Saturday, September 29, 2012

Coffee is the Nectar of the Gods.

This is going to start off as a completely frivolous post, it may become something of substance...I make no promises.

Happy National Coffee Day!   I don't know who made this a "holiday,"  but I thank that person with every fiber of my coffee-infused being.  Just kidding.  Kind of.  I did hop out of bed this morning thinking that I had a nationally supported reason to partake of my borderline addiction.  I mean, it is a HOLIDAY, people.   I have given up soda. I used to be a Diet Coke girl after my morning coffee.  I have cut quite a bunch of unhealthy stuff out of my diet, though.  Plus soda tastes really funny with the medications I am on.  The carbonation tastes weird.  So that was an easy cut.  I have upped my coffee intake to 2-3 cups a day, on most days.  And I really can't function before I get that first dose of caffeine.  I sit with my coffee, check my e-mail.  Occasionally I will be fooled into thinking that the caffeine has take hold and reply to something.  So if anyone has ever gotten an early morning e-mail that doesn't make a ton of sense.  It was me jumping the gun!

Unfortunately, this caffeine substance that works for so many people doesn't work as well for me.  It helps get me going in the morning for a bit, but then by noon I am ready for a nap. Any coffee I drink after that point is purely for enjoyment.  And enjoy it, I do!  My favorite right now is a flavored K-Cup by Green Mountain Coffee- Wild Mountain Blueberry.  YUM!  Coffee and blueberries wrapped into one.  It smells like a blueberry muffin.  So I drink my blueberry coffee in the morning and pep up enough to function and get the munchkins off to school, answer e-mails and do some basic work "stuff".

This is my fuel pump.  Her name is Josephine. Yeah, a big cup of Josephine.  Joe was too common.
As far as the weekend goes, I have a dentist appointment today.  Who wants to go to the dentist on a Saturday?  Not this chick!  It is a reschedule, though, so I need to go and get it over with.  I have never had a problem with the dentist before, but the place I go now is kind of violent.  The last cleaning I got, I couldn't eat solid food for almost 4 days.  I scheduled with a different hygienist this time, so hopefully I will not have the same problem.   I also have to pack my hubster up.  He is leaving on Monday for a few days.  I will admit that I am a bit nervous-more so than normal.  I always hate when he goes away on business, I don't sleep, I keep all the lights on at night, etc. But this is the first time since D-Day that he has gone away on business.   He will only be gone for 4 days, so hopefully it will just go by quick with nothing to write home about.  Other than than I am going to rest and watch Doctor Who with a box of tissues later!

I hope everyone else is having a fantastic weekend.  Go enjoy a cup of coffee or some coffee ice cream.  Or both!  Mmmmm!  Coffee ice cream!  I know what I'm having for dessert!  Maybe I will have a pint while watching Doctor Who...Sounds like a plan!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I think I Hit a WALL...

Yesterday was so damn long. I do not even know how to sugarcoat that.

I said I needed to clean out and organize the den- which is really the playroom.  Well, I got up yesterday and I had my coffee, took a couple of kids to school and tore through the den like a tornado.  I am quite proud of myself. I dumped every bag, bin and box out and went through everything in that room.  The children who live in my house and cause me to question my sanity on a daily basis were feeding hippo food marbles everyplace BUT the Hungry Hungry Hippos to whom they belong.  I think someone was packing for THE BIG ONE because I found a mini-backpack filled with pairs of clean socks and granola bars.  At least when we are walking to higher ground we will have sustenance and comfy feet.

After 4 hours, I had taken a large bin of toys and books upstairs and shoved it into storage for future generations.  I had taken 2 bags of trash out and 2 trash bags full of stuff to Goodwill.  I then still had to come back and reorganize the little that was left.  Luckily, the girls play with just a few items these days.  They are big on games, dress up, crafty stuff and dolls, so everything else is gone.  I also moved the storage shelf onto the main wall and out of the corner.  When it was in the corner, they thought the corner was their trashcan/hamper when they were too busy to leave whatever they were playing.  Then they would leave it, or possibly forget about it.  But the new set-up has no hiding places.  I hope I outsmarted them for a short time.

I went and got a load of laundry done, was feeling successful.  Started a batch of lasagna.  Noticed I was getting a bit fatigued.  Had to switch to a smaller knife so that I could better control it and not cut my fingers, but the peppers and onions were not a pretty dice at all.  I did get my lasagna done, and got one in the freezer.

My husband called on his way home and while I was talking to him and prepping the salad, my 5 year old, Mia, started screaming upstairs.  Off the phone, up the stairs I go...  The child has blood coming out of her mouth.    Not a ton, and it just takes a little to get her to scream like someone is trying to kidnap her, but still, why is her mouth bleeding.  Upon closer review, her 2 front teeth on the bottom are sticking out almost horizontal when they weren't even loose before.  WTF?  Ummmmm, she tried to open a big plastic storage bin WITH HER TEETH.  Leave it to my child. The teeth had to be pulled out. Much screaming ensued.  Many tears.  More from me, afterwards, I think.  My BAAAABEEEEE!  Her widdle baby smile is no longer.  She has a big gap in her teeth...  Ugh.  At this point I could really use a drink, though I skipped it as it was shot night.

I actually dropped my fork during dinner.  It just fell out of my hand.  Completely lost my grasp.  Talk about fatigue.  I have issues with my hand strength, but not that bad.  I don't think wrestling teeth out of a 5 year old's mouth helped with that.  It took me a minute to realize what happened, though.  I sat there staring at it wondering what happened trying to process it.  Something to write in the little symptom notebook.

I have been asleep on my feet today other than making a wreath this morning.  I saw a wreath on Pinterest that was just a mossy wreath, a brown bow, and fake pumpkins all around it.  The very famous company wanted $100 for the dang thing!  I saw it and thought it was a craft project and took it as a template for myself.  I thought it was rather plain and certainly wouldn't spend that much money on it.  I  went to Michael's and bought supplies and made my version.
Not $100 on a famous website, made with shaky hands and a
 hot glue gun.

I am hoping that tomorrow is easier. The girls have an early day and we are going to go get cupcakes with my buddy and her boys.  The moral of this story is rest often and even if you are feeling good, don't overdo it!

Oh, and Mia didn't get the bin open.  I know everyone was dying to know the outcome to that story!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I have never been the most traditionally organized person.  I have always had an attention for detail, had a great memory and could multi-task like a madwoman, but was always a bit cluttered.  You would never see me on an episode of Hoarders, but there are a couple of counters and a few drawers that pile up.  Back in February when I started forgetting my own address and my best friend's phone number, among other random items in everyday use, I realized that something might be more than a little wrong.  That is only one in the laundry list of symptoms, but at the time, it was the most worrisome for me.  I had started to get a bit more organized when I realized things weren't going to get completely better, but now that I know things could get worse, I am in organization mode.  Delegating chores that I wouldn't have 2 months ago, asking for help when I really hate asking for help, lists and charts all over the place. And I'm not taking crap from anybody.  If I tell someone to pick their shoes up, they better put their shoes up!   
The TV is on very little during the day-especially when the girls are home- because the background noise distracts me, so more gets done by everyone now. I just ordered self-laminating sheets and magnetic strips and printed off chore charts so I can put dry-erase charts on the side of the fridge for each girl.    
 I make my hubby's breakfast in the morning, but honestly it got to the point where I was burning stuff and would get back upstairs and not remember if I had turned off the stove, so I decided to start making batches of breakfast burritos.  I do a batch every few weeks and wrap each one and freeze them.  Take one out and stick it in the fridge at night to defrost and in the morning just microwave on medium.  So inexpensive and super easy. One of my children, who shall remain nameless, would pour enough cereal into a big soup bowl for a week and then proceed to to pour about 3 cups of milk into the bowl.  Then promptly eat 1/4 of it.  Ummmmm...Houston, we have a problem.   I bought a bunch of plastic bowls with lids and dish out the girls' cereal at night-the correct serving size.  The bowls go in the pantry and they just pour their milk up to a certain line in the morning.  It has saved a TON of waste.  Plus, nobody is complaining of upset stomachs!  Win-Win!  
 I HAD to go out and buy a pill organizer.  You know what I'm talking about.  One of those things your grandmother has in her kitchen cabinet that has all of her heart and arthritis pills.  Oh, and don't forget the supplements.  Yeah,  I'm in that club, now!  But I couldn't remember for the life of me which pill to take when.  So off to the drug store to get one of the paperweights.  I take pills 4 times a day, so I needed one with 28 slots.  Ugh!  How embarrassing is that?  A couple of the pills you have to take with a full glass of water, so nobody has to worry about whether I am getting enough water during the day.  Looks, I'm even going to show you a picture...Well I am going to try, hopefully I won't make the internet explode.  That's an average of 14 pills a day for all of you who didn't enlarge and count.  Though, I don't have the stinky vitamin in there, because who wants everything else to smell like fish? *gag*  
Nothing in here to get excited about, don't get jittery.
I think I am hitting the den next. I left that up to the girls for the last week. That was a bit of a disaster, though you can't tell just by standing in the doorway.  I went in last night to get the blocks out for the Mia's homework, and there were dirty socks stuffed in the bottom of the Barbie bin... Her answer to, "Why?" "Oh, feet got hot playing, so I stuck them there so I wouldn't forget." Yeah. I think you forgot, kid. Everything is just stuffed into bins.  Trash, blocks, puzzle pieces.  All in one bin...But the floor is picked up!  Kind of like you used to clean your room when you were a kid, shove it all in your closet or under the bed.  It looks good from the doorway, but if anybody actually looks, their eyes might bleed.
 It's a slow thing, this total reorganization.  But I think it will be completely worth it.  The few changes that have been made are making everything run much more smoothly so far.  What are some of your favorite organization tips and tricks?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Horrible at These "Title" Things and Fatigue

I feel like I have just ended up writing and writing and writing so far.  So the short little title that I have ends up not being correct and not making sense. Whoopsies. I guess I just have too much going on in my head at this point.  I hope that evens out a bit and gets better...that the overwhelmed feeling starts feeling not so overwhelming.  Yesterday I was pretty grouchy.  I had a pretty busy day on Saturday, went to an afternoon full of MS workshops, and then took my medicine, or "shot up", as I affectionately call it Saturday night.  While some of the workshops were very informative, I had severe brain overload, "shot up" at 8:00 and was in bed at 8:30 and slept until 11:00 Sunday morning.  Because that's the way I roll these days.

One of the workshops was with a fantastic speaker, Dr. Gary Stobbe.  The entire 4 hours could have been him talking and I would have been happy.  I wrote notes the entire time and what he said made sense.  One of the things he talked about was how the brain in an MS patient works harder because in order to do a task, the brain is sending the signal over a pathway which has been damaged, so the signal then spreads out and goes over more pathways.  So in a regular, non MS-affected brain, the same task is going over one pathway in the brain, but in a MS-affected brain, the signal is still trying to go over the original damaged pathway, plus having to spread out to adjoining pathways to find an undamaged pathway.  The MS-affected brain, therefore, expends more energy, This goes for getting an actual physical task done, tying to explain something, reading, writing etc.  So imagine interrupting that person in the middle of said task.  This is one of the theories that MS fatigue is so common and so severe.  It doesn't have to be because you have been physically doing many different tasks, it can be because of your brain being active.  I am going with that being why I hit a wall Saturday night and went to bed for 14 hours.  Serious brain overload on Saturday coupled with my medicine which  makes me feel a bit tired the next day anyway.  Huge brick wall was hit and I sat on the couch yesterday other than to do one load of laundry.  My 2 cups of coffee at least got me that far.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Some Basics...and Some Changes.

Yeah, my post titles are so original.  That is what this post is, though.  Basics about me, about MS for other newbies like me...Or actually more like basics about my MS and the changes so far.  Since MS is different for everyone. Yay!  We'll start with just me, though.  Just Jaime. Born and raised in Virginia.  Married to a man who is perfect for me since 2000.  We complement each other well and have 3 beautiful daughters.  We moved to the Seattle 'burbs 2 years ago.  Talk about a culture shock. It was what was best for my family, though, and we are getting used to it.  I am pretty introverted unless you know me, and coupled with anxiety, this has led to some thinking that I am stuck-up.  It is something I try to work on frequently, but it is difficult when social situations make me break out in a rash, get dizzy, have heart palpitations and tunnel vision.  Public speaking is not happening with girl.  After moving to Washington, I was approached by an old high school friend in a direct sales business.  Not something that I would normally do.  While I like going to home parties and listening to others give their presentation and looking at products, it isn't something that I thought I could ever do. I can't talk in front of people.  I freeze.  I break out in a sweat.  I shake.  Making phone calls, forget it!  But you know what?  I took that giant leap and signed up.  I figured I only knew a couple of people-great ladies that I met when I found a book club because I really needed friends-and if it didn't work out then it wasn't a huge loss.  So I have been doing this for a little over a year.  Started off pretty strong and then I started having these suck-ass symptoms.  Can't communicate for crap and am so forgetful.  Business has been struggling and honestly a whole summer of being used as a pin cushion wasn't real conducive to wanting to get out there and get "work by business".  So a new catalog came out for my company this month and I am trying to work it a bit. Starting slow...  It is difficult when you loss track of your thought in the middle of a sentence and say, "Um" every other word.  Really brings out that anxiety even more.  I was doing a ton of online and catalog parties, but even talking on the phone is difficult most of the time.  Not ready to give up, though!  I am thankful that I started the business, though, because I did make a couple of great friends.  One of whom has been a huge lifesaver during the past few months.

I mentioned my book club...I love reading.  Used to read anything, could pick it up and start it and at least give it the old college try and would rate it on what it was not on whether or not it was a fantastic piece of literature.  Typically would go through a book every couple of days.  Would stay up until 1:00 a.m. reading and seriously fly through it.  However, MS completely screws with that.  I can't read if there is background noise.   I start reading whatever words are being said in the background.  My eyes fatigue and start crossing by 10:30 (I made it until 10:47 a couple of nights ago! Oh happy day!) or I am just so tired the book or Kindle gets dropped on my face.  Usually, if I am reading in  bed it is my Kindle because by nighttime my hands are tired and hands will start shaking a bit. At least the Kindle has a button and I don't have to flip pages.  So not only am I not reading as fast, but what I am reading might not necessarily be making as much sense.  If it jumps around too much, if it is a certain style, etc.  Not the author's fault that I can't follow, but I still end up cussing the book.  Totally not fair to the poor book.  I have a couple of dozen books on my Kindle that are 15% done, and books all around my house with bookmarks sticking out of them.  Quite pitiful I have become.  

Cooking is something else that has changed.  I enjoy cooking.  I love to try new recipes and am a decent cook.  Not chef material, but can hold my own.  But, hands get tired so I need to take a break halfway through cutting something, someone talks to me and I forget what I was doing and forget to season something else.  It is a hot mess in my kitchen these days.  Then when I do get something made and everyone else likes it, it doesn't taste good to me, or I can only eat a little bit because my appetite has decreased.  It is something that I have had to work on.  Make a list, cook when the kids are at school or completely otherwise occupied and not going to come in when I am right in the middle of an important step.  Time management is what I am working on here, also. :)

I have been working on getting more organized and delegating some household tasks to others.  If I can stay more organized that should help overall and if I cans stay ahead on different chores, then when there are days when I can't function as well, basic plans will be in place.  Yep, it's a learning curve...

Learning Curve

July 30, 2012.  D-Day.  "D" meaning diagnosis in this case. Of course I wasn't really surprised.  I had to do the research and press my PCP for a referral after he tried to wave my symptoms off as a pinched nerve when I finally went to him after 4 months of  issues in April.  Then I had to advocate for myself with the neurologist because my symptoms weren't "normal" Multiple Sclerosis symptoms and my brain MRI only showed one lesion.  I was still having symptoms, though.  I wanted more tests done.  I wanted to know why my body was rebelling against me and not doing what I was telling it to and not wait another year like this neurologist wanted to.  Luckily she listened to me.  After a spinal MRI showed 7 lesions and a spinal tap showed 22 O-bands and an elevated IgG, that was good enough for her to believe me.  I guess it is still like having a rug pulled out from under you, though.  One of my symptoms was vision problems-though they only lasted a few days and I didn't get into the Neuro-Opthamologist (Dr. that deals with vision problems that relate to the nervous system) until about a month after this symptom, so the only damage was some thinning of the optic nerve.  Not great, but not terrible.  This was still a big deal to me, though.  I have 3 kids, all girls, 11, 8 and 5.  What if one day I wake up and can't see, or can't walk.  One of my main ongoing issues is pain in my legs, and it gets worse as the day goes on or I do more or over exert myself (more on that later).  I get up a lot of the time and stumble around like someone who has had a long hard night of partying.  I used to wear flip-flops all the time (unless it is the winter and then it is boots) and can't wear them anymore. *tear* I have to wear actual shoes and my feet are screaming to escape.  Yes, I can hear them.  But my toes can't hold onto the flip-flops half-the time and the other half  the dragging or flopping action, if you will, would make me trip.  I was a trippin' fool, falling all over the place.  I have actually given up my flip-flops for safety reasons.  If you look out of your windows, you will see cute little pigs with wings up in the sky.  Oh, yeah, my KIDS...  Jeez.   Getting sidetracked is another huge issue.  Hate the thought that something is going to happen and I am not going to be able to take care of my babies.  My perfect beautiful girls.  So I fight.  I am SOOOOO going to try and not be a "poor me" kind of person.  That isn't healthy, right?  But every once in awhile a girl needs a good cry or a good bitch session.  But stress makes this disease worse, so can't do that on a daily basis. :)  This stupid disease comes with a learning curve.  You have a symptom and start getting used to it, and it changes.  Or you think that the symptom doesn't have anything to do with the MS, but then you find out it does...Every day you realize something new, and you keep on fighting.