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Out to lunch again!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I'm figuring out why I've gained a couple of pounds over the last few weeks....I've gone out to lunch almost every day these last couple of weeks!!! Today I went out to lunch with Karen, who just retired after being an elementary PE teaching for 35 years and Pat who retired from being an elementary school secretary a few years ago!! We went to the Olive Garden and had a great time. Pat had brand new pictures of her grandchildren, who are absolutely adorable. Pat was just diagnosed with breast cancer, after finding the lump herself. We went to lunch today because tomorrow she gets her port and she'll start chemo probably next week. She's determined that she will fight and win this battle! And with all of the support that she has from family and friends, I'm convinced she's right!
Other than working on a new scarf and making serious headway on my new book I'm reading, James Patterson's, "Step on a Crack" I've been pretty unproductive. I realize that it used to bother me when I was unproductive. M-m-m-m-m-m-m....that must mean I'm either getting used to not teaching, or I'm just getting old. I'm voting for "door number one!"

Thanks for reading.

I love ice cream!!

Monday, July 30, 2007
I had some blood drawn today to see if I am "out of the woods" on the gallbladder stone issue. I'm happy to say that my liver enzymes are back to normal! So, no need for further worrying or potential surgery! Yahoo!! So, to celebrate, I asked Rod to grab me a peanut butter cup Blizzard when he ran out to the store tonight!!
Other than eating ice cream, I did go out to lunch with a couple of friends today, Debbie and Carol. Also, Debbie's daughter Lauren came along! This was a special treat since I taught Lauren in first grade! She is now a music teacher in the school right down the block from where we live! She's also getting married in about 5 weeks, so it was fun to hear all about the plans!
I also managed to finish another scarf to donate to Together, Inc. Several people from the PH discussion boards are knitting and crocheting scarves and hats for the families that Together, Inc. serves. Together, Inc. is a local nonprofit that helps needy families with food, clothing and shelter. When Hurricane Katrina victims landed in Omaha, a bunch of us from the PH discussion boards made scarves and hats for them to help cope with their first "real winter." The director asked me a few months ago if we would be willing to make more so she could keep some on hand. So, the "ph"riends who live out of town mail their finished scarves and hats to me. I sew a little label on them that says, "Made Especially For You By The PH Community." It's really a fun project that gives me a chance to do something worthwhile to do while I'm sitting my lazy butt on the couch watching TV.
OK, that's it for today. I need to go mix my Flolan medicine and get to bed.
Thanks for reading.

The Weekend of a Socialite!

Sunday, July 29, 2007
It has been such a nice weekend. On Friday afternoon, I met my sister in Ashland, NE for a bite of lunch at Cheri-O's! We took up a table for about 2 hours while we got caught up on things. She is so busy and has been out of town so much with her work that we hadn't had much of a chance to talk for weeks! Then we went and did a little shopping! You can't beat that combination!!
On Friday evening, we met up with some friends from church at Village Point Shopping Center. After a delicious dinner at the Tin Star we enjoyed a concert in the outdoor amphitheater. We loved hearing an up and coming jazz singer/songwriter, Karly Jurgensen. You can check out some of her work at http://www.karlyjurgensen.com
Saturday evening we drove to Lincoln to attend the wedding reception for a young lady who graduated from high school with Chris. If fact, he went to Hawaii with them as their photographer for their wedding on 7-7-07! It is so strange to go to weddings and such for friends of both Nick and Chris. Especially since Nick and Chris don't even have girlfriends!!! I can safely make a comment about this since I'm sure that neither one of them read this blog. At least I don't think either one of them reads this blog. I doubt they even remember I have one. Oh, wait a minute, Nick did actually write in this blog for me when I was in the hospital.
I'm so glad that both Nick and Chris are so focused on their careers that they don't take up their time with girlfriends! (Maybe that will get me a little bit out of hot water.)
Today Rod and I went to church, out to breakfast and been lazy reading and napping.
It has been such a nice weekend.
And, this has been such a boring blog.

My beloved husband called me a cockroach!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007
And, it was a compliment! When Bud, Rod's Dad was fighting his battle with cancer, Rod had lovingly called him a "cockroach." He said that we were giving him all kinds of poison to kill of the cancer, and it was really, really strong chemo, (trials and such) and he kept hanging in there, fighting and doing well! He fought a brave, hard fight against pancreatic cancer, at age 84, for over 9 months! So, when he called Bud a "cockroach" we all knew it was Rod's way of giving a loving compliment!

So, last night as we were heading up to bed, Rod turns to me and says, "You know honey, you're pretty tough! You've been through some really hard things and you seem to be able to handle it. You're a cockroach!"

True love is in the air in the Markin household.

Good news!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Well, the best guess is that I passed a stone. Things are looking good right now. I need to go back in on Monday for bloodwork. If things look good like they do now, then we'll just call this case closed!
So, other than going to the hospital and the doctor today, I took a nap. This has been such a WILD (ha-ha-ha) day!

The "Mother of all..." part 2

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Well, I woke up at 4:45 this morning with a repeat of "The mother of all stomach aches!" This time the Gaviscon didn't help at all. So, Rod got my Tylenol with codeine. After about 1/2 hour, it kicked in and the pain was gone and just some tenderness remained. I was able to get things done today including an hour of pulmonary rehab and a quick trip to the grocery store. I just heard from the doctor's office (no, not Rod or Nick :) ) and I'm going in tomorrow morning for an ultrasound to see if I have any problems with my gallbladder. So, please keep your fingers crossed that this was some minor thing that is now gone forever. I don't want to have my gallbladder taken out!

The Mother of all Stomach Aches!

Monday, July 23, 2007
Yesterday, Rod and I worked on some "de-cluttering" in our bedroom and bedroom closet. All of a sudden I had a horrible pain in my stomach! I couldn't believe how fast it came on! I laid down, put my feet up and it just got worse. Then I broke out in a cold sweat. Rod kept asking me if I needed to go to the ER. But, I didn't know what they would do for me. Since the pain was in my stomach area, Rod had me take a bunch of Gaviscon and it did start to ease off. But, I was wiped out. I felt like I had run a marathon. I spent the rest of the evening eating Gaviscon and keeping my feet up. The pain did get better, but my stomach stayed very tender. Right before the pain hit, I had eaten some Cheetos and some peanuts. We're guessing that there was something bad in one or the other, so we threw them away. Rod said that whatever it was that I ate most likely caused some inflammation in my stomach, which is why the tenderness persisted. Whenever I woke up during the night, I just ate some more Gaviscon.
Whatever it was, the treatment was perfect because I feel like a million bucks again today! I'm so glad that I didn't go to the ER. When you have a disease like PH, you tend to avoid trips to the ER and any other unnecessary trips to doctors. It's really, really nice to have such a great doctor available who is always willing to make house calls! (Thank you, my dear sweet husband!)

Busy, busy Friday!

Friday, July 20, 2007
This was the day for socializing and eating! It started at 10:00 at the Village Inn where I met our associate pastor and his wife for coffee. I decided I needed a "small" piece of apple pie a la' mode to go with my hot tea! From there I went to La Peep and met two teacher friends, Kathy E. and Shari J. for lunch. I came home and took a two hour nap! All of that eating tends to wear a person out! Then tonight, Rod and I decided to go see Hairspray for our Friday night movie date night! Of course we had to have a hot dog and some popcorn!! The movie was hilarious! We would highly recommend it! I was a bit worried about Rod’s ability to stay focused when the opening act was a full-blown dancing and singing (even on a garbage tuck) number! His eyes were a bit glazed, but then he started warming up to it and actually really enjoyed it!

Ok, that’s it. Sorry for a boring entry, but it’s time to go to bed! Take care and love to you all!

A Poem

Thursday, July 19, 2007
About a year after being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, I felt a desire to write down my thoughts and feelings. I ended up putting those words into a poem. I just received a call from a friend who wanted a copy of it and suggested that I post it here. So, here it is! If you like it, you can thank Mary W. for the suggestion to post it. Have a great day!


The good news is....
We know what’s wrong with you.
The bad news is...
We know what’s wrong with you.

The good news is...
The disease is rare- you are an unique person.
The bad news is...
The disease is rare- you are an unique person.

The good news is...
We know how to treat the symptoms.
The bad news is...
We only know how to treat the symptoms.


The bad news is...
You’ll need to restrict your physical activity.
The good news is...
You’ll have time for hobbies.

The bad news is...
The diagnosis may effect your friendships.
The good news is...
Your true friends will be revealed.

The bad news is...
This disease my shorten your life.
The good news is...
Each day will become a gift.

Good news...
Bad news...
The glass is half empty...
The glass is half full...

Annette Markin

So, I promised my friends Jacque and Lynne...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
that I would try to "blog" at least a little something every day. I had no idea that if I didn't write anything, some people were actually worrying that I wasn't feeling well. I told them that I didn't think I would have anything exciting to write about and they both said that didn't matter. I just needed to write at least a little something every day so everyone would know I was ok.
So, here I am, writing a little something!!
It has been a lazy day. I went to bible study this morning at church. I then came home and worked on some paperwork chores for a couple of hours and watched All My Children. After I took a nap, I had to go over to the clinic to get a lab draw to check my coumadin levels. And now I'm blogging! At this point, I'm pretty sure that Jacque and Lynne are rethinking their request for me to blog on a daily schedule.

The good things about being sick...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I met a gentleman this last week who was asking about why I needed oxygen. I never like to miss an opportunity to teach people about Pulmonary Hypertension, so I went into my spiel. I explained that Pulmonary Hypertension, or PH, is a progressive lung disease. It is basically high blood pressure of the lungs. (Have you noticed how none of you are missing out on my song and dance either???) The only cure is a lung transplant. The average life expectancy is 3-5 years. I was diagnosed three years ago. He stood there, doing the math and then said, "Can I give you a hug?" Never one to turn down a hug, I of course said, "Yes!" As he hugged he said, "You poor, poor thing!" I told him that he didn't need to feel sorry for me! I have a wonderful life and a wonderful family! I also told him, "Yes, I am sick and yes it's a rotten diagnosis, but there have been so many positive things that have come out of being sick!" He said, "That's a great attitude, but what good can come out of being sick?" So, I told him.
Being sick has brought my family closer together.
Being sick gets me a really good parking spot!
Being sick has allowed me to meet many new people.
Being sick has brought me many new friends.
Being sick has given me time to go to "chick flick" movies during the day.
Being sick has given me time to read.
Being sick has given me time to learn to knit.
Being sick has gotten me out of cleaning the house.
Being sick has given me time to join bible study groups.
Being sick has let me watch "All My Children" without feeling guilty.
Being sick has given me perspective on what is really important.
Being sick has given me time to go to lunch with friends.
Being sick has given me serious bonding time with Charlie.
Being sick has allowed me the time to take trips during the school year.
Being sick has given me "priority boarding" on airplanes.
Being sick has given me time to write.
Being sick has given me more time to buy Peggy Karr plates on Ebay.
Being sick has forced me to slow down and "smell the roses."
Being sick has helped me realize that roses smell really nice.

God Bless the USA!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Erma Bombeck wrote, "You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."

Last night we embraced our patriotism by hosting our 17th annual 4th of July party! It's hard to believe that we've been doing this for so long! The party has grown over the years. The first few years just included family and a couple of friends. Last night we had around 75 little patriots! We had all of the regular holiday treats, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, watermelon, potato salad and chips. Every year people bring a variety of sides and desserts to add to the mix. In addition to the regular cookies, macaroni salad and ambrosia, last night we also had about 5 dozen cobs of corn for the grill, Japanese dumplings, Mexican flan and a special Butterfinger cheesecake as a belated birthday treat for Rod from some friends!

What a group! We had friends from church, from work, from grade school, from high school and from college. We had parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and even one "baby on board" who will be here celebrating with us next July 4th. And we had our family. Nick and Chris were both able to be with us as well as my sister and her daughters. The only person that we were missing was Rod's dad, Bud. Last year he had moved from our home to a nursing home where he could get better nursing care as he entered the last stages of pancreas cancer. Nick and I went to pick him up and he was waiting for us, all ready to go! In fact, he was a little crabby because we hadn't picked him up sooner! He said he had some eating to do, people to visit and fireworks to watch. Unfortunately, the evening was harder on him than any of us anticipated and he only lasted about an hour and 1/2. He passed away three weeks later. He had made so many friends over the last 17 years of parties. Although the evening was wonderful, we all felt Bud's absence.

As I was enjoying my second piece of cheesecake, I looked around at all of the people celebrating the 4th with us. In addition to "locals" we also had visitors from Japan, Romania and Canada. It reminded me of a special evening Rod and I had with our good friends Allan and Carol a couple of weeks earlier. They asked if we would like to go with them to their synagogue to enjoy Shabbat services with their new cantor. As Rod and I enjoyed listening to the beautiful music (trying to translate the Hebrew words into English with the help of their prayer books) I looked around the room and to the outside windows. In my head, another song was playing. It was Lee Greenwood's, "God Bless the USA!" Here we were, two Methodists, sitting in a beautiful synagogue enjoying a beautiful Shabbat service with our friends. Outside the windows, the traffic passed without any notice, while inside we were fully welcomed. No one complained, no one picketed. We were just two people enjoying an evening with friends, praying to the same God. I know I haven't been everywhere in the world and, in fact, some people call me downright naive. But I can't imagine there are very many other places in this world where we would have been able to have such a wonderful evening. God bless the USA!
Happy Independence Day! (plus 1!)

Oh, by the way...if anyone was wondering how Charlie's (133 pound yellow lab) 4th of July celebration was...I can sum it up in one word...satisfying. I can also use a variety of other words to describe it...disgusting, piggish, sneaky...
While we were all outside watching all of the beautiful fireworks, Charlie seized the moment by going to the food table and "cleaning up" a few things for us. He cleaned up the rest of the cheeseburgers (4), 1/4 pound hot dogs (3) and chicken breasts (3). After he "cleaned up" he then THREW UP! But, he only threw up some of the chicken. So, he was basically very comfortable so he jumped up on the couch and fell asleep. Happy 4th, Charlie!