Category Archives: Health

In the blood

I’m not sure if I’ve written a post about the fact that I have a Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS). Learn more about it here if you’re interested. I could tell a long story about it, but the abridged version is that I may be heading toward a diagnosis of a blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma.

The average survival rate for people with this condition is five years, but some people live for twenty-five years after being diagnosed. The treatment is a three-drug therapy: bortezomib, lenalidomide, and dexamethasone. There’s information about a study of that therapy here.

My husband, Ernie, is quite worried that I might one day be diagnosed with this cancer. I am not so concerned because I’m convinced that there is life after death. I’ll write about my interest in near-death experiences (NDEs) another time.

I do owe it to my husband to try and stick around as long as I can. This is where the non-traditional medicine comes in.

There was an Amish healer in Indiana named Solomon Wickey. He is said to have cured people who have cancer and other ailments with herbs, and diet. Ernie knew a few people whose lives were extended after being treated by Wickey, so he believes he was for real. So, Ernie did a Google search for any Wickey protégées that might be practicing. He found a blog post listing a few of them and insisted that I contact one of them. I was resistant to the idea, mostly because I do not currently have Multiple Myeloma. What would I ask the person to cure me of?

Ernie decided he liked one of these people and kept pestering me to call her. I agreed to see her if he would call and make the appointment for me. He made the call, and a week or two later we made the hour and a half drive for a consultation.

I won’t reveal the practitioner’s name unless the next round of blood tests shows a lessening or reversal of the MGUS. I will tell you that her methods could be considered kind of “out there on the fringe.” She put touched my right leg with one hand and then seemed to be sensing things about my health. When something came up, her free hand would twitch. I was willing to accept that what she was doing could be legitimate because I believe in a lot of things that haven’t been proven by science.

The consultation ended with her prescriptions me some supplements to take for weeks and instructions to come back for a follow-up appointment.

The supplements cost over $400, so you have to wonder if it’s all just a scam. I don’t know if my doctors would approve of me taking all of this stuff. I did some research and didn’t find any known dangerous drug interactions. I have had no adverse side effects so far. One of the things she prescribed is CBD oil, and I do think it’s helping me to sleep through the night. It might also be helping with MS-related spasticity. It might all be a result of the placebo effect.

That’s the story so far.

And here’s the art.

Abstract digital art composition

The Common Cold

I’m getting over a cold this weekend. The illness itself only lasted about four days, but the lead up to getting cold symptoms was a week and a half. I blame MS and maybe hormones.

I realized several years ago that I would inevitably have low energy periods each month. I experienced flu-like symptoms (fatigue and muscle aches) without the upper respiratory distress. Every time I made plans to start a regular fitness regime, I would feel not well enough to get started.  Now that I know I have MS, it all makes sense.

You see, the period when I’m coming down with a cold is slightly worse for me than for people who don’t have an autoimmune disease. I’m just guessing. I haven’t done a study. I missed a few days of work last week because it seemed prudent not to overtax myself. I didn’t get a lot of exercise either. I feared that overdoing it could lead to a flare-up.

The only way I can get in better shape when I’m faced with these monthly energy fluctuations is to not skip workouts when I’m feeling good, and do what I can during my less than 100% periods. I’m considering getting in a little strength training every day with some cardio built in. I keep talking about it, but not making a plan. The trick is not to use the lack of a plan as an excuse to doing nothing.

Today, I’m recovering. Tomorrow should be better. I might do some hooping.

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Let’s give this year a try

It’s 2017 and I’m still here, but I sometimes feel like I’m running out of time. The best course of action would be to form a plan. Can I make a plan without the plan itself becoming my primary focus? Or, is that the point? They say that it’s the journey and not the destination, don’t they? Oh, THEY are wise.

Resolve

I gave up on making New Year’s resolution. They set you up for failure. I do however, want to make some changes in my life this year. I have MS, so taking care of my physical and mental health should be my number one priority. That means making more time for exercise, and to do that I will need to put my needs before my father’s needs. Taking time to cook healthy meals is another top priority. Next on the list is my creative practice. I want to continue to make lots of art and jewelry. I want to start selling that art and jewelry. As the list grows, I begin to worry that I won’t be able to manage it all. I want to give up before I start.

That paragraph looked like a bunch of New Year’s resolutions to me. I think it will help if I blog everyday. I know, that’s another item added to the list, but I won’t achieve anything if I don’t keep reaching. This year, I’m taking a journey, and I’ll blog about. That’s the ticket!

sketch

Beginnings of a mixed media work.

This Week

I had the notion that I would be able to work a lot of hours during the holiday break when my husband is not working. Tomorrow is Thursday, and I have worked no days. I haven’t been feeling great this week, so was probably a good idea to get some rest. Still, I was hoping to earn a bit more money than I usually do.

On the plus side:

  • I cleaned the cat room so it’s not quite as disgusting as it was. This is a first step to getting my art stuff organized.
  • I returned the library books I had checked our for my Digital Humanities project.
  • I’ve been doing a bit more art journaling than usual.
  • I roasted some frozen broccoli and almost did a blog post about it–almost.

I’d talk about the stuff that I’m not accomplishing, but I don’t want to dwell on the negative.

I’ve been thinking about trying to do the bullet journal thing again. I know I wouldn’t follow through. It seems like so much work. I think the biggest problem would be my bad handwriting. I would always be judging the look of my journal. Improving my handwriting is another project I’ve had in mind. There’s no reason I can’t get going on that one right away.

I’m writing short sentences. If I had my druthers, I would go back and rework this post. I don’t have any druthers. Here’s a word origin note; Druthers is a 19th-century corruption of the sound of would rather or ruther. That could have been better worded, but I don’t care enough to bother.

Random list of wants:

  • I want to be warm.
  • I want to cut down on sweets.
  • I want to have a plan for working out consistently.
  • I want to write more.
  • I want to think more deeply about dance improvisation.

I deleted the Enso game from my phone, but still have it on the iPad. It continues to mess up my neck. Making digital art on my devices is not helping either.

Abstract digital art.

Digital art made with Dreamscope and Enlight.

MS note: Not a great leg day, but not an awful one. Too much sitting causes a lot of tingling.

Is it that bad?

If you pay attention to the news or log on to Facebook you’ll learn about horrible things going on in the world. Sometimes you hear about good things, but the bad sticks with you. It’s like when you get a new shirt, and ten people tell you how nice you look in it, but one person says “that’s not a good color on you.”  The natural tendency is to forget the compliments and latch on to the one negative comment. Why are we like this?

Illustration of blue t-shirt.

If you have a tendency experience depression and anxiety, latching onto the negative is a habit you must get out of. It’s a habit, which for me, could lead to serious health problems. As I learned in March of this year, too much stress can cause an MS flare-up (relapse). A flare-up can result in permanent nerve damage. I don’t want that to happen.

Here are 10 things I can do to stay positive and mentally healthy.

  1. Stay off of Facebook
  2. Write everyday
  3. Breathe
  4. Make art
  5. Make jewelry
  6. Escape into fiction books
  7. Meditate
  8. Exercise
  9. Experience nature
  10. Eat right

If I look back at my life I can see that everything always works out. I don’t have to worry about some disaster happening because a disaster has never happened. Even my MS diagnosis wasn’t a disaster. The Universe takes care of me. I’ve just got to trust it.

It helps to do the little things to take care of myself like going to Goodwill and buying some jeans to replace the ones with holes in them that I won’t stop wearing. Don’t I deserve to be not dressed in rags? Three of my favorite pairs of shoes have holes in them too, so I need to get those replaced.

Here’s something I made on my iPhone with Sketch Club and Reflection.

Digital drawing of butterfly

Butterfly reflected

Breathing, breathing, breathing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dress for Success

Once in a while,  I get the urge to start dressing better. I think I should get some new clothes and try to present myself in more a stylish (or at least more put together way). The urge usually passes because I’m too lazy to do it.

Finding a pair of pants that fits me well is never easy.  Maybe I should wear skirts and dresses more often. I should go through my closet and do a purge. I have so many things that I never wear and never will, and I need the closet space for other things. This is actually a partial solution to my art/craft/jewelry supply storage problem. I also have a belly dance costume storage problem. I might just be on to something here.

Illustration of female.

Sometimes I think I’d like to start wearing makeup. That idea turns into putting on some lipstick in the morning and never refreshing it. I also go through phases when I wear earrings every day.

It seems to me that putting a little more effort into me would be a good thing, especially as I work to manage my MS.

Look at that! I worked something out with the help of a daily prompt. 

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