Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Off to the Big Apple!

My best friend since 5th grade, Pam, is having a Sweet Sixteen birthday party for her daughter Taylor this weekend in NY, where they live. Happy Birthday Taylor!!!!

With all that has been going on in my life I thought I was unable to go to the party, so I sadly mailed back my RSVP with a no in the checked box.
Pam called me Monday to say she just couldn't plan her seating for her table and not have me there. So she got her income tax check and she is buying me a train ticket to head to NY for the party!
Wooohooo! Wasn't that super nice of her! Thanks Pam, here's to you!
Can't wait to relax on the 9 hour train ride and head out without worrying about swaps that are late, calligraphy orders that are late, or keeping a perfect house for a potential buyer.
I get to get dressed up in a gown and feel like a queen.
And just have fun and visit with my friend. That will be me on Friday night. LOL Just kidding. I don't drink with my medications.
I am so looking forward to this trip. I leave tomorrow! So hopefully when I return I will again have some cards to share with you as well as trip photos!
Hope everyone has a fabulous week and a fun weekend!
I am off to the party first thing in the morning!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Boy am I tired! Packing up is hard to do!

I haven't been around for days, due to our preparing our home to sell. Here is the link: Our Home West Deer (3 BR, 2Bath, one whirpool tub, swimming pool, office on first floor, huge dining room/kitchen on 14.5 acres in West Deer Twp., PA-if anyone is looking!)
My home was built by my darling husband just 5 years ago. We lovingly picked everything that went into and where every room would be. It's been so hard to know that soon it will no longer be ours. It takes so much energy, both mentally and physically to pack it all up. (Everyone should buy stock in the Rubbermaid company, because I think we bought them out of bins!) For about a month and a half now, we have been packing up the personal things and clutter and putting them in plastic bins (so the mice can't get in from the garage). We painted all the walls beige (insert giant yawn in right here - the artist in me abhors white and beige walls!). We got beige carpet for all over the house, which while it does look very nice, is still one of those things that make me yawn. Most of my pictures (which I LOVINGLY chose for my home) have all been packed away along with my favorite little knick knacks and such. The hard part is when everyone comes into the house and tells you how great your home looks without your things in them. I find it rather insulting and have grown rather weary of hearing it from everyone (including my own children) who comes into the house. For me has been like slowly erasing little pieces of me, with every package that disappears into the garage. Left in the sterile beige environment, ripping down all of my wallpaper borders and things that made my home mine, has made me a tad depressed. I refused to let them paint over my boy's Coca Cola Polar bears mural (it's on this blog if you want to see it), hoping that some child who may move into the house will love it as much as my own children first did when we moved in here.
Tonight, after a full day of cleaning, we had our first showing. We were down to the wire here! The people were pulling in as we were taking that last bag of garbage out the door. We were still mopping and wiping toilets right up till the moment they walked in. What a nightmare!
I hope it sells quickly so we don't have to continue to live in this bland world of beige for much longer. Plus keeping it clean for potential sellers is going to be a nightmare for my 2 boys! They are messy little beings!
Speaking of my children, they can have it like this for a while, but the next house, it's back to my colored walls and carpet. I have told them, that when they grow up, they may decorate their homes however they choose. But as for me, I have waited all my life for my dream home, and to now have to give it up is so hard. The new home will be my fresh canvas and the creativity will flow once again. The artist in me will NOT be stifled! It's my home...and I will make the new one a world of colors once again.
The hard part is just not knowing where we will end up. It's impossible to look, until we have our own home sold and under agreement. So I have been gathering homes to a list, but not making appointments until we know for sure. It's hard to have your life in such upheaval, not being able to find so many things when you need them and not knowing what is around the bend. I look forward to the day when at last we will be in another house, where I can lovingly make it into a home. My home.
I think I will share a card today that is in my SCS gallery so some of you may have seen it. But I haven't posted it to my blog. So here goes.
This is a card I made back in March for my Birds/Bees Swap. I love this bird stamp, it's so detailed. I had stamped it on shimmery white cover stock, so the coloring was a bit tricky. But I still like how it turned out. The BG is cuttlebug swirls and the word hope is stamped from a SU set. The ribbon is shimmery too. They took a very long time to color, using the prismacolor gamsol technique. I added a few stickles to the flowers to dress them up. I wanted to share the hope card, because ...I need a little hope right now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day - You are going to LOVE this video!

I want to wish all of you wonderful women out there a Fabulous Mother's Day!
May you rest and retreat and be swept off your feet!
May you be pampered and made to feel sweet.
May you get flowers and breakfast in bed.
May you feel joy at the cards you have read.
I pray you know of the treasure you impart
with each loving gesture that tends to your heart.
Not only the love of your family too...
but the love of your friends as I say... I love you!

Now...for a laugh and a moment of truth.... ENJOY THIS VIDEO! You are gonna love this!

Friday, May 2, 2008

THANKS are in order to several folks!

First of all let me say a HUGE THANK YOU TO!! TO MISS GINA K! If you go to her blog you will see the winner of a set of MEGABILITIES Scalloped Rectangles...and guess who it is! It's ME! I can't believe I won those! How truly exciting. Gina K. is such a generous Blog Candy giver. What a blessing it was to receive that on a day when I was having a lot of pain from my RSD and just feeling blue from all that's going on in my life right now. I will be sure to let you know when I get them by posting a card or two made with them.

Then there are some RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) that should have been posted long ago. I vow not to give up until I have thanked them all! It may take a bit of time...but here are a couple of cards I got when I had my surgery! (I also have cards from folks who sent one to me with Shelly's cards - how kind those SCS girls truly are! I will post those at another time.)
The first one is from sweet Jessica (Jlazarski on SCS). She sent me my favorite kind of card of course, the House Mouse! Isn't he adorable? I am itching to buy that stamp after seeing this card. Click on it for a close up so you can read the mouse's sign. It will make you laugh out loud!

The second one is from Asela! After I won her blog candy of a complete set of her clear stamps for Easter which you can see here: Easter Stamps Winner
I was so excited and I did use them several times, to make everyone in my family an Easter card with, plus I used them in an Easter swap too! But guess what I did...sent them ALL OUT without PHOTOGRAPHING one of them! What a goof.
When I thanked her for the winning stamps, I had mentioned then what a great highlight to my day it was, because I had been recovering from my surgery. She kindly sent me the lovely get well card above enclosed with my winning stamps...and what a beauty it was! I had to share it here. It's even prettier in person with the little glitter and rhinestones and everything. Just an amazing card and I was honored to get it! Thanks Asela & Jessica for thinking of me and sending such great cards!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

RSD - I have it. What is it?

RSD is the name of the disease that has a hold on me. I felt the need to explain it as I have mentioned it to so many of you. Plus, getting awareness out for this disease is helpful to preventing it from taking hold in some folks who catch it early enough.
It stands for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. There are 2 names for the disease now, CRPS-Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome being the other. Most people tend to use RSD interchangeably. I know I have mentioned it to people ...but I am guessing most people don't really know what it means. You may have heard Paula Abdul, of American Idol fame, mention that she suffers with it. She seems to be the most famous person we have who has said she has this disease from a cheerleading injury years before.

HOW I GOT IT: I was burdened with RSD after simple arthroscopic knee surgery for a meniscus tear. It is through no fault of the surgeon, but more a way that my own body reacted to the surgery. Most people heal in about 4-6 weeks with no issues. My healing after surgery was often going in the wrong direction, with swelling to the extreme, and redness and the inability to even have a sheet touch my leg at the time. I was in physical therapy and working on it several times a week only to have it continue to worsen. In January of 2007 I was diagnosed with RSD after my surgeon referred me to a pain specialist who made the final diagnosis, that I may have RSD for life. It can go into remission but no one knows how or what causes it to go into remission. Anyone who has this is constantly in prayer to have remission come upon them. It is a disease of the nervous system, that the body sets up a pain loop from the brain to the injured area, that never shuts off, even though the extremity may be healed from the surgery. The pain is not imagined pain. It is very real. Some people think because the brain is involved, that it is therefore "all in the head". This is not true...this actually causes physical things to happen to the affected areas causing the pain. There are times when I cannot even have fabric touch my leg or arm, it is that painful.
Below is an explanation of the disease taken from RSDSA(Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association) . Just click on the link if you would like further information or know of anyone who is also suffering from this disease.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a debilitating progressive disease of the Autonomic Nervous System. It is a chronic multi-symptom condition which is often characterized by severe burning pain, pathological changes in bones and skin, swelling, diminished motor function, and extreme sensitivity to touch. It can occur in one, two, or sometimes all four extremities , and be in the face, shoulders, back, eyes and internal organs as well. RSD involves your nerves, skin, muscles, blood vessels and bones. Although it usually occurs after trauma (minor like a sprain or major like a car accident or stroke), infections, surgery, or repetitive motion disorder, it can sometimes occur without any apparent cause.
If diagnosed quickly and treated properly, RSD can go into remission. Periods of remission can last weeks, months or even years and often will continue until an additional injury or trauma to the body causes the RSD to become active again. If treatment is delayed, RSD can spread to the entire limb or other parts of one's body and the changes in the bone and muscles can become irreversible. Unfortunately RSD remains poorly understood and often times is misdiagnosed. This is why it is extremely important for all of us to learn as much about the disease as we can and to educate others, including our family members, doctors, media etc.
While not every person has all of the same symptoms, the major symptoms that most RSD'ers
have are:

  • 1: Constant burning pain which is often described as having a hot poker being stuck into you. The pain is known to be out of proportion for the type of injury suffered. After the injury or trauma, the sympathetic nervous system seems to react abnormally and send incorrect messages throughout the body.
  • 2: Inflammation while not always present, presents itself as pitting or non-pitting edema.
  • 3: Skin changes which include, but are not limited to, temperature changes, skin or tissue atrophy, increased hair and nail growth or hair and nail loss, dryness, rashes, increased sweating, and an over sensitivity to touch.
  • 4: Spasms in the muscles and or blood vessels, tremors and dystonia.
  • 5: Diminished motor function and the eventual development of dystrophy and/or atrophy.
  • 6: Bone changes
  • 7: Emotional disturbances including insomnia, depression, concentration and short term memory difficulties.

For many of us, one of the hardest things to adjust to is never knowing how much pain the day will bring. We can wake up feeling (and looking) fine but within a matter of hours find ourselves bedridden once again. Or we feel well enough to do some things one day (household chores, running errands, or even going out to socialize with friends or family) and as a result of having a "good" day, we are bedridden in pain for the next 2-4. The little chores which used to take us a short time to complete now take endless tiring hours as we often have to stop for breaks before we are done.
Our activities play a huge part on how we feel and we must learn to make changes in our lifestyles to accommodate this. We need to learn to avoid activities which make our pain flare. We need to learn to set our daily priorities, set realistic goals, and most importantly learn to pace ourselves and rest when needed.
We also need to take into consideration the outside forces which will affect the way we feel including noise, crowds, weather and barometric changes, temperature changes, etc.
As hard as it is, we must try to find new interests and hobbies which enable us enjoyment without taking too much of a toll on us. We need to try to keep as active, mentally as well as physically as we can.

is in my left leg, left arm and often my left eye twitches at various times through the day. I recently broke my baby toe on my right foot and I fear that the RSD is moving over there. It has remained purple for 2 weeks now and the pain is spreading now up the right side of my foot. Any new injuries can have the RSD move into that particular area, so we must be careful about treating new injuries as well. My skin has all ready begun changing on the left leg, hair loss, and shiny thin skin is on my leg. It often turns a light purple when I am in a flare up all the way from the thigh to the foot will change color.
I am on a mixture of heavy pain medications including lyrica, oxycontin and vicodins. I am grateful for the Lyrica, for it has truly helped me to have a more normal life. But on days when the rain and cold set in and the barometric pressure is high like today, you will still find me suffering, despite how much pain medications I take. I also have a new friend who just moved here from Philadelphia, who sadly also has RSD and has had it for 14 years. I am grateful to have someone to share the path with who truly understands.
There are many wonderful people out there....millions of us, suffering with this disease. Little is being done to understand it or treat it. We are often treated with medications that were created for other diseases. It is a baffling disease indeed. Thanks for taking the time to read this and understand why when I have a few bad days and can't post or create cards, you now know why. This smiley holds the orange ribbon for RSD.