Happy Birthday to Me :)

Image credit: http://birthdayb.com

Image credit: http://birthdayb.com

Today was my birthday. This year, for once, it wasn’t just another day. I mean, it was because I still went to an eye doctor’s appointment…but it wasn’t because I felt that today was what it’s supposed to be…a celebration of my life.

M has never really celebrated his birthday. He says he doesn’t see the point. I get it. If it wasn’t a big deal growing up or just isn’t a big deal to you, then ok. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a big deal to other people. I respect his wishes and let his birthday be just another day (after the first couple of years when I made him a cake and I could tell it bothered him). However I have made it clear to him that I feel your birthday should be a special day. It should be a celebration of the fact that you’re alive and ANY kind of small gesture can symbolize that.

So, what did I get from him for my birthday today? A single rose? A 99 cent birthday card? Nope. I got NADA except for a “Oh yeah, Happy Birthday” when I woke up. I mean, the fact that I was given life should mean more to him than that, right? I’m not asking for an expensive gift. I truly don’t want an expensive gift. But I would like some gesture that my life is worth something. This has gone on like this for as long as we’ve been together and once again has me questioning if I truly mean anything to him.

My best friend is a woman I met around a year ago right here on WordPress. We have become very close. I can tell her anything and she can tell me anything. We Skype each other just as we are, which is usually lounging in bed in our pajamas because we don’t have the energy to do any different. This woman who I have known for less than a year sent me a gift package today. She made sure that it would be delivered to me on my birthday. It’s not about the gift…which happened to be a card, a beautiful journal, a password book, and a magnet…but about all the thought that went behind her putting it together and sending it.

So the way I see it, I mean more to this woman than I do to a man who has been part of my life for almost seven years. How messed up is that? Now, I know this sounds like I didn’t have a great birthday, but despite M’s lack of caring, this was a totally AWESOME birthday! The gift box sent to me by my best friend meant the world to me. We had our “Birthday Skype” and then she texted me and told me how much I meant to her and how happy she was to have me in her life. That in itself was enough to make it a great day! It almost made me cry to think that I mean that much to one person, and made it even more special because she means that much to me too. She has gotten me through some really tough times this past year when I might have just gone crazy without her.

Therefore, I dedicate this post to my best friend who made this birthday the best I’ve had in years. I am grateful and blessed to have such a wonderful friend in my life. She is more than a friend. She is family.

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My Visit to the Rheumatologist

If you remember from my previous post A Couple of Normal Days, I had been given a dose of steroids that made me feel like a normal person for the first time in almost three years. The general doctor told me that he wanted me to see the rheumatologist because he thought that I might have had that reaction because of an autoimmune disorder. In the meantime, I have been using an inhaler and a nasal spray which contain corticosteroids. It has helped me to have more energy than before. It had gotten to the point where I was in bed most of the time and it was all I could do to even shower much less do things around the house.

Well, today I was able to get an appointment for the rheumatologist’s nurse practitioner for the hip injections that help my bursitis. While I was there, the doctor came in the room and I asked if he had a second to discuss something. I told him about the GP’s suspicions and he said to run all the details by the NP and she would discuss it with him. So, that is exactly what I did. I told her how I felt before the steroids and how I felt while taking them. She told me to continue to take the medications the way I am except for the Plaquinil that they had given me for inflammation. I am supposed to double the dose by taking it twice a day instead of once. In the meantime, they are going to do some more blood work. If the tests come back positive for inflammation again, she said that they would probably start me on a low dose of a medicine called Methotrexate. It was originally used as a chemotherapy drug, but in lower doses has been used to treat autoimmune disorders.

To be completely honest, the thought of taking a chemotherapy drug scares me. I am hoping and praying that my tests come back ok so that I don’t have to take it. If they don’t, however, then we will know for sure that it is some kind of autoimmune problem. If that is the case, then I suppose I will do what the doctor advises even though it scares me a bit. That is his specialty after all. I guess I was just hoping that it wouldn’t come to such drastic measures. Basically it is a quality of life issue. Before, I had no life. Now, I am able to get around better than I have in years. I will do whatever I have to do so that I don’t have to go back to that dark, lonely place that I was in before.

iPad Replacement Update

After writing this morning’s post, I got a call from the rental store to let me know that my request for a replacement iPad had been approved. If you have been keeping up, on Monday June 21 my house was broken into and my iPad, a cellphone, and a weed eater were stolen. It took the city a week (it is supposed to take 24 hours) to get me a copy of the police report because they “misplaced” it, and then it took the rental store a couple of days after getting a copy of the police report to decide whether they would replace the stolen one. I got tired of waiting and just bought a new tablet for myself, but M (and my sister, but M was first) offered to take over the payments if they replaced the old one.

So, the store calls to let me know that they will be able to replace the iPad with one that they have in the store. I asked if it was the same as the one that was stolen (in model and memory – I had a 64 GB iPad 3) and they didn’t know. I mean, how do you not know what you’re selling? They tried to give me the serial number so that I could call Apple to confirm the memory on the replacement, but the store manager gave me one of the serial number’s letters wrong and it couldn’t be looked up. Therefore, I had to drive there and get the serial number myself. I contacted Apple and it turned out that the iPad Air (iPad 5) that they wanted to give me was only 16 GB! That’s a quarter of the memory that my old one had. Well, that wasn’t going to cut it, so he called around to other stores and found me a 64 GB iPad 3 at another store. I heard when he specifically asked the other store if it had been refurbished (sent to the technician) because it had previously been rented out. They assured him it had.

I drove across town to pick up the iPad, but when I got home and turned it on, the first thing it asked me for was a passcode. Great…just great. So I called the manager back to ask if he could call the other store to see if for some reason they had placed the password on it. Nope. Turns out it was never sent to the shop to be wiped clean (refurbished). I mean really…what kind of idiot says it’s been sent to the shop when it hasn’t? The manager told me that my only option now is to let them send it to the shop to be reset which will take about a week. In the meantime, they will let me “borrow” the one they had in the store that only had 16 GB. AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHH!!!! That was a scream of frustration by the way. I feel like going to a really quiet place (like a library) and just screaming as loud as I can. Do any of you know if that actually makes you feel any better or is it just a saying? Now I have to create a new Apple ID to use on the rental tablet because I don’t want any of my personal information (or M’s) left on it when I give it back.

The only good thing about all this is that they are going to come by the house to exchange the tablets so that I don’t have to go back out today…and in the rain no less. Also, this way I know for sure that when I get it back, it will have been purged and examined for any problems, so I shouldn’t have to worry about it not working properly. With people this bright, I suppose “shouldn’t” is an assumption. It seems nothing seems to go right. I am so glad that in a few more payments this thing will be paid off and I won’t have to deal with them any more. Let’s just hope that it is in good working order when I get it back so that when it is paid off I won’t have any further issues with it. Here’s to hoping!

Weekly Update…

Well guys, this week has been a doozy. It was going pretty good until today actually.

Tuesday was physical therapy. It was much better this week than that one week that it sent me into a flare. No flare this week, just a couple of really tender trigger points in my hip area that had to be worked out. Honestly I don’t know that the trigger points were released seeing as how they’re still hurting. Of course, it could be my bursitis acting up. It may be time to pay my rheumy a visit to get injections in my hips again.

Wednesday was a sad day. It was my last visit with my psychologist seeing as how she has married and is moving to another city. I will start seeing my new therapist mid-August. I had gotten used to things with my therapist and I really hate to see her go. Even more I hate to think about having to start all over again with someone who doesn’t know me. The good thing that happened Wednesday was that the keyboard/case for my iPad came in the mail. It is a lot easier to write posts using the keyboard than using the screen of the tablet.

Thursday was supposed to be a day of rest knowing what all I had to do on Friday, but it turned out to be a bit busy as well. The screen protector that I had purchased for my iPad on Monday was already starting to peel up. So of course, I took it back to the store for a refund. Then I decided to buy one from Verizon and have them put it on for me. It was a good decision. I have never seen any screen saver (phone or tablet) not have at least one bubble until that day. The man did a beautiful job with the screen protector, told me that once it was scratched to come back and he would put one of the two remaining protectors on for me, and sold me on a glass screen protector for my iPhone. Then, I called the police station and finally found out why it was taking so long on the police report…they had “misplaced” it. So then I had to drive downtown, purchase the police report, and then take it to the rental place. Like I said, busy day for a “rest” day.

Friday was like every time I get my check. I run all across town paying things that I am unable to pay by phone. Depending on the lines that can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. This day took 3 hours, so not too bad. Then I went back to Verizon, bought the glass screen saver and a car holder for my iPhone, and to Target to buy a case. By the way, for those who don’t know, Target will match prices- even online. They will match Amazon’s price just as long as the product is sold and shipped by Amazon and not a third party. So I was able to get a $35 case for $22.99 thanks to Amazon’s scanning ability and Target’s competitiveness. After that I got a hankering for a new purse, so I went to Burlington and found a beautiful red leather purse and matching wallet on sale. Happy with the day’s purchases, I made my way home (aching body and all). Shortly after getting home the mailman came with my birthday package from my best friend. So now I have a set of bluetooth headphones to use when I’m driving or when I’m doing housework and want to listen to music without carrying my phone around. All in all a very good day, but completely exhausting!

Today is Saturday. I slept in late (It was about time I got some good sleep) but I still woke up utterly exhausted. I really need to go grocery shopping, but my body hurts so badly that I don’t know if I’ll be able to. Not to mention that I have dishes and laundry to do. I would really like for my day to be productive, but I just don’t know if I can. I have used my inhaler and taken a pain pill, so maybe in a little while I will have some energy and less pain so that I can go. I know that if I do I will have to use one of those electric cart things and I absolutely hate using them. But, I suppose it’s worth it to have food to eat, right?

I still haven’t heard anything from the rental place about whether or not they are going to replace the iPad. M said that he is willing to finish making payments on it, so at least I won’t have to worry about that bill anymore- whether or not they replace it. I just hate to lose all of the money that I put into it. I want it to be worth it to someone whether it’s M or my sister (who also said that she would be willing to take over payments- well who wouldn’t? There’s not that much left to pay on it!)

How was your week? Did something exciting happen or something sad? Feel free to leave a comment about how your week went.

Product Review: Axon Optics Glasses

With Axon Optics glasses

With Axon Optics glasses

It has been a while since I won a pair of sunglasses from Axon Optics and Michael Fernandez at MigraineDiscussions.com. This company makes glasses for migraine sufferers or for anyone with a sensitivity to light such as someone who is at a computer screen all day. I can’t really say anything about the indoor glasses since mine are for the outdoors. However I do have some things to say about the ones I own.

First of all, I was surprised that for a pair of “over Rx glasses”, these are remarkably stylish. I remember when I was a kid and they made the lenses that fit over the prescription eyeglasses and flipped up…not so cool. These, however, are just the right size to fit over my glasses and hide them from view. It looks like I simply have on a pair of sunglasses. So as far as style goes, it’s a thumbs up. πŸ‘

The frames are lightweight. I mentioned in another post how a previous pair of sunglasses I had made the bridge of my nose hurt after about an hour. I can wear these glasses almost all day (or at least a few hours) before they start to bother me. However, when they do, a simple adjustment in the placement of my Rx glasses and I’m good for another little while. So, for comfort…another thumbs up. πŸ‘

Now, as far as doing what they claim to do…helping with migraines: Since I received the glasses (it has been about 3 weeks) I have worn them every day when going outside. In that time I usually would have taken my migraine medication (Maxalt) to keep a migraine at bay at least 5 times, sometimes more. I have only taken one dose of Maxalt since receiving these glasses and it was taken at the first sign of a headache to prevent it from becoming a full-blown migraine. It is possible that it wouldn’t have developed into one, but like they say-Β better safe than sorry. By providing full coverage from the sun even on the sides (unlike most sunglasses that allow the light to come in from the sides and sometimes the top and bottom of the lenses) the use of these glasses have kept me from having to take as much medication as before. Therefore, I have to give it another thumbs up. πŸ‘

Since I haven’t had a full-blown migraine, I have not been able to use these glasses yet during the light-sensitivity part of the headache. However, because of the coverage, I believe that it would be safe to assume that they would be very helpful when having to be in a well-lit room during a headache. I think that they would provide relief in that situation as well. In this area, I have to reserve the thumbs up for when this happens. I will keep you guys posted on that front.

I am so very grateful to Michael and Axon Optics for providing me with these great sunglasses. They have met all my needs so far and may help any of you who suffer from migraines or other types of light-sensitivity. If you would like more information you can go to the Axon Optics website here or contact Michael Fernandez at MigraineDiscussions@gmail.com.

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

Monday evening my good mood was stolen from me by the person who broke into my house…it was taken along with my iPad, a cellphone, and a weed eater. I called the police and reported the items stolen and while I waited for the police to show up I called Apple Care. They were able to provide me with the iPad’s serial number (which was also on the box had I thought to have checked) and with the Apple locating software. Unfortunately, since it was a wi-fi enabled device only, it would not show me where the iPad had disappeared to until it was connected to wi-fi…in other words, it is long gone.

I made sure that the device was locked and that once turned on my phone number will show up along with a message to call me. Hopefully that will be enough for it to be un-pawnable (I don’t think that is a word…it will make it impossible to be pawned). I also made sure that the police got all of the information that he needed for his report. For the rest of the evening I was emotionally numb.

Tuesday I stayed home all day making phone calls to see if the iPad was going to be covered under the insurance I pay for every month to the store I’m buying it from (yes…I said buying…in many expensive payments I might add). I was told that they wouldn’t know until they had the police report and then they would call the insurance company to find out if it can be replaced. Hello!?! IF it can be replaced!?! The cellphone that was stolen (which M was going to inherit from me) ended up not being covered under the insurance because the line was not active at the time of theft. Problem was, he still needed a phone upgrade. I was remained somewhat numb that day, but also scared that the robber would come back for the TV and other things he didn’t take. So scared in fact that I refused to even take a shower until M got off work.

Tuesday evening my brain finally began to function and I started weighing my options. I could file it on the store’s insurance and continue to pay exorbitantly high payments for a refurbished iPad 3 that might or might not be replaced within a week (anyone who knows me knows that I LIVE on that thing…I hardly ever use a laptop anymore…so a week just wasn’t going to cut it for me. Or, I could go back to Verizon Wireless and purchase a brand new iPad Air (a.k.a. iPad 5), also in payments but without the crazy interest charges, and it would have wifi and cellular data service. As a matter of fact, the new one would cost me less than what I had left to pay on the old one…it was a no-brainier!

Wednesday after my therapy session I took a trip up to Verizon to make sure I qualified for the payment plan. I did! Like I mentioned before I also needed a new phone for M. They had the 5s on sale from $199 to $99, the 5c on sale from $99 to $49 and the 4s was free. He had asked for the free one. Well, when I said that I was interested in the 4s, the manager came over. She wanted to know why I had opted for the 4s (which still runs on the 3G network) when the newer 4G network phones were on sale. I told her it was simply because he had asked for the free phone. She asked if I would be interested in the 5c if she could get it for me for free…uh YES! So the manager worked her magic and I was able to get the iPhone 5c for M for free!

Needless to say, I totally took my bad experience of a burglary and turned it around. I made lemonade from the lemons I was given. As a matter of fact, I am actually going to be breaking even money-wise. Before, I was paying close to $140 per month for the iPad payment and another $60 per month for my prepaid phone bill. That comes out to $200. My new bill for three lines of service, insurance on each device, and the iPad payment will be about $220. I mean really…you can not beat that! I may have lost my new happy self for a couple of days, but boy am I back!

Another Great Week!

This past week has been a hard one, but a great one! It was hard because of physical therapy. This time, even though I felt ok immediately after PT, the soreness of the next day has lasted me most of the week. I suppose that’s what I get for telling my physical therapist that the week before was a breeze…I won’t make that mistake again. The manual work she did made it feel like I had done a two-hour workout, which anyone with a chronic illness knows is a no-no. It brought on a flare that I am still dealing with. I am hoping that it will get better soon.

It was a great week because I celebrated my birthday a month early. How did I celebrate, you might ask. Well, I have been having problems with my cellphone which was an Android. Being that I am an Apple lover and have a MacBook laptop and an iPad, and previously had an iPhone until I washed it in the washing machine (oh yeah- I did that) the Android was truly a let-down. I was unable to sync my calendars between my other devices and my cellphone, I was uncomfortable with the operating system, it had no memory (well, it had 2GB which is basically nothing), and it kept rejecting my SD card. So, even though I have been trying to stay away from a contracted phone service, I broke down and signed up for a two-year contract with Verizon and got the new iPhone 5s. The best part? The normally $199 phone was 50% off, so I ended up paying only $99!!!

I am in love with my new cellphone! I hadn’t realized how much I missed the iPhone until we synced everything up (simply by signing into my iCloud account) and all of my contacts, appointments, and apps were automatically part of my new phone. YAY! This will make my life so much easier! Plus, the phone service I had before didn’t work where my sister lives. I would have to make calls using her WiFi. Verizon’s service so far has been outstanding here where I live and where my sister lives (thanks to a trip I took yesterday)…everywhere except for in my house. That is the only downside I have found so far. Trying to have a conversation while inside is a bit of a chore seeing as how I only have one bar and calls keep getting dropped. Oh well- it is SO VERY worth it to have a phone I don’t hate.

So, all-in-all a great week…another HAPPY week. I am loving this “happy” trend I have going on. Here’s to wishing for many more great weeks to come!

One Year Anniversary

image

Today is my one year anniversary with WordPress…and what a year it has been! I started this blog as a way to vent about my medical issues and hopefully help other chronic pain patients at the same time. I believe that I have accomplished what I set out to do. I wrote a lot more towards the beginning of my time with WordPress, but I just had so much to say back then. There was a lot of catching everyone up on my issues and informing you guys about adhesions. Since doing that, my writing has slowed down quite a bit, but most of you have stuck it out with me. Also, welcome to all of my new followers. I have met some truly amazing people and made some very good friends…all in all a complete success if I do say so myself πŸ™‚

This week has been great. I am still feeling better from the increase in the corticosteroids. Not quite as well as I did those first three days, but much better than I have these past few years. Just to show you how much better I have been feeling, I will use cleaning as an example. Since my adhesion symptoms worsened a few years ago (but especially since the start of the Fibro fatigue), mopping and vacuuming have been pretty much impossible. I could sweep on occasion, but definitely not as much as one should…especially being a fur-parent. The other day I found a small, lightweight vacuum cleaner and a steam mop (both for $30 if you can believe that!) and I have been able to vacuum the carpet in my bedroom. Today I vacuumed the hardwood floors in the living room/dining room and steam mopped them! I am exhausted at the moment, but it feels so good to have been able to get it done. The steam mop ended up being heavier than I expected (harder to push and pull) but I was still able to get it done. For the first time in a long time I feel as if I have accomplished something big…and I suppose I have.

Physical therapy started this week. I will be going once a week to a new physical therapist. So far, I think that she and I will work a lot better together than the therapist I used after mine moved to a new clinic. She is more “hands on” like the first therapist was and even uses a technique I’ve never seen before. I believe that I might start to see results soon, and that’s great since the second therapist I used never really helped much at all. She would just watch me do my “at home” exercises…what’s the point in that?

The last past of my great week was winning a contest! Michael Fernandez at MigraineDiscussions.com had a contest in June for Migraine Awareness Month. There were two grand prizes for two winners…a pair of Axon Optics sunglasses. Axon Optics specializes in glasses for migraine sufferers. I entered the contest with a post I wrote for Migraine Awareness Month entitled My Migraine Story. Michael announced the two grand prize winners with a You Tube video and it shocked me to hear him say my name! He had two pairs to give away. One was a pair of “cats eye” women’s sunglasses and the other was a unisex pair that can be worn over prescription eyeglasses. Guess which one I won…yes, I won the pair that can be worn over my own eyeglasses! They came in the mail on Friday and I wore them all day yesterday as I was doing a bit of running around (the all day long kind of running around). I was amazed at how lightweight they were. They didn’t make the bridge of my nose start to hurt until the afternoon. The pair I was wearing before would start to hurt after only about an hour at which point I would have to take them off. These new ones I was able to simply reposition and keep going. I will write a review of them after I’ve had a few weeks to wear them, but so far so good! Here are pictures of me with and without the new sunglasses:

Without Axon Optics

Without Axon Optics

With Axon Optics

With Axon Optics

So, I rounded out a not-so-great year with a wonderful week! I will try to get back to writing more often again. I just wanted to thank all of my followers, new and old, who have stuck by me throughout this year and more often than not have been my support when I had none. Thank you for listening to my rants, my tears, and my triumphs, and for being my shoulder to lean on. Here’s to another year of blogging and many more new friends to be made!

A Couple of “Normal” Days

 

I have had a busy couple of days. Of course, I normally do the first of the month. I always have a lot of running around and bills to get paid. This month though I had two busy days instead of just one. Yesterday, the third, I had my normal amount of running around plus a doctor’s appointment and a hair appointment.

I told the doctor about my reaction to the steroids and how they actually made me feel normal for the first time in about three years. He said that his only concern would be that my good reaction could be a sign of an immune system disorder and that’s why the Prednisone made me feel better. He wants me to try to get back in with my rheumatologist to discuss that possibility. In the meantime, he increased the amount of steroids in my inhaler. He said to give it a couple of weeks to work. If I get the energy from it, then it will probably be a sign of an immune system problem and he will let the rheumy handle it. If my energy still doesn’t increase, then he said that he will consider some sort of stimulant medication to help with my quality of life. I really don’t want to have to take a stimulant, but if it gives me some semblance of life back, then it am willing to take it.

After the doctor’s appointment I did my normal running around and then I had an appointment to get full highlights. I decided this time to go blond. That’s a big change for me because I have used red for so many years. I hope to put a picture up soon for you guys to see. It has taken a little bit to get used to because it’s such a big change, but it’s starting to grow on me. It was my present to myself for the 4th.

M has been sick all this week, so today I spent the morning with him at the doctor’s office. I was shocked at how long it took considering that there were no people there. I suppose I’m used to my doctors who stay busy and try to see people as quickly as possible. It took like 3 hours to be seen for a sore throat. Crazy! Then because he was sick and my car is the only one with air conditioning, I drove him around all day while he looked for tools for work. One good thing I got out of it was a new vacuum cleaner. It is lightweight so hopefully it will be easier for me to use than a heavier one.

So right now, I am listening to the sound of fireworks while my head throbs and every inch of my body aches. I know I overdid it these two days, but days like this when I’m able to push myself is really the only time I feel alive. I spend so much time in bed trying not to wear myself out that the pain from doing too much is almost worth being able to act normal for a while. Tomorrow I will rest. I will have to.

Lastly, I start physical therapy again next week. I will be trying out a new physical therapist this time. I wasn’t too impressed with my last one. I’m kinda excited to start back. I even bought a couple of workout outfits to wear. So for the rest of the holiday weekend I will be resting up so that my body will be able to take the abuse from physical therapy. I hope all of my US friends have a great holiday weekend, and the rest of you guys have a great regular weekend. Oh, and a very special friend is getting married this weekend, so I want to wish him all the luck and happiness in the world. I am so glad that he has found happiness and joy with a loving partner.

 

Before

Before

 

After

After