I’m moving my Need a Hug…

Living On Oxygen for Life

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve created a separate blog for the Need a Hug project that I do. I’m attempting to keep to create a home of its own to show you each afghan I create as I go along! I’ve uploaded every picture that I can find to that blog. If you have received on of my afghans and would like your picture on the Need a Hug blog, email me at goredrider@gmail.com

I’d love to show others how much people enjoy the afghans and lapghans that I send. Naturally, I don’t post any picture that I receive with your express permission. You know how I feel about privacy. So, take a look at my newest blog at Need a Hug Project. It’s REALLY new… so please follow if you’d like. *hugs* Thanks everyone! I also post on my GoFundMe page! Thank you so much for the generous donations I’ve received!!!

Love to you all!!!

Random Picture Day #14

Living On Oxygen for Life

I had a very exciting 4th of July weekend. My older sister came down for a visit and Saturday, we all went to her in-law’s house to watch the fireworks display while sitting on a lawn chair on the sidewalk. How awesome is that? They had great food and HOMEMADE ice cream (two flavors… chocolate or raspberry). I was in ice cream heaven for a little while. Yum! While we waited for the Fort Worth firework show to start, the kids lit the sparklers and my niece (who’s 5 years old) had a hay day with the snaps that you throw on the ground and they pop like a fire cracker. K was so funny. Every time she threw one near him, he acted all scared and jumped and screeched. Oh the joys from the laughter she makes. Even though I had a LOT of fun, the fireworks smoke and the humidity became too much for me. I had to go inside after the show was over. When I got home, I was feeling it badly. Sunday, I got up to see off my sister & her family and after that.. it was a blur… We crashed for about 4 hours. A five year old can really wear you out!! Sheesh! Once again, Miss C, told me that she still has the little canula tubing that I gave her when she was about 2 years old. So sweet and precious.

I’ve been pretty busy lately with gardening, crocheting, and working on a new adventurous project involving my rubber chicken, Klondike. Maybe you’ve heard? You can read about it here. So, I’ve been getting him prepared to leave and head to my sister’s house so that he may continue on to PARIS, FRANCE!!! I’m gathering things that he might need for the trip…. He’s getting really excited and I don’t blame him one bit. *wink* I just think that this is such a sweet thing my sister is doing for me. Here’s what I have so far!

Passport with Klondike's picture, Mad Money, a Beret and matching scarf.

Passport with Klondike’s picture, Mad Money, a Beret and matching scarf.

I’m also having some gardening luck this year. I actually have 3 whole lemons growing! *shocker* It’s the first year since I’ve had the Meyer Lemon dwarf tree that it’s produced fruit. Hey, maybe they will be edible! One could only hope.

July2015_Lemons

Next is my raised flower bed that I got for last Christmas. My spinach didn’t make it… bummer… but my yellow onions, garlic, chives & basil all are growing well. It’s my first time growing onions and garlic. I hope they survive because I’m really getting into fresh food. I can’t believe how much tastier a recipe is with fresh garlic. I mean, wow! hehe!

July2015_garden

The other thing I’ve been working super hard on is sending out Need a Hug afghans. I love doing this. If you need a hug and have trouble breathing, you email me! goredrider@gmail.com It’s free thanks to some really wonderful and generous donors. Here’s the afghan that I just sent out last week. My current afghan that I’m working on is going to Illinois!

June 2015 Need a Hug Afghan

June 2015 Need a Hug Afghan

I hope everyone is doing well this Summer. *HUGE HUGS* I love hearing from you. Be well! Sign up to follow my blog so you won’t miss any of the exciting things I write… even Klondike’s adventure! YAY!

[2015]

I can’t believe it… but I should have..

Living On Oxygen for Life

I use a splitter to connect an oxygen concentrator and a 100 lb liquid oxygen reservoir together to provide me with 6 LPM of oxygen to conserve my liquid oxygen. I have my refill days for my liquid oxygen on Wednesdays. So, on the 3rd of June I had my tanks refilled. For some reason, since then, I had been feeling sluggish, tired, worn down more than usual. I thought maybe Mary, my cat, may have chewed kitty holes in my tubing again. So, I checked my tubing multiple times and there were no holes. Then I checked the green Christmas tree that connects my tubing to the reservoir tank to see if it was screwed on tightly… it was. Figures, right? I mean, it couldn’t have been THAT easy!

Now, I know it’s been raining like a monsoon here in Texas and it has taken its toll on my breathing but it has stopped raining.. *YAY!* and that couldn’t be the reason since I’ve been staying indoor as much as I’ve needed to be. Was my breathing getting worse? I was really worrying and so was K. I was using my inhaler, taking my diuretics as prescribed but I still felt puffy and so short of breath. It just wasn’t normal for me. I certainly didn’t want to call my PH doctor.

As my last ditch effort, and almost by fluke of chance while I was filling my portable with liquid oxygen to go to a doctor appointment, I decided to switch the reservoirs (I have two 100 lb tanks) to join with my concentrator. What could hurt, right? When I pulled my tubing off my reservoir to switch them around, I noticed something weird. The one I was about to switch out wasn’t putting out oxygen even though it was almost full. So what that means was that I was only using half of the oxygen I needed for 3 days. Once I connected the other reservoir to the concentrator, I started to breathe much better and now I feel like myself again. I understand now why my sleep, short of breath, and energy level was so bad.

From now on, I’m going to start checking the flow from both tanks when I get my reservoirs refilled. Equipment can fail and I will be reporting this come Monday so that I can get a replacement.

In other news, I’ve been crocheting like crazy! I have a box nearly ready to send out to a preteen girl who is awaiting a double lung transplant. I’m including a secret gift that I can’t tell you what it is until after she receives it. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I have another box about to be sent out to Michelle & then one to Sara. After that, I’ll be trying to finish up my daisy afghan to go to the next recipient, Vincent. I couldn’t do this without the generous donations going to my GoFundMe.com/helpneedahug. Read how you can receive a Need a Hug afghan if you have breathing problems and need a hug.

I hope you are having a great weekend!!! *hugs*

May Update 2015

Living On Oxygen for Life

You may have heard of all the rain Texas has been getting over, what seems like, the longest month of May in history. Even my garden plants have developed a fungus on the leaves. I’m hoping I can salvage the vegetable garden I’ve put a lot of work on.

It’s been extremely humid here and that has taken a huge toll on my breathing and energy level… not to mention triggering a number of migraines. When I get this way, I tend to get in a funk. I hate funks! So, if you’ve noticed me being pretty quiet on my blog lately, that’s why. I was getting a bit of the funk. Even the kitchen reno has taken a pause. Yikes! That’s scary!

But slowly I’m coming back around… that fun, personable, groovy self that you all know and look forward to hearing from, right? haha!

On May 22, 2015, I had my Pulmonary Hypertension appointment where I was hoodwinked into doing a 6 – minute walk. Darn those doctors!!!! I have no idea how far I walked. I forgot to ask. I walked with 6 LPM of oxygen and still felt really winded. Oh well.. better luck next time, right? I don’t pay much attention to the results anyway. They are way too easy to skew the results. hehe! Even K thinks so. We had a fun discussion about that.

After the PH appointment, I had my CT Scan on my heart. It was to measure my ascending aorta (my aorta aneurysm — it sounds more dramatic saying aorta aneurysm!). My Cardiologist measured it with a Echocardiogram at 5.1cm late last month, which TOTALLY freaked me out. At 5.5cm, he would order a stint. But, he wanted the CT done because my heart is positioned in a way that it’s difficult to measure.

I have to tell you that I was pretty stressed over it. I wanted to know the size of it, right NOW! Luckily, with a bunch of people thinking about and praying for me, all has ended much better that I could hope for. Thank you so so so much, y’all! Much love to you! The CT Scan came back with the measurement of 4.3cm which is significantly lower but still considered dilated. My Cardiologist will continue to monitor it annually or semi-annually. It’s just so weird because I don’t have a reason for this aneurysm to happen.

I did get to go to Oklahoma to see my niece in her first ever dance recital and on the way (I drove alone!), I nearly had ANOTHER blowout with a tire that looked almost brand new. I had to pull off the highway because my van was making a really weird noise. When I looked, I couldn’t see the missing tread because it must have been on the bottom of the tire. That’s got to be Murphy’s Law! Thankfully, I was very close to my sister’s house and my brother-in-law handled it from there. This is a prime example of why we have AAA.com.

May has been a very trying time interspersed with a bit of joy. Just when we thought everything was going well in the beginning of the month, our heat pump (a/c) died and we had to get it replaced. That was NO FUN! But I did set up a donation GoFundMe account so that I can continue to create and send FREE of all charges crocheted afghans and lapghans to those who have breathing problems. This project has been so important to me. I recently sent out an afghan this month and will be sending out a few more within the next couple of weeks. It really keeps me busy and makes me feel happy to spread joy and comfort to those who need a hug and reminded that we all care about what they are going through. I want them to know that they’re not alone. So check out the Need a Hug tab above to see how you can qualify to receive a special made afghan/lapghan. Or, if you can spread the word about donating to this great cause, please do! www.gofundme.com/HelpNeedaHug. I keep this page updated as much as possible.

Have a great day everyone!

Congratulations to the newest recipient…

Living On O2 for Life

I wish to thank everyone who have generously donated to the Need a Hug project that I love doing. It’s where I crochet afghans/lapghans for those who have breathing problems. I’m posting today to let the newest recipient know that, all he needs to do is email me his mailing address, so that I may send him an afghan! YAY Tom Witterbottom! Email me at goredrider@gmail.com

If you have breathing problems and need a hug… email me your name, mailing address and why you have breathing problems. Those of us who have breathing difficulties understand first hand how we can have off days and just need a hug to get us through the day.

Need a Hug is funded by wonderfully generous donations from people who really care about what you are going through. It doesn’t cost you a thing.

Please spread the word about Need a Hug so that I keep it going and make many people happy by wrapping them in an afghan hug.

I will be posting soon about living on oxygen again. Love to you all!

Need a Hug Update…

Living On O2 for Life

Just a quick update for those who have been thinking about donating to my Need a Hug project. If you would prefer to donate through the mail with a money order, I now have a P.O. Box address. Please email me for the address if you’d prefer to donate by mail. goredrider@gmail.com

I won’t post the address on my blog for personal privacy issues but if you will request it by email, I will let you know what it is. *hugs* to you all!

I want to publicly thank everyone who have already donated and are intending to donate to this awesome cause. Your generosity is much appreciated!

Love to you all…

Christine

Need a Hug Continues…

Living On Oxygen for Life

Good afternoon everyone! I LOVE to crochet as one of my many hobbies. Last year, [2014], I made it my New Year’s Resolution to crochet many lapghans/afghans to just give away to those who have breathing problems all at my expense. My afghans have reached out to people who live in New Zealand, the UK, Canada, and various places in the U.S.A. My goal with sending these afghans was and still is to give the recipient a HUG and to let them know that someone cares about them. So, I named the project: NEED A HUG giveaway.

Now that it’s 2015, I have decided to continue this project but I need help to buy the yarn and pay for the shipping. That’s where your help comes in. My goal is to make this more of a community feeling of reaching out to give HUGS to those who have trouble breathing. If you’ve experienced breathing problems, you know just how difficult life can be. So, with your help, let’s send warm hugs to them. *hugs* These breathing problem can be anything such as: Asthma, Restrictive Lung Disease, Pulmonary Hypertension, COPD, and so many more that it would take forever to list. Even people who use a Bipap or a CPap can be a recipient. My goal is to make your sad day better, to wrap you in a warm hug with one of my afghans, and to remind you that people care about you.

I have opened a GoFundMe account to help with the cost of only Yarn and Shipping in order to continue the Need a Hug giveaway. So, please tell your friends and family about this project. All money donated will only be spent on the purchase of yarn and shipping expenses. If you feel the urge to donate to this project, you can do so at: Help Need a Hug.

If you would like to enter the Need a Hug giveaway, please email me at: goredrider@gmail.com and include your name, address, and a brief bio of why you have breathing problems. I will make them and give them away in order I receive the entries. It generally takes me 3 to 4 weeks to make one afghan. So, please have patients. *HUGS* to you all!!!

I just want everyone to know that if you don’t have the funds to donate, please don’t. If you do have the funds, any amount of help is appreciated… whether it’s a $1, $5, or whatever… I’m not doing this to profit. Whether or not you donate, you can still enter yourself in the Need a Hug giveaway.

needahug2015

gofundmepic

photo-7

August & September Need a Hug Giveaway Afghan

August & September Need a Hug Giveaway Afghan

June 2014  Need a Hug giveaway

June 2014
Need a Hug giveaway

January 2014 Giveaway Lapghan Deadline for entries is January 31. Drawing on February 1, 2014.

January 2014 Giveaway Lapghan
Deadline for entries is January 31.
Drawing on February 1, 2014.

AfghanGiveaway

3 inch granny square afghan.

3 inch granny square afghan.

photo-11

SpringAfghan

Afghan for a Friend

Mother-in-Law Afghan

Afghan #1

A better than expected day!

Living On Oxygen for Life

Today has been awesome! I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished today. I started the day with taking my diuretic which is alway super fun. haha! But, before it kicked in, I gave my friend a jingle on the phone. She’s a super fun person who knows that we both can vent our frustrations when the needs arise. I think every person needs a friend or two like this. Someone you can trust. After throwing myself through the shower, I went to Walmart… partly for food but really I want MORE YARN! I use any excuse to get more yarn. Who are we kidding, right? *wink* Mainly because I love crocheting but the real reason is because I’ve decided to continue with the Need a Hug give away. I have the next name selected and her name is Jennifer H. Please email me at goredrider@gmail.com with your address… so that I can mail the afghan to you.

After I got home from Walmart, I actually was able to unload and put away all the food myself… K was at his mom. Also, I wanted to do it to show him that I can still handle a partial grocery run on my own. It felt good to do it and be successful and yes, I bought myself some ice cream as a reward. It just wasn’t Blue Bell. *pout* I miss you Blue Bell!!!! I can’t put into words how awesome that ice cream is. Trust me. It’s great! Today, I bought Blue Bunny. The name is close and it even tastes pretty good too.

I couldn’t believe that I still had energy left after the grocery and yarn run. So, I went to K’s mom’s house where several family members met over there to work on her patio re-build. It was fun but I got a splinter when I tried to help K for a minute doing something super simple and I declared that that was enough manual labor for me! Besides it was getting too warm for me and I was starting to get a little sunburned. Not good. So I came home.

Now it’s time to take the evening diuretics. Yay and yippee for me! *blah* It never ends. hehe! So here I am, blogging to you. I have decided to announce the newest, selected winner for the “Need a Hug” giveaway. I have 3 people left from the 2014 giveaway. I plan to open a GoFund Me account to help fund the shipping costs and yarn. If you would like to contribute to this fund, please know that it is appreciated (It’s not set up yet!). All of 2014, I funded this projected from my own money. It was SO worth it to me to hear about the happiness from the recipients. I’ve thought long and hard about opening a GoFund Me account. I really want to continue this project but if you can NOT afford to contribute to this fund, DO NOT contribute… maybe your friends or family can! It will have no bearing on whether or not you can enter the giveaway. After all, the point of this project is to spread HUGS and Happiness.

In other news, my magnolia tree is blooming. K and I planted the tree when we first moved into our house. It started out as a 6 foot tree but now it looks as if it’s about 15 feet tall now.

My Magnolia Tree

I hope everyone will continue to follow my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. I really enjoy hearing from you. Email me… don’t be shy! *HUGS*

[May 2015]

Need a Hug?

Living On Oxygen for Life

Ohmygoodness… It’s Monday and the day needs to have some good news in it. Right? YAY! Of course I’m right. Well, let’s get on with the good news part. I’m so excited!!! Now I know you all thought the “Need a Hug” giveaway was over… and you are correct. In a way. What I mean is, for those of you who sent me an email saying that you need a HUG and want to participate in the giveaway… well, your name is STILL in handy-dandy heart-shaped crystal dish waiting for an afghan to be made JUST FOR YOU! Entries for this giveaway were accepted from January 1, 2014 thru December 31, 2014.

I’ve always loved handmade gifts. I think they are extra special. It means someone put a lot of effort and love into making it just for me. These afghans are handmade for the soul purpose of wrapping you up in hug on the days when you need a little extra boost. Below is the picture of the 3 afghans I’m ready to send out. The monochrome one is my favorite! After these are sent out, I have 4 names left.

3 Need a Hug Afghans

I have been incredibly busy lately painting, painting, and more painting in our house. I’m so tired of painting. I have to do it slowly but I NEVER thought I would be a lot faster at painting than K. He paints at the speed of a snail. He’s a perfectionist (OCD) but that’s not saying that I want to do a sloppy job. It’s like… come on… put a pep in your step mister! haha! Sorry, that was my complaint for the day. We use Valspar the higher grade and I seem to do well with the lower smell of this paint until I’m in a corner where there’s little airflow. Then, K is turning on fans, opening windows (even when it’s cold outside) and I’m taking a layer of clothes off down to my t-shirt & sweats. Painting makes me really hot because I’m burning energy and my heart races. So, I paint some and then rest some.

I hope all of you are having a great day and a great beginning to the week. Stay well and if it’s still cold where you live… I’m so so sorry. *sending warm Texas breezes your way!* And as always, you can reach me via email: goredrider@gmail.com or Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (not so much on Twitter!).

[2015]

A lot of catching up to do…

Living On Oxygen for Life

I can’t express to you enough how crazy the month of August had been and it seems to be overflowing into September. I had a LOT of doctor appointments last month and there wasn’t a week where I didn’t have at least one appointment. This month has been a little better but the doctors now think it’s ok to call to tell me that they have to reschedule my appointment because they need to be out of town or whatever. I don’t know if they even realize that K has to take off from work to be able to drive me to these appointments. It’s not like he can take off willy-nilly at a spur of the moment. Unless it’s an emergency (like really an EMERGENCY), he needs to give his job a two weeks heads-up. These Dallas appointments and the actual emergency trip to the ER and my admittance to the hospital in Dallas last month is starting to really burn up K’s sick leave.

Now, that’s not to say that I can’t drive myself to the local doctor appointments except for the one’s where I’m having the nerves in my neck cauterized to help with migraine headaches. I’m not allowed to drive myself for those. In fact, until I get my breathing and my thyroid problems under control, I’m postponing the final cauterizing appointment. I just don’t need the added stress of the procedure.

The thyroid medicine that I’m taking has still not stabilized my thyroid level yet. It’s getting me really frustrated. We still don’t know for sure what caused my thyroid to act up. I had all sorts of tests in the hospital. I’m hoping it’s going to be a temporary thing and then go back to being at a normal level. The sooner the better! haha!

Today I have a Pulmonary Hypertension doctor appointment. I’m back on Tracleer; still on the half dose for the next 2 weeks. Then I get bumped up to full dose at 125mg twice a day. I chose to switch back to Tracleer because it’s the evil I know whereas I think (my personal opinion) that the Opsumit was the culprit causing the breathing, low potassium, body pain and thyroid problems. That is too many things happening out of the blue, in such a short time span, to make me think that Opsumit is doing something to me. However, I could be wrong. I’m pretty frustrated that I left the hospital with just the diagnosis of being Hyperthyroid. They wanted to blame it on my heart medicine (Cordarone) which is understandable but my Primary Care doctor was saying that he thinks Cordarone can cause “Hypothyroid” not “hyperthyroid.” So, he’s going to look that up. He’s on the case! Though, he doesn’t want to step on the toes of the Dallas doctors.

Another thing that bothers me is that while I was in the ER they drew labs and the results showed the ALT and AST functions were high which have never been that way for me in the past. These show how your liver is doing. Not once did they tell me this. I had to find out by requesting a copy of my labs. When I brought it up with them via email, they said they weren’t worried about it because the labs I took 3 weeks later were normal. My question is: Why were they abnormal in the hospital? and How long had they been abnormal before that?

Ok, I’ll calm down now and tell you how my week went with my mom since she came for a visit this week. I had a really good time with her. She doesn’t move very fast. So we could relate to each other really well. She transplanted the flowers I brought home from the hospital for me. She’s a great gardener! We had a fun competition of doing Sudoku puzzles. She is definitely better than I am. I guess she thinks faster than me. haha! It’s ok… we had fun. K and I are going to have her come down often because she can ride on the train now. YEA!

I do want to mention that there is a “Need a Hug” giveaway going on right now! The deadline is September 12th! Go here: Read how you can enter to win a Need a Hug afghan!

FOLLOW MY BLOG via email. I don’t want you to miss out of all the fun adventures I have while living on oxygen! Stay well!

The winner of the “Need a Hug” giveaway…

Living On Oxygen for Life

Yep! A name has been drawn and notified. Don’t forget that I will continue to create these “Need a Hug” afghan/lapghans until the end of 2014. I’m still thinking about continuing the “Need a Hug” program into the next year. I create these afghans and send them out of the joy of knowing someone who receives them knows that someone is thinking and caring about them. The expense is a factor in my decision on whether or not I can continue into the next year. I’ve actually thought about opening a GoFundMe account for donations but I feel really weird about that. If I did that, part of the funds could go to raise awareness of Pulmonary Hypertension.

Pulmonary Hypertension is an incurable disease and I have it as do many people. If you want to read about Pulmonary Hypertension, there’s a great website filled with all the information you need to learn…. Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

June 2014  Need a Hug giveaway

June 2014
Need a Hug giveaway

What do you mean 24/7?

Living On Oxygen for Life

I’m trying to think back to how long I’ve used oxygen 24/7. That’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s been many, many years. Let me think…It was definitely after I got married. Though I was still on oxygen. I started when I was 17 years old. But, I started using oxygen 24/7 in probably 1993. Ok Wow! That’s 21 years. Yep, I just did the math. It’s amazing, right? This shows us that we really can live a long time even though we need supplemental oxygen. I keep looking at that 21 years and it’s making me smile. All the fun, goofy things I’ve done and all the adventures I’ve been on over these past 21 years have been so crazy fun.

When I say that I use oxygen 24/7, I mean that I’m always using oxygen whether it’s to water my plants outside or taking a shower. I get in a swimming pool, put make up on, clean the house, and basically everything else a person has to do to live and have fun. I don’t worry about being in water with my oxygen on. Water won’t get into the tube. If I’m using my portable and I’m at the beach, I put my portable oxygen tank in a plastic bag. My husband digs a hole in the sand and drops the portable that’s in the bag into the hole and then covers it with a towel. I use a 25 to 50 foot tubing attached to my portable tank and then I wade out into the water! It’s so fun but I have to be really careful to make sure no one else who’s on the beach trips over my tubing. We usually pick a spot on the beach where no one else is around or go to the beach early in the morning or late in the evening. If there are a lot of people on the beach, K will hold my portable, take my hand and walk me out into the ocean so that I can get in the water. I do NOT swim. I’m totally scared of water. I drowned once when I was about 2 years old and I think that has A LOT to do with why I have a massive phobia about water. It’s really inconvenient because I think swimming looks really relaxing. Though, I will float in a blown up tube!

I do take my oxygen off when people are taking my picture but not always. I’m not able to stay off my oxygen for more than a few minutes without really suffering from my oxygen desaturating.

I’ve been so busy lately. K and I are having a few things done on our house and it’s taken up so much of my time that I’ve not been able to blog lately. Hopefully with most of the house projects finished, I will be back in action again on my blog. I do apologize. I have been on Facebook, email, and Instagram because I can write from my phone and iPad. So, I’m still here!

My newest “Need a Hug” giveaway is posted! The deadline to enter for the afghan is June 30th, 2014 at midnight. I hope you will enter! Lots of love to you all!

I want to share this song with you… my friends!

Why can’t people understand?

Living On Oxygen for Life

You try hard to lead a normal life. Whether or not you need that supplemental oxygen is beside the point. You still have trouble breathing. Still have trouble going throughout your day getting things done at a pace that is slower now than what you were able to do before. There are always going to be those people who will never completely understand that you are NOT lazy. They may never try to fully understand that you just have problems breathing or have heart problems.

Years ago it made me frustrated. It made me want to say, “If you could walk a day in my shoes.” If they did that, I think they’d understand really quickly. I’ve said this to my husband. I’ve also said, “Just try for one day to wear a canula and carry that portable around in public. Or use a spare 50ft tubing and wear that with the other end attached to a doorknob for one whole day.” I just wanted him to try this… to try anything so that he could understand what I go through from my point of view.

It’s not easy being attached to a 50ft tube and also run the vacuum cleaner.. never mind the fact that I get short of breath while doing it. I’m constantly aware of where the tubing and the power cord is in regards to the vacuum so that I don’t run over either one. It’s tiring. No, it’s exhausting work to just vacuum one room let alone the whole house.

I’m not writing this to complain. I’m writing this post to let you know that people will never fully understand what we go through unless they go through it too. I didn’t say they wouldn’t be compassionate about it though.

It took my husband a while to let it sink in that I had to slow down and even stop working. It took an emergency admission to the hospital before I saw a chink in his denial armor. He didn’t want to see my health getting worse. He wanted the girl with whom he fell in love. That girl is still in me. She just moves a little slower.

I’m married to a great guy who pushes me to do more and over the years he’s learned what my limits are where my health and energy is concerned. He walks slower when I need to slow down. He finds a place for me to sit down to rest when in the mall. He always carries my portable oxygen when we are together. By doing these simple things for me, he knows that my energy will last longer and we’ll have more fun. Also, by doing these things, it tells me that he understands the struggle of what I’m going through and that he cares to make it easier for me.

I’d like give a shout out to a very courageous young lady who I know. She has Cystic Fibrosis. A little over a year ago she was very close to dying. She underwent a double lung transplant and is now enjoying life again. She’s decided to start writing a blog about her experience. Please check out her wonderful blog. You can find it at: Living the Unexpected Life.

Check out the Need a Hug Page on my blog (look above) to see how you can enter my next giveaway!!! The picture of the afghan to be given away has been posted on the Need a Hug page. Enter now! Deadline for this giveaway is June 30th, 2014 at midnight CST.

Don’t forget to follow me by blog, Facebook or Instagram. Links to these are at the right side of this blog. Thanks y’all! Lots of love to you!

Doctor appointment & medicine update!

Living On Oxygen for Life

I’ve been keeping myself busy with my fun garden which I’m growing in pots near the back door of my house. I’ve added more herbs and I’ve attempted strawberries but I think only one strawberry plant has survived. My raspberries tastes awesome! I’ve not given up hope yet! The day is so beautiful outside. So, my windows and back door are open until it starts heating up to the point I can no longer stand the heat. I’m sure it won’t be long. After all, I live in Texas. But all that aside, I wanted to tell you that yesterday I went to a new doctor. He’s a cardiac electrophysiologist. I sure hope I got his title right! His title takes up the whole left side of his doctor coat with the MD and PhD added to it.

The big reason I chose to go to this new doctor was because of the current cardiac medicine that I’m taking and have been taking for the past 20+ years. It’s called Cordarone (or amiodarone HCl). This medicine is used specifically for ventricular arrhythmias. It also has a pretty bad side effect of possible Pulmonary Fibrosis. I have been very lucky to not have developed this so far… but my ability to breathe has been getting worse over the years and really, I don’t want to be taking a medicine that could potentially be harming my lungs. That is why I went to see this doctor. I wanted to know if there were any new medications out that I could take for my arrhythmia problem.

Luckily for me, there is a new medicine out and of course, wouldn’t you know it… it’s a “Specialty” drug called Tikosyn. Not only that, to be able to start taking this medicine, I will have to stop taking my Cordarone for two weeks and then be admitted to the hospital for three days. It’s the only way the doctors allow patients to start this medicine. It’s because the patient has to be connected to an EKG to be monitored to determine the correct dose and to make sure the person’s body will tolerate the medication. The patient information packet that I was sent home with to study was geared towards people who are diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation/Atrial Flutter (AF/AFL). That confused me because I have what I’ve been told is called Ventricular Tachycardia. Once I figured out that Tikosyn is a general purpose Arrhythmias drug, it only made me feel a tiny bit more comfortable with the possibility of this drug. It’s all a little scary to me. I haven’t decided on if I will do it but I’m leaning towards it. K is letting me decide this but I think we are both playing this off as a possible mini-vacation for him. LOL! Don’t get me wrong! He will be worried about me. He’s a great man.

Right now, I’m trying not to think about it other than for this post on my blog. I just thought you’d like to know what’s going on. I’m also still on the new PH medication called Opsumit (macitentan). I am doing a lot better on this go around. I had taken this medicine for the first time only for a week when I must have developed a sinus infection and had to stop the medicine for a whole week. I’m now restarted on Opsumit and am on the 5th day with no serious sinus problems and only a twinge of a bad headache occasionally. I think I will be okay on this stuff. If it helps my aorta artery and my breathing ability, then it will be worth it. Plus, there is the bonus of only needing to get lab work done once every three months now. That rocks!

I’m so looking forward to heading to Oklahoma to see my family. That means if I decide to try Tikosyn, it won’t be until sometime in June, after having all the fun I can have with my family. Besides, I don’t want to be off Cordarone while away from home and away from my doctors. To me, that’s risking a little too much. I’ll play it safe!

Don’t forget to follow my blog so you won’t miss anything! I haven’t forgotten the “Need a Hug” giveaway! I’m making the afghan and it will be finished very soon! I will get a preview picture up soon. Here are the pictures I took of my garden this morning. What do you think?

Herb garden in a pot with: chives, lemon thyme, spearmint, lemon balm & peppermint.

Herb garden in a pot with: chives, lemon thyme, spearmint, lemon balm & peppermint.

Newest herbs in my 5-in-1 dwarf apple tree pot: basil, cilantro, & dill.

Newest herbs in my 5-in-1 dwarf apple tree pot: basil, cilantro, & dill.

Tomato plant and jalapeño plant (can't wait to make salsa!)

Tomato plant and jalapeño plant (can’t wait to make salsa!)

For the disabled…

Living On Oxygen for Life

handicap

I was out at a doctor’s office and K parked the van in a handicap parking space because I have difficulty walking from the parking lot to the building. It’s a longer than average walk to the doctor’s office compared to walking from a restaurant parking lot… just to give you a comparison. K takes out the wheelchair from the back of the van and puts the legs on and then pushes it to my side of the van for me to hop in my four-wheelin’ ride! Woohoo! Look at me go! Now I don’t always use the wheelchair but I do always use my oxygen. So, when you see me pulling into a handicap parking space and I slap up my handicap placard on my rearview mirror, you would see that I’m obviously disabled in someway. Right? I mean, it’s pretty darn obvious now-a-days with the oxygen canula and all.

However, my “disability” hasn’t always been so obvious. Even though I still had all those internal medical conditions, it wasn’t until just before I quit working that I applied for a handicap placard for my vehicle. I wasn’t using oxygen 24/7 at the time and when I used the placard that I had EVERY right to use, I felt weird about it because I didn’t LOOK obviously handicap. But, do I quit using it and subject my heart to the extra stress from the exertion of walking from a further parking spot? You know me… I’m a rebel! I didn’t care what others could possibly think of me. I did what was right for ME.

Getting a handicap placard isn’t as easy as getting a can of soda from a vending machine. Though, sometimes even that can be a pain in the butt! *bang* *bang* *bang* Give me my soda!!!. It’s not like you walk up to the counter and say, I want a handicap placard. You have to have a doctor approve of it first by filling out paperwork. Yuck! Paperwork! There are temporary placards and permanent placards. Temporary are for those who have temporary ailments that will last a short time.. like a broken leg or toe. A permenant placard is for people who have permanent disabilities on a long term status. Even permanent disabled placards need to be renewed every 5 years.

Before I was able to post this entry on my blog, one of my readers, Nicole, had written an EXCELLENT letter to her newspaper that they published. The letter is titled: Not all disabilities are visible. I think this letter speak of all people who do not have a visible disability but still need a handicap placard. I highly recommend everyone to read it. Nicole… YOU GO GIRL!!! Lots of love to you!

Don’t be afraid to use your handicap placard. You have it for a reason. Use it to help your body.

I will be having another “Need a Hug” afghan giveaway in May. If you would like to enter that drawing, please click on the above “NEED A HUG” menu link to read what you need to include in your email to me. You can email me anytime at goredrider@gmail.com to enter before the giveaway has started. Take a minute to sign up to follow my blog so you won’t miss a thing! Life is good and Summer is finally showing itself here. It’s getting pretty hot! I planted my tomato plant and a jalepeno plant just yesterday. My raspberry bush has tiny raspberries already!!! I’m SOOO excited! I hope they don’t die. I’m a first-timer gardener. Be well everyone!