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Another Diagnosis

November 11th, 2019 at 03:58 pm

Well, for once this diagnosis is not for my daughter, it is for me. I have been officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia on top of my rheumatoid arthritis. So my compromised immune system is even more compromised than they thought. I have always felt my immune system was non-existent.

She's going to have me get an MRI on my hands to check for something. To be honest, I was having a hard time focusing on what she said because of how much pain I am in today and I also have a cold so my head is just too full to think.

I have crashed and burned with NaNo. I just have so much pain in my hands I don't want to type for long periods of time. I am thinking about getting a voice to text transcriber and try writing that way, but I haven't even begun to look into the cost of those things.

After my appointment with the rheumatoligist, I went to the lab for a blood draw. They took four or five vials. She's running tests for more things and doing a repeat test the insurance likes to have done every year.

I'm so tired. I slept well last night, too, but every bit of me just wants to crawl back into bed at 4:00 in the evening and forget about doing anything else, like making dinner, for the rest of the day. I wish I could find a way to not be so exhausted all of the time. It makes me not care about money at all. Just spend it and get take out is not an attitude I like coming from myself, but it is there more and more often. Ugh.

JAMES! Issues with the Site Related to Norton Saying it is Dangerous

November 8th, 2019 at 03:47 pm

For the last 24 hours Norton wouldn't even show me this site existed, then when it showed the website again it blocked it, calling it dangerous. I finally had to go in and turn off the safe search to not have the message come up every time I tried to go to a new page and to post. I tried to go to the forums, but it won't let me post there at all. The new topic button does nothing when I push on it.

Norton is saying the threat from here is phishing and that the owners have to do something about it before they will relist it as a safe site, but I can't even contact them because the new topic thread won't open for me, nor the contact info. Is this happening to anyone else who has Norton? It seems like many of you were able to post just fine yesterday. Can someone contact James with this info? I am hoping he will see this post, but he doesn't always see the blogs.

Meal Planning for the Week and Thinking Ahead for the Pantry

November 6th, 2019 at 09:45 pm

I forgot to post my meal plan on Monday. As usual, I am free to switch things around as the whim strikes me, but since we've already had the first 3 meals on this list I may just go in order. Who knows? I think for the rest of this month I am going to be cooking a lot from the pantry and freezers. I am hoping to stick to just buying bread, milk, lettuce, and a few other fresh veggies or fruits. I don't need any regular meat since the freezer is well stocked now.

However, the reason I want to not buy much regular food with the grocery budget this month is so I can buy several organic turkeys while Trader Joe's has them available. One for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas, and one for Easter. I also want to buy lots of potatoes while on sale for the holiday, because I'm down to only 8 pints of canned potatoes and we love making baked potato soup using canned potatoes, it is just such a major short cut for me. I'd like to can at least 120 pounds of potatoes, even though I will likely only be able to do 7 quarts per day. We will save so much money this way.

Day One:
Baked Ziti with Meatballs

Day Two:

Day Three:
Pork Roast smothered in Candy sweet onions
Acorn Squash
Green Beans

Day Four:
Sirloin Steaks
Fried Potatoes

Day Five:
Beef Stew with Potatoes, Carrots, and Parsnips

Day Six:
Homemade Pizza with pepperoni, ham, sausage, bell peppers, and onions
Cole Slaw

Day Seven:
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Cole Slaw

Retirement Update

November 4th, 2019 at 09:48 pm

Since October 19th our retirement has gained $1471.64. We only put in $220 every two weeks and the company matches 100% up to a point, so only $440 was contributions and matching in that time period. That is quite a huge gain in 2.5 weeks, a little over $1000. I know some of it was the IRA, but not near as much as was the 401K.

$14,255.93 Total in 401K
+_9,367.11 Total in IRA
$23,623.04 New Balance

$25K is getting closer and closer. I cannot wait until we are out of debt and can bump this up to 10% instead of 5%.

NaNo Progress (Not Finance Related)

November 4th, 2019 at 03:34 pm

So I started the month at 44,270 words on my novel. The goal this month is to write 50,000 words and hopefully finish or come close to finishing this book. I got off to a slow start but am picking up speed. I did do some plotting and figuring out that I needed to insert a scene to make something make more sense and add a few sentences here and there for an additional character who hadn't been in an early scene. So that took a lot of skimming around the first day and I wrote it the second. The second day was a bad rheumatoid day, but after that I am doing mostly fine.

Word counts so far:
11/1 = 0
11/2 = 266
11/3 = 2037
11/4 = 1624

I am behind schedule by 2745 words, but I think I will be able to catch up, maybe even tonight, but definitely between now and the 7nth, while staying on track daily. I did a one hour writing sprint today already, I think I probably have another one in me. If so I will update the list.

Total word count so far is 3923 and I need to be at 6668. I can catch up now that I am in the flow again, although I will probably have to ice my hands tonight.

Virginia Mason Update

November 1st, 2019 at 10:52 pm

We had the consult with the VM hepatology department for my daughter's liver tumor and it looks like we just get to play wait and see some more. Since DD is at no risk of getting pregnant in the next few years, and because her Prednisone dose is so low they do not think it will encourage tumor growth we just watch it for now. They don't generally like to operate until the tumor is 5 cm and hers is 2.7 cm. They are going to have her liver enzymes checked and in 6 months she will get another MRI and then in a year another one, just to keep monitoring it.

I'm not getting great sleep right now so I've been doing a lot of crashing during the day. I think I'm still worried, because to me a tumor has no business being in her body. And maybe it just takes me back to my own. I have lived with systemic diseases for all of my adult life and now my daughter is having to do the same thing and sometimes it is just so much to handle.

Okay, well, I've been procrastinating doing NaNo all day, so now that I've gotten this post taken care of, it is time to get to work.

Meal Planning for the Week

October 28th, 2019 at 07:30 pm

This week will be a little different, since we will be eating on the road for two dinners (possibly just one). I am getting low on pork, but it is always on sale so we will be able to buy some on Friday before the scheduled Sunday dinner. I've got a good stock of chicken and chuck roasts. I'll be looking for sales on sirloin steak and pork when the ads come out tomorrow, so I can plan this payday's shopping trip accordingly.

Spaghetti with Seasoned Ground Beef

Probably Chik-fil-a since DH and DD both want to go there. I've never been so might do something else if I don't like it. I'm not a big fan of chicken sandwiches or nuggets. Maybe Taco Time so I can get a salad. Or just pack a sandwich and salad.

I'm not sure if we will be home or not. So probably Taco Time/Wendy's if we are still on the road and if not we will make burgers and fries at home.

Baked Chicken
Roasted Potatoes
Green Beans

Beef Stew with Potatoes and Carrots

Homemade Pizza with pepperoni, sausage, onions, bell peppers, and ham

Pork Shoulder Roast
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Purchasing and New Medical for 2020

October 27th, 2019 at 07:00 pm

I ordered a couple things off Amazon last night. I bought a 4 pack of 100 ct dye free Ibuprofen. I can, on occasion, find one bottle at Walgreens. We all would prefer to have our own bottles, but that has not been the case. I don't know why they never have it in stock or keep so little in stock, but it is getting frustrating. We have four Walgreens in town. One would think they would have more than one bottle between the four of them. They all carry it.

Then I bought some lens wipes for our glasses. I have been really unhappy with the Walgreens brand of wipes lately. I've had a lot of issues with them either being completely dried out, or being drenched so much that you have to then use a dry wipe afterwards. The brand I am trying had five stars. We'll see how good it is.

I did manage to get another package of the breakfast sausage I like and pick up a couple packets of hot dogs yesterday, too, along with some milk. I spent $20.18. I almost bought grapes, too. They had a sample of these yellow grapes (technically white, but they were very yellow) and they were very sweet and at first I liked them, but then I got this weird aftertaste up in my palate that was like almost burned caramel. I asked DH if he got it, too, and he said yeah, and he didn't like it. So we put them back. I am glad they had samples. I wish more stores would put out fruit samples, especially when bringing in something new.

I did get my steps in yesterday, but I don't think I will today. I'm having a bad joint day with the shakes in my hands. They were so bad that I had DH season the roast and put it into the Instant Pot for me. I figured if I did it, we'd end up with floor flavored seasoning, not my favorite. LOL

MIL says she will cover our hotel costs and food costs for going to Virginia Mason. That will be a relief. With having to buy the dishwasher I didn't want to have to spend an additional $300 for this visit.

We are getting new medical in January. It's Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Cadillac insurance. It will cost a little less, too. The deductible will be the same, $3000. And there will be a FSA of up to $2700. I'm not sure of all the details yet, but apparently you could write a check in January if you needed to for the full amount and they'd just take it out of the paycheck through the year as you go. It does have to be used up by 2 months into the following year, but I can't even remember a year when we didn't have $2700 in medical expenses so that will never be a problem.

I don't know what the out of pocket max is, or the per person deductible yet. DH is going to see if they have a .pdf or a print out so I can go over it. Dental and vision will stay the same as they are different programs. Although I am thinking about bumping up to the better dental because DH needs to get a crown and I need to repair a chipped tooth.

I wonder if the HSA can be used for dental or just medical. I'll have to have DH ask.

Sore Today and Working on My Novel Again for NaNoWriMo

October 26th, 2019 at 05:20 pm

Yesterday and today were rough days physically. I had my last physical therapy session yesterday and they really put me through the ringer. They had me fill out a form at the end which was the same form and I filled out in the beginning and then compared them and the changes have been dramatic.

Things I didn't even realize had changed, like being able to pick up a grocery bag from the floor instead of having to have it put on the counter for me or standing at the sink for fifteen minutes, that kind of thing. A lot of other things have gotten easier, too. My core strength, my leg strength, my range of motion. I am walking further distances unaided. Not to say that I don't use my cane at all, I do on a particularly bad day, but for the majority of the time, I haven't had to in weeks.

I'm pretty sore today, but I also took my shot yesterday which tends to exhaust me, so I just stayed in bed for most of the day and spent some time writing.

I have set a goal to try to finish the first draft of my novel in November. I've never done NaNoWriMo before because for the last several Novembers things went to heck in a handbasket. This is the first time I don't think it is going to. I don't know if I will do it officially or unofficially. I mean, there is all the stuff with my daughter's liver, but the appointments for that will be limited and then if we have to stay a few days after surgery that is a ton of writing time for me that will be pretty much uninterrupted. But mostly I am just back in the mood to work on it again.

I am halfway through seventeen chapters and 44,270 words in and I am aiming for 100,000 to 115,000, so under halfway. The goal in NaNo is 50,000 in 30 days or 1666.67 words per day. I tend to write 4000 to 5000 every other day when I am motivated. I usually need a day off in between due to my hands not being able to handle that kind of typing daily. Maybe I won't finish, but I will get a lot closer to the end and if I finish in December I will be happy.

Then I will edit the second half (the first half has been edited a lot already) and then set it aside for a few months before reading through it again, editing again, and then have a couple of beta readers go over it before figuring out the next step. I don't know if I will try the traditional publishing route or just get an editor to go through it and help me improve it and then self-publish. I am investigating both ways.

Then there is the issue of I think what I have written might really be the second book in a trilogy and not the first, so I might have to figure out if that is true or not and write the first one before deciding on publishing.

I also have to decide if this is a YA novel or not. I don't want it to be, but many of the characters are under 18. More of the characters are adults and have as big of a role as the children, though, but it does revolve around the teens and kids and their power as they grow up. But in the sequel most of them will be adults. Ah, it's a boggle. I'll just have to finish it first, and go from there.

DD Update and Ordered Sweaters on Sale

October 23rd, 2019 at 03:57 pm

The doctor wants to remove my daughter's liver tumor, but we have to go down to Seattle to have it done. He wanted to send us to the UW, but I explained the problems we've had with the doctors there and the identity theft stemming from their hack. I asked about Virginia Mason instead and he was happy to do that. They have a good hepatology department.

He said the issue is the steroids that she has to be on for the rest of her life for secondary adrenal insufficiecy will continue to make the tumor grow. It is not cancerous, but can still cause problems and pain. Also estrogen will make it grow. And a lot of time when women get pregnant it can cause it to go so fast it could burst. Her estrogen is under control with Norplant and she doesn't ever plan to have kids because of all her health issues.

We have an appointment for her to be seen on Wednesday of next week. They could have seen her tomorrow, but that doesn't leave us enough time. We'll go down the night before and spend the night. Maybe we actually will be able to have this surgery done by the end of the year. Then it will be 100% covered by insurance. Keep your fingers crossed and pray for us that this will happen.

In other news, Woman Within is having an online 50% off sale through the 24th, so I went ahead and ordered 4 sweaters that I've been waiting on for a good sale. I saved $127.50 on the sale. It came to $143.59 with sales tax and shipping. 2 of the sweaters are for me (finally getting something for myself!). WW is a plus size website and catalog that starts at size large and 12/14.

I have liked everything I have ordered from them save one, a long sleeved nightgown where the cuffs were too tight and the sleeves were too short (and I have short arms). It was supposed to be full length, but went halfway up my lower arm. It was one of those billowy nightgowns, so I ended up cutting off the sleeves and just using it as a swim suit cover up for walking from the main locker room to the pool, because I really liked the blue and green plaid.

I took off the bottom ruffle and shortened it by a foot and removed the ribbon. I turned the sleeves and extra fabric into handkerchiefs for when my nose is too sore for regular tissues. So it didn't go to waste. It is flannel and soft. It no longer looks like a nightgown at all. But like I said that was the only bad thing in years of ordering from them. I could have sent it back, but didn't want the bother. That was back when I still had access to my sewing machine.

I haven't been sleeping well the last few nights. I have dark circles again for the first time in ages. Really dark ones. Like black eyes on the third day dark. Hopefully I will sleep tonight.