Monday, January 26, 2009

Snow on the Coast

Akthough my son and his wife live in North Carolina, they live on the coast in Camp Lejeune, so they don't see much snow. However they got a couple of inches a week or so ago. My son had alot of fun throwing snow on his little puppies!! Poor little Dixie, the Daschound, looks likes she is saying "Mommy, help!! Let me in! I don't think that I like this white stuff".

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

American Idol

Well this year's American Idol has started and it seems that all of the crazies have come out of the cracks. My kids love the weirdos, but I feel sorry for some of the contestants. However, some of them are just plain idiots! I mean what radio do they listen to? They certainly aren't listening to the stations I listen to or maybe they are just plain tone deaf. Who feeds these folks egos? Why lead them on, just let them down easy instead of being thrown to the shark Simon Cowell. But I do have to say that I just love to crack up at all of the "crybabies". One guy was crying and he said "Well Simon was just being his usual self and laughing" and they showed Simon laughing with a slow-mo laugh deep and slow!! It was hilarious. One guy pretty much begged his way into the competition. Simon said, "That's what's called being juked". Although these first few episodes are funny, there were some really good contestants such as this one guy whose wife had passed away just 4 weeks before the audition due to childhood heart condition. Also there was a band director and a welder that have pretty good potential as well. These episodes are funny, but I am ready for them to bring on the real talent.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The FlyLady - My Hero (I hope)

Perfectionism...I think we all know what that is. I have struggled with it for all my life. Perfectionism puts you in a rut because nothing ever really gets done or started. You feel like you can't do it "right" so you don't start at all. You feel that the world is fighting against you and that you have no choice, no control, but you do. Life is not about being perfect, it's about getting up everyday and starting over. I love the FlyLady's attitude about life. I love her style, the way her life is organized, but she didn't get that way overnight. It took time and she is not ashamed to admit that she took some pretty hard steps to get where she is today. Now she is an example to us all. I am going to start the FlyLady plan (again) and just keep trying until I can at least keep up. Little by little, not perfect, not overwhelmed, just a small bit at a time. Following the schedule that the FlyLady has set up. It doesn't matter even if I don't get everything done that she has on the list. Once I get "caught up" it will be easier to keep my home clean and I will feel that I will have time for my family and not feel guilty about blogging or scrapping or watching the Bachelor! I'll keep you posted as to my progress. I hope to get lots of support from my friends, so comments and/or words or encouragement will be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My First Scrapbooking Retreat

What did you do on New Year's Eve 2008? Did you wait up late for the strike of midnight and welcome in the New Year and give your honey the first kiss of the New Year? I would have to say that is what the majority of "normal" people do. I mean, that IS the thing to do. But that isn't what I was doing. I was sleeping or at least trying to. I was trying to get my rest for my first scrapbooking retreat ever. The excitement was in air even though Christmas had come and past. Since New Year's Day fell on a Thursday, we had Thursday and Friday as holidays, which gave me a four day weekend!! The next morning I got up and starting packing, not sure what to take and what not to take. Do I need this punch, what about this journaling pen? And in the world do I decide what paper to pack and what to leave. I didn't want to bring to much, but I certainly didn't want to leave it either. What if I needed it? Any scrapbooker knows just how that is. The perfect embellishment or paper or punch is left at home and your page just isn't what you wanted it to be. Oh, it looks nice enough and for anyone elese to look at it, it would be great, but to you seasoned or not, you KNOW something is missing. Unfortunately, you will always forget something or you will purposely leave something at home, thinking you won't need it, but when the time comes, it is the ONLY thing that would work. Well, after much picking and prodding, I had my bags packed and I was ready to be out the door. I stopped at a couple of scrapbooking stores on my way to the retreat, but talked myself out of buying anything, but this was only because of the economy and the fact that Christmas was just the past weekend and we all know what that does to our budgets!! About an hour and a half later I pulled up to the cute little old bed & breakfast which catered to scrapbookers and was told that I could choose any bed and any table I wanted because I was the first one there. Imagine that...I guess I was just a little excited (do you think?) This weekend was one of the first times I been able to do what I love to do so much without hurting and without the anxiety that comes along with wondering when the next pain spell will come back. I just relaxed, and enjoyed my weekend. Four days without anyone of the male species around!!! Four days being able to share with other ladies the same passion & love I have for this creative way of keeping my memories & the memories of others I love and care for alive. The beds were soft, the food was good, the fellowship was wonderful and the scrapbooking was awesome. I learned a little about how to pack and how to set up, when you are used to having a full room with two 10 foot countertops to a small 8 ft table. That is still a challenge, but I plan on doing this more and more and getting involved with others that understand the passion and obsession of this beloved art.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Getting my Life Back

Where did it go? Who took my enthusiam and my zest for life? I looked high and low and no where could it be found. I was lifeless, yet I knew I was alive. Alive and miserable, turned into a hermit, when I once was the life of the party. What had happened to me? Life with chronic pain is what happened. About 6 years ago, I fell out of chair and hit my head on a weight bench. At that time, I didn't realize the damage that had been done, but about 2 1/2 to 3 years later, it hit me hard. I developed a burning and stabbing pain in my left shoulder and trapezius. I went to see the orthopedic and he recommended rest and anti-inflammatories. When that didn't work, he referred me to a chiropractor. She did all she could, trying to reset my neck. She could tell exactly where the problem was, she could feel the tension in my neck near the C-5 through C-7 vertebra. But no matter how much she tried, she could not make the pain go away. This went on for about 6 months and hopefulness was beginning to wane. I was nearing my 41st birthday. I was still young and still had a lot of living to do, but chronic pain made it almost impossible to carry on with my daily life. I became very depressed and would cry at work, at home, in the car or even possibly in restaurant, because the pain was so bad with no relief. It was a constant chronic burning stabbing pain. Then it started in my right shoulder. I knew I had to do something. I couldn't live my life in pain like this for possibly 40 or 50 more years. After X-rays and an MRI, my orthopedic referred me to a neurosurgeon and a pain management specialist. The pain management specialist said that he felt I should have surgery right away because he could see a significant amount of disc bulging and what they call "osteophytes" that appeared to be dangerously close to possibly piercing at nerve roots or even the spinal cord. However, the neurosurgeon had a completely different perspective. He saw no need for concern and felt that we needed to exhaust all options before any type of surgery was considered. I wasn't sure if he didn't believe that I was actually in pain or if he was just a very conservative doctor. He said that if he was even going to think about surgery he would need to order myleogram, so that was set up, but he recommended in the meantime, I go back to the pain management specialist and try other alternatives. The pain management doctor prescribed Vicodin for the pain, which only took a slight edge off. It never truly relieved the pain. He also said he could try a series of three steriod injections which were scheduled immediately. I could feel the anticipation and the hope slowly coming back, but after the third injection with no change in the pain level, my hopes were dashed once again. I went back to the neurosurgeon and pretty much begged him to do the surgery. He finally agreed and after one year of chronic pain, I was finally going to get relief. Unfortunately, this was not the case. I should have had immediate pain relief because he was taking out the disc at the C5-C6 that was putting pressure on the nerve. So no pressure, no pain...Right?? He advised me that sometimes when a disc is replaced the other discs are moved or displaced slightly and they could be causing the pain. He said he could try to remove the disc at C6-C7 and I was ready to try again. I got the same results, no change in pain level. He advised me to wait for the healing process to complete and the inflammation to reduce. Then, I would probably and most likely get the desired results. This was now a full year and half of chronic pain that seemed to be determined to imprison me forever. I still kept up with my regularly scheduled follow-up appointments, but nothing was improving. Six months later, I burst into tears in his office, begging him to take the pain away. He told me that there was really nothing he could do for me. He didn't think another surgery would be prudent. I got a second opinion and this doctor confirmed what my original neurosurgeon had told me. I had permanent nerve damage and would the pain would have to be addressed differently. He recommended a different pain specialist, one that was known to be one of the best and had a reputation for being one of the first doctors to research and try the newest pain therapies available. He was especially known for his knowledge and skill with technological therapies such as "pacemaker for pain" implant. This of course was done only after all other pain techniques were exhausted. We tried muscle relaxers, various doses of Vicodin, other types of nerve pain medications such as Lyrica, which only served to blur my vision and did not help the pain in any way. My pain management specialist sent me to a neurologist to make sure there wasn't something they might possibly be missing. This doctor did an MRI of my shoulder and it came back showing what he considered to be bad enough to refer me to a sports medicine surgeon specializing in shoulder injuries. I walked in the office and the doctor took one look at my MRI, said that the shoulder injury was not serious at all and would not be anywhere near enough to be causing the pain. He was sure it was coming from the C-5 to C-7 nerve root areas, just where the previous surgeries had been done. But in order to confirm this, I would need to have a nerve block. They had it set up within a couple of days. I was told that I should have relief for at least a month. I remember being in the surgery room and small needles being inserted into my neck until the doctor hit the "sweet spot" and immediately ALL my pain was gone. It was like I had died and gone to heaven!!!! I was thrilled to have at least found out that it was nerve damage and that it was were my initial neurosurgeon had suspected. I sat in the recovery room wanting to jump up and do cartwheels. I hadn't felt this good in almost 2 1/2 years. Unfortunately the nerve block didn't last up to a month. In fact it didn't even last all day. It only lasted about one hour and then I was back to the pain. I went back to my pain management specialist with this information and he agreed, that it was probably not the shoulder causing the pain, since I had such an immediate and positive response to the nerve block. Because of this, he wanted to try another set of steriod injections. After the 2nd injection, I began to get some relief and then by the third one I was feeling much better. However, this only lasted for about 3 months, but it did make me a perfect canidate for the implant "pacemaker for pain". We scheduled the trial, which was somewhat successful, so I went forward with the procedure. I took me longer to recover than I initially anticipated. I thought I would be back to work within one week. Well, it was more like 3 weeks. Some days were good, some days were not. I wasn't sure if I had done the right thing or not. In fact about 5 or 6 weeks after the surgery, I was still having pain and extremely distraught about it. I began crying in the doctor's office, and the doctor very diplomatically told me to "pull myself together and get a new take on life". I left that day from the doctors office feeling like a teenager who thought that her parents were the stupidest people on the planet, angry at the world and furious that he would tell me to "get a grip" and try to learn to "deal with the pain". I didn't want to deal with the pain. I wanted it to go away. But I did begin to think about what he had said, and suddenly it began to make sense. If I could have a more positive attitude, I would be able to handle the pain better and maybe this would make a difference. I did begin to take these words to heart and as I did, the "pacemaker" seemed to work a little better each day. As I became more open to this method of pain relief, I found that it did work and how to set it to make get the most optimal relief out of it for me. It has been almost 4 months since my last surgery, and I am for the most part "PAIN FREE"!!! My whole life has been changed. I am a different person, a happier person, a more hopeful person and a much more loving & patient person. I have my life back and it's getting better everyday.