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Category: My Life

Kate Update: Ten Months since Mayo Clinic

In the ten months since my trip to Mayo Clinic I have done many things, too few of which I have mentioned to y’all.  I will now attempt to right that wrong… Twitter-style… in 140 characters or less.  Stick with me.  I know these do not directly relate to my (or your) health, but I will get to that later… I promise. Here goes:

  1. Visit from Daniel’s sister and our only first nephew.  SIL interview.  SIL offer.  No cross-country move. 🙁
  2. Unexpected move to our “other” house. Sad to leave the Douglas. Glad for big yard and a visit from from my youngest BIL.  Sick Daniel.  New carpet.
  3. After much planning (and hard work on my MIL’s part), our lovely lady-pup Notch (with her notched ear) made her way across the country to our rainy town.
  4. Ten wonderful days @ our special place with Sweats’ side of the family.  Animals. Children. Rainstorms. Restaurants. Rides. Water.
  5. We got lucky when a sweet Zoey Lil pup found her way to our home, where she always belonged, in a very round about way.
  6. Four unexpected days, including Halloween, with Daniel and my folks at the Discovery’s STS-133 launch at KSC  WDW.  *cue typical withdrawals*

There you have it… ten months in a half-dozen tweets.

I apologize for the lack of pictures, but I am working on corralling, organizing, and editing what amounts to every digital image in our home (more than there are people in my town).  I’m all over it.  I swear.

Speaking of tweets, do you tweet?  I do. sometimes more often than others.  Be my friend.  Please… Thanks… Bye.

Or, not bye.  Not yet.  Or ever.  I still owe you health talk and such.

As I said before, my health is, by no means, perfect… but I am nonetheless astounded by the scope of my improvement.  I still have days when I am dizzy and my heart makes itself known, but even on those days I have more energy than I did this time last year.

How have I achieved such a significant improvement in my heart condition?

As part of my Mayo-prescribed treatment plan I continue to:

  1. maintain a daily water intake of 4-7 liters
  2. add salt to nearly everything I consume
  3. incorporate cardio-centric exercise into my nearly-daily routine  (Except during the stomach-bug laden last two weeks.  I am tempted to feel ill and lazy, but that’s simply no fun.  So, I am trying to feel well and productive.)
  4. take my medicine, as directed, three times daily

Although the positive results of this new treatment plan exceed my highest expectations, an unexpected side-effect has me learning patience in a most unexpected way.

When a work meeting gets stressful, a family member uses a tone of voice that strikes me as unkind, or I feel someone isn’t giving me the benefit of the doubt I strive to give them, I feel my blood pressure increase.  My vision blurs, I can barely hear over the sound of my heart in my ears, it is all I can do to keep myself from sighing, just to calm my heart.  Far too often I say curt things, but sometimes I manage to, as I say, bite my tongue to save my face.

Lucky for me I am surrounded by folks who love me and understand I am trying to be the best me I can be, within these new parameters.  I’m still finding my limits… some less permissive than they once were, and some quite the opposite.  Mostly, I’m just grateful I have the energy to learn this lesson on patience, and spend more time with my family and friends (and coworkers).

At my next appointment I plan to ask Dr. GH about this whole lack of patience thing, just to make sure I haven’t completely lost my mind.

And, speaking of my next appointment… it is either on December 20th in AZ, January 10th in MN, or both dates in both places.

Confused?  So am I.

Thank you for your continued support and advice.  I am grateful for your selflessness.

Pill Popping and Shopping… Round 2 (because failure is not an option)

I (and some of you) stand corrected.  The pill fob I listed as #2 in my initial pill popping post was a dud.  A cheap, sleek, fairly-feminine keychain, but an awful pill fob.  The lid slides off at the most inopportune times, spilling tiny white pills (in a variety of sizes) all over wherever I may be.  All-in-all the Stainless Steel Key Ring Pill Box was a $3.29 reminder that cheaper is often just that.  Cheaper.

So, to save Daniel and I further embarrassment (and money on wasted medicine),  I spent this evening revisiting my options, and ordered the momma-bear version of #4.

It’s a red  zippered pill case which includes seven vials that will fit in my pocket when I am at work or out to eat.  They come in a larger case that will keep track of my medication on lengthier trips.  I anticipate this will be the ideal, discreet solution and will prove worth the 1,000% increase in my initial investment.

In other news, I have a lot on my mind of late and I want to know your opinion on the subject.  Check back later this week to opine.

Kate Update: Five Months since Mayo Clinic

It’s been five months since my trip to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona began.  Since my three weeks in Arizona, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will, most likely, make a trip to Mayo Clinic at least once a year.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will, most likely, continue consuming seemingly excessive amounts of salt until it kills me, or I die of natural causes.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will, most likely, always require medication to tame my heart conditions and reduce my dizziness.

My health is, by no means, perfect… but I am nonetheless astounded by the scope of my improvement.

As part of my Mayo-prescribed treatment plan I have:

  1. increased my daily water intake to 4-7 liters of water
  2. added salt to nearly everything I’ve eaten since my visit in January
  3. incorporated cardio-centric exercise into my nearly-daily routine
  4. taken my medicine, as directed, for five months

I continue to strive to improve my adherence to Dr. General Hospital’s advice, and am currently focusing on increasing the intensity and duration of my exercise, and taking my medicine more consistently and at a standard time.

Thank you for your encouragement and support.  I am grateful for your perspective and your advice.  We’re lucky folks, to have a the ability to network and find answers with the click of the mouse or touch of the screen (Anyone else excited for WWDC and Monday’s big announcement?).

Look for future posts about my progress, and tips that help me improve my quality of life, despite having a chronic pain condition.

Kate Update: Medicine, Mayo, and My Doctor

Despite my dramatically improved health, I still have minutes, hours, and days when I feel positively dreadful. When I turn around in my chair at work I feel like I just road the teacups. When I get angry and my blood pressure goes up (in addition to the hardcore medicine I am already on that raises said blood pressure) I get disoriented. When I abruptly stand, I nearly faint. Every time.

So, when I am having a stressful day at work, and I turn away from my desk, stand up, and begin walking to the water fountain to refill what I lovingly refer to as my Ironman (bought it before the movie came out), you can imagine how I feel. My ears ring, my vision blurs, and I literally feel my heart pounding behind my eyes.

But after a minute I am back to normal.

And I thank my lucky stars for the family doctor who pushed me to go to Mayo, for Dr. General Hospital and the Mayo Clinic staff, and for family, friends, and coworkers who helped me when I felt awful all day, every day.

And some days, like today, I get to actually thank those people in person.

This evening, while at a sweet and hilarious dance recital, I ran into my family doctor of over a decade (the one who retired while I was away at Mayo). He is a wonderful man and my heart was happy to see him, to be able to say I feel wonderful, and to thank him. Because of his advice, my husband (and others who met me after I turned 12) are amazed at my energy, activity level, and organization. They’ve never known me to be like this, and are getting to know who I am, all over again.

I continue to be overwhelmed by the significance of this improvement in my health. And I will gladly deal accept the aforementioned “touch of the dizzies” as a daily (or so) reminder of what my life would be like without medicine, Mayo, and my doctor.

Kate Update: My Life with(out) Fibro?

Since getting treated at Mayo in January, I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in my health and a nearly-complete cessation of my fibromyalgia symptoms.  Dozens of days have found me, here, staring at my beloved blog wanting to spill my heart.  But I felt like a traitor.  I felt like you’d think I couldn’t relate.  I felt like maybe I shouldn’t stray from discussing My Life with Fibro.  And since my life seemed to be moving on, largely without fibromyalgia, I was left with little to say.

But I’ve come to my senses. Inspired by loved blogs, loved books, and loved ones, I’ve changed my mind.  

And here I am.  

I miss you.  I miss this site.  I miss learning, growing, and fighting fibromyalgia with you.

Since I’ve been gone a few things have changed…

Big Change #1

Big Change #1

Big Change #2

Big Change #2

Look for more updates in the coming days…