Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stroke Recovery Update

I have been working hard and it is paying off.  I am now wwalking  without the walker or the cane .  I washed a load of clothes and folded them.  I am using both hands to type this so I may have a few typos, but the more I type the better the left hand will get.  It just shows that determination and believing that you can will go a     long waytoward reaching a goal.   It takes hard work and keep thinking  

I think I can.Ithink I can. I will!!!!”        “Being strong-willed is not enough, however. You also have to be hard on yourself. Someone who was strong-willed but self-indulgent would not be called determined. Determination implies your willfulness is balanced by discipline.”
Paul Graham        

Armor for Survival

Let me love

       though love

             may go unrequited,

An empty heart

       is much heavier

             than a stone.

Let me have faith,

           though faith

                be often blighted,

Without it

       we are not

             strong enough

                    to walk alone.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Rocky Road of SStroke Recovery

Yesterday was Friday July 13th. And I came home from rehab. I hope I don’t make too many typos and grammatical errors. When I posted my last blog entry, I was dealing with nose bleeds.    I had a nose bleed that would not stop.  I was losing a dangerous amount of blood. There was a procedure that involved cauterization, but doing it came with a chance of a stroke.   Because I was losing so much blood, we decided to take the chance. Unfortunately, I had a stroke in my right temporal lobe of the brain.  T stroke affected the left side of my body, but with therapy and faith in myself, plus a bit of g us, I am walking with a walker.  I can use my left hand some, but I am still working on my fine motor skills. I will recover; it will just take a little time and some work and patience on my part.        “The thing for all of to remember is that when things get bad, hang in there. We must remind ourselves that things will always get better. After a storm, the sun will shine again. It may be a few minutes later, a few hours, or even a few days. But it will always happen.” ~ Unknown

I want to thank all who sent Get                  well   Wishes, visits and flowers.

The Rocky Road of SStroke Recovery

Yesterday was Friday July 13th. And I came home from rehab. I hope I don’t make too many typos and grammatical errors. When I posted my last blog entry, I was dealing with nose bleeds.    I had a nose bleed that would not stop.  I was losing a dangerous amount of blood. There was a procedure that involved cauterization, but doing it came with a chance of a stroke.   Because I was losing so much blood, we decided to take the chance. Unfortunately, I had a stroke in my right temporal lobe of the brain.  T stroke affected the left side of my body, but with therapy and faith in myself, plus a bit of g us, I am walking with a walker.  I can use my left hand some, but I am still working on my fine motor skills. I will recover; it will just take a little time and some work and patience on my part.        “The thing for all of to remember is that when things get bad, hang in there. We must remind ourselves that things will always get better. After a storm, the sun will shine again. It may be a few minutes later, a few hours, or even a few days. But it will always happen.” ~ Unknown

I want to thank all who sent Get                  well   Wishes, visits and flowers.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Trip to Jekyl Island … I Got More Than I Planned!

We had a first floor, beachfront room that was really nice.  I could sit in a chair outside and see the waves and listen to the surf.  There was a constant breeze that was wonderful.  Since I love to take pictures, I took several and managed to get a few really nice ones.  For the most part, I really enjoyed this even though I did not get to walk the beach as I love to do.  However, just being near the ocean is always a soothing experience for me and I always love every minute of it.  

I really had planned to attend some of the activities at the conference with my husband, but that was not what happened. On the way to Jekyl Island we grabbed a bite to eat, and something I ate did not agree with me. It really messed with my stomach. I stayed at the motel while Tom went to the conference events.

On Friday, I was making frequent trips to the bathroom and stomach cramps, so I stayed there again. Friday evening about 10:30, I stepped outside of the room and I felt something running out of my nose, then something out of my mouth. It was blood. I called to Tom who was asleep. He rushed to get me something so I could get inside to our bathroom. I had blood all over the concrete outside our door. I just kept bleeding and it got heavier. It was unbelievable how much blood was coming out my mouth and my nose. The hotel called the island fire department because they have an ambulance.

By the time they got there I had lost about a pint of blood. They rushed me to the hospital where they proceed to try to stop the bleeding which they finally did about 4 a.m. The doctor said I had an arterial nose bleed. He gave me some spray to take with me to use if it started again.

I had swallowed a lot of blood, so on Saturday it was run to the bathroom all day again. That evening, I started to bleed again. I used the spray and eventually got it stopped. On Sunday, we headed home early because of me. We got about an hour and a half from home and stopped for gas. I went to the bathroom. Suddenly, blood was rushing out of my nose and mouth again. I managed to get to the car. I sprayed my nose, but the bleeding was so bad that Tom took me to the emergency room there. We still had a long ways to go and there was really no hospital between there and home.

We got the bleeding slowed down enough at the hospital that the doctor released me to continue home. My nose oozed all day and evening. Last night, I had another round of bleeding, but again I managed to stop it. This morning, Tom called my ENT and got me in for 10 a.m. He sprayed my nose and use a laser to cauterize it. He sent me to the hospital lab to for blood work, and to check my clotting rate.

We drove across town to the hospital to get the test because that was the only place they could do the clotting rate. My clot rate was 12 minutes which is a dangerously long time. While the lab technician was doing the required second test, I started to bleed from my nose and down the back of the mouth. I had blood on my blouse and the lab technician was in panic mode. I had it happen enough time in the past few days that I was calm, and proceeded to follow the basic instructions I had been given. I got it slowed down enough, I told her I needed to go to the car where my husband was waiting. I wanted to call my doctor back, because I thought he would want me back at his office. Sure enough, he did.

I returned to the ENT's office and he repeated the procedure. He also decided to take a look inside my nose with a camera to see farther back. He saw an area in the posterior section that looked like a problem. He put some kind of (dissolving) chalk inside deep to try to block that area. He is scheduling me for a scan to really see what is going on in all the sinus cavities. He was also concerned with my clot rate, so he is scheduling an appointment with a hematologist to find out what is the causing the slow clotting.

I find it amazing that since I am not on any kind of blood thinner, I bruise at  the slightest bump  and bleed profusely.  However, I am more amazed that this has been going on for three years and my ENT doctor is the first to run a blog clot test and follow up to find out why.

“The thing for all of to remember is that when things get bad, hang in there. We must remind ourselves that things will always get better. After a storm, the sun will shine again. It may be a few minutes later, a few hours, or even a few days. But it will always happen.” ~  Unknown

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Detective Work Pays Off, but Other Things Crash

Our life's a stage, a comedy: either learn to play and take it lightly, or bear its troubles patiently. ~ Palladas

What a week!  This past week was plagued with vertigo as well as trouble with the breathing.  I decided that it must be the additional medication that I had been prescribed.  I began to eliminate one by one that could cause such a reaction.  Finally, I was down to the last one.  I was still having some vertigo.

However, Friday, I was not feeling well at all.  By the time I arrived home a little afternoon, I was running a fever and having chills.  I was supposed to go to a retirement party that afternoon, but there was no way I could do that.  The next thing that happened was an extreme headache, and frequent trips to the bathroom.  I went to bed.  I was so cold that I turned my electric blanket up to its highest level, but I was still cold.  I slipped in and out of sleep.  It wasn’t really sleep; it was more like consciousness.  The only time I was out of bed was to visit the bathroom.  About nine-thirty the next morning, I more or less woke up, but I still felt awful and still running a high fever.

I was supposed to go to a meeting that morning at eight.  Needless to say, I didn’t make it.  At ten-thirty we had an ABLCS board meeting (online), and I was barely able to stay up long enough for that.  After the meeting, it was back to bed, and that is basically where I stayed until this morning.  I do not remember the last time I spent so much time in bed.  I feel much better today.  No high temperature, and no vertigo.  I know one thing, if it was a virus, I don’t wish it on my worst enemy. 

I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning, and I will go over the medicine thing with her.  We will see what she says about that. 

Today, I have some author interviews to set-up and schedule on my other blog, a book trailer for an author to finish, and work on a special retirement video.  Somewhere in between, I need to do the necessary mundane things like wash clothes and get ready for next week. 

It is going to be a busy week ahead, and I won’t have a lot of time for my own writing, but I will do an update as soon as possible.  At least I have a great weekend coming up at the beach, and I just hope I am feeling well enough to enjoy. I am sure I will.

The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. ~ Arthur C. Clarke

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Detective’s Power of Persistence

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

What a busy week this has been.  Two times to the doctor's office, worked three days, had a staff training meeting to get ready for the Summer classes that begin on Monday and working on a book trailer for Dr. Kay.  However, let me first tell you how I was able to do all this. 


Being diligent and proactive as well as pursuing the role of a detective, I actually discovered a couple of things that was messing with my body!  I will tell you what happened, and by deduction I learned a couple of things that have made a difference in how I feel.

I was having really bad dizzy, weak, shaky spells.  I decided to stop one of the blood pressure medications.  It helped some, but I was still having problems.  (I did call my doctor to let her know.)  I kept check on my blood pressure, and it was fine; however, my heart rate was very fast.  So, I stopped the second one.  Blood pressure fine, not quite as dizzy and shaky but heart rate was still fast.  I began researching my other medicines, and I found that was a severe symptom of one of the allergy medicines.  So, yesterday, I didn’t take it in the morning.  I had just a tiny bit of vertigo, but it was a great day and my blood pressure was fine as well as my heart rate.

I felt so much better that I had a young lady come in to help me try to get the house back to some sort of order.  I actually felt well enough to do some sorting, cleaning a pitching of things myself.  I did things I had not been able to do in more than a couple of months.  It felt so good that by the time the day was finished, I was so tired I hurt.  However, a good hot shower and tucking myself in bed took care of all that.

I almost forgot to tell you that, the Doppler ultrasound imaging, which uses sound waves to check blood flow and measure the thickness of my carotid arteries turned out well. No problems there.  Check - that is good. 


This morning all systems are pretty much go.  I am not a 100 %, but I have been up getting more things accomplished.  I washed a load of clothes, gave myself a haircut and fixed my hair.  I have a list of things to try to get done before bedtime.  It always amazes me that if you just hang in there, be proactive just how much of a difference it can make.  If things are rough for you right now, I hope you tie a knot in that rope, hang on and climb out of the hole when opportunity knocks! 

 “It isn't the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it's how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes us to suffer.” ~ Pema Chodron

That is all for today.  I have lots I want to do, so I will update you sometime next week.  Leave a comment if you can and let me know how it is going with you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Detective Hunting the Culprit, or a Patient in the House TV Series Show?

I feel just like a detective on a hunt for an allusive culprit, or maybe one of those patients on the Bones Series who has some physical disorder that is a challenge to identify.  House, where are you.  I could take your personality if you can figure out what is going on with my body.  Here is where we are at so far:

I went to the urologist on Friday.  I got an all clear there.  

However, the roller coaster continues with ups and downs and it goes round and round.  I have been taking my antibiotics.  Sunday was a great day, Monday was a good day. Today, I felt lousy.

Today, I went to the neurologist.  Ruled out post polio syndrome. Very good!

Thursday, I go for a Doppler ultrasound imaging, which uses sound waves to check blood flow and measure the thickness of my carotid arteries. 

If that is an issue, we tackle it.

The next step will be to see an immunologist to see if I have developed an auto immune disease that could have been due to exposure to chemicals when we inventoried the house after it had burned.  After we had finished, we found out they could not demolition until a Hazat team came in to clean up the hazardous materials.

However, I had a nice surprise this morning.  I received an email that said I was a feature on the front page of the My Generation – Boomer Edition

Published by Boomer Life Media  May 29, 2012. which linked to my book video.  That was very nice of them to do that.

What a crazy ride, but I am charging full speed ahead in spite of the little rocks in the road.  I hope you are doing the same!

What next?  I haven't a clue...but, I will keep you in the loop if you want to visit back to check.

I have also received another invitation for an interview.  I let you in on that once it is all ready to go.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Saga Continues...

My life has always been a series of challenges and I'm psychologically-prepared but this is the biggest challenge of my life. ~ Ronaldo quotes

On Monday, I took my last dose of antibiotic.  I wasn't feeling great, but a lot better.  I went to work that morning, and that afternoon to my doctor's appointment.  I told the doctor that I felt I needed additional antibiotics because the infection had not cleared up yet in my stoma.  My doctor is not a pill pusher, so I did not get a refill for the prescription.  Blood work was run before I left to test.  She added another blood pressure pill that would help retain potassium rather that deplete it. 

On Tuesday, I went to work once again. I was not feeling very well.  By noon, I was really having trouble breathing.  On Wednesday morning, I felt awful.  I was still having breathing problems.  That afternoon, I received a call from the doctor's office telling me that the bacterial infection in my body had reared its ugly head again.  The doctor had called in a prescription for the antibiotic with the instructions to take if for ten days. 

This morning about 2:30 a.m., I had a very severe asthma attack.  For a while, my husband I thought he was going to have to call the ambulance to take me to the hospital.  I finally got it under control with oxygen and my inhalers not to mention concentrating on not panicking, and work on purse breathing.  Eventually, I was able to lie down and dozed off for a little sleep. When I woke up at 7:30 this morning, I had another round with the asthma.  It was not quite as bad as the earlier attack, and with the same routine; I was able to get it under control.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the urologist.  Tuesday, I have an appoint with a neurologist to see if the breathing could be related to my round with polio I had at the age of four. 

The only thing I am sad about is that Saturday is my husband and my anniversary, and I know that I will have to cancel the dinner date we had planned to celebrate.  However, we celebrate every day we have together, so the dinner date can wait. 

In my own words: "...with love, faith and guts, I will not fear tomorrow, nor tomorrow.  I will live each day as if it were my last, and give as much as I am able.

Watch for an update...and, if you can do something that will help another person, do it!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life is a Like a Roller Coaster Ride!

What a week it has been.  There have been so many ups and downs that my head is spinning.  It began when I got home last Friday.  I wasn't feeling well and I started having chills.  I checked my temperature and I was running a low-grade fever.  This continued all weekend, and by Monday I was ready to go see my doctor.  She sent me to the lab to get some blood tests run to check what was going on.  On Tuesday, her nurse called saying that my  C-Reactive Protein was very high and so was my erythrocyte sedimentation rate which indicate inflammation in my body. 

So on Wednesday, I went to see my doctor again.  She wanted to rule out some things, so I had a chest x-ray, some more blood work, tested for the flu (even though I had had the vaccine), and nothing was discovered.  She recommended that I check into the hospital for a CT scan of both the upper and lower body, and have extensive blood labs run.  I agreed because I was tired of feeling so bad, and I wanted to get back to feeling like myself again. She prepared the admissions paperwork, and sent them to the hospital.  I went by my house on the way to pick-up some toiletries and other things I needed for a hospital stay.  Then we proceeded to the hospital to check-in.

As soon I was in my room and the nurses found out that I had an Indiana Pouch, they all wanted to know about it and to see the stoma opening in my navel.  I ended up explaining how it was created, and educating them about bladder cancer and the different types of pouches. 

As soon as I went through the initial checking in with the nurses, the poking and prodding began.  No water, no food until after the CT scan with and without contrast. In the meantime, they took plenty of blood.  I think that first time was about six test tubes, that evening two more, and this morning about four more.  I was hooked up to an IV with potassium.  The next thing was the wires on the chest so they could monitor my heart and blood pressure.  Finally, about six that evening, I went to radiology for the CT scan.  When I returned to my room, I was allowed to eat and drink. 

This morning when the doctor on call came by, he said that everything looked okay in the CT scan.  The blood labs this morning showed that everything seemed to be correcting itself on its own, but he was putting me on an antibiotic to try to make sure that whatever it was cleared completely.  They had no idea what is going on with my body, and where I am picking up a bacteria that is causing my problem.  At least I was able to educate a few more people in the medical field about bladder cancer and cystectomies.  "The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises." ~ Leo Buscaglia

When I arrived home, there was a letter from the Midwest Book Review telling me that my book had been reviewed and could be found in The Reviewer's Bookwatch in the May issue on Burroughs' Bookshelf.  This is what Mr. Burroughs' wrote, "When life throws everything at you at once, you just have to keep trucking. "Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith, and Guts: Bladder Cancer, COPD, Caregiving, Polio, and More" is a memoir from Sylvia L. Ramsey as she shares her journey to facing cancer and many other ailments, and how she found the strength to overcome them all even stronger. "Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith, and Guts" is a fine addition to any health-related memoir collection."  What a nice homecoming from the hospital!

What this roller coaster of life will bring next, we will have to wait and see!  Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears. ~John Vance Cheney

Happy Mothers' Day to all.  I was very blessed this Mother's Day.  My youngest son sent flowers, my eldest son is fixing a steak dinner for me, and my eldest Granddaughter called this morning.  My step-daughter called me last evening, and my youngest son this morning.  It is wonderful to be loved. 

This has been quite a week.  I managed to drive myself to work even though I had some few problems with the breathing, and I am still having problems with the stoma.  I talked with my pharmacist, and he gave me something I could try until I saw my urologist. If you wish to know more about an Indiana Pouch, you can find out at  I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow with my family doctor, and I am going to tell her about the pattern I have observed over the past few days.  It begins with getting very cold from the inside out, and then trembles that is followed by being weak and short of breath.  I am going to pursue this until we identify the cause.  I am not a quitter.  That is not how I survived thus far.   I will insist that we find the underlying cause rather than just treating symptoms.

At times, challenges hit with the force of a roaring, rushing waterfall. The true test, however, is whether you can put your arms up and enjoy the feel of the water. ~Aviva Kaufman  Sometimes, the ability to survive requires that you do this.  There is always something good in the test, it is how you deal with it.

My health insurance has a wellness plan and assigns a nurse/coach to you based on your health problem.  I have tried the past two weeks to get in touch with her to no avail.  I am beginning to get a bit unhappy with the insurance company because they require that you do this.  However, they need to be held accountable for following through with their requirements.

The medication the doctors are prescribing are costing me between three and four hundred dollars a month, but they are not working.  I am still hanging in there and trying to find out what is going on with me...not having a lot of luck, but I am not giving up.  There has to be something that is the underlying cause that is being overlooked. 

On the bright side,  I decided to enter the photograph I took at Tybee in a local amateur competition. You can help with that by clicking on the link to add to the hits at: . It is the same one that will be on Doc Kay's new book, Wings of Time.  I have been working with him to create a blog and a book trailer for this book.  The poetry is so much more "literary" than mine.  It is beautiful.  We just express our feelings in completely different ways.  I will let you know when his book has been released, and the link to his blog.

You can find my book, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts on Amazon with my other books at: .

Check back to see what is next on the Rocky Road.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Are you Limiting Yourself?

 “Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.”  ~ Jamie Paolinetti  It is an easy trap to fall into that hostage trap, and I am its victim sometimes too until I realize what I am doing.

“Life is as frail as thread and as strong as rope,” is one of the lines in a poem I wrote.  It is my belief that life is about-facing ones fears, considering alternatives and choosing to persevere in spite of the risk. I have been doing that a lot lately because of this recent round with an infection and my breathing.  I realized that I was letting the current situation limit me, and part of it was in my mind.  I just had to remember all the odds that I had overcome, and that I could overcome this as well.

Today, I drove myself to work and home for the first time in weeks.  To be truthful, I wasn't sure I would make it, but the "ole" Missouri mule kicked in and I was determined to try.  Try I did, and I made it!  My husband was so concerned that he followed me to work to make sure that I did.  He was at the bowling alley when I arrived home.  I made it fine.  When he came home, he brought a big bouquet of red roses. 

Tomorrow, I will do it again, and I will try to stay longer at work.  I even went for a short walk yesterday afternoon even though I was really huffing and puffing when I got back.  I plan to go for that again this afternoon.  It will take a lot of persistence, but I am determined to get back where I was before I got this bacterial infection that tried to wipe me out.  No, I take that back...I am going to get better than I was before!

Oh, by the way, there was an interview article published in the May issue of Verge Magazine in Augusta, GA.  I thought Alison Richter wrote a very nice article on my book, me and my quest. If you would like to check it out you can connect to the online publication at, pg. 13, or pick up a print copy at various distribution places  around the city. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tiny Lights and a Flashback…

           Last night I was sitting on our patio in the dark just listening to the night sounds when suddenly tiny flashes of light caught my eye. The tiny lights flashed here and there like tiny fairy lights against the wooded background.  It dawned on me that I was seeing fireflies darting here and there.  I found myself transported back to another time when I was a child. I remembered sitting on the back porch in the middle of summer enjoying the evening’s cool air after a long, hot summer day.  

          It brought back some of the good memories of my childhood, and suddenly I really missed that big old-fashioned back porch.  Most everyone I knew, when I was growing up, either had a big front porch or a big back porch, and ours was a big back porch.  That old porch was a vital part of our lives.

        There was a swing, a couple of chairs, a small table and a place to leave muddy shoes and boots.  In one corner was a place where Momma stored her broom and dustpan.  It was a great place to play on warm rainy days and a place to enjoy the fresh evening summer air.

        My father had a lumber business and I can remember that when the mid-summer thunder showers would hit in the middle of the afternoons, my father and his workers would take a break to sit and have a cool drink on the back porch.  I loved to sit and listen to the tall tales they would tell about things they did when they were young. 

      The swing was a great place to play, but it had many other practical uses.  My mother and I would sit in the swing and break green beans or shell peas for canning or for the evening meal.   The porch was also where cream was churned into butter for the family or black walnuts were cracked and the nutmeats removed for baking cookies and cakes.  Maybe most important of all, it gave Momma a break from the hot kitchen where the wood stove was used to cook three meals a day.

      At the corner of the house was an unusually big oak shade tree that made it more a comfortable place in the summer. In the evening, the porch was a gathering place for the family and neighbors. They would visit or, perhaps, get out their guitars, fiddles, banjos and harmonicas and sing the old songs.  Sometimes, my father would bring out the old wind-up record player and we would listen to music recorded on large plastic records.  They sounded scratchy and the voices didn’t sound like real people singing most of the time, but more like cartoon characters.  The back porch was always where the family gathered on Sunday after church and a big Sunday dinner, usually fried chicken.

      In the wintertime the porch was a place to leave our snow packed boots and a place to brush off our clothes before entering the house.  It was also a place where we would make homemade ice cream out of fresh fallen snow. 

      Eventually, my father screened in the back porch. Back then if a porch was enclosed, it was not a porch anymore, it was a room.  Once the back porch was screened in it took on a variety of other uses. 

       There was a small table about 18 inches deep and 18 inches across. There was a wash basin resting on it and a mirror hanging from the wall above it. There was also a straight razor, a razor strap for sharpening it and a shaving mug with a shaving brush in it.  The table also had a wash basin for hands with a towel on the wall.  Beside the wash basin sat a big cedar bucket with a large dipper.  There you could get cool drinks, except in the winter, when the water in it would freeze. 

       The back porch is one of my fondest memories and I often wish that the house I live in today had one, but it wouldn’t be the same because too many other things have changed as well.  It is a world that has gone, but it still lives on in our memory room.

 We have lost a lot since house builders quit putting porches on new houses. The families have also lost a lot, and what they have lost is much more than that old back porch.  However, the people who are from my generation have the memories to savor and to share.  Maybe you can share some of yours here.

A very early picture of my parents.
The following is an excerpt of the poem "Pulse Points" that is in my book, Pulse Points of a Woman’s World.

As the pulse points are caressed
     by life’s lusty fragrant perfumes,
Treasures entwine the heart
    in the twilight of the memory room,
Where memories are imprisoned
    by the heart on an intricate chain,
Each link clasping a captive dream
    to be evoked to living vividness again.