Friday, February 27, 2015

Ode to The Dress, the Internet and DC Toy Collector

Or Why I'm going to Start a youtube about wrapping 

Toys Back Up in Their Boxes


Yeah.  The big debate. Is it blue and black? Is it white and gold? Why the hell am I even writing about this?? 

What is wrong with me? 

What is wrong with people? 

Never has there been a time in known, recorded history that the entire world could communicate one-on-one with each other in real, actual time. No pony express. No long trips over the ocean. No pigeons delivering messages on their legs. No fire signals. No morse code. No message in a bottle.

Nope, real time. Instant.

And what do we discuss?

The perceived color of an ugly ass dress. 

But atlas, we have more important things to discuss...

like why and how the hell did DC Toy Collector from youtube make $4.9 million dollars last year unwrapping toys! 

Seriously. Have you watched? 

Umm, well... I have, because I have a confession to make...

Baby Blueberry LOVES her. She loves to watch the pretty fingernails unwrap the toys and play with the toys. 

And at first I thought it was weird that I was allowing my baby to watch some grown woman play with toys on the Internet. (Like really, what am I teaching her?) 

But then I realized that this woman was teaching Baby Blueberry her colors. Because as DC Toy Collector plays with the play-dough and makes the creations, she names the colors. 

And pretty soon, Baby Blueberry is saying the colors out loud along with the mysterious millionaire with the ever-changing fingernails. I'm sure she has them done in a salon- she has the money for it. 

And so this week, we find out that some of the highest paid channels on the Internet are of people unwrapping toys...and playing with them., what does that say about us as a society? But who am I to say anything...because when Baby Blueberry is really fussy and demanding and I'm trying to cook dinner...I let her watch someone else play with toys on the Internet. 

Oh, and one of the other highest paid channels on youtube....stampylonghead  ----which for a while Abu couldn't get enough of. Damn you Minecraft and your league of minions. Now I know how to mine diamonds and avoid creepers. 

I also watched the episode where stampy met Amy- sorry, I can't recall her gamer name. It was a touching video. 

Of course, you have to be proud of stampy- with the money he made- he's definitely not living in his parents' basement- which I always wondered. 

And just to be fair--I'm not putting any youtube channel host down. I'm actually pretty jealous of them. Making that kind of money with their creativity and fearlessness to be different. 

In fact, I think I should start a youtube channel. Bean thinks I should make a channel titled, "crazy middle-aged woman does stupid shit" - So like all teenagers she doesn't mind the parents humiliating themselves- she just rather we filmed it and got rich off it. 

I was leaning towards the channel where I do my nails and wrap toys back up into their packaging. Cool idea, huh? 

But I distract you from what's important...what's the color this puppy?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

When Life Kicks You in the Butt- Run and Hide

4 Tips to A Better State of Gratitude - 

What? Me? Give Tips? Ha! You're on the Wrong Blog :-)

Baby Blueberry and Oscar

Meet Oscar. He's a friendship turtle. Actually, I think he's a Western painted turtle. Here is a photo of his colorful underside. Tattoo lovers be like jelly- this guy is born with ink. 

He came to us from some very dear friends that were moving overseas and couldn't take him. So one crisp autumn night, they bring him over, along with his tank, and some containers full of misc. turtle requirements. I did not know one small reptile needed so much stuff. How would I ever remember the instructions on how to care for him?

But for being simply a turtle- ha, he's more than a turtle, this guy has personality, as my friend says, "like a t-rex with a shell"- he has his way of communicating. Like when he's hungry- he does this when I get close to his tank.
Back and forth he swims in his tank until we pay attention to him. My friend fed him in a dog dish, so his tank would stay cleaner - longer, and so since I'm all for time-saving cleaning ideas- I kept up with the idea. We put him in a dog dish- ahh, a turtle feeding dish- and give him shrimp. We also bought night crawlers for him, which he thinks are the tastiest critters to feast on. The worms disagree with his opinion. Greatly disagree and it's difficult for this soft-hearted gal to feed him living worms.

 Later this week I will write a blog about how the cute and ahh- not cuddly- but friendly Oscar  turns into a cold-blooded killer turtle when fed a worm. 

But for right now, I did promise 4 tips, so I've better write some sappy stuff this morning. 

1. God has a tendency to speak to us, even if it's not through a burning bush. Although, a talking, burning bush would be cool- I would probably grab the hose and dose the flames before listening to any message. It's a safety thing. But here's the month I lose disability, which cuts our income by quite a bit. Perhaps our house payment. Ouch. I was feeling a bit upset by this and worried and generally just stressed beyond belief. When Hero Hottie reminded me I should be feeling grateful.
       "Uhh, how much wine have you been drinking, honey?" I was getting ready to take Bean to her early morning dance class, so of course Hero Hottie had not been drinking but still I had to wonder.
       "None. No, we should feel grateful." He looked dead serious. My honey, who is more cynic than positive, more bitter than sweet, more doubting than faithful- was telling me to be grateful over a significant lost of income. 
       "Okay, I give up. Please explain." Where was that wine? 
        "We found out before I get my yearly bonus. Now we have a plan. We use the yearly bonus to pay most of the house payment for the year. If we had found out after my bonus, we probably would have spent it and then we wouldn't have that money for the house payment. God let us know in perfect timing to save our asses." 
       Simple. (And also, this plan allows the girls to keep their dance classes, which is so important to them.)
       I know we would have spent it. I had plans to find myself a beach and camp out for two weeks. Without moving. Except maybe my toes in the sand. 

Alright, I probably wouldn't even had done that- I would have paid off Abu's braces. But still, we would have spent it.
        Instead we had money for our house payment without me having to rush out and trying to work full-time, even though my Crohn's is seriously screwed up right now. 
     But just to drive the point home, when I stopped at the store after dropping Bean after and my mind was still trying to wrap itself around the concept of gratitude, the car in front of me had a speciality license plate- and it read 'gratful'   Good one, God. - good one.

2. I just found out my Grandma's cancer has spread and she has limited time. Months. And there is unfairness to that. I can't be grateful for such limited time left, because it's not enough time. - I will never feel like it's enough time. -  But knowing time is precious, that can be viewed as a gift and one I don't plan on wasting. Other things will wait, time with Grandma won't.

3. So the basement is desperately trying to kick Hero Hottie and me in the ass. Seriously. If you knew us and our record for completing house repair projects. Well, lets say we're really good at having BIG IDEAS and DREAMS and not so good at knowing how to implement the plan. The beginning is easy- the end will look great and somehow we don't know how to travel the journey. So when the basement was destroyed and Hero Hottie decided to take on most of the work himself, I was filled with misgivings. Serious misgivings. But being the supportive wife that I am, and knowing it would look AWESOME if we finished, I jumped in. (That and I have a tendency to dream big too, it's why Hero Hottie and I get along so well.) Plus, we eventually finished our kitchen (over a year) and it was AWESOME. 
     "Honey, we need to think like our old neighbor, "Finish it like P." I said, referring to an old neighbor that seem to finish projects like magic. That guy knew what he was doing and accomplished it, in half the time a normal human being would take. I admired him greatly. 
     He laughed, as he measured the torn apart bathroom. "Okay." 
     Hero Hottie had taken a week off to get ahead of the projects looming downstairs and it was day one.
   And we accomplished...nearly nothing. 
   Why couldn't we be like P? We had gone downstairs with a lot of energy, plans and a gung-ho attitude and every time we turned around something wasn't measuring right, or we didn't have the correct tool, or we didn't know what the next step should be. 
   We should have just hired someone. 
   The next day, I told Hero Hottie again. "We need to approach this like P. If we do that we'll be done by the end of the week." 
   He frowned at me. Yesterday had not gone well and I don't think my cheerleading comments were helping. 
    I started painting, trying to go as quick as I could, which resulted in a bunch of spilled paint- on the floor, on me- drips down the side of the wall. This was stressful trying to be like P. 
   I felt my jaw clenched, as I looked at the time every half an hour, trying to push myself. Spilling more paint.
   Finally, it hit me. 
   What was I doing? 
   I wasn't P. I was me. Which meant, I was not going to succeed at this basement if I kept trying to do things like someone else. And perhaps, Hero Hottie was seeing my comments, which were meant to be encouraging and 'you can do it' as a comparison. And he wasn't P either. 
   If we were going to finish this basement, we would have to do in our own way. Carefully. Perhaps slowly because we were learning as we went, but we could finish it and before our girls moved out. 
    We just had to be ourselves. Or at least better versions of ourselves. 
   The rest of the week went much better. We had the plumber in to fix the shower drain, something we couldn't do. Hero Hottie framed the new shower stall. And with help from my mother in law, we painted until our fingers were numb. 
     Not completed, but we accomplished a lot. So be grateful for yourself, it doesn't mean you can't improve yourself- be a better version of who you are- but don't try to be someone else. It just results in spilled paint and frowns from your honey. 

4. Friends. I can't say enough about great friends. And technology, because right now without technology my great and wonderful friends would seem so far away. But with the magic of floating, invisible bits of info, I can communicate with them in an instant. (Perhaps I'm crazy but has anyone sent a text message and then stared at the air, wondering how your thoughts looked when they were being sent to the next tower of communication? And how many thoughts do we walk through every day?)

How cool is that? Because I'm starting to realize that with faith we're suppose to depend on God, but I think he blessed us with friends to make that journey easier.

Gibson and Blueberry know the value of true friendship

Happy Tuesday to my readers. Now go out and find your gratitude. Because it's somewhere between lessons learned hard and our messy mistakes of human-ness. And it can usually be found hanging out with grace and forgiveness.

Monday, February 9, 2015

My Crohn's is Out to Kill Me

And I'm sure my Doctor is in on the Plot

Gibson knows exactly how I feel right now about my Crohn's and the doctor visits that result from flares up.  Actually he probably doesn't, but this photo of him represents how I feel on the inside about the Crohn's flaring up.

Depressed. (and just to clarify, should my readers start to worry about Gibson's sad state of affairs, he wants to live in the dog park. I think if we bought a house next door with a puppy gate and allowed him to come and go as he pleased- he would not be so pitiful appearing.)

Last summer or so the Crohn's started to flare. I wasn't completely surprised, as it seems like after my hormones settle back from my pregnancies and breastfeeding, the Crohn's decides to raise it's ugly head. But since I did so well with the Crohn's during my most recent pregnancy and I had over a year after birth without any major issues I was hoping that it wouldn't change. 

And then we started some serious weaning and I think the resulting hormones changes screwed me. That and I think my sugar addiction really plays a bigger part in the Crohn's than I realized, but more on that in a later blog.

For months I tried to get things under control, to no avail. My trips to the bathroom became more frequent, more painful, and more uncontrollable. There is nothing like being in your thirties and having little or no control over bodily functions. 

Since I didn't want a repeat of my last flare up, which nearly killed me. And when I say, nearly killed me, I seriously mean I almost DIED. I was dying. And dying is not a state of being I wish to be in anytime soon.

I decided it was time to see a GI doctor. 

And because there is only one small clinic of GI doctors for the entire Western half of our state, there was nearly a three month wait to get in and see...

the PA? 

All right. I will take whatever appointment I can get and in the meanwhile, I will watch my flare up get worse.

A long wait later...I finally had my first appointment with a PA that I had before in their urgent care. Great PA in urgent care. Had just moved to the GI department and had spent the night reading my case file. Also did not know a lot about Crohn's yet.

I have to give her credit there, learning about my case before the appt. I'm sure I didn't make interesting reading. Anyone want help getting to sleep, read my tome of medical records. It's a dry and boring read, except for the parts where patient tends to not listen to the doctors.Those parts are exciting. 

Anyway, I wanted some steroids. Entocort. To be exact. 

But first, we have to run tests.

And tests. And more tests. Did I tell you that doctors like to order tests? 

Bloodwork. Colonscopy. And MRI with barium. (Mmm, two containers of barium please. Can I take that shit home and drink it for fun? It's just so good and tasty. Oh, and I hope I don't glow in the dark afterwards.) 

So two weeks to wait for a scope. If you haven't had a camera stuck up your ass before, you should definitely try it. First the process of having to empty your bowels by drinking a gallon of chemicals- which will plug up your kitchen sink should you spit it out) and then having to spend hours and hours on the toilet- is an experience no one should miss. 

And then having to go to the clinic with a raw and sore ass and allowing complete strangers to run a camera up your intestines is worthy of a blog. Just kidding, I will not go into details and I have to say all my nurses were caring and compassionate, but there is a vulnerability to having medical procedures done, regardless of how well taken care of you are. Obviously, nurses with empathy make the experience bearable. 

And Hero Hottie was waiting to bust me out of there as soon as I was awake.

The colonscopy did not go well. The doctor couldn't get pass a section of intestine because of how swollen it was. 


Can I put my clothes on now? Hospital gowns just aren't stylish. 

Now, you need a MRI with barium so we can see the rest of your intestines. 

Another two weeks of waiting for an appointment. 

Then another two weeks waiting for a follow up appointment with the...PA?

With the PA again? Not even the doctor? 

And the paperwork the one doctor sent me said something totally different than what the other doctor told the PA was wrong with my large intestine. Off the same MRI results. Really? 

So here I am weeks and months into a flare without medication and I'm finally at the appointment where I should get something. 

And the doctor and I have a mild disagreement, through the PA, over how to treat the Crohn's. She wants me to go right onto biologics and I'm saying...


But there are limited options on how to treat Crohn's. The best we can offer you are drugs with a list of side effects that include but aren't limited to...

deadly allergic reactions
fatal fungal infections
fatal brain infections
suppressed immune system

Mmm. Death and cancer. Plus thousands a dollars a treatment.

I don't know if I ever mentioned this but I hate Crohn's. 

And of course I have to ask myself, perhaps these are my best options. Perhaps I just need to do the biologics and hope for the best. I certainty don't need the Crohn's flaring into complications like I had last time.

Fistulas. Hell. Massive infection. Hell. 

But I don't react well to most medicines, do I really think I'm going to respond well to a class of medications that have more people complaining on Crohn's forums than touting praises? No. 

So I state that I want steroids, since that has worked in the past. If those don't work, than we can discuss other options.

The doctor has told the PA to say NO to everything except the biologics. She wants me on biologics. The PA can't just prescribe me the steroids, she has to have permission and so she will have to talk to the doctor when she's back in the clinic and call me.

Another two days and I still can't have anything to treat the Crohn's. There is nothing like waiting months to treat a flare up.

Two days later, and the PA is on the phone. The doctor will agree to prednisone if I agree to another scope in three months, followed by biologics. 

I want Entocort. It worked so well for me during my last flare up.
The PA puts me on hold to talk to the doctor who is in the same room, gets back on the phone, "Nope, she won't give you the Entocort." 

A mild disagreement occurs, in which the PA is working the middle, instead of the doctor getting on the phone with me and discussing the issues with me. 

But the doctor wouldn't bulge. A huge dose of prednisone with all it's glorious side effects. 


Why wouldn't the doctor prescribe me a drug that has worked for me in the past? Wouldn't you give a patient something that has worked? That has put their Crohn's in remission before? Wouldn't you at least try it? 

Instead, because I'm desperate for something to treat the flare, I start the heavy doses of steroids, watching my weight balloon, my face turn into a fat, jelly mess of water retention and puffiness, and noticing that it isn't doing much for the Crohn's symptoms. 

In the meantime I make an appointment with a different GI doctor that I have had in the past and tends to listen to my concerns better. It will only take three months to see him.

In the meantime, I have another scope and more bloodwork and a flare up that isn't correcting itself. 

All before I run out of insurance at the end of the month, because I also found out I no longer qualify for disability, even though I'm in a major flare-up. That seems ironic. 
That also means a huge cut in income every month.

Nothing like stress to make Crohn's worse. 

I'm pretty sure a beach in New Zealand would be the perfect cure. Or at least it should be. 

But because I can't end on such a note of negativity and doom- it's a fault of mine to be positive most of the time. On the outside. We can hide sadness on the inside- I think I hide my sadness in my gut.

Let's talk about what toddlers do? Hide their clay covered lizards under their crackers on their dinner plate. I nearly threw them out because I didn't see them at first. What thoughts go through a toddler's head as they hide toys under their food? I wish I knew.