It’s Football Season Ya’ll

lovebamaMy favorite time of year is finally here. I have to admit, I hibernated at the end of last years football season.  I take Alabama football seriously.  And by seriously I mean, insanely so.  I have a selection of lucky shirts, socks, pants, blanket, underwear, and even where I choose to sit and in what position is of great significance to whether The Crimson Tide wins or loses.  If the combination of attire and position isn’t working and we are doing badly in a game I have to change something, if not everything. I get mad at anyone else who isn’t playing along with my mind games too. Alabama performed badly for an entire half of one game last year and ya’ll, it was entirely my husband’s fault. He wore the wrong hat.

tidecomingI am fully aware that all of these shenanigans are insane. I don’t care. It is something that I have done for as long as I can remember.  And I know I’m not the only one who does this stupid stuff. I mean one of the things that my husband and I really hit it off on when we first started dating was Alabama football and our silly rituals. One of us got stuck watching the remainder of a game in the bathroom.

So, this year I am in the market for a new “lucky” Alabama shirt. I am guessing the luck wore off of all of the other ones in the final game of the year last season. The national championship game. The cause of my hibernation for a little while. I guess I am a sore loser. Alabama fans, myself included, have become spoiled. God bless Nick Saban. I don’t know what we will do if he decides to retire anytime soon. Being a hard core Bama fan has had it’s up’s and downs. Prior to Nick, we had several Mikes to enter and be ran out of the Alabama family. None of them would ever add up to Bear Bryant.  We had some good coaches and we came through every now and then, but not enough to make National Championship t-shirts and memorabilia expire.  Our 1992 National Championship car decals and shirts were good for 17 years. (mine weren’t due to size issues)bamacrew

If you are a football fan then you either love Alabama or you love to hate Alabama. That is part of the deal that comes with being legendary. I am good with it. What I am not good with is losing and knowing we should have, could have, would have won a game that we lost. The BIG game. The one that determines who is the best.  It was decided last year that Alabama was not the best. And that chip on the shoulder of those big boys will shine this year. It won’t (I hope) happen again! But I must do my part. I must find the winning combination attire.

alabamaweekAlabama football is not the only favorite of mine. My Choctaws started their season with a win Friday.  My teenage boys both play. They didn’t play this game. The youngest is having to pay his dues as a youngster on the Varsity team and the oldest hurt his shoulder in a scrimmage game week before last. He is okay, he will play this week. So, I have a dilemma… Alabama’s first game is against FSU. FSU and my Choctaws have the same tomahawk chop and chant. I know that if I partake in this Friday night, my luck significantly changes for Saturday night.  OH MY GOODNESS, I AM CRAZY!

flareflareIn other news, I feel like crap. T-Total, poo. I guess I am having a flare. The pain associated with these abbreviations is constant. It’s hard to tell if the pain is just getting on my nerves or if I am having a flare which is more painful than the constant pain I experience. Last night, winter came. I have been waiting on winter for 7 seasons now. It finally came, and now we have to wait an entire season to see what else winter does.  And guess what fellow Game of Thrones fans. Now that winter is here and leaving us hanging for an entire season, we now know that the next season will be the last. What the what? I realize the budget for a show such as this can get pricey. I realize the actors now demand better pay. I understand every drawback HBO seems to have. But what I don’t understand is the business decision to end the best show HBO has ever produced. I guarantee they have gained more subscriptions solely because of this show. I know that HBO is NOT cheap. I know they’re making money and significantly more because of GOT!

Last night, winter came. I have been waiting on winter for 7 seasons even though the raven and John Snow can go back and forth from Winterfell in one episode. It finally came, and now we have to wait an entire season to see what else the slow walking, dead winter does.  And guess what fellow Game of Thrones fans. Now that winter is here and leaving us hanging for an entire season, we now know that the next season will be the last. What THE wha—-at?

I realize the budget for a show such as this can get pricey. I realize the actors now demand better pay. I understand every drawback HBO seems to have. But what I don’t understand is the business decision to end the best show HBO has ever produced. I guarantee they have gained more subscriptions solely because of this show. I know that HBO is NOT cheap. I know they’re making money and significantly more because of GOT!

They better have some huge, expensive tricks up their sleeves to appease the humongous fan base for their final season. HBO, you have been warned. got

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No Fountain of Youth at the Beach

I have a public service announcement: THERE IS NO FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH IN PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL! At least, not that I found over the course of a week. Truth be told, this trip made me feel old. Older than I actually am. I spent 8 nights and days there and guess how many times my faulty body let me actually go down to the beach. 2 (two) visits to the sugar white sand. And two was all I could muster.


The first trip was during the day. I had no umbrella or pop up tent to block the rays from burning my pasty white skin. Mixed connective tissue disease means stay out of the sun. The medications I take for this disease all have warnings about sun exposure meaning stay out at ALL cost. So I loaded down with SPF 100 cream and I went for about one hour to the beach. I watched from afar as my 6-year-old and 37-year-old husband/kids played. Doing things I can not do any longer even though I really want to.
When you go on a trip like this, something we used to do all of the time with no problems what-so-ever, that whole spoon theory really comes into play.

My 6-year-old doesn’t understand it and I don’t expect him to. I don’t even want him to.  He persistently begged me to go to the beach with them every single day. He persistently begged me to go fishing at night at the beach with him every single night. My rationing of spoons told me that if I gave in and went to the beach tonight, I wouldn’t be able to move the next morning. Alternately, they told me that were I to go to the beach today, I won’t be worth a thing when we returned.

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I felt like I was letting my son and my husband down. I felt like I was making my husband mad. I don’t know why I felt this way because he never made me feel like he was mad or anything. On the way down there we found this awesome radio station. It was a great mix of older country music and really old country music. Mostly, the music I grew up with. I am a music lover and I love all music. Rap, pop, rock, country, classic rock, punk, heavy metal, you name it, I love it. On the way down the song, “Different” by Kenny Chesney came on. It caught me off guard. I can’t begin to explain why, but it made me cry. And cry…and cry…

There I was, staring out of the window, hoping no one else realized I was balling crying. I couldn’t hide it well. My husband asked me “are you crying?” “What are you crying for?” I told him that I had no idea. And this did make him mad. But I still don’t know what made me cry like that.

Something about being told you have an incurable disease that may eventually lead to your early death makes you see your entire life different. It makes you see your entire future different for sure. It leaves you on an emotional roller coaster ride that you can’t get off of. I have always had a quirky reply to my kids when they say “that’s not fair”. I have always told them that the fair only comes once a year. You buy your tickets, you ride your rides, and that’s all the fair you’re going to get in this life.

Now, I’m getting my moneys worth out of this ticket to this lifelong roller coaster ride.  The highs are rare, the lows are frequent, the upside-down and twisting is constant. My roller coaster ride doesn’t have an attendant. There is no way to turn it off or make the ride end. The person in control of it is in God’s hands. It’s up to Him, me, doctors, and support. IMG_3737

One of the days we were down there my husband talked me into going to play putt putt golf. Side note: I despise putt putt golf. But we went and I have to admit I had a blast. When we got there I quickly realized we were into way more than I originally thought. This place had an arcade, two Farris wheels, bumper cars, bumper boats, and a crazy house, among other things. The golf was inside in black lights. I didn’t win, but I did in my heart. I was having fun. Fun is something that seems hard to attain when you’re in constant pain.  We had a blast. But the trip was much longer than I thought it would be. And my body started to fail me towards the end. My son wanted to ride the bumper boats one more time before we left. I had just started to dry out from the first ride, but you only live once. Something that is much more apparent to me these days.IMG_3745

He also had to go turn his tickets in for a prize at the arcade. I asked my husband if I could ride the roller coaster while they went and did that.  So I did. I rode that roller coaster by myself. And I felt so alive. I felt so free. I felt so content. The ride was fast and short, and rickety. I don’t know why this one ride made me worry I may get sick and lose my cotton candy. Another childish thing I had done that day. I haven’t eaten cotton candy in forever.  It was so good!

My take away from the beach is this: Live every day like you are a kid again if you are able. I’m not, so this rare day wore me out. I didn’t find my fountain of youth, but maybe I did find a sprinkle of it.

I was ready to come home and see my doggies. They missed me as much as I missed them. I felt so bad for leaving them. They don’t understand. But they’ve already forgiven me.  I wish I could forgive myself as quickly as they can.

July’s Abscence

warriorI haven’t been on here and written much on my blog. I have a lot of reasons why. The first reason is METHOTREXATE! This medication is the Devil and creates the atmosphere of Hell inside your body. I know that its intention is to suppress my immune system and keep it from fighting my body, but it is starting to feel like it kills whatever your immune system hasn’t already battled.

I’m hoping my body will eventually get used to the medication and the bad effects will somewhat diminish.  I start to recover and feel a little better around Friday. So for Friday and then Saturday morning I am back to normal, or my version of normal which still includes pain. Then Saturday I take these 4  Methotrexate pills and the battle begins again.

methcanOn top of the awful side effects of this Satan derived “treatment”, I have started working. I love my job. I am able to work around my schedule and it isn’t a hard job to learn or do. I feel like I should be working during any spare time that I have because I never know when I am going to be unable to interact with the world around me or go down for the count with this disease and side effects.

Another side effect of the disease and/or medications is my inability to sleep. I don’t quite understand it, but I can be so tired and want so badly to go to sleep, but when I lay down I CAN NOT get any sleep. I take Ambien, which is obvious if you have read any of my late night posts. But I ran out of them this week and I was also out of refills. I contacted my primary care physician Monday to inquire about a refill. I had an appointment with them Thursday.  They wouldn’t call the medication in until I was seen. I understand it is a controlled substance. But they have been prescribing this to me for nearly two years. By the time I got there on Thursday I was ill. I was mad at the world. I was mad because I was tired and I couldn’t sleep. breakdown

I started my conversation with the doctor by telling her that I was sorry, but I can’t think straight because I haven’t slept in 3 days. She assured me that she would be sending my Ambien in along with some other stuff she was going to try since my insurance wants $480 a month for Lyrica.  Again, I ended the conversation reiterating my need for my Ambien TODAY. She again, told me I would get it.

I had a late appointment. The pharmacy closes at 7:00 pm. I went to Walmart to get this promised medication and it had not been sent it. All of the other medication had. I called the doctors office again. I was told that the doctor had to sign off on it since it was a controlled medicine. The doctor I had seen was a practitioner. Well, 7:00 rolled around and still no sleeping medicine. At this point, I could spit fire and nails. I literally cried right there in Walmart.

I am not a crier. I just don’t cry in public usually. I am the type of person who will wait until everyone’s asleep and then lay in bed and cry.  I know I shouldn’t keep my feelings bundled up to myself, but I feel as if I appear weak if I cry in front of anyone. Don’t ask me why.

In addition to me not being able to get the Lyrica, my rheumatologist advised me to quit taking the muscle relaxers and Neurontin and didn’t give me any refills of them either. Nor would she refill my Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is fine, I can get that OTC. The other two, not so much.

So here I am, in pain, now sick from the Devil medicine, with absolutely NO pain medication, NO sleep medication, NOTHING! To say I had a come-apart would be an understatement. Mixed connective tissue disease and rheumatoid arthritis are enough for me to have to deal with. I am going through a lot with it. Is it too much to ask the doctors to DO THEIR JOB? It is so aggravating.

methotrexatepFinally, around 4:00 pm on Friday my Ambien was called in and I got some good sleep last night. My spirits are up a little more today. But today is a Methotrexate day so we’ll see how long that lasts.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer in my posts, but I felt a need to rant and vent about it.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

It Runs in the Family

I was lucky enough to witness a miracle last week. What miracle is that you ask? LIFE!

My sister finally had her baby. Welcome the newest addition to the family, Mason. Isn’t all 9 pounds 1 ounce of him adorable? Just look at those cheeks!IMG_3549

If you follow my blog you have already read my delivery story in “A Labor of Love and Pain“.  That story is about my first experience with childbirth and this one is about my sisters’ second experience. I was present for both, however, she didn’t really need me for her first. I would venture to say that she didn’t think she would need me for this one either.

I have some memory problems with this disease so the specific weight of her first born isn’t tucked away in my mind. I do good to remember these with my own children. But one thing I do remember is that his head was the largest noggin’ that hospital had measured in 7 years. I don’t know if he still holds that record at that hospital but suffice it to say, he had a BIG head! When she got done delivering him she looked me dead in the eyes and said, “THAT’S how you have a baby!” I wanted to knock her teeth down her throat. I mean, does anyone really think I hadn’t rather taken the easier route? I forgave her quickly because I knew she was under the influence of a lot of pain medications.

I wouldn’t wish my experience in my first delivery on my worst enemy. That would be pure evil. Unfortunately, as the day unfolded, it was seemingly being reenacted by my little sister.

I arrived at the hospital around 11 am. She had started the process of being induced around 5 am that morning. She was still only 3cm dilated. We had a long way to go. She had already been given her epidural but was still in a great deal of pain. Similar to my experience, her’s wasn’t working for her right side. If you recall, mine didn’t work for my bottom half, below the belt. They gave her additional doses several times and things seemed to be getting better -until they weren’t.

The contractions were hurting her so badly that she developed the chatters. They were so familiar and all I could do was hurt for her because I knew all too well what she was going through. It really isn’t any fun at all to see your little sister going through so much pain. Sure, my sister and I haven’t always gotten along. There have been times (as noted earlier in this post) I wanted to wring her neck. There have been times that I just really couldn’t stand her. But she is MY little sister. It is okay for ME to feel that way, but not anything or anyone else. They’ll have me to deal with if it comes right down to it. (scary isn’t it)

My sister and I are two very different people. She tends to take things and blow them out of proportion. Everything is on a much more grand level for her. And that’s okay. Everyone is different. But because I knew these traits existed with her, I knew it was important not to lead on to her that things weren’t going fine with all that unfolded during this day.

Her doctor came in and checked her again around 3:00 pm. She was still only 5cm, but the doctor said she was now considered to be in active labor. She said she believed she would have the baby around 10:00 pm. Not long after that is when the extremely painful contractions began. The baby’s heart rate kept dropping a good bit after every contraction. The nurse was now staying in the room to monitor this.

Things were getting increasingly scary.

The doctor had been coming in and checking her progress every two hours. For reasons still unknown to me, she came in and checked her again about 45 minutes after she told her it would be 10 pm before time. I am assuming the baby’s heart rate issue was coming into play here. To everyone’s surprise, she was ready to start pushing! In hindsight, I now believe this was God’s way of making sure baby Mason was delivered into this world alive.

And so it began:

The doctor made an announcement that they needed extra nurses on standby to prepare for a shoulder dystocia delivery.  I was thinking to myself, “a shoulder dis-what”.  I could sense concern in her eyes and her urgency on the matter. My sister started pushing… and pushing… and pushing… I reminded her that not all deliveries required just 15 minutes of pushing like my mother had insinuated to me all of those years ago. I tried to make light of the situation and encourage some laughter.

She was in extreme levels of pain. I’m not exactly sure what makes those epidurals work so well for one pregnancy and nearly not at all for others. Does this problem just run in the family? Who knows?  In all, she pushed a little less than 45 minutes. Still 3 hours shy of my experience, but still longer than anyone would want for a delivery where the epidural wasn’t doing its job. Between contractions, the doctor was making “serious” eyes at me. I had no idea what she was trying to tell me, but I knew it wasn’t good. I knew she needed someone in the room to know that things could turn out bad. Things may be wrong, stuff could be about to take place that isn’t desirable for any involved. I think my sister also saw the doctor making these expressive looks at me because she kept looking at me and asking “what’s wrong?”

I have never been a good liar. I learned at an early age not to lie because my face always gives it away that I’m being untruthful. I can’t lie unless I have to. You may recall my writing about my acquired poker face. Here I am, using it again on yet another family member. I kept telling her that everything was okay. Just push, I would say. Just. Keep. Pushing.IMG_3550

Finally, Mason made his grand entry into this world. He was huge. He was huge, but he wasn’t crying. Immediately, I noticed his head was bleeding. I assumed it was associated with the force used trying to pry him out of his mother’s womb. You see, he was stuck. And the doctor had already anticipated this. I would later learn from Google and the real life experience happening before me what shoulder dystocia was. You can Google for yourself and see, but the most apparent thing to me was that it was SCARY for all involved.

His color wasn’t right. His head was almost blue along with his arms and feet. He wasn’t breathing right either. My sister kept asking me if he was okay. Me and my poker face kept telling her that he was. Then they sent the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) in to assess him and see if he needed to be moved there.  I looked around the room and told my sister that I sure hoped no one else was ready to deliver because it looked to me like the entire staff was in our room. I lost count of them all. Again, she was asking me over and over what was wrong with Mason. I kept lying and telling her they were just being extra cautious because he was such a big baby. Another 45 minutes later, they were still in the room. Still, this large baby hadn’t even been weighed yet. There were too many other more important things going on. IMG_3534 (1)

He had bruises on his arms, bruises on his head, bruises on his side, but still, he pulled through. He was okay. He didn’t even have to go to the NICU, praise the Lord again!

I returned home and when I got here I got a text from my sister telling me the weight and length of the healthy baby boy that is now known to everyone as Mason. My new nephew. Welcome to the world Mason!! I hope the world is easier on you than you were on your mother’s body. (kidding) You may have come into this world a bruised up baby, but you have left your mark on the hearts of many already.

My Best Friends

 

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Homie and Bella

 

I probably have a different opinion about my dogs than most. My dogs are people to me. They are my best friends. Sure, I have friends that don’t have 4 legs but my dogs are my true, loyal no matter what, best friends. It is so cliche’ to call them that, I know. But there really is no other way to put it.

I look at them as my rescuers. If I’m feeling down about anything with my illness I can always, without a doubt, rely on them to cheer me up.  I have three dogs. Two of them are full blooded boxers and the other is a mutt, mostly German Shephard. She is the newest addition to the pack and although I do love her dearly, she is the most destructive dog I have ever owned. I question my decision to bring her home often. She literally chews up everything she can get her mouth on and no amount of scolding or giving her alternative things to chew on has worked. Still, she is here to stay. She’s now a part of the pack.

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Piper

 

Before her we got Homie. He turned 3 on April 1st. He’s my April FOOL. Just look at that picture of him and you’ll see why I say that. We named him Homie and other people don’t understand why. I really can’t even explain why it just fits. When we first got him and took him to the vet for his shots the veterinarian heard a really bad murmur. She acted as if she didn’t even want to give him shots. She asked where we got him and asked if we would be able to get a refund. Like he was just some item we purchased at the store. My husband, who was the one that took him to the vet that day, told her to give him the shots anyway. When he got home and told me the news and that he got the shots anyway and expressed how callous it seemed of her to act that way I was shocked. I was shocked for several reasons.

 

Homie

Homie

 

See there are some things that I don’t see as problems where my husband will. One of them is my dogs.  Don’t get me wrong, he loves them. But he is a voice of reason when it comes to them. He is the person who has said on several occasions that we may not be able to afford Piper because of her destructive behavior and the price tag on a lot of the items she chooses to rip to shreds. I know he’s right, but the ability to find her another home is something I don’t possess.  So when this vets actions and mannerisms didn’t sit right with my husband and he felt it came off as disheartening I knew this situation would’ve probably caused me to raise Hell if I had been with him. I was so proud of him for demanding the shots anyways.

She did tell him that Homie may outgrow the murmur, but that his was one of the worst she had heard. She was doubtful. I did contact the breeder and she assured me that if he were to pass away from this condition she would get us another puppy. Once we bring a puppy home he is a member of the family. How could I just give him back and deem him defective? I couldn’t. Most animal lovers couldn’t.  Skip forward 3 years and me and my Homie are still kickin’ it. He’s healthier than I am at this point.

Before him, there was one. Bella. My sweet, loving, extremely weird, Bella. I got her from someone that didn’t take up a lot of time with her. And because of that, she is strange. She is getting old and can’t see well anymore which prompts her to bark at stuff that really is nothing.

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Bella

 

She is the well mannered, rarely ever does anything wrong, innocent one. Until she’s not. And since we brought Piper home  Bella has acted like she found her youth. Sometimes she is actually the instigator in some of their rough play sessions. And she is having a blast!

Back to Homie- I know as a parent you’re not supposed to have a favorite. Because I treat my dogs like humans too I’m sure I shouldn’t have favorites among them either.

I Have a Confession to Make

Homie is my favorite! I never want to think about the day when something happens to any of them, but I’m telling you now, I WILL have a come-apart if anything happens to Homie.

Homie has helped me with so much in my life that he’s not even aware of.  I can’t tell you how many days I’ve felt like crap and near my wit’s end and Homie will nudge his squishy nose on the side of my bed and just lay his head there because he knows when I’m upset. He doesn’t like it at all and he tries his best to cheer me up. Most of the time it works. I honestly don’t think a day has gone by since we got him that that goofy dog hasn’t made me laugh. I’m not even over exaggerating that, not even a little.

I could sit and go on and on about my friends but it’s getting bed time. Don’t worry about me tonight. My best friend is already sawing logs right beside my bed.IMG_3522

 

 

Thoughts on Methotrexate

I stated that in the end of May I went back to my rheumatologist. I forgot to mention the new game plan. Imagine that. My ADD butt forgetting to post an update.

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We came to the conclusion that the root cause of my rashes was the Plaquenil. She also said that many of my painful areas are trigger areas for fibromyalgia. So here’s what we did as far as meds go:

Stop taking Plaquenil immediately and give it three weeks to allow it to get out of my system. After that period I will start taking Methotrexate.

Stop taking Gabapentin and Flexaril and replace it with 75mg of Lyrica twice a day.

My three weeks will be up Monday. From what I have read, the Methotrexate doesn’t look like a whole lot of fun. I’m interested in hearing from any fellow spoonies who take it and see how it has helped you and what drawbacks you have. Lyrica didn’t have much if any, effect on me. (As usual, my Ambien is beginning to have one on me as I type)

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To make matters worse, I’ve apparently, unbeknownst to me, moved to the Amazon rain Forrest. It has been raining for nearly 4 months now. Rainy days get average people down, but they take away spoons from people like me. It’s been rough. I have already been complaining about the rain and then Cindy brews up and brings in more rain than I have seen in a long time, if not ever.

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Back to medicines, what do you do to get the cost of your medications which do not come in generic form down? I need advice so that I don’t have to take out a 2nd mortgage or anything next time I visit the pharmacy. I hope you all have a dry and great weekend.

 

Goodnight!

Am I a TV-aholic?

tvIn this day in age, we are all connected. Connected to social media and thus the world, connected to our phones which house multiple ways to connect, which are then connected to the world wide web where all of these connections are housed. To further matters we have now started to connect our phones to devices we wear to track or productive we are each day. Or to a watch that does everything your phone does, but in a more convenient size.

These wearable devices have never been of any desire to me. I don’t need my phone to tell me how unfit I am, nor my bracelet. But let’s talk just a minute about the advancements that have been made in getting our televisions connected. Or maybe I should just say our program viewing connected and therefore hugely broadened. We can now go online with our TV. I know what you’re thinking, this is no new news. I am fully aware of that, but it is fairly new to me.

countryroadLet Me Explain:

See, until a little over a year ago I lived in the country.  Living in the country is great. You could yell and not worry about your neighbors hearing you, you could allow your kids to pee outside and no one would see. You could go a little extra time between cutting your grass and no one would care. You never had to worry about any drop-by company because nobody was ever in the area so letting the household chores go a little was okay too. In October in this small town, the kids roll yards for fun. Most parents are okay with it and I am too. But let me tell you when we lived in the country we NEVER had to worry about getting rolled. Nobody was coming all the way out there to do it.  Continue reading