My Two Favorite Dorks

My Two Favorite Dorks

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Unexpected weekend at home

Diosa was being especially cute the other day and several photographs were taken

Since I am stuck this afternoon sitting on a heating pad, I might as well write my weekly blog entry. I am sitting on a heating pad in an attempt to get my glutial and hamstring muscles to ease up a bit. I have had issues with my right hamstring for about a year (not continuously.) But I woke up today and it is much worse than I ever remember it being. I am hoping that my muscle relaxer kicks in soon. More on this in a minute.

When I last wrote, I was optimistic that Sunday night would be my last lovenox shot. My coumadin clinic appointment on Monday did indeed bring good news: while not yet in therapeutic range, my INR was going up, and since I was out of the six week post-clot danger zone, my doctor said I could go ahead and stop the shots. I told him before we decided that, I needed to tell him something: I had been having wrist pains exactly like when my clot was diagnosed on Thursday and Friday. It wasn't as bad or for as long, but it was definitely consistent and had the same pattern as six weeks earlier.

The doctor left it up to me and we decided on the cautious route of doing shots for another week until my coumadin level is therapeutic. Incidentally, he wasn't too alarmed about the pain. (Here I was thinking I would be dropping a big bomb telling him...that it could mean my clot had reformed or in some way worsened.) He said it's common to have residual pain or swelling even after treatment. I still didn't think it was a great sign, and I asked if this meant there would not be any way I would be on this treatment for three months. He said three months was still completely feasible and that we'd just have to see.

Anyway, the good news is that the shots have not been as painful or left as bad of bruises for whatever reason this week. So yay for that. And I have not had any more bleeding incidents, so hopefully that one was just a fluke.

I lied: there is more good news. I have been feeling really good this past week, lung wise and mentally, too. I went for three or four bike rides and went to yoga twice. Also walked the dogs a couple of times. I have been tapering my prednisone down from the 20 mg upped dosing that I was on for a month or so to try to get my pfts up. It has made me a little short of breath, and, the frustrating thing is, my pfts never really went up. But I feel great! So I'm thinking I will have to taper slowly - my lungs may just be suffering some seasonal strain from allergens even though I'm not having typical allergy symptoms - and possibly stay at an increased dose for a while longer.

So yes, I am very happy having had a normal and active week. Plus, I have been getting a lot of compliments lately about how I look and my new haircut, which is nice. :)

Now I am feeling a little restless... Todd and I were supposed to go to the beach this weekend but he came down with a nasty cold and was not feeling up to it. Then I woke up today with this super-tight muscle issue. I'm wondering if it is because of all the activity I've been doing? I'm not sure if there is evidence for that except for the timing of an active week and, now, a very tight muscle. Also, I thought the initial flare-up a few weeks ago was because of having gotten out of my exercise and stretching routine for so long. Who knows.

Supporting local craft makers at the Handmade Market!

But I decided it wasn't going to ruin my day, so my soap partner Elaine and our silent partner Maura and I went to check out the Handmade Market downtown this afternoon. It was really great to see all the things there - jewelry, t-shirts, stuffed animals, metal work, glassware, pottery, body products...of course we were especially interested in the soap! We were also getting ideas for how to set up our own stuff if we do this event, or an event like this, in the future.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mother Nature is a Bitch

My inner kid wants to do some complaining about what a pain in the ass it has been dealing with this blood clot. There continue to be issues getting my coumadin levels in range and I had one bleeding incident this past week. Fortunately, it resolved itself and I am fine now - except I am left with the near constant dread that something could happen or go wrong at any moment. It's not fun.

Bruises from the lovenox (the other thing is the insertion site for my insulin pump); what you can't see are the speckles from every single shot I've had to give all around my abdomen.
My doctor: "I've seen worse."

But I am also tired of complaining about all this, so that's all I'll say about that.

Couple of things I wanted to talk about:

1. We had some CRAZY storms come through the city yesterday - crazy as in tornadoes, many trees down, lots of power outage, etc. I was actually in Durham when it happened. When I came home, at first I didn't even realize much had happened. There was some debris and small branches in the street but nothing major. Then I took a walk around the neighborhood... the streets behind us got hit really hard - a giant tree tipped over and crushed a pick-up truck; a tree fell across the road; a tree crushed a storage shed and another fell over a big power line. It was pretty crazy.

Big tree that fell over and crushed a pick-up truck about a block from our house

Fortunately, my nagging Todd to get our trees trimmed last January really paid off. We had no major limbs down in our yard, no trees, and, luckily, we did not lose power. (See my FB page for more photos from the 'hood.)

In a neighborhood a couple of miles from us, some of our friends were not so lucky: one friend had a tornado come through her back yard. Two trees fell on her house but she was okay. Another friend had trees down, a storage shed flipped over, fence destroyed and neighbors on both sides had damage to their back decks (one almost destroyed.) Everyone I know over there is without power.

2. I spent Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday attending the Full Frame documentary film festival in Durham. I LOVE documentaries. Our friend works on the committee and has generously given me or me and Todd passes for the last several years. Unfortunately, two years ago we either had our ceremony or were in Ireland; last year I went to go visit my dad after he'd gotten out of the hospital; so I hadn't been able to make good use of the pass until this year. I really experienced the festival - went to 3-4 movies on Thursday, 5 on Friday, 1 on Saturday (I was getting very tired by then.) :) There were some amazing documentaries and I am so thrilled that we have a festival like this so close to where I live.

3. After my Saturday movie, while Raleigh was getting pummeled with storms, I had a chance to meet up with a long-time online friend with CF named Melanie. I have probably known her for 6-7 years I would guess. She lives in CO but has moved to Durham for health reasons in the last year. I think we both knew that we would hit it off, and we totally did. We had a really enjoyable, relaxing time together. I look forward to seeing more of her now that we have connected.

I usually don't like to make my posts super long, but I had to tell you all that stuff! What I was originally going to write about was my "Goals for 2010" that I created last year on the sidebar of this page:

  • Paint all the rooms inside my house
  • Clean out the attic
  • Exercise or yoga 5-6 days/week
  • Simplify! Don't buy stuff I don't need
  • Be punctual
  • Check out other yoga studios around Raleigh & save for yoga teacher training
  • Start selling our soap!
You will notice the list has been replaced by a new list for the coming year. However, to reflect on these a little... I did not paint all the rooms in my house; however, I did paint our bedroom an amazing shade of blue that makes me very happy. I have a plan for our bathroom, which is the next target. I still want to paint my office purple. I am formulating a plan for the house - like what to improve/in what priority vs. do we fix up basic stuff and then someday move - but I am making progress on that as well.

After I painted the bedroom

Attic: this is something that simply must happen soon. The reason is that one of the next home improvement things I want to do is add insulation to the attic, and all our stuff will need to come down to do that. So I want it to be as organized - and paired down - as possible. I would call Todd a pack rat, but it's really just laziness..he's a lazy rat lol. But I love him. :)

Exercise: certainly this goal has waxed and waned. Suffice to say that when I am feeling well, I usually do a pretty good job with this. Right now I am staying really active, I am happy with my weight - I have not ballooned up since my last infection - and it feels great.

Simplify/Punctual: I still have room to go with simplifying, but I have been a lot more conscientious about it - and I think as a result of that I have made better purchasing decisions. My punctuality has improved a lot. I am hardly ever late for work; appointments I could still be better about.

Yoga: I did find a studio that I like - yay! But I have not attended as many classes there as I would have liked. Still need to work on finding a weekly class that fits into my ever-changing schedule. The teacher training I have decided to hold off on. It's not a commitment physically or financially that I am willing to make at this time. Plus, I just don't feel the desire like I did before. Maybe sometime.

Elaine's awesome marbled bars

Soap: Well I think you all will agree that I have knocked it out of the park on this one! Our soap selling at Father & Son has been a big success. We have been able to make a small profit which surpasses our original goal of being able to break even. We have met some great people that are part of the Raleigh art scene. Most importantly, we have remained true to our motto of "Keep it fun!" There were definite moments of feeling out the best direction for us to go in order to keep it fun for both of us. What can I say, Elaine and I are great partners and work really well together. We respect each others' wants and needs and we have been able to maintain an operation that provides us both with a much needed creative outlet.

Here's to a great 2011!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weekend with family

Brother Nathan, me, Todd, mom, Uncle Roger, Cousin Anne and her daughter Miranda on my back deck

In the interest of trying to blog more regularly - here I am!

Last time, I held off talking about my mom's 70th birthday weekend. A couple of months ago, I had the idea that with mom turning 70, we should do something special. That turned out to be a very successful gathering of her fairly small family that is very spread out (Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan).

My brother and I told my mom that we and Todd were going to take her out to a nice dinner at a surprise location. That gave me the flexibility to find a place that would fit everyone who could come. We ended up at this family-owned Italian place downtown - the food was good, the wine better, and the wait staff was top notch. We had a private room, which was cool. And boy oh boy was mom surprised! We had a really lovely evening - and weekend - with family and one of my mom's oldest friends from Michigan.

The weekend was a MUCH needed reprieve from my slugging around here.

Basically my health stuff has leveled off, although I have still not been able to get my coumadin levels to where they should be (which means I'm still doing the terrible nightly shots.) Today marks approximately the month anniversary for discovering my blood clot. Risks start to taper off increasingly after six weeks, so I am well on my way. And I FEEL good, which is always great.

But I have still been having some mental struggles. My anxiety over this situation (I hope) peaked on Sunday... I had my first real panic attack in a long time (I'm talking years.) It was scary. While I've had a lot of small incidents, I really had a hard time calming myself down from this. I was convinced there was a problem with my heart, which was racing and pounding - I even started to pack a bag for the hospital.

I think what happened was a perfect storm of being at the beginning of a Prednisone burst (can make you feel speedy, or can make your heart race), starting on a new medicine that was making me feel a bit funky, being at the end of a week during which I had experienced a lot of off-and-on anxiety, and, possibly, watching an intense hockey game. :)

Without publicly divulging too many details of my mental health, I will say that I had an appointment with my psychiatrist that week - timing of that could not have been better. And he started me on a new medicine, hopefully temporarily, to help with my funk and anxiety of late. So far so good with that, although I hated the idea of it. He also told me to not hesitate to use my Xanex, and even suggested I take one regularly before bed to help a bit with the next day.