So Much to Share, Summer 2017

I’ve had idea after idea about what to post next, but to actually get my fingertips to the keyboard just wasn’t happening. Today I say, “self, stop using up all your brain power thinking and just starting typing!” Here goes….

Waterfall wonderland was our summertime fun.

Mitch found this fountain free here in town, it just needed a little fix and now it works great

I got this fountain at the dollars for scholars here in medical lake last year. The birds love it!

Mitch made a tree stump waterfall that ‘s just beyond beautiful. He worked on it for days, and it couldn’t be any more amazing. He’d tried to find ideas and suggestions on Pinterest without much luck, so maybe now he’ll be able to help others.

He started with drilling the outer shape

Drilling took way to long, so he brought out the big guns… his chainsaw

Hours later

Painted out perimeter for stone blocks

Its starting to take shape

He used retaining wall stone blocks he’d found on Craigslist, and just chipped off the lip of the stone with a hammer to make it work

Pump is set, power cord ran underground, pond liner finished, now to add water

Ahhhh, the sound of flowing water

He has the lights on a timer so they go off in the morning and on at night, and even though its August there has just got to be some color.

Starting to look real nice now, but he just insists on more color

Out watering every morning or evening

nighttime look

I’ve read that cats like to drink from moving water and so I looked into one of those cat water fountains, but just couldn’t bring myself to spend that kind of money so I decided to make my own.

Zoey trying to send me a mental messages saying, “mama, make my world wonderful…… you will pamper me!”

My first round was probably a year ago, I got a small water pump, put it in a dog dish and cut out a flower from an aluminum can. After cutting myself trying to shape it, and noticing all the sharp edges I decided that it just wouldn’t be safe for Zoey to drink from.

my first try with the water pump and soda can

Trashed that prototype, and 6 months later I was ready to try again. This time I’d found a bowl and pitcher at a yard sale for $15,

bowl and pitcher with water pump before we cut off the  bottom half to make it fit better

bought a ceramic tile cutter for our Dremel and after some trial and error, tada!

Dremel diamond wheel cut super smooth and worked great

the pitcher bottom after we used the Dremel, just leaving the last little cut

Zoey using the final product! wahoo

Now to be honest, after the first couple days she rarely drank from it and it was a pain to clean, so after about 5 months I gave up the ghost.

now I use it as a candy dish

Zoey hanging with her best buddy

We still have a pet water filter in her dish, but even with cleaning it daily she’d rather just drink out of the dogs water. Can’t say we didn’t try, that’s for sure.

this little window bird feeder is  awesome, great treat to see the birds from inside the house! got it used from amazon, only cost about $12

Lake Wenatchee State Park near Leavenworth is where we were when the eclipse took place, spending time with the kids.

Nettie riding in style and Charlie trying to get settled in for the drive

using our selfie stick for the first time capturing a family photo and Harvy the RV as a backdrop

As the eclipse was happening it made some really cool sun rays

capturing all the colors in the sun rays

Chef Marcus cooking it up

DELICIOUS!  Great job Marcus! thanks for making it a glamping experience! (note, never never again will we have shrimp in the rv fridge! Peweee, that was some work getting the smell out)

Sunset at the campsite

the sunset colors hitting the trees

our new friend Oreo, named after the snack he first went for when we set up camp. He’s stocking up on some dog food here in the picture

Mitch made me a homemade air conditioner this summer for my Four Lakes Post Office because it was so HOT in my office

fan on the top, PVC pipe coming out the side and ice inside the cooler

It definatley gave me some relief from the heat in the office

I had my hair gal cut my hair and I donated it to Children with Hair Loss (only place that accepts dyed and grey hair!)

measuring my hair to make sure I had enough to donate

we were able to send about 10 inches

About a month after my initial cut, my hair still felt heavy and just too much, so I asked my hair gal if she would shave off some of it and she said, “no, your hair’s too thick, I just don’t think it’d look good.” I was a bit taken aback, and needless to say; not ok with the resistance in doing whatever I wanted with my own hair so I thanked her for looking out for me and told her I understood. Then with a tone of joking but with truth I said, ” gosh, I don’t know, I think I’m going to have to break up with you… maybe we should just be friends ” Later that night I got the hubby to give er a little shavin! It worked out the way it was supposed to, it made for memorable quality time with my love, and I’m happy to say I stayed friends with my hair gal because I spoke my peace so I could keep the peace.

Mitch prepping to shave my head

all up top will stay, down below will go

trying to get the line just right

just like it, she gone

now, when my hair’s down you can’t tell it’s shaved and it feels so much lighter and manageable

Found a puppy left in a car this summer and was about to report it to the authorities when I was lucky enough to encounter the female owner and her two male companions, who’d just finished their lunch at the Texas Road House in Cour d’Alene. It was at least 85 degrees outside, and the female who said it was her dog was probably 8 months pregnant! She defended her choice by stating that she cracked the windows and left water for the dog. It took every ounce of self-control I had not to grab that puppy and lock them in that hot car for an hour while I went and ate my lunch! I tried to get a picture of their license plate so I could still call and report the incident, but by that time the situation had escalated to, “mind your own bleeping business, and bleep off !” So of course by then I was screaming at the top of my lungs, asking her if next time she’d be leaving her child in the car like that! Oh boy! It was not good, there was a moment when I had to decide, just walk away or sucker punch those punks in the throat, take the dog and run. Realizing it was 3 against 1, as Mitch, not knowing what was happening and was non-the wiser enjoying his warm rolls and cinnamon butter inside the restaurant, I walked away, using some of my own choice words, while taking a picture of one of the guys who was trying to block the license plate. Seriously, what is wrong with people?! Ugh!

yes, he’s blocking the license plate

Charlie boy our Golden Retriever was getting a much-needed pampering session this summer when I noticed a big ol lump near his poo shoot.

found this bobble head at a yard sale, and yup it looks just like our Charlie boy

Figured it was his anal glands that just needed expressed so we headed to the vet the very next day. Never thinking it’d be anything else, imagine our surprise when the vet gave us the news that it was cancer.

peanut butter heaven

Of course she told us what to look for when it starts getting worse, and that there are things that they can do to help him when he starts showing symptoms. We were so sad initially, but then also grateful, because now he’s getting super spoiled, no more diet and we’ve been giving him things he’s never had before, like ice cream, a hamburger and other kinds of people food! I’m not too much on giving our dogs people food very often, only as a treat, but now for Charlie, everyday is treat day!

first time having ice cream

In Nettie news, it’s not good news either! Don’t know if you remember, but she’s living with us now, back in pops cottage. Story goes, Nettie’s been having back pain for the past few months and it’s progressively gotten worse. This summer she went and spent a month with the sis’s in California, before that she’d had some discomfort but it was manageable. After returning home she was really struggling and we thought it was sciatic pain so she’d made an appointment to see the doctor.  The doctor said “well, I’m going to send you to physical therapy and they’ll probably just send you back to me and then I’ll refer you to get an MRI.” Well they didn’t, they started giving her physical therapy. We assumed a bulging disk, pinched nerve, sciatic pain…. Week after week Nettie’s pain got worse and I suggested she try acupuncture because that’s what’d helped pops when his sciatica was so bad. She tried it and still no relief. Every now and then I’d check in with her, ask if she’d done her exercises to see if she was doing what she was supposed to. Sometimes she hadn’t, and I would give her the good ol’ talkin to about being consistant with her exercises. After going back to physical therapy the 3rd time and just being in too much pain she saw the doctor and they finally sent her down to get an MRI. The next day she got a call from the doctors office and they said she needs to get to Deaconess emergency, get admitted and get a biopsy that day! She ended up spending 5 days in the hospital, two other biopsies and a surgery to remove a huge tumor on her spine that was pinching all her nerves.

getting briefed by the surgeon before surgery to remove the tumor

The surgeon was surprised she could even walk! Talk about  having a high tollerance for pain!

off she goes

That poor girl, after ALL that time of suffering! With all the test result in they’ve diagnosed her with high risk multiple myeloma.

before her first chemo shot she’s contemplating if she should’ve brought in her coffee

Nettie’s endured months of pain unneccessarily, and there I am giving her a hard time about not doing her exercises! I called her crying uncontrollably after finding out what it was and couldn’t apologize enough about pressuring her to do her stretches. We got to bring her home Sunday the 5th of November, and you can tell she is feeling so much better and ready to fight the good fight with this cancer. Nettie has got the best disposition and attitude of gratitude of anyone I’ve ever known, I admire her so much.

beautiful birthday girl (we celebrated on Thanksgiving since her birthday was the day after), free of that horrible nerve pain

Happy to report, she’s responding well to the treatment and  just started her second cycle of treatment this Friday the 8th of December. Please keep our Nettie Noodle in your thoughts and prayers.

The Doctor Deficiency

For years I’ve struggled with muscle aches and pains, feeling overly tired and completely drained of a desire to do much of anything. I’d seen my doctor about it and she’d referred me to a rheumatologist. The specialist was, to say the least… lacking in his profession, he was completely indifferent and dismissive of my ailments. I decided to let it go and just get on with life. A couple of years later, still feeling “off” my new doctor sent me back to the same specialist.  When I entered the room he remembered me quite clearly and joked about what could be wrong with me, stating, “You again, what could be wrong with you, you’re young and healthy. Why are you here?” I quickly replied back, “well ok then, I don’t know, guess I’ll be on my way.”  He said something to the effect of since I was there lets see what’s “wrong” with me. He did an assessment and said he couldn’t really say, I had some symptoms similar to that of fibromyalgia and some hypermobility in my joints but nothing that is definitive.  He then stated it could just be the body getting older and that I’d gained some weight over the last couple years (20 lbs in 3 years) and that could be the problem. Feeling defeated and helpless about my situation tears began welling up in my eyes.  When he noticed my emotional state, he said, “We also have mental health available if you need someone to talk to.”  I was beside myself with disbelief.

I know what you’re saying to yourself, you’re saying, “No he didn’t!” but yes, yes he did! crazy right! I headed straight down to the patient advocate and addressed the situation. First time shame on you, second time shame on you and I’m sayin somethin!

Another couple of years pass and I’m taking anti-inflamitories, muscle relaxers and a couple other things just to help me manage my discomfort of the “fibromyalgia”. Taking care of Pops was my priority, so when I was feeling completely drained, loopy in the head and numb to all of life’s experiences I assumed it was from taking care of my dad and knowing soon he wouldn’t be with us anymore.

About a month after Pops had passed I decided it was about time that I start to take care of myself and get things addressed that I’d been putting off.  I recall so vividly the moment I’d made the decision to get things checked out, I was walking into the front bathroom thinking how enough is enough, and it has to be addressed and I felt a poke in my backside. Seriously, just a little poke, plain as day.  I looked behind me, I was alone…I knew in that moment my Mom and Dad’s spirits were telling me to just do it already.

I emailed my doctor that day, stating I wanted a second opinion about my fibromyalgia. Since it’s the VA, they wouldn’t pay for a visit to an outside provider if their doctor was available. I said schedule it anyway because he would be booked too far out and I would be able to use the Choice Program to get my second opinion outside of the VA.  To my surprise I was called the next day and they could get me in next week. My heart sank and I asked, “whom will the appointment be with?”  and from his mouth came the most beautiful words, “We have a new Rheumatologist, her name is Dr. Woe” I  said with great joy and relief, “Woe? Really? Wahoo! Wonderful news!”

Short end to a long story…. I had a vitamin D deficiency! It wasn’t fibromyalgia. All this time, all that time, all along… are you kidding me! All those years and it was a vitamin, one little blood test and there was the answer. Sigh, big long sigh. I’m grateful for an answer, and to know that it’s an easy fix, what a relief.  But also, I’m sad for the me in the past that struggled for all those years and felt like a hypochondriac because of a doctor who didn’t care enough to even try figuring out what was wrong.

My vitamin D level was at 17; the acceptable range is between 30-70.  My Doctor said that 50 is the ideal number. I would like to share all the symptoms I experienced, just in case you or someone you know may be experiencing the same things.

  • tired when I woke up, and never felt rested, constant fatigue
  • everything seemed challenging physically, even having conversations
  • felt as if I couldn’t really focus, like in a dream state (thought it was fibro fog)
  • muscle weakness and aches
  • random joint pain
  • horrible awful night sweats
  • feeling mentally numb and emotionally detached

So many times over the years my friends would ask me if I wanted to do things with them and I wanted to want to… but I just didn’t want to. My  body  didn’t want to do anything either and when we would get together I felt unable to engage in meaningful conversation. I was confused about my own self, not having a desire to all the things I used to enjoy, but I made myself accept that my life was just going to be like this.  Until I finally decided to be my own advocate, and fight to get some real answers.

I’m now on 10,000 D3 IU a day for a couple of months to get my levels up to where they need to be before reducing the amount. I’m feeling better, I wake up rested, no more night sweats, I can think more clearly, the aches and weakness are dissipating, but am still waiting for the tiredness to subside. Overall though I’m starting to feel like the old me, up for doing more things, and being able to actually enjoy my life again.

I sincerely hope that this story inspires you to be your own best friend. It’s your body and you know it best. If something feels wrong, go seek help and if that doctor doesn’t help you, or there’s just something that is still nagging at you about it, get a second opinion. Please don’t go through years of blah like I did because of someone else’s inadequacies.