Saturday, December 20, 2008

Our Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party



My son Max is in the middle



My son Jake on the left and his best friend



My youngest son Nick in the red








Every year I host a party for all the kids friends and their families to come and celebrate the season with us by decorating a gingerbread house. It's a tradition I started when my daughter was about 4. I make the house and everyone brings a little something to put on the house. This year we had a big turnout with about 20 people!

You can find the recepie I use below on my last post.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas 2008

BooMamaChristmasTour

Welcome! I've decided to participate in Boomama's Christmas Tour this year. It's so fun to see how everyone decorates. I'm only doing two trees this year, as I sprained my ankle last month and I am on orders to rest it. So it's just the family tree and the Harry Potter Tree. I am a huge fan. I am adding to this tree every year so it's a work in progress.

We wish you and your family a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!







My Harry Potter Tree is in the Master Bedroom






This is our family tree in the LR

Saturday is our annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party. I will post pics once it is over. Until then, here is the recepie I use

The Best Gingerbread
3 x recepie
1 ½ C. butter
7.5 C flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C molassas
3 egg
1 T baking soda
1 T cinnamon
1 T ginger
1 T cloves
1 T cinnamon

Cream butter and ½ the flour, then add sugar, molassas, egg, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat until fully combined. Stir in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Divide into 6 pieces, roll in waxed paper and Chill 3 hrs. Roll out each section 1/8 in thick. Cut into cookies or pieces for house. Bake 375 5-6 min for cookies, or 16 min for larger pieces for gingerbread houses. If you are going to use for a gingerbread house, bake the pieces on aluminum foil, cool and then carefully flip over and peel off the aluminum foil. If you try to bake on a cookie sheet without the foil it will stick and break into pieces. This is a really tasty recepie for cookies as well.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Welcome to the world little one!


Today some good friends of mine welcomed their youngest son into the world. I watched their older son for them, as he is Nick's best friend. I took him to the hospital to meet his baby brother and it was so sweet to see his reaction.
Baby and mom are home already. I talked to a nurse there briefly and was pleased to hear that the hospital here accepts new grads into Labor and Delivery! Since that is where I want to work I am realy excited about that option :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Have You Ever?

I borrowed this from Fishy Girl who borrowed it from Miss Snippity's website. Copy and bold anything that you have done.




1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars-in a tent

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland/world When I was 3

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train When Cassie and Max were little we went on a train ride from Pullman, WA to San Diego, CA. Fun, but I don't recommend it with a toddler. He made me walk up and down the train more times than I could count LOL.

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied Briefly in 2000-2002

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance - with my landlady but I wasn't the patient

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater When I was a little girl. First movie I remember seeing was Rocky and I couldn't figure out why we were watching a boxing match LOL.

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Gotten flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check Only due to a screw up at the bank when my acct closed

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job When I was a teenager

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating Fish only. Skinned and prepared a rabbit but didn't kill it.

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby Yep- 4 of them :)

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

Thursday, November 20, 2008

If it ain't broke, don't fix it




Fun small thing for today's company coffee. Pick a cliche and make it your small thing for today. I pick "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I chose not to worry about changing things today. I just followed my normal thursday routine, and got a lot done. My routines are working really well for me right now. Thanks to Flylady and thanks to Rachel Anne!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Haircuts are temporary.....



Well all I can say is it's a good thing my hair grows fast. I really don't like my latest haircut. I haven't had my hair this short since I was a freshman in H.S. and there is a good reason. Next time I will be 100% sure the person cutting my hair knows NO layers over the bottom of my ear line. I think this haircut aged me 10 yrs! Everyone keeps telling me they like it, but I don't so it will be grown out ASAP!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Great Week

I am enjoying the evening off after a busy and fulfilling week. Today we had the assignment to do a health screening at my son's elementary school. So I gave hearing tests, vision screenings and height/weight checks to kids from 8am-2pm. I knew almost all the kids so it was a lot of fun. This weekend I have a lighter workload so I'm going to use the opportunity to get a bit more done around the house.

This morning there was ice on my windshield so it's definately heading into Winter. A lot of the leaves are off the trees already since it rained for several days in a row. I need to rake them up so I hope tomorrow is sunny!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Company Girl Friday




O.K. I have to admit I LOVE today's small thing! Rachel Anne's small thing for today is to pamper your skin. After the year my skin has had it sure deserves it! I chose to give myself the total body once over from top to bottom with products that I love. I suggest you do the same it feels amazing!

On top of that, today I got to taper my Prednisone down to 5 mg. Which my Dr. said at my visit this morning to inspect my stitches is the same amount my body should produce on it's own. So I'm back within the normal range of the body which means the amount I'm taking won't hurt me any more. I am so happy

Flu Clinic

Today I had the opportunity to give flu shots to the community. I felt really comfortable to my surprise! I gave 6 people their flu shots and it went really well.

At home, Max is resting from another incident of passing out at school. We will see the neurologist for another apt and possibly an MRI to try to figure out what is going on. We are having quite the week between my fall on Tuesday and this! I am off my crutches just about except for longer distances, but I can put my weight on it fully now and it isn't hurting as much.

Tomorrow is Nick's 7th birthday. We are having his friend H over for a sleepover and going to see Madagascar 2 tomorrow to celebrate!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

1st Shots

Today we got to give each other flu shots. It was great! I was able to complete my flu shot for my partner and felt really comfortable about it. Likewise my partner got the chance to give me mine and she did a great job. I was a little nervous ahead of time but I really felt fine about it once it came time to do it. We all cheered each other on and kept the person getting the shot distracted so they wouln't get too nervous. I really like the people I'm going to school with. All in all they are a really great bunch of people!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cup O' Joe Friday

Hello fellow bloggers! It's time for Company girl Friday again


Rachel Anne gave us a mission of letting go of the "Mommy Guilt" and boy did I ever need it. While my kids have been very understanding of the new schedule, I feel a little bit bad about all the time it is taking from their time with me. Especially on Thursday when I was struggling to fit in 2 hrs of studying for my Microbiology midterm and poor Nick really wanted my attention and I had to tell him I would have to get back to him when I got home. Boy did I feel like a heel. He accepted it, but I really felt guilty. So today I am choosing to forgive myself. He certainly has! I did spend a good two hours with him when I came home before digging back into my homework for today.

I think sometimes as mothers we have this idea that we should be able to meet everyone's needs all the time and still do what WE have to do. I am coming to see that this really isn't realistic and certainly not very healthy. We can only do our best and really have to let the rest go. Sometimes our agenda has to come first for an hour or two. Our loved ones really do need to know we are human :) Hopefully this won't have to happen too often, but it makes me very glad I waited until my kids were all in school to attempt this. I know they are all old enough to understand why I'm not here a lot, or why I have to spend so much of my time at home studying.

A day at a time, a brick at a time

This was an incredibly busy week! I guess busy is the new normal. I passed my injection check off, got an A on the first quiz, a B on my Microbiology midterm which I am happy with, and we got a chance to practice some interviewing skills with an "adolescent" actor. Then we participated in our first clinical and got to go watch the babies and children at a day care center to learn how to do a developmental screening. It was fun.

The older boys had their parent teacher conferences Thursday and all is going well for them. Max is writing a lot and made a point of telling his teacher that he's doing better because he trusts them now. That really made me happy to hear that. Jake is reading at a higher grade level and participating in a reading group with 6th and 7th graders and really enjoying that. He is getting a good handle on his new classroom and I had a lovely long meeting with his teacher. I will have to reschedule Nick's since I had a time conflict. Cassie's are next week. Her school had a career day today and she collected info on colleges and careers to look over. It amazes me that she is really only one year away from applying to colleges.

The fall colors are brilliant right now and one of my rewards to myself this weekend is to take some time to take a few photos of the trees before the leaves fall off. I'll be sure to post some when I do.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Company Girl Friday




It's Company Girl Friday again at. Home Sanctuary This week my favorite thing is the mending. Mostly becasuse I didn't have any to do this week LOL. Kind of nice to be reminded to do something you don't need to do when you are feeling overloaded with everything else.

This week went by so fast, it's hard to see where it went. I sucessfully passed my vital signs checkoff. Today we gave a short group presentation on a community resource assignment. It went well. So far so good! I went to study group and it's a good thing I did. We had a crossword puzzle assignment due next monday that was written very strangely. Some people spent over 5 hrs working on it only to discover the reason they were having problems with solving it was that there were spaces in it! Not your standard New York Times type crossword. So that saved me a lot of frustration.

The weather here has turned to fall and the colors on the trees are very pretty this year! Fall is my favorite season here. I am taking the boys Halloween costume shopping tomorrow and picking up some pumpkins. It's time to get the house looking like fall!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Exhausted!

Wow tuesdays are really long. Tomorrow I have no classes. So I'll play catch up on the house, and read a lot of chapters, and try to get some rest.

I have 10 chapters to read by next monday, and quite a few assignments to do this month. We got our temporary id cards, and we are learning to take vital signs this week. I am struggling to do blood pressure but I think I got closer to getting it right today. I plan on practicing A LOT this week. We will be checked off on it next week and can only miss one of the checkoffs to pass the course. Lab is pass/fail so I am putting the skills in lab as my top priority.

This week I also ran for the position of class historian. The OHSU chapter of the Student Nurse Association holds elections for 2 class liasons and one class historian. I was the only person running for class historian so it is likely I got the position unless there was a write in :) I am excited because there is a way to do a yearbook, and they have several cameras so we can take pictures throughout the year to include on a cd as well as in the yearbook. I attended my first SNA meeting today and it was fun. There is a conference in November, but I'll have to wait until next year to go as it will conflict with our schedule this fall. I know two of the members of the SNA as I had classes with them a two years ago.

At the end of the month the SNA will be hosting a social to introduce us to our "buddies" (juniors or seniors who have volunteered to be available to us for support)

The kids are coping well, DH is doing well with his job. Life is good even when I'm tired :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Having so much fun!

The first week of class has started and we have had 2 labs and 2 lectures for nursing. It's so much fun! It's like playing dress up. We get to practice the skills we learn in a mock hospital. The theory class is more interactive than lecture which is great. I also had Microbiology yesterday and we took swabs from our cheeks and made our own slides to practice using the microscope. Tuesday will be a long day, from 8-5.

Today I have library orientation and I will use the other time to do reading. I have a LOT of reading to do!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Company Coffee





O.k. so I'm late by a day but I was very busy this week!
The small thing from I have chosen this week from Rachel Anne's Home Sanctuary is to reorganize my shoes. This was an easy one for me since I have all my shoes on a rack in my closet. I put the stray ones back on the rack and moved them around so the winter ones were on the top where I can grab them easily. I only allow myself to keep the pairs that will fit on the rack.

I also found the perfect pair of nursing shoes this week! They are Cherokee's and look a lot like Dansko's. I was relieved to find a pair that were tight enough in the heel and didn't pinch my toes :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nursing School Orientation

Yesterday and Today I went to Nursing School Orientation. It was a really great experience. The first day the Dean of OHSU came down from Portland to speak with us in person. They used a wireless conferencing system so all the satelite schools could participate. They covered information on how to access all the services we need to use like financial aid. Then we had a catered lunch. After lunch we spent a lot of time getting to meet the faculty, and other students. Upper class students came to share their experiences with us and encourage us. I was excited to see quite a number of students that I had taken prerequisites with. It was a great start!

Today I learned to use a lot of different computer systems. The faculty gave us a lot of information about the program, and we took tours of the classrooms, skills and simulation lab. I left feeling really comfortable about the program, the faculty and the other students. It is going to be a steep learning curve but I am really getting excited about diving right into the hands on learning. They have computerized "patients" that follow programs generated by real patient data for us to learn on. We each do the simulation and then review with our classmates.

I now have all my books and supplies except for the shoes. I need a really comfortable all white pair of shoes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Company Girl Coffee Friday!




You may have noticed the Company Girl button on my blog. It's there because of Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary Rachel's blog is all about the Small things we can do to make our home more of a sanctuary. Every day she gives us a Mission around our home. Sometimes it's something to clean, other times something fun to do with our family. We keep each other company in our quest to make our homes more peaceful and cozy. I have really enjoyed being one of Rachel's Company girls.

Her newest mission is Coffee fridays when we can share our blogs with each other. I decided to join in the fun :)

My favorite mission this week was to bake something from scratch. My kids really appreciated it :) We made chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C. butter
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. sugar
4 T. Milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 lg eggs
3 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 C. chocolate chips

Mix. 375 9-11 min. or 20-25 min for bars.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never forgotten

Today hug your loved ones and tell them how much you love them. Never forget!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What a morning!

Well today didn't go quite as planned. I got a call at 10 this morning that
my 13 yr old son Max had passed out at school. His teacher said he was just sitting in class and got this glazed look on his face, started breathing funny and fell out of his chair and hit his head. So I had to run to the school, take him
to the Dr and go to the hospital for tests. They did an EKG on his heart to
rule that out and it came back fine. We go up to the hospital next week for
a sleep deprivation EEG to see if he is having seizures. For now he seems
fine except for the bump on his head. But it was quite the morning!

Monday, September 08, 2008

What Superhero are You?

Your results:
You are Superman
























Superman
95%
Green Lantern
90%
Spider-Man
75%
Batman
70%
Hulk
70%
Supergirl
55%
Wonder Woman
50%
Iron Man
50%
Robin
38%
Catwoman
35%
The Flash
25%
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.


Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Health update

I have decreased the prednisone to 9 mg and my skin looks great. I am supposed to reduce my prednisone by 1 mg every 2 weeks now. At that rate I hope to be done with taking the prednisone by my next Dr visit. I noticed this week that my fingernails are fully recovered from the stress reaction from when I was so ill. In fact they are back to growing quickly and have good strength and thickness. Before my BP first showed up I had noticed my nails were always breaking and had gotten very thin. So I am taking this as a great sign that I am very healthy right now :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We had a great time on our vacation! Our first leg took us up to see Lane's parents and sister in Port Orchard, WA.

Day 1- Drove up to Wa and had dinner with the family

Day 2- Went to the Kitsap County Fair. The kids had fun looking at all the animals.


Day3- We went to the Seattle Aquarium,



then met up with my friend Karie and her Daughter Loreena and went out for lunch at the Asian Market and then to the Seattle Science Center. We saw the Lazer light show set to the music of Queen LOL. Lots of hands on fun, and the butterfly house was the highlight for Loreena and I.




After the science center I met up with two online friends and their kids at the park.



Day 4- We had lunch with Lane's grandmother and packed up to get back on the road.
Day 5- We drove to Spokane
Day 6- Drove to my parents
Day 7,8,9 had a great visit with Nana and Boppa


Day 10,11 drove home

Monday, August 18, 2008

Packing

Only a few days before we start our trip. I've been luxuriating by sleeping in, and enjoying the unstructured days since I finished statistics.
To Do before I leave:
Drop box off at Goodwill
Register Cassie for school
Laundry
Pack
Set up list for pet care for DH
Go to boys school and see what teacher Nick got. Pick up school supply list
Back to school shopping
Clean out van
Pack van
Thurs bright and early- drive to WA :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Finally on vacation

Yesterday I had my Statistics final. I am pretty confident that I did well on it. Now I'm actually on my vacation. It is really nice to have an open schedule. The kids and I are driving up to WA next thursday and then we will go to ID to visit my mom on the 25th or 26th. I am looking forward to seeing everyone and getting a change of scenery!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wrapping up the last loose ends

Monday I'll be mailing off my immunization form. That is the last hoop I have to jump through to complete my admissions requirements. I also renewed my CPR certificate today. It isn't due until October but I wanted to get it done before summer was over so it won't conflict with classes. Anything to reduce future stress.

The class schedule is finally posted and I am going to have some very long days.
Monday 8-11 Foundation of Nursing
Tuesday 8-5 Foundation of Nursing, (Microbiology in the afternoon with lab following)
Wed, Th or Fri 8-11 Simulation wks 4,7,10 of term
Thurday 2-5(Microbiology in the afternoon with lab following)

Clinicals TBA on Wed or Friday

I also looked at the text list and it is very long. 13 books for the whole year! Fortunately the text list for years 2 and 3 is MUCH shorter so I am assuming many of the books with be used in the entire program.

All I have left to do is purchase my navy blue scrubs and lab coat, shoes and my OHSU patches and I'll have all my supplies in place. I am really happy the scrub color is navy instead of white! :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Apt with the specialist

I drove up to Portland yesterday for my follow up apt with Dr. Morrison. On the way I stopped for lunch in Eugene and met up with a future fellow nursing student who will be going to nursing school with me. She's 39 so I won't be the only mature student :)

Dr Morrison was very pleased with my progress. I am down to 10 mg of Prednisone and from now on we will decrease it by 1 mg every 2 wks. She said I can stop taking the Prilosec, drop to 1/2 of the Tetrycicline immediately and stop taking it altogether if it doesn't cause a flare. In a few wks I can stop taking the Fosamax. I am so happy with this! I will go back to see her in 6 months. By then we will try to cut the Cellcept in half. I will have to keep taking the Cellcept for at least another 9 months. We will re-evaluate when the time comes depending on how my body reacts.

I am tired today but I feel pretty good considering I drove 10 hrs yesterday. Today I had another Statistics midterm. I think I did o.k.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Statistics

I just got the results of my Statistics midterm. I got an A to my surprise! It's fortunately not as hard as I was afraid of. We have very little homework so far, so I have been able to really relax and enjoy my summer vacation with the kids. I also went over the requirements for a BS under the nursing program, and from what I can tell without talking to my advisor I only have to take Biology, Microbiology, Technical Writing, and 2 more classes about 300 level. That means after next year I will have mostly the nursing program itself to focus on. I am very happy about that!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ordered my stethescope

I am starting to gather together the things I'll need for school. One of the items is a stethescope. I ordered a Littman Classic II SE. I got it in raspberry with my name engraved on it :) Since we will be wearing navy blue scrubs I thought a little dark pink would contrast nicely and with my name on it it's less likely to go "walking" a hazard I've been warned about.... I also orderd some completely white shoes, my pen light, and watch with a second hand on a lanyard so it won't get germy on my wrist. I will buy my scrubs and lab coat soon, once I check out the ones at the bookstore to compare style and price.

I go tmy fingerprints done for my backround check, the third Hep B shot taken care of. OK because it's not a live vaccine. All I have left is my TB tests which have to be done a week apart, and the antibody titers I have to have run for Hep B and Chicken Pox. Then wait for the backround check to come back, send off all the papers and I'll be done until the drug test. Lots of little hoops to jump through but it's all coming together nicely.

In other news, Lane took off the weekend to have a mini vacation with the kids and we are going to go a BBQ at a friend's church tomorrow and watch fireworks there. Nick has made some really great little friends and we have started to make friends with the parents as well so I am looking forward to this. It is supposed to be 85 tomorrow so much cooler than it has been and it should be a wonderful 4th!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm IN!!!

I got a phone call today to inform me that a spot opened up and I have been admitted to OHSU Nursing School for this fall! :) I am SO thrilled!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Done with A&P

Today I took my Anatomy and Physiology Final Exam. I think I did very well. It feels good to be done with this term and enjoy two weeks off before I start Statistics. I am very tired! I plan to take a lot of quiet time to myself to just relax and read whatever I feel like. Also tackle a few projects later this summer to get the place organized again. We are still shuffling things around from our spring flooring project and I want to get my house back to normal!

The kids are enjoying their first week of summer vacation.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Next fall up in the air

I heard back from OHSU, and I will be an alternate for Nursing School in the fall. It's so much better than a no, since there is a chance I'm high enough on the list that enough spots will open up so I will get one.

If not, I will continue to progress toward my goal and apply for next year. I have registered for Statistics for the summer, and Biology with Genetics, and Microbiology for the fall. In addition I will take Psy 228 which will put me on track for my backup plan to get a BS in Psychology.

I am feeling very good physically and mentally right now. The kids just finished school so we are on SUMMER VACATION :) I have 2 weeks after my final before I am back in class, and I am going to really enjoy the break.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A special request for Emma Grace

I have been following the blog of a young mother with brain cancer. She has been very inspirational to me in the way she has coped with her illness. She is also the mother of a sweet little girl named Emma Grace who has autism and is a heart transplant recepient. Emma is in the hospital in very serious condition with a virus that is threatening her heart. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers!!!

I'm not sure why I'm having problems posting the link as clickable but here it is anyhow...

http://especiallyheather.com/

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sweet 16






My baby girl turns 16 today!!! It's amazing to me that this day is already here. She won't alow me to make a big fuss but I'm going to anyhow. I'm off to buy her art pens and canvas and other art goodies and bake a cake.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bone Density Scan

I got the results of my bone density scan. I'm happy to report I have very good bones :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What happened to spring?

Wow it's HOT already! We're supposed to get up to 99 today! It feels like it went straight from barely spring to summer. It will probably cool off again, but it's a indication that the summer is almost here.

I had my second lecture test today. I think I did o.k. I had to miss two lectures last week for a Dr apt and waiting to sign for UPs to deliver my medication...so we'll see how I did.

I was able to successfully lower my Prednisone dose to 80 mg this week, so that is progress :) My blood work from the edicrinologist came back and I have borderline low normal vitamin D levels despite taking 2000mg daily, so they are going to supplement me with a prescription. I suspect my kidneys are not turning it into the active form of D. Vit D isn't really a vitamin, it's really a hormone so it isn't like other vitamins. I've been totally out of the sun too trying to avoid the medication effects of being oversensitve to sun so that might be part of it too. My THS thyroid level was low as well and we will get another blood test in 3 months to recheck that. I am feeling really good overall though!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Spring Music Program

Jake and Nick had their Spring Music Program today. It was so nice to go to the school and hear all the kids sing. Nick was so cute when his class did their songs. He knew all the hand motions. I wish I'd remembered to charge the video camera battery but it will be in my memory :)

It's been so lovely here the last few days! And I am continuing to feel really strong and healthy so I am very happy with the way life is going right now!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Feeling so great!

The last 2 days I have felt totally normal! I stepped my prednisone down another 10 mg so I'm at 80 mg now. No new blistering. I was able to totally drop the sleep/itch med as well.

The painting/flooring/household maintenence phase is finished and now I am sorting through everything and getting it put away. I had the closet doors replaced so now my hallway looks so tidy with doors on my pantry. I also had the handyman add a shelf over my laundry area for more storage, fix the broken hinge on the kitchen cabinet and the broken drawer all for $375 including the supplies! Quite a bargain for the work and he did a very nice job. I am really happy to have found someone who is prompt, polite and does good work for a reasonable rate for household repairs. This will really reduce my stress level!

I also got an A on my lecture exam. Lab exam is on thursday and I feel really good about this term so far.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What a difference a month makes!



One month ago my arms were covered with huge blisters. Here is what they look like today!


I still have more rash in other places that is healing, but oh my what a relief. Barely any itching, only a few hot spots and the medicine is clearly working. My potassium level tested in the normal range at the second blood draw so I just have to watch to make sure I get enough in my diet and I should be fine.

In other news I got an A on my 1st lecture exam, and the lab exam is on thursday. I feel very confident about that exam as well.

The new flooring is all in and we are moving our furniture back in today. Life is feeling almost back to normal :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Adjusted meds

I lowered my Prednisone dose down 10 mg on Tuesday. So far only a few tiny tiny blisters behind my ear and one in my mouth. About the same amt of blistering I was getting on the 100 mg, so I am sticking with the lower dose. My Derm called and left a msg saying something about my labs having a value that she didn't like but she hasn't called me back yet. Overall my body is healing and I really hope I can stay on the Cellcept because it is working and I want to get the Prednisone lower. There is another med we can try if I can't tolerate the Cellcept for some reason.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Amazing Grace

I went to Accupuncture today, and as usual it was just what I needed. Kara Miller at Jade Mountain Medicine is my Accupuncturist and she is just so talented and intuitive. Today the music playing was Native American and on the CD was the most beautiful version of Amazing Grace in a Native Language (Not sure which tribe) accompained with Irish Music. Interesting combo that really resonated with me. I had some pretty bad edema on Monday and Tuesday and the treatment I had on tues took care of it almost completely! It helped today as well with everything. I am healing very fast. Still on 100 mg Prednisone, trying to reduce it was too soon earlier this week. I have NO new blisters today, and the others are fading. My forearms look SO much better. Hard to believe I had huge blisters there only a few weeks ago. I will take a pic and post so you can see how much better I look.

I feel almost normal today! :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

In the Clear

Today I had my follow up U/S for my rt breast. It went fine. The area they wanted a closer look at they pretty much came to the conclusion what they saw is normal lymph tissue. So I can relax on that front.

I also had an apt with the opthomologist today and he won't rule our MMP for now. He says we will wait and watch and he's fairly certain its just BP but he thinks it bears watching closely due to the mouth/throat involvement. I will continue with the eye drops. He feels the Cellcept and Prednisone will help with the eye enough I should be able to wean off the drops eventually. He also warned me I will most likely end up with Cataracts from the Prednisone and eye drops, but not to worry about that for now as that is a long way off. I also found out my optic nerves are at a funny angle. Nothing to worry about, just the way my eyes were made. I go back to see him in 2 months.

As for the rest, tomorrow I have class and an apt with the disability services office. I want to get in the system just in case I need a note taker or something later in the term.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

It's working!

Since I have started the Cellcept I have only gotten a few new blisters. Overall in the last week I have noticed a dramatic downturn in new rash and blisters. Today I got a few behind my ears, and they are all very small. The rash itself is still there, but only "hot" in a few places. The only side effect I have noticed is my ankles and feet are quite swollen. So I've elevated them as much as possible.

Friday I had an IEP meeting for Jacob. It was a very positive meeting. He has made a lot of progress this year. He will be going to the 5th grade at the middle school with the same teacher Max has had this year. She has been able to help Max so I feel confident Jake will be in good hands. He is excited about it as well.

I also had an apt with my dermatologist in Medford. I'll see her again in 6 wks. I will see Dr. Morrison at OHSU in June.

We finished up the painting in Max's room and will be moving the furniture today so he can move in! Then I have to put the office things back into the desks and tidy up the kitchen and LR where all of it has been waiting. Next week the flooring goes in the bedroom so those things will need a place to be moved before the end of the week. It feels like a sliding puzzle where you have to rearrange the pieces! And of course I have a bit of studying to do today as well.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Another good day

Yesterday I was very tired from all the travel, and I am also pretty tired today. I had lab and lecture for Anatomy and Physiology and then Accupuncture. I decided to drop all my other classes so that I can heal and focus on what I really need to do.

Since Monday the blistering has been minimal. Only a few new ones mostly on my neck and face and shoulders. The overall rash is fading a bit. I started the Cellcept today. Hopefully it will knock this thing out fast. It is starting to feel like it might be on the way out :)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What a weekend!

Friday I flew to Dallas for the International Pemphigus/Pemphigoid Conference. I checked into the hotel and went to the Welcome Reception. I promptly realized that this was going to be an amazing weekend. I met and talked to at least 5 people in those 2 hrs alone. Everyone was so open and friendly and I got a chance to talk to two of the physicians right away. I walked out feeling just that evening was worth the $ to go!

Saturday we all left to go to Univesity of Texas where the lecture/discussion took place. We had a welcome breakfast, then hours of different presenters and Dr's and snacks and lunch and more snacks. They fed us very well, and kept us supplied with a variety of beverages as well. The Dr's answered questions and it was far more interactive and intimate than I expected. We had about 70 participants, including spouses/caregivers.

Saturday evening I met up with my online friends from my "baby" playgroup and we had a great time out to dinner. It was so nice to finally meet Kelly and Ann in person!

I learned so much that will help in my treatment. Sunday I went out for breakfast with two new friends, then over to the conference for more presenters and discussion and questions. I got to speak to a total of 5 Drs for about 10 min each and they all told me to go see Lynn Morrison. Two of them had worked or gone to school with her. As it turned out, the Dr that My derm made me an apt with at OHSU is the same Dr so I'm in good hands :)
The only rough part about the conference is that I pretty much couldn't sleep. Thurs I got 0 hrs, Fri 3, Sat and Sun 5 hrs each. Luckily I felt o.k. despite that, even getting new blisters Thurs, Fri and Sat. Prednisone can make it hard to sleep and I am on a high dose for now. I slept much better Mon, with 7 hrs.

Sunday afternoon I met another online friend Shiela for a tour of Dallas and dinner. She is a professional geneaologist and we had a grand time talking about our enjoyment of finding hidden family treasure. We walked around the art area and I had the opportunity to take photos of the loveliest little Catholic Church that had the same layout as the church where Lane and I got married. It had incredible stain glass windows.

Monday was my birthday and I flew home, then we went out to dinner to celebrate with my dad and grandma. I didn't feel like it was my birthday until I got home. It was so nice to see Lane and the kids!

Since I had an Apt today in Portland, I quickly bought plane tickets and flew up today. It was going to cost me about the same with hotel, gas, etc and I knew I was in no shape to drive after the sleep deprivation I had all weekend. I got off the plane, and took the light rail train downtown, then caught a cab to the OHSU Dermatology Clinic. I was very impressed with Portland's mass transit! They have a tram that I could have taken directly to the clinic from the light rail if I had known about it. I took that on the way back.

I met with the Dr and about a million residents. I was quite on display :lol They were all very impressed with my rash and blistering and took pictures. This dermatologist was highly recommended by the Dr's at the conference. 2 of them had worked or gone to school with her. So I got lucky that my local derm got me in to see exactly who I should see in OR. She had them take a few more biopsies (to rule out a few other possibile things and to re-do the Pemphigoid biopsy) and blood and is switching my meds to Cellcept which is what I wanted, and lowering my Prednisone to 100mg.

We also agreed that I need to see an Endocrinologist to monitor my endocrine system and minerals, etc because of the high Prednisone dose, and get a bone density scan and to go on Fosomax to preserve my bones from the effects of the Predinsone. She says if I don't respond to Cellcept, we'll try Dapsone next, and then Retuximab which the Ins won't want to pay for at $30k a month :eek She is also open to trying the IVIG if we need to. She says that the ins co will come around because of the pics. BP is usually much easier to treat, often just with medium to low doses of Prednisone so my pics are pretty dramatic and she feels that should convince them it's needed if we do need to go that route.

I feel I am in very good hands and I am really hopeful that this other drug which is considered quite safe will knock this thing out! I will be emailing her and calling her with updates, and see her in person in about 3 months as well as seeing my derm here.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Imuran is not going to be the cure for me

I just got off the phone with my dermatologist. Apparently the blood test shows I don't make enough TPMT a liver enzyme because I am homozygous (got the same gene from both parents) and don't make enough genetically. So my liver can't metabolize the Imuran completely so that explains why it isn't working for me. So I'll be on the lowest dosse of Imuran until we can figure out what to treat me with. My derm is sending me up to Portland to OHSU for a consultation since she's never treated BP with anything except Imuran. I feel relieved knowing why the meds weren't working and even though I'm still uncomfortable this gives me hope another therapy could work.

I am packed and just wrapping up loose ends today for my trip. I fly to Dallas bright and early tomorrow morning :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

First Week of New Term

This term I will have class on 2 days a week T/Th. Yesterday was my first day of the new term and my long day. I have a group counselling class which helps out graduate pychology students from 9-11. Anatomy and Physiology lecture from 12-1 and then Health Psychology from 4-8. The Health Psychology class will be challenging as the professor is a perfectionist. I think I can manage it though. We will have 3 exams, and a 45 minute group presentation on a Behavioral Health topic. Lots and lots of research for that one, and very set perameters on what we need to cover. Which is a good thing, as it defines expectations ahead of time. Those won't happen until May so plenty of time to work on them which right now is a good thing.

Health wise I slept well, but woke up to a LOT of new red rash, which is what it looks like before another round of blisters. One day on a lower dose of the Imuran isn't looking promising. It is a take it very easy kind of day today. Both my younger boys are sleeping in since they are exhausted from Sunday night. They would NOT go to sleep and finalyy did at midnight but they are paying for it now. Rather than send them to school cranky since I don't have to go to class today I'll just let them sleep and take them in before my accupuncture apt at 10. Some days you just have to go with the flow!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Frustrated

My husband has just had his annual review. Blindsided by a lateral move to another team, from computer development to Q&A. He did get a 2% raise and moved to salary, but it feels like a demotion to be moved without notice, and the only one in the restructuring to be moved to another team. I am sad and frustrated for my hubby. He is a good man, works hard and doesn't complain. He's not a dazzler, but he gives good service for the $ he is paid and deserves more respect.

In other news- I had to cut back the Imuran, something in the pre-medication blood work is low and she doesn't want me on the higher dose. If it was working at the higher dose I'd be less nervous about that but I'm still getting new batches of blisters every couple of days.

CAT scan Results

Beautiful to hear, all is NORMAL!! :) I can breath a bit easier now.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Painting Max's Room

This weekend the big project has been painting Max's room. He is moving into the office. At 13 I think he needs his own space. He took everything out of the office himself this week, and we had 2 of his friends over to paint today. We did the ceiling and two walls, and will do 3 coats, then move the furniture to the other wall and do the other two walls. He has planned and executed the whole project with a little help from us. I will be doing the rest of the painting....needless to say with RED paint it needs an adult finess to get the paint even but they did a decent job on the first coat and learned a lot. It's a bold color but it's fun and he likes it. I can deal with that :) And it's just paint. If he ends up not liking it we can repaint.

Test results are not in on the CAT scan, but my mammogram came back normal!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mammogram

The mammogram was easy. I didn't have to redo any of the scans. She says I should have the results in about 2 wks or less.

I had a new outbreak of blisters this morning. They seem to come in waves. A few good days, then a few hours of blistering. However the accupuncture apt was wonderful. I fell asleep.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

CAT scan

This morning I go in for my CAT scan. I will update when it's over! The prep stuff you have to drink isn't too awful thankfully!

Update- All went smoothly. I will get the results on Friday hopefully.

Tomorrow is my mammogram. I will be glad to have all these tests over with.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Grades are in

Women in Psychology A
Intro to Psychology A (required for the psych major if I go that route)
Anatomy and Physiology B+

It will have to be enough! I couldn't have worked any harder to bring that grade up after the two C+ on the midterms. I am giving it over to mother nature to send me the way I am supposed to go.

I had another accupuncture session today. Relaxing but I itched a lot during it. Probably releasing a bunch of stuff. I feel sleepy today so I'm going to take a nap now and enjoy the beautiful spring sunshine when I get up to take the boys to the park. All the daffodills are in bloom!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter



Just a few of the eggs we colored. Cassie made them quite artistic this year!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring Break!

I took my Anatomy and Physiology Final at 7:30 am today. I think I did pretty well on it! Whatever the outcome I know I did my best and that is all I can ask of myself. Physically I'm feeling pretty good today. Still not very itchy which is a good sign. I went to my regular Dr on the advice of my dermatologist to do a cancer screening. The meds I'm on are ones that depress the immune system cells that fight cancer, so obviously it's necessary to rule that out just in case. About 20% of BP patients have some underlying cancer. This isn't alarming when you look at the age most people are with this disorder 60-80 yrs of age. So I am not letting it scare me, just taking the sensible precaution of having myself checked out. My Dr is having me get a mammogram which I needed anyhow at 36 as a baseline for the future, and a CT scan of my abdomen and pelvis. I will do tha CT scan next Wednesday. I have to schedule my mammogram on my own and will call that in on Monday. I was going to do that today...but I took a nice unexpected nap instead :) I never do that but I guess I needed it! It was very nice!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pretty good day

A few more blisters on my right leg, and a few new ones on my forearms, but the itching was still noticeably less. I go back to the dermatologist tomorrow to get the sutures from my biopsy out. She called me today to let me know that she will be starting me on Imuran tomorrow. We'll adjust the dose as needed.

Poor Nick sprained his ankle going down the stairs at school today. He's having a rough week!

I got a lot of studying done today, and I feel pretty good about the Immune System chapter! My final is Fri at 7:30 am. I will be very glad to have it finished!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sweet Relief!

I am SO glad I decided to try accupuncture! For the first time in a month I had the experience of being completely relaxed without itching. The relief lasted until nightfall and it's still much better than it has been. I was very impressed, and I'll be going back on Friday for a second treatment, and 3 times next week. The accupuncturist is also a Dr of Chinese Medicine and she gave me an herbal treatment to take as well as some Essential Fatty Acids. Hopefully those will also be beneficial.

And I was able to take my bandages off tonight as the bigger blisters are all healed to the point they are no longer needing to be covered. I feel very grateful tonight!

I also got my teeth cleaned today, and went to my allergist. He gave me a clean bill of health lung wise, and said to just keep doing what I have planned and he'll see me in Dec.

Nick got to the Dr for eye drops, and spent the afternoon with Grandpa at the park while I had my accupuncture. He had a great time :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

What next!

Right before bed....Jake tells me Nick looks sick...so I go look, and he's got pink eye in both eyes! Poor kid! I guess tomorrow will be a DR filled day since I have 3 apts of my own to go to.

More rash, more blisters

Ugh, last night was rough. Morning shows why, a fresh crop of rash and blisters. My palms are now rashy and my inner thighs. I put a call into my derm"s office since my dose of Prednisone was decreased today and that seems like a bad idea since it wasn't even controlling it at 80mg. I am getting a bit concerned, hopefully they will call me soon.

I went off Wheat, corn, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, shellfish, and cantelope yesterday. All foods I show skin allergy results to just in case that's inflaming something.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I just remembered something important!

When I was a child I would break out in a rash every time my skin touched grass! I had contact dermatitis to grass itself, not just the pollen. It would itch horribly and have red welts. So I must have had this tendency from childhood. Everyone thought it was the strangest thing and often didn't believe it was from the grass. Well....seems like more than a coincidence to me! I'm going to mention it to the dermatologist and my allergist. And then I'm going hire someone to get rid of the GRASS!!!

Pretty Uncomfortable today

I slept o.k. last night, but my arms are all prickly feeling. Hopefully healing under the exisiting blisters. I do have some new very itchy rash on my torso and neck and legs, and a few new small blisters. I am going to take it very easy today. I think I did too much yesterday, shopping at 3 stores and doing laundry and then out to see a performance of Beauty and the Beast at the high school. It was a wonderful play and I really needed the diversion. They are so talented!

Today I am going to quietly rest and study for my Anatomy and Physiology final. I am also going to have Cassie help me make Nick a Star Board. He's Star of the week in K and I signed up for next week because I knew I'd have a light school load, LOL, Oh well we can still make it nice as long as I have someone to help.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Int'l Pemphigus/Pemphigoid Conference 2008

I found out today that the International Pemphigus/Pemphigoid Foundation is holding their annual Dr/Patient conference in Dallas Apr 4-6th. This has a rate of about 1:200,000, so only about 30,000 people on the planet have this at any one time. So this is a golden opportunity for me to educate myself about it. I fly in on the 4th, and the conference is solid until 12:30 Sunday. I fly home on the 7th which is my 37th b-day. This will be the first trip I've taken by myself without my husband or kids since before I was married 17 yrs ago!

I think I'll write a book!

Last night I spend most of the night awake feeling itchy. My sleep meds didn't help at all, and I realized this morning I've been taking my Prednisone at the wrong time of day. I reread all the prescription med info and saw somewhere in the middle, not on the bottle that I'm supposed to take it before 9 am. I've been taking it at night so hopefully taking it at the right time will help me sleep better.

I called my derm again this morning, to let her know the rash is still getting worse, and that I was worried about stepping down the dose. So she sent me in for bloodwork today to see what my starting levels are with an eye to changing my meds once we have the confirmation of the results. I'll be on the 4 a day until Monday and then call her.

I also decided I needed to set up a Health Notebook for myself to keep my medical records and prescription information and Contact information in one place so I can share my comprehensive current health information with all my health professionals. So I put my prescriptions papers in a binder, and wrote down the vital health info- meds I'm taking, disorders I'm being treated for, OTC meds and vitamins I'm using, and contact info in there with all my health care providers and family members. I will take it with me whenever I leave the house just in case something happens to me. That way if I end up having to go to the hospital, or to a new Dr for something it's all with me. I'm going to add all my health records when I get copies. I got copies from my dermatologist today when I picked up my lab work papers.

I figured out a creative way to secure my sterile gauze over the broken blisers. Instead of using the extremely expensive roll of itchy gauze to wrap my arms, I went out and bought some knee high panty hose and cut the toes off. They are $5 a box of 20, and I'll throw them out after each use, vs $8 a box of 5 gauze rolls. The sterile gauze pads with polysporin on my wounds keeps them protected from germs, but this holds them on without tape that irritates my skin and causes problems with places to stick. And it stays on! I just gently pulled them over the gauze patches and put the cuff part near my wrists. I don't even feel them! Heaven after the itchy nightmare of the last few days. Nothing like having very sensitive skin and wearing what feels like a "hair shirt"

My grandma would smile since she was an inventor and used to think outside the box like this all the time.

Today I got to thinking that the best way of dealing for this in a constructive way is to do what I love to do best. Become an expert on the subject. I am thinking of writing a book- about Automimmune disorders and the connection to autism. Every mom of a spectrum child I know that I can think of has some form of autoimmune disorder. Women who do have an autoimmune disorder are 9 times more likely to have a child on the autism spectrum. There must be a genetic thing going on there. It also tells me that autism is most likely autoimmune in origin, or at least making these babies more vulnerable to environmental insult. This idea also sprang up because in looking for info on my disorder there aren't any books out there!! It's so rare it's only in medical journals and short descriptions on websites. If I researched and wrote a book, I could include a large section on BP and other Pemphigus/pemphigoid disorders so that people newly diagnosed could read about others experiences and find out what others are doing.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My latest challenge

It has been awile since my lsst post. I have spent this term battling a mystery itchy rash that progressively got worse and went from tiny itchy spots to finally last weekend huge fluid filled blisters all over my forearms.
Here is what my arms look like





I have been to my regular Dr, the dermatoligist 3 times and finally monday we have a tentitive diagnosis of Bullous Pemphigoid. We have done 3 biopsies and one is going to OHSU to determine exactly which type of pemphigoid I have. Either Bullous Pemphigoid or Cicatricial Pemphigoid. I really hope it's only Bullous because Cicatricial Pemphigoid can lead to blindness.

Detailed information about this rare autoimmune disease is rather hard to find, but I did come accross the International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation online and joined.

International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation

I am hopeful that the treatment my Dr has me on will work. Right now I am on 80 mg Prednisone, 2 Tetrycycline, 4 eye drops, Zyrtec, Benedryl, B vitamins, and a sleep med that reduces itching so I can sleep.

I am still enrolled in classes and have a final exam next friday. I am getting a B right now in the class, so I need an A on the final. Obviously though my health takes 1st priority.

In addition to my dermatologist and opthamologist I will be seeing an acupuncturist next week and my allergist. I am going to stop eating all the foods I tested allergic to on my skin scratch test just in case. Previously my allergist said they act differently in the digestive system but I think it couldn't hurt to try. When I can get off the meds I'll have them run a full blood workup on my food allergies.

I also decided we are ripping up the carpet in my bedroom and the hallway and putting Pergo in there to cut down on the airborn allergins to give my body a little extra help. That was already something I needed to do to help me control my Asthma. I also ordered a hospital grade air purifier for that room. Eventually I'll get one for the kids bedrooms as well.

Hopefully between it all we can get this controlled quickly so I can get life back to normal.

I am very thankful I can still drive and handle my own self care.

I have kept up pretty good spirits through this. My husband and kids are all doing a great job of helping me and doing what needs to be done. It's been good for them to learn to pitch in. I am very proud of them!

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Year 2008

Off to a great start in 2008. I sent off my nursing school application, and all that is left is the proctored essay. I will take care of that on the 25th, and then in June I'll find out if all my hard work has paid off. I have 2 terms of Anatomy and Physiology left, and I am taking some upper division classes to cut down on my course load later. So far the term is going smoothly, except for Jake. He's having a tough time re-adjusting to being back in school and has had 5 bad days out of the last 7. Hopefully things improve soon.

In any case our new puppy Sparky is incredibly sweet and really bright. So all is good there :)