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.

http://paper.li/BoomerLifeMedia/1311452367 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 www.bladdercancersupport.org.  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: http://augustaphotofestival.org/registration/index.php/uploads/image?view=image&format=raw&type=img&id=11%5B%2FIMG%5D . 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:  http://www.amazon.com/Sylvia-L-Ramsey/e/B002BMJ5NI .

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 http://www.vergelive.com/, 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.