Thursday, November 30, 2006

I had an appointment with the pain doctor today....MY pain doctor. It is so good to have him back and he's so smart. As you can tell by the gushing I got a good increase in the meds in my pump today. He didn't come right out and say it but he beat around the bush and said it. He said that since the pump was changed from morphine to dilaudid that they should not have cut down on the oral morphine. He said that morphine gives the broadest coverage...especially intrathecally like the pump is and that my new medicine is not quite as broad of a coverage but is much stronger. Of the 3 main opiates it goes from weakest to strongest like this...morphine, dilaudid and then the strongest is fentanyl but it is not a good medicie to use in a pump. He tried to explain that too but it kinda went over my head.

I have not been posting as much because I've kept busy in the evenings with Rhebeca. We have been talking on the phone and on skype for about 1-3 hours every evening. I feel fortunate that she likes talking to me and that I don't have to worry about getting to work the next day and being tired. One thing I do appreciate and that is since I do not feel well I have the opportunity to stay home and take care of myself. Wayne works such long hours to keep us going and I'm thankful he has the health to do so. So, if there's one thing I can give our's my time!!

Yesterday our daughter-in-law stopped by the house to tell me she was going to the doctor and they would be doing an ultrasound of the baby to see if it's a girl or boy. Or course I had to come and was honored that she would ask me. It is almost a certainty that it's going to be a girl....Isabella. I am so excited. I couldn't believe how clear the ultrasound was and how you could see the baby so clearly. I am now so excited about this new little life that will enter this world sometime the end of April of beginning of May. And, finally, another girl:) I know I'll have fun picking out some clothes for her. They make such cute things for little girls.

When Rhebeca was still in Brazil I sent down 2 boxes of clothes in different sizes for her. I'm thinking it was about January or February and they had just gotten out all the spring/summer clothes which is what she would have needed in Brazil. I had so much fun picking things out and it was at Ayres and everything was on sale!! Eutemia told me that when she got that box in Brazil that she was excited and tried every outfit in the box on Beca like she was a little doll.

The rheumatologist started me on a longer and higher dose of prednisone again. It took a couple of days and I do feel much better all ready. I don't want to stay on this stuff though because I am bloated and retaining fluid while on it! I go for my MRI in 2 weeks and that will give her another clue as to whether it's rheumatoid arthritis.

That's it for today. When I was at the doctor they took my blood pressure and my tempature. My blood pressure was 157/95 and my temp was 100.5 . I feel feverish tonight so my temp must still be a little elevated and the blood pressure was probably from walking from the front door of the hospital and into my foom on the 4th floor. So, I don't feel too good tonight and am going to try to go to sleep!! I've been sleeping a little better on the prednisone this time and it sure makes a difference in how a person feels. Excuse any typos...I'll go over this tomorrow (Friday).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

These pictures below are from Thanksgiving evening. The kids had such a good time playing and so did Grandma Becky. I had a lot of back pain that day but was able to sit in a chair and play with the kids. I will post pictures over the next couple of days. First are the pictures below of Caden and Kael. Caden has just become old enough to start "joining the group" and playing. He had so much fun and was so cute. They enjoyed playing with their airplanes, the dog and then with the older 2 kids.

I am so thankful for these precious children. They are all so special in their own way. Even though my back is hurting I am able to enjoy the uniqueness of each of these children. It was a very wonderful thanksgiving for me and there isn't anything I could have done that I would have enjoyed more.

Kaleb enjoying his dinner.
He isn't quite old enough yet to play with the big kids. He still wants to stay close to his MaMa.
Caden and Kael play with Belle.

The Four Muskateers
From left to right...Caden, Tyler , Rhebeca and Kael
My camera leaves red eye worse than most cameras. It was just a poor design. I went into Adobe Photo to fix them and it makes their eyes all black. I think I have to figure out a different way to fix their eyes.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jacob Halloween 2005
These are my latest scrapbooking projects. The scanner on our new printer has a little smaller bed than the last scanner so I am always cutting off either the top or the bottom of my scans. On these two layouts the top got cut off the 1st one and the bottom got knocked off of the second one. Anyway, you can see the basic layout. I am scrapbooking last years halloween. I am just about done...have to do Caden yet:)
This layout doesn't look so great scanned. It is actually on a white piece of 12x12 cardstock and then on the white I added the strips of patterned and colored paper. It's a little busier than a page I usually like to make but I wanted to try this for the fun of it!!
I went to the pain doctor today. Actually I saw the associate of my pain doctor. I kind of wish I'd never was a real waste of money. But, he talked to us for about 45 minutes. He wouldn't increase the pump w/o asking Dr. Grove first. Even his nurse, when I explained the situation, said he would most likely increase the pump today. He did give me some extra vicodin to get me through till I see my doctor next week. But, he could have call that in to the pharmacy w/o me havnig to come up there.

He told me that at a certain point I might have to take a "drug holiday". That would be them weaning me slowly off of all my medication and then they would keep me off of them for two weeks He said the pain would be very intense but the theory is that when I would go back on the meds they would be much more effective. Great theory unless you're the one that has to endure 2 weeks in unbearable pain, right? I am a member of a group called pumpsters and wrote to that roup to see what they think about that idea. re

I took the vicodin before it was time for bed at about 10:00 and forgot one of the worst side effects of it...I can't sleep!!!! It's now 4:00 AM and I'm still wide awake. I guess I'll go in and find something boring on TV and see if I can drift off to sleep for a couple hours while the TV's on....maybe something kinda boring.

Christmas is going to creep up on me (and probably most people) pretty fast. I'm almost done with the shopping for the grandkids and that's the hardest part of it for me.

I wish you all a very wonderful holiday today with friends and family. I look forward to going to our daughters house. I'm fixing sweet potato casserole...which translated means....Wayne will be fixing sweet potato casserole while sit in a chair giving him directions on how to make it so my back will stay under control. It would take quite a few vicodin to be able to stand and cook!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My rheumatologists office called a couple of times today to try to set up a MRI of my wrists. When she first told me that I needed the MRI I told her I would have to be sedated. She will need to bring a driver because of taking the valium. Is that all you're going to give me for the MRI is a valium? She said yes, that's it. I told her there is no way that will be enough pain relief that I can lay there for the MRI. She said ... for your wrists you have to lay on your stomach with your arms over your head. I told her that would be even worse. I apologized for being so difficult but I know what I can do and what I can't and there's no way I can lay on my back or my stomach for an MRI w/o being sedated with pain medication. She fianlly agreed to let me go to Elkhart General Hospital for the MRI and let them sedate me the same way they did for me neck 10 mnths ago!

After about 6 calls to the pain doctor's office and their appointment person I got an answer as to whether they will do a increase. Well, they won't do one without me seeing the doctor and the only one on call this week is Dr. Friedman and when I saw him a few months back he thought my pain was due to muscle spasms. I thought I'd better take a muscle relaxer this afternoon and let him know I am trying the pills and guess what?...they didn't work. It's not my muscles spasming. But, it sure didn't hurt to try and now tomorrow I can go in there prepared.

Today was Tyler's actual birthday so I called him before school this morning to sing happy birthday to him. I could tell he liked it but said...Nana said the same thing. I could hear in his voice how special he felt that we both would call to sing happy birthday. I told him we are all sure happy that he came into our family 6 years ago. He has been such a special blessing to me and great company on the days when I feel a little lonely.

Tyler's cousin Kaleb and Aunt Eutemia

Caden, Tyler's little brother

The theme of the birthday party was "Cars" from the newly released movie.
Tyler's cousin, Kael holding his new airplane. Kael always has to walk around with several things in his hands and it's usually a challenge to try to hang on to it all. Of all the grandchildren he is seems to be the one the worries a lot of the time.

Tyler and Caden waiting for the party to begin!!

Tyler on far left with his Daddy and cousin Rhebeca

Rhebeca in her new faux fur coat
Tyler sat there for a few seconds to decide what to wish for before blowing out the candles. He tricked everybody and we all laughed at him. His Dad lit all the candles and he blew them out right away w/o waiting for us to sing happy birthday. He thought he was really funny but he still had to hear us sing because the candles got lit the 2nd time.

Every little boy's fun part of a birthday...opening the gifts!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Caden at the Pumpkin Patch 2005

Don't remember if I said this yet or not but the night of my last post I started feeling sick...headache and upset stomach! It turns out the stomach flu is going around and I was lucky enough to get it. It wasn't bad and only lasted 2 days but it's still not a fun thing to have.

We had planned to have Tyler spend the night Friday night but I was still kind of weak and thought it would be better if we wait. That is the hardest thing I can do is to tell one of the grandchidlren they can't come over here. I just felt terrible to hurt his feelings. We are going to try it again on Thanksgiving night. Wayne said he will be rested enough that he can help more than usual.

Wayne has been working some horrible hours...about 15-18 hours a day and he just comes home and falls into bed. He was down today because as hard as he is working we are still not quite making it financially. That is when I wish so much I had the health to get a job and help out. There are days that I could go to a job but they are few and most days it would just be impossible.

I was so disappointed that I couldn't go to get my pump increase. I was really hoping they would give me enough of an increase to make a difference. My doctor will be back on the 30th of this month so I go in to see him that day. I decided to wait a week for him to return. (from his reserve duty in Germany)
Tomorrow is Tyler's birthday party. I will be posting some pictures when I get home tomorrow!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Kristi and Jacob in a tree
Kristi sent me this picture that she had Eric take of her and Jacob. She had just got her hair cut and colored. She went red highlights this time instead of blond and I think it looks really nice on her!!

I went to the rheumatologist yesterday and felt a little confused about the appointment. I can tell she is baffled by my symptoms and the way the medicine is working. I really like her more every appointment. She calls me a zero/negative rheumatoid arthritis because my blood tests did not clearly indicate that I have the disease but my symptoms do all point to it. She asked me what bothers me the most and I told her that it was my feet. So, she had my feet x-rayed before I went home. If that is not a clear picture of what is going on with the feet then she will do an MRI.

The x-ray table was like all the others I've ever seen...hard as the floor. It was a young/impatient girl that was doing the x-ray and I tried to explain to her that it was going to be very hard on my back to lay on that hard surface. Of course, I got no response other than you need to lay on your back. As soon as I layed down my right leg started to have muscle spasms. That was the leg she wanted to x-ray and I grabbed it and tried to pull the muscle and get it to stop spasming. She said, you're going to have to lay your leg flat on the table. (I just can't stand these kind of health workers anymore). I told her I was having muscle spasms in my leg from the hard table and when it stopped spasming I would put my leg into the position she wanted. GRR....!!!

Well, she got 4 shots of each foot and I was in terrible pain. I got up off the table and was sitting in a chair waiting for her to come back and say the x-rays were fine when I was a cushion laying on a chair that went on that table. I know she just didn't want to take the time to put on that cushion and it really made me mad. Some people have no understanding at all for pain.

On the way home my Mom suggested stopping at DSW (?) shoe store and seeing if there was any shoes that would fit these swollen feet. I really didn't think we could find any because I knew what I'd gone through at the other store but thought I'd try it just in case. There was not one shoe in that store that would fit my foot. I tried on a 10 that used to be a little big for me and couldn't even get my foot half way into the shoe. After the ordeal with the x-ray and then seeing all the cute shoes I used to be able to wear I was really feeling down. Tyler was with us so I didn't want him to see me sad and didn't let them know but when I got home and was telling Wayne about it we both cried. I can't begin to tell you how emotionally upsetting it is to have a loss like that. It seems trivial but to me it isn't. I love to look nice and it's just another thing to work through.

Rhebeca has been calling me and we play Roller Coaster Tycoon together while talking on the phone. It is a really special time that I have with her and I think it does her as much good as it does me. She is a special little girl.

After going with me to the doctor yesterday I don't know what Tyler saw or what made him empathize with me but yesterday and today when I went to WalMart with him and his Mom & Caden he opened my car door for me. It is such a sweet gesture. The 5 year old in him slips out occasionally. I had to laugh when he opened the door here at my house and a paper flew out of the car...he said.."You can get that, Grandma"!

I have had my losses but my gains are far bigger in these little children. I doubt that I would have gotten to know them so well had I been well. I would probably be much too busy to spend the time. I love the ages of Rhebeca and Tyler now (8 and almost 6). I hate to see them grow up but I know that is the desire of a young person's heart and we will continue to be friends in different ways as they grow and mature! And, I can still enjoy the ages of 6 and 8 in 5 other grandchildren yet:)

One last story that I thought was funny. When Katie was bringing me home today Tyler said he just saw a hippopotamus tied to a tree in our neighborhood. His Mom said they'd check it out when they went home. She called me to say that it was a dead dear hanging in a tree with its head cut off. I looked at it the next time we went out and it did look a little like a hippo. Those are the things I want to remember about these grandchildren...the innocence of thinking there could be a hippo tied to a tree in our neighborhood!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

When Katie came to pick up Tyler this afternoon Caden wanted to come inside with her. It makes me feel so good because he's always so excited to see me:) He was wearing his new pajamas. Katie said she let him pick out the pajamas he wanted at the store yesterday. He picked some with cars on them from the movie that was out not long ago. Katie said Caden refused to get dressed this morning...he wanted to wear his pajamas. Katie let him wear them and I'm glad she did.

I asked Katie if she remembered her wardrobe in 3rd grade. Every day she wore these black sweat pants to school. I had to keep buying more because they get looking baggy and just a little crummy looking. I think they were very comfortable to her. She said she remembers well:) I believe it is also the year she discovered hair spray and she would get her bangs kinda high...we used to call them "mall bangs". Then she would spray the bangs till even a tornado coming through wouldn't move them.

Tomorrow I go see the rheumatologist. When I called her office and told them the pain was worse after cutting back on the medicne she wanted to see me. The nurse talked like she will be putting me on a different medicine.

I also called the pain doctor's office this morning. I told them that the pain is so bad that I can't even walk from one end of the house to the other without horrofic pain. They thought he would go ahead and give an increase and I sure hope it is enough of an increase to help with the pain!

Rhebeca at 6 years old

I have had the paper and embellishments to do this layout for several weeks now. I ran across the picture this morning and decided to start scrapbooking. Well, Tyler came over this afternoon and saw the stickers and paper and wanted to make his own project with them. I told him that I bought them for a special project so he wanted to help me make it. It took a lot of patience to have a little guy that isn't real accurate yet help me but he felt so proud that he wanted to do more scrapbooking. He then made a page with him and Caden. I love this paper and the stickers. On the back of the sticker sheet is an example of how the pages can be scrapbooked. I almost followed it completely...just changed a little big. I think I'll have to look for more of these projects.

We Are Family
Think this picture was taken around Easter. It is Alan and Eutemia's beautiful family. In case you can't read the names on top of the pictures they are from left to right Rhebeca, Kael and Kaleb. They are all very bright children with such distinct and unique personalities. Kael and Kaleb don't look much like brothers but they sure do play like brothers. I love the quote..."A Friend is a Brother who once was a Bother. " Beca may find this hard to believe at times but I kow underneath she loves her brothers. She's a little MaMa to Kaleb:)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Let's play games!!
I am fortunate enough that Tyler and Caden live in our same town so I get to see them often. I can't watch them both for long periods of time...several hours and I need a break.

Tyler loves to play games on the computer but his parents want to limit his time playing computer games because it changes his behavior. This isn't something new to Wayne and I. When Alan was smaller ...about Tyler's age...we had an Atari game system. Alan loved to play the games but we had to limit the time because it too would change his behavior and not for the better.

I had to think of someting that isn't physically demanding that I could do when the grandkids came over and one of those things is games. I've been getting a new game about every week and finally have a pretty good stock.

Below, Tyler is playing the latest new game, Pirates Cove. We had quite a time putting it together but once we did we had a good time playing it. As you can see it's resting on a platform...that is so the keys can hang off the board. The platform kept coming loose so finally I taped it and that worked!!!

The first thing Caden usually does when he comes here is to get out a game. He loves to play the games or at least give it a try. The game he is playing here is a makeup game for the Bratz dolls. As you can see, Caden isn't quite ready to be a makeup artist. He is really too young to understand the rules to games but plays them "his way".
This past week has been a pretty difficult week for me physically. First, I had to cut back on the methotrexate becuase my lab work showed my liver enzymes were elevated and that was with only taking it 4 weeks. Well, a few days after cutting back on the medicine the joint pain started to returnl I called their office yesterday and they want me to come in Tuesday and the doctor will probably change my medicine.

My back pain has also been worse this last week. The doctor changed the medicine in my pump on October 27th. He said to give it a little bit and the medicine may have to be tweaked and raised some. I cannot even walk from the bedroom to the kitchen w/o the pain becoming unbearable. I just don't think this is right. I should be able to stand/walk across the house. He told me if I didn't think this was enough med from the pump to give their office a call if I think I nneed it raised. So, first thing Monday morning that is my priority.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Rhebeca Halloween 2005
Rhebeca really wanted to be an American Idol last year but couldn't find a costume in her size. I spent about an hour online searching for the perfect costume. I finally found this one and between myself and Grandma Marilyn we saw to it that she had this costume in time for Halloween!
Rhebeca, 7 years old
What can I say about this picture? She's beautiful!!

I have taken the reduced amount of medication for the rheumatoid arthritis for about a week now. When I wake up in the morning my joints all hurt just like before I started on the Methotrexate. I think I'll give the doctor's office a call and see if there's something else I can take. It's so disappointing to have that pain return. I felt so good for several days. It seems like there has to be something that can help without destroying my liver! What is disappointing is that the pain affects my life. Rhebeca came over last night and I couldn't have her here for very long with. I was just in too much pain. I know she understands but it still doesn't make it easy for either one of us. She wants to be here and I want her here...but my body just doesn't cooperate:(

Friday, November 03, 2006

Jacob, the big (ok, little) green monster

Here are Jacob and his Mommy!
Jacob's Mommy thought she picked the perfect costume for Jacob...a monster!!!
We have teased all week talking about the "little monster". It's is a really cute costume courtesy of eBay.

Trick or treat...I want candy!
Did I get any of the "good stuff?"

Jacob on the big pumpkin...Kristi said the neighbors make a pumpkin out of a bale of hay every year. She said Jacob wasn't so sure he liked it up that high. He likes to climb but this was a little too high for comfort.
I had a decent day today. I picked Tyler up from school and he stayed here for several hours. I think I've got him good and spoiled....I asked him what he wanted to eat when we picked him up both yesterday and today and he said an ice cream cone. Yesterday it was a medium and today it was a large and he ate every bite of it except for the ice cream that got on his nose...I missed a good photo opportunity because we were playing a game and I didn't think of it. Yesterday when I went to WalMart I bought a couple of new games to play with the kids. I am getting a little tired of the ones we have now. My Mom taught Tyler how to play rummikub so I think I'll dig that up out of the basement. He's a little young but he's got a quick mind for learning.

I asked him today if he played with his new friend at recess. He said he did...I asked him what his friends name was and he didn't know. He said we just call each other "buddy". How cute! I just love this age (5 , almost 6) ..they are so cute and what they say is just priceless. Yesterday I asked Tyler for a couple of his school papers to put on a scrapbook page and now he gives me all of them. That's all right. I will make a pocket page and just put them all in the pocket. I'll be sure and post it when I get it done....but don't hold your might take a while.

My doctor's office called today. It's becoming a little scary when they call me now. They made an appointment to have a spot taken off my face. I had one just like it a year ago and it was pre-cancerous and I'm sure this is the same except it is a little bigger and it never heals over...just an open sore. It's not big but it's best to get it off. I've been putting it off and decided now is the time. When I was talking to the nurse she said that I needed to go back in for a repeat mammogram. It scared me to death! I told her I'd gone I need to go a 3rd time? She looked at my chart and thank goodness had overlooked the report from my 2nd mammogram.

I go to a specialty shoe store in South Bend. With the swelling in my ankles and feet it's been almost impossible to find shoes to fit. I'd worn the same sandals all summer and now would have to get something a little warmer. After trying on several shoes with no success in fittinig the lady decided to measure my foot. I have always worn between an 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 medium. This time with all the swelling I measured a petite 10 1/2 double E. No wonder none of my shoes fit! I had to take one pair back and she ordered another pair. In the meantime I had nothing to wear and she showed me the shoes they had that were a lot like crocs. I tried them on and it felt like I was walking on a cloud. I can't wear socks with them yet because it makes my feet burn but these shoes are sure warmer than sandals. I called them today to order some in black and then I'd just forget the other shoe she ordered.

While all three of our children were growing up we made sure that they got to spend time with their friends and it seems we were always picking up someone or taking them home. They formed some very good friendships and we got close to many of their friends and their parents as well. Our son had a good friend that didn't use good judgement in a situation about a year ago and yesterday he was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Our son was so saddened by this and I know it had to be so hard to be there...but his friend and his parents needed that support. Alan said he did fine until his friend's father broke down sobbing. My heart aches for them tonight. It's one of those things, as a parent, you wish you will never have happen. Wayne and I were talking about it and I said here I am so glad to get all three kids raised and with very little trouble and I think I'm done worrying. Then along come 6 grandkids (soon to be 7) that just wrap themselves right around my heart and I'm worrying all over again. Thank goodness for prayer.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rhebeca, "bat girl"
She was a good looking bat girl..don't know if she fought any crime but she sure looked the part!
Rhebeca and her friend, Cayla
I think Cayla was Wonder Woman..they made a good pair. Cayla is about 3 years older than Beca and lives next door. They have good times together. It's always nice to have a good friend and other kids have always loved Rhebeca. Rhebeca will probably remember that when they were moving from Greenwood to here that Rhebeca didn't want to leave her friends and I kept telling her that she makes friends so easily and sure enough it didn't take her long to have a long list of friends!

Kaleb, the cutest little skeleton you've ever seen.

Kaleb is only a year old and it's so unusual that he loved his costume and didn't even beg to have his mask off. I will say as a Grandma with no prejudice (ha ha!!) that he is a really bright little guy. Wayne was holding him when he came here and said something about the alphabet and he started saying letters. He has also talked in sentences now for several months.

Kael, a scary monster (or is it a ghost??)
Kael and his brother, Kaleb (from above picture) enjoyed getting candy for Halloween. Alan said Kael was never more shocked when he went to the door and people started putting candy in his bag...after that he was all into Halloween. The next morning their sleepy pregnant Mommy fell back asleep and woke up to find candy on her stomach and 2 little boys covered in chocolate:) How cute...especially when I don't have to clean it up!

Kael that's no scary face...only cute!!

Caden, the monkey

Caden's Mommy saw this monkey costume and thought it fit her little "monkey" quite well. He also liked the idea of getting candy. He and his brother also got into their Halloween candy the next morning.

Tyler, the policeman

First we had Batwoman and Wonder-woman and now we have a police officer. Good thing we didn't try to go out and teepee someone that night. I had little bags made up for each of the kids with some "big" candy bars and a little toy for each of them. Tyler wanted a transformer (and picked it out at WalMart a few hours earlier).

Tyler with Grandpa Wayne

Caden and Tyler

Bye bye little monkey! Enjoy your candy!!

I will post pictures of our other grandson tomorrow night. I'm getting a little tired tonight and it's so time consumimg to download the pictures.

I had a little bad news this week. The rheumatologist's office called and said some of my blood test results were elevated and she wants to cut me back on the medicine (the methotrexate). That was really disturbing news since I'd only been taking the medicine for a month. I am to cut back on the medicine and then repeat the blood test. I sure hope those levels go back down. This medicine has had very few side effects that I can notice and it's helped the joints a little big.

I took Tyler to the store with me yesterday and was reminded of a story my Mom told several years ago. My Mom took our son Alan to the grocery store when he was about Tyler's age (5 years old). She remembers when she got home she counted the things he talked her into. I think it was around 20 items. Tyler..the next generation...did it to me yesterday. I know he was hungry when we went there and should have gotten him something from a driveup but didn't. Some of the things he talked me into are strawberries (he wanted cut up pineapple but it was $5.99), 2 tubes of for my house and one for his, a new toothbrush to keep at my house, 2 bags of cookies (I never buy cookies), a 6 pack of juice, cereal, a chocolate muffin, a starbucks strawberry frappachino (Sp?), a magazine with puzzles in it, and a few other things I can't remember right now. I told him he would make a good salesman but don't think he really knows what that is.