I’m Here!

I know, I haven’t posted in a LONG time, like a month now. Life was getting in the way and I had to focus on other things. So, this may be a long update.

Mom Update

19598742_1451064548312398_1923680622368278396_nMom is still with us, and those who see her say she looks great. She is declining slowly, but she is in good spirits. Hospice is here 3 days a week to see her and assist with things. I’m hoping she keeps it up so she can be here for the 6th great-grandchild’s birth.

Because she had hoped to make it to the holidays, we held Christmas. Yes it is July and yes the house is decorated for Christmas, including the tree being up. Her siblings and kids all came and we had a wonderful time, just like it was the annual, family, Christmas Eve party. The decorations are still up, which we may or may not get around to taking down.

My Health Journey

OH so much to share!

I am now down 32 pounds, and I’m real excited about that! I had to finally break down and buy a couple of pairs of jeans because nothing fits. Even my scrubs have gone to donations as they didn’t fit. I bought some medium scrub pants, and now also wearing small. Until I can purchase some new ones, I have to wear medium some days. Such a great feeling. My new jeans? Size 8!

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This past weekend I was in Dallas for the company convention for us health coaches and our clients. I was SO excited to go and learn. This company is awesome, and I have so much more knowledge now. Next step is getting my certification as a health coach, my goal is by the end of August. If you are interested in a sure fired way to get weight off, without exercise, all scientifically based and proven for over 20 years, contact me. If you follow the plan you cannot fail. I’m living proof as I have done pretty much every diet and plan out there but never had much success. My blood pressure has dropped to a great level, I sleep great, and I have energy to spare! I’d love to have you as a client.

Grandbaby Watch

He isn’t here yet. In fact he is just under 36 weeks baked. But my baby girl is past ready. Elijah has dropped, mama bear is nesting like a fiend, and we would all love it if he arrived safe and healthy very soon.

First Shift

I moved to first shift at the beginning of last week. Decided it would serve my health clients I’m coaching better if I am on first rather than second shift. And if someone on 2nd calls off it makes it easier to stay over to help.

So, there it is in a quick nut shell.  More to come!

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My Worst Nightmare Isn’t A Bad Dream…

Have you a worst nightmare? A situation in life you know will happen one day, but you still try hard not to ever think about it? Keep it stuffed in a mental file drawer in the big file cabinet of the brain and hope it stays there in its little file folder at the back of the drawer, hidden in the dark? Mine is losing my mom, and though I knew 8 years ago this time was going to come, I tried to keep the drawer locked and shoved things in front of it so that file folder at the back of it would not surface.

Monday that file needed to come out, and the drawer flew open and the folder drifted down onto the floor of my brain and opened to the first page of the contents: The Beginning Of The End For Mom.

She has cancer of the appendix. I know, who the heck has heard of this and why is this even a thing? It was discovered about 8 years ago, when they thought she had appendicitis and her appendix appeared to have ruptured. I knew something was up when the surgery took a heck of a lot longer than it was supposed too. The doc simply explained it away as it took awhile to locate all the pieces and remove them. Okay, we can go with that, it made perfect sense at the time.  Cancer was the furthest thing from our minds. But when she went for followup we learned that it had not ruptured but rather this cancer had basically eaten it for lunch.

What followed was surgery to remove anything that looked like cancer, part of her colon so that the microscopic cancer cells would be gone, then a chemo wash of her abdomen (super heated chemo in fluid form filling the abdominal cavity for 45 minutes in the hope of reaching all those little *&^%$# cells and killing them). I don’t know the actual cancer type but it is rare, and mom set out like the fighter she is to research it. That didn’t take long as there just isn’t much known, it is rare, weird and always terminal. Life expectancy once found 5 years. She found it early because after having beat breast cancer she pays attention to subtle changes in her body and something just wasn’t quite right. No pain, just a twinge at times. Being a cancer warrior who beat it, they watch for those things and thankfully did what was necessary to discover this little killing creeper.

She has had 2 more tumors that were surgically removed over the years. It keeps coming back like a bad headline over and over until it finally wins. The first time it returned, in surgery her femoral nerve was stretched and damaged, leaving her unable to use her leg at all when she woke up. NO feeling, unable to move it, she was unable to walk. Scared? Heck no, she was flaming pissed off! But that subsided 80-85% and she was walking again with physical therapy. She lost a lot of feeling in her leg but she could get back to work and she did. My mom is a trooper, a real warrior and nothing stops her easily.

The next round she all but threatened the surgeons lives, not that it was really anyone’s fault, that is where Pandora happens to have taken up residence, next to that nerve and close to her right hip. Oops, sidebar note here: my niece named this cancer Pandora, as once out of the box it isn’t leaving and sets off a series of most unwelcome events.

She has done chemo of all sorts, which have helped to shrink it at times, holding it at bay, but it always returns. She has suffered so many side effects from the various chemo rounds, lost her hair multiple times (comes back different each round too), neuropathy in her hands etc. that she has been through the war with this vicious little disease.

Last year we almost lost her to the side effects of a rather strong chemo her body couldn’t work with, she lacked an enzyme she needed to work with the chemo to fight the cancer. This year we tried again, only with all kinds of infusions of drugs and a lower dose of the chemo, which for a while kept it in check, there but not growing. But the chemo became too much and instead of 2 out of 14 days between treatments, she was 12 days of feeling like total hell. She tossed in the towel and said enough.

She was preparing to go on one more kind but the cost was through the roof, and odds only 30% it would hold back the growth of pandora for any amount of time. Her goal was one more Christmas with us, this last summer on the deck each day, see her 6th great-grandchild come into the world, one last birthday for mom. Tuesday’s test results ended that chapter short of the goals.

She has been having trouble, throwing every few days, some wretched looking stuff and tons of fluid. Then feeling okay again for a day or two, then repeat. She feared a bowel obstruction, which was a possibility as pandora grows and pushes her mean self into areas she shouldn’t have the right too. Monday she was admitted to the hospital, and Tuesday I was there for the scan results and that is precisely what has happened. Pandora is shoving her way through and causing a partial obstruction, that will become full blown soon. With an NG tube up her nose to drain the nastiness out of her gut so she stops heaving, mom and the doc discussed options. Basically it boils down to Hospice or no Hospice, the end has arrived. She and God are now writing the last few pages of the final chapter of the book of her life.

I was too shocked to be anything but numb. We thought we had one more Christmas, this final summer, time to find a smaller house, time for baby Elijah to come into this world and meet his Gigi.

After the doc left the room mom looked at me and said “don’t freak out.”. Oh no worries yet, I hadn’t processed enough for a freak out. Actually I didn’t ever freak out, it isn’t my way with something like this at all. I just got a bit misty eyed as the reality soaked in and the pain in my heart began to grow. When sis got there we told her, then when mom’s phone rang she and I left the room for a waiting room and the flood gates opened. After the initial water works we pulled it together and went back to her room to begin getting all those damn end of life ducks in rows.

That night we cried a lot, planned, cried, sipped coffee, and cried. My kids went up to see Gigi and then my son dropped by my house later with a letter he had written mom when he got home. He had some things he wanted to tell her but couldn’t have said them, he had to put it all in writing. She has that with her now.

My mom is the matriarch of our family. Top dog with grace, fearlessness, golden heart and more love than you can imagine. I mean, she is actively dying and is worrying about all of us and our lives, trying to help us! She has faced everything life throws at her with strength and dignity (yes she blows a gasket at times but somehow does that gracefully as well). She is our rock, the voice of reason, the family compass.

When I thought my divorce was the end of my world, my husband basically kicking me aside, it was the biggest gift of my life! I have spent the past 7 years living with my mom, getting to make memories with her and my sister and nieces. Working out every crisis with her wisdom and love. And coffee. When sh*t goes sideways in life, mom always made coffee. I can’t function in a hell storm without coffee now. In fact my sister and I came home Tuesday night and made coffee because that is what mom would do.  Yes we drank it. My past 7 years has been such an amazingly, wonderful blessing! But now it has to end.

I’m lost. I’m numb mentally. I’m in shock. I’m in such horrible pain inside. I do not know how to do this!!!! On this road of life we walk with others next to us. As the road goes along, they sometimes go off on another path nearby, but they are still parallel to ours and we still chat etc through the trees and flowers. But along that path are gates that lead to eternity, and each gate has a name on it. And when that person arrives at their gate, there is no more path in front of their feet, they must enter through that gate. And once through and that gate closes, we can no longer see them. The gate locks and fades away leaving only our memories to carry with us.  Mom’s gate is now in view, the end of the path is there in front of us and the gate is swinging open. Soon she will say good bye and go through the gate, and it will close and vanish, taking her with it to the other side. And I cannot begin to imagine how I’m supposed to take the next steps and continue down this path of my life without her.

I’m not angry with God, my Abba has blessed me so much. In fact, the only thing I know to do is curl up in His arms, let His Word wash over me, and seek comfort from Him. These next few weeks all I can do is cling to Him and know that He is in control of all of this, and that mom will soon be with Him.

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Me, Mom, and Sis

Tuesday Water Wonderings

It is water because I’ve already had coffee. And water is healthy. You know of late I am all about HEALTHY.

Today the scale said 158.5 and I was so shocked I got off, reset it, then got back on again. Holy pounds-be-gone….I’m down 28 pounds!!! Only 18 pounds to go until I reach my goal weight. 28 pounds of fat, gone in 2 months time. If it wasn’t happening to me I’d be skeptical. Heck I was very skeptical when my friend took off her 93 in 9 months (she has kept that off 3+ years). My daughter-in-law is now down 53 pounds in 3 months.  Again and again success stories in our Facebook group and across the nation in other groups. It works.

I still have anxiety every morning when I go to pull on jeans, fearing they suddenly won’t fit anymore, becoming tight. But alas, they are getting too big again. I’m out of all my skinnier-me jeans, all too large. Time to go shopping soon I suppose. Until I hit goal I will shop at thrift stores, no sense in paying full price for something that won’t fit a month from now. And health coaching is going amazing. I love it. I’m going to start studying to make it as a certified coach next month. This is too good not to share and help others accomplish.

Yesterday, and today really, are testing my ability to stay on plan. Mom ended up back in the hospital and it was freaking me out. But I have noticed water is my new comfort/coping mechanism, so I indulged in extra water. I made it through the day without caving in to the desire to go jump in a pint of ice cream. In fact the thought of that made me ill. My sister made the dreaded error of eating a nice, sugary, fat filled cup cake one day last week after 6 weeks on plan and eating totally healthy, and it DID make her physically sick to her stomach for 48 hours. Several folks I know have experienced this, as once you detox from crap your body is not real happy when you introduce garbage to your digestive system again.

I’m taking on clients as a coach now, you don’t have to be local to achieve serious results. This is NOT a diet, diets have a start and end. This is changing your lifestyle, it starts but never ends and the results therefore will hold! Contact me and we can talk and see if this might work for you.

 

Helping Others Find Health

3 years ago I began a new career taking care of our elderly in long term care and dementia/ Alzheimer’s communities. At 51 this took a serious toll on my body, the long shifts, being on my feet all day, bending, squatting and lifting. My blood pressure was at an all time high averaging 145/95 and even higher. 2 days of back to back 16 hour shifts and I thought I was going to drop over. I felt like a slug trying to push through my days and my left foot developed a case of plantar fasciitis that was incredibly painful. On top of that I was bouncing between 187 – 195 pounds. I knew I had found my heart’s calling in healthcare but I also knew something had to change before I ran myself in the ground.

B and A.jpgI had been following a friend’s journey to better health and watched her transformation from a very unhealthy weight with a multitude of health issues, down 93 pounds and to amazing health minus those issues that were making her so sick. My daughter-in-law then began her own move to better health and went from dragging through the day with 3 kids to energy and stamina and so far 45 pounds lighter. I knew I was physically ‘sick’ and had to make some changes so I reached out to them. My own journey began at 186.5 pounds and feeling physically exhausted and mentally fatigued. After only 40 days of making healthy changes in my life my blood pressure is averaging 115/65, my foot is no longer hurting, and I’m 21 pounds lighter. I have the energy of a teenager and plow through my days with stamina. I sleep solid and wake up refreshed, and I’m just getting started.

In my job I care for those at the end of their life journey, walking beside them as they are writing the final paragraphs of their life, trying to help make this time as wonderful as possible. My heart is in helping people and I realized I can help those currently in the early chapters or middle of their life’s book by becoming a health coach and helping them find some of the physical health changes they are seeking. If you are looking to make some healthy, life long changes in your story, I’d like to pay this gift I’ve been given forward. Please contact me and let me walk a journey with you toward a better life.

My Journey To Healthy ~ Day 33

Looking down at my scale this morning I was SO excited. The number looking back at me from down yonder was 167.8! That is 18.7 pounds GONE FOREVER! That means only 27.3 pounds to go to hit my goal weight, I’m almost half way there! To say there was a bathroom happy dance would be understating the truth.

How do I know this is weight gone forever? Because I refuse to go back to the way I was eating and living my life. I am not returning to that sluggish feeling every morning, that mid-afternoon crash into sleepy and hungry. This is a lifestyle CHANGE for me, to a healthy mind and body. I went back and looked up my blood pressure records from before I began this journey, 145/96 is NOT GOOD! When I saw that one I nearly flipped out. Now? well today it was 117/59 and 118/72.  I also have to order new scrub pants for work, as the large are too loose and when I hang my walkie and pager on the pockets or waist I’m at risk of them falling down. I only have one pair of medium that I bought, accidentally, before this journey began. They were skin tight, but that is no longer the case at all. I’m wearing them to work today and they look GREAT!

I’m now beginning my journey as a health coach too, so I can pay this forward and help others. Let me know if you would like to hear more, 20 minutes on the phone could be the start of your major life change!

My Journey To Health ~ Beginning Week 5

Do y’all mind if I do a happy dance? Like jump up and down, kick my heals up and squeal kind of dancing? THIS is a day of celebration for me. 4 weeks ago I began this journey all skeptical still about the hoped for results. My close friend Tracy had lost 93 pounds and kept it off for 3 years now, and my daughter-in-law was down 30ish at the time in 2 months (she is now down 42), but could I do this?

Well as of today I am down 16.5 pounds, with only 29.5 to go to reach my goal. But it is way more than just saying good-bye forever to the weight, it is about my health. My blood pressure was getting up there, like it as hanging around 140/90, sometimes higher. I’m in the medical field, I take vitals before giving meds, I know what that means and it isn’t good. I stumbled out of bed limping with plantar faciitis in my left foot, which was horribly painful for the first hour of my day. And my knees…I spend a lot of time on them at work, up and down changing Depends on my residents while they sit on the toilet, getting eye-to-eye level if they are in wheel chairs, and it took serious effort and agony to get up off them. I needed the bar on the wall as much as they did to pull up! Not to mention just feeling blah all of the time.

All that is changing now! My blood pressure has dropped to 119/71, pretty darn pleased with that! The plantar faciitis is GONE. No more limping around in pain 🙂 for this girl, and since I’m on my feet all day that IS awesome sauce. And those knees, I am up and down off them with much more ease! 60 pounds of pressure is off of them (4 pounds for every pound you lose) and I’m not having so much trouble with all of the up and down. Energy? Oh my, that of a 12 year old kid again, my coworkers accuse me of bouncing around like a ping-pong ball, I cannot sit still. I even can now wear a pair of jeans I haven’t been able to get past my thighs! YAAAAHOOOOO!

To think, I’m not even to the goal weight and optimal health yet, but I’m so amazed I’ve decided to become a health coach so I can pay it forward and share this gift of health with everyone and anyone who wants to know about it!

Here are my current before/after photos, and I cannot wait to reach my goal and post those!

170 pounds and loving life, living MY dream!

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My 2nd Shift Life

When I started this job on  April 13th, I said I would be willing to work on 2nd shift until the new neighborhood opened in our community, then I’d move to 1st shift. That was great until I actually worked on 2nd shift for a few weeks and realized that this is like having 2 full days in one! Sure, I have the same amount of time awake in a day as if I were working 1st shift, but it is very different in how it plays out. I’ll explain.

Working 1st shift, putting in 8 hours right out of the gate, left me tired and not wanting to do much after work. I had 5 or 6 hours before bedtime but my job is physically labor intensive so I was wiped out and spent the rest of the day trying not to fall asleep. Usually I’d dose off while crocheting or reading. Writing a blog post didn’t even cross my sleepy radar!

Now I rise after 8 to 9 hours of sleep, have 5 or 6 hours before work to crochet, read, run errands, hang out with my mom, daughter etc, then I go to work. I tackle that physically draining job on the last 8 hours of the day, then come home and I am ready to sleep. No insomnia (my brain and body are ready to seek the sandman), and I sleep SO deep and restful. I accomplish so much more in a day that it feels like I’ve had 2 full days in one!

Having the mornings free means I can do a lot of things, like zoo trips, shopping, etc., before work. These things were usually pushed off to my weekend off (every other weekend). And I can make it to church every Sunday even though I work every other weekend because I have time to go in the morning before I have to head off to work!

This works well for me because I no longer have children to raise, they are adults with kids of their own. I know it would not work well for a mom of school aged little ones as they’d not see them much, but for the person of the empty nest it is ideal!

One coworker is moving to 1st with the new wing opening and wanted me to join her, but I just cannot see myself giving up my current situation. Maybe when all the weight is off and my health is back in line to where I have energy all of the time like I do now. But right now, 2nd shift works wonderfully for me!

 

Wine & Cheese ~ 1st Serving 2017

wineandcheese2Most Wednesdays I devote a blog to whining. Despite being a really happy, positive person, I do have things that annoy me at times. I never let anything grate on my nerves for long but thought it would be fun to vent them periodically in my blogs. I also feel that good things, the cheese in life, should be acknowledged as well. I’m even going to throw in a bit of dessert, a piece of virtual chocolate, something that made me laugh or smile just a bit more than normal. If you’d like to read the past editions of Wine & Cheese just search past postings. Sit back and join me now for a serving of some whine and cheese!

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 WINE WHINE

😦  I know, I know, it has been WAY too long since I wrote a Wine & Cheese post! In fact I couldn’t find a single one from 2016 when I searched my archives….oops! So, since it was my most read post(s), I’m bringing it back!

😦  Figures that I’m off work today, because the past several have been beautiful, sunny days but not today. No, today it is overcast and spitting rain now and then. This is not making me very pleased.

😦  I was so hoping my new pedometer would arrive before I had to go run errands, but not yet.

😦  Seriously, I know that some things are not visible, and there is maybe a reason someone is parked in a handicapped spot that is not evident, so this isn’t about you. But darlin’, if you can park there, then walk the entire super-sized grocery store, mall etc, you do NOT need that spot. Or if you park there only to leave said person who does need it, sitting in the car the entire time you are doing the shopping, SHAME ON YOU! Some of us have to wrestle a wheelchair out of the car and get between our car and the next one to get someone out and into that chair. I get that some folks need it on one day and not the next, but if it is not the day you need it, or your handicapped passenger is remaining in the car, then please, find another spot so those who do happen to need it that day can use it!

CHEESE

🙂  Enough of that, time to smile! I’m celebrating today, it is #woohooWednesday and I have a woohoo! I’m down 14 pounds today, the end of week 3 in my program to take back my health! That means 56 pounds of pressure is OFF of my knees! I have energy like you cannot imagine, I can barely sit still! And it is all science based eating, no supplements/pills, just food!

🙂  I’m rocking this 2nd shift life of mine! It is like having two full days in one! On first shift I’d come home and be tired, didn’t feel like doing much of anything. Or I’d fall asleep while trying to do some reading or crocheting. Now I get 8 hours of great sleep a night, rise by 8am, have 6 hours to knock it out of the park with whatever I need to do, then go to work! I have a ton of energy at work, thanks in part to my new lease on health as I drop the weight, and I’m ready to sleep when I get home! I LOVE this!

🙂  My job..what can I say? I love working in health care, love being and STNA/MA-C and I love my sweet dementia residents! I never imagined loving a job as much as I do this one!

DESSERT

The struggle is so very real!

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Thursday Shop Talk

I’ve been busy the past few days making some new items for the shop.  I actually have more to get in to the inventory, but time is limited to spend time taking photos, cropping them and getting listings set up.

~*~*~ shop now at http://www.byhookandbyhand.com ~*~*~

New cup cozies and wash/dish cloths are now stocked in some bright colors for the spring/summer season, head on over and see what you think!

Also, between now and midnight, Saturday 5/20/17 you can save 17% by using code BIRTHDAY17 at checkout!

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The Plague Has Arrived

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My daughter’s first find of the cicada infestation.

 

For whatever reason, the 17 year cicadas that hit our area have decided to grace us with their noisy presence 4 years early this time. I don’t pretend to have any scientific knowledge as to the why, and not certain the scientist/professor at Mt. St. Joe college nearby does either. He studies them and asks if you are in the greater Cincinnati area, that you email photos and locations to him at cicada@msj.edu to help him in his study.

Being that this is Cincinnati, it isn’t a real shock that this is going on, after all we’ve been known to have the heat on in the morning and the air conditioning on in the late day. One week, in January, we had snow, then warmth, thunderstorms and tornadoes, then back to snow. Yes, in a one week period. We do weird here very well.

While incredibly creepy looking, they are harmless. They do not bite and pretty much all they do is provide a great deal of deafening noise with their little mating calls, and food for birds. It does freak one out if hit in the head as they fly past, and they seem to really lack navigational skills because you will frequently be dive bombed. And they are EVERYWHERE in the areas they emerge.

As a child, I was deathly afraid of them, but my brothers found them rather fun to play with, pulling off wings before squashing them. As an adult I was known to learn who was afraid, then catch them and put them in their office while they were at lunch. The unsuspecting victim always assumed it came in on their clothing. As a child of 4 years old, my son and his buddy across the hall in our apartment building would catch them and feed them to his friend’s piranhas. This was a source of endless amusement to them both.

Catching them is very simple, just pinch their wings together and pick them up. But be prepared as they will try to fly free, causing a strong vibration in your fingers and if you aren’t anticipating it you will let go on impulse.

My yorkie, Penny, when she was alive for one infestation, used to try to sneak them into the house to play with, but her mouth was so small we’d see the little legs wiggling out the sides. I admit, I look forward to letting one in the house to see how the cats deal with it, supervised of course.

Some folks in these parts actually eat them! Cooked, chocolate covered, even raw. BLAH! No thank-you I believe I will pass on that, um, delicacy.

So, as they are beginning to emerge, it will only get way worse before it gets better!