Walking into a new and brighter life.

Walking into a new and brighter life.

The healthy me

The healthy me

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

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I gained... oops

I didn't walk Priscilla today.  I took her to Weight Watchers with me this morning.  We got there early enough to sneak in with the dog and weigh and leave before anyone else got there.  I am never sure taking a dog places.

My weigh in ... I gained 3 pounds.  I am not sure why so much, but I am confident it will go away.  I ran out of laxatives about a week ago and so I haven't been "regular" since last Friday.  It is odd, it just doesn't matter how much fiber, fruit or greens I eat.

I'll get back in the groove of watching my food intake and exercising.  I won't be hard on myself.

I feel bad that today I didn't walk Priscilla.  Bill had an appointment over the mountain and Britt has started back to school and I didn't feel steady enough to do it on my own.

I never thought I would say that.  I have always been so independent my entire life that this is a big change for me.

I am light headed, I feel unsteady on my feet at times. I have headaches almost daily now.
I have constant pain in my feet like I am walking on pebbles.  My hands sometimes cramp up and ache so bad that keeping them in hot water feels so good.  Of course there is that constant pain and tightness in my chest.

I am struggling to do anything during the day.  I have been canning tomatoes.  Every day or every other day I will do 2 quarts and 2 pints.  I am trying to do them as they ripen so none are wasted.  But I have to say doing that and then cooking dinner I am DONE.  Totally done, ready for a nap, unable to do much of anything but sit.  Thank heavens for the computer.  At least I can communicate with my online friends and play a few games during the day.

Any way... that's my day.  I have planned for tomorrow a walk for Priscilla and I.  That's about it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

More loss, and updates

I just wanted to get a post in tonight to update a few things.

I lost another friend this week.  For different reasons losing Kathy Gray was very difficult for me and honestly, I barely knew her.  I knew her posts on face book, I knew her comments that always cheered people up, and I recognized her positive attitude through all the adversity this disease brings.  She was a member of one of my Copd groups.

I had followed her wall, sometimes commenting, but mostly just reading and gathering strength from her.  She was older than I was but we had about the same severity of emphysema and Copd.

She wrote a few days ago she was tired and had been unable to sleep.  Not uncommon with this disease.  She had mentioned it felt like that commercial with the elephant sitting on her chest, that her breathing was getting difficult.  Finally I read that her son was taking her to the hospital to get put on stronger antibiotics.  The next post was her daughter saying she had passed away.

It took my breath away.  How quickly things can turn with this disease.

To further update another one of my blogs about wetting the bed.  I had been to the doctor not long ago.  She increased my Clonazepam and told me to be careful and watch myself.  That one of the side effects of a larger dose is to stop breathing.  I was very nervous to take them the first week or so, then they just seem to work well and the fear went away.  The night I wet the bed I had doubled the dose, not even thinking.  I am lucky that I am here at all.  I have been confused lately anyway.  My memory is at an all time low.

I have been short with Bill and Brittney.  It just is frustrating feeling my independence slipping away.  That's what it feels like.

I have been walking Priscilla everyday.  Most of the time a mile or more.  I am getting to the point where I don't want to do it alone.  I am afraid of getting light headed and not being able to drive home.  Bill mentioned my driving the other day.  It's like everything is out of whack.

Another update... my Primary care Dr. called and told me she had talked to the Radiologist about this bladder issue.
Yes, I have a fibroid cyst on my uterus.  They are mostly harmless, they will watch it.  I also have another lump on my breast.  The same breast I had a lump removed from 2 years ago only on the other side.  They will also just watch this one and check again on my next mammogram unless it starts to become painful.

I have Weight Watchers weigh in tomorrow.  I will get on here and let you know how I did.  Once again I have no idea if I gained or lost?  It's been a week where so much happened.  I think I ate appropriately, but I am not sure.  I'll find out tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The loss of a wonderful woman

Today was Weight Watchers weigh in.  I wasn't sure how this would go.  I could have easily gained 3 pounds, or lost maybe 1.  So, I was pleasantly surprised when I got on the scale and lost 4.8 pounds.  My little thing on this page rounds up... bless it's heart, so it reads I have lost 5.

I have no idea how this happened.  Like I mentioned in my blog yesterday, my body is doing things I have never seen before.

I have been walking Priscilla, or she walks me every day.  I think about 3/4 of a mile.  That I am sure is helping in my loss.  I also (with the exception of today) have been doing 10 minutes at a time on my trampoline.  I still haven't been back to Curves... I am still a member, just haven't been back.  I will try that one day this week and see how I do.  Honestly, I am SO tired.  By the time I come home from walking the dog and get dinner ready I am done for the day.
I have been sneaking in a little bit of canning tomatoes but doing nothing else.  I just don't have the stamina at this moment.

I am just about to call it a night, but before I do.....  I was notified today that one of moms best friends, one of my friends passed away earlier this month.  She went the way of the angels... just went to sleep and didn't wake up.  Bless her heart, she and mom had the best times together.  I had talked to her not long ago... talk... I mean email.  She was such a character.  I will miss her.  The world will be a little less happy because her smile isn't here anymore.

Here is a picture of her and mom.  It was taken about 10 years ago... they were having a St. Patrick's Celebration in Los Barilles Baja Mexico, where she lived for 20+ years.

I think her and mom are having a great chat about now.
Mom is on the right, Lois on the left.  It's so sad not to have the two of you around anymore.  :(

Monday, September 19, 2011

Honesty sucks sometimes

I had one of the worse nights last night.  I was not going to write about it... but this is all about me and my life and ailments.

I have been really tired.  I even took about a 3 hour nap which is something I just don't do.

I went to bed last night and around 12:30 I woke up soaked.  It took me a few minutes to figure out what happened.  I had wet the bed!  My god... I think I was still in nursery school the last time that happened.  So, I got up took off all the sheets and the mattress pad and comforter and threw them downstairs to wash today.  Then went and got soap and water and scrubbed my mattress then got the blow dryer to get it dry so I could put clean sheets on it to go back to bed.  Around 1:45 - 2:00 I finally got back to sleep.  I slept until 9:30 this morning.

Bill said he was about to come in and check on me.  Had it been me, I would have checked on me sooner...just sayin.  LoL

I have no idea why that happened.  I went to the bathroom before bed.  I did not drink more than usual all day or before bed.

This just can't happen anymore.  It was humiliating to tell Bill I wet the bed.  OMG... I am not old enough to be incontinent and not young enough to not be potty trained.

So there it is... honesty.

Tomorrow is my first Weight Watchers weigh in since going back.  I have NO faith that I have lost weight.  I will get on tomorrow and post my results.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The lungs

The Lungs
The lung is a magnificent organ that performs a multitude of vital functions every second of our lives. Breathing is the most essential of these functions. With each breath, the lungs take in oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.

The air (oxygen) we breathe enters the lungs via the main windpipe (trachea), which branches into two main tubes supplying the right and left lung, respectively. These tubes progressively branch 22 additional times to form more than 100,000 smaller tubes (bronchi, bronchioles) and more than 300 million air sacs (alveoli), which are only about 0.3 mm in diameter.

Thus, the surface area of the lungs is huge -- larger than the surface of a person's skin. In fact, if all the airways and air sacs of a person's lungs were laid flat on the ground, they would cover more than 100 square yards, which is larger than the size of a tennis court.
 Because the walls of these air sacs are 1/50th the thickness of tissue paper and are bathed with millions of tiny blood vessels called capillaries, there is an easy and efficient exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the body and the environment.

The lungs are also important in the body's defense against infection and other harmful environmental factors. While the nose is the first line of defense against inhaled harmful materials, the lungs provide the second line of defense. Inhaled particles (smoke, pollution) or infectious agents (bacteria, viruses) pass through the mouth or nose and lodge in the lungs.

Mucus, a sticky fluid produced in the lungs, can trap these inhaled agents and aid the lungs' protective white blood cells (macrophages, neutrophils) in the engulfment and destruction of bacteria and other harmful materials. Coughing is the best way to clear mucus and other materials from the lungs; however, the larger airways have tiny hairlike cells called cilia that aid in this process. The cilia beat with a rhythm fast enough, and a force sufficient enough, to propel mucus and cells up the airways to be coughed out or swallowed. When a person smokes, the cilia are inactivated or destroyed, allowing thick mucus to accumulate and compromise lung defense.

This article was contributed by Dr. Dennis Doherty, co-chairman of the National Lung Health Education Program and Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. It provides a basic overview of the lungs and how they function -- information important to understanding the effects of COPD on this vital organ.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Maybe I can make a difference

So, there is very little lately that I can be proud of, or feel good about myself.  That terrible man/boy at the store really threw me for a loop and I know better than to let idiots like that get under my skin.  It just was so In My Face... I was unprepared and shocked.

When I last had my Pulmonologist's appointment he talked again about transplant, but later down the road.  I am not sure if I spoke very much about that appointment.  I talked to him about that doctor from Florida that was contacting me wanting me to come to Florida for stem cells implants.  He looked him up and said even though he has no complaints about him and his work, there also is not a trail to follow on his procedures.  It seemed a red flag to him that he is not affiliated with a hospital and does the treatments from him office.  He also said that this procedure is not FDA approved in the U.S. yet and therefore none of it is covered by insurance companies.  So... He said for me to hang in there, remain as healthy as possible and to keep losing weight and exercising.  That just doing those things can help my breathing greatly.

I explained to him that my problem has been that I begin to get into a routine of exercise and then have some sort of set back and I just can't seem to get back to where I was.  He said that is not unusual but for me to just keep doing whatever I can.

I had been reading in all my online COPD groups that having a Pulmonary Rehab Class has helped so many build up strength in their lungs.  I asked him about one and he told me that for some time our town does not have one, due to lack of funding.

One of these classes is needed for transplant and LVRS.  So, I told him I had found all the classes on YouTube but I would need to have a certificate showing I completed the course.  His nurse gave me a phone number to the Respiratory Therapy Department at the hospital and told me to call and ask them if they would perhaps be interested in teaching a class.

I had put the number in a pocket in my purse and forgot about it until a few days ago.  I pulled it out and called the hospital.  I spoke first to a technician and then she put me on speaker phone with the head of the department.  He said he would be very willing to help, but due to lack of funds the hospital couldn't do it at this time.  He gave me the name of a Professor at the College here and I called him.  I left him a message explaining that I had severe Copd and in order to have surgery or transplant I would need to have this class.  I explained that my Pulmonologist is willing to help in some way, that the head of the Respiratory department at the hospital said he also would be willing to help.

Yesterday I got a call back from him.  He was very pleased to talk to me.  He said each year his students spend quite a bit of time on Copd and the treatment of it.  If I would be willing to be their patient and let them interview me and give me the rehab class he would appreciate it and find a way to get it accredited with the transplant center.  He said that if this works out well they may be able to work through the hospital and open it up to the public which would help so many.

He said he would make some calls and get back to me next week.  I am very proud of myself.  I have wanted to make a difference somehow.  I knew I had in me... the knowledge of this ugly disease to make  difference.  He said that by me being there to have his students ask questions of and get answers from an actual Copd patient would be invaluable.  That learning about a disease is one thing, but seeing the results would be most helpful.

Besides that I haven't done much.  My Weight Watchers diet this week will be hit or miss if I gain or lose.  I am taking full responsibility for me... but having Bill bring home pizza and chips is just wrong.  I told him we need to go back to that time where if he wanted those things to go eat it, or bring it home and keep it out of plain site, and then not keep offering me it.

I hope I can get started with just a pound or two so I can use that to get momentum.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So much to catch up on

I told you I was going in for an MRI a little while back and that I was waiting for results.  That the tech had told me they found a spot on my bladder that they would surely be contacting me for an ultra sound for.... well.....

I had my Primary Care Doctor appointment on Thursday.  She went over the MRI and said there is nothing listed there for my bladder.  They did however find a spot about the size of a walnut on my left breast on the other side of the breast that got the last lump out of.  She did an exam and said that she couldn't feel it and most likely it is just a sebaceous cyst.  My Pulmonologist (who order the MRI in the first place) for two days has been trying to get a hold of me and finally today said... they wanted me to talk to my PCD (primary care doctor) and be sure to tell her the importance of getting this checked out.  My Doctor today said that she will call the Radiologist and talk to them about it.

As for my chest pain... yep, it's still there.  Only meds to try and relieve it somewhat.  They are ruling things out and then will try drug therapy until they get it under control.
They say (Primary care Dr. and Pulmonologist) that it's hard to pin point chest pain when people have lung and heart issues.  They both cause the same symptoms and one mimics the other.

I went back to Weight Watchers today... so every Tuesday now whether I like it or not I will be posting my weight.  I was so excited to be back on the program I came home today and drank a bunch of water, went for a walk with Bill and Priscilla and then came home and while Bill and Priscilla slept...I ate cake!  GEEZE!!

I did bounce for 9 minutes on the trampoline along with my little walk downtown, so I did get some exercise.  It is already 5:40 and Bill is across the street helping a neighbor build a chicken coop so I am not doing dinner.  We can have fresh veggies and whatever he can dig up.  lol

I have a gazillion and three tomatoes all ripening at once.  I love them and try so hard not to let them go to waste.  I have made salsa and still have pounds that I still need to do something with. Maybe tomorrow I will go buy some more lids and can some peeled tomatoes.  I love them in the winter in soup.

As for Priscilla, she is a doll.  She seems to understand she was brought here to keep my spirits up.  She is never far away from my feet.  I can't tell you how many times I have cooked dinner with one foot on each side of her.  lol

I mentioned the fires that are burning around us making our air in the afternoon just terrible.

Here are pictures of a quick rain storm with the smoke lingering under a rainbow.  And, pictures of Priscilla and my tomatoes.

Priscilla's vet visit went very well.  She has lost 13 pounds in 6 weeks bringing her weight to 77 pounds and perfect for her size and breed.  None of her injuries will be long lasting and she will heal up perfectly.  She was such a good dog during the exam and shots.  She just brings smiles where ever she goes.  I made an appointment to get her spayed next month.

As for my weight... (thought I would get away without adding it huh>?!  lol) ... I weighed in today at 201.2.  That means at my lowest weight in May I have gained 11.2 pounds.
Here we go again.  I have my body bugg back on.  I am hoping just to capture exercise and calories burned.  As for the Weight Watcher program, I am going to try and follow it this time.  I always end up using the basics there and common sense, with a hint of cheese.  LOL
Maybe by next Spring I will be close.  I am not giving myself any deadlines this time.  I have enough to do.  I just want to live each day and not worry about squeezing 5 pounds off in a week, or stressing because I gained a pound.  This is my re-dedication to becoming healthy again.  It's amazing how much I can feel those 11 pounds.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Damaged Goods and an Asshole at the store

I haven't blogged in a few days.  Seems to be the way this is playing out.  Sorry... I just can't see coming here just to complain about one thing or the other.

We are taking Priscilla in for her first Dr.'s check up today.  The other day I was bathing her and I found a burn mark on her tummy, it looks like from a cigar.  I was just furious!  How could people be so cruel?  She has the best disposition of any dog I have been around.  She loves everyone, plays great with kids of all sizes (although she is a little rough when she throws her 90 pound frame around, lol) she gets along with all dogs.  These people who had her had no reason to mistreat her other than just being evil.

Tomorrow I also start Weight Watchers again.  I have put on 10 pounds since May and that is not O.K. with me.  So, it's back to the healthy eating.  I am hoping I can get back on my trampoline and back to Curves.  Honestly my hands and feet have hurt so much Vicodin isn't even taking away the pain and I won't take anything stronger.. I hate the dopey feeling.

We have forest fires still burning and by afternoon I am pretty much housebound which I hate.

Yesterday I ventured out to the grocery store and when I got to the check out line I ran into a punk that had me in tears.
He was behind me and when it was my turn to start putting my things on the belt he pushed past me, looking back at the kid behind me and said... "she is damaged goods anyway what can she do?"  The check out guy didn't hear him and I am sure he wondered what my tears were for.  I hurried to the parking lot to find this asshole and give him a piece of my mind, but I couldn't find him.  Then I got pissed at myself for letting someone like that make me cry.
It was the first time someone had come right out with the worst of the worst insults to my face.
I tried to push it off, stand up straight and show the world I am not damaged... but actually my shoulders felt heavy, my head hung a little lower and I felt damaged.

How can people be like that?!  I know there are all kinds of people out there... most of them never speak their mind.

Well, I am off to get myself and Priscilla ready for our appointment.  More later.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I didn't know stubborn before now

First I'll get the bragging out of the way.  Priscilla and I have been having a great time getting to know each other.  Bill says this dog is mine and is for companionship and love.  Well, she is all that and more!  She is like a child.  Since she was caged her entire life everything to her is an adventure and there are no boundaries.  Needless to say all my flower and veggie gardens are toast.  It's a good thing that Autumn is approaching and harvest is not far off.

While draining our pool for winter, water had gotten into what used to be our Koi pond and had sat there just long enough to get mucky and smelly.  Of course when he let her out in the back yard that is the first place she headed and rolled and wallowed in it.  I said fine I'll give her a bath.  Cari had mentioned that she got bath's at least once a week so I figured she must be a good calm bath getter.  WRONG

I got the little plastic wading pool out and began to put water in it as I got her shampoo and a towel, then went to get her.  She was not going to stand for that!  She drug me all over the front yard.  Finally my sweet neighbor across the street came to my rescue and together she got her bath.

Since then she has made beds in both gardens in the front.  One, a flower bed and the other my poor tomato garden.  The flower garden I found her in and when I called her to come out she would turn around and take a bite of my flowers... I even had time to come into the house, get the camera and go back out and take a picture of her.  She is a clown.  Just looking at her face makes anyone smile.  She will run full blast and not be able to stop and smash into the wall, or run through the front screen door because she has forgot it's there.

Here are my bragging pictures of my girl...
Her new bed in my tomatoes

What used to be my full and pretty flower bed.  She has a plant in her mouth chewing it.

I know why they call humans "bull" headed.  She has her own agenda and is in no hurry to do what she doesn't want to do.
She is wonderful with other dogs, she just wants to play.  Unfortunately our two spoiled dogs want nothing to do with her so she will bow down in front of them and bark (in a deep bully voice) at their faces.  I am hoping with time they will come around.  Right now it's kind of sad for her to have no one to play with.
Well...... except Layla which loves her, but even a 6 year old is no match for her.  Layla was trying to keep one of her stuffed animals away from Priscilla and finally took off running outside.  Priscilla finally caught up to her and pretty much tackled her and stole her bear leaving Layla crying.  LOL

She has kept me smiling which is worth everything.  We have smoke surrounding us here and my chest has been terrible, with my pain meds and this adorable face I have kept my mind off how bad I feel.

I have an appointment tomorrow with my Primary Care doctor and I am hoping to hear about this mass on my bladder.  I'll let you know.  Also, I have decided to go back to weight watchers.  I will start again next Tuesday.  I will let you what my weigh in is and how my progress goes.
I feel like I can re-dedicate myself to my health now.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dr visits and a bulldog on my shoulder

I had the MRI and I had an appointment with my cardiologist.  First the MRI....
While I was in the machine (which I hate being in that tube) they were looking at the thoracic region of my chest.  My Pulmonologist was thinking he wants to rule out all things that might be wrong which could be causing the chest pain.

So I was taken by surprise when the tech pulled me out and told me they see a mass on my bladder and want to put an I.V. in so they can run contrast through me to get a clear picture of what this is.  She told me after the scan to expect a call from the doctor and most likely a ultra sound to see what this is sitting on my bladder.  I asked her if it was big and she said they would measure it during the ultra sound.  Of course the doctor didn't get the results of the test until Friday and he was off that day.  I did call and ask them to send the results to my primary care doctor also.
I expect to hear something this week.  If not I have an appointment with my primary care doctor Thursday.

Then Wednesday I had my cardiologist appointment.  He wants me to slowly bring myself off of half of my heart medication and see if it helps my racing heart and light headedness.  So for two weeks I am to omit first my noon dose and then the second week omit my nighttime dose.  So far I have done without the noon dose and feel no different.
He also prescribed more Clonazepam only a very light dose and told me when I feel this light headedness and dizziness I am to take one of these and see if that helps.  Then I will see him back the first of October.  He says worse case scenario is that they can't slow down my pulse rate and he would have to go in and shock my heart into a healthier rhythm.  Or something like that... it of course had a name that I can't remember.

Mentioning memory... I am getting worse quickly it seems.  It's embarrassing, and a few times has caused me to break down into tears because I honestly lost entire "moments" or forget important things like taking my medication with me on our overnight trip to pick up the dog.  It was just my pain medication... but I knew I needed it.  I just get sidetracked so easily and forget what I was doing in the first place.

As for the trip and the dog.  It went SPLENDIDLY!  I love her.  She is just the best dog.  She hasn't the fine tuning manners that normal dogs have.  She has spent most of her year and a half in a cage and had very little interaction with things gentle.  So... she is still very much a puppy, only weighs 90+ pounds.  So she has totally intimidated our dogs.  She will run at them barking and springing back and forth and because of her size and forwardness they just turn and hide.  Even Dori our silly pit bull turns up her nose to her.  Of both of our dogs we were sure Dori would love having a playmate.  Of course they both have their noses bent out of shape because there is another dog in the house.  Our two babies now have to share love with one more.  How dare we!  LoL

This is Priscilla, and pretty much what I had leaning on my left shoulder for 5 1/2 hours in a car doing 75 miles an hour down the freeway.


Mt Shasta at 75 MPH

Cari's other three bullies.  They were all watching a dog on T.V.

I have had chest issues since we left.  There are forest fires burning everywhere and even all the way down into Central California there was smoke.  My chest burns like it is raw.  Not just a burning like heart burn, but actually feels raw, like it is cut or rubbing on something.  I am hoping this is temporary and will go away.

Layla spent the night tonight and her and Priscilla played like little kids.  Layla would get her stuffed polar bear and take off running and Priscilla would purposely trip her and steal the dog. It was so cute.  So, of course both of them are exhausted tonight.  I am glad to have a few minutes to myself.  Bill has been really edgy and so I have just tried to keep everyone and everything away from him to keep it peaceful.  It's pretty hard to do with a 5 year old and a bull dog running through the house.

Well, I am exhausted.  I will let you know when I hear from a doctor about this whatever it is on my bladder.  Which by the way would explain my bladder issues maybe.  hmmm
Until then...