Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Seemingly Never Ending Saga...

I have been dealing with many things as of late... Health issues, family issues and a death in the family. I have been dealing with pre-operative testing and driving back and forth from PENN medicine in Philly. Along with that... We have been trying juggle trips between snow storms and staying on track with DH's work schedule and it not having a negative impact on his attendance and our wallet. It's not easy and we are very thankful for FMLA and what it allows.

Family issues are just that... Family stuff and expectations along with good manners. It is hurtful to me when I go to great trouble to send generous gifts and my phone never rings to acknowledge that gift. Not just from the kiddos it was sent to, but also their parents. I can't be generous like that too often and won't be sending gifts like that again.

We received a call just over 2 weeks ago that DH's grandmother was hospitalized and wasn't going to last much longer. We hastily made arrangements for our pups, packed bags, and rearranged calendars and appointments, held mail, and called the bank while on the road. We were in DH's hometown for a total of 10 days, staying in a small inn just south of there. We ate all of our meals out except for one, and purchased groceries and supplies for all those staying at his father's house. We bought meals for people staying at the hospital and lent support to his 2 sisters who decided to stay at the hospital for the duration. To say it was stressful is really moot now. It is always that way in these types of situations.

When DH's gram began to transition, she was moved back home on hospice. DH was able to accompany her on her last journey to her home and comfort her and hold her hand. We stayed close by and tried to be supportive as each person had time with her to say good bye. On what was to be her last night with us, Gram's daughter brought down Gram's jewelry box. We were instructed to go through it and take pieces that would mean something to each of us. I had a small pile of things and had been making certain anything that I saw that was valuable was given to DH's aunt. I ended up taking a small gold bracelet for DH's daughter, a couple small lapel pins, and 2 costume sliding hearts. Nothing of any real value, just nice looking pieces that I would wear.

Later that night, we got the call that Gram had passed and did we want to come back before they took her. We made the journey quickly... Went in to see her. As we went into the kitchen after, I was subjected to what brings the worst out in people at times like that. DH's sister said ominously that she wanted to talk to me... And tried to push DH out of the way and told him to go away. He stood his ground and stayed to witness the travesty that unfolded... She attacked me about what jewelry I had taken, that it may be of great value and it better not be sold. (I quietly replied, "first wife, yes... Second wife, no.") She then went on to attack me about not being invited to our wedding... And I replied, "we've been down this road." DH's cousin and his aunt were sitting right there... And they both stopped her from continuing on. I was mortified, embarrassed and upset at being accosted like that. I walked away to the other side of the room to get my coat and DH's father was standing there. He saw that I was upset and asked me what was wrong... I think I muttered something to the effect that I didn't fit into his family and Imturned and went out the back door with DH right behind me. 

His father came out the door and proceeded to scream at me about my attitude. I asked him to stop yelling and he continued... So I walked to the car and got in... Not saying another word. I had DH drive me to the inn. I went in and retrieved the small box of jewelry and told him to take it back to his aunt.

We didn't really speak to his father or his 2 sisters for the duration of our time there. We were relegated to sitting in the 4th row of chairs... And it was very awkward at then luncheon after. DH and I are really speechless at the actions of certain members of his family. It was a sad time only increased by the ugliness of people who were grieving. We have to return in April for the burial... I hope I can take it.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Sunday Seven...

I have not blogged in quite a long time... because I have been dealing with some health issues. Things that are on-going and some things that are coming up. Here is a list of seven things that are going on or have gone on in the last few weeks! Lists are an easy thing for me to do, so here we go!

1.  We had so much snow this week that my DH's work actually closed for the first time in years!

2. We have so much plowed snow in our yard that the piles are over 8 feet high. Those won't melt away until late April.

3. I made some awesome things in the kitchen recently... homemade macaroni salad, Korean beef, Potato soup, thick cut pan fried ham steaks, just to name a few things!

4. I see my rheumatologist this week... I think she is going to be very surprised to see just how far R/A has progressed in my hands. All 5 fingers and my wrist on the left and 4 of my 5 fingers and wrist on the right all show signs of inflammation and with redness and nodules. I have to be very careful with water in the kitchen now as only light warm water feels ok... hot water is all very hot and very cold water really hurts too.

5. I have been going through my personal closet and so far I have boxed up over 20 pairs of shoes and decided to part with the majority of my handbags. Many of which are bags costing over $100 - $300. I have a former co-worker than is willing to take all of this off my hands. She is a lucky girl!

6. I have been working really hard at trying to get my house back under control from my canning season to now... Yeah, it's been that long since I have deeply cleaned because I over-did it so much at the end of Summer and into the Fall. My Fibromyalgia was diagnosed in October and my body aches and fatigue have been off the charts. My endo changed my Synthroid dosage to 225 mcg from 250 mcg... that has made a huge difference in my energy level to not be so "suppressed."

7. Did I tell you that one of the silliest things to ever happen to me was a few weeks ago. I had taken my usual dose of Ambien and also some pain medicine. I fell asleep at the very edge of my bed. I actually ended up rolling out of bed and hitting my head on the night stand (which is solid maple) and landing on the step to get into bed and then the floor. My husband scooped me up and took me to the ER to have my head x-rayed and to make sure I didn't crack a rib. I had a huge goose egg and my left ear was purple. My goose egg has gone down and my ear is almost back to normal... but for almost 3 weeks, I couldn't touch the left side of my head. (Only me!)

Thanks for reading... have a Blessed Day!
~Suzanne

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cozying Up

Yesterday was a long day and a long night. My DH worked a double shift and I could not manage to go to sleep alone in the house last night. (I think I was afraid I was "nod out" and not hear my alarm and forget to go pick him up. He insisted that I keep the car in case anything happened... like a 20 pound black and white dog running off into the night.

I did have a little bit of craziness last night. I reconnected with a girl friend from high school. We met on our freshman year and were very close for awhile. There was another girl that rode our bus and decided she wasn't going to let me have Mz. T as my friend. She drove a huge wedge between us and as I moved at the end of my sophomore year, we lost touch. I had thought of her over the years as her family had the adjoining acreage next to my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Chet's 5 acre farmette. They moved at the end of the school year as well... to Montana.

We had reconnected back in the 90's somehow.... I don 't really remember. Anyway... along came social media and she friended me. We have briefly messaged each other and read and comment on posts. Last night I sat down, picked up the phone and dialed her up. We talked non-stop for 4 hours! It was wonderful, insightful, introspective and a great source of healing and reconnection. It was like when we were young girls, sitting and talking about life and our dreams.

Ms. T has struggled with health issues and suffers with some of the same maladies that I have, and she has other issues with back surgeries and fighting for mobility. Nobody said getting old was for sissies, that is for certain! She is also dealing with her mother having dementia and I was able to give her some insight and comfort in dealing with that issue.

Because of the phone call, I was not able to relax and sleep like I had hoped. I watched a couple of things on Net*flix.... and stayed awake. I went to get DH early, stopping to get him juice and breakfast. We cozied up to relax and snooze. I napped a couple of hours and DH is still sleeping. I will need to wake him soon so he will sleep tonight. The wind in howling and we are getting snow. I took Punky outside at noon and the cold was too much for her. She started to crash after she came back in, trying to warm up. I gave her honey and some snacks and food to bring her back to recognizing me, poor little dear.

As we ring the old year out and the new year in... we don't make resolutions in this household. We do discuss what we want to change and try to make a plan to carry that out. I am glad this year is over... glad to see some of my health issues improve and continue to work on others that need to improve. We are grateful to be able to have spent Grandma Jeanne's 95th birthday with her, and reconnect with DH's daughters. I am grateful for the wonderful husband and my Punky and Cooper dogs and how they are my essential spirit.

Happy New Year... and thanks for reading!
~Suzanne

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What I Have Been Dealing With...

Life in the last several months has drastically changed for me. Over a year ago, at the request of my husband, I resigned from my position with a leading Fire Protection company, handling 1.5 million dollars on a monthly basis for a Florida market. It was stressful and my former peer and now supervisor was making my life miserable. The toll on my body was great and I was in a very unhealthy situation.

I worked with several doctors to get myself into a healthier place. During the last 6 months, I have had increased pain and mobility issues and a "so called cyst" that would not heal. Since then, I have had another surgery on the cyst, and the surgeon discovered that it was a fistula stemming from my very first cancer surgery in 1988. The doctors had placed several drains in my lower abdomen and stitched them in place, and one stitch was pulled through my mid-line fascia, causing years of drainage and issues that went undiagnosed. My surgeon was quite surprised when I told him of the date of the surgery and said I would always be remembered as one of the more surprising surgeries of his career.

As that surgery was healing, I was having issues with my joints and pain and stiffness in my hands. I went to see my husbands rheumatologist and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. I have it in my fingers on my left hand and recently began symptoms in a couple of fingers in my right hand. I also have it in my right foot with most of my toes... and of course fibromyalgia also presents across the ball of your foot inside and out. Let's just say it's hard to keep slippers on my feet when I am going up and down stairs. I have to rely on my husband to help me do shopping as of late, as I can't drive very well.

My husband has not been home very much this year. He clocked a total of 4000 (approximately) hours of work this year. The standard 40 hour work week totals 2080 per year. So, yeah, he's never here! We did see each other on Christmas eve and on Christmas Day. He should be off on New Years eve and New Years Day... so we will likely go see a movie and have dinner somewhere... depending on the weather.

I had a rough day the day after Christmas. I hadn't heard from my family on Christmas... from anyone. My husband went to work and by the evening, I was dealing with the crazy emotions of cancer and all that it has robbed of me through the years. The one thing that I have always wanted was to be a mother and a grandmother. Knowing that the rest of my family were busy with their own families and grand children  was very keening on my heart. (I know that I should be grateful for just having my life, but cancer has twice robbed me of things that I love.) It makes me angry to feel those losses at this time of year. Before I was married, I managed to stay busy... but it's very different now as we have moved so far from dear friends. I have a couple of dear friends here, but I have issues with intruding upon family time.

I am also dealing with the loss of a couple of friends... one from years ago and one who was my best friend at work. Since I have left, that friend has never picked up the phone and called me. I have called her, met her for dinner a few times, but it's always been me to make the contact. I don't know what I did... all I know is that it's hard for me to keep being the one who calls.

It's a strange phase of life for me... I am also facing a new doctor's appointment this year with a hematologist to discuss my new diagnosis of having a genetic mutation that is causing my to have very elevated hemocysteine levels. A very serious issue, along with having aortic stenosis and an aortic root aneurysm. I just had an aortic mri, which shows I am maintaining my moderate status.
It's always something.

That's a little bit of what I am dealing with... I'm trying not to be overwhelmed!
Thank you for reading!
Happy New Year!
~Suzanne

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Time!

I have been busy preparing for Christmas for weeks now. But somewhere in all the busy-ness, I seemed to lose track of the days... I so need an extra one! Both DH and I thought we had an extra day. Yikes, there is still a bunch to do!

I did lose some time having an arthritic flare and DH's schedule going to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have times where I need his assistance with things. He can also become quite a mess maker when he works so much and I find that I constantly have to clean behind him. And then there are the things I cannot do on my own, either because of health issues now or issues from past health issues... making it really all about my health. Which, it has improved from last year to this year.

That being said, I do have to deal with Fibromyalgia and the ever present back pain that radiates to my arms and down my legs. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis in my hands and in my right foot. It makes it difficult to do certain things like load and unload the dishwasher and washing pots and pans. I drop a lot of stuff! I can no longer be barefoot in the kitchen to protect my feet. It took a while for me to adjust to as I love being barefooted. I have trouble with holding on to most anything, I have trouble with my right toes... my second and third toes are affected and sometimes I cannot curl my toes... and it makes it difficult to keep my slippers on my feet!

I'd love to be able to share my Christmas tree this year but my abilities to upload pictures is giving me trouble. My laptop has had issues ever since we bought it and my husband did have to replace the motherboard on it once. My power cord has become cracked and it's been taped up. My DH took my entire computer apart and fixed a couple of things... it was out of commission for about 2 weeks. I had to use his laptop for a few things, but mostly used my I-pad.

So, dealing with Fibro and R/A... has given me lots of fatigue and a ton of brain fog! I don't always remember things I should... forgetting to pay a bill or forgetting just how much money I've spent. DH loves me inspite of my screw ups! Time to go get busy in the kitchen again... making peppermint bark, cookies and dessert for our little gathering at my friend Janey's house! So excited to give her her Christmas gifts... both of which I made for her.

Thank you for reading... Marry Christmas!

~Suzanne

Sunday, September 29, 2013



Simple Woman's Daybook...

FOR TODAY (September 29, 2013)...


Outside my window... it's been a partly sunny day with temps at about 65  degrees. Fall is here and the colors are coming in brightly on the trees.

I am thinking... that I need to get some of the housework under control, or that it's time to hire a housekeeper to help me keep up.

I am thankful for... a hard working husband that works seemingly endless hours to provide for us.

From the kitchen... there is a meatloaf in fridge and I am making at least one casserole to get through the week.
 
I am wearing... a grey long sleeve t shirt and black yoga pants and silver jewelry with hot pink running shoes.

I am creating... a cleaning list to keep me on track, and hoping to cut pieces for a new quilt.

I am going... to see my friends in Shickshinny today. They have a cute little second hand shop that I always find wonderful things to cheer me up and decorate my home.

I am reading... several books on my kindle.

I am hoping... to plan a little day trip for DH and I in the coming month, provided he gets a day off.

I am hearing... the television on HGTV, a fan blowing, and my DH somewhere in the house.

Around the house... the dishwasher needs to be ran and the house needs to be dusted and vaccumed.

One of my favorite things... snuggling on the sofa with my sweet Pomeranian, Punky!
 
A few plans for the rest of the week: Get as much cleaning and order put back to the house today and tomorrow. I have a day surgery on Tuesday and will be in bed for a couple of days at the least. Having a few meals done ahead and having things in order will go a long way in helping me heal. I need to make something with pumpkin in it for my DH... he loves the flavors of fall!

Thanks for reading... be blessed!
~Suzanne

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Busy as I can be!

I love the end of summer and beginning of fall. Especially around these parts as there are so many wonderful farm stands in our little area. I have my choice of 4 produce stands that are direct from the farm within 5 miles of home. And there are 2 wonderful orchards within 6 miles.

I have been busy with my canner. I've done my wax beans - at total of 18 pint and a half jars. And I have done strawberry freezer jam. I have done roasted tomato marinara sauce and I have frozen it in zip locks bags, done quart jars in my pressure canner and frozen even more in freezer jars by the quart. I am also dehydrating tomatoes and have one last batch in the oven roasting as I sit and type. 

I have 2 more projects to do... making raspberry peach jam and also canning homemade pork and beans. I hear that they are much better home canned than what we can buy in the store. I am willing to give it a try as my DH loves beans. I hope that when the time comes, he will enjoy the efforts I am making! He's not home much these days as the plant he works at is very busy finishing up their Christmas candies to be shipped across the country. Long 12 hour days and with a few shifts that only have 8 hours in between are the norm for this time of year.

DH also tells me that they are short handed and a few people were suspended indefinitely last week due to an issue with getting date codes changed properly. Someone was suppose to change it... thought someone else was doing it, a supervisor didn't check soon enough, product had to be pulled from shipping to be reworked. It sounds like a big mess, and they are trying to get it all figured out and place the blame on the proper person. It's all stuff that makes me feel glad I don't work there. I know those things are important, but it also affects so many people when someone doesn't do their job correctly... from other employees and their families, all the way to the consumer if things aren't caught soon enough.

I am feeling very blessed to be able to be home and do my canning projects. I am also working on doing laundry today and trying to get some weekend housework done. It seems that I am always working on cleaning the house in the midst of what ever I am trying to do. I do know that I need to get my closet sorted out and get rid of some clothing. I have way too much, and I need to let go of some of my older pieces that I no longer wear. (I always think I will wear again soon, and then I don't.) I have a huge pile of things that either need to be thrown away or have a yard sale and then donate the rest to Goodwill or Sals. What a quandary to find myself in. It takes it's toll on me both mentally and physically... more physically than anything, my hands hurt and so does my back and my knees. Time to soldier on!

Thanks for reading... have a blessed day!
~Suzanne