, honestly what came after this erased my memory of most events), so with the oxi meter we took a slow steady walk around the building. (this is a small town, small building. lol) I made it half way and she looked at the oxygen level and stopped me, it was 72 and my pulse was 138. We went back into the office and got ready then walked with the oxi meter and oxygen... my pulse still raced but with increasing the amount of oxygen from 2 to 4 my oxygen level while walking stayed at around 95.
So... the news I have been DREADING every since I got this diagnoses... "I will now be on oxygen 24 hours a day for my lifetime" Just writing that brings tears to my eyes!!

Please understand what I am going to say.. don't think badly of me, don't think I am totally shallow because I really am not.
I am humiliated. I am embarrassed. I feel like I have failed. That makes me Vain. Vanity has never been a problem for me. I never had to wear makeup everyday. I am alright if I have a little gray showing. Obviously with my weight I still can feel pretty good about myself until I stare into a full length mirror.

I don't want to be a weakling. I don't want to be looked at like I am less than anyone else.
When I was using oxygen only at night, I could put on a persona that I was doing "not so bad". I had a hard time even letting Bill see me with my cannula on.
My perception of seeing someone with oxygen takes me right back to seeing my parents weak and needing help to breath. It makes me think someone is fragile.
I DON"T WANT THAT TO BE ME!!! Without the cannula people who know me, knew I had Copd/Emphysema but it wasn't foremost in their minds all the time. With a cannula and the noise of the portable concentrator that is the first thing they will think of now when they see me.

She (my Primary Care Dr) will call my pulmonologist Monday and discuss what to do next. She said he will surely want to see me and adjust treatment and discuss what's in store for the future. Also Monday is when the oxygen company is bringing over the smaller concentrator's for me to use outside, in the car, at stores... You know .. "PUBLIC"

I am taking a few days to sulk and feel sorry for myself. I think I deserve that. Then it's back to obeying doctors, trying to keep a positive frame of mind. And now I have a new sense of urgency. I want to do things I have always wanted to, no more putting things off. I don't want to miss one chance to let Brittney know how important she is to me, and how strong I think she is. That had always been my biggest fear... is how will she cope with me not being around anymore. I know she will be just fine. I want to do memorable things with Layla. We are starting swimming lessons next Thursday. At least she is, I will be on the side lines every time cheering her on! I want to do some family camp trips this summer. I want to take lots of pictures, write meaningful blogs that those closest to me can maybe find comfort in later. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't think or worry about Bill. He would be lost and lonely for a while. But, I really think he would find someone quickly. He is a social guy.

I forgot to tell you.... Right before she told me about the lifetime of oxygen she asked me if my outlook had gotten any better, if the anti-depressants were working? I said YES, I feel more positive than I had in a long time. Ironic isn't it?!

I am talking like I am dying. Nope! I am just being realistic. I know especially once the oxygen starts being increased, and now is used 24 hours, that it means my disease is progressing faster than I thought. I really thought I had years to go before this would happen. I just was not prepared on Friday afternoon.

Now to life in general..... Bill left this morning for Idaho to see his daughter and grandkids. He'll be gone about a week. After yesterday, neither one of us were sure if he would go or not? I'm glad he left. This will give me time to get used to this public oxygen stuff, and the break will do us both good.

I mentioned yesterday or the day before that I sorted out all the recipes I am going to add to the cookbook. Today I made 3 of them. The house smelled SO good. I sent most of it home with Brittney, for her and Fernando. I did too much today though. I could tell. This morning I went and got my nails done. Went and dropped off a few things at Brittneys, then brought Layla home with me.... Fed her lunch and then started cooking.

I baked a dump cake first. YUM!! Then I made Mexican Spoon Bread (Cornbread, Cheese, and Green Chili's).. I can't begin to tell you how good the house smelled. While that was in the oven I started frying bacon for the Corn Chowder... that just added a entirely overdosing aroma of smells around here! Even Layla who had been playing came in and begged for bacon. I was laughing out loud at her, she was like a junkie needing a fix... when I gave her a piece she said... "You're a lifesaver grandma"! LOL Anway.. Then I made the Corn Chowder and was done. It was just a long time in the kitchen, and No.. I didn't have any oxygen on. I did once in a while come in and put the cannula on for short periods of time.
I am exhausted tonight. I didn't sleep much last night and we got up early for Bill to leave this morning, so.. I am going to try and post the recipes then it's off to bed for me.