Easy Flow Chart for High BG Management

This is PERFECT!! Show this to those people, in- and outside the medical field, who think managing diabetes is just a matter of following a particular method…
In case you need to print it out and show it to someone who might not understand just how incredibly easy it is to manage diabetes on a daily basis. (I can’t even type it without laughing.) I…

Source: Easy Flow Chart for High BG Management

soon and very soon…

I’ll be launching my new website!! Sorry if you thought I had busted out with a gospel hymn…

I’m just EXCITED!!

yay

And scared!

As you might recall, I want to make this new place “work”, “earn its keep”… at least generate a little income.

It better because it’s gonna cost a bit to get this started right. 🙂

So what will the new place consist of? Pretty much the same thing it does now, only Lord willing, more cohesive and more of it!

I’ll be posting about my experiences in homeschooling,

homeschool-house

my various and sundry medical issues (type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, migraines, old age (LOL!))

health-wellness

I’ll also post about my faith

faith

and I HOPE there will be lots of people who will come alongside and discuss things! I miss that the most, I think.

comment

The blog I had years ago that was so active had several regular readers and they were not only readers, but COMMENTERS!! We had lots of great discussions about all kinds of topics, so that’s what I’m looking forward to most.

I hope that I might be able to do some reviews and possibly some freelance writing too. That pesky book I’ve been thinking about for years and finally sorta-kinda started…

writing the first chapter

….well, maybe I’ll be able to flesh it out to the end here, who knows?!

Anyhow… stay tuned and if you think of it, pray with me that this will be a success! THANKS!

*mwah!*

Blessings,
G~

dirty low down

Okie dokie, folks. For the one or two of you that read here… if you read my last post about all the allergy and sinus meds I was put on last week, this is a weird and wacky update to that.

The very next day after starting all those meds, I began to have repeated severe hypoglycemic episodes.  (that just means “really low blood sugar“)
fading face
Since I’ve had type 1 diabetes for over 40 years now, I tend to not always know when my sugar goes low.  My body simply doesn’t show signs or symptoms of a hypo, which is bad.  It’s REALLY bad.
23316310372_7dff9163ef
Usually, the body gives you some clear and strong signals that the blood sugar is getting too low.  The above chart shows some of those. Over time, however, your body starts going,

“Meh, low-shmow…I don’t have time to process that crap!”
Sincerely,
Your Body

and doesn’t tell you that your sugar is or has dropped.  That means you’re left walking around, feeling normal (or as close to it as you get) with no idea that you’re in danger of passing out or dying because your sugar is way too low.

That’s what started happening to me last week.  I mean, I’ve been quite hypoglycemia-unaware for many years now, but last week, the lows just kept coming in quick succession!  (you can click the link in this paragraph to learn more about hypoglycemia unawareness)

I haven’t had any lows like this, (under 30) in quite awhile, so it was shocking when I saw that first one in this Episode Of Lows that was 27!  Keep in mind that the brain needs sugar/glucose to function (thus the confusion often experienced during a hypo) and since a normal level is between 70-100 (possibly up to 150 after a meal), getting that low means your brain is not functioning properly.   We all know the brain runs all our automatic systems such as the lungs, heart, and circulation therefore, if the brain stops working, we are not far from death.  Zero (0) blood sugar doesn’t necessarily mean instant death, but you would be close enough to it that your chances of getting out without at least coma are slim-to-none.
blood-sugar-range
Here’s the thing, though…I had helped my husband load a heavy-ish, awkward piece of exercise equipment to take to my mom’s, then helped him unload it and chatted briefly with Mom before returning home and beginning to show the first signs of fatigue and slight confusion.  I felt absolutely no symptoms up to that point.

That was the beginning of my almost-week-long roller coaster ride. I had many more of those severe, scary, unrecognized lows. I was testing my blood sugar about 10 times a day at this point. I called my endocrinologist to ask what to do by the time I had struggled through 3 days of this. Obviously, you don’t call the doc every time you have a low, but these were beyond my ability to pinpoint, explain or control, so we had to get some help!

I spoke with the DNE (diabetes nurse educator) who happens to be my doc’s wife, and she had me lower all of my basal rates (I have five rates set currently) .05 units each. So that would have been a total of 1.2 units per 24-hour period. Not much. But she told me that I should do it again if I was still having lows the next day. I was, so I did. That was now 2.4 units/24 hours lower. After another day of struggling, I lowered the basals another .025 each. That put me at 3 units/24 hours lower.

Like I said, by this time, I was testing what seemed like constantly. My low-lows were always 50 and below, with most of the being in the 30’s.
glucometer reading 38
I finally broke down and called again after I had such an awful low that I thought I was dying.

Hubby and I had run a couple of errands…our baby son and his wife were asked to go back to Haiti and needed so much that the church raised the funds to send them, so they had left the day after Thanksgiving. We went to pick up Baby Son’s truck so it wasn’t sitting in the church parking lot all week and to pick up a few things at Lowe’s. My sugar was 53 when we left, so I was nursing a can of Coke to raise it. I sat in the truck while Hubbs ran into the store. Mom was calling wanting us to come up and eat leftovers for supper, so I explained what we were doing and told her we’d be there when we got back.

We drove out to pick up the truck, I moved over to the driver’s side and we started home. I was feeling really tired, but that’s not at all unusual. It was dark and I hate driving in the dark, so I didn’t dilly-dally around. I drove straight up to Mom’s, which is the drive just before ours and is also where the Baby Kids live in a basement apartment. For some reason, I thought we were taking his truck up there. When I realized Hubby had driven home, I turned around and drove back down the hill to pick him up. We got to Mom’s and started filling plates to heat in the microwave.

My dad was sitting in the next room watching TV and peeling something or other for Mom while she, Hubby and I were in the kitchen.

I got my plate out of the micro and started to eat when Hubby insisted that I test again. *sigh* So I did, and lo and behold, it was 32!! GAH!

He went to garage to get a single-serve bottle of Coke for me, Mom put ice in a cup, poured it full and slid it to me. I drank a bit of it down and started eating the dumplings, broccoli casserole and dressing on my plate (fairly carb-laden foods) when I started to feel just weird.
fainted
Of course, I didn’t pause to think about it, I just kept trying to eat. Kept trying to appear “normal”, like I was okay…and I really thought I was at that point. I don’t know if I was really participating in the conversation or not at this time. I had drunk almost the whole glass of Coke when a wave of dizziness hit me and I got that panicky feeling of knowing my sugar is really bad low. I remember sort of grabbing at the glass and downing the last bit of Coke in it. I then tried to go back to eating, then I placed my fork back on the plate. (I dunno why those things seem so clear to me) I can remember the thought that I needed to stop acting so out of it flashing through my mind and for some reason, I took off my glasses and laid them on the bar in front of me. I remember Mom telling me I needed to chew. (??–Yeah, that’s something I might forget to do, but why she thought telling me was going to help, I dunno)
fading woman
That’s when things got really weird, really scary… I got extremely aware that something was seriously wrong with me, but couldn’t formulate what it was. I guess I knew it was a low, but I couldn’t complete a thought unless it raced 90 miles a minute through my brain. I recall thinking, I need help. and then realizing that Mom and Hubby were with me. I guess that was a relief to me, and then I noticed that they weren’t talking. Like, at all.
invisible-girl
I looked over at the two of them, both sitting to my left and there was no expression of acknowledgement. Just silence. I recall thinking, They can’t see me!! What’s happened? Where am I if they can’t see me? Am I already dead? Then the thought that, no, I think surely Hubby would be a bit more emotional if I was really dead on Mom’s kitchen floor. (it’s amazing what the glucose-starved mind will come up with) I heard Mom in the other room saying something about checking my blood pressure, so I thought, Maybe I’m in the hospital already?
vortex
About that time, I got this bizarre sensation of being sucked into nothing…like I was being pulled out of the room, but not to another place, just OUT. The thought that I was actually dying at that very moment was beginning to stir up a panic when my dad walked up on my right site and plopped his blood pressure monitor on the bar and said, “Are you gonna let me do this?” I think then I realized that I wasn’t gone, dead, or invisible and so I stuck my arm out. After that, I slowly returned to normal, Hubby and Mom started talking to me, I ate a little more of my food and BOOM! I was ‘back’.

But the feeling that I had been dying hasn’t left me yet.

Contrary to what people say, my life didn’t flash, I didn’t instantly think of my children or loved ones. That makes me feel like a turd because, c’mon, I didn’t think about who I was leaving behind? Maybe that’s because, thank my gracious God, I wasn’t actually dying? I hope that’s it. My brain was obviously WAY busy trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with me and how to fix it.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that the past couple days have been severe-low free!! After the above incident, we called my doc again that night. He happened to be on call, so we got to talk directly to him. He had me lower the basals another .125 each. That made a total of 6 units per day that I lowered my insulin use. He confirmed what we suspected, this is very rare. He said it seemed as if I had become more sensitive to the insulin, which is awesome. less insulin saves money and makes it easier to lose or maintain weight.

I’m thrilled. Puzzled as to why it happened, but thrilled that it has. I had asked my friends and family to pray because it was getting really scary. Who knows how low my sugar was on that drive up to Mom’s the evening after Thanksgiving? Even after treating a moderate low! That’s the reason why, when my boys were much younger, I would keep my blood sugars a bit high…I couldn’t stand the thought that I might go low when I was in the car with them. I mentioned to a few people the thought that God might be healing me.

That’s a frightening thing to say “out loud” (or in a text). Because, what if He isn’t? And then, I felt like a failure as a Christian for doubting. But it wasn’t that I doubted He could, because for a short period of time after a traumatic accident, He DID take away my need for insulin altogether! So I know He can, I guess it’s scary to hope He will when He might not, ya know?

Anyhow, my belief is that God is healing us all…it just may not happen here in this life. Ultimately, every child of God will be in perfect health with no pain or worry.

Ahhhh, I am eager for that!

Hebrew 7:11“Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?”

EDIT::: I feel like I need to clarify a bit. Sorry to expand an already long post, but for those who want to know more, read on…

So when I say, “BOOM! I was ‘back’.” it isn’t quite like that normally. Maybe I seemed to bounce back a little quicker because I was at my parents’ house because I fret a lot about making them worry about me/the diabetes.

Case in point: the other day, right in the middle of this whole “too many severe lows” situation, Mom and I were supposed to go out for breakfast with my mother-in-law and one of Hubby’s aunts who was in town visiting. So all four of us had planned to meet that morning at a restaurant. I don’t know if she called just to remind me or if it was some other reason, but apparently, she called and all I would say to her is, “I’m alright. I’m alright. I’m alright.” over and over. Obviously, I was NOT alright because I have absolutely no recollection of even answering the phone. She ended up having to come to the house and get me out of bed and nurse me out of a low. Apparently I worry SO much about making her worry that I’ll lie even when I’m all-but unconscious! So, that COULD be why I “came back” so fast the other night.

The thing is that lows are not always the same. Obviously, I no longer always even feel them. In the early years of my diabetes, I could count on getting shaky and sweaty and nervous. Then later, those became intermittent with numbness around my lips and tongue. Then there were the “sleep lows”…when I went low in my sleep and would wake up or be awakened soaking wet from sweat. Sometimes I still do that and I don’t always wake up. But later, I’ll recall rolling over or half-waking and noticing that I’m sweaty. I’ll think to myself that the house seems really hot and usually just toss off the cover and go back to sleep. Sometimes Hubby will wake up and find me like that. Other times, I recoup from minor lows on my own.

One thing that’s become habit for my hubbs is to feel my face whenever he wakes in the night. Sometimes it’s less than gentle and irritates me but I try not to get really mad. It’s not fun to wake from a dead sleep with someone pawing your face while they aren’t fully awake either. Ha. But I know he’s just checking on me. Poor guy, I can’t count the number of times he’s gotten up in the wee hours to coax food and drink down my throat, sometimes with me fighting him. Then changing my soaked bed clothes, occasionally putting me in the tub and then even switching sides with me so I don’t have to sleep on the damp sheets til morning. He is my greatest support and caregiver.

Some people want their moms when they are sick, but I want my husband.

The other weird thing that’s stayed fairly constant is the bone-chilling freeze that I get after a super-low with mega-sweating. Once my sugar starts to normalize, I will feel as if my insides have turned to ice and I’ll be so cold that I want every source of warmth available on me. How many times has Hubby wrapped me in his arms to warm me up during The Freeze? I can’t even guess. How many times has he pulled blankets out of the closet to pile on me? Thank God, that doesn’t last long, but while it’s happening, it feels like I’ll never be warm again!

So, don’t think that lows just happen and then are over all at once. No two lows are the same and no two diabetics will have the same symptoms or react the same to treatment. That’s the insidious nature of type 1 diabetes. It tends to have a mind of its own and does whatever it darn well pleases.

My hope, in taking the time to write this stuff out, is that it might help someone understand more about diabetes and the diabetics in their life. Or perhaps it will make other T1D’s feel less alone in the daily battle that is our lives. Whatever else you deal with, however hard the days and weeks and years get, always know there’s hope. Don’t ever lose hope. ❤

mega X meds

Oh my goodness!  I came back from the recheck at my doc with a buttload of new or changed prescriptions and OTC meds.

Normally, I wouldn’t be very pleased about being prescribed a ton of meds for something, but I’m going on 3 (that’s THREE) months with this hacking, coughing, can’t-get-a-breath crud.

The allergist, as I’ve said, tells me it’s all allergies and asthma, but daggone!

Asthma

How come I can’t tell or don’t notice when something sets me off?  If it’s “seasonal” allergies, how come I have sinus problems (just milder) all year round?

Allergies word cloud

Understand, I take allergy medication year-round.  If I don’t, my sinuses become enraged snot factories wherein the snot is more like glue.  (sorry, you know I’m gonna be perfectly frank with you here!)  
green-slime1-500x357

I have a wad of said glue that will sit just behind my tonsils, being moved neither up nor down, no matter how hard or how many times I swallow.  It cannot be gargled out, nor dissolved with fizzy beverages.  Sometimes it’s hard to eat because I can’t swallow my food easily.  It’s an absolute pain in my neck, literally and figuratively!

I discovered about ten years ago that drinking milk made the glue factory worse.  And even that was gradual.  First it was just a slight increase in mucus, but eventually, it was like the milk turned to gelatin by the time it reached my tonsils.  Just YUCK, okay?  So, I stopped drinking milk completely.

no more milk

That helped a lot, but in the past couple years now, I have been noticing other dairy products doing the same thing.  So I gave up my beloved sour cream completely.  That was ROUGH!  I used sour cream ALL the time!

Processed cheeses didn’t seem to bother me and cream cheese wasn’t too hard on me.  I don’t know why, but so far, so good with those.  I don’t know WHAT I’ll do if I have to give up those too, so I’m praying it doesn’t happen!

So I’ve been taking a 24-hour anti-histamine for years. I started on plain ol’ Sudafed eons ago, but after I got married, I started using Claratin (rinatadine), then the -D formula, then when that stopped working, I used Zyrtec (cetirizine) and soon that stopped working, and now I take Allergra (fexofenadine). This week, the doc switched me from that to Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride).
xyzal
I’d never even heard of it before, so it’s new to me. I hope it will work though.

For the past year or so, I’ve been taking Singulair (montelukast) to help with the asthma.
singulair

When I saw an ear, nose & throat doctor a couple years ago, she told me to use a netti pot to help keep my ears from getting repeated infections. She said it’d keep my eustachian tubes open and the fluid from collecting in there.
netti pot in use
Okay, so if you don’t know about netti pots, you can just click & learn about these little oddities. This was one of the most ‘tasteful’ images I found. Ha ha ha! Except for the fact that she’s way too upright, this is how you do it. You dissolve fine salt in warm purified water then pour it into one nostril so that it runs out the other. Yes, it feels as awkward as it looks, but the effects are worth it.
netti pot song
Well, Doc has been insisting that I get a nasal saline mist instead. I figured it was just like those bottles you squeeze to splatter saline solution up your nose, which is really gross. This is more like an aerosol so it is a little better, but I couldn’t figure out how that was supposed to be better than the netti. She explained that with the spray, I could use it anywhere and even if I wanted to use it “20 times a day” that was okay. She said to use it any time I was around something that triggered the coughing, like cigarette smoke or heavy perfume. She said that washed out the irritants to slow the histamine release.
A&H simple saline
I hadn’t even thought about that. I will still use the netti when I’m really congested or getting cold. It does a much more ‘heavy duty’ job of rinsing stuff out of there. But she suggested I keep several cans of the saline: in the car, my purse, by the bed, in the shower… so that way I can use it as often as needed.

Something else I was prescribed by another doctor years ago is Flonase (fluticasone propionate),
flonase
but it tasted nasty when it would run down the back of my throat and I didn’t notice that it helped much. Could be because I didn’t use it consistently since it was so nasty. Then that doc showed me to spray it pointed toward my ears, and that helped, plus not using two sprays in each nostril at once. But I would still forget to use it more often than not because I didn’t understand what it was for.

My current doc explained that it was a steroid and would decrease inflammation in my nasal passages. So now, I am making a concerted effort to use that stuff.

Okay, on to the rest of the stuff she has me using…
Of all things, she wants me on Sudafed D (pseudoephedrine) for awhile. So…
sudafed

And then Mucinex (dextromethorphan guaifenesin), which I hadn’t used before.
mucinex dm
She has me taking 1200 mg right now and says I need a maintenance dose after I get better. Says it’s to “thin that snot”. Bahaha..and yes, she uses those exact words. I just love how down-to-earth and plain spoken she is.

The allergist has had me on this Qvar inhaler (beclomethasone dipropionate HFA) for asthma maintenance for about 3 weeks now.
Qvar 80
I will not complain about it because the first stuff they gave me tasted waaaay nasty and my insurance wouldn’t cover it, so now I have the Qvar, which doesn’t taste bad at all compared to the Aerospan. *blech*

The allergist also has me using my nebulizer
nebulizer
with an albuterol/atrovent (ipratropium) mix.
albuterol
I was using it twice a day while the coughing was so bad, but now I’m just doing it as needed.

I also got my first-ever B12 shot. I hope it helps up my energy as much as people say it does!

So I know this has been terribly boring, but I’m hoping if I put this out here, dated and with all the generic names and such, maybe I can remember what I’ve taken and what works in the future. If you don’t take a lot of meds, you have no idea how easy it is to forget the names of medicines and doctors and the dates you used and saw them… By this point in my life, I scarcely remember those kinds of things unless I see or use them for years at a time.

I am hoping the jittery-ness will decrease soon. Not including the nebulizer treatments, these meds make me SO jittery it’s not even funny. I need to check my blood pressure, now that it’s crossed my mind. That’s something else the doctor gave me…catapres (clonidine), a blood pressure medicine to take if mine ever gets above 160/90 since many of the meds she’s got me on right now can cause the blood pressure to rise.

Oh, I hope I don’t have to take it! *reaching for the bp cuff*

Stay healthy, y’all!

slowly but surely

This is an update to my last “health” post sick again, naturally.

I made it to the allergist in one piece. Turns out this was the same office I’d been to in another town. This doc has offices in a couple other towns, and I couldn’t remember the name of the doctor to save my life! So anyhow, that meant they had my last scratch test results and other info. It wasn’t quite three years ago since that last visit, so they didn’t redo the scratch test again. I was VERY thankful for that!

I saw the PA, who I liked very well. She said it sounded like I just really needed some maintenance meds for the asthma. She gave me a steroid inhaler and a refill for the albuterol for my nebulizer. I’m supposed to take it twice a day along with another similar medicine, iprapropium. Boy, does it make me jittery! I’d never had much of a reaction with albuterol alone, but the two of them together make my heart race and feel like I’m gonna crawl out of my skin. I hate it!

The steroid is the nastiest thing I’ve ever tasted! She gave me a sample of it so I’m stuck with it for awhile, but my insurance won’t cover it so I’ll have to get some other similar inhaler after this runs out.

I’m not sure if she’s planning to keep me on that one for maintenance or not. Not sure what kind of affects inhaled steroids have so I need to research that.

She also gave me antibiotics, my usual after I told her it’s the only one that seems to work for me…Keflex. It seems to be doing the job. I still have plenty of coughing, but not the violent fits where I can’t get a breath.

So…for my own benefit, there’s the update. Finally doing better and I’m SO thankful!

how blessed

To The Husband of the Wife Living with Chronic Illness

Almost perfectly describes my life.

recouping, but slowly…

I am used to being sick. I mean, I do have type 1 diabetes. That is a moment-to-moment adventure of a roller coaster ride way to live. But I do it. I am not bitter about having to do it. God gave this to me for some reason that is meant to glorify Him, so it’s all good. Hear me when I say that I do not believe I am cursed by having this disease.

This isn’t about diabetes, though. I have been dealing with a massive, monstrous sinus infection and asthma flare for over a month now. I’M TIRED of it!! Argh!

After FINALLY getting the doctor to give me a Rocephin shot and a different oral antibiotic, I at last started to get over the horrendous throat and ear pain I’d dealt with for over a week, but it took much longer to get over this mess…and I’m still trying to do that. I have the (apparently) obligatory lingering hacking cough hanging on.

For clarity, I was put on blood pressure medicine at least 10 years ago. Not because I had high blood pressure. Not by “normal people” standards. You see, if you are a diabetic the standard limits and tables for determining an acceptable blood pressure (or cholesterol or ANYthing else) do not apply. No, what would be an acceptable bp level for you will be considered much too high for me. In order to protect my kidneys, when my bp was within “acceptable” levels for you, I was put on the meds. T1D’s are much more susceptible to kidney disease and failure, so protecting them while they’re still healthy is a big deal. However, the bp medicine they put me on, an ACE inhibitor, a very mainstream one, over about a 7-year period caused an awful hacking cough to develop. Ever since then, I’ve had problems with my lungs. *sigh*

I was taken off that medicine and put on a different type of bp med… this happened over and over. A couple of times, because I get tired of trying to keep up with all the different medicines I’ve been on AND because the names of the drugs are changed, after going to a new doctor, I have been put back on an ACE inhibitor…and shortly thereafter, the coughing would resume.

Realize this isn’t your garden-variety coughing I’m talking about. This is hacking til you can’t breathe then you choke and throw up type of coughing. I was sent to an allergist at one point who did a lot of tests and told me (of course) that I was allergic to a ton of things and diagnosed me with asthma.

I’ve said for years that I have asthma, but I don’t really wheeze. I cough my brains &/or lungs out unless I get completely out of breath, THEN the sort-of wheezing starts, but it’s more of a squeal when I try to inhale. Yeah, I do EVERYthing differently. Ha ha…

And so, that’s where I am right now. I have FINALLY gotten well enough to attempt riding my bike again. I have been trying to build up for the past week and a half. I could only do a few miles the first time before I just gave out. The next time, I got in about 9 miles. Then 12, then 14… I had a really bad (stubborn) low blood sugar once and had to wait for Hubby to ride back and come get me in the truck (more on that in another post…it was a really weird experience)

So this past Friday, Hubby and I went out on our own and I was able to get 17 miles in without dying. (ha!) Then on Sunday afternoon, between attending/working as altar counselors both services at church, eating lunch and going back at 6 pm for a meeting, I was able to do 20 miles. Granted, I almost hawked up a lung doing it, but I did it.

It was nice to even FEEL like working hard to get those miles in. Praise God! But now I’m getting concerned about my stinking lungs. I’m now on amlodipine, a ccb drug (calcium channel blocker) that helps widen blood vessels to lower blood pressure. It’s one of the few blood pressure meds that don’t have coughing as a side effect, and if I take it at night, it doesn’t seem to bother me at all, thank God, because now that I’ve had to take these things for so long, I can’t seem to go off them without my blood pressure going up to what is considered high for even “normal” people. Great. 😦

I realized last week that I’d not been taking a medicine for both allergies and asthma. I know, I KNOW!! Shame on me. But it’s hard to keep up with them all. I’d run out just before Hubby and I left for his last century ride in Elizabethtown and in the chaos of packing (we took puppy with) and making sure we knew where we were going, packing all his cycling paraphernalia, gassing the truck, making a hotel reservation, etc.. I just forgot about it by the time we got back. That and my blood pressure medicine are the only ones I take at night and *blush* I don’t take my bp med consistently (don’t judge…I DO keep an eye on my bp, I just don’t take it every night… more like about 3-4 times a week or so) and so, after realizing the cough was just not getting better, it dawned on me that I wasn’t taking the montelukast (Singulair), I went right out and picked it up. But it’s not like a “rescue” inhaler or whatever, it doesn’t work immediately. Hopefully I’ve learned another lesson about sticking with one of my meds (like the Wellbutrin!) and will stay on top of it better now that I’ve proven how much it helps.

Speaking of Wellbutrin, did I report that I am now getting the brand name (not the generic bupropion) FOR FREE??!!! I had to go back and see the ARNP at the place I’d first gone to for talk therapy so I could continue getting the prescription (hassle since I had to drive almost 50 miles to get there, but…) When I walked into the room the first thing she said was she’d just learned about a program for people with commercial insurance policies that would help pay for the brand name! I had told her how way back years ago when I’d first been put on Wellbutrin (before it became a generic) it worked very well for me, then once the generic came out (and of course, I had to use it because of insurance/cost!) I didn’t feel like it worked as well for me. I had been taking the generic ever since she put me back on it a few months ago at a higher dose, but in generic. Every time I picked up the prescription (which still cost me $30 each time!) it would be a different brand. Nice, when it seems that how effective it was had to do with the “other” ingredients used. We had looked into getting the brand, but it was going to cost me over $200 each month and with another 5-7 prescriptions to buy just for me each month, plus insulin pump supplies?? No way. We just couldn’t do that, so I had to stick with generic.

She gave me a number to call and sent in my info. Later that same day the company called me to verify all the info and in about 3 days, I had a bottle of brand name Wellbutrin XL with no out of pocket cost!! Talk about a blessing!! I haven’t noticed a huge difference, but it will be SO nice not to worry that this different brand generic each month is going to cause a problem. (it has in the past) After realizing how much Wellbutrin helps me, even when I don’t feel like it is/was, I won’t try to go off it again. And now, same goes for the Singulair/montelukast. If it keeps me from having this awful coughing stuff, I’ll make sure to stay on it.

And yeah, I’ll just pray God will spare me the side effects. *bleh*

Okay, then, I guess that’s about it. I will leave you with this though…some notes from a recent sermon:::

“The Bible is like an apple tree. You have to shake it (READ!) to get the fruit to fall!”

a healthy homebrew…

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When a friend told me about this stuff, I did some research and found this on YouTube, it was called “Good Girl Moonshine”.  My husband, bless his heart, can’t remember names at all, so he inevitably began to call it “Good Girl Juice” and occasionally requests that I fix him a bottle of it.  We can only hope he’s not telling the guys at work what he calls it.  Ha.

Now, I was skeptical upon seeing the downright ecstasy with which these two sisters extolled the virtues and health benefits of drinking this stuff.  But since I’m always looking for something to help give me energy or lose weight, I was game to try it. Here are the simple ingredients for making this concoction:

  • ice (fill a 32 oz. container to the top)
  • purified water (just don’t use tap!)
  • lemon juice  (2 Tsp)
  • ginger root, grated  (2 Tsp)
  • apple cider vinegar [also known as ACV] (2 Tsp)
  • sweetener  (to taste)

First of all, make sure whatever brand of ACV you get that it has “the mother” in it.  Ha-ha.. I know, that just sounds weird, but stick with me.  This simply means the ACV is organic and unfiltered, which leaves it with strands of the apple protein, enzymes and friendly bacteria.  It will appear as a sort-of ‘sediment’ which may float at the top or settle in the bottom of the bottle.  I use Bragg’s brand because it has been around for forever and has a good reputation for being an excellent product.  ACV has TONS of benefits for your health, including stabilizing blood sugar, promoting weight loss, and aiding digestion among others you can read about here.

Secondly, purified water.  We all know the importance of pure water.  Don’t take a chance with your tap water.  

Thirdly… the lemon juice, make sure it is 100% juice and not a cocktail or a lemonade mix.

Fourthly, (is that even a word?) and probably the most complicated…ginger root.  My adventures in procuring “the perfect” ginger have been varied and somewhat disappointing.  I’ve bought it from Kroger, Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

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I can’t really tell that it makes a difference where you get it other than from Whole Foods, it will more likely be organic. (but check to make sure if that’s what you’re looking for)  No matter if it’s organic or not, ginger root is gonna be different.  I’ve found some that are a dark yellow, almost brown color, others that are bright yellow and more moist.  Ginger is stringy by nature, but sometimes it will be MUCH stringier than others.  Those daggone strings drive me nuts!

 

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Egads!  The strings!!!

Ginger will grate best when it’s frozen, so pop that baby in the freezer soon as you get it home.  I’ve read posts that say you don’t HAVE to peel it, but I don’t like the papery texture of the ginger peel, so I use the back side of a knife and scrape the peel off as best I can.

 

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We have grown extremely fond of ginger as witnessed by my empty tub of Trader Joe’s famous Triple Ginger Snaps.  They’re the bomb & a couple of them make a nice treat after a delicious, healthy supper.

As you can see below, I have an ancient Salad Shooter that I’ve started using after grating the old fashioned way quickly got too time-consuming.  I don’t know how long my Shooter will work because, seriously, it’s OLD and the grater cone has a crack in it, but it sure beats the grater EXCEPT for having to stop and disassemble the thing to clear the strings.  ARGH!
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I’ve also used my old-fashioned crank grater…you know, the shiny silver kind your grandma probably had that you either clamp or suction to the counter.  It is tied with the Shooter for efficiency.  Meh.

STOP THE PRESSES FOR THIS UPDATE!  [9-14-15]
I had been contemplating buying a zester, which is basically a very fine shredder/grater but I digress, to see if it would do any better for this. I had serious doubts and didn’t want to end up with another kitchen gadget I had no room to store in my house, but the other day I found one in Burkes on sale, so I grabbed it and lo and behold:

ZESTER!

IT WORKS!! And wonderfully well, I might add! I did enough for my 48 ounce bottle in two snaps. FOR REAL! No stopping to clean the blades, no immense waste from all the strings (there ARE no strings with the zester!) Be sure it’s still frozen though, I’m sure that made it all the quicker.
So rejoice and cue the “Hallelujah Chorus” y’all…then run out and get yourself a zester RIGHT NOW!
And now back to your regularly scheduled post….

So, really grating the ginger is the single most time-consuming part of this whole process.  I will admit to using ground ginger in a pinch.
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However, let me spare you some pain by sharing what I learned the first time I used ground instead of fresh:  use ONLY 1 TEAspoon of the ground, not a TABLEspoon…and DEFINITELY not TWO tablespoons!!  (stop laughing!)   Be aware, too, that the ground will not completely dissolve, so just be sure to shake it each time before you take a swig so it’s not all concentrated at the bottom or that last mouthful will FEEL like you put 2 tablespoons in it.

Once you finally have your ginger grated, you’re ready to put your concoction together.  You simply put all the ingredients in your jar or bottle (more on that in a sec), shake it up really good and let it sit for about 5 -10 minutes (if you can wait that long).

As for sweetener, I have a couple different things I use.
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Yes, I actually use regular ol’ sugar too. Having had type 1 diabetes for over 40 years, I have tasted pretty much every artificial sweetener to come down the pike.  I have tasted some dawg-nasty stuff, trust me.  I don’t really care for any of them, even the newest stuff, and I avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible.

Then there are the side effects of using those types of things.  I have never been able to tolerate stevia, but I keep trying.  Most any artificial sweetener will give me a headache.  I don’t need any of those, thank you, so when I am going to “splurge” on a sweet treat, I just go for the real thing and bolus to cover it.  Now you know.  So anyhow, I make a 48 ounce batch for myself (that’s the size bottle I have) and so using around a tablespoon of sugar in that amount along with the properties of the ACV apparently, I don’t need to bolus insulin for it.  It has never caused my blood sugar to spike.

Okay, now for the bottle.  If you watched that video linked at the first of this post, you will see they are using regular ol’ glass Mason jars.  That’s fine for most anyone, I suppose, but there are many downfalls to using those.  For one, my hands are too small to easily grip a quart jar.  They are glass…difficulty gripping them is a pretty sure bet I’m gonna drop one and break it all over the place.  Not fun.  They don’t travel well.  Sure, you could go ahead and put the flat and ring on it if you wanted to take it with you in the car, but it ain’t gonna fit in the cup holder, ya know?  Then there’s the problem of actually carrying it from one place to another.  What do you do?  Put it in your purse?  No, I had to find a better solution.

My family is full of outdoorsy nutjobs.  Seriously, they love hiking, kayaking, camping, cycling (of course) and rock climbing.  We are always in the market for VERY sturdy equipment.  Somewhere along the line, my husband and boys found these things…

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Nalgene bottles rock!  We have about 5 of them just between Hubby and myself.  They are made of a hard BPA-free plastic that’s almost indestructible.  In addition to these Nalgene bottles, we get something called a Cap-Cap for them so that they’re easier to drink from.
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You can see most of the Cap-Cap in the above photo.  It essentially lets you have a smaller opening to drink from (eliminating that inevitable face-splash from drinking from the larger one) and still have easy access to the wide-mouth of the bottle for filling with ice and liquid.  I got some of my Cap-Caps on Amazon, but they also carry them in most outdoors or sporting goods stores.  REI is our favorite.  I swear I’m not getting kickbacks, but we do love our awesome outdoor gear!  You can also see this is my 48 oz bottle.  Nalgenes come in 16 oz, 32 oz and 48 oz sizes.  They also have different styles and cap-types available.
The single downfall I have found to using my Nalgene is that it’s like a little baby drinking from a huge sippy cup.  You are NOT gonna sneak a sip from it in a meeting or group setting, trust me.  But if that’s the only drawback, I’m okay with it.  Ha-ha!

I try to get a full 48 ounces of GGJ every day.  I haven’t found that it gives me tons of energy which is really disappointing, but it is obviously helping me lose weight.  After the cycling kick-started my body into dumping some weight, adding this is the only thing that could be helping me continue to lose even after NOT being able to ride for over two months now.  Now THAT is exciting!

One more product before I go… this:

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We laughingly refer to that as my Nalgene Purse.  It’s made by a company called ChicoBag and we bought one for me (at REI) after a short hike up to Natural Bridge wherein I had to awkwardly tote that heavy bottle the whole time because I had on running shorts with nowhere to hang it on my pants.
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It doesn’t work as well with the 32 oz, only because you will have to roll or push the top of the bag down a bit to expose the top of the bottle, but is designed perfectly for the 48.  Even when I’m just around the house drinking my GGJ, I put it in the bag.  It keeps it from sweating on everything and makes it easy to grab and keep right with me.  I’ve been known to take it into the grocery store or even a restaurant with me.  It “wads” up into itself leaving you with a neat little stuff sack, has a small caribiner to clip your keys to when you head out for a hike or paddle.  It also sports a couple of little skinny pockets on the handle just right for a pen or a tube of lip balm.

Let me know if you start drinking your own Good Girl Juice and how it works for you!  I’d love to hear.

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He answers the pleas

I’m unsure how to tell you about this, but since I’ve shared about this here, I have to update you.

First of all, both Hubby and I really just love the pelvic health therapist. She’s an awesome lady who is passionate about what she does. She really wants people, both women and men, to understand how their bodies work. She is a Christian, which makes sharing our story with her even easier and she’s an Emmausite. She has this high-tech way to measure how strong (or weak, as the case was in the beginning) my pelvic floor muscles are and how well I am able to contract and relax. All those things are important to healthy muscle function and she’s given me several exercises that I’ve been doing at home.

She has taught Hubby how to help with stretching and even showed him some massage techniques to help me relax all the tension I hold in my neck and shoulders. Before you get all jealous about that, realize that him knowing the techniques and having had the time to actually DO any of them are two different things. Between him working late several days and then working on his talk for this weekend’s Emmaus walk (more on that later), we just have not had the time. And honestly, I won’t ask him to do it because it makes me feel guilty. So I may never get one of those massages, but at least he knows what he’s supposed to do, right? HA-HA-HA!

Other things she’s had me doing is using pure vitamin E, which is supposed to strengthen and “heal” the skin in my outer hoo-ha. Sorry, I’m not as good at using the proper names for those things. (and would like to avoid being pulled up on Yahoo, ya know?!?  Sheesh!)  Anyhow, it made a huge difference in the sensitivity down there. I mean, like amazing improvement. I could hardly stand for her to do the initial exam when she used a cotton swab and had me give her a number for the level of pain I felt. Then she had me using a sustained moisture gel stuff to see if perhaps dryness was causing some of my pain.

It’s an over-the-counter stuff called Replens and after using it for a couple of weeks and then feeling a burning pain “way up high” and not so much in the walls of the … heh heh… hoo-ha, she decided I probably needed to check with the gynec0l0gist to make sure there was no infection or other thing going on.

So I’ve done that and the GYN says no infection, but everything looked thin and fragile so she gave me some estrogen cream that I use vaginally a couple times a week. It was like no big deal and she said that I should notice a difference in about a week and could probably do just once a month after the first couple weeks using it 2-3 times weekly.

That’s like, WOW!! Who knew and why didn’t those people tell me already? Like 20-some years ago?!?! Anyhow, I used the cream and a couple days later, the Hubbs and I were reading in the book the therapist recommended. It’s for married couples and is a Christian book about s#x! It’s called A Celebration of S#x. Cool, huh? It’s very educational as far as explaining those things that most of us don’t know about how our bodies work. So we read a bunch in that before going to bed. We laughed SO much because since I had a headache, Hubby did the reading out loud for us. He’s a little dyslexic and will mix up his words sometimes, so when he substituted the word “sectional” for “sexual”, I about lost it. I laughed so hard that I started the asthma going and I wheezed the rest of the time. Seriously, we had so much fun reading this book about how our genitals are made!! BAHAHA!

Later we woke up and began snugg1ing and ki$sing some and well…one thing led to another and we put some of the stuff from our book into practice. We had no agendas, either of us, but we were just enjoying being together. It was nice and something we had not done in AGES. As things went along, without being explicit, we got to a point of attempting to actually m@ke love and most people won’t understand this, but we were able to do so without any pain. That is a miracle. I haven’t been able to have actual interc*urse (I’m trying not to get picked up in some lurid Google searches!) without some significant pain in probably 15-18 years. I’m sure that seems unbelievable to most people, but that’s been my life and the ugly secret we have lived with our entire marriage. If all these years the trouble has been from low estrogen, it really is pathetic that doctors don’t ask more pertinent questions about these things and that we don’t know enough to talk to doctors about this problem.

However, I will remind you now that we did go to several doctors over the years trying to figure out why I had pain with s#x and were either told it was in my head, that I had a deformity or just looked at like we were crazy. So we DID seek help years ago, then just gave up and assumed we would just have to live with it.

Anyhow, hopefully that wasn’t too risqué for anyone, but I said I was going to be open and honest about what we were dealing with, so I wanted to also share the update, the happy update!

Now I’ll tell you that all the next day, I would intermittently be in awe that “it” had happened the night before, almost wondering if it really even happened at all, [think “Is this real life?”  LOL!] and then worrying that it was a fluke. When I shared those thoughts with my sweet Hubby, he said, “Well, if it was fluke, we will wait for the next one.”

We are praying it was not a fluke, but the beginning of a new chapter in our marriage. As the GYN said to us in the beginning of this journey, with all the time we’ve invested in this marriage, we owe it to ourselves to pursue a healthy, full intimate relationship together! I thank God that He’s working things out in this area!

Hebrews 13:4“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled…..”
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that was close…

A couple days ago, in the evening, I recall my right eye feeling like there was something in it. I lightly rubbed it and the irritation stopped. It wasn’t anything alarming or horribly painful. I didn’t think anything more of it.

The next morning, I woke up and it was still feeling irritated only now it was slightly sore too. It felt very similar to when I had dealt with when I’d had recurrent corneal erosion syndrome a couple different times almost 20 years ago. That thought troubled me!

But I had a meeting to go to at 10 that morning, then a hair appointment at 11, so I headed off to town.

The ceremony for our county seat to get the title of “TrailTown” was happening and since our friends are involved in that and the tourism board, we went to help out. More to just help there be a good crowd, since the governor’s wife was supposed to be there and it was a big ol’ deal.

My eye felt a little better after we left there. It crossed my mind to just deal with the eye, thinking it had to be a flare up of the Recurrent Corneal Erosion Syndrome. I had to leave early and get to my hair appointment and while on the way, my eye became very irritate again, and when I touched it, it felt bruised and swollen.

I immediately called my eye doctor and they were able to get me in that afternoon, a few hours after lunch.

I met Hubby and my eldest son in town for lunch and after that, the eye was hurting really bad, so I went home and got an ice pack on it and laid down for a while.

I took the pack with me to the appointment because it was just hurting SO bad and the cool helped, and it kept me from wanting to rub it so much.

I saw the other doctor in the practice who I’d never seen before. I like her. She started examining me, beginning with my left eye, all the while, I’m explaining about my history with RES and so she puts some numbing drops in almost immediately, realizing how bad it was hurting.

She looked at it again, then put some dye in while I told her about the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome that left scars inside my eyelids, which in turn, rub the fire outta any sort of irritant in my eye.

During all this, I can see she’s getting concerned. She asked what caused the SJS, making sure which antibiotics I was able to take now. Somewhere in that time, I said, “Oh, and in case you didn’t see in my records, I’m a Type 1 diabetic, too.” Her eyes got big as saucers. Poor lady. I tend to have that effect on doctors sometimes.

She looked in my eye again after the dye and informed me that I had an ulcer on it. What in the…? I asked what caused it and did they normally come up overnight like that?

She told me it was from a bacterial infection that was normally from being in a lake or pond. I told her that I’d been dumped out in a nearby river about a month ago, but she said, no, it’d have to have been in the past couple days.

I haven’t even been near a pond or lake or even a pool in that time. So we have no clue how I could have gotten this infection. But I have this “nick” in my iris, just to the outside of my pupil about the size of two or three pinheads. She said she was surprised to find it that big in such a short time after she asked again how long it had been bothering me. Apparently, that was huge for overnight.

Of course it was. That’s how I roll. *pththt*

So she sent me home with a script for some strong antibiotic drops to use every two hours, instructions to alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen every three hours for pain. She said the ice pack was fine, but no pressure. She said the best things I could do was sleep or watch TV.

I about died laughing. The two things I am best at?!?! *laughing* Apparently, those are the two things that keep the eye most still. She said no reading or computer (oops…I am doing this in short spells just a few hours before I go back for a recheck)

It’s not nearly as irritated nor as sore, so I am hoping and confident that she’s going to tell me it’s very improved.

Exodus 15:26“…I am the Lord, your healer.”

UPDATE:  Indeed, God is a mighty healer.  The doctor was literally AMAZED at how well the eye was doing.  She looked at it with that awful magnifier thing that shines a bright light in your eye, said it look awesome and then started talking about putting numbing drops in so “we can pop that thing outta there”…  *blink, blink*  “Pop what thing out?”, I asked.  “The contact,” she said.

“Um…you didn’t put a contact in it,” I informed her.

Then she was REALLY amazed saying she just KNEW she’d forgotten that she hadn’t put one in because of how well it was doing.  Couldn’t believe it had healed that much without one.  The reason she’d decided to opt for no contact the day before was for fear of trapping any bacteria in there and making it worse.  She just assumed, when she saw how much it had healed, that she must have put one in.

*shaking my head*  That’s a little concerning, but understandable too.  She said the top layer had already formed over the hole and was reattaching.  She stained it again and said there was no loose edges at all.  She told me the day before, the edges just “lit up” the were so loose.  I told her that there had been a LOT of prayer over that thing and she said, “That’s the only explanation for it being this much better today.”

So today, a week later (it’s now Wednesday, July 15) it still occasionally feels as if there’s something in there, and I’m not sure if that’s something that should concern me or not.  She told me I didn’t have to come back unless it got worse, and it hasn’t.  The redness is completely gone and the bruised soreness is gone as well.  I’m still using the drops 4x a day as she prescribed.  But that occasional feeling of something in there concerns me.

Honestly,  if it still feels this way tomorrow, I may make an appointment with my ophthalmologist who originally dealt with the erosion stuff all those years ago.  The doc I saw for this stuff charged me $45 each for both visits, plus what I spent on the drops…that’s almost $150!!  I have only ever paid $30 to visit the ophthalmologist and I’d feel better if someone checked it again.  Hopefully, he’ll just be able to confirm that it’s healing well.  Maybe the irritation I’m feeling is just part of the healing process??

I dunno, but I don’t think I’ll be able to feel okay about it without having it checked again.  We shall see…

God’s GOOD!!!  I give Him all the glory for how well this has turned out thus far!  Woo!