Monday, June 30, 2014

Meet the Sidekicks!

Happy Monday! Since I mentioned my two dogs in my profile, I thought I would take the time to introduce you to them today. Toby is the black and white one, while Roxy is the little reddish-brown one.

We acquired Toby three years ago from a kill shelter, after the dog my husband had had for 16 years died. I say his dog because it hated me.Toby is one-half Jack Russel Terrier and one-half Australian Shepherd. As an 18-week old puppy, he looked and acted all Jack Russel. We didn't really expect him to get very large, but as you can see, he did. 

Roxy is also a rescue and is now going on 11 months old, but she was taken from a foster home. We were originally told that she was a Beagle and Jack Russel mix. Funny thing is, she's neither of those! It ends up that she is a Dachshund and Chihuahua mix. In other words a Chiweenie. We had actually planned to adopt her brother, but the way she jumped up on our laps and showered with kisses was enough to win us over. Besides, I needed another female in the house. 
Since these two are with me pretty much 24/7 is shouldn't be surprising that I call them my kids, my shadows, my side-kicks. I do admit there are days that they drive me absolutely crazy, and I feel like I am cleaning up after them constantly. (Kind of like having toddlers around the house) In the fall it seemed like they both felt the need to bring sticks and twigs into the house. Now that it is summer time, and the fact that we live in Florida, Roxy's new discovery is lizards. She lives for chasing them around the yard. Amazingly, even with her short legs, she is quick as lightning. Which means that she catches the lizards more often than not. Just like a cat who has caught a mouse and bring you the trophy prize, Roxy does with the lizards. I cannot tell you how many lizards I have had to scoop up from my floor, because she needs to bring me her "prize". Oh, by the way, she kills them prior to bringing them in to me. 

I honestly don't know what I would do without the these two characters, because they truly are characters. There are some people who will tell you that animals are dumb. That they cannot understand human speech. I will argue that with them on any given day. At 5:15 every day, these two dogs go to the door to wait on my husband to come home. If he is running late they pace and whine. In the morning, without him saying a word, they will go into their kennels as soon as they see him fixing his to go cup. At 10:30 - 11:00 at night, they will go to their kennels knowing it is bedtime. Beyond that, animals know when their human is not feeling well. When I am having a really bad day these dogs will not leave my side, except to chase the occasional squirrel. When I talk to them, Toby in particular will sit and look at me directly with his complete attention. Even giving the occasional tilted head with a what are you talking about look. I have heard them whimper when I am not feeling well, and even though my husband was home, they both became depressed during my recent hospital stays. 

I don't know about you, but for me these animals are just as much a part of my family as the human members are. It has been proven that pets can help calm people, bring down blood pressure, ease anxiety, and almost always bring a smile to a persons face. This is why there are now dogs that are trained so they can be taken in to nursing homes, and hospitals. If you don't have a pet of your own to give you unconditional love maybe you have a friend who has one that you could go visit. Or maybe you could volunteer some time at a local animal shelter. Whatever you decide to do if you don't have a pet, and you think you might want one as a companion, like mine our to me, please consider going to your local shelter first. All the pets I have ever had in my life have been rescues and I have never been disappointed. Until tomorrow.....

Many Blessings and remember LIVE, LAUGH and LOVE! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Taking Advantage of "Good" Moments

If you are in an active time of your Crohn's Disease, then you know that "good" moments and days can be hard to come by. I don't know about you, but I have learned to take advantage of those good times. I have not had a lot of good days lately, so when I do I'm kind of over the moon about it. Then I tend to run into a whole new problem by over-doing things.
I wouldn't say my house is dirty, but the house cleaning has not been kept up as well as I would like. Even though I am home every day, my pain levels and energy levels keep me from doing too much. Thursday, Friday and Saturday were all pretty good days for me. I was not living in the bathroom and my pain was at a tolerable level. So in my brilliance I decided it was time for me to tackle some projects that I have kept putting off until I feel better. The failure with this plan is that I tried to accomplish too much at once. Have you ever noticed how quickly muscles get sore when you haven't been using them the way you used to? I sure do.
One of my projects was to start cleaning out the spare bedroom so that we can get a bed set up in there for the grandson to sleep in. Right now he is sharing a bed with his daddy. I actually made a fairly sizable dent in getting things cleaned up, tossed out, organized. The other project I knew no one else in this household was going to do was to steam clean the area rug in the family room. Given the fact that I have sandy soil, two dogs who run in and out, along with the hubby, stepson and grandson, this rug was filthy. Here again I had given in to one of my brilliant moments, and had purchased a cream colored area rug when I was redecorating. Two hours later the rug looked new again, but I could barely move. I mean that literally. I really could barely move. I was so sore from over-doing it.
My point on this entry is that as someone with CD you never know how long your "good" moments are going to last. One of the things with CD is that a person can be absolutely fine one moment and be sicker than sick two minutes later, and then the rest of the day is shot. I cannot even count how many events I have had to cancel at the last minute. I realize it frustrates those who don't understand or know much about CD, which is one of the reasons I am writing this blog.
Take advantage of your good moments and days. Go do those things you were wanting to, and don't beat yourself up when you have to cancel your plans. Don't be embarrassed to explain to someone why you can't make it. The more we raise awareness of this disease the better. For those days that aren't so good, well I would suggest always having a good book to read on hand, or some other hobby that doesn't take a lot of exertion and won't be ruined if you have to suddenly drop it to make a bathroom run.
Don't let your CD keep you from living a full life. Even though there are days, weeks, even months that make it difficult, keeping a positive outlook is one of the best medicines we have. Until next time...

Many Blessings and remember to LIVE, LAUGH and LOVE!

Thursday, June 26, 2014


I missed yesterday's blog. Actually, I had started writing it. It is a very personal post that is supposed to be in two parts. One yesterday and the second part today. As you see, that didn't happen. I am going through an adjustment period at the moment, which is making it very hard for me to keep my concentration.
Recently my step-son and his 2 year old son moved in with us, and I'm okay with that. I'm sure it's an adjustment for them too. The thing is that on a normal day my house is quiet unless I choose to turn on the television or some music. Though occasionally my day is interupted by my two side-kicks going crazy with the squirrels.
One of the adjustments we are all having to make is there are now three adults and one 2 year old in potty training and only one bathroom. Yeah, that is not always a good situation for me. On the bright side, Mr. Right has now realized what I have been saying for ten years. We need a second bathroom! As a designer I have already had this planned and drawn out for him. Now the next issue is money. Bathrooms are not cheap! Plus I've informed him that when we do this that it will be done right, and I get to be completely in charge of the design of it.
Hopefully tomorrow I will get a little more time to concentrate so that I can write the post I really wanted to write. Until then.....

Many Blessings and remember to LIVE, LAUGH and LOVE!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Vacation Time

It's summer time and a time when a lot of us go on vacation. Planning a vacation can be stressful enough, but if you have CD it becomes even more stressful. The biggest worry or stress factor for me is whether or not I'm going to have a major flare-up while I'm on vacation. Will I have to stay near the hotel so that I have quick access to bathroom facilities? Am I going to have to cancel all of my plans because I just cannot travel because my symptoms are too bad?
I had a small bowel resection in the beginning of April of this year, during my third hospital stay in as many months. (my second one) Mr. Right and I had already purchased our tickets for a trip to Las Vegas in May. This is a trip we make every year to visit my mom and step-dad who live there. When we decided to take our trip in May, I had just finished a round of Prednisone and had started on Humira injections. We had a positive outlook that the Humira was going to stabilize me, and that I would be asymptomatic by the time we left for Vegas. Our airline tickets were purchased, our resort room was reserved and paid for, and I was busy planning where we would go and what we would do on this trip.
As I said I was on my third hospital stay when it was decided that I would have to have another resection. We knew from my first stay that there was an area of stenosis where my small bowel terminates into the colon. It was obvious that from the symptoms I was having that the Prednisone and Humira were not doing what they were supposed to be doing. In my typical fashion I was stressing about the money that had already been spent on a vacation we were supposed to soon be taking more than I was stressing about the surgery. In my mind I was thinking, "Seriously! I already have vacation plans! Ugh! Why can't I just have a normal body!"
The surgery went as expected, and a week later I was at home recuperating. Things seemed to be going pretty well. I hadn't had any major flare-ups or complications from the surgery. It was a typical recovery period. I would get worn out much quicker than normal, and I was limited in movement so that I wouldn't stress my abdomen, but I seemed to be healing up fairly well. This gave me plenty of time to continue planning our vacation. Mr. Right and my mom both kept talking about rescheduling our trip, but I was determined things were going to go as planned. I used to be a go-with-the-flow type person. I didn't like to make plans, because it takes away the spontaneity. But, if you have CD you learn to plan ahead. You have your 'escape" routes figured out in your head. You know where the restrooms are located in every store, restaurant, business that you go in to. You know the fastest route to get there, and which ones are kept clean and neat.
At a post-surgery appointment with my primary care doctor, I told him about our plans to go to Vegas in a few weeks. We talked about things to do out there, because he and his wife were going out for the first time in June. I then told him my concerns about the flight, and that we had a visit to the Grand Canyon planned, as well as going to one of my most favorite places Red Rock Canyon to maybe do a little hiking. Now I realize that airplanes have restrooms on them and that I try to avoid using them at all cost. The Grand Canyon has facilities, but it is a long drive from Vegas with no place to stop, and Red Rock Canyon has facilities at the Interpretative Center, but then what? You are not going to believe what he told me to do. With complete seriousness, he looked at me and said, "wear a diaper". What!? I'm pretty sure that I gave him a your insane look, because he repeated himself. I am 52 not 102! There is no way in this world that I was going to were diapers! Of course he also advised that I really watch my diet while there. If you have never been to Vegas, the gastronomic selections are amazing! If you to eat it, you will find it in Vegas.So, since I was determined that there was absolutely no way that I was going to don a diaper I armed myself with my old friend Imodium.
We had and afternoon flight, so that morning I took a preventative dose of Imodium, and I am happy to say that I made it through the flight with no 'emergencies'. I say that with a plural, because it's never a single trip to the bathroom and your good. It's usually multiple trips, and a race to get there on time, and praying that you don't have to explain to another adult that you really need to get in there now or you are going to mess yourself. So, Praise God, my flight was uneventful. The rest of our trip was amazing. We got to see the Hoover Dam, Joshua Tree National Park, the Grand Canyon, Spring Mountain Ranch, Red Rock Canyon  and wild mustangs up near Mt. Charleston. I have added pictures for you to enjoy.
So don't be afraid to take that vacation you are wanting to go on. Try not to let CD run your life completely, even though I know there are days it wins and you lose. Do some prep work to reduce your stress and worry levels. A little planning can go a long way. Definitely watch what you eat! You do not want to ruin your entire vacation because you gave into the temptation to eat something you know you are not supposed to. It's simply not worth it, no matter how tempting it smells or looks. Last but certainly not least, pray. Pray for your health to improve. That it won't interfere with your trip and enjoyment. A small prayer said in earnest goes a long way.
Many Blessings and remember to LIVE, LAUGH and LOVE!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Manic Mondy

Mondays get a really bad rap. Is that because it is the first day after the weekend? I don't know. I've never really had an issue with Monday. So why Manic Monday? After a taking the weekend to spend with Mr. Right, I told myself that I would sit down and do a blog entry. Doesn't seem like that big of a deal. I mean this blog is titled My Life with Crohn's, after all.
I have a hundred different things I want to share, and therein lies the problem. Where do I start? Which topic of conversation should I write about today? The problem is, I'm still not sure. There is music and how it inspires me, affects my moods, can calm me down or lift me up. What about food? Food is a big deal to someone with Crohn's. What sounds good for dinner right now, may sound completely awful come dinner time. Or, worse yet, you really, really want what was fixed for dinner, but now you cannot stay out of the bathroom long enough to even enjoy it. Then there is the other part of food, which I'll go into on another post, about what can my system handle? What is going to make me sick today? There is the art and design portion of my life. My dogs. My grandchildren and their antics. Vacations! That is also another post all on it's own. So, I'm hoping I can get my mind settled a bit before tomorrow and settle on one topic of interest. If there is a topic you would like me to address, please leave a comment so that I can hit upon that topic.
Oh, one last little tidbit. Did you know that there are over 70,000 cases of IBD newly diagnosed each year? That's a lot, yet the public still knows so little about it. Help me get the word out and make people aware by sharing this blog with them. Until tomorrow!

Many Blessings and remember to LIVE, LAUGH, and LOVE!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Pharrell Williams - Happy (Official Music Video)

Music can affect our lives in many ways. It can lift us up out of a 'blue' mood, or help us meditate.
The song Happy  by Pharrell Williams is just one of those songs. I kind of feel like, if this song does not make you move some part of your body, you just might be dead.

How it all started

A few weeks ago I was having a major melt-down on my poor husband. I was angry. I was frustrated. For anyone who really knows me, they know that I almost never cry, but here I was, bawling like a huge, overgrown baby. His advice (since we all know that's how men deal with things is to advise) was to start a blog about living with Crohn's Disease. So, here I am! Please note, I am not a medical expert. The people at the Crohn's Colitis Foundation of America, have kindly granted me permission to quote off of their site and to link to it. But, I will offer you encouragement, hope and maybe some inspiration.

For those of you who do not know much about Crohn's Disease or Colitis I'm going to share the medical explanation of what they both are, but my primary purpose here is to talk about what I know, and that is Crohn's.

Crohn's Disease and Colitis are often linked together. While they share similarities, there are also differences. I'm putting some of this information on here so that people who don't have one of these diseases can understand exactly what they are. Maybe you have a loved one who was just diagnosed, or a co-worker. Believe me, a little understanding goes a long way. Let me just add, before I type in all the boring stuff, that Crohn's is an UGLY disease. It's embarrassing, a bit humiliating and it is NOT an easy subject to talk about. I believe this is why people have "heard" about the disease, yet know nothing about it.

What is Crohn's Disease?
Crohn's is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) that most commonly affects the small bowel (ileum), but it can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract (GI) from the mouth to the anus.
Crohn's Disease can also affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall. Finally, in Crohn's Disease, the inflammation can 'skip', leaving normal areas in between patches of diseased intestine.

What are the signs and symptoms of Crohn's Disease (CD)?
Symptoms related to CD can affect any part of your GI tract. Symptoms can vary from patient to patient, and some may be more common than others.
Symptoms related to CD -

  • Persistent Diarrhea
  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Urgent need to move bowels
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation
  • Constipation (can lead to bowel obstruction)
General symptoms that may be associated with CD and IBD - 
  • Fever 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Night Sweats
  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle 
People suffering from CD often experience loss of appetite and may lose weight as a result. A feeling of low energy and fatigue is also common. Among young children, CD may delay growth and development. 

The previous information was provided by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. For more information go to their website: 

Many Blessings and remember to Live, Laugh, Love! 

Purpose of my blog

     Having lived with Crohn's Disease for 38 years, and realizing that so few people know what Crohn's Disease really is, I figured it was time for someone to write about this disease other than just a medical information spot.
     My purpose is to inform about Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and the affects it has on a person, their families, their ability to work and function daily. I want the public to have a better understanding of exactly what it is. 
     My hope is that I can give you insight, hope and support. To let you know that you are not alone!
To raise enough awareness that they continue to do more aggressive research. 
     My next blog will help you to know me and IBD a little better.Won't you join me on this journey we call life? 

  Many Blessings and remember to Live, Laugh, Love!