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Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Father's Day Wish



This is my Daddy. He raised me, long ago when dads didn't normally get custody-but he did! He let me barf on him, put bows in his hair and pick out his grey hairs (which I probably caused in the first place). Words cannot describe how much he means to me, and watching him suffer has been truly gut wrenching.
We do not know what is wrong with my dad. We need to know what is wrong with him. He has been going to doctors for so many years, so many doctors for pain that he has had and countless surgeries that never helped anything. One day, he was messing around on facebook and clicked a link about MS. Something clicked with him, when he read that article, that maybe all his weird symptoms are all related. He never really had gone to just one doctor for all the ailments before. He immediately made a doctor's appointment and began trying to get to the bottom of this. We aren't saying he has MS-but he does have SOMETHING. We just don't know WHAT.
Needless to say, one doctor's appointment turned into a few doctor's appointments with specialists with long gaps of time between (specialists take forever to see) and so far, nobody has had any diagnosis or even an inkling of what is wrong with my dad. We are begging someone to please care enough to look at his case and help figure it out. He has gotten so much worse in just a year, I am scared that whatever he has may be irreversible and if we wait too long the effects could be devastating. If this could all be treated or cured in some way, we would love to know-and if it can't, we STILL want to know!
This video is of my dad explaining his symptoms...
At least the ones we thought of whilst sitting there talking to the camera. Since we filmed, he probably has remembered a few more that we left out. He isn't a complainer, he doesn't want to burden people with his troubles, he isn't asking for anything for free-he just wants to find a doctor that is willing to help him get to the bottom of this. He does have insurance and can travel (with the help of his loved ones) anywhere in the US.
I am just hoping that this might click with someone somewhere. Maybe someone can share it with a doctor that specializes in this kind of stuff, or maybe just share with me the information of a doctor that may be of help to us.
Chronology of Information/symptoms as best of his knowledge (please excuse the poor formatting, but it was a copy/paste and facebook didn’t like it. I hope to edit it when I have time).
Age 5. - 1958 –I had mono. Epstein Barr virus antibodies are believed to contribute to MS symptoms later in life. Age 8 (or 9)-had an appendectomy
Age 10. - 1963 – Tremors started and continue to this day.
Age 14. – 1967 – Earaches with no sign of infection and eardrum damage. No wax buildup. Doctors can find n reason for the earaches. Continues to this day. (Common among MS patients.)
Age 14. – 1967 – rapid heartbeat and irregular EKG. Common with MS patients. Continues to this day.
Age 25. - 1978 – Tiic Dolorous started. (More common among MS patients than the general population.) Attacks frequently are accompanied with pain behind eyes, blurred vision, and / or double vision. Continues to this day.
Mid 20’s. – About 1980? – Began having serious gum disease. Quarterly visits to dentist for deep scraping/cleaning did not help. Kept loosing teeth until I gave up and had dentures put in.
Age 30. – 1983 – High blood pressure. Continues to this day even after deliberately losing 80 pounds and modifying diet. (Common among MS patients.)
Age 40. - 1993 – Developed symptoms similar to carpal tunnel syndrome. Had bilateral carpal tunnel surgery. No relief. MS can cause pain, numbness, cramping that mimics carpal tunnel syndrome. Many MS patients are miss-diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Age 41. – 1994 – Ulnar nerve issues. Surgery with no relief. Same issues as carpal tunnel. See above. Continues to this day.
Age 55. – 2008 – Balance issues. Stumbling, falling, numbness in feet and legs. Pain in both upper arms – constantly! Continues to this day.
Age 57. – 2009 – slurred speech. Continues to this day.
Age 62. – 2015 – An hour or two in sun and I am totally exhausted. Legs collapse. Fall. Cannot walk. (I was hospitalized for this in 2015.) Elevated creatinine levels (common among MS patients.) Occurs periodically to this day.)
Currently – Chronic exhaustion. Daily periods of double vision. Lack of balance. Frequent falls. Although I can hear fairly well, I always have the feeling that one ear or the other is plugged up. Pain in upper arms never goes away. Numbness in feet, legs never stops, and right forearm numbness never stops. Hands frequently cramp up.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

My PRK Story: I Spy With My Little Eye

Update on my corrective eye surgery: Many thanks to all those that have asked how it went...I've avoided giving an official Facebook update because I wanted to give my eye time to heal and really be able to speak about whether or not I thought it was a good thing...
So I sat and pondered the laser corrective eye surgery a LONG time. I was always petrified to do it, because I have, like everyone, heard horror stories and I didn't want that to be me....BUT I am just so sick of contacts, I never really felt comfortable in them and glasses make me a complete lunatic (ask Jaime-and yes, more so than usual).
I consulted three different places-one was Lasik Vision Institute in Oak Brook-They were terrible. They gave me the best deal but they packed people in the waiting room like cattle and then made you wait...and watch a stupid promotional video on loop...then they had you speak to a salesman to ask if you had questions...um..I had plenty of questions for the DOCTOR...Long story short, after many hours of waiting here waiting there I got to see the doctor. She was a complete ass and was so overly fake that even my husband commented on it (he's usually Mr. What'sYourProblemPants)... Another was in Seneca-they were great-just REALLY far away...I finally went with Spectrum Eye Institute...it was much closer to my home, but that is not the reason I went with them. Out of all the places, this was the only one to suggest that I could try a contact in one eye to see how I liked my vision corrected with only ONE eye being operated on...AND they suggested I consider PRK because I am so active (plus the chickens)....The negatives of PRK is that it is very painful to heal from for a few days and your results are not immediate-it can take months to fully see well...
So...Had the surgery almost two weeks ago. My eye felt like it had grains of sand in it at first, followed by a herd of MMA people having at it and popping it back into my head, followed by glass being shoved in my eye and then a boulder on top of the glass...That lasted for three days (first time I ever took prescribed pain pills and they didn't touch the pain)...Then they removed the bandage contact on the fourth day and I was a bit sad because my eye was so blurry. But it has gotten progressively better and here I am two weeks (tomorrow) out and I can see. I can tell you already it was all worth that pain. YEAH! And a bonus is that my eyes have returned to their white color-when I'd wear contacts they always seemed to look an unhealthy creamy almost yellow color.
So there you have it, my stupid summary of my eye surgery. In case anyone wanted my info for their own personal info bank.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Proud Omnivore: My First Chicken Slaughter Thoughts

The other day I had to do something that needed to be done. It was not something I was happy to do nor was I looking forward to doing it. I had to butcher two of my roosters. I've had them for over a year. My vision was simple: raise chickens for eggs and sometimes for meat. Sounds easy enough, plenty of people do it-but I hadn't done it.

Ideally, chickens should be eaten when they are young, but I wasn't ready yet last year to do it. I spent an entire year researching and studying exactly how to do it properly, so that my friends would not be wasted. Yes. They were my friends. I loved them dearly. I wanted to have enough information implanted in my brain so that when it came down to 'doing the deed' I would be able to do it all professionally and without confusion.

Finally, the day came when we had to do it. It was done with such respect and love...and yes, TEARS. MANY TEARS...but I must say that I will never eat a piece of meat the same way again. EVER. I've always respected and loved animals. But there is something that changes you when you raise an animal and then eat it. It is sad, yes, but at the same time it is a guilt-free food. I felt so happy to know that these animals I was eating had had a GREAT life. They were happy chickens doing happy chicken things and never experienced any sort of abuse. They knew the feel of grass under their little feet and they knew the feel of the sun as it kissed their feathers. They never had a day of hunger or thirst. They knew the love of a human and they changed the life of the human forever.

I shared my experience with a chicken group that I have been a part of for quite some time. A group that does share this sad side of life, sharing such knowledge to empower and educate folks like myself. I was harassed by many people for eating chicken and it left a very bad taste in my mouth. I wish these people would hang out at supermarkets and talk to ladies purchasing their chicken dinner at the grocery store. Hold up a photo of what the chicken's life was most likely like. Judge them. Those that view store meat as just meat. You don't truly think of your meat as a living breathing creature until you have raised one and eaten one of your own. I mean, yeah, I've always known when I eat a burger there was a cow out there that had to die for me...but somehow, doing this yourself touches a chord inside your heart that changes you forever.


I have nothing to feel guilty for, I am only proud that I was able to provide a meal for my family that was probably the most healthy and guilt free meat we have ever put into our bodies. Judge me. Go ahead. JUDGE ME. My head is high.  What did I make with my first home-grown chicken?  Chicken-A-La-King... Yes, I made him a king....It truly was a dish fit for a king...

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Light Shines Through Part 2

This is a supplement to my previous blog post-almost exactly a year ago, "The Light Shines Through."  You may want to go read that first if you care to have any sort of background story....

The last few months I knew something was broiling...Usually, my mother calls me once every other weekend.  It is our thing.  My whole life, I can expect my every other weekend phone call where I get to hear all about her troubles and she learns nothing about me...But every so often, she plays a game...It is called, "Let's not call Shawn and see if she calls me."  I do love games.  Monopoly, Scrabble, Scategories, Taboo, you name it I love it.  But I don't love people games.  They aren't cool.  I don't play her game.  I don't give in...I don't call her.  I suppose I could...but the fact of the matter is I don't want to.  I suppose I am playing my own game.  I'm playing the, "You left me when I was little and never gave a care about me and the only way you show me you care is calling every other weekend so I'm going to hold you to it."  Childish and stupid...but ya, these are my hurt little kid feelings at it again.

Let's back up a few months....I did bite the bullet and invited my mother to come to see my son before he left for boot camp.  She declined.  It was very hard for me to work up the courage to ask her after all that recent drama (previous blog post).  I'm still sucking down that bitter pill when I found out that yet again this lady is going to visit her family in another state (6 hours from mine) in a few months.  I was 'informed' that that is when she was going.  I was not consulted...had I been, I'd have been able to say that the month that she chose to go is the month my daughter is in Driver's Ed and I cannot leave.  But I wasn't consulted....Why?   Because she does not care if she sees me....Because of this I am done.  I am done done done done done.  I cannot say it enough.  If I saw her on the street I'd turn around and walk the other way. She is nothing to me. I refuse to allow her to inflict this pain on me again.

The little girl inside me, the one who only wanted to die throughout her entire High School life, the one that only wanted her mother's love is really really sad...she is sobbing hysterically...but the big girl I am is so very very proud of me.  I am proud that I overcame the monster that is my mother and became what I wanted...a mom.  MOM.  I am MOM.  I will be GRANDMA!  I will be all that she never was, and I am proud of me!  In SPITE of her, never because of her.

This is me...clicking my heels and skipping away....whistling softly in the sunshine.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

No Bunny Loves You!

When my daughter was little, I caught her bawling her eyes out in the closet....she couldn't' have been more than three...When I heard the hysterical sobbing, I searched for her and found her in the corner of her closet.....I asked what was wrong...
Her reply:  This bunny says no body loves me!
I looked at the little stuffed bunny in her hands...I gently squeezed his tummy and heard him say in a silly little bunny voice,  "Eh, some bunny loves you."  I explained to her that she was not understanding what the bunny was saying...

Ever since then, when she is down I just look at her and do my best silly bunny voice and say, "No bunny loves you."  She knows what it means...she knows that it means that even though things seem sad and bleak, there is always another way to look at the situation...

Not really sure why I felt I needed to share this story...but I have been making a LOT of bunnies lately. Maybe that is why...haha!  Anyhow, just remember, "No bunny loves you!" ;) 


Friday, December 23, 2016

Draining The Swamp: One Stitch At A Time






So, I made this afghan with the sole purpose of sending it to our President Elect  Trump.  I have no idea where to send it to ensure that he will, indeed, receive it.  So, for now, I will hold on to it and hope that some day I can send this to him, with the accompanying letter.  Maybe, once he is in the White House, I will just mail it there and hope and pray someone gives it to him.

I am even more proud that I worked on this as many in the crochet/knitting community were making those pink hats with ears.  Regardless of where we stand politically, being divisive is never an answer.  I chose to support and cheer rather than divide and whine.



President Trump,

I wanted to make you a gift, just to say thank you for standing up for the silent Americans that have gone so long without having their voices heard.  I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for jumping into the fray and fighting for us. 

I am sure this is not the best blanket you have ever seen or owned, but it is one with great meaning for me.  My son, who is currently in boot camp, wrote this before he left back in October (this was his first time voting in a presidential election): 

“Tomorrow's my last full day in Illinois for three months. I won't miss winter here AT ALL. So I guess I’ll see everyone in three months and hopefully I'll be a marine when I get back. Peace out y’all.  Oh and hopefully Trump will be the president when I get out. Fingers crossed haha!”

You see, my husband had served two tours in Iraq, one under President Bush and one under President Obama, and my son remembers the troubles we had under the latter, which resulting in my having to file a congressional due to the fact that they were very shady in the issuing of orders that meant we received less pay and no insurance for no less than three months and my husband not reenlisting, which had been his plan.

My working on this afghan has helped get me through this time when I have been missing my son.  I enjoyed working on this afghan as I watched the election coverage and have enjoyed working on it as I celebrated your groundbreaking win.   Much like your race, this afghan has been exasperating, sometimes I thought I would never finish, and I felt like a lot of this work would be for nothing, but I kept on working at it.  You did not give up on us, even when the outcome looked bleak.  I am entitling this afghan, “Drain The Swamp.”  I hope that you can stash it somewhere that will remind you of your great promise to the American People, and I have faith that you will not let us down.  I would love for this afghan to be your silent cheerleader, reminding you that the American People have shown they have faith in you because you will do great things for this country regardless of what either party says.  When you look at this afghan, I would love for you to feel pride in yourself and in our country, because through you, America again will be great, and will again become united and prideful.  Continue to be a role model for future politicians, show them that by standing for the people the people will, in return, stand for them.  

This afghan is completely machine washable (gentle, cool) and tumble dry low….unfortunately Washington DC is not, and thus, the swamp must be drained.


All of my love and respect,

Shawn



Here I am with my son's shirt, my chicken (named Trump) and the afghan. :) 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

How I Stopped Chain Smoking: One Chain Stitch At A Time!



I had open heart surgery at the age of 11...Of course I was told to never smoke...but I took that as a dare I guess, and when all my friends began smoking, of course I had to do it too.

As a child I loved the movie 'Pollyanna.'  I loved The Happy Game she played in that movie.  Everyone could benefit greatly from watching that movie.  There is nothing that cannot be changed to something good-it may be hard, but that is what makes it a game.

When I quit  smoking , I did not WANT to quit.  I LIKED to smoke, it tasted good and it made me feel good.  I just HAD to quit because I knew it was the right thing to do- and cuz I'm a cheapass and they kept raising the prices. 

I told myself:  NEVER again will I EVER have even "just a drag."  That always got me into trouble when I'd quit in the past...I also told myself that I had to get EXCITED about quitting.

So, every time I felt the urge for a smoke, I would FORCE myself to smile, and tell myself, "This is so AWESOME!  This is good for you!  You are doing a GREAT JOB!"  This was a VERY forced smile, and at the time, it was hard to do-to say those words in my head and to make myself smile.  I remember my dad telling me that I looked like the joker when I'd do my random "I am quitting smoking  smile," because it really was a forced smile haha!

Eventually that forced scary lady smile turned into a real smile.  I smile now because I am healthy, not tied to cigarettes (my whole life doesn't consist of "how am I going to sneak out and puff away?"), and I have extra money.

I also turned to tea.  I was also scared to quit because I didn't want to gain a lot of weight-and everyone says that happens when you quit.  So, I bought different kinds of tea (mainly because it isn't bad for you):  green tea, raspberry tea, blueberry tea (do I sound like Bubba?  Shrimp Gumbo, Fried Shrimp, Shrimp Salad bahahaha!).  I enjoyed my "break time" that the cigarettes allowed me.  I would sneak outside with my tea-so I didn't feel like I was cheating myself my little tiny "leave me alone for five minutes" breaks...

I needed to keep my hands busy.  Again, I didn't want to gain weight, so I needed something to do with my fidgety hands!  Putting a crochet hook in my hands did the trick!  It felt good to hold a stick in my hands-and this one wasn't a cancer stick!  YEAH!  AND when I was all done holding it I would have something fun to use or display!  Turned out the crochet became very therapeutic for me.

I also put a "no excuses" clause on my quitting.  In the past, I would let things "allow" me to smoke.  Maybe someone made me mad, maybe life got stressed, or maybe I was just in a pissy mood.  I told myself this time around there is NO EXCUSES to start smoking .  I was really put to the test because a few months after I quit my husband was deployed to Iraq.  I figured that this would be the ultimate test, if I could make this deployment smoke-free I was a winner.

I figured out how much I'd been spending on cigarettes, and put away that money that I would have spent for a whole year.  We used it to do fun family things and YARN!  LOTS OF YARN!!!  It was so nice to SEE what we had earned by my selfishness.

Anyhow, that is how I quit smoking.   Maybe it will help you or someone else, maybe not...but it worked for me.  December 13, 2008 at 2 PM I quit.  I have not even had a puff since.  I admit that I actually still will say that I loved smoking.  LOVED it.  BUT I didn't love it more than I loved myself or my family...and I surely didn't love it more than YARN!  I will always smell it and think, "GAWD I LOVE THOSE THINGS."  But I will never EVER have a puff.