Wednesday, June 27, 2012

No More Prednisone!

That's right. After weeks of slowly decreasing the dose I was taking, I finally took my last prednisone pill a few days ago. Very exciting. I can tell the swelling in my face has started to go down, which makes me very happy. I have been feeling very good (with the exception of last week, I had a few rough days), but I am doing so good. I am now no longer taking anything for Crohn's disease. Dr. Smith would like me to take something to prevent inflammation from flaring up again, but we will see. I really don't want to. 
I also went to see the rheumatologist today who said I can start taking that medication every other day instead of every day because my arthritis has not been bothering me. 
I have been able to start working full days this week, so that's really good as well. I feel so blessed that I am doing so much better!

Camping Funness

This last weekend we went camping with my family. Not everyone ended being able to come, but that's ok. We had had it planned for quite awhile. We planned to go up Thursday after work, but I was really sick all day Thursday and was throwing up. I figured out at the end of the day that it was the pain patch I had put on the night before that was making me so sick so I took it off and by the next morning I felt much better. So we left first thing Friday morning and got there in time to eat breakfast with everyone. My mom, brother Kelby and his family, brother Kyler, and nephew Kalan (my sister's son) had all gone up Thursday. We went to the South Hills by Rock Creek. We had a really fun camping spot right by the creek. Although later we found out it's not a camping spot anymore. We had camped there a few years ago, but a ranger came and told us that they don't like people camping by the creek because it's not good for the quality of the water. There was no sign not to camp there and he said they put them up and people take them down. He wanted us to move but my told him we were leaving int he morning and so he let us stay. We had so much stuff set up that we would have just gone home. 
Anyway, here are some pics of the fun things we did:

Here we are setting up our tent.
 Kyler had fun climbing a tree....
 And jumping on rocks across the creek.
 My sister came up Friday morning as well with her girls and stayed for the day. Her husband and son Kade had a scout campout so they couldn't come. Halli LOVE playing in the creek.
 So did Luke
 They both were very dirty after a couple hours
 Kelsi was just relaxing
 We spent time visiting, playing cards, roasting marshmellows, and eating good food. Food always tastes better when you're camping. :)
 I'm pro at roasting marshmellows.

 We are getting ready to go on a hike
 We all hiked to Ross Falls
 We have gone there several times and always stop to take a picture on this bench.

We made it!
 Chris, Kyler, Kelsi, and Jenna climbed these rocks to the very top. I have done it once before, but I didn't have the strength this time.

 Ross Falls

 The girls, minus Amy who had already gone back to the campsite with Kelby to start getting dinner ready.
 Love this girl!
 Here you can see all our tents set up. Taylor had a pretty cool Cars tent to sleep in. :)
We had lots of fun and I was so glad that I felt better and was able to go. Next time hopefully we can find a time when everyone can go!

Wedding in Utah

A couple weekends ago we went to Utah with my mom for my cousin Brandon's reception. He got married in Arizona and then had an open house in Orem at my Uncle Parley and Aunt Marilyn's house. I love going to visit there and wanted to go one last time before we moved. We left Friday early afternoon and came home Saturday night after the reception. On Friday night we got together with my cousin Aersta and her husband, and my cousin Katie and her husband and played games and such. It was fun to see them and their cute kids.
Saturday afternoon we went boating with my cousin Katie and my cousin Lance and cousin Jaden and their families at Utah Lake. I just rode in the boat but Chris got a little wakeboarding in. 

 When we got back we had lunch with everyone (pulled pork, one of my favorites) and then went to the open house, which was right in the front yard! Here is my Uncle Parley enjoying himself. Oh I love him. :)
 Here are some of my cousins who were there. Sam, Josh, Nick, Lizzy, JJ, and Stephanie
 My brother Kelby also came to Utah for the weekend and stayed at his in-law's house and then they came to the open house too. My cousin Katie's little girl Penny really liked my nephew Luke but Luke wasn't so sure about her. :)
 My mom with two of her sisters, my Aunt Shirley and Aunt Bev
 The man of the hour himself, Brandon
 Luke loved running up and down this hill. He always fell at the bottom and then got up and did it again. He is so cute.
 Before we left I convinced most of my cousins who were there to take a big group picture. They were reluctant but I insisted. :) Some of them think I take too many pictures. But I'm not naming any names, haha.

Well we had lots of fun but had to leave to get back to home so we could teach our lessons on Sunday. It was a good time and I'm glad we got to go.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Doing Good!

Well I just wanted to post an update on how I am doing. I am doing really well! I have actually been able to have time to recover, and have not been back in the hospital (knock on wood). Before it seemed like every time I went home and thought I was starting to get better, I'd get sick again. Luckily that has not happened. I forgot to mention in a previous post that I got the feeding tube removed the beginning of May (I think around May 9). I had an appointment with the surgeon and he asked if I wanted it out, and of course I said YES! It was really sore and just in the way, and I just really did not like it. He said if Dr. Smith said it was ok, then he would remove it. So I called Dr. Smith and he had me get some labs done. He called me that night and said that they looked pretty good. My pre-albumin and albumin were back to normal (those were what the surgeon was concerned about). Pre-albumin is a lab that we use a lot to assess someone's nutritional status. We (dietitians) don't put a lot of stock in albumin, but most doctors do. Anyway Dr. Smith asked if I had gained any weight and I said no, not really. He said I really should keep it in for awhile longer but I told him all my reasons why I didn't want to (basically I was whining). :) The tube feeding was giving me 700 calories at night and I told him I would drink TwoCal which is 500 calories (it's kind of like Ensure but more calories). He said if I did that every day then I could get it out. So I called the surgeon the next day and made an appointment. This was a Wednesday and he wasn't in his office and they said he didn't have any openings until Monday. I was so disappointed-I did not want to wait any longer! But then they called me later and the receptionist said  she had talked to the Dr and he said he would see me the next day. So I went the next day and he just pulled it out! It hurt! But I felt so much better after that. It was easier to go about my day, and go out places. He gave me a high five when I told him what my albumin was. I bought some TwoCal at Norco (expensive stuff!) and have been trying to drink it. I have to admit that I haven't been doing it every day, but after getting a lecture from the girls at work, I have decided to try again. Plus, I have now gained 5 pounds. :)
Speaking of work, I went back about 4 weeks ago. The first week I just worked 3-4 hours per day, 3 days. I have slowly been increasing my hours. This week I worked 4 days, 6 hours each day. I don't think I will go tomorrow. I have been getting back a lot more energy, my problem is I have a hard time getting up in the morning so I've had a hard time getting there much before 10 am. But my boss (and HR) have been so understanding. My boss did not even put me on the schedule for June and told me to work when I want for how long I want. For July he put me on the schedule for 4 or 5 days that he really needs me, and the rest I can still do what I want. NICE! But I hope to be able to be working close to full time because we could really use the money.
I have been eating really good and feel really good. My stomach does not hurt anymore. I was getting worried because I was still having problems after I ate for awhile, but then it seemed like one day I just starting feeling tons better. I haven't taken pain medicine in about 3 weeks. I have still been using a pain patch, but I used the last one a few days ago so I won't be using those anymore either and I still feel great. It is so nice. Also I have been going off of the prednisone and just have one week left!! I will be pretty happy when I don't have a chipmunk face anymore.
The bummer thing is now that I have energy and strength again I want to do all my crafts again but don't have time. Before when I was home all the time I wanted to sew my quilt so bad, but never had the energy. But I have been able to work on it after work. I am determined to finish it before we move!
As for my arm, it is slowly getting better. I don't notice it as much anymore. My thumb and pointer finger are still "numb" and it is still weak, but I can do far more than I used to. I saw a neurologist, who called what I have "brachioplexitis" or something like that. He basically said "it happens" and that there's nothing to do for it. He said about 80% of the people this happens to return to normal 80% or more of the time. Ok, that's good odds, I guess. He said it could take 6 months to 2 years to be back to normal. Yay. I just have to remember to use it as much as possible to help it get it's strength back. And I'm just hoping that my fingers won't feel tingly forever. 
Anyway, here are a few pics of what I have been able to do recently:

This is after the last surgery when I was still intubated-I just wanted to add these pics to show how many machines I was hooked up to and how many IV poles I had. It was ridiculous! 
 I did make it to the chair a few times in the ICU, which was a chore but worth it. If you look close you can see that I had a central line in my neck-that's where all the IVs were going. Not comfortable.
 Ok now on the fun things I have been doing...I got new flip flops!
 ...and new shoes.
 Even though I really didn't need them!
 I made this cute bag!
 And this cute card for my niece Taylee.
 I took a walk one day with some of Chris' cousins and their kids and we walked around by the temple. Chris and I have been able to go to the temple 3 times recently, almost back to our old routine when we were going 3-4 times a month. I love it!
 Last night I decided to paint my nails, I think I did a pretty good job!

So that is what we have been up to. We have a busy summer planned with almost every weekend booked and I am so excited! Definitely much better than hanging out at the hospital. Everywhere I go at work people (like nurses, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, CNA's, pharmacists, etc) are telling me how nice it is to see me back, ask how I am doing (even people I don't remember, like transport people) and saying how good I look. Yesterday I saw the surgeon and he was so excited to see me. He asked for a hug and then told all the nurses standing around "Look at this!" They said, "we know, we see her every day." He said, "well I don't, but I guess that's a good thing!" He is so nice. Well stay tuned for some fun things we have coming up, such as weddings, camping trips, family reunions, and more!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Last weekend my niece Kelsi and Chris' youngest sister Courtney graduated from Twin Falls High School. Courtney had a graduation party in our backyard on Friday night. It was really fun. Here we are with all of Chris' sibling and nieces and nephews. 

Chris and his nephew Damian
 Nala had just been to Western Days and got her face painted.
 Cute little Evelyn. She wasn't too impressed with either Chris or me, but we sure think she's cute!
 Chris will never take a serious picture on the first try...reminds me of someone else I know who's name starts with a K and ends with a yler. :)

 Case in point...
 Courtney and I after graduation on Saturday
 Kelsi and I...I cannot believe I have a niece who is graduated from High School!! So weird.......

 We went to Chili's after graduation and ate with Kelsi and my sister's family. Notice who is not smiling again. :)
Well I am just really proud of these two girls and want them to know I love them and and proud of them!
Saturday night we were needing something to do so we went and walked around Western Days for awhile. I don't really know what it is but Twin has it every year and there's a parade in the morning and a little fair and carnival that goes on for a couple days. The parade was at the same time as graduation (don't ask my why), so I didn't see the parade. But I did talk Chris into riding the Ferris Wheel with me and it was really fun, aside from the little tween girls who crowded in front of us. :) 

Also I have to add that Cooper James is here! My brother's wife Kristina had her baby yesterday, June 5. He was 8.14 lbs and 20 in long. He is adorable and I can't wait to see him in person. Of course that means that we will have to go to Wyoming, but I'm ok with that. :)