Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 Years . . .

Today is the 10-year anniversary of this blog.  Linda the Chicken Lady was the one who suggested I start one.  Blogs were the hot thing in the knitting world a decade ago, and I've always been a writer, so I decided to give it try . . .

A decade.  A lot of the blogs that were around then, aren't anymore.  A lot of people have moved completely to Facebook, Twitter, and more recently, Instagram.  I've curated my Facebook feed to show me positive and helpful things; hardly anyone follows me there anymore because I will not stop Resisting the current political administration here in the U.S.  I've tried Pinterest, but I haven't truly found the allure of it.  I have a few boards, but they are rarely added to.  Rather, I am inspired by this board . . .

 I do post photos on Instagram from time to time.  This is my current favorite:

And I do have a Twitter account . . . but somehow I don't seem well able to limit my thoughts to 140 characters . . .  and so, Knit and Run - the Everyday Life of a Wild and Wacky Woman goes on and gives me a place to get things down on the page and to share what's going on in my world, and what books I've read (usually from my book club), and what music I'm listening to (usually old  :-D ). 

My blog is not world-famous.  That doesn't matter.  Over the years it's been a life-line for me more times than I can count.  I've always written it for myself - to help move me through passages in my life and chronicle stuff that's going on.  That anyone else has come along on the journey or been helped by anything I've shared is amazing to me, and very humbling.

Some readers comment, some don't.  Some left when the political waters got hot last year.  Here's what I have to say about that:

But, after all this time, you are still here.

And so am I.


I've chronicled a decade of my life and experiences here.  Knitting.  Spinning.  African Violets.  Ravelry.  Bagpiping.  Women's Issues.  Construction.  Chicago.  My own health and wellness.  The Path to Myself.  365 Project.  Politics.  Life in General.  Endings and Beginnings.  I seem to have a LOT of tags over on the sidebar  :-D

I thought a few times that I would let it go - but I find that I cannot.  So, to those of you still out there - still reading - thank you for bearing witness and holding space for me.

Who knows what the next 10 years will hold?  I certainly don't, but I'm reasonably sure I'll be chronicling it here, and - whatever comes - my hands are open . . .

Onward  :-)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Food for the Soul . . .

Something else I've been doing the past month, is beginning to making music again.  I really cannot go too very long without it.  In fact, if you know me in real life, you likely know that I've been a musician since before anything else.  I've stepped away from it for a few years again because I just haven't had the wherewithal to do it.  But I was inspired to open my eyes . . . I tuned my guitar and have been playing a bit.  And I re-seasoned my pipe bag and at least blew some air through them a few times.  Not pretty, but something.

I am absolutely stunned by the muscle memory retained in my hands.  I am very, very lucky, and that's all that I can say about that.

Quick update on my 24-hour urine collection.  I am happy to say that I have been successful on my "output."  They wanted me at the very least to be peeing out 2.5 liters daily.  To do that, you have to drink a LOT of water.  I was instructed to drink 3 - 4 liters of water every day.  This is actually getting easier, believe it or not.  When you don't drink things like pop, coffee, or tea, it's way easier.   So, I was shooting for at least 2.5, and I was at 3.6.  So, I've been successful with my first directive of drink more water.  I'll have to wait for my test results in mid-July to see if I've been fully successful with my second, which was eat less salt.

With the health issues I've had for the past few years, I am continually looking for ways to inspire myself and keep myself going.

A few weeks ago, with with my friend, D., to a Body, Soul, Spirit festival.  We had a great time!  I spent some money to talk with a Shaman named Matthew.  He was pretty amazing and knew a lot of stuff that he really shouldn't have . . . I do believe some people have gifts that they've been able to tap into better than the rest of us.  It was money and time well spent - he  was very clear that he didn't understand why I wasn't making music since it runs through the very core of who I am and how I define myself.  He could never know this.  Other stuff, too, but this was compelling and helped me see what I might be missing.

While at the fair I found these two Raku-fired medallions, the Hand of Fatima, and the Celtic Trinity Knot. 

I love what the little card that came with these says:

"Not everyone survives their trial by fire.  The ones that do cultivate strength & beauty."

Yup . . .

I don't think the Trinity Knot requires much explanation - you can interpret it as any trinity you need it to be . . .  But The Hand of Fatima might not be as familiar to you.  It is an ancient symbol of feminine protection.  Mostly found in Middle Eastern and North African cultures, I first encountered it in Morocco and learned about it from our Berber guide.  It's called Hamsa in Jewish culture.  When I say ancient - it pre-dates all modern religions.  I think it's very, very beautiful.  On the back of the medallion it says, "I am Protected."  On the back of the Trinity Knot medallion, it says: "I am Connected."


And on my wrist, more reminders and inspirations:

The silver bracelets are all from Alex and Ani.  An Om, Liberty Copper, the Hand of Fatima, the Number 3 (Creativity, Wholeness, Intuition),  and somewhere, my initial, A.  I have more - I wear them a lot.

The red leather wrist wrap is from Brian Andreas, of Story People fame.  I first encountered his work years ago in a little shop on North Clybourn in Chicagoland.  Linda the Chicken Lady and I both got multiple matted prints of his work.  I know I had mine framed and they've hung on various walls of my life over the years. 

Anyway. he was having a moving sale and this wrap was on sale.  The site said that the clasps of the wraps were tarnished (no big deal) and they were selling them quite inexpensively.  I think that the only reason I was able to get this one is that it was a size Small.  That's right.  My wrists are less than 6" around.  Smallest part of my body.  :-D  I worried a bit that it might not fit, but it fits beautifully.  I know you can't see the whole story on it. Here's what it says:

"Trust Love.  That's pretty much it.  Except, maybe, drink more water."

So, yeah - you know I had to get that.  Funny, isn't is, that I keep the wrist wrap so I can read it, and wear the bracelets the opposite?  That's just the way that they seem to go best  :-)

I was finally to get out this past weekend and walk.  It finally cooled off enough to get an early walk in both days.  In the spirit of gorgeous photos my friend, Michelle from Boulderneigh, posts, here are a few reminders of my steps . . .

Busy muskrat in the Retention Pond . . .

Robin in the Pine (click to biggify) . . .

Wild Roses in the Wetland . . .

Until the next time  . . .

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Catching Up . . .

Again - large chunks of time between posts. Time continues to slip through my fingers.

Feeling pretty good and am very hopeful about the follow up tests regarding The Kidney Stone Incident.  I haven't been perfect - which I know I've said already - but most days I have a good handle on my salt intake and my water.  I'm doing another 24-hour urine collection test today, and then I have to have another CT scan on Thursday.  Then, I'll see my urologist again on the 10th of July.

The 24-hour urine collection test will tell the tale.  It is my hope that my "output" number will be way up, and my sodium number way down.  I'm reasonably sure that if I'm successful with these two items, that all my other wonky numbers will fall into place.  Crossing my fingers  :-)

The CT Scan is to make sure that there are no other stone hanging around in my kidneys.  I don't think there are, and - based on the ultrasound I had in March - my urologist did not see any shadows.  However, apparently someone took another look at my March ultrasound and decided that I might or might not have some cysts hanging around inside of me.  For this, the CT scan will tell the tale.  I don't think it's anything serious.

I'm also down 15 pounds since the end of February, so that's a big plus, as well.

Then, a couple of weeks ago I saw my OB/GYN for my annual.  He's been my doctor for more than two decades (hard to believe!) and I can't even tell you the number of people I've referred to him.  I mention him and this visit because of what the urologist who performed my surgery said to me - in passing:  Oh, BTW, your bladder has fallen, I can fix it if you want."

Seriously, that's what he said.

I spoke to my current urologist about this back in March and he said that yes, he could fix it, but to check with my OB/GYN when next I saw him because my OB/GYN has never said that I needed any kind of surgery.  And sure enough, when I spoke to him, he said that unless it was really really bothering me that he didn't want to perform surgery on me, saying, "A, you've already had enough surgery this year."  He also said that there were many other options to be explored before surgical repair, including pelvic floor physical therapy, and, possibly a pessary.  I feel better about the whole thing.  I've had the same OB/GYN for a really long time.  Whatever he tells me, is what I'm going to go with.  :-)

I have a follow up with my Retina Guy in early July, as well.  All seems to be well except for the flashing that doesn't go away.  I also had another ocular migraine - yesterday.  It's so odd when it happens, and always in my left eye over to the outside.  It's gone now - only lasted about 30 minutes or so.  It's very hard to describe, but this photo is from Medical Treasure and it's a very good approximation of what I usually see:

It's jagged, and usually multicolored.  Mine is usually all the way to outside of my field of vision, and it's only ever been in my left eye, but unlike this photo, they do not affect the clarity of the rest of my vision.  They never last long, and usually my eye feels warm/hot after it's over.  So, I guess I'll be telling the Retina Guy about it when I see him.

Enough about weird health stuff  :-D

In the time that has passed since last I blogged, I have started to work with my plants again.  I actually bought a few more.  Some have arrived, some are still on their way.  When all is said and done, I will have gone from 16 to 33 varieties again.  Most of the new plants are semis and minis.  Only time will tell how I do with them  :-)  My state organization is having a show in mid-November, and I wanted to be ready to hopefully have a few things to show.  I also am already planning for national in 2018, which will be in Buffalo, New York.

Nearly all the plants were very neglected for the past year, but everything has been potted up now and I have a LOT of leaves down, this latter also in prep for the fall show.  Hopefully some will be sold, and some will likely be used for table favors at the fall event.

Here's my Jersey Snowflakes before:

Here is it after grooming and repotting:

And here are all the leaves I took from it . . .  I actually took more - but they weren't good to propagate.  And yes, that's my hand.  Really big leaves  :-)

Here is a look at the stands.  Stand 1:

Stand 2:
and Stand 3:

Here's a closer look at the current new babies:

I have to say, it was really nice to have my hands in the dirt again  :-)

These days I can't stop listening to Dougie MacLean . . .

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sock Hygge . . .

My local library has a book club that I joined early this year.  I really like it and I look forward to it every month now.  It's usually all women (there was one guy one time, but he never came back).  We read books that are uplifting and that have application in our lives.  For May, the book was  this:

It's pronounced hoo-ga (in case you wondered).  I so enjoyed this one, and discovered that I'm pretty much in the hygge groove already.  In fact, the entire group really enjoyed it - we were all in the spirit of it!  One lady brought her crocheting to work on, and she brought cookies, and made a Danish folded lace heart for the table!

Candles, lighting, friends, scarves, sweaters, woolen socks, coffee, wine can all be hygge, but it's more a feeling than a thing.

An important thing for your Hygge Emergency Kit (it's in the book  :-) ), is a pair of woolen socks.

I have a 29-year supply of woolen socks.  They never seem to wear out - probably because I don't wear them enough.  So, earlier this week, I had a bright idea . . .

Yes.  I took 20 pairs of socks with me to book club.  Some never worn, some gently worn (all clean, of course :-D).  I brought home eight.  It was SO FUN to give everyone a pair of woolen socks  :-D  I have so many that never get worn - and I'm a big believer in stuff being used rather than sitting around.  Everyone was really happy  :-)

Other things have been accomplished around here.  I had to file an extension for my taxes this year.  I had been scheduled for the Saturday after my retina tore, and I couldn't get anyone to drive me up to Sheffield & Diversey for my appointment, so my accountant filed an extension for me.  I met with him last night and that's now out of the way!  Yay!

I finally sprang for some blocking mats and T-Pins.  O. M. G.  WHY did I wait so long???  I've been blocking on beach towels and using regular sewing pins with little roundy bead tops forever.  The mats and T-Pins are amazing!!

Here is my Hale-Bopp MKAL shawl from back in February - finally blocked.  I'm not quite sure how to wear it, but it's done.

And my Copenhagen Calling cowl is done, too, and I'm all ready for next winter!


Sorry for the pretty much no makeup face.  I managed to get my eyebrows on this morning and that was about it  :-D


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day . . .

I follow the artist, Brian Andreas, on Facebook.  He posted this drawing yesterday:

I don't know if he meant it as a love story, or for Mother's Day.  I took it as the latter.

My mom used to hum all the time.

I always figured it was the sound that all moms make. Soft, quiet, sometimes tuneless, sometimes a snatch of a random melody. It was comforting in a way that only a mom can be.

I remember that it really bothered one of my ex-husbands, and at first I couldn't figure out what he was talking about - humming was just the sound that I thought all moms made.  It was important to him that I never do it . . .

My young life was filled with music - she was always singing to me, and teaching me songs, and encouraging me to sing along.  Humming seemed a natural extension of that, to me, I guess.

It was so much a part of who she was that it was often unconscious on her part. When I was little, we drove to California with a friend of hers.  We stopped at a restaurant and she left the table to go to the ladies'.  Shortly thereafter, I excused myself to go, too, and I found her in the public rest room because she was (unconsciously) humming.

Lord, I miss her . . .

I can't share her humming with you - but I can share a huge piece of my childhood.

Traumerei was one of her favorite pieces of music.  Not one that we sang - it's on one of the steel records for the antique music box that was my father's - she would wind it up every night and play it so I could fall sleep to it, and it was nearly always this tune.  I still wind it up from time to time . . .

It's very fast on this recording.  It shouldn't be this fast, but the Regina was all I could find on YouTube, and I have a Lyon and Healy Empress.  Traumerei starts at :48. 

Here is about how fast it should actually be, and there is interesting history behind it if you're so inclined.  But to me it has always been my falling asleep music.  My "Mom, please wind the music box" music . . .

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Hold the Phone . . .

I'm still trying to figure out how even when I am working to slow things down around me, they pay absolutely no fricking attention at all.


It's nearly mid-May and it's been quite awhile since I've really blogged. It took me two days to get this far.  I had an entire post crafted this morning, and then Blogger barfed and I lost it.  ALL of it.


Onward . . .

The update on my eye is really good news!  As of two Fridays ago, I'm back to 20/20 vision in both eyes.  It appears that I didn't lose any vision in my right eye.  Can't even tell you how grateful I am.  I still have a few floaters, but, for the most part, they are doing what they are supposed to, and being reabsorbed by my body.  I continue to experience flashing in my right eye, which is odd, but it's been checked twice, and all is well.  This just might be my new normal.  I did have an odd occurrence - my left pupil dilated.  Just the left one.  It gave me a distinct Little Orphan Annie appearance for as long as it lasted.  This has happened a few more times, but not to the extent of the first time.  My Retina Guy knows about it, and I'm to get a photo if it happens again.  In the meantime, no one thinks it's serious.  Just interesting  :-)

No real news on The Kidney Stone Incident front.  I'm still working daily with my new way of eating.  Most days I'm on target with my reduced sodium.  It's challenging, though.  Getting enough calcium has been the biggest challenge, however (potassium, too), because getting enough without causing intestinal distress is tough.  Cheese doesn't affect me as much as milk (Lactaid) or fortified orange juice do, but most cheeses are very high in sodium, so that's the rub.  It's definitely a balancing act.  I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm making daily progress.

At the moment am dealing with being on the Prednisone Bomb for allergy-related issues, including a cough that was just brutal.  Nothing stopped it - no even my rescue inhaler - but the P-Bomb has definitely made a difference.  The trees are still trying to leaf out here - it got so cold again that they pretty much stopped, lengthening my misery for a few extra weeks this year.  I took the last bomb dose this morning, and for that I'm extremely grateful.  Prednisone makes me crabby, causes me to retain fluid, disrupts my sleep, and makes me hungry for stuff that is way not best for me - in particular sugar and a massive craving for the salt I'm so focused on limiting.  With the last dose this morning it will be out of my systems in another few days.  In the meantime I just need to hang in.  It's finally warm and sunny again to day - I'm hopeful that the trees will get cracking and finish leafing out!

This is my new water bottle - I got it at the Hallmark Store (of all places!).  The rubber bands are for me to be able to make sure I'm getting my 3-4 liters of water in daily.  I take one off every time I get up to refill the bottle.  I've found this size (500 ml/17 oz) is way easier to deal with than my old 1 liter SIGG bottle.  On Amazon I found MIRA bottles, which look to be pretty much the same thing, and got this one.  I decided it would be easier to have one at the office and one at home, lightening my commute load.  Plus, I love the Moroccan feel of the MIRA one  :-)

I'm stalled on the Ben Lomond mitts I've been making for my cousin - I just have the thumbs and finish work left, but I needed a break, so I cast on for Copenhagen Calling last weekend.  I've wanted to knit this since I first saw the pattern.

The colors in the photo are a little bright - in real life they are much deeper/richer.  I'm in the process of the bind-off now.  Two skeins of Socks That Rock Heavyweight, in the True Blood Red and Copperline colorways.  I wasn't sure at first if they would go together, but they really, really do.  You use more of the second colorway (for me, that was Copperline).  I had thought to maybe get a hat out of the leftovers, but I'm thinking now that that's not going to happen.  I'm going to have very little left once this bind-off is complete.

And, like hundreds of others, I'm contemplating the Joji Locatelli mystery knit-along, called Starting Point.  These are my skein choices:

I like them a lot.  I discovered with the Hale-Bopp mystery KAL that I didn't care for light/dark color changes.  I know a lot of people think that they makes things pop, but I find it distracting.  I like how all my colors are similar but different, with nothing majorly bright.  I've been hesitating because I'm a little concerned on yardage for one of the skeins, but also because the initial spoiler photos I saw did not thrill me.  However, some this morning were much more to my liking, so I think it was that I just didn't care for some of the color combo choices I saw.  So, I'm close to caking these skeins and casting on.

Spent some time this morning getting patterns and assorted magazines gone through and either tossed (in the case of some magazines) or catalogued into my Ravelry library and put away.  That felt pretty good!

That's the update here - been listening to the Bee Gees this morning . . .

Monday, May 1, 2017

Beltane . . .

In the Celtic calendar we walk out of the dark, into the light today.  Imbolc passes into Bealtaine and the world becomes all about the return of life and fertility - even though it's in the low 40s today, it's raining, and I have to wear a coat (probably my winter coat again) to work  :-)

Vacation is over and I'm headed back to the real world today. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

More Cleanup . . .

I'm on vacation for two weeks even though I had two weeks of unexpected leave with both the kidney stone and then my torn retina.  I really, really needed this time, however, and my boss was agreeable.  One of my besties is here for a couple of weeks taking her vacation, too, so that's great!  For the past couple of days we've been hanging out at home. watching various television shows, and going through my cookbooks.

As I continue on my new food journey, I wanted to look at the cookbooks I kept in the last purge.  Gotta tell you - a nice stack of books just went to my local Little Free Library.  I'm looking at recipes with a new eye now.  I did find some wonderful ones to try - lots of little sticky flags on various pages  :-)

I also decided that I needed to deal with my spice cabinet - it escaped the last go-round with the food cabinets.  So - I pulled everything out.  I have no earthly idea how all this stuff fit in that little cabinet . . .

As with the food cupboards, I found a lot of stuff that was expired, and, unfortunately, a lot of stuff that had salt in it!  Spice mixes often have salt - something that had never occurred to me before.

And I guess that stuff does actually wear out/expire . . . These are red pepper flakes.  I don't use them, but have them on hand.

The one on the left I'm sure was my mom's . . . (she's been gone 13 years next month).  The one on the right doesn't expire until 2018.  Quite a color difference!

I went through every bottle and jar - these made the cut because they don't have salt in them - but they have some possibly questionable ingredients in them for someone watching their oxalate.  Again, I don't have to watch my oxalate as closely as most other people who make kidney stones.  Salt is the biggie for me.  I'll be talking to my Health Coach about these.  Crossing my fingers that they will still be OK for me to use!

I have a question for you cooks out there - if a jar of spice has never been opened (i.e., it's still sealed under the lid), is the expiration date still a true expiration date?  

All of these are old - the Dill Weed has a 2006 expiration date and the Cinnamon Sticks don't even have an expiration date - but all of them are still sealed.  Thoughts?

Similar question for extracts - do they really expire/go bad??

Yes - that's a glass bottle with a metal lid.  You know that was my mom's.  :-)  They all have been opened, but they all still smell OK.

So - yeah, the spice cupboard is now set up for success!  The top shelf has all the questionable ingredients that I will be asking about in Jill Harris's Kidney Stone Prevention Course

Looks kinda empty, doesn't it?  I had a lot of spice blends, and, as mentioned, they nearly all had salt/sodium in them.  I'm doing well with limiting my salt.  I'm struggling, however, to get enough calcium and enough potassium in each day.  I'm certainly better than I was, but I'm still learning this new balancing act - and getting enough calcium has proved the most problematic because when I drink too much milk (Lactaid) or too much calcium-enriched orange juice, I have intestinal distress and have to run for the bathroom.  I'm sparing you the details.  You can imagine . . .

I can hardly wait for my course to start tomorrow!!  I know I'm going to learn so much every week - I already have a list of questions!  :-)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

No Autotune Here . . .

Masterful musicians . . .

Happy Saturday  :-)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Setting Myself up for Success . . .

Kind of a wild story, all this kidney stone stuff, huh?  Many thanks for your messages of support  :-)  They mean a lot!

I spent a good part of my weekend working on my cupboards, fridge, and freezer.

I had a 29-year supply of tea - a lot of which was past its "best by" date.  I decided to pretty much let it all go.  There's no point to keeping it in the house when I know I won't be drinking it.

There were a lot of things that have a LOT of salt in them.  I also had a lot of other stuff that was also past its prime.  Often by five or six years . . .  three trash bags went out, and the bags in this photo will go to my cleaning lady if she wants them.  If she doesn't, I will take them to the local food pantry on Monday.

The cupboards are cleaned out, and cleaned up.

There are a few things that once they're gone I won't get again.  There's a lot of room in there now, because most of the stuff that you would keep in cabinets usually has a lot of salt in it.

That's my pantry cupboard.  The brown bags on the bottom are Irish whole wheat flour from King Arthur.  I got them to make Wheaten Bread, which is common in Northern Ireland and which is the best bread ever.  Although whole grains are higher in oxalate, I figure since I'm baking it myself, I should be able to have it once in awhile (particularly if I drink a glass of milk with it).  Besides which, that stuff was spendy  :-D  in the front is my 100% Whole Wheat pasta that I really like - believe it or not, I think I get to go back to regular pasta )although I can tell you that it doesn't taste nearly as good without salt . . .) again because the whole grain is higher in oxalate.

Here's my fridge.  Yes, I really do have an entire freezer shelf devoted to icing devices for multiple part of my body  :-D  I am, however, going to move them down to the bottom shelf!

I think this was a good way for me to really start getting things in order in my kitchen.  It's now imperative that I cook more.

It certainly didn't hurt to clean all this stuff out and wipe down all the shelves.  Kind of like a mini-spring cleaning  :-)  I think I'm ready!  If you have any low-sodium recipes that actually taste good, please share  :-D

Feeling the need for some true singers and amazing harmonies today . . .

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Week of Doctors, Part IV

We're finally on to Thursday and Friday now.

I spoke with Jill Harris on Thursday morning and made what was an easy decision.  I will be participating in her 6-Week Kidney Stone Prevention Course.  I will be able to learn a great deal about how to successfully (hopefully) manage my new dietary requirements.  If you scroll down the page at that link, you'll see that each week captures a different topic.  The course is limited to 12 people each time and it's very affordable.

In addition, I've also chosen to do some personal coaching with Jill.  I'm doing this because my numbers in a few areas were a little scary.  In fact, she was actually surprised that the urologist hadn't put me on medication immediately.

Apparently the amount of salt I used to consume has been causing my body to leach calcium out of my bones and pour it into my urine so my kidneys can do what they need to do.  I don't understand all the chemistry behind this - and (for once) I don't need to.  For now, I just need to focus on upping my water and lessening my sodium.  I'm thinking that you're probably thinking that this really doesn't seem all that hard - but there are more pieces of the puzzle for me.

While I'm upping my water and lowering my salt, I also have to find ways to up my calcium and potassium, as well as limit my protein and sugar.  Thankfully for me, one thing that I don't need to concentrate on initially is my intake of foods high in oxalate.  That's the lowest item on the list for me.  I'm choosing foods that are lower in oxalate when I can, but again, it's more about water and salt.

 And . . . because I'm trying to help my bladder out at the same time, I've been advised to drink only water. No coffee (no problem - I don't drink it).  No tea (I'll miss it). No spicy foods (again not a problem, I've never been big on super spice).  I am drinking Lactaid milk, however, it's one of the best ways for me to up my calcium - many other dairy products (like cheese) have a lot of sodium in them.  I'm not counting it toward my daily liquid intake - it's all about the calcium.

Jill is wonderful, and if you've happened to find my blog because you were searching on kidney stones, I would encourage you to check her out.  She coaches people all over the country, so you don't have to be local to work with her.

Alrighty then.  I'm hanging in and I'm learning.  It's going to be interesting, that's for sure  :-)

Friday - I had my annual physical with my primary care doc.  My labs came back today and they don't show anything that I wasn't expecting.  My lipid numbers (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.) are not great.  I'm not surprised, but the changes I'm making with the kidney stone diet will take care of those, as well.

I'm doctored out.


So, that's the rest of the story.  I think you can probably see now why I broke it into four pieces.  There was just too much to capture in one post.

Here's to a great day  :-)

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Week of Doctors, Part III

So - we're still on last Wednesday, and I'm finally seeing my urologist!  Yay!

My stone was 80% calcium oxalate and 20% calcium phosphate.  He told me that calcium oxalate is the most common type of stone.  The results of the 24-hour urine collection tests told him why I made a stone, and he was then able to tell me the areas where I need to make changes to hopefully avoid making another.

For me, the short story is this: "Drink More Water, Eat Less Salt."

The rest of the story, is that I have changes to make and they won't be one-time things.

Here's the deal:  because I've made one stone, I am 40% to 50% more likely to make another.  Dude.  I'm serious.  In order for me to avoid making another stone, the changes I make have to be for the rest of my life.  As I was listening to him give me the test results and explain my treatment plan, I knew that I was going to need help to be successful. 

You can get a little background on my own research and thoughts from my March 12th post. I had continued my own research, and it led me to the University of Chicago, where Dr. Fredric Coe has published what amounts to an online book about kidney stone prevention. 

If you do any research at all into kidney stones, you discover that one person says one thing, and another says the opposite, and they all talk about oxalate in some form or another.  It's extremely confusing.  Since I have such great doctors, I decided to stick with them and work with their guidelines.

My urologist knew of Dr. Coe, and the diet he gave me pretty much came from Dr. Coe.  There is a nurse educator who works with Dr. Coe.  Her name is Jill Harris.  Everything I was reading on both the UofC website and her own website, was telling me that she would likely be a great person to help me on this journey.  She is a private health coach who devotes her entire coaching practice exclusively to the prevention of kidney stones.  Who knew?  I asked my urologist if he would have any objection to my working with someone like Jill to help me be successful.

He was thrilled!

I don't have to take any meds (at this time (and hopefully never)).  It's more water, less salt, and some dietary changes.  That doesn't sound too crazy or difficult until you look closer.

I must drink between three and four liters of water a day.  You guys, that's a lot of water.  Yesterday was the first day I made it to 3 liters.

And sodium - which is in Every. F-ing. Thing. - has to be limited to 1,000 milligrams a day. 

Again, this seems like it should be relatively easy - just stop salting your food.  Well, yeah, that's a given.  But I'm not kidding when I tell you that salt is in EVERY PROCESSED FOOD.  I've been a label reader for decades.  If you're not already a label reader, I encourage you to start.  It will be eye-opening for you.

Here's a label . . . This is the nutritional label for Bay's Original English Muffins (something I was eating many days for breakfast):

At first glance, not horrible, but your eyes likely skipped over the sodium because in your everyday life you're probably more concerned with calories, fat, and maybe sugar.  Look again . . .

When you see that one English muffin has 540 milligrams of sodium - and your daily limit is 1,000 - you begin to see how all-of-a-sudden "eat less sodium"  is no longer such a simple change. 

The urologist told me that he'd like to see what I can do on my own in the three months before I have to see him again.  I left his office with a copy of my 24-hour urine collection results, the kidney stone diet, encouragement, a wonky feeling in the pit of my stomach, and the realization that I had no idea what to eat. 

I emailed Jill Harris as soon as I got back to work . . .

(Yes, there's more  ;-) )

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Week of Doctors, Part II . . .

Alrighty then.  Moving on to Wednesday . . .

If you've been keeping score at home, you'll remember that I had a kidney stone in late February. The past weeks have been a game of hurry up and wait.  I would be lying if I said I hadn't been worried waiting and waiting to find out the full story - I had no idea how long it takes to make a kidney stone, and I was afraid I might be making another while waiting.

You can reread all the stuff leading up to this point if you click over on the "Kidney Stone" tag toward the bottom of the sidebar over on the right.  Specifically, I chronicled some of the testing and questions leading up to my visit to my new urologist on Wednesday in my March 26th post.  I'm going to return to a couple of sections of that post and elaborate.

There was a question about the amount of follow up I've had since the stone and whether that was normal.  I've come to learn that my urologist (the new one) is absolutely amazing.  The follow up and tests that I've had in the past few weeks are what a urologist should do.  Particularly the two back-to-back 24-hour urine collections.  I've heard that some doctors only get one rather than two.  Two is better because it gives you a much more complete picture of what's going on in your body.  So, all the additional tests were not out of line.  At all.

In addition, I had some personal concerns and wondered if they were why more care was being taken with me.  Neither of them had any bearing on the follow up and number of tests I had.  Kidney disease is not the same as kidney stones, and although the ER doc told me as much, when I told the first urologist that my dad had died at the age of 33 from kidney disease, he wrote down that my dad died from heart disease.  (Yes, he really did - just another reason we weren't a good fit.)  Once I heard the same info from a doctor I trust, it really eased my mind (that I heard it again from my primary care doc on Friday, sealed the deal and allowed me to let that fear go).

So - I finished all the tests his physician's assistant had ordered, and I waited - impatiently, I might add - until this week.  Finally, on Wednesday, I got to actually meet with my new urologist!

Oh. My. God.  What a difference.  Let me tell you that he rocks so hard!!  My primary care doc really picked the perfect "stone guy" for me. Instead of hearing, "get another renal ultrasound in six weeks and make another appointment," I finally got some functional information.

I learned that based on the second ultrasound, it appears as though there are no other stones lurking in my kidneys - but I will have to have another CT scan in three months as part of my follow up - he wants to be very sure. I'll also have to have another follow-up 24-hour urine collection in three months (only one this time  :-) ).  When those things are completed, I'll see him for a followup visit.

The differences between my first urologist and my current one are substantial.  I'm grateful to the first one for getting the stone out of me, but he's history.  My new urologist was kind.  And he listened to me.  And he answered all my questions, as well as as sharing what I need to be able to move forward with my life.

I don't say "move forward with my life" lightly.  There is more to share.  It's not horrible news, but it is life-changing.  And yes, I'm going to make you wait - again - because this post is super-long already  ;-)

Oh - and I've pretty much decided on this pattern:  Penne (Ravelry link) as the winner for that Cubs-colored sock yarn.  I really want to make that cousin something - he's had a rough go lately, and he's a major Cub fan - I think this would cheer him up  :-)  My other pattern choice is the Ben Lomond fingerless mitts, which I actually think is a better choice, but the pattern is written for sport weight yarn rather than the fingering weight I want to use.  Anyone out there a wiz at transposing knitting patterns between yarn weights??  :-)

I'm still wanting to cast on something with that Cyborg Craft Room yarn - sadly, the dyer passed away this last year (I got this last April at YarnCon), so there will be no more from her.  It's 250 yards of DK weight.  Any ideas?

Some Sunday morning laid-back Beatles:


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Decisions, Decisions . . .

I've finished off all my lingering projects except for two that are in hibernation.  That means that I need to cast on!  And I have no idea what I want to knit, so I decided to approach this problem by looking at my yarn and thinking about what yarn I might want to use . . .

I opened the Yarnoire, and these are the things that leaped out at me.
  • 350 Yards of Ewetopia Cashmere Sport in the Indigo colorway - Sport weight
  • 420 Yards of Dragonfly Djinni in the Wrigleyville colorway - Fingering weight
  • 250 Yards of The Cyborg's Craft Room Attack & DK in the We Will Rock Ewe colorway - DK weight
  • 265 Yards of Ewetopia BFL BFF in the Tapestry colorway - DK weight
  • Hearthside Fibers' The New Directions Infinity Scarf kit
I've been trying to figure out something for that Wrigleyville yarn for awhile - I bought for one of my cousins who is a major Cub fan but I haven't round the right manly pattern for him.  I wanted it to be a scarf or a hat.

All the others - I could go any direction with them.

I'm still in Todd Rundgren mode this morning . . .  :-)

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Week of Doctors, Part I . . .

I don't even know where to start this time, so I guess I'll start at the beginning.

Tuesday . . .

As mentioned last time, my retina tore nearly two weeks ago.  On the Sunday evening prior, I had some flashing in my right eye just before I went to bed.  This is usually a precursor to some sort of activity in my eye, but since I've had it before, and it was right as I was getting into bed, I didn't think twice about it.  I got up on that Monday morning and headed in to work, and as I was sitting down at my desk, I caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of my right eye.  Of course, I looked in that direction - and there was a giant, fuzzy caterpillar-like floater with a bunch of Medusa-like snakes/tails flinging themselves hither and yon.

Well crap.

Whenever something like this happens, you have to call your opthamologist and be seen.  So I rang them.  My regular retina guy (whom I like very much) wasn't working that day, but he was working the next, so I asked if I could see him the next morning.  The last time this happened, I was told that I could wait until the next day.  The guy on the phone said he thought I really should be seen that same day, but he made the appointment for me for the next. 

And I kept working.

And about an hour or so later, I realized that there were a LOT of tiny floaters in my eye (along with all the snake tails), and I was having a lot of trouble seeing.

So I put my left hand over my left eye . . . and realized that not only was my right eye a fricking sand storm of floaters, I couldn't really see out of it.  I could see some shapes and colors, but mostly it looked like white static on the telly.  That was it.


I rang the retina guy's office again and told them that I thought I had probably better be seen that day after all and they told me I could be seen in a western suburb of Chicago accessible by the L.  So, a few hours later, I toddled on over and got on the L and then walked over to the office.

I've been through many of these retinal exams before and they are never very fun.  This was no different - until the doctor starting saying things I'd never heard before - things like hemorrhage, and horseshoe tear.  I was cracking jokes attempting to keep myself from freaking out.

There was so much blood in my eye that the doctor couldn't see well enough to do surgery immediately.  I had to sit quietly in the waiting room, with my eyes closed and patched, for what turned out to be two hours. 

Then, when she took another look, she felt that enough of the blood had settled that she could proceed with surgery.  I had emergency laser surgery right then.  Two different procedures.  The first was with a regular laser.  It's not a lot fun, but I kept reminding myself that it wasn't even a patch on kidney stone pain and was able hold still.  She couldn't reach one end of the horseshoe with the regular laser, so she had to use a cryo laser (or, as I call it, a freezy laser).  She was successful in pretty much nailing my retina back together.

I cabbed back to my office to pick up a few things, and then walked to the train.  I didn't get home until 8:30 that night.  It wasn't a very fun day.  I went back in to the city last Tuesday to see my regular retina guy.  He carefully checked everything again and told me that he thought things were going to be fine.  I couldn't drive, and I had to sleep propped up on the sofa - kinda like I had to do when I had shoulder surgery last summer.

After another week off where all I did was sit around and watch old Perry Mason reruns, I went back to work on Monday. 

Which brings us to this most recent Tuesday. 

I went back to my retina guy for him to check my eye again.  Luckily, he said multiple times that my retina looked really good.  I have to see him again in May - they watch this kind of stuff pretty closely.

I still have some floaters, but the haziness seems to be mostly gone.  I'm going to try driving tomorrow.  I was going to try today after work because I needed to go to the store, but I missed my window of opportunity.

So, pretty much feeling exceedingly lucky, and majorly grateful.  My vision will likely return to normal, and these floaters (which are blood) will eventually be reabsorbed by my body.   :-)

That's the update on my eye.  I have lots more to share - but I'll split it up :-)  In the meantime, Todd Rundgren keeps popping up on my Facebook feed.  I don't know why  :-D  specifically his tune, Can We Still Be Friends.  Somehow I missed Todd singing his own work on this one, because I was familiar with the song through a cover that the late Robert Palmer cut (one of my favorite artists).   Both are awesome.  Here's Robert Palmer's version:

And here is Todd's original - different key and a little slower tempo.  I love them both:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

She's Got David Bowie Eyes . . .

This was me on Monday afternoon.

Seems like I can't catch a break here lately . . .

My retina tore on Monday morning.  I had two types of laser surgery procedures to repair a horseshoe tear on Monday afternoon.  I will explain in detail later because I'm extremely limited with computer time - mainly because I still can't see very well and my eye needs to rest.  Can't read much, can't write much.  Can't knit.  I can watch telly. That's really about it.

I'm missing another week of work.

It could take months for the floaters and hazy vision to clear in my right eye.  But I can see out of it again, and that's pretty great.

Here's where I lifted the title from . . .

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring . . .

Lots of brand new baby lambs at my friend, Michelle's, farm!!  Yay!!

And this morning - in the early dark - when I went outside to place my Fed-Ex package on the porch for pick-up, it was a symphony of birdsong.  I stood for a bit, out there in my pajamas, and just listened.

Spring is here . . .

When you have about 40 minutes, enjoy this, from my favorite composer, in its original score and original purpose.  Appalachian Spring was written as chamber music for a Martha Graham ballet.  She's the one who named the piece, not Copland.  Here's a good article about it if you're interested.  Can't even tell you how much I love that Martha Graham was 50 when she choreographed and originally danced the Bride.  I love it even more, that - in the version below - filmed for telly in 1958, she was 64.  Yup . . .

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Have a beautiful day  :-)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Sunday Wrap Up . . .

I mentioned the follow up testing I was having this week pertaining to The Kidney Stone Incident., and my friend, Ely, asked me this: "Is this amount of follow-up for stones the norm, or are these just preventative measures because the Drs aren’t sure why you got the stones in the first place??"

I've wondered about that myself, and the answer is that I don't know for sure.  Another friend who has had two stones told me that they were doing 99% more testing on me than she had had (she lives in another state), so there's that.

But I do know that there is a tremendous difference between the first urologist I had (who did my surgery) and the one I have now in terms of interest in my case/wanting to help me avoid another stone.  In addition, I have an excellent primary care physician - he's been on top of this since it started.  As well, I live/work in one of the largest cities in the country with some of the best doctors and hospitals in the world.  Having lived a lot of other places, I can say with certainty that the standard of care here is exceptionally high.

So - these are the tests the new urologist requested since I started with him:
  1. Urinalysis:  I had to pee in a cup there in the office for them to make sure there was no bacteria in my urine.  There wasn't.   
  2. Blood Draw:  My understanding is that the initial blood work I had when I met with the new urologist's physician's assistant a couple of weeks ago was necessary to rule out certain physical causes.  I didn't have any of them.  Yay!  It did show that I was just under the range for hemoglobin, and I was advised to follow up with my primary care doc - which I did.  Nothing to worry about unless it doesn't correct itself by the next time I have a blood draw.
  3. A Follow up Ultrasound: I had this on Thursday.  The first urologist had requested that I have one of these before I saw him again in 6 weeks, so I think this is common.  He never explained it to me however, just told me to get one . . . if you know me at all, you know that didn't go over well with me.  There is good reason for this test - it's to make sure there are no other stones hiding in my kidneys (I don't think there are - no one mentioned any in the ER or hospital), and also to be sure that there was no residual swelling or scarring in my kidney/ureter from the stone.  The one I had on Thursday was far more extensive than the ultrasound I had in the hospital prior to surgery, and the tech spent a lot more time on my left kidney (where the stone was) and looked at it in many more ways than she did the right.  This gave me pause at the time, but I know she can't say anything or she could lose her job, so I didn't question her.
  4. Two, back-to-back 24-hour Urine Collections:  This is the last test, and I've been doing it all weekend. To do this, you have to collect your pee.  All of it.  For two, 24-hour periods.  That means you can't pee anywhere but at home.  If you miss capturing your pee, the test is ruined and you have to start over again.  It's kind of a pain, but it's not difficult.  You just have to follow the instructions they send you with the kit.  I'll be FedEx-ing my samples back to the lab tomorrow morning.  The first urologist mentioned it to me, but he didn't explain or tell me anything about how important is it, so I declined to do it.  The new urologist's PA explained it extremely well, and my own research made it clear to me how important of a test it is.
In fact, this last test is probably the most important one of all.  This is the test that should tell the urologist what caused my stone to form in the first place so he can tell me how I can hopefully avoid having a recurrence.  Unfortunately, once you've had one stone, you are at a much higher risk of having another.  So - four tests.  Is that a lot?  Again, I don't know.  I don't think so, though.  And are they preventive?  No - I think they fall into the diagnostic category.

There are also some additional circumstances that may (or may not) be contributing to the level of testing and care that I've received.  Again, I don't know if these things have any bearing on what's going on or not - but:
  • I couldn't pass the stone on my own even though it was of a size that 60% of the population, in theory, should be able to pass on their own.  Because I couldn't pass it, I had to have surgery to break it up and extract it.
  • I have a family history of kidney disease.  My father died at the age of 33 from kidney disease.  No one except me seems very concerned about this, but I tell every doctor, so maybe they are keeping that in mind.
  • I am extremely motivated to never, ever experience that pain again.  Seriously. Motivated.  I will do whatever they tell me I have to do to avoid another stone.
That's the update from here.  I've nearly finished working on my taxes (yes, I'm about a week behind in pretty much everything), and one load of laundry is done.  Time to get another load of clothes going, and I'm going to block my Hale-Bopp Shawl.

I'm in another 80s mood . . . Back to Germany days . . . bizarre video, he's a terrible lip-syncer (worst than Rod Stewart, and that's saying something  :-), but a super amazing tune.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hurry Up and Wait . . .

I have been feeling very much at loose ends.  I remain very tired and have low energy since The Kidney Stone Incident.  I feel like it's taken on its own identity and is a proper noun now.  :-D

I saw the physician's assistant at my new urologist's office last week.  She was able to start the ball rolling on the battery of tests I have to have.  That means that I still don't know anything.

They have requested all the imaging and records from the ER, hospitals, and the previous urologist.  I guess that can take some time to get.  In the mean time, I had to pee in a cup, and they took blood for more blood work.  On tap for this week, is another ultrasound of my kidneys and bladder, and a 48-hour urine collection.  That will be my exciting weekend activity  ;-D  Seriously, I'm staying at home because you have to get it all or the test will not be accurate.  Apparently this test is one of the most important for them to be able to tell me what, if anything I might need to adjust to avoid another stone.

Interestingly enough - I was advised to stop drinking all the extra water and to eat how I have normally been eating.  This makes me nervous, but apparently they have to see where I am now to know what, if any, changes might need to be made going forward.  They didn't seem too concerned that I might be forming another stone in the meantime, so I'm doing my best not to worry about it.  I'll see the actual doctor in early April, and then I should know more.

There's a chance that this was a one-off and I might not need to change anything.  I know I keep saying this - I've been saying it for weeks and just said it above, but I'll know more after I see the doctor.  :-D  Through the online portal I was able to see the results of the blood work they did, and apparently I'm a bit anemic.  I suppose that could account for my tiredness, although they did take a ton of blood out of me in the ER and hospital.

In other news of the day - my Run the Year page keeps disappearing.  I think it's something to do with  the HTML for the ticker I've been using.  I think I'm going to have to discontinue that if I want the page to show up again.  Bummer.  I liked the ticker.  In any case, I'm currently behind and haven't had enough energy to get on the bike and rack up some miles.  I will need to do this soon.

I finally finished the Hale-Bopp shawl, which was a mystery knit-along on Ravelry.  I'm not sure that I care for it - but it's done except for blocking.  Photos soon!  And yesterday I picked up a sock for the first time since the Year of Stash Sock group on Ravelry folded.  I was seriously "socked out."  :-D  This is a plain vanilla sock that I started back in November.  That was the month when things went pear-shaped here in the US so it's not really a surprise to me that I haven't looked at a sock in all this time.  I'd like to finish this one, though, mostly just to be done with it.  The yarn has great qualities, but it really is not comfortable to knit with.  I had just finished the cuff and was just in to the leg of the second sock when I set these down.  Time to finish.  :-)

Yesterday I drove over to Valparaiso, Indiana for a craft fair that was billed as "Shipshewana on the Road."  I love Shipshewana - it's Amish country in Indiana and I've been there multiple times.  It's peaceful and pretty and the food is good and the shopping is great - beautiful hand-made things.  I always enjoy the time I spend there, so I thought it would be big fun to drive about an hour east and check out this fair.

What a huge disappointment  :-(   It was mostly commercial vendors with things like tube socks, t-shirts, sweat shirts, junk, makeup overstocks, hot tubs, and more junk.  I picked up a couple of things from the one or two vendors who had interesting/unique stuff, and there were a couple of food vendors in the hall who had Amish food and/or breads without preservatives, etc.  Of course, being Sunday, there were no Amish people in sight.  I'm really sorry I paid four bucks to get in and I certainly won't go again.  It was like going to Swap-O-Rama, where it's mostly permanent vendors, not flea market individual/interesting vendors.

At least it was a nice day for a drive  :-)  And, I was listening to the Oldies radio station and I heard some great music I hadn't heard in forever.  Here's an oldie - not one of the ones I heard yesterday, but one of my favorites . . .

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Sunday Wrap Up

I did go back to work this week - and I was pretty wiped out every evening.  I missed Tai Chi (you know I was tired if I missed Tai Chi).  I'm still going to bed early most nights and sleeping right through.  I also saw my primary care doc this week and that made everything so much easier. 

I am extremely grateful for the insurance I have, and that I have a wonderful doctor.  He has a private medical practice - sometimes called a concierge practice.  He didn't when I first saw him, but he's been my doctor for at least a decade and he's the best doctor I've ever had.  I gladly pay his fee every year to continue to have him as my doctor.

He agreed with me that the urologist I had for the surgery was not a good fit for me, and he's set me up with another urologist in the same medical system.  I'll see the new guy on the 24th and then I'll have more concrete information on everything. 

I did receive the results of the composition of my stone - it was a calcium stone - two different types:  80% Calcium Oxalate Dihydrate, and 20% Calcium Phosphate.  What this means for me going forward isn't clear yet.  I'll know more after I see the urologist.  I do know, however, that he and my primary care doc will likely send me to a dietitian to be able to work on crafting a plan for whatever and however I need to eat going forward.  In the meantime, I'm just to keep on drinking more water. 

The research I've done on my own seems to suggest that it's not a matter of cutting out a bunch of foods - many of which are healthy choices - but rather a matter of eating foods in certain combinations so that molecules combine in the stomach rather than them getting to the kidneys where crystals can be formed that then form into stones.  As mentioned before, my guess is that my last bad habit (salt) might be instrumental going forward.  Something to consider, however, is that as far as I can tell, most of the research has been done on men, not women.  Of course I will have a lot of questions for the "Stone Man," as my primary care doc calls him.  It will be interesting, I'm sure, and, in any case, I will do what he tells me because I never want to have another stone.  Seriously - I think I said this before, but if they told me that I had to learn to stand on my head and do it every day for the rest of my life.  I'd do it.  That's how bad the pain was . . .
It's been a quiet weekend for me - yesterday I ran some errands - took a bag of stuff to the Second Chance Shop, and went to the local framer, who announced on FB that he was retiring after 40 years.  I figured I'd better get the stuff in that I had let sit.  Three etchings of Heidelberg, purchased when I lived there a million years ago (I'm having them redone together), and an original piece by Inuit artist, George Ahgupuk that my father bought back in the 1950s.

A little 80s flashback this afternoon.  I saw Any Trouble on tour with Joan Armatrading back in my Germany days.  This is one of those bands where you have to wonder why they never broke massively large.  They were so great.  They don't really exist as a band any more, although they've reformed a number of times.  Their lead singer, Clive Gregson is still making some great music. 

This has always been one of my favorites - from their third album, Any Trouble.

Enjoy  :-)


Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Sunday Wrap-Up

Every day I am improving.  Mostly I'm tired and my back is sore off and on.  I am also somewhat lightheaded off and on. Not sure what's up with that, but usually after I eat, that goes away.  I have an update email in my primary care doc so he's aware.  I am drinking what seems to me to be a stupid amount of water and peeing like a racehorse, but it's what is supposed to keep my kidneys happy. 

Although I don't have any results back on the stone composition, I've already cut down on my salt intake, just in case.  I always called salt my last bad habit . . .  ;-)

I'm now behind in my miles for Run (Walk) the Year, but I know I can catch back up on my bike.

Today it's warmer out and the sun is putting in occasional appearances.  I took a walk part way around the retention pond  About a mile.  I had to return home due to intestinal distress.  This is something that I've had pretty constantly since Wednesday, and I have an email in to my PCP to ask about it because they told me I would most likely be stopped up from the pain meds.

I'm not.

I also seem to be very light-headed/dizzy multiple times a day.  I'll wait to hear what the doc has to say.  These things concern me because of my commute into the city.  I'd like to go back to work tomorrow, but if these continue, I'm not sure it's advisable.

TMI?  Sorry.

I've been doing a lot of research.  That's not necessarily a good thing because there are so many different schools of thought out there and it's hard to know who and what to believe.  It's my hope that my doc will send me to a dietician again who will work with me on getting a handle on everything.  So many things to think about!

But for now, I'm going to make myself some lunch and and watch a Netflix movie  :-)

Friday, March 3, 2017


I had every intention of catching up here sooner.

I have a good excuse. 

Let me start by saying that I'm OK :-)   And then let me say that I do not recommend kidney stones in any possible way.

I hadn't felt quite well since last Thursday.  On Saturday, the pain started.  Bad pain.  I messaged Linda the Chicken Lady to ask her what it felt like when she would have an attack of diverticulitis.  But it wasn't that.  I lay down for awhile and the pain stopped.  On Sunday I went to a book study at church, and then to the store, and over to the dojo where they were having a vendor market - which was great!  But I left early because it felt like the pain was coming back . . .

It was - and it came back even worse this time.  After a discussion with my primary care doc, I drove myself to the ER with a possible kidney stone.  Level of pain at that time was 7 or 8.  Once I got to the hospital, the pain subsided and I felt like I was wasting everyone's time and my money - but the CT Scan showed a 4mm kidney stone.

This is apparently right on the edge, size-wise.  At 5mm they probably would have admitted me because 5mm is usually too big to pass.  But they sent me home with pain meds and and antibiotic because a 4mm stone should, in theory, pass on its own.  I had some anti-nausea med left over from my shoulder surgery last summer, so I was armed with everything I needed.

I stayed home from work on Monday. Unfortunately my arsenal of drugs were not effective because I was not able to keep anything down.  Who knew that a kidney stone makes you barf.  I couldn't keep the pain meds down and my pain was getting worse and worse.  One of my cousins, S, was on her way over to me because she was going to pick something up for me.  I told her I thought she was going to have to take me back to the ER.

S did drive me back to the ER (second night in a row) on Monday evening and I was - literally - screaming and attempting to throw up (which wasn't really possible since I hadn't been able to keep anything down). I was soaked in sweat and my BP was 187/85 (my normal BP is 110/70).  I have never felt such pain in my life, and I think I was only sicker one time in my life - back in Germany days.

It took them 45 minutes to free up a bed in the ER for me.  In the mean time, they took me out of the waiting room (I'm sure I was scaring everyone) into another interior waiting room where I continued to scream.  It was off the pain chart pain.  Once they got me a bed, I was dosed with another anti-nausea med, and a super strong anti-inflammatory called Toradol.  That worked for awhile and at least I wasn't screaming any longer.  S stayed with me until two of my other cousins, ME and R, came.

The pain returned and it was too soon for another dose of Toradol, so they decided to try morphine.  Apparently I am likely allergic to morphine because I developed a bright rash all over my face.  I'm already allergic to codeine and tramadol, so this wasn't much of a surprise to me.

It became clear that the ER was not going to send me home a second time, so I encouraged ME and R to go home. Rather than admit me where I was, I was transferred to the larger hospital campus of my local hospital around midnight on Monday night because they thought I might have to have surgery, which they couldn't do where I was.

Another rough night, this time in the hospital.  Almost no sleep.  Then, all day Tuesday they tried everything they could to help me pass the stone. Another cousin, K, sat with me all day on Tuesday and conferred with another cousin who is a nurse (her sister, M who is not local, and yes I really do have all these cousins). This was helpful. I really needed K and I was so glad she was there.  The Toradol was no longer working well, and I was apprehensive about trying the morphine again, so they gave me Dilaudid.  It was terrifying and I didn't like how it made me feel, K looked at the nurses and said, "she didn't like the high back in the 70s either."  which is pretty hilarious since I never did anything like that back in the 70s  :-D  Another nurse came in and told me that I could ride out the high or that they could give me Narcan to reverse the effect but then my pain would come back.  I looked at her said, "I'll calm myself down."   It took the pain away.  I made K sit next to me and hold my hand.  That's how bad the drug made me feel. 

Next was a bolus of liquids into me, and then a dose of lasix to make me pee out all the fluid I could in case I could pass it at the last minute.  That didn't work - and it turned out to be quite painful with the fluid pressure on my left kidney and bladder.  I was so dosed with Dilaudid that I couldn't understand how I was feeling any pain again.  The lasix didn't work either.  So, on Tuesday afternoon I had a surgical procedure with a laser that broke up the stone, and then they suctioned out all the bits and put a stent in to help me heal and allow the kidney to drain better after surgery.  They decided to keep me another night in the hospital just in case. 

ME joined K and was there after the surgery, and she picked me up on Wednesday when I got to come home.  You'd think I would have lost weight not being able to eat anything for 2+ days.  Nope.  You'd think I would have stayed the same, though, right?  Nope. I gained like 6 pounds. Seriously, can't a girl get a break?!?  The urologist told me it was all the IV fluids I was given.

Another cousin, J, took me yesterday to my follow up appointment with the urologist where they removed the stent. Later last night, the pain and vomiting came back.  It was controlled this time by the Norco they sent me home with from the ER.  I'm certainly peeing a whole lot, and today I'm not in any pain.  Cross your fingers.

I have to see my primary care doc next week, and then I have another follow up appointment in six weeks with the urologist.  I have to get another renal ultrasound before then.

They should have the results of the stone composition next week - that will help me know what to do/what to avoid/what to eat/what not to eat, etc. going forward. The biggest thing seems to be to drink more water.  According to the urologist, we're supposed to pee out 2-3 liters a day.  ===:-O

I always thought I was a good water drinker - but apparently I have more work to do in that area.

You guys, this has seriously been the No-Fun Plan.  On the positive side, I'm pretty sure that I've met my insurance deductible and blown by my out-of-pocket max for the year again. 

I'm not 100% yet and I'm off the rest of this week. I should be back at work on Monday.

I know that many people all over were keeping me in their thoughts and prayers.  I so appreciate that and I know it helped.  And I continue to be grateful that I have such wonderful family. 

We Are Family indeed.