Rainy Days And Man Food

We've been getting a lot of rain lately. Oh, it doesn't amount to much, just showers two or three times a day. Although yesterday, about 5pm I was out feeding the critters and it came a real downpour. It was raining so hard even Mr. I-Love-Playing-In-The-Water Toby decided to come into the shed with me and wait it out. It didn't last long, but was the faucet was sure wide open while it lasted.

Of course, the trouble with all this rainy weather is that however much we might need it, my body doesn't like it. I get all kinds of aches and pains and the blahs, and wonder if maybe, just maybe, there might be a stronger pain med out there that wouldn't make me sick.

So here I am, trying to be in a "super-work" mode, and my body won't cooperate.

For instance, we had our first "Crash Test Dummies" session Tuesday night, and we'll have the regular webinar tonight. Hope my brain doesn't explode from all the new information I keep trying to cram in it. (There will be NO smart aleck remarks along the lines of, "What brain?")

Anyway, the guys know I'm super busy right now and not feeling the best. So yesterday, I called up Jess and told him I was ready to take him up on his offer to bring food home if I wasn't feeling well. We discussed all the different fast food places he passes on his way home from work - Burger King, Wendy's, McDonalds (he always throws that in just to get me going), Taco Bell, KFC, etc. You get the idea. I finally said, "You know what I usually order at all those places. Just stop wherever you want and bring something home."

Well, you won't believe what he brought home!
(Unless you already saw this on Facebook, ha!)

When he got here and hollered he was home, I went in to the kitchen and saw this HUGE RED BAG with RED LOBSTER on the side.


Talk about a BIG surprise! He'd bought home my favorite coconut shrimp dinner, complete with their yummy bread, a salad and baked potato. And all the condiments of course!

He'd decided I needed a special treat instead of another fast food meal. The man did GOOD. He's probably picked up enough brownie points to last him for months! ;-)

We sat at the table and ate a real dinner, and my, was it nice. It was DELICIOUS. Red Lobster is positively one of my most favorite restaurants.

When Jess decides to cook, he really goes all out!

But that's not all! Nope, when Jonathan came home from work, he brought home a nice fresh thick crust pizza from Domino's. Yum! A midnight snack!

So I've got leftover pizza, and a salad and bread from Red Lobster, for some nice lunch food.

And Jonathan is off from work today, so tonight he's cooking supper. More man food!

Wow, this is really nice. I could get used to this!!!

Are Women Born Like This?

Jonathan and I have been laughing about this video for weeks. I keep meaning to put it up here, and kept forgetting. . . but obviously, I finally remembered! (Is that convoluted, or what?)

The way that little girl keeps jabbering away just cracks me up!

A Guinea Pig Once Again

I hate being a guinea pig when it comes to medical stuff. When I was going to the pain docs and various other specialists, I got tired of new treatments, new medicines, and every one of them telling me THEY had the answer.

Obviously, they didn't or I'd be all well now, right? In fact, most of the time, stuff they tried not only didn't make things better, but instead made things worse, and I ended up with more problems than I had to start with! (For instance, just ask me how much fun it is trying to travel with Irritable Bowel Syndrome now.)

But sometimes being a guinea pig is good and actually has benefits. Seriously.

To explain a bit . . .

My usual Thursday night webinar (training session) just wrapped up. I *love* these sessions, because it's such a great way to learn more, get to ask questions, and so few people take advantage of them.

Because so few people take advantage, it gives the ones who DO even more of an advantage. More chances to get in there and ask YOUR questions for instance. And if you're a regular, the guys doing the training get to know you which can also have advantages.

Like giving you a better chance of getting to be a guinea pig.

Tonight's session was shorter than usual because it wasn't actual training. We were brainstorming about future training modules. We've done something similar before, only usually on more advanced topics. I even played guinea pig for one of these projects and learned bunches, plus I get the finished program/product for free. (We're talking about something worth hundreds of dollars here folks!)

Tonight I volunteered to be a guinea pig once again. It means a second night a week of classes for a while, but I'm excited about it. (Although it's a good thing we're finished traveling for a while!) We're going back to basics, and it will not only be a good review, but should expand my knowledge on ways of doing things. There's always something new to learn, and it's great when you find a better way of doing something!

Those of us fortunate enough to get in on being guinea pigs might also be called crash test dummies. As in we're the dummies (newbies) who take the system and see if we can crash it. (Think Buster on Mythbusters!) If it works in spite of our ignorance, they've got a winner!

I realize I complain a lot about having too much to do, and yet here I've added something else to my "to do" list and have the audacity to say I'm excited about it. However, this is high priority stuff for me cause the more I learn, the better chance to earn.

Yep, sometimes being a guinea pig can actually be a good thing.

Canada Is Far Away Again!

So, we're back home from our trip to Canada, which means we're once again far, far away from Richard, Chrystie and Ellie. We try to make the best of it, and thank goodness for email and Skype, but it's still a bummer everyone in the family is scattered all over the place!

We didn't make it home until late last night. I didn't get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. I was too tired and too wired.

Here I thought I'd use today to catch back up on email, snail mail, housework, buying groceries and all those needed chores, and be able to jump back into work tomorrow.

What a dreamer I am.

Although we did go to the grocery store, I've only partially caught up on both email and snail mail, and only got a couple loads of laundry done. We won't even talk about cleaning house.

It's raining, I'm dragging, and I've still got a lot of catching up to do.

I mean, it's so bad, I haven't even downloaded all the pictures I took while we were in Canada onto my desktop computer! Now that's REALLY bad for me! Hopefully I'll get that done soon so I can share more about our trip. We had a great time visiting, and of course, it's always fun to see how Ellie has grown and the new things she's doing! (Naturally, she's featured in a lot of the pictures.)

So tomorrow I'll try again. Maybe I'll be closer to catching up? (sigh . . .)

The Difference Between A Gift And A Challenge

My daughter of the heart, Chrystie, wrote an interesting post on her blog concerning a conversation she had with a friend who works as a cancer care nurse. Chrystie was complementing her friend on being gifted to do a job Chrystie couldn't manage, not enjoying biology or feeling like she could handle dealing with cancer patients day after day.

Her friend responded by saying, "Well, I feel the same way about YOU. There’s no way I could raise a special needs child. You’re obviously gifted in that area and God knew that.”

Well, Chrystie's post was all about how she felt she is NOT gifted to do that. And I agree with her. From what she says, that's not her gift.

Now before you start accusing me of being an awful person for talking like that about the wife of my oldest son, and mother of one of my grandchildren, just know that I love her very much, and read on about WHY I agree with her.

You see, I believe most people do not think about or understand the difference between a GIFT and a CHALLENGE.

Chrystie's friend has a GIFT. She enjoys what she is doing. Most importantly, she chose what she is doing. Chrystie and I may not understand how she manages working as a cancer care nurse because it’s not our thing. We just don't have that gift.

And yes, I was trained as an RN, but trust me, it was not my calling. It was more what some of my family thought I should do, because "if you're a nurse, you can always find work." They didn't take into account that while I might have the brains to become a nurse, I didn't have the temperament to stay a nurse. Cause while I was actually quite good at it, I was not perfect. And any nurse who tells you he/she always makes the right decisions is a lair. Nobody is perfect, and all medical personnel will at some time or other either omit to do the right thing, or flat out do the wrong thing, and a patient will suffer for it.

I couldn't deal with that. I have a hard enough time dealing with making a mistake caring for one of my animals. It haunts me. So imagine how it haunts me to mess up the care of a PERSON. You have to be able to focus on how you are doing a good job helping people the majority of the time, not focus on when you mess up. I couldn’t do that.

But I digress.

The point I am trying to make is that while being a cancer care nurse like Chrystie’s friend is an admirable calling, it really isn't any different than other occupations I do not have a gift for and can not understand how someone could do day after day.

For instance, I don't know how Richard sits and writes programs all day, or Jess doing estimating, because I do NOT have the necessary gifts, and it would make my brain hurt to even try it. I wouldn’t want to be a research scientist, a physical therapist, a minister, a fireman, a full-time farmer, or any one of hundreds of much needed occupations, but obviously there are some people who do.

They choose to use their gifts in their occupation, and for the most part, enjoy it.

Being challenged is different. You don’t choose a challenge. No one says, “I want to give birth to a baby with special needs.” No one says, “I’d like to live a life of pain.” No one says, “I want to be diabetic.” No one says. . . well, you get the idea.

And when someone says "I don't know how you do that; I could never do it,” they really aren’t thinking about what they’re saying. I understand what they’re trying to convey, that they realize you’re dealing with a hard thing and they don’t think they could deal with it. And maybe they’re even trying to compliment you on how well YOU deal with it.

But the fact is, they WOULD deal with it, because if it happened to them, then they wouldn't have any choice. That’s the key difference between having a gift and dealing with a challenge, a matter of choice.

Oh, I suppose you could chose to abandon a special needs child, for instance. Or commit suicide to put an end to dealing with a health problem. Those are pretty drastic choices, however, so let's say you don't have much reasonable choice but to go ahead and deal with a challenge.

I think the biggest part of the time, most people do not have the natural gifts to deal with a challenge. (Otherwise, it wouldn't be much of a challenge, right?) Chrystie says she was never big on taking care of kids, let alone one with special needs. I can remember even as a teenager, when I’d read or hear about people dealing with pain, I’d think, “I couldn’t do that. I don’t have the courage.”

Life is full of ironies.

It seems like our challenges are growing experiences, where we learn to do things we would never have tried otherwise. We may even become so proficient dealing with a challenge that people think we have a gift. But anything you learn to do in order to deal with a challenge is not the same thing as having a natural gift you enjoy and choose to use voluntarily.

So yeah, I agree with Chrystie. She's no more gifted for raising a special needs child than I am gifted to deal with pain. Instead, I think she's tackling a challenge she would never have chosen to do, that really wasn't her thing, because she loves her child and wants the best for her.

I admire people who enjoy and choose to use their gifts. But even more, I admire people like Richard and Chrystie who rise to meet a challenge, who are doing something that is almost an ANTI-gift, because it’s the opposite of anything they were interested in or would have chosen to do. They’re taking the lemons life has handed them and instead of making a sour face, they’re making lemonade.

And that's the best any of us can do.

De Pain, De Pain!

Anybody remember the old tv show, "Fantasy Island", with Ricardo Montalban? (Gotta love that guy; what an actor! He did such a good Khan.) If you remember the show, remember the little guy running around the island at the beginning of the show hollering, ‘De plane! De plane!” as all the guests get shuttled in for their fantasy filled island retreat. He’s running around in my head these days shouting “De pain, de pain!” but this ain’t no fantasy I’m living, and it ain’t no retreat.

Nope. This is real life. And anyone who has lived very long has met up with pain of some sort somewhere along the way. If not, they are either very lucky or living a very shallow life.

I should be doing all kinds of things right now. I need to get some snail mail done. I need to do laundry. I need to think about what all needs to be taken care of before we go on a trip next week and get that done too. I have all kinds of online work I could be doing.

But right now my body isn’t cooperating too well, and my brain isn’t focusing. Instead, there are thoughts and emotions swirling around in there like debris in a hurricane. Getting blown around, sometimes violently, sometimes a little calm in the eye of the storm, then right back to wildly whipping in the wind. It’s bad weather inside there folks.

I’m tired. Pain is fatiguing for one thing. But I suspect even if I were healthy, it would still be a battle right now to try to do everything I’m doing. I’m in transition. I’m trying to hang on. I’m looking and looking, trying to see that light at the end of the tunnel.

I know I’ve got more things to do than I can possibly get done. Too bad. They need done anyway. "Pare down your responsibilities," you say? Sounds like good advice, now just tell me what in Hades I can stop doing?

The farm chores? I’m hanging in there until such time as Jess can retire. Oh, he could retire now, but neither one of us are too eager to live on social security. Which brings up the internet work. The more I learn, the more there is to do. At some point I can outsource some of the work, but for now, it’s just me having to do it all.

Quitting just is not an option. This is the only way I can see of earning a living.

Now there are all kinds of ways to make money on the internet. And there are also many ways to lose your shirt to scammers or just not knowing or understanding what you are doing. Some ways of earning money fit my personality better than others and it’s taken time to figure out what those are. All of this takes time, both to learn how to do things and for a business to grow and make money. I am fitting more and more pieces together and feel the scales should tip in the next few months, maybe even weeks.

But again, it takes time. Time, it’s always a factor!

Maybe as much or even more than time itself is being able to USE the time. Being able to focus, to work without fatigue or pain clouding your brain.

But in the meantime, I am working as hard as I can. You can’t see the effects, unless you count the fact the animals haven’t keeled over and died from starvation, or we aren’t running around naked because I do eventually get around to washing clothes, or. . well, just don’t look at the house. There really is a limit to how much I can manage.

Time, time and money. One can always use more of both.

I’m spending money to go to the Fibro Clinic again. I need to be able to work longer hours. I need to banish the fatigue more often so I can get more work done and be able to exercise. I need to have my thyroid hormones regulated and other body functions put back to rights as much as possible. Until this happens, the fatigue prevents me from getting anyways near as much done as I would like or need to do. And it messes with my metabolism, making it nigh impossible to lose weight.

It’s all depressing too. I really don’t eat that much junk. Ice cream on Friday nights. I buy a big bar of dark chocolate as my main treat, and it usually lasts for two weeks. But the weight just keeps hanging on and I need to do something about that too. So it’s off to the Fibro/Fatigue Clinic, and hope they can help me get my body working as near optimum as possible.

Regular doctors can't take the time and/or don't have the specific knowledge to deal with the whole spectrum of problems that can be mixed in with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, not to mention an obscure problem like thoracic neuralgia. Insurance won't compensate them for the time they'd have to take with one patient to deal with it all and really understand and listen. Would government run health care be better? Not bloody likely. I have a friend in the UK who has fibromyalgia and can't get the health care she needs, and waits months to get in to see specialists.

No, I'm thinking it wouldn't matter. For such specialized health care, you're going to pay out of your pocket no matter what kind of health system is in place. But I need to function better, to be able to do more. So there we are.

Time and money. Never enough of both, ha!

I just have too many things in flux right now. I’m working on my health, I’m working on a new career, I’m working on just hanging on until I can get to the next level in so many different areas in my life. I’m looking forward to a housekeeper, and paying someone else to do the drudge work like directory submissions and other stuff needed to keep websites running and building traffic.

For now the guys are both working at their own full time jobs. (I think I’m working at 2 or 3.) But they are away from home, and I am here.

I hope I survive.

So, What Did The Doctor Say?

Well, it’s obviously been a long time since I updated this blog.

We had a good visit in West Virginia, and obviously got home okay. Since then we’ve made another little trip, this time to Georgia for my appointment at the Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Clinic last Wednesday. A couple of people have asked me how it went, so here’s what happened. . .

This appointment was for an hour with the doctor, as we needed to go over all the lab reports and get more going by the way of treatment. And believe it or not, we actually took more than an hour. She must not have had someone booked for the next half hour time slot, so she kept talking, then asked if I had any questions.

What’s more, it’s obvious the doctor actually spends some time prior to your appointment going over your lab reports and treatment plan. She had made a spreadsheet with my lab results from the first time I was there almost two years ago, and a month after that, and then my most recent labwork.

A few things stayed the same over the entire time span, but for the most part the readings were better after the first month of treatment, and then this last time, my most recent labwork was worse. Some of it WAY worse. Oops.

For instance, my thyroid hormone levels got really fouled up again. That doesn’t surprise me, because for some obscure reason, my regular doctor suddenly decided to decrease the dosage on one of my thyroid meds. It’s going to be jacked back up again now. Sigh. . .

The lab results having to do with my immune system showed that it, shall we say, is somewhat compromised. Not unusual with fibromyalgia patients. At present, I also have a chronic sinus infection. All this resulted in a lecture as to how I needed to treat any infections aggressively and not wait around hoping it would go away. The doc even had a little drawing somewhat like a flow chart showing all the different problems caused because the immune system isn’t up to par, and infections may die down but remain latent, then flare back up again, and bottom line, I’m on an antibiotic.

AND a probiotic, and energy type supplements, and vitamin D (low levels there!), and a couple of meds for a systemic candida infection.

After talking about lab results and what I needed to do treatment wise for the next month, she also discussed treatment we'll be doing on down the road to take care of another problem I have with my blood, and possibilities of some other problems I might have (like testing for Lyme Disease).

At least this time there was only one needlestick (hooray!), as the nurse put in the butterfly for the IV, and the lab tech got her needed 12 vials of blood before they started the IV meds.

Once I got the IV meds and a shot, I was ready to go home again. Thankfully, Jess was driving, because I'm pretty well done in after one of these visits.

I just hope all this helps. I need more energy. LOTS MORE ENERGY!!!!