Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A piece of the puzzle

So mom and I were baking a pie the other afternoon and she mentioned that I apparently had a really nasty go with RSV when I was a lil one. She said toddler age but before my little brother was born which puts it somewhere between 18 months and 32 months. Apparently it was a bad case but not bad *enough* to land me in the hospital. She says I did have a positive culture or test for RSV. Toddler me had gobs of mucus coming out of my face and full body coughing experience for 2-3 weeks. Sounds like a joyful experience, kind of glad I don't remember. The mysterious part of it was that the pediatrician didn't understand why I didn't land myself in the hospital, according to mom by all that was logical in his mind I *should* have been hospital worthy and yet never got there.
Pumpkin PacMan: Delish

Does this explain anything, probably not since the RSV and asthma relation seems to be a correlation at best. Jury seems to be out on where those fit together or if they do at all. Makes me slightly intrigued to get my hands on my records from the pediatrician. On the other hand who knows what really got me to this point of inhaling way more stuff than I'd rather like to. Perhaps it was all the years of uncontrolled allergies or the RSV or random chance. However, this new piece of the puzzle is an interesting one.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Merry Joyous :)

Here's wishing you a:
Happy Festivus!
Merry Christmas!
Joyous New Year!
Materially Fulfilling Secular Gift-Giving Day!
Any or all of the above and appropriate other greetings PRN. 

And yes I do celebrate all of the above days. Secular gift-giving day being a 'invention' of my friend Fiona. She is not religious and celebrates December 25 as the holiday of secular gift-giving. I have taken to celebrating it as while I do believe in Jesus and Christmas, I strictly celebrate it as a Religious Observance.  Oh, and yes my family did replace the hockey stick with a nice live Christmas tree, Mom was just doing some creative encouragement for the men-folk to set it up :).  Hope you have a cheery, happy, fun-filled, calm-lunged holiday season!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wait and See Part Deux

So I had a fun allergist appointment today. Basically Dr. B is hesistant to change anything at this point. he likes how my lungs have been more or less beaten into submission by the Symbicort 160. I pretty much have permission to load up on the ventolin 24/7 the week that I am on the rag. Which is good. Basically we're just maintaining the current stuff in hopes of having lungs that are ready to tackle the spring/summer allergy fun time.  We've basically affirmed that nothing new is going on and that I seem to have some semblance of control 2/3 of  the month. While this is exciting I'm not holding my breath for this to last through past the ides of march(always a horrible day for me in terms of being allergy miserable).

Little bit of Holiday Cheer Put Up by  Mom

On another front I really need to get around to making an appointment with Dr. Z. Because well going from a 36ish day cycle and having like 9ish periods in a year last year to having a 21ish day cycle and having like 9ish periods in the 6 months is slightly disconcerting. We'll see if I can get in for an appointment sometime in the next few weeks before I head back to school.

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 of 12 December

On the 12th of each month a bunch of people around the blogosphere take 12 pictures. 12 of 12 was created by Chad Darnell. These pictures were taken yesterday but I didn't get a chance to post them then due to finals.

2:27, Just off campus, Let the snow drifting begin! This is fairly true to the actual accumulation. Don't ask what I was still doing up and out at this hour of the morning :P

9:58, Outside Church, Headed into church, nice winter scene

12:13, South Parking Lot, Woot snow drifts! I don't know if you can really tell but this one came up past my knees,  about a foot and a half deep(half a meter for the metrically inclined).

14:09, Room, My graham cracker "gingerbread" house right before I ate it.
14:39, Room, Another study break, knitting a hat for the local domestic violence assistance organization.
18:55, Room, Studying Calculus, got to draw a pretty 3-D picture

19:41, Student Union, Grabbed some dinner "veggie-max" sub, and dr. pepper, the dinner of champions right?
21:56, Room, Yup you guessed it more calculus studying.

22:16, Room, Carmel on an apple for a snack

23:17, Room, Freshly sharpened pencil in prep for the calc exam
23:27, Room, One last look over the study sheet for the night then off to bed.
23:57, Room, My progress made during study breaks on the hat.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Utility Belt

Every superhero needs some stuff to get them through the day. I aspire to be super so here is my stuff that makes things workout more smoothly. As graduation loops in May I have done a lot of thinking about what has gotten me this far and how to move forward in the future.

Growing up dyspraxic is no easy task having to really work to make your brain connect to your muscles makes for some interesting adaptations. Here are the things that make it easier to work with limited dexterity, difficulty readily differentiating right/left, and generally being challenged in my ability to make muscles do what I want:

  • Laptop: my penmanship sucks, is extremely tiresome for me, and slow as well. Taking notes on the computer really helps me keep up in class. Plus it has the interwebs where I connect to people who 'get it'.
  • Planner: helps me keep myself organized, my brain really isn't wired for that
  • Ambidextrous mouse for my computer, just one less battle in the day.
  • Clothes with obvious directionality and simple closures:much easier to get them oriented correctly on my body. The less messing around with getting dressed I have to do the better.
  • Flat shoes that stay consistently on my feet: Favorites are chaco sandals, lace up shoes and shoes that stick to my feet. I haven't mastered walking in heels. Shoes that stay on feet drastically improve my chances of not tripping over my own feet. 
  • One handed eating: Chopsticks for noodle eating. Don't ask me how I've mastered noodle eating with chopstick and not with a fork, but don't be afraid to try different utensil techniques for getting the food to your mouth. Cutting with the side of my fork is so much easier than with a knife and a fork for me.
  • Short simple hairstyle: I just can't wrap my head around complex styling. Running a comb through my hair in the morning to smooth it out and spiking it straight up for going out are about it.
Some of my must haves

Allergies and asthma are a fickle thing to deal with over all basically avoiding triggers is the best bet but I do have a few favorites when that doesn't work out.

  • Carpenter Jeans and Cargo Pants/Shorts are a wonderful thing in life. They contain enough pockets to hold an inhaler, epipen, bendryl, and any other histamine paraphernalia as needed. I have definitely been known to fit an epipen, ventolin, and a spacer all in the same cargo pocket. 
  • Children's Bendryl Chewables/Disolvables/Liquid is my saving grace for when I need to dose up on antihistamines but want to not be so drowsy as to not function. I still take a full adult dose mg-wise. However, the fact that it absorbs into my system quicker tends to help out with not being so drowsy later. If it is early to mid evening, I take half my dose liquid and half regular adult caplet. This seems to leave me not so drowsy but still get rid of the reaction usually. 
  • A spreadsheet of my peakflows, meds, and FEV's. This gives me the data to know how it all is playing out. Are the lungs really behaving as well as they seem to be?

This is by no means a complete list of things that help my life function in a semi cohesive manner. They are some of the things that let me get to the point of being a "normal" college student or at least look like one on tv :). These things have empowered me to get up and live my life as an independent adult and yet this list is difficult to write as it reminds me how different I am. How I have to take round about way of getting from point A to point B. Makes me realize that the word disability might very well be an accurate descriptor and yet my challenges are so minimal compared to many others. I don't embrace the label. I will admit to being a spoonie but I refuse to think of my differences as deficiencies (see the spoon theory for more about spoonies).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Views from the Green Zone

I know it's not the 12th yet and there aren't 12 photos from one day either. I seem to be decidedly camped out in the green zone for a while and I figured I'd show some views from my life. It's been quite a nice little run here. I haven't seen my ventolin in 15 days (okay, so I've seen it in my pocket but not on the other end of the spacer). I would speculate that this lack of flare has two main causes: a)finally winter which kills mold/allergens b) not at the fun point in my hormonal cycle. I'll ride with this as long as it goes good like this. This is an especially nice break in the coughing and tightness et. al. given that semester is ending and I would really like to be able to focus on homework.
Blood Drive (couple days after my last hit of Ventolin): Pint #16(if I've kept count correctly)

Federal Court, AT&T, and Metropolitan Buildings in Downtown St. Louis in dense fog

Shakshouka being made by this Goyeh

View from the front porch as the first flurries start on Thanksgiving

Fancy Sweet Potato Casserole I made for Thanksgiving

Yup that right there folks is the first snow of the year(on Thanksgiving)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rise Above and Give Thanks

I realise that while there are a lot of things in life that might be nice if they went another way, I have a lot going for me. I live in a place where I can freely express myself, have access to excellent medical care, and have employment (I also live in a place where we as a nation do a lot of dumb stuff... but that is a whole different matter). I do not have to worry about where my next meal is coming from or how I will get from point A to point B. There are so many blessings in my life. Some of the big ones include:
1) Not having to use an epi-pen (yet, hopefully ever... I can hope :P)
2) Having found the fight for fitness again.
3) A family and an adopted extended "family" who loves me.
4) I am relatively controlled asthma and allergy wise. Overall I'm fairly healthy for being chronically ill :P.
5) Freedom of Speech that lets me write stuff here. :)
6) The opportunity to rise to the challenge and take on leadership.

Life has definitely thrown down the gauntlet and I have risen to the challenge. I feel very blessed that I have found the strength to rise above or a least give my best shot at rising above the bumps in the road. I have always been a fighter and will always be fighter. This is something that I have always had to be to make it this far in life. My will power and gratitude for those who have helped me out have brought me to the point at which I stand now. It is important to take this chance to step back and really think about how good I've got it. With this comes the realization that I don't let the challenges in life get me down very easily. I had a time where I grieved for the loss of the life I knew before asthma and latex allergies. However, I find a way to drag myself out of be each morning and cease seize the day. Thanksgiving reminds me to be thankful for the blessing of willpower, family and friends who cheer me up and share good and bad times with  me, and asthma meds. Hope you all are having a great day and enjoying some delicious foods and the company of those you love.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pondering a New Medical ID

It's time for yet another addition to my growing collection of Medical ID's. Thus far I've got 1 bracelet from N-Style ID (currently stuck on my arm), 1 ID on Me bracelet, and two dogtags. I love my N-Style ID. However, I have just about worn out my band and my plate could probably use an update or two. Overall, I'm happy with the year of faithful service my ID has provided to me for just over a year plastered to my wrist. The last few months, the silicone has brittled up and I literally can't get it off my wrist with out untying which is also almost impossible to do one handed. (I actually started thinking about getting a new one and writing this post way back in July!)I am not particularly easy on things so I'm pretty happy with how it has held up.
Faithful Companion :)
At the very least I need to get a new band for my ID. Probably a "rubber" one or chain one with clasps on each end. I'm also tempted to get a new ID all together. I like American Medical ID's online database and 800 number. However, I'm not particularly red hot on the designs available on their website.  I want something that is pretty rough and tumble, nothing delicate. I am a tomboy not a girly girl. It needs to be rough enough to survive my life, with out being so giant that it looks out of place on my 6ish inch(16ish cm) wrist. Medic Alert is pretty much out of the question at this point. It's just not in my budget as a student. While I'm more complex than your average 21 year old as long as you don't use latex products on me and know I'm asthmatic I probably won't throw you too many curve balls as an unconscious patient.

I don't know what kind of new "bling" I want I've got a long list of don't wants. I should consider making sure it's adult-ish too. Since graduation and job interviews(hopefully) are fast approaching.  I'll keep you all posted when I come to a conclusion about what to get. If nothing else my current band will break and that will force my hand.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

12 of 12 November

On the 12th of each month a bunch of people around the blogosphere take 12 pictures. 12 of 12 was created by Chad Darnell. These pictures were taken yesterday but I didn't get a chance to post them then. Thus commences my 12 of 12:

0:02 Bathroom: Gotta love the JedInhaler.  :)

8:33 Room: Breakfast of Champions: Apple Blondie and Morning Meds

12:09 Room: "To Write Love on Her Arms" Okay so it's been on there all day but there yah go.

12:27 Campus: Walking in the Rain to Organization and Management Class
13:49 Cafeteria: Yummy lunch, Admittedly not the healthiest
14:51 Campus: The fall colors outside the Math/Computer Science/Education/Business Building

15:12 Campus: Got my ticket to go see one of the guys from Myth Busters come speak

18:52 Cafeteria: Milkshake handmade with chocolate ice cream and milk

 21:57 Campus: Leaving for a nice 5k walk

22:10 Campus: Let's try this again with a rain jacket since it started drizzling the second I walked outside
22:23 Patterson St: Fall colors at night, much prettier in person
23:45 Room: Some post walk hot cocoa perfect end to a chilly walk!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pressure with a Side of Mucus

Well refusing to get sick didn't really work. I got/am sick anyway. My peakflows have been holding steady in the above 78% range mainly green at that.  I've pretty much expelled a quarter of a tissue box of mucus out my nose today. Along with coughing up some lovely sticky gross mucus specimens. My energy is definitely better than it has been in a while. The only problem is that I can't really get much accomplished since I just keep sneezing out more and more mucus. I'm not quite sure where it's coming from although as my friend Maria told me on facebook: "That's the heck of it, unlike money, you can get rid of it and always make more." Really reassuring there that I will get rid of it anytime soon. Oh well. In the mean time I'll keep pushing fluids and ventolin so it all stays loose, thin, and open.  Hopefully soon I'll be back to feeling okay since I really don't have time to be sick with two term papers due in the next two weeks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I refuse to get sick!

So I know I owe you all some pictures from Chicago and will get them up soon. School has gotten the best of me since my fall break trip.

However at present I've either completely messed up my sleep schedule or I'm getting sick. Since I'm not normally so tired that I take a mid day nap AND get 8-9 hours of sleep the night before. Hopefully, my body is just jet-lagged randomly (or I'm still growing possibly, I grew an inch or so last year).  Cause I don't want the nasty cold thing that one of my friends has had all weekend. She apparently has been up coughing every hour on the hour. I haven't been to see her, just received the report from her housemate. It's been a whole 7 months since my first prednisone encounter. I really don't want another go at that stuff. My peakflows have been on the up and up for the most part. They randomly drop or go up a little bit but nothing lower than 78% in the recent past.  However, the bimonthly spreadsheet does show Sept/Oct being worse than July/Aug in terms of Ventolin Puffs. Hopefully I won't get sick and will be able to get a better blog post out here soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not getting winded in the Windy City!

I managed to survive midterms fairly this last week and now I've got today and tomorrow off from class. I am spending it visiting one of my best friends and my younger brother who go to the same university in Chicago. I've got pictures to post but not right now/today since my usb camera cable is definitely on my desk at school.

The lungs and the allergies are behaving suprisingly well for being away from my dust-mite proofed cat-free home. I'm staying with my friend who has a cat and loves fresh air. Hopefully the lungs will continue to behave through the end of the weekend. We're going dancing on Saturday night which should be super fun!

This fall has been atypically rough for me probably because of that lack of hard freeze as of yet. Which means that the mold spores are still out in full force. I love winter for this reason. Colder = less mold = less allergy misery I'm pretty sure having no asthma troubles really hardly at all in the winter is a pretty decent indicator of the allergic-ness of my asthma.  So yeah bring on the hard frost and the snow! (I could do without the ice however, not really a fan of it's low friction coefficient well except for skating).

As far as working out, I haven't really hardly at all lately. I need to get back in the habit of doing that. Midterms really through a wrench in time management. I'm not feeling too bad about not working out since there is lots of little workouts in doing stuff in Chicago. All public transit for us as far as getting around so plenty of walking and hurry up and get goings for the bus/train so we don't miss it. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homecoming 5K

Breakfast of Champions: Ventolin & Energy Bar
So I had the distinct honor of being the last person to finish my university's homecoming 5k race. I passed some people but they apparently gave up. I was pretty much at the back of the pack most of the race. Occasionally in front of a person or two but mostly just in front of the guy in the suv that was picking up the cones marking the race path. Oh well, I finished strong and that's what counts.

My time was 41:33 which was a little slower than I was hoping for. However, I didn't realize how many little bunny hills there were in the course. I'm good at long climbs, short climbs tend to reduce me to power walking. Given the course I'm pretty happy with my result. I jogged a good deal of it with slower bits when I was going uphill.

So I forgot to turn my sensor off at the finish. You can see the bunny hills :)
Overall the lungs behaved pretty well especially, since I discovered later in my half awakeness first thing I grabbed my old ProAir(which I'm like 95% sure is dead and will be retired to the drawer-o-empties). I've been kind of tight all afternoon and I've got some congestion in the sinus region, but over all the lungs are pretty much behaving. My legs were getting pretty tight on me which isn't cool. I'm pretty sure it's time for me to take yoga back up or something cause I just feel really inflexible. As silly as I feel in down dog and doing sun salutations, it does help with the flexibility.
Thumb holes are the best part of my cold weather technical top!

I ran with my ipod with the nike plus plugged in but no music going. Either the course was wildly mismarked(not likely) or my sensor needs some recalibration. It said I was at 5k right around the 3 mile mark. Which I mean isn't super far off but probably worth a jaunt down to the university track to run and walk a 400 meter lap (it's literally right out the back door of my reshall.. super convenient :) ). Another convenient thing about campus was the way the 5k was routed put me right by a good spot to watch the homecoming parade which started 20 min after I finished :-).

View Walking to Starting Line
As far as what is next, on the motivation I'm not sure. I'm thinking about going vertical for the winter, there is a Lung Association Stairclimb not too far away this spring, which seems like a different challenge. I'm thinking it could be  fun although it's right in the middle of my typical March Flare season. Instead of green beer for St. Patty's day I pretty much every year for the remember-able past have had green mucus coming out of my face in large quantities (and have landed on pred last year and the beginning of the asthma saga the year before).

I'm not sure, but one thing is for sure, the days like today where it's a balmy 50 degrees warming towards 60F are not going to be around much longer. Unfortunately winter will be sending me indoors soon. I shall have to hit up the Rec Center for the first time this semester. Which is significantly less scenic than the outdoors.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 12 of 12

On the 12th of each month a bunch of people around the blogosphere take 12 pictures. 12 of 12 was created by Chad Darnell. These pictures were taken yesterday but I didn't get a chance to post them then. Thus starts my first 12 of 12:

9:06 Cafeteria: Breakfast and some pleasure reading: Cheese Omlet, French Toast Sticks & Apple Juice.

11:11 Computer Architecture & Organization: Schematic of the RAM for the problem my group has to present on Thursday.

13:50 Student Health Clinic for a fun filled allergy shot experience :) (this got me mayorship on foursquare)

15:17 Room: Calculus Homework Time!

16:23 Campus: Garden on the way to Hebrew Scriptures Class

17:58 Campus: Modern Art thing in front of the Library

18:36 Cafeteria: Fruit Pizza for dessert

19:45 Bathroom: Yay rashes from allergy shots

20:39 Room: All that is left of my medium bag of M&M's after calculus homework(still not completed)

21:19 Room: Ice leftover from my Ice water... really cool optical effect IMHO

21:55 Room: Rocking the Peak Flow 103%!

22:02 Bathroom:Who says you can't ice hands free... Best. Idea. Ever.