Monday, October 10, 2011

Today I Say Thank You

Last night, this earth lost one of the most beautiful and inspiring women I ever had the fortune of knowing. She was one of those rare teachers who demanded excellence all while encouraging your unique talents. She was one of those rare mothers who managed to be there on every level for her children and remember that it was the memories that counted. She was one of those rare women who simply lit up a room, put warmth in your heart and radiated with God's love. And it always seems those rare women are the one's that leave us too soon.

Kris Ross leaves three children and a husband behind. She leaves her family here. She leaves countless friends here. And now she sits with her Father, watching and keeping peace and strength for those of us that mourn. She is the epitome of what a guardian angel should be. And what an amazing guardian angel those three children and her husband now have.

Deaths like these make anger a quick response. What a wretched disease breast cancer is. You want rail against the injustice of such a lovely life being ended before she got to see her children graduate high school, or get married, or have children of their own. What a fantastic grandmother she would have been! Deaths like this, make screaming at the heavens seem intelligent. The loss that this world feels, the mourning that is felt, just seems to large to cope with. But in the end the screaming only leaves you feeling hollow. The anger only leaves you feeling empty.

So I'll thank God today. For a woman who encouraged my 8th grade self when it was desperately needed. For a woman who saw something in my writing that until recently I had forgotten I possessed. I'll thank God she was placed in our community for that short period. For the lives she altered, for the paths she changed. I'll thank Him for the three lives she carried and nurtured. I'll say thank you that they knew their mother if only for a brief time. Thank you for allowing her to be Todd's wife. Thank you for allowing her to be a friend and an inspiration. Thank you for her life.

Today I will forget the laundry and the dishes and chores and endless tasks that always replicate and never end. And I will watch a movie with my boys and hold them. I will finger paint and make play dough sculptures and bake sugar cookies. I WILL be thankful for what I've been given. I will actually pay attention when I kiss my husband hello tonight and allow myself to be present. I will take moment and stop, and look around and be thankful. I've been given such a beautiful life. And am so lucky it was touched by Kris Ross. Her body may no longer be here but her spirit lives on forever. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Month 2 of Hive Hell

So after a month it is more than time to go back to my primary care physician and talk about an allergist. He'd run some prelim tests in which not much came back and didn't really tell us anything and let's see we are going on 6 weeks and I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME! To say it's frustrating just doesn't cover the magnitude of the issue.

Everyday I wake up and hope and pray there aren't new hives on my body. Everyday I hope and pray that when I get home from the gym there aren't new hives on my body. Everyday I hope and pray that I will just make it through the day without wanting to rip off my skin or itch or rub or cry from the pure and very unsatisfying feelings of failure to help myself and self loathing. You see, when you take a woman who already has severe body issues, who already thinks she is failing at life in most areas (another blog, another day) and keep her from going to the gym or being able to drink a glass of wine because of all the meds, or garden or take a walk because of the ridiculous heat, you keep her from being able to soak in a hot tub or take a hot shower because, again, of the heat... well, then you've taken every single on of her stress relievers. When you take away every single one of my stress relievers and I'm left with nothing but my words and my feelings, you've left me in a very lonely place where I can very easily self destruct. And I turn to food. I turn to food to comfort me. I turn to food.

So at week 6 I'm in to see an allergy specialist. His name is Dr. Herscher and I've got to be honest here, he just doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence. I explain everything: the hives, when they started, the swelling, when that started, the uncontrollable nature of everything. No I can't pin point a specific detail tying it all together. Yes it happens all the time. No I'm not using anything new. Yes, I've tried multiple topical products. Yes, I'm taking anti-histamines. Here's what I'm on: Benedryl, Zyrtec, Zantac, Doxepin. Zyrtec and Zantac twice a day, Benedryl as needed. Doxepin at night. I'm the walking dead. Do you know how I feel on a daily basis ingesting all of that?

He looks at me, throws out a couple of possibilites but he's pretty sure it's food related. Asks me what I eat a lot of and starts ticking off boxes. In the end, I'm leaving with a lab request for Lab Corp. A VERY LONG lab request for Lab Corp. With almost every food I eat regularly and things like gluten and bulgar and wheat, and all of the outside stimulants: grasses and pollen and trees.

Now, see, I've only been on the Doxepin for about a week and it is helping. I think I had about 4 or 5 days without any hives! And those days felt like heaven, literal heaven. I almost felt normal. Except for the waiting for the other shoe to drop part. And we go on vacation. My oldest niece, Chelsey, was graduating from high school and we decided to take the boys to Sea World. My appointment was on a Friday and I didn't have time to go to Lab Corp before we left so I went when we got back.

Almost three weeks later!!! And still no results. Partly due to this: So it turns out the swelling does have a small link. Sex. Intercourse. Yeah, that sucks. Within hours afterwards, every time, something swells. It obviously did not take long to uh, put two and two together, but once I did, I called, assuming that new tests might need to be run. I was, of course, right and now I'm stuck waiting longer for results since we added to the requests and had to come in and draw some more blood. This little piece of info has put a major damper on my relationship with my husband. Sex = swelling. No sex = no swelling. Well you can figure out which equation we function under currently.

This brings us to now. Specifically, last Friday. June 8, 2011. I finally get a call. You know 10 weeks from the beginning of all this insanity. 10 weeks of HIVE HELL. As it turns out I'm allergic to quite a few things. We'll start with the level 1's: Chicken, Strawberry, Zucchini. The level 2's: Peaches, Pineapple, Summer squash, Winter squash, Pumpkin, Broccoli, Citrus Fruit. And for the next month I have to give all of these up. All of them. Don't touch them, don't eat them, don't even look at them. They are off limits. They are food bombs.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Month 1 of Hive Hell

I have hives. It's technical name being Chronic Urticaria as they have now existed on my body for longer than 8 weeks with no explanation and/or cause/cure. Here is what I have to say about this information:


So with that said... Let me explain whats going on, my journey with this nonsense and why I've finally come here. Either Easter weekend or the week following I began breaking out in random hives. We're not sure as to the exact date because I thought I'd been bitten by mosquitoes Easter weekend in Ozona but now we think those "bites" were probably early hives. These raised welts on my body were small at first. Itched like the dickens but really, could be ignored if I just tried really hard. It was about a week after this that I realized they were hives and not mosquito bites. Really though, I wasn't worried. I just assumed I had gotten into something and that eventually it would run through my system and all of this would go away.

And then the swelling started. First was my right eye. Jason was playing a game, I was playing with the iPad and as bedtime drew closer I thought my eye was feeling funny but I just figured I was tired and it was heavy and it was time for me to drift off to sleepy-time land. And when I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth I was in for a rude awakening. My "heavy, sleep-time" eye was nearly swollen closed. At this point in our little drama, let the worry and freaking out begin because now I'm scared.

Problem was, in the morning it was fine and so I had nothing to take to a doctor but a grainy iPhone picture of my swollen eye. So I didn't go. Should have gone, most definitely but I didn't. I waited it out.

Meanwhile the hives had increased in size, frequency and symptoms. No longer just itchy, they hurt and when or if you itched them they burned. They stayed mostly on the core of my body: stomach, thighs, rear, back, chest, etc. And they could get HUGE! By the first weeks of May, my brain was boggled. I hadn't started using anything new. No creams or lotions, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, washes or fabrics. Everything was same old-same old and it was pissing me off.

And then my lip swelled. I woke up around 3am needing to go potty and I new my lip felt funny but I was tired and still half asleep so I just fell back in bed. Well at 6:30 when I woke up, funny was not the word I'd use any longer. I could not close my mouth. So I ran to the bathroom and flipped on the lights and stared straight into the mirror at a lip that appeared to have been given collagen injections by an untrained monkey. IT WAS HUGE! And that is almost an understatement. My bottom lip was so swollen I could put my lips together (insert inappropriate race driven joke here). And it throbbed! So at 8am, I called the doctor. Made my appointment and though by the time I could be seen most of the swelling had gone down I had more photos!

I explained everything to the doctor, he asked me questions about products, I answered in kind and he prescribed a steroid. I was in heaven because I assumed that now that I had a drug things were going to get better. I was soooooooo wrong!

Less than a week after I started this steroid, which to be honest was not helping at all, I got home from the gym with a headache. It had started that morning, I had hoped working out would help ease it, it hadn't so I turned to my trusty friend Ibuprofen. Did you know that Ibuprofen and Ibuprofen products can worsen the effect of skin conditions, such as hives and rashes? Neither did I! And so, by the time Jason got home I was in Hive Hell. A new Hive Hell. One where I could not stand still nor touch any part of my body because the mere brush of my hand against one of these areas made me feel as if some kind of living organism was underneath my epidermis and trying to scratch its way out. They covered my torso and working there way up my breasts onto my chest. They were all over my thighs and working there way to areas I'd much prefer not discuss here... but let's just say that those areas would be inappropriate to scratch in public.

Off to Care Now I go as it is after doctor's hours. I'm in hope that I will meet the guru of unexplainable hives and he'll tell me all the answers to all of my questions and prescribe me a miracle cure that will save me from wanting to peel off my skin. I of course, must wait 2 hours before seeing this guru because moments before I walked in the door, a bleeding toddler was brought in and he is priority #1. Gotta make sure those babies don't die... and all that jazz!

I was, of course, and again, wrong. I get another lecture about stress induced hives and that I need allergy work up done and blah, blah, blah. Enter nurse with cortisone shot and I am saved from my evil hands and the imaginary organisms burrowing under my top layer of skin.

Now let me stress that it's been a month now and the hives have just gotten worse. Are worsened by any type of strenuous activity or sweating. I now know I cannot take Ibuprofen, my go to drug for all pain, and random swelling is keeping me from leaving my house. Welcome to Month 1 of Hive Hell.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The 30 Before 30 List

And that is it ladies and gents! The 30 things I want to do before I'm 30. Today is June 13, 2011. I turn 30 on February 18, 2014. So I have 980 days (I did the math so it might be/ probably is a little off). Wow! That doesn't seem like that many days does it? So here is the full list with links to each page and how I'm doing so far.

1: A Healthier Me - I've started, but I wouldn't say I've reached the goal yet
2: Finish College - Nope
3: Get An Agent - Nope
4: Scrapbooking - I have started but I haven't reached that ultimate goal of doing it weekly.
5: Conquering Yeast Breads - Nope
6: Walk in the 3-Day - Nope/ Haven't signed up yet... Am I walking this year?
7: Lose My Black Thumb or Grow a Green Thumb - I have a pretty awesome garden started...
8: Learn to Love Running - I've started but there are no warm fuzzies for the experience yet.
9: Run a Half Marathon - Nope
11: Paint My Bedroom - I've picked a color!
12: Play Golf - I've thought about it but no...
13: Attend More Live Music Events - Nope
14: Volunteer - Nope
15: The Improv - Nope
16: Stop Procrastinating - Okay I am wokring on this but the goal has not been realized yet.
17: Meditate - Nope, but I'm really beginning to see how important it is!
18: Re-Do My Baby Albums - Nope
19: Experiencing Mother Nature - Nope
20: Try 1 New Recipe A Week - We are trying this... in fact we've been trying a lot of new recipes!
21: Learn To Make My Bed Every Day - Today marks day #1!
22: Take a Knife Skills Class - Nope
23: Read 5 Classic Novels I've Never Read - Nope
24: Go On A Cruise - Nope
25: Really Learn To Knit - Nope
26: Attend Sporting Events - Nope
27: The 365 Project - Nope
28: Buy A Scale - Nope
29: Scrapbook Jason's Boy Scout Photos - Nope
30: Buy A House - Nope

So that is where I stand. I'll update periodically so keep checking back!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

#30: Buy a House

If you don't know this, we rent. It's a long drawn out story, one I'm not going to get into, but we rent our house. And we'd like to own one. I think.

I can't really decide. I'm having trouble seeing the upside as I like that someone else takes care of the major problems but I have been told that home ownership is one of those things you have to do in your life. That's it like the icing on the cake of adulthood. That you aren't completely an adult until you own a home. Like I said I'm not seeing he advantage but I'll do the research, I'm sure I'll get there.

So we will buy a house before I'm 30.

#29: Scrapbook Jason's Boy Scout Photos

Two years ago I bought everything I needed to do this. Asked Lynda for photos, got a jump start on it, wanted to give it to him for Christmas and NEVER finished. I'd really like to do it before my kiddos become cub scouts. And since Carson can do that at age 6, I need to finish up with that album before I'm 30.

Not to mention, it would mean a lot to Jason and I love him. Boy Scouts, becoming an Eagle Scout were very important milestones in his life and he deserves a memento that honors his hard work and all of his efforts. The scrapbook can be his way of showing the boys what Boy Scouts can provide for them. The knowledge and skills they will be taught. I believe scrapbooks are story books that chronicle the stories that make our lives what they are. The stories are what make the pictures. Those are the memories and that is important.

#28: Buy a Scale

Oh my goodness. This seems so small doesn't it? Just walk into any Walmart or Target in our country and buy one, right? Right? Wrong!

That number is evil. And it isn't about the number, to tell the truth. I want my weight issues to be about liking myself. Looking in the mirror and being satisfied. Putting on a swimsuit and not being self conscious. I feel like women are trapped by the number. It's their center. Everything about how they feel about themselves, about their self worth and their beauty rests on that number! I know that I'm like that to a certain extent and I don't even have a scale to give me a daily readout of how I'm failing to control that NUMBER! AGH!

What is it about that NUMBER that controls us? I'm a tall, curvy woman. I get away with carrying around extra weight because my build hides it. I'm well proportioned. As skinny girls say, I'm voluptuous. I HATE that word.

I've digressed. I need to buy a scale. It's step 1 in facing my fear of the number. Taking back control. And I'll do that... sometime before I turn 30. Probably February 17, 2014.