Thursday, December 17, 2009

Changing job titles again

So, I got offered the position that I had before that had gotten "taken" from me. I'm happy to be going back to focusing on the work I was hired to do, that I was doing well, and that everyone else in the company couldn't understand why I wasn't doing it anymore (even me). Jan 4th I go back to being salaried instead of hourly. Wee!

Good news, the dizzy-spells are at a manageable level again. So, I'm walking un-assisted and even driving myself again .... does it sound like I'm 90 or something???!

I'm taking meclazine for the dizzy spells that are left, which makes me a bit tired. But... at least .... I'm back to functioning, even if I'm not feeling as great as I was a few weeks before. I can live with that for now.

Saw my regular doctor - he thinks the dizziness is coming from the progression from the flu I had - and since it's doing better and getting better with time, hopefully it's a non-issue. AND he is completely behind me taking as much b12 as it takes to feel good. He'll do some investigating to make sure there isn't anything to worry about; and away we go. I feel great that he's behind me - and he was thrilled that I was finding some relief. It made me feel really good when he told me that my getting better makes him feel good about it and that it couldn't have happened to a nicer person. Too sweet.

Am knitting and knitting and knitting for Christmas gifts that I'm behind in completing. I was doing so well and had gotten so much of it done early. BUT, I then offered to help with some charities. Our department at work adopted a needy family for Christmas; and had three girls - so I offered to make them hats. Then the chiropractor who has been unbelievably helpful in helping me with understanding the b12 issues and everything else that's been going on - they also adopted a family and asked the patients to help - so I made a scarf and gloves. Then a lady I knit with once a week during lunch got a group of people together to learn how to knit (so I helped out teaching) -- and we were knitting scarves for at-risk teens. So I did two scarves for that. I'm running out of time for my Christmas knitting though since I spent so much time working on those other projects. Not good... not good at all.

Monday, December 07, 2009

21-yr-old funny

This is overdue....

I found a lacy black sweater that my dog had managed to drag under the bed... not mine.

So, I offer it to my son, asking - is this your girlfriends?

AND he's smart enough to say, that's a loaded question - I can't ask her if it's hers.... because if it is, she'll want to know why I had to ask... and if it isn't hers then I have to explain whose sweater it is.

Smart, right? So, we agree, that we'll leave it out in the dining room, if it's hers, she can say - "oh, there's my sweater" and if it's not, she'll assume it's mine.

So, what does he do? An idiot move and tosses it to her (assuming it's hers).... and it's not - LOL!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The spins - again

Thursday I woke up with a serious headache - and when I turned my head to look at the clock to see the time? I had the worst dizzy spell yet. I waited, it passed. I sat up for another serious spin around the world.... let it pass. Got up and let the dog out, went to the bathroom, started to walk out of the bathroom and got hit with another spin.... and landed on the floor. Twice. Ugh. Spent two + days, where if I moved my head, the world went on a little wild ride. Stuck in bed - again... sigh.

But, it is getting a bit better. I can walk more than two feet without hanging onto something - although, albeit, still dizzy and still afraid of falling again... but it's better than it was.

Last time I experienced something like this it was three months before I could walk without assistance. I'm strongly fighting for the ability to go back to work tomorrow - and being able to walk without assistance seems like a good goal ... even if I can't drive yet, at least walking to my desk shouldn't be impossible.... so, wish me luck! 'cause I be needing it!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a great holiday this year!

Went to see family, stuck around and bored everyone to death, but it was so nice to have a few days where I didn't have a million and a half chores and dozens of extra hours of overtime from work.

"a" spent Saturday and Sunday with dad, "A" spent most of the days with me and the evenings with cousins going out and drinking.

I got to spend a lot of time knitting - and relaxing. Even went to a movie which is a rare event these days.

I would NOT recommend Men Who Stare at Goats - not that it wasn't funny. It was. But, honestly? Watch the movie previews - every funny line was in there... and unfortunately, because we'd already heard those jokes, there wasn't too much else to laugh at once the movie was playing. Shame too, because it was a funny movie, but the previews kind of spoiled it for me.

Sunday night was a bit late as we didn't get home until past bed-times. And Monday came far too quickly. But, that's how it always is.

Things are swamped at work (as they almost always are).

I had almost all of my Christmas knitting under control. Until I adopted a family to knit for. Now, I've got a ton of knitting to do and very little time to do it in. Race is on! I hope to finish a hat I started last night tonight... a Second hat tomorrow night and a third hat by Thursday night. That will give me six days to knit three pairs of mittens.... and two of them will be on a weekend, so hopefully, daytime knitting can come before cleaning and I can get them done. We shall see.

Then I've got six days after that before a pair of women's gloves and a scarf are due.

That gets me to Dec 16th. Then I have to finish the infinity scarf I'm knitting for my sister, a set of towel holders for my niece.... and I have to finish "a"s blanket (which the blocks are done, but I have to seam them together, knit the border, add words to the border and attach the flannel backing). Umm... yeah... I may be over-estimating how much I can do in the 25 days I have left till Christmas!

In other good news - I've been asked to teach a couple of knitting classes for the community education division at the local school! How awesome is that???! Starting in February - only a couple of hours - one night a week for a couple of weeks. But it should be fun!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My turn for the flu

Sore throat, cough, exhaustion, head-ache and that floaty-I'm-not-myself feeling.

I've been working from home so far this week, but working lots of long hours as well as spending WAY too much time on conference calls. My call yesterday was 10 hours long.

So, no voice left, and I'm groggy.

Unfortunately, I have a new supervisor at work - who thinks I've taken too many "unplanned" PTO days. Even though we have sick and vacation mixed into our PTO days, his policy is that people need a medical excuse if they take more than six unscheduled PTO days in a year. I'm already at nine. But, all but one of those were while I was working for someone who didn't care how many unscheduled PTO days I took.

It's not the end of the world, but there's a bunch of paperwork I have to do now to prove that with my medical situation, I'm going to have no immunity to things plus the chronic exhaustion from the anemia and b12 deficiency is going to mean that I have a reason for being ill and it isn't just an excuse for missing work. ugh

So much work when my last supervisor didn't care.

Now, I hate to take a sick day when I haven't done the paperwork yet. sigh.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Kindergarten Funny

OK, this one takes a little bit of set up. "a" is a couple of years behind in learning his letters and numbers. And while he's perfectly intelligent enough to learn them, he just wasn't interested in learning them until recently. AND, with his vision issues, I was warned to expect him to take longer to learn his letters and numbers... so I wasn't terribly worried about it. I did work with him extra and got him assistance through education agencies to try to keep him from falling even further behind. Things have gotten a LOT better since he started school... and I've been repeatedly letting him know how proud I am of him because I know how hard he's been working to learn his letters (and he's finally really coming along with it).

The problem is that his self esteem took quite a ding... and he used to tell me that he was a dummy because he didn't know his letters. I took time to explain to him that it's ok to take longer to learn some things and that that's NOT what being a dummy is. He's actually quite smart, it's just taking him longer. Part of the reason I wanted to put emphasis on him thinking he's smart, he just has to work harder is that I think that if you think you're dumb, you don't even try to learn things. If you realize you are smart and capable of learning, but that sometimes things are harder for you than other things - it's just a matter of trying harder. An important skill I want him to have is the ability to recognize sometimes you have to try harder.

Anyway - about two weeks ago, we were practicing the ABCs while we were driving... and again, I complimented him on how good he was doing and how proud of him I was. He came back and told me that he's "so smart" -- which was a real relief to hear -- and I told him that he absolutely was very smart indeed!

But then he told me that he knew "why" he was so smart.

So, I made a smart-alecy comment, that it was because he got his smarts from his mom.

First, he didn't get the gene reference (can't blame him, he's six) - but beyond that - he said "NO that's not why I'm smart"....

So then I said it was because he had a great brain and was thinking hard and using it.... "NO that's not why I'm smart. I'm smart because I eat SMARTIES (a type of candy)."

OK - that's kind of cute. So I made sure next time "A" saw him, that he asked why "a" was so smart... and he got the response "because I eat SMARTIES" and he thought it was cute too. Not exactly blog-worthy, but definitely cute.

Well just wait... it gets cuter.

Last night "a" called his big brother "A" a dummy. And it isn't the first time. And like every other time I tell him that it's not nice to call someone dumb and why it hurts their feelings and that he shouldn't do it again.

This time (being the umpteenth time I've had this talk) I decided to take it to another level. I talked to "a" about how some people are smarter at making new friends (he is) and some people are smarter at computers (like his brother) and still other people are smarter at other things. And not being smart at something (like computers) doesn't make someone dumb, it just means they haven't taken the time to learn it yet. (Which was probably just a waste of breath anyway because his goal really was to insult his brother and had nothing to do with knowing anything about being smart/being dumb etc)

Anyway... "A" pipes in, "Yeah, you know you aren't the only one who is smart, mommy and I eat smarties too."

Well, that kicked off a diatribe (really) from our six year old about how Smarties don't make you smart, and it's a lame candy, and he doesn't eat it anymore and he doesn't know anyone who eats them anymore and we shouldn't eat them either.... a full two minutes of how "lame" smarties are.

AND to top it off, he points to me and looks me in the eyes to tell me "And you are not my mother anymore" and points to "A" and tells him "and you are not my brother anymore" and he storms out of the room.

I glanced at his brother and started laughing and said, " I think we just got seriously burned by a six year old for eating lame candy."

"A" had to go update his facebook page to tell everyone his brother just dis-owned his entire family over claiming to eat lame candy that we don't really even eat.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Need details, huh?

Sun, is 35 (so a bit younger; which is something that's become a bit of a trend lately).

He's a complete geek and working for a large tech firm as a final line support person.

He's totally into wine and special beers (but I promised I wouldn't hold it against him).

He's smart & funny; and very, very straightforward (all of which I like very much).

VERY recently divorced and has his six-yr-old daughter every other week for a week and is usually on call the other week.

Totally not interested in a long-term relationship, and since neither am I, it's a pretty good match.

Very nice smile.

Good sex drive... :-)

I'll try sending his facebook id privately - as his facebook account contains a lot of private info (but also a great pic of his smile).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dating and the Single Parent

OK, so I've done this single parent thing for a VERY LONG time.

I've also done quite a bit of dating - admittedly on & off...

A policy I came up with after "A" got to be old enough to know anything was to NOT introduce my son to EVERYONE I went out with. If they lasted past the six week mark, then I would introduce them.

The net result was that he didn't see the parade of first-date losers, or the guys where we seemed to have a connection, but then things just don't work out. Admittedly, not everyone that he met didn't last forever... but the ones he met count less than 20 as opposed to the MANY more men that I actually dated.

The only issue that arose is something that I don't think is related to this... but instead more of a generational gap kind of thing. Is that he did assume that I was having sex with everyone I dated. And he did know there were guys that I would go out with once, but never see again. So, he got the impression that I was a bit loose. Even now, I think he struggles with the concept that you can date someone and not have sex with them... but then again, I think he would think of it more like "hanging out together" than dating. To me, hanging out is something you do with friends - not someone you'd eventually like to consider having sex with.... but again - it's probably just the changing times that give us different perceptions.

Well - I'm dating again. This time to a divorced father of one (same age as "a") - let's nickname him Sun.... and we both think that it would be great if we can all four spend time together. But, I'm not quite ready to throw out my minimum six week requirement. He's not pushing me to change it, just commenting that it would be nice for the children to be able to play together and it would be less restrictive for when we can see each other. Since he has his daughter 50% of the time, and I have "a" 95% of the time... it would make it much easier to date.

But, I have a question. He has his daughter this weekend - and "a" is at dad's. I know of a haunted house/halloween party set up for children this weekend and I think his daughter would get a kick out of it.

So, I was thinking about just telling Sun about it... so that he could take his daughter. But to be honest, I'd really like to see Sun this weekend while "a" is out of town. How bad is it that I don't want to introduce my son to him because things might not last very long; yet would be willing to meet his daughter just so I can spend time with him? Seems like it's not very fair. But then again - he doesn't have the same policy - so it's not like she's meeting his other shorter-term dating partners.

And secondly - after all the confusion "A" had as it was even though I had sheltered him from most of the men I dated... it's not like my "policy" really worked to the best benefit. Am I just being too old-fashioned? Should I loosen up and go with the flow?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

flu

OK.... so "a"s school sent home a note indicating that they had a confirmed case of swine flu last week. You know - the week where he had two half-days and two days at home and only one full day at school???? Yep, that week.

So, Sunday night? Guess who came down with the flu? I didn't get him tested, but according to "someone" who claims to be in the know.... it's too soon for the regular flu, and was probably also the swine flu. If so, I'd actually be thankful, glad to be done with it and have it over with.

Bad fever, achy, head-achy, and sneezing/coughing. Little stinker was miserable (and making sure I was too) for a good two days. Feeling somewhat better today, and being fever free for over 24 hours - I sent him to school. Where he threw up after lunch and had to come home anyway for a dentist appt.

Will be VERY happy when he's feeling himself again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kindergarden funny

Mommy - do you have any "yarn balls"?

?Yarn balls? -- "Do you mean a ball of yarn?"

"Yes, a yarn ball" (snicker)

"Why do you want a ball of yarn?"

"Because cats LOVE yarn balls. It's like their job to play with a yarn ball. Can I have one please?"

"Well, you're in luck. I happen to have LOTS and LOTS of balls of yarn."

--- I fetch a small one of scrap yarn....

"MOMMY! MOMMY! I didn't know puppies liked yarn balls. Make Kyra stop stealing the yarn ball away from the kitty."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kindergarten Funny

"A" was teasing "a" about how clean his bedroom was and how he just might move home and take over the nice bedroom... and "a" could sleep outside.

"a" was having none of it. He wanted a sign on his door... only he doesn't know how to spell. So he asked "A" to help him. "A" was a good big brother and helped his kid brother spell out the following:

no "A" allowed
this is "a"s bedroom

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things are still going quite well

I'm feeling great! And can't believe I just typed that. I'm not "healthy" by far, but I am far healthier than I could have ever imagined just a few weeks ago.

I spent four hours of heavy-duty scrubbing and cleaning on Saturday. Quite honestly, even on my best days in the past few years, if I'd spent even an hour of that - I would have paid for it with four days in bed. And, on Sunday, I woke up and felt fine and did a couple of more hours. Plus started exercising again.!!!!

Can you believe it?! I don't think I quite believe it yet myself. I'm thinking I should get in to see my doctor... that he won't believe it until he sees it either.

Still some intermittent numbness along with chronic pain... but the crushing fatigue is reduced down to a merely slightly tired.... HUGE improvement! Just HUGE.

BTW it's freaking cold out - in the 30's today. Brrrrr - I wasn't ready for this.

Took "a" to school today - no crossing guards at their stations... hmmm??? I didn't think they got Columbus day off at school, drove around the corner because it was obvious no school and finally realized that the sign (neatly hidden by bushes) says - 12 No School.... sigh. Couldn't they put something like that near the top of their sign???

Good thing I didn't drop him off, huh?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Progress - lots of it

I have to admit, I was still pretty skeptical about adding more b12. I was just sure the results would just be temporary, that it really wasn't the problem. And, it still might not be. BUT? After almost a week of adding more b12 to my body? I can't deny that it isn't a big part of the solution.

It's wonderful... I can hardly put into words the differences I've experienced over the past week. I'm going to try because I think the healing process is far more fun story than all the posts about misery... the funny thing is that it's hard to "trust" the healing.

So - for example. Every single morning I would wake up completely exhausted and it would take a good hour for me to be able to completely control my body physically to the point where I could convince myself to get out of bed. If I tried to get out of bed sooner - my hands/arms would shake violently, if I tried to walk I would stumble and weave about like someone who had had too much to drink. My mind would be completely incapable of following through with any one task through to completion - example, I could open the door and attach Kyra's leash, but I wouldn't necessarily remember to shut the door behind her, let her back in, clean up the waste, etc. I would walk to the bathroom to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth and have five other detours that would happen enroute even though my only true goal was to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth.

Now? I'm still oversleeping some - but once my alarm goes off I am awake and able to get out of bed and do the tasks I need to do. I wake up tired, but it feels more like I just haven't gotten enough sleep just yet (like I need to do some catching up) as opposed to being completely exhausted. The trembling is completely gone as is the drunken walking.

I'd lost about 25% of the feeling on my right side and 10% of the feeling on my left side and was having trouble with sensing heat/cold/etc. Showers were miserable because the water was always too cool. Now, other than a couple of small patches, all the feeling has been returned. My shower water is now almost too hot - which is that I can feel all the heat and actually have to turn down the temperature as a result. Funny thing about getting the feeling back is that I actually notice the feeling of the cloth against my skin now and it's almost distracting (although entirely welcome).

Problems with chronic pain continue. In fact, I was in severe whole-body-aching on Wednesday. Supposedly b12 helps with toxin elimination and the symptoms I was experiencing is similar to the symptoms that were declared as possible in the past cleanse I did a few weeks ago. So, I'm going to rack it up as part of the healing process and hope it doesn't come back often.

My once-daily headaches are completely gone.

My energy level is back - but it's kind of weird. I've spent a large part of the past three years debating EVERY SINGLE little task that I needed to do. Which was more important? For every single thing I did, there was a penalty associated with doing it. A cost. Out of 20 things I really wanted to do on a given day, I knew that I would only have energy for five of them... so I spent a lot of time deciding which five things were going to get handled that day and knowing that the penalty of doing all five was that I would be down for the count by 6:00 pm. I'm really struggling with this (which seems really odd to me)... because now that I have 20 things to do and I should probably have plenty of energy to do 10 of them... suddenly I'm not sure which things to do. I am scared to death that if I try to do too many tasks that I'll be right back where I started from. It's like a mental block is in place preventing me from going back to the old mindset of you take care of as much as you can, and if you do too much, you just do a little less the next day... seems like I should be able to overcome this pretty easily... however, I'm not there yet.

I've decided to cut myself some slack, since we're only a week into this and give myself time to adjust, but I feel guilty that I'm not tackling the mountain of tasks I need to do. I am knitting a Christmas Stocking for a United Way fundraiser and it's due in a couple of weeks (and I've got my own goal of finishing it a week sooner)... so I'm sitting still a lot and knitting. It's as if I think that saving this newly found energy will benefit me in some way. Not sure that it makes any sense at all to do so... as the more active you get, the more endorphins you tend to create and the more energy you get. However, for the past four years none of that would apply to me. So, I just don't trust it yet now that I think I'm starting to get better. Very weird.... I wonder if that's part of the healing process to go through the mental change needed to take advantage of the new energy and trust that things will work the way they are expected to.

I was having episodes where my ankle and/or wrists would completely lose all strength - mostly only a problem if I was walking and/or trying to support my weight with my hands. All of which is completely not a symptom any more.

I had trouble with a burning, stabbing pain on my tongue which was making it hard to talk - completely gone.

Dizziness? I was dizzy 24-7. Completely gone - no longer do I have to periodically close my eyes when walking down a hall where the art work was in wave patterns and used to make me nearly vomit.

Burning, watery eyes? I used to have to pull my car over to a complete stop because my eyes would suddently hurt so badly and would be pouring out tears to the point where I couldn't keeep my eyes open and couldn't see to drive. Stopped completely.

Chest pain? Still have some pressure ... but it's pressure not someone is stabbing me chest pain, grab my chest in pain kind of pain.

Irritability and shortness? I've started sing-songing to Alex again and we went to the park together the other night just "because". Picked up ice cream because he'd had a bad day and I thought it would be a nice treat even though he hadn't had dinner yet. Now, this might not be all good... as I find that the things that really used to tick me off suddenly aren't any more... which maybe isn't the right parental behavior yet... but I didn't feel all that angry even after he'd written on the lcd tv with sharpie marker. I simply got out the windex wipes to see if they would work, and they sure did. So, there was no point in getting more angry than simply to tell Alex not to EVER do it again unless he was willing to give up watching tv for a month.

I just feel like I'm living a completely new life. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck with the old bills and the messy house from not being well for a couple of years along with a child who is used to being able to get away with things... but we can fix that if I am really on the road to recovery.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Hmmm ... do I dare get my hopes up again?

I went to a new nuerologist... wanted to discuss the fact that I had so many symptoms of MS but other than an MRI, there hasn't been anyone who wanted to seriously discuss why it wasn't MS in the past.

Big waste of time and money. He actually told me a) I have too many MS symptoms for it to be MS (which sounds pretty fishy to me) b) a clean MRI means no MS in his opinion (which sort of stopped me short - because if it's his opinion, it doesn't matter that I found multiple online sites that indicate that people can receive benefit from treatment even if MRIs were clean - facts are arguable, opinions are just that - opinions)..... and c) that it was probably a somatoform disorder... which is a fancy name for the condition they used to diagnose around a hundred years ago as hysteria... after all if a woman is complaining of poor health and you can't figure out what it is, it must be psychological. He REFUSED to consider any treatment for my symptoms unless I agreed to a psychiatric examination.

UMMM... I agreed at the time, because I don't have anything against psychology -- doesn't really matter if I think he's off his rockers if he thinks this is all in my head; more as a goad to want to prove him wrong.... but then again? What a waste of time and money!!!

ANYWAY - I went online to my support groups that I still visit a lot about clotting; and one of the women on there was venting about the fact that there are still patients getting put on an antidepressent for menopause symptoms... well, at least you don't feel bad that you're feeling unwell... right? So, I couldn't help responding... I typed up pretty much the first three paragraphs of this blog post - and mentioned that to date the only medication they have me on for my undiagnosed illness is an antidepressent... which comes first, the feeling ill and being treated like there's something psychotic about you or being depressed and then getting ill? UMMM I think the first is true... its depressing to get that 'look' - the look that's stating that you're just a hypochondriac because you're trying to fight for your own health... being proactive and not just sitting at home continously getting ill.

Guess what? She brought back up the B12 deficiency... because of my repeating the statement that bears repeating - "I have too many MS symptoms for it to be MS"... I believe I do have b12 deficiency, many family members have been diagnosed with it, however, I'm taking b12 and my test results are now normal... BUT, she had one sentence in her short email (wish I knew how to get to the point that quickly, don't you??).... "Most patients with normal test levels can still suffer symptoms until their dosage is increased and that most practitioners in the US are under-treating this condition".... hmmm... I investigated and found multiple studies online.

There might be some truth to this. But, I responded back - the specialists already think I'm nuts... how am I going to convince my doctors that they shouldn't trust test results for my treatment. Seems a little off.... and I'm already getting the 'look'.

And then I did some more searching. Its IMPOSSIBLE to get too much B12 in your system, there isn't any risk with taking more B12... you could take 1000 times the regular dose with no negative impact (not that I would)... and I got to thinking. Hmmm... I don't have to tell the doctor... as long as I don't go crazy and over do.

So, unfortunately, I'm almost out of B12 supplements. But, I did take 3 on Saturday, and since I'm almost out, only 1 on Sunday.

This morning when I woke up? I've recovered almost ALL of the feeling on both my left and right sides. Still a few numb patches and still some periods of increased numbness... BUT I regained A LOT OF FEELING!!!! woohoo!!!

So, without discussion with my doctor, my plan is to gradually increase my dosage over the next month and see how I feel. If I'm feeling like I do today, I'm going to shove the psychologist up the nuerologists *ss and let them tell me it's all in their head. Well, not really, but wow! I'm almost in tears.

Did you know that the Japanese standardly start their treatment out at 10 times a higher dosage than is common in the US and that the US is notoriously bad at diagnosing and treating this condition. Did you know that as this condition worsens, it causes MS lesions in the brain (which at least maybe I would finally have gotten put on MS medications, far too late, and probably with little effect)... Did you know it can also cause pernicious anemia - which can be fatal if not aggressively treated? I was at the bare minimum dosage... and then told that the fact that I wasn't feeling well was due to psychological trauma I incurred as a child. Bull cr*p.

Not all my symptoms are gone, and maybe, this isn't the answer to my prayers. But, it is helping. And if I find out that there are other things that it doesn't help, well maybe then.... they might find a single condition that was being exasperated and impossible to find because of all the B12 deficiency symptoms. I would really HATE to get my hopes up again... but my head is already starting to clear; I can feel the coldness of a breeze on my face again, the feel of my son's hair when I touch the top of his head.... I'm already pleased, and it's been only 48 hours.... only 48 hours after FOUR years of virtual misery. There is hope.... there is.... it's a scared it's going to get dashed and slaughtered little sliver of a thing, but it exists.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just when I thought I had the cold lunch thing handled

Guess what Grandma did? She bought "a" a spiderman lunch box. ugh

So, I pretended it was a nice toy carrier and hoped we wouldn't need to go revisit that mom isn't really ready to pack cold lunches.

Well, sort of.

"a" took it upon himself to prepare a meal while I was giving the dog a bath last night. He actually didn't do all bad... but - sigh.

He heated up two frozen waffles - placed them on a plate, smothered them with maple syrup; then asked me to help. He needed sliced apples... which he then layered on top of the waffles; and then? He had to sprinkle cold cereal on top. (I thought he was fixing himself something to eat immediately)... so I even helped. When I asked him where he got the idea - he showed me a picture on the side of the waffle box. Sure enough... sliced apples and cold cereal on top matched the picture pretty well.

BUT then he slid the whole thing off the plate and into the lunch box and informed me he was ready for school ?!?!

I had to explain that some things don't keep very well, and some messy things don't travel very well. At least I managed to convince him to eat his creation for dinner last night (so it didn't all go to waste); but then informed him I needed to wash the lunch box before he can use it for lunch.

I'm thinking he's out-witting me and I'm going to be stuck packing lunches.... sigh!

Gotta give him credit for creativity though - LOL

Kindergarten Funny

I about split my gut when "a" pulled one of his homework sheets out of his backpack. I decided that he'll just have to forgive me when the time comes and he's old enough to be embarrassed that I put this in my blog.


Admittedly, without a scanner and to cut the clutter that he drew showing how strong he was... I re-created this in paint (but I tried to be as accurate as possible).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My forgetfulness is probably not unappreciated

So - coupons winners are:


COLLEEN AND CPULLUM

The way I figure it, they aren't going to complain that I forgot to post links to my coupon giveaway to get more entries - LOL.!

Emails coming shortly so I can get snail mail addresses (even if you've sent it in the past, as I didn't keep them).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Coupon Giveaway

OK - haven't done this for a while... but I finally dug through all of my coupons last night, tossed all the expired ones (some were from back in April). And I sorted through the ones I had left and the vast majority are ones that I will not have any need for... so its time for a giveaway.

Since its not the end of the month yet - I stuck to only coupons that expire in about 30 days from now.

Thought I'd do it slightly differently this time - I'm going to send two envelopes with approximately 75 coupons per envelope. Since there's usually only 4 or so people signing up, this will raise the odds of winning... although I do plan on posting a link in cafe mom, so maybe that will drive up interest.

To enter, leave a comment before 10:00 pm CST Saturday, Sept 26, 2009. Leave an email address in the comment (or have it associated with a blogger account). I will email the two individuals who are selected via random number drawing; and they will need to send me their snail mail address within 48 hours or I will draw again.

More energy?

OK, so, when it comes down to a minute-by-minute type of thing.... I don't feel better. I'm still completely exhuasted, all the time.

However, apparently - I must be feeling just a bit better. Friday morning, when I was getting ready for work and waiting for time to take "a" to school... I decided to hit one of the duties I need to hit; Im always struggling to keep the laundry caught up, or there are always dishes to do, or the cat litter to change. And my usual routine is to see which of these three tasks are the most out of control; and to try to tackle it since five minutes on any of these tasks can make a dent. And, lo and behold, for the first time in at least a year if not longer; all three were done. This like NEVER happens.

Saturday, I went into as bedroom, to capture dirty laundry (so of course, that means I'm behind in laundry again already - sigh) ... but after I was finished, I still had more energy - so I picked up almost seventy books and put them away so that we can tackle the toys next (which if he doesn't pick them up means they get put into my closet)... and usually, if I do either of those kinds of things; I'm beyond exhausted and of no use for a couple of days. But, instead, I finished knitting a sweater, started working on his blanket again, AND I went through and sorted through and clipped all of my coupons.

OMG - can you believe it? I may still feel exhausted, but I'm no longer completely incapable of functioning. That means something cool is happening. I'm not going to go around jumping up and down about it, but I do have to admit to feeling less stressed out about my health.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

15-day cleanse details

Ok, so the cleanse I'm doing isn't the "standard" that I've heard from others.

I'm taking a "CellClear" supplement 4 pills x 2 times a day for 15 days -- that's designed supposedly to remove toxins from your body at a cellular level. This could cause negative side effects on it's own, because removing the toxins from the cellular level means that they have to go somewhere - as in, back into the blood/process stream.

I'm also taking "BioClear" supplement 8 pills at bedtime for the same 15 days -- that's designed to take toxins within your body (released by the CellClear) and "bind to them" to help them pass out of the system harmlessly. Side-effects include constipation - so very much unlike some of the cleanses my mother and sister-in-law used to do.

Other than taking the pills on an empty stomach and drinking a lot of water; there really are NO changes to diet. I'm eating exactly what I would eat/drink if I wasn't on the cleanse.

On day 7 now, and still no negative side-effects, not even slightly. No positive side-effects either, but then again, I wouldn't expect them to be immediately apparant.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Question about "cleansing"

OK - so obviously my health is not the best. And I've been doing A LOT to try to resolve it. The medical doctors have all pretty much given up on me.

The naturapath has done what she could.

The chiropractor is doing his best, and I am seeing very slight improvement (wish it was more) - BUT, he has also promised that he won't give up. (wow?!)

Anyway, he's put me on a 15-day cleanse supplements. Usually people start out with a 15-day pre-cleanse preparation so that the 15-day cleanse isn't too uncomfortable. But he knows just how miserable I am already and felt that I really needed to just jump in. Apparently the side effects (esp. the first four days) are to make you really tired. Since I'm already there, I figured, eh, what's four days of tiredness on top of tiredness - what ever it takes.

So, now. My question - I'm on day 5 and I feel EXACTLY the same. There were no negative side effects - at all, not even the slightly, almost there sort. Even though they swore that it's USUALLY not a good idea to jump right in without doing the prep work because the side effects are so much worse. Now, I don't feel any better yet either - however, I figure that I've got ten more days of treatment and even then it might take a while before I feel the full effects. I'm just a bit shocked that I don't feel any worse.

So, does this mean that I'm so bad that I was as bad as it gets, ergo, this is what I really need? Or does it mean it's not doing anything? at all? sigh.... I'm hoping for the first, since I've never, ever done anything like this before.... but who knows.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Dirt, it's what's for dinner

Mom, I HATE school.

You MUST fix a cold lunch for me because hot lunch has poisonous apples and dirt.

Do you want me to die?
--------------------------
Sent using BlackBerry

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kindergarten funny

So, "a" has been VERY upset with me. He does NOT want to eat hot lunch. I MUST make him a cold lunch to take to school.

I assume that there are lots of kids therefor taking lunch to school and he's feeling a bit put out. I remind him that so far for lunch, his options have been hot dogs, pizza, macaroni & cheese, and a hamburger. Seriously? Does it get any better than that?

Anyway, Friday he came home from school claiming that hot lunch was going to kill him. It is. They are serving poisonous leaves (I assume this is actually the salad option they provide daily). No, it's not lettuce, he claims - it's leaves off of the tree and it's poison. I remind him that they don't make him eat it and he doesn't have to eat it if he doesn't want to.

Yesterday he came home absolutely raving over how "it was very delicious" ... "very, very delicious" apparently. I'm still not sure exactly what it was - because he called it straw-water-lemon-berry-aide-melon-berry. (He love's strawberries and watermelon and gets them confused). But, whatever it was, it must have been good.

So, I dared to propose that maybe he doesn't need to take a cold lunch after all since hot lunch is so good.

He had to think on it for a while, and then he finally concluded that his best option would be that I would still pack a cold lunch, he could take it to school and put it in his cubby, but then eat the hot lunch instead. When asked why he needed a cold lunch he didn't plan on eating? Because there's an empty place where his cold lunch needs to go.

Friday, August 21, 2009

First Day of Kindergarten

"a" has a very pretty teacher (has to help!).... and has genuinely enjoyed his first day of school.

Pic didn't get saved correctly, so I'll have to post it a bit later.

Monday, August 03, 2009

funny enough

Part of my reason for posting this morning was to talk about the fact that this past weekend I had a couple of glimpses of time (far, far too short) where I could think clearly and comprehensively. I had noticed that I felt like I was having trouble concentrating and thinking clearly... but until the clouds cleared I had no idea just how bad it had gotten. AND, even worse? Now that I feel all fuzzy-thinking and cloudy again? Now, I really realize just how poor my concentration and thinking skills are. I'm kind of amazed that I still have a technical job where clear thinking is needed. You would think that with this much difficulty putting two and two together, that I wouldn't be able to get anything done. I'm still getting things done, but it's like I'm in a daze.

I found it funny that I couldn't think through far enough - that I ended up creating a post that completely missed the point I was trying to get too.... which is that I'm starting to see glimpses of who I used to be and how clearly I used to think. I'm not 100% there yet, but am absolutely thrilled to death that the possibility now exists that I might get some of that back! And no, I don't care if I'm getting my hopes up too soon. You wouldn't believe how wonderful it was to be able to think after a couple of years of cloudy, confused mess of a mind that I've been carrying around with me. Glimpses were great - enough for me to get hopeful.

Progress?

So, if my current health issues are the result of long term pressure on the base of my skull from poor neck alignment (as per my chiro)... there are a ton of symptoms that go back further than the past five years that could attribute to that kind of condition.

It's just that over time, the condition got so severe, as did my symptoms.

If I go back in time - ten to fifteen years ago (during my second marriage) - I struggled with daily stress headaches and occasional migraines. I had flares of trouble with my wrists and elbows (which still flares up occasionally if I overdo it). Another five years before that was when I first started having trouble with my wrists and elbows.

Interestingly enough, I stopped having trouble with headaches ten years ago. At that time I assumed it was because I was going through major life changes - changed careers, got divorced, started living MY life MY way instead of my ex's way. I assumed that accompanied by a lot of stress reductions, that I was lowering my stress levels, ergo I was getting better.

But what if - what if the pressure on the base of my skull was compromising the ability to feel headache pain?

After about two weeks of chiro treatment - I have started having daily headaches and my first migraine. Good news is that chiro is very good treatment for headaches. Bad news is that I really don't want any headaches.

Good news is that I am starting to regain some feeling - my right side is still less 'sensitive' than my left side. But a gentle sweep of the fingers from my left to right side (which I wouldn't have felt two weeks ago) -- I can now feel on both sides. More on the left still, still less on my right - but I'm regaining feeling.

I'm certain that with continued chiro care the headaches will fade quickly and are simply an uncomfortable step in the healing process (hopefully).

Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Migraine

My first migraine in over 10 years - and woah! Did it knock me for a loop.

Am thinking that it's related to the chiro adjustments; and as he's trying to correct my neck, we've managed to uncover the piece that had given me migraines so long ago. Good news is that he was able to alleviate it - but I spent the day in bed anyway; trying to recover.

I had the typical, avoid light, avoid moving, avoid noise issues - with some nauseau -- pretty typical migraine symptoms. My thought process wasn't too clear - also fairly typical.

However, I also had diarrhea and was constantly peeing.... runny nose, sweats... not fun.

Today, I'm back at work. Still have a massive headache - but I'm moving, talking, and functioning ... which isn't what I was all about yesterday. Have another chiro appointment today; and if things are still rough tomorrow - will probably go again tomorrow.

In the meantime some dumb*ss decided we had to convert an application from SQL Server to Oracle - and they swore it would only take a few hours. Now, I'm going through every single data query and re-writing them and trying to get the application back up and running. We've kept it on SQL Server for now while I work to get it up and running on Oracle and then we'll move the data again later. But, geez. Their "few hours" has already been counted up to 10 hours of my time, and I've got about 80 more to go. Great estimating folks.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Camping Trip

So, last weekend, "a" and I went camping.

I've been wanting to take him camping for years, but with my health, it just never seemed like a good idea.

As it was, it still didn't seem like a glorious idea, but I did think that it was long overdue, and that at six, he would at least be old enough not to take off on me where I'd have to worry about his safety.

He had fantastic fun, I had some fun and a ton of work, but am still glad we went.

I packed up the car on Wednesday night - and we drove to Eastern Iowa Thursday morning - spent a couple of hours setting up the tent, and getting the gear all organized at the campsite. Felt like we had the place to ourselves, and our site was immediately next to the lake - it really was a pretty place to camp. The first night was extremely cold - it dropped down to about 50 degrees. Not so bad after that.

Biggest advantage to our spot (besides being right on the lake) was an enormous old oak tree. Biggest disadvantage to our spot was the 20 degree incline over the whole lot - good news was that it was easy enough to set the tent up with our heads uphill - so sleeping wasn't impacted. On the other hand, we tended to tip over a lot in our camp chairs, and cooking in a skillet on an incline was an experience that I could have lived without.

"a" got to fish for the first time, learning to cast, didn't quite get to the point of putting a worm on the hook, and didn't catch anything, but, it's still a good start. He went swimming a couple of times although it was unseasonably cool still through the whole weekend.

He was really, really good on Friday and really impressed me because I had managed to overdo things on thursday setting up camp and was completely miserable - we spent the entire afternoon, early evening in the tent so I could lay down because of the pain; and he sat beside me quietly, playing - until he fell asleep and took a long nap.

On Saturday, my sister, her two children, three grandchildren, and her son's girlfriend stopped by - which was nice. Plus, "a" had a blast playing with his cousins and showing them around.

However, my sister also managed to invite two men - one of whom she works with (and is always flirting with her) and his friend. The "friend" is a guy that she decided a couple of years ago really needed to meet me. In fact, at some point back then, I had to provide a picture (because he's got taste supposedly) and -- in fact, got told that the picture was a bit too blurry and he wanted a better picture (whatever!).

Anyway - she decided to take last weekend as the perfect opportunity to spring him on me. OMG. I'm still furious with her. It isn't so much that she's trying to set me up (although that's bad enough) -- it's the actual guy that she thought I should meet. I don't even know how to explain how completely NOT appropriate this guy would be for me. The first "glowing" recommendation is the rude hand gesture he made when joking about his favorite activity outside of watching tv. Really - REALLY not ok. Seriously NOT acceptable. I could have killed her. Instead, I spent a couple of hours "entertaining" these two guys while she took the kids swimming. I felt a little better that at least my son wasn't getting overly exposed to these losers, but still? What was she thinking?

Anyway, Sunday was the pack-up and head-home day ... and I ended up leaving a lot of the camping gear in the car. Spent Monday at home on PTO (planned for it) in recovery. Didn't feel terrific, but my new chiropractor certainly made it a little more tolerable.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My first 6 yr old funny

"a" usually takes 20 minutes or longer to wake up in the morning; and another 20-30 minutes to get dressed.... today he was awake and dressed in less than a minute flat.

While I was wondering where my son had disappeared to - he announced to me.... "Graham and Liam told me I was a slow poke. But, I'm not. I'm a fast poke."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Got an initial interview

So, HR is calling me to screen me to see if I'm qualified for the job I had up until two weeks ago (when my boss transferred me to another position without discussing it with me first and then posted my position for someone else to apply for).

Guess I'm glad I'm still in the running for my job I'd already been hired to do and was doing for two years and earning top marks on my performance reviews.

Needed to vent a hair before I call HR up this afternoon as I'm still a bit ticked off about the whole thing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Five Year old Funny

OK - so this may be the last one.... Friday is the 6th birthday!

Last night we were all going out for dinner for my birthday ("A" insisted on paying).... and I didn't feel like going to any of my favorite restaurants.

So, we asked "a" where he wanted to go.

"China"

So - to China we went - and it was yummy!

July Coupon Winner

Delete
Blogger Steph said...

I'd love to win the coupons! Thanks so much for the giveaway! :)

Thanks for entering!

Steph, I've sent you an email, please contact me with your mailing address so I can get these out to you ASAP.

Thanks!

Friday, June 26, 2009

After 3 days out ill, boss returned yesterday

So, I finally had a chance to ask her why & how things happened.

1) She had to go through and define strict "roles" for each person on the team - and define how well that role fit into the structure. One fella got laid off because his role didn't fit in well (which is a bit bogus, but that's besides the point). My role used to be consultant; but because I've also been doing some programming - she decided I didn't want to be a data mapper anymore and that I wanted to be in server support (which I did manage to straighten out).

2) It wasn't until long after all of that that she was given an option to add another consultant for another group... and at that point since I'd already gotten 'labeled' as server support, it never occurred to her that I might want to be a consultant.

In all honesty? Honest mistakes - but I set out to make sure we were clear that although I enjoy programming (specifically programming software that simplifies processes for handing information)... that my career goals fall more in line with working between business & technical....

One of the things that I loved about working for a small department where both roles exist is that I was given flexibility to do a little of both. Apparently, HR won't allow that anymore. That's fine, it just would have been nice to have had a little discussion about this before decisions were made. I would have no problem having another programmer taking over my latest program and letting me get back to my goals. I could still work with that programmer to ensure that the program does what we need it to do. AND, I could get more work done. I've got no problems with that - but my boss thought it would be the last thing I would want to happen.

So, I now get to apply for my old position. Along with everyone else. So, we'll see how it goes. I'm tempted to apply for a couple of other positions while I'm at it... if I could be sure my supervisor would be aware of it... not because I want to switch to another department (as I really kind of don't) -- but so that she realizes that if I'm just one candidate for the job, then it's just one job I'd be interested in getting. (dirty pool???)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

July Coupon Giveaway

I have a stack of between 100 and 125 coupons that will expire NO SOONER than 7/31/2009 (and some later than) to giveaway to someone leaving a comment! Please leave a comment by 10:0o pm CDST on 6/28/2009 to enter. If you do not have a blog with email address; leave your email address in the comment.

I will draw a random number on Sunday & email the lucky winner. They will have 48 hours to respond with their snail mail address... (or another winner will be selected). And the coupons will be sent ASAP.

I think it's time I faced my biggest fear

I've been told repeatedly that what is wrong with me "couldn't possibly be mulitple sclerosis". Sounds good right?

But then I ask - but isn't that extremely hard to diagnose? True, they say, but you don't show any of the common symptoms. Sounds great right?

I don't have lesions that appear in my MRIs - which are fairly common in ms and a common way to identify it. Wonderful, right?

But, still a nagging thought keeps pestering me.

So, I'm looking into it. I do not appear to have one of the most common symptoms which is muscle weakness/paralysis ... however, I do appear to have the other eight most common symptoms of ms. Which does NOT mean I have ms - since symptoms are very general - and could mean lots of things. But, if they can't be explained by anything else? ms becomes a real possibility. And, my $50K in medical debt is proof positive that we've tried to rule everything else out.

One other "symptom" that makes it unlikely - is that I have several symptoms that come & go multiple times a day .... whereas ms symptoms tend to last at least 24 hours or longer -- but, if you look back at a chart of when I'm suffering from these symptoms - I tend to go several months of having episodes or several months where I don't.

Not having lesions in the MRI? Apparently 25% of ms patients don't get those in the early stages of the disease.

It's not that I think I have ms... so much as I'm afraid I *might* have ms. It was very easy to take at face value the statements "it can't possibly be ms"; be thankful; and try not to think too hard about it. I think I have to dig a little deeper and push a little harder for clearer answers as to why they don't think it's ms. Because eight out of ten symptoms does NOT seem like it should get ruled out without digging deeper.

I can't seem to find anyone in the area who specializes in ms... but I did get a name of a nuerologist who apparently has a photographic memory.... because if it isn't ms, it's likely to be some extremely rare and hard to diagnose condition... and I think I want to broach the subject along the lines of "prove to me it isn't ms".... if he can find another condition - great - at least then I can start treatment. If he can't but he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it isn't ms, even better. If that doesn't happen, perhaps then at least they can put me on some medication "in case it is ms" which would slow the progress if it is ms; and probably do no harm if it isn't ms. If it works - all the better, if it doesn't - doesn't that say something as well???

Just to make sure I'm clear - I don't think I have ms, and I certainly don't want to get diagnosed with it. But, I've got something - and dozens of doctors haven't been able to figure out what it is other than to pinpoint that they believe it's something nuerological. I'm getting worse and their only treatment at this point is to put me on an anti-depressent. I'm just thinking that it's time to find out for certain it really isn't ms... so that the nagging worry in the back of my mind can finally be put to rest.

Boss still out sick

sigh

I really need to get out the "you screwed me over without meaning to" in a more politically correct manner...

There is SO much work and if there wasn't an opportunity to hire someone else, I wouldn't complain... I would just do the best I could to help.

But, now? Knowing that they're hiring someone to take the title of the job I used to have (and want) and they want me to do the things I used to do about fifteen years ago? (which I don't want).

Sigh -- talk about being unmotivated.

Monday, June 22, 2009

"A" is still working

Been two and a half weeks. AND, employer seems to be thrilled. "A" is the only employee and is apparently doing a great job. Working lots of hours... leaving the restaurant cleaner when he leaves than when he arrives. etc. etc.

Parole office accepted a letter from the employer stating that he was employed as proof of employment. "A" has started to pay his fines.

He was looking to get an apartment, but I think I've temporarily talked him out of it. It would do him far better good to save up his money while still living cheaply and have enough for a down-payment, etc.

So far, so good.

Plus, we all went swimming yesterday and on the way to dropping him off at the Y afterwards, we talked a little bit about fathers day. He told me I did far better raising him alone than any time he could have spent with his father. (is it too soon to hope he's growing up a little????)

Work - ugh!

OK - so somehow some wires got crossed at work.

We were short-handed, and I was told that I would need to help provide production support. Do some systems support (i.e., making sure servers were up and running, configured correctly, etc). I wasn't given a choice. Ok - no problem... I can help out. I got trained about two years ago, but then things all got changed around... and most of what I got trained on isn't being used any more. Since then, things got all hectic in the area I was working on, and that was the bigger priority. So, I never really got trained in support again.

So, for the past six to seven months, my supervisor keeps bringing up the fact that I haven't been working in support, but she kept coming back and realizing that whatever else I was doing was still more critical.

So, guess what? We had a re-org (which happens about every six months or so)... and I got a new job title. Systems Support Analyst. ? AND -- they posted a full-time position with the EXACT job title of the job I USED TO HAVE -- and THAT I WANTED TO KEEP. GRRRR....

So, we're short-handed? And we have permission to hire more people - and instead of keeping me on the career path I CHOSE to have, you sideline me into a career path I DO NOT WANT - and you're going to hire someone else to do the job I would prefer to do? WTF?

I'm ANGRY about the whole thing. Not to mention that the new career means downgrade in benefits? I'm PISSED OFF.

It's not like they even talked to me about the options. Or that I was given a choice. I was basically just trying to be a good team player and willing to take on extra duties if it will help; but I NEVER volunteered to change my career choices.

GRRRRR

So, knowing that I recently screwed up and wasn't as politically correct in recent history; and worried that that was part of the reason why I was side-lined; I put out feelers. I talked confidentially with other team members to find out if the job opening would work for me (they all were a) in agreement that I'd be perfect for the task and b) angry that I was getting moved off-line to work in support).

So, today, I set up an appointment with my supervisor to discuss options and to inform her that I was not pleased and that I was going to apply for the other position. And... she's home sick today... so after over a week's preparation to go to her and complain and attempt to not burn any bridges while trying to find a way to correct any mis-guided attempts at helping me (as I'm not telling her that she derailed my career plans point-blank)... I now have no one to vent to.

Thanks for letting me vent!!!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

If I had known all it took was another vent....

"A" has a job.

"A" had a hearing today and will NOT have to go to jail, but does have to return in a month with proof of employment.

Issue is that "A" got a job with someone who would prefer to pay him under the table. So, we'll see.

But, he's got a job - a JOB... one step further. He's working 6 nights a week, making sandwiches at a hole in the wall, with only one sandwich choice offered. Good ones... but only one option. Busiest after 2:00 am when the bars close. Only employee.... owner works noon hour - to afternoon, "A" is to come in and spell him; then owner returns around bar closing time and they work until the customers are done coming in.

"A" is now looking for an apartment, so we'll see....

Monday, June 08, 2009

June Coupon Winner!

Congratulations!
Blogger Kristy said...

Thank you so much for such a generous giveaway! We love coupons.The name of your blog is so cute!


Kristy has been notified via email.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

a's graduation


Preschool held a graduation ceremony ... :-)

Unfortunately, my batteries died in the camera as we waited for the little guys to come out of the classroom.

I did manage to get one picture from my camera phone - it s*cks, but it's a pic.

I should know better than get my hopes up

I do NOT have hypersomnia.

I probably do NOT have symptoms from B6 toxicity.

Doesn't matter that 99% of the symptoms match my undiagnosed condition between the two conditions.

So? What's next? They want to put me on Prozac. hmmm....

At least there is a "next" - I shouldn't be so frustrated.

BUT, I'm so sick of being sick and tired... and not having any diagnosis.

My doctor is truly awesome though, at least I feel like I'm getting competent medical care now even if we're still without a diagnosis. He's really sympathetic, listens well, discussing things thoroughly and not at all like the pr*ck that I saw a couple of weeks ago - who had rather rudely suggested that I had been wasting everyone's time since it was SO obvious it was B6 toxicity; and he felt like the blood test was a waste of time (blood test came back low end of normal -- so hence, my currently getting worse should not be a result of too high levels).

I'm starting to lose feeling on my left side... sigh.

And although I don't wear heels every day, I'm still very sad that my balance issues have now driven me to only wearing flats - as heels & difficulty walking don't mix very well. My balance issues - although much less severe than a couple of years ago has become a constant companion again. At least this time (well, at least so far) I am still able to walk - albeit on flats.... sigh.

I've spoken to my supervisor - she's aware that things are going down hill... and that we may have a day at some uncertain time in the near future where I might have to work from home for an unknown amount of time. If I can't walk - then I shouldn't drive; which means I'll need to work from home. I'm hoping that it doesn't go so far this time, but there are no guarantees in life and I'm just extraordinarily lucky to work for a company where working from home will be an option.

I start seeing a counselor on Monday - "a" is having 2-3 potty accidents per day again; and I think the root of it is all the stress I'm living under and my inability to keep from passing that stress down.... from the "no, you have to get up and get dressed NOW" to the "no, you don't have time to eat breakfast, eat this cereal bar and get in the car NOW" to the "no, mommy's too tired to __________" -- fill in the blank.... just about everything falls into that category.

I figure if I can lower my stress levels, his will automatically lower as well. If that's not enough, then I might have to set him up to start counseling as well... he really doesn't have anyone to talk to besides his daddy... and his brother (who isn't very sympathetic).

"A" is still not working, and is at risk for getting a 10 to 15 day sentence in county jail for probation violation (the not working and not paying the fines part along with missing too many appointments). I don't know what it's going to take to get him to wake up and figure out that he's screwing things up worse and that he's just going to have to buckle down, take a job that he probably won't like and figure out how he can improve his fortunes from there.

My apartment is becoming a complete disaster zone - I do take time every day to pick up or do dishes or do a load of laundry, but honestly? Between the puppy who takes things out of the garbage and hides them and the child who drops things on the floor with impunity... I am SO NOT keeping up. It's gotten to the point where it's really, REALLY bothering me. But, I'm so stressed out that I can't do anything about it. While we're waiting until August (the first, best chance I have to file bankruptcy per my lawyer)... I've got a little bit of spending money that I won't have post-bankruptcy. So, I decided I was going to hire someone to come in and start cleaning to get at least the top layer of grime off.... and ... being a mom... I offered the job to "A" first. He's been out once - and he did a good job of taking it really seriously - I asked him to come out once a week and give a good, solid 4 hours of work in. He did, and it has really helped. Now, if I can keep it from degrading too much before the weekend, his next pass should get things that much more clean; and so on... I'm hoping that by August the apartment isn't going to need 4 hours a week and I can afford maybe 2 hours every two weeks or some other such smaller amount of time & cost -- and hopefully, by then, he's got a better main job and having less money from me won't be a hardship, but could perhaps give him a little money towards paying fines, and what-not. (not holding my breath, but one could hope).

Monday, June 01, 2009

June coupon giveaway!

My bad - a week late.... I usually want these to end the end of the month prior.... sigh.

BUT, never too late?

I have a stack of between 100 and 125 coupons that will expire NO SOONER than 6/30/2009 (and some later than) to giveaway to someone leaving a comment! Please leave a comment by 10:0o pm CDST on 6/6/2009 to enter. If you do not have a blog with email address; leave your email address in the comment.

I will draw a random number on Sunday & email the lucky winner. They will have 48 hours to respond with their snail mail address... (or another winner will be selected). And the coupons will be sent ASAP.

Lately the coupon karma gods have not been overly kind (bad Walgreens for quiting their monthly rebate program).... so hopefully, sharing the love will work out well!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Five Year old funnies and an animal rescue

Sorry I haven't posted much.

Still struggling with my health - the fatigue is nearly unbearable... but I wanted to post a couple of fun conversations I've had with "a" lately (before I forget them).

I've never been a huge fan of pork & beans (pinto beans in a tomato sauce with some bacon fat mixed in)... it's edible, but "eh". "A" hated them with a passion, so we've eaten them rarely over the past many years. Well, "a" on the other hand ADORES them. BUT, I'm not allowed to fix them without cutting up hotdogs and mixing them in because "That's the way that daycare does it. AND they are REALLY REALLY good at making them at daycare."

Last weekend "a" spent at daddy's house. On our two hour drive home from meeting him at the half-way point.... we played "I spy" for about an hour. That was just about enough of that....! And I suggested a new game. We tried the story telling game where one person tells a couple of lines of a story, the other person has to come up with more lines, take turns and voila! you've got a story. "a" is a master at this game, his first time playing - well, except for the taking turns part - he'd come up with a complete story with plot, twists, etc. all on his own. Fantastic, right?

Well about story number seven I had to say something.... every single story, no matter how it was started (always with someone named "a" in the starring role).... it always ended with "and 'a' rescued a princess" and "she gave 'a' toys and candy" and "then she kissed him". EVERY story.

He did admit that he really wanted to have a princess kiss him. But, after I mentioned it, he then went on to tell a couple of stories without any princesses.


Apparently, there is a VERY BEAUTIFUL young woman working at the daycare - and her name is Amanda - and apparently it bears repeating that she is VERY BEAUTIFUL. Apparently, there are two young men who have decided that they are going to marry her. But, not "a" - nope, he doesn't want to marry her because that would mean that she would kiss him - and he's certain he's not ready for that, because she isn't a princess.

Funny - but sigh... how do I teach him that if he treats normal women as princesses? That that's better than meeting a princess? Or do I even bother - will he outgrow this?

Now, onto my daring rescue. Monday morning as I got into my car to leave for work, I saw a robin fluttering around on the ground... with a string tied around it's legs (caught up in some string that must have come off some mesh they were using to re-establish the ground cover). He did have enough string to be able to fly up to the bottom branch of a tree... about six feet. I ran inside and grabbed some scissors... cut the string between the mesh and the tree branch... but it wasn't quite good enough. The bird now had the string wrapped around the tree branch and only had about six inches of slack. Ended up having to climb the tree to reach the branch (small tree, small branch, and only a few feet off the ground - thankfully). The bird completely freaked out as I got near it - which was a little nerve-wracking - but after about 30 seconds of it either it got tired or it simply reached a point of thinking that it was out of options --- and it went completely still.... I was able to clip the string within an inch or so of its feet and it flew off quite safe.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Dreaming again

So, 4 out of 5 nights in a row, I have had dreams. I have only had maybe 4 or 5 nights of dreams in the past couple of years.

The difference? Four years back when I started taking my B12 & Folic Acid supplements, I learned that if I took them after 10:00 am - I'd be up half the night. So, since the treatment for hypersomnia is basically uppers ... I thought I would experiment with taking my B12 & Folic Acid later in the day to see if it helped or not. I figured if it was a bad idea, I'd end up with a couple of nights having trouble sleeping.

Instead I've had the best sleep I've had in ages. I'm still waking up tired, but it's not the bone-deep, aching tired it had been. I'm still struggling to get up out of bed once I'm awake, but it's a 15 minute struggle instead of an hour-long battle. I'm hoping that this will ease after a few weeks of good sleep. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Coupon winner

True Random Number Generator
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Carla -- comment:

Love coupons use them for everything!!
Carla
cpullum(at)yahoo(dot)com

I'll be emailing the winner directly for a mailing address and will send the coupons out quite quickly.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Very pleased after Naturapath doctor visit

I was a little worried she'd be a little "too" new-agey for me. And when I found out that her office is inside a yoga studio, it made me a little more anxious.

But, she wasn't (woosh). She seems to be incredibly intelligent. She understood every condition I've thrown at her on my list of complaints. She not only knew exactly what each condition meant, but the regular medical treatment for each of those conditions as well as the naturopathic treatment options. AND she understood how all my "conflicting" conditions interrelate and how treatment for one might cause issues for another.

I was impressed. And honestly? I don't impress easily anymore after everything I've been through.

She's got a list of changes she wants me to make. However, she wants me to make the changes very slowly and gradually so that we introduce only one change at a time and give it a few days before making a second change (did I say she impressed me already?).

EVERY other doctor I've gone to was 'satisfied' if I said I was taking a supplement for xyz. She instead wants to modify the supplements I'm taking because the form of the supplement I'm taking doesn't work as well as another form. Her explanation? If you're going to take time and money to take these things, I want you working with the best quality for the money and getting the biggest benefit. :-)

Of course, more water is one of the changes I need to make. I've always known I don't drink enough water and drink too much "junk" liquid. But, I struggle to drink water ... and even when I do better, it's a battle for every swallow. She actually came up with some very valid and applicable methods to make it easier for me to drink it. Again, I'm impressed.

AND? best of all... she explained that there's a complex relationship between magnesium and b6; and feels that by adding magnesium supplements to my list that my body should be better able to process it (and processing it properly is a key to decreasing the excess amounts). AND that she's going to research it further to see if there's anything else that we can do to "detox" as quickly as possible. :-) Which is really why I went to her in the first place.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

May Coupon Giveaway

OK - I finally got about 500 coupons clipped and sorted (yeah, didn't take as long as I thought, but longer than I wish it could have taken).

I've got approximately 150 coupons that don't expire until May 31, 2009 - and am giving them away to a reader.

Please post a comment if you'd like to win before 12:00 am Saturday. If you do not have a blog with an email attached to it, please leave your email in the comment. I will pick a random number to select the winner. I will contact the winner via email by Sunday night. If they don't respond within 48 hours, I'll pick someone else.

And, I will be a good girl & clip my coupons - and this will be repeated at the end of every month with however many give-away coupons I can find.

Good luck

Monday, April 27, 2009

Less angry - still quite emotional

I'm still struggling with a lot of strong emotions over my health. I'm not angry with the one doctor who was a complete jerk anymore. BUT, I'm angry, or really - mostly upset with the whole process and system that allowed a significant diagnosis not get communicated clearly to the people (like me and my regular doctor) who needed to know what's up.

If we had known it was B6 when my symptoms first started fluctuating again, we might have had some idea what to do next. In the meantime, my over-all condition has worsened and it might have caused permanent damage. In the meantime, it's been two more years where we didn't get better and might add at least that much more time to the recovery period. A period of time which is really critical to "a"s development. I've missed out on so much because I'm always needing to go lay down - because I'm tired or don't feel well. The last two years seem like such a waste.

I've got an appointment with a Naturopathic doctor tomorrow. Have high hopes. I can't find anything online regarding flushing B6 out of your system, just that it takes years to work itself out... so I'm still going to ask her opinion, but not be surprised if I just need time. I am hoping though that she can advise me on the smartest diet changes to make to try to still have a healthy diet but with as little B6 as possible while I detox from it. She's very clear that she plans on spending at least an hour with me tomorrow and that she works with whole body healing types of things. One of the things that has bothered me is that I have so many nutrient deficiencies (and this one toxicity) -- without a root cause. And pretty much the only discussion my doctors have is to throw me on more supplements (and take me off of the one). I think I eat a balanced diet (not a perfect diet, but one with variety)... and it would be good to know what (if anything) I am messing up.

A long rant (moved from my knitting blog)

** Originally posted on my knitting blog (by accident) on the 23rd **

OK - you know that last week I had found out more about B6 toxicity symptoms and that I had a theory I wanted to discuss with my doctor and to get screened to see if that might just be the key to the mystery of my health issues.

I've started having symptoms again - and things are getting worse. And, as per the "plan of action" (or lack thereof); I'm supposed to call my doctors nurse so she can inform the doctor so they know what's going on. So, I do. Only the regular nurse is on vacation this week. I leave a message with the new nurse to call me. She tried to call, I was tied up on a conference call. I call back. She doesn't call back. I call the following day. I called again this morning. I get put through to her and she wants me to come in today. Right away. OK. I was really just hoping to ask to get a B6 test. No hurry... but if the doctor wants me to come in, I can.

My doctor doesn't have any free time today, but wants me to be seen. Since I've been through this before, I'm tempted to cancel; but think - you know what? You just never know; no one seems to know what's wrong, it's good to get extra opinions. Maybe this guy will have some new insight.

He walks in, says he's not going to ask how I'm feeling since he knows the answer is probably "I've been better". Good start. I ask how far back he wants me to go (cause it usually works best to start at the beginning). He says, "I'm just filling in, so why don't I just ask some questions". We talk about the fact that I don't have "new" symptoms; just worsening symptoms. He tries to narrow down exactly what the symptoms are. So far, very good. Right to the point.

Then he starts looking at my chart & questions start to swirl a bit - there's a lot in my chart; and some of it was proven wrong recently. Being on coumadin, but not being on it any more. He was adamant that I should still be on it - I told him to talk to the six specialists who told me I shouldn't be on it. (probably shouldn't have done that). At this point he's complaining that I'm "all over the place" --huh??? remember? I'm answering his questions... I had asked if he wanted me to start at the begining, he didn't feel it necessary, but now, I'm not providing a clear picture.

Then we get to the "why are you here" part and I explain that I want a test to measure my B6 levels. I explain that I'd been diagnosed with B6 toxicity in 07; and that I'd learned online that it might be related to my current symptoms and wanted to verify. Doesn't that sound reasonable? I thought it did. I got nailed to the wall ... the ghist of it was that if I'd already been diagnosed that I didn't need all the testing I was getting; etc. etc. Umm... ok? He made it sound like I didn't need the test. I already had my diagnosis. ? What? ??!

He made it VERY clear that I was wasting his time & my regular doctor's time and that I should have asked more about the toxicity with the specialists.

I think I finally made it clear to him (still not sure) that when I was told I had B6 toxicity that they made it sound like it didn't mean anything. I was NEVER told that it was related in any way to the health issues I was experiencing. I asked "what does it mean to me" -- and got told simply "stop taking the supplements - no more."His response? "That's a concern" -- What does that mean?!

SO, now I'm lost. They are supposed to call me early next week with the blood test results. I'm "guessing" at this point that I should act as if I still have the toxicity even if my levels are normal. I don't know what the next steps are. I don't know if there are next steps. I don't know if there's a specialist to go to (or what kind) to discuss prognosis, expectations. I did understand very clearly that I wasn't supposed to expect any answers from the doctor I saw today.

I am planning on getting a call into my regular doctor and have him help guide me with "what's next".

In the meantime? I'm furious. I'm angry with this obnoxious doctor who was so rude about my wasting his time that he didn't make it clear to me that either "Yes, you do have it and sorry the other doctor's missed it" or "The test will be the proof that you have it". I'm furious that I didn't see this doctor years ago if it was so "obvious" that's what this was. I'm angry with myself for not asking more questions years ago. I'm angry with Mayo for not understanding the condition they'd diagnosed me with to explain to me it's impact on my life. I'm angry that I'm going bankrupt over this whole mess. I'm angry that my innocent son has missed out on so much in his life because I've been sick when I probably didn't need to be.

Some day - probably soon, I'll be thankful that I've got a diagnosis and will know how to keep things from getting worse. I'm not there right now. I'm crying my eyes out and ranting to anyone who will listen, instead. I can't focus on anything. I can't hardly think clearly right now.

I wish I had waited to see my doctor. I know his response would have been more along the lines of - wow, could that really be it? Let's go find out for sure. He would have been happy to help find a solution. He wouldn't have had any answers as to what to expect, but I'm sure he would have been eager to help me find a specialist who could answer my questions. Instead, I practically got reamed by this assinine man who had better things to do with his time. I felt like he was blaming me for being ignorant. And, here... if this really is what's going on? I'm actually the first one to put the two pieces together. Not the doctors. ME. I didn't get trained on this stuff, there's no way I could possibly have known that B6 toxicity was relevant to my condition I was experiencing after I'd stopped taking them. No one provided the slightest hint that I might have to be on the lookout for anything. No one told me that it would explain ANYTHING. As far as I knew, it had no symptoms of any meaning. LET ALONE explain almost 100% of my undiagnosed condition.

I do still think I probably have hypersomnia - it can be caused after neurologic damage... and B6 toxicity can cause nuerologic damage.

So, like I said, I know I should be happy that I finally have some answers. I'm still struggling through the vast amount of emotion going through me right now over the jerk doc (as he will forever exist in my mind). I've been suffering for so long and desperately seeking answers... just to find out that the answer was there, but buried in a bunch of old tests that no one took the time to really figure out.

Officially out of my hands

The guy with the auto-hauler came by at 3:00 today to haul away the T-bird. It's on it's way to a brand new home in Oklahoma. Amazing!

Monday, April 20, 2009

New insights - too soon to get my hopes up that it's an answer

I think I've figured out something that might be key to some of my health issues (beyond hypersomnia - which is still a probable, maybe thing).

If I go back in time, I had my PE in Nov 2004. When I had it, it was discovered that I had high homocysteine values - which is usually an indication of B vitamin deficiency. It can raise your risk of clots (hence possible contributor to PE and why I got tested). It can raise your risk for heart disease and cause lots of issues. Although you can lower your homocysteine levels by taking B vitamins, there's no proof it lowers the risk of clotting, etc. HOWEVER... taking B vitamins is relatively safe, inexpensive, and it does lower the levels ... so it's standard practice to suggest taking Folic Acid, B6, and B12. I took them faithfully.

Within a few months I had recovered (as far as I can tell) from my PE - but within a month of that I started having weird pains, chest pressure, etc. And thus all my "issues" started. Things got worse & worse until I ended up having those "episodes" of loss of feeling and loss of balance. Then in January 2006, I had an "event" where those episodes stopped being intermittent and instead become "my new reality". At that time, they couldn't figure out what was causing it. For lack of any other explanation, they decided that it could have been a very small stroke. Although those symptoms didn't come back for another six months or so... I still wasn't doing well. Tired all the time, etc. etc.

After my mother got diagnosed with B6 toxicity - knowing I was taking B6 she told me to get tested. I asked REPEATEDLY to get tested for toxicity and got told repeatedly that it was next to impossible to get toxicity from a single over the counter supplement. After going to mayo and still not getting answers on my issues, I ended up at the pain clinic - where I got stubborn and flat out demanded someone test me. Sure enough, I was toxic. Told to stop taking the supplement immediately. Didn't really get told anything else. And, honestly? I didn't really ask anything else about it.

I've had some intermittent symptoms since - but things got much worse this fall. I had another "event" in Dec 2006. But, funny enough? I did a search on B6 toxicity - and wouldn't you know it? nerve damage in the form of loss of sensation, numbness, tingling, pain - and being overly tired, and balance & coordination issues are the symptoms of B6 toxicity. Now, wouldn't you think someone, somewhere would have tied the two of these together? Did I really have to spend $20K on medical tests when I'd already been diagnosed with toxicity? Now, supposedly, after stopping supplements, you're supposed to see improvement in pain, tiredness, and balance and coordination -- and I did for a while. Unfortunately, the nerve damage *might* be permanent. But then things did get worse again.

But, I thought to myself - but I'm not taking B6. I know you can get B6 from diet - so I got to wondering if perhaps, I'm just overly sensitive to it (since I shouldn't have been toxic from the supplement when I was taking it). Started digging into seeing a Naturopath (woohoo! one just moved to Des Moines!!!). Can't wait to start working with her!

Anyway - didn't take me long to figure out two probably problems:

My cereal bars I've been practically living off of (eating 1 or 2 EVERY morning, and sometimes one for a snack)??? Contain B6 -- 100% of recommended dose!

But, then I also got to thinking about the supplements I am taking. Wouldn't you know it? My doc had me start taking a multi-vitamin around about the time that things started to really turn down hill again. And, when I look at the bottle? It supplies 100% of the daily recommended dose as well.

Now, I haven't had time to discuss this with my doctor yet. But this really fits with my symptoms and timing, and it all ties together far better than any of the other suggestions. I can't help but be very frustrated by the whole process. I know that he's tested my B12 levels as B12 deficiency can have similar symptoms - but I've been taking those supplements regularly and my levels are normal. I'm also pretty sure that since I haven't been taking B6 on it's own, he hasn't tested for it - but I'm going to call and find out for sure. What do you bet it's higher than it should be?

I'm trying to not get my hopes up... but I think, just maybe - this is a key.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sleep Study

OK, so there were two last tests that my doctor ordered... just to "cover all the bases" and not expecting to find anything. One was a colonoscopy - and I'm going to spare you the details. Suffice it to say, things are fine.

Second - a sleep study. I wake up every morning - completely exhausted. It takes a good hour to convince my body to move properly. I fall asleep pretty easily at night and sleep undisturbed for the entire night. I have two brothers & a sister with sleep apnea -so I know the symptoms... I don't have them. My sister also has restless leg - so I'm familiar with it as well... I don't have it. I struggled with insomnia in my teen years - I definitely don't have it.

Oddest thing about it is although I've never been a morning person ... up until about five years ago, I couldn't sleep past 7 to save my soul. Now I can't get up by 7 unless the house is on fire and someone drags me out of bed to save me. I've got 5 alarm clocks going - and I'm still having trouble. My health has been poor and we've had lots of things going on - so the last thing my doctor's were worried about was my trouble with over-sleeping. But, honestly? It's the biggest issue with quality of life that I have right now. I'm beyond tired ALL DAY LONG. And I don't have the energy to play or walk the dog, or do much of anything beyond the bare minimum.

So - met the doctor the afternoon before my sleep study and it was very interesting. Apparently there's a not very well known condition that is the opposite of insomnia - called ideopathic hypersomnia. And, I have 9 out of 10 of the symptoms - to a capital T. Holy cow. Interestingly enough, although sometimes they don't know why someone starts to have this, it can come on after nuerologic symptoms. Which I also have had - and in fact, I've had this "exhaustion" ever since my first "mini stroke" - or whatever it was, if it wasn't really a stroke. It's gotten better and worse, but it's never really left... so the timing fits. Also, one of the "key signs" of this is that people who have it tend to try to avoid napping (because it doesn't help). And -that is really what I do as well. If I do take a nap, it ends up being 5-6 hours and I'm still tired after the nap; what a waste. So although I'm too tired to move or do anything except go lay down; I then turn around and do everything I can to stay awake while I'm laying down.

So, he told me that if I didn't have insomnia, nor sleep apnea, nor restless leg syndrome (which I knew I didn't)... then he wanted to know if I could stay for further testing the following day to test for narcalepsy (which I don't think I have) - and hypersomnia. I won't know for sure the diagnosis for the next couple of weeks, but I am curious.

The sleep test went well - I slept through the night, had trouble waking up, just like always. Of course, I don't have any of the conditions I didn't think I had. Then - the following day - every two hours they would have me lay down to take a nap. They'd give me 20 minutes and then wake me up again. I'd have to get out of bed & sit until the next time a nap was due. I wasn't worried about it... but living it? How cruel is it take someone who is exhausted - tell them to try to sleep, and then wake them up literally within minutes of falling asleep? Ugh. It was actually very frustrating. And I also found it quite challenging to "put away" the things and try to sleep during the day after so many, many days of fighting off sleep during the day.

So, it will be interesting!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

5 yr old funny

"a" and I have been having lots of discussion. Apparently there is still some question as to who is the boss.

He finally recited back to me the following list:

Megan (his preschool lead teacher) is the boss at school
Daddy is the boss at Daddy's house (fair enough)
Mommy is the boss in the car and at home

BUT... "a" was trying to sell me on the idea that he is the boss of the couch, and as such, he should be allowed to sleep on the couch whenever he wants.

um. no.

Talked about why I was saying no (not that he fully got it)... and finally just said, nope, it's in the home, I'm the boss of home, so I'm the boss of the couch as well.

Well, he says... I want to be the boss of something. Fair enough, right?

So, I told him that he could be the boss of the puppy.

No fair, he says... she never listens to me.

Hmmm? since when did being the boss mean that anyone actually listens and does as their told? LOL -- though I couldn't very well tell him why I was laughing - I've still got him at least sold on the idea he's "supposed" to listen to me (the boss).

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Coupons - so many coupons

OK, I've been busy on a knitting project and ignoring my coupons... wow, do I have a ton. (obviously - if I usually give away around 100-150 coupons a month).

Here's my old process:

1) Get Sunday paper, collect coupons at stores, or in products, or in the mail

2) every Sunday I would clip ALL of the coupons and put them into two piles - keep AND give away. It used to be that I would keep less than 25% of the coupons; but you never know which coupons with sale prices might be free in the coming weeks - so I learned to keep coupons I didn't think I would need "in case" ... I still don't keep coupons for items I wouldn't use even if free.

3) The pile that I was going to give away -- would get divided again. Coupons that didn't expire for over 30 days... were going into an envelope for a giveaway... coupons expiring sooner would get thrown into an envelope to send overseas to Military families (they can use coupons over 6 months past expiration date at their military shop).

4) Then I would file away the coupons I'm keeping into a 3-ring binder with dividers for grocery aisles.

5) While filing, I would pull out expired coupons that I hadn't used and put them into the Military family's envelope.

6) Then flip through all the flyers and sale ads, and the coupon book & try to match everything up. Browse online at some favorite blogs who do the same & see if I have the coupons they list to match up for some real bargains.

7) Pull out matching coupons & clip them to my notebook with store; sale dates; items on sale

8) When I go to the store, if the bargain isn't available - i.e., item sold out or pricing doesn't match the online board's pricing - if I don't use the coupon after all, I put it in my purse with the coupons I'm collecting that week for the following Sunday to sort out again.


------ big issues here... steps 1 through 5 take forever when you figure I handle about 200 coupons per week. So - I've got a stack of coupons to clip & sort and very few that I can find. I haven't clipped for a couple of weeks - and the piles are too tall now to keep on my desk. sigh

I'm leaning toward one step - which is only to file the coupons that are 'loose' - and then take the non-clipped coupons and file them by date in a manilla folder. Benefit here is reduced time cutting. Disadvantage is that although the online posts usually reference "see coupon in 3/8 paper" -- it doesn't help me when I'm flipping through my sale ads and coupons.

Also, I always justified in the past that I was going to end up clipping them anyway to mail overseas even if I didn't use them.

sigh ... guess I just need to be an adult about it and go home tonight and clip coupons. I just know it's going to take three or four evenings (if not the whole weekend) to get caught up.

Its not like I don't know it's worth it... on average I'm getting about $30-40 worth of free merchandise a month, plus saving over $50 per month on groceries. I've done the math - and the money issues I'm in means that clipping coupons means we're eating better than we would if I didn't. I just wish it was easier (but then, wouldn't more people do it if it was easier???).