Where in the world is my Luck!!

Bad LuckGood Evening Dear Followers!

Remember the old Hee Haw song about luck, and that if I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all!! This seems to be me lately. I’ve recently run into a few health issues that I would just as soon not deal with. First of all, about a year and a half ago I had to have a pacemaker put in. The fact that we had to postpone the surgery about 3 times because of the severe sciatic pain I was having, should have been a clue things were probably going to go south!! (Oh, I had to have surgery for that too!)

So at the very young age of 56 I had to have a pacemaker put in because of a slow heart rate. No problem. My cardiologist was excellent, did a great job and I went back to work in a few days. After a few tweaks we had it ticking pretty good. Things went pretty well until last summer when I spent 6 weeks with pneumonia…who gets pneumonia in the summer?? People with bad luck I say!! Finally in August I was regaining my energy and feeling better.  Then one day last fall I was sitting on the couch and felt this huge jolt, like something dropping out of my stomach!!! It was the weirdest thing I had experienced. Over the next couple of weeks it kept doing it, only more rapidly. It felt like gigantic hiccups in my abdomen. Literally you could see it jumping. I decided it was time to visit the cardiologist for a check. They did some adjustments, and voila…it was gone…for five days. Too bad, I was on my way to a week in Florida with Christine, Dave and the babies and I wasn’t missing that. It was only on and off and because I knew what was causing it, I was ok.

Now it is a week later, vacation over,  I’m at the airport and I decide that I’m going to get a little exercise and walk to my gate. All of a sudden I was getting jolted repeatedly. The faster I walked the harder it hit. It wasn’t really painful, but you know how it starts to hurt after you hiccup hard for awhile. Well, it had never been this bad before and wouldn’t stop. Of course, my mind was imagining horrible things…was it an aneurysm…was I going to explode?!?! I called my daughter and she suggested calling the cardiologist, surely he had an answering service. Quickly I had a return call from my him. He really didn’t know what was going on. I explained I was ready to board the airplane in Atlanta. He said if it was still doing it when I got home to go to ER. It was and I did. They couldn’t find anything wrong, so next day I’m back to the doctor. He believes the lead was hitting my phrenic nerve (it’s the nerve that runs along the diaphragm…don’t worry, I didn’t know what it was either!!). So once again the tech resets things….the tech has started calling me his “problem child.” He said he has probably put about 10,000 of these things in and only saw in happen a couple of times.  (See the bad luck pattern happening???) Again he adjusts it but tells the doc he is getting out of the safety zone and can’t really do anymore changes…but it stopped…again…for about 5 days…..and this time the doc said the leads will have to be replaced.

Finally the day comes…the surgery went off without a hitch. The hatches were battened down and the surgeon said they weren’t going anywhere. About 10 days later I am feeling pretty good, wondering even if maybe I could go back to work sooner. I was still pretty sore and tired though, and thought another week of rest would be good for me. Then comes last Sunday…do you see it coming??? The bad luck?? Well if you thought I was going to say it was thumping again, that would be wrong. No, this time I’m having chest pains. I think, oh it must be gas and I took a Zantac and a couple of Tylenol and went to lay down. After about an hour I sent a text to nurse daughter asking what I should do. I don’t know how she even had time to read it before my phone was ringing. She was screaming at me to take an aspirin and get to the hospital. She was like…”I mean it, I’m not kidding, get out of that bed and get to ER, right now!” Well yes ma’am! So I walk out, tell my husband, I’m having chest pains and Christine told me to go to ER. At this point he doesn’t even question my wackiness. He puts his shoes on and off we went.  I decided to go the hospital my cardiologist works out of. They run some tests and turns out I have something called cardiac effusion which means fluid around the heart….and they are 99.9% sure that it was from the surgery! What the heck, I have a rare surgery and then a rare side affect! So at the tender age of 57 I had my first ambulance ride ever to the “big hospital!” By this time the IV meds were making me feel pretty good and its pretty much a blur after that.

Ambulance ride

After a couple of echo cardiograms with no changes, they shipped me home. I’m feeling a little better now, but not 100%. My family doctor added a couple of new meds today which he said should help things clear up quicker! So…I’m done….I’m ready to be healthy and back into activity. I will tell you, when I was laying there with chest pains, I sure started giving consideration to how well I have been taking care of my heart and what I need to do in the future. So as soon as I get my pain gone and energy back it’s time to start being heart healthy!! Who’s with me??

Peace, light and stay warm!

Julie

Important Lessons

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This is probably one of my favorite local places to hang out at. The beach at Lake Huron. Just a few short miles from my house and I can enjoy the fresh lake air, hear the laughter of children playing and the call of seagulls. It’s a peaceful place for me. Yesterday was Friday, my day off. I had nothing on my agenda that seriously needed to be done. I have spent most of July recovering from pneumonia, so my summer has felt very limited. As the week was coming to an end I prayed that it would be a sunny day as I had decided I was going to go to the beach! It was a little cool in the morning, but the sun started warming things up as the day went on. By noon I had my chair set up and my book ready to go. I think for the first time in a very long time, I went to the beach when I wanted, did what I wanted when I was there, and came home when I felt like it, not someone else’s agenda. I have to tell you, it was a very healing and therapeutic day. I took several walks along the shore, about ankle deep, and of course I had my eye on the rocks…always looking for something good. (I did find 2 Petosky stones, something I never have found at this beach!) When I decided I was ready to go home, I pack stuff up and headed towards the car. I started noticing, my knees didn’t hurt, my back didn’t hurt and the headache that had been lingering for weeks was gone. So a day of rest and relaxation is what it takes to help take the aches and pain away.  Well…it did for a little while.What an important lesson for me! I believe it is a really important lesson. We can’t get rid of every bad thing in our life. We can’t always avoid the aches and pains and sorrows that comes with life. But sometimes……sometimes we need to just step out of the world for awhile and just be.

I hope you can find some time to do this for yourself. I promise it will be worth it!

Have a great weekend!

Julie

 

Acceptance

AcceptanceAcceptance………seems like such a simple word doesn’t it. I guess when you think about acceptance it can mean a few different things. The acceptance I want to talk about today is perfectly illustrated in this cartoon. Sometimes we just have to accept things as they are. I have been going to physical therapy for my back for the last 3 weeks. I love therapy. I love having someone train me and help me get stronger. In my heart, I am an athlete. Yes, in my heart I am an athlete….in reality, I have fibromyalgia which causes debilitating aches and pains. This means that while my heart may be willing, my body is not always able to do what I want. This brings me to acceptance. I have to accept that I can’t do everything that may come natural to some people. My therapist will tell you I work hard when I’m there. I do everything he says and do it perfectly. What he doesn’t know is that I suffer for that later. Why would I do that you may ask? Well, I guess it is because I don’t want to “accept” that things are the way they are. I have had many an addict react in anger that they suffer from this terrible disease and wonder why they can’t be like “normal people.” And I tell them, because you can’t, and you aren’t…you must accept that this is your reality. So……….. I guess it is time to practice what I preach!!! Yeah, sometimes I need to look in the mirror and give myself a little therapy!! Acceptance – it can cover a lot of things….addiction, illness, a disability, and death. Life will become easier I believe when we just accept that it is what it is. I think that will bring a more peaceful state of mind….what do you think? Anything you are struggling with trying to accept?

Have a great weekend!

Julie

P.S. Today I told my physical therapist that I just can’t keep up the pace he has set for me. He was very understanding and made adjustments!! So…there is hope for me yet!!

DIY Cozy Rice Heating Pad

Recently I have been going to physical therapy for a back injury and as part of my visit, I lay on a giant heating pad that covers my whole back and it feels wonderful!  I decided to try to recreate this DIY, cozy, rice heating pad at home.   I like the idea of a portable heating pad, instead of one you plug in, so you don’t have to worry about finding a plug or falling asleep and burning yourself.

I was able to whip up the one below in an afternoon.  (If the sewing part of this project scares you, trust me, you can do it!  I have VERY minimal sewing skills and even had to get the manual out to re-teach myself how to use my sewing machine!  If I can do it, anyone can!)

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This heating pad is large and kind of heavy and bulky, but I love how it covers my whole back.    I found this fleece material on the remnant rack at my local craft store.  It is so soft and cozy!   If you need a smaller heating pad for a more isolated area, you can make a smaller one like this:

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I have even made tiny ones to heat up if my kids have an ear infection. It feels nice to lay one that has been lightly heated by the sore ear.

For the DIY Cozy Heating Pad You will need:

-rice (The amount depends on how large your heating pad is.  For the large size I used two large bags of rice. The smaller one uses 3/4 to one bag of rice.)

-a sturdy cotton material for the rice

-fleece for the case (You could use any material for this, but I like fleece because it is so soft and cozy.)

*I usually shop the remnant isle for the material because it is super cheap and you don’t need a large amount of material to make these.

-sewing machine

-thread color of your choice

Directions:

1.For the inside case, use the sturdy cotton material.  Fold the material in half so you only have to sew three edges.  Fold and pin the edges and then sew three edges shut like a pillow case and  leave a small opening at the top of the case to fill it with rice.

2. Fill the case with rice and sew shut (Make sure it is sewn securely shut or you will have a mess!).  You can sew inside or outside seams, depending on whether you want them to show.  I didn’t really care how fancy mine looked, so I sewed the seams from the outside.  If you don’t want them to show, you can turn the material inside out and sew the seams, then turn it back right side out when you are done. Another alternative for this would be to sew the large one into 4 separate compartments for the rice. This would stop the rice from sliding back and forth through the whole pack. You would just leave an opening in each section to pour rice in and then sew it up!

My large inside pad case looks like this:

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**You could also add 1-3 drops of essential oil such as lavender to the rice and your heating pad will smell nice when you heat it in the microwave

3. For the fleece cover, if you want a nice finished edge, you can sew a seam around the edge that will be open (not sewn) before sewing the sides together. Once you have hemmed the edge of the fleece, fold it in half, pin the edges and sew two sides together leaving the third side open(the one you hemmed) like a pillow case.  It is nice to make a case for the rice bag so you can remove it to wash.

4. Slide the rice bag into the fleece case and you now have a cozy, portable heating pad!

I usually heat the small one in the microwave for about 2 minutes (the time will depend on your microwave) and the large one took about 6 minutes with me taking it out and rotating it every 2 minutes.

This heating pad will sooth all of your aches and pains or  just warm you up on a cold winter night!

Enjoy!

~Blessings,

Jen