18 May 2015

At the Beach; Officially Summer

The Fun Kids, Cincinnati group, got a break from school and a taste of summer as we all headed for a beach vacation--Ocean Beach Club at Virginia Beach. This is our third trip together to OCB--LC's first trip was in-uetro but still, he was there!

We breakfasted at Pocahontas a few times; a tradition and it's just across Atlantic Avenue from OCB.

Tons of pool-time.

And, we chased waves both on Virginia Beach and at nearby Croatan Beach, a family favorite.

A new discovery this week is the 10th Floor Terrace with a huge fire pit--just next-door at Oceanaire and accessible to OCB guests. A great place to hangout when the sun goes down and the temperatures dip a bit.

04 May 2015

Auto-Immune Disorder

Whew! Not a journey I expected. But, after vague and varied symptoms for several years, and very specific and life-style impacting symptoms since mid-summer 2014, I'm determined to get to the bottom of this. Name it. Claim it. Tame it.

My visit with the female Rheumatologist I was eventually sent to (after 9 months of consulting with my longtime Internist; and some scattered bloodwork) fell far short of my hope and expectations. She is a poor listener and did a clumsy, hurried exam. i.e., She examined me by running her hands over and palpitating my body trunk and limbs through my jeans and long-sleeved t-shirt and sweater. Yep! That felt really thorough and professional.

Amazingly, she diagnosed Tendonitis in my upper and lower left arm, Bursitis in both hips, and some alignment and muscle issues in the right side of my upper back. Then she sent me away with some overly-Xeroxed pages of exercises for the Bursitis, and, illogically, Plantar Faciitis. And, two prescriptions that I did not want or plan to fill. She said she'd review my Internist's patient notes and the test results previously accumulated in my medical records to determine further testing requirements.

I'm a good patient so when I got home I attempted to decipher the Bursitis exercises and Googled exercises for Tendonitis. After concluding the Xeroxed pages to be of zero help, I spent some time reviewing online videos of appropriate PT, and figured out which Yoga positions and movements will be therapeutic for Bursitis and Tendonitis. I will do these exercises, faithfully.

After some thought, I'd planned to cancel the follow-up appointment because I've recently decided to change Internist's--have a fresh start with a female physician; a clear perspective. I was going to let my new Internist, Dr. ME, decide whether I need a Rheumatologist and whom that might be. And, I'm not filling the two Rx's until Dr. ME evaluates.

Then, the Rheumatologist called me this morning recommending some specific bloodwork and testing. Causing me to re-process and re-evaluate. She for sure won't be my Rheumatologist going forward, but I've decided to get the testing done so that my new Internist can get a full and complete picture of my health status when we meet for the first time on June 15.

That's my story. Let's see if I stick to it!

05 April 2015

Easter 2015

We've been to a 9:00am Easter Service, eaten brunch at Papa G's, and are babysitting these Fun Kids for a couple of days. (Easter egg hunt was yesterday.)
They were maybe over-promised "fun" with their grandparents; or, at least we've under-delivered.
It's a gorgeous afternoon and they've played a bit in the nearby woods, but this afternoon's most cherished activity was counting down the time until the the promised Lego Batman movie viewing, 5:45pm.

04 April 2015

Facebook is ridiculous. Life is rich.


Some app or other required me to have a Facebook account, so I set up an innocuous "dummy" account. Facebook could not leave well enough alone--working hard to glean information from my other web activities. They always got it all wrong.

Often I would view my older sister's Facebook account to see family updates. I quit that. I found even navigating Facebook pages with an iPhone or iPad cumbersome and time wasting. And, there was just too much junk to wade through to get to anything even tangentially relevant. If my family wants me to have photos and updates, they can call or email me.

I know what's going on in the lives of my friends and any close family members, because they keep in touch with me. And, I pray for them.

I regularly chat by phone and FaceTime with those who care about me and my husband, kids, and grandkids. I'm an emotionally generous person and I make sure to keep reciprocal, loving relationships current.

This Auto-immune drama of the past 8 months is exhausting and complex. Even good, competent doctors have differing opinions. I've found that the insincere people in my life don't acknowledge the debilitating and exhausting symptoms I'm enduring. They don't bother to keep in touch or offer encouragement and support; check on my well-being. Life is too short to chase down fair-weather friends and family members.

I'm doing well, emotionally and physically--after 3 months of a very bad flare, highly exacerbated by over 3 months of a prescription that caused accute insomnia. I still have a ways to go, but sifting through the pain and inconveniences of this disorder with doctors and my loved ones has been both productive and enlightening. Being proactive here has migrated into other important areas of my life.

I'm done talking behind peoples' backs. A life-time, family-of-origin communication style. I forsake that sin, and with God's help I will speak direct truth to those I love.

I'm done with people who have sinned against me and cannot find the conviction to confess, repair our relationship, and move forward in God's grace. If you cannot ask for forgiveness--not only from God, but from those you've sinned against--you're only limiting how God's grace will expand in your own life. If I've sinned against you and you tell everyone except me about it, how can I seek your forgiveness? How will I recognize my sin?

I'm done giving advice and time, and emotions to those who choose to wallow in life's hurts and dramas. (Lately, I've been reading about "secondary benefits." Allowing the rehashing of one's past pain to attract sympathy and attention in the present.) No one can control anyone other than themselves, and any one person's influence on another is minimal. Everyone has a story. It's what you do after that counts.

I will continue to give help and support, and pray for those in need. I can very effectively do that without the continual re-hashing of the details, dramas, pain, and history behind the prayer request. I no longer have the stamina required to enter into someone else's turmoil. And, God isn't asking me to.

Beware of anyone claiming to have "discernment." That's like having to tell everyone that you're pretty or smart. If you have "the gift of discernment" it'll be easily apparent to all.

So, if you haven't heard from me lately it might be that you owe me a call. Maybe you owe me an apology.

And, if you are in the midst of pain and/or drama you can be assured I'm praying for you. I don't need all the details bogging down my spirit; I still pray.

God is in control. I'm working hard to not impede his actions or process. He's sufficient. After all those years of me thinking he needed my wisdom, words, emotions, intervention. He's sufficient.


25 March 2015

Still More Questions than Answers

Salzburg, 2009. Beautiful memories.


A frustrating, yet productive doctor appointment. Don't think my GP can be consistently committed to this auto-immune journey I'm on. Sometimes he seems to be all-in and other visits he seems somewhat dismissive.

We have a plan... I gradually discontinue the Cymbalta I've been on since December 1st, for nerve pain. Already cut the dosage in half 3 weeks ago; now it goes away gradually over the next 7-10 days. It has to, since two documented side-effects are my most troubling current symptoms--fatigue and insomnia. So, I am set-up for a grab bag of consequences. A relief from the side effects? A return of the original nerve pain? A total absence of a SSRI, which I've had in one form or another for almost 20 years. Continuing and renewed auto-immune issues.

Best scenario: no anxiety, no nerve pain, lessening fatigue, better sleep, weight loss.

Time will tell.


And, I'm to see a Rheumatologist at the end of April.


Oh, and then those nasty abscesses... A maintenance antibiotic cream to minimize the chance of infection, and "wait-and-see."