Happy September!!

Living On Oxygen for Life

Happy September everyone! I’m super excited! First because it’s September! Second because it’s almost my birthday. Third because it’s almost my 25th wedding anniversary! And fourth because, well, it’s almost Christmas!!! haha! Here in Texas the heat of the summer is starting to cool down. Unfortunately, a hurricane hit. It’s very sad. People are struggling to clean up the mess after realizing everything they owned is ruined or washed away. It’s most likely going to go down in the books as the worst hurricane disaster in the United States’ history. Hurricane Harvey dumped 25 trillion gallons of rain on Houston and the Southeast area of Texas. Please donate to Red Cross Organization if you can. God bless Texas.

I have been away from blogging for a bit (2 months!) and for that, I’m super sorry. I have been going through some health changes that needed some “lifestyle” adjustments (again)… which blows… However, I’m here now, ready to entertain you once again with my exciting life of living on oxygen. So, let’s begin! YAY!

Today, I went to my doctor appointment. As the nurse weighed me, she asked if I wanted to get my flu shot today. I was like, “What? You have them already???” [insert confused, surprised look on my face] I normally get my flu shot in October. Not that I find it superstitious to wait until October, but it’s always been my thing. Ok, maybe it’s a little superstitious. hehe! I could get it now but I don’t want to feel tired and achy around my birthday and 25th wedding anniversary. So, I’ll wait until next month. I never miss getting my flu shot. It really helps!

If you can get a flu shot, do it, but I know some people have negative reactions to them. Be extra diligent about washing hands after touching things in public.

As I was driving home from the doctor’s office, I was looking at the gas stations. They still have no gas in them. Some have diesel fuel left but not unleaded. A lot of people panicked and ran out to get their gas tanks topped off, filled up and some even filled a gas can the last few days. Now, no one has gas left. I’m sitting on just under a quarter of tank of gas. K’s car had a quarter tank left this morning but I’m not sure if he’ll have enough to get to work tomorrow. I hope gas comes soon. It’s starting to freak me out.

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2015 Happy Jar Revealed…. she opens the jar!

Living On Oxygen for Life

Happy Jar

Happy Jar

This post is more about becoming more motivated about living life while on oxygen. It has shown me that even though my year was filled with challenges, I still had many happy moments to add to my Happy Jar.

This is the happy jar that I made for my 2015 Happy Jar project. I filled it with written down happy moments that happened for me throughout the year. I’m now reusing this jar for my all-exciting happy moments of this year [2016]. If you’d like to read about what Happy Jars are used for, click and read my post that I wrote titled, Happy New Year!! It’s nearly 2015!.

Today, I dumped out the 2015 happy moments and started to read through them. Last year was a tough year for me. I struggled with motivation and breathing problems. With all of that going on, I didn’t think that I had slipped very many “happy” moments in my Jar. As I read through the “moments,” I found myself smiling while I remembered the fun and exciting times I had. This “Happy Jar” has been a great idea! In fact, I’m hoping to fill it up this year!

I hope you created one for yourself last year with me. If you didn’t, start one now! It’s not too late. You don’t have to be super creative with your jar. Mine is a clean Spaghetti sauce jar that I ran through the dishwasher and then painted and used polymer clay to decorate it. Give it a try and do it your way!

I thought I would share my happy moments with you. Let’s see how many I have. Maybe you will recognize some of them! Granted… not every happy moment of 2015 made it in the jar. It was fun pulling out the papers and reading the things I nearly forgot about that happened.

HAPPY JAR 2015

    ~ I just made a batch of Oatmeal Scotchies (cookies) and cleaned the mess. AND I’m not even tired from it! Hooray!
    ~ Results are back on the CT Scan. My aorta is only 4.3cm instead of 5.1cm. YAY! Whew!
    ~ Going to Oklahoma for 5 days for my birthday/anniversary!
    ~ I finished an afghan for my cousin’s baby! I love babies!
    ~ Made Rocco some doggy biscuits- homemade! He loves them!!
    ~ I finished the family Christmas photobook. I ordered an 8×8 book just for us to see how well it turned out. Can’t wait!!
    ~ My mother-in-law gave me a gift of a t-shirt that’s black with blingy cats. I LOVE IT!
    ~ Sore from painting last night. So, I made brownies as my motivational reward. Then, I continued taping trim and walls! Happy Day!
    ~ I finished my Happy Jar (added the cat on the lid) and made decorative papers for my Happy Jar! So Happy!
    ~ I sent an afghan to one of my parents! He wanted my name and date on it. Awwww!
    ~ I went to the doctor today to get the paperwork started for a new Bipap! Saw K at work, mailed a Need a Hug afghan, and then made dinner in the crockpot & cleaned up the mess. SUCCESS!
    ~ Family came for a visit and they tested out the Margarita Machine I got K for Christmas! Great weekend!
    ~ I’m so happy. K and I finished painting the family room walls, hung curtains, and pictures. Then cleaned our mess. It looks awesome!!
    ~ Klondike goes to Paris with sister and her husband.
    ~ Pictures are now coming in from Paris! Klondike is having a blast!!!
    ~ I finished Klondike’s Adventure in Paris photobook that I made for my sister as a thank you for taking Klondike on their vacation.

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!

More about bipap machines and sleep studies..

Living On Oxygen for Life

There are different reasons for needing to use a bipap machine. By now, if you have this machine, you know that a bipap is really different than a CPap machine. A CPap machine provides a constant, continuous positive pressure of air through your mask. It’s main use is for what is called Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea can cause snoring. The continuous positive pressure of air the flows through the hose, tube and into your lungs keeps a your lungs open while you sleep. From experience during a sleep study, I could not tolerate a CPap but many people do well with them.

For this reason my doctor tested me on a Bipap. The pressure from the CPap was too much for me lungs. Bipaps and CPaps can be difficult to used to. I’m not going to lie to you. I had to change the way I breathed when I attempted to fall asleep. At first, I would have panic attacks because I would be so tired from trying to get myself adjusted to the machine that I couldn’t fall asleep. I ended up having my doctor put me on Xanax. It helped. Word to the wise, Xanax is only to be used temporarily. After some time, I found what worked for me. I started by staying up late to the point where I was really sleepy. Then I tried reading in bed until I became sleepy. Reading really helped because it distracted me from keeping my breathing synchronized with the Bipap’s pre-set of “breathing.”

Bipap’s are meant to function to continually breathe for you if in fact you stop breathing. That’s one of the main functions of a bipap. Think of a fail-safe or a backup to your own breathing.

Bipap

This machine is considered a Durable Medical Equipment and you must have a Sleep Study ordered by your pulmonologist to qualify to receive one and for your insurance to pay for or rent one for you. A sleep study is an outpatient procedure where you sleep in either a clinic or a hospital sleep department. The techs will attach electrodes and wires and the mask attached to the Bipap or Cpap. You also get a nifty wire that reads your CO2 and another thing called a pulse oximeter taped on your finger. Oh! They expect you to be able to sleep with all these electrodes wired to your head. Does anyone ever sleep during one of these?? haha!

You may not start off wearing the Bipap or oxygen for the test. Try not to panic. They need a base-line of your breathing ability, oxygen saturation and other important data. Don’t try to change the tech’s mind about what you want because they are following the doctor’s orders. They will also attach a nifty wire that reads your CO2 and another thing called a pulse oximeter taped on your finger. Oh! They expect you to be able to sleep with all these electrodes wired to your head. Does anyone ever sleep during one of these?? haha! It will be a few days if not more before you hear the results. There is a lot a data to read from the sleep study.

Be well and take care of yourselves. *hugs*

Just no two ways about it..

Living On Oxygen for Life

Correct me if I’m wrong but I think we all hate going to see the doctor. Especially, if we don’t feel so bad. Right? Friday is going to be the day that I make my quarterly appearance at the Pulmonologist office. Yippee! Not! I’m grumbling… I’m sorry. It’s just going to be a very long day and I’m already telling myself… I don’t want to go… I don’t want to go… I REALLY don’t want to go! *sigh*

Friday will start out at an unGodly hour. I’m thankfully NOT going to take my diuretic in the morning. So, that will be a bonus. However, not taking it for the morning will leave me feeling a bit like a water balloon. It’s a gamble.. I know. I’d rather not take it before the doctor appointment than get overly tired before I leave for the appointment and end up having a migraine all the way home. Clear across two towns. It can be a very uncomfortable ride for both K and me. Me, because I feel so bad. K, because I usually am throwing up all the way home. Yeah, in the car. YUCK! Too much information? Sorry! haha!

Ok. So, after arriving in town for this appointment, the first thing to accomplish is to get a CT Scan of my heart and lungs. I have a dilated ascending aorta that they’ve been keeping an eye on. It’s getting closer to the need for surgical intervention. Not cool. I try not to worry about that so much. The doctors tell me to not let my blood pressure get too high. I never thought it was high to begin with. (It’s not!) So, maybe they mean something else? Anyhoo, after the CT Scan, we have to get back in the car and drive to another building for the doctor appointment.

Then after the appointment, I get to do my least favorite thing. Oh wait.. that would be a blood gas draw and I’m not doing that hopefully ever again! I’m talking about the super-duper 6 minute walk! That’s right. For 6 whole minutes, I too will be in the Olympics this year. Just kidding. I do try to imagine something fun while I’m walking. Though, K walks with me up and down the hall dragging the bottled oxygen the hospital supplies me for while I’m there so I don’t run out of my own. K’s pretty entertaining to walk with. He matches my rate of walking and talks to me while I huff and puff. I’m not suppose to talk during the walk. It can skew the results.

When I started going to this pulmonary doctor in 2006, they had me start the 6-minute walk with no oxygen. That was not cool. They of course noticed that I needed oxygen. So they stopped me and put me on oxygen at a low level and kept checking the pulse oximeter monitor. They would adjust the oxygen as needed and make notes of my results each time I had to walk. I only have to do the 6-minute walk now every 4 to 8 months. I try to talk them out of making me do it though. I know.. I’m so bad. *wink*

I try to have a reward in mind for after the doctor appointment. It gives me something good to look forward to. Normally, it’s just lunch out with K or we’ll stop for ice cream. I love ice cream. Sometimes, K will just surprise me. Wish me luck!!

I hope you will FOLLOW my blog to learn more about Living On Oxygen for Life. Don’t forget about the NEED A HUG? giveaway. You can enter for your chance of a lapghan or afghan that I personally crochet. Please read the Need a Hug? post for instructions on how to enter.

From my heart…

Living On Oxygen for Life

Hello everyone, may you be new or a subscribed follower to my Living On O2 for Life blog. The reason why I’m posting this today is because I want to let you know again why I blog about living on oxygen. This blog has never been meant to be a therapy for me. I don’t write this for me. My whole reason for writing about living on oxygen is for you. It’s for the people who are facing the fact that they now have to use oxygen. It’s for those people who have been diagnosed with a breathing or cardiac disorder. These people may feel lost or confused about how to adjust to their new life with oxygen.

When I receive emails or comments from y’all expressing joy and renewed hope about their outlook on life just because they read my blog… it gives me hope that I’m doing the right thing. I encourage your emails and comments on my blog. I may not know every answer to your question but maybe someone who also reads this blog could help where I couldn’t.

I’ve been using oxygen for 27 years and a bipap for nearly 20 years and because of this, I’m still alive. So, thank you for following my blog and participating with your comments and emails. I want your life to be happy and exciting. I wish for you the best quality of life possible.

You can email at goredrider@gmail.com and follow my blog by clicking the FOLLOW button and entering your email address to receive a notice each time I add a new post to my blog.