Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sunny and Warm

It was a nice day for a walk, but I'm pretty sure we did too much and hubby will be tired at work. I took some pictures and then left my camera in the car, so I'll get the pictures tomorrow after hubby gets home.

I continue to struggle with my blood sugar. I joined a forum on the American Diabetes Association's website. I'm getting some helpful advice. This is truly not easy, and for anyone who has needed to struggle with major diet changes, my heart goes out to them.

It's not enough to cut out sugar, I also need to reduce carbs, but not completely. Apparently I need to count carbs in a glass of milk, in a hand full of pretzels, in a prune, you name it. Unless it is fat, meat or veggie, it has carbs. That is enough to make a carb-lover like me weep. I tried eating no carbs, a chicken breast baked with bell pepper and onion. I felt like I was starving. I finally broke down and ate some cereal, mind you it was 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded wheat with Splenda and a little milk, but I felt full enough to sleep after that. Recommendation from the forum....add no more than 20 grams of carbs at each meal and test to see how I do.

My doc added a low-dose statin to my list of meds. When I complained about having pain in the past with statins, she said I could cut the pill in half and add Co Q10 to my list of vitamins. I bought Qunol Ultra Co Q10 because it's supposed to be better. So far, so good.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Really Good Day

My hubby was off work last night, so he was well rested today. We got up early-ish and headed out into 70+ degree sunshine for Starbucks coffee and a trip to Brookfield Mall. Hubby lavished me with non-sugary gifts, a cute hat, two luscious blouses and sweet Peach-scented lotion and body wash. After eating Gyros we walked around some more and then drove home, enjoying the spring weather.

Hubby bought himself some shades that make him look like my bad-ass body guard. Love my hubby!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Recovering Sugar Addict

If sugar is an addiction, then I'm a recovering sugar addict.

Honestly, I never "bought into" what I thought was hype about sugar. I was reading about how bad sugar substitutes are and how "natural" is better, so, I mistakenly thought sugar was ok.....for me. But nooooo, I made a big mistake.

For years I've been doing pretty good, to the point where I could eat a few sweet things here and there. Then I got married to the love of my life, who unfortunately wants to lavish love and kindness on me by buying me sweet things to eat. "I bought you something", beaming with smiles, hubby brings me candy or bottled coffee. How can I refuse? Sure, I can set it aside for later, but soon enough I break down and eat or drink the gift, because, well, I wanted to. A "few" sweet things turned into almost a daily thing.

Couple that with stress, and I was destined for problems. My husband was stressed from health problems in California. I was stressed watching him suffer. Couple that with the fact that I was working and stressed from my job, and you can just about predict trouble.

After my cancer treatments nearly 19 years ago, my chemo nurses told me, "Don't get stressed". They impressed upon me the importance of living as stress-free as possible.

When I first began working it was like an aerobic workout. I was getting stronger, loosing weight. I felt like I was getting paid to get healthy. Over time that changed. My tummy started to gain weight. The longer I worked, the fatter my tummy got. Oddly enough, the rest of me didn't gain, only my tummy. I still feel like my "muffin top" has a lot to do with my health issues, and I really don't know why it happened, except, maybe stress.

When I got a meter and started testing my blood sugar, I was shocked to see my numbers. Fasting was never under 199, and I was mostly in the 250 to 290 range. I was scared. I cut back on food....WAY back. I felt hungry all the time. I felt weak and run down. I cut out sugar, but the bad numbers remained. I told my doctor and she ordered new medicine. It is helping tremendously.

My numbers are much better. I'm staying off sugar. It's in everything. I realized something. Americans eat a stupid crazy amount of sugar. Pizza crust...really? Since when should pizza crust be so sweet it tastes like dessert? Pasta sauce? Way too sweet. Foods that are supposed to be savory taste like dessert instead. I make my own, but because of my husband's crazy work schedule, I try to keep easy to make foods on hand. Until I tasted some of them, I didn't realize how sweet they were, and that was before I gave up sugar.

Grocery isles are filled with sugary treats and pastries. Sugar is in things that shouldn't even have sugar. Sugar is fine in moderation, but the American diet is waaaay past moderation. People are eating too much sugar.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Walmart Smells Like Sugar

I couldn't give up sugar until sugar broke me. Thankfully the Januvia helps. My numbers are more normal, my appetite is curbed, and I'm feeling myself again.

I feel like an ex-smoker. Walking through Walmart, I can smell sugar everywhere. It's like a drug.

I love chocolate, so to not be undone, I made my own chocolate treat. I found out that dark cocoa powder no longer tastes bitter to me. I always wondered how the Aztecs could eat unsweetened chocolate. They didn't eat sugar, that's how.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Medicine

Lately I've been feeling out of sorts, and not just because of my shoulder and neck. My right pinky finger is staying numb. I wasn't sure if it was my shoulder/neck problem (because in certain positions) my whole hand goes tingly but then it goes away.

I suspected my blood sugar was high, and a new meter confirmed it. In fact, it confirmed that I can eat almost nothing but an egg, a cup of cottage cheese and a small sandwich for the entire day and still my numbers are in the 190 to 250 range. Scary crap. I had my blood test on Monday, and the results, back today already (yay) show that my A1C is 9.1. Holy crapola. It's been in the 6.5 range for years. In fact it was 6.3 in 2014. I don't think it was ever as high as 9. I take Metformin. I did some reading. Apparently Metformin (the safest drug) becomes less effective after some years. I think I've been on for at least 16 years. doc prescribed Januvia. Well, I was reading the info on it. Hopefully it will be the miracle drug I need to get back into shape, because honestly, I don't want to check out yet. Hopefully I won't be one of the few who gets the serious, even life-threatening side effects. Oh, GOD please protect me from harmful side effects, please let this work for me.

At this point I don't know a better alternative, but I will discuss my concerns with my doc. Thankfully the clinic is 5 minutes down the road, and the hospital is even closer. I really want to be healthy. Hubby is working so hard for us.

Update...results of my therapy session with the Chiropractor, the muscles in my shoulder and neck are loosened now, but I still have the pain in my neck (in certain positions) which can make my shoulder ache and my arm tingle. Diagnosis....pinched nerve in my neck. No more looking up, don't lean forward and look up. Try to rest with my chin down. He said I need an X-ray, then an MRI. Apparently only the MRI will show anything, but the way Medicare works, you must have the X-ray first.

Options, if it doesn't resolve on its own....cortisone shot (in the neck...gads!) or fusion of the vertebrae if the MRI shows a degeneration that is causing a pinch that won't resolve. Those are things to be determined. I see him again on Thursday.

I'm feeling a bit better than I was this morning. The weather is nice, it's sunny, and really my Lab work is good, the only flags, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. Everything else is working. It's been 19 years since I had Chemo and I'm still here, in relatively good health.

The picture I took looks terrible. My phone really takes bad pictures. Maybe I'll bring my camera on Thursday.

Well, this post is all over the place, but so are my emotions today. I took my first Januvia pill and my blood sugar is already down where it should be. My doc's office called and said they want to put me on a super low dose of Lipitor to bring down my Cholesterol. It's a statin. I have pain problems with statins. I've been on Crestor, Zocor, and Tricor (not a statin) in the past. Too darn much pain. I can't function with all that pain. Besides, it's inflammation that causes heart blockages, not Cholesterol, oh, that's still not widely regarded.

I miss my husband. He's working nights, so my evenings are spent alone, watching the sun set and getting moody. Once it's dark (like now) I'm ok, just bored. In mid-June he switches to days. We are eagerly awaiting spring so we can go to Pike Lake and cook out.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Today was the first time I ever saw a Chiropractor. The session went well. I now understand my neck and shoulder pain. Though it's not that bad, it's still there, after months, and I get tingling sometimes. Apparently after I hurt it the muscles contracted and stayed that way. So the muscles are too short in my right neck and shoulder. He did several manipulations to stretch them, some with the help of his assistant. I will go back again on Tuesday. He asked me how I felt a couple times while he was doing the manipulations. "Like you're trying to rip my head off, but fine." We all laughed.

Everyone has high regards for this doctor, and his practice is inside the clinic here on the edge of town. It's nice to have good doctors around. I took a picture with my phone. I should have walked over to the window, because the view didn't show at all. The clinic is on a hill, and this wing overlooks the east edge of town with rolling hills and the tallest point, Powder Hill, in the background. OK, Tuesday I promise to get a better one, because all you can see here is the posh waiting room.

I asked the doc if he could work on my back sometime, because more often than not, my left hip gets a major pain spasm when hubby and I walk, and I really want to manage that problem so I can keep walking. He said yes, but another time, because there wasn't time today. So I'm hoping after my neck is better I can make an appointment for my back.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ten on Tuesday

10 reasons I'm happy here, in no particular order:

1. My hubby's health

2. Sandhill Cranes

3. My hubby's job

4. Ethnic food

5. Northern Lights

6. Aldi

7. Fall colors

8. No more mountain roads

9. Lake Michigan

10. Our warm apartment with a view

Monday, April 4, 2016


Last night I was feeling blue. It's not possible to live in a World Heritage area and not miss the beauty, even though I felt the roads were trying to kill us. "Frosting on a cake" is how my hubby described them. Pour water on it and it all crumbles. Case in point....this picture below in the Shasta Trinity area. See, the road is just "frosting" on a "cake" of carved mountain side.

Shasta/Trinity area. Photo credit US Forest Service

The roads weren't all that bad, mostly there were "just" rock and mud slides. We passed four of them on highway 101 between Crescent City and Eureka. Mind you, Caltrans was on the ball and the slides were pushed off the road and marked. Last Chance Grade which is about 10 miles south of Crescent City is constantly monitored, patched and repaired. Every time it rains it has issues. 

Last Chance Grade. Photo credit, Caltrans

The mountain roads are just a fact of life for long time residents of the area. They chuckled and called me a "flatlander". It was OK, I laughed with them. I used to cross dry washes in the desert with a pocket full of pebbles to toss at bushes and rock outcroppings to check for rattlesnakes. I guess it's just how we look at things. It is a common occurrence for people to check the road conditions on Highway 199 before embarking on the two+ hour drive to Medford Oregon for a doctor appointment. One lady at the DMV bustled into the office and told her co-workers, "Sorry I was gone all morning but I had to drive to Medford for a shot." That's another good doctors. That we did not know before we moved there. Crescent City has a hospital and some clinics. That should be OK, right? Apparently not, because good doctors don't hang around very long. They up and leave when their belongings get moldy and their car starts rusting in front of them and their wife complains because they have nowhere to shop.

Still, we lived with breathtaking beauty all around us. I still consider that a blessing, and something I will miss. We walked many trails together. That is something my hubby and I enjoyed immensely. But my hubby was suffering, constantly. It was becoming unbearable for him. He was hanging on because of me, because he knew how much I loved the beauty there. The doctors couldn't help him. "Mold runs rampant in Del Norte County." Many people there take a pocketful of medicines just to get through the day. My hubby was also stressed because of the job situation. He had a good job at Runiano Cheese, but that was pretty much the only job in town, other than Walmart. We wanted to save for a house, but my concern was that even a "dry", well cared for house will have mold issues there. So, there was "trouble in Paradise".

The move to Hartford was a good choice for us. My husband's cousin has many Albanian friends. I appreciate that my husband always does things with me first, and asks me if I mind if he goes with his friends. I don't mind. My husband is a very outgoing person, and since he's going with the guys, of course I don't want to tag along. Instead, we go on walks, drives and shopping trips together. My husband's health is improving, and he enjoys joking and talking with his cousin.

Me? I am not the type to make friends easily. However I found out there is an art studio downtown where you can create stuff for the price of the materials. They have a kiln, and will fire your ceramic or glass creation. I'm looking forward to doing that.

Still, I was feeling blue. I miss what I left behind and I'm waiting for spring here. I miss my daughter in California and still I have not seen my daughter in Indiana because she had the flu, and now her hubby has the flu. And my hubby is working nights, 12 hour shifts. I miss him, I miss my daughters. I'm feeling in-between.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

First Night

Tonight is hubby's first night at his new job. He won't be home until after 7 am. I'm making Cevapi, which are little meat sausages, for hubby's cousin. I will mix them and form them into little logs tonight and put them in the frig. Then I will set my alarm for 5 am and stick them in the oven for an hour. They should be cooked and cooled in plenty of time for me to put them in a container. Hubby will give them to his cousin in the morning when his cousin drops him off. If I'm sleepy, well, what's better than a nap with my hubby :)

We had several furious snow flurries today, each punctuated by blue skies and sunshine. Sometimes all this would happen in about 5 minutes.

Later is what I did last night...Cevapi