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Update During the Sick from Heck

March 19th, 2019 at 06:27 pm

The last time I posted was on the 6th. 13 days later and I am still sick, though on the upswing. This thing has kicked my butt so hard. I've lost 15 pounds on the too sick to eat diet. The first week I was sleeping about 22 hours a day. Then days 8 through 10 I was sleeping about 18 hours a day. Now I am sleeping about 15 hours a day. I've been able to sit upright for a couple hours a day for the last 3 days. I still have a cough, but it is in my throat and that stupid runny nose this whole time.

I am trying to eat now, but it is still a lot of work. I am trying to get in at least one meal a day, but I am just not that interested in food. Eating should not be such a chore. This illness is worse than the one in October that threw me down so hard. I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I wish I wasn't just so exhausted. It's viral so there is nothing I can do but treat the symptoms.

It has been really nice outside the last two days, in the high 60's, and I would love to be able to get out into the garden, but even folding a basket of towels winds me. Getting my hands in the dirt always makes me feel recharged, but I think I have to have at least a quarter of a charge in the first place, so it will have to wait.

It is hard to believe a little over a week ago we had snow. There is pollen all over the car windows. The purple crocus have been up for about four days and today I saw my first yellow hyacinth. I see the tulip leaves pushing their way out of the soil, too.

I managed to get all the bills paid two days ago when I could think enough to write out checks. The day before that DH took me to the grocery store, but I had to use my inhaler halfway through. Normally I wouldn't have gone, but we were out of so many things and DH doesn't shop well on his own. He comes back with things we don't need and that are junky. We only did the one store, because I had no stamina.

We have been getting a lot of take out. I guess it was good that we had the tax return to spend. I just haven't been able to cook much at all. I hate that we spent all that money on it, but so be it. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

What has been really nice during this time is that I have not had an RA flare up. Usually when I get sick I have one, but I guess my body decided it was only going to deal with one thing at a time this time around. It may be just a coincidence, but I also stopped eating a food that had nitrites and nitrates in it when I got sick and haven't had swelling symptoms at all since. I am too afraid to try that food and test it out, because I really don't want to swell and be in pain. It's not worth the chance.

So that's why I've been so quiet. I really wasn't on the computer much, other than I had audio stories playing when I was awake. I was too sick to watch anything and too sick to read, but listening to stories I could handle. I do bless all the people on youtube who tell stories, especially the ones who do voices and add music and make it interesting. Hopefully as I get stronger, I can get back to my normal life again.

Big Medical Update on DD

February 15th, 2019 at 07:51 pm

I am still not back to normal after our trip to Seattle for DD's operation. It has been a week since we got back. I am still in pain, still have a massive amount of inflammation, am dragging like a person who never gets any sleep even though I am getting sleep, and am stuffy. I hate it when my RA flares up like this. I've made the decision to not go with DH and DD when they go for the surgery follow-up appointment. My body just cannot take these long car trips, although it may have been the hotel bed that made it the worst.

I don't know if they will have the biopsy results then or not, but I hope they will. Except for that one spot, things looked good. If there is nothing wrong from the biopsy, I guess we are back to square one. I want to get her tested for Von Willebrand disease. This is secondary to whatever else is going on, but she is getting daily nosebleeds two to three times a day that take a long time to stop and they are coming from high up in the nasal cavity. Along with the other bleeding problems she has had in the past, it would make sense if she has this, including when there was blood in the bladder for no discernable cause. We had her tested for a couple of other bleeding disorders before, but not this one.

So just as a recap, what's been diagnosed so far:

Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency
Granuloma Anularae (autoimmune)
Some unspecified autoimmune disease they haven't tracked down yet (not RA, MS, or Lupus)

I am suspicious that she may have fibromyalgia, although I kind of feel like that is what they call something when they can't find out what it really is, because she has all the symptoms of it. And from what I can see, the treatments tend to be pot, muscle relaxants, and anti-depressants. She can't take anti-depressants because of the gasteroparesis (they make her puke and flare constantly) and she doesn't want to take pot, which we are legal for here in my state, but I don't want her taking it either. She's already on a muscle relaxant and it doesn't do much.

She does have autoimmune markers in her lab work, they just don't know what it is. And it is not the granuloma anularae causing those markers. It's probably something impossibly rare.

She also, of course, has never been the same since the skull fracture and broken tailbone when she fell in the creek when she was 16. Lots of brain fog and issues with reading and doing math even six years later. I still marvel at the fact that she graduated high school.

I just want us to find a way to make her pain better, so that she can function with some quality of life. But for that to happen it seems like we have to find the thing they can't seem to find.

At least since the gasteroparesis has been more and more under control, she is more positive and happy. I guess not puking on a daily basis will do that to a person. Also her hair has stopped falling out since getting that under control, so there's that. And she's no longer anemic, though she is only just above the line.

As for me, I'm still waiting on the Enbrel. The doctor and the pharmacy need to get stuff straightened out, but I have the co-pay card, so at least when they do, it will go forward. If I haven't heard anything by Monday I will call the doctor's office and try to push things along.

I also want the doctor to do a blood test for my cortisol levels and to check my thyroid. I think something is going on there, especially with cortisol. I felt so much better on the steroids, like a normal human. Of course, I could hardly sleep, but I was amped up enough it didn't matter. My reaction to them is what makes me think my cortisone is messed up. While I'm at it, I should schedule a mammogram, too. Maybe in another week I'll feel good enough to get on that.

Back from Seattle

January 31st, 2019 at 11:31 am

All the pre-op stuff went well. It was an exhausting day. Getting out of Seattle is always the worst. They have these lanes that keep turning into bus only lanes and then back into all traffic and then back into bus only, like every other block. It is such a nightmare, especially when you are trying to make right hand turns, and then just for fun they will throw one in on the left hand lane. Practically all the streets are one way, too, which does not help anything.

And the pedestrians are nuts. Forget the fact that there are crosswalks at every corner and some in between. Heaven forbid they have to walk fifteen feet to cross at one when they can just dart out into traffic and disrupt the 15 seconds you have to try to advance half a block because they don't want to wait their turn. Ugh! I think this is the first time ever we didn't have to deal with any cyclists, though.

The anesthetist resident we met with was so drop dead gorgeous we thought we'd walked into a hospital TV drama. He was half Vietnamese/half Caucasian and had the most beautiful skin, just flawless and incredible bone structure. He kind of reminded me of a cross of Glenn from the Walking Dead and Eugene from the Try Guys on YouTube, neither of which are Vietnamese, but it was the bone structure. But his voice was a dead ringer for Mark-Paul Gosselar. It was the weirdest thing. He was very good at his job, very thorough in going over things and answering questions. He asked a lot of questions about DD's secondary adrenal insufficiency. It went very well.

Now we just have to wait for the 7th to get here. We are going to go down the night before and stay at the hotel that is attached to the hospital. That way we don't have to leave until around seven at night and we won't have to deal with any traffic and then we will have the hotel for a second night so that if DD doesn't feel like traveling the day of surgery we can wait until the next day and pick a good time to try to get out of Dodge.

If she does feel like leaving then we can still wait until evening and just check out early. That gives her a while to rest after the surgery. I have a feeling we'll just stay over that second night, though. Her surgery is currently scheduled in the early afternoon, but it may get moved up. We just don't know and won't until the day before.

We stopped at Red Lobster for dinner and spent far too much money, but it was planned for. I won't be able to go out for my birthday in February because it is too close to DD's surgery and I won't want to leave her alone, so this kind of counted as that for me at least, even though I didn't have cake. They had this weird cauliflower gratin thing that if you like both cauliflower and aged cheese is decent, but it needs some kind of spice as it was still a little bland.

They did give us a free dessert, which DD ate. It was because DH ordered a 12 oz New York strip steak and they brought him a 7 ounce sirloin. They did fix it. We didn't really care, mistakes happen, and the night was a bit of a comedy of errors, but no biggie. The waitress was great if a little scattered, the restaurant was pretty empty, and the music made you want to dance in your seat. All in all it made up for Seattle traffic. Plus their potato bacon soup is one of the best on the planet and when you start your meal with that it's all good.

Prednisone Helping Plus Some Grocery Shopping

January 23rd, 2019 at 07:01 pm

I am starting to feel a little difference on the prednisone, quite a bit more energy, which I am taking advantage of, but I made the mistake of eating takeout last night and woke up with a very sore throat. I think someone has changed their recipes and added MSG or soy. Another restaurant to tick off the list of safe restaurants. And yes, I know I was trying to get through the whole month with no eating out. I made it three weeks.

Today I started back on my diet. I bought 2 rotisserie chickens and roast beef slices at Whole Foods to help me with that. The only seasonings they use are salt and pepper, and the beef is a real roast they make onsite, so no fillers. I also got some zucchini. I am going to use my veggie sheet cutter and make some zucchini, roast beef, and cheese roll ups for lunches.

I also got some uncured soppressata and some white cheddar and some sharp cheddar, some soups, and sushi rice (but that was for my daughter, I seldom eat rice). I ended up spending a little over $71.

I have really noticed a change in how my body feels since I quit buying only organic or pasture-raised meat. I was trying to save money to use on paying off debt, but I am not sure it has been worth the trade off to my health. I don't know if anyone else would notice it, but with my auto-immune disease, I think it does make a difference to avoid the chemical fertilizers and GMO fed meat.

I don't think I've been in Whole Foods since we started on Dave Ramsey in April, not that I went there often, anyway. I usually went to Trader Joe's, because it is far less expensive. April is when I started buying conventionally raised meat, too. Now that we don't have to worry so much about medical, since that account is fully funded, I think I am going to raise my grocery budget back to $1000 so we can have organic meat and be fully organic on produce again. That will have us adding $600 a month to the medical account instead of $800. In the long run it is an investment back into my health, which does affect medical.

I have an appointment with the rheumatologist tomorrow. I did finally get the approval for enbrel from my insurance company, but nowhere near enough time for her to see how I am doing on it, because I haven't started it yet. That was the original plan before my insurance company got all stupid. That's going to be fun to explain.

I took DD to the sleep doctor today. Because of the nerve pain medicine, she may not need as high a dose of one of her sleep drugs, so she is going to try to wean down to a half dose of it and see how she does, and if it is okay, then wean off it. Since the nerve pain drug has a sedating effect, the other may no longer be necessary. She'll still have to stay on the other one, though.

I was able to make a double batch of breakfast burritos (2 lbs chicken sausage, 24 eggs, 24 tortillas, 2 cups of shredded Mexi-blend cheese) with the help of my son. I taught him how to do the cooking part. He's helped with the assembly since I first started making them. It will be good for the men folk to have those ready in the freezer for breakfasts again.

I also got about half of the counter on the right side of the sink cleared off and deep cleaned. The crockpots are now being stored on the upper shelf of a lower cabinet next to the sink instead of on the counter. I will be able to put my Kitchen Aid stand mixer back over there now. The other half is mostly clutter from plastic containers that have not been stacked together and put away yet. I did get all the lids organized last night. The Costco protein drink boxes (DS drinks these) are the perfect size for that so I used two of them to organize my lids and measuring cups into. I may end up covering them in contact paper to pretty them up, though.

I saw an idea on youtube on using a shallow drawer to store all your spices instead of on a shelf. We use a lot of spices and I was always having to mix the around to find them. Now they are all laid out flat in the drawer with their labels upright and the ones I use the least towards the back. It was big enough to do three full rows, and then a row in the other direction along the ends. I can already see how much it is going to help.

I'd like to eventually just have the mixer, the Keurig, the lid boxes, the knife block and the toaster on that counter. I just have to reorganize the two big drawers and then stack the containers inside each other like they should be. And if I move the knife block over there, I then have room to put the new blender on the left-hand side of the sink. It is too tall to fit under the counter, but there is just enough space for it to fit in the open area next to the sink.

So, yeah, the prednisone is definitely working.

Still So Tired

January 21st, 2019 at 11:56 pm

I have really not been the same since getting so sick at the start of September. So I went back to the doctor today (had to see the on call NP) and I still have a pretty ferocious sinus infection. So she prescribed a double z-pack, plus prednisone. It's been over a year since I've been on steroids. I start them in the morning and I hope I'll get some energy back. It usually takes 24 hours. I wish I could start them tonight. Anyway, it was $13.64 for the meds and it'll be full cost for the visit once it clears insurance because of the deductible. I don't remember how much that is, but it is over $100.

I stopped at the grocery store after that. I picked up enough oranges to get me to payday, along with green onions, two tomatoes, 1 onion, some cilantro, and a lime. I spent under $20, but can't find the receipt. I'm making pico de gallo the day before payday and I wanted two days for the tomatoes to finish ripening. The green onions are for making egg flower soup, which is planned for tomorrow's lunch. I have to make chicken and bone broth in the morning so it is the perfect day to make soup. I will be making it with duck eggs which increases the protein.

I miss the days of it being my own duck eggs, but at least I have a source to buy them from, and I have to admit I do not miss doing the chores associated with keeping ducks, turkeys, and chickens. Or the smell. Well, that was mostly the chickens. I save the duck eggs for baking or egg flower soup, though, as they are $4.59 a half dozen at this time of year. During the regular laying season I can get them for $5 a dozen. Both are pasture raised so they have big orange yolks instead of faded out yellow ones. And they taste a lot better, so they are worth the expense, so long as I don't go overboard on buying them.

Anyway, that is the expenses for the day.

Surgery Scheduled

January 17th, 2019 at 07:11 pm

I heard back from the scheduler and DD's surgery has now been scheduled for February 7th. I didn't think we'd get in this soon, but I am glad we did. There is also a pre-op appointment on the 30th of January and I post-op appointment on the 22nd of February. So that will mean 3 trips to Seattle in 4 weeks. Ugh. But it will be worth it. I have to double our gas budget for that. We usually spend about $100 a month on gas, but I'll budget $200. That means not contributing to the computer replacement fund this month, but no one needs a new computer at the moment, so no biggie.

DH will have to take 3 days off work. He can work 4 10 hour days instead of 5 8 hour days, though. Or he can take some paid vacation time. It's not like we can afford to go on a vacation and we can't leave the rabbits even if we could, and they don't just allow him to work and take the vacation money, so the money and time off might as well be used for something like this.

I wish I could do the drive on my own, but my RA starts acting up after about 30 minutes of non-stop driving and I start to worry about my reflexes on longer trips, especially on a freeway I am not used to driving on with a much higher traffic volume and inhabitants that think turn signals are optional for lane changes. I avoid driving on the freeway most of the time even in my own city because I just don't like it.

I am hoping we will get an estimate on how much the surgery will cost. I am sure we will have to put down a down payment, too. That seems to be the way it goes these days. But we have $5K in the bank for this so we should be fine. Our portion should be less than that. But honestly, as much as I hate being debt, this is a surgery we would go into debt for, and I don't say that lightly.

Broken Blogs, Broken Blog Goal

January 17th, 2019 at 02:09 am

So the commenting feature is acting up again, claiming I'm not logged in when I am. Will they ever get this thing permanently fixed? I've gotten to the point where I don't even feel like complaining anymore, because they'll make it work for a week, but it never works for good. The emojis haven't worked for what, two years now? *sighs* I know it is little things, but it is really making it user unfriendly.

My goal to blog more consistently kind of went by the wayside. We cleaned rabbit cages this weekend with our new clearance pressure washer, swept out the rabbit shed, including all of the cobwebs on the ceiling and put away the summer fans which had not been stored properly yet, and I wore myself out so bad that the last thing I felt like doing is blogging. I did, however, finish watching season 2 of Westworld.

The pressure washer was a $200 machine that we got for $70 because of the season, I'm sure. It is an ecofriendly one, too, that doesn't use as much water, but is very forceful. It made the chore much easier and faster, but it still took several hours because some of the trays had to be fired. Also having only 8 rabbits now makes it easier to get through all the cages quickly.

I haven't made up a meal plan for the second half of the month yet, since I was basically using up leftovers the past couple of days. We had some shredded chicken to get through so I made quesadillas. I also made some Mexican rice which had leftovers so DH and DS will have some for their next couple days of lunches. Both are big rice eaters. I used some of my home canned salsa in it. It's from 2015, my huge tomato year. The day before that we had leftover pork stew. Tomorrow I will sit down and figure out a meal plan for the remainder of the month.

I have to be more careful about how much work I do around the farm. I still haven't completely shaken my cough and despite it being fairly warm at 45 degrees on Saturday and Sunday, it was still a little colder than I probably should have been out in. But the work goes faster with three people than two. I spent most of Monday and Tuesday in bed, though. Partly the cough, but mostly the rheumatoid arthritis flaring up after doing so much work.

I have misplaced the rabbits' nail clippers so will have to pick up a new pair as they are all due for a clipping. I hate having to go to the pet store, but the farmer's co-op doesn't sell the right kind of clippers, the kind that encircle the whole nail. I think I need to get a new brush, too. The last one broke. The don't need to be brushed generally, but a couple of them are blowing their coats already. Makes me think we might not get a super cold winter this year. So when they do that it helps to brush out all the old fur. Plus they really seem to enjoy the extra attention. So a couple of small expenses there, but I doubt I will spend more than $15 there. DH needs to pick up a bale of hay this weekend, too.

I need to get a new charger for my phone as well. The one I have only works if it is propped at an angle. So while I can get it to charge, sometimes I forget to prop it and then go to grab my phone and it is dead. I don't know how much that will cost, but I have over $100 in my allowance envelope, since I rarely spend it. It won't be near that, I know, but I am prepared regardless.

I got my medical checkbook balanced. Found a mistake that made the balance $365 off. It was $182.50 that I'd added instead of subtracted, thereby doubling to $365. But that account has over $5000 in it so no worries.

I have entered in all the medical bills for each month. Now I need to add them all up and see the total to see if we can deduct for them. I know some stuff has changed this year. I'll get that done tomorrow and get the numbers for that and our tithe to DH. I'd like to get our taxes done ASAP. With identity theft in our lives, the sooner the better. Of course, I don't know if the IRS will be processing or not due to the shutdown. The last time there was a shutdown at this time of year, we sent it in early and still got it back fairly quickly, but that one was shorter than this one, so who knows?

I called VM today as I still haven't heard anything about DD's surgery being scheduled. I know there was a delay for the holidays, but it has been nearly a month. I left a message with the scheduler, so hopefully I will hear back from her tomorrow. DD has dropped 75 pounds in that amount of time. Pretty much all of it retained water. The new meds are working very well in that respect. She has cheekbones again. No guarantee it won't come back, but for now it is a major relief for her body.

Okay, I think that catches me up.

Minor (Very Minor) Surgery Plus Instant Pot Recipe for Alliecat79

January 8th, 2019 at 08:28 pm

I took DD to the dentist today. She had to get the webbing clipped on that part of your mouth where the lower lip connects to the gum. It was starting to pull down the gum line on her two lower front teeth too far. It could have eventually exposed the roots of the teeth and she might have lost them due to them not being stable anymore. It was just a quick snip and a couple of stitches.

I am not sure how much it will cost us. Probably $50 for the co-pay, but they didn't collect anything while we were there. I wish our previous dentist had brought this up before. The new guy seems a little more on the ball. I mean, when he pointed it out to me, you could really see where the damage was being caused, it is an obvious thing that a dentist should have noticed before this. Unless maybe it wasn't as obvious and just got really bad in the last year.

I did actually break my no take out rule. I bought my daughter two milkshakes because she wasn't allowed to eat solids for the rest of the day and she wanted something cold to numb it. I really didn't want to go to the grocery store because it was raining hard, so we went to DQ.

I also spent $27.33 on prescriptions today, including a numbing mouth wash from the dentist for her. That came out of the medical account, though.

We still have not heard anything from the gyno's surgery scheduler. Hopefully we will hear from them this week. I know the doctor wasn't in her office for the last two weeks, but everyone was supposed to be back on Monday. The insurance company was probably pretty much closed down between Christmas and New Year's as well. If I don't hear from them by Friday I'll give a call on Monday.

I am still waiting to get a bill from DS's sleep study. It looks like it will be around $400 based on what the insurance company sent me for what they covered, but I'd like to get the bill so that it can be taken care of. The insurance statement only came on Monday. Everyone is behind because of the holidays, I think.

Mom called her insurance company today and has a claim number we can use. We will take the truck in soon to get an estimate and then schedule repairs. Fortunately, the damage is just cosmetic except for the bumper and while the license plate is dented in badly, it is still readable. We will leave that until we get new plates. Washington state requires new license plate numbers every 5 years (and they wonder why we are running out of numbers on our plates. They used to just be six digits and now they are seven because of this rule. Well, actually, we better make sure a new plate would even be attachable. I'll mention that to DH so he can mention it to the repair guy.

I did change my meal plan tonight since DD can't eat solids, to penné pasta with chicken sausage, since she can't eat the chicken sausage or tomatoes. I have a ton of sausage in the freezer that used to be something she could eat, but she can't anymore.

Oh, Alliecat79, this was a super easy Instant Pot meal. Just take two pints of diced tomatoes with their juice and add them to your pot, then dump in a box of penné pasta, then put in two jars of spaghetti sauce covering the pasta. Put an inch of water in each jar, put the lid on, shake up, and then dump the contents into the pot. Between that and the tomato juice there is enough liquid to make the steam so adding more is not necessary. Cut up some sausage links and put on top. On the manual setting, set the time for 12 minutes. Do a quick release when done and then stir it all up. That's it. (Sometimes I throw in a couple handfuls of frozen zucchini, too). Oh, and make sure you spray the liner pot with olive oil before you start. It makes clean up much easier.