Friday, November 28, 2014

Medication To The Rescue - Thanksgiving Style

We have finally turned a corner. You may remember from my last post (and my lack of posts) that our precious Chihuahua, Gypsy, had surgery to remove 15 stones from her bladder back on the 17th. After a few days we figured out that she needed to be taken out every hour to hour and 15 minutes. Even at that rate she was still leaking urine multiple times a day. It was like she didn't even know she was doing it. We worked so hard to keep her dry and clean but it was an impossible task. Working around the clock we got very little sleep and when we did sleep it was nothing more than naps. I was doing laundry almost constantly.

Who me? No, I would never cause that much trouble.

It was a nightmare. Hubby and I were both in terrible shape.

When we took her in on the 24th to get her stitches out we expressed our desperation over the complete lack of improvement in her ability to hold her urine and the impact it was having on us. She was bouncing back wonderfully in all other areas but this one - this one critical area. The doc mercifully gave us a prescription for a sphincter tightening medication to help her hold her urine better until it could heal itself.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah - She hasn't leaked since!!!! We've spent this week slowly stretching the length of time between our visits outside - right now we are at 4.5 hours. Honestly, I don't know how long she'll be able to hold it but if we can get to 8 hours I'll be one happy camper. Yesterday we even dismantled our living room campsite and returned to our normal sleeping arrangements. Sure I still had to get up in the middle of the night to take her outside but I only had to do this once so that's a huge improvement.

Maybe if you pet my belly, you will feel better.
I know I will.

Life is not yet back to normal and it will still be a couple months before we know for sure if her sphincter will regain full function but I'm very encouraged at the progress we've seen this week. If not for this medication I wouldn't have been able to go to Thanksgiving dinner and neither of us would be getting 4 hours of sleep at a time.

No doubt, it will take my body and mind a while to recover from this madness. I'm just so thankful the worst of it is over and our beloved fur baby is again charming us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Pet Emergency Has Triggered A Fibro Flare and Migraine

Hello friends. I wanted to give you a quick heads up about what is going on, why I haven't been posting and why it may be another week before I'm able to start doing regular posts again. It's all about our little chihuahua, Gypsy. 

She needed a fairly involved surgery to have 15 stones removed from her bladder on Monday. The surgery went well but she is in lots of pain and can't let her bladder stretch until her incisions have healed. Translation she needs to be taken outside every 2 hours. 

Shortly after returning home. She was
out of it most of the evening.
For the first 24 hours she was crying unless she was sleeping but she slept very little. So between trying to comfort her, take her out, change her bedding, and do almost constant laundry to ensure she always has clean towels and blankets, hubby and I have gotten very little sleep. 

We are camping out in the living room so we
can keep a close watch on her.

After about 12 hours on this schedule a major fibro flare was triggered in my hands, arms and lower legs. A migraine was not far behind. My brain is mush. All I want to do is crawl into bed and just be still and sleep. But that won't be possible for another week. 

Things here are ugly right now so I decided to just excuse myself from my usual blogging schedule until I can start getting some rest. In fact, I've decided I need to excuse myself from everything besides taking care of Gypsy. That's all I can handle under the circumstances. 

Frankly, I'm surprised I'm still functioning at all right now. 


Friday, November 14, 2014

My Own Time Machine

I was listening to some old music yesterday - songs I hadn't heard in many years. Each song was like a 3 minute journey back in time, transporting me to the places, people and experiences that became unintentionally tied to the music.

As I journeyed through my memories on this musical time machine I found myself feeling so thankful. I've had many amazing friends in my life. I filled my youth with adventures and laughter, mistakes and successes. I created a lot of memories and all of them are woven into music. Because of this, I'm able to enjoy the surprisingly vivid feelings of all my memories whenever I want. I will treasure this as long as I have my memory.

Incidentally, this is also why I will always keep all my CDs and always put any digital music I buy on a CD.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Whimsy Wednesday

Here are some fun Chihuahua video clips for your amusement.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Relationship Between My Eyes and My Migraines

Lately I've been thinking about the relationship between my eye issues and my migraines. 

I started getting migraines when I was in 3rd grade. Light sensitivity has always been present with all of my migraines but, over the years, I also found myself gravitating toward low light even when I was feeling fine. I didn't even know that was unusual until I was in my mid-20s. 

I remember the exact moment it happened. My grandparents had just moved to Minnesota so we lived right by each other for the first time since I was a baby. My sister and I just happened to show up at the same time to visit with our grandma, while grandpa was away. The three of us were chatting and laughing - it was a cloudy day, the curtains were drawn and only one dim lamp was on - when our mom showed up to visit too. The first thing she did when she arrived was start turning on lights and asking us why we were sitting in the dark. 

The thing is, it never occurred to any of us that we were sitting in the dark. See all three of us had already had spent many years living with episodic migraines. While our mom has had a migraine, that's really about all she has had. She doesn't get migraines and isn't bothered by light. 

For whatever reason, migraines seem to have a lasting impact on how our eyes respond to light, but light sensitivity isn't the only thing that has happened to my eyes as a result of my migraines. 

When I was in my early 20s I started having eye pain and sought out an optometrist for the first time in my life. The doc said my eyes were strong and my eye sight was great but that I had Convergence Inefficiencies. Basically that just means when I'm not trying to look at something specific each of my eyes just relax and look forward. Any time I want to I can make them come together and focus on stuff but it's work. The more time I spend focusing on stuff the more stress it puts on my eyes, resulting in pain. 

Now, I don't know if this is a result of my migraines or if it has contributed to them in some way but my theory is that I started doing this as a way to cope with the well lit world around me. When my eyes relax and go their own way, I can see shapes, colors and movements - basically I get the visual gist of what's going on around me but I don't see any one thing. This relaxed state takes some of the pressure off my eyes and keeps my brain from spending much energy process visual information.

During all stages of a migraine, this issue becomes more pronounced. I can see but I don't really see or process much of anything. Focusing on stuff just becomes so painful and overwhelming that my eyes fight back when I try to. I can still do it for very short periods of time but it's a lot of work and only causes more pain. Even as I'm typing now my eyes are relaxed and not really looking at anything. I'll pull them together to proof read at the end but otherwise I don't really need to focus. 

Whatever the cause, whatever the nature of the relationship between migraines and the eyes, there is no doubt the severity of my eye issues have compounded in the years since my migraines went chronic. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

My First D.O. Appointment

Last week I had my first D.O. appointment. It was a whole different world from the usual factory style practices I've been to before. The office was quiet with pleasant lighting. There was soft ocean sounds being played in the lobby and in the exam room. The doc was relaxed and took his time. We talked about my symptoms and what I've been through up until now. He looked at me when we were talking and appeared to think about his responses before saying anything. Then came the exam.

I want to call the exam a physical exam because that seems like a good description but I feel like that might give you the wrong idea. We've all had physical exams before that include the same old things: looking in the eyes and ears, checking reflexes, walking away from the doc and then toward the know the drill. That is not what this was. He checked all of my major joints and bone structures paying special attention to my head, neck and spine. He did some manipulations that seemed similar to what you might get with a chiropractor but without any popping or sudden twisting motions.

Overall, I feel like it was a good start. I felt like he heard everything I said AND believed what I was telling him. That alone was a relief. He seemed knowledgeable about my conditions and clearly views the body and mind as one big system that works together. He suggested I add a couple simple things to my daily stretches and he ordered a different night guard for me to use when I'm sleeping.

While it's too early to know if this is going to be the right doc for me, this was definitely the best initial appointment I've had in years. The thing is, I don't expect any doc to be perfect. BUT I want one who can listen and work with me. I want to be treated like a human being. I want to be able to question the path I'm on and not have the doc get defensive. I'm optimistic that this new doc meets this basic criteria.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Whimsy Wednesday

Here is a funny clip from Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Small Adjustment from Halloween to Thanksgiving

I had my first appointment with the D.O. yesterday afternoon but I'm not quite ready to write about it yet - still processing. In the meantime I thought I would share my Thanksgiving decorations with you. Honestly, around here switching from Halloween to Thanksgiving is not a drastic thing.

Just as a reminder here was the Halloween stuff:

Drum roll please...and Thanksgiving:

My jar lights have already given out and I've
not yet to replaced them.  

I replaced the Halloween banner with Thanksgiving
keeping the Happy.

And turned the jack-o-lantern around
to make it just a pumpkin.
I must confess I've already let myself get excited about switching out the Thanksgiving stuff for the Christmas stuff - just 3 weeks and 2 days to go. Yes, I'm counting.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Is Happiness All That?

Happy. I've come to dislike the word. I want moments of happiness in my life as much as the next person but it just seems like we are expected to become happy, as if it were a destination you arrive at when you get x or achieve y. Seems to me happy is just a short, temporary response to something pleasant. No different than laughing being a response to a funny joke. Enjoy the joke, enjoy the laugh, maybe even retell it to others so they can enjoy it too. Nobody ever expects a joke to change their lives and make everything better so why do we expect so much from happiness?

No doubt, our culture really emphasizes it. Fairy tales all end the same way - the princess and prince get together and they all live happily ever after. As if falling in love and getting married is some finish line beyond which life is happy. Almost every ad campaign centers around products or services designed to make us happy. If only we had the latest and greatest product our lives would be perfect - look how happy the actors are. Heck, even our Declaration of Independence calls the pursuit of happiness an unalienable right. I almost feel like we are obligated to present a happy front in public at all times and that seems to include social media these days.

Now I don't think there some sort of conspiracy to make us feel bad about all our moments that fall short of happy, which describes most moments.  But I do think it's easy these days to lose perspective on the role of happiness. Seems to me happy is nothing more than one of many emotional responses we human being might have to any given situation. I don't want to judge my life based on how much happiness I feel, or how much I think I feel in comparison to those around me. I want to live a life of courage, strength and kindness. That's the goal anyway.