Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Upside to Being a Sick Mom

I have learned the upside to me being stuck on the couch sick, this morning. My daughter and I have made the most of the situation by decreeing this as a movie day. So, while I have been stuck on the couch coughing up a lung, I've also...

  • Had some great conversations with my daughter.
  • Braided some awesome hair on a My Little Pony. Remember them? They're back, only they got a makeover for the new generation.
  • Heard some fantastically delicious giggles come out of L.
  • Had some super snuggly time with one of my doggy girls. (Since L is no longer into snuggling unless it's on her terms.)
  • Caught up on some of my favorite blogs.
  • Translated one of my blog entries into a pretty good essay that I just turned in to Real Simple magazine.
  • Found a super fun home-made-ice-cream-in-a-bag recipe. I can't wait to try it with L!
  • Signed up for a super cool paperless coupon website, Savingstar, that attaches to my bonus cards at several stores in my area.  All to earn me point towards gifts of my choice.

So while this normally super busy mom has been forced to stay on the couch, it's actually allowed me to do some things that I would ordinarily not have the time for. I guess I needed a day like this! I have to wonder if God wasn't trying to tell me that I needed to slow down.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sick Sick Sick

Sunday morning I woke up with a tickle in my throat which hurt a little bit as well. Yesterday, I woke up the same way, but just feeling a little more tired. By last night I was coughing up some phlegm in interesting shades of green, coughing, and having an extremely hard time breathing.  It appeared that my asthma decided to give me problems just as I was getting sick as well. This morning I was feeling even worse. So I decided a visit with my doctor was in order.

It turns out that I have an upper respiratory infection and asthmatic bronchitis. Ordinarily, the doctor said he might not have given me medication.  However, he felt that it was needed to prevent me from getting pneumonia or some other illness while my immune system is down already due to the Methotrexate. So now I am on a zythromax and prednisone to help fight off the illnesses.

Here's hoping I'm well enough to go camping with L and my parents on Friday!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Love 'Em Like A Banjo!

L and I stayed in today.  We were supposed to go to the playground this morning. However, neither of us actually felt like leaving the house. It was just one of those days....or weeks. 

Anyway, we have a picnic to go to tomorrow in which we are supposed to be bringing some kind of yummy dessert to. So, my daughter and I decided to get creative today.  She and I have an addiction, of sorts, to cake balls. If you've never had one, then don't!  You'll only want another one and another one, you see where I'm going here right?  L and I decided to try our hand at making cake balls.  Making strawberry cake balls covered in milk chocolate, to be exact.

We started by making a regular ol' box of strawberry cake. As soon as we pulled it out of the oven we crumbled it into a bowl.  Next we popped it in the fridge to cool down. (We didn't want the cake/icing mix to be too gooey.) After the cake crumbs cooled down some we added a can of store bought icing and mixed it together. Then we put it back in the fridge again to help it harden some. When it had been in the fridge for awhile we got it out and molded the icing into little bite size balls. (A little smaller then golf balls.) Next I covered the balls in melted milk chocolate. And L topped them all off with a smattering of sprinkles.The final step was popping them into the freezer to harden the chocolate.

L and I had so much fun making the cake balls. We tasted them and my daughter said, "Mmmm! I love 'em like a banjo!".  For those who are dense enough not to know what that means.....Ha!.....The subtitles would read, "They are fantastic!"  (Yes, we were also thrown the first time she made the banjo statement!) The cake balls are so so yummy. I kind of impressed myself with how super yummy they are! good!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hershey Park Happy

Today, L and I spent the morning and some of the afternoon at the water area at Hershey Park.  This was my first trip of the season that L and I took by ourselves.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect for us.  A beautiful 80 degrees.  We had a fantastic time.  A friend of mine helped me push my daughter in a stroller out to the water park since it takes something like twenty minutes to get to the wave pool. So nice of her!

I only have a minor heat headache from our time in the sun.  It makes my head feel stuffed with cotton and fuzzy.  My energy has been zapped and I've decided next time I am wearing sneakers no matter how bad they look with my cover-up dress! We had so much fun, however, that I consider my relatively small side effects, from my morning, to be worth it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Feeling a Little Irked...

I have a few fellow bloggers, with Sjogren's, that I read religiously.  I frequently have a chuckle while reading one of my favorite bloggers, Julia at Reasonably Well.  In fact quite often I find myself belly laughing. Today, instead, she posted a blog that got me seriously riled up.  The frustration was not focused at her and I am indeed glad that she brought my attention to the issue that she wrote about.

It frustrates me to know that there is a reputable arthritis magazine out there that would not expand on the arthritic qualities of Sjogren's Syndrome, while writing about the auto immune disease. It especially irritates me knowing everything that is being done to try and educate the general public about Sjogren's Syndrome.

Anyway, I wanted to share. I would love for you to read the article and maybe even think about sending a quick e-mail of objection to the magazine....

And I Thought The Awareness Campaign Was Going So Well.....Silly Me

I know. These are Angry Birds. I look just like the red one today. 

Listen. Hear that?

*thud thud thud thud*

Yes, that.

*thud thud thud thud*

That would be me banging my head against the top of my little white desk in frustration after reading this article by Arthritis Today.
Sand in your eyes and cotton in your mouth? There’s a name for what you might be experiencing. Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that most commonly affects the lacrimal and salivary glands, which create moisture for the eyes and mouth, respectively. Sjögren’s syndrome causes a reduction in the production of saliva and tears, leading to uncomfortable dryness in the mouth and eyes.
The article goes on for another paltry four whole paragraphs, in which it does not elaborate further about the effects of Sjs. It fails to mention any aspect of the body-wide effects of the disease. Nope. Just dry eyes and mouth. Nothing more to see here, folks. Just keep movin' along....


This coming from Arthritis Today. A periodical dedicated to rheumatic disorders. For shame - if anyone should know better than to trivialize an autoimmune rheumatic disease IT SHOULD BE THEM. Here's an idea, people: Golly. Since this is a magazine dedicated to ARTHRITIS, perhaps we should at least mention Sjs related joint issues, hm? Of course then the gastrointestinal, skin, urinary tract, vaginal, and fatigue issues just really don't exist, either. Because Sjs is just dry eye and dry mouth.

Um hm. Sure.

After my indignation and crankiness retreats a notch or two, I may just send Arthritis Today a little note. And then remove them from my twitter list. Good grief in a bucket.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Surprise Trip

My amazing husband woke up Saturday and told L and I that we were taking a road trip.  We went to Lake Tobias for the day! They have a petting zoo where you can feed the animals. The safari tour is the best! We got driven around in a half bus through acres of land.  The bus frequently stopped to allow the animals to come over for us to feed them.  It was guaranteed to be a good time for everyone!

The weather was perfect and we had so much fun!! I was only a little achy once we got home. A plus for me!

 I love this picture!
 He was such a sweet little zebra.
 L could not get enough of the "baby" goats.
 And of course she LOVED feeding the goats.
 So grumpy!
 They were bonding.  I think this may have been the goat that ate a hole in my shirt!  Literally!
 The prairie dogs looked like statues.
 This little guy must have been cold.  He was hugging himself the whole time.
 He was sooo hungry!
 "Hey! Where's my food?"
 A mad Mama protecting her eggs.
 What a sweet face.  His eyes were so adorable! Such long lashes!
 This water buffalo wanted a ride.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Seven Dwarfs Parallel

I have an almost five year old girl. So, of course, she loves the Disney Princess movies. No, seriously, LOVES them! I am even thinking that the word "loves" might be a gross understatement. As she sat on the floor this morning playing with her Snow White doll it suddenly hit me.............Wait for it........... There is a parallel between my Sjogren's Syndrome and the Seven Dwarfs!

First there is Sneezy. Sneezy comes out in my Sjs during allergy season. Boy do I sniffle, sneeze, and cough.  My nose is almost guaranteed to get as rosy as Sneezy's does. Thanks to my monthly allergy shots my allergies have not been as bad this year fortunately.

The second little dwarf is Sleepy. Sleepy is there in my Sjs every morning. There are some nights I get a full nine hours of sleep and yet I can still wake up feeling as if I haven't gotten any sleep at all. And, of course, I have the lovely Sleepy bags to go with my look as well.

The third would be Dopey. Brain fog, which is common in quite a few auto immune diseases, can be a tricky to deal with.  I can be looking at an object, know exactly what it is, and yet still not be able to make myself think of it's name.  I had that happen in the doctors office awhile ago.  I had to have my daughter tell me that I was looking at a space ship.  I've also been known to just stand in one place for several minutes because I just can't seem to remember what I am supposed to be doing.  I should really buy stock in post-it-notes since they tend to help me remember.

Doc is the fourth Sjs dwarf.  In the the movie, Snow White, Doc is always taking care of others.  In my case, Sjogren's Syndrome forces me to take care of myself.  I am constantly evaluating how much energy I have and how much I can get done with what I have. 

The next Sjs dwarf would be Happy.  Sjogren's Syndrome has made me look at life differently.  Yes, I have to deal with my health on an hourly basis at times.  Yes, it can be frustrating and tough for me.  But it also helps me to appreciate and enjoy life so much more.  I feel as if I get more out of experiences when I am having a "pain free" day. It's much easier for me to not take the little things in life for granted. Hearing my daughter's giggle, the turtle doves cooing outside my window, and seeing the fog rolling across a lake are all things that make me happy now. I don't take them for granted anymore.

The sixth would be Bashful.  Bashful comes out when my Sjs decides to change plans on me and I have to explain it to the person I made them with. Fortunately, all of my friends understand my health issues.  They were the ones planning some kind of crazy wheelchair pushing, shade covering, suntan lotion slicked, plan to be able to get me to the wave pool at Hershey Park with them. Yes, the plan was crazy insane and I love them for it. I know I don't really need to make excuses to my friends. However, I do often feel bashful when I have to explain to people, who don't know, why I have the restrictions that I have.

And the last Sjs dwarf is Grumpy and my least favorite. He rears his head when I'm having a bad day.  Because, let's be honest, who doesn't need to have a mini pity party every once in awhile. I don't know of very many people who deal with pain and exhaustion on a normal basis who isn't grumpy every once in awhile!

Fortunately for me I have my very own beautiful Snow White in my daughter.  She sings and dances and generally flits through life like a butterfly. And somehow she makes it easier for me to deal with my Seven Dwarfs.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Season of Choosing

I've come to grips with something in the last few weeks. I desperately look forward to summer every year.  It brings a multitude of four-day camping trips with my parents.  Some of the trips are to my beloved state park, where I've been camping for 29 years. (Yes, since I was two!) The camping trips are packed full of adventures, magical memories and loads of picture taking. We also look forward to the beach each year.  We have lots of fun and memories with L's other set of Grandparents on my husband's side. Add to that all the trips we take with friends to Hershey Park, berry picking trips with friends, playground visits followed by picnics (again, with friends). I think it's safe to say that we really really take advantage of summer's weather! It's always a whirlwind of activity!

But... I've come to realize that I have to make choices when summer comes along. I am now forced to conserve energy on a daily basis. So, I can no longer run five places and see ten different people all in the same day. I cannot go to Hershey Park in the morning and still expect to have enough energy to take my daughter to a pool party in the evening. I have to weigh my options carefully and decide which is more important to me every day.

Sometimes I can get frustrated by this.  But then I get caught up in whatever fun we have planned for the day and I forget all my frustration.  It just melts away with the first sound of my daughter's peals of laughter. So, yes, I've made peace with this. I've come to realize that the winter season is no longer just about snow for me. It's about extra dry skin and several layers of sweaters to ward of the cold. Spring and fall  are pretty good season for me with the moderate temps.  And summer...summer is the season of floppy hats, sunglasses, smeared on sunscreen, and choices.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stop and Smell the Flowers

 I was driving in the car this morning and the glorious smell of honeysuckle wafted in through the windows. It reminded me of an early posting of mine and I wanted to share it again, since some of you may not have been "around" when it was originally posted.

My daughter and I were driving down the road in our car today. This afternoon was bright and sunny and just begged to have the windows down with the music rolling out of the car. I took a deep breath of the warm springtime air and a smell hit me right in the.... memories!  What did you think I was going to say?!? Anyway, the smell took me back to childhood.  I thought of taking lazy walks in the early morning haze on a summer morning. Down by the railroad tracks there were so many delights to be seen by a kid walking with their Grandma.  My favorite thing about those walks sprouted wildly in an alleyway, almost forgotten. Honeysuckle grew in a beautiful row like yellow flames reaching for the sky.  I loved to run up and sniff all the aroma those flowers gave off. The heady sweet smell made me want to stay in that alleyway all day. It's one of the smells of my childhood. I smell honeysuckle and it instantly brings me back to those walks with Grandma.

Which makes me wonder, how often do I actually "stop and smell the roses" now that I'm older? It takes little time and almost no energy to smell a flower. Something I can assuredly do even on my most energy deficient days. I see my daughter doing this all the time. Wherever she goes she immediately finds flowers to smell. It doesn't seem to matter what they look like. I have even seen her try to bury her nose in a little tiny clover. Big, small, green, withered and brown, if it looks like a flower "L" seems to think there's a smell to be sniffed out of it. That leads me to wonder what it is about kids that makes them do this?  Is it because they have no sense of time? Or that they have no "schedule" to worry about curbing by taking the time to smell them? I think that, partially, it may be that kids are so fresh and new that it's truly the "little things" in life that fill up their little worlds. I'd like to think that maybe I am better at taking time to enjoy those things than some.  I'd really like to be more aware of the simple joys in life. Stop to smell the flowers, enjoy the sun on my skin, and the beautiful blues in a coming stormy sky. I can most definitely look to my daughter for inspiration. And there's no excuse of Sjs to get in the way of something so elementary. That in itself is fantastically refreshing to me!  How often do you take a deep breath of the warm springtime air and a smell the flowers?

Image found here