Top Back Pain Tip from the Arthritis Lady

 

Mom and me at Kansas City International Airport

Last week Mom and I had to take an unexpected trip to Kansas. My aunt was in the hospital, in ICU. Mom and I were worried, so we trekked on out there.

I’m the arthritis lady that has to take a special trip to the doctor’s office so I can make it through an airplane and car trip. I have to schedule walks down the airplane aisle to keep my legs from going crippled.

Good news: My aunt DID get moved out of ICU, and we got to visit with her. Even in hard times, Aunt Linda’s sharp wit can save a dire situation. She’s funny when she tries to be. She’s even funny when she’s not trying to be. I hope I have that much grace when I’m in a situation like that.

Bad news: She has a long recovery ahead and will be in the hospital for a while yet, and she’s only in her 50s. Hospital stays are miserable.

Other good news: I got to see my cousin Amber, who I grew up playing with, so this was a big deal.

Mom, me, and Amber, taking a lunch break at Panera.

Other bad news: Amber’s back is maybe even more messed up than mine is. We have this family arthritis problem. We could have done without that part of the inheritance, Granny…

So Amber and I were both popping NSAIDs and muscle relaxers and spraying each other with BioFreeze. And by the way, we are still young. We are trying not to think about how much worse this could get!

Nothing was working too well. In fact, as annoying as it is, do you know what seems to help me the most??

Physical therapy exercises. I started them in 2010 when my chiropractor assigned me strengthening and stretching exercises, and I was hurting so much that I actually did them out of pure desperation.

I did them faithfully until I started feeling better. Ever since, I’ve had the hardest time getting back in the habit. I need my own personal physical therapist in my living room.

So I found this YouTube channel that is PERFECT. Actually, it’s more than a YouTube channel. It’s a whole website. I wrote all about it over at Monterey Premier. Check it out here.

 

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”   –Jesus, in John 16:33

 

Our Top 10 Stories from 2016: The Drama Year

Daniel, waiting for present-opening time at my parents’ house

Christmas is over, and boy, was it a good one. In the photo above, all 4 boys were watching the clock intently. Christmas truly is magical for children.

I’m so thankful for a Christmas when my kids were healthy, we didn’t have to fly, there were no funerals to attend, and all went smoothly.

Now on to the new year!

2016 was all about drama. Yep. Drama. I’m hoping 2017 will be more about persistence and less about big things happening.

But who can tell the future? I’m not even good about making plans for the future. This year I want to be better about it, even though our best laid plans are so often a joke.

Before I plan for the future, I always look back at where we’ve been. This helps me to stay realistic. I can be idealistic and get myself into ridiculous situations.

I want to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground and perhaps allow my head to wander into the clouds just a little bit…

So let’s look back. Google Analytics tells me which of this year’s posts were most popular.

Top 10 Stories from 2016

#10. Exciting News, Dirt Angels, and Checking on Daniel

This is what my to do list looked like the other day:

-Morning Chores

-Check on Daniel.

-Shower/get ready

-Check on Daniel.

-Start sheets.

-Check on Daniel.

-Put away laundry. Move sheets to dryer.

-Check on Daniel.

-Well, you get the idea.

 

#9. JD Presents the New VeggieTales DVD Giveaway

It was exciting to partner with VeggieTales. I’ve always loved them, and giveaways are always a hit.

 

#8. What do I wear to the wedding?

As it turns out, my friends love to help me pick out what to wear. Ironically enough, I woke up with a swollen hip, and none of those dresses fit. Want to see what I actually wore?

This, and it looked awful on me. That’s why I cropped the photo. But it was okay because we had so much fun at the wedding. Want to see the bride?

 

She’s the beautiful red-headed one in the white dress!! (Ha! Obviously) This is the family red-head photo!! Gingers rule!

#7. The Linq Procedure: Another Half Naked Story

Yes, occasionally I blog about my health problems. I hope that it helps other people with similar problems. And sometimes I DO just want to whine!

Only 1 more health article on the list, I promise:

#6. Health Update: Ventricular Tachycardia, My Favorite Doctor, and Tendonitis Everywhere

This tells the story of a PA who I was so excited to find after having so many MEAN doctors. What is the deal with the rude docs? Why are you a doctor if you don’t even like people? I get so nervous about medical stuff, I need straight up Mary Poppins  when I go to the doc’s office!

#5. Life gets really fun once you get over yourself! 

This one’s my favorite. Here’s a quote from it:

“Ha! I bet some of you wonder why I’m always sharing my crazy crap on the internet.

It’s worth it, y’all. Do what you love, and shamelessly share it. It may even turn into income for you.”

first Christmas in Nana’s new house

#4. The Story of My Wedding Dress: What Fire Couldn’t Burn

….Grab your tissues for that one.

#3. 3 Fall Funnies and a New Giveaway for Your Kitchen

Again, giveaways are popular! But this one did have some CUTE stories.

#2. When We Met Matthias: Story of a Military Family

This was the GOOD kind of drama. Emma stayed with us for just a few weeks. She labored at our house and brought her new baby home to our house, and it was so exciting to be a part of it.

 

#1. Logan

Alan lost two teenage cousins this year. These were two separate tragic single-car accidents, devastating events.

 

Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.

Isaiah 57:1 New Living Translation

 

Last year wasn’t easy. Life is full of both the good and the bad for each of us. I wanted to share a happy Christmas video to perk us all up:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for being a part of our 2016.

 

 

 

The Move, My California Health Crisis, and The Grocery Store Scuffle

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Alan and Mom. Mom was such a huge help the week of my procedure. Thanks, Mom!!

The Move

Yesterday I started cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and drawers. No, I’m not packing myself. Alan’s job hires people to do that, so why would I?

What I’m doing is trying to eliminate all things that I do not want or use so that I don’t have to unpack them in a few weeks. We have way too much junk.

Junk. Just junk.

How do we all accumulate so much of it?

Is it the result of retail therapy gone overboard?

The inability to let go? I don’t know. But somehow every two years, we haul off truck loads and truckloads of our old stuff to Goodwill and the dump.

Occasionally, we sell a thing or two. I got $25 for an Ergo baby carrier…

Bye-bye, Ergo, we had a love/hate relationship anyway.

I sold a Mickey Mouse Cake Pan for $5. Because let’s face it. I bought it 2 years ago and never used it. I’m obviously too intimidated by the directions and the hand cramping to actually decorate a Mickey Mouse cake.

My hand hurts now, just thinking about squeezing out all those icing stars.

So yeah, we’re moving. We still don’t actually have a house to move INTO yet, but we hand over the keys to this one on June 25th.

Do you know what the funny part is? The funny part is that my California Health Crisis earned me a plane ticket with JD, so I don’t even have to participate in pack and load week or the cross-country road trip. I leave on the 20th.

……Oh. my. goodness. Daniel is watching Teletubbies. I thought we killed those obnoxious things off years ago. How? How are they suddenly back here, back into our lives????

“Daniel, please, please, don’t watch this show. I can’t take it. It’s too dumb.”

“Yeah,” Daniel agreed. Now we’re watching an alphabet video. It’s not too bad.

What was I saying? OH YEAH! Our moving plan. I ended up getting the super-sweet side of the stick, thanks to my psoriatic arthritis issues.

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Mom and Me at Point Lobos. We’ve established that Pt. Lobos is what I will miss most about California, right?

The Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is basically pronounced sorry-attic arthritis. In my head, I also call it sorry ass arthritis because that’s what it makes me feel like.

It’s back, and it’s ugly, and I’ve just stopped playing around about it. My big toe swelled, but I’ve figured out a way to walk without using it, and then I bumped it just a tiny bit on JD’s potty stool, and now it’s swollen, bruised, and bloody.

The ligament that connects my knees to my hips is inflamed all the way up, on both sides, and my left thumb is permanently bending slower than all of my other fingers. The shoulder tendonitis is back too. But at least the plantar fasciitis finally went away. So, there’s that.

The Heart

I asked my cardiologist about what anti-inflammatory meds I could take. I need them right now, for this flare-up and the up-coming travel.

He was obviously not too concerned. He said, “As long as you don’t take cocaine or meth, I’m good.”

As you can see, my cardiologists are super worried. Not.

I had my last appointment the other day. Dr. G is my super-soft-spoken but very personable electrophysiologist, a.k.a. a highly educated heart doc that specializes in electrical problems of the heart, arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia.

He was actually kind and sympathetic about my Linq monitor. Wait. A kind and sympathetic doctor? What is this new thing?? I’ve just had bad doctor luck these past two years, so this was a nice change.

He’s funny too. I asked if anything had shown up on my Linq monitor. He explained that he has the parameters on the thing set so that the v-tach won’t register unless it’s over 195 bpm or at least 16 beats in a row.

“Ha! I don’t think it’s ever that bad,” I said.

“Well, I set it that way because that’s the point at which we would need to do something about it.” he explained.

Sure.

“Can I put off going to a cardiologist for a while because I’ve got so much to do with this move… I feel like I’ve been to the cardiologist enough for one year anyway…”

“Yes, of course, you have a lot going on. Take care of that, and then you can get a new cardiologist. UNLESS you have symptoms.”

“I have a lot of symptoms lately, but none long enough to set off the monitor (16 beats), so what do I know?”

“Well, that’s because you got a plate full of s***.”

Haaa!!!  Ain’t that the truth.

I’m always surrounded by children or other stay-at-home moms or home school moms, so I don’t hear a lot of conversational swear words. So now when I do hear them, it’s really hard not to giggle. Yeah, I probably did snicker.

Oh, well. Dr. G says he’s not worried about my v-tach. My heart is structurally fine.  His actual words were, “You’re not going to die suddenly in your sleep or anything.”

Ha! So there’s my good news of the day, folks. I’m not going to die suddenly in my sleep, at least not this year. It sounds like a joke, but that DOES happen to v-tach sufferers when there is heart disease present or with an inherited condition, like Brugada. However, when those things aren’t present, and the v-tach is short, like mine, it is considered benign.

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JD was seriously THIS small when we moved in!! 2 years ago!!

I have a good sense of closure from this California Health Crisis chapter: the pain, the fevers, and the heart thing…Most of it was all from psoriatic arthritis, which mostly goes away if I don’t eat wheat or get too stressed. So there you go. I’m learning how to better take care of myself.

And the funny part…

So did you catch the part about Alan? Did you read that right? They wrote me out of the cross-country move and the pack week. SOOOO..  Alan will be overseeing the pack out and the cross-country move by himself, along with our three oldest children. That’s right. Alan is  doing a week-long road trip with Joshua, Caleb, and Daniel.

I know. Poor Alan. What kind of a wife am I? Well, I’ve done all the other pack and moves, thank you, most of them by myself. But yes, I usually shipped off the kids.

I’ve asked him repeatedly to send another kid on the plane with me, to lighten his load. But Alan says it will be fun.

I’ll give you a minute to laugh…

It won’t be dull, anyway. You gotta give him that. A friend of ours suggested that we should strap a Go-pro on Alan for this trip. It would surely make for a funny video.

Nah, what am I saying? Our kids are perfect angels, and so are we.

In fact, today I gave Cherielle a ride home from church, and Alan had all four boys with him because we’re trying to keep the van CLEAN, in order to sell it.

Alan decided to take all the boys with him to the grocery store.

While he was there, there was quite a spectacle. A certain five-year-old boy took a gold “good behavior” reward coin from his big, eight-year-old brother.

“Hey, give that back!” the eight-year-old demanded.

But the little guy only clutched the good-behavior coin even tighter. Oh, the irony..

So the two ended up WRESTLING IN THE FLOOR of the check-out line over this coin. The oldest boy, a ten-year-old, was dismayed and embarrassed at his younger brothers’ behavior, so he started punching the middle one in the back saying, “Cut it out! Get up! Cut it out!”

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my little wrestlers with Aunt Janet and Nonna

Don’t worry. They were quickly apprehended, and upon their return home, appropriate consequences were measured out. I’m sure those weren’t our little angels, scrapping it out over a Sunday School coin in the floor of the grocery store….Nah….

I’m just thankful I was not at the grocery store. I was at home putting the frozen pizzas in the stove.

Just another day in paradise, y’all. Have a great week!

 

 

 

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