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Even Bulrush is shocked!

I'm sorry I haven't written in quite some time... I'm not going to lie, it's been pretty tough the past few months and although plenty of things have happened on the farm, including good things, it's been hard to be inspired to write and share when I am in bed 98% of the time. Most days I'm out of bed for maybe one or two hours. There have been weeks at a time I have been unable to even make it to the barn to see my animals, and for July and August I was unable to go outside most of the time because the dose of prednisone I was on causes severe pressure in my eyes (which I've mentioned I think in other posts) when I am in any light, even while wearing special glasses that you wear after you get your eyes dilated... So I've spent a lot of time in bed, in the dark, a lot of the time not able to tolerate the computer or even TV, and not even reading half the time. Can you say stir crazy? Of course my medications also make me pretty fatigued, so it's been tough to find any kind of "normalcy."

Since starting both immune suppressant medications and Humira, I haven't had a lot of improvement. I also am unable to decrease my prednisone dose without becoming very ill, so it's been a real struggle. It's still a little early to give up on the medications I am on and move on to even stronger ones, but I see my Doctor again in 2 weeks to discuss whether we wait it out some more, up the dose, or move on. I've been pretty lucky that so far on the heavy medications I've had to begin to take, my side effects are limited to extra fatigue, some weakness, some skin stuff, but no serious side effects (that I have noticed), which is excellent since I have been unable to take all the other medications without terrible side effects.

I have been counting my blessings though - any day I am up and able to do anything, bake a pie, go say hi to my animals, do a load of laundry, change the sheets on the bed, these are all big accomplishments. Most days I'm able to look at them as such, but I do have my days where the fear and desperation that I will never find any relief do take over, but they are short lived because I'm stronger than those thoughts, and I know I will persevere no matter how difficult this is or may become. I'll handle it. And I won't have my old normal back, it's just not going to happen at this point - but I will find a new one.

My memory is fuzzier than usual and I have trouble some times finding words, when I'm speaking or writing. Which is a good reason to push myself a little harder to write more often, to keep my mind active and working.

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Since it's starting to cool off a bit, and since I have been able to go outside a little bit more in the past week (yay!) we've all been taking advantage of it. I did manage to get myself driving our farm truck which is a stick shift - I kind of started to learn how to drive standard about 12 years ago. Our ATV is completely pulled apart right now as it needs several things fixed, including new brakes (which we are waiting on all the parts for so Kevin can do the job) and since I cannot walk very far safely, I decided to take the truck for a drive.

At first, I couldn't figure it out. I sat in the truck with the boys and started at it, and I tried to force myself to figure it out and it just wouldn't come to me. So I got out and walked back to the house frustrated. But by the time I got back to the house, I had worked out in my head the mechanics of it (the basic ones) and I decided I shouldn't give up so easily. So I walked back to the truck, got in and sat down (I left the dogs at home this time) and no word of a lie, the mouse that lives in the truck was sitting on the seat beside me. He didn't even run. I sat down, looked over, and he's looking at me, and I just shrugged.

So I walked myself through it in my head, started the truck, drove up to the house to pick up the boys, and all of us, including the mouse, went for a drive. Since then, the boys have been loving riding in the truck just as much as they do the atv.

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A few days ago the boys and I went out for a drive and walk with Kevin so I could harvest some Blue Cohosh root to dry. It's an amazing plant, and I've found a special area full of it on the property.

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We also as usual have lots of White Baneberry, or Dolls eyes, which will kill you quite quickly if you mess with it.

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We found a few Jack in the Pulpits out there too! This one area is very rich in unique wild plants. All of these plants tend to grow together in just the right conditions, of forest/marsh/sun/shade.

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One thing we did have abundantly this year was wild grapes, and I was able to harvest two batches to make jelly.

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It takes me a lot longer to do things and they all involve a lot of sitting down, but slow and steady wins the race!

The boys of course do their very best to help, even if it's just moral support.

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In August I was able to make peach butter, peach compote, plum jelly, pickled green beans, and also chili sauce. So I was able to do a little preserving this year.

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The animals have all been well, and are much happier now that the heat is less and also, the bugs.

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Spriggan and his mum, Aurora. If that's not love, I'm not sure what is.

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My little Emerald is growing like a weed!

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Jackson has been enjoying what green grass he still can.

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And Lavender has just been soaking in the sunshine.

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And I've been trying to fit in as much snuggle time as possible.

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Also if you are looking for some great Giant Puffball mushroom recipes (they are out now!) you can find some of mine in the Sept/Oct issue of Backwoods Home magazine! Norman thinks you should check it out. It's been raining here the past two days but I'm hoping to get out to look in my best spots for them as soon as I can. Yesterday I baked a pie and today I managed to get up to the barn for a little bit. It's hard to keep balance and not push things, I am not the kind of person who likes to do a little at a time, and it's against my nature, but without self control, I'll never be able to do anything so I'm trying to learn a new way of being... both mentally and physically.

Last week I messed up my self injection of Humira and for the first time in 8 injections I lost most of the medicine. The Doctor on call told me we couldn't risk a second shot but he said he gives himself injections and has had this happen and it's usually because you hit some fat. I bruised myself badly for the first time as well - and I felt it this week. Yesterday I had a successful injection and while I'm tired the day of the shot and the next day, I do feel the difference it makes at least on my pain levels especially in my joints. It's a very weird mix of feeling tired and energized at the same time! It's not hard to do as anyone who does self injections with auto injectors knows, but it's not great fun either. I'm happy if this is all I have to do though. Every week when I inject, Rollie gets very upset, and will not calm down though until after I take the used pen away. He shakes and cries when I inject myself and as soon as I'm done, he runs over to sniff the pen, my leg, and then he kisses me on the face and makes sure I'm OK. It upsets him terribly. I know full well the capacity to feel and display emotions animals have, but it doesn't stop me from being amazed at the depth of it sometimes. And also grateful for having these special beings in my life.

So onward and upward. I hope we have a good, long, eventful fall, and that I have many more pictures, and words, to share.

Like I said, part of my problem is, I've been waiting for things to get back to normal.

Then I've kind of been grieving that this will not happen.

Now I accept that it won't, and I'm no longer waiting for it. It's time to start feeling my way through this new life, and this new normal, and participating in it. 


Terra said…
I like your tribe of animals including the 3 cute doggies in your photos and that adorable goat in the first photo. You are accomplishing a LOT in difficult times and I admire you for that. And driving your truck with the resident mouse in it. Healing prayers for you.
Bobbi D. said…
glad to hear from you. You just take your time and get better. I am glad you have been able to get out. That picture of the "boys" in the truck - CUTE! tongues hanging out, lol.
Looking forward to all of your pictures of the property in the fall and winter. :) Don't over do though. xo
Congratulations on your published article!
I know what you mean about grieving for a lost normal. I am feeling that, too. I'm glad you have posted. I've missed seeing your farm and your critters. I wish you all the best as you find your new normal.
Roz said…
I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time still. It's disappointing when meds don't do everything you hope, or when they have bad side effects. I admire how positive you are and even with all this awful stuff, you are still pretty lucky with all that you do have in your life!

The JR said…
Donna, I'm sorry. I know you are probably tired of hearing that. I just don't know what else to say. I keep hoping and praying that you get so much better. I will continue to do so.

Good to hear from you.
O'Quilts said…
Good Lord, life is shitty sometimes. Thank you for posting and thank you for sharing your pretty pictures. My husband died of ALS a few months back and just before that my mother fell out of her wheelchair and broke her neck..My son is going down with Heroin and I am raising his three young children alone...So I have been having a huge pity party tonight. Your blog came just in time to remind me that others suffer too and to get a grip...sending hugs to you.
Peggy Lineberry said…
I just read about your husband. I am so very sorry. My heart and prayers are with you.
jaz@octoberfarm said…
oh donna...i just heard about kevin from mary ann. i am so deeply sorry that i don't even know what to say. please try to stay strong and my thoughts are with you. i am so very sad. joyce

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