Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Finally ~ a diagnosis!

I fired my family doctor.

He is lovely & caring but wasn't taking my concerns seriously. Six weeks of pneumonia is crazy & having to endure test after test after test & then have meds given to me that I'm either allergic to or they didn't work has been so frustrating. Got in to see a new doctor, a naturopath & she had a diagnosis within two hours of sitting & talking with me. And it all makes sense & scary at the same time. But it will be a bit of a journey to recover. I'm glad we leave for holidays on the weekend so I can just concentrate on getting better. I have to teach a class on Thursday night & then Saturday morning & then I'm done for 3 weeks. The diagnosis so far (she thinks there is more but that will come after my June appointment) is Adrenal Gland Disease. Right now, she's trying to determine if it's simply AGD Fatigue or AGD Failure. First is ok, fixable & liveable but life changes to accomodate. Second can be fatal if not treated but we started treatment right away yesterday, so very hopeful. Completely answers why I have pain throughout my body, total exhaustion (driving to my centre is literally a 2.5 minute ride but I'm exhausted when I pull into my parking lot), always dizzy, low, low, low blood pressure, easy bruising, constant nausea & no appetite, even though I've gained lots of weight. Some I clearly needed, as I have been a recovering anorexic all my life but still, the last few pounds have been totally fat! I went to the store the other day to pick up 3 items. Standing in line, my legs started to shake & I had to sit for a minute before I could get up to pay. She describes it like my body is attacking itself & trying to "shut down" which is exactly what it feels like. I felt such relief in knowing there is a reason that this pneumonia has been so stubborn & that all these things are not in my head. I was really starting to think it was. Now we can hopefully get things back on track so I can get back to life!

That's my update. An answer, now treatment & hopefully a good recovery so I can finish up the things I love to do. :)

Monday, 14 May 2012

New Mortgage Payment

We renewed our mortgage on Friday & at the same time, increased our payments again. We started at $200 a week about 5 years ago, increased that to $225 a week about 3 years ago, then uppped it again to $250 a week last year when Kent went back to the corporate world. On Friday, we increased the payments again to $275 a week, starting next week. Still comfortable for our budget & decreased the time left on our mortgage from 8 years, 6 months to 7 years, 4 months. We're now paying mostly principle, with a bit of interest in there. Love seeing the numbers decreasing each week. Currently, we owe just a bit over $96,000. By this time next year, we'll owe just under $84,000.

Our plan is to finish the renovations, put it on the market, build our new house out in the country & become completely mortgage free in the process. We can do this because we bought our land 12 years ago. At that time, land was just starting to increase in value. The acreage was listed for $65,000 but we paid an even $40,000. Now it's worth almost $300,000 & is on the rise. As we only need to pay for the services & the construction of the new house, the equity in our home & our savings will cover the costs, as long as we don't crazy with size & upgrades. It's going to be a fine line as we do want to build a good sized home & we'll want certain features, like granite counters & wood floors, as well as energy efficiency. Keeping our budget realistic & giving ourselves some "wiggle room" for the extras we may decide in the end we just have to have will be the key.

Not sure exactly when we'll build. Life keeps getting in the way. For now, we keep loving this house & fixing it up along the way.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Living in Canada has so many benefits but one thing that is a great bonus for us is not having to worry about paying for health care for basic medical services. We are proactive in our own health care & also take advantage of annual check ups & the services offered by the primcary care health networks (nutrition, workshops, over the phone consults, etc.). Over the years, we've also accessed alternative care, including massage, chiropractic service & of course, midwifery. Some of these have partial fees covered by our provincial gov't & some, like midwifery, were out of pocket costs for us but are now fully covered, so our gov't is getting smarter in where the health dollars should go. But there are still a few things that aren't covered. Some extended health care plans offered by companies often make up the difference. However, for those of us who work in the non-profit sector (me) or for those who work for small companies (Kent), extended benefits may not be offered (me) or are limited to a dollar amount per year (Kent). We are 1/4 of the way thru the year & so far, we've used about 1/3 of our total dollar amount given to us each year with dental work & recent prescriptions for my pneumonia.

I've decided it's time to say goodbye to our family doctor. Nice guy, super funny, very cute but seriously, he's changing as he's older. I've been with him since I was 16 & he had just opened his practice, he's now Kent's doctor & our kids. But he isn't as open to alternative therapies as he used to be. And I really need someone who is. Found a naturopath to go to & my first appointment is next Tuesday morning. I'm so excited to see someone who believes in treating not just the symptoms but the root cause of the condition.

But here's the tough part. We have to pay out of pocket. Her fee is $160 for the initial 1.5 appointment. After that, it is $115 for a 45 minute to 1 hour follow up or $65 for a 30 minute each time. This is reasonable, compared to the first clinic I was referred to. Not a true naturopath but alternative medicine. Thankfully, they had a wait list of 6 months to get in. The fee for that doctor is $350 for the initial 1 hour appoinment & $125 for every 30 minute follow up session. I kept looking & on the recommendation of many others, called this one & love her already!. Definitely on the same wave as me. I'm pretty sure that I'll have a series of appointments based on my current health issues but feel that if we can get to the bottom of how I am feeling, then I'll get back on track again.

Just looking at how often she will likely see me over the next few months, the total will be about $850 by the time we're done. I've decided to look at this new expense we hadn't counted on for this year as an "investment" in my health. It may mean cutting back somewhere or not meeting one of my goals for a faster paydown of a debt but worth the individualized care in the end.

Happy to have found an alternative & looking forward to finally getting my body & my energy back!!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Thank you Sammyleia!!

I've been having a rough time lately. This nasty pneumonia will not go away, we're on a roller coaster ride with our daughter's marriage (update: she's now not moving back to her home again, but staying with us!) & our holidays start in 2 weeks but my stress level has risen so high, I can't even imagine being able to leave.

But Sammyleia surprised me with this wonderful Sunshine Award & it's already brightened my day that someone was thinking of me. A lovely sight to wake up to today!

My answers to all the questions:
  1. What is your favourite colour? Sage green is a strong favorite, especially if it is paired with a rosy color or lavender.
  2. What is your favourite animal? We have pups in our house but I prefer small dogs & non-shedding breeds.
  3. What is your favourite number? I love the number 6. It is the number of children we have. My second favorite is 8.
  4. What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink? Love, love, love cranberry juice.
  5. Which do you prefer - Facebook or Twitter? Facebook. Have not yet learned how to Twitter & don't think I'll ever have time to go there. And I don't possess a great phone, so it's pointless anyway!
  6. What is your passion? I work with grieving families, including children & teens. My background is in the arts as well as education, so pairing these two together has created support programs that bring healing to these hurting individuals. I love my job!!
  7. Do you prefer giving or receiving presents? I love both. I especially love to create unique gifts for family & friends. I love receiving gifts from my kids & my husband that truly have meaning & bring grins to their faces when I open them!
  8. What is your favourite pattern? I love Celtic knots & florals.
  9. What is your favourite day of the week? Sunday. I love our sleeping in time & no schedule for a whole day! A day to use the creativity that exists in my mind & my body but has to often be pushed aside for the daily grind.
  10. What is your favourite flower? I love roses, hyacinths, lavendar, sage & thyme.
I'm passing along the Sunshine Award to the following bloggers:
  1. Little Lamb Wants to be Debt Free:
  2. Might as Well Give Myself a Raise:
  3. Shaking the  Money Tree:
I hope this award makes waking up on a Monday morning brighter Have fun!!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Having a weepy day ....

So many things right now are making me feel weepy. And the rain outside is making me feel even weepier. Not warm & cozy or even creative. Just terribly weepy.

I've been sick now for more than 4 weeks & it's clear I'm just not getting better. Very frustrated. I have no energy to do anything except sleep but unfortunately, life doesn't just let us sleep when we need to live, work, love & take care of others. I'm doing the best I can at getting as much rest as possible, letting others take on my tasks, working a shortened work day, saying no to everything I can right now & being very realistic about my limitations. Usually when I'm sick, I plug along & push myself. This time, I've been very kind to myself, in the hopes that by doing so, I'll heal quickly.

Seems to have backfired!

Another chest x~ray this week & 4 now new drugs, including steroids. Hopefully this drug cocktail will work & I can get my strength & energy back.

I was late for work & my work mates waited for me before starting our weekly meeting. That made me feel terribly guilty because I had called to say I would be arriving late & to go ahead. They didn't & now I feel so bad, even though it was their decision & they were so gracious. I carry guilt easily.

During the meeting, it was announced the number of "hits" that our blogs posts get. Each of us has to contribute to the community blog on a rotation basis. Over the last 4 weeks, there have been 4 of us send in our writing & out of the 4, guess who has the least number of hits?

Yup, mine.

So now I think I'm a terrible writer because of the low number of hits compared to the individual who manages the blog. She seemed quite proud about who had the highest (her at 65) & quite unhappy with who had the lowest (me at 34). I'm not sure what the point is to broadcast who has the most & who has the least but she looked straight at me, so now, with my achy "please run me over with a truck, oh, sorry you already did that" body, I am feeling so low emotionally for letting my crew down.

Personally, I quite liked what I wrote but I guess for her, it wasn't good enough.


An individual in my community who tried to take one of my key programs from me 10 years ago, has resurfaced & is reeking havoc again. Questioning my ability to do the work I do. Wondering if my credentials are "good enough" & talking with others behind my back.

Yup. Junior high all over again!

Had to deliver bad news to one of our theatre members, who was hoping that we would take on his production for the coming season. But after careful consideration of his plea, we voted unamionsously against the project. He seemed fine at the meeting & had written on his Facebook page that he would honor & respect whatever the board made, prior to the  meeting. But since then, it's gone down hill, badly. He's sent me note after note after note, revealing his frustrations & disgust that we wouldn't just jump on his project. The issue is the risk to us financially. The theatre company makes money every year to put on next year's show. His last two shows that he did independently did very poorly & word on the street is that he lost a lot of money. We can't take that risk plus factoring in other elements, the clear answer was a no. Hoping he comes around at some point & sees our viewpoint but for now, it's just nasty. And as the President of the theatre company, I'm the fall guy!

Our daughter & grandson have been living with us for 4 months & as much as I love having them around, it has created some chaos in our normally settled life. The house is definitely taking a hit & after living a life for the last few years without toys & cheerios as a primary focus in our decor, its taken a while to get used to things being left out & no order at times. Lots of extra work. Our sleep is different, our schedules had to be readjusted & there are so many things we have to think about now that weren't a focal point for us months ago. But we've managed & I know the good has far outweighed the bad. We even have been planning to build our new house finally, with the 2 of them in mind as our house mates for the next 2 to 4 years as she goes back to school to better her life for her & her baby son. Just getting those pieces in to place & then suddenly, life is turned upside down again!

Her dear husband has had a change of heart & she's moving back home in a couple of weeks.

That was a shock! She was in the process of filing for divorce. Guess he didn't like the finality of it all.

So we're now getting used to the idea that they will move home, to live happily ever after & we'll have our house back to ourselves. Order will be restored.

However, last night, she did ask if she can leave her furniture here "just in case" ....

My head is spinning. Not sure if I'm coming or going .... or who is coming or going.

Feels like a roller coaster. I want to throw up!

Did I ever mention how much I hate roller coasters?

Well I have now!!

Can't wait for our holidays to start in 16.5 short days. To sit by the sea & let this all go will be so healing, not just for my body but my heart as well.

How do you handle stress? Clearly, I'm not doing a good job!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May is here!!

Excited for this lovely month!

Kinlee turns 19 this week. We were so excited that she chose to be born on the best day ever ~ International Day of the Midwife ~ May 5th.

The two of us leave for our holiday. We head out to Salt Spring Island on May 20th, for 2 glorious weeks of sun, rain, hiking, writing, kayaking, eating, exploring, antiquing & sleeping!

Jaxon & his beautiful girl get married in a just few short weeks, on May 23rd.

Kai & his beautiful girl visit from the south end of the province this weekend, so we can celebrate Kinlee's birthday, his birthday that was in April, Jaxon's wedding & Mother's Day. The two of them leave for Italy the same day we leave.

All of us together, in one space, to celebrate for the weekend, all the wonderful things happening in our lives right now.

We hold our breath, knowing in an instant, life can change from incredible to tragic, so without skipping a beat, we celebrate every moment we can!

Then we all get ready to head off on our respective holidays.

At one point, we'll be in 4 different countries. Jaxon will be in Washington State, getting married on St. Juan Island, then heading to the Sasquatch Music Festival. Kai will be in Italy, touring around. We'll be in B.C. And the rest of our kids will be home in Alberta with big sister Jade in charge.

I love this time of our life when we can go away, just the two of us, knowing our littles are safe & cared for. Makes for a relaxing break.

Enjoy this wonderful month full of the newness of life, the green of our Earth, the wonder of the garden & babies everywhere.

Happy May!!