July 19, 2019

It has been too long since I have written a blog post. I do have a good excuse, at least I think I do. Since March I have been busy working on my Zacharias family research project and am very happy to announce that it went live during the July 1st long weekend.  After a few glitches, and these are expected, it is exactly as I had imagined it would be. Funny how when something captures your imagination and keeps your brain busy, chronic pain is not as hard to deal with.  As of this week, I have entered the names and details of 2,278 descendants of Wilhelm Zacharias who was born in the year 1700.  The site also includes 219 family histories and documents, 14 videos, and 13 albums of pictures. This week I continued the task of translating just over 150 letters written by the descendants of Wilhelm Zacharias who lived in the former Soviet Union and survived Hitler’s camps and Stalin’s gulags. The letters are dated from the early 1920s to the late 1970s.  Reading this material gives me a different perspective on my pain issues. I suffer pain, yes, but I suffer it in the comfort of my own home without having to worry about what horrific events my family might have to endure in the coming days.   Since I still have 21 big binders of research material my project will keep me busy for quite some time.

We finally had some old fashioned thunderstorms and rain this past week. In fact, one night it rained so hard that the back yard turned into a lake. We had a bit of water come into the basement but it was quickly cleaned up with a few towels. The problems that caused the flooding are the wretched window wells that house builders here in Manitoba insist on using with basement windows. This time the drainage pipe in the window well was clogged by silt. Thankfully, after a bit of elbow grease on the part of my husband and grandson the water could drain again. Whoever thought up the concept of these window wells was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.  As you can see by the video below our puppies enjoyed the fresh rainwater in the ditches.

Last month I received the results of the last MRI of my liver and lab work. Thankfully there has been no change.  It is always such a relief to hear those words, “no change.”  I have an MRI and lab work done every six months.  Alcohol was something I never enjoyed because of the migraine headaches it gave me so you can imagine my horror and surprise when I was told that I had cirrhosis of the liver.  Autoimmune diseases are nasty.

My hydrangeas started blooming this week and my gladiolas are eight inches high.  Because I no longer can take care of flower beds we put out the minimum amount of plants every spring.  The two urns on either side of the garage door each get a basket of petunias.  The hydrangeas, hostas, and roses are perennials.  We added the gladiolas, one of my favourite flowers, this spring.

A dear friend of mine lost her husband a week ago Monday. He was recuperating from knee surgery and had gone to the kitchen to make coffee that Monday morning.  My friend heard this terrible crash and when she got to the kitchen he was gone.  I cannot imagine how lonely she must feel.  They were a couple that just belonged together.  This past week Monday another friend lost her husband after he had battled cancer for two years.  He had been doing quite well so his sudden death was not expected.  She too will feel an incredible void in her life.

It is 4:30 AM and I have yet to get even a few minutes of sleep.  I hate nights like this when sleep eludes me.  It takes forever to catch up after just one sleepless night which might be due to old age.  Like my mom always said, whoever coined the phrase the “Golden years” did not have a clue.

In case any of you need a good laugh check out the video below.  I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face.

Here is a picture of my own Mrs. Brown.  My husband took this picture and emailed it to me a while ago while I was in the hospital.   It certainly kept the staff amused.  Well, I think I will crawl back into bed and see if sleep will finally decide to visit me tonight.  Hope you all have a great weekend.

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June 4, 2019

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My mom and me

It has been too long since I have posted, but my genealogy project has kept my fingers and brain rather busy.  At my last doctor’s appointment, my blood pressure was within normal levels which is always a cause for joy.  He referred to my pain issues as generalized arthritis, which was such a relief and a blessing to hear.  Those of you without pain issues will think I belong in the loony bin after a statement like this, but knowing the reason for the pain makes life so much easier.   Get some pain and you will understand.   The doctor again confirmed that he felt I should qualify for a free tummy tuck and breast reduction because of the weight I have lost and managed to keep off.  Believe me, I can hardly wait for that day.  The removable of the excess flab will probably reduce my weight by quite a few more pounds.  I can always hope!

Don’t you just hate it when pharmaceutical companies have a shortage on a pill you need?  For the last three months, my pharmacy has not been able to access the 25 mg Cytomel pill and because of this, I have to take 5 of the 5mg pills.  I guess I should be happy that they are available.

We had a lovely visit with my cousin and his wife for the American Memorial day weekend.  When they come up to Canada, we go out for supper and then come back to our house for dessert.  Their little granddaughter is a sweetheart.  Her Grandma Ann,

pinkpianoan accomplished pianist, got her granddaughter this incredibly cute piano.  What an amazing gift.  The video of the little girl playing her piano is priceless.

The genealogy I have been working on has been both interesting and frustrating.  The TNG software I purchased from Darrin Lythgoe, the developer is amazing.  If you are interested in genealogy I highly recommend this software.  I made one big error and that was trusting the software engineer from Codeable to make the TNG software and WordPress compatible.  There is a TNG plugin for WordPress.   I needed Woo Commerce to sell subscriptions and keep track of memberships once my site is live.  Thus the Codeable software engineer.  I specifically stated that my WordPress welcome page and Woo Commerce extensions namely Subscriptions and Memberships needed to be linked to my TNG site.  He was also to make the TNG site available to paid-up members only.  Imagine my total disbelief and horror to be told that the only way this might be possible if I paid over a thousand dollars after I had already paid for services not rendered.

So far I have entered over 2140 names on my genealogy site called The Zacharias Family Tree.  I have also entered over 100 pictures and 25 family histories and stories.  Translating old letters that came from Russia was both interesting and heartbreaking.  These people suffered horribly under the Hitler, Lenin, and Stalin regimes.  Stalin killed many more people than Hitler.  The Yalta Agreement made between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin made life hell on earth for many of them.   I admire these people and I wonder if I would have had the stamina to keep going under the same conditions.  The following is a picture of my mother’s parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  It was taken shortly before my mom and her parents left their village in the middle of the night and made their way out of the former Soviet Union to freedom.

Familypicturerussia

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May 2, 2019

It finally looks like spring might be making some headways here in Manitoba.  It snowed during the last week of April but luckily we got very little compared to some places in Western Manitoba.  Apparently, Calgary and Edmonton got hit pretty hard.  I remember going camping at Kananaskis just after our move to Calgary.  The weather had been gorgeous when we left home that Saturday afternoon.  In fact, it was so nice we wore shorts.  Coming from Manitoba we had no idea how quickly the weather could change.  By the time we had supper at the campground it was raining and by the time we went to bed, it was snowing.  We were practically frozen solid by the time morning arrived.  The showers in the campground were packed with people waiting to warm up with hot water.  We were finally escorted out of the park and to the Trans Canada highway by the RCMP.  So snow in Calgary at the end of April does not surprise me.  Today it is a sunny 9 C and apparently later today it is supposed to reach 16C.  Almost swimming pool weather.

Earlier in April, I was plagued by severe pain in my back around the hip area.  Since I hate going to the doctor or even worse emergency I kept putting off the inevitable.  On April 20th I finally could no longer handle the added pain so off to the walk-in clinic.   A note on the clinic door advised us that they were full up so we had no other choice but the emergency at the local hospital.  We arrived at 12:30 PM.  It took till 7:00 PM to give me a bottle to pee in and a diagnosis of a kidney infection.  I must say that the doctor I finally saw was very thorough and pleasant to deal with.  The antibiotics were a nightmare.  The pills were an inch long and about 30 minutes after taking one I experienced severe nausea.  Gravol shots can be a blessing.

As I mentioned in a previous post I have revived my genealogy project, a project I started in the early 80s.  I have been researching my grandfather’s mother’s side of the family.  So far I have been able to trace the family back to 1700 and have added 900 names.  Right now I am busy translating letters from relatives in the Soviet Union to relatives in Canada.  The letters were written between 1920 and 1950 and what makes the translations more difficult is that the authors used High German, Platdeutsch and Russian in their letters.  The stories told in these letters are incredibly sad and it boggles my mind how these people retained their sanity under the conditions they had to live with.   Men were arrested at night and set to the Gulags never to be seen again, political prisoners, including women and children, were put on trains in cattle cars and shipped to Stalin and Hitler’s camps and children starved to death just to name a few atrocities.   When compared to what these people lived through my complaints are ridiculously minor.

I must get back to my project so will close for today.  Hope all my readers have a great weekend.

 

This video was taken earlier this month.  It shows two crows busy pulling strips of bark off a tree in our back yard.

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March 17, 2019

Finally, it looks like spring might be on its way.  The temperature today is -1C.  Of course, these old bones of mine let me know well in advance of a weather change.  To think that a while ago I did not believe that aching bones could be brought on by barometric pressure and temperature changes.  Trust me I have learned the hard way.

Years ago I began a family research project which I had intended to publish in book form.  However, life has a way of getting in the way of good intentions.  Truth be told another reason for not finishing the book was that no one was interested.  I have decided to get back to writing and finishing this project.  What the end result will be is still an unknown.  It does make me feel like I am finally accomplishing something besides moaning and groaning about my pain.  I was very fortunate to have my grandpa around for the first few years that I worked on this project. I so enjoyed the time I spent with him listening to him and recording his stories.

My doctor’s appointment earlier this month was a positive one.  I got another six months of medications.  The big moment was when he told me that I will probably qualify for a breast reduction and tummy tuck.  I have been having terrible problems controlling a constant yeast infection on certain portions of my body.  I have been losing weight for a while; in fact, so far it is 70 lbs.  This, of course, leaves one with places for the yeast to grow.  After talking to my doctor and explaining the weight loss and subsequent issues he agreed that I would be a good candidate for the above-mentioned surgery.  What a motivation to keep losing the weight.  Heck, the tummy tuck and breast reduction should take care of quite a few more pounds.  I know that at the age of almost 71 I will never again have the body I once had but at least the fat will be reduced.  

Arthritis seems to have spread to my fingers which is most annoying.  I find that the more I type the more they hurt but by the same token the more I type the less they eventually hurt.  Go figure.  

If the temperatures continue in this warming trend enough snow will soon melt so I can get back to riding my tricycle.  I still feel weird riding it but I really have no choice.  My balance problems do not allow me to ride a regular bike which I miss terribly.  When I was a kid, between the ages of 8-12 I would spend my Saturdays riding around the countryside on my bike.  I would pack a banana and peanut butter sandwich, grab a drink and get on my bike and ride.  To beat the boredom of just riding my bike I would go to different farmyards and either ask for directions or ask for a drink of water.  My motive was to get inside the house to see how other people lived.  Pathetically nosey I know.  I would ride around for hours.  My parents would have had a fit if they had known what I was up to.  My dad had told me if I hoed one short row of beets he would buy me a new CCM bike. I got the new bike but after the one row, he never wanted me on a beet field again.  I destroyed more beets than weeds.  

Hope you all have a great week. 

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March 3, 2019

singingberthaThe audio is a snippet of a song (words and music) written by my son and grandson during a visit to Seattle in 2004.

Another weekend is coming to a close and the Arctic Vortex refuses to leave this part of the country.  Apparently, we have had the coldest February since 1967.  The weather forecasters keep telling us that warmer weather is on the way, but I suggest that no one hold their breath waiting for it to arrive.

The tremendous shifts in the barometric pressure have made this month rather memorable.  I thought that in such cold weather the barometric pressure would remain constant.  But oh no, I was wrong.  Apparently, a move to Arizona would solve the barometric pressure problem.

In the last four weeks I have managed to accomplish things on my “to do list.”   Being a hoarder of sorts, I kept all the cards that we have received as a family since 1967.   Finally took the time to sort through them.  Several years ago I purchased archival photo albums.  However, many of my photos remained in a box.   Finally got them sorted and put into photo albums.  When my day is tolerable and my energy level is such that I can actually think about finishing up projects, I tend to overdo it.   However, I do get a feeling of accomplishment.

Chronic pain is physically and emotionally stressful.  Trying to cope with chronic pain can lead to anger, frustrations, and despair.  Here are some recommended ways to help with chronic pain:

  • Learn deep breathing or meditation to help – I have tried this and when the pain is really bad I cannot concentrate enough to breath deeply or meditate.
  • Reduce Stress – again, something I have struggled with.
  • Exercise – this is something that I cannot do.  I have been referred to physical therapy, but the wait for an appointment is six months.
  • Cut back on alcohol and smoking – I did not drink alcohol and have not smoked for 10 years.

I would certainly recommend trying the above methods if you suffer from chronic pain but do not expect miracles.

Well, it is bedtime and tomorrow is another day.  When I am fighting pain I find it hard to write an interesting blog.  Do not give up on me.  I will try to improve my writing skills.

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February 4, 2019

The second month in 2019 and not much has changed in my life.   I made two roasters full of Holopchi the other day.  They turned out really well, even if I say so myself.  However, the day after I made them, I slept for almost 24 hours.   I should be grateful that I was able to make them.

January was a month of temperature and barometric pressure fluctuations.  Along with that came pain, horrific, debilitating pain.  It often amazes me that I manage to plug along day after day without too many complaints.  I do, however, carry anger inside, anger against the doctors who want to make it their goal in life to take away any form of pain control that allows me to survive.

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, my family doctor sent me to a rheumatologist in November 2018.  I asked for and received the report that she sent to my family doctor after my appointment.  She basically attributed my pain in the mornings as merely stiffness and made the suggestion all I needed was an exercise to deal with this stiffness.  After much deliberation, my husband and I decided that this could not stand as the truth in my medical records.  We wrote a letter to both the rheumatologist and my family doctor reporting the falsehoods in her report.  My end of February appointment with my family doctor should be an interesting meeting.  I have been penalized before when trying to set the record straight with a doctor so who knows what will happen.  Just another stressor in my life.

Tomorrow afternoon, my sister and cousin will be coming to my house for an overdue visit.  The three of us try to get together once a month.  Going through some of my mom’s papers that I had not had the energy to go through before this I found a letter written by my cousin’s grandmother.  It was written in the Gothic script.  My husband was able to translate it into English for her.

During the month of January, I managed to set up an online store selling collectibles, and art using my prints and watercolours.  The store URL is Widebertha’s Originals.  Check it out.

Well, it is time to try to sleep.  Hope you all will have a pain free sleep.

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January 14, 2019

It is the middle of January and we have been experiencing very mild temperatures for this time of year.  The barometric pressure has been bouncing all over the place.  This, of course, brings on a load of pain.  At one time I believed that weather changes could not possibly have any impact on pain but I have certainly learned my lesson.

NIH Medline Plus states  “Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists—often for months or even longer.   Chronic pain may arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness. However, there may also be no clear cause. Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes, often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit a person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength, and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and despair.”

Our daughter is an event planner and we attended her 12th Night Supper on Saturday evening.  She sold all the tickets beforehand and had a lovely group of people in attendance.   She and her son had a great time putting on a puppet performance called “The Night Before Christmas”.   At times like this, I wish that I was capable of lending a hand with the preparations.  Thankfully my husband was able to help with the dishes after the evening ended.  At least one of us could pitch in.

It is almost midnight and I should try to get some sleep.   The nights can seem very long when one wakes up every hour or so.  The bogeymen seem to come out around 3:00 AM and drive me around the bend.  At that time of the night, my mind comes up with the most terrifying thoughts and the memories I want to forget.poisonrai

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January 4, 2019

The beginning of 2019 has been an unmitigated disaster.  I had been battling knee pain since the 26th so you can imagine my surprise when I woke up on New Year’s day with the most horrendous hip pain imaginable.   Life can be a bitch.  The pain has finally eased off somewhat today.

At times like this when the pain becomes unbearable, I take a look at my life and wonder what the heck I did to deserve this “punishment”.  Oh, I am the first one to admit I screwed up royally in my life and have had to live with that for a very long time.  But enough is enough.  What I have also realized is that no one likes to listen to a whiner.

So I will wish you all a good night and crawl back into bed and contemplate my life.

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December 29, 2018

Opioids for Chronic Pain – My new blog.

Just a quick post to let you know that I have finally accomplished a goal of mine which was to build another blog; this one dealing with Chronic pain and Opioids.  Unless you live with chronic pain and rely on some form of opioid painkiller to make it possible for you to crawl out of bed in the morning, you have no idea how cruel and frightening we the sufferers find the new laws about opioid prescriptions.  The intent of my blog is for fellow sufferers to share their fears, opinions, anger, and pain.  I also hope that this blog will turn into an advocacy group, a group that will present our case to the “powers that be.”  What boggles my mind is that the medical profession has no problem punishing 70-year-olds and older people who have legitimate chronic pain.  They are punishing us because law enforcement does not have the ability to stop the trafficking and consumption of illegal drugs like fentanyl and Carfentanil.   We are tarred with the same brush as all the drug pushers and drug dealers out there.  (Carfentanil is an opioid that is used by veterinarians for very large animals like elephants. It is not for human use. It is approximately 100 times more toxic than fentanyl and 10,000 times more toxic than morphine. This means carfentanil can be deadly in extremely small amounts.)

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December 27, 2018

newyear

Here hoping you all had a Very Merry Christmas and that the coming New Year will be filled with much joy, good health, and many blessings.   At the beginning of December, I began decorating the house for Christmas and actually managed to meet my goals.  In case anyone is interested here are some pictures of my accomplishments.

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December 17th, 18th, and 19th were really tough days.  Thanks to the constant change of the barometric pressure during those three days my pain levels went through the roof.  At times like this one has to wonder at the extreme cruelty of the “know it alls” who have decided that people who have severe pain issues do not deserve pain medication.  I was so worried that the pain would remain so debilitating through the upcoming holidays.  Thankfully the weather changed yet again and the pain levels slowly decreased to levels that I could cope with.  Mind you, to cope I take pain medications.  If I did not have these medications I would not get out of bed in the morning.  Each time I get my pain medication renewed I wonder if this will be the last time.

We celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve this year.  There were six of us; my daughter and her partner, our grandson and his partner and Peter and I.  First Choice on Main prepared our Christmas dinner and it was absolutely delicious.  My husband picked up the meal, which was piping hot, a half hour before we planned to eat.  The meal consisted of turkey, gravy, meatballs, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, cole slaw, cranberry sauce, buns, and even the butter.  If you are interested in calling Sharon about home-cooked meals to go send me a message.  After supper, we opened gifts and spent the evening hanging out together.  Everyone spent the night and in the morning we had brunch before they left.

December 26th Peter’s brother and his wife invited us for supper.  As always, the meal Ken prepared was delicious.  We spent a relaxing evening catching up with events in each of our lives.

The three days that I was laid up earlier this month I spent most of my time reading to try to keep my mind off of the mind-numbing pain.  The books I read are “The Motive” by John Lescroart, “The Pure in Heart” by Susan Hill, and “Sanctuary” by Faye Kellerman.   I also just finished reading “Wild Fire” by Ann Cleeves, the final book in her Shetland Series.  So sorry that there will be no more books in this series.

In closing, I wish you all a New Year filled with much happiness, good health, and many blessings.

 

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