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Showing posts from August, 2018

Year Four, Day 48: About that Brain Tumor

About that brain tumor. 

I wasn't worried. My daughter, however was. She drove me to  my ENT appointment today. As I prepared to depart, she said, "Promise me you will mention the possibility of a brain tumor, Mom. Tell them your daughter was a public health major at Oregon State University".

I promised her.

And I always keep my word.

So, as I sat in the medical chair, kicking my feet back and forth in the air, like a little kid (I'm short and the chair was tall), I casually mentioned the brain tumor to my doctor.  I told her I had made a promise to my daughter, who has been very worried about me.  Especially since my trip to the ER - which she forced upon me. She thought I was having a stroke.

I said, "She wanted to make sure you knew she was a public health major at OSU". I chuckled.

My ENT doctor was a wonderful young woman.  Extremely personable. And fun!  We were cracking each other up!

I told her that my lack of a sense of smell came in handy on occasions. L…

Year Four, Day 47: The Muffin Man

You know what the worst part about losing one's sense of smell is?  Not being able to smell one's own baking, that's what!

But I'm not too bummed. I am re-inspired to work on my health, especially my diet.  Today is my son-in-law's birthday. As I pondered what to get him, I remembered he loved the grain free bagels I made last summer. He has a pretty severe reaction to gluten, and I am fairly sensitive too.

Now that I am settling in to family life, I have more time to bake!

So today, in honor of his birthday, and my return to dietary discipline, I baked a half dozen grain free bagels and a sheet of lemon bars!

I only wish I could smell the lovely aromas from the kitchen.

My daughter said it smelled wonderful, like lemons when they got home.

I may find the answer to my loss of smell this week. I have an appointment to see an ENT this Thursday.

This is medical appointment week. The music center is closed. And I start watching Baby Gracie the first week in September o…

Year Four, Day 46: I am Gak

I actually made it to the gym last night! I am most proud of myself!  
I spent a lovely day yesterday with my daughter and granddaughter. We mostly explored downtown Vancouver.  I must admit, after living in Portland for over 30 years, coming back to Vancouver is a bit of a culture shock.
On one hand, it is nice to not have to deal with traffic.  It is much quieter here.  But sometimes it is a bit of an eerie quiet.  And it is difficult to find out what is going on.  Like cultural events, children's play groups.  There is not so much of an online presence. You really have to dig. 
But after a bit of exploring and detective work, we have begun to find some wholesome, educational and family friendly facilities and events.  
We had a lovely lunch downtown and then walked around a bit.  We discovered there was a wine and jazz fest taking place in the early evening at Esther Short park.  
We were quite excited, since Baby Gracie loves music! It would be fun to see her react to live jazz…

Year Four, Day 45: A Miracle

I sat up in bed suddenly this morning at 5:00 a.m., gasping for breath.  My throat was raw, my eyes felt weepy.  I had opened my window late last night. I needed to breathe fresh air. I had heard on the news that Thursday would be a better air quality day.

They were wrong.

Today's air quality index (AQI) is 157, "Unhealthy".

"People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion."

As soon as I read the AQI prediction, I leaped out of bed and closed my window. My heart was racing.  I ran to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face. Then I crawled back in bed.  I struggled to remember the vivid dream I had before I was thrown head on into consciousness.  It was swiftly disappearing. Like the smoky haze in the sky.
What I do remember is that I met an Italian man on a bike. He was very fr…

Year Four, Day 44: Snakes and Scorpions

I had a follow-up appointment with my primary care physician today. The ER doctor recommended it.

However, I forget to request the nurse practitioner when I made the appointment.

I had a vague, uneasy feeling when I entered the clinic and I saw the male doctor sitting behind the counter. The male doctor who had been so dismissive of my symptoms in the past. The male doctor had done hardly anything except for continue to prescribe Prednisone.

Oy. My head started to throb.  My jaw clenched.

My TMJ joint is inflammed again.  I made the mistake of thinking I was greatly improved. On the bus, I started feeling restless and anxious. I started stretching my neck. And messing with my jaw.  I poked at it. I opened my mouth wide several times to clear my ears.  I felt it pop. Then I felt it start to tightened up. Like labor contractions.

No, not again, I told myself!  I started to do some deep breathing.  I imagined the muscles and tendons in my jaw loosen.

It is definitely not as inflamed as l…

Year Four, Day 43: The TMJ Diet

Today has been a good day, so far.

I had a lovely breakfast with my mom - scrambled eggs, applesauce, sausage and tea.  I am trying to adhere to a TMJ diet. More about that later!

I had a nice afternoon of piano students. I had more energy. I've noticed that pain tends to wipe out fatigue.

My head still hurts. Like it's in a vice.  But someone was kind enough to loosen the vice. A bit.

My right TMJ joint is still stiff and sore. But not throbbing.  My sinuses are still sore, and I am still congested. But a little less than yesterday.

A little progress, is still progress.

I have been researching TMJ syndrome, and I came to the horrifying conclusion that what I suspected was true. I caused this whole thing with my eating disorder.

My 1-2 month of comfort/reward eating this summer most definitely caused my jaw inflammation.  My diet was highly acidic. And it included gluten, which I had all but eliminated over the past 2-3 years.  Gluten is know to be pro-inflammatory. I do not …

Year Four, Day 42: Congee ala Z! And Hopped Grapefruit Kombucha

I am just now beginning to feel human again.

I was beginning to wonder if the antibiotics were working at all.  I was beginning to let my mind go to dark places.  
The land of the "what if's"
"What if I have an abscessed tooth?"
"What if I have bone cancer?"
"What if I never recover?"
I decided to just put an end to the what if's. And focus on recovery. One moment at a time.  
I have started resorting to home remedies.
It began yesterday. I decided to make the trip to Portland to teach.  Apparently I am not contagious.  I was told this is a bacterial infection. Hence the antibiotics.  Viral infections do not require antibiotics.
I thought I could handle it. I did. I started out feeling pretty good in the morning.  I had oatmeal for breakfast and black tea.  The hot tea soothed my throat and seemed to open my sinuses.  I'm trying not to move my jaw much. My right TMJ joint is severely out of wack.  I placed a hot, wet washcloth on my …

Year Four, Day 41: The ER

This morning about 4 a.m. I woke up with severe stabbing pains in my jaw.  My whole head, face and neck felt like someone had it in a vice. And was turning the lever.

I had already taken a dose of Thera-Flu before bed. Since Wednesday morning is my time with Gracie, I wanted to make sure I was well rested.  I didn't want to be groggy on Gracie duty.
But with the pain I was experiencing, I was questioning how effective I would be at all. 
I was wide awake, holding my jaw as everything throbbed.  I made a decision to take another dose of Thera-Flu.  The package said I could take one dose every 4 hours.  
So I boiled some water and sat hunched over the kitchen table.  I poured the hot water over the powder. As I waited for it to cool, I put my face close to the cup. The hot steam gave my poor face a bit of relief. 
I was wondering if I had a sinus infection. My throat was sore and raw.  I was congested. Had a bit of a cough. The jaw pain was troubling. Last week when my allergies we…