Friday, August 10, 2012

Ready to Get Creative....Again!

Rather dreary day out today as it rained overnight and more precip is in the picture for this afternoon. A good day to stay inside and chill out....or warm up under a blanket...or just do indoor stuff! Me, I opted to sweep AND mop my kitchen floor this had been a while!

Doctor visit with cardiologist, Dr D, went well yesterday. Says I am making good progress and I look better than the last time he saw me which is a little more than 2 months ago. It was a good visit with him and he encouraged me to keep up the good work.

His words of advice yesterday were to cut back on "two whites": salt and sugar. The sodium one, I have been diligent to write it down, even when it means I go over the total I'm supposed to intake for a day. The sugar, I will be honest.....I know it's for my own good, but I'm having a little bit of a problem trying to figure out how to start accounting for that one. Good thing I see my primary care physician next week....I can ask him about that!

Which makes me wonder about artificial sweeteners and salt substitutes....are they worth the effort? Are there potential problems with those as well? Cutting back isn't half as hard as cutting out....especially when so much of our food anymore has both salt and sugar in them....just read the labels!

Can I admit to feeling a little down in the dumps about something....and you may think I'm crazy, but.....I miss baking! Not so much missing the eating of the baking as I am the creative avenue of baking. Does that make any sense?

Baking always feels like a creative outlet to me. Well, actually creativeness in the kitchen just always made me feel good. Yeah, I know....crazy, but true!

I came across a recipe for easy homemade hamburger rolls that I'd like to try and I gasped when I saw the amount of salt it called for....1 1/4 teaspoons! Panic mode kicked in.....I don't know why, but it seemed like a lot to me! An option is to leave the salt out....but do I dare do that? Will it change the flavor? Do you know what I mean?

I just know I have to be *creative* again in my cooking, look those sodium and sugar things in the eye and let 'em know I am not gonna let them stop me from being creative in my kitchen and I am gonna eat good food that is healthy and good for me. I'm gonna be brave and experiment and go to new frontiers that I haven't gone to before! Now....somebody push me out the door to get started!

I'm still trusting God will work out things regarding my kidneys. I'm encouraged that my heart appears to be doing much, much better.....just am hoping and praying that the kidneys will also have their chance to bounce back!

Did a 1 mile walk with a Leslie Sansone DVD this morning that I have never watched before. It was a classic walk, with basic walking moves. So I did not let the weather stop me from moving! And the stretches at the end of the walk were wonderful! My plan is to get in some kind of exercise at least 3-4 times a week. Between walking after work at the high school track and these DVDs, I think I'm on the right track. Dr D said to not overdo it, to let my body let me know when enough is enough. Good advice, don't ya think?

I'm off to get things ready to go for work tonight and then it's sleepytime for me! Praying you have an awesome and blessed day!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


As I was getting things ready for my visit with the cardiologist today, I began to get a little discouraged. Why? Because of all the “numbers” that I keep track of for the various medical professionals. Part of the discouragement comes from feeling defined by either a single number or a set of numbers. Really, is that who I am?
 I heard God speaking to my heart, and wrote this down: “Remember…who you are is not defined by a number, but by Whose you are….what is reflected from the inside will always be far more important than what the outside shows."
What does that mean to me? I got to thinking about all the things that numbers are involved in:
My age - 55, soon to be 56
My car - a 2009 PT Cruiser (can't forget that theres a number for the registration, my liscense plate, my driver's liscense number, miles on the car)
My address and zip code and phone numbers
My blood sugar levels, blood pressure, weight and a bunch of other things associated with my health that involve #s
My social security number
The balance of my banking accounts
The cost of groceries, the bills, and gas
Calories, milligrams of sodium intake, ounces of water drank
Loads of laundry
Tick-tock of the clock -being on time - waking up, going to sleep, taking meds, yes, all affected by numbers
Times around the track to equal a mile
Measurements for cooking and baking, sewing and such
Whoooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! (See what I mean....numbers, numbers, numbers!!!!!)
Even the sum of these will never define who I am. God, Who knows the number of hairs on my head and the grains of sand in all the world, doesn't care as much about the numbers of my life as He does about me - the, if you will, total sum of me.
I'm so grateful He gets me, understands me, loves me and will take the time to remind me that I am not a number to Him. He cares about how I react to all those numbers and how they affect my life. But He is more concerned that I'm finding my peace in Him and leaving all of it up to Him.
I want that more than anything....the peace of God. So, I give Him all my numbers today and let Him direct my path. Gonna get out there and live today for today and let the numbers just roll away....God has me (and them) in His hands!
And because I know that this is true.....I am blessed beyond measure!

A prayer for today (author unknown):

"My closest friends, dear Lord, are a reprieve for my soul. Their acceptance sets me free to be myself. Their unconditional love forgives my failings. Their kindness gives me a sense of worth. Thank You for these people who are a reflection of Your love in my life. Help me be a friend who will, in turn, lay down my life in such loving ways."

Be blessed today!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hellooooooo There!

I must admit to being tempted several times to sit down and start to write again. But "things" tend to get in the way and before you know it, the inspiration and the gumption are both gone!

In the months that have gone by since my last post, it's been verrrrrry interesting! And not always in a good way!

The beginning of June saw me in the hospital, first in Brookville and then in Pittsburgh, at Allegheny General, over the space of a week's time. Are you shocked? I hadn't been feeling all that great for about three months and one night, I just decided I couldn't deal with the issues of not being able to breathe well any longer and left work and headed for the emergency room. I thought perhaps the issues were asthma related - boy, oh, boy, was I wrong!

Turns out I had congestive heart failure and they admitted me instead of letting me go home. Not exactly what I had in mind when I went there! Over the course of the next few days, I was on medication to get the fluid off of my lungs and the pressure off of my heart. I went to the hospital in Pittsburgh by ambulance (I hope I *never* have to ride in the back of one ever about a long uncomfortable ride!) and had a heart catherization done there.

The good news is that there is no blockage, but.....the heart is weaker than they like. So after going on several different medications and having lost at least 20 pounds since then, I am truly feeling better. We will find out in a few weeks or so just how much stronger the heart muscles are....I am hoping the heart specialist will be happy with my progress.

On the downer side, I have been to see an internist at the recommendation of my primary care physician. Kidney disease, he says. There will be further tests in the near future to see where exactly things stand with that and what needs to be done to stop/prevent things getting worse.

So the problems are - congestive heart failure, weakened heart because of that, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, and let's add kidney disease to the mix. A positive is that my blood sugar levels are stable enough that I don't need to take meds for the diabetes...which turned out to be a blessing as the meds I should have been taking are NOT good for the kidneys!

I know...I know....why didn't I go earlier? Money. Why wasn't I taking my medications or seeing a doctor? Money. I couldn't afford either of those, so....yeah, I just did the best I could and it caught up to me. But....even through this, I am blessed beyond measure!

In the midst of this, God has remained faithful to me. SO FAITHFUL!!!!! Praise His Name for that! I have seen Him take care of all these mounting hospital bills that I had no clue how they were going to be taken care of! And I now am on medical assistance through a program for workers with disabilities. I do pay a monthly premium for this, but it is well worth it for the care I'm receiving! My medications are affordable for me and they are helping!

Some days, I'll be's very hard to not get discouraged! Like on those days when the labours and issues in life just start to get to me and I want to scream....or resort to eating things not good for me! I have several medications I take daily as well as needing to watch my blood pressure, my blood sugar levels, my weight, my sodium intake AND my fluid intake! As much as I like making little charts, the keeping track of things some days is a pain in the watoosie!

Still there has to be a positive.....I am maintaining that weight loss. Most days, I am really good about writing down the sodium content of things (I am limited to 2000 mg of sodium a day), my fluid intake (2 liters a day), and watching what I do with my blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Those have all been really good, I'm grateful to say. I have started to walk at the local high school track after work and am doing at least a mile when I go, three to four times a week. (I think there may be a jogger or runner in me somewhere, but I'm not quite to that stage yet!) I'm hoping to add more miles as time goes on!

Clothes are fitting better, breathing comes much easier, and I feel better overall. Still....there are those times of discouragement and I try to avoid staying in those places very long. It's not easy, but God continues to give grace and walks with me through those times.

I'm hoping to be a bit more consistent at posting, although time will tell! I am grateful if you read this today and were at least a little bit encouraged....and a little blessed.

Through it all, I remain.....truly.....blessed beyond measure!