Monday, August 30, 2010

Lonely

Howdy, peoples!

Hope this post finds you in as good as health as you can get....however, if you are anything like me, you are in agony!  I don't know what hurts more-my back or my feet. The arch on my left foot hurts so much I can't even bend it or circle my ankles like I do to keep the circulation flowing through my feet.  I had X-rays done when I went to the podiatrist last week so when I see him again on Wednesday, I'll ask him what showed up.   My feet are so incredibly swollen that I've got cracks in the skin on the top of each foot.  You'd need to send in a search party to find my ankles again.  I'm just so scared that they are going to stay like this forever.  I've had all kinds of tests, ultrasounds, X-rays that show NOTHING.  The cardiologist I went to just shrugged it off as being a "gravity" problem because of my weight.  I'm so tired of everything being the fault of my weight.  What are they going to blame next when I lose the weight?  My hair color?  Yikes!!!  It's just frustrating.

And then there's my husband.  His pain specialist a few months ago started him on Savella.  Why? I have NO idea. He DOESN'T have fibromyalgia and I think it is starting to mess with his brain.  He has definitely changed in mood and mentation since he started the Savella.  He just sits like a zombie either in bed or on the couch.  This afternoon it took me two hours to get him out of the house to run errands.  I thought the fresh air would do him so good.  He has no energy, no motivation, no enthusiasm for anything.  Even the computer doesn't interest him like it used to.  So I'm logging in some quality hours but I'd rather have it be like it used to be where we share it and he was excited to play on it.  Now it pretty much is mine for the taking...and I take it. But I'm lonely.  He won't talk to me.  I ask questions, he grunts answers.  He says nothing is wrong, nothing is bugging him, he doesn't know why he's so tired.

I know he's been in the hospital a lot this summer.  That can make anyone a little depressed.  Nothing went like we planned and he still is carting around that drain that he hates.  But we tell him that everything is OK now, we got through the rough parts together.  And that when I start this lap-band journey, I'm gonna need all the help and support I can get.  So, my mother-in-law came to the conclusion that he is over medicated.  He has an appointment with the pain specialist, I plan on telling him everything and I think the Savella is the reason for it.  He was on Prozac a long time ago and was a zombie then, too.  He just doesn't do well with anti-depressants ....maybe because he doesn't need to be on them!  So I think if we start weaning him off the Savella, maybe my husband will emerge from this lone figure on our bed or sitting on the couch.  I can only hope.  I told him today on our outing that the GPS unit talks to me more than he does!  And it's true!!  When he gets paid, I should get me a "Tickle Me, Elmo" doll...at least Elmo will laugh and giggle!  What I wouldn't give to hear my husband laugh again!!

Onto other brighter things.  Jack is such a cutie and believe me, he knows it. I wake at 5am, eat and start my computer duties. Jack thinks that he should have ALL my time and doesn't like me ignoring him when I'm on the computer. So what he does is he goes and I swear, he "body slams" himself against the closet doors, which then emits a rattle that just about rattles me right out of the chair!!!  I have no choice but to open the door as he won't shut up until I do and yesterday morning he went in, got on top of a plastic bag full of clothes and all you could see was his cute little face peeking out behind a curtain of hanging clothes.  Instead of scolding the little monster, I grabbed my camera instead and here he is:

Now how on Earth can I yell at something like this?  Plus, he looks real worried, doesn't he? LOL!  I took another one, farther away.  I've titled it, "The Closet Has Eyes."

Isn't he something else?  He just loves closets, drawers, shelves and anyplace else he knows I don't want him to be!  And then he looks up at me with those big gold eyes and I can't for the life of me punish him.  He has me soooo wrapped around his tail!!!

That pretty much is the scoop around here.  I can't believe we are almost into September.  Where has the time gone?  I sure do hope September is a better month.  We all deserve it.

God bless ya all!
Until next post,
Missy

PS...please don't be shy about leaving me comments. I love 'em and appreciate your input.  Is there anything I should improve? Am I doing something you really like? I hope so!  Share with me!  Thanks.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Early Morning Rising

Good morning, everyone!

I remember when I would be working nights, I would always take about ten-fifteen minutes right around sunrise time.  The Arizona sky would light up into a brilliant spectrum of colors....red, orange and blue.  Of course, after my little break, I'd have to go back to work and it would start the busy time: patients getting up, moving around, washing up, getting ready for breakfast.  We would be running around like chickens with our heads cut off until report time.  But I still remember that one brief period of quiet time and watching the sunrise and thinking back over my life (to see if I forgot anything!) and thinking ahead to see where I'm going.  It's a great time to reflect on life.

I'm no longer working, but I still love the sunrise.  I get up at 5am and everyone is still asleep, so it's so nice and quiet and peaceful.   This is when I do my emails and blogging most of the time because it's easier to think and not be interrupted.  Unfortunately, this early time is when I miss my mom the most.  I remember her picking me up from work and we'd get breakfast and watch "Charmed" reruns while we ate.  The guys would be alseep, still and we could talk about anything.  Now I'm missing my early morning buddy more than anything in the world!!  You'd think after 2 years, I wouldn't be so nostalgic all the time, but if anything, I think as time passes I'm even MORE nostalgic about my mom.  Does it ever end?  I know I'll never forget her (I think of her everyday), but will it get easier and not hurt as much when I think of her?  I can only wonder.

Nothing much else to report. Frankie is doing well, drain and all.  When I empty his abdominal drain, I get anywhere from 5cc-20cc's out.  Hopefully he can have that removed when he sees the surgeon Sept. 7th.  Every time when the visiting nurse comes out, he says the drain site is looking really good and Frankie's vitals are in normal range.  I check them periodically, too, and they have been normal for me, too.  I'm just glad that the hospital ordeal seems to be over with!  Knock on wood....such as my hard head! LOL!

I'm still in the fibro flare-up I had all last week, although I think it has lifted somewhat.  I am still so very stiff (especially upon waking) and my left foot is still very sore. I go back to the podiatrist on Tuesday so I'll mention that the shot he gave me didn't help at all.  Speaking of fibro, I want to mention a very good book called "Fibromyalgia For Dummies."  It is very informative and educational.  Check it out on Amazon.com.  I've made it very easy - just click on the link to the left and it'll take you right there. You can buy it either new or used.  I've bought a lot of stuff from Amazon and think they are the BEST on the 'net. I've also got a "ferris wheel" of fibro books from Amazon at the top of my blog that you can take a look at.  Or, you can do your own search using the widget below to look for Amazon merchandise.  Am I just a shop-a-holic's dream? LOL....

I don't know if I've blogged this yet, and if I have, bear with me.  I will be seeing the bariatric surgeon on Sept. 15th and have a conference with him (or her), the nutritionist, the physical therapist and case manager.  It's a whole team and program that I will be involved in.  They ran my insurance and I DO have benefits and they will go over that on the 15th.  My mother-in-law will come with.  BOTH my in-laws are so sweet as they will be helping me with what my insurance WON'T cover, so I can go through with the surgery and program. I am soooo very happy and grateful and ecstatic!  (Am I something else or what...being excited over SURGERY! LOL!)  Of course, I will owe them until kingdom come, but if it gets my life back or an even better one where I can move around a lot easier because I won't have all this weight holding me down, it'll be more than worth it.  So I will be undergoing this program and I will keep everyone updated on my progress with pictures.  This way, I'll have to stay on the program as I won't want to look like a fool in front of everybody!

Alrighty, that pretty much is it. To end this post, I'll include a video I took in San Diego of my mom and grandma walking through the surf on Mission Beach.  I'm so glad I have these videos, even though they have no sound, I can see her moving again.  I cherish each video and picture I have.  I hope that you cherish your family's members and heritage. You only have ONE shot in this life to make a difference, so make it a good one!!  That's my "pearl" of wisdom for the day.  Whew...it tuckered me out, might have to take a nap.....


God bless ya!
Until next post,
Missy

Friday, August 27, 2010

A New Day Has Come

Hello, my good friends!

I want to start this post out by saying I'm sorry about yesterday's post - or "whine fest" as the case may be!  I just was having a lousy day both physically AND mentally so I thought blogging might help, it usually does when I'm in a mood or upset about something.  Even when I'm happy, I love to blog.  OK-now that we all know I love to blog, I'll continue....

I'm very fortunate and thankful for one very basic, yet important thing: a beautiful roof over my head!  A big thank you to my husband's parents, Frank & Carol, for having us for two years and counting. Hopefully we haven't worn out our welcome yet!!  I am so thankful with how my mother-in-law has taken me in as one of her own and always has comforting advice when I panic or haven't thought things all the way through.  My husband and I are both very impulsive, so it's nice that SOMEONE has the brakes somewhere!!  My in-laws were away this whole week on a gambling retreat, so she wasn't here yesterday to talk to me.  But I'm glad they had a fabulous time-out from real life.  Maybe Frankie and I can do a short little day trip somewhere and get out of the house for awhile.  We've been cooped up because it's been so hot out and after Frankie's surgery ordeal, it'll be nice to go to Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon to cool off.  I'd LOVE to go back to San Diego, but that is a little more expensive trip we'll have to wait on.

Anyway, I'm also very thankful to have such wonderful people to lean on - and it keeps growing every day.  I 'meet' people on Facebook and through blogging and it's very therapeutic and helpful to find people like me, who have fibro and even those friends of mine who are fortunate NOT to have it, everyone has been really understanding and caring.  All those things are so much more important than STUFF (as I referred to in my last post).  My mom would come down from the skies above if she saw that post and kick my butt to kingdom come!  She'd tell me what the most important things are and it's NOTHING money can buy.......you are so right, Mom!

I received a beautiful letter from one of my childhood friends that I recently discovered on Facebook (God, I love Facebook!) and she pointed out all I just said and scriptures and that made me feel myself again.  Thank you, Lorie.  God put you in my life a second time around now and I hope we can remain friends and keep in contact forever.  I love ya, girlfriend!  :0)

I'll close this post by adding a video that always make me smile, and I hope it will you, too.  My mom, grandma and I would go to San Diego every three months for our rheumatologist appointments and we'd always stop by Mission Beach park and feed the birds.  I'm even going to try and add a video, too and see if that works.  It's of my mom and grandma feeding the birds our stale bread!  Thank goodness they aren't picky......

We ADORED our San Diego trips and called them "Girls Weekend Out."  We'd leave the manly men at home to fend for themselves and we'd take San Diego and the surrounding areas by storm.  Okay, now I'm gonna try the video. It was shot using my older camera, so there is NO sound to it - thought I'd tell ya that so you wouldn't spend all day thinking your speakers weren't working!  This is my first time, so if it doesn't work, please forgive me.  Here goes:

Hope you enjoyed watching that.  I have other ones from our travels I'll show in various upcoming posts.  I hope each and everyone that visits my blog has a great day and upcoming weekend.  Do something FUN with your family. Cherish those around you. I know I will!  :0)

God bless,
Until next post,
Missy

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Way Things Should Have Been

Hello, everyone!

I've been in a real self reflective mood recently.  Thinking about where I came from, where I've been and where I'm supposed to go and then panic strikes as I am afraid I may never get there!  It sometimes wakes me up at night and my heart is racing and I'm just feeling really anxious.  Nothing went the way it was planned.  Nothing.

It all started when I got fibromyalgia.  I believe it was way back in the first year of nursing school.  I remember walking long walks with my dad and then wham! One day came my second year of school and I couldn't walk a block without my calves being bone hard and hurting like all get-out.  I was thin in nursing school.  Here's what I looked like:


This was taken my first year of nursing school in 1991.  I was modeling off my new clinical uniform that grandma and grandpa bought for me. I remember them getting me a lot of my nursing school stuff: uniforms, stethoscope and books.  My mom tried real hard and worked real hard, but those were extra expenses she couldn't swing.  The state of Michigan paid for my education....and I never even worked a day as a nurse there!  I had a pell grant that took me all through school.

Anyway, back on point. I looked and felt great and then the fibro comes and I couldn't walk with my dad anymore so the weight started to creep up on me.  School was very stressful and I had that speech impediment and I found great comfort in Sara Lee and Betty Crocker.  Fine ladies in my humble opinion!!  When I graduated from nursing school, I looked like this:
As you can see, my youthful figure got lost somewhere inside this person's body!!!  Once my weight started to creep up, it did it with a vengeance.  I couldn't stop eating for comfort.  It's no secret that I had a lot of stressors back then....my dad and his prescription drug habit, my mom and her failing health and working 12 hour shifts EVERYDAY for three months, and we couldn't keep a car running for more than a few days.  I had to get to my clinicals and it's kind of hard without wheels.  So my mom was real inventive and I went to school in ambulances far more than I'm willing to count. (She was a 911 operator for Medic One)  The paramedics loved it and would zoom me to school with lights and sirens blaring.  I'd slink out and walk as fast as I could inside the building.  Oh, well, desperate times call for desperate measures.  I graduated with honors May of 1993.

I came to good ole' Arizona in 1993 and landed a job at Yuma Regional Medical Center, where I worked for the next 10 years.  I worked on a med-surg floor and we got patients ranging from cancer to kidney dialysis. I learned a lot.  Then I moved on to Yuma Rehab Hospital for another 3 years and it was here that my fibro was really getting out of hand.  I had to call in sick a lot and they didn't like that.  I could barely walk, how could I work?  I used up all my sick time and we started having problems with finances.  (To back up - I got married in Nov. of 1996 and we moved in with my parents in Yuma to combine expenses as they weren't doing so hot with paying bills, either!)

I clashed big time with the manager at the rehab, quit that job and got another with a hole-in-the-wall nursing home in town.  That was my worst job to date.  I was in charge of everything- 100 residents and only two nurse's aides to help.  The emotional eating got really bad at that job and I ballooned up even more.  Since I'm being so honest, I'll show you a picture of how I look now, even though the pic was taken a few years ago in Imperial Beach, CA.

I really did NOT want this picture taken, but my mom was very stern about it. I couldn't take any more of her if she couldn't take any of me.  So I allowed a one time viewing of Shamu-the whale....(that would be me!)  Anyway, I worked at the nursing home for six months, then couldn't stand it anymore and quit that job.  I then tried travel nursing and that's how we got to San Antonio, where we had planned to move to as I had lined up a wonderful job at Northeast Methodist in Rolling Oaks, TX.  But, because of my weight and how I felt, I knew in my heart I couldn't keep that job long. I could barely stand, let alone work a 12 hour shift.  The weight on my bones and joints is excruciating.  I am soooo very angry at myself for gaining so much weight!!!  How could I be such a pig?  I just don't deserve to live!  God, I hope my insurance approves that lap-band procedure!!

I've spoken in previous posts about what happened in San Antonio and my mother's death.  I decided at that point that I was going to lose weight and I just didn't eat. I didn't FEEL like eating. My whole world was turned upside down, inside out.  I lost 100 pounds since her death July 2008.  But I still have about 150 MORE pounds to go and I'm just stuck.  At each doctor's appointment, my weight is either the same or higher.  And I don't cheat or eat half as much as I used to.  It's just not fair!  And now I can't even stand for five minutes without my legs feeling like they were thrown in a vat with steel knives and burning hot oil.  It's horrible!!

It shouldn't have worked out like this.  I should still be working, our bills paid, my mom still alive and with my dad, and Frankie and me living in our own apartment but still close to our family.  We should be planning for vacations and getting flat screen TV's and a computer in every room.  I love STUFF and we should be getting STUFF.  Unfortunately, it just isn't how it should be and for that, I'm very depressed.

Have you ever felt like that?  I can't even talk to my dad about it.  It's funny. When he left for Michigan in May of 2009, he promised he'd call me every day and email, too.  Now, I'm lucky if I get a one-liner email every two months.  Phone calls are practically non-existent.  Guess he's moving on quite nicely in his own apartment and going on chat lines.  Maybe it's for the best.  I can't deal with his drug problems right now in my life.  I feel storm battered and I need to heal and recover from the past.

At least I have my husband's parents to lean on, and my wonderful sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  My grandma lives in Texas with her son and I have her calling me very frequently, which I absolutely LOVE.  I love hearing her voice and distinctive laugh.  It instantly cheers me up.  I miss her so much it hurts.  When we can finally get our stuff back from San Antonio storage, we are definitely meeting up for lunch. She said she would come from College Station just to see me!  That warms my heart.  My husband and I have had a very rough road, but at least we haven't had to travel it alone.  So even though things didn't go quite as I had long ago planned, maybe my life was meant to go a different way and I'm learning as I go down life's bumpy road.

Whew! My fingers are getting very sore so I must stop for tonight. Thanks for listening to me drone on and on.  I love blogging and all my new online friends. You guys and gals are family to me, too, and I cherish each and every one of you!!

God bless!!
Be Well!!
Until next post,
Missy

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lap-Band Seminar

Howdy, fine folks!

Hope everything is A-OK in your world on this "hump" day of the week!  When I was in school, I liked Wednesdays as it meant we were half the way there to Friday. I liked Fridays EVEN MORE, as that meant the weekend and sleeping in.  Ahhh, thinking back to my youth always makes me think hard at how so many things I considered "problems" then are just a little bump on the road of life.  I didn't have the fibro then, or the arthritis. I was healthy - a little on the plump side - I've battled the bulge for many, many years now. I only took an aspirin if I had a headache, which was not very often.  Problems then consisted of a run in your nylon or no chap stick or lipstick on your teeth that you didn't discover until the END of the day!  The problems of now are so much more serious (our crumbling economy, unemployment is up, famine, earthquakes, you get the picture!) and I am no longer the picture of health.  In fact, my medication list is as long as my arm! When I fill out new patient forms and they ask what meds I'm taking I always say "see med list" as I carry a med list with me all the time.  It makes life so much easier!!  I highly recommend that everyone make out a medication list and stick it in your pocket or purse. You won't believe how handy it is to have!

OK, I'll get off my soap box now.  Last night my hubby and I went to Banner Estrella for the lap-band seminar.  My hubby has been enjoying getting out into the open air and has been coming along with me on many of our errands. I think it helps to build up his strength more.  He can hide the drain under his shirt and nobody would even know he has a drain.  Anyway, there were about 10 people who attended and the marketing lady who was doing the seminar. She said that unfortunately, all the bariatric surgeons were busy last night and could make it to the seminar.  Of course! Just my luck!  The marketing lady (due to fibro fog I can't for the life of me remember her name!) did an excellent job of explaining the various surgeries. The Lap-Band, gastric bypass and something called a "gastric sleeve" which is almost like the bypass, but they don't do anything with the intestines like the bypass does.  They cut a portion of the stomach and make it into a pouch that serves as the "new stomach." This pouch is shaped like a banana.  I want the Lap-Band procedure and ONLY that. No surgery to re-route my intestines. There's a lot of risks and complications to that (like dumping syndrome because food is rapidly shunted to the small intestine from the stomach and causes terrible cramps, sweating, fainting, ect.)  The gastric sleeve, even though it leaves the intestines alone and your body has normal digestion, it is non-reversible.

Now for the bad part. Money. The lady collected our forms that we had to fill out for insurance coverage and she was going to have them processed to see what our individual coverage would be, if any.  I should be getting a call within a few days to go and have my initial appointment with a bariatric surgeon, dietician and psychologist and they would go over my insurance and financing.  NOT counting the surgery, there are costs that are out of pocket.  To enroll in their program, it's $500.00.  The psychological exam is $400.00 and the three year diet and exercise program is another $1000.00.  So I'm very, very nervous that I won't be able to do this.  The lady said that for the severely, morbidly obese with a BMI over 40 (mine is 54), the life expectancy to 65 years of age is only 35%.  I'm scared that this is my only option, as I've been dieting for two years now and my weight loss has stopped.  I've even GAINED weight. And my feet are tree trunks.  I just need a miracle!!  I may be seeing my mom sooner than I think in Heaven!

There are financing options available, but with my husband and my bankruptcy and credit history, that option IS history.  Nobody is going to loan us money.  I'm just every scared and nervous and anxious that everything costs so much and I've got nothing!!  I think I'm starting to hyperventilate!  OK, calm down, Missy.  I'll just see what happens.  Please God, do your miracles!

Hope everyone has a good day and I really appreciate all the kind and loving support you have given me.  I value each and everyone of you!!  :0)

God bless ya,
Until next post,
Missy

Monday, August 23, 2010

Charlie

Well, we just got back from Frankie's surgery appointment and unfortunately, the doctor felt it just wasn't time to remove the drain.  Even though we prepped ourselves on the way there to NOT get our hopes up, I could tell that Frankie was terribly disappointed.  And he will have another appointment in two MORE weeks and then the doctor said for sure he will remove the drain.  He promised us!!!  While I hate seeing Frankie disappointed, I am glad that the surgeon is being safe about the whole thing.  If he takes it out too soon, the fluid will accumulate in the abdomen again and Frankie would have a lot of problems.  We don't want that.  So, I told Frankie, maybe if he called his drain a name and personalized it some, it would be a funny joke and having it wouldn't be so bad.   Hey, I'm desperate here!!  So Frankie's drain's name is "Charlie."  Isn't that cute for a drain?  LOL.....I think I've finally gone off the deep end!!!

When I checked my email awhile ago, I got a pleasant surprise! Wellsphere Healthcare Bloggers site emailed me and gave me their "Top Healthcare Blog" badge to put on my blog....along with other little goodies. They told me my blog is an excellent addition to their fibromyalgia community! Check out the health tip for the day and the medical search box. And my new badge is proudly displayed on the right side panel.  :0)

That's all the news so far.  I am still very stiff and sore and my heel is killing me. Whatever the foot doctor thought it was the last time, I can assure him it's NOT....my foot hurts more than it did before!  So tomorrow I'll call the foot doc back and see what the heck is wrong.  It feels like that plantar fascitis.  I don't know if I can get another injection so soon into it, as with steroids you have to be so careful not to get too much.  I'll just see what happens.

God bless you all!
Until next post,
Missy

Down The Drain

Hello, fine friends!
I hope this post finds you all happy and as pain-free as possible.  Unfortunately, for me, I've been battling severe leg/feet pain for so long now, I feel they are a part of me.  I am so tired of waking up and feeling like I'd been rolled over by a steam roller.  I'm so stiff, I have to sit at the side of the bed for a half hour before that first agonizing step.  And I always have to use the bathroom really badly, but I've got a "bladder" of steel and I can hold it until I can painfully limp to the bathroom.  When I was working as a floor nurse, I rarely had time to even breathe or have lunch, let alone use the bathroom, so I probably got my "bladder of steel" from that experience.

I guess I'm still "paying that piper" from when Frankie was in and out of the hospital this summer.  That really took it out of me and my mother-in-law, who has arthritis and fibromyalgia, too.  She has had rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 12! Poor thing! That is when all the fun starts with being a teenager and with running around town looking for boys (that's what I did when I was a teen, anyway!) and going to dances and just being active.  I can't even begin to imagine having juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I've always told her I really admire her for getting so much done in her life (raising three children AND working a full time job!) with the limitations of arthritis.  Her hands/wrists are really bad and she has had surgery on her toes to correct them as they were laying on top of one another and posed a great infection risk.  Her feet look great! I wish something could be done about her hands, though. They are crippled from the arthritis and her wrists are fused. 

Anyway, we stuck it out because we love Frankie and would support him in any way we could.  I would CRAWL to the hospital to see him, he is that important to me.  Luckily, though, I don't have to crawl. We have a great car that takes us wherever we want to go...as long as we have gas in it!! :0) I'm just so happy that he is home and it looks like he is here to stay.  Today is the surgery appointment and the million dollar question is: will he remove the drain or leave it in?  We're not getting our hopes up this time.  That way, we'll be pleasantly surprised if he pulls it OR we'll accept it if he doesn't pull it.  What else can we do?

I took two pictures of my "patient."  The first one shows Frankie with his shirt up, to show off the drain so you can have a visual idea of what the heck I'm talking about when I mention his drain. The tubing goes to the little suction bulb hanging down his left leg.  He's healed up nicely from the surgery, as you can see the long incision down his belly.

The second picture is of Frankie doing what he loves most....the computer.  He still is very weak and somewhat pale, as you might be able to tell from the photo.  But each day gets easier and I think once the drain is out, he will feel a lot better.  It's almost like an anchor weighing him down, reminding him constantly of his recent surgery and staying in the hospital for so long.

Maybe today will be THE day he can throw that blasted drain "down the drain" at his appointment!!  Good riddance is what I say!  Although, that drain is what made it possible for him to be at home instead of in the hospital with a partial bowel obstruction, all hooked up to the IV nutrition and the NG tube down in his stomach.  But I think it's served its purpose, though, and he's had it in for two weeks now. Time to go in my humble opinion.

OK, enough talk about that.  You probably have noticed I've made some changes to my blog. I found some really cute backgrounds from "Cutest Blog On The Block."  The link for it is way at the top left hand corner, where their logo is.  Best thing about these backgrounds is that they are FREE.  My price!  And they have oodles to choose from, and not just backgrounds. They have blinkies and buttons for your blog, too.  So if you have a blog and want to spice it up some, head on over to "Cutest Blog On The Block."  They are so easy to use and their instruction page is easy to follow.  Heck, if I can install 'em, so can you! :0)

The second change I did was add a jukebox to my blog so you can listen to some great tunes while visiting my blog. If you really don't want to have it play, just take your mouse and hit the pause or stop button on the player.  As you can tell, I'm a HUGE fan of Michael W. Smith and the Irish boy band, "Westlife."  They ROCK!!  Makes me feel like a teeny bopper again....well, not quite.....

That'll do for this post. I really hope each and every one of you is OK and getting plenty of rest, eating well, all that jazz that we SHOULD do, but never quite do.  I know, I'm one of them!!  I'm sticking pretty close to my diet, but I never get enough rest.  My back is killing me and I can't lay on either side because then the opposite side starts in with the nerve pain that shoots down my legs.  So I'm stuck on my back. Thank God for the elevation wedge I got for my legs and it also takes pressure off my lower back.  If I didn't have that, I'd go nuts as I wouldn't sleep at ALL.   Ho-hum, the life of one with lumbar disc disease, fibromyalgia and arthritis.  It just keeps getting better and better!

God bless ya!
Until next post,
Missy

PS....Tomorrow we go to the seminar for the Lap-Band.  Yay!  I'm really excited to see what they have to say about it - how it works, how much weight you should lose, ect.  I just want to get on the road and start it already!!!!  I'm tired of waiting.....life is full of "hurry up and wait!"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Unsettled

Hello, all!

I've noticed in all my "blog journeys" that a lot of people are having flare-ups. A lot of people are depressed, in pain, confused and just plain exhausted.  I feel very "unsettled" myself.  My hands are shaky, my legs are riddled with horrible spasms that take my breath away and I'm having whole body jerks at times.  I can't even begin to say what medicine is responsible for the above, if any. I take so much stuff to get through the day, it's ridiculous. I made a list and counted out my medications and I take 23 medications a day!!!  I kid you not.  Every time I go to the doctor, seems like we are adding one more and not taking any away.  It is my hope that if I get the Lap-band procedure and can lose weight, I can get rid of the hypertension and diabetes medications.  Maybe even go down on the prednisone.  Wouldn't that be nice?  Maybe I would even get my face back, instead of looking like the surface of the moon!

My feet are still huge, absolutely NO improvement has been made. I haven't had "normal" looking feet since February, after I got the back injections.  That "Baxter's nerve" thingy in my heel is still killing me, so I'm limping around the house as I can't put full weight on either leg without severe pain.  I just finished putting away a few dishes and I'm so sweaty, you'd think I just came back from a 5 mile jog!  I just feel absolutely helpless and useless!!  Trapped inside myself.  Have you ever felt that way?

My husband has been very quiet since coming home from the hospital. I've asked him a million times if something is wrong, is he upset about something, or in pain and the answer is always no.  But he has changed since coming home.  I think it's just post-op depression and dragging around that JP drain doesn't help.  It's almost like you can't forget about the surgery and move on while you still have a drain pulling you down!!  Tomorrow he has the surgeon's appointment and maybe he can be rid of the drain.  It still is draining a little bit of fluid, but the color hasn't changed nor does it have that horrible smell before he went into the hospital for the pseudomonas infection.  I hope this mood of his lifts soon.  Between that and my feeling "unsettled", I'm a nervous wreak!! I hope this feeling I have is just a reaction to everything that has ALREADY happened, NOT what is yet to come.  I can't take much more.....I'm tapped out!!  Filled to the top!

Well, it's almost time for my luxurious afternoon siesta.  I'll put my feet up, get comfy cozy and "read" my book....with my eyes closed! That's what has been happening lately. I go to read and the next thing I know, the book is on the floor and two hours have passed.  And I still feel just as tired after as I did before my nap!  Gosh, I love this damn fibromyalgia.  It just makes you feel so good!!!  ARGH!!!!!!!!

I'm sorry about this post.  As you can tell, I'm in "fibro fog" and can't be held responsible for my actions..LOL!  Things will be OK, I keep telling myself. They just have to be.

Hope you all are doing OK.
Until next post,
Missy

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Paying The Piper"

Howdy, everyone!

My father would always say, "time to pay the piper" and I never could quite grasp that concept until I got older and contracted fibromyalgia.  Now I feel like I'm "paying the piper" ALL the time for EVERYTHING I do!  The events of this summer are all starting to hit me now. I was on "auto pilot" for a great part of the summer, during Frankie's surgery and subsequent hospitalizations. Now it feels like my "auto pilot" has bailed out on me and all that's left is severe exhaustion.  I've even too tired to feel tired.  Every bone and muscle aches all the way down into my inner core.  No matter what I do or what I take, it doesn't matter.

Yesterday I went to the foot doctor because I was having severe heel and arch pain in my left foot.  I had plantar fascitis a few years back and thought that is what this is now.  The doctor doesn't think so, he thinks it's an inflammation of "Baxter's nerve."  What I wanna know is WHO is Baxter and why is HIS nerve in MY body?  LOL....  Anyway, all kidding aside, he gave me a shot in my heel area (ouch!) and I see him again in two weeks for another shot.  Since I'm diabetic, he also is going to trim away at my ingrown big toe nail and that will help with balance.  He said I do a good job at clipping my nails.  This surprised me very much as I can barely SEE my nails, let alone clip 'em correctly!

Frankie is doing well, just very tired and weak. Holed up in the hospital day after day will do that to you. He's glad to be at home, in his own bed with his lovely wife at his side. (That would be me!)  His drain is still draining, but not as much and it has no smell now, which is absolutely heavenly. Before, it smelled like something from Hell that had creeped up.  Pseudomonas infections do have a weird smell - sometimes it's a fruity type smell and other times it smells like spoiled soil.  He will be seeing the surgeon on Monday and dare we hope the drain will be removed?  I hope so!  But I have been very diligent in taking care of it - the dressing, flushing and emptying. I've sanitized everything - including Frankie! LOL....

Today we went to see Frankie's pain specialist. The Oxy IR that he was on for breakthrough pain just wasn't enough and he was taking the maximum dosage. He has pain in his abdomen where the drain enters the skin and on the right side of his abdomen.  His legs aren't too bad anymore because he hasn't had the Gleevec since the middle part of June. That was placed on hold because of the surgery and now because of the infection in his drain.  Anyway, in the hospital they had him on Percocet, and it actually was working, so they sent him home on enough until we could get to the pain specialist.  Frankie's specialist is so incredibly nice and caring - he said that "if it works, we'll continue that"   He didn't want to increase the Fentanyl patch because he believes this abdomen pain is temporary and as soon as the drain is out, he will feel better.

 I feel just absolutely wrung out. Even breathing is an effort I'm too tired to take.  And this heat just drags on and on.  I can't wait for winter to come and here in AZ, winters are great!!  All sunshine and beautiful weather to get out and walk and do things that you enjoy doing.

Well, that's all the news here.  I hope you all have a blessed weekend and spend some much needed time with family and friends.  Eat well, get plenty of rest and....yeah, right!  This coming from me? The girl who loves fast foods and doughnuts? LOL....  Now, that was the OLD me. The NEW me is going to go through this lap band procedure and eat right and exercise as much as I can handle.  I can't wait to start my new adventure!!

Love ya all!
Until next post,
Missy

                                                                                  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

He's Baaaaack!

Howdy, fine friends!

A real familiar feeling is starting to come over me. One where I get into the car and go get my husband from the hospital, only to turn around and take him back in after one week.  Hopefully this was the LAST time we have to to do this.  Frankie's WHOLE summer was basically spent in the hospital!  So now he still has the same drain in, but I insisted on more than two flushes to flush it. I mean, really. They want me to flush it every four hours....with what, air?!!  I already spoke with Tim, the home health nurse, and he was receiving orders about the flushes, too.  Maybe with the order being that specific, we'll get the supplies he needs.  The day shift nurse that did the discharge was such a sweetie that she gave me 10 flushes and a stack of alcohol pads.  So when he came home, we ate and then I fiddled with the drain. I irrigated it and it went in nice and smooth. Nothing much came out, but I know it's patent or it wouldn't have flushed as easily as it did. I'm just going to keep a hawk's eye out on it!!!  I guess it's that inner nurse inside me again, bursting to come out!!!

Now that all has been said and done with Frankie and he is finally on the mend, it's my turn for treatment.  I can't begin to tell you which foot hurts worse-my right or my left.  My right has been hurting for quite some time with muscle spasms in the calf.  I upped the magnesium and it seemed to help for awhile, but I don't know if all the driving I've been doing has irritated it even more.  Could very well be.  And now I've got a NEW problem with my left foot where it is killing me! I can't even stand to bear weight on it hardly.  I must look a drastic sight waddling with my walker down the sidewalk outside the hospital!!  A few years back, I had plantar fascitis in my right foot and I received a cortisone injection there and it actually took all the pain away within a day or two and I could go back to work.  So tomorrow, I have an appointment with a foot doctor about my ingrown toenail on my right foot (which is why the appointment was made in the first place) and I will be mentioning the new, much worse pain in my left foot.  I tell ya, my body is falling apart on me and I can't seem to keep it together!!  Maybe some superglue will do.........LOL!

And then, to top things off, we were getting out of the car to get my hubby's prescriptions filled and he noticed that our wheel hubcap was off on the passenger side.  I know it was there at the hospital, so we think someone ripped it off!  Isn't that just too much?  We are on stress over load that it's gonna take a YEAR to get over this past summer!!!   But, at least Frankie is back home and hopefully to stay this time.  Must be his labs were OK and no more anemia, or we would have heard about it, I'm sure.  I was so fixated on making sure I get supplies for the drain that I forgot to ask about his lab numbers.

Well, that is it for now, folks.  I am so tired I can barely keep my peepers open.  Frankie is already in bed, TV on, fast asleep.  God bless him, I hope his ordeal is over with finally.

And God bless you all, my friends and family. Thank you for your love and support.  I couldn't have done it without ya!!!

Until next post,
Hugs,
Missy                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Down Day

Good morning (or evening-depending on where you are) my dear friends!

It's kind of funny in the way that I had started this post a few days ago and had it interrupted by my husband's medical crisis and readmission to the hospital.  I put it on hold and can just now finally come back to it and finish it.

I have had such a wide array of emotions lately. The biggest of them being depression.  I'm on two anti-depressants for the fibro and yet I still am depressed! Go figure.  When I look back on my life, in my eyes, I just don't see much that I've accomplished.  I'm not world famous for some invention, I'm not Mother Theresa (not even close!) nor have I written that New York Times Bestseller novel I always promised myself I'd do.  I love writing and it is my main mode of communication.  Growing up with a speech impediment, you find anyway to express yourself - without speaking - and my mode was written word.  Now, I HAVE written a lot of poems, but that's about it. And now just recently, I've started this blog.  Hard to believe I've been blogging for almost three months now.  So much has happened in those three months, it's hard to believe!

My husband and I have had such a hard time of it these past few years.  We've never lived alone - just him and I.  We lived with my parents for ten years because they couldn't afford rent AND to eat, and we couldn't afford our rent, their food bill AND our own bills, so we decided to consolidate households and we lived together until my mom died in 2008.  Now my dad is living in a senior apartment complex in Michigan and my hubby and I are living with HIS parents now, because I can't work due to my low back issues and the fibro and my husband can't work because of his cancer and the medication to treat it causes severe bone and joint pain. He is on disability - they approved him the first time.  Me-I've applied, been rejected, filed an appeal, been rejected again, and am now waiting for a hearing.  I don't know if my lawyer is real or not, I've never seen her face-to-face.  She only does business over the phone.  What's up with that? Do I know how to pick 'em or what?  I haven't heard from her in months and with all the drama going on with first my dad and then my hubby, I've let things slip a little.  If only the folks at Social Security could see me and how I function....or DON'T function....it would be a different story.  I don't know what hurts worse on me - my left foot or right calf - and I have this pain on a daily basis, regardless of all the medications I take.  It just seems like pain, lack of good sleep and keeping my husband OUT of the hospital are all my life is made up to do.  Anyone ever feel like that sometimes?

OK, I'll knock it off now.  We have a roof over our head, and a very nice one, too. I even have something I've wanted my whole life....an awesome sister-in-law and brother-in-law!!  I thank Frankie for sharing them with me. :0)  Even if I were to be approved for disability, it would make my life HARDER (yes, you read right) as then I'd lose my state health benefits because we would be over the limit on earnings.  So my disability check would go for doctor's appointments, labs and medications.  I just feel so bad for being a "leech" on my in-laws for two years now.  I wish I could contribute in some way. I can't even do housework with how bad my back is and now my feet with the plantar fascitis.  Every time I stand, it takes my breath away!  I know my in-laws are itchin' to get into their Winnebago and hit the high road, but with my hubby in and out of the hospital so often now, they are afraid to go and leave us for any period of time.  It just is so unfair! When will we get a break? ARGH!!!!!!!

OK, sorry. I really will knock it off now!  On Thursday I go to the foot doctor to see what can be done about my in-grown toenail on my right foot and the severe pain in my left foot.  So we'll take care of that.  My hubby is doing better, no more fever, but he is on potent IV antibiotics.  Last night they took him down to radiology to look at the drain and possibly replace it, but it didn't need replacement.  They injected it with a clot buster medication and it's working fine.  I flushed it once a day when he was home....that's all I could do with the limited amount of flushes I had.  Even Tim was having a hard time getting them at the home health agency!  He said they only gave out flushes to patients with PICC lines or other IV ports. NOT drains.  What kind of crazy, stupid arrangements is THAT?  If insurance companies would just listen to how stupid their rules are, I'll bet they would change some of them!

Now I'm worried that my state insurance plan won't cover the LapBand procedure I want to undergo.  I go to that seminar Aug. 24th and then make an appt. with the bariatric surgeon.  I read on the LapBand website that some insurances won't cover it and they have these financial plans you can apply for.  But with our credit history, nobody is crazy enough to approve our application!  And I just feel like this is my final hope. I've quit losing weight, in fact now I'm gaining again!  The last few doc appointments I've had shown an upward rise on the weight scales!  And I'm not doing anything differently or cheating by eating a whole Sara Lee cake!  I think it's water retention, as my feet are still very swollen.  If I could have this LapBand surgery, I believe it would help in so many ways.  With the water retention, my back (maybe I could even work again!) and it would take a lot of weight off of my legs and feet.  I'm almost afraid to get my hopes up when I see the surgeon because I'm fearful they will just come crashing back down around my swollen ankles!  But nothing ventured, nothing gained as the saying goes.  Just pray that my insurance covers this operation!!

I guess I'll close this post and get on with the day and see where it takes me.  I'll see my hubby around noon, as I noticed that the chances of getting a good parking space is right around then.  I've had ample opportunity to study the parking lot, that's for sure!  I have it memorized by now.  My husband just HAS to get better and stay out of that place for longer than a week!!

Thank you for reading this and listening to me blather on about my problems. Hope I didn't bore you too much.  I really appreciate all my followers and all my friends.  If not for you and my family & the Good Lord above, I would have given up long ago.

Have a good day and remember to have some fun, too.  Life isn't all worries and work....THANK GOD!!!  I keep telling myself this over & over....

Love ya all,
Until next post,
Missy

Monday, August 16, 2010

When Will This Misery End?

Howdy, folks!

I bet with a post title like that you are guessing that something major is up. And you would be very correct!  I hate to say this, but FRANKIE IS BACK IN THE HOSPITAL AGAIN!!  

Let me start the story out by saying that we think he has an infection in the JP drain in his abdomen.  A few days ago, he standing up by me and I noticed that his drain looked funny to me.  It hanging almost upside down.  I started to feel the tubing when I realized that the drain had come apart and the tubing connector was loose enough to not be able to hold the other end of the tubing in place.  So, he was walking around for God knows how long with the drain open like that!  Any germ could crawl around in there!!  I swabbed it with alcohol really good and reconnected it.  But I still worried about it and unfortunately, I think my worries have come true about the infection part.

Anyway, a few days ago he started sweating profusely in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday night.  That is so UNLIKE him to sweat. I'm the one who sweats like a pig and looks like I just came from a water fight!  So, my mother-in-law and I made him drink, drink, drink....and Powerade, no less, which he doesn't like but drank it anyway.  With two women standing over him, he had no choice in the matter!!  He couldn't go back to bed until he drank the proper amount of fluids.

And then yesterday, he replaced the sweating profusely with the shaking chills.  He shook the whole bed, like one of those beds in some motels where you put the quarter in and it will "massage" you.  I kept checking his temp and it would read 97.3 one time and then 96.3 the other time.  His blood pressure was OK, but his heart rate was 150.  I looked at him closely and he was still very pale with deep, dark circles until his eyes.  His eyes looked sunken in his head.  My poor baby. I just feel so damn helpless!!  WHEN WILL THIS MISERY END???????????

I called my mother-in-law first, who was over at a friend's house having pizza.  She suggested to call the visiting nurse first, which was my thinking too.  Tim, the visiting nurse, can get to the doctors better than a "lay person" that goes through the answering service and gets absolutely no where.  Been there, done that, don't want to do it again!  So I called Tim and told him the situation.  I told him that for a day now I have noticed a foul odor from the drainage when I'd empty the drain.  It had a "mildewy" smell to it and was very strong.  I thought it looked cloudy, too, but mixed with blood, it's hard to tell.  The drainage didn't look like it did before when he first came home from the hospital.  He also was having some brown crusty drainage from the exit site on the drain on his abdomen.  And he only had out 10cc's the past two days.  I don't know if that's a good thing (meaning the hematoma has resolved itself) or a bad thing (meaning it's clogged and needs to be replaced again).  It flushed beautifully and fluid would return right back out like it was supposed to.  Tim thought I should take him to the Urgent Care because of the drainage issue and probably a high temp would be coming on very soon.  I agreed and took Frankie to the Urgent Care.

The doctor at the Urgent Care was very nice and said, "he's had a big surgery and a complicated case. He should go back to the facility where all this happened and have them work it up."  He asked Frankie if he was OK to go by private vehicle and Frankie was.  The doctor said he would call ahead to the hospital and let them know we are coming.  So back into the car we went to the friendly neighborhood ER.  I was hoping to stay away from the ER, but no doing.  At the ER, his temp had climbed to 101.6.  They gave him some Tylenol, did two EKG's (because his heart rate persisted in the 150's range - probably because of the temperature.)  They cultured his blood and the fluid in the drain. They gave him 2 liters of IV fluids to rehydrate him. And he had yet ANOTHER CT scan of his abdomen to look for "pockets of pus" that would indicate abdominal infection.

By the time he a room on the 5th floor, it was nearing midnight and I was exhausted.  My right leg was cramping every five minutes and I think I have plantar fascitis forming in my left foot.  I had it a few years back in my other foot and they gave me a cortisone shot with lidocaine and it worked like a charm.  It even went away and I haven't had a problem with it since.  I'm not looking forward to needles in my heel, but you "gotta do what you gotta do" is my new motto!!!  And when I think about my hubby going through all he's gone through this summer, that problem just pales in comparison!  But yet he is always thinking and worrying about me.  He asks a million times how I am holding up with all this.  Anyway, as I was leaving the emergency room, I went the wrong way and had to re-route myself the right way.  By that time, my feet were just absolutely screaming!  I had tears in my eyes it hurt so bad.  Finally I got to the car and plopped down in the driver's seat - after I wrangled my walker into the trunk.

I still just feel positively exhausted, and I did manage to sleep a little last night.  I hope he won't be in the hospital for too long. You should have seen his face when the ER doc said he should stay, just to be on the safe side.  But what can you do?  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. LOL! A little humor among all the bleakness!!!

I should get ready to go to the hospital. Hope you all are well. I will keep you posted on the situation just I know it.  Thank you for all your kind thoughts & prayers.  We really appreciate it.

Until next post,
Missy

Saturday, August 14, 2010

No News Is....No News

Howdy, friends!

Well, it's been almost one week since Frankie has been home from the hospital.  It's soooo good to have him home! And he is finally beginning to heal and catch up on much needed sleep.  You just can't sleep in hospitals...I've worked in and been a patient in a hospital and with all the blood pressure readings and lab coming in at 3am to get blood...how can ANYONE rest with all the activity? 

Frankie had his CT scan on Thursday; he could finally take the contrast and keep it down.  No nausea or vomiting with it, either.  It was fruit punch in color, but he said it tasted like crap and was glad to get the three cups down.  I told him, (because he hates fruit) he would drink contrast that was "fruit flavored" but he wouldn't want to try the real thing with a real glass of fruit juice.  It's good!!!  I just don't get how someone can pass over a whole food group like he does with fruits!   Anyway, we haven't heard a thing from either the surgeon or the oncologist about the CT results.  So I figure everything is OK or someone would be on the horn with us!!

Frankie's home visits with the nurse are coming a long very well. I really like Tim. He is so funny and puts you right at ease.  He never seems rushed and we can ask questions and he always gives us a complete answer. He doesn't even answer his cell phone when he is with a client. He has voice mail that he uses when he is between visits, then he can call back whomever called while he was with us.  He gave me a whole bunch of dressing supplies in case the gauze dressing comes off from showering or whatever- I can just change it and not have to bother him and have to come back for a simple dressing change.  The fluid is getting less and less and it irrigates well. No clots in the tubing, thank goodness!  I suspect that Frankie will be losing the drain this coming week.  That would be so nice, as Frankie has had a period of depression with everything that went on.  The poor guy went through quite an ordeal - who wouldn't be a little depressed?  I figured that driving again would cheer him up and it did.  So I turned the driving back over to my hubby, the cab driver! LOL!  And not a moment too soon!

I think the driving is what really has my leg in an uproar.  It hurts so bad and all the time, it's driving me nuts.  I've increased my magnesium, hoping that would help. And I'm using my myoflex cream and polar frost gel like it's going out of style.  They all help a little, but not too much.  Last night I could finally use my TENS unit again, the rash on my back has totally cleared up.  This time, I tried a new experiment and just put the electrodes on as is-with NO conductive gel.  And so far, so good. NO rashes or itchy skin....yet.  Wouldn't be nice if that's all that rash was, just an irritation from the conductive gel? And I have to say, the unit works even better without the gel!

I am in such flare-up from everything that has happened. No surprise there.  The daily drill of going to the hospital, finding a parking space within a 5 mile radius, getting the walker out and plodding up to the room for 30 days plus can really wear a person out!!  But I love my hubby dearly and he is worth every visit I paid him and more.  I would do it all again if need be, but hopefully NOT anytime too soon!!  Frankie definitely would like that too!!

Nothing much else to report. It's been so hot here, they have an "excessive heat warning" on until Monday.  Temps up to 115 expected.  Luckily, we don't have much planned for the coming week, except for my podiatrist appt on Thursday for an ingrown toenail.  I'm also diabetic and it's time for my yearly foot check, too.  Oh, joy, oh bliss!  The more one can stay inside during this weather, the better.  You could fry an egg on the roof of your car!  I keep reminding myself, "I live here because the winters are beautiful. No snow, no ice."  And it works...especially if I'm in front of a nice big fan with air conditioning pouring down on me!

It's been awhile since I've put a poem in my post, so I will do that this time. I hope you enjoy it.  All poems are the creations of my imagination and completely original.  :0)

I See A Jesus                       

When I look
At the picture on my wall
I see a Jesus in a way
I've always imagined.
I see a Jesus with a carefree smile
And eyes that say "I love you".
I see a Jesus
With a ready-to-go look
A look that doesn't suggest tiredness,
A look that doesn't suggest hate.
I love that old picture
On the wall and
I look to it when feeling low
And I just need a friend.
I look to it when I want to feel love.
Or when I feel the need to forgive.
I look to that picture on my wall
And know that the same picture
Is engraved in my soul.
And it's the same Jesus
I've always imagined.

The picture this poem is referring to is a picture of Jesus my mom got at the county fair when I was still in high school.  She loved that picture (we all did) and hung it up in every apartment we moved to.  That picture, unfortunately, is in San Antonio, home of the rest of our stuff that we need to save money for to bring back to Arizona.  Hopefully by the winter we can do that, when the rental trucks aren't too expensive.  I'd rather move that stuff when it's cooler out anyway.

Hope everyone has a good weekend and coming week. 
Love ya all!
Until next post,
Missy

Oh, I added a photo slideshow below.  A lot of the pictures are of my mom & dad. I miss them so!  Even with all we've been through, I still love them with all my heart and I miss the good times we had.  So these pictures show the good times.  :0)




Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Here We Go Again

Howdy, my friends!

Hope you all have been happy and well this past week.  My husband and I have been trying very hard to get a sense of "normalcy" back into our lives. We haven't had much luck.  We thought we had the nausea/vomiting problem licked, but it returned with a vengeance  this morning.  He was supposed to get a CT scan of his abdomen this morning, but he kept vomiting that I saw NO WAY he could keep the oral contrast down.  So we called and rescheduled it for tomorrow at 9am.  Check in at 8am.  I hope and pray that tomorrow will be a better day.  There's always hope!

As soon as he has the CT scan, the surgeon will call us and let us know what it said and what the "game plan" is from here.  Will he keep the abdominal drain for two weeks or will he get rid of it in one week....that is the million dollar question.  I don't want to remove it too soon, especially since it still is getting a little drainage out of it.  Only about 20cc/day, but if that drain were gone, it would build up inside him and block the intestines again.  We definitely don't want that!!!

Frankie went to the oncologist on Monday and he said that as soon as the CT scan is done, he will look it up and see where we should proceed with the Gleevec.  He already has told us that he will start Frankie out at 400mg/day for awhile then increase it to his usual dosage of 400mg twice a day.  We just don't want to take a chance that the tumor will return if he is off the Gleevec.  He also had labs drawn to see if he is anemic still. The doc said that if he was, he could get an outpatient transfusion.

That pretty much is all that's going on so far.  I still am just absolutely worn down from this past month of going back and forth to the hospital in this drastic heat.  Yesterday I slept from 5pm to 7am the following day! I couldn't believe it!!  My husband was right beside me, doing the same thing! We both are just so worn down....come on, B vitamins, kick in soon and give us some energy!!!!  LOL!!

As you can see, I did a little redecorating of the blog.  I hope you like it and it's easier to read.  I signed up for Google AdSense (which is where you can earn money by the ads on your blog) and was rejected.  First thing, they were looking at a totally different blog that wasn't even mine.  Then, they said that it was too hard to read and I had broken links.  So untrue!  I always check my links and they lead right where they should.  If you should find a broken link that I missed, please let me know.  But I was pretty bummed out.  I work hard on this blog and when they rejected me, it was like an arrow to the heart.  I can resubmit it, but I don't have the link to do that so I wrote Google for the link.  Wish me luck!!

Thank you all for being such a good friend to me. I cherish each and every one of you!!!

God bless you!
Until next post,
Missy

Sunday, August 8, 2010

So Far, So Good!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Hope it's been a good one for you.  As the post title says, so far, so good with my hubby!  We've found a solution that has worked the past few mornings for his nausea in the mornings. You'll never believe this, but it's chicken broth with saltine crackers!  And he has his cereal and milk for lunch.  Isn't that a scream?  He did vomit a little last night, but nothing like he used to. So that means that his stomach is NOT retaining its contents and the intestines are finally doing their job.  Thank the Heavens above!!  All those LONG days in the hospital are finally paying off.  That and the Jackson-Pratt drain he has connected has made a big improvement, since the hematoma inside the intestine has a someplace to drain instead of inside his stomach and creating another bowel obstruction, because the fluid can't go past the hematoma.  I sure do hope that sucker is getting smaller by now.  We'll know more when he has the CT scan on Wednesday.

Frankie has been so incredibly tired and sleepy lately. He hasn't even fought me for the computer or to drive the car!  He says he will drive again when his drain is out.  He hates going out in public with that thing hanging down and I don't blame him. I wouldn't want to go out with a bulb containing bodily fluid dangling down either!!!  I think he is so tired because he didn't sleep very well in the hospital and now is "pay-back time" AND because he is anemic.  I brought that up with his primary care doctor and he said he would leave that issue up to his oncologist, which we see on Monday.  Doctors! They are so darned specialized now they have you going here and there for different things.  So I will bring it up with the oncologist, then, on Monday.  We've started him (and me) out on Super Complex vitamin B and sublingual vitamin B supplements to build immunity and energy.  It's too soon to tell, but I think I'm starting to feel a tiny bit energetic.  Not too much, yet, though.....I don't feel like climbing up to the roof of the house or anything..geez, doesn't that make a hysterical image in your mind???  Hehehe!

I've been hanging in there.  Now that things are starting to level out for Frankie, it's all starting to hit me now.  All the long days in the hospital with him, doing errands, lugging my walker in and out of the trunk and all the long nights without Frankie and all the worry.....it's all catching up with me and putting me into quite a flare.  My back has been just horrible.  And to make matters worse, I can't use my TENS too much on it because my sweat mixes with the conductive gel I use and has created an itchy rash on my whole backside!  I've been just clawing at my self and I can't help it, it itches so bad!  So I've been using this expensive cream my dear sister gave me and that helps the itch and brings it down to a dull roar.  So how I'm working the TENS is by placing the electrodes high up on my back where there is NO rash and it's been working OK.

My legs have been pretty bad, too.  They feel like Jell-o when I stand and are weak and painful with cramps.  I've upped my Magnesium supplement with some relief.  I also use my "Myoflex" cream on it and that really helps.  But with all the driving I've been doing, it's no wonder my right leg (the one I work the accelerator with) is more sore than the left.  Stop lights are the killers for me, especially those that seem to be painted red.  My leg will cramp up if the light is too long, so I have to rub out the cramp with my hand until the light turns green.  I tell ya, it sucks to be me sometimes!!!

I don't know if I mentioned this previously-and if I have-please forgive me! We'll blame it on "fibro fog."  I signed up for the August 24th seminar for the lap-band procedure.  My hubby is far along in his recovery that we can move ahead and I am sooooo ready!  I'm so tired of laying on my back all the time.  I'm hoping that just the fact of losing a lot of weight will help my back so much it won't need surgery!  Wouldn't that be nice?  I really don't want surgery on my back, but I'll do it if I must just to get back to work and my life again.  After the seminar, I'll make an appointment with the bariatric surgeon and go from there.  Please pray my insurance will cover this.  I hope, I hope, I hope!!!!

Well, that's the news from our neck of the woods. Hope your neck of the woods is doing OK, too.  Thank you for everything...for your thoughts, prayers, well wishes, comments.....your friendship and reading my blog!!  I appreciate it ALL!!

God bless ya,
Until next post,
Missy

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Surgeon's Appointment

Howdy, everyone!

This is just a quick post to let you know how things went at the appointment with Frankie's surgeon today.  He examined Frankie's abdomen and is aware of all the problems Frankie is having with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  His suggestions were to get some Gatorade or anything with electrolytes in it and drink it on down!  And he was keeping the drain in, much to Frankie's disappointment.  The doc said maybe for another two weeks.  He wants Frankie to have a CT scan next week and he'll go from there.  He reported to us that Frankie's bowels were just "a huge mess" of scar tissue & adhesions. That is why he is having so many complications.  And the drain is actually the reason why Frankie is OUT of the hospital.  It helps to keep the bowel open by draining that hematoma that is inside there.

The visiting nurse, Tim, will come by tomorrow and hopefully set me up with some supplies for the drain.  Flushes, dressings, that sort of thing. I feel in my element and my nursing skills are coming back and becoming sharper.  I miss my job so badly I could scream!!  When my husband was in the hospital, I'd see the nurses work and it took me back to when I could do that.  Maybe I still can one day.

I signed up for the lap band seminar on August 24th.  After that, I'll make an appointment with a bariatric surgeon and proceed ahead.  Please pray that my insurance will pay for it as that is the only way I can do it.  It definitely is of medical necessity.  I read some of their success stories and this one lady lost 150 pounds over nine months. That would be FANTASTIC if I could do that!!  I could return to work, hopefully.  So wish me luck!!

Alrighty, that is all my news. Hope things are going well in your neck of the woods.  :0)

God bless you all!
Missy

Like Clockwork

Howdy-ho, everyone!

My poor husband!  Every morning, like clockwork, he wakes up nauseated and vomits.  Sometimes a lot, other times not so much. But it happens only in the morning and like clockwork. I've joked with him and told him maybe he is pregnant.  LOL!  I can't figure it out, though. It's not like he has a seven course meal before bed!  Tonight I'll try giving him one of his nausea pills and a Prilosec and see what that does for the morning time vomit episodes.  Other than the above, he is doing really well.  He eats and drinks regular food now, no more pureed stuff of the hospital.  He's been playing on the computer and watching TV. Last night he even smashed soda cans for the recycle...but, I told him to NOT do the whole bag quite yet or he might get sick. It's really hot out in the garage and that's where the "smasher" is, so I told him to take it easy. And he actually listened to me! Wow! :0)

Yesterday the home health nurse, Tim, came to do the initial visit. He's a really nice guy, very funny.  He was ordered to come over for wound care (the abdominal drain and dressings), but today we see the surgeon and he probably will remove the drain.  I hated to see Tim go through the mountains of paperwork (whoever works in Medicare must get paid by the word...those documents Tim filled out were endless!!) if he was going to get rid of the drain today, but orders are orders.  Tim said that if the drain was removed, great. He would stop by on Friday to make sure we were OK and then he would come some time next week.  That sounded like a good plan.  Tim said that everything looked great. The abdominal drain is only draining about 20cc's of bloody fluid a day and the dressing is still intact. No signs of infection.  Tim couldn't believe Frankie had been through so much....and he really is a pretty healthy guy. Not like me, who has a whole compilation of medical problems!  Before the surgery, he only had the GIST and seasonal allergies.  That's it.  You need a whole notebook to record my issues!!!

On Monday we go to the oncologist to discuss what we do next. Go back on the Gleevec? Full dose or half dose? Or NO dose?  I feel really uncomfortable with him going off it completely. It's kind of like a security blanket that the tumor they couldn't get seven years ago will stay dead if he continues the Gleevec.  But it WOULD be nice if he didn't have to take it, his legs wouldn't hurt so badly and he wouldn't need the narcotics, probably. He hasn't taken it since before the surgery and his legs are great. No more pain there - it's all in the abdomen from the surgery.  And even that is lessening now.  BUT, when we lived in Tucson and saw a GIST specialist from the U of A, he said that when he took a patient off Gleevec, the tumor not only returned, but returned with a vengeance! So we definitely don't need that!  So it will be interesting on Monday to see what the oncologist has to say about this.

Well, I should start getting ready to take my hubby to the surgeon. I'm doing OK, not the greatest, but OK.  My right knee is giving me problems now and the fibro is in its element inside my body, with all the drama of my life!  It literally feeds off of stress and little sleep.  Even though NOW is OK, I'm paying for the past month of no sleep and worry over my husband.  Hopefully, I'm at the end of the flare-up.  God, I really hope!!!
I'm glad the appointment is early, so we get get out and get back before the bad heat starts rolling in.  We've had "excessive" heat warnings all week and daily temps of 105-110's.  The sun is like a hot little orb in the sky, beaming down on all of us, sharing its warmth and misery!! LOL!

Hope you all have a great day and weekend.  Another week has rolled around....where does the time go?

God bless you all!!
Until next post,
Missy

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Code BROWN

Aye-yi-ya!!!!!!!  That about sums it up!  The man who always is constipated up to his eyeballs and requires enough stool softeners to choke a horse (seriously, before the surgery, he used to take eight (8) stool softeners a day and he STILL would require something more like Miralax to get things going!) has opened up the "colonic" flood gates and we had quite the mess this morning. I don't need to get graphic, nor do I want to re-live the experience again.  You get the picture.  I think one of the antibiotics Frankie received in the hospital has given him diarrhea.  He's gone twice yesterday and once so far this morning.  This morning was the worst.  The poor guy had to completely strip and hop into the shower, abdominal drain and all, to clean up.  My mother-in-law is so nice, she helped me clean up the mess in the bathroom. She mopped the floor and is now in the process of washing clothes.  We leave pretty soon to go to the doctor and I'm a tad worried about what to do if he has to "go" in the car.  I'm taking plenty of towels and padding him down!  Unless anyone else has an idea in the next hour or so!!  I've already given him 2 anti-diarrheal pills.  I hope I don't, in the long run, end up constipating him again.  I'll drive down that road later, though.

We finally got the blood pressure problem licked, I think. I've been taking it every four hours and he's had a good reading ever since he came home from the hospital.  And NO temperature.  Poor guy, he probably feels like he's back in the hospital with me hovering like a helicopter over him!  I can't help being a mother hen, though.  And a nurse mother hen at that!!!

Other than what I've described above, we've have a good first night home.  I was nervous all night and didn't sleep a lot, and I kept making sure Frankie was still breathing (that nurse in me, again!) so today I'm paying the price for not sleeping.  I can't wear my TENS yet until I get new electrodes, so after we leave the doctor appointment, we'll stop off and get some at Active Forever.  This morning I was sooooo stiff, I had to sit at the side of the bed for 45 minutes to "loosen" up enough to go to the bathroom, and then Frankie had his diarrhea episode then so I couldn't use our bathroom anyway!  I had to use my in-laws.  Thank goodness for two bathrooms!  My right leg is getting worse with the numbness, pins and needles and pain.  I don't think my medication regime is working anymore, so we'll have to "tweak" it when I see my doctor again.  I don't know what more we can do, but there has to be something!!

As soon as I get "humpty dumpty" Frankie put back together again and STAYS  put back together, then I'm going to go to the lap-band seminar required by the bariatric doctor.  I can't even see him until I attend the seminar first.  So I'd love to get that going, but I want to make sure Frankie is OK first as I can't go through two big things at once right now.  I'm so run down from him being in the hospital for so long and this whole ordeal.  Frankie and I have started on B vitamins to help with energy.  I wish I could strap a motor on my back or something to help me get going...wouldn't that be nice?  I just want to get the lap band procedure done and over with and start losing weight.  I'll bet I'll feel tons (excuse the pun!) better and maybe won't even need surgery.  I hope so!  And I can get back to work again and my husband and I can rent an apartment and be out on our own again.  That's my game plan, anyway.  I hope it works out like that.  So far I haven't had a good track record with things working out with plan A.  It's always plan B or C I have to rely on!  Then again, sometimes plan B or C is the better plan anyway. :0)

Alrighty, gotta run (again, excuse the pun....me, run?! That's NOT a pretty sight!) and get ready to take Frankie to his appointment.  Hope you all are happy and as pain free as you can get.

Thank you so much for all your love and support, everyone.  I've gained a lot through my blog sessions; I hope you have as well.

God bless!
Missy

Monday, August 2, 2010

Home On The Range...Again

Howdy, everyone!

Ever have one of those days that just stretch into infinity? It goes on and on and on and on and it's like a merry-go-round that you can't ever get off of.  Or you are on a bus or subway and say, "this is my stop" and the driver ignores you and zips right past where you want to get off?  That's how I feel today...and the day has barely begun.

I woke up to Jack meowing his head off (which he has a really sharp meow when he wants something and it goes straight through my head!) and my right leg just absolutely killing me.  I went to walk on it and almost fell. It alternates from pain to numbness within seconds and I really don't know what is worse! With the numbness, then comes that "pins and needles" sensation.  I'm using my last two electrodes for my TENS machine (I lost a perfectly good pair as they fell in the toilet yesterday at the hospital!), and they are the really small ones that don't work too well.  I can get more tomorrow as its payday for my hubby.  Thank goodness!  I'll run over to my favorite PT store...Active Forever.  Here's my lil' sales pitch...they really do have all kinds of neat stuff.  Check out their website: www.activeforever.com.  Whatever your poison, they are sure to have it.  TENS, pain gels, ice packs, walkers, ect.  At the store here in Phoenix, I'm on first name basis with the cashier and she knows all about my hubby and me and we know about her, too.  They are so friendly there.

Anyway, back to my morning.  I hobbled to the bathroom, then took care of Jack (he wanted food...what else! I'm just a walking bag of Meow Mix) and then hobbled to the computer room.  I took my pills and then my husband called with the latest news: his electrolytes went wonky in the middle of the night.  They had to give him magnesium and potassium and I guess his heart rhythm was very irregular (he has chronic A-Fib).  While they were giving him the medications, his IV came out of the vein and they had a lot of problems restarting it.  His veins, I think, are really tired of being poked at so they run and hide when they see the needle coming.  Frankie had everyone try it out...and finally one of the charge nurses could get it.  But, this morning, the IV came out AGAIN and needed to be restarted.  Then he tells me that his hemoglobin is 8.2, lower than what it was yesterday!
It just seems like everywhere I turn, there is another problem I can't fix.  I just want my husband back to how he was BEFORE the stupid surgery!!! Or send me off to some tropical island where I can be totally FREE...to have a tsunami come my way, knowing my luck!!
Going back to my analogy above, I wanna tell the bus driver "THIS IS MY STOP. IF YOU DON'T STOP, I WILL HAVE TO DO SOMETHING DRASTIC!!" Like eat a whole cheesecake or go out and shop until I drop. Everything thing I shouldn't do, I want to do!!  Okay, deep breath here, calm down......I do feel better getting it out into the open, though. I'm just one very frustrated, exhausted, mystified & depressed wife.  I feel for poor Frankie, having gone through what he has gone through this past month.  He REALLY has been such a good sport.

I was on the computer checking my email when my husband called me again and said the magic words...."I'm coming home today!"  I was like.....hold the phone....total shock. How can he come home with a hemoglobin of 8.2?  How's his BP or temp? Will he crash again when we get him home and have that really low blood pressure or high temp?  We can't take him home yet!  My mother-in-law and I trooped down to the hospital and discussed the situation with his nurse for the day.  She said the doctor was satisfied that he was ready to come home and that they don't transfuse until UNDER 8.0.  The nurse said his pressures and temps are normal and he will be on one antibiotic and one antifungal (his last CT scan showed a portion of inflamed bowel) medication that should cover a broad range of "bugs."  He should be OK is what she said.  Well, everything made sense and Frankie does have a doctor appointment a day now...tomorrow he sees his pain specialist, on Wednesday his primary care doctor, on Thursday his surgeon and the following Monday his oncologist/hemotologist.  So he and I will be one busy couple, shooting all over Phoenix and Scottsdale!

So Frankie is home now, again, and resting. His vitals are good (Thank God!), we are pushing fluids on him, and he will start his antibiotics with dinner.  He still has the JP drain and will have home health come out and check it, but the nurse today gave me a handful of saline flushes and a specimen cup to empty the drain fluids in it.  So I'm all set to take care of that drain!  Our biggest goal will be to keep him home longer than two days....can we do it? I sure hope so!

I think I will go and join my husband on the bed and take a much needed nap. I am just exhausted, all my energy stores are tapped out. My in-laws are going to Costco to get some B complex vitamins for us to help with our energy and to help build Frankie back up...we hope.  We're also going to pump him full of protein rich foods and see if that helps.  If you or anyone you know has had anemia and has a suggestion, please float it my way. I'm open to any and all suggestions.  And I've been meaning to add that if you have a blog you'd like see listed in my "Cool Blog" section, please tell me your URL and I'd be happy to add it.

Hope this note finds you happy and well.
Until next post,
Missy

Daily Blessings

Blog Directory

Blogarama - Blog Directory

Make Fibro Visible!

Make Fibro Visible!
It's been invisible for FAR too long!!!

Member

  • Perspective
  • Confidentiality
  • Disclosure
  • Reliability
  • Courtesy

medbloggercode.com

My Worldwide Visitors

free counters

Come back soon, OK?