Coffee and mornings ...
Rick had his appointment at the Dialysis Center yesterday.
He is doing so much better on his blood sugars - averaging 75 to 150 in the mornings. Dr. Greenwell is very well pleased. =) And has now lowered his evening insulin to 25 units. Still a shot, but less. And it has given Rick a bit of hope that if he continues to do well, that he can get off at least the evening shot all together. Dr. Greenwell said for us to keep doing what we are doing, and as the weather cools down, to add at least one walk a day.
Rick has some congestion - Dr. Greenwell gave him antibiotics for that. But he also said that he thinks the biggest problem with the congestion is the almost 20 pounds added weight - due to "salt water" swelling. Dr upped Rick's Lasix to 80 mg morning and night for a week. He talked to Rick about the importance of getting this fluid off of him quickly, but safely. And that with even 5 pounds off he will be feeling MUCH better.
The one thing that we have done for Rick's blood sugars is ... to take him off of all artificial sweeteners. We went over everything with Dr. Greenwell yesterday. And after seeing the results of the last 4 weeks - Dr. Greenwell told us to keep on doing what we are doing. In fact, he said he thought it was the smartest thing we have done!!!
I did a lot of research - mainly thru Mayo Clinic and WebMD - before we even tried this. But like Rick said, the blood sugar numbers were already so high, and nothing else seemed to be working - so yeah, we will try it for a month or so.
He doesn't like unsweet tea very much, so now when I make a gallon of tea for him, I add 1 cup Sugar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. He only drinks 2-3 glasses a day, with a meal. Between meals, he drinks water.
The first week we saw no change at all in his blood sugar. Not higher, not lower. But the second week - wow! The numbers started coming down from the 200-300 range, quickly. Got to 179, then 165, then 155!!! The beginning of the 3rd week, 109!!! I called the doctor's office!!! I didn't know whether to give him the insulin or not. Dr. Greenwell laughed at me - but I told him I knew what to do if his sugar was high, or not controlled at all. These new numbers were something totally NEW and foreign to me!!! In a good way -- but still!!!
And since that 3rd week, the numbers have STAYED consistently lower. Yesterday it was 75 ... the highest we have seen in the mornings was 165 - and that was after eating too late the night before.
Dr. Greenwell said that he is well pleased, but not surprised. He told us that he has been doing a lot of reading and researching, too. And that he is finding this to be working in more and more diabetic patients. That the body doesn't know how to process the artificial sweeteners, nor does the body know what to do with the chemicals that are included in them. He said that this research is turning the diabetic world upside down ... but in a good way.
I had my blood drawn yesterday morning for medication review and updates. Then find out that because I do not have insurance or Medicare, that I can no longer see my doctor. ??? Because I am on the Indigent Care program thru our hospital, or a self-pay patient ... the Medical Clinic in Sulphur Springs will no longer see me. No notice, nothing.
I called the other clinic that I was referred to this morning. First appointment will be September 9. My question to her -- what about the medications I am on, but are out of refills on? I have been told to not miss a dose, nor to allow them to run out ... hence the appointment tomorrow at the clinic with the doctor. ??? I was told that I could walk in after 2 pm tomorrow and wait. I will be seen, but will be a work-in. Sigh.
Lord, help us to deal with Obamacare!!!
I feel much like the bird in this picture. Hanging on but not with a lot of hope. Can't get my wings to fly from where I am, but nowhere good to go if I let go!!!
Lord God of heaven and earth and all - please, catch me if I fall!!!
I know that God is God, and i am not. So thankful for that!!!
I also know that God is the God of angel armies - and He walks beside me - thankful for that, too!!!
Our needs are greater sometimes than my faith. Still think that if the money was in the bank I would have greater faith!!! (Course, Rick says then it would be sight not faith - but I keep arguing with both him and God! Neither one agrees, but what do they know?!? LOL)
Time to get to the day ... much on the "to-do" list ... and not much umption to do any of it.
Would rather curl up in my comfortable recliner, under the cold AC, with my prayer quilt held tight about me ... and just simply breathe in and breathe out.
However, there are things that must be done that won't get done with me not doing them ...
I pray for each one who may read these words - that your day is blessed, that you realize the blessings in your life, that your troubles may be few, your burdens may be light. And above all - enjoy that cup of coffee!!! LOL
Love each one of you!!!
Had my first mammogram yesterday ... OUCH!!!
Carol was the tech that did the mammogram and I would like to say "Thank you" to her for being so kind and caring, for being respectful. She made an unpleasant experience a lot easier to bear!
First thing she said was - I know you have heard all the horror stories of my machine. But it really isn't THAT bad!
Afterwards, I just looked at her and she said - Ok ... it was THAT bad, but I was trying to help you and encourage you! LOL
Why is it that we as women are taught from the time we are young girls growing the "ta-ta's" to be careful! Don't bump or bruise them, treat them with honor and with respect. But then - to have a mammogram, each one is taken and laid upon a metal plate, then another plate is brought down upon the top of them, and pressure is applied, squeezing them to about an inch (or less) in thickness. What?!?
Carol got one ta-ta positioned, stretched my arm out, and told me to lift my chin as high as I could. Take a breath and hold it. Relax now. ??? Yeah right! I told her that she was asking the impossible!!! LOL
But we laughed my way thru it ... and soon I was told to sit down and rest for a few minutes while the radiologist read the report.
In a few minutes, Carol came in and said that the results were "all clear, negative" and that since I am at a high risk, to be sure and come back in one year.
Thank you Jesus!!! Thank you Jesus!!!
**I am SORE today!!! From the tip of my chin to right above my belly button is so sore!!! My daughter and my sister warned me! But they didn't warn me good enough!!! Tylenol has been my bestest friend today!!!
My appointment at MD Anderson has been changed. It was scheduled for 9/5/13 ... but due to Dr. Michael going to Temple with his wife, it is now on 10/3/13. I love Dr. Michael so much - so it makes it easier to deal with these changes.
I am looking forward to spending some time with my best friend, Nina. She said that we could (again) stay with her while we are there. I am looking forward to sweet conversation!
I have an appointment with Angela Doddy this coming Tuesday afternoon. Bloodwork is supposed to be done that morning. She wanted to go over the results with me, and see what changes in medications need to be made.
My left leg is still swelling, in spite of the Lasix that I have been taking. Some days worse swelling, some days less. And the knots are still there, still as touchy and tender as they have been since they showed up.
Praying that she will have the wisdom to know what might be wrong, and what might help with the pain and discomfort. sigh.
Rick has an appointment this coming Wednesday with Dr. Greenwell at the Paris Dialysis Center. He also will have bloodwork done - and I am praying, pleading for good numbers back on the report!
His main complaint has been being so very tired and lacking in energy. Not sure what the reason is for that. Hoping and praying it is not a low number on his total blood count. Please Lord!!!
Just have to laugh at this ... LOL
Thoughts from a lonely spirit ...
In the busy-ness of days that blend into nights that turn back to day ... I find myself feeling lost and alone - in the midst of the time with the kids and grandkids, with Rick always present, honestly - no matter or with who, the loneliness is there, an ever-present, unwelcome companion. I have spent time alone at different points in my life ... and I believe with all that is in me that the loneliness and lost-ness while with others is the deepest of all loneliness and lost-ness. Sigh.
I love my husband, my children and my grandchildren. But I feel lost. Wondering who "I" am - to me. Does that make any sense at all?
It has been a year since I heard the diagnosis of "cancer". Almost a year since I had the surgery and received the path report with a good prognosis. But does that negate the fact that "cancer" came first? Or that the thoughts and fears of "cancer" remain?
I heard it said that "I may have cancer, but cancer will never have me" ... a most excellent saying, may I add. And it was one of the first things I said a year ago. However, I now realize that it is a daily (and sometimes hourly) struggle to keep it that way!!! There are those moments in the midst of the loneliness that i just know "cancer" is going to swallow me up. It is in those moments that i hear the song - "Even If ..." by Kutless, over and over in my heart, my mind and my spirit. I am so thankful in those moments that God loves me and sings over me!
I also said that having to have a cancer hysterectomy was a blessing, not a threat to my womanhood. And it was a true blessing in every sense of the word! However, I realize that this too is a struggle to keep telling myself that I am still a "woman" - even without all my junk! Why does this bother me? I honestly do not know. This has not changed the way I look - but it has certainly changed the way I think and feel. Hormones alone? or lack thereof? sigh ...
The one thing that seems the hardest for me to accept at times? That since I had surgery and received a good prognosis that it no longer seems to matter to anyone. Not that I want others to hover over me ... not that I want constant attention. But occasionally to have someone ask how am I doing??? That would be nice. Sigh. (I'm sorry - I know that sounds selfish. But honestly, I don't mean it to be ...sigh.)
I know that I am Rick's wife ... his friend ... and his caregiver. I love him ... how wrong and selfish is it to miss those days when he didn't need me as a caregiver? When we shared the care-giving to one another? Sigh. I'm sorry.
I fear that I am losing my identity in all of this.
Sometimes I just feel like screaming - "I am still a real person! I have thoughts and feelings! I have dreams and hopes and desires! I even have needs! I am not just a third arm of his to dangle at his side until he needs or wants something!!!" But then I realize that all the screaming and kicking and fighting will not change what is going on in our lives.
To live with an illness/disease that has no obvious "look" to it - I never realized just how difficult that is.
Rick looks healthy. And unless you see the catheter in his tummy? You wouldn't know by looking at him that there are any health issues at all. (Except for being overweight.) His shoulder doesn't look injured, either.
I look at myself in the mirror, and except for the swelling and discoloration of my lower legs - I look healthy. Well, except for being overweight.
And if we "look" healthy to ourselves and to one another, yet we know how we each feel ... we realize how that we appear to those around us.
We seem to stay frustrated with ourselves, and with one another - because we do look healthy, but we aren't. We look like we can do anything and go anywhere. But we have so many limitations on us - and we are reminded of that ... whenever we take a step, when we try to do anything.
I weighed a week ago. Weighed in at the heaviest I have been since I was a junior in high school. I looked at the scales and in the words of a good Southern lady, I said - "Oh HELL NO!!!" ... sigh. I talked with Mandy over last weekend. She suggested a protein powder, mainly for her daddy so that he can add protein to his diet without having to eat so much, but it also works to replace one meal a day with a shake made from fruit, milk, ice and the powder. Rick went to Wal-mart this past Monday and bought the powder, the fruit, and the blender. I am beginning to replace one meal a day with a shake, and I have started (slowly and laboriously) walking - walked 3 times this week so far. Weighed in this morning, and I have lost just a little over 1 pound!!! Not that much loss, but certainly an encouragement to keep on trying, and to walk more!!!
Rick weighed in this morning, and he is at the heaviest he has been in a LONG time. He isn't swollen, and the UF numbers on the cycler are high. So, it isn't fluid - it is weight. He is discouraged and frustrated about it. Lord, help him to see that he needs to take responsibility for his health and his weight. And that he CAN do better!!! I cannot do it for him - but what a "perfect" opportunity for us to work together and be the support and encouragement for one another ... sigh. Lord, please.
Leaving Joshua & Dessie's ...
We are leaving Joshua and Dessie's tomorrow. We have a couple of weeks of doctors' appointments. Been packing stuff that we might need or want. Loading the car.
This morning, Cheri woke up as playful as always. Rick and Kyla played and played with her. She needed a bath, so Rick bathed her and Dessie blow-dried her. She was still in a playful mood.
But then ... as the day went on, she got quieter and stiller. We thought she was just tired. She went to her bed, but wouldn't stay. It was as if she could find no where that was comfortable all afternoon. She got on the couch between Rick and Kyla and was loved on, chewed on their fingers some. Shell picked her up and got her in the recliner with him, loving on her. Supper time came ... and she just wandered round and round all of us. We all talked to her. Rick tried to give her a French fry (one of her favorite treats) and she wouldn't have it. Her nose was still cold and wet. But Joshua picked her up and looked at her gums - they were white. He said that he didn't know what was wrong, but she was definitely sick. All we could think was that maybe (?) she had drank some of the soapy water when Rick bathed her. ??? The evening began, and as I went to the back bathroom to get Rick's cycler supplies, we found a mess on the floor. She had pooped in the bathroom floor, and it was thin and icky. As I cleaned it up, we realized it was bloody. We went to her bed, and found that she had pooped on the pad in the other bathroom - it too was bloody. After a little while, Joshua came in and he said, "I hate to say this, but do you smell that? The odor from her poop? Daddy, that is Parvo." Sigh.
She is just a baby still. This is not supposed to happen. This is not what we need right now. Life is tough enough with everything that we are dealing with - why this to her?
So, here we sit at 10:30 p.m. -- Rick on the edge of bed, me here. We think, we pray, and we wait. Wondering. Waiting. Trying to prepare ourselves for the worst - that she won't make it thru the night. And yet, hoping for the best, that this isn't Parvo, or if it is - that she will be strong enough to fight it off, and she will LIVE and not die.
At this point, I worry more about Rick's attitude and perspective of this. He seems so fragile at times - emotionally and mentally. I know that Cheri is a dog. But she came to us for Rick. To help him deal with the dialysis. I worry now. If she dies, will he? They seem to be so tied to one another in so many ways. God, I am afraid. Shaking like a leaf. How many more "strikes" can he bear??? God, help us please. Please.
UPDATE ... Cheri was much better the next morning, and has continued to be better and better. The day after we got back to the house she was "herself" all over again. Playing, getting into stuff, being ornery - LOL ... "Daddy's baby girl" who isn't worth a nickel! LOL
Thank you God for answering prayers ... for caring about our animals. Thank you.
Catching up for August ...
Been here at Joshua and Dessie's for a week now. They are working to get Internet into the house, but it hasn't happened yet. So ... these blog posts will be sporadic at best - whenever I can get into town and use the Wi-Fi.
It has been so good to be with the kids and grandkids - just to hear their voices, the laughter. To get the hugs and kisses from the grandkids.
Rick and I splashed and played in the pool with the grandkids once this past week. Oh to have that kind of energy!!! LOL
Joshua is working the long hours of living on a ranch this time of year ... I know he is tired and ready for the cooler weather!!!
Rick and I have the month "off" from doctors - well, almost. Next appointments are after the 27th. Feels odd not having to be on the road so much, not having to sit at doctor's offices and wait.
Chris and Mandy are looking at coming down here next weekend. I want that so much!!! I haven't had all my kids and grandkids together since last Labor Day!!! Even now I can hear the laughter, the noise - a much welcome NOISE!!!
Dessie and I are going to start working with Kyla about school this next week. She had some learning issues last year, and we are hoping to cover some good ground these 3 weeks before school does start, and give her a more solid foundation for the new school year.
*I would like to say all things are good while here ... but then, I have said since the beginning of this blog that I would be honest. And to say that all things are good (anywhere, anytime) would NOT be being honest. Sigh.
I love my husband with an undying passionate love ... but life with him thru all this is NOT good. The struggle with perceptions, attitudes, wrong thinking ... I'm just tired and weary in this land of "recovery".
He has always found validation and purpose in working. And to not have been working for 12 months now? Well ... he is finding it hard to get up and go on thru each day. Some days are better. Some days are worse.
Please pray for him. He seems to teeter on the edge of depression and discouragement more than not these days. And honestly? I don't know what to do more than just pray. My prayers don't seem to make it much farther than the end of my nose, the heavens are like brass to me lately. It's just a difficult time. Pray for us both.
I worry more about our kids and grandkids than I do the two of us. I just don't want "this" to invade their lives. KWIM? Sigh.
Chris, Mandy, Elijah, Brooklyn all came down this past weekend. They got here on Friday evening ... and didn't have to leave until early Sunday evening. It was AWESOME to have my kids and my grandkids together.
I haven't had that for a year. They all came to our house last Labor Day and spent the weekend with us. I had just gotten the diagnosis of Cancer, and we were waiting to see if I was going to get into MD Anderson. That weekend last year was so precious to me. But this weekend was too.
This weekend I was able to cook for them all - fixed Chicken Spaghetti, English Pea Salad (Joshua's favorite), Potato Salad, and Squash & Cheese Cornbread. Fixed so much that we were able to eat on it all weekend! LOL
Saturday we laughed with the grandkids ... and swam in the pool with the kids and grandkids - that was a BLAST!!! P-paw and Grannee got splashed and waved and rocked ... so much laughter! Priceless treasures to my heart and soul.
We were sitting in the pool just talking at one point, and I said, "I am going to fix Monkey Bread this weekend. When do y'all want it?" (I'm thinking early Sunday morning.) Joshua just looked over at me and said, "What are you doing in the pool?" We all laughed at how serious he is about Monkey Bread!!!
And guess what? Yep. Momma got out, dried off, wrapped in a towel, and went to the kitchen. Homemade monkey bread on a hot Saturday afternoon!!! Can tell you this - that pan didn't last long! LOL
After Monkey Bread came watermelon ... 2 were cut. One wasn't very good - but the other one was devoured!
Later Saturday evening we sat around the bar and played cards. Played "Bull shit", and "Gin". Laughing so hard.
Sunday morning I was blessed to cook breakfast for everyone. It was a time of laughing and joking and teasing.
After breakfast, Joshua & Dessie with Chris & Mandy took off for town - time for Joshua & Dessie to buy school supplies. P-paw and Grannee kept the taters ... and we laughed and laughed and laughed. It was good.
When the big kids got home, it was time for Elijah and Brooklyn to ride the horses. They both sit a horse very well. Brooklyn is "in love" with horses and with riding. (Which does NOTHING to her Uncle Joshua's heart and soul!)
The weekend ended, sadly. It was time for Chris, Mandy, Elijah and Brooklyn to pack up everything, load it and leave. It was a tearful time for us all. No one wanted it to be over. Least of all Momma and Grannee!!! I just could not bear to watch them drive away. I walked back into the house and began to pick up and clean up - trying to hold back the tears. I love them all so much!!! And I enjoy the times together more than these mere words could ever describe.
Sunday evening for Joshua, Dessie, Shell, Kyla, P-paw and Grannee was spent quietly, watching a little TV and getting the school supplies all divided out and marked. Bedtime came and everyone went to bed ... Momma and Grannee lay there thinking back over the weekend, treasuring every moment deep into her heart and soul.
((8/14/13))Dessie and I worked with Kyla on her room Monday. We have been trying to figure out a way that works for her to keep her room neater and less cluttered. Dessie said that she wished she had the plastic stackable crates she saw at Wal-mart's. If she did that she would turn them on their sides and make like cubby-holes on the empty wall in Kyla's room. I suggested that since we have all these heavy cardboard boxes from the dialysis supplies, that we try them - see if the idea works before spending the money on the crates. So, we spent the better part of the morning cutting the flaps off the boxes, and building the "doll house I have always wanted" - Kyla's words. LOL It is SO cute - even if it is just cardboard boxes. And the best part? Kyla LOVES it!!! Now, we just have to wait the few days to see if the new wears off, or if she stays interested enough to keep her room picked up.
Rick took the car into the shop on Tuesday. The AC quit working ... the new battery died. ??? He called the shop in SS and they said that the Cadillacs have a re-set that must be done if the battery is disconnected for any length of time. So, Rick charged the battery, and got it into Graham to O'Reilly's.
They tested the battery - showed less than 1/3 charge. This is the 3rd NEW battery that we have put on the car in the last 2 months. Something is NOT right. They then tested the alternator - showed some problems with charging. Rick drove it out to Affordable Car Care in Graham. Dessie and I went and picked him up. They will either diagnose it today or tomorrow. Sigh. Rick said that he feels like we have about reached the point of no more work on that car. He is considering looking for something newer with less miles on it.
We are leaving here next Wednesday or Thursday. Originally had intended to stay until the day after school starts, the 27th. But I have a complete blood work to do on 8/23, and a mammogram at 9:30 on the 23rd. My doctor's appointment in SS is on Tuesday 8/27. Rick's dialysis center appointment is the 28th. And I go to MD Anderson on 9/5. A busy couple of weeks.
Please pray for us in all the travels of getting to and from the doctors and hospitals. Especially with this car!!! And if not this car - then ???
Also, pray for us concerning the tests and appointments - praying that we will get good reports all the way around!!!
Rick's blood pressure has been running on average 146/82 - not bad considering what it was running!
And his blood sugar is averaging 140!!! A major drop from the 300's and 400's that we had been dealing with!!! He is still taking 4 mg of Glimepiride every morning and every evening, and 30 units of insulin morning and night.
The UF numbers on the cycler are usually high - which is a good thing, it is taking more fluid off than it is putting in.
It is raining out here today!!! We woke up with a 70% chance of rain!!! It smells good, looks good, sounds good!!! We will all gladly and thankfully accept the rain and the mud!!! Praying that it rains ALL DAY LONG!!! With little to no stopping or slacking off!!! Lord, please bless us all INDEED!!!
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here