Now we’re talking!

… FINALLY!!!!

Harvested today:

IMG_0492We have been harvesting cucumbers, but today surprise, surprise, there were some tomatoes ripe!!

A quick walk to the flower/weed gardens shows this:

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and this

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In the already weeded section.

In the not weeded section we find this little red flower.  I moved that flower here from Westfield and it has been mowed over repeatedly for the last 3 years.  I feared that it was gone.  But this year I found it again and put some bricks around it so it won’t get mowed.   🙂     I don’t know what kind it is, suggestions would be nice.

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This is what half of the garden looks like.  You can see some nice cone flowers in the back and a fabulous crop of thistle!

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Any help weeding would be greatly appreciated!   😛

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Pseudotumor

or subtitled:  Why should a 20 year old still be dealing with this for the last 3+ years???

Information from the website Mayoclinic.com is in italics.  My comments are in  bold. 6912-0550x0475

Pseudotumor cerebri  occurs when the pressure inside your skull (intracranial pressure) increases for no obvious reason. Symptoms mimic those of a brain tumor, but no tumor is present. Pseudotumor cerebri can occur in children and adults, but it’s most common in obese women of childbearing age.  

While Abi is of childbearing year (though she better not be bearing any children any time soon) she is definitely NOT obese and has never been in the 3+ years we’ve been dealing with this.

When no underlying cause for the increased intracranial pressure can be discovered, pseudotumor cerebri may also be called idiopathic intracranial hypertension.

That is my favorite thing to call it (I.I.H) because it is big words and people look at you like you really know what you are talking about.  In this case, sadly we do.

The increased intracranial pressure associated with pseudotumor cerebri can cause swelling of the optic nerve and result in vision loss. Medications often can reduce this pressure, but in some cases, surgery is necessary.

There has not been any loss of vision for Abi, but the medication is not working anymore…..  other options will need to be explored.

Pseudotumor cerebri signs and symptoms may include:

  • Moderate to severe headaches that may originate behind your eyes, wake you from sleep and worsen with eye movement
  • Ringing in the ears that pulses in time with your heartbeat
  • Nausea, vomiting or dizziness
  • Blurred or dimmed vision
  • Brief episodes of blindness, lasting only a few seconds and affecting one or both eyes (visual obscurations)
  • Difficulty seeing to the side
  • Double vision (diplopia)
  • Seeing light flashes (photopsia)
  • Neck, shoulder or back pain

Abi mainly has headaches that worsen through the day and when she is overly tired (it was a really, really bad idea for her to council night camp a couple weeks ago) or stressed.  The medicine (diuretic) coupled with No Doze (high doses of caffeine) have usually worked to keep the headaches at bay.  Funny that she would take No Doze in order to go to sleep!

The exact cause of pseudotumor cerebri in most individuals is unknown, but it may be linked to an excess amount of cerebrospinal fluid within the bony confines of your skull.  

This was confirmed 3 years ago when she had a spinal tap to check the pressure of the fluid in her spine.  It was up.  They “drained a pint” and the headaches stopped for a time.

Your brain and spinal cord are surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid, which acts like a cushion to protect these vital tissues from injury. This fluid is produced in the brain and eventually is absorbed into the bloodstream. The increased intracranial pressure of pseudotumor cerebri may be a result of a problem in this absorption process.

In general, your intracranial pressure increases when the contents of your skull exceed its capacity. For example, a brain tumor typically increases your intracranial pressure because there’s no room for it. The same thing happens if your brain swells or if you have too much cerebrospinal fluid.

Recent evidence indicates that the majority of people with pseudotumor cerebri have a narrowing (stenosis) in two large sinuses in the brain (transverse sinuses), but it’s not clear whether the narrowing is a cause or effect of the condition.

No other cause has ever been given to us.  She has had a couple MRI’s and they indicated nothing unusual, or nothing that seemed to point to a cause.  Thus the whole “ideopathic” part of the name:  unknown cause.

The following factors have been associated with pseudotumor cerebri:

Obesity
Pseudotumor cerebri occurs in about 1 person per 100,000 in the general public. Obese women under the age of 44 are nearly 20 times more likely to develop the disorder.  

As I already said, Abi is not obese, though she is under 44.  Good to know that she is that special:  1 in 100,000.  We always knew she was special… just not a fan of this kind of special.

Medications
Substances that have been linked to pseudotumor cerebri include:
 Ummm… nope, nope, nope, nope… too much milk and cheese?  Maybe.

  • Growth hormone
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Tetracycline
  • Discontinuation of steroids
  • Excess vitamin A

Health problems
The following conditions and diseases have been linked to pseudotumor cerebri:
 Nope to all of these!  Never had her parathryoid glands checked though.

  • Addison’s disease
  • Head injury
  • Kidney disease
  • Lupus
  • Lyme disease
  • Mononucleosis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Underactive parathyroid glands

As many as 10 percent of the people with pseudotumor cerebri experience progressively worsening vision and may eventually become blind. Even if your symptoms have resolved, they can recur — months or even years later.  Yes, reoccuring… still no vision issues though.  Nothing like being in the “lucky” minority!

Eye exams
If pseudotumor cerebri is suspected, a doctor specializing in eye disorders will look for a distinctive type of swelling — called papilledema — in the back of your eye. You will also undergo a visual fields test to see if there are any blind spots in your vision besides your so-called normal blind spot in each eye where the optic nerve enters the retina.  
 

Abi has had these tests.  Another cool word to know:  papilledema!  We do not have eye insurance so this is not covered and it is expensive to have done.  Thus, we did not get this done again a the beginning of the summer.

Brain imaging
CT or MRI scans can rule out other problems that can cause similar symptoms, such as brain tumors and blood clots.
 Yes, had this… no real tumor, nothing out of the ordinary.  And YES, she has a brain!   😉   

Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
A lumbar puncture — which involves inserting a needle between two vertebrae in your lower back — can determine how high the pressure is inside your skull.
   

Yes, she had this.  She then spend almost a week in the hospital with the spinal headache resulting from it on super high doses of caffeine until it was determined that it wasn’t going away (the writhing teen on the bed wasn’t clue enough) and they did the blood patch.  If we have to do this again, we will be certain a blood patch happens at the same time as the pressure check.

Pseudotumor cerebri treatment typically begins with medications to control the symptoms. Weight loss is recommended for obese individuals. If your vision worsens, surgery to reduce the pressure around your optic nerve or to decrease the intracranial pressure may be necessary. Once you’ve had pseudotumor cerebri, you should have your vision checked regularly.

Medications

  • Glaucoma drugs. One of the first drugs usually tried is acetazolamide (Diamox), a glaucoma drug that reduces the production of cerebrospinal fluid by at least 50 percent. Possible side effects include stomach upset, fatigue, tingling of fingers, toes and mouth, and kidney stones.  This is the medicine Abi is on.  It has worked for a time, but doesn’t seem to be helping right now.  She was told to drink extra water to avoid the kindey stone issues.
  • Diuretics. If acetazolamide alone isn’t effective, it’s sometimes combined with furosemide (Lasix), a potent diuretic that reduces fluid retention by increasing urine output.
  • Migraine medications. Medications typically prescribed to relieve migraines can sometimes ease the severe headaches that often accompany pseudotumor cerebri.

Surgery

  • Optic nerve sheath fenestration. This procedure cuts a window into the membrane that surrounds the optic nerve. This allows excess cerebrospinal fluid to escape. Vision stabilizes or improves in more than 85 percent of cases. Most people who have this procedure done on one eye notice a benefit for both eyes. However, this surgery isn’t always successful and may even increase vision problems.
  • Spinal fluid shunt. Another type of surgery inserts a long, thin tube — called a shunt — into your brain or lower spine to help drain away excess cerebrospinal fluid. The tubing is burrowed under your skin to your abdomen, where the shunt discharges the excess fluid. Symptoms improve for more than 80 percent of the people who undergo this procedure. But shunts can become clogged and often require additional surgeries to keep them working properly. Complications can include low-pressure headaches and infections.

pseudotumor_cerebriSpinal Shunt was mentioned at one point.  I don’t know if this is a good option or not.  It might be time, however, to discuss something more permanent for her.  What 20 year old wants to continue taking medicine everyday when you are an otherwise healthy person (I know that many have to because they have diseases/problems greater than this).  Especially as she moves forward with life and might actually want to bear children someday, knowing that the headaches could worsen might be reason enough not to and I kinda want to have grandchildren!   🙂

I will be calling the neurologist this morning to see what next steps we can take since Abi’s time is limited due to being at camp and then heading back to school.  Hopefully, we can reach a solution and get her healthy ASAP! 

 

 

Thank you for reading this.  It seems that it is one of my more popular blog posts.  When I posted it I was just trying to vent and educate our own family and friends about what Abi goes through with Pseudotumor.  Just in 2016 alone, this post has been read 139 times.  WOW!

 

If you are willing to share, please comment and tell me why you are researching it and what your circumstances are.   We would be very interested to know.  

On The Line

I really enjoy when I can take the time to hang the clean, wet clothing out on the line to dry.  It is one of my favorite things to do.  They smell so great.  Yeah, they might sometimes be a little stiff but it is such fun to see them all flapping in the sun and the breeze.    It also, saves a little energy too.   🙂

Today we did just that!

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My favorite things to see on the line are cloth diapers.  What is prettier than white diapers on a clothesline against a lovely blue sky?   Back in 1997, Cotton Inc.  held a contest for best photograph of something you love that is cotton.  So I took a photo of just that and submitted it.  I didn’t win, but I still love this photo:

2011

That child wasn’t potty trained yet, she would have been about 17 months old and those were her diapers.   🙂

I will need to remind that same child to be careful when she pulls into the driveway to not catch the car antenna on the clothesline.

Quilts

If you are in the market for a homemade quilt, my mother has some for sale on Etsy.

 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/ZigZagQuilts

 

If you don’t like those, just ask and she may have one in a color you do like for sale soon.  She can make a quilt a month, almost.   Some are more intricate that others but they are all beautiful in their own way… kinda like people.

 

Here are the ones currently for sale:

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We could probably work out a discount for local friends and family.   🙂

 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary….

… how does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells

And pretty maids all in a row.

 

Or in our case…

tomatoes overloaded, pumpkins taking over the side yard, cucumbers growing nicely, and over 5 foot sunflowers.

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IMG_0482Esther is almost 5 foot tall and the sunflowers are taller than her!

 

Garden is doing well this year.  Thanks to the abundant rain and then a few well placed sunny days in between.    If the tomatoes all ripen at the same time we will be marketing our own ketchup!

 

Jingles

How many jingles can you sing?

“My bologna has a first name it’s O S C A R… my bologna has a second name it’s M A Y E R… I like to eat it everyday, and if you ask my why I’ll say… ‘cus Oscar Mayer has a way with B O L O G N A.”

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“Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us.  All we ask is that you let us serve it your way.  Have it your way.  Have it your way.  Have it your way, at Burger King.”

“I am stuck on bandaid, ‘cuz bandaid’s stuck on me….”

“2 all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese , pickles, onion, on a sesame seed bun…”

“Garfield – 1, 2 3 2 3….”  (I have no idea what that phone number is for anymore but I can sing that tune.)

“I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony…”

Why do those commercial jingles of decades past still linger in ones memory?  There are good commercial being made these days:  Budweiser horses, the AT & T focus group, “can you hear me now” Sprint guy, Progressive.  But they don’t have jingles.  Something about a good jingle that just sticks with you.   Maybe the commercial writers these days don’t have musical talent?  Maybe they think jingles are a thing of the past?

Another theory.  Back when those above jingles were introduced, there were 100 fewer TV stations and 1,000 fewer stores and entities trying to gain commercial air time.  So maybe we saw those commercials more frequently?  Hmmm… I have to say that I sure see the AT&T commercials a lot and there is a Volvo one I’m sick of too.   So, maybe that’s not a good theory.

I can’t think of any current jingles that are as memorable.  Can you?

OH… just thought of one:  “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”  However, I think that is an old jingle that they are just reusing, or still using.

***This blog entry is very random.  Who knows why my brain has been thinking about jingles all day?!***

Home

“Home is where the heart is.”

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.”

“It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.”

“There’s no place like home.”

Where do you consider home?

In my lifetime I have lived in 7 significant places.  I’m discounting college, the year abroad, and the few places before I was 3.

Mom

Of course, “home” would be my mother’s house.  The place I grew up.  The place where we have buried many pets.  The place where my father died.  The place where the children love to go visit.  A place full of warmth (even when it is chilly outside).  A place where you can find a homemade quilt, make some cookies, read a book, watch the birds (or squirrels), pick some flowers, swing on a tree swing, play with legos, look at photos, or just sit and visit.

Thanks to Google Earth I didn’t have to dig through albums to find a photo of my mother’s home.  What is funny is that the cars parked in the driveway?  One is hers, one is ours!  I guess we were over for a visit on photo day!   🙂

Then there are all the “homes” we’ve had as a married couple.  Our first home was at 425 W. 8th St. Apartment 4 in Connersville, Indiana.  It was an old building with just 4 apartments.  2 up, 2 down.  We were up.  Front door and back door – long apartment.  There was an old man that lived below us, he wasn’t the friendliest.   There was an old lady that lived beside us for a while then she either moved out or died, I can’t remember, and a young guy moved in.  The apartment was actually pretty nice for a young couple.  It had a great front room with wood floors in the dining room.  There was a Murphy bed that came out of the front closet.  So many times I’ve wished for that bed in other houses.  One bedroom, one bath.  Lots of windows to the front.  Small parking lot in the back.  Just enough for the 2 of us.  It did have one grave issue….

connersville

This is what the bathroom shower looked like.  Almost from day 1 of the 3 years it was inhabited by us a tile fell off.  The landlord at that time refused to do any work.  Eventually it began to drip into the old man’s bathroom below us.  Still the landlord refused to do work.  He came one time to look at it while we were out of town and we left a note and blocked the hallway refusing him access to the rest of the apartment (we didn’t really trust him) and he left cigarette butts in the sink and didn’t do a thing.  I guess we pissed him off, but whatever, his mess to repair when we moved out.

kent

Our next home, was in Kent.  6523 Reeves Avenue to be exact.  It was really in Brady Lake.  It was a sweet little home.  4 bedrooms (though one was more of an office) and 2 full baths.  The kitchen was small and iffy, but the yard was decent size.  While we were here, we gained a dog, Bubba, and a child, Abi.  We moved from there when she was 6 weeks old.   I think now the driveway is paved and some more landscaping has been done.

cambridge

We moved to Cambridge in 1993 to 605 Jefferson Avenue.  Right across the street from the church.  We really didn’t mind that.  Though we did mind the kitchen.  It was pea green counters, a different shade of pea green flooring that was peeling, and a pea green portable dishwasher.  UGH!  While we were there, we were able to remodel and increase the size of the kitchen.  It was a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath house – with a finished bedroom/office in the basement.  After the kitchen remodel, we expanded the 1/2 bath to a full bath with a large handicapped accessible shower.  Again, a decent size yard.  Nice area to raise the kids.  When we finally left Cambridge in 2000, our family was now up to 5!

carrolltonWe moved to Carrollton in to a very small parsonage that was terrible.  Thankfully we only had to live there 3 months while a new one was purchased at 540 N. Lisbon St.  The one they purchased was a lovely century home with a finished attic playroom space.  There was so much I wanted to do with that house.  Sadly we only lived there 4 years.  I would take that house again in a heartbeat if it could be moved.  3 big bedrooms (plus the attic room) 2 full baths and really nice sized living spaces.  It’s one drawback was a small back yard but we made the most of it.   When we left Carrollton in 2004 our family had grown to 6.   🙂     (The photo is a current one thanks to Google Earth, when we lived there the front porch was slightly different, but apparently someone went off the road and ran into the porch so they removed it and rebuilt it.)

westfield

Cloverleaf School District – Westfield Center… I’m sure that for Abi that is home.  I think that when you graduate from high school, you tend to think of that location as home.  We lived there for 6 years at 8942 N. Leroy Rd.  It was  a lovely house.  4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths.  The only home we’ve ever lived in with a master bath!   Great yard that allowed for the construction of the castle.  A very safe and lovely community to raise our children.    We had really wanted to stay there long enough to see several of our kids graduate from Cloverleaf.  But some people had other ideas.   😦

cantonNow we live in Canton.  Not in a house of our dreams but it is OURS.  Well, OK, technically it belongs to the bank but we are paying on it so someday it will be ours.  It is a house that works for us for now.  Officially it only has 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.  We have converted a living room into the master bedroom.  Additionally we have dreams of adding another bathroom off that room so that it can be officially considered a master.  You need money for that, or a good friend/relative who will work for food.    Based on the theory that home is where you graduate from high school, this should be “home” for all the rest of the girls.  At least that is the current plan.

Where do you call home?  When you let your soul rest and think of home.  Where does it take you.  Which location pulls you and reminds you of a safe time, a happy time?   When I do that, I still feel pulled to call Cambridge “home.”  Not because of the house, because it would not be in my top 3 that I’ve lived in, but because of the feelings it evokes.  Feelings of being loved, of being included, of having a purpose in life, of becoming a family.  It was in Cambridge where I truly had  ministry of my own.   Where I was involved in the church and the community and appreciated.  In Cambridge there were people who “had our backs” who loved us and supported us and “held up our arms” when we got tired and needed support.    If I play the “What If” game, I see that had things worked out differently here in Canton I would have felt those things here.  Things were moving in that same direction.  I once again had a place where I could shine and minister.   Where I could do the things I love to do and have the love and support of a congregation of people.    I’m sure, that given time, I will consider this home because this is where my children will mature and move on in life.  Canton can be the place where other great things have the potential to happen.

In my ideal world, I would have the house from Carrollton, the church community from Cambridge, the school & neighborhoods from Cloverleaf, and the amenities of living close to family in Canton.

Oh… if you haven’t noticed the cute little coincidences of our living… we have lived in all areas/communities that when said outloud have the hard “c” or “k” sound:  Connersville, Kent, Cambridge, Carrollton, Cloverleaf, Canton.