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Saturday, August 19, 2017



I wish I could follow that by saying I felt so strong and encouraged that I made Steve take me out line dancing, but alas-I cannot.

Monday I decided that enough was enough and took the dogs and walked around the park.  That was an experience.  Lucky's paw is still hurting her and barely made it home.  She's turning into a "pudge" so we've cut back her food.  Poor little baby-she doesn't even eat 1/2 cup of food total in a day as it is and now a diet???  But better than her turning into a sausage.

I came home and rested and followed that by dusting the house.  Again, a rest was needed.

Tuesday came and I again walked around the block with the dogs, rested and then walked down to Adam's to see him and the grands, followed by (I'm sure you're getting the drill) resting before walking home.

Wednesday I decided to walk the "small" side of the tract.  That's a mile.  I did it with Lucky in my arms the last 1/4 mile.  I then proceeded to lie down and do nothing for the next day and a half.

Hence the "two step".

Friday, I didn't walk at all but Steve and I went to go see a very good date movie which was appropriately titled, "The Big Sick".  True story.  I suggest it highly-which as you know means it was really good.  A few of the scenes in the hospital were a bit too close too home, but it was nice to do something fun and in-medical.

Also this week, I mentioned something on our Anthem page on FaceBook which had someone tell me about a support group for those of us with Valley Fever.  I was invited to join the page and I'm finding out a lot of things I didn't know.  Plus, someone who lives really close to me is also on the board and we're hoping we will find a way to gather our strength and meet up for actual face-to-face support.

That would be great!  Steve has been wonderful and supportive and I truly don't know what I would have done without him, but he has no idea what RA is really like or how the fatigue and symptoms from the Valley Fever intermingle with it on a daily basis.

It's nice to have a page to go to share stories and ideas about something few people know anything about-I'm all about facing things head on.  So, here I go-

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Hard Life 2  

Hard Life

Saturday, August 12, 2017



Someone is sulking because after three times I told her I wasn't playing the let me in let me out game anymore today.

Friday, August 11, 2017



August started out with some happy fun-Jackson turned 4!  To say he celebrated would be an understatement.  It was also my first attempt at socializing (at party #1) with the human race.

It was a successful morning of fun for Jackson and his best friend Bradley.  Bradley is two weeks older and since they're in the same class and both kids live a good distance away from the pre-school they attend, the parents decided to do a joint "Super Hero" party.

It was at a local pizza place with games for all ages.  I know this because Adam had a great time winning some bouncy balls for Jackson and Bryce.  He was proud of himself-not easy to win all of those tickets in one of these Chuckie Cheese clones!

The kids had a blast, everyone was happy with their time celebrating and Sam did an excellent job on the themed "Super Hero" cake for the boys.  She also made every child their own superhero cape!  Sam's amazing!

Right after the party, Adam took me home for a nap.  It was really, really nice to be out with people and out of the house, but those 2-1/2 hours wiped me out for the rest of the day.  Came in and let the pups out and followed that with a nap.

Adam, Sam and the kids then went to California to visit family and celebrate Jackson's birthday with both sides there.  By the time they got home and it was actually the real date of his birth, Jackson was thinking that birthdays last a very long time.

In their absence, Steve and I took care of the four cats.  I couldn't walk to the other end of the block, but I was able to manage the drive.  It was tiring, but at least I could say I did it.

A couple of wonderful girlfriends also came by and picked me up so we could enjoy some coffee together.  I lasted barely over an hour and 15 minutes-but we got to see each other and I didn't have to feel as if I were a prisoner of Valley Fever for a while.

This week was a bit more tiring as I've been really trying to do more:  laundry, cooking the meals again, even went to the grocery store to pick out my own veggies and fruit.  That was on the same day that we met Adam for breakfast-so it was a "big" day for me.

I wound up sleeping until 8 a.m. that next morning I was so exhausted for those 2 events.  Normally that wouldn't have been a problem, but we had a 9 o'clock appointment for Pepper at the vet to re-check his mouth after his dental surgery.  We also had to discus the pesky problem of his not wanting to use his litter box even though his mouth no longer hurt!

He's 14 and change.  We're doing what we can to accommodate.  We spent $50 on a special pheromone atomizer for the kitchen.  We also spent almost the same on:  a second litter box, scoop, more litter (okay, we had to get that anyway), lavender oil to spray on the mats he keeps leaving "gifts" on and a mat to put under the new box.  Oh and the spray bottle to spray the lavender oil.

I know, you're thinking we're nuts.  But just like our 2-legged kids, we love him dearly and will do whatever we possibly can to keep him with us for as long as possible.  Remember, he came to us with his "abnormal" front legs when he was just 4 weeks old.  Outside of the first few weeks, he's never given us anything but love and smiles.  He's getting old and that's okay, as long as he's here and not in pain.

So August is a bit improved over all of July and the end of June.  If all goes as I plan-by month's end, I will drive myself the 3 miles to the pool, take my class and drive home. Even if I have to nap afterwards-that's my goal and hopefully, I'll be able to stick to it.

Friday, August 04, 2017


Slow But Sure

This week saw some strength improvement. I actually drove my car from my house down to Adam's and back to feed their 4 cats.  That sounds pathetic (and it sort of is) but the fact that I drove down there, fed them, played a few minutes and then drove home after feeding and pottying our 3 fur babies and then preparing breakfast is actually quite the fete!

I've also begun to breakdown dinner prep into several sections so that I can manage to get something on the table when Steve gets home.

It's those little things, that never occurred to be before, that add up to feeling as if I've turned the corner from seriously sick to moderately inconvenienced.

Sarah had to drive me to my yearly bone density and mammogram-which then exhausted me into a naptime.  Then Steve drove me to the doctor's for another check-in.  It went pretty much as expected:  you are doing better but don't overdo or you'll just put yourself back.  I was told to just add a bit more every day and to remember how important resting is to my health at this point.

This morning Steve decided that we should go to our local bagel shop for breakfast.  We also had to stop at our insurance agent's office.  Both were tiring enough, but then I had to take the dogs across the street to the park for a "potty" break.

I say "had" because yesterday's monsoon freaked out poor Sunshine-who just hates the thunder and rain.  I'd put the thunder shirt on to help except that it's 105 outside and the humidity is Florida worthy at this point.  Too hot for the shirt!

By the time I was through with all that-it was a definite "rest period" for me.

Being old is not the only thing that isn't meant for sissies-evidently being sick is just as hard on a person.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Losing Control

When I broke my right foot almost 11 years ago, it was NOT fun.  I'm a bit of a control freak and suddenly I had to depend on both Steve and Adam to get me to and from work.  I had to learn how to ask for help-something that even on my worst unmedicated RA days I refused to do!  I was at the mercy of someone else to get me to where I needed to go, what I was eating (non-weight-bearing cast for 3 months) and even when household chores would be done.

I won't lie-all 3 of us had a bit of a problem during that first month learning that the household power had changed.  We all learned a lot!  I stopped needing to be in complete control and Steve learned how to shop and cook basic meals.  It actually did us a lot of good.

Now though, this bit of not only being quite sick but also dealing with the return of a lot of my RA symptoms is really getting me to feel quite frustrated and overwhelmed.

What used to be my usual morning without a single thought-now requires rest and extra time.  I have to rely on Steve and the kids to take me for my various appointments and then let the doctors order whatever they now need and endure the procedures.

And then we finally had to admit that our 14 year old love bug Pepper was going to need more than pain meds to get him through the day.

Sigh.  Just what we needed.  He has never used anything but his litterbox, but the pain in his teeth have him "showing" us on various mats throughout the house that he's not well.  So Steve took him in this morning for a minimum of 3 teeth extractions (he had 6 done about 10 years ago).  The girls aren't taking his absence well!  He's only been going and hour and they've been sitting at the door he went out of and whining.

Animals are way more caring and smart than we give them credit for.

And then there's the by-products of what our health insurance said it covers.  We started receiving notices of what possible charges will be for my 4 day stay in the less than posh local in-network hospital.  It was explained to me that only the "stay" is covered, that yes, I will be receiving bills from the doctors for services rendered.  Great.  So far, we now know that our expected share is upward of about $1,500.  I guess that's not so bad when you think of all that was done to me and for that many days.

I just wish that now that I've been home for over 2 weeks I could say I'm feeling well.  I hate sick, I hate being reliant on others and intruding on their lives-but this is the way it is for now.

My best guess is that I'll just have to "suck it up buttercup" and forge ahead.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


I've Been Really Sick

It all started after my usual 2 mile walk with my friend and fellow power walker on a Tuesday morning a few weeks ago-at this point I'm not sure when, forgive me.

After putting the pups back in the house, I walked down to Adam's place to watch the kids so he could work out.  Jackson looked at my upper arm and asked "what's that owie Grandma?"

It was a rash, didn't itch, didn't bother me-but since I was going to the dermatologist the next day, I told him I'd show it to her.  Well, by late afternoon I was running 101.3, felt awful and started coughing.  By morning, I knew I was going from the one doctor's office straight across the street to urgent care.

By the time I got there, I couldn't breathe and I looked like I should join a leper colony.  Everything was "killing" me.  Took a chest x-ray-pneumonia and pleurisy.  Wound up having 3 days of antibiotic shots, oral antibiotics and in general, felt horrible.  X-ray showed a mass in the right lung.

Let's just say the next week got even worse.  By July 5th-I was admitted to the hospital.  Breathing treatments, bags upon bags of antibiotics and a bronchoscopy was performed.  Finally stabilized enough that they let me go home Sunday night.

Bronchoscopy showed that besides the pneumonia, I had contracted the dreaded "valley fever".  Not good for a person with RA.  I was already taken off my meds because it would make the pneumonia worse, but now I may never be able to go back on them.  Will be on antifungal meds for at least 3 months.  The RA is already flaring-extremely sore and swollen feet and hands (no wedding rings for me).

While I commend my nurses and the two doctors that took very good care of me-I also must say that being n a hospital really sucks.  The kitchen was told that I was on a heart diet/no dairy.  Every single meal (even the ones I literally ordered face to face with one of the managers) came with dairy and inedible!

No joke-I asked for a vegan option and the gentleman looked me in the face and literally said, "we have salmon-will that work for you?"  Sigh.

Was never so happy as when Steve picked me up and took me home.  Still very sick and weak, but better than when I was put into my hospital room several days before.

Obviously, the dogs were extremely happy to have me home.  Both are my constant companions-Velcro personified.  Pepper wants in the mix, but the girls keep him relegated to night time cuddles.  He sits on a recliner across from me and stares.

Steve, poor guy-I'm so weak that I have to take a rest with every activity.

Take this morning-got up did my usual personal routine, cleaned the litter box, fed the pets, cut fruit for breakfast and let the dogs out.  Needed a rest.  Broke out into a sweat.  Took me an hour to eat my fruit and oatmeal.

My beloved two cups of coffee to help get me started in the morning?  No thanks, but as of this morning I actually have had a cup and it didn't do much to my body.

Not much of an appetite-lost 8 pounds.  Everyone from Steve to the medical staff keep telling me to eat-I'm honestly doing my best but nothing really appeals to me and when I eat it, it doesn't really taste that good or go "down" very well.

Now that I've written this-I'm seeing stars.  My GP told me yesterday to give myself a break and realize this is a long term healing situation.  I can't drive-not enough energy.

Valley Fever and the rest suck, but at least I'm almost beginning to believe that this too shall indeed pass and I might be able to join the world of the living soon.

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