When No Means We’ll See

I have had difficult time deciding what to write today. Yesterday I received the final answer to my applications for disability status. In 2015, I applied for disability through four agencies. My pension holder granted me partial disability which allows my pension to accrue interest. My workplace’s insurance denied my application. A few weeks ago the federal disability program denied me and yesterday I received the fourth answer, another refusal. I can and plan to appeal the last two refusals. A lot has changed since those applications were sent in the spring and fall of 2015.

In the meantime, I am in constant pain; can’t lean over or reach for something without losing my balance; have daily dizzy spells; need 10-12 hours sleep per day-preferably not at once or I’ll seize up; can only work at best three hours a day, including cooking and housework due to constant fatigue. But I am not disabled, by the Canadian and Ontario government standards.

So what am I?

A Healthier Life Update 03/03/2016

On February 18th in my A Healthier Life post I spoke about the changes I’ve made health-wise and future plans. This morning I had an appointment with my primary health care provider. She had received the lab results from a few weeks ago. Things are worse than I thought, my friends.
My Diabetes is officially uncontrolled. I’ve never been in the uncontrolled range. My a1c (a blood test of your blood glucose levels and a few other things) came back at 8.0. It’s never been out of the 6-6.8 range since my diagnosis in 2011. 6s are considered perfectly controlled for diabetics; 5 is not diabetic or extremely perfect for a diabetic. Once you have diabetes you have it for life; there is no cure, only treatments. So we increased my dosage of Metformin and sent a consult to the local Diabetes Education Program. I don’t know how long their wait list is especially since I was referred to a multiple of their services. I may hear back this week or it could be weeks from now.
In the meantime, I’m going to make some changes. I’m going to check my blood glucose levels more frequently instead of the once a week or so I was before. I’m going to continue tracking my food but instead of waiting until the thirty days of solidarity are over I’m going to start making dietary changes now. In the past few weeks of tracking I have found I frequently eat far more than my recommended calories and way more carbohydrates than I realized. So starting tomorrow, I am going to start decreasing my caloric intake and my net carbohydrate grams. I also need to increase my physical activity level so I’m burning more calories. I want to start walking outdoors more but the ups and downs of our temperature make the sidewalks slippery so I’m going to take that slow until Spring. I’m going to start with a daily walk to the mailbox and exercising at home.
This doesn’t mean I will stop trying to drink 2L/day or sleep better or do my neck stretches. Those will be continued. It just means my plan for becoming healthier has been accelerated.
Hopefully my next health update will bring better news!

How Dog Sitting Took Over My Blogging Time

Since Friday, February 9th until later today my mother and I have been dog-sitting my brother and sister-in-law’s two dogs. It has been great really. We did not have any issues with the three dogs getting along. No one was too territorial. There were no huge dog fights although there were a few minor barking spats.

But, I’m exhausted. I’ve been going to sleep early every night and there are times between the fibro fog and tiredness I’ve been incoherent when trying to talk to my mother. Very little was accomplished. I didn’t realize it would be this bad. As a result very little writing has occurred. I had no blog posts pre-written or pre-scheduled. My plan of blogging Monday through Friday weekly quickly fell apart. So I’m starting again this week. Fingers crossed I can do this!

A Healthier Life

For the past few months I’ve been slowly working on improving my health. Living with ten chronic conditions plus a few non-chronic can make for a very unhealthy lifestyle. I’m looking to improve that as much as possible.

First, I worked on my water intake. Second, my sleep habits. Third, doing my neck stretching more frequently. Tuesday I started a new step. A friend started Whole30. I’m not ready for such a drastic change and my health is too fragile to attempt it without speaking to my primary physician who is currently on vacation. But, in solidarity, I started tracking all my food again on My Fitness Pal.

I started with water first because I know it is such an important aspect of our health and I was not drinking as much as I used to. I am now up to at least 1800 ml and most days over 2L [64 oz]. I no longer feel thirsty near as often as before I started working on this.

Sleep is another component of good health. Both Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome impact sleep causing fatique, disturbed or restless sleeping and insomnia. I was and still am having all those symptoms. I was also needing to nap daily regardless of the previous night’s sleep amount. My Fitbit tracks my sleep, not well-anytime you lie still with sleep mode on is considered sleep-so I tried figuring out my optimal amount of sleep. I thought it was eight hours but soon realized I was still napping daily with eight hours. It turns out that right now I need ten hours of sleep to not NEED a nap later but dependent on how restless I was in getting that sleep I may still be fatigued enough to nap. Anything over nine hours causes increased pain upon waking unless I was restless enough to have changed sleep positions frequently. This is a very tough component to control.

A few weeks ago I added in restarting to consistently do my neck stretches. Because a few of my health issues affect my neck it is very easy for me to lose neck mobility. But when I’m in a lot of pain this is something I often drop. My aim is to do the stretches daily but at least three times a week. I have to consciously remind myself to do this; it is no longer the habit it once was. But, most weeks I am doing them at least every other day.

And now, I’ve added tracking all food and drinks. I used to do this faithfully just a few years ago but when my life became so complicated and my health decreased tracking was dropped. I have committed to tracking for 30 days. I do not plan on making any food changes the first week but hope to  be back to eating properly for my Diabetes by the end of the 30 days. When I was first diagnosed I saw dietitians who were also Certified Diabetes Educators. Their recommendation was 30 g net carbohydrates for meals and 15 g net carbohydrates for snacks. Skipping meals was not allowed and snacking was only to occur if there was more than four hours between meals. I was also taught the Plate Method. This has you virtually divide your plate into quarters; one for carbohydrates, one for protein and the other two for vegetables [preferably different vegetables]. I slowly stopped following this advice as things became more complicated and because my Diabetes was under great control. I want to see just how much I’ve deviated from the plan and a great bonus would be losing the weight I’ve gained since moving back in with Mum.

Happy Family Day 2016!

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I counted last night; I took ten medications and vitamins. I skipped a few that I’m out of-calcium, and vitamin C; I didn’t take all my PRN medications and rarely take my melatonin. This morning I took 9. I should qualify, I take one medication at different dosages in the a.m. and p.m.; another twice daily; and I also take three medications four times a day. I long for those childhood days when taking medication was a rarity instead of a daily ritual.

Oh, and I forgot to mention two other designs. And another illness, benign tremors which is a complicated way of saying my hands shake constantly.

This weekend I started a crochet project I’ve been putting off for a while but I wanted to make something quick since my other projects are all blankets. I’m making covers for a set of three stools I own. It’s an improvised pattern that I probably won’t publish. It’s just something I need and can make while still watching my four year old nephew.

Mum and I have been babysitting JJ while my sister spent Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend. It’s amazing how quickly you forget just how busy and noisy a four year old can be and how quickly they remind you on sleepovers!

I’ve set up a schedule of blog posts that I’m hoping I can keep up and will be interesting for you as well. We will see over the next few weeks how it works.

2016 Plans

Oprah Winfrey said “A lesson will keep repeating itself until it is learned. Life first will send the lesson to you in the size of a pebble; if you ignore the pebble, then life will send you a brick; if you ignore the brick, life will send you a brick wall; if you ignore the brick wall, life will send you a demolition truck.”
In 2015 I was sent that demolition truck. I lost my full-time job, my house and most importantly control of my failing health. I’m slowly climbing out of the rubble left behind but in the process I broke a lot of promises. Promises made here, on social networks and “in real life”. I take responsibility for those. I can’t change them but I can say I’m sorry and I’m working on fixing things. Part of fixing those things is abandoning, for the time being, finishing writing my books C’ést Ma Vie 2015 and C’ést Ma Vie 2016. 

Instead this year I’m going to work on my business, my designing and my health. Balancing a business and fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cervical disc degeneration with neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, high blood pressure, moderately high cholesterol, recurrent labyrinthitis, the possible recurrence of my thyroid cancer, and the latest, recurrent corneal abrasion syndrome with basement cell dystrophy in my left eye can be very difficult. I had surgery for the same disorder in January 2006 in my right eye. I was told at that time it is usually in both eyes but didn’t have any issues with my left eye until summer 2015. Balancing all that can be difficult especially when you add life into the mix too. But I’m going to try to find that elusive balance this year.

I’m working on a crochet afghan right now. Technically it’s a sample for a design but in reality it is so much more. I designed this pattern for my toddler great-nephew. I crocheted it first in a toddler size then started a king-size bed size (which is unfinished, I ran out of one important colour). This one though is special in a different way. This one is going to be a gift given to a refugee family a group in town is sponsoring. This family has gone through so much in an attempt to leave a war zone. We don’t know when they will be arriving yet. But it will be in the next few months-during winter. I can’t even imagine the shock the family will have leaving the east coast of Africa to come to a small town in Canada. Culture shock, weather shock. How do you prepare to go from a place of 40+’C to potential -40’C? This family is going to be cold no matter how many clothes are given to them. Hopefully this blanket will help.

I’m also working on a knitted afghan design sample. The sample will be a birthday gift for my nephew’s fifth birthday in April. I told him yesterday he has to stop growing or I’ll never get this afghan complete! He gave me a look then ignored me for a television show. But the adults and his big sister laughed!

I also have a few designs almost ready for release, and a few I need to finish writing up before testing can start. I basically have seven designs in progress right now. Wow, I didn’t realize how many until just now!

On the life side, I’m going to try to read more ( I can’t believe I only read eight books in 2015!); spend more time with family; crochet and knit for pleasure; and try to patiently wait for approval or denial of my provincial and federal disability applications.

Wish me luck!

Happy New Year, 2016!


Hi!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

2015 was a busy year full of changes and illnesses. Many plans were put on hold or suddenly had to change. Unfortunately, one of the things put on hold was the blog. But I’m still here and so is Bridgwater Crafts. I just need to learn how to better balance my health and working a few hours a day on the business.

One of the things I hope to do more this year is be more present here and more open. I’m not sure yet how that will work as I can’t put everything out in the open. Somethings need to be left for C’ést Ma Vie, 2016! I didn’t want you to think I just disappeared though I suppose I did for the end of 2015.

2015, A Year of Change

I didn’t intend there to be such a big gap in posting except for the Wednesday Quote which I pre-schedule. So much has happened this year. So much has changed. Yet, so much has remained the same. I don’t quite know where to start. My health has steadily deteriorated. My finances are in shambles. I’m losing my house. I have had to apply for social assistance. I have applied for disability through the federal program and will be applying through the provincial program soon.

I have realized publishing a book by the month with two designs per chapter was unrealistic. I am now holding off publication until February 2016. This will allow time for proofreading and copy writing the chapters more thoroughly. It will allow for test crocheting and test knitting of the designs in addition to the current technical editing. As designs are ready, I will continue to publish them in the pattern only ebook on Ravelry. This will hopefully give me the time I need to get back on track. I have not stopped writing and I have not stopped designing. But only the writing is up to date. I have had multiple issues with one of the March designs. This led to delays in the other designs as I ripped out a completed shawl and restarted twice only to rip out again. Now I have switched the design completely and it seems to be going well. I have two designs that only require corrections before publication. I have two designs that just need to be properly written out from my notes and formated before sending to the tech editors. I have three other designs that I am crocheting and knitting samples and making notes for. That still puts me behind on designs. I should be working on my fifteenth and sixteenth.

I am working on improving my health as much as possible and will be moving in with my mother upon the foreclosure. I have a family that loves and supports me. I am learning as much as possible about running a creative business successfully.

I have learned to live on much less than my full-time old wage. I have come to terms with the fact that returning to my old job is not going to happen. I have realized I may never be able to hold a standard job again. But, I also realized that’s ok. My job did not define me. I have that privilege. I get to chose who I am. I’m still figuring out who that will be, but, I know I am a creative entrepreneur and writer.

I discovered Saturday I’m not as ready to leave this house as I thought. I know I have to leave. I can’t pay my mortgage, never mind the bills and groceries that come with living on your own. But, as Mum drove me home from laundry and supper at her place it hit me. One day soon she won’t be driving me home after laundry and supper. One day soon I won’t be living in my forever home. When I bought this house ten years ago, I thought I was buying the house I would live in for the rest of my life. But now I’m leaving it unwillingly.

I don’t know yet when I have to be out of the house. Part of me wants to be gone before I get the date from my mortgage company and another part of me wants to stay until the very last day. I guess it’s time to start packing.

11/08/2015-edited to correct spelling and grammar

March in Review

It still appears we’re in the midst of winter here. We still have below zero weather most nights and some days, rain falls but so does snow. We had rain, freezing rain,hail and snow within an hour last Thursday! It snowed Tuesday night this week. I awoke to fresh blanket of snow covering the ground. But every rainfall melts some of our snow. I can see grass through the snow here and there. I can’t wait for the crocuses to pop through.
March brought my family two birthdays. My youngest niece is now fifteen! My sister-in-law had her champagne birthday this past week.
   

 

I’ve finally started receiving my Employment Insurance Sick Leave payments. It’s so nice to have a regular income again.
My oncology follow-up appointment went great! My oncologist says to stop worrying about my lymph nodes and let him do the worrying! My cancer has not returned! I have another follow-up appointment booked in six months but don’t need another ultrasound for a year.
Then things fell apart with the unexpected death of my eldest niece’s boyfriend, the father of her two year old son on March 25. It made for an emotional, busy month end.
On the business side of things:
I’ve just barely started the Craft Your Marketing course by Tara Swiger. As I go through the course you will see changes on the website, and my activity on the social media accounts.
I’m backed up on my release of the February chapter and progress of the March chapter. I’m almost caught back up. I’ve started writing the April chapter and started working on the designs to keep them on track time-wise.
For the future:
April brings spring cleaning of mind, body, soul, home and business. Keep an eye on the blog, Facebook page, Instagram, Ravelry group, and Twitter for my progress as I declutter, reorganize, clean and breathe new life into old ideas.
And don’t forget – all my pattern designs and C’ést Ma Vie ebooks are available for purchase in the Market.