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14 weeks post op

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Categories: Health

Time has flown by this time and I am happy to write that I ran my first 5 miles today! The last mile was tough because I had to stop and go but it was worth it. My right side hurt from it from it as well so I came home and slept for 2 hours. A good super exhausted feeling.  And ahhhh cool bed sheets.  No brace, life is great.  The doctors advise to progress slowly and exercise based upon how I feel.  So far so good.  They say 6 months and I will feel normal…as I still can feel the bars and am numb to the touch. I still cannot twist such as in the car when going backwards to turn around. I will not be able to ski nor bike because falling at this point could cause the bars to shift and if they do, will find myself back at the Mayo Hospital in Phoenix. Running was a risk, will see how the evening goes. Gnite!

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10 weeks post op

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Categories: Health

So what’s new?  Well I am trying not to wear my brace that much and going for a more comfortable garment… the camisole.  Still sleeping on the recliner and on my back.  That keeps any sneaking up pain from scaring me. Hopefully I will try sleeping in the “big bed” by the first of July.

I might have noticed some improvement in the way I breathe when walking at a slight incline… I appear to take fewer breaths.  But I am not 100% sure if it is so.  Since my blood vessels and veins have compensated and rerouted the flow to accommodate my PE, i believe it needs a push to reroute again otherwise I’m not sure how long it will take for a normal flow.  Running will definitely get that going if it hasn’t started yet.

I am so excited to start to exercise more and get my brain working again…to write again and think of the most beautiful time of year… Fall!

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9 weeks post op

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Categories: Health

Its been a very uncomfortable week since I tried to exercise with 2 lb weights and garden.  Not sure exactly what happened but assume the bending over and picking up pots that I thought were okay to lift, has now caused me so much pain.  The back pain that radiates to the right front side is excruiating.  I noticed it start to throb going to work on-site for the first time on Tuesday of this week, driving for an hour. I am taking ibuprofen, getting into the hot tub and not wearing my brace. The brace is starting to hurt my ribs through tension.  I will be careful next time… no lifting, no matter how tempting! Just love being at the house more… it has always been a sanctuary during each day and season.

Today – will write some more in Hensel and Gretel.  That title needs to be changed to something simpler and maybe have the background resemble the old story.  Also working on word logic puzzles to get back to where I was before the surgery.  So much to write, not enough attention, must focus.

 

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35 clocks & my friend Gary

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Categories: Cuckoo & Black Forest Clocks

So I got a little carried away with the clocks.  I now have 30 cuckoo clocks and the rest are other black forest and german clocks.  Of the 30 cuckoos, 3 are Russian and 27 are German.  Cuckoo clocks are usually made in Germany and/or the region of the Black Forest, the south west part of Germany, super close to France.  A few are Swiss, although most music boxes within them are Swiss.   The Russian cuckoos are a complete inverse in how they are assembled from that of a German or Black Forest one… e.g., the bellows are turned to the inside instead of outward peering through a hole.  The movement is brass however not typical and is secured via an additional mounting bracket, unlike the German one that is secured directly to the case.  I do not have a Russian cuckoo clock with a music box.

Ah my dear 72 year old friend, Gary Locke.  I met him at a local antique store when I wanted to purchase my very first cuckoo clock, almost three years ago now.  Someone there said, if you have any questions before you buy, ask Gary.  So I came back with questions the following day.  He took a quick peek and said, its probably good but I wouldn’t pay that much for it.  So to quicken the plot, I got it at a negotiated price and off it went for him to overhaul.  I came over his house and found every wall covered in cuckoos. It was delightful! He is dubbed, the cuckoo doctor by many.  Gary has, through the years, taught me everything I know.  I now overhaul them myself but give him some so we can discuss them.  In the fall, we will go to horology class together in Denver.  I will pick him up on the way and study together. <grin>

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8 weeks post op

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Categories: Health

Hello, it has now been a whopping 8 weeks since the surgery and 1 week since my last post.  I am still wearing my brace for most of the day but take it off for a breather or two.  I am continuing to feel better overall but my bars clamp down hard a lot of times.  It does feel very awkward most of the time and always uncomfortable when I drive. Today I did some arm exercises using some 2 lb weights – 2 sets of 20.  Getting in shape right now is such a arduous process.  Been working on one of my cuckoo clocks today during one of my downtimes – the cuckoo bird and door needed to be adjusted as well as the pendulum. Moovie time now!

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Tasty desserts

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Categories: Food!

How fine would it be to eat desserts like the following that tastes truly spectatular and be good for you?

WARM WALNUT  FIG GOJI BERRY LAYERED STRUDEL with WHIPPED CASHEW CREAM

–  Start with a walnut crust (banana, walnut, flour mix {whole wheat, oat meal, almond meal}, nutmeg, cinnamon), layer with fig/goji berry spread puree and then top with whipped cashew cream sauce –

BURGUNDY PEARS with pistacio cream filling and dark cocoa sauce

Banana walnut brownies

  • 1 1/3 cup flour mixture (whole wheat, almond meal, oat meal)
  • 2-3 bananas
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • handful of raisins
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup xylitol (add to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

 

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Homemade humus

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Categories: Food!

Good day today for Memorial Day… made some super healthy humus from scratch!  It was not too hard except ya have to be patient with the peeling of the garbanzo bean skin.

  • 1 lb of garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup of sesame seeds
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 cup (or less) of olive oil
  • 1 whole lemon

All blended together at once with a Vitamix (preferred).

Serve!

 

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Slaughtered animals

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Categories: Food!

What can I say… I am, no longer, a dead animal flesh connoisseur.  I see post rigamortis in these poor animals and why do I need to eat that to survive?  Most people are naive about what food really is and justify their “need” for a carcass.  It is ONLY due to their addicted taste to it, nothing more, nothing less.  I don’t believe anyone that says they eat it for protein because most aren’t nutritionally interested in their health as is evident by looking at their bodies.  Most don’t even know what else is in their meat they are eating and don’t seem to care.  I think these people need to see the product… so all the meat eaters need to go to the slaugterhouse and see your next meal.  See how innocent they are.  With a full nervous system, see how it cries from being uncomfortable and tortured.  See how it cries out loud after living a life inside its container for its entire life. And see how the poor mothers give birth and look for their young. See how its lifeless body falls into knee deep excrement.  The meat is packaged up with top shelf ecoli and other bacteria for you to ingest alive or dead.  The milk is full of puss from their infections.  It tastes good so it must be good.  If you can get enough protein elsewhere, then the answer is obvious.  No debate needed here.  Once an addict… you know the drill.

For those of you that don’t fit into the above statement please let me know. It shouldn’t make you mad because it is not singling you out… or IS it?

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7 weeks post-op

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Categories: Health

So now I am 7 weeks post op.  Am currently on prescription ibuprofen and continuing to eat good nurtritious food.  What I forgot to mention was that I had to go to the ER a week after my return home because my oxygen dropped to dangerous levels…the lowest was 78%.  The hospital checked for pneumonia or clots but what they found was that I had a lot of fluid in the pleural cavity.  They decided not to do a thoracentesis and sent me home with supplemental oxygen.  That lasted for a while until the visit with my Pulmonologist, Dr. Good. He ordered an x ray and found that my chest cavity was full of fluid and my lungs were compressed.  So basically I couldn’t breathe well at all.  He decided to do a thoraentesis and drained quite a bit… a 1.2 liters.  He could only drain one side at a time due to possible lung collapse.  Ugh.

So after bouts of uncomfortableness, sadness and pain, I am starting to feel better.  It is still hard to sleep the way I want and I feel popping sensations in the chest. I am able to walk well but am having a hard time driving.  I will attempt to drive to town tomorrow.

What does it look like?  I have 2 large steel/nickel horizontal bars implanted under the ribs. They have been sewn on with metal wire.  The two scars are just below my breasts, so they will be mostly covered and eventually fade out.  Overall I am pleased with the outcome.  My chest looks normal now and my CT scan shows a heart that has placed itself in the correct position and my lungs have room to expand as well as the liver.  I always feel the bars inside pushing out while my body wants to return to where it was before.  My torso in the area still feels very numb to the touch.  Not sure if the feeling will ever return although I feel stinging sensations all around this area.

Will post again soon….

 

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My PE Story Unfolded

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Categories: Health

I won most of my ribbons and metals in sports that were more focused around skill than aerobic ability. Exercise, especially endurance sports was mostly difficult during my adolescent years but I managed to play tag, run very short sprints and just be outdoors a lot. I remember in my elementary school, they had a 2-mile fun run. I was so out of breath and very skinny, so I walked for most of it. I also had what the doctors called “nervous stomach” where taking narcotic meds would be the only cure. The feeling would be a stabbing sensation starting at my stomach area and then would grow to include the lung area. It would hurt to breathe. These episodes only lasted for 2 weeks at most and only occurred once a year. I seemed to outgrow them by my junior year in high school. I started to really notice the pectus excavatum during my early teenage years. I thought that this was normal for me. My parents did nothing. I do remember getting a lot of visual black outs (w/o passing out) as a child. My parents didn’t think anything was wrong. I spent a lot of my twenties not exercising too hard and mostly doing floor weights, crunches, lifts and walking. I started to feel a bit out of sorts at times (malaise) and the internist at the time stated that I had Gilbert’s Syndrome because my bilirubin was higher than normal. When I got married in the late 90s, my left arm went completely numb while walking down the aisle. The numbness did not subside afterwards so I went to a neurologist and he could not pinpoint the problem but that I had no reflexes in that arm. He took an MRI test looking for MS. I did not have it. My arm came back after about 3 weeks while on Celebrex. He did state I had a noticeable heart murmur and advised me to seek a cardiologist’s opinion. I had no idea about the murmur previously. I seemed to also have bouts of lightheadedness from time to time. I never went to see a cardiologist. I was 27. I moved to Colorado after my divorce and the symptoms came on full force. I was 34/35. My boyfriend would take me hiking and biking and I found these to be intolerable. I thought maybe I had not acclimatized after 6 months. I started up again and it did not improve. I pushed through a lot and found myself slowly getting better but then many symptoms occurred. I had ophthalmic migraines without the pain (where I couldn’t see for 20 minutes), visual black outs, dizziness, lightheadedness and SOB. I worked at Kaiser and they ordered an MRI of my brain and got an eye exam. Nothing was abnormal. I felt out of sorts, stomach pains (but different from the early years), fatigue and slight nausea. Kaiser ordered a barium enema to view my stomach but nothing notable was seen. I was prescribed some Prilosec. So I left it alone again. I continued to feel ill many times (which would include weakness, fatigue, recurrent fever blisters, stomach pains, slight nausea, dizziness, edema and SOB) and I was convinced something was wrong with my liver. This was because I seem to have a very slight yellow tint to my skin at times. I also started to have a really low tolerance to alcohol (even in small amounts) and to any medication. As a result, my heart rate would speed up rapidly and I would feel sick. My primary care physician, now at New West Physicians, ordered many tests and nothing was notable except on occasion my tests would show an increased bilirubin. He did not believe I had Gilbert’s Syndrome however. I thought I had some kind of allergy and changed my eating habits. I also went to an allergist after a scare with my throat closing a bit and found I had no allergies at all (obtained from a back pin prick test). So I let it go again. I asked my PCP if I could be referred to a cardiologist for the heart murmur evaluation. He agreed. I went to see Dr. Martell at Exempla Lutheran. He confirmed the murmur and ordered a stress test with him monitoring. While the test was underway and increasing in resistance, I started to become cyanotic and my oxygen decreased rapidly to 86%. He stopped the test and ordered a stress and bubble test along with an echo. The results where that I had a right to left shunt in my heart. The echo suggested I had some valve insufficiencies as well. From there I had a Trans Esophageal Echo that seemed to not show the same results. He suggested not to do much weight lifting. After deliberating with Dr. Martell and a cardiovascular surgeon, the decision was to close a suspected PFO (Patent Foramen Ovale) in the wall of my heart between the right and left chambers. I underwent a cath procedure at Lutheran but it took 3 hours with no success. There seemed to be a problem, the suspected hole was not there, although I still had a shunt. After being upset about the whole ordeal, I went to the Anschutz Medical Center/University of Colorado Hospital to see one of the best there, Dr. John Carroll, head of cardiology. They performed a bubble Doppler study but one that would measure if bubbles entered close to my head. There were few that made it that far up. I also had another TEE but it did not prove a PFO. He said he could not do anything else for me and referred me to a Pulmonologist at National Jewish Health. Dr. Good noticed on examination my pectus excavatum. He ordered many pulmonary tests (including an A-line stress test). The results where that I have to breathe twice as hard as an average person. My VO2 max suggests I have to breathe twice as much as everyone else, according to Dr. Good. He suggested that I exercise the lungs to open them up a bit and advised against any altitude hiking. Even though my pectus was considered severe according to the pulmonologist, they did not suggest surgery, stating no evidence suggests that improvements occur and that only younger patients should consider repair.  I started to see the cardiologist (Dr. Kearn Buckner) there at National Jewish Health because I liked the pulmonologist and they were also great friends and worked together well. So I went to regular checkups with both physicians as a duo and any other symptoms I would refer to my PCP. My overall symptoms just continued. New symptoms appeared. On a regular basis, I would get bouts of nausea, chest pains and increased heart rate symptoms for no apparent reasons. My SOB would increase and would always feel like I never improve during exercise. I would also get deep pains in my legs (but not in my joints also) for no apparent reason that would last about a week or so and disappear again until the following year. This would last for a couple of years and I had explained those symptoms to my doctors. On a yearly exam in 2012, my pulmonologist ordered a night pulse ox due to my SOB. The results were not significant although the reading had indicated a dip to 85%. Many other symptoms occurred on a regular basis and my PCP ordered more blood tests. The results came back with nothing once again. He referred me to a rheumatologist for an immunity evaluation.  I was starting to wonder why I was feeling bad a lot of the times but nothing was helping. I just felt as though I’ve being pricked and prodded and I suffered mentally for it.  Most recently I visited the cardiologist, Dr. Buckner, for a yearly checkup and he asked about if I was exercising much. I said no, not because of time, but because it was just too hard and exhausting. He ordered a stress test. The EKG was abnormal so he ordered a CTA. I remember after taking the beta blockers and nitro (under the tongue) and lying under the machine with my arms over my head, my heart started to beat faster. They wanted me to be calm, but I was. I did not have any calcification as suspected. The CTA revealed a caved in chest with little room at all for my heart, lungs or anything else for that matter. My heart is being squeezed by my sternum, chest wall and my spine. Rough calculation shows a Haller in the 5s. Dr. Buckner says the chest pain and rapid heart rate is probably not coming from my heart but could be an autonomic nervous system problem. He wants to order another A-line stress test, tilt table test and possibly refer me to a neurologist. I feel uncomfortable going to sleep because sometimes my heart rate increases when lying in a flat position. I also get recurrent chest pains. As of 12/26, I have elected to get a PE specialist consultation for repair.

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