Thursday, August 28, 2014

My week in photos - 8/28/14

At my weekly doctor's appointment yesterday my doctor said I could 'push it' a bit. I baked today. I dropped an egg but who cares. I made these huge cupcakes. They are going to the neighbors. Mint chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate.

Another bag for ThredUp. This is my 5th bag to them. My 3rd & 4th bag are processing. I send in used items and they give me money. It takes about a month from the time it is sent in until you get money.
We got a "new" (to us) van. We had two older vans with over 120,000 miles on them. We had planned on running our two older vans until they stopped working. That was the plan. And then we realized that we could get more for them now and upgrade. We are selling both of those (the first one sold this past weekend and I will list the second tomorrow) and upgraded to a 2008 with only 50,000 miles on it. It is the newest, lowest mileage vehicle we have ever had. Fancy!

My husband drove to NJ to pick this one up on Monday. Thankfully he borrowed a car dolly and I didn't have to go.
The hubby woke up at 5am to travel 10+ hours (round trip) on Monday. He got back Monday evening and came home to a leaking fridge. "We" worked on it a few hours and I am thrilled to say that it is working again! Plus, we now have a very clean fridge. I didn't realize how much dust collects in the coils. Ewwww.

On Tuesday we had dirt (fill) dumped in our driveway. Our driveway goes completely around the house. It is like a gravel mote. Every year we (the husband) put more gravel down since it disappears. It kind of sinks into the ground.

This year my husband had a friend scrape up all the gravel and put fill down. Hopefully that will pack and then the gravel won't disappear as fast.

I love this funny man. He worked in the pouring rain for hours. Plus, he dances with me in the rain.

Here is our friend "Goose". This real name is Randy but almost everyone out here has an odd nickname. He ran the John Deere and my husband ran our tractor.

We had two tractors parked on the side of our home for a few days.

I love this view! This is the view you see from the hammock on the front porch.
I ordered my favorite mascara from Amazon last week and used it yesterday. I hardly ever wear make-up at this point. I was going to the doctor's and so I put it on. I LOVE this mascara. It makes my lashes super long and doesn't clump. I have purchased more expensive mascara and didn't like it half as good as this one.

Best part? It is $4.77 with free shipping on Amazon. Yup, a full size mascara for under $5. It is Maybelline's lash stiletto in soft black. I have used "very black" and it works great too. But it is like fifty cents more and I am cheap. It is over $7 at Wal-Mart and you have to drive there. Amazon rocks!

Here is how good it works...The doctor had me doing high tech eye movements wearing a eye sensor. The eye sensor kept thinking my LASHES were my pupils because of how big they looked. The doctor told me not to wear mascara next time. Oops.

Last week I had a mole biopsied. I won't show you the actual spot because it is gross. We got my results yesterday and there is no cancer. Thank you Jesus! I didn't think it was cancer but the results took forever (a week). I confess that during that week I had a lot of doubts and worries. I may have even googled melanoma once or twice.

The printed Band-Aids were on clearance for half the price of plain Band-Aids. I have worn Monsters, Inc and Sponge Bob this week.

And this one is funny. I tie dyed a shirt in turmeric. It was an old white shirt I was donating anyway. It took all my wrist strength to do this and I hurt for a day afterward.

Here is before I washed it. Pretty awesome, right?

Even the "after" looks great. Except, it smelled of turmeric. I washed it a second time and it still smelled. Plus, it lost most of its color after the second wash. Yeah, tie dying with turmeric isn't a great idea.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Photos - August 23, 2014

I have missed blogging. I keep blogging in my head but haven't actually done it. 

This past week has been the "week of dizziness". It started after church on Sunday and hasn't yet left. I started thinking that it was a low sugar thing and ate a lot of sugar. It made it worse. But, I did get to eat Popsicles and Swedish Fish. 

I called my doctor Monday and he said to come in for a full blood work up. Then I emailed my new doctor and told him what was happening. He said my blood work would come back fine and that dizziness was a great sign. 

And he was right. The blood work came back the next day and all my levels except one are normal. That silly low level was iron. My iron is always low. No big deal. 

So...the dizziness. I have been sweating a lot. More than I have probably ever sweated in my life. It has finally been humid which is helping me produce sweat. Also helping is this awesome little sauna from Amazon. 

Isn't it so funny looking? But, it really works. I sweat up a storm. I pop in a movie (thanks Kristen for the loan of all the DVDs!) and zip myself up.
Here is my 6'6" husband using it.

It is basically a lot of piping with a cover over it. Then you hook up the heating unit and plug it in. Does anyone else remember Pipeworks from the 1980's? We loved these as a kid! Unfortunately the sauna kit did not include wheels like Pipeworks did.

Also a fun little thing that has been left hand changes colors. It turns a yellow/orange color. It has been happening for the last few weeks. It goes from my fingertips into my palm.

So here is how the new doctor explained the dizziness which is, at times, pretty severe. I dream about earthquakes and the earth spinning and wake up to find that I am really dizzy.

The doctor said that RSD and Dystonia affect the nerves and nervous system. We already knew that. But my body feels the pain and slows the blood to that area. My knee gets swollen and the blood doesn't move past the area well. The same happens in my hands and wrists. 

So, basically my system has slowed the flow of blood to the area over the last year or two. Instead, it focuses on other things like digestion. In the last three weeks have really shaken up my body. There have been oxygen masks, eye exercises, electric stimulus sessions, odd Tai-Chi like movements, a lot of sweating, the withdrawal of my pain meds and so much more. My body is freaking out. It doesn't know how to deal with all of this.

It isn't use to dealing with digestion and moving the blood through my limbs. My body doesn't like it at all and so I get super dizzy. 

Here are some of my new supplements: Nitric Balance, Multi-vitamins (yes, they are like gummy candies and I don't care), Magnesium when my body tolerates it, Kapp Arest and a great probitic. The probitic will help with things like thrush. I tend to get thrush fairly often for some reason. There are only so many things I can cut out from my diet. I have not had diet soda or aspartame for three weeks. I have not had milk for longer than that. I have been decreasing the amount of gluten and sugar. Do you know how hard it is to find gum without aspartame or glycerin? Nearly impossible. Someone make good-for-you gum.

Also helping with the sweating is my fun heating pad "bonnet" and hot baths. I hate taking baths. I feel the need to shower before and after so I don't sit in my own filth. Does anyone else do this? And by the time I have showered-bathed-showered, my hands look like prunes. 

I am still using my loaned electric stimulus machine daily. I love this thing. I am so blessed that a friend of a friend lent this to me. It basically sends little shocks of electricity through my nerves. It feels so good. I crank it up and it really helps with the pain.

I have been doing a lot of shopping on Amazon. This week I got my eye cover. I have eye exercises that will hopefully strengthen my right eye and help it move back to the center. Amazon was so thoughtful to include this lovely earring in my purchase. I can now do my eye exercises dressed up like a pirate. 

Right now my "job" is to get better. That is the goal. 

My day usually looks like this: 

10pm to 4am - Sleep

4am to 6am - I'm awake since the Ambien wore off and I am trying to wean myself off of it. I went from 17.5 mg to 12.5 mg to 10 mg and tonight I am going to try 8mg. 

6am to 8am - Sleep

And then during the day I lay in the hammock, do eye exercises, arm exercises (without moving my wrists/hands), try to eat healthy and not get dizzy, sweat and read. There is lots of reading. I am going through about a book or two a day on my Nook. Thank goodness for free books!

One of those free books included a how-to make your own crafted gifts. TWO of the "gifts" included a supply of cat hair. Ummm...what?

And other photos I have taken this week...

We decided to go from two minivans to one. I sold one after listing it on my Facebook page.

My husband went to a baseball game with a good friend, the friend's niece and the friend's parents who just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary together. While there, he caught a foul ball. 

This is the couple that has been married for 60 years. Our friend, Dar, sits behind them in the gray shirt. They are some of the sweetest people you will ever meet. 

My husband and I sponsor children through Compassion. We received two new photos this week. We have been sponsoring them for about 10-11 years. 

The first is Johari. The first photo shows her in an ivory two piece dress with a plaid collar. It was taken in 2003. The new photo shows her wearing a lovely two piece dress which she made. She is taking tailoring courses in high school.

The second photo is of Princess. I remember picking Princess because of her name. Plus, how cute was she in the photo taken in 2004? She was so tiny! She is now 17.

Here is proof that my husband loves me. He took all my ebay stuff out of the office since it is just a reminder of what I cannot do right now. The office is so much bigger without all the stuff! Here he is carrying the bottom half of my mannequin. 

And last photo. Did you know ants like friend chicken more than candy corn? I did an experiment. Life gets boring hanging out in a hammock for most of the day. They attacked the chicken within a half out. They didn't touch the candy corn, even when I left it overnight. I even broke it apart for them so they could have the sugary inside.

By the way, I agree with their choice. I think fried chicken skin is the best food in the world.

A Dragon home edition 13 review is coming. I wanted to try it some more before I posted the review. Thanks for being patient :)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Trying out my new Dragon software

Hello everyone!

I decided to buy the new Dragon software. It is their 13th edition. QVC was selling it for about $80 with free shipping for two programs. I am typing this entire thing using my voice.

I am not sure how I feel about the software so far but will post a review soon. It is similar to talk-to-text on your smart phone.

Yesterday I went to the doctors. It was my weekly Friday appointment at my new doctor`s. We very much like him. He scraped the scar tissue on my knee and on my back. My back has some pain from the shingles last year but honestly it isn't bad. He also did electric stimulus (it hurts!) on my wrist and knee. He is working on my left side first since that is where most of the pain is.

I am feeling wonderful mentally and emotionally. Being off almost all of my medicine has helped my spirits. This week I am going from 12.5 mg of Ambien to 10 mg. I may even drop it a bit more if that goes well. So far the withdrawal symptoms from the decrease of Ambien have not been bad. Just a few bad dreams. My doctor said to take my time on decreasing this since it does help me sleep through the pain.

It does hurt to walk which I do not do often. I have a wheelchair and walker which are great. I use the walker around the house and the wheelchair when I go out. Tomorrow I have plans on attending church which will be the first time in MONTHS! 

My wrists and hands have also been hurting. Thankfully I haven't woken up with "claw hand" in weeks which is a wonderful blessing. Yes, the pain is there when I wake up. But I can move my hands which is great.

The new doctor wants me to sweat. However, It has been cold here in PA. Last night it was in the 30's! Okay, it was like 39...but still! It is AUGUST.

Today was the first day of sunshine in awhile and I took advantage of it. I laid in the sun (with sunscreen on) for a total of 4 hours. I sweat a lot which is wonderful. I hope the sun continues to shine. I am also enjoying our hammock and my Nook. We have wireless internet and so I can watch YouTube and read. While laying in the sun I enjoyed listening to my new Pandora channel: Be Thou My Vision. I am loving the old hymns right now. 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blog Post

I don't have a fancy title for this post. I just couldn't think of anything honestly. Ha. 

My mind feels great and I am doing well mentally and emotionally. I am off my pain pills and my depression meds. I wasn't exactly depressed but my family doctor said that with chronic pain comes depression and put me on a low dose a few months ago. I have stepped it down and am now off of it.

Most of my days include atleast a few hours of getting outside and laying in the hammock with my Nook.

I am taking just one prescription medicine - a sleeping pill. I am hoping to step this down slowly since it also has withdrawal side effects. The sleeping pill does help put me to sleep and helps me sleep through the pain and so I cannot complain. It may take a few months but I am slowly going to try to wean myself off of this too. 

My body hurts. Some mornings I wake up and can type for a bit and I am glad of that. The last few days I have been using my walker. 

My days include devotions, Bible reading, lots of praying, reading and trying to sweat. I cannot hold a book but I can use my knuckle to turn pages on my Nook. 

QVC had a great deal on the Dragon software. TWO sets for just $80 plus free shipping. These retail for about $200 and sell for that on Amazon. I am going to try it for typing. There is a 30 day return policy on these. I may not be able to thrift, dress the mannequin or edit photos but this will help me type. I will keep you posted!

My doctor wants me to sweat as much as I can. I am currently using a heating pad but have a "U" pillow ordered from Amazon and will get it later today. The pillow is made of buckwheat which smells like popcorn and pancakes. I am not a sweat-er and it is chilly here in PA. Sweating is tough when you cannot walk or move too much.

There are baths filled with magnesium salts, electric stimulus sessions and eye exercises. I was blessed to have a friend's friend lend me a $2500 electric stimulus machine. Her daughter had the same condition as me for years and she said I could keep it for as long as I needed. I didn't even know this woman and she trusted me with such an expensive device!

The left side of my brain is very weak which is why most of the pain is on the left side. CRPS (RSD) weakens the nervous system which includes your brain. My right eye has turned inward to help "fix" my left side. There are a lot of eye exercises to help correct this and I have them downloaded on my Nook and my phone.

I went for 7 hours of tests and treatments this past Friday. One of the treatments included multiple sessions of breathing oxygen. Breathing is one of the things I can do without pain :)

Lidocaine patches help numb the areas of pain. I don't use them every day but I am thankful to have them. I sleep with them on my wrists, hands and left knee. They only numb the skin but it is a good distraction.

This was a photo of some of the swelling in my left knee at the beginning of the day, before the 7 hours of tests & treatments. You can imagine how swollen it was afterwards. I forgot to take a photo.

My doctor said to try kale and dark chocolate. It naturally helps with pain.

Dark chocolate is gross. So bitter! My awesome husband picked me up several kinds and the dark Hershey kisses were best. Yes, I know those don't really count as dark chocolate and have the most sugar.

I tried fresh kale, baked kale with olive oil & salt and kale with bacon. Kale is the absolutely most disgusting food ever. Unless kale is a miracle cure for CRPS (and it is not), there is no way I am eating this again. And the chocolate made my stomach sick because I cannot tolerate milk.
These have no milk but yet still make my stomach sick for some reason. And they aren't as yummy as Hershey's kisses. Ha.

My supplements also include magnesium, Kapp Arest and some kind of gross peppermint liquid called Nitric Balance. I am also taking vitamins. 

I go back to the doctor's on Friday. He is awesome. I write down all my questions and he answers them as he treats me. And...great news! Yesterday was the first day my stomach held food for the entire day. It seems to be settling down. I am going back to gluten-free since I now have thrush from all the wheat I was eating (chicken noodle soup and lots of crackers were my diet while my stomach was sick). Ha! So my diet will include lots of fruit, veggies, grilled chicken and nuts. My favorite meal is fresh spinach salad with carrots, strawberries, grilled chicken, raw almonds and a bit of vinegar. Yum!

We are getting a new roof! This is the "before" photo. Our shingles have been blowing off for years. We have no idea of how old the roof is but we are guessing it hasn't been replaced since the early 1990's. (Does anyone else think this should have been just 10 years ago? How is it 2014!?!) And...we are going with a metal roof. It is slightly more expensive (about 10% more in cost) but it will last so much longer. Most metal roofs have a life time warranty.

We had a wonderful strict Mennonite build our master suite and we are again using him for this project. He is also going to replace the gutters since we painted them white a few years ago. It will be easier to replace them than re-paint them. Especially since I cannot hold a paint brush right now.

When my father-in-law passed away in late June, we inherited a ton of stuff. Most of it got sold or given away. But some of the tools were kept since my hubby will use them. My husband is super organized and I am so thankful for that. On Tuesday he alphabetized the peg board. Yup, alphabetical order, starting with bolt cutters and brushes and ending with a window washer & yard stick. Don't ask how long this took him (okay...3 hours!!!).

And here is what the rest of the basement now looks like...Yikes! It will take weeks to finish but he is taking it one day at a time. I cannot do a thing except watch. I sit with my leg up and just spend time with him. I hate not doing anything but I am loving this time together. I am glad God used this disease to slow me down. I know He is working in my life and I am joyful for that. I am NOT thankful for the pain but I am thankful that I don't have a busy life right now.

 I have always been someone that counts down the time until the next "big thing". A month until vacation, 100 days until Christmas, etc. I look back on just a few months ago when my knee was bad and I wish I would have been more thankful that 'just' my knee hurt and not my arms, wrists and hands. And so I am trying to enjoy this time of my life being slow. I don't want to look back on this time when 'just' my knee, hands and wrists hurt. I can still do so much and I am thankful for that.
One thing I can do: Jamberry! I had a Jamberry Facebook party and earned a ton of free nail strips. They are basically stickers that you heat up. They have glue on the underside and the glue melts when you heat them. You stick them on, smooth them out and use a nail clipper to trim the excess. So easy!

Aren't they fun? My hands shake badly but even I can do these.

My father-in-law lived in an assisted living community the last few weeks of his life. My husband went back to sing, play guitar and play piano and put on a "show" for the residents last week. He sang old hymns and some old songs. My favorites included You Are My Sunshine and Roses are Red My Love (by Bobby Vinton).

The show became a big 45-minute sing along and the residents loved it. I sat beside Mildred who had dementia. She kept asking why she was there and how she got there. Mildred didn't remember almost anything but she remembered the songs and sang along. You have know idea of how this blessed me.

We also met a dear lady named Madeline. Madeline knew my father-in-law, Dean, from the early 1940's. She and Dean use to be "beaus" and went to the roller rink together. Dean even asked Madeline to marry her but they were only 16 and she said her dad would kill her. Dean then went to WWII. She remembers him coming back from WWII in his army uniform and skating after the war was over. What sweet memories!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Friday, August 8, 2014


I made it! It has been 15 days off Fentanyl and 11 off Percocet. I am feeling great mentally and emotionally.

Today I will be at the doctor's from 11am to atleast 5pm for tests and treatments. I was there two weeks ago for an evaluation. This is the doctor that said I had dystonia along with my RSD.

My knee is feeling okay. It hurts but I have been taking it easy. My wrists hurt quite a bit and the pain goes from my elbow to my fingertips. Sometimes they ache, sometimes it shoots through me.

I am excited to see what today will bring. God has truly given me peace and joy during this time.

Just over two weeks ago I was on 8 medications. I am now down to 2. One of those is at half the dose and the other is Ambien. I am hoping to stop the sleeping pills soon but they truly do help. They allow me to sleep through the pain.

I took Advil this morning because of cramps (stupid period) but have been taking almost no pain medicine - even OTC. I wanted to let my stomach settle a bit. That is probably the last of the withdrawal symptoms to leave me. My stomach gets stronger every day and I have been keeping some food in it.

I do not recommend stopping your narcotics without a doctor's advice and help. I do not recommend this as a diet of any kind. With that said, I am down 12 pounds. I am sure once I can keep food in my belly that I will gain some back. It has been a tough few weeks for my poor body.

Thanks for all your prayers. I will post again soon :)

Monday, August 4, 2014


Every day I am doing a bit better. My wrists hurt pretty bad but my knee isn't bad at all. And the good news is that I am going for my first all day treatment for dystonia & RSD on Friday. The doctor has really been great these past two weeks. We have been emailing which is SO unheard of for a doctor. 

This evening I am feeling up to posting some photos...

There are about a million ladies in our church having babies. I stocked up on adorable Carter's onesies awhile ago. I am going to add a book to each gift. This one got really good reviews on Amazon and so I ordered 8 books. Yup, lots of babies!

My husband has been taking care of the house for awhile now. About a month ago our steam mop broke. I haven't ordered a replacement yet. I do have a few on my Amazon wish list. He has been cleaning floors with this old school mop.

Something I did order from Amazon was a huge box of his favorite popcorn. I didn't realize that I purchased 12 FULL SIZE bags of popcorn. I cannot eat it because it is white cheddar and has milk. I'm sure he will make the sacrifice and eat it all.

All my candles being burned at the same time. Why???

Because some dumb person decided she wanted to try turmeric paste this week. It is suppose to be a miracle cure. Thanks Amazon ;) I don't make the best choices when I hurt and this was $11 straight in the garbage. Years ago when my mom asked what spices we kept in the house I had to answer "salt". I don't even think we have pepper.

WHO thought that she would like turmeric? Me.

I boiled it down with water. I consider this cooking. It made the entire house stink. It doesn't even look good! I got a spoonful in my mouth before gagging. And then I washed it down with Skittles and Powerade. Oh, I am super healthy. And I am sure that the little bit I accidentally swallowed will heal me completely (insert sarcasm).

This went straight into the garbage along with the little plastic container. I forgot to take a photo of the Pampered Chef white rubber spatula but I completely dyed it.

Maybe I can somehow tie dye a white shirt in Turmeric? I bet that would look really cool. Except I would probably smell forever.

Last night at 1 or 2am I was wide awake. This happens almost every night. My Ambien wears off and the pain sets in again. I decided to use my Jamberry nail strips to do my toe nails. I shake pretty bad and so I don't use nail polish too much. But these are so easy to use. These were FREE since I hosted a Facebook party for a friend. I got lots for free. Love these!

These. are. awesome. They have a bit of milk but I splurged. They are like the best candy bar ever. I haven't been able to keep anything in my stomach for 11 days. I have tried everything from crackers and chicken noodle soup to grilled chicken to raw spinach to Skittles. Nothing sticks.

My doctor said to just make sure I keep hydrating and eating. He said I could stop the gluten-free thing for now. I stopped it when I started having withdrawal symptoms anyway.

I had to cut the wrists on my sweatshirt this morning. They were bothering my wrists. I am so thankful I saved this old sweatshirt from the trash so many times. Cutting it and rolling the sleeves was no big deal. I have pinking sheers for some reason. I think they just magically showed up in my sewing box. I haven't the slightest idea of where I got these.

Thanks Verizon for this GIANT check which came this morning. The cost to send it was 48 cents and the check was for 3 cents. Why?!?

My husband has been taking care of me, cleaning and cooking and getting quotes for the roof. We have put off getting a new roof for years. Shingles blow off with every strong wind and then he goes on the roof to nail them back on.

This summer we will be selling my father-in-law's house and we decided to "splurge" and get a roof before we get leaks. Roofs are REALLY expensive! Thankfully we know an Amish/Mennonite guy (we haven't decided yet) who can do it for about half the price of Home Depot. He did a few jobs for us years ago and kind of freaked us out when he didn't wear shoes while using a saw on the gravel outside our home. Ouch.

He also doesn't have a phone. You have to call a main number and leave a message. And then you get a call back at a random time. Like 6am this morning. Thanks for getting back to us roofing guy.

I am part of a larger group of ebay sellers. Today I got two cards from them. How sweet was that!?!

Powerade tastes like Jell-O that hasn't made gel yet. I don't like it. I am drinking it but I don't like it.

Does anyone else have a baggie of medicine that they are no longer taking? No one will take this stuff back. My doctor said to bury the pills in cat litter. I refuse to buy cat litter to bury pills. I already spent $11 on turmeric. Hey...maybe I can bury them in turmeric?!?

My husband has been shopping and he brought me home pulled pork. I kind of kept putting it off since my stomach has been so weird lately. Tonight he had a church worship meeting and I heated some up. YUM! I am sure this isn't great for my stomach but I don't care. I haven't been this excited for food in awhile. Well, besides the Skittles. And the gluten-free chocolate filled things. Hehe.

Also - I have a question for everyone. My father-in-law passed away a month ago. We got sympathy cards. I have sent a "thank you" to anyone who sent something (like awesome is that idea in a sympathy card and I am totally stealing it). I even sent them to people out of town mostly. But, then my hands got really bad. They hurt to write anything. Do I need to keep sending these? We have probably sent over 30 and still have a large pile left. Do you send "thank you" cards for sympathy cards? Please say no.

Okay...that is all. That was a lot of typing for me. Thanks for reading!