Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This Post Was Supposed To Be Reviews

. . .  but, I never got around to writing them today, mostly because I had a bit of a migraine (which is a migraine that actually responds to medications) with the accompanying brain fog. So, what did I do? I surfed the internet, listened to a book, and knit. Which is just fine. But, no book reviews till another day. And since I haven’t reviewed books in several months, there are a lot to do. For my three or four faithful readers.

So, what has been going on? Well, my mood is better. I think just writing about my depression issues has been good. But, I’ve also been exercising (except for today because of the migraine). A friend texted yesterday and wanted to take a walk. I tried to beg off since it was a million degrees outside and I hadn’t had lunch or showered and it was 1:30 and Rosie Girl and I were supposed to go shopping at 4pm. My friend was persistent, though, so I had lunch (scrambled eggs with spinach, Triscuits, and grape juice – very healthy) and met her for a walk. And we walked for about 35 minutes. While it was like 89 degrees outside! I thought I moved up North to get away from crazy hot temperatures like that!! We tried to find the shadiest streets to walk on to make it a bit easier. But it was still hot.

And I’m eating better. At least better than I was at camp where there was too much junk food and too much soda easily available. See the aforementioned scrambled eggs and spinach. PWM cooked tilapia and onions with a side dish of fresh green beans tonight for dinner. Summer time is good for fresh veggies around here because we belong to a CSA. Every Monday we get a bag of fresh veggies and a box of eggs. Rosie Girl is going to make some Zuppa Toscana (a la The Olive Garden) now that we’ve got some kale. We haven’t gotten beets yet, or at least not many, but those are a good excuse for me to bake brownies. None of us are very fond of beets, but I bake them and puree them and put them in brownie batter.

My parents and my mother-in-law gave me money for my birthday, so Rosie Girl and I went shopping yesterday!! On our way to camp a couple of weeks ago, I had stopped at Kohl’s and picked up some blue jeans and tan jeans. I only tried on the blue ones (shame on me!), but the tan ones were the same size. When we got to camp, I found that the tan ones were almost two sizes too big! I had a migraine on the way home, so we didn’t stop to exchange them at the time. So, Rosie Girl and I started at Kohl’s so I could exchange my tan jeans. I also picked up a pair of black jeans (because my current ones are too big). I tried the black ones on!! I also found three cute tops.

Then, we went to Shopko to pick up some makeup. Rosie Girl actually picked out my eye makeup for me – 3 eyeliners and one package of 8 shades of eye shadow. I picked up some other stuff I needed. Rosie Girl is educating me on how to wear eye makeup properly instead of the haphazard “just get something on your eyes” method that I’ve been using since I was 13. And, then, since we love ice cream and it was a million degrees outside, we stopped at Dairy Queen before coming home. It was a lovely day!

It is supposed to cool off tomorrow which my head has been telling me in the form of a migraine. I’ve been fortunate that today’s migraine has been mild. I hope it’s also short-lived. Even though I spent far too much time surfing the net today, I did get a fair bit of knitting done. I finished knitting the neckline on my long-sleeved V-neck CustomFit sweater. Now all I need to do is to weave in the ends and it’s ready to display in the shop. I cast-on and started the back of Rosie Girl’s CustomFit sweater vest (which will be a shop model first).

But, right now, I need to get off the computer so I can read for a few minutes before bed. I’ve got a couple of short loan books that not only need to get back to the library, but are also really good. Now that I’ve got some quiet time, I’d better use it to my advantage and read!!

So, what’s up in your world?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Another Round on the Depression Train . . .

It’s happening again. I’m feeling the hands pulling me down into depression while I’m trying so hard to stay up into normalcy. This isn’t new. Depression is part of the whole “chronic illness” thing.

I get depressed because of how the chronic migraine illness has affected my life and how that makes me sad. But, I’m also depressed because chronic illness, especially chronic pain, affects the neurotransmitters in the brain. So, pretty much everyone with chronic illness ends up with depression and finds that life is better on anti-depressants.

This go-round with depression is because of a couple of things. First of all, we decreased the dose of one of my anti-depressants because my mood had been so stable. That was about three months ago. I really don’t want to have to increase that dose again because I’ve lost ten pounds and I had a little less fatigue immediately after the dose decrease.

Sending Wild Man to school is another obvious “loss” from the chronic migraines. There are lots and lots  of reasons the Wild Man is better off at school this year than being homeschooled, but I have an overwhelming (probably irrational) feeling that the migraines are THE reason we aren’t homeschooling anymore.

I’m feeling more and more angry about how the migraines have taken over my life. And I don’t see things changing anytime soon. I have an M.D. to put behind my name, but no way to use it right now. Even if the migraines went away today, I have too many cognitive side effects from my medications to try to do anything as mentally taxing as practicing medicine. I won’t be homeschooling Wild Man this year because it’s too hard to keep up with all my headaches.

I’m tired. I’m finding it hard to be happy. I’d sleep all day if I could.

But, being a planner, I have a plan. Get up every morning. Do yoga, even if just a little bit. Eat real food. Get a shower. Get dressed. Walk. Meditate. Read books. Knit. Go places with friends. See my counselor. (Of course, all plans are off when the headaches get above an 8.)

I just don’t know if I can do this plan. PWM is being so helpful. He’s making sure there’s plenty of healthy food that I actually like. He’s encouraging without being obnoxious.

Like all depressive phases, I’ll get through this one. If what I’ve planned so far doesn’t work, I’ll talk to my doctor about meds. And I’ve never been suicidal. Just wanted to sleep for days on end.

That’s the most optimistic that this post gets. I never truly despair because I’m walking with Jesus, but Jesus is pretty quiet right now. You could pray for me. That would be good. I would like this to be done with as quickly as possible. Which is why I’m going to try as hard as I can to get my butt on the treadmill tomorrow morning. God help me.

Friday, July 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday–July 18, 2014


Yes, I’m finally posting a 7 Quick Takes post again. And it’s only an hour until midnight! BTW, don’t hold your breath next week for another one next week; we’ll just have to see how things play out.

1. I have a smart phone!! Actually, the whole family how has smart phones. We had been overpaying for our phone service, so the overage gave us the money up front to pay for the phones (although I think the kids had to pay extra to get the newest phone). And since we had been overpaying all along, we’re now paying less than we were for coverage for all of us. I’ve migrated all of the stuff from my ipod to the phone. We got them right before camp which was great. One device to rule them all!! (But, I’m still learning to use all the toys!)

2. This summer has been really bad for migraines and headaches in general. I don’t know what to make of it. I know that the first few days after camp would be bad because I had too much soda and processed food at camp. Now that I’m home, I’m trying to eat better. I’m trying to exercise, but the headache is making that hard to do as well. I’m just in a bad cycle. Every day that I’m not too headache-y, I’m trying to exercise and eat well and not get too stressed out to try to stretch out the number of good days I can get.

3. I’ve loved having Rosie Girl home this summer. She’s been busy working, but she and Wild Man play video games when she’s home. She’s also suggested books for read-alouds in the evenings. Last night, a couple of Wild Man’s friends came over to play video games and watch a movie. When Rosie Girl got home from work, the whole group played some card games and then watched more movies and videos until Rosie Girl took them home. I like that my kids get along and that they have nice friends who like to hang out around here.

4. One of my headache issues right now is that I have strained my trapezius muscle. The upside is that I get neck massages from the hubby. The downside is that it is making the right side of my head hurt more than usual. I tried taking 1/2 a tizanidine tablet yesterday (2mg) which certainly helped with relaxation and pain, but it also made me take a 2 hour nap. So, I think I’ll try a 1mg tablet when I need it during the day. (Note. I usually use it at bedtime.)

5. Being 47 years old feels remarkable like being 46 years old.

6. Having received some money for my birthday, I’m planning on going clothes shopping! I’m not sure when, because Rosie Girl wants to join me, but sometime in the next week or two. (Wild Man and I stopped at Kohl’s on our way to camp for me to pick up some jeans. I also got a dress and a top. Wild Man was not happy because we had “only come for one pair of jeans.” I don’t think he’ll want to accompany me on my shopping trip!)

7. Rosie Girl went out busking today for a little while. She only made $1, but was happy with it. She played ocarina and tin whistle. But, while she was in town, she got guitar strings, so she can try again later next week with her guitar.

How was your week? Check our Conversion Diary to see what others are up to!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Family Camp 2014

Last week was our week away from home at Fort Wilderness. We had a great time, as always. This year, one of Rosie Girl’s friends came with us. She’s a real “horse person”, so she and Rosie Girl did lots of horseback riding. Since Rosie Girl only rides when she’s up at Fort, she was pretty sore for a couple of days. They also enjoyed plenty of gourmet coffee and card games in between horse rides.

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Wild Man indulged his need for competition in the archery and carpetball tournaments. He won first place for his age group in archery and third place in carpetball! And, of course, enjoyed his prizes – treats from the canteen. He also really enjoyed the teen Bible study for the week. It was taught by a young man who is in seminary and is a totally theology geek – but has a crazy afro and is psycho for coffee and tea. Wild Man just loves this guy’s passion. He taught about several men through church history who have followed Jesus in a big way and what happened in their lives. Some of them were Athanasius, Augustine, Anselm, Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, and Bonhoeffer (I probably missed some in there).

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I did a good bit of reading and some knitting. I’m working on a pair of socks that start on the sole of the foot. The pattern is in one of the more recent Interweave Knit magazines. Unfortunately, I had several days of bad migraine, so I missed going on Wrangler Breakfast with everyone else. Other than that, I don’t think I missed much. PWM did a good bit of archery and was in the tournament, but didn’t shoot as well as he would have liked this year.

Grandma (PWM’s mom) joined us again this year. She loves to make campfires, so we had a fire most nights except for the ones when it rained. She made some homemade firestarter (using wax and woodshavings from PWMs workshop) which got things going more easily this year.  Rosie Girl also taught her friend and Grandma how to spin wool with a drop spindle on one of the rainy days. Rosie Girl has gotten quite adept at spinning and Grandma and M were making quite a go of it.

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I made a new friend this year, one that I really hope not to see again. He was hopping up my leg when I met him. In fact, he was hopping up toward an inappropriate area and I finally had to pick him up because he didn’t respond to my verbal commands to leave me alone. “NO means NO, Froggy!!” So, I deposited him back in the woods with a strong admonition to leave human females alone and find himself a girl froggy to hang out with. I didn’t see him the rest of the week, so I assume he decided that trans-species romance was out of the question for him.

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We had a great week. If you are looking for a fun way to spend a week with your family, I highly recommend Fort Wildnerness! It’s fun in a Christian environment for the whole family in the beauty of God’s Northwoods!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Education Update–June 28, 2014

Big news around here. Wild Man is going to public school next year! Yep, as of the end of the summer, we are no longer a homeschooling family. (We’re technically homeschooling ‘til then because he needs to finish his Math and Biology credits.)

How did this happen? Wild Man asked about going to school in the spring which started us thinking that direction, but I was still pretty firmly set that homeschooling was the best option for everyone. As the spring semester wore on, though, Wild Man was spending lots and lots of time at school for Band and Choir class, but also for the spring musical and getting ready for solo and ensemble and Jazz Band. In fact, he was getting home in the late afternoon and having to do his homeschool work before bed. So, we started considering our options.

Wild Man is very involved in all of the performing arts activities at the local public school. Homeschooling has been very convenient in allowing him to work his academics around his performing arts and music ministry activities outside of the public school as well. We used to like homeschooling because it didn’t tie us to the school schedule, but we’re tied to the school schedule anyway because Wild Man takes Band and Choir at school.

Homeschooling has also been great for working with Wild Man’s dyslexia. When Wild Man was in middle school, we got to spend extra time on reading and language arts as he learned to read and learned to deal with his dyslexia. Now that he’s 16, Wild Man is compensating really well for his  dyslexia. In fact, this is a good time for him to start to interact with the educational system on his own. He took the ACT this  last spring with no preparation and got a 19, with his highest scores on Reading and English, so I think he’s ready to take on the high school.

I’m also ready for him to go to high school. I believe he would get a better education in many ways if we were still homeschooling, but between my migraines and his being so busy, his academics were becoming almost an afterthought. We had lost the joy of learning together and reading together because we were always trying to fit the Biology or Literature in by the end of the week.

PWM and Wild Man and I prayed a lot and thought a lot. We’ve been very fortunate that our school district allows him to participate almost fully in the music department while still being homeschooled. He’s gotten the best of both worlds for the last couple of years. Now it’s time for Wild Man to step completely into the public school world.

We went to the high school last week and got Wild Man all signed up for his new classes. He’ll be taking Jazz Band (before school), Band, Choir, Geometry, Chemistry, Wisconsin Studies/PE (each a semester), Web Design/Video Design (semester classes), English, Study Hall.

Pray for this new adventure for all of us!!  Pray that Wild Man will continue to be a leader in Band and Choir! Pray that his academics will continue to go as well at public school as they have gone at home! And pray that PWM and I will get used to our roles at parents of a public school student!

Have any of you made this transition? What is it like?

P. S. Don’t worry, we’re still going to read books together at night as a family. I don’t think you could actually stop us from doing that.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

If only I’d . . .

If only I’d exercise more, the migraines wouldn’t come, right?

If only I’d eat more veggies . . .  I’f only I’d eat more protein . . .

If only I’d  meditate more, be more mindful . . .

If only I’d sleep more . . . If only I’d sleep more

If only I’d journal more . . .

If only I were more disciplined and organized.

If only I’d take this herb or that herb or that mineral or start that program . . .

If only I went to this doctor or that chiropractor or that naturalist . . .

If only I didn’t live inside my head so much . . .

If only I saw my counselor more . .  .

If only it didn’t rain so much . . .

If only my ipod worked . . .

If only something would stop this pain . . . 

If only something would stop the voices in my head . . . Please, God.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In Honor of June Being Migraine and Headache Awareness Month . . .


. . . I decided to have a five day migraine. Yep. I thought that would be such a good idea. Because who doesn’t want to miss their son’s girlfriend’s graduation party? Yeah. That was Sunday afternoon. But, I hear that everyone had a wonderful time and the girlfriend is officially not a high schooler!!

But, Monday morning, the headache was still awful and I had no more options for treatment, so I had PWM take me to the clinic. I was given Demerol (not my drug of choice – it tends to make me kind of jittery) and Phenergan which made me feel much better and some Prednisone to keep this headache kicked out. By the time we got to the pharmacy, the injection site for the Demerol was itching, so I went inside to check it out, and, lo and behold, I had hives! They were gone in an hour, but it appears I’m also now allergic to Demerol.  So far, I’ve slept and knit since I’ve been home. The steroid-induced house-cleaning energy-surge has not yet shown up, but I slept till 5pm today, so I’m still awake at almost 1am. But, the migraine is gone. Hopefully, I can stay active enough to obliterate the calories that the steroids tend to make me crave.

June is officially Migraine and Headache Awareness Month as promoted by the National Headache Foundation. If you have been reading my blog, you’ll know that Migraine Disease is far more than a headache, but since it’s primary manifestation is headache, it is gets top billing for this group of illnesses. I’m generally not a fan of all the “awareness” campaigns, but I think this one is important. A lot of people out there have headaches that are debilitating and negatively impact their lives and don’t think that there’s any hope. They take some Excedrin or Advil and try to live with it. Or, if they can’t, they lose their job and struggle with all that entails.

What people need to know is that headaches that respond to Tylenol that go away after an hour or so are one thing, but headaches that occur more than four times a months and that impair your work and/or social life should be taken seriously. Medications and/or other treatment can give a person their life back. And taken too many medications can make things worse instead of better. Awareness is important because a visit to a doctor can help you decide if you need to pursue this with a medical professional. This is your life!! The headaches don’t always have to win!!!


Paste the purple ribbon on your FB page and tell your friends with headaches to talk to their medical providers. Life may not have to be as hard as it is. And, if a person has chronic migraine, there’s a lot of love and support out there. Nobody has to do it alone.