Tuesday, October 4, 2016

figuring it out

I may have just stumbled onto something pretty significant. After months, actually almost two years now, of wondering just what I "have" as far as my health goes, I think I may have figured it out.

Seems like arthritis, but sometimes not. Pain in my thumbs, top joints of my fingers, wrist pain that came on very suddenly and has stuck around. Moved to both wrists. And the tops of my feet and sometimes toes... and elbows. Both sides.

My doctor did some tests and x-rays and was able to eliminate scary stuff, like bone tumors ... and even Rheumatoid Arthritis. No gout. Good lab work.

So I figured it was arthritis. It's somewhat better than it used to be. The pain has died down some. But sometimes there are flare ups.

But now I found something called Inflammatory Erosive Osteoarthritis and that seems to describe it perfectly. It tends to mimic Rheumatoid Arthritis somewhat but isn't serious like RA. The symptoms are similar but the inflammation gradually dies down although the damage to the joint, if there is any, will remain. But the prognosis is excellent and doesn't require scary medicines other than simple pain relievers.

It generally hits middle aged, menopausal or post menopausal women. Bingo.

Lots more to it but I have also been able to make a correlation between my diet and flare ups of painful symptoms. Losing weight has helped because when I am in weight-loss mode I am eating less processed foods that are generally high in sugar and saturated fats. Those types of foods promote inflammation in the body.  When I eat fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish and lean meats in moderation, I not only lose weight, but my body does not produce the inflammation that causes pain in my joints.

Simple. Yes. But it's been a lengthy process for me to figure that out. I'm pretty confident that I'm figuring out what's going on in my body... and I'm so thankful because the "cure" is good for me. A healthy diet and moderate exercise every day. Nothing strenuous. Just keep moving without over taxing my joints.... My elliptical machine, walking, riding my bike, yoga....

I feel so much better when I do what is good for me.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

feeling the change

Such a wonderful early fall day.

My day began with a bike ride. The Veloway near my home is a trail just for cycling and is just enough of a challenge for me to get a good workout. Some steady inclines and a couple of hills. Of course downhill feels great and usually comes when I need it most. A slight wind was at my face much of the time though and made it just a little more difficult.

I love when the sun shines in beams through the trees and lands in patches on the grass. The morning was perfect for sitting outside for a while and just enjoying how everything felt. I did some weeding in my flower beds and then took off with my camera for the Wildflower Center ... also just a half mile away from my home. I'm really lucky to live next to these two great places!

I walked a trail and got some more exercise and took advantage of one of the nicest days we've had since early spring.... in my opinion anyway. Many people love the hot Texas weather, but I'm not one of them.

 I found out yesterday that the work I've done to lower my cholesterol paid off! My numbers were down by almost 40 and in the normal range without having to take any medication. Just by being careful with my diet, losing some weight, and including regular exercise.

Sitting at my desk now and looking up at my high windows I see blue sky and leaves that are still green. This view will change during the next couple of months. The leaves will turn yellow then brown and then fall... revealing only branches.

I am thankful for right now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

these present interesting challenging times

I know people who support Pro-Life organizations. They are against abortion and rightly so. Recently I was invited to be involved in a fund raiser in support of the pro life movement. A good thing I am sure but not where my focus is right now.

I am pro-life but involved on a personal level. I don’t necessarily believe the ultimate answer is to vote Pro-life candidates into office. They may be scummy people who actually are hiding under the pro-life candidate’s agenda. People think they HAVE to vote for them and they have no other choice. I personally don’t feel that way. I don’t necessarily think they will ultimately do anything to help. To help where the problem really is. With the pregnant woman who feels she has no choices.

Many people would disagree with me and that is their right, but I’m not going to be backed into a corner of having to vote for an idiotic person because they claim to be pro life.

I believe the responsibility is still and has always been in the women’s hands. She has the personal responsibility. And will carry the consequences and guilt. And that’s where our focus should be, not which government party supports pro life and which one doesn’t. If your candidate supports pro-life great. But if you think this person is not a good choice given ALL your values you do not have to be forced to support him or her. 

I think our focus needs to always be on the woman who is deciding whether to keep her baby or not. She is the one responsible. Not the government. And it's a huge responsibility. She is the person who is accountable to God and will answer for her choice. Will we support her and help her baby live and be taken care of after she has made all kinds of horrible decisions to get where she is? Will we work to share real information about life happening early in the womb? I know for a fact there are considerably less people willing to get involved with doing that.  

They feel they are doing their part and can then look away when confronted with an actual woman in need... and there are thousands of them.... many unlovely, drug addicted, poor, mentally challenged who desperately need help and support and resources. There just are not enough of these resources available ... or people who actually care to get involved. It's sad how little help is available for those who choose to keep their baby in spite of all the challenges. It's uncomfortable. It's hard. It's messy.

Will you help with child care? Because the woman who is unwed and poor and without any support who kept her baby cannot work because she has no one to care for her baby while she does.

Will you help give her a ride to the store? to doctor’s appointments for herself and for her baby? Will you give her a call regularly and offer encouragement so she doesn’t go back to the loser who got her pregnant in the first place? I could go on and on……

Oh, it’s so sad. It’s such a tragedy … but there are lots of tragedies all over the world. All kinds of suffering and people who are killing and hurting others. The answer is always one person caring about another person. And doing what we can. Every day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

celebrate anyway

Enjoying the day today. I need to try to overcome the joy-killers in my life though. You know (maybe you don't) the voices in your head that say, "You really shouldn't be happy or relish in anything good happening to you because ..... (fill in the blank)". I have quite a few things like that in my life. People I care about and fill me with concern. Worries that keep nagging at me. The "what ifs" that I constantly try to regulate and control.

My daughter's best friend doggy pal, Cooper, fell ill and quickly deteriorated and died two days ago.  Just died. Damn damn cancer. It's so traumatic. Death. I hate it. It leaves me feeling sick and sad, lonely and empty feeling. Sad for me. Hurting for my daughter. For the loss of a beautiful faithful loyal furry friend of 11 years. Are we grateful we had him? Of course. Was he loved? Immensely. Could our love heal him? No.

This isn't the Me that used to have all kinds of faith and trust in God.


Ah... but this day, today, always has much good in it. The hot steamy humid days we have been experiencing have ceased. At least for now. It feels like fall and that proverbial "change is in the air" has arrived. And it should be celebrated!

I had a doctor's appointment today, my yearly exam, and I was ten pounds lighter in weight than I was at my last exam in June! I've been trying. Really trying. That should be celebrated!

Norman ran out of the yard yesterday after the neighbors' kids left my back gate open. He was nowhere to be seen. I called for him and he eventually came running from around the block having traveled quite a distance down the street and around the corner. Good dog Norman. You came when I called you! That should be celebrated!

There are so many things I could celebrate even though my little family feels kind of battered and bruised. Let's face it, the whole world seems battered and bruised to me. 

I do still have my faith and trust in God though. It's definitely small as a mustard seed. But God says that's enough. 

And that should be celebrated too.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

just Go!

I didn't want to exercise this morning and couldn't get motivated. I figured I would eventually, but it wasn't going to be easy.

As I contemplated going upstairs and using my boring elliptical machine, I thought, "What could I do that I might actually enjoy and get exercise at the same time?"

So I decided to hop on my bike and just Go..... 

It's the first day of fall. Here in Texas it doesn't feel any different than hot summer yet, but the weekend is supposed to usher in rain and cooler temperatures for next week. Or at least that's what the local weather people are teasing us with. This is the time of the year when I long for a change in the usual hot hot hot. 

And it's coming!

So a ride on my bike was a perfect beginning to my day. It's said that no matter how  slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch! 

I'll go with that! 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

listening to my body

I wish I didn't feel so horrible when I don't eat light and healthy. I wish I didn't feel horrible when I neglect to exercise. I wish I didn't feel horrible when I have more than one glass of wine. I wish I didn't feel badly when I eat more than my body needs and begin to put weight on this Fifty-ish frame.

Or do I?

My body is telling me what it needs and what is good for it. I need to listen and give this outer shell for my soul and spirit what it needs and stop giving it more than it needs.  More than ever I feel like I am affected by what I put into my body every day. I have never been able to figure it out exactly, whether I'm allergic to this or that, or if certain foods cause issues with how I feel, but I DO know that if I don't consistently practice moderation I suffer the consequences pretty quickly. My body needs more TLC now... and probably always did.

I feel more achy.
I feel more anxious.
I feel less ambitious.
I look less perky and more old.
I feel more lazy.
I have less energy.
I just .... hurt.

I haven't an excuse. After all I have an EXERCISE ROOM in my home! With free weights, and an elliptical machine, a yoga mat and yoga and pilates DVDs.  I don't need to run any marathons but I do need keep active every day. I'm making it a habit again. What's 30 minutes? Not much and it makes all the difference in my day.

Thank you, Body, for reminding me what I need to do... and what not to do!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


One of my pet peeves is when something doesn't work. And if it's something that is supposed to be useful, like a clock that should tell the time, I can't picture it just sitting on a mantle to be decorative.

Recently I gave some thought to "things" that had special meaning and memory to me and decided I needed to bring a few items to someone for repair so they could be used and enjoyed again.

My childhood memories include a small clock that was given to my parents on their wedding day by my grandmother.... my mother's mother. I saw its face and heard its chimes in my childhood home for two decades and the memories were strong. I remember seeing the hands show 8:10 every school-day morning. When that time rolled around I knew I had to make my way quickly down our steep driveway to catch the school bus. If I was ten minutes late I would probably see the bus drive away without me.

The clock was given to me by my parents about 20 years ago and worked at the time but it had since lost its ability to chime and tell time correctly. I had it repaired and it's now operated by a battery and chimes again. Not exactly the same sound since that was not possible to repair exactly, but it is useful again.... and lives on as a reminder of sweet days gone by.


After Edd passed I had the diamond in my engagement ring placed in a different setting. It was a way to  move forward for me and also embrace the past and the specialness of his gift to me. I knew he'd like that.  But I had the original setting stored away without a stone thinking I'd put a new stone in it "someday". Well, someday finally arrived and I added a sapphire to the setting. I now have a new ring to enjoy! The beautiful setting Edd chose years ago now includes a sapphire I am happy to wear!

About a month before my mom passed away in 2013, she showed me her finger that wore her wedding band. She couldn't get it off and it bothered her. She even tried to cut it off herself and never had the opportunity to go to a jeweler or elsewhere. I think she didn't want Dad to know. So I asked her if she wanted me to do it.... she did... and well, I snipped it off her finger with a wire cutter. The ring was thin after so many years of wear and not difficult for me to do. It made mom happy to have it off, but I'm sure sad that it had to be done. 

After she passed away I looked in her purse and the ring was still in there. I asked Dad if I could have it and I just had her broken, cut ring restored and repaired.

Though it still looks aged and thin (because it IS!) it is now shiny and not broken! I wish mom could see it! The engraving inside says "Always and forever...." They had been married for 56 years when she passed away. 

I'm happy to be able to restore items that have meaning, so they can once again be useful and have more life left in them! No one needs broken things in their lives if they are able to be fixed!