Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sickness is Never Fun -- Childhood Memories

Illness is making its rounds here. It started with hubby, then WP got. Her symptoms seemed worst and her throat looked blotchy so I took her to the doctor yesterday. Diagnosis: Viral Layringitius with an ulcer on the throat.

Like many homeschoolers when illness strikes we just table school work. We prefer to do school work when everyone is well and can focus and think, which is a good thing because this morning I woke up feeling like crap. I have many of the same symptoms as everyone else: a headache, sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, etc. I, however, unlike everyone else, am limited on what I can take for medications. Many of the typical medications you would take for the cold/flu/respiratory issues I cannot take because of the cpap. I was advised not to take many of those things because they cause interference with the cpap.  I'm pretty much limited to saline nose sprays or other sprays natural sprays like (afflink) xclear and your typical pain medication. I can have cough drops which bring me to my childhood memories.

Here I am sucking on a lemon cough drop with methanol in the middle. It wasn't until I got to the syrup methanol center did the childhood memory come flooding back. That methanol hit me and I remembered my great-grandparents. They are gone now, have been for years.That methanol hitting my senses reminded me how they use to give us, my siblings and I, Hall's cough drops as if it was candy! I'm sure we shouldn't have had them like we did, but I remember being in their car and they being there in the center console and asking for them or them asking us if we wanted one.  I never faked a cough or anything they just freely gave them to us as if they were candy. I could get one, suck on it for a little bit, and then chew it up. -- oh my gosh. How funny is that that sucking on a cough drop today would bring back that memory.

My great-grandparents were good people. I remember them taking us to the park and being at their home. We mostly just visited with them and talking to them. They didn't have toys or things like that at their home. The only things they could offer us was water, prune juice, halls cough drops, and sugar-free gum.  -- I never took them up on the prune juice. In my childhood mind that was gross!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Habits; Old Habits

Weight loss is something that has been a hit or miss for me. Mostly, a miss -- I tried various diets. I worked with a personal trainer. I got nowhere. Even my trainer was puzzled on why some days things I was doing just the week before was kicking my butt -- like really kicking my butt -- and why the scale wasn't moving. Sure, my diet wasn't "great", but it wasn't bad either.  After almost half a year with her, I quit. We were struggling to make the payments and with no results why was I paying.

I let it go and after several months, maybe a year or more I decided to talk to my doctor. That and I was slowly climbing in weight and becoming more and more unhappy.  Well, I talked to the doctor, told her what was going on: not being able to lose weight, being extremely tired all the time, lack of energy, etc. She gave me a couple of referrals: a family doctor that specializes in obesity and a pulmonologist that specializes in sleep disorders.

The pulmonologist took my info and immediately had me do a sleep study. The results: I have sleep apnea. Guess what if you have sleep apnea you have a hard time losing weight and you suffer from fatigue.  The obesity doctor listened to my story and told me she wanted me to do my best to start cutting carbs and added sugars out of my diet. She also ordered some blood work to be done. Results: Vitamin B deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency, and insulin resistance/high insulin (NOT diabetes my blood sugar is perfect). Guess what if you have those things you have a hard time losing weight and you suffer from fatigue.

So I have 4 confirm diagnoses that all have the same symptoms. All of which is a contributing factor to my weight, besides my own eating habits, and my constant fatigue, lack of energy etc. And those eating habits: Yes, my diet was a bit carb heavy some days, but overall, it wasn't so much food by volume. So cut the carbs, cut the added sugars, drink more water, start sleeping every night with a cpap machine and start taking the vitamin supplements and medicine for the insulin resistance.

All of this with the obesity doctor and sleep doctor started the end of April beginning of May 2017. So about 8 months. I have had ups and downs the last 8 months. Some weeks I have done better -- I was doing really good for a while, but this last couple of months especially since right before Christmas has been the toughest. I have slowly been slipping back into old habits. Late night snacks. Eating more then I should. I have watched the scale slowly creep back up. 


Overall I have lost, but if I continue to let these old habits creep back in I'm not going to see weight loss. I'm upset with myself for allowing my old habits to kick in and I find myself excusing it by saying "Tomorrow will be better!" "I will stick with it tomorrow."

Truth is -- tomorrow will never come. I know it won't.  I need to just grab it by the horns and quit making excuses and quit saying "tomorrow".

It took months to get to this point and I don't want to lose sight of the end goal. I have a long way to go but I need to do this.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Slow, Steady, Still Hanging on....

Back in May, I started to take my overall health very seriously.  When you are morbidly obese things get difficult and it was time with me being shy of 40 to do something. I felt like it was now or never.

I have tried things in the past but got nowhere. I even worked with a personal trainer for months. That time with the trainer was the most trying and upsetting. Here I was working with and spending money on a personal trainer and I got nowhere. The scale never changed. The inches never came off. -- It was literally nowhere.  I quit the trainer and knew I should talk with my doctor but it would be years until I decided to talk with the doctor.

In May I finally, with my husband's promoting, decided it was time to talk with the doctor. It was me always being tired, waking up in the morning feeling like I never slept. It was me crying to my husband how I'm tired of feeling tired. It was me being extremely restless that caused my husband to start having insomnia. It was his insomnia and my tiredness that lead me to talk to the doctor. At that time, I also decided I will also mention to my doctor my issues with weight loss.

The doctor referred me to two specialists. One for sleeping and the other for weight loss. The sleep doctor decided that I should have a sleep study done and see if I have sleep apnea. It turned out I do indeed have sleep apnea. Symptoms of sleep apnea include things like sleepiness, fatigue, tired, weak muscles, memory issues, depression.   -- part of the obesity is due to not having energy and being tired all the time.  The sleep doctor also told me having sleep apnea can make losing weight difficult. He has known patients that had lost 10 lbs just because they started to use cpap machine. No other changes just the use of the cpap.

The weight doctor was next. She ran blood work. diabetes. nope, but I do have high insulin. This means I have to be on a low carb and no added sugar diet. The blood work also showed that I have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are things like weakness, tiredness, weak muscles, and depression.  The blood work also showed that I had vitamin D deficiency as well. Symptoms of this also include things like weakness, muscle fatigue.

I had at least 3 conditions that have similar symptoms. It is one vicious circle. I'm I tired because of the sleep apnea or because of the vitamin B or D deficiencies? When you have no energy you don't want to for that walk or work out -- or if you do the workout you tired and your butt is kicked much sooner than it should be. That is one thing my trainer when I had her, would say. I don't know why it's kicking your butt today -- you had done much more before. Meaning I had good days and bad days, but on what we thought was those "bad days" I would be tired real easy.

So here we are 3 almost 4 months later -- I have my cpap. I have been taking my vitamins and trying to maintain the diet the doctor wanted me to do. Diet is not going well, I have good days and bad days. -- It's hard to maintain a diet change, but I'm trying.

Despite the failures I have had I have actually lost some weight and maintain that weight loss. I'm thrilled that we are here at the 3-month mark and I have lost 27 lbs and have maintained that loss. It's a slow loss, but a loss nonetheless.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sleep Apnea and Cpap

Living life is hard when you are feeling tired all of the time.  I couldn't understand why even if I went to bed a decent hour I was tired all the time.  I couldn't even lay down to watch TV without dozing off.

When you are tired all the time you simply don't have the energy to do what you should be doing, want to do, etc.  After talking to my husband we decided I should say something to the doctor. So I did. The doctor recommended me to a sleep specialist, who after seeing me decided I should have a sleep study done.

What did the sleep study reveal? I have severe sleep apnea. Severe. My AHI score was 52 and my O2 levels dropped down to 70%. I still don't fully understand what AHI means and how they came up with that score. I just know that an AHI score of 0-5 is normal and that anything over 30 is considered severe.  I also know having the 02 drop too is a huge issue.

I was fitted with a CPAP machine this week. I have had it now for 4 nights. I wish I could say it is making me feel better -- it's too early to feel any differences; it's only been 4 night, but I do know from my (afflink) Garmin Vivofit that I'm getting more deep sleep the last 4 nights then I have ever gotten -- ever! So even though I'm not feeling any differences, not yet, the fact I'm getting more deep sleep should mean something.

I know from reading up on CPAP and from family and friends that have a CPAP it takes some time to get use to it.  Overall I'm adjusting okay. The first night was horrid. Much like the night of the sleep study, I was having a hard time. The second night didn't bother me much and the last 2 nights haven't bothered me much.  Having the mask on, the pressure, all of that isn't so bad -- what is bother me is the tip of my nose and nostrils. It's not dry nose; it's not congestion (all though I did have that the first 2 nights), it's the tip of my nose and nostrils. -- they hurt and are sore to the touch. I don't know why. It's odd and hard to explain.

I at first thought it was the nose mask I'm wearing. It has nostril plugs. So I switched to another mask for the 3rd night -- one without nostril plugs -- but I still had the same issue. Actually, I had more issues. The mask without the nostril plugs leaked too much and made me have more restless sleep.

I was given a sleep coach -- it's her job to make sure I become complaint. The insurance requires I wear the CPAP and it's her job to make sure I do and give me tips, help, advice so I become complaint. Thanks to modern technology, wifi, 3g/4g networks, and wireless devices they know if I'm being complaint. got.

Yesterday, I was at lunch with my hubby at a local restaurant and during lunch, my phone rang. It was the sleep coach.  Here I am out to eat with my husband and here she is able to tell me exactly what my settings on my machine are at, adjust them, and how long I have been using it, if I have air leaks, etc. It was so weird and a bit scary for me for her to have all this info.

If you have been following me for a while you know I hate data mining and avoid many things because of data mining, but here I am being forced to use a machine that does exactly that. It records when I go to bed, when I wake up, and now I have the doctors and insurance company accessing it.

Yes, I use an activity tracker and yes that is a form of data mining. However, the key difference is that activity tracker is for my eyes only -- I have more control over who sees it, if they see it, when they see it, what they see. With the CPAP I don't have choices or control really.  The doctor has access, the sleep coach has access, the insurance company has access, and the home health care facility that issued me the machine has access.

Well anyway, that is where things are currently at with the CPAP and the Apnea.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Schools and Dress Codes

I'm sure by now many of you are aware of the Catholic High School and its 21-page-prom dress code book.  If not I will give you a short run down.

Catholic High School has released a 21-page dress code for prom. It's truly only 21 pages because it's presented in a powerpoint type format and has tons of pictures of what is and is not appropriate. In a nutshell it can be simplified as: keep it modest, keep it covered, and do not flaunt what the Lord has given you.  That's pretty much it. There is not really much more to it.

I also happen to be local to this Catholic High School. If I was to send my kids to a Catholic High School this is where they would be going. I'm disgusted with how my local media has portrayed the situation and with the national media for picking it up and flaunting it more and making it seem much more then what it is.

I'm also equally disgusted with how some of the parents and student body have handled it. Instead of accepting the rules and encouraging modesty -- after all that's all the school is asking for, which they rightly should, given it's a Catholic school -- they have decided to have an anti-prom. Or at least trying to. Several students are trying to raise funds for a venue and DJ. Why? So they can wear what they want!

It's a sad day when a Catholic School a school that should be promoting morals, modesty, chastity, and other Christian values is criticized by the media, student body, and parents for having rules that trying to enforce the values the school is supposed to be promoting/teaching.

It's sad that parents are not telling their children to dress modestly: keep your chest cover, keep your navel covered, make sure the dress is at least to your knees and slits and not above the knee.  Why? Does this have to be an issue? Why does this shock anyone? Why is there fight back for this? What's the big deal. There are several dresses that are nice......

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Plant A Pencil?

Plant A Pencil?
Scrolling around on Facebook I came across a pencil that you can plant and it will grow into a plant.
This brought back memories of when we planted socks, images of little ones wanting to plant coins to grow a money tree or planting jelly beans and other candies to grow candy plants.

While the idea is a novelty and I admit I want to buy the (affiliate link) herb pencils. It seems a bit silly. If you decide to get these pencils be sure to take a moment or two to explain to your child that it works because it has a seed in it.

Of course, you could turn this into a science project by getting the same type of seeds found in the pencil and compare growth. It wouldn't be a truly accurate test because the seeds would not be from the same batch.

I remember doing experiments similar when I was younger. Planting the same type of seed, in the same type of soil, same depth, and adding the same amount of water, but had variables like planting one with egg shells, one with apple slices, one with soil mixed with coffee grounds, and comparing growth. I see planting the seed with the pencil and without as a similar experiment.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.

*****
photo credit: Alice Henneman

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Beginnings; New Chapters

I know this blog is just an infant and with time it will grow! I am looking forward to my new chapter here. Just sharing a bit about my thoughts on things. It will be much like my old blog, but with a more wider net.

I felt like with Catholic Christian Homeschooling so many of the things I wanted to talk about didn't fit the "nitch" of the blog. I am no longer homeschooling my son, my daughter is in the mist of her freshman year. Sure there will be days were I will hop on and share the special things that are going on, but much of our days are the same. We get up, we do school, we run errands. Sometimes we do special activities, but most of the days doesn't seem "blog" worth.

We have our curriculum - it's pretty boring. She does most of the work herself and check in with me when she needs help. I'm not actively doing projects like we did when the kids were younger.  I enjoy homeschooling, I am happy my daughter is homeschooled -- I wish the same for my son -- I truly do; but it's pretty boring life.

I got onto Facebook several years ago, because I co-founded a local homeschool co-op/group and that group needed me to be on Facebook to help promote it, get the word out about it.  Facebook ended up sucking up much of my internet time and Catholic Christian Homeschooling went on the very, very back burner.

I have tried over the last year to blog there to bring it back -- but found that it just wasn't there. Yes, I wanted to blog about homeschooling and share my day, but I wanted to branch out and share just general homeschooling help. I also wanted to share MORE -- more than just homeschooling: I wanted to share beyond what the old blog was tailored for ... So Nikki's Thoughts On was born.

Doing this meant me re-branding my current social media channels. I didn't want to close those channels, I just wanted them to reflex the direction I was heading. In doing so my good friend Tina from Being Made New noticed the re-branding and we started to talk. We decided that it we should take action on something we have been talking about for YEARS.  We decided to launch a blog together. That blog primary focus will be homeschooling. It will be sharing what we love, but from a mentor status. This is something that I am happy to announce too.  Ditto, She Wrote.

It like Nikki's Thoughts On is a very infant blog, but we have great plans!