Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Using nomorerack.com

A friend of mine recommended nomorerack.com to me.

I'd checked it out once, and thought that there wasn't much on the first few scrolls worth paying for shipping for.

That was before I realized it was $2 per item to ship things.

I didn't go back out there again to do any more shopping and almost forgot about it.

But, I was stuck at home about three weeks before Christmas and knowing that I was struggling to come up with good ideas for Christmas presents and worried about stretching my budget. I decided to do some online shopping and one of the places I checked out was nomorerack.com.

Admittedly, the two items I got without issue weren't very expensive and were only stocking stuffers. But I got them, they work VERY well (texting gloves and portable cell phone chargers) and went over really well as gifts.

The ONE thing I ordered, but never received, was of significantly higher value vastly discounted.

However, the fact that I didn't receive it was through no issue from the retailer. They shipped it within five days (when they stated five to ten days). The delivery was within two days of shipping (when it was estimated to be a five day window for shipping). However, the item was stolen off of my doorstep.

I reached out to the retailer since technically I hadn't received the product because I wasn't sure if I had any chance at recovering the money for then un-received item... but since I had paid with paypal (intentionally) I knew there was some possibility... I just didn't know the steps to file a claim.

I sent an email with the tracking details, the fact that it had been delivered, but never received and asked them about the next steps.

To be fair, I imagine the pre-Christmas emails around shipping issues was probably VAST and INSANE... but I don't think they read the email. Their response was something along the lines of 'you should have your tracking number by now and can research it to see what delivery timelines should be'. Um. Yeah. I told you the tracking number and that it had documented the date of shipped delivery IN THE PAST. The email wasn't very helpful.

I replied back indicating such... and got a second useless email. Something along the lines of 'it should be delivered by now' and only reply if you still don't have your package - with the 'ticket' closed. I replied back to that email indicating that if the delivery company had indicated that shipping was complete TEN DAYS ago and I still didn't have the package, that it was unlikely to ever get to me and in fact, was most likely stolen from my doorstep.

I got a third email. This time, they read the conversation (or if you believe my more cynical friends, we hit the magic three email mark where they just do whatever they can). I was worried about a long and lengthy process and filling out forms and all that and finding out at the end that theft at my doorstep wasn't something they had control over nor did they need to do anything about it.... and I instead got a full and complete refund. No more questions, no hesitation... they just gave me the money back for the item. Admittedly, they probably have their own paperwork for theft and insurance and all that. But, I'll have to admit. I was pretty impressed and relieved.

Initially, the event had me completely turned off about shopping online. And I do think before I do any 'big' shopping events that I'll have to decide if I want to ship my items to a different address. But, it's restored my faith in the fact that it's something worth pursuing again. I just wish there was an easier way to do things. And that my neighbors were more trustworthy. Though I do have to admit, I'm pretty sure that the culprits were the upstairs neighbors who moved out in the middle of the night a couple of nights after the item was stolen. No way to know for sure, of course... but most of my neighbors have been there for a bit and are pretty trustworthy and the only other 'new' neighbors? Are all semi-related to me.... lol.

But, this boils down to - I'll shop at nomorerack.com again. I'd recommend it to my friends. I'd recommend it to strangers. Admittedly, some of the things on there aren't for everyone and deals come and go. But, it seems like a pretty cool way to save some bucks and try new things.... and they stand behind their items. Which can mean an aweful lot!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Prep - with CFS (or well, an undiagnosed condition that matches that syndrome 100% in symptoms)

Over the years, I've learned what doesn't work.

What doesn't work for me?

I can't spend a whole day cleaning. I can't. I used to. Before I crashed. But now? eight hours of cleaning the house top to bottom? Results iin months of not being able to do much of anything, cleaning, working, functioning at all. It's not worth it.

What does work for me?

Getting my kids to pitch in and getting the main living area - that's the living room, kitchen and dining area to a passable state. That means toys/books/dishes/trash are all where they belong, the floor is vaccuumed... the private areas? well, those can still be semi-disasterous. But this way, I don't have to be ashamed of the public areas and it's enough to get through the Holidays with.

Doesn't work?

I can't spend a whole weekend baking a half dozen different types of cookies and treats. Nothing like a self-induced sugar coma on Christmas day. I love having the treats.... but spending the whole weekend in a hot kitchen; even with trying to sit on a stool most of the time? Is still a disaster in the making.

What does work?

A dozen cookies, MAYBE two. TOPS. You know what? Not one neighbor ever complained that I didn't bring them cookies any longer. Co-workers don't care. My kids kind-of care, kind-of don't. And you know what? The few I do make are still yummy. And we don't really need that much sugar in the house anyway. Christmas, funny enough, can still be enjoyed without all that extra sugar. Who knew?

Doesn't work?

Sending out Christmas Cards. Making sure you have enough, making sure your address book is organized enough, sitting down and writing a meaningful message in each one or even typing out a letter that you can print 20 copies of to insert into the card? Getting the stamps? My brain fog is such that sitting down and trying to think of anything to put in it that doesn't sound like whining? Too much work.

What does work?

Refusing to let myself feel guilty about skipping the whole darn thing. I've thought about the 'email equivalent'... but honestly? If you are close enough to friend me on facebook (and haven't shut off my status updates from feeding to you yet?)... then you arleady know what's going on in my life. Good enough for me.

Doesn't work?

Multiple days, mutliple trips to multiple stores, hitting up the sales and trying to find the 'right' gift. My stamina is just not up to it.

What does work?

Shopping online for 90% of it and saving the 10% for a half day well-planned run. If I can get the remaining items in less than five stops? That is AWESOME. If I can't??? Then gift cards. Seriously... well thought out gift cards. Cards to places they actually shop/eat at.

Doesn't work?

Marathon wrapping sessions. I used to wrap all my gifts in the evening, often procrastinating until Christmas Eve.  The little one wouldn't fall asleep for forever, because, of course, he was way to excited about the upcoming holiday. Which meant it was often after midnight before he fell asleep and it would easily take me until 3 am or 4 am to wrap everything. That way lies insanity.

What does work?

First off - gift bags! Second off - more gift bags! Seriously, SO MUCH EASIER.

Then, still in the evenings, but at least a week before Christmas? I wait until he falls asleep (at a thankfully reasonable time - like 9:30 pm) and then I wrap 10 gifts. That's it, just ten gifts. I'm in bed by 10:30 and within a few evenings all the gifts are wrapped. So much less stress.

Doesn't work?

Lots of traveling. Driving to opposite side of the state for Thanksgiving and Christmas and then another state for New Years? It adds to the stress. It adds to the work. There are issues on how to keep some presents secret while the kids are loading/unloading the car. There's the issues with what food to bring that can travel well. Add potentially bad weather to the mix and it just seems like it's more work than it's worth.

What does work?

Spreading out the visits. I try to see my side of the family twice a year - once in the middle of summer when the roads are never covered with ice and snow... and again at Thanksgiving. Christmas is now spent at home.  Admittedly, part of what helped was being divorced and not having to travel to the in-laws any longer... but the expectation I would have had if I still was in the family would be to go in the summer ... of course, it helps that it was me that wanted to see them at Holiday time, my ex was just as happy not going to see them twice a year.

Doesn't work?

Working full time on Christmas Eve, boxing day, etc. I used to. Of course, I used to 'do it all'. I don't any longer.

What does work?

If I have an ounce of PTO left, I take it surrounding the holidays. It's funny how exponentially less stressful it is not to juggle daycare, work and feeling ready for the holidays. It's the day before Christmas Eve and I still have a little bit of work to do around the house. But I have the rest of the week off this week. We'll see Christmas lights tonight, clean and bake cookies and listen to Christmas carols tomorrow... throw some Chili on the stove top to simmer all day with snow falling down outside. We'll probably watch some Christmas specials and movies and just be relaxed because I don't have dozens of things to do in not enough time...

Doesn't work?

I used to hand make ornaments... (well, I still do)... but not just a few. No, I made one for each of my nieces and nephews (current count 19 and counting). My sons (2 and not counting). My son's teachers (six), daycare (10 more), etc. Add some for coworkers (about a dozen).Seriously. the craft would vary although lately it's kind of stuck on knitting), but I would make several dozen hand-made ornaments EVERY year.

What does work?

Cutting back. It's still my tradition and it's still something I share... But now I make about 8-10 ornaments. 1 for me, one each for my two sons, one for my future daughter-in-law, one for my grandson and the rest go to my youngest son's teachers. That's it. That's all she wrote. And no one has ever complained. Not once. They would always compliment me when they got it and be excited to get one (so I know they were appreciated) but it's not like Christmas doesn't happen if they didn't get an ornament from me. The world didn't stop spinning.

Funny thing is? All of the things on my list are things I could have done before I got sick. Not one of these things is geared toward anything other than taking it easy, enjoying myself and my family and the holiday... and lowering stress. I've had more holiday melt downs in the past than I'm comfortable admitting to myself. And every one of them was completely preventable. If only I'd figured this out sooner.

We put soo much pressure on ourselves to do X, Y and dozens of Z for the Holidays. Enough pressure and stress to put you in a pressure cooker that's bound to explode at some point. Yet, cutting back? doesn't hurt anyone's feelings. It doesn't leave anyone deprived. It doesn't lessen your love for the season.  But it does let you focus on the really important part of your life - sharing joy with your loved ones.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stupid, expensive mistake

My dentures have been rather uncomfortable ever since Thanksgiving. I had an allergic reaction to something I ate (can't imagine what - turkey, corn, steamed potatoes, and pumpkin custard-ish (basically hand-made pumpkin pie with no crust) where I used coconut milk in the ingredients). But it caused me to develop several canker sores on my gums... and even though those healed quickly, my gums were still sore and swollen and not appreciating my dentures.

So, I've been taking them out, putting them back in when I needed to... back out again and not being as responsible as I should have been. I managed to go to bed without putting them into the cleansers to soak over night.

And my dog found them

And my dog is a chewer.

And my dog chewed them.

The bottom  teeth (molars on a partial) are completely unusable.

The top? Lost most of the molars section... and had really rough edges and thick edges in the back. I tried cleaning them really well and wearing them. And I could wear them... but every time I tried to talk while wearing them - I would gag from the rough and thick edges near the back of my tongue. sigh.

My dental insurance is maxed out on what they will cover until the end of the year (thankfully less than two weeks away).

The regular dentist is closed until Monday. I was hoping they could sand down the surfaces for now, and maybe even get the molds started for new teeth to be ordered in the new year.

I thought about going to an emergency dentist because right now, I can't wear either denture.  Admittedly, even if we got the top ones into a usable state... I still wouldn't have molars on top nor bottom - so I'm back on a liquid diet again (sigh).

But, instead? I splurged and bought a dremel. I figured that it was highly unlikely the top teeth were going to be rescued as it was... and decided that I was unlikely to make them worse. It took a couple of goes at it... and there was enough surface removed (thanks dog, NOT) that there isn't enough to create the natural suction - so I'm stuck using adhesive... BUT, I am now able to wear the top teeth. I'm thinking that if I get creative with the adhesive, I might be able to manage to get the bottom teeth in as well... MAYBE. I imagine that it might not hold up to chewing... but I'd rather have them in than not just for appearance sake.

Hopefully now, next week, all I need to do is set up an appointment for the molds... insurance should cover 50% of the cost of the dentures (or at least I really REALLY hope so) and the remainder will end up having to go onto the account that I was at the last payment for to pay off the surgery from getting the dentures in the first place. sigh. At least I had been making larger than normal payments on the account which means there will at least be funds available.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Starting MTHFR supplementation - on a 10 yr old

Little 'a' still doesn't have his genetics back. But we know he has at least some methylation issues due to myself having a few homozygous genetics in the cycle...

But where do you start? He still can't swallow pills... and going dairy free/gluten free will be like pulling nails.... sigh. I think 90% of his meals are primarily dairy and carbs.

1. 5 oz daily of a naked or equivalent brand fruit/veggie juice smoothie (he likes them, so this will be an easy sell).

2. when the sublingual methyl B12 arrives, we'll start him on one a day

Continue epsom salt baths three times a week

Current Symptoms:

High Anxiety
leg pains (that epsom salt baths help with)
Stomach pain and nausea
frequent constipation
frequently breaking out in hives (new allergies developed in the last six months)
experiencing frequent chills where he has trouble getting warm enough

Coping Other steps taken:

I've spoken with his IEP counselor and she got him to admit to what has been bothering him at school. He still never wants to go to school and asks me to check his temperature daily. I believe he feels ill, but not so ill that he can't go to school (i.e., no diahhrea, no fever, no vomitting). I think it's the combination of stress, anxiety and being ill that is making it hard for him to get through his days at school.  She's working on reducing his stress at school and working on helping him have both a better experience as well as talking to the teacher. I'm hoping they'll give him an option to take a break at the nurses office when he just needs a time out... but we'll see how things shake out. He's done better at getting ready for school this week and hasn't made too much of a fuss.

I'm trying to get more consistent with his anti-anxiety medication. He takes my phone from me the minute I get home from work (which is where my meds reminder alarm is set) and silences it which makes it easier for me to procrastinate and forget it. I'm going to work on a new system to make him more accountable and help us both with what we need to take care of.

I found a great 'meditation tool' that is hand made with recycled plastic bottle, glue glitter and water... I'm planning to make one for him over Christmas Break.

Next Steps:

I'm not having any luck finding a chewable methylfolate - but I have found a few chewable B vitamins with methyl folate, methyl B12 in them... now if I can find one with P5P in it - I think that's what we'll try.

Start him on a quarter dose of the opticleanse nutritional shake.

23andme replacement test has been ordered and should be shipping shortly. Hopefully this will work out and we'll get a good sample to verify his genetics against.

Starting over - myself

I had taken a couple of weeks off-supplements as things had gotten worse and I just needed to take a break.

Now, I'm starting back up - it's been about five days and I'm starting over and slowly. Slightly different tact as I'm sticking with the newest methylation specialist and will add back in other supplements without including all of the ones recommended by the original nutritional expert.

Half-dose (or slightly less) of Opticleanse daily shake
5-7 mg of L-5-methylfolate

-- on order is my methyl-B12  which I'll start up again when it arrives

I'm still taking epsom salt baths every other night and might actually increase it to nightly for a bit.

Current Symptoms/Severity:

Dizziness spells are slightly less frequent - maybe 5 a week over the 20 or so. Still pretty severe when they come... but thankfully over within a couple of minutes.

Fuzzy-headedness is still pretty severe. I probably am getting about two hours of work done in an eight hour day with limited ability to focus (please, lord, don't let me boss know it's me).

Leg pain is mild, but never ending.

Left shoulder pain that radiates down my arm - fairly mild and responding well to ibuprofen. (so definitely inflammation related)

Back pain has dissappeared (thank the skies for that!).

All over-ache (feels like flu) - still present, but not something that I'm not used to.

Severe muscle-based exhaustion - probably at about 40% of 'normal' energy level for about two hours a day now... but down to only about 25% the rest of the time. Conservation on use of energy and avoiding work is the word of the day.

Tingly/not-quite-right-sensation/mild numbness - seems to be limited to my arms and legs and my face. Funny... it almost always was my right-side before.... and always the whole side... now it's more equally distributed on left and right side, but just the bottom half of my legs, bottom half of my arms - and on both sides of my face. Mild - but annoying.

Had some trouble with my left ankle. It's been SUPER sore off and on over the last two weeks. Sometimes I limp, most of the time I don't... sigh. Didn't do anything to it... it just started to hurt.

Left breast - I have a new cyst that is starting to swell and cause pain with my cycle. It's pretty terrible about two days out of 14 (the length of my ridiculously short cycle). Not even noticeable the rest of the time. I go back for a mammogram next month... so they'll probably want to do an ultrasound (again) but I'm hoping to avoid the drainage procedure which causes pretty aweful pain for a good two weeks solid. We'll just see if it stays the same or worsens and I break down and get it treated.

Another symptom I rarely report - I've had swollen lymph nodes for about eighteen months now. Chronically swollen glands is probably not a good thing, huh? sigh. I keep hoping that with treatment things will get better and then maybe  if I deal with one part that other things will either lesson or at least not get me laughed out of the doctor's office.

Next Steps:

In a week, I'l up the methyl-folate dosage 5 mg.

A week later, another 5 mg added.

Then in a third week, I'll add the NAC back to the program

Sunday, December 08, 2013

My top ten list - 2013

I read a blog post about the frequent top n lists out and about and how they are there to help promote different things - books, movies, songs, etc. And how that leads to temptation to buy more things.

I've been spending a lot of time while restructuring my finances and getting back on my feet enjoying simpler things that don't involve spending a lot of money.  When I look back at my year, I can come up with a top ten list (probably longer if I thought about it harder)... but there wouldn't be a single movie, tv show, song or book on the list.

In no particular order, my top ten favorite moments from this year.

1. My last parent teachers conference where I learned that my 10 yr old son has gone from being two years behind his classmates in reading to within months of being on track over the past year and a half. I am so proud of all the hard work he's put forth to catch up.

2. An overheard conversation of my future daughter-in-law's son discussing how important it is to have a dad in your life. His own birth father is barely involved in his life... but my son is working hard at being a good father and wants to adopt him after they get married. "You need your dad in your life... he's the guy to make sure you get set on the right path and learn right from wrong. A dad can help you learn how to be a better man." It still brings tears to my eyes, that my eldest son was able to inspire knowledge like this into a six year old little boy.

3. Another sign my adult son is truly an adult. "Mom, you just don't get to take enough time to yourself... it's my new mission to make sure you get out more and enjoy yourself."

4. Family game nights... we haven't had them for a while and are over due... but playing board and/or card games with two twenty-somethings, a six year old and a ten year old does have it's challenges - with little boys who want to learn how to trash talk, but haven't figured out where the appropriate line to draw is, and learning how to lose graciously... but I cherish a few hours in everyone's company... my son will whip up dinner, and is willing to try new recipes that we can all enjoy.

5. Listening in the night at the quiet in the house - the dog is asleep pressing into the side of my legs... the cat is asleep near the corner of the bed - close enough to know if I get up... but not too close - no one would accuse her of being a smothering cat... my son asleep in the room beside mine... his hamster beating out a rat-a-tat-tat with his wheel... he's running so fast in the wheel you can't see his legs and the base of his wheel is rattling around in the aquarium. We are all where we should be, we are all safe, sound and comfortable.

6. Listening to the hustle and bustle that is my house during the day. I've got a tv on and watching something... little one is usually watching tv AND watching youtube videos at the same time... the dog might be barking at the cat... the dishwasher and/or clothes washer running in the background. Someone or something is darting around my feet. It's noisy and hectic and I wouldn't have it any other way.

7. Utter joy from finishing a knitting project, something that fits just right, or looks just right, or is well-loved. There have been many projects this year... some of my favorites were my Green/Tan tank I made for me with cotton/linen blend yarn. .. dozens upon dozens of charity hats... Pikachu, Azumarill, and the Mandrake Root Plant. There were others... so much knitting, so much fun... but I think those were some of my favorites.

8. Getting my son's bedroom sorted out. He had a huge mess (almost always does) in his room and the dog had taken to stashing goodies under the toys... and the dog had accidents in the bedroom whenever I was sleeping and she thought she could get away with it. My son ended up sleeping on the couch for about three months while I tore everything out of his room (including a smelly mattress)... repeatedly cleaning the carpet and trying new methods to deoderize (the final fix was sparying vinegar water over the carpet - but that was after multiple shampoos and using pet odor removers... and a final shampoo after the vinegar water treatment)... shuffling the furniture to make it more useful and replacing his old bed frame with bunk beds. He's now got not just a useable bedroom - but he's finding it easier to keep it clean now (woot! woot!)

9. Playing an online role-playing game - HPKCHC (Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup)... it's bizarre and nerdy and combines Harry Potter with real-life knitting/crochet challenges and I love it. I just realized I have now played for four years (OMG! Time does fly). And this year, like many of them, has been AMAZING. I have made a lot of good friends in the cup, and even got to spend part of a weekend at a knitting retreat with one of them. With the cup, there's anticipation and excitement and challenges that I don't find in real life.

10. My transfer at work - makes all the difference in the world. It's still work - but I feel like I'm a true contributor... I'm finding challenges at work, but it's not overwhelming. I'm deliberately moving in slowly so as to keep my stress levels down and all my coworkers are fine with that. I can get my work done without stressing, I can help them and fill a void that kept the team from being efficient. It's rewarding to be able to do a job well and get compensated appropriately for it. With the transfer came a raise - and it should be enough that not only will I be completely debt free, but I should be able to consider not just retiring, but perhaps also being able to buy a home again some day. Maybe not in the next couple of years... but hopefully really soon. I feel like I'm finally getting a handle on the financial side of my house AND I'm working for a good team that makes work days go just a little faster.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

I'm worried about my son and I'm not sure what to do.

So, I'm posting my thoughts here so I can start hashing through them.

1. He's been sick off an on (mostly on) for almost eight months now.

2. He's been to the doctor who ran the basic tests and reports back that everything is normal; but hasn't sent me a copy of the test results to see for myself.

3. Not sure it matters... as it 'feels' like the general malaise I'm dealing with. He's worse always after recess... which is when he exerts himself the most.

4. It's digestive issues, leg pain, feeling tired and 'off' along with a low-grade fever that comes and goes.

I know that part of the issue is that he doesn't enjoy the classroom environment. He struggles with some things and the more stressed he is? The worse his eye condition gets and it makes it hard for him to read.

He struggles with making friends... and ends up 'latching on' or expecting any friend to become his best friend... instead of 'going with the flow'. He tends to be a bit intense which can be hard to be social. Looking back? I was more worried about Adam at this age than I am Alex - and Adam is fine now... but he had hard lessons to learn to figure out how to get along with folks and make new friends.

My ideal world and solution is that Alex starts feeling better, goes to school, makes friends easily and has less stress.

Given I've spent the past eight years battling for medical treatment for my unidentified condition. And given that it's guaranteed he has at least a few of my genetics meaning he definitely has at least a little MTHFR. I'm not sure we'll be able to get him to a 'no symptom' state.

So my goals I need to set for this month to TRY to get to the ideal solution is:

1. Find MTHFR-related supplements in a chewable form
2. Keep trying gluten-free and dairy-free products to find items he will enjoy eating so that I can try to get him switched to a dairy-free and gluten-free diet.
3. Set up an appointment with www.refolutionarymd.com for Alex to start discussing his specific symptoms and anything else that the doctor would want to test for/look for.
4. Follow up with his psychiatrist and counselor about helping him with making friends.

In the meantime, I need to figure out what options might be available for what we can do in the mean time.

It's hard enough for me to believe that his illness isn't a ruse to get out of school... and I've been experiencing the condition myself and know that you can feel a little better and want to exert energy when you feel slightly better. So, him having energy about three hours after staying home from school? Isn't just him enjoying the free time I just conned me into. I get it, I do. But just barely. I still have my doubts. I know he knows my symptoms and it would be all too easy to 'claim' them for himself. But his symptoms aren't identical. I would think if he was trying to copy me he would complain of the same types of digestive issues, etc.

Now, it's at the point where I've been sending him to school. In part, hoping that he can 'toughen up' a little. THEN FEELING HORRIBLY GUILTY. I know myself just how hard it is to go to work every day and feel sick as a dog. The only reason I'm not on disability is because I'm just too stubborn and don't want to live on a disability income. I want more for myself and my kids and I can only do that by going to work every day even though I feel horrid.

Partly hoping that by sending him in the morning, that he'll feel a little better later in the day and not feel so bad (wishful thinking).

But, I've always said that he can go to the nurses office if he doesn't start feeling better and she'll call me and I'll come get him.  Only the nurse and his teacher have both refused to let him go to the office and to call me. So, he's getting worse because he can't come home when the condition worsens.... and trying to 'tough it out' is only making things worse.

I'm not exactly sure what to do about this part of things.... I think I've got a couple of ideas for what to start with...

1. Call school counselor and his case worker on his IEP. I think we need to discuss how to get him to be able to go to the school as much as possible, but not ignore the fact that he's ill as often as he is and what we might need to do to accommodate him. Maybe they can work with his teacher and nurse and give him 20 minute time outs to go lay down. If he feels better after resting - let him resume. If he doesn't then he gets to come home????

My issue is that I'm pretty sure he'd be needing the break EVERY day. And I'm  not sure how much accommdation they will provide without doctor involvement and justification of his health issues. And I can't even get justification of my own health issues from the standard medical practice.

I have spent months now trying to convince myself that my son isn't really sick. Heck, I spent years trying to convince everyone that I WAS SICK. Part of me feels like I'm letting him down so much. Part of me wants to pursue the same answers I tried to get for myself even though I'm pretty darn sure that it would be a complete waste of time.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spontaneous dislocated rib and a trip to the ER

'bout a week ago, I felt a rib in my back 'pop out'. I went to the chiropracture thinking that perhaps I had simply sublaxed it, but nope... indeedy - it was dislocated. I was laying in bed watching tv when it went out.

I've had that happen once before (but on the other side). That time, I had severe shoulder pain that radiated down my arm for several hours... I thought I had pinched a nerve then. And had been taking it SUPER easy at work (i.e., doing something that meant I didn't have to move my arms nor head)... when 'kapow' - I thought I had thrown my back out. That time, it was four ribs that popped out.  Chiropractor helped me then, as well. Only at the time, he didn't believe me when I told him that they had popped out on their own (or he would have sent me to the ER). After about 36 more hours of utter pain and misery, I did finally go to the ER back then... and come to find out that while it's a rare symptom - that people with Pulmonary Embolisms can have their ribs spontaneously dislocate.

This time - there were no other pains... no issues with breathing. Just the over-all fatigue and leg pain that I've been dealing with for a really long time... so, like last time..... I went to the chiropractor, let him adjust me and put the rib back where it belongs and went home.

Monday noon rolls around... and I started to have shoulder pain that radiated down my arm. And pressure on my chest. And pain on deep breaths. I tried to convince myself since the pain was mild... persistent, but mild. That I didn't need to go to the ER. That lasted about an hour. When the pain wasn't going away... I finally went into the ER.

Let me tell you what - complain of shoulder pain radiating down your arm? And they press the red button at the front desk and I had two nurses meet me before they even got through taking my name. EKG came out normal. Normally this would be followed with a ct scan to rule out pulmonary embolism... but over the last several years I've aquired an allergy on the contrast agent they use for the ct scans. So, they did a vq scan instead - which came back normal as well. Chest xrays were also used as the spot in my back where the rib had popped out had gone from being sore to feelling pain free, to being QUITE sharply painful and while I didn't feel it go out again - dislocated ribs are notorious for wanting to pop out again... so they took x-rays to confirm that the ribs were where they belonged (which of course they were).

I'm home, working from the recliner with my feet up, sweats on, and the laptop on my lap... trying to take it easy. With only two days left before a long weekend... I'm thinking that this is just the ticket.

Sadly, today I woke up with a headache on top of the other symptoms... but at least I'm not running around and dealing with stuff that I don't want to deal with. I'm supposed to go back to the ER if things get worse... but the shoulder/arm pain and chest pressure seems to be pretty consistent. Hopefully it will all pass and I'll feel better quickly.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Online dating in your 40's

I tell you what - online dating isn't what it used to be.

I still get a lot of flattery, which is ego-boosting and feel-good.

But, I'm getting a TON of folks who don't read the 'what are you looking for' section... and are assuming that I'm up for some casual do-me-tonight kind of fling.

I've had no LESS than five guys send me full frontal pics. Seriously? What are you two? Did you just discover that you have one and not everyone does and need to show it to me? It drives me nuts. First off, it's honestly not the best looking feature on a man's body. Secondly, unless I'm naked and horny in a room with you? I don't want to see it. Thirdly? I have a six year old and ten year old boy borrowing my phone CONSTANTLY to play games on it. I can't have photos like that on there!!!!

I've had at least six guys who just wanted phone sex. Pretty sure that I'm into it, if I'm already intimate with you and we can't be together. But, a stranger on the phone? Dude, call a 1-900 line... because those girls deserve the cash because it's NOT THAT FUN if I'm never going to be having sex with you in real life.

I've had at TWO guys ask me or insinuate that they need money. Seriously? Do women really fall for scams like that? How sad is that?  I had two other guys who were totally lying about their location. Not sure if they were looking for phone sex or trying to decide if they could scam me... it never got that far. What is the point of lying about where you live? Did you already use up all the good contacts in your area???  Or just trolling for someone weak?

I met a guy that seemed nice enough, well, until I realized he wasn't actually separated... but was still married.

I have met a couple of nice guys. One showed up to a nice place with a bandana on his head and no less than six pieces of biker jewelry on him. He then spent an hour talking about his single, female boss. I would have left my drink unfinished and called it a night, but to be completely honest? I'd taken a benedryl and sat there in a daze totally out of it. Somehow we ended up having dinner together...?  And yeah. Then it was time to call it a night because I was so out of zone. He had a nice time? I was a zombie and he thought it was a good date? Sad.

The other guy ended up really just wanting a hook up. I get it, I do... but for women? It's rare that it's REALLY good the first time we're with you. It usually takes us a little while to build up to a little more excitement. I'm pretty sure this isn't for me. If I wanted a hook up??? I'd go to the bar, at least then I can pick up the sexiest guy in the bar and get to use alcohol as an excuse the next morning.  If I hook up with a guy totally sober? And it stinks? Well, then it's depressing and I have no one to blame but myself.  I'll save my hook ups when I break down and do them for random strangers in an alcohol-indused frenzy, thank you very much.

Of course, there have been worse examples in the not-so-distant past. There was the gay guy who thought an older woman would cure his affliction.... blamed the ED on too much to drink (guys...psssst. Here's a secret. If you're going to use that excuse, drink something alcoholic. We don't believe you if you've only had Pepsi and water to drink all night.)

I've had two guys that turned stalker on me... hence why everyone gets my cell phone number only. No last name, no address, no details until you prove your sanity. And if you can't understand why a single mom might need to keep some private things private until I know the stranger I just met online just a bit better???? Well, then seriously? Reality is what it is... and I didn't live this long by taking stupid chances. Right now, if you turn into a freak all I have to do is rename your contact on my cell to 'do not answer' and I never have to talk to you again.  I had one guy who really REALLY wanted to come by and get laid one night... his excuse as to why I ought to trust him??? Was that he couldn't be a weirdo, he has a girlfriend. Dude. You just told me that you have a girlfriend. Since I'm looking for a future boyfriend (preferrably one that doesn't cheat on me or his other girlfriends)... I'm thinking that the answer is REALLY NO now. duh.

I've had three guys EXPLODE in anger over my having to work around my son's working schedule so he could babysit and/or last minute plans changing meaning I had to babysit their son...  honestly? Sh*t happens. And it happens in my life an awful lot. If you can't handle a few delays with tact and decency??? I'm not interested in spending more time with you. You can express irritation and/or frustration and/or a wish that you didn't have to wait a little longer to meet me... without calling me names and treating me like dirt. Because, honestly? If that's all it takes to set you off, you are too much drama for me.

NOTE: Worst case scenario? The online dating story that  is becoming my friend's favorite go-to online dating horror story? We'll save that for another post (once I double-check it isn't already in the archives).

All in all? It's been kind of an ego-boost. I know I look younger than my age, and I know that I'm not exactly beautiful, but kinda cute. And having a dozen guys lusting after you is fun and all... but there's still a lot of weeding through the jerks.

I don't think I'm asking for the moon. I'd like to find an attractive, sexy guy who would enjoy going out sometimes and staying in sometimes and taking it easy. Not looking for forever, but not looking for one night stands either (well, unless you suck in bed, then you probably won't get a second shot).  I'm finally at the point where I would consider a guy a possibility for boyfriend potential... but am also at the stage of getting irritated by the annoying men who are so self-involved they can't understand that online dating isn't just a cheaper way of getting off than paying a prostitute or for phone sex. If we are looking just to get laid? Most of us women don't have to go through the work of online dating ads just for sex. If we're making the effort, chances are we're looking for more than just sex and/or wierdo's who will make our lives miserable.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Follow up on cutting cable - Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime

It's been a good summer. And now that fall season tv has started back up again - I thought I would share some random thoughts.

1) Hulu Plus ? My best friend, perhaps for life. Seriously LOVE being able to watch 90% of my TV favorite series shortly after they've been played. Not so keen on the ones that are web-only as I love, love, love my Roku device for watching it and just don't love watching on the laptop as much.

2) I'm retrying the Amazon Prime  on the Roku. Mostly because free shipping on Amazon means I actually get my packages as opposed to them being returned because I'm not home (seriously? What is with that - but 'eh'). I still have to decide if I'm going to keep it. I don't tend to shop online at Amazon that often due to the issues with getting deliveries before. But might do more now. We'll see. I'm finding the movie/tv selection options pretty limited and hard to justify the addition of Amazon Prime to the Hulu Plus and Netflix I'm already paying for.

3) I am, however, in the process of buying an episode at a time of Big Bang Theory (I wish Amazon had the current season available to buy in one go). But honestly? Buying episodes on Amazon don't require the Prime membership. And I should probably check on Crackle... buying the season is usually less expensive and I bet they have it.

3) Found the series Misfits on Hulu Plus. While I don't love all the changing casts over the seasons and think the overall plot is 'eh' at best... but they've had some EXCELLENT plot lines. It has a ton of funny scenes (as soon as you can understand some of the actors heavy accents). Add an out-of-the-world AMAZING tv sex scene between Simon and Alisha in Season 3? I get that this is a British show and I'm in the US... and all that. And all of that means that there's more flesh and more steam. But OMB. I am now half in love with (along with millions of other viewers) Iwan Rheon now. He's good looking enough without trying and hunky-ish ... but flipping through google images of him doesn't do him justice. The sex scene was steamy (and then some)... but it's more than that. It's that he did such a convincing 'virgin/weirdo/freak' BEFORE the plot twist and an OMB take-me-now-hunk AFTER the plot twist that when you add SUPER STEAMY best-sex-of-your-life kind of memory sex scene? And I'm now hooked (and those two characters aren't even in the later seasons - lol). And I might just have downloaded a particular scene for replay. Just maybe. Just might have to watch it again tonight. Seriously. If I met a guy that looked at me the way he looks at her? I'd consider having a relationship again.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kids and furniture

I have bought only one brand-new couch from a furniture store. Bought on credit and it was 'ok' for the first few years... a bit rough and hard to deal with for a few years after that. 'good enough' for the family room in the basement when it was only my teenage son and his friends hanging out in the basement. LEFT in that basement when we moved because it was WAY to heavy to lift and WAY to broken to bother (sorry for the that sent out electronically to the poor folks that bought the house next and had to clean it out).

Since then? Virtually every couch I've ever had has come from Craigslist.

They weren't the 'top' of the style.

They didn't last quite as long as a new piece of investment furniture would.

But they are dirt-cheap.

And you don't feel like taking flesh off of the hides of the kids, dog, cat that scratched, peed on, spilled pink-dye-filled-yogurt on the couch.

And if you are patient... you can find something that fits your 'style' and meets your needs.

Ten years ago when I first had a living room and a family room (see first paragraph)... I found a couch and loveseat that was gently used on craigslist for about $150. We agreed on the price, I got there to look it over... and at the end of the transaction, she wouldn't accept any payment for the furniture. She decided that giving it to a family who needed it was more rewarding. I couldn't convince her that I was buying it used not because I couldn't afford new - but because I felt that the value was better buying used. At the end of the day, I still wanted the furniture... so we went with it.

That furniture got a little worn and rough... so after six years I tossed it and borrowed my son's used couch temporarily.

Within a few months, I found a new couch and loveseat (again on craigslist) that had removable denim covers (awesome). Just my style and easy care? I was sold. I spent about $200 on this set. It was faded, but in good condition. With over-the-top wear and tear - the loveseat got disposed of shortly... (add a busted cushion from it falling out of the truck on the way home from picking it up)... and the couch lasted until now.

But, removable covers aside - the rest of the couch just isn't coming clean. Too many spills when I wasn't up-to finding them and cleaning them... and yeah. It's just not clean enough... it's kind of gross and I never want to sit on it.

I started looking for a replacement and didn't really see what I wanted. Started thinking about buying new... but by the time I find what I want - I'm looking at spending close to $2000 for the couch and recliner that I want. NOT what I want.

Started to think that maybe I could find a recliner on craigslist and replace the couch later.

In my search for the recliner? I find a listing for a reclining sofa and a recliner - and the only difference between this one and the one for $2000? (well besides being gently used)  is the craigslist one is in blue vs. the new one in brown fabric. For $100 - I can live with blue. I offered the guy an extra $25 and paying him in cash? And he's delivering the furniture to my place tomorrow.

I feel like I got a great deal. Now to deal with 'cleaning' out the furniture in the living room tonight so that when he arrives - it can be dropped into place.

Gotta love Craigslist!


Oh the tides, they are a'fallin'.

I have found that my health cycles. And I'm falling down right now.

I do think that this past summer I was healthier than I have been for years.

I can only hope that as I am falling into this cycle of regression that it will be mild and short-lived.

I need to call my specialist again - am waiting to set up a follow-up appointment and discuss my current concers.

1) Adrenal support is still REALLY hard to tolerate. I feel like my engine is revving at 90 mph; but am unable to get out of first gear. The energy just revs and revs and yet, being able to do the simplest task - like putting away groceries wipes me out for hours.

2) Dizziness... it's back and it's bad. It's not the 'normal for me' dizzy spells which occur with head movements while I'm walking.... instead, I'm having difficulty while lying down. Any head/body movement while I'm not inclined? Totally rough. The good news is I am unlikely to fall since I'm already prone. But, it's not a good way to get comfortable to go to sleep at night.

3) Fatigue - I'm back to about 60% energy level down from 90%. Better than 10% ; but yuck.

4) leg, arm & back pain; headaches. miserable, but able to walk without limping for the most part

5) Brain fog... it's coming back. At it's worst - I can't type or talk with any ability to clearly communicate. It can take HOURS to get to the point where I can put together a sentence and then fix the typing errors. Thankfully, it's worst in the morning and better by mid-afternoon... hence my post is mid-afternoon. And thankfully work still lets me 'schedule' when I do certain types of activities as long as I get to the high priority items as early as physically possible. Thankfully I'm a fairly bright person to start with... because seriously? feeling brain damaged as it is - means that at least I can still do a decent job at work with the brainpower left. If I wasn't as smart as I am? I'm pretty sure I would have been let go by now with the issues I'm experiencing.

I am teaching part-time; and struggling. The day after class is 99% waste of effort to even try to work. As much as I enjoy the work - I'm just not sure it's going to be feasible to keep doing this if I'm still in a slump. I've got one more class next week - then a break until January. I'm going to hold  crossed fingers that my regression in this  health issue receeds before January. If not - I think I'll teach the first class and cancel the second class. I don't want to keep pushing myself if it just makes me worse in the end.

ETA: 6) Blurred vision. I knew I needed to put my current list of symptoms down - as my brain fog helps me forget things. I keep having episodes where I'm having trouble focusing. Everything in the world goes blurry. I have to look out further away and blink a bunch and can usually start focusing on whatever it is I need to see. So far, it's been primarily while on the PC/watching tv. Thankfully not while I'm driving. If that starts happening, I might need to start asking for help getting to and from work.

My ten year old wants to write a book

He brought me his entire collection of Diary of a Whimpy Kid books and Bad Kitty.

Our first 'chapter' will be buying and subsequently repeatedly chasing the super-fast hamster that now makes his home with us.

I'm pretty excited about the project. I'm not so sure he is. But it was his idea. So, we're running with it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Health issues getting worse - should be having a follow up appointment soon

About the only thing that changed (besides weather turning colder)... is that I started to work on adding supplements to support my adrenals which are all backward in test results.

It triggered some negative side effects... tremors, twitches, and spasms. So, I cut clear back and started again. The fatigue is worse. The muscle pains are getting worse and worse. And add amazingly bad dizzy spells. sigh

Headaches and back are worse again (those are probably 99% stress-related).

Still doing chiropractic care and acupuncture... Interestingly enough the acupuncture seemed to immediately help some chronic pain in my left arm. Acupuncture also measured what she felt was a 'blockage' that was keeping the new energy feeding into my system from traveling through. Most of what she said was pretty cryptic... but she was going to make some adjustments. Pretty sure it's not done much at this point yet.

The good news is that stress levels are receeding a bit. My son's new job keeps him pretty busy and he and his fiance aren't fighting as much. Add that two weekends ago - my son & I spent the weekend in Eastern Iowa - there was a baby shower and a feel of the need to get out of dodge. Last weekend, I spent at a knitting retreat (very helpful for destressing - not so much for keeping my activity levels low). And this weekend I spent doing pretty much next to nothing - plus it was a three day weekend - so I totally vegged out.

Hopefully a follow up with my specialist will help come up with some recommendations to make this fall a little more tolerable.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Turbo hamster

I had hamsters as a child... I had a LOT of hamsters as a young adult (ex swore he could tell male from female.... He couldn't).

My eldest had dwarf hamsters when he was young. So when little 'a' was old enough we went to the store and I let him pick out any hamster he wanted. I did notice that the hamster he picked out was small. I also noticed that the label on the cage was not dwarf.... But I paid little attention to the label 'robos'.

And funny enough no one at the pet store thought to give me a single word of warning.

Little Digger Turbo (he digs a lot and is really fast) got out of his cage this weekend. Again. Did I mention he was fast?

Go check it out on wikipedia..... I'll wait.


You would think they should warn people about what you are in for.... Just saying.

The comment 'are known for their speed' doesn't do it justice. They are like ten times faster than the other hamsters. Just as we would get him cornered one if us would say.... he's over here.... Then follow it with ..... And there he goes..... As he would again fly past us faster than we could react.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Stressful situations

My new neighbors (son and fiance) are having issues... a lot of fighting and bickering and unhealthy relationship issues. The same fights keep resurfacing which means that they tend to 'make up' without really resolving the underlying issues... which makes it all so much harder for them to deal with things. Add being too young for the family they have, too little education to make decent money so things are HARD and the stress for them is pretty much back-breakingly heavy. Having them move in next door? I can feel the tension through the apartment walls. Add that about every other night my son is spending the night at my apartment because he either removed himself from the argument or got kicked out of his own apartment.

STRESS - seriously high levels of stress. I think part of my issue is that other than throwing out basic advice; and other than trying to convince them to start relationship counseling; there just isn't that much I can really do. I'm trying to not add to their burden's basically (so am not asking them to do anything new for me)... and helping out as much as I can.

They both had this evening free; so I'm babysitting so they can go out for dinner. They promised not to be out too late (but I am pretty sure their definition of what is late is probably not the same as mine). I took a 'mental health' PTO day without letting anyone know I was home so I could try to decompress... it worked (well, until the next fight). I can't afford to take a PTO day every week...

Part of my dealing with stress isn't always healthy (crave sweets and cuddles)... and I don't have any chocolate in the house right now; and even though I came SUPER close to adopting a lap-bunny from a shelter (only thing that stopped me was an allergic reaction to the bunny)... I didn't (which is probably a good thing in the end). I keep thinking about taking a weekend away with my youngest... but don't really have the money for it. I should probably try to find other ways of dealing with the stress.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Slight setback

I managed to get into a situation where in order to keep from disappointing my son... I was stuck standing in a line that didn't move for over 45 minutes. About ten minutes in, I thought, huh... doesn't look like this is well organized, it might be an issue. But then they showed up with forms and clipboards that we could start filling out... that's good right? Help move the line faster? Hmmm.

About 20 minutes in, I figured out that things weren't going to work out well for me.

About 30 minutes in, a little boy in a stroller in line behind me decided he had enough of this and started crying... and I was SOOO tempted to join in with him.

About 40 minutes in, I realized I was NOT going to be able to walk the next day.

Technically, I was walking the next day... but it was with real effort to keep it to a slight limp.

Thankfully, add epsom salt bath and chiropractic treatment and a few days taking it easy and things have worked the worst of the kinks out.

But, then the bad luck hit my eldest. Between losing his job and getting his hand smashed in a car door in about a six hour time period? Let's just say things aren't going his way either.

Now? It's getting darn close to 3 am and I've been unable to sleep.... tomorrow probably won't be our day either.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Acupuncture treatments for referred pain

Several years ago after having started to see a chiropractor regularly for pain management (recommendation of my regular doctor when nothing was helping my chronic pain)... I STARTED to get some pain in the upper back - between my shoulder blades. Best description of it I have heard was that it feels like someone poking me in the back with a broom handle. It would wax and wane... chiropractic treatments helped it, but it just kept feeling like that spot in my back just kept wanting to go out.

At first, I thought it was because I had so many spinal problems and the doctor said that it would be a while to get it corrected AND stable. But it just kept going out. Then about two years ago, it started to get REALLY painful. Like end up in the ER kind of pain. They diagnosed me with a hiatal hernia and pluerisy and sent me home - a textbook case of fluid in the pleural cavity - something that they really can't treat. Couldn't tell me why. I was already allergic to pain meds, so I just suffered. I'd go back each time the pain would get to the point where I couldn't breath. They'd tell me it was pluerisy and send me home again. I got tired of going in, so I struggled at home for another six to eight months. Learned that if I ate too big a meal, it seemed to trigger the worst pain, so figured it was related to the hernia and I started to eat small meals about five times a day. It helped a bit, but sometimes the pain just got away from me. I started to throw up a lot. Funny enough, I usually fought as hard as I could to avoid throwing up, but once I learned that the vomitting reduced the pain, I went with it and stopped fighting it. That helped for a while, but I was throwing up mulitple times a day at least five days a week. Doctor didn't know what was wrong, but ran some tests, came up empty.

Finally, about a year ago, I hit a point where the pain got too bad and I couldn't throw up (couldn't bring myself to inducing it). I broke down and trekked back to the ER. This time they asked me if I had ever had my gall bladder looked at. Well, um. No. Why? Well sometimes (apparently pretty rarely - but that's me, I can't have typical symptoms of anything). Sometimes gall bladder attacks can be felt in the upper back - called referred pain. And sometimes they get better after vomiting. They did an ultrasound and sure enough my gall bladder was bad - like really, really bad. They sent me home and told me to try to get surgery scheduled for within two weeks. It was time for it to come out. They also told me that if things got worse, to come back in. Sure enough... two days later, I broke down and went back. And this time, my pancreas and liver were sending out some bad signals - I ended up having surgery less than 24 hours after that.

With my gall bladder out, the pain in my back went away completely. Hmmm... guess it was related. But, then it started to come back about six months ago. Not too bad at first, chiropractic care was helpful, but not tremendously so. Now what, I thought? It's not like I can get my gall bladder out a second time.

My specialist I'm seeing in Colorado suggested that I try acupuncture. He said it works wonders for referred pain.

Since my pain was getting pretty darn unbearable... even though I used to really, really hate needles and as such (even though the worst of the aversion is gone) - but the thought of going to get intentionally poked with several needles? Just was hard to convince myself to try. But the pain was BAD. I'm still allergic to a lot of the pain killers. I broke down and made an appointment.

During my first appointment - she took a thorough screening. Was fascinated about what I'm doing for MTHFR and is in the middle of trying to learn a lot more about it for some of her patients. She did a median scan and found several places where I was out of balance.  Then she started. I ended up with about 20 pins in me during my first treatment. She added a little aroma therapy, and dimmed the lights, warmed the bench, had some nice music on and let me lay there quietly for a while. I didn't feel most of the pins going in and got quite comfortable. During my first treatment, it literally felt like the pain in my back just melted away. I felt wierd energy sensations in my back. Two weeks later, and I was still completely pain free.

I've had a second session since, and still am three weeks post starting treatment - and while I get odd sensations in that spot in my back... just shy of an ache - more like phantom pressure... like you feel like someone had pressed there recently.

The first treatment ended... and the day after I felt an enormous surge of energy... like someone had lit a fire under me. I took advantage of it and got a lot done. Sadly, I felt really burnt out for about four days afterwards. This second treatment, I tried to be a little more cautious. I got a burst of energy again, but not as strong. And this time, I tried to keep my activity level steady. I still ended up feeling a little rough for a couple of days, but no where near as bad as I did the day after I took advantage of the extra burst. We'll see how the third visit goes... but I am definitely going to keep going.  I'll take treatments hoping that she can help with other issues and will eventually switch over to detox type of treatments.

I'm still having knee and calf pain. But honestly. Between the methylation treatments helping with my arm/chest pain and accupuncture helping with upper back pain... it's kind of nice to be down to just one small region. Both my knee and calf do well after an epsom salt bath - which I do every couple of days. I'm going to look into some magnesium spray to see if that will help on days when I don't do the bath or don't have time to do the bath. So, at least, at this point, I'm pain free about every other day right now... which is pretty darn amazing considering where I was not that long ago.

Friday, July 26, 2013

MTHFR treatment, month three

So, things are still going well, but maybe not quite as great as before. Still WORLDS better than before I started working the the latest doctor - www.revolutionarymd.com.

1) L5Methylfolate
2) Methylcobalamin
3) P5P
4) NAC
5) ALC
6) Vitamin C
7) Vitamin D Oil
8) Cholacol
9) Protofood
10) Okra Pepsin E3
11) Zymex
12) Fish Oil
13) DF SP Complete (nutrition shake)
14) OptiCleanse (nutrition shake)

(Not a small list, by any means).

1) Cut back on alcohol (didn't eliminate it though)
2) Dairy free (as opposed to occasional little bits)
3) Gluten free (about 95% there, probably need to do a little more research)
4) 5 meals a day as opposed to 3
5) Starting Yoga & Pilates - doing occasionally right now, working up to 3 nights a week
6) Epsom Salt baths every other night
7) Weekly chiropractor adjustments (technically not a change, but part of the program as-is)
8) More frequent walking/longer walking. (i.e., was walking the dog 3 times a day x 5 minutes -- now walking the dog 2 times a day x 5 minutes plus once a day for 15 minutes - plus a 15 minute and a 30 minute walk every day at work)

Additions that I need to get taken care of... money has been an issue lately - so as I can get discounts and/or other options and/or the money gets a little more flow-y my direction-y; we'll address these.
1) Regular lymph drainage massages
2) accupuncture
3) purchase an LED light treatment device for chronic muscular/tendon-related pain

All told, my energy level is still vastly superior to where it was before. Not quite where it was two months ago... but pretty darn good. Pain kind of comes and goes. Epsom salt baths have helped the most... but the leg pain comes back at about the 36 hour post-bath mark with some severity as well as kicking up a pissy-fit if there's going to be any weather changes. The pain in the upper back - best described by a friend - feels like someone poking me between the shoulder blades with the end of a broomstick.... that's pretty constant and uncomfortable these days. I rarely am pain free there. The chiropractic treatment is helping a little... but within 30 minutes or so of treatment, it's hurting pretty bad again. Tooth pain is much reduced (but what do you expect when I only have seven teeth left and the rest are dentures. I'm having some denture pain, but am scheduled in a week or so to get fitted for new liners for the upper dentures and hopefully that'll help some.

All the peripheral nuerologic symptoms are down to a level so mild that it's pretty ignorable.

About the only other symptom I have that is still giving me fits is the occasional 'can't think' 'can't focus' 'out of it' stages. The issue is that I have a few hours a few days a week at work where it kicks in and I'm pretty useless. No one is complaining, thankfully I have enough good days and good hours that folks around me at work are excited I'm there to pitch in... I just wish I was able to be a good performer consistently and not get into those 'ugh' times.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cutting the Cable - but still love TV? Here's what I'm doing.

I have been spending TOO MUCH money on my cable bill. Too much! For too long! But, I kept paying the bill because it was SO HANDY having DVR set up. I loved, LOVED having my favorite shows just 'appear' in my Recordings menu without me having to pay attention to what channel they are on, when they come on, when the season starts, or anything. Once I have set up a series recording, my work is done and I just get pleasant news when a new episode appears in my list to watch.

BUT. I was paying an ungodly amount of money for the convenience. $120 a month x 12 months = $2,400. Because I liked the convenience.

I had purchased a Roku device last winter as a Christmas gift to myself, my son and also gave one to my other son.

One of the benefits of Roku is that it's REALLY easy to add Netflix and watch movies/old shows on the TV very conveniently. Streaming online on a laptop isn't family television - it's watching a computer monitor. Streaming to the TV though? Nice. Convenient.

But, Netflix doesn't have recent television episodes. And, while I'm also sort-of thinking about Amazon Prime - they don't have recent television episodes either.

Hulu Plus though? Does. Some. Some are limited to PC only. Still not 'quite' as convenient as my previous DVR experience with cable... you have to know to go check for the most recent episode. But, better. Plus they have a lot of shows not found on Netflix nor Amazon Prime. I just wish that the studios wouldn't put the "web only" (i.e., pc not Roku) limitation on their deals with Hulu Plus.

Vudu - Vudu is a pay-per-view or purchase option for movies and/or tv series. I just popped down a $20 charge to purchase the First Season of Defiance (otherwise only available via PC on Hulu Plus or SyFy.com). That means I can pop-up and view any episode in the season at any time on any PC with a roku device (which are all of our TV's)... and get to watch it as often as I want. What I'm thinking is that there are probably two or three shows that I would want to do this with. Falling Skies is one that I'm debating buying the latest season of... because I will rewatch it repeatedly. In my opinion, this is handier than buying a DVD season collection, because I don't have to store the DVD's find them - figure out where the case is, etc. AND I don't have to store the data on any hardware - it's all stored on Vudu - you are just buying the 'rights' to stream it when you want to.

And the last piece of the puzzle? I haven't done it yet. But here's how I plan on catching new shows on the network and/or series that might not be free on the other services, but also not worth owning the season as I won't watch them a dozen times.

1. Purchase an HD-tuner for my son's desktop PC
2. Install free-ware DVR software on son's desktop PC
3. Configure his DVR software to utilize his existing PLEX Server which already can stream from his PC to any Roku box

This will get us the ability to record from the free HD networks in our area. I don't have an HD box now (as I was using a cable box, I didn't need one)... so I'm not entirely sure which networks are free these days. Obviously, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS... but maybe FOX and some other networks as well...

As it is, all of our DVD movies (well, almost all, still working through the pile) have been converted to digital format and/or downloaded the digital copy and are available via PLEX. This lets us all enjoy any DVD from our collection on any Roku on our TV's without dealing with the DVD itself. This is especially useful now that my last DVD player has died. I'm debating about buying a Blue Ray player - and may still - maybe. But the digital copy is easier and preferred. So, let's say that Son #1 is watching movie XYZ. And I get to watch the first hour of it before I have to go somewhere. And Son #2 gets to see 5 minutes of it, and decides he wants to watch it from the beginning. Son #1 can keep watching from where he is. Son #2 can go into the other room and start the movie over again from the start. And I can come home in 15 minutes and start the movie in a third room over from the 1 hour mark where I had to step out. You cannot beat that for convenience. Seriously.

Now, some of these are monthly charges. Some of these are one-time expenses. But I'm saving a LOT of money.

Here's a one year comparison on expenses (including the purchase of all devices):

CABLE - $2400 - year 1
ROKU & services - year 1:
 - 3 Roku devices = $200
 - HD Digital Tuner = $100 (probably less, but I haven't finished deciding which device is best)
 - 12 months Netflix = $100
 - 12 months Hulu Plus = $100
 - Vudu purchases - (doubling, plus extra over what I think I'll spend in case I end up buying more than planned)  = $100
Total = $600

So, in the first year, alone - I should expect to save around $1800. But the savings next year?

CABLE - $2400 - year 2
ROKU & Services - year 2
- 12 months Netflix + 12 months Hulu Plus + Vudu purchases = $300

Second year and later savings??? $2100 per year.

Is it as convenient? Nope. It's not. But it's pretty darn nice.

Now, some folks will wonder why I'm not including WiFi and Interenet expenses into my calculations - after all - you don't need to pay for Internet with Cable to watch tv; but do if your streaming. The reason I didn't include it is because I WAS ALREADY paying for high-speed Internet BEFORE I cut the CABLE. Lots of folks do. So, in my calculations, it's a wash. For everyone else - it's probably a $40 to $60/ month additional expense. So the savings wouldn't be quite as dramatic... but if, like me, you arleady have a highly networked/internet life .... then maybe it's time to consider swtiching over to other options.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Moving in next door

I live in a really quiet apartment complex. It's a little run down. It's a little under-tended. My neighbors tend to be either young couples or older women and/or couples. It's in a great neighborhood (though a little too close to the Interstate). And it's the least expensive apartment in the area that has decent-sized one and two bedroom apartments WITH A WASHER AND DRYER in unit. Which is awesome. Plus a nice pool. Plus a hot tub (though I really wish they could swap up the plumbing on it so the hot tub could be open year round... right now it's only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day along with the pool. It's nice, but who has a hot tub they can't leave in use over the winter?

Knowing it's a good place to live, my future daughter-in-law made a choice to move in. Not just into my apartment complex, but into the apartment across the hall from me. As in, she didn't want to move if she couldn't get that apartment.

Truth is, we get along well, really well. But I'm not sure we get along that well... lol. My son and I drive each other crazy when we live together. But thankfully, we won't be living together, just almost.

We plan on sharing wifi - I will probably need to invest in an extender on the wifi...

We plan on sharing school drop off and pick up duties... which means neither of us needs to pay for daycare.

They watch my son often as it is, and borrow my car sometimes and help with tending to my animals when I take trips. I watch their son often as it is... and help tend to their cat when they are traveling... all of that becomes SUPER easy when it's across the hall. We frequently have family game nights and make meals together.... again. Super easy to do when it's going to be so convenient. They come over all the time to use the pool at my complex now... and now... without having to drive over, they can do it anytime they have a half hour or so instead of when they have a whole afternoon. Plus sometimes, with only one car between them - they often get stuck at home without being able to drive over to come swimming... once they move, that won't be an issue any more.

Add the fact that both their son and my youngest play together well, and will now have a built-in playmate to do something together outside and my son might be more inclined to go out to play.

All in all, it seems like a really good deal.

Only they are really young. And they tend towards fighting if they've been drinking. And there is a lot of drama in their lives. My life is drama-free right now. Things are going to change. They move in on the first - AND they've signed a two year lease.... yikes. I'm hoping that with clear boundaries that things will work out as well as we both hope for.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

MTHFR - a layman's definition

MTHFR is an abbreviation for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase -- which I couldn't even attempt to pronounce. 99% of the people just skip right to using the acronym, because holy moly there are a lot of sylables in that name. My biggest issue is that every time I see the acronym my mind fills in the blanks with curse words... which is actually apropos as if you have this? It's something you probably feel like swearing about.

What it is, it's a gene. We all have that gene. But some of us, have defects in that gene.

99% of the doctors practicing western medicine and following studies based on about five years ago, will tell you that there is very little to worry about. It comes with a slightly higher risk of cancer (which as long as you are doing normal, healthy prevention - shouldn't be an issue) and a slightly higher risk of blood clotting (which, until you have a clot is usually not something most people worry about).

1% (well, that's probably an over-estimation)... probably .005% of the Doctors though are figuring out that it's so much more than that.  The issue is that not everyone with MTHFR defects gets ill.

MTHFR defects are proven to impact the methylation process. Standing alone, there's probably not much impact to a single genetic issue. But if you combine other defects in the other genes that impact the methylation process OR if you combine these defects with either a poor diet, and/or high exposures to toxins and it's a recipe for trouble.

I went to http://www.23andme.com and I ordered the $99 DNA test. I ran those results through Genetic Genie. And through that, I found I have 13 genetic defects within the Methylation cycle, five of which are homozygous.  The rough rule of thumb that these specialists are finding is that if you have a couple of defects, you'll probably get sick in your 80's (and let's face it, if you get sick in your 80's who isn't going to blame it on 'getting old'). If you have five to ten of them, you'll probably get sick in your 60's (that's when my mother got ill). If you have more, you'll probably get sick in your 40's (that's what's happened to me). But, you might experience symptoms your whole life. Being fatigued (but in today's world, who doesn't get tired), dairy intolerance and/or gluten intolerance (which, let's face it almost seems like a trend it's so common these days). Looking back at my life, I remember my mother insisting I get tested for diabetes when I was 18 because I was always so tired. I had chronic tendonitis in my wrists and forearms starting in my mid-20's.... dental issues my whole life... all with possible links to methylation issues.

The methylation process has two primary jobs. I'm going to speak to each one individually.

It is responsible for processing and converting B vitamins into a form that the body can use. Sadly, what this means is that most fortified foods (almost anything containing flour in the US, as well as lots of cereal and lots of juices, etc.)... is almost always fortified with Folic Acid, B12 (in cyanocobalamin form) and B6 vitamins. All of which can be virtually toxic to someone whose methylation process isn't working correctly. I have been told twice that I've gotten toxic by taking a single, over the counter pill of B6 daily. I've also been told a dozen times by a dozen different doctors that it's not possible to get toxic on a single, over the counter pill of B6. Guess what. If your body can't break it down into the form it can use? It builds up in the blood and becomes toxic. I've also been told that a) you can't get too much B12 (cyanocobolomin) and that b) you can't get toxic on it. But, my blood tests show off-the-charts high levels of B12. Maybe MOST people dont' get toxic on it. Maybe MOST people find that their body can eliminate it in urine. But NOT EVERYONE. And ? MTHFR defects account for 60% of the population. It's COMMON. Now, having one genetic defect might not make a difference. Having 13 HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE TO ME.

Generally speaking, if you don't get cancer or blood clots - but have this and are ill. The doctors won't look for it, nor treat it. Because they just don't know enough about it. BUT I wish they would look at their test results and realize that if you have all the symptoms of B vitamin deficiency (which in it's worst case, is lethal) AND you're B vitamins are sky high on all the test results that it's not a case of hypochondria. There's probably a reason behind both - and that reason is highly likely related to defects in the Methylation cycle.

The second job that the methylation process has is to help break down and eliminate toxins.  If it's impaired, then suddenly the 'safe levels of exposure' probably aren't as safe. A lot of people with chemical sensitivity, high mercury levels, etc. THAT WERE NOT EXPOSED TO HIGH LEVELs are probably also people who have MTHFR. Because the body just can't break down the chemicals into a form that can be easily eliminated as well as it should. Again, the number of genes and the amount of exposure would account for why not everyone with MTHFR would automatically have issues at a younger age. But with time, and toxic build up over the years, eventually you would hit a limit. I truly believe this part of the impairment in the process is related to why MTHFR people will have higher rates of cancer.

So - with B vitamins not getting utilized as well, and toxins building up - it's a pretty easy link to think that a lot of people with undiagnosed, unexplained chronic health issues AND MTHFR defects might get better if they help support the MTHFR cycle. And that's what the specialists who have been working on this over the last five years have found.

First step - find out if you have any MTHFR or other Methylation Gene defects. It's a $99 test. Seriously, go find out.

Second step - find a specialist - this is the hardest part. There are maybe two dozen who 'get it'.

Third step - follow the recommended protocols. It usually starts with taking bio-available forms of B vitamins that skip the methylation process and give you the vitamins in a form you can use. It usually includes lifestyle changes and diet changes to eliminate sneaky fortified foods and reduce toxin exposures. With no other health issues - the specialists are finding patients are RAPIDLY seeing DRAMATICALLY improvements within mere days or weeks of treatment.  NOTE: vast majority of treatments don't include prescriptions. Over the counter supplements and making better, educated, healthy choices? It's worth it! It really is. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lack of understanding around chronic health conditions can be dangerous

Especially in the wrong hands.

I've dealt with unhelpful advice - which isn't dangerous, but more 'tedius' than hurtful.

I've dealt with massive medical debt, again, not dangerous.... but over $50,000 in debt obtained during the first three years of my illness meant that I did NOT immediately seek medical care for years afterwards. I just couldn't afford it. Risky, yes. But I was already on the verge of bankruptcy and backpedaling as fast as I could.

I've dealt with family and friends trying to shame me about the situation I was in. Again, not dangerous - but ultimately very painful emotionally. They criticized my housekeeping. Good lord, I was just fighting to survive. If you don't think it's clean enough (it wasn't) then why not just help. Admittedly, some of them DID help. Still others helped, then didn't understand why it would get messy again... well, it's not like I was getting any better (at least not then)... so, of course, my energies were tied up with simply trying to feed and clothe my family... that's as far as I got for many, many years. Note: I broke off contact with everyone that continued to try to shame me into action after multiple attempt to explain my health condition prevented me from doing what they thought I should be able to do.

But, I've never even imagined that someone could do to Karina  in Denmark, what they are doing to her.

They removed her from her family who was providing for her, taking good care of her and helping her out (more than most of my family ever did) and institutionalized her and are FORCING her to undergo experimental treatment for ME/CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome for those in the US).  The treatment they are forcing her to undertake has had a paper published after attempting treatment on mildly ill patients that has been proven to have several unsubstantiated claims (i.e., they 'claim' that x percent improved after treatment - but to be classified as improved, their scores averaged LOWER than the scores that were required to be admitted to the test).  This treatment has NEVER been tested on someone as ill as Karina.

The treatment requires physical activity EVEN THOUGH there is documented evidence of the fact that one of the critical diagnostic tools for ME/CFS is PEM (post-exertional malaise). What is that, you ask? It's where physical or mental activity makes you WORSE. In fact, time and again, folks that develop this condition and are in the worst shape? Are the ones that tried to push through the fatigue and continue to be active even though their body was signalling fatigue - to slow down and rest.

Her parents are forbidden from visiting her UNLESS they agree to support the forced treatment that Karina is receiving. The nurses have reported that Karina is down to primarily one word answers to most questions - Yes and No.... except for ONE sentence that she has managed to gain the strength enough to express - repeating it as they force her through the activities "YOU ARE KILLING ME".

Since when does a person have to go through experimental medical treatment without a choice? She was removed from her family where she was LESS ILL and forced into this situation. She's being forced through the treatment. Even after trying to convince them to stop, they continue. Her civil liberties are not to be taken away simply because people don't understand her medical condition. She should have the right to chose where she lives (as long as it's healthy and there is someone there to take care of her) and what kind of medical treatment she chooses for herself. It's an atrocity.

Please, learn about this, spread the news... and help raise awareness of the situation. There's a group on facebook fighting for justice for Karina....https://www.facebook.com/JusticeForKarinaHansen

There's a letter writing campaign:

And there are petitions.

Please help!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Going gluten free

General advice for folks with MTHFR is that you should avoid gluten and dairy.

I've been lactose intolerant my whole life. I still remember cutting deals with a little boy in elementary school, he got my full milk carton if I got his empty one - so that I wouldn't get into trouble for not drinking my milk.

But, I wasn't so certain I needed to cut out gluten. I didn't eat a ton of gluten to start with. I had a few regular dishes with pasta in them, a few mexican dishes with flour tortilla's... but I didn't eat much bread. Funny enough, I didn't connect the worsening of my symptoms to an addiction to eating Special K breakfast bars every morning and for snacks... but, when you first think gluten-free, without doing the research to find out what that means, it's funny what the mind skips over as possible issues.

And, I certainly never noticed any immediate, obvious reaction to ingesting gluten, like I did with dairy.

Several months ago, I started to cut-back on my gluten intake. I tried going gluten free, I did... but it was HARD and I wasn't doing very well.

Then I switched to the new, new doctor - and he said, just try to cut out the majority of gluten for now. And that seemed to take the pressure off.  Add dental issues, and suddenly, going gluten free got a lot easier. I've been gluten free for over six weeks now. The same six weeks post-MTHFR treatment and I'm feeling pretty good. Pain is dramatically reduced. Nueral isuses are gone. Fatigue is the normal, everyday life kind of fatigue and being slightly out of shape.

I snuck a dinner roll two nights ago. Within two hours my joints started to flare up. Two hours. It's still not bad, but it's still not back to where it was before I snuck the roll.

So, yep. I've confirmed it's not just the treatment I'm undergoing.... it's also the gluten-free diet I've adopted.

Hopefully within a couple of weeks, I'll be back to eating regular food and hopefully by then, the gluten-cravings will be still subsided a lot and make it easier for me to start adding more dishes to my diet that are still naturally gluten free. Eventually, I'll start looking at gluten-alternatives. Last time I experimented I had an allergic reaction... but since I'd tried a half-dozen new products, I don't know which ingrediant I reacted to. So, I'll have to focus on trying one new thing a week and suss out what I'm allergic to.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Things just keep getting better - healthwise

All my nuerologic symptoms are completely gone. No more dizzy spells. No more numbness and tingling on my right side. Just gone.

All my gut issues are better. From having diahhrea 9 days out of 10, I'm down to one episode in the last month... and I wouldn't be surprised if dairy hadn't snuck into a meal at the time. I'm still dairy free and gluten free (and have been fully free for a solid month). I did sneak in a roll last night, with no ill effects. So, I'm going to stick to gluten free for three solid months (starting over again now) and if I can eat it again in three months with no issues, it's coming back into my diet.

The metalic taste in my mouth is gone. Thankfully due to teeth extractions, who knew that I was just testing all the old fillings? Considering I couldn't notice the taste when I wasn't eating or drinking - just when I was drinking water. Sadly, I'm still having some dental issues (and hating my dentist, sigh). But give me a few more weeks and hopefully, the worst will be over when I get the next set of dentures.

Pain issues, are still hanging on. But very mild. The pain wasn't my biggest complaint as it was. And it's improved. I'm down to a mild cramp-like muscle-like pain in my left calf -- there has been pain here since my Pulmonary Embolism. And while the doctors swear I never had a DVT in either leg, the truth is, I had to have a DVT somewhere... and the chronic pain in this limb is very similar to post-thrombotic syndrome -like pain. Just no swelling nor redness (which is good). The same leg also has recurrent pain in my knee. This is the knee I had to have ALC reconstruction in... and it's never been quite 'right' ever since the surgery. It doesn't hurt all the time... and more often than not, it's tied to barometric pain and seems to be 'joint pain'.   My new doctor is recommending that I check out Healthlight. And get a model close to $500 that I can apply to my knee and calf and see if it will work. He'd also recommend PEMF - if it was affordable (it's not)... so we'll have to see if Healthlight helps. Only, we'll probably be waiting a bit until I can swing the cost.

Additionally, I have some mid-back, upper-back pain that's started to come back. Chiropractic care has been 'managing' it... but it got REALLY bad right before my gall bladder surgery... and stopped for several months after (go figure, it must have been referred pain from that). But it's back now... albeit, much reduced pain than I've had before. My new doctor is recommending accupuncture for referred pain.... I found a groupon coupon for $25 for an initial visit... which I can afford... and since I didn't have any referrals for anyone locally - it seems like worth a try.

I also found a groupon for $20 worth of 30 visits worth of Yoga classes. Since I've been debating what and where I can afford to start going... this seems like something worth trying.  The only key is that you can only do ten sessions maximum at each location - but there are a half-dozen locations I can use this for... so I can try out a few studios. I will probably use this throughout this summer and decide on a gym to join in the fall if I'm still feeling amazing.

Lastly -the fatigue. OMG!!!! I'm still a little more tired than I'd like. But NOTHING. I repeat NOTHING like before. While moderating my activity levels, I've slowly started to expand what I try to do. I'm already up to a good, solid full hour of heavy-duty housework during working days!!!! And I could manage a good multi-hour working session on the weekends. If I get over-tired, I stop and rest and I'm recovering within a day or two. I took a trip to NYC and even though I was ultra-cautious about time / energy management, I still overdid it a little bit. But within five days, I felt like I was back on track to healing.

I cannot possibly imagine life without MTHFR treatment ever again. Seriously! This is AMAZING!

Monday, June 03, 2013

MTHFR - Continuted Progress

I've added Vitamin C (cheap brand, could probably invest in better) and ALA.

I've added back in 90% of the supplements I was taking a month ago (right now skipping the fish oil and the probiotic that has to be refrigerated.

Still on a liquid diet (thanks dentist.. sigh... five weeks total MINIMUM on a liquid diet kind of sucks).

But, I've gotten to the point where I can tolerate the pills and I'm doing REALLY WELL Health-wise.

After four weeks, I've only noticed a minor issue in mood. My pain is really low, my fatigue is barely noticeable (and seems more like a just-out-of-shape fatigue vs. sick-fatigue). I'm able to exert myself without having more pain and fatigue in the following days.

I've got some travel plans coming up - worst thing is trying to figure out what I'll be able to eat. It's hard enough being gluten-free and dairy-free... but add the liquid requirement and suddenly it's going to be impossible to eat at a restaurant. But, I'll figure it out.

On the work front, I feel much more able to figure things out and focus (which cuts stress).

On the home front, I'm taking care of chores that have been on my list of things to do for over a year. Very cool!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

MTHFR - progress

So, the naturalpathic doctor I was working with was a little disappointed that my symptoms didn't show immediate, drastic improvement.

I wasn't surprised.

I knew that my diet wasn't perfect going in, but also knew that it was fairly well balanced and adding a few supplements like probiotics and mutlivitamins has been tried before. I figured this was going to take some time and that if it helped, it was going to help a little, after a while of following it.

She was so disappointed, that she said that I should wait to reach out to her after things improve on their own (wtf?).

My goal was that she helped me 'heal the gut' which didn't happen 100%, but certainly was given the ol' college try. And that once she had completed that I was going to try to see about doing some travel to see an MTHFR specialist (none in Iowa nor any immediately surrounding states).

So, I figured... ok. I can continue the treatment she started me on as-is and might as well start looking for the MTHFR specialist so I can see about setting up an appointment, maybe this fall. I was thinking about screening both of my sons (both are having some health issues that remarkably seem like issues I experienced at their age and might be remotely connected to MTHFR). So, after digging through several web sites and referrals, I decided to call a doctor in Colorado... my future daughter-in-law has been wanting to go to Colorado and they are talking about a wedding out there... but I figured I'd find out a good time to start seeing him and see if he thought I ought to screen the boys before hand.

They got me a skype appointment with the doctor for the following day. I almost fell out of my chair. I just didn't expect that he would consider a first appointment on-line without an initial visit in office.

He gave me some changes to make to my routine and told me some MTHFR-specific recommendations for updates to my supplementation routine.

It took two weeks. Two weeks before I saw unbelievably dramatic improvement in my health circumstances. My son asked me last night what I was doing sitting in the living room watching tv. Why wasn't I laying down in bed? Because I can. I'm doing my best not to overdo things. And I had a little bit of an issue this morning because due to dental issues I'm currently on a liquid diet and it does appear that my supplements need FOOD in the tummy not just liquids (mashed potatoes helped).

I am amazed. Absolutely amazed.

I have taken a small break from the list of supplements from the naturalpathic doctor though my intention is to add them back to the routine. I'm just hesitant to do so while I'm on a liquid diet. I still have more supplement and routine changes to make to become fully compliant with his recommendations (and you can believe I fully intend to do just that).  But so far, all I've done is increased my methyl guard plus from Thorne up to five a day (to save money and use up the supply I have) - which will get replaced with another source next month so I can take fewer pills. Added liquid D3. And just yesterday I started NAC - am holding off to see if NAC bothers me every day or if it was just the lack of food in my tummy this morning that threw me off.

Now, admittedly... this might just be another remission of symptoms (like last summer). It is far too soon to determine that it's a cure. I'm thinking a couple of years of remission will tell me that it is more than just a remission... but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it.

Here's some ideas of my symptoms before and after treatment - and you tell me that you don't see something worth being happy about! (Scale is from 0 to 10 - 0 is there is no symptom and 10 is at the point where I wonder why I'm not in the hospital).

Soul-crushing, bone deep fatigue - was an 8, now a 1
Leg pain - between a 2 and a 4, now a 0
Upper arm/chest pain - up to a 6, now a 0
Wrist pain - 6, now a 2 (still dealing with the vestiges of a tendonitis flare)
Upper back pain - 2 (hasn't been that bad, post-gall bladder removal), now a 0
Headache - 6, now a 0
Waking up feeling refreshed - was 5, now a 2 (has been 0 a couple of times)
Diarhhea - 5 (9 days out of 10), 0 for seven days now
Bad mood, sad, hopeless - was 6, now a 0
Numbness/tingling on right side - was a 3, now 0
Foggy brain - was 6, now a 0
Inability to focus on a given task - was 8, now 2
Desire for Isolation - was 8, now 4 (but that's actually related to dental issue - need to get that resolved)
Dizziness/balance issues - was 6, now 1 (which might be related to liquid diet more than anything else)

I'm just starting week three of the new treatments and I can only hope and dream for more resolution to my health issues.