Winter Or Not?

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We have gone from the polar vortex and negative degrees in wind chill to today which the temperature topped out at 73 degrees. It is no wonder my bones ache! Our bodies are not designed to go from -10 wind chill to 73 degrees a couple of days later.

I think mother nature is bipolar. How is your weather where you live? Are you having this crazy fluctuation in temperatures? If it would make up its mind and stay either cold or warm then I would feel much better. As it is, I am aching and feeling the barometric pressure each new front.

I hope you are all doing well.

 

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Polar Vortex? Major Gripe Too!

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winter

Gripe alert, gripe alert, gripe alert…read at your own risk…

Well, tonight and tomorrow we are in the grips of the Polar Vortex. Those of you in the upper states and Canada are dealing with some temperatures that seriously are scary to even contemplate. New records are being set tonight and tomorrow. Not good records to set but nevertheless they are new records.

As a lupus patient, times like these are when I typically hunker down at home and do not go out for any reason. My body is already feeling the pain from the barometer dropping and the temperature dropping. My joints are giving me such grief. I hurt. All over.

I am using my new supplements regime, but I am adding a new player in the mix because of all this crazy cold weather. I am back to taking my lemon balm tincture. I am hoping this will help me deal with all these pains.  It will help me sleep so that is what I actually need. I have been having insomnia lately.

Why you ask? Well, let me explain. Our health insurance (a medicare plan) has decided that we now have a deductible factored in on January 1, 2019. We were not told of this. I asked around, and the doctors and pharmacists said the same thing, apparently this is another of the Obama doesn’t care plan phasing in. Last January it stopped paying for several of my pills. This year, we have a deductible when we had none before. I am only on one rx, thank goodness, but husband cannot be without his medication. EVER. So, I went to get his pills at the beginning of the month. Imagine my surprise when I was told that two of his pills, which on December 31, 2018 cost us $3.50 each, now cost us $200.00 for both. Oh, and lest we forget, his other pills were $50, $20, $20, $20 and $25. This is not including some he is not going to be taking anymore because he can take a supplement for it instead.  Oh, and they raised our premium too, so they are now taking out twice the amount for our premiums and not paying for pills until we meet the $5,100 deductible. Yep, they sure did. One more thing, they also said our local pharmacy is not in the network now so we have to drive 40 minutes to another town to get our meds now too.

We have been scrambling trying to figure our what to do. One of his doctors saw us and said she can give him samples so he has one med for sure but really, there is nothing we can do about the others. We make too much money (we are $10 over the limit on one agency to help us and $300 over another) to get any help of any kind. We cannot afford his pills and eat.

My husband has seizures, he is bipolar, and has some schizophrenic issues when unmedicated. Without meds, he will end up in an institution. Seriously. This is not a good scenario.

What did we do? We changed insurance companies beginning February. This insurance is cheaper and covers us like the old one used to do. We can see our same doctors and the premium is way cheaper, plus we have much better prescription costs.

You see, living in rural Kentucky, our county only offers PPO plans versus HMO. I was already paying out one third of my gross income for my insurance before this happened. In our county, there are only 3 medicare plans available because it is rural. So, we had to pick between the two remaining plans at our disposal. I hope we did good. Time will tell but I have been a mess worrying about all this stuff. Sadly, if we moved a few miles to the next county, we could have better plans available that cost much less. How sad is that?

Have any of you been hit with new “changes” too? We had to borrow money to get his pills this month so I am hoping next month is much better for us. Anyway, be sure to check your own policies and make sure of what you get. Since we like to eat, we decided to change things. I sincerely hope this will help us. If not, I do not know what we will do. It all just sucks, you know? It feels like they want sick folks to give up and just die already. If you have to choose, which do you go with? Eating or pills?

 

Are You Ready?

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This weekend, here in Eastern Kentucky, we are getting a bunch of different winter weather. It is beginning as rain, then becoming sleet, moving over to all snow in the end. In our area, which is fairly rural, if the power goes out from ice, it can take a while before it can be restored. We know this so we prepare for that “just in case” scenario.

We have propane fireplaces for heat so we will stay warm in the event of power outages we will be warm. However, what about other things like cooking, water, and food? We have those covered as well. We have a propane grill to cook on, we have water stockpiled, and since I can and dehydrate, we are equipped with plenty of food.
We try to be prepared for every possibility so winter storms and power loss are on that list. Do you have preparations for winter storms too?

We are not having to run to the store to get milk and bread. We have those already. We are not running out to get a generator, we do not need one, yet. However, we are doing some things that everyone should do in this scenario. What are those things?
To make it easier, here is our list for emergencies. Our list is what our household needs, your list will have more or less depending on your family’s needs.
1. Make sure flashlights are charged and ready
2. Charge up all electronic devices so we have contact with others and news
3. Check water stockpile
4. Check our propane tanks on the grill to make sure we can cook
5. Do the dishes
6. Wash up laundry
7. Fill up the car with gas in case we need to leave
8. Check our supply of candles/matches
9. Make sure our animals have food
10. Make sure all our medications have been filled

When you plan ahead and prepare by knowing your needs and supplying them, you will be ok. In case of emergency, you will not feel the dread that most feel, worrying about rushing to the store and finding things they need are gone.

Proper planning is critical and necessary. If you can be prepared, you will face situations with a calmness knowing you have what you need.

Lupus and CBD Oil?

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cbdI am in the process of researching this subject for a more in depth post soon. In the meantime, have any of you used cbd oil? Did it help you and if so how?

I got a sample given to me from a reputable sales shop to try and it did help me. However, I want to research this more to be sure I want to continue with it. For that reason, I will be posting information very soon in this topic. I find it confusing and all the different things like hemp oil, cbd and sativa oil that I need to find out more and see how they are related or not.

Please let me know if you have tried it and what it helped, if anything. Thanks!

Goals For The New Year

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2019Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well. I know this time of year everyone is talking about resolutions and such but I prefer to call mine goals. Why? Well, goals appear more attainable than resolutions to me. So I thought I would share a few with you all and I hope you will share some of your own as well.

One of my goals for this year is to continue eating better and losing weight. I have 30 more pounds to lose and I will finally be where I want to be. It is not what lots would consider an ideal weight but hey, for a woman who at one time weighed in at almost 300 pounds, being 170 would be skinny and good.

I have already lost 20 pounds so 30 more to go. I also saw my doctor last week and guess what? My weight loss has lowered my blood pressure so now I am off my blood pressure medicine! WooHoo!!! I am down to only one prescription now and all the rest of the things I use are supplements. A couple of them help lower blood pressure too so I am sure the combination has done the trick.

A goal for me this year is to expand my garden and put more food “up” this year than last year. I want to can more food and rely less on having to go to the grocery. I am well on the way to this goal. I have a lady who raises and butchers her own hogs, so I have a pig connection. I know of a lady who raises goats and uses them to make goat milk soap. Yay! I know another lady who will be raising some meat birds (chickens) and I can get in on them and fill our shelves with good chicken. I found a beef farm where they are grass fed and can get in on a “share” which means however much we can afford to get, it will be like a half a cow. Cut up, and portioned out though, so that would be great too.

Eating locally is good for you when you can find folks like these.

Another goal for this year is to start saving money back. We were excited we are getting the biggest cost of living raise ever this year. However, it is not going to help us save.  It is going to be hard. You see, our medicare insurance program has decided to double our premiums for prescription medications. Since I am only on one medication that is good for me but for my husband, not only are they doubling it but they are also not paying for like four of his medications he takes (and needs). One of those is over $200 a month!

For those who do not know, my husband has a seizure disorder among being bipolar and a few other things. He HAS to have these meds or he ends up in the hospital for two weeks getting the meds all over again. They are a NECESSITY, not negotiable. It is not a pretty sight when he is off meds for any reason. So, since we live in a rural county, there are only 3 plans available to us. One is exactly like the one we are on now and the other is not very good at all. I do not know what we are going to do. I am busy talking with social security and others to find a solution. There are programs out there to help folks but sadly, we are just barely over the income limits so do not qualify.

The struggle is real. Oh, and they now think hubs had Parkinson’s. He sees a neuromuscular specialist in Lexington in March. It is always something.

I have a goal that is reachable, I hope and that is I want to get rid of a bunch of things and simplify. This little house is not big enough for all our stuff. We have a storage unit for the overflow. We need to whittle this stuff down, have a big old yard sale and get rid of it. What doesn’t sell we can donate. I just want to be able to walk to bed without tripping over stuff. Our bedroom is our junk room. Go figure…lol.

Well, if you made it this far now on to the yucky stuff for me. Apparently I have a “smoldering” diverticulitis issue. What that means is that my diverticulitis is not resolving with medications, so I see a specialist in Lexington to discuss possible surgery for removal of a section of my colon. I have gone from feeling pretty good to weak and constant diarrhea. I take probiotics as well as supplements along with all the antibiotics they give me. They stuff will get better but within a week or two I am back to pain and the big D. I hope we can get this resolved. SOON! The definition for smoldering diverticulitis includes that those with autoimmune disease are at higher risk for it. Joy, joy, joy…not!

I hope you all are doing well. Please share some of your goals for this year. I would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Winter Weather Predictions?

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woolyHere is an old wives tale about the wooly worm and it predicting how good or bad your winter will be. As you can see from the picture above, various colors denote various degrees of winter. Have you seen a wooly worm yet to see how your area will fare?
I saw one a few days ago and it was solid black. Yikes! I guess that means that here in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky we are getting a bad winter. I picked it up and it curled up in my hand but it was truly all black, no brown on it at all.
Do you believe old wives tales or are you more scientifically inclined? Me? I believe that the old folks knew what they were talking about on this one. It has been proven to me time and again. What do you think?

Follow Up Doctor Visit

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I went to my follow up appointment at my pcp and since this is not resolving, she wants me to try another antibiotic instead. She also made appointments for me to see the gastroenterologist and she suspects I might have a “smoldering” diverticulitis. We both giggled at the name but it is not really a laughing matter. I figured for once in my life I was smoldering hot… but on examination of the term, I wish I was not smoldering.

Here is what I found out about it. First, it is no different from regular diverticulitis, with the exception of having it being repeated over and over again. I have had three episodes which now qualifies me as smoldering. Basically it means chronic. Since it is not being resolved by antibiotics usually used, that is why my pcp checked to find a new one to use.

When I see the gastroenterologist, I will most likely be scheduled for another colonoscopy which might result in surgery to remove part of my sigmoid colon. Thankfully, nowadays, they can re-attach with a better part of the colon to the rectum so no ostomy bag is needed.

Wonderful, the one time I am smoldering and it involves possible having surgery.

So there you have it, probably more than you wanted to know but it is my life right now. I hope you are all doing well in this winter season. Please let me know how you are doing in the comments below. Thanks!