Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sad News

This has been a week for the books. This is Tammy, Carol's darling daughter. Once known as Lady Jane when I crossed her. On the afternoon of Friday, April 29th, I was walking her grandpup and I got a text from my dad. "Mom is being transported by ambulance to Grafton Hospital where her neurologist is waiting for her." She was in pain, a little woozy, and not feeling herself to say the least. Still, not knowing what was going on, she was given oxygen and admitted. Once her oxygen levels normalized, we upped the pain meds and started the fight. What is going on with her?

Over the course of last weekend we were all still searching for hope. She had an EMG, a few blood draws, and another MRI. She slowly started to become a little more confused which got us very concerned. Turns out her carbon dioxide levels were way above normal. Like, way above. She was sleeping the majority of the time and moving in and out of consciousness. During this time her creative spark was still ablaze! She kept pointing interesting things, like how the different room fixtures looked like a dogs face or a soldier. Even in the hospital room her creative mind couldn't help but see interesting sights. I started to get a little more back stage access to her amazing mind. 

By Monday she had very few moments of lucidity. By Tuesday she was sleeping all the time. Her pain was always managed and she was never alone excluding the hours between 9pm and 8am.

On Thursday, May 5th, as the doctors wanted to do more invasive procedures and begin a new treatment to potentially help the underlying issue. It was painfully clear to us that we may have already gone beyond her adamant wishes. On Friday we met with a palliative care team and began the hospice process. She never had to move rooms (which were decorated with her quilts and flowers). The nursing staff which got to know her when she was sparky and sweet, loved her and cried with us through to the end.

She passed yesterday at 5:05. I was there, as were several other family members. We were all with her, touching her in some way and watching her as she gently let go bit by bit. She left so beautifully. As if one moment she became way more interested in something else. Her body that was so used to fighting for breath stopped its urgency. Her breath became relaxed. Its as if we could watch her creative interests move from one world to the next. When she left us we were all in awe. Many tears were shed throughout the week and throughout the day, but at that moment we were purely in awe. 

In celebration of her we all opened a can of diet pepsi and toasted to her amazingly beautiful, colorful, honest life. 

Thank you all for giving her the medium she deserved. Thank you for seeing her, loving her, and supporting her.

If any of you has something of hers I would be touched if you could take a picture of it, post it to Facebook and tag her. It has been healing to see all of her work touch so many people.

Her funeral will be this Wednesday, May 11 from 4-7 at Faith Lutheran Church on Division Road in Germantown. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Keep your fingers crossed, please......

Nothing to show you this week, friends.  I have been busy running to appointments with my hubby.  I haven't been able to drive since sometime last November, so I am now at his disposal (ugh) and he works every other morning.  I don't know if you remember that last time I posted, I told you I was gong to try steroid infusions.  This procedure is done in a hospital IV therapy room by appointment.  So far I have had 4 treatments and not too much is different, although I can see my legs and feet have lost much of the swelling.  Last night my husband and I played "Cinderella" to see which shoes will fit me now.  All winter, I have been wearing only one pair.  Anyway, these treatments will now continue once a week for 6 weeks.  When I originally saw the doctor, he claimed I might be walking by the 2nd week which would not be next week, like we'd think, but the following, since I was supposed to have 5 treatments in a row last week, but I had a conflict with another doctor (ugh), so had to push off the 5th one until Monday.  I have been reading like a mad woman though and I thought perhaps you might like these books too.

Out of all the books I've ever read, I think a book I read in 1979 was my very favorite and I have followed the author ever since.  The name of that book was "Kane and Abel" by Jeffrey Archer.  It is about two families and the twists and turns that bring them together and at odds.  Well, within the last couple of years, Mr. Archer has again outdone himself.  He has written a series of 7 books (the last one to be released November 8th of this year), which are simply amazing!!!!!  My husband read them all and my son-in-law too, so I thought as long as I wasn't doing much now, and really needed something to read during my IV sessions, I would engage in them too.  WOW!  Let me give you the names of the books in order (and PLEASE) read them that way:

The Series is called the Clifton Chronicles and deal with a family for 100 years:

1.  Only Time Will Tell
2.  The Sins of the Father
3.  Best Kept Secret
4.  Be Careful what you wish for.
5.  Mightier than the Sword
6.  Cometh the Hour
7.  This was a Man   (released November 8th, 2016)

Enjoy!  And, please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Not much has changed

Bet you thought I died, huh?  Nope!  Not yet, although I think that every time I go to a new doctor, things get worse.  The last time I wrote, I was going to see a cardiologist because of my leg swelling....and, because of an ECHO test I had in January.  Apparently there was an issue that needed addressing, but my family doctor told me it wasn't "dire" so no need to worry..........????  Not so much!  I had a cardiac catheterization last Thursday and they discovered that I need a new heart valve within 18 months.  Isn't that just ducky?  That's open heart surgery, my friends.......I didn't know that at first and now, that's all I can think about.  Financially, I should have it done this year since we've already met our maximum insurance "out of pocket" expenses, but I have something else in the works and hate to be laid up again if this new situation works.

This past February, my neurologist suggested I see another specialist that deals with nerve/muscle issues only.  We called her, but couldn't get until August.  They suggested we see her associate, so we made an appointment with him and it was last week.  He did the normal nerve tests in the office and afterwards asked if anyone ever suggested steroids.  Apparently, they give you infusion steroids for 3-5 days and then once a week for two months and you improve.  This guy claims that once I start, I should be walking in a week and a half.  He thinks I have an autoimmune disease where my body is just full of inflammation.  Who knew??  Anyway, he was going on spring break with his family and will return April 7th and I have already done all the tests I needed prior to the steroid treatments, so I will let you know.  At least it's some "HOPE" for now.  I cried when I left the office I was so happy.  Keep your fingers crossed!  Please??

In the meantime, I need to show you two things.  First, the sticky buns I made for my family for Easter:

And then, the socks I have been knitting forever.  I really should get going on them, I suppose.

So, that's the news with me.  Hope all of you are well, or getting better.  These mystery illnesses are no fun and from what I've been reading from some of you, you aren't having a ball with life either.  I wish you well.  I swear that IF I ever get back to normal again, I never will take the small stuff for granted ever again!  Just driving my car again would be a joy, or getting in my 6 ft. bathtub, or even walking to the mailbox.  For those of you who can do all of those things - - - you are blessed!!  Think about it!!

So, until next time.  Be well and appreciate God's gifts.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

No change.......bummer!

I wish I could give you some positive news, but that will have to wait for another day, if ever.  I am going to a Cardiologist on Friday, so maybe he will have some answers, although no one thinks this is a heart issue except for my legs and feet being swollen all the time.  Thanks for all your input.  You have no idea how comforting your comments were and how much I learned from some of your own ailments.  I had no idea how many of you have issues that are mysteries.  Seems to me that years ago, doctors were a bit brighter!  

How do you like my birthday orchid?  Now, if I can keep it alive, it'll be a miracle.  My daughter walked in with it on Sunday and I was blown away.  

And this was a few weeks ago when I needed to address and stamp envelopes plus stuff the envelopes.  Too bad my granddaughter doesn't like chapter books yet.  Of course, sometimes I think she's a little snot anyway because her mother doesn't even encourage can tell who runs that household!!

And here is the basket that my friend made for me.  My yarn looks perfect in it on the dining room table.

I did finish a pair of socks (finally).  It's just a plain pair, but I needed to get in the grove first.  It's been months since I've knit.

And, of course, I did send out some envelopes, although who knows if my granddaughter even got them?  Not much gratitude in that family, unfortunately!

And last but not least, here is a picture of my husband with my friend's 7 week old litter of 5 Havenese puppies.  She came over Monday for a nice visit.  I think my husband would have kept all 5 if I would have given the word.  Toby wasn't too happy.  He sat on my friend's lap the whole time she was here.

So, until next time, I hope you are all doing well and having some fun.  I continue to visit doctors and have therapists come in the house. Yippee!  Hey, at least I can knit again.  That's a plus!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I am a Medical Mystery, I guess

If you have kept up with my former posts, you know that I have been having some medical issues.  Since I last visited with you, I have been in two hospitals, one rehab center, and have had numerous tests including 6 MRIs, 1 CT scan, 2 chest x-rays, an ECHO, 2 EMGs, I have no idea how many blood draws, (except I can tell you that they took 18 vials of blood in two days once,) a Spinal Tap, and finally a Bone Marrow draw and they still have no idea what is wrong with me.  I have had teams of doctors look at my case, led by 2 Associate professors of the Medical College of Wisconsin with their entourage following them.  Right now, I can only walk with a walker and even then, it is difficult.  I can no longer drive and haven't since December 2nd.  I feel like a recluse and cripple (which I guess I am).  Obviously, some nerves are being affected in my body, but by what, who knows?  They've got me on Gabapentin, but I know that is only a pain medicine for nerve pain and will help only so much.  Funny thing is that on November 17th I was just fine.......going to Target, grocery shopping and getting ready for the holidays.  Needless to say, I am not a happy girl!!!

On another note, my (up til now) wonderful MacBook Air, won't let me import photos, so even if I had made anything, I wouldn't be able to show you.  Since I've been home, I'm working on a pair of socks that I ripped apart when I left.  For some reason, I guess I couldn't concentrate on them and they were full of mistakes.  I did buy some really pretty yarn (pictures still in my camera) that I so wanted to show you......but I decided that since the former ripped apart socks were easy and shouldn't really take forever I'd do them first and try to get this goofy computer to work on the photo issue.  Hubby is going to try to help today with the Apple genius' too.  (Only they don't know it yet.  lol)

Only good thing that happened this past month is that I lost 8 more lbs making it a total of 63 lbs lost so far since last April 6th.  I think I'll go for 17 more and then be done.  By then I should be as skinny as my aerobic teacher sister and yoga teaching daughter.  lol

Hope you all are well and have had a better month than me.