Taking Those Baby Steps

I’m at war with myself about this surgery.  My odds are about 50/50 that I make it.  I don’t think I care much for those odds, and my sister said she really doesn’t want me to have the surgery-period-nada!  I will surely take her advice.

I think we’ll get a plan b started. I’m going to be having the pancreas checked to see if we are dealing with pancreatitis.  Many of the symptom mimic gallbladder symptoms.  The most common symptoms are : 

Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis

The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are similar to those of acute pancreatitis. Patients frequently experience constant pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to the back. In some patients, the pain may be disabling. Other symptoms may include weight loss caused by poor absorption (malabsorption) of food. This malabsorption occurs because the gland is not secreting enough enzymes to break down the food normally. Also, diabetes may develop if the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas become damaged. (http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-pancreatitis).  There no guarantee that this is what is ailing me, but I’m happy the doc is going in that direction.  If my doctors decide that surgery is inevitable at that point, I’ll take my chances then. Otherwise, they can keep their hands to themselves.  I’ll just stick with my low fat diet and take compazine for the nausea. I’ll take the weight loss as a bonus feature. Gotta stay positive! Lol!

On other fronts, I’m currently fighting sepsis.  I’m hoping the antibiotics kick in before the infection takes hold. Sometimes. my infections aren’t run of the mill and, the antibiotics don’t work.  I’ve been spiking temps for 2 days now.  The highest occurred at about 5 A.M. when the thermometer read 104.7 (F).  Talk about tripping.  Fever and dreams …wow! They do not play well together.  

The antibiotic sucks too.  I have this awful indigestion, despite following every instruction.  I have to wait 2-3 hours after taking the little blue bullet before I can take an antacid. Already having stomach pain, this heartburn is not making things any better.  I tried to eat a sandwich, but it felt like trying to pass a car through a soda straw.  I’m sticking to shakes and yogurt.  It isn’t worth the discomfort. 

I’m not all gloom and doom, however.  There is always laughter in my home. Today is no different. I was laughing earlier as I watched my 75 lb Bouvier playing with an 8 lb dachshund. The little twerp was chasing my dog, and my dog was running.  Then, they’d trade places. Zoey has a tendency to catch the fleeing offender and give it a big paw to hold it in place.  The little wiener dog yiped like it was being murdered.  The whole thing was adorable.  

I’m taking up scrap-booking.  We have all kinds of pictures floating around, and I decided that now is the time to put them together in a memorable way so that when Mackenzie grows up, she will have an interesting way to view her childhood through my eyes.  I’m doing just about anything positive to stay positive.

I’m doing a tarot reading for myself and, the trend follows that I should get to writing this book I’ve had in my head for years.  It’s strange, but I have been getting signs left and right that are guiding me to write this book.  My friend Carol Jackson even brought me her book called ‘Angel Unawares.’ This, of course, really spike my interest in writing my own book. I guess you could say it’s in the cards.  I just feel like the time is right with me being home now. I don’t think I’ll ever stack up to Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, but damn it, I’m going to try!  Life doesn’t have to stop because of a stupid illness.

Well, time to take the dreaded antibiotic.  I think I’ll go out and water some flowers to forget about the side-effects. I hope every one of you out there has a wonderful evening.

I don’t want to make money, I just want to be wonderful.
Marilyn Monroe 
Image 

 

No Bucket List Needed

I’m up late when I’d rather be sleeping. I’m nauseated, despite having taken compazine.  I’m preoccupied with this upcoming cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal).  It should be a routine operation, but for me, having 2 clotting disorders, it’s high-risk. The doc will fill me with some CO2 to better visualize the structures-this, in itself, is risky, according to my surgeon.  I’m on Xarelto to thin my blood, so there is a bleeding risk.  I will be  hospitalized a day or 2 prior to the operation to get me off the xarelto.  They’ll heparinize me, get me at the level they desire, and perform the procedure.  I’ll recover for a couple days and be weaned off the heparin to go back onto the xarelto.  I should be hospitalized about 5 days if all goes well.  

Now, the surgeon very frankly said that he could kill me if he did this procedure.  He said the Co2 alone could be a nightmare.  He recommended not having surgery at all due to the clotting risks and, infection risks.

My primary doc said that leaving the gallbladder in would be riskier.  If it infects, with my history, I’m toast.  He said it should come out within the next 3-4 weeks.  We will get the hematologist on board, and he’ll monitor me throughout the hospitalization.  I will see that doc in 10 days for his preliminary exam and, discussion of game plan with the surgeon and my primary. Oh, and me.  I’m very active in my care.

Having said this, that leaves the real possibility that I may not survive the procedure or subsequent infection I may acquire from the hospitalization.  They will monitor me for any sign of infection very closely due to my primary immunodeficiency.

So, for now, I’ve found myself trying to make certain that I’m reconciled to the possibility that I could die.  I’m scared, but not of dying.  I’m scared of leaving loose ends.  I want people to know they were loved and appreciated. I want my family to know how much they mean to me, especially my sister Cheri. She has stuck by me throughout thick and thin.  She has helped me get where I am today. She has been my role model, my best friend, and like a mother.  Because of her, I have achieved dreams.  She has helped me overcome my demons.  She’s always been the most constant person in my life.  Together, we’ve felt the caress of a Caribbean breeze.  Together, we’ve faced tragedy and triumph.  Together, we’ve climbed mountains. We’ve laughed hard, played hard and, worked hard. Always together.

I love my whole family, and have been lucky to have them all in my life.  My daughter has taught me what’s important, I mean truly important.  She is the best part of me.      I have wonderful friends that have enriched my life.  I think of the fun I had going to nursing school with Kelly and Jessica,and many others.  For all the strife, we helped each other get through it.  There are just so many.  Nic made me see why we don’t t should never eat our own young.  Stephanie reminded me of me when I was younger.  Tony shows me the importance of following one’s dreams.  Mama Sherry has shown me acceptance, forgiveness and unrequited love. My siblings have brought great joy into my life.  I’m proud of them all.  A few of my brothers have taught me not to be selfish and estranged from the people that they should be closest to.  I’ve felt the love of a good man.  Box helped me stand on my own and work for my keep.  Construction wasn’t easy, but at least it payed some bills. I’ll never forget him and will always be thankful to him.  There isn’t and never will be another like him.

So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.  I’ve been retrospective and introspective.  I’ve been creating so that there will be happy memories.  I made a necklace today.  I made portraits of Mackenzie that I framed to give to my sister, Michael, Mackenzie’s paw paw and to my mom Gloria. I’ve been cleaning my room and carefully choosing what stays and what goes.  Momentos.  In the end, that’s all this stuff will really be.  Just stuff that says, “I was here.”

That’s life, a collection of pivotal moments with people that helped me become who I am today.  Somehow, like a sculpture, I carved out a pretty decent  life once Cheri helped me see what a decent life was really all about.  I’ve learned to put others before myself-a lesson I learned from my child and, from my residents  at my former job.  Mistakes? I won’t dwell on them. I’ve made quite a few, but they  helped me be who I am today, I will say that I didn’t learn from my first or second mistake…sometimes, I made mistakes in multiples, but work hard every day to be better than I was the day before.  You live. You learn.

I don’t have a bucket list despite the thought that I might die, either from this surgery or some insidious infection, because everything just about on my bucket list costs too much money! Lol!  So, I guess I won’t be going to Ireland or having lunch with Brian Williams.  I won’t be partying in Amsterdam or swimming with dolphins.  I will set my sights to things more immediate, like having fun with my friends on August 24th at the VFW when we host Disco Night, hanging with my dogs, feeling giddy when I’m around someone special, or getting a rush when Cheri and I go shopping and bringing home our treasures.  The simple things.  That’s what really matters.  It’s the simple things that make me feel best.  When I feel my best, I’m truly in a positive frame of mind.  It’s is this positive frame of mind that is going to help me get through this surgery.  However, if I don’t, I’ll go in peace. I’ve been the best person I can be.  It’s just that simple.

When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.
George Harrison 

Peace of Mind

It’s becoming somewhat difficult to remember feeling normal. I’m not feeling well most days, and will soon have my gallbladder removed.
In general, I make the best of my time. I keep my chin up & do as much as I can everyday. If I hit a wall from fatigue, I take a nap. I don’t push myself too hard &, I do whatever it takes to stay infection-free.
This past weekend, my sister Cheri & I took my great niece Mackenzie to the World Bird Sanctuary & to Lone Elk Park. It was hotter than a well digger’s ass, but we kept walking & viewing the beautiful birds. I especially love the hawks, owls & eagles. I think my sister & Mackenzie were quite taken with the peregrine falcon. Any bird that can fly 280 MPH has my vote.
We drove through Lone Elk Park after touring the bird sanctuary & saw several elk & 5 adult bison & 3 baby bison. It was a peaceful drive.
The best part of the day was being outdoors & watching Mackenzie experience something new. I completely forgot all about my illness & just had fun. I felt more normal than I have in months. It was wonderful!
It was like that again today. We went out and, did a little shopping, checked out some cars, ate lunch, stopped by my former place of employment to visit some of my residents,then came home, put away our treasures & our friend Kelley came by for a visit. It was a very positive day.
I wish I could go back & work there again. I really love my residents in the Alzheimer’s unit. I really liked that my sister came in with me & spent time visiting with the residents too.
Other highlights of the day:
8 new books
3 new tops
2 skirts
1 dress
1 belt
2 necklaces
10 CD-Rs
2 bottles of nail polish
Retail therapy is good for the soul!
I plan to wake up early to tend to our flowers- they need a good morning soaking. My moon flowers should bloom within the next 6-10 days. Always a gorgeous display!
I’m participating in a bird study too. That’s pretty exciting. I mean, I see the birds here, but I don’t really see them.
There’s just too many positive things for me to ignore. Life goes on with or without me- I’d prefer to go w/ the flow.
We’re even planning a relaxation day, Zoey- my Velcro dog will be staying in her first motel. Dogs like a change of scenery too. Cheri & I really need to decompress. A short day trip will fill the bill perfectly.
I’m just going to live like there’s no tomorrow. I’m not going to let negative thoughts bring me down & when I come to a puddle- I’m jumping smack-dab into the middle of it!
How are you enjoying your summer? Where are kid & dog friendly places that you’ve discovered?
Please feel free to comment.
Blessed Be!

Community Day-Free Eye Screenings for Adults and Children

 

Please read and share!  Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.  Thank you!

Sunday, September 8, 2013 a ‘Community Day’ will be held at the High Ridge VFW Memorial Post # 6516 2220B Old Gravois Rd., High Ridge 63049. VFW Post and its ladies’ and men’s auxiliaries, in partnership with the Meramec Heights Lions Club of Arnold, will be the hosts of the day.
Free Eye Screenings for Glaucoma (adults) and amblyopia or ‘lazy eye’ (children 6 mos. to 6yrs) will be held 12:00-3:00 p.m. by Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation (MLERF). A Flag Retirement Ceremony will be conducted at 4:00 p.m. Throughout the day there will be games for the children, snow cones, hot dogs and, information on these service organizations.
Community Involvement:
Meramec Heights Lions Club has been a part of the community for over 25 years helping support Arnold Food Pantry, St. Vincent DePaul Society Food Pantry at St. John’s Catholic Church in Meramec Heights; working with Meramec Heights Elementary School providing additional school supplies, hosting yearly Breakfast with Santa and Easter Egg Hunt; hosting monthly Bingos for residents at the South County Nursing Home and for Christmas presents for residents and Trimming the Tree, and of course providing eye exams and glasses for those less fortunate. 
Lions are strictly a service organization and all funds are raised by members’ projects – BBQ’s, Trivia Night, yard sales, snow cone & popcorn sales, an annual golf tournament, dinners with Texas Hold ‘em and, an occasional raffle. New this year is our Breakfast at Arnold’s Farmers’ Market. Fun and fulfillment comes with the comaraderie and joy of our events which in turn help so many.
High Ridge VFW Memorial Post # 6516 and its’ Auxiliaries has helped veterans and the community for many years. Monthly lunches for Spinal Ward patients at Jefferson Barracks Hospital, Christmas baskets for area families in need, scholarship funds through Voice of Democracy and Patriots Pen essay contests for area students, knowledgeable help for returning military men and women, facilitating monthly visit, with lunch, to Henges’ Shooting Range for paralyzed veterans, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas (Santa, too) dinners and, a New Years Day breakfast make for an active schedule. 
Many fund raisers take place throughout the year – an annual Golf Tournament, monthly dinners, raffles, trivia, dances and even an occasional USO Show – something for everyone.
Please stop by on September 8th, enjoy the day, and learn more about our organizations.
Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much. Join us.Image

High Ridge VFW Post #6516 15th Annual Golf Tournament

I would like to share this information with everyone. This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year and, absolutely necessary to continue supporting our veterans.  If anyone would like to be a hole sponsor, cart sponsor or provide items for our live auction, please feel free to email me at: shepherdlady2001@yahoo.com.  Thank you!

Mikki Bruce

The High Ridge VFW Memorial Post 6516 is hosting its’ 15th Annual Golf Tournament at the Sugar Creek Golf Course. Tee-Off at 8 A.M. on Sept. 21, 2013. $90.00 per person, 4 man teams. Four man scramble. Your entry fee includes drinks, burgers and dogs on the course, and a steak dinner following the tournament. The goal of the tournament is to help the VA Spinal Ward and our post. We cannot help our veterans is we aren’t here. We will also have a silent auction & many other fun activities. Hole Sponsor: $100, Beverage Cart: $250 Food Cart: $500. Any and all donations accepted. All donations are tax deductible. For more info: 636-677-1772.

Golf Tournament Chairperson: Mike Rodgers
High Ridge VFW Memorial Post 6516
2220B Gravois Road
High Ridge, Mo. 63049 
I have also attached the post’s official letter for the event.
Thank you,
Mikki Bruce, Jr. Vice President-Ladies’ AuxiliaryImage

Peace of Mind

 

   It’s becoming somewhat difficult to remember feeling normal. I’m not feeling well most days, and will soon have my gallbladder removed.
In general, I make the best of my time. I keep my chin up & do as much as I can everyday. If I hit a wall from fatigue, I take a nap. I don’t push myself too hard &, I do whatever it takes to stay infection-free.
  This past weekend, my sister Cheri & I took my great niece Mackenzie to the World Bird Sanctuary & to Lone Elk Park. It was hotter than a well digger’s ass, but we kept walking & viewing the beautiful birds. I especially love the hawks, owls & eagles. I think my sister & Mackenzie were quite taken with the peregrine falcon. Any bird that can fly 280 MPH has my vote.
We drove through Lone Elk Park after touring the bird sanctuary & saw several elk & 5 adult bison & 3 baby bison. It was a peaceful drive.
  The best part of the day was being outdoors & watching Mackenzie experience something new. I completely forgot all about my illness & just had fun. I felt more normal than I have in months. It was wonderful!
  It was like that again today. We went out and, did a little shopping, checked out some cars, ate lunch, stopped by my former place of employment to visit some of my residents,then came home, put away our treasures & our friend Kelley came by for a visit. It was a very positive day.
  I wish I could go back & work there again. I really love my residents in the Alzheimer’s unit. I really liked that my sister came in with me & spent time visiting with the residents too.
  Mackenzie feeding Polish chickensOther highlights of the day:
8 new books
3 new tops
2 skirts
1 dress
1 belt
2 necklaces
10 CD-Rs
2 bottles of nail polish
Retail therapy is good for the soul!
I plan to wake up early to tend to our flowers- they need a good morning soaking. My moon flowers should bloom within the next 6-10 days. Always a gorgeous display!
I’m participating in a bird study too. That’s pretty exciting. I mean, I see the birds here, but I don’t <em>really<em></em></em> see them.
There’s just too many positive things for me to ignore. Life goes on with or without me- I’d prefer to go w/ the flow.
We’re even planning a relaxation day, Zoey- my Velcro dog will be staying in her first motel. Dogs like a change of scenery too. Cheri & I really need to decompress. A short day trip will fill the bill perfectly.
I’m just going to live like there’s no tomorrow. I’m not going to let negative thoughts bring me down & when I come to a puddle- I’m jumping smack-dab into the middle of it!
How are you enjoying your summer? Where are kid & dog friendly places that you’ve discovered?
Please feel free to comment.
Blessed Be!
Iphone 080

Just My Thoughts

I just wanted to do a bit of free-writing today. I’ve had so much on my mind lately, especially after my first COPD exacerbation. I’m also changing blood thinners. No more Coumadin. I’ll be starting this new drug call Xarelto. It’s a little scary because I don’t know a lot about it. I’m reading everything I can because the more I educate myself, the less apprehensive I am.
One thing I’ve been thinking about is how tired I am of being so careful about where I go, what I touch, who I am around- I’m tired of being afraid I’ll get an infection or get injured & bleed to death. Whatever happened to that old saying when a kid gets a scrape “…just rub some dirt in it, it’ll get better.”
When I was a kid, it was a good enough philosophy for me.
Nowadays, there’s superbugs, many that are antibiotic-resistant, flesh-eating bacteria (had it, don’t want to go through it again,) & a host of other bad bugs that are insidious & deadly. I’m damn near afraid to go to the grocery store, for example, because I can practically see the germs on the cart, the products, ect. Same with handling money- that stuff is loaded w/ nastiness.
In developing these fears, I’m cutting myself off from the rest of the world. This is so not cool!
So, I got to thinking that I don’t want live in fear. I’m ready to take my chances. I’m just going to ‘rub a little dirt into it,’ as they say.
I’m going to start the Xarelto & not look back. Whatever happens, happens. I have too much living to do to waste my time worrying. I’m going to focus on enjoying life. I’ll exercise good judgment, but not to the extreme.
I guess I’ve adopted this new attitude because I hate being told I can’t do something. I can! I’m defiant & will find a way.
In my case, willfulness is a good thing. It will help me do the things I wish to do, like traveling & socializing. Nothing is going to hold me back.
I spent the day with my nephew Michael & his 3 y/o daughter Mackenzie yesterday & could feel their’ positive energy, see their’ zest for life. I want that! I’ll have it too. I mean, just watch little kids playing & you see it. Kenz giggles & runs & goes until she drops…she has fun & goes for the gusto. Michael is like that too. Oh, and when he laughs, it’s infectious.
So, watch out, World! I’m back in the game! I’ve been enlightened!