Saturday, September 8, 2012


Idiopathic: adj (id-ē-o-ˈpath-ik) : arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause

That's what my gastroparesis is, idiopathic. They have absolutely no idea what caused it, where it came from, or if it will just as spontaneously disappear. I truly hope that the last is the case.  Most of us with GP have diabetes, I do not. The Vegus nerve that controls my stomach contractions has just decided to send pain signals instead of contract signals. This is one of the most frustrating parts about my disease. Not knowing.

I have now been on a liquid diet for about three weeks - consisting of broths, instant breakfasts', smoothies made from juice and yogurt, and any other liquid I can consume in 4 ounce increments. I have lost at least 10 lbs, thrown up, gotten nauseous, been in pain, gotten dizzy, and learned more than I ever wanted to know about this invisible disease. It's called an invisible disease because if you just looked at me, you would never know that I was sick. You would have no clue that I struggle to digest liquids, that I am exhausted all of the time, and that there are moments that I'm in so much pain I want to scream. I hide all of this from the outside world because I keep telling myself that I'm not sick. That this is temporary. I will get better. I have to believe that I will because believing the opposite can only make me feel worse. I am lucky to have such great support from my family, friends, and co-workers. As much as they try, they can only slightly comprehend what a daily struggle this is. I long to take a bite of that food that smells so good. My jaw aches to crunch on a pickle or bite an apple. I could. Technically, I could eat anything I wanted, but I know that doing so will cause myself so much agony in the following hours that I restrain from doing so. Gastroparesis has consumed my life. I try not to talk about it all the time, yet my aching stomach does not let me forget. Sometimes we all just need to wallow so we have a hole to crawl back out of. That's what this is. I want to feel better and only by wanting it can I achieve it. It's like looking in the mirror and telling yourself that you are beautiful over and over until you truly believe it. Telling myself that I'm feeling better will eventually lead to a day that I wake up and don't think about how crappy I feel.

This is my last post about while in a fowl mood. I will post updates on my progress and vow that even if they are not as pleasant as I hope, I will find that sliver of a silver lining in a truly baffling situation I find myself in.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

RIP Herr Fritz Schutzhund


Sad day at our home.  We had to let our beloved friend go across the rainbow bridge today. Fritz lived to the ripe old age of 13 1/2 and passed as gracefully as an old man could. He will be missed by every member of our family because he touched our hearts in so many ways.

Fritz's final days were spent surrounded by family and friends. He ate special treats and smelled all of his favorite spots, but his poor legs would finally let him do no more. They gave out before his mind did and we could no longer help him outside with his dignity.

 Goodbye Fritzy.  You will never be forgotten. You will live forever in our hearts and we will see you soon.  We may have had to carry you into the vet's office, but you got to walk out next to us on your way out the door.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Well, for the first time on this blog, I have something to be in a "fowl mood" about. I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis - or a paralyzed stomach on the 22nd. It started with an undiagnosed stomach pain a couple weeks ago. I continued to have the pain off an on until it landed me once again in the emergency room. I work in the ER, so luckily I was already where I needed to be and surrounded by not only the best nurses and doctors, but also once who were great friends. My hubby came up from his department to offer his love and support as well, of course. Upon admittance, they still weren't sure what was causing my pain. The original thought might have been pancreatitis, but they needed a CAT scan to confirm. I was given the contrast fluid and a couple hours later sent down for the scan. After coming back, my physician came in and told me that they had an idea of what it was. It wasn't that they found something directly wrong on the scan, instead they realized that even after 2 hours, the contrast was still sitting in my stomach and had not left. My stomach was not contracting to pump out fluids. They drained my stomach and the pain immediately decreased. I was put through a gastric emptying study where I had to eat radioactive eggs and was scanned every hour for 4 hours to determine how far they eggs got in my digestive system. They didn't get far. In fact, 95% of them were still left in my stomach after 4 hours. It was confirmed. I had gastroparesis. My stomach would not empty on it's own. I was given medication and put on a liquid diet. After that, pretty much left to my own devises. I see a GI specialist to follow up in a few weeks, we'll see how I am at that time.
Gastroparesis Patient Association for Cures and Treatments

Today's "Grandma Journal" question:

Did you ever need stitches?

The first time I ever had stitches was from a dog bite. I had to have three stitches in my right arm after a dog bit me on my uncle's property. He was a hunting dog that was tied up under a porch. We were warned to never go near the dog, but I loved animals so much that I didn't see the harm in going to look at him. How wrong I was. He immediately attacked me and tore up my arm (as well as biting my stomach and buttocks, but those were just puncture wounds). I thought three stitches were a lot of stitches when I was young!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Putting my foot down

Yesterday I went to the doctor's office to see about this pain in my heel that I've been having for the past couple weeks. It hurt when I stepped on it first thing in the morning, then it started to feel better as the morning moved forward. After being on my feet all day long it began to hurt again. I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Basically, that's the inflammation of the tissue that runs from your toes to your heel, forming the arch of your foot. The pain, however, is only felt in the heel.  I was given a steroid shot in my heel for the pain. Talk about painful! Doc gave me a numbing shot at first and I couldn't help but say a few choice words when that needle went in. He told me that the steroid needle was much bigger, so i decided to go ahead and thank him for the numbing shot. I believe that the shot was the most painful injection I've ever received in my life. I've had tattoos that took an hour to apply, IVs inserted into both hands at the same time while in an ambulance, and many other immunizations - those never came close on the pain scale to this one small litocaine shot!

Today's "Grandma Journal" question:

Tell about a childhood illness that you remember.

I was about 6 or 7 years old and visiting my grandmother in Illinois one summer when I came down with a virus of some sort. I don't remember being nauseated or anything like that, but I remember being so sick that I began to run a very high fever. My fever began to sore higher than 104 degrees. We were miles away from a hospital, so my parents and grandparents did the first thing they could think of to lower my temperature before it got too high and caused brain damage (apparently it worked too!). They put me into the bathtub filled with cold water and ice. I remember screaming because it was so cold. I didn't like it at all! They held me down in the water as long as they could, then left me wet to keep my body cool - returning me to the bed.  I was shivering from the fever and the cold and in my young mind felt worse than I did before. I'm sure my fever must have broken because I don't remember going to a doctor for that illness, but I will never forget that bath! It must be why I refuse to take cold showers when I'm hot or why I refuse to go swimming in a pool that isn't heated. I hate cold water.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Several years ago my gall bladder was removed. After that, eggs decided that they didn't like me anymore. I was unable to eat eggs that weren't processed. By processed, I mean, that weren't cooked in cakes or cookies. Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, boiled eggs, and even egg salad sandwiches all required a full weekend of staying at home and near a potty because they would come back to bite me in the ass - literally! That all changed when I began eating my first home grown eggs a few weeks ago. For some reason, my body can tolerate the eggs that come from my beloved pets and they don't effect me in any bad way what-so-ever. I can now eat scrambled eggs for breakfast, fried egg sandwiches for dinner, and one of my favorites - deviled eggs - as a snack! My assumption is that it has something to do with the diet that the chickens are on. They get normal chicken feed, but also have a diet rich in greens, scraps, and bugs! yummy. I think. At least the eggs are yummy!

My first double yolker!
Num Num

This brings me to my next "Grandma Journal" entry

Are you allergic to anything?

I am allergic to several things. I used to think I might be allergic to eggs after the surgery, but we have now determined that that isn't the case! Yay!  I am, however, allergic to morphine and codeine - along with all their cousins. I'm also allergic to tomato plants, but if I wash off good after I've harvest, then I am good. It's only when the acids from the plants don't get washed off do I get hives.  I have general seasonal allergies, but am not sure which weed causes that - ragweed or something. Mosquitoes love me and I'm allergic to their stings as well - at least every sting I get swells up into a horribly itchy sore. 

My biggest allergy is to bees.  When I was younger, I stepped on a bee. It stung me on the padding of my foot right under my right little toe. My foot and ankle swelled up so large that I couldn't even fit into my father's slipper. It felt like I was walking on a watermelon for days. I was told that I was lucky it hadn't stunk me any higher and that my mother was able to get out the stinger - otherwise I might have a problem breathing. I've never been stung since that one time and I don't ever plan on it! I'm afraid of what a hornet or a wasp sting might be like! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The touch of death

Today I touched another dead body. I work in an emergency room and although it's rare, we do lose people. Usually to a heart attack. It's never easy to see someone pass away right in front of your eyes and all I can think about is, I touched a dead body. It doesn't gross me out, it doesn't give me the willies, and it doesn't even seem creepy. It just makes me contemplate the fact that we are all just cells that without the proper mechanics can go - literally - in a heartbeat. I never thought I'd work in a place that required me to be around sick people, people that were looking for help, and people that would die. But I love where I work. It gives me a huge sense of being knowing that I was there when a life was saved - or when someone lost the energy to live.

This leads me into my next "Grandma Journal" Entry

Share a childhood memory about a death that affected you

The very first death that I can recall was the death of a waiter at my parent's favorite restaurant. He was a great waiter and remembered all of our names, what we usually ordered, and what our favorite desserts were. We tipped him well and asked for him every time we went to eat there. His name was Sergio and I remember asking my mom one day while we were dining there where he was because I hadn't seen him in a while.  My parents told me that he'd passed away from a disease called AIDS. The AIDS epidemic had just begun, but had not yet made the national news, so it was pretty much unheard of. She never explained to me what the disease was, so when I learned about it from the news and school, I was shocked at the implication that our beloved waiter was a homosexual. I was still young and this concept had never occurred to me. I didn't ever think it was possible that two men could love each other in that way. I remember contemplating this for nights on end as I laid in bed trying to sleep. Sex was a very taboo subject at home (at least I thought so), so I couldn't ask my parents about it. In the end, I remember coming to the conclusion that why should I care that two men were together. If they were happy, then I was happy that they were happy. Then it saddened me because I'd heard all the rumor and rhetoric about how men afflicted with this disease were being punished for their actions. How could love be punished? This one death opened my eyes to more than just dying, but to diseases and lifestyles that I'd never encountered before.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Grandma Journal

My mom gave me this book called "Memories for a granddaughter" and It was basically a journal that I would write in every night answering questions about my life. While this is a great concept, the pages were very small and there wasn't a lot of room to write in. The questions were also very "old school" and didn't apply to modern life. For instance, one of the questions was "Tell how you celebrated May Day".. ummm.. WTF is May Day? I've never heard of that in my life. I decided to write down all of the questions that do apply and answer them here on my blog. This will give a permanent record that can't be lost in a fire or flood anyways. :)

First question.  (Feel free to respond in the comments about your own experiences and stories!)

Name everywhere you have lived

Puyallup, Washington

My father was stationed in Washington while he was in the Army and we lived in Puyallup, Washington (on Rainbow street... isn't that the coolest name!) until I was about 6 months old.

St. Louis, Missouri

We then moved to St. Louis, Missouri where I lived until I was 17 years old. This is where I attended elementary, middle school, and most of my high school. As of today, my father still lives in the same house that I grew up in.

Kansas City, Missouri

After my parent's divorce, I moved to Kansas City, Missouri. I went to high school for just a few months to finish out my junior year of high school. 

Wamego, Kansas

My mom posed the question to me, "where do you want to go to college?" I really wanted to be a veterinarian, so Kansas State University was the logical choice. We didn't care for the town of Manhattan, so we settled in the small town of Wamego, known for the working wind mill and now, the OZ museum. I went to high school the first semester of my senior year in Wamego. 

Wichita, KS

My mother began a new relationship and we soon moved to Wichita, Kansas where i finished out my senior year of high school. 

Lawrence, Kansas

Since I had my Kansas residency, I decided to attend the University of  Kansas in Lawrence. It was the "Oasis of Kansas" from what I'd been told and I fell in love with the town. 

Kansas City, Kansas

I briefly moved to Kansas City, Kansas for employment because it was easier than commuting 45 minutes to work from Lawrence every day.

Lawrence, Kansas

I soon realized that Lawrence was where my heart was - and the Jayhawks! I moved back to Lawrence and believe that I will retire and die in Lawrence. It truly is an oasis!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Lone Flower

There is a lone flower that lives at the edge of my sidewalk.  It stands in stark contrast to the dull grey of the concrete and the grass that is ever growing browner as the heat of the sun swelters the living plants surrounding it. The mower respects its territory and it has survived the walkers. It's the lone flower.

Pluck not the wayside flower;
It is the traveler's dower.
~William Allingham

Friday, July 6, 2012

My tiny tiny sunflower

No words are needed (except to maybe let everyone know that I'm 5 feet tall!)
Think I've given it enough lovin? 

W. N. (Walt Neibarger) 1983: The virility of the sunflowers in a drought that ruined ordinary farm crops is evident the way the sunflowers gained height and full of beautiful yellow blossoms. Perhaps, (yes, maybe) this Kansas sunflower is an indication of the virility of the Kansas people dating back to pioneer times that have survived depressions, hard times, dust storms, floods, tornados, wars, or what have you. At least we like to think we haven't lost our ability, independence, at faith in ourselves to survive whatever comes along.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Salsa! (Not the dance)

I made myself some fresh salsa today! I refuse to let the bounty of tomatoes go bad and there are only so many that I can give away before people start taking them out of pity.  I've added my recipe to the bottom, in case you want to taste this deliciousness for yourself!


  • 1 medium sized finely chopped onion
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-5 large ripe tomatoes, chopped (I leave in seeds and skin and all)
  • 1 Jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 1 jar green chilis  (You can add any other peppers if you like it hotter!)
  • 1 small green pepper, minced
  • 2 to 3 stems of fresh minced cilantro
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
Eat it right away or let it sit in the refrigerator overnight for a stronger flavor. Enjoy!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Signs of Summer and Baffling Kitty

 Today I harvested my first tomatoes and snow peas. Looking at the size of them, I'm expecting a bumper crop this year! Nothing tastes better than a fresh tomato right from the garden. I cringe every year when they stop producing and I'm forced to buy the bland grocery store tomatoes.

My hibiscus bloomed today as well. The size of these flowers are huge! I've never had hibiscus and I'm embarrassed to say that I had to post on my chicken forum to ask the ladies what in the world this type of flower was. It's beyond beautiful! I hope they last all summer.

The baffling kitty

Our cat, stormy has the most unusual way of sleeping. She buries her head no matter where she sleeps. If there isn't a blanket for her to bury it in, she'll find somewhere.. see for yourself:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lily pad goodness

One of the biggest selling points of this house when we bought it (at least to me) was the fact that it had a koi pond in the back yard. It had two tiny goldfish in it, but lots of beautiful foliage. I could see myself sitting next to the pond on a clear night and just enjoying the sounds of the water.

This was the photo in the listing ad.

Well, today I got the dream I'd been waiting for! The lily pads that I'd been watching grow and spread have finally bloomed! And wow are they beautiful!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Old man and his protector

I have a black lab that is 13 years old - Fritz. We call him "old man". He can't hear very well, has inconstancy issues, and can barely walk from one end of the house to the other without having to lay down to rest. But, we love him and do all we can to keep him happy and healthy.

And here is his protector... 4 year old Darwin - an American Bulldog. Darwin is very much a puppy when it comes to playing and wanting to curl up in a non-existent lap. But when it comes to protecting the house, he's all business. We have had many a mailman, delivery boy, and solicitor take several steps back after seeing him charge the front door. No better security system than a 150lb dog that is all teeth!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Baby Bird and a Garden...

Today I tried to save a baby robin that fell out of a tree. It was old enough to perch when I tried to put in on a branch, but it just cried and cried for food. I left it alone for several hours, but it every time I went to check on it, it had found it way back into the street. It continued to cry for food and I never once saw mommy come to help it. It didn't make it. RIP little birdie.

On a happier note: My garden is in full bloom and looking great! 
Planted in this square foot garden is snow peas, green beans, carrots, okra, parsley, and strawberries

Here we have pepper plants and tomatoes!

This is my garden full of lettuces, garlic, personal watermelon, and cantaloupes!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spring is in full bloom!

Took some great pictures of my yard today... Spring is in full bloom! I can't take credit for the plants that exist in our little piece of land, but I'd like to think that my cultivation and love are making them shine!

Tiger Lily - Almost neon orange 

A visitor decided to show up while taking pictures

I love the contrast of the unopened bud in the foreground.

Vibrant Hosta

I have a square foot garden that is in full bloom as well! This rain has helped my garden florish and we are going to be swimming in vegetables this summer! The chickens, ducks, and hubby will be so happy!

First snow pea pod of the season.

Early Girl Tomato

Roma Tomatoes

Grape Cherry Tomatoes!

Was taking a picture of the pepper blossoms and while reviewing the photo, saw this pepper that I'd completely missed! Very exciting!

Strawberries are doing great and taste so much better than the store bought ones.