Sunday, October 25, 2015

2015 Soaring Wings Half Marathon

It's been a year, but I'm finally back! Yesterday I walked in my 7th half. It was the 3rd time I've done the Soaring Wings and it was the last half I did.  It's been such a long, difficult road from then to now.

After my last half, I had such big plans. I was going to rack up a total of 13 half marathons before my 40th birthday. But things just fell apart. I canceled our trip that would let me do the New Years Double, which made it impossible to hit 13.  Even then, I decided instead to do virtual races. One a month unless I had a "real" race. I did one in January. So I guess technically this was my 8th, but I have a hard time counting that one because my time was horrid and it just wasn't the same as a "real" race.

In February, I discovered my diabetes was out of control and that was making me feel just awful. Constant fatigue. I could barely get out of bed to go to work, let alone walk a half marathon. It took months for me to get that under control.  When I was put on insulin, I was terrified of walking long distances.  Would my blood sugar drop unexpectedly in the middle of a walk?  It took me a while to get used to it all and convince myself that I'd be OK.

And then my Dad died.  I had always expected that to be a huge explosion in my life.  A sudden black hole.  But it wasn't like that.  It was slower, and it took me a while to see how the grief was dragging me down. I've struggled with depression more than I have in a while. I started walking again to have time by myself. I didn't want my kids to see how much I was hurting. Walking honestly became my sanity.  It was months before I could take a walk and not cry.  I still do from time to time. But walking became my therapy. I need to do it as much for my head as my body.  Maybe more.

By July, I had gotten over my fear of passing out by myself on the trails and I did a 5k with my sister.  I remembered how much I love races, so I started thinking about signing up for the half-marathon.  I gradually increased my mileage until I was certain I could keep my blood sugar controlled for 13.1 miles.  And I registered.

It's been a very dry summer here.  Our swamp behind the house has been so dry that we actually walked to the end of our property for the first time.  It was bizarre, but that's another story.  But, of course, you know what that means....

Rain!  My first half-marathon in a year and it's forecasted to rain all day long.  It's hard to really complain when we desperately need the rain, but I really wasn't looking forward to it.

I didn't have much of a goal for the race, other than to finish.  I've been incredibly slow this summer, barely able to break a 18 minute mile.  Since they added a full marathon this year, I really didn't have a time limit, but I didn't want a 4 hour half-marathon.  I honestly thought that was what I was looking at.  My longest time to date was 3:45 (my first Soaring Wings in 2013).  If I had a goal at all, I wanted to beat that.


The rain wasn't too bad, really.  Drizzle now and then, but never a downpour.  Enough for my socks to get wet, though.  I've always had a problem with blisters every time I've done this race, even if I never get a blister once during training, I end up with crazy blisters at the race.  Around mile 9, I could tell my socks were wet and had some hot spots coming up on the ball of my right foot and I resigned myself to having torn up feet.  What else could I do?

I was pretty impressed with my pace the first few miles, and worked really hard at trying to keep that pace the whole time.  For some bizarre reason, I had 16:23 stuck in my head as my pace for my last PR, and I was going 16:00-16:10.  I was so excited.  What are the chances I could PR my first race back?

None... I don't know where 16:23 came from, but my pace was under 16:00 for my PR race.  That's OK though, because it kept me going, kept me pushing to keep up the pace I was at.

My official time was 3:36.  Not a PR, obviously, but still no where near my worst. I am impressed, really. I had all but given up on racing and I had a very good race. That really means so much to me.  I feel very fortunate to be able to do this and I don't want to ever take it for granted.

After I crossed the finish, I grabbed some pizza and water and found a curb to sit on.  I couldn't eat the pizza.  I seem to have a very hard time making myself eat after a race, even though I need to.  As I was trying to eat, I looked down at my feet and notice a red stain on the side of my shoe. (My shoes are SO PURPLE. I'm not really a purple kind of girl.  Selection is limited when you have huge feet, though) I thought back through all the stations along the race, and didn't recall any having red Gatorade.  So what was that stain?



What on earth?

I went to the first aid tent before I took my shoe off, just in case.  My pinky toe was all bloody, but with all the blood, I couldn't really determine why.  I got a bandaid so I could at least get my shoe back on to walk to the van where I had dry socks.  I drove home shoeless.  It turned out to be a small blister on my pinky toe. I guess the rain made it look a lot worse than it probably was.  It was also the only blister I had. I was so sure my right foot was going to be so bad.  But nothing.  Except the dramatic bloody blister on my pinky toe, of course.

I don't have any pictures of me for this race.  I'll be honest.... I've gained about 30 lbs this year and I am not comfortable with that AT ALL.  I hate pictures right now. I have seen the race pictures, and saved a screen shot of one that I want to compare my next race to.  I am not sure exactly when my next race is, but I want to have lost some of that by then.

I am planning on doing a 10K/Half-marathon combo in March (10K one day, Half the next) for the Little Rock Marathon.  The past 2 years, I have signed up for the CASA half marathon in December, but have yet to actually do the race.  I'm torn between actually doing it this year, or just admitting that that isn't a good time of year for me and waiting until March.  Bill and I are discussing a "destination" race in April (it's not THAT far away, just a bit too far to not stay overnight), and I want to do RussVegas again because that's been my favorite to date. 

I'm finding my way back to "normal" and I'm so glad. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Enough's enough

Last night, as I sat on my bed alternating between being irate and self-loathing with my heart pounding and feeling the pressure flowing in my veins, I decided that maybe Adipex isn't going to work for me. In fact, I was pretty sure in that moment that it could very well kill me, either having a stroke or hurting myself.

I searched online today to see if Adipex has a reputation for drastic mood issues, and it does. It's called "phen rage" and some people even reported permanent changes in their moods after taking it for a while and then stopping.  I saw comments in forums where people basically said,  "yeah, I'm pretty screwed in the head, but I've lost 40 lbs!" and "I'm borderline physically violent, but look at these jeans I can wear now! "

Sorry. If this is my only hope, and it's not, I'll stay fat. The past few days have been awful. I can tell my blood pressure is down today already, but it will probably take me a while to get my head back in a good place. I've slept most of the day just to avoid coping with it.  There is no benefit to losing weight, not even getting off insulin, that is worth this. I hate to say it doc, but bad call, buddy. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week 1

Starting weight (per doctor's scale): 266
Week 1 weight (per office scale): 259

Saturday - 8 mile walk
Monday - 3 mile walk at home video
Tuesday - 2 mile walk at home video

7 lbs in a week is pretty remarkable, even taking into consideration that I'm using 2 different scales and that might be off by a couple of pounds.  I'm not anticipating 7 lbs a week all the time.  I hope I don't.  This might sound silly, but it does weird things to your head.  Like, you'd think I would be like SEVEN POUNDS!!!!  But it's really like, oh.... just 7?  That's messed up and I know it.  I can't deny it, though.

As for side effects, the "on speed" feeling only lasted a few days.  It does raise my blood pressure, particularly in the early afternoon.  The doctor knew it would and told me to just make sure it wasn't getting too high.  The first few days, it wasn't just that my appetite was suppressed, but I was repulsed by food.  That's gotten better, though.  I can tell it suppresses my appetite and I don't really crave anything. The only real complaint I have is that I've been REALLY cranky and I almost always have a slight nagging headache.  I hate cranky.  I'm hoping that maybe, like the speedy feeling, that I'll adjust to it and my mood will even out, but right now I just feel like I need to be isolated from everyone.  Maybe that's why I can't get all hyped about 7 lbs.  I'm too pissy to be grateful.

I'm trying to be responsible about it and make sure I'm not just relying on the Adipex.  I'm working out and fighting the occasional urge to just eat out of stress/emotions.  Adipex does help take the edge off that, but not entirely with emotional eating for me.  And considering I'm constantly in a foul mood, it's come up more than a couple times.

So, we'll see how Week 2 goes.  I plan on getting more exercise in and I keep telling myself I need to count calories, but I have such a mental block there right now for some reason.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Back to school....

The girls are going to a new school this year. We got them into a charter school (it's like a cross between a public school and a private school) very close to our house and it promises to be a very challenging environment for Olivia and Zoe, and a very supportive one for Isabelle.

We have suspected that Izzy is dyslexic for a while. Her teacher that she had the past 2 years tried unsuccessfully to have her tested by the school. I've been reassured that she will be given every possible help they have at this new school. They don't have her placed for reading help yet, but they did place her for math tutoring. I was kind of shocked because she's good in math.... but there are a lot of word problems on the test. So of course she didn't test well. Poor kid.

It's hard for her to keep her chin up sometimes because she struggles and her sisters don't.  I'm trying to find ways to show her that her talents might not be academic but she's no less talented. The school offers after school clubs, and she showed an interest in ukulele lessons, which tickled me to no end. A quirky little instrument for my quirky child. I signed her up and bought her a ukulele. I think this will be amazing for her. I do think she's got some musical talent, so I'm excited to see where this goes. Hopefully it will be a good boost to her confidence.

Olivia.... if this past week is any indication, she's going to drive me insane this year. I feel like I have to drag her through everything. She's so smart, but so lazy.  I'm hoping something will spark her interest quickly.  From everything I can tell, they have very high expectations of the kids at this school, so she's not going to get to skate by like she has in the past. She even has foreign language this year, all three of them do, actually. Iz and Zoe are both learning Spanish and Olivia has Turkish. You don't see Turkish offered much, so I think that's neat.

It's an adjustment for us all, but hopefully a really good change.  I just hope I can keep my head on straight better than I did last year. I felt like the wheels fell off before the first quarter ended. But, let's be positive and look ahead at a wonderful year, yes?  =)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Take that!

At my doctor's appointment Tuesday, I had blood drawn for lab work.  Checking my A1C, cholesterol, and other things I have no clue about.  I hate having my blood drawn.  I have this "thing" about straw-sized needles being shoved in my veins.  It's freakish.  I can get tattooed all day long and not flinch, but I'm going to be doing deep breathing exercises over a blood draw.  And don't tell me that doesn't make sense.  If you do, you clearly have never had one or the other done.

But.... my phlebotomist needs a raise.  She was beyond good.  I barely felt the needle go in.  My vein rolled, she tried to get it, couldn't, and pulled out.  No pain, though.  She tried the other arm... barely felt the needle go in at all.  That vein cooperated (I'm assuming I was a bit dehydrated, because I don't usually have problems like that.  Usually they get excited over my big, juicy veins - which grosses me out, too).  Yesterday, I expected some bruising, as is normal, but nothing.  Just a tiny pin prick mark on each arm.  You can't even see that today.  I've never had such an easy blood draw. 

Anyway, I got an email with the results last night and I'm so stinking excited!  My A1C, which is like a snapshot of your blood sugar over about a 3 month window, went from an 11.4 in May (that's really high) to a 6.4 this time!  Under 7 is considered "controlled diabetes".  So, I've definitely got my diabetes under control, and now my goal is to be able to eliminate some of the meds making that possible.  My cholesterol was well within normal range, as well.  It was never high, just borderline, but it's nice to see that has dropped, too.  I had been told, and wasn't sure how credible it was, that cholesterol meds didn't work well for women. Obviously that's BS.

I started the Adipex yesterday, and it makes me feel a little space-y, especially in the morning.  Not too bad, though.  It will be difficult for me to really track my progress since my scale at home seems to just throw up random numbers.  It will give me readings a good 5 lbs different within minutes of the first reading.  I don't know why I keep it.  I might get a new scale one of these days, but I'm just going to go by whether or not I'm afraid of splitting my pants getting in the truck as my measure of progress right now. ;)

Plus, I gotta buy a ukulele this week, I can't be spending money on a scale =)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day 1

So.... how's it going?  I've been pretty quiet, I know.  It's been one of those times where I didn't want to write unless I felt really negative and I didn't want to spread that around, so I just haven't had a lot to say.  It's been a tough year and I'm trying....  it doesn't feel like enough sometimes, but I'm still plodding along.

I went to the doctor yesterday, for a follow up on my diabetes.  Things are going well there.  All medicated up, I can keep my numbers normal as long as I'm being sensible with my carbs.  I really would like to lose enough weight to reduce or eliminate some or all of my medications, because my insulin is CRAZY expensive.  However....  all that I've accomplished is packing on 20 pounds the past few months. 

It'so frustrating.

I really and truly believe my meds are a huge factor in that.  I am big on personal responsibility lately and I keep telling myself to be honest and think about how I contributed to that gain, and I really, really don't feel I've eaten enough to justify a gain that big.  I've been walking, I've worked really hard this summer at being active.  I have struggled with my depression this summer and I know I'm not eating to lose, and I realize subconsciously I'm probably eating more than I think, but still... 20 lbs in just a few short months is A LOT.   I haven't been very successful in a while at losing weight, but I had been maintaining in the 240s for a good long while.  266.  I feel like a whale, and I usually have a really decent body image despite being overweight.  But my clothes are starting to not fit.  I can't wear my scrub tops for work, I've resorted to tshirts with the scrub bottoms that are quickly becoming too tight.  My wedding rings won't fit anymore.  It's bad.  I haven't been above 250 in a long time and now I'm seeing 260s and I'm really scared it'll keep going up and up until I'm past my all time high of 292.

My doctor and I were discussing that, and my depression.  I told him I am not willing to go on meds for that right now because of the bad experiences I've had with Zoloft.  I just don't want to risk becoming a danger to myself again.  I'm trying to handle it in my own way, with mediation and gratefulness practice, and it works when I really apply myself.  He didn't feel the need to push me on that issue, which was a relief.  He did want me to start taking melatonin before bed because I'm not sleeping very well.  He started to suggest a prescription for that, but we both agreed that I don't allow myself enough sleep (I generally get 6.5 hours, tops, and can't manage to get to bed any earlier to get more) and I'd end up a zombie on something that strong.  His next suggestion through me for a loop, though.

He asked me how I would feel about taking Adipex for 3 months.

I'm generally a very anti-diet pill kind of girl.  I don't think it's a good long-term solution and that you have to do it the "real way" with diet/exercise/lifestyle changes.  And I told him all that.

He said he wants me to take it to get the ball rolling in the right direction again.  As a push, not a solution.  He thinks, in addition to the sleep, that losing weight right now will help me feel better physically and that will boost me mentally and get me back in the right mind frame to "do it the right way."  He said I should lose anywhere from 15-60 pounds in the 3 months time frame.  I have to lose at least 5 pounds a month to continue on it... it's a controlled substance and they aren't allowed to write refills, so I have to meet  his guidelines to get a new prescription monthly.  He's worried that if I continue to gain weight that we're going to have more and more problems with my diabetes and I think he realizes I'm pretty tapped out financially in that department.  I can't afford to increase my treatment in that area. 

So, I felt like I was eating crow this morning as I took my first Adipex pill, but I'm going to give it a try.  I do kind of feel like a fraud, but there is a big part of me that's like "I could lose so much weight so quickly!" and it is exciting.  I think that's normal, but I'm trying to be reasonable about it.  It's not a miracle drug.  I will have to work to make sure once the 3 months is up that I continue to lose weight and not gain it back.  I'm also worried about what to say when people comment on any weight loss.... I'll feel like a fraud, to be honest.  But we'll see how this goes.  I'll try to keep you posted about my progress. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Saturday, I was sitting in my recliner after saying goodbye to Bill as he went to work.  He'd been gone for a few minutes when I heard the kitchen door slowly open and close.  The girls are always in and out, so I thought nothing of it.  But then the girls ran past me towards the kitchen and started squealing in excitement. 

"Mom! Mom!  There's a kitten in the kitchen!"

We don't have a kitten.  I don't know how old Killer is, but she's certainly well past kitten stage (I suspect she's pretty old, in fact).  But, sure enough, my kids were holding a TINY little kitten.

I ran outside, and Bill was still in the driveway.  He said the neighbor kids were walking by, followed by a tiny little kitten.  They asked if we knew anything about her, and said she'd been following them around all day.  They couldn't take her home because their mom was allergic.  So, Bill took the kitten and just put her in the house without a word.

Her name is Mischief Maker.  Killer has her moments with her.  She's been nice to her, and she's growled at her.  Mostly, she's just a grumpy old lady who has no patience for the young whippersnapper, though.  Ollie is in LOVE.  He thinks Mischief is the best thing that has ever happened.  It's so funny, because he's a big dog, and Mischief is so tiny.  She hides from him when he gets too hyper, but she's pretty fearless otherwise and they do play.  When he's crated while we're out of the house, we always come back to see her sitting by the crate.

In other news, I know I didn't even give it half a shot, but I canceled my Weight Watchers.  I went to a meeting and it just didn't feel right.  Plus, I had to not only count points, but I had to also look up carbs for what I was eating, so it was actually more work than counting calories because most calorie counting apps are going to show carbs....  WW doesn't.

And another reason.  Lantus is expensive and I needed to cut some corners.  Lantus.  Blah.  I went to the doctor Monday and am now on insulin. 

It's not THAT bad, I suppose.  Insulin needles are so small that you literally can't feel them and Lantus is a long-acting type of insulin that you only have to take once a day, as opposed to several times with some other types.  I'm really glad about all of that, but it's EXPENSIVE.  $250 a vial, which is all out of pocket for me until my stupidly high deductible has been met (which would be several months even with that expense going on). 

It's not helping yet.  It could take a few weeks to get the proper dosage, which is pretty frustrating.  I'm supposed to increase my dose by 5 units every 5 days until we start seeing normal numbers.  I get so angry when I check my blood sugar and it's still too high.  Especially when I've eaten something like a salad with only 30g of carbs.  If my blood sugar is over 200, I want to have eaten some ice cream or pasta or something to justify it, you know.  Ugh, it makes me so mad.

My nurse, though.... she's just the sweetest person ever.  I explained everything going on in my life the past month and she almost cried.  She said "and you wonder why you can't get your blood sugar down?"  I know stress is making it worse, I KNOW.  But it doesn't make it less frustrating.  We're getting my mom moved this weekend, and I'm hoping.... praying.... that things will settle and I can relax a bit.  I'm sure once we get into our new "normal", school will be out and that will just be another bout of chaos though.  C'est la vie, right?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Well, wonders never cease!

6 years ago, Bill and I packed up the girls and took a long vacation to visit his scattered family. We live in Arkansas, they live in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York (upstate, not NYC).  We haven't made the trip since.

I've tried. I would sit down to plan every summer for a few years, but Bill would veto the idea. We can't do it in just a week and 2 weeks at a time is too much to take off work. No one would come visit us, why should we go visit them? It's too hard with 3 small kids. He had excuses....

His Mom visited. His Dad and sister visited. His Grandma and Aunt visited. He really couldn't use that excuse any more. The other excuses, while somewhat valid, but not insurmountable, were still tossed my way when I would bring it up.

I eventually just stopped bringing it up.

And, to be honest, he just grew more and more distant from his family every year.  Months would go by without him talking to his parents. Again, I'd try to nudge him into calling, but I eventually just let it be. I do what I can to keep his family in the loop, but I can't force him to have a relationship with them.

It's been that way for a few years now.

But sometimes things happen that make you realize what you have, and I think my father's death was one of those things for Bill.

I noticed over the weekend he was Googling lodging in NY.  I asked what was up...

We're taking a vacation this summer. Two weeks have been requested and approved. An unexpected check even arrived to fund a good portion of the trip. We're headed East in August to visit Bill's family!

Monday, April 27, 2015


My Mom gets to leave the hospital today!  Finally!  It's been 2 1/2 weeks.  She's really got a very positive attitude about starting a new chapter in her life, but I know the next few days will be really hard on her.  She hasn't had to really face the reality of my father being gone yet because she's been in the hospital. 

We were able to steal my Mom away from the hospital a few hours to take her to look at the retirement community we liked so much.  Her face when she saw the apartment..... it just made my day.  She loved it.  She signed a lease!  We'll take her back to Hot Springs and figure out how quickly she can get out of her apartment there.  My parents, having had a house fire a few years ago, don't have a lot of things, so it's really not going to be a huge task packing up things. We might have to hire someone to actually move furniture, though.  We'll need to go through Daddy's things, but again, they kept things simple after the fire, so it won't be a huge (just emotional) task.  Hopefully, it will just be a couple of weeks until she's moved.  Then we can settle into a new normal around here. 

My doctor has been on vacation the past 2 weeks, so I probably will get some feedback on my blood sugar numbers from the past 3 weeks.  They haven't been good.  I faxed my numbers over on Friday and put a little note at the bottom that I'm ready to discuss insulin.  I wish I could just beg for more time, and I could argue that he gave me until June, but I know he's not going to want to wait and I'm just wanting to see normal numbers.  I know I shouldn't let the numbers on my meter effect my mood as much as they do, but I can't help it.  Insulin still scares the hell out of me, but I just don't know what else to do, to be honest.

I signed up for Weight Watchers the other day.  I never tried it in the past, because it just seemed like a slightly more complicated method of calorie counting.  But it just kept popping up in conversations and I thought, why not give it a try?  I decided to go all out, and sign up for the meetings as well as the online tools.  I've never had any kind of face-to-face group support so maybe it will help.  My first meeting is tonight, unless I can't make it because of my Mom, but I think I'll be able to make it.  I've been using the app the past few days, and it's been kind of shocking to see the Points value of some foods.  It's really not that much different than just plain ol' calorie counting, so I hope the meetings help, otherwise it's kind of a waste of money since I can calorie count for free.  Plus, I still am having to use my calorie counting app to check carb numbers on a lot of things. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


My Mom is still in the hospital, but last night the doctor told us that he'd be meeting with her physical and occupational therapists to discuss when she can go home.  Fingers crossed it will be within the next day or so.

My sister and I have been looking for a place for Mom to live closer to us.  We've visited 2 different retirement communities.  The first one is really close to where I live, but the feel of the building was very industrial.... the whole building is concrete and steel, so it lacked a bit of warmth.  The second one we visited is close to where my sister works, and where she's trying to find a house to move into herself.  This one was pretty much perfect.  The place had the same feel as the retirement community she lives in now, very warm and friendly.  My sister and I were there for almost 3 hours!  They invited us to bring Momma on Thursday so she can see it.  If she hasn't been released from the hospital, the doctor said he'll give her a pass to leave for a few hours.

My Mom has a really positive attitude about everything.  She knows how difficult it will be to go back to their apartment after she gets out of the hospital, but she's ready to move on and begin a new life.  It's sad, but I'm so relieved that she's able to look forward.

In the meantime, I have to regain my focus on my own health.  I was doing a fair job at getting my blood sugar numbers back to normal, although no matter how few carbs I ate, I just couldn't quite get it there.  But, the past 2 weeks I've just lost all control and they're back to being WAY too high.  The medication I'm on just isn't going to be the solution.  It's not that I don't expect to have to do my part with diet and exercise, but it's pretty obvious that my numbers were going down because of diet and exercise and not the meds.  I know the stress I've been under isn't helping, either, but I can't keep

I know the doctor is going to insist on insulin, it's just a matter of when.  On one hand I'm just ready to throw in the towel and say OK.  From the little bit I've learned about it, it would be much easier to correct my blood sugar if it went too high than it is now.  It will probably take me a week or two to get my numbers back where I had them, and that wasn't even where I needed them to be.  But there is still part of me that is scared.  I think I'm more afraid of what's happening to me while this is out of control, though.

Friday, April 17, 2015


My mother is doing much, much better. She was moved to rehab a few days ago, and will probably be there until later next week. They are working with her to build her strength back up. She's been in very good spirits.  She did tell my sister that she thinks she just gave up in the beginning, but as much as she really misses my Dad, she knows she's going to be OK.

As she got better and I didn't have to be consumed with worry about her, I've actually had to, you know, deal with other emotions. I've had so much support though. I really don't think I could have handled everything if I didn't have so many people rooting me on. And my little sister.... she's had to take on much more than I have. With our odd schedules and the girls, there just sometimes isn't time for me to do what I feel is my fair share, but she has taken care of things and never complained.

While we are waiting for my Mom to be released, we're working on finding her a place closer to us. My parents have been living in a retirement community about an hour's drive away.  My Mom wants to move up here and be closer, and we certainly want that as well. My parents originally moved to Hot Springs to be close to my Grandpa, but he passed a few years ago.  They had actually been discussing moving back to Little Rock.  They just hadn't gotten around to it.

My Mom wants to live in a similar place when she moves up here, so my sister and I are going to check a few out to speed things up. We toured one today. It was really nice. The retirement communities are so great. You have an apartment, they provide meals for you in the dining room, they have all sorts of activities, housekeeping, utilities included.... I was always so happy to know my parents were happy and busy in Hot Springs. We definitely want to make sure she has that here.

I keep finding myself thinking that it will be nice for things to get back to normal. But I have to remind myself that "normal" is going to be evolving for a while. My Mom won't expect us to revolve our lives around her, but she will become more of a part of our daily lives. I'm a little sad we didn't make this happen while my Dad was still alive. I wish we all had had more time together.  But, as my Mom says, if wishes were horses, we all would ride....

Friday, April 10, 2015


You know that saying that goes "you never know how strong you can be until you have no other choice"?  Something like that anyway.  That's been this week.

I had been so terrified of losing my father for years, yet the Earth didn't stop spinning. I have a hole in my heart that will ache forever, I'm sure, but he lived literally years with near constant chest pain, so I can live with this.

Wednesday night was the visitation at the funeral home. My older sister and her husband and my nephew arrived early in the morning from North Carolina. We spent the morning at my younger sister's house.  I dreaded the visitation. I knew that would be the moment it became really real. I don't like seeing the body and just couldn't imagine seeing my Daddy like that.

But I had to. We actually were the first ones there, which meant I could do it alone. Then my girls wanted to see. They have been so confused by everything.  They remember my Grandpa passing away, but they didn't get to see him often, so it wasn't as real as this. And they didn't go to the memorial service.

I did look at him. I even touched him. I had never touched a dead body before, but I just wanted to rub his bristley balding head again. I could never do that with anyone else, but it's different when it's someone close. You'll do anything for one more touch.

The hardest part was when my Mom arrived and seeing her. My heart is so broken for her. They were married almost 48 years. They married 2 days after she graduated high school. She's never been alone before.

After the visitation and dinner with family, my sister took her home with her. My sister and I spent a while texting back and forth talking about Mom staying with her for a while before we find her a place closer to us (she's about an hour away now and we are adamant she has to be closer for several reasons). 

My mother was so wiped out by the day that she couldn't even get up to turn out the light to go to bed. But just out of the blue, she got a drastic case of diarrhea and fell trying to get to the bathroom. My sister ended up calling 911. 

My older sister and I spent the night in the ER waiting room while my little sister was with my Mom inside. They determined she had some sort of infection from her blood work, and she was so fatigued that they admitted her to the ICU.  I left the hospital about 4am, my little sister about 5:30am.

My mother was not able to go to my father's funeral.

We tried. She wasn't in any shape to leave the hospital. We brainstormed ways to allow her to see it televised somehow, but she couldn't stay awake. It broke or hearts all over again, knowing she couldn't go, but there just was no way.

The funeral was nice. He had a military burial, which was just perfect. Since my Mom wasn't there, we asked that they present the flag to my father's last remaining sibling, my uncle. He did give us the flag for Momma afterwards. My cousin recorded it so we can show my Mom when she's ready.

My Mom really wouldn't wake up all day Wednesday. We asked the nurses why and there really was no medical reason.  Yes, she's sick, but it was alarming. I think it was the only way she could cope, to be honest.

Friday I spent the day with my sisters on a road trip to my parents' apartment to get anything valuable out  (long story I'll talk about another time ).  I searched for things with my father's handwriting. Looked at his blood sugar log just to study how he wrote his numbers. My sister wished one of us had a saved voice mail so we could hear his voice again. It was bitter sweet, being there without my parents. I know we'll never all be there again together.

Friday my Mom was more alert. Easy to wake, talking to us. We caught glimpses of her personality through the sleepy haze. We were so relieved. Honestly, we were afraid she'd die. Those stories about a husband and wife dying within a short time of each other because they couldn't bear to be apart sound romantic until you're faced with it as their children.

I went to see her first thing Saturday and was crushed to discover her back in the state she was in Thursday. Difficult to awaken. She was mumbling nonsense about trunks and people we didn't know. My older sister suspected when she was there that she was talking to Daddy, asking about his sisters, who are both deceased. It was scary. I made a second trip to see her that evening and she was complaining about the hallucinations, and grabbed me, asking me not to go. I stayed until my sister could come, and then she stayed until visiting hours were over. She slept better with us there, so we agreed to make sure she wasn't alone for long today.

Today she's better again. She asked for breakfast and got annoyed when I tried to help her too much. She's still sleeping most of the time, but she's easily awakened and lucid. She asked me what day it was, how long she'd been in the hospital. She told me the hallucinations were gone and she'd stopped dreaming about Daddy. That part made her sad, I think she enjoyed that part.

Crystal finally told me that she thought Mom had been talking to Daddy in the ER Wednesday night, that it was like they were either arguing over him dying or over her staying. I might sound crazy, but I don't really think it was a dream. I believe he really was there, still trying to take care of her and comfort her through the hard parts. I think he'll always be there, holding her hand. I think she wanted to go with him and he convinced her to stay.

They've determined that what they thought was a minor UTI at first was more than minor and she became septic, which happened about a month ago as well. I'm concerned that both tines she got very sick very quickly, so we'll have to talk to the doctors to figure out how to deal with that. They hope to get her well enough to be in a regular room in the next day or so, then we will figure out where to go from there. We're beginning to question if independent living would be a good idea, but we'll cross that bridge after getting her over this one.

It's been tough, but my husband and my sister's husband have been Godsends. My brother-in-law has volunteered to babysit several times so I can go to the hospital. Bill has taken all the time he could off of work, and he rarely takes time off for anything. They've definitely been our rocks.

God willing, this week will be a healing week.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The day I've been afraid of for years

Sunday was Easter and our plans were to spend the day with my parents and sister. Then my mom called to tell me that they had taken my Dad to the hospital. He's been in the hospital a few times already this year, it's a call I'm honestly used to getting. I dread answering the phone anytime my mom pops up on the caller ID, because my Dad usually calls for anything else.

But the call was a little different. My Mom usually sounds fine, if not a little exasperated  (because he'd always wait and suffer before admitting to her he was in pain). But she sounded upset. And that bothered me.

We spent Easter at home by ourselves. I was bummed. I hated that my Dad was in the hospital again and genuinely worried.

Monday, I went to work. My sister let me know that she was going to go see my Dad after work, and she talked to my Mom and had decided Mom must have just been really tired on Sunday. She didn't act like this was any different than any other time he'd been in the hospital and that he'd be home in no time.

So, after work and getting Bill and the girls situated for an evening without me, I headed out to see my Dad. I expected to walk in and see him sitting up in bed, tired but ready to just get out of there, like normal. I was literally shocked when I came in. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, hunched over the tray table panting for breath. I looked at my Mom and she was acting like it was nothing. That was the only way he could breathe. He couldn't lay back without hyperventilating. It freaked me out, but I kept my composure for their sake. I had never seen him like that. Never in ask the times I've seen him in a hospital bed.

He had a kidney and bladder ultrasound while I was there. They had already determined that his kidneys were shutting down. He's had congestive heart failure, so they were trying to control the fluid he was retaining, but it wasn't working. They weren't exactly sure why he was having so much trouble breathing. My sister and I suspected that it was more of a panic attack sort of thing. He was in so much pain, and so scared of dying that he couldn't breathe.

My Mom admitted that it was just a matter of time, that they'd done everything they could, but she really believed, and had us believing, that they'd fix him up so he could go home and he'd probably be on dialysis.  He'd go home. Part of me felt like she was wrong, but part of me wanted to believe that. I went home and prayed he would get relief.

At 3:30am, my phone rang. My Daddy was gone. He had sat up on the edge of his bed to try to catch his breath and had a massive coronary. They couldn't revive him.

He's been sick for years. He had an impressive collection of stents in his arteries. This was a day we knew would inevitably come sooner than later. But there's no way to prepare for how much it hurts.

I adore my Daddy.  He was genuinely the best guy you could know. EVERYONE loved him.  A gentle giant, but you knew you didn't want to test that gentle part. Funny. He was such a smart ass. He gave the best hugs. He would give you the shirt off of his back, even if it was the only shirt he owned. He loved to tease people and if there was a baby in the room, it was magnetically drawn to him.

Every time I talked to him on the phone, I'd ask, "what are you doing? " and his reply was always, "I'm talking to you. "

I don't want to go through the next 2 days.

I want my Daddy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I don't like you, February.

Oh, this month has worn me out and it's not even quite over yet.

I had a looooong, whiny post about what an awful month February has been, but I'm not going to go there.  It's been rough, but I'd rather look forward to March.  Because it's going to be a GREAT month.  It has to be.

I will say that I'm having some serious problems with my blood sugar right now.  High enough that my boss was concerned that my doc would hospitalize me, which he did not, but it's high enough to make me pretty miserable.  I can't sleep well, I'm nauseated, and I'm exhausted.  Not just a "oh, I'd like a nap" kind of tired, but the kind where you start to cry when you realize while grocery shopping that you have to move these groceries to the check out, to the car, inside the house, and then put them away, because you're already so tired you'd love to just lay down in the aisle.  And the stress of the kind of damage this could be doing to my body.  Vision damage, nerve damage, kidney damage... it's no joke.  It's safe to say I've been freaked out.  I'm only on day 2 of some new meds, so... fingers crossed... I'll be creeping back to normal and feeling better soon.  If not, I'm probably looking at being put on insulin.  I don't want that.  I was on insulin while pregnant with Zoe and I just never was able to get past being freaked out by the needles.  My doctor has a few oral medications that we're going to play around with before resorting to that, so I'm trying to be hopeful.

We're expecting some snow today.  The kids are out of school.  AGAIN.  They were out 3 days last week, and this is the third day this week.  This is Arkansas, we don't do snow and ice very well.  We don't do snow plows and only major roads get salted.  It's a mess.  We get just enough of a break for the roads to dry so that we can restock the pantry to prepare for the next round.  It's not even been fun.  Last week was all ice, which isn't fun to play in, and by the time the snow actually hit this week, everyone has been too fed up with it to care.

So that's that.  Hopefully I'll have a more upbeat post soon!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Yarn, yarn, yarn

I need to do some catching up.  I posted my pictures from my Olivia day, but haven't put up my Isabelle and Zoe days.  Our internet at home SUCKS.  We went from having unlimited data to restricted and last month we hit our allotment within a week.  They slow us down after that, and when I say slow, I mean slow, like turtles through quicksand slow.  So I couldn't upload my Isabelle pictures.  Zoe's pictures were on my phone, but I tend to be a little OCD about needing to do things in order, so I haven't done hers either.

My week off of work was fantastic.  Didn't get much accomplished, but that's how it normally goes. 

My DietBet was a huge bust.  I don't know if my scale was acting wonky or what happened, but I did so well the first week,  was about halfway there within a week and a half, and then my period came and it was like I gained 8 lbs overnight and it didn't want to leave.  I was only down about 1 lb at the end.  Whether my scale was off at some point or if I just got cocky with the awesome numbers in the beginning...  no matter.  I will probably try again later in the year.  I'd like to win one, you know? 

Aside from work and trying to get my head in the weight loss game, I've been crocheting quite a bit.  I had a friend message me to see if I'd like some yarn a family member had and didn't want.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I got was beyond expectation.

74 skeins of yarn.  33 were shades of green.  Some of it might make its way to a thrift store, because some of it's Red Heart and I just can't stand how scratchy it is, and I'm thinking most of it was bought in the 90s when rose and country blue were a hot color combo, but it's not all bad.  I have plans for some of the green, for sure.

I made these little cuties for a friend's daughter. 

And some boot cuffs, which apparently are impossible to find around here. 

A few cowls because it's been pretty cold around here (and I look really odd in this picture for some reason...)

And Zoe's birthday doll, Myrtle.  If you've ever seen American Horror Story (Season 3, Coven, specifically), you might recognize my inspiration.  If you haven't, you should.  LOL  I know it seems weird that I'd make my 7 year old a doll inspired from a horror show, but I have to take my inspiration and roll with it sometimes and Zoe loves Myrtle, even if she has no idea who Myrtle is.

I am making a stash-busting afghan right now because my stash overfloweth.  I have a few projects I am holding myself to to try to use up yarn I already have before I dive into another project I'm itching to start, but will need to buy yarn for. 

2015 has started off on a good note so far, so hopefully that will continue throughout the year!


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