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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NEWS I DID WANT TO HEAR

Since I couldn't be in the drug trial I've been waiting to see if I could get one of the two  drugs available that slow the disease process down.  I was told it was $30,000 a year.  Assistance is available to pay for the drug so I was given the paperwork to apply for help.  Today the drug company called to tell me that the first 15 days of the drug would arrive Friday.  I asked the cost and was told there was none!!!  They told me that the next amount I would get after the 15 days would be for 30 days from now on.  I again asked the price......NOTHING!!  What a relief!  I am very grateful.

Here is a picture of me making beads.  I got approval from the doctor to continue making them using a respirator at all times....not comfortable, and impossible to make hollow beads with a hollow mandrel, but I'm happy.


Since I'm showing pictures here is one of my son with his kids and me with my oldest granddaughter.



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

FUNNY

On a lighter note, I saw this on Facebook today.  Cracked me up :)  Perfect and so true, and I feel so much better when something makes me laugh.




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NEWS I DIDN'T WANT TO HEAR

Today I found out that I don’t qualify for the drug trial for the new drug for Pulmonary Fibrosis.  The reason is frustrating, both to me and my doctor.  I had two CT scans that determined that I had the disease.  The first one was a regular CT and the second one was a high resolution scan which shows a more detailed look at the lungs.  I had to have a third high resolution scan by the lab who is evaluating everyone in the study.  Three people evaluated the scan.  One person said my scan showed definite Pul. Fibrosis.  The other two said it was not for sure.  Now this would be good news were it not for my pulmonologist and my brother in law (also a pulmonologist) who both say IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) is present in my lungs.  They see it even in the third CT scan.  My doctor tried to appeal the decision, but it was not allowed.  The only way he can prove I have it is by doing a lung biopsy, which has it’s own risks.  Dr M does not want to expose me to those risks. He also said there is no guarantee that I would get the drug if I was in the study.

I am disappointed.  i really wanted to be a part of this study.  After talking to my brother in law, he and Dr. M.  decided that for now I will be given a weekly injection of the drug already on the market, which slows the disease process down.  I will have another CT scan in about two months.  If my condition has worsened I would then be a candidate for the new experimental drug study.  However there still would be no promise that I would get the drug instead of the placebo. 

I did learn I have to start sleeping with oxygen because my oxygen level goes too low while I am sleeping.  All of the symptoms plus signs of scaring on my lungs, and two people say I don’t have enough evidence of IPF so they keep me out of the study.  I have to believe there is a reason.

Monday, December 8, 2014

RAMBLINGS

So I've had all the tests and interviews for the drug study, now I just have to get through the waiting part to see if I get in.  Two doctors, who are not pulmonologists, have told me that IPF patients can live a long time, which is encouraging.  A third doctor gave me no encouragement at all.  He was distant and somewhat aloof....I wish I knew why. Even if this disease is a killer, don't you think a doctor who takes care of me in another area should at least try to be positive and give me some hope?  Everyone needs hope, you take away that and what's left......just despair, and how does that help anything?
I feel good most days and that is WONDERFUL!
Haven't made any beads yet, but first I have to clean out my studio.  I never cleaned up since my show which was in Nov. It's looking pretty grungy.
Right now I am knitting.  I love knitting.  I'm working on  pair of socks and I just finished a hat for my youngest grandson.
Don't have my tree up yet, but I am halfway through shopping.  I have a love hate relationship with Christmas.  I love the decorations, the family time, the sales, and watching the kids open presents.  However, I don't like the crowds, the traffic jams, looking for a parking place, and waiting in long lines to pay for things.
I feel sad watching my grand children's time split between spending time with their dad and mom over the holidays.  I loved it when we were altogether and the kids didn't have a care in the world.  It's hard watching everyone adjust to a new normal.
Overall, I think the kids do fairly well, but I always think about them when they switch houses.  They don't have a home.  They have two homes that they split their time in, but one is dad's home and one is mom's.  I think this really messes with identity, just my opinion. Actually, I'm having a hard time staying on any one topic today. ( Anyone notice, besides me) so......that is all.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

ANOTHER DAY

Thursday I spent 4 hours being interviewed and tested to see if I will qualify for the drug study.  The questions weren't hard.  The testing was.....hmm, difficult.  I had to do several tests to evaluate my lung function.  They involve sucking in air and then blowing it through various tubes.  Whenever I do this it sets off a long, long coughing spell.  Wears me out kind of quickly.

I did find out two interesting things during my last appointment with Dr. M and this appt. with the nurse practitioner.  First of all Dr. M said I can make beads some of the time if I wear that big ole respirator all the time I'm making them!  That made me kind of happy because the thought of breaking up my studio was hard.  He said that lungs that are affected by metals, silica, and glass particles are usually involved in the upper lobes.  It's my lower lobes that are the most affected right now.  K, the nurse, told me that my CT scan does not show any asthma at all in my lungs.  This means that during the last 5 years or so, when everyone thought I had asthma, it was really the beginning of the Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, which from now on will be referred to as IPF.  So that means I've had this longer than I thought and just maybe I am on a slow track.

I will know if I get accepted into the drug study in another 3 weeks or so.  I do hope I get in, even if I get the placebo.  I would feel like I was doing something positive about this disease and maybe it could be stopped for people newly diagnosed.

I am still mostly in a stupor about all of this, but it is becoming more real to me.  I don't cry as much as I used to, which is good.  I have some great friends who make me laugh and that is a wonderful thing.  I'm ready to fight this thing head on, there is just a little bitty part of me that is scared, but I am determined to be positive. Thanksgiving is coming...let the party begin!
https://www.facebook.com/harriet.harrison

Monday, November 17, 2014

I KEEP WAITING TO WAKE UP

Wishing this was all just a bad dream, but it's not.  I went to see my mom last week for her 92 birthday.  I also got to spend some time with my step sister who has Large B cell non Hodgkins lymphoma.  She's getting chemo right now.  She has a great attitude and I want some of that to rub off on me.  The hardest part for me is sleep.  I'm always tired when I go to bed, so I go to sleep pretty quickly, but after 3-5 hours I wake up.  Since I've rested, I can't go back to sleep easily, and I start thinking......not good, and my step sister said she used to do the same thing.  She told me NOT to go there, ever.  She gave me some suggestions on entertaining myself (solitaire via computer, reading, etc)  I'm taking her advice
Friday I will be evaluated to see if I fit the protocol for the clinical testing of the experimental drug.  If I make it, I hope I am lucky enough to be one of those who get the drug being tested. However, it is what it is. I'm just working on taking one day at a time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

LIFE CHANGERS

Isn't it strange how we move along through life thinking everything is fine and then we go to the doctor with what seems like a few minor complaints...a lingering cough, shortness of breath even when doing simple things, and feeling a little tired.  We have a few simple tests, which bring on more, not so simple tests, and in our hearts we know this isn't going to turn out well.  I went to my newly appointed pulmonologist on Tues....Dr. M.  He wears bow ties, I love bow ties.  I knew it wasn't good when I saw his eyes.  He told me what the first CT scan said, the one before the fancy, more detailed, CT scan.  I have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.  I'm a retired nurse, you know.  I've already been all over the Internet reading all about it.  It's a disease without a cure, at this time.  Until this year there was nothing you could take for it to slow it down.  This year the FDA released two new drugs that slow the deterioration process down, but it doesn't stop it.  Dr M wants a drug that stops it....so do I.
He thinks I've had it for at least a year, which is good really, since I just now started to show symptoms.  It means I might be on a slow track.  He also told me about an 18 month double blind drug study with a new experimental drug.  All the tests etc are free.  There are 163 people in each group .  Two out of three people will get the drug.  The third person will get a placebo.  I have some time to make up my mind if I want to see if I qualify.  The drugs that are on the market now are $30,000 a year.  If I wasn't so scared I would be laughing...who has $30,000 a year to spend on pills? I understand there are some assistance programs though.
I can't make beads anymore....ever.  Dr. M doesn't know if the glass, the silver, the kiln wash etc contributed to this disease or not, but he said he doesn't want any more possible irritants in my lungs. This makes me sad.  There were so many more beads to be made, but I like living more than I like making beads, so the choice wasn't that hard.
Sometime after the first of the year I will sell off my studio.  To all of you who don't wear respirators when you use enamels, please re-think that choice.  I always wore one.  Also if you smoke, that's the leading cause of Pulmonary Fibrosis.  I don't smoke, but this is just an FYI. I just would feel better if I could keep one person from developing this horrible disease.  If you've read all the way to the bottom, thanks.  My plan is to share some of my experiences as I find my way along this new path.

PS I know my blog looks strange.  I cannot get the header to stay where I put it.  I will conquer this computer too :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

THE INVASION

How can summer be over already?  .....and how can it be six weeks since I wrote anything here?  Well I might as well share the worst news first! THEY'RE BACK!!!!!!!!!  Night before last I was sitting at my torch and I thought I saw something fly by my head, but it was only one time, so I blamed it on an eye floater.  However, last night there was an invasion....actually my DH killed about 6-8 of them but how can a person work when STINK BUGS are practicing their dive bombing skills right over your head??
We went through this last year so Honey Bunny sprayed my studio frequently this summer, he caulked windows and any openings he could find.  He even made a couple of those upside down two liter traps with an LED light in the bottom.  I haven't been in the studio yet to see if we caught any that way last night.   Anyone out there got any suggestions?   Anyone else having problems with them?  Seriously, they are a little tiny bug, there has got to be a way to get rid of them.  Maybe I could make some kind of fireproof netting to wear when I torch. Oh please somebody help me.  I am such a wuss!!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I'M STILL BREATHING

I know I've kind of disappeared.  Actually I've been looking for myself, which sounds kind of weird, but turning 70 kind of did a number on me.  When you pass that threshold you begin to realize that you are on the downward spiral.  You are living the last years of your life, and I've been asking myself what do I want to accomplish in these years.  I don't have all the answers yet.  In fact I've been in kind of a approach-avoidance mode.  Beadmaking and my mojo  seem to be permanently lost.  I don't know why.  I am taking a break and doing other things.  I am also selling some of my already made beads on ebay.
I've become more involved at Day Spring, the community where Sara lives.  I am serving on the board for three years.  I feel good about doing that.  I am also on two committees at Day Spring.
I take care of the grandchildren when needed.  I love that.  I knit and draw and I'm thinking of painting again.  All of that is good, but I want a passion for something, like I felt when I first made beads.   Maybe you only get something like that once in a lifetime.  Ya think?
I saw this on Facebook the other day.  It made me smile and I wondered if any of my tribe is out there?
 P.S.  You have to hit the question mark to see the quote I am referring to....don't ask me why I can't download it.  My brain cells are limited and I don't want to stress them.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

HERE IS WHAT ALL THAT YARN IS ABOUT

I am teaching myself to do needle felting.  I love it and I know I have tons to learn.  So far I cannot find any classes, so I read what I can online and experiment.  This is a felted purse I bought and I am needle felting the flowers on top.  It's kind of like painting with wool.  I met a beadmaker by the name of Shirley Cook years ago at a ISGB (glass beadmakers) convention.  She makes beautiful felted pieces.  Lots of bowls that are just gorgeous.  That is called wet felting.  I'd like to learn that too :)  I'll find her website and post it.  Here's the link to her Etsy shop.  Look at some of her sold items.....beautiful!
https://www.etsy.com/shop/FlamesAndFiber





Thursday, June 12, 2014

OKAY, I HAVE NO EXCUSE

I have just zoned out for awhile.  Busy with the grandkids, a couple of shows, and getting ready for my niece's wedding.  I found another signage I really like, hope I can pull it up. Sorry I can't make it any bigger,but it's a good thought, for me anyway.  Well, never mind. It wouldn't transfer.
I have another picture I want to put in.  Can anyone guess what I' m doing?  I should mention I do many of my crafts on my bed....except for bead making, of course.   Obviously, I'm eating chocolate and gumdrops, but what else am I doing?  Any guessers out there?






Friday, April 11, 2014

JUST A LITTLE UPDATE

Okay, I finally got over celebrating my birthday, but it was a lot of fun.  Now, I have two shows to get ready for and I am low on inventory.  The first show is the yearly fund raiser for Day Spring, where my Sara lives.  I donate 50% of whatever I sell.  It's called the Concrete Ball because it is sponsored by several concrete businesses here in Louisville.  I have a great beadmaker friend, Jackie, who does this with me and donates 50% of her sales too.......now that is a good friend :)
Hank and I often talk about how lucky we are that Sara lives at Day Spring.  We bring her home almost every Sat and she spends the night and there is no one she loves more than her Dad, but she is happy living there.  She has friends and activities.  She goes to an adult day program 4 days a week.  I wish there were programs like this for all adults with disabilities.

I was in Florida last week visiting my mom.  It rained almost everyday while I was gone.  The first thing I noticed when I got home was this big crack in our kitchen ceiling right around the sky light.  HB had not even noticed it.  What is it with men and their vision?  Honestly, if Hank is looking for something, like his billfold, which is a daily occurrence I might add, if it is not within 3 feet of his visual field he cannot find it.  This crack was not tiny and he had not seen it......amazing :)

Of course this crack means $$$$$.  I hate spending money of things like that.  it's like buying new tires, who notices, or cares?  I would much rather spend the money on  glass for my studio, or a new computer, or things for my grandchildren....sigh.

Oh, here's a reason that my bead inventory is low.  I kind of found a new hobby.  It's just something I'm playing around with.  I tried Zentangles but found out I liked drawing real things, in odd colors, better.  It makes HB sigh a lot.  He thinks I should be in my studio creating beads :)


                                                                   

Sunday, March 23, 2014

CELEBRATING MY 70TH BIRTHDAY ONE MORE TIME

Because we couldn't all get together as a family on my birthday my children chose this past weekend to celebrate my 70th birthday, and they did it in high style!!  On Friday night a Limo picked up Hank and me, our daughter Jen and her husband Paul and 4 of our grandchildren.  We drove to our son Max's house, dropped off the kids to a waiting babysitter and picked up Max and his girlfriend Nicole.  We went to a great eating place here in Louisville called Jack Fry's.  I had the best filet....yum.  We sat and ate and drank for 2 1/2 hours.  It was just wonderful.  On Sat. we went to Max's house and had a party.  Max and Jen did a great job, wonderful food, lots of friends and family.  It was honestly the best birthday celebration I have ever had.  Max went to a local bakery that is co-owned by one of his high school classmates.  He showed them my website and asked them to make me a bead birthday cake.  This is what they came up with.  It was the coolest birthday cake I have ever seen.
                                                 

It was a wonderful weekend and I am feeling mighty loved right now.  Life is good :)

                                           

Saturday, February 22, 2014

LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED

                           
                                                 

                                                                 




These words above are some of the hardest I have learned over the past 70 years.  I've spent a lot of time these last several weeks thinking about this 70th birthday.  It's a hard one for me, mostly because I know the length of my days are behind me now.  I think I may have about 15 years left, maybe 20, if I consider all the other females in my family who have lived into their 90's  Having now lived 70 years, what words of wisdom would I want to give my children and grandchildren .......and would they pay attention anyhow, if I had some advice :). Well, here's a list of some of the things I now know for sure, through my own life experiences.
1.  Life is not fair.  You may think you deserve a good life without adversity, but believe me there is more than one surprise waiting for you.  Some happy, others not so much.
2.  Never make up your mind about what you cannot endure.  We are all much stronger and more resilient than we think we are.  You will discover your true self the first time life throws you a heart wrenching curve.  Pain and sorrow put life in perspective and you will find courage that you didn't know you even had. Happiness will be valued and appreciated more than it ever was before.
3.  High school is not the most fun you will ever have, in fact for many it is a personal agony.  If you are lucky you will end up with one lifetime friend that you knew in high school.  I feel that I am extra lucky in that area because I ended up with 4 high school friends that are still very much a part of my life.  However, I lived in a small town with one high school.  We spent all of our time together.
4.  Pick a profession you love, you're going to be doing it for a long, long time.  Women no longer have to be teachers or nurses, not that there is anything wrong with either profession, but it was our only choice when I was in school.  I wish I could have studied art way back then.
5.  Keep a journal, even sporadically, you will love reading it as you get older. It's never too late to start one. Write down the funny things your children and grandchildren say and do.  They will love hearing about it over and over.
6.  Don't settle for anything....a man, a job, a salary, a life style.  Think long and hard about what you want to achieve in your life and then be willing to work hard to get it.  Remember that there are no free rides.
7.  Raising children is the hardest job you will ever do.  If you have no children you have not a clue what I am talking about.  It is also the best job I ever had.  If you have small children you are now fighting with a two year old and wondering how you got in that position.  If you have a teenager you have my sympathy because those are the years that truly test your patience and restraint.  There's good news at the end of the line though.
8.  Those unruly, annoying, cantankerous children grow up, get married, become responsible adults and they give you....GRANDCHILDREN!  This is truly the very best thing about aging.  These sweet babies come to your home, you bake cookies together, they mess up your kitchen, they mess up your bathroom, they leave toys all around.  You play games, read stories, color together, go to bookstores, the zoo etc.  Eventually they get crabby,,,,,but then they go HOME.  It's wonderful I tell you!
9.  Be a good friend.  Everyone needs at least one special friend.  You know, the one you might not see for a while, but you can pick back up as soon as you are together again, like you've never been apart.
10. Be kind....to everyone.  I used to be afraid to talk to people I didn't know because basically I am kind of shy in the beginning.  However I soon began to realize how much I was missing and I also found out that other people were afraid to initiate conversations too.  Isn't that silly?  What I could have learned from some of those people is forever lost.

I don't know what lies ahead for me, however I have decided this.  I plan to live these remaining years, hard!  I love living and I want to soak in as much as I can.  I want my grandchildren to remember me as a feisty old lady who said what she thought....kindly :), who lived a full life and was grateful for it, and one who gave them annoying lists of lessons to live by :) :) :)  Maybe someday those lists will bring a smile to their faces, and they will remember me.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

THINGS ON MY MIND

This is the year I turn 70.  It's kind of frightening, actually.  My grandmother once told me, and I think I've mentioned it before, that your life goes by in the blink of an eye.  I didn't believe it when she said it, but I do now.  The women in my family usually live into their 90's, however I kind of hope I don't make it that long.  If I lived to be 85, that's only 15 more years.  Do you know how fast 15 years go? I feel like these last two years have been such a hard time for our family.  I want us all to be happy again, but I think divorce leaves a scar that really never heals. It cuts through the whole family and leaves little nicks of sadness, anger, disbelief, and causes so much pain to all involved.  We all have struggled to understand and tried to move on, but when you had so much love for the person who left so unexpectedly it's difficult.  I don't want to be sad anymore, if I only have 15 years I want to live them hard.  I need to work on this, because as my grandmother said...it's gone in the blink of an eye.