Home | Posts RSS | Comments RSS | Login

I went to school today!! :)

Thursday, January 31, 2008
I was suppose to volunteer at school this morning, but, my teacher friends were looking out for me! They called before I left the house to let me know that the wind-chill was -6 degrees! I had NO IDEA that it was that cold! So, I went this afternoon instead! I had so much fun, AND I think I did pretty well! I was actually very nervous. It's been about three years since I have officially "taught" school. But, I fell right back into the old routine while working on reading with some amazing first graders! I was going to only stay an hour but, I ended up staying about 20 minutes longer. Then, when I was getting ready to go, the parking lot was all full of parents picking up their kids. So, I ended up staying another 1/2 hour! So, needless to say, I'm pretty tired. But, it was well worth it! I can't wait to go again next week!

Thanks for reading!

A Great Weekend!

Monday, January 28, 2008
My sister and I had lots of fun this weekend! We hit two movies ("The Savages" and "27 Dresses) and we went to the St. Cecilia's Flower Festival. I also went to a movie by myself, "Michael Clayton."

I tried to find some pictures of the flower festival, but could only find an outside picture of St. Cecilia's.

This place is beautiful! Every winter they have local artists and florists create an indoor paradise. This year, the theme focused on music. There were numerous paintings, sculptures and mixed-media pieces of art that focused on music. Then the assigned florist created an arrangement that complimented the piece of art. If you live in the Omaha area, you really need to try to go next year.

OK, movie review time! I went to see "Michael Clayton" on Friday.

See that guy? See George Clooney? Even if the movie had been awful, it would have still been great because HE is in it!! But, the movie was actually very good! It was suspenseful, thought-provoking, funny and just plain good! I can see why it has some Academy Award nominations!

Movie review #2. "The Savages"

One of the great parts about this movie was the fact that it was only showing at Film Streams."

Film Streams is a non-profit theater that shows independent and foreign films. It's located in what's lovingly called "NO-DO" which stands for "north downtown. It's a cool little building and they have very good popcorn!
Anyway, the movie is perfect for those of us in the "baby boomer" years. This brother and sister are trying to deal with taking care of their aging father with dementia. It's a great movie and it's actually very funny at times.
Movie review #3. "24 Dresses"

This was also a fabulous movie! I actually expected it to be a typical "chick flick." But, it really had a good story-line! It was very funny and actually quite touching at times. All in all, it was a great movie.

So, there you go. Three movies, three bags of popcorn over one weekend. Life doesn't get much better than that!!

Thanks for reading!

I didn't make it to school yesterday :(

Friday, January 25, 2008
The wind-chill was between -10 and -20! It's just too hard on my lungs to go out when the temp is in the high teens, let alone in the negative category. I'm seriously bummed. But am thrilled to see the forecast for the next week and it looks like there won't be any trouble with having fun at school next Thursday.

It did help to look at and smell my roses! I told Rod that every time I was getting sad or frustrated about the weather and not being able to go do anything, especially going to school, I would just go look at my roses and smell their beautiful aroma! I think that he thinks I'm a little goofy. But, he married me!

My sister is coming up to stay with me for a couple of days while Rod is out of town. We've got some serious goofy sister stuff planned! Plus, I'm putting her on puppy patrol. She's got a lot more energy than I do! :)

So, thanks for reading. I hope you have a great weekend!

I am SERIOUSLY a lucky woman!

Thursday, January 24, 2008
I've been going a little nuts with this weather as many people have. Yesterday, the doorbell rang and I was presented with a dozen beautiful pink roses. The card said, "Feeling cooped up? Love, Rod"
How lucky am I?

I'm a lucky woman...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Thanks to all of you that read this crazy blog and thank you also to those of you who respond on this site, send me emails or just make a caring comment in person. When you're sick, especially when you're sick and you live in Nebraska and it's stinkin' freezing outside, you feel a little isolated. Being able to "talk" to others like this helps alleviate some of that loneliness. So, thank you.
I thought I'd show you an awesome icycle that's hanging outside one of our windows.

I've been in a funk lately....

Sunday, January 20, 2008
This has been going on for a couple of weeks. I thought it was because I had a bug. But, the bug is pretty much over and I still feel just "blah." I think I've figured it out. I think it's because I don't really have anything important to do. I don't really have anything to keep my mind engaged and busy. Consequently, I have too much time to think about being sick. Except for doing stuff with/for the puppies and reading a bit and playing on the computer, everything else has to do with having PH. Don't get me wrong, I love having time to read, be on the computer and watching soap operas ("All My Children", Kathy). It's just that I'm not doing anything worthwhile. Working on the fundraiser was worthwhile (although that was ALL about having PH) but that is pretty much over. I miss doing important stuff. I miss teaching. I miss teaching a lot. Teaching was never a job to me. It was, as hokey as it sounds, it was my passion. I knew by the time I was in 2nd grade that I was going to be a teacher. Before I was diagnosed with PH in 2004, I had planned on teaching for at least 10 or even 15 more years. I was not even close to being "burned out." I miss it. I miss doing something really important. I miss making a difference in the lives of kids. I always felt like I was probably getting more out my day with the kids than they were getting from me. It was important, it was meaningful.

So, I've decided to try volunteering at my old school once a week. I'm going to spend about an hour a week working with first graders, one-on-one. I haven't done this before now for a couple of reasons. First, I haven't felt well enough to even think about volunteering. Second, whenever I went up to school before to visit, it was really, really tough on me, emotionally. Third, I only thought about going up to school to volunteer by reading a book to a classroom. Kids always loved it when I read a book because I'd really get into it with different voices and such. I knew I couldn't read a book like I use to because I just don't have the energy or enough air to do it the "right" way. Plus, I thought the noise from my Inogen (my oxygen concentrator that I use when I leave the house...it makes a puffing noise when I inhale) would be distracting. Well, I had breakfast with my friend Mary a couple of weeks ago and she suggested that I could just do some one-on-one kind of tutoring with some kids. I could sit down, it would be low-key. Plus, she says, the kids would get use to the noise after a while. So, I figured this might be a really good way to get out of this funk. Keep your fingers crossed that it helps. I'm going to start this Thursday morning.

Well, that's about it for this entry. Rod and I are watching the Giants vs. the Packers football game. Rod's Dad was a HUGE Packers fan. We had really wanted to get him in to watch a game in person. But, with his failing health and Lambeau field being an outdoor stadium and Wisconsin being a COLD place to visit, it just never worked out. My guess is that he's watching the game tonight and has much better seats than he ever would have had in the stadium.:)

Thanks for reading.

Spinning my wheels...

Thursday, January 17, 2008
I don't know if I have cabin fever, still dragging my butt from this virus or am just completely lazy, but I have not been getting anything done! I am perfectly happy with sitting on the couch and staring at the television. I'm even watching soap operas that I don't like! It took a big push for me to pick up the computer and start typing this! In fact, it is now Friday and I actually started this blog on Wednesday! And, it's not like I don't have anything to do. In fact I have things that I also WANT to do, I'm just not motivated to do anything except sit on my butt!!

It is ridiculously cold here today. Wind chills are way below zero. The poor puppies need to burn off some of their energy, but it's too cold for them to stay outside very long. So, I decided that they needed to have inside recess. I took them downstairs to this big room that we have so they could run and chase and play. It helped them a bunch. In fact they each took a good nap afterwards. I am including a picture of Asa sleeping on Rod's shoe.

OK, I'm going to go ahead and post this blog, as boring as it is. At least I can say I did SOMETHING today!

Thanks for reading.

p.s. I'm going to try to figure out how to include the blogs of several "phriends" (friends with pulmonary hypertension) If/when I do that, be sure to check them out. It helps to give others a good insight into this disease and the people behind the diagnosis.

I'm so tired of having two "rare" diseases...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
So, I've gained over 20 pounds since the whole Addison's diagnosis. Now, I realize that that may not seem like a bad thing, but it is. I lost over 70 pounds from last fall until this last May, not knowing what was wrong with me. Then, we got things leveled out and I gained a little bit and was right where I should have been, for the first time in over 40 years. Now, it was not the way to lose weight, but I was thrilled! People were calling my "tiny," I was buying all new clothes and everything looked great! I was feeling on top of the world about my body size. Then, I started eating the way I did that got me almost 70 pounds too heavy. Now, I'm about 20 pounds more than I should be. Twenty pounds may not seem like much, but it is a lot when it comes to pulmonary hypertension. I really need to get this weight off. Plus, there's not a whole lot of exercising that I can do. What I mean is, that the aerobic, fat-burning target heart rate thing isn't a good idea for me and many others with ph. So, I've got to focus on eating better.
My sister, who is gorgeous, lost weight recently through Weight Watchers. So, right before Christmas, I decided to join, online. I've religiously weighed in every week and logged in my weight on the website. At first I would get these little smiley faces and comments like "I'm glad you weighed in!" Then, I started getting these neutral faces with comments like, "It's hard to get started with the weight loss routine." Now, I'm getting these freaky-looking faces that are saying, "Hey, Fatty-Fatty-Bo-Batty!! Put away the ice cream!" (Actually, the faces aren't saying that, that's just my interpretation.)
So, I decided I should probably start going to meetings and try to take this a little more seriously. I went to my first meeting today. There were three "newbies." We stayed after the meeting to get the info to get started. The leader was just winding things up when she said to the newbie in the middle, "You're going to want to be careful with your points since you don't have very much weight to lose." Then she looked left and looked right and said, "Oh, and you also." OH! CRAP! That was painful!!!!
The big discussion though was when I weighed in. I asked if I could weigh in at home because I have all of this hardware (infusion pump, ice packs, fanny pack) on. One lady said, "No. But you can weigh all of the hardware and let us know how much it weighs so we can subtract it from your weekly weight. (At which point I decided that my "pack-o-goods" had to weigh at least 35 pounds) But, the leader-lady said "No. We will just weigh you with your pack on. You'll still be losing weight, which is the important thing." I don't think I'm going to get along with this leader-lady very well.
The leader-lady also told us that we were starting our diet today and that she did not want us going home with the "last supper" mentality. Well, I listened to her and I didn't go home! I went to Dairy Queen and got a peanut butter Blizzard. So, at least I listened to part of what she said!

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.
Thanks for reading.

(aka: Fatty-Fatty-Bo-Batty with Blizzard stains on my shirt)

I'm feeling kind of crappy...

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm here to whine. I was having problems with PH symptoms a week ago and increased my Flolan which helped quite a bit. So, that's not the problem. But, after that was fixed I started having trouble getting to sleep at night AND I started gaining weight. I contacted my Addison's doctor and she felt that it sounds like I'm taking too many steroids for what my body needs right now. So, I'm going to cut back a little bit on those for a few days and see if that helps.
But, that's not what I'm here to whine about. I've got some kind of a bug! I got a cold sore, my right ear hurts, my head hurts and I've started coughing. I have a very low-grade fever (99.3) which all indicate a virus. I probably got the stinking virus because of "upsetting my bodies applecart" with needing to change the Flolan and not being able to get enough sleep.
So, I did get out this morning to go to a funeral at my church. A friend and former teacher is in my Wednesday morning bible study. Her husband passed away after a very short and painful battle with a reoccurance (sp) of cancer he had 11 years ago. But, I'm going to bag tonight's PEO meeting. I've got to get over this stupid bug.
OK, whining time is over.

Thanks for reading.

Movie Review Time!

Friday, January 11, 2008
Rod and I went to "The Bucket List" with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson last night. It is a fabulous movie! Freeman and Nicholson acted like a team that has been working together their whole lives! It was funny, touching, thought-provoking and a couple of times it came close to being sad (but not too close because I won't pay money to cry when I can do it at home for free). I would not recommend it though if you have recently lost someone close to you, especially if they passed away from cancer. I don't want to spoil the movie for you, but I do not want some of you walking into the movie and get blind-sighted.

On another note, I've been dragging a little bit. I've had lots of trouble getting to sleep the last couple of nights. I've also had some recent weight gain. It is probably the Addison's and I'll probably need to decrease my steroids for a couple of days. I tell you, if it's not one thing, it's another.

On a third note, I have a sweet yellow lab sleeping on my lap. Life is good.

Thanks for reading.


An Update :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008
I'm feeling lots better! I had increased my pump rate for my Flolan from 81 to 84 Monday night so I could breath more easily. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday trying to balance out the side effects from Flolan and the symptoms from PH. Finally today my body seems to have adjusted to the pump rate of 84 with few side effects, at least side effects that I can tolerate with the help of pain meds, etc. I'm having very few chest pains and rapid heart rates also. So, I'm going to keep it at this rate for a few days and see how I do. It's been a while since I've had a dose increase, so it might just have been time to for more Flolan, or I still might have a bug or something. Whatever it is, I'm feeling better.

Subject change: Did you know that 4 1/2 month old yellow labs act like colicky babies? Every night from about 6-8 they are crazy wild! They chase and yip and fight over toys and basically turn INSANE!! Then around 8:30 or so they shut down and sleep, sleep, sleep! It's almost 8:30! Yahoo!!

Thanks for reading and thanks for your prayers and concern.


Just stopping by...

Monday, January 7, 2008
to say hello. I've not been feeling very well the last couple of days. I've been having some chest pain and rapid heart rates. These are very common symptoms with pulmonary hypertension. I did go get my blood drawn to make sure I wasn't having problems with the Addison's because those symptoms also go along with Addisons. But, my blood work came back fine. So, I'm increasing my Flolan and keeping my feet up. Oh, and I also stopped and got a Reese's Peanut butter cup Blizzard. So, I'm fine. I just don't have much else to "report."

Thanks for reading.

I went to a funeral today.

Saturday, January 5, 2008
It was for a gentleman who was only 67 years old. He died from pulmonary hypertension. A friend from PEO asked me to call and speak to John and/or his wife about a month ago. John had been diagnosed with PH and told by his doctor (who happens to also be my doctor)that he needed to go on Flolan (the same IV medicine that I use). But, John was not at all interested in going on Flolan and all of the things that go along with it. Instead, he was taking a couple of oral meds and an inhaled medicine. I called and spoke to his wife, telling her how well I'm doing on it. She asked me to talk to John about it and I did. I told him about all of the traveling I've been able to do. I told him that I've had the same line for 3 1/2 years without any infections. I told him that it only takes me about 15 or maybe 20 minutes to mix my medicine every night. But, it was not for him. His wife called me a week ago today and asked for my help. John was not doing well. Their boys had been home for Christmas but had just gone back to their own homes in different states. John was having trouble. Every time he coughed, he would pass out. She didn't know how to get in touch with John's doctor, they hadn't been going to him for very long. She also wanted to know how to get an ambulance to take him to the Nebraska Medical Center, where "our" doctor worked. I asked Rod and I shared that information with her. I asked her to please let me know what she found out and to please call back if she needed us to come over. She called me later to let me know that they were able to get in touch with someone and that John was in the ICU at the Med Center.
The next day I received an email from my PEO friend. John was told again by "our" doctor that he needed to go on Flolan. He did not want to live his life that way and declined the treatment. The doctor told his family that he only thing he could offer was for John to go into hospice.
John went home Monday night and passed away Tuesday morning.
I went to his funeral today. I heard about what a wonderful man he was. He was an honest, hard-working man who was a loving husband and father. I also heard about a man who lived a very active life. He loved to golf, cycle, hunt, garden and play with his grandson. I realized that even with the Flolan, his life would not have been anything like it was before he got pulmonary hypertension. PH took away the life he had built for 67 years. PH took away a loving husband, remarkable father and amazing grandfather. I hate this disease. We have to find a cure.

Thanks for reading. Sorry about it being so depressing.


Creepy Movie Review

Friday, January 4, 2008
Rod and I went to the Will Smith movie tonight, "I Am Legend." It was a very, very creepy and intense movie. I am going to need to spend the next half-hour looking at pictures of bunnies and kitties and tulips so I don't have nightmares! So, unless you like that kind of movie, I'd stay away. Will Smith showing off his incredibly buffed body though, did partially make up for me needed to pry my fingers from the armrests. I'm hoping I'll have more Will Smith dreams than the "Night Seekers" from the movie.

Thanks for reading.

Puppy Progress!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008
We (Asa, Haver and I) actually had about 2 hours of inside quiet time tonight!! Plus, Asa actually walked to the door to be let out to "do his business!!"
So, life is good at the Markin house!

Not much else is happening here, except that it's been ridiculously cold! I try not to go anywhere with this frigid weather, but even opening the door to let the puppies out make my lungs hurt. But tomorrow is suppose to be the beginning of a big warm-up week! So, instead of high's in the single digits, we'll have highs in the 40's!!

Well, it's time to go mix my Flolan. I hope you all had a great day. Thanks for reading.

Let sleeping Havers lie!!

Let sleeping surgery residents and Asas lie!!

Photos from Phenomenal Hope for a Cure

Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Rod and I.

Periwinkles setting up the silent auction.

My son Chris setting up his video.

My son Nick with friends Jason and Sarah.

Periwinkles at work!



Periwinkle Kathie and her husband.

Our friend Jim visiting with my niece Maggie.

Periwinkles (committee members) Karen (left) and Theresa (right)

My sister Kathleen (right) talking to our friend Charlotte.

Teacher friends from Black Elk.

Thanks for checking out the pictures! I'm going to go eat junk food, watch some football, play with the puppies and enjoy having Nick and Chris in the same location for two more hours before we have to put Chris on a plane back to Chicago. Thanks again for your interest and your support.

Have a Great 2008!