Monday, February 23, 2015

dr visit

This update is mostly for my dad, and so I can remember everything that happened at the Doctor visit today.  We talked for a long time about everything that is going on with this month long migraine.  I asked if there was any chance that something different was happening in my brain, not saying the words brain tumor, but I'm sure he knew that was what I was thinking.  I mean, how long can a migraine really last?  He said that any migraine that lasts longer than 2 days is considered a 'long' migraine, so this one is unusual, but not really that much, because once it passes the 2 day mark,, they really all fall into the same category.

He said they don't understand why people get them and as far as he knows, there aren't any local studies of migraines, but he gave me a website to check into.  I'm going to see if I can possibly try to join a study and maybe be on the cutting edge of new drugs or shock therapy or maybe surgery or something.  When he asked how things were before this migraine and I said that I had things under control with probably 3 migraines a week and I was happy with that he was really shocked.  3 a week?  That's good?  Wow, he didn't think that was acceptable, but then I told him I hadn't missed a day of work with having a really bad (level 8 almost every day) for the past month.  I'm one tough old gal.  I come from good stock.

So, after testing my strength and balance, he suggested we try the botox in more places and with more shots.  I got 9 shots across my forehead and on the bridge of my nose and then one in each temple and then 6 across the back of my head, right above my neck.  He says it will take 3-4 days for the full effect, but I can already feel it working.  The forehead is starting to go numb and the back of the head as well.  He says I could have some troubles lifting my head.  That's ok, I can walk around with a neck brace :)  I could make a nice quilted one, like the Elizabethan collars.

 I could start a new fashion trend.  You will see.  Or, maybe like the African necklaces that when the people take them off, their necks fall over because they don't have muscles to support them anymore.

I'm so desperate for anything to work I don't really care what I look like.  Tomorrow should be interesting because the small puncture wounds will really be visible.  Last time it looked like a cat got ahold of me.  I can see some of them already.  I have to come up with a good story for the kids.  They already know about the steroids and now botox.  Good thing they know I'm crazy.

nothing in moderation

So this is my coffee collection.  I can't seem to do anything in moderation.  I actually like the cappuccino flavors a lot and am getting used to the other coffee ones as well.  I'm trying to mix some of them together and by adding milk to the coffee, the dirt flavor isn't quite so strong.  It isn't helping my headache, but does give me some extra energy to make it through the day.  I actually understand why so many people are addicted to the stuff.

making faces

 I'm headed off for Botox this morning. This is the last time in about 4 months I will be able to make faces so I figured I had better make as many as I could before the botox takes effect!
 I sure hope it does something...anything.
It's been a terrible weekend.  Last night I didn't sleep well.  The headache is terrible today. It feels like a small person is trying to climb out through my eye and is pushing against the back of my head.  I'm going to ask to see if the doctor will do another brain scan.  He probably won't, but it won't hurt to ask.  The allergy medicine isn't doing anything for the ear stuffiness either.  My ears plug up and make it so I can't hear well in the mornings.  But, on the bright side I have the day off of work.  And it's a beautiful sunny day out there.  The wind is really blowing, but at least we don't have 3 feet of snow.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A bad couple of days

 This is my daughter's boyfriend, doing some fancy tricks while waiting between quidditch matches last weekend.  He just couldn't sit still!
It was funny watching my daughter be so aggressive.  At the end of her last match, she got a yellow, penalty card for choking out a really tall guy.  She didn't do it on purpose, but it was funny anyways.  She's always so polite and thinking of others, so to see her pushing these big guys and grabbing the ball away from them made me laugh!

These pictures were taken by one of the photographers at the quidditch match last weekend and since my own life is a little boring right now I thought I'd share them so you had something to look at.

I go in on Monday for more botox for my head.  I'm happy to say I made it through another week of work, but it sure is rough.  The neurologist thinks I'm on too much Topamax so I cut back to 50mg in the morning and 100 mg at night and I'm not sure if that's what is causing yesterday and today to be so bad, or maybe it is starting Nasonex for the 'allergies' the other doctor thinks I have because of the dizziness and ear stuffiness or exactly what is going on, but I sure am miserable.

Plus, I was hopeful because I finally got ahold of the guy who will eventually be coming out to fix my quilting machine.  He was all set to come out from a city about 1 1/2 hours away on Sunday, but then called yesterday to say his truck broke down and he may be able to come next weekend.  I've stopped holding my breath on getting it fixed.  I kept passing out in anticipation.

I have no desire to start a new project because there is no hope of finishing anything.

I am working on a crochet afghan for my daughter and it is taking forever, but the end is in sight.  I hit the half way point last weekend and now the rows are getting shorter.  It's made on the diagonal, so now that I'm more than half way there, each row gets smaller and smaller.  That's not saying much because she wanted it to be big enough to cover her head to toe and she's really tall!  We got the yarn when she was home for Christmas and she thought I would have it finished in about 3 days.  She's so funny!

I'm walking and napping and drinking coffee and trying to take meds and not take meds.  Maybe I should stand on my head.  I've tried everything else out there that anyone has suggested.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

more botox

 So after back and forth emails and phone calls I finally have another appointment with my neurologist for next Monday to get another round of Botox for my migraine that's lasted 25 days.  I guess he just doesn't have any other options at this point.
 The Botox didn't work last time, so I really don't have much hope of it doing anything, but I should count my blessings that I Have good enough insurance to cover something.  From all the research I've done myself, I'm on the best preventative medicines for the migraines and since I've tried almost everything else that's out there and this has worked the best out of everything, which isn't saying much.  I sure wish there was someone doing research to find a cause and an actual cure for these things.
Trying to work through the issues of a migraine and deal with forgetting things or trying to focus on learning new material has been difficult.  Being super dizzy and confused every day has been more difficult than dealing with the pain.  Knowing that the pain isn't going to kill me makes it easy to deal with.  Being confused and forgetful is hard.  Today I had a list of things I was supposed to get done and when they asked me at the bank if there was anything else they could help me with, I told them I knew there was something else, but I would have to come back because I couldn't remember what else I was there for.  Giving myself permission to take extra time to remember, or 'do over' things that I should be able to do right the first time is taking some time to get used to, but may be a new way of life for a while, until I retire, or someone finds a new treatment.

Monday, February 16, 2015

a new camera

 Yesterday morning I was considering buying a new camera.  I love taking pictures and wanted to get the latest and bestest so I could capture some action shots at my daughter's quidditch match.  I was watching the other photographers to see what type of cameras they had and looking online to see what I could get for how much.  I have a Sony Cybershot from about 2004 and it has a 13x zoom lens.  I took these pictures from about 100 yards away sitting down, without a tripod or stabilizer or any fancy knowledge of what I'm doing.  The kids were running full steam and after seeing the types of pictures I got, I'm thinking I really don't need a new camera.
That camera has followed me everywhere and I'm surprised it has lasted me so long.  Most things made these days last about 2-3 years.  It's big enough that I haven't lost it and small enough that I can take it anywhere.

I use it to take pictures of quilts that don't move and kids across a soccer field who run full steam.  It has so many settings on it that I don't understand and I'm sure if I took some time I could learn a lot more about it.

If it ever breaks, I will replace it with something similar because it really does a great job.

I'm still basking in the fun of the weekend. I've decided I need a four day weekend about once a month.  I wonder what I can do to arrange for that.  Sorry to all of you stuck in the snow, but I'm really loving this warm winter we are having.  I know this summer we will be hating it when our grass is brown and we can't take showers, but this morning's walk was glorious!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

They qualified!

So my daughter and her boyfriend's team both qualified for World Cup today in the matches.  It was a really great day, weather wise and game wise.  They actually had a game against each other.  Spending `12 hours outdoors is good for the soul.  I need to plan more days like this for sure!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

the game of quidditch

So the game is based on the Harry Potter books/movies where you run around with a broomstick between your legs and try to throw a ball through the hoops.  Each person has a different color headband to let you know what their role in the game is.  One person wears a yellow sock with a tennis ball and is the snitch and he comes in at the end of the game.  You earn points for getting the ball through the hoops and earn extra points for catching the snitch, which also ends the game.  If you are down by more than 30 points, you don't want to catch the snitch, because then you lose.

It's a combo of dodgeball, field hockey, water polo, capture the flag, soccer, tackle football and tag.  I'm surprised nobody gets hurt more than they do.  Some of the kids wear padded helmets, but most don't.  They played either 3 or 4 matches today and each match lasted 30-45 minutes.  The kids can sub out whenever they need to, but some ran the whole time.

It was really fun to watch and the kids were really good sports.  You can start a team, no matter your age, so even if you are 40, you can start your own team and compete in the World Cup.  It's never too late to dream.  But, I doubt you would be able to compete with these young kids.

a really great day

Today was just what the doctor ordered!  We spent the entire day outside in the beautiful sunshine and met my daughter's boyfriend Sam.  He's really nice and friendly.  He's from Tustin, which is in S. Cal, near where I grew up.  We got to watch some great quidditch and just relax.  I've haven't felt this great in 3 weeks!  I am going back tomorrow to watch some more quidditch and to spend some more time with these two cuties!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nurse Linda

I got three shots from Linda, the spanking nurse, today at Kaiser.  She's about 4'2" and will spank your butt right before she gives you a shot.  I think it's so you don't feel the actual injection.  It works because the shots didn't hurt until they went in.  I got Toradol, an antinausea and a steroid.  I've never had the steroid before and usually the Toradol and antinausea knock me out for the rest of the day, but I guess the steroid is counteracting the other two because not only am I not knocked out, but I'm also not getting relief from the migraine.

The doctor is also trying me on another round of steroids.  I sure hope I can sleep tonight!


It's been a week since my last posting and nothing newsworthy has happened.  I did get a quilt on the older machine and quilted, but since there is a whole bunch of backing fabric, I'm not taking it off until I get a couple more quilts done.  Hopefully that will happen this weekend.

I've done a lot of grading this week, which would make a great picture, lots of papers stacked high.  Or not!

I'm still working on this migraine.  Today makes 21 days.  I tried getting in to see the neurologist and was told I could get an appointment at the end of March.  After a couple of emails with the neurologist I'm scheduled for a couple of injections today after work. It's going to be a combination injection of a steroid, nausea medication, and a strong anti-inflammatory followed by another oral prednisone taper. 

I'm coming off the first prednisone round which usually works to stop the cycle.  I hope this works.  My daughter is coming up this weekend for a Quidditch tournament.  I'm excited to finally get to see her play.  She called yesterday to say she has a new 'friend' she started dating a couple weeks ago and he will be coming up as well.  Excited to meet the new guy.

So excited for this four day weekend.

Friday, February 6, 2015

rain and pain

I've had this migraine for more than two weeks now.  My doctor put me on prednisone 4 days ago to try to break the cycle.  It isn't helping.  In fact, today is way worse than any other day so far.  My doctor said that if it didn't help, I should go see my neurologist to check for a stroke.  Gee, thanks.  That's reassuring.  I know it isn't a stroke, just an annoying migraine that won't quit.  I probably need to go in and get a shot of something that will make me sleep for a day or two.  I'm just annoyed with having to take time to deal with this.  I've tried everything I can think of.

After 6 weeks of no rain, we are excited to have 4 days of rain this weekend.  That's a very good thing.  This morning I went out and found that my iris are still there, under the pile of dirt.  I will dig them out after the rain next week and they should do well this spring.  I'm glad I didn't get too upset yesterday.
I'm so glad for the weekend and time to just relax I hope.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Trying to look at the positive

 I hired a guy to do some yard work today.  He worked in the front and back yard while I was at work.  I gave some specific directions as to what I wanted cleaned up, but of course there was a lot to be done.  Things tend to get a bit out of control when you can't give them full attention, partly because you don't have time and partly because you'd rather be doing 97 other things.

Yes, there was a tree under all that overgrown grass.
The palm trees around here grow up where ever they can find a crack.  The birds deposit the seeds all over the place and they drive me crazy.  I know I need to be more diligent about getting to them when they are tiny, but I swear they grow to this size overnight.
 How great does this look?  You can actually see the tangerine tree that I planted when we first bought the house 10 years ago.  It is still so tiny.  I need to give it more attention.
 Things get complicated in the front yard.  Although there were palm trees out here and we talked about how I wanted only the palm trees out and all the other things left, they took out almost everything, including my iris plants.  At least he didn't spray weed killer.  I had to tell him about ten times NOT to spray the weeds.
Maybe I will have to start over with some new iris from the backyard.  At least all the weeds are gone too.  And they left the succulents.
 This area broke my heart the most.  I know that it looks like a giant weed patch, but there are about 50 iris plants hidden in there.
 They may still be there, under all the dirt that go moved, or they may all be in the trash cans that were left behind.  I have a tiny bit of hope I may still find them if I dig, or they may come back in the spring after it rains.  On a positive note, the weeds are gone.  Sometimes you just need to start over.  At least I didn't break down crying when I got home from work today and saw this.  I admitted defeat, accepted what was and hope that from here on out I can maintain what is to be from here on out.
 Our poor fence has seen better days.  At least we have the chain link fence to hold up the wooden sticks that are left.

 Looks so much better!  They are coming back to get the aluminum pieces for recycling and the jump house that was left behind by the previous owner 10 years ago.
Lots of positives today and a couple of  things I wish I had been here to prevent, but overall I'm happy with the results.

Sometimes I need to ask for help and accept that people aren't going to do things the way I'd do them if I did them myself.  But, then if I did them myself, they would never get done.  I'm learning to let go and to grow.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ten things to do

I follow a lot of blogs and came across this article today.  It's a list of 10 things to do before you go to bed every day to make you a more successful person.  I find it interesting because I'm always trying to improve myself to be more productive, more organized, happier, and more successful.  My success isn't always measured by the world's standards.

But I did find a couple of things I'd like to take from this article to apply to my life to help me focus my efforts in becoming more productive.  I realize as I get older that time goes by faster. I'm not exactly sure how that works, but I think it has something to do with the E=mc2 thing and the faster you go the more massive you get or the more energy you put into something, the more light is created, or maybe I'm just taking a few naps during the day and then, when I open my eyes, the day is gone.  Whatever is happening, I am realizing that time is getting shorter and I need to make the most of it.

From the article, here's what I felt was important to change in me.
1. Walk-I got the Jawbone UP arm band and set a goal of 10,000 steps a day.  That's 5 miles.  Do you realize how hard that is?  I'm lucky to get 3500 steps.  I know I need to walk more.  The article suggests taking a 30 minute walk 2 hours before bedtime.  I don't know that this is possible, but I am going to commit to adding 30 minutes of walking into my day somewhere.  15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes as soon as I get home from work is a doable goal.  My dogs would love me for that!

2.  Assess your day-take note of the good and bad that happened.  I'm really good at making a list of all of the bad stuff, I need to make a note of the good.  Maybe even going so far as to write down something funny that a kid said because they are always saying really funny stuff.  I might need to even keep a notebook at my desk.  I tend to beat myself up over the little, bad things and forget the good.  For example, two different kids told me how much I inspired them today.  One kid said that I am making him a better person (I am constantly telling him to stop cursing) and another said I made her want to go out and make a difference in the world.  (I said we are like strands of DNA, each one of us is one small voice, but when we all get together, we make a big difference.)

3.  Read-I read things on the internet, and I read my Bible, but don't really read books and haven't read anything for fun in YEARS.  My kids love to read and I've loved teaching other kids to read, but I'd rather make quilts or things I can give away then spend time reading.

4.  Meditate-I will substitute prayer here.

5.  Unplug-turning off all electronic devices is something I need to remember to do to get a good night sleep.  Sometimes I get a text at night that will wake me up.  And it's not important!

6.  Affirmations-standing in the mirror and telling myself how great I am.  I really don't need to do this, because I teach my students to tell me how great I am every day.  I think I will continue to build up other people and affirm them instead.  Did I tell you that the other day I decided I should have my students clap every time I talked.  I told them that everything I said was so valuable they should appreciate me more and should applaud every time I spoke, so they did.  They are so funny.  I don't think I need an ego boost.  So I will continue to watch for those students who seem to need a word of encouragement and shower affirmations on them.

7.  Journal.  I miss writing something every day.  I really miss quilting.  So, with the weekend coming up, I am going to dig out the older quilting machine and get back to quilting, which will give me something to write about.  That will fulfill the need to quilt and the need to journal.

8.  Plan your next day.  I usually do this in my head, but I know that if I could write out a list of what I need to accomplish tomorrow, I would have a better chance of getting it done.  Like the 4 classes of lab books that need grading.  I had 5, but I decided on Monday that I wasn't going home until I got one class worth graded.  Then, I said I was going to grade one period every day.  Well, It's Wednesday and there are still 4 classes worth sitting there.  I actually took one period worth out of the box, but that's as far as I got.  Life happened.  As a teacher I have to plan a week's worth of lessons and I need to include other things in there as well.  Starting tomorrow :)

9.  Most Important Tasks (MIT's)-  Choose 3 things that must get done, like my son's swim lessons and getting those lab books graded and finishing up the earthquake assignment that I have to pass out tomorrow.  That's my MIT list for tomorrow.  3 things are doable.

10.  Thanks-  End they day by being thankful.  Add this to the prayer list.  And maybe even start writing thank you notes to people who have done nice things.  Starting to take notice of the little things people do and having an Attitude of Gratitude to start and end the day.

10 things every day?  Probably not, but starting to make changes.  New routines.  With my dog dying, 15 years worth of routine has changed overnight.  Every morning and every night since I've lived in this house, I've put her in and taken her out of the garage where she slept.  Last night and this morning it was so weird because I got up to open the back door and then remembered she was gone.  New routines must begin.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A good dog and a hard day

Today I came home and found that my dog, Mandy, had died.  I knew today was coming because she was old.  I figured about 15.  We got her when she was about 10 weeks old from the animal shelter.  She had been getting skinnier over the past few months and had a really hard time walking.  She was a good dog and had a good life.

Today was just a hard day.