Friday, August 30, 2013

August 2013 Journalling

1.The weather has changed. August is so hit-and-miss weather wise. That’s why I prefer to take vacation in July, the one month you can be sure of good weather in Canada.

2. I’m feeling down today. This has not been a great year for me health-wise. I don’t know what’s up with my abdomen and shortness of breath, but something’s not right. I am booked for an MRI of my brain and spine because of my right leg weakness, and then nerve conduction tests if the MRI is inconclusive.

3. I have my lesson prepared for the September Women of Faith meeting. It’s another Scarlet Thread; Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life in the book of John. It looks at death bed conversions, and how Jesus raised people from the dead at different stages: recently deceased (Jairus’ daughter), during the funeral procession (son of the widow of Nain), after four days (Lazarus), Himself (unique, raised self, glorified body and did not die again), and then all others at the Resurrection and Judgment. Isn’t He amazing?

4.We had a guest over today. While we were eating inside, we heard a loud crash on  the deck. Our patio table spontaneously splintered into a thousand pieces. Weird, eh?

5. I’m not well. I can’t seem to do much without getting winded. I have my suspicions. I think it’s ovarian cancer, already spread to my diaphragm. I have it on both sides of my family. I don’t say anything to my husband, because I’m such a hypochondriac, and he thinks it’s just fibroids, but I don’t have the usual symptoms of bleeding and pain from that, and fibroids don’t cause shortness of breath. I have painless vague abdominal symptoms. I am full as soon as I eat a little bit and my abdomen is growing measurably. A month ago I wore a skirt to a wedding, because the others wouldn’t fit. Now that same skirt wouldn’t close. There was about two inches of space at the top. That is noticeable. I don’t know if the right leg weakness and low iron are related, or if they are three different issues, but something’s not right. I feel the fullness in my abdomen along the lower right side especially, but it’s overall just really firm.

6.  If I’m right about what’s going on with my health, this is my last normal day before I have to really cope with serious issues. I am more concerned as my shortness of breath is even worse and I have some discomfort in my right lower abdomen. I was already thinking about it last night and prayed that if God wants me to go through the valley of the shadow of death, that He’d go with me, because there is pain, darkness and fear there, and I couldn’t cope without Him.

7. I went for my abdominal and pelvic ultrasound this morning. It was a little uncomfortable when she was pressing down on my abdomen. I was a little suspicious when she asked about pain when she was checking out the right side, but my doctor won’t get the results for 3-4 days. It’s hard to wait. I just want to know what I’m dealing with and get it fixed. I napped two hours yesterday and today. No energy. I don’t really tell my husband my fears because he’s used to living with this hypochondriac. Here’s a joke: What was written on the hypochondriac’s tombstone? I told you I was sick. He just tells me to wait and see what I’m dealing with. I’m discouraged and depressed. I know something is going on in my abdomen. I’ll be the happiest person if I hear this is just fibroids. The alternative is so scary to me. Since my husband is at work all day, and my daughter is cat-sitting for my sister, and we have no dog to walk or keep me company, I’m alone with my morbid thoughts. On a positive note, I did write 2,600 words on my novel today, and passed the half way point on the way to my 60,000 word goal. I am excited about that project and it is flowing well. Plotting has made all the difference. I am writing Biblical historical fiction. The Bible has so much to work with by way of action, adventure and intrigue.

8. I got a call from Occupational Health today. I’ve got to get a Doctor’s note. I guess I have to make an appointment for tomorrow morning. I was hoping to wait until she had the results of my ultrasound, as I hate to go there just to get a form signed, especially since I’ll probably have to spend my whole morning there, waiting.

9. Going to visit my daughter’s home tonight. My mom, her sister and my mother-in-law are also going. It’ll be their first time visiting there.

10.So yesterday morning I went to the doctor’s to get a note for work. As I went there I started to feel even more short of breath. I asked to be seen right away because of it. When I got in the room it got worse, and I started weeping, and my hands and feet started tingling and then ringing, it was so bad. I also had numbness and tingling around my mouth, then my hands cramped and turned inwards like in a Trousseau’s sign when a person has low Calcium levels. My doctor ran in, made me look at her, told me I was hyperventilating and made me focus on something and breathe. She got me an Ativan and then it started to pass. Apparently it was a panic attack. That was my first and hopefully my last. It was so scary, I didn’t see it coming at all and didn’t know what was happening. The only way I can describe it is it’s like being alert through a seizure. Then I went to lie down in another room for a while and my husband came to pick me up. Anyway, in the meantime, she told me the results came back from my ultrasound and she had a note to call me to tell me the results since she knew I’d be worried. I guess I did my usual and internalized it and now this is what happened. So my ovaries were fine. Thank God! I’ve never been so happy to hear the problem is uterine fibroids. That’s why my abdomen has grown so much in the past two months. She also said I went back to work too soon. I’ve been off two weeks, and she’ll see me again in another two weeks to decide what we’ll do. In the meantime, she ordered a chest x-ray and echocardiogram to investigate the shortness of breath. I will be going for the brain MRI in early September because she thinks my right leg weakness, which is getting worse, is probably neuromuscular. I will also see a gynecologist. It may be necessary to have a hysterectomy, but we’ll see. So all that drama in the morning, and then we spent a nice evening in Burlington at my daughter’s home.

We had turkey burgers, corn on the cob and cherry pie. Today we cleaned, in short spurts, my husband finished staining the deck and cleaning out the hot tub. I also prepped food for tomorrow.

12. We had a guest speaker this morning. He is a young man, who is with Compassion Canada. We had him over to eat with us. I made stuffed mushroom caps, bruschetta, chicken pot pie with herbed dumpling crust, salad, and carrot cake and key lime meringue pie.

13. This week we’re at home and next week at the Carey Conference, then summer is over. L Of course, occ. health didn’t receive the forms from the doctor so now I have to head out to find a fax machine somewhere.

14. I had my chest x-ray on Saturday and am going for my echocardiogram today. My mom and her sister are in London till tomorrow. Packing for the Carey conference. My doctor said to go even though she gave me a sick note. I’m not well enough to work, but the conference should be relaxing.

15. We went for lunch today at my son-in-law’s parents’ restaurant. They serve only breakfast and lunch. They are Egyptian but it’s an Italian restaurant. It was good. They make their own pasta, too. They wouldn’t let us pay, of course. They said, “This is our house.” Then we went up the road to visit our daughter at her work at the Scott Mission Camp.

16. Also, I was visiting with my aunt and found out what I’d suspected; university is free of charge in Finland. They only pay for their books. Their taxes are very high, but they get quite a lot of services and they have a high standard of living. She said some Finns are not happy that non-residents can come there and also get a free education, even though they don’t contribute to the tax base, which is what a social democratic system is based on, so there’s some animosity because of it. Just thinking of my daughter’s university costs; $6,000 per year for her undergrad, and then about $25,000 per year, plus books and living expenses, since she wants to move out at that point. She’ll be looking for work and a bank loan for that to happen. We only promised to pay for any undergraduate degree. I’m thankful that we’ve managed to do that for both girls, so they didn’t graduate with any debt, like we did.

17. Heading to the Carey conference for a week. Staying in the same trailer as last year, but without our puppy. L Because the fax that my doctor’s office said went thru, didn’t, I was late getting the medical forms to occupational health, so I didn’t get a pay cheque. I made some calls and they are fixing it. Like most people, we live paycheque to paycheque, and this was an unexpected surprise.

18. Settled into our trailer, but what is that buzzing sound outside the door? I hate bees. My husband will dispatch them tonight. My hero!

19. Teeny tiny water tank in this place. No Hollywood showers. I have to pretend I’m in a submarine.

20. The main speaker, Conrad Mbewe (Em-Bay-Way) from Zambia, is very good. I’ll post the picture taken when they were over for dinner. Nice to renew acquaintances and friendships again. Also invited a young family over for a campfire and got to know them.

21. Went into Paris (Ontario) for lunch. We had a big campfire at our place tonight.

22. We’re having the speaker over for supper tonight.

23. Last day of the conference. It always goes so quickly. Excellent preaching. . I was so relaxed this year at Carey. No menu plans, no laundry, plenty of naps. My leg weakness is more pronounced than even two weeks ago when I saw the doctor. I think I should be more worried about it than I am, but I can’t go there. I don’t want to think worst case scenario every time, but I can’t lift my right leg more than one inch off the couch if I’m flat on my back, and I can only do that much because I use my abs. There has to be a reason for this. I hope when I see the doctor on Monday, I can have her try to move my MRI appt. up because it’s not till Sept. 14th.

24. My brother-in-law’s birthday party tonight. Lots of laundry to catch up on. Today I woke up and suddenly I could lift my right leg straight into the air! How could that be? It was getting progressively worse, affecting my walking, then sudden improvement! It could still be something like MS since that tends to come and go, but each time it comes back it’s worse. I guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. My MRI is September 14th and I see my neurologist and family doc after that.

26. Our youngest daughter is 21 today! We love her and are proud of the woman she has become. I have a mammo this morning (ack!) and a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. I hope to be able to go back to work in some capacity this week.

27. So in spite of my desire to go back to work, my doctor wants me to wait another month till I’ve had my MRI and neurology appointment. A little frustrating, since I’m not “sick” in the strict sense, but I have health issues that affect my stamina and stress levels. I also found out the Chest x-ray revealed I have old stress fractures in my ribs. They have never bothered me, but it was a surprise to learn the reason is probably that I have osteoporosis. Why not? Add it to my list of issues. Today I pushed myself and walked two hours to go to several stores, since I have no car while my mom is still down east. The time is more of a reflection of how slowly I walk than how far I walked. I’m so out of shape.

28. What is the smartest thing you did today?
      I set a daily word count for writing (981) and exceeded it. I wrote 2,037 words today. Since I’m off for at least 25 days I’m going to make the most of it and treat my writing like a job. I have about 25,000 words to go on my first draft. I’d love to finish it by the end of September, Lord willing. A goal is a dream with a deadline, after all.

29. My mom, aunt and sister came back from their trip down east yesterday. It’s good to have them back. They had a great time. Wrote 1,035 words today, but they didn’t come easily. I guess all that matters is I got ‘er done.

30. Ready to start writing. I think I’ll write the scene about Saul’s slaughter of the priests and people of Nob. That should more than amptly meet my word count for the day. Dinner is a roast chicken from the grocery store, sweet potatoes and salad. Yesterday we had Atlantic salmon, teriyaki vegetables and fresh bread. I am a lazy cook so we end up eating the same 15 or so meals every two weeks. You wouldn’t know I was such a boring cook if you saw my Pinterest boards.

31. It’s a long weekend but we don’t have very exciting plans, except maybe invite friends over for a bbq on Monday. The EX is on, but it would be too much walking for me.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

July 2013 Journalling

1.What was the lowest point of your day?
       Feeling so nostalgic with each thing we did on Kody’s last day. I’m going to miss him. I will post a picture of him swimming. He has the curliest tail, yet when he swims he straightens it up like a periscope so he won’t get it wet. Silly puppy.

2. Today I was so sad. Putting Kody down was so hard. I think I took it the hardest. I’m glad we were able to be with him to the end. He didn’t suffer. They gave him one injection that calmed him, because at first he was breathing so fast, and he had to be muzzled. Then they waited ten minutes and gave the other injection which caused him to exhale and that was it. But when the doctor listened to his chest, he gave him another injection as he said he had a strong heart. Then we left him there and came home. I started cleaning up his stuff. I guess that was my way to cope. I have to work three nights this week. I hope I won’t be too weepy.

3. Hard night at work last night. I was very weepy, remembering Kody’s  last moments. I want to move past that to remembering just the good times, but right now that’s the only image in my head. I want it undone. I want him back. Also work was very busy and tonight is Urology night, my least favourite.

4. Happy Fourth of July to my American friends and relatives, and Happy July fourth to the Canadians.

5. I’m on vacation for 17 days! Have I mentioned I love my job?

6. We’re hosting a dinner party this evening with a Finnaican theme. What’s that, you ask? It’s a mix of Finnish and Jamaican food. It should work. I’m making Finnish fish soup with crisp bread, Jamaican crab cakes with a jalapeno aioli, Finnish cucumbers vinaigrette, Jamaican curried chicken, rice and peas, fried okra and tomatoes, fried plantain, and Finnish pancakes (crepe-type) with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

7. What is the last book you read? Destiny’s Hands by Violet Nesdoly about Bezalel, the craftsman who did most of the work on the tabernacle during the wilderness wanderings. Also, a busy day today. It was our Pastor’s last Sunday before a three month sabbatical. Also, final practice tonight for our DVBS play, with the secret agent theme.

8. DVBS started tonight, with two dozen kids or so. It runs so smoothly now that it’s our third year. The play went well. I’m tired. Not as young as I used to be.

9. Tonight was a wonky night with the play; technical difficulties and forgotten lines. We made grilled cheese using our ninja skills, making twelve at a time.

10. Today my youngest daughter and I went for mani-pedis. Quite nice, but I didn’t get any writing done, unlike the past few days where I wrote about 3,000 words of fiction and 600 of non-fiction. I felt good on those days. This afternoon I made enough mac and cheese for sixty people tonight. DVBS has grown since the first night. There are about 40 kids. They’re loving the play and are getting the jokes.

11. Apparently, while we were doing the first night of our DVBS on Monday, there was a HUGE thunderstorm in Toronto that knocked out power to 300,000 people and dropped a month’s worth of rain in a few hours. Many major roads were flooded and a GO train was also flooded as high as the bottom of the seats on the lower level, so 1400 people, rush hour numbers were crammed into the upper levels until 1 a.m. when the marine unit was finally able to get them evacuated. They used two dinghies and got ten people per dinghy off the train. At one point there was even a water snake on board, someone recorded it on their camera. It was a good week to be on vacation and not worry about commuting nightmares. Can you imagine if you already had a bad day at work on a Monday and then that happens when you’re trying to get home? They were kind Canadians, helping each other charge cell phones and sharing food and stuff. As much of an ordeal/adventure it may have been, it’s not so bad. They were inconvenienced, but never in any real danger. People knew where they were and they were evacuated as quickly as possible.

12. Tonight is the last day of DVBS. The Chief (me) who has been pre-recorded so far, will be making an appearance in person. Some kids have guessed I am the Chief and the voice of Tracker, the dog. I will also try to make some raspberry jam today, and get more writing done.

13. Heading to London for a family get-together since my aunt Merja is here from Finland. We’ll stay overnight. I would have liked to hear Dr. Tony Costa preach at our church, but we can’t do it all. He’ll be back in August.

14. We’re packing up for an attempted beach day tomorrow. We’ll do day trips this week for our Stay-cation.

15. Beach day at Lake Simcoe, at Sibbald Point Provincial Park. Over 40 degrees Celsius today with humidity. I love relaxing by the water. I was so relaxed I didn’t even take pictures, I just ate, slept, read, wrote, and swam. It was so hot, I loved it. The water didn’t even require any time to get used to it.

16. We were going to go check out the Mesopotamia exhibit at the ROM today but decided to wait for a rainy day. We’ll enjoy the sunshine and go to some restaurant patio instead. We have all winter to do indoor things. Summer is short and we are on our final week of vacation, well, until our next two weeks off in August.

17. I’m loving this heat. It’s about 45 C with humidity, or 100 F. My husband and I drove to Cobourg and walked around the quaint small town and ate lunch at a Greek restaurant. Then we went to Ten Thousand villages and saw an art exhibit at the town hall.

18. Enjoyed the Mesopotamia exhibit, learning about the Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian culture. The only thing I didn’t like was the slant against anything recorded in the Bible. It’ll say, the Bible says...but actually...

Also, they put any Biblical event like the Babylonian captivity in quotes almost like they are calling it into question, even though they don’t do it with other events. Yet they have Nebuchadnezzar’s documents telling about the capture of King Jehoichin. They also messed up the Bible timeline, assuming we believe that the tower of Babel was modelled on Nebuchadnezzars giant ziggurat. Nebuchadnezzar was so much later, and Scripture records the tower’s builder as Nimrod. There was also an ancient city called Nimrud. Then we shopped at the Eaton Centre and ate out at a patio. It was stifling hot downtown. I even ordered my first beer. Yes, at age 49! I couldn’t finish it though. I drank about a third, and then went back to ice water, which didn’t leave an aftertaste. Totally exhausted at the end of the day.

19. Nice day. I wrote some more. I woke the other morning, compelled to write the chapter based on the Amalekite raid of Ziklag, of all things. Well, what can I say? When the muse says write! I write. This book won’t write itself. Then I went grocery shopping, and we managed to have a bbq before the thunderstorm hit. We made steaks, grilled vegetables, salmon skewers, corn on the cob, fresh bread and a fruit platter. Now relaxing with a glass of my faux wine. That’s all I can drink these days because of my medications.

20. My husband and I are going to a TFC soccer game. They’ll lose, again, I’m sure, but we’re mostly going to see Thierry Henry who plays for the opposing team, the New York Red Bulls. I hope he won’t be off sick or injured. Soccer games are the only time my husband will agree to wear matching shirts, our TFC jerseys. J

21. Last full day of vacation. I will work three weeks, then I’m off for another two. Have I mentioned I love my job?

22. Still having a hard time, thinking about Kody, even now at three weeks. It’s hard to even drive through the neighbourhood where we used to walk. Oh, puppy, I miss you!

23. I was back at work last night. Short staffed and very busy, but they call it work for a reason.

24. I mailed off the blanket I made for my friend in exchange for a painting. I think she got the short end of the stick, so I paid her. I understand that artists should be paid for their work. My crocheting isn’t art, just a craft, so I wouldn’t expect or want payment for it. It was something to pass the time when my mind wasn’t 100%.

25. One more night. I wonder if I’ve just been away from work for too long, because I feel so disorganized and overwhelmed even when I just have five patients.

26. Errands today: dropping off full bags of dog food at the animal shelter, dropping off old clothing at Value Village, paying bills, working on my novel. I’m more than 1/3 of the way through. I’m aiming for about 60,000 words. Also, it’s our 27th wedding anniversary today, but we won’t go out till next week.

27. Doctor’s appointment today. She called to discuss bloodwork results from last week, but I already had a list of issues to discuss. I’ve been so short of breath, even from one flight of stairs. I also think my hiatus hernia has gotten worse. It slides up into my chest after I eat. Very uncomfortable.

28. So I found out why I’m so winded. My iron (ferritin) is very low. Normal is 30-300 and mine is 4. We don’t know why, so I’m starting on iron supplements and we will check for an ulcer by another bloodtest. Also, I am concerned about my blood sugar, and weakness in my right leg. I didn’t even notice that I’ve been compensating for it by physically picking it up when I’m getting dressed. I need to go back to the neurologist about that. I’m falling apart now that I’m 49. Also my husband preached this morning. He did a good job.

29. Early morning bloodwork done. I am weak but I don’t feel I should call in sick to work, but I really don’t feel well. I am cold and tired and nauseous. Yet I’m working four nights this week.

30. Somedays I prove I’m a natural blond. The mouse needed a new battery so I changed it, yet it still wasn’t working. My husband came home, turned the battery the right way, and surprise, it worked!

31. I didn’t go into work at all this week. Something’s not right. Such vague symptoms. Some nausea, shortness of breath, abdominal fullness. I don’t know what’s going on. I went back to the doctor, and she ordered an abdominal and pelvic ultrasound for next Wednesday. I am also seeing the neurologist on Friday about this new right leg weakness. I am falling apart here!