Monday, December 24, 2012

Peanut Butter Fudge Debacle 2012

From a time since before I was born I reckon, my Grandfather made the most delicious peanut butter fudge.  It was always a highlight during the holiday season, but especially at Christmas.  There were countless tins around my grandparent's home filled with peanut butter fudge.  It's been 2 and 1/2 years since we said our goodbyes to my grandfather - and it was longer than that since he made his home-made fudge at home.  While others could make fudge, nothing tastes like his.  Enter two days ago - As I'm flipping through a recipe book that I have (I rarely use it, but do open it almost every time I make my Granny's mac & cheese), I see a tiny piece of paper with his initials at the bottom.  I realize it's his recipe for Peanut Butter fudge. 

I say that it would be nice to make some peanut butter fudge and off we went to the store to pick up a few key ingredients.  We came home and began to work together to make this very special holiday treat.  As my wonderful husband was putting 3 ingredients into a pot, I reminded him the recipe called for a large pot.  I'm assured that the pot he being used was fine.   I work on my 3 ingredients and scoop out a good portion of one jar of peanut butter.  he began to cook - and watch the temperature on the candy thermometer rise - and as the temperature rised higher - so did the 3 ingredients being constantly stirred.  He got nervous about the ingredients possibly coming out of the pot - so about 14 degrees too soon the pot was removed from the stove. 

He mixes his 3 ingredients with my 3 ingredients and began to pour into a glass 9x13 baking dish.  It looked a little thin, but it smelled fantastic!  We walked away waiting for it to harden and later that night I discovered it was above the dish washer (which was running) - aka a hot spot. So I moved it to a cooler spot on the counter and when I woke the next morn discovered that it was not hard at all.  It was like Peanut Butter Spoon Fudge.  Feeling my disappointment, my husband began to make another batch.  The first batch was "too thin." 

Well the second batch - we pulled out the largest pot we had.  This was not going to be a mistake we were going to make again.  I pulled out a jar of  peanut butter and with my calculations from the day before pulled out 6 tablespoons of  PB and then used the rest of the jar.  We worked together and got the pot of ingredients to the right temp and then mixed the two together.  Something wasn't right.  It was "too thick."  Back to the recipe -  UH OH!  I had messed up in the first batch and didn't realize it so when I made the 2nd batch, I didn't double check.  Instead of using 3 cups of PB, I had used 4 cups!  

We were feeling a little bit like Goldilocks - 1st batch was too thin, 2nd batch was too thick - we wondered if we would ever get it right.  At this point we weren't going to let the fudge get the best of us.  SO we began again double checking every single measure and every single ingredient - FINALLY - it poured right - and we waited.  The third batch was JUST RIGHT!  And - I smiled as I bit into the first piece - it tasted just like my my Granddaddy's - *almost* :)    We got two thumbs up from my family too!

I miss you Granny & Granddaddy - every single day, but on days where we try to recreate your master pieces - even more especially so.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wishes & Resolutions

November of 2006, I was certain I wouldn't see November 2007 and now here it is December 2012.  While my health has been on a roller coaster journey since - I am so thankful to be alive. Some call them resolutions, I call them goals and/or wishes.   In the middle of 2007, my friend told me that I never smiled.  I thought, how can I smile when I've been sick so long without a diagnosis?  However, I pinky promised her that I would smile at least once a day - even if it was forced.  Here it is in December 2012 and I got told the other day that I'm the happiest person she knows.

In that same year, I made it a goal to reconnect with friends from my past in 2008.  I absolutely made that happen.  In December 2008, I wanted to continue with both plans in 2009.  To smile, to make others smile and reconnect with friends. Facebook was a big part of that, but in 2009 Santa gifted me a GPS and it made this happen in person more often in 2010 through current times!

In January 2009, I looked around and realized I had a major problem.  My house was disgusting.  I couldn't take it.  I knew I couldn't fix "all" my problems over night so I started off with the laundry. I had a system in 2009, but altered that system in 2012.  It at least keeps the laundry off the floor -

In January 2010, I didn't really make any goals or promises - I was just trying to maintain my smiling, keeping up with friends and keeping up with the laundry.

In January 2011, I made a goal to keep clean the master closet and bedroom.  It worked.

Last year I said, "My family has several wishes in regards to this wish. We will see if it can come true in 2012. While we love our home, there are several things that we would love to have and honestly those things wouldn't be easily obtained if we are where we are. So we would love to be able to either purchase some land and build our dream home upon it, or find a new home that we would easily make into our dream home. Either way, a lot of prayers would have to be fulfilled in order for either to happen."

I wished and prayed and it happened.  Seriously when I suggested this in December of 2011, I didn't really think we'd be moving - much less moving in May of 2012.  When you put your faith in God and have your mind really set on doing something - you get what you need. 

I've really done well at keeping my new house clean - at least the downstairs.  The upstairs is a work in progress. I wanted it to be "visitor" ready at a knock of a door or the chime of a doorbell.  And mostly it has been.  In 2013, I will just hope to maintain this level of cleanliness at the new house.  Keep up the smiles, laughter and fun with friends -

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Checking in

Just wanted to check in on how I've been doing this past week. It's been about 50/50.  On Saturday, I had lunch with some of my best Lyme friends and some their family.  There were a total of 13 of us.  I think there were about 8 Lymies and 5 relatives/friends.  This was so much fun.  It's always so nice to get together with a lot of patients. We get each other in a way that it's really hard for the "healthy" to understand. However, we don't just talk about the Lyme devastation. We talk about a lot of things and try to make time to include what we can do to educated NC about Lyme. This last time we had an ornament exchange. I mentioned to everyone to bring a wrapped ornament costing less than $5.  Four of us brought ornaments and we exchanged.  I handmade my ornament and gave it to my awesome friend Meredith and in exchange I received a red and gold deer for my tree!  Love it! 

Then I hung out with work friends afterwards.  That was exhausting in and of itself because it was late (6 to 9pm) and there were about 40 of us.  Fortunately I love my work friends so it was worth it.  Now those two things have pretty much worn me out.  Sunday was brutal.  I could barely do a thing and Monday was worse because I had to work and Tuesday I rested all day. Then yesterday I worked 8 hours straight without a break, which was brutal.  I'm able to rest all morning and then tomorrow my husband & I both have the day off. 

In my childhood at Christmas time, I remember three things distinctively.  A:  Playing with the ballerina ornament on my Granny's tree.  B: The smell of the kitchen on Christmas morning when my Granddaddy would "bake" us awake with bacon and livermush.  C:  Wondering how Granny had the time and energy to put the candle lights in the windows and make sure they were on every single night we were there 

Yesterday afternoon, I opened up one of the boxes of Christmas things I got from my grandparent's house when my granddaddy moved into a nursing home.  Then, I spent the evening trying to put up candle lights in my windows like Granny.  I only got 4 lights in the window.  Granny had 8 lights that I inherited from their home.  There might be more somewhere in the boxes I have upstairs, but I could only find 8.  So I put 4 lights in the front windows downstairs. I pushed up the red bows she carefully made onto the white candle light so that it could be seen outside.    Might put the four candle lights upstairs, but there won't be enough for every window (we have 5 windows upstairs).  So I'll probably put t hem up - turn them on and if it doesn't look right, then I'll take them down.  But that's a lot of energy that I don't have right now so I may wait until Christmas 2013 to try it. 

Speaking of energy, my b12 shots came in on Tuesday so I was able to have a boost of b12 on Tuesday night.  It helped me not fall over at work on Wednesday of pure exhaustion.  Very helpful indeed.  The last b12 shot I had was in May 2012.    I thought I had no more refills so I never ordered.  When I called the pharmacy they informed me I had 4 refills.  Go Lyme brain.  So I ordered two months supply and by the time I see my LLMD again, I'll be able to tell him whether they kept my energy the "same" or "increased" it. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bad Days

I've had a couple weeks of bad days.  I've pretty much lived in Migraine Land for the past two weeks and yesterday I reached my breaking point.  I even broke down and wore sunglasses in the building at work.  It wasn't the most fashionable thing to do, but the florescent lights were making it worse and if anyone asked about them I simply said, "My future's so bright I have to wear shades."  The person laughed and we moved on. 

Breathing -

Enter last night.  I got home and heard the dryer going.  It was relief as I had put the load in the washing machine before I left for work.  I was dreading reaching into the washer - slopping out wet clothes and lugging them into the dryer.  This may seem a simple task, but when you have a Lyme migraine - this task is daunting. 

I arrived home to a clean kitchen, clothes drying, a made bed with the electric blanket set on  high - all thanks to a wonderful husband who knew I'd had a bad symptom day.  Together we put away some clean laundry and after I vented on facebook, I got into the cozy bed and went to sleep.  You see, I served my migraine an eviction notice.  I told my migraine I was DONE with it residing in my body and in the morning it would be gone OR ELSE!  I didn't know what the OR ELSE would be, but it had to be gone.

Before I went to bed, I loaded a load of clothes in the washing machine and saw - the timer button.  Hmmm I wondered what it would do.  I had never used it.  So I set it for 10 Hours and went to bed.  I woke up shortly after the washing machine finished (the spin cycle woke me up) and was able to put a fresh load of clothes into the dryer.  Oh how this feature will be so helpful in the future -

I woke today - stood up.  The Vertigo was GONE.  The intensity of the headache - GONE.  The flashing of colors in my vision - GONE.  Only a small portion of a very small headache remained.  I thanked God for serving the eviction notice and have gone about my day extremely grateful that every time I stand up that I don't swoon.

PS:  Buy 3 bracelets over on the right side of my blog - so I can send some donations to Alisa & Jaime.  So far I'll be able to donate to her $30 from bracelet sales.  Let's keep it going!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

We Fight Lyme Together Sale!

Any bracelets sold in December - a portion of the proceeds will go to the Lara family.  Want to help the Lara family and buy a few silicone bracelets in the process - Order some bracelets today!

Due to the processing procedures of Paypal (because I'm a new user, it holds all funds for 21 days) - if you would like them quicker than I can send them out with a paypal order, please EMAIL me your order and I'll tell you how you can get the order quicker (only takes about 4 days instead)!  You can find my livinglymelife email address over on the side of the blog. Also I will be able to give you information on another way to pay which will maximize the amount I can send Alisa & Jaime.

So far I have sold 15 bracelets in December! Continue to order.  

This offer is only while supplies last.

Friday, December 7, 2012

61 minutes of heaven on earth

My friend Alisa had her baby, London Daniel Lara, this morning in Texas at 7:25am.  While all the details are not known, I do know that she was able to hold him on her chest until he passed away at 8:26am. 

Please continue to pray for my close friend and pray that my heart can find the right words that will bless her.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Loving London Lara

If you are on facebook, you have likely seen this photograph amongst many of your friends (especially if you have Lyme Disease).

This is a very good friend of mine Alisa Turner.  I have written about her before - Alisa & I share a bond that I don't just share with just anyone. I do make friends easily. I don't know a stranger, but when Alisa walked into our doctor's office and I looked into her soul I knew I had a friend for life.  I slouched in one chair while she slouched down in another.  We both looked how the other one felt.  Exhausted doesn't even begin to describe our physical and emotional demeanor on the day we met.  We were spent, both physically and emotionally.  I picked my head up off the back of the chair and looked her way.  I mustered up a smile and she smiled back.  We spoke few words that day, but I saw her soul and she saw mine.

This was about April of 2007.  Here we are 5 years and 8 months later and we are still friends.  She has since met and married the man of her dreams.  They moved away and we communicate on Facebook and via text messages occasionally.  Our souls are so intertwined that it is almost like we know when we need the other.  I'll be having a terrible day and I'll get a message from Alisa of encouragement and support. It lightens up my spirit.  It happens the other way around too.  I won't be able to get Alisa out of my mind so I'll send her a message and shortly after she'll respond back that I knew the words her heart needed to hear that day.

Back in May 2012, I felt a terrible urgency to get in touch with her.  I kept sending her messages and never really got a great response back.  I was worried.  You see, I have these dreams.  Some people know about them and some people don't.  I get these terribly realistic and sometimes prophetic dreams and I dreamed that something horrific happened to my friend, my best Lyme friend.

I went to her youtube channel and listened to her most recent vlog.  It had been posted at the end of April, but I didn't realize it.  You see, my friend Alisa is an artist. She writes and sings the most beautiful songs.  And this particular song - was called Faithful Til The End.  Faithful Til The End By Alisa Turner.  She called it "not her best song," but I disagreed.  It gave me goosebumps and her demeanor makes me cry.  It reminded me of the day I met her where we barely had the energy to muster a smile and yet she was able to produce such lovely sound and lyrics that it reduced me to tears very quickly.  Every time I hear it, I cry all over again. "He has never left me" gives me goose bumps and sounds so haunting.

I received very few correspondence from Alisa between May and August. It had me worried, but I just prayed for her.  I knew what ever she was going through was so unbelievably difficult that she just needed prayers.  I stayed quiet and every once in a while I'd send a message of encouragement.  Then in August, she shared with the world that she was pregnant.  A miracle baby.  You see a lot of Lymies have trouble getting pregnant and staying that way simple because most of our  hormones are so out of whack that pregnancy is near impossible.  Not to mention the physical stress on the body and the risks of transmitting the disease to your child -

In Alisa's case:  She had virtually zero of one of the hormones necessary to sustain a viable pregnancy, but God always provides.  Jaime & Alisa got the news in May that Alisa was pregnant.  She kept the pregnancy to herself because she was certain that she would have limited time with her precious tadpole.   They decided that after her ultrasound at the 12 week point they would share the news with close family if things were still looking good with their precious miracle's fluttering heartbeat. As she would share in her own facebook note in August, they received news that their precious miracle had a birth defect known as Anencephaly.

Here we are 20 weeks after receiving the news and Alisa is preparing to say hello and goodbye to her precious SON, London Daniel Lara.  She posted a facebook note with all of the specifics and I won't go into them all here, but Alisa & Jaime decided that they wanted as much time as possible with their son.   The time is coming to a close however because tomorrow - Alisa will be undergoing a c-section under general anesthesia at 32 weeks.    Her doctors have all agreed it is best for her health to have London at 32 weeks.  She recently posted a video about her pregnancy and Lyme

So today:  I come to you and ask for you to pray for my best Lyme friend Alisa & her husband Jaime.  I've read her birth plan and it is heart breaking and inspiring.   I wish she were close so that I could support her more.  I'm supporting her as much as I can from North Carolina and I ask that you support her too by praying that she will get to enjoy some moments with her son as she says hello and goodbye, particularly allowing her to "sleep" while her son London lays on her chest breathing.

Okay well I have tears falling down my cheeks now -
so I share with you something I've written for Alisa inspired by two of her songs:

Beacon of Hope
Even in your darkest hours
you are faithful to the 
One that holds the beacon of light.

Take that beacon of light
and shine it for the world to see
For through you, Jaime & London
People have found Jesus.

Souls have begun to pray repeatedly
Souls that have never prayed before
until they discovered you
at your darkest hour
being faithful til the end to the
One that holds the beacon of light,
the beacon of hope.

I love you with all of my heart
with all of my soul
with all of my spirit.

Your spirit shines through 
For all of us to see
Even in your darkest hour
where hope meets sadness.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Issues with the guidelines

To undersstand my disdain of the DSM - you must understand four things.  

  • What is the DSM?  Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  Every so often they revise the DSM.  When I was in college, we studied the DSM III (3), but knew that DSM IV (4) was on our heels and knew that some changes would be made.  
  • I graduated with my degree in Social Work.
  • I was diagnosed with an illness from the DSM 3 my freshmen year of college and after I read the definition for a paper I wrote on said illness my senior year I thought the psychologist should have been diagnosed with it instead!  FYI, I do not have said "disorder."   It turned out to be Lyme Disease.  
  • These are my opinions and my opinions alone.
 So I don't dislike the DSM itself.  I think there are many purposes for this statistical manuals.  I do believe that of people don't understand how to "test" for the disorders listed in the book.  So I was reading on the local news website that they are revising the DSM in 2013.  The biggest thing the article spoke on was the removal of Aspberger's as a diagnosis in the DSM and how it was going to be under the umbrella of Autism.  This is a hot button of mine to start with because I do believe that many cases of Autism are caused by untreated bacteria - um specifically the Lyme bacteria gone wild after being exposed to too many vaccines.  But I digress.  

The thing that made me hot - really  hot and the thing I had forgotten about was that in the DSM IV they had a label of "Severe Recurrent Temper Tantrums."  The name itself makes me kind of chuckle.  I have seen children with this problem - but the DSM guidelines will change the name to Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder!  Sometimes it's best just to call a spade a spade instead of a "sturdy hand shovel."