Life on Oxygen

Hello, my name is Christine. I use oxygen 24/7 and I’m 44 years old. I didn’t always have to use oxygen. It all began when I was 17 years old. It was a monumental change in my life. Since I was just a teenager at the time, it hit me hard. I’m hoping with this blog that people who also use oxygen can see that life isn’t over just because you need oxygen. I think the hardest part for me was accepting that I’ll never live without it again. Once I jumped over that hurdle, life began to change. For the good.

So with this blog… and for all those who are interested in knowing how I live with oxygen needs, I’ll post what I know in hopes that it will help others. Spouses & families too! I am married and what I’ve gone through since I was 19 years old, he’s gone through too with me.

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Random Picture Day #12 – The Oasis

Living on Oxygen for Life

Here it is as promised! My little oasis. I really love it. It’s not fully decorated yet but the lights, fan, and mostly all of the furniture are on it. The furniture was a gift from my mother-in-law! Totally awesome of her. I think she understood what K was trying to do for me. We’ve had several neighbors stop by at night asking about our patio and its lights… even a car driving by slowed down and K could them say, “Oh my gosh.. would you like at that?” K was up on a latter hanging lights at the time.

Maybe you are wondering how this patio can help me. It’s an encouragement for me to get out of the house. It motivates me to keep taking care of my plants. K and I have a deal where I am the only one who water my plants. He bought me a Pocket Hose which is lighter than watering with a normal, heavy, hose or a watering can. Before you say it… I’ve yet to have trouble with the Pocket Hose since I don’t turn the water on full force and I also drain the water out of it when I’m done with it. By getting out there to tend to my plants, I get a little exercise as well as a sense of accomplishment of seeing my plants, trees and fruit grow. I can’t tell you what that does for me.

We just hung the party lights!

We just hung the party lights!

I don’t know if you can see it but there is a ceiling fan hanging. It’s turned on by remote. The ceiling fan was a must because K didn’t want me to get overly hot outside. The pergola has a Polygal covering which not only keeps the rain off the patio but it shields some of the harsh sun rays off.

My plants

My plants

Can you see my dwarf lemon and lime trees? Not shown in this picture are my apple tree, herb plants and my jalapeños. This gardening thing is fun but can sometime be frustrating since there are these little things call Avids. Grrr! I want to grow Spinach next!

And finally a picture of ME! This picture is of me on the day K and I took my mom back to the train station for her train ride home. I was thinking… “Awh ma…. do you really have to go home?” *wink* We had a great time watching lots of movies!

oh mom

Take care of yourself! Let me know if you have any questions about me for a blog post or for the Q&A page! I hope you got your flu shot already! *hugs* to you all!! Happy Halloween!

Word of warning! Save yourself the trouble.

Living On Oxygen for Life

Most of you know that I have this love/hate relationship with my darling/demon of a cat, Mary. She’s sweet, she’s cuddly but she’s also crafty in her attempts at plotting my demise by chewing holes in my oxygen tubing. But this isn’t what I’m wanting to talk to you about.

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What I want to talk to you about is something much more serious. I was watching TV one day when this commercial came on about this so called AWESOME new kitty litter that is soooo light weight. It’s made by Tidy Cat and surprisingly, it very light weight compared to their original Scoopable Litter. My cat is a strictly indoor cat. Although, lately, we’ve been letting Mary out on my new oasis of a patio (pictures coming soon!) to let her get some sun. You know how much cats love the sun! She NEVER roams because she so timid. We are luck in that because when we moved into this house, everyday for a while, a stray cat got hit in the street by a car in front of our house. It was very sad and I was thinking our house was a little cursed for a while. It was awful.

Anyway, I’m getting a little off topic. Sorry! This new cat litter that’s so light has a huge problem. The moment you stick that scoop into the litter, a cloud of dust rises. Let me tell you… for a person who has serious lung problems, this is the LAST thing I need to be doing. It got to the point where K had to take over this chore because no one, really, should be inhaling this stuff. So, if you have a cat and you are tempted to try it, DON’T! Save yourself the trouble of having to go out and buy better cat litter to change out your precious kitty’s potty box. Plus, it doesn’t hold in the stink either. UGH!

So be warned and breathe easy. *hugs* to you all!

Health Update..

Living on Oxygen for Life

Hello! I hope you read my last blog post and realized this is my health update. What’s crazy is that it seems like it’s been so long since I blogged last. What’s wrong with me??? My motivation has tanked badly but never fear. I am STILL here! I post on Facebook and Instagram. So, you can get a glimpse of my life that way. In fact, if you don’t have Facebook or Instagram, you can come to my blog and on the lower right side column you can see what I post in those two apps. I try to make it accommodating for those who do not wish to have FB or Instagram. I don’t want you to feel excluded. I love you all! haha! *hugs*

Ok Ok! I’ll get started already on my health update. Where should I begin? You probably already know that since August of this year, I have magically become Hyperthyroid. Don’t ask me how, because no one… I mean NO ONE knows for sure. One doctor says it’s from my heart medicine, the others think it could be hereditary through my father’s side. If it was caused by my heart medicine (Cordarone), I should be Hypothyroid which I am not. Before taking Opsumit, my TSH was teetering on the “Hypo” side and WHAM-O I’m Hyperthyroid. Confused yet? Yeah, join the club. *sigh*

So, for the last few months, I’ve been taking thyroid medicine. Cause you know that I love having to take just ONE MORE PILL! Oh wait, I take 3 of those pills a day. Ok Ok… 3 MORE PILLS a day! I had my annual physical last month and was thinking, hey the doctor can get all my thyroid blood tests done and all the other labs done all in one stick. Unfortunately, he only ordered the TSH and not the T3 and T4 labs. That’s what I get for assuming and not double checking with the doctor. I had to rush over to the lab again to get restabbed. Always a joy! *wink*

Needless to say, it took a crazy long time to get the lab results back for my thyroid. The T3 and T4 are finally within normal range. Hallelujah!! However, the TSH is still pretty low at .02. The Endocrinologist said it will take time to get my TSH back to where it belongs but she is hopeful that I will not have to be on a steroid medication. I am avoiding that. I don’t do well on oral steroids. It makes me swell up and retain water. I only do well on IV steroids. So, my doctor was REALLY hoping that my thyroid would respond to Methimazole (Tapazole) and because it’s responding, I’m to continue with the medication. Labs every two months and an appointment back with her in 4 months. She reminded me to call the pulmanologist if I have a fever and start feeling like I’m coming down with something (sore throat) so that I can have my white blood cells checked. Methimazole can affect the White Blood Count and leave you vulnerable to infections. Hooray!! This was especially nice to hear after the fact that I had a terribly sore throat last week. Since I’m always on top of these things, you can bet my phone was dialing my primary doctor before I even could say, “I better call my doctor for antibiotics!”

Now, you are probably wondering if this is overuse of antibiotics. For me? No way. I rarely have need of them because I’m very careful about my health and being around others who may be sick. In fact, I think I’ve only needed antibiotic about once a year and that’s precautionary. My lung volume is so low that I can’t wait long to see if I will recover from a sore throat. Why risk it? In the past, I’ve gone from sore throat to pneumonia overnight. Ask my mom, she’ll tell you. So not fun.

Now that I’ve been off Opsumit for two months, my breathing is no longer so labored when I do chores. That’s not to say that I don’t have shortness of breath while I vacuum a room. That’s a given but at least I’m not bent over gasping for air either. Thank you Jesus! I am definitely happier for that bit of mercy. I think some of this happiness comes from the oasis my husband had built for me. Our back patio is now where I can come outside and sit down to enjoy some outdoor peace. I will have to show you some pictures of it on my next Random Picture Day which will be soon.

Be well everyone! Take care of yourself. I hope you have a great Halloween! You can always reach me through my email at: goredrider@gmail.com

I finally watched the movie…

Living on Oxygen for Life

I learned, once again, two weekends ago that life is short. Even though someone may live to be 84 years old, when they pass away, time spent with them is never long enough. A celebration of life is what I experienced that weekend with all the love and memories shared between family and friends. It was sad but glorious to feel life of one person touch so many even after his passing. There is no doubt in my mind that his memory will live on forever.

My whole life I’ve wanted to do something or be someone who will be remembered forever. I wanted to be profound enough to be remembered by those who know me long after I’m gone, not just a blip on the radar and then gone. I think there is a little bit of this in all of us. Though it may sound pretty corny, but I didn’t realize until I watched the movie “The Fault in Our Stars,” that the one person who will remember me always, who will carry the memory of me and the one who knows me the most is K, my husband. I may have had a big battle of a story called life before I met him, but our lives together is the epic story we will carry of each other forever. The one that matters.

So, I finally watched the movie and I cried like crazy too. I tried not to be over critical about the girl portraying the Hazel Grace character who needed oxygen. She did a good job. However, from my experienced view, there were some things that could have been done differently to show the truer side of using oxygen. I know, it’s a movie for entertainment purposes but this is the one time and the one story that a lot of eyes were watching. I was wishing, at the beginning or end (or both!) of the movie, the director could have put that “Breathing through a straw for a whole minute” tutorial to show the audience what it’s like to experience shortness of breath.

I’m trying to figure out whether the movie The Fault of Our Stars was focused on A. The relationship between Hazel Grace and Augustus, B. The illnesses, or C. The thoughts people have when they realize their days are numbered. I think this would be a good book for kids to read and discuss in high school. It could teach them so much.

Be well everyone!!

Sleep… can you tell I’m not getting enough sleep?

Living On Oxygen for Life

I’ve decided to try my hand at creating something new. Want to see? Of course you do! Just keep in mind that I’ve never made one of these before. So, it may look a little amateurish.

Winter

I named her Winter. I’m currently trying to crochet a little sister for Winter. Hopefully, the little sister, which I think I will name Snow (nothing like Snow White! haha!) to carry on with the “Winter Theme.”

I got home about 2 hours ago from my doctor appointment for my annual physical where I spent at least an hour updating my Primary Care Physician on my current lab results, the previous doctor appointments with my other doctors (Endocrinologist & Pulmonary Hypertension), and I let him know about my future scheduled Heart cath in December (booooooo!!!). I admit. I’m not looking forward to that. I mean, who is, right? We also went over my physical lab results which showed that I still have Hyperthyroid. Darnit! Though, my doctor did say that it can take a long while for the medicine to work. Ugh! *banging head on table* Work already!

I don’t know about you but I have to be REALLY tired or sleepy to be able to fall asleep. I usually take Benadryl to help with that but I’m ready to try something new. I haven’t been getting much sleep for the last two weeks, especially the last 3 or 4 nights. I told my doctor about it. I do well on my Bipap that I use with oxygen. So, I’m pretty sure that’s good. I don’t think I’m ready for what my doctor suggested, which was Xanex. My lungs are so small and sensitive (I tested at 20% lung volume today which was a blow to my psyche) that I can’t take typical medicine for pain or seditives because they bother my breathing. My doctor suggested Melatonin. I’ve never tried it before. Little nervous. Anyone out there have experience with this stuff? Let me know.

Keep in touch, y’all! FOLLOW MY BLOG! Have questions about me? Email them to me and I’ll answer them on this blog… goredrider@gmail.com Stay well everyone! Don’t forget to get your flu shot. I just got mine today and it didn’t even hurt! I swear! I’m about to go for a nap because little ol’ me is going with K to the Dallas Stars opening hockey game tonight! Oh yeah! Go get ‘em Stars! Hey, maybe I’ll be on TV?!?!?! haha!

My thoughts about Enterovirus D68 & Ebola

Living On Oxygen for Life

Ebola is here. It’s in Texas and for the first time someone has come into the United States who appeared well but turned sick with Ebola. I’m sure every one has been glued to their TV to learn about this virus. I am concerned… yes, but I’m not afraid of Ebola because top doctors, CDC personnel, and many more are working very hard to contain the situation. I’m much more worried about the Enterovirus D68 that is now in Texas as well. I don’t mean to say this to start a panic but I have respiratory issues that, though they may not be in Asthmatic in nature or that the factor I am not a child, I still am concerned. I found an articled at Body and Health that states this:

Enterovirus D68 infections occur most frequently in summer and fall. Children under the age of 5 and children with asthma appear to be the most at risk of infection, but it can also affect adults with asthma and those that have weakened immune systems.

To allay my concerns, I will be asking my Primary Physician if I need to be extra careful even though I do not have asthma. After all, no question is a stupid question. I will also asking how often I need to be immunize against the Whooping Cough. I’ve had the shot once already because my doctor said that if a came down with Whooping Cough, I’d be in serious trouble with my lung so weak as they are.

Protect those precious lungs. :)

And so it begins…

Living On Oxygen for Life

That’s right… the sick season begins. I sure hope everyone has got their flu shot, pneumonia shot and now the pharmacy is even offering the Shingles shot. What the heck??? What if you have never even had Chickenpox yet? I’ve never had chickenpox. My two sisters have. I guess I was lucky that way. I still remember my mother telling not to go in my sisters’ room because they were sick. I was soooo bored!

Last weekend, K and I took his mom and his aunt to the airport. His aunt was coughing in my van and I was really nervous about what she could have. Do you ever get that way around someone who is coughing? With breathing problems, I react to people who seem sick by becoming instantly alert and analyzing the symptoms of someone who might be coughing. I even hold my breath if they cough around me and then I make a run for it! Seriously! I am out the door! See ya because I don’t want to be sick too.

Unfortunately, I was stuck in the van with all of us and I was secretly praying the whole time that she only had allergy problems. *please, please, please!* Hey, they do have allergy issues in the family. The problem that I have now is that K texted me from work stating that he is sick. UGH! Double crap!

I have not had my flu shot yet.. I plan to get it next week when I go in for my annual physical. K has not had his flu shot yet either. At least I feel fine and I plan to keep feeling well. I ran to the pharmacy to pick up what my pharmacist recommended for K to take. She said Zyrtec-D. So I picked up some of that in the generic form which is outrageously expensive for over-the-counter medicine and then I also got some other stuff as a back up. Every now and then K and I have strange reactions… as in when we sleep or get jittery during the day… when we take certain sinus medications. It’s good to have a few choices. I don’t want him wigged out at work. haha! That would not be good!

Take care of yourself. Be proactive. You know what the saying of “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” by Benjamin Franklin means, right?

I love hearing from you! I am wondering if you have any questions about me that you would like answered here on this blog. Are you curious about “Who is Christine?” If you’d like to ask a question to be answered by me and about me, email your question to goredrider@gmail.com and make the subject line: ASK CHRISTINE! If I get enough questions, I will answer them on my blog. Please keep all questions clean. Lots of love to you and stay well.