I Miss My Mom and Her Oyster Stuffing…

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I miss my mom. She has been gone now for fifteen years. She died way too young at 60 years old. None of us had any idea that we would be losing her so soon. She had arthritis and fibromyalgia but we had no idea that she had any issues with her heart. As I think back I should have known there was something more seriously wrong with her since she would get completely worn out just going to the post office and getting her hair done. It would take her “days” to recover her energy. It screamed heart issues, but we just didn’t know. Now I wonder if maybe she too had Lupus and it had gone undiagnosed and was slowly killing her.

Past Thanksgiving First Turkey

Mom’s first turkey and her audience “me”. (She stuffed it so full it kind of exploded.)

Past Thanksgiving Early Days

The finished product full of stuffing with more stuffing in the bowl!

One special memory that I have of mom centers around Thanksgiving and her oyster stuffing. Most people have cornbread stuffing with their holiday meals, but mom would put an East Coast twist on hers and make herb stuffing with oysters. (She would always use Pepperidge Farm Herbed Stuffing Mix). It was the best. It was much moister and flavorful to me. Not at all dry like some stuffing can be. Since she’s been gone it seemed like the oyster stuffing went away with her. The majority don’t care for oysters and it just doesn’t seem prudent to make a whole batch of oyster stuffing for only one or two people. So…I just ate a tin of smoked oysters instead just now. Not the same, but still very yummy!

Past Thanksgiving

Rick and Russ enjoying some of Mom’s Thanksgiving Feast

Another thing that is a “Mom” thing at the holidays are “Queen Anne Cordial Cherries”. They always come out around Thanksgiving and she always had to have a box…or two…maybe even three! Well tonight when I was at the store buying some last minute things for our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow I spotted them on the shelf! I bought two boxes! I have to admit…maybe it is the medication I am taking for my Lupus, but maybe it’s just because I miss her, but my eyes watered a little when I was walking up to the check out counter. I felt like she was a little more near by for just a moment. Love you mom.

Queen Anne Cordial Cherries

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November…A reminder to be thankful…even for Lupus

Well, it’s been a little more than a month and a half since I first received my diagnosis of SLE Lupus. With the way that I had been feeling physically prior to my diagnosis and any kind of treatment, I never would have thought that I could feel as good as I do now. Granted, I am still taking Prednisone mixed with Hydroxychloroquine so it could be that it is a temporary relief, but time will tell. I am hoping that my Hydroxychloroquine will have kicked in well before I am completely off the Prednisone. All I can say is that what ever it is, it is working right now. I can walk with no pain, I can grasp and hold things with no pain. What a nice way to be. Definitely something to be thankful for this month of November when we are remembering all of our blessings.

I had no idea that I had Lupus last September, all I knew was that I felt physically terrible and the conditions where I was working made me feel even worse day by day. I am thankful for Lupus because I truly believe that my Lupus pain is what gave me the push that I needed to quit the job that I was at and reach out to one of my previous employers to see if they knew of any openings anywhere.  Within about an hour, my life direction changed. Instant relief, knowing that I would be going back to work for a wonderful company with great “Leaders” and not just “Bosses”. This is a company that inspires it’s employees, treats them more like family members, and has a general air of happiness surrounding it. It is a company with longevity, one that weathered through the down turn in the economy. It is a very, very busy place, that has the normal stresses at times as any business does but when you hear the owners laughing, encouraging, genuinely caring for each and every one of us, you know you are in just the right place. I am so thankful to once again be part of this work family. I feel it was a God thing, He knew what I needed and gave me the impulse to reach out. Thank you Lord!

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Living With This Thing Called Lupus…A Fighting My Lazy Bone Type of Day…

It’s been about a month now that I’ve known that what I have going on inside my body is SLE – Lupus. My husband went with me to my follow-up appointment yesterday, partly so he could ask the doctor any questions he might have, partly so that he could hear first hand from the horse’s mouth what is going on with me and partly in case I forgot anything that the doctor said. As of yesterday, I am lucky I think, that the results from my tests show the only thing I have is the SLE – Lupus,  no extra autoimmune diseases at this time, no organ damage so far.

There is something to be said about being “proactive” when it comes to our health. I am a firm believer in nipping stuff in the bud before it becomes something worse and harder to treat. So far the treatment that I am on, a mixture of Prednisone and Hydroxychloroquine has helped to tamp down my flares. Rather than a debilitating pain where I can’t use my hands, arms or legs, I now mostly just am feeling very tired at times. A real bone weary type of tired. A “Fighting My Lazy Bone” type of tired. I don’t seem to have the extreme stiffness in the morning that a lot of people have, my problems seem to be more in the area of trying to sleep at night. I seem to get leg aches, or just over all muscle aches. This is causing me to toss and turn and twitch therefore not really getting a good nights sleep. It doesn’t really hit me until the afternoon and then when I am driving home from work I just can’t wait to get home and crawl into my bed! Bed…the best invention in the world!

So we shall see how all of this goes. I am very fortunate to have a supportive husband and family and that is some good medicine right there.

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So far the Prednisone and Hydroxychloroquine seems to be helping a bit…

After finding out that my blood tests came back showing that I have SLE (Lupas) my doctor prescribed a routine of Prednisone and Hydroxychloroquine (aka – Plaquenil). I’ve been on them now for a couple of weeks and I have noticed a decrease in the debilitating pain that I was feeling. I still have shooting pains in random places at random times but they don’t seem to get any worse than just shooting pains. I don’t know if it is the medication or that fact that I also quit my job and started working for a company that I used to work for before the downturn in the economy. This company has probably been the best medicine of all. When you are appreciated and welcomed back with lots of love it has a way of making you feel good. No doubt about it! Next appointment with my doc is next week. We shall see the results of additional blood tests and other tests. Until then…hanging in there!

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Lupus Now Means Something Personal To Me

At work about nine months ago I noticed that my left hand near the pointer finger joint was hurting as I typed. I also noticed my blood veins looked a little extra puffy in that area. In the back of my mind I was thinking that maybe I was becoming arthritic as both mom and dad had arthritis. For some reason I pulled out my Iphone and snapped a photo to document my “discomfort”.

2015 Jan 22 Iphone 117

Throughout the following months I would experience migrating swelling, redness and pain all over my body, mostly in random joints and tendons from head to toe. It would kind of twinge in the early afternoon and by the evening be full blown discomfort. After a night of near sleeplessness, and even the sheets causing discomfort, the morning would come along and within a couple of hours everything would kind of ease up or completely stop hurting. I began to realize that this was not normal and I should get it checked out. More photos.

2015 Iphone May 16 007

2015 June 18 Iphone OKC 382

2015 Aug 8 Iphone 050

I visited my General Practitioner and he decided to run several blood tests since there was a history of arthritis in my family. The results of those tests came back showing that I was severely deficient in Vitamin D (I thought it might be due to the fact that I quit drinking milk and I am not someone who spends much time in the sun) which could possibly be the cause of my pain. So for three months I took 10,000 I.U.’s of Vitamin D and my numbers came back up to a normal range. But alas, the pain was still evident. He recommended that I see a Rheumatologist who could delve deeper than his expertise and referred me. I made my appointment for the next week.

After my consultation visit with my Rheumatologist, I had more blood work and x-rays done, with the results being given to me yesterday. My wrists looked good on the x-rays for whatever she was looking for, no Lyme disease, but I was positive for SLE, otherwise known as “Systemic lupus erythematosus”. Plain words, my immune system is way too active and is actually attacking my own body! Well that definitely explains the pain!

I was a bit overwhelmed yesterday, I know I have a lot to learn about my new and challenging condition. There are a lot of serious things that can accompany this diagnosis and hard core management is of the utmost importance. I may even wind up joining a Lupus support group near me if there is one. One bright thing, patients with Lupus need to stay out of the direct sunlight. No problem here, I am definitely NOT a sun worshipper!

More to come as I experience and learn…

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“Oklahoma Standard”

On Wednesday, April 19, 1995 in the morning, I was living in Bella Vista, Arkansas.  I had already taken Brian and Melissa to school and was back home having coffee when my phone rang.   It was my mom, and the first words out of her mouth after I answered the phone were, “I just want to let you know, when you see the news, your sister is OK.”  My heart instantly started racing.  Now mind you, I was in the next state, about 250 miles away.  I wondered, why would my mom think that when I watched the news in Arkansas I might be concerned for my sister?  As far as I knew, there wasn’t any bad weather expected.  The only thing that came to mind was that a multi-car accident must have happened on I-40.  That is when my mom explained to me that at 9:02 a.m. the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City had been bombed.  But, my sister didn’t work in or near that building.  She worked  a few miles away.  The bombing was so strong, that it blew her office doors open and they didn’t even face downtown.  That is how strong the blast was.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of that terrible day.  But it also hi lights the strength, compassion and determination of the people of the state of Oklahoma where I was born and where my heart lies.  this strength, compassion and determination has been coined, “Oklahoma Standard”.  It is a standard by which the Oklahoma people live, love and thrive.  It is the never ending resilience of a community of people who time and time again pick themselves up and continue on, whether it is after this terrible domestic terrorist event remembered today, or after the unfathomable destruction of an F5 tornado.

I would hope that I never receive another phone call like that.  But if I do, I have the comfort to know that if it is regarding something in Oklahoma, I can count on the “Oklahoma Standard”.

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A Few Things On My Mind…

So I feel like sharing a bit. First of all, I think there are “crazies” on both sides of the fence, however I do think that maybe we are on our way to going to Hell in a handbasket…
I love America and I am proud to be an American. I think that…no…I know that there are those who live in other countries that give up everything they have in their homeland to come to America to try and live the rest of their lives here. I personally know a family, both were medical doctors, in the land of their birth, but gave it all up to come here. No matter what people may say, I know that America is where a lot of foreigners want to be. And, they are willing to do it legally. My friends actually had to win a lottery spot in their country to get their family here, and they did it all above board, legally. Oh…and they learned English…didn’t expect us to have to communicate in their native tongue.
So what is so bad about being rich? If you are smart enough, work hard enough, or are savvy enough to make it big, then good for you. I don’t think that the rich should be taxed any differently than anyone else. In fact I think a flat tax rate across the board would work for me. Then it would all be relative. If “the rich” are using loopholes to avoid paying taxes, then the loopholes need to be closed, taxes don’t need to be raised.
I also resent the stereotypical description that I keep hearing that Conservative Republicans are just old, white, rich people, who are not in touch with today’s world and they need to just get up with the times. I am a Republican and I know I am conservative. I know loads of Republicans, none of whom fit that description.
I think every state should pass the law that Oklahoma passed in May requiring a drug screen for illegal drug use when someone applies for state assistance, if they fail, no assistance.
I am sick to death that because I choose to be a Christian and believe in the words of the Bible, that I am supposed to be some closed-minded person, out of touch with the world today. In my opinion, the Bible is my guide-book and if something in the world changes, and it becomes the norm, it doesn’t make it any more right or wrong than it used to be.
I am sad that people have become so desensitized to really horrible things. Between movies, newscasts, books, video games, etc., things that used to cause someone to feel uncomfortable because it should, are hardly noticed anymore.
It makes me sick that men and women, in fact boys and girls today use such foul language in their everyday speech. It is bad enough in certain extreme situations, but to be out with my grandchildren and have people throwing F-bombs around with no regard, really says what this new world has come to. When I was reading what the public was writing on the tweets regarding the candidates running, so much of it was just cursing. I was always told that if you cursed, it was because you weren’t intelligent enough to get your message across.
Oh, I have more to say, and I will as my thoughts are gathered or as something strikes me…
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