Friday, November 30, 2012

Finishing My Thoughts (Sappy Mommy Musings)

Going all mommy blog for a moment...

I completed the kiddo's Kindergarten registration form today. Hold me. OMG. She's growing up way too fast and I never feel like I get time to really savor the moment. My husband and I sometimes ask each other, "Do you remember when she was little?"

Neither of us does. Me, because the sleep deprivation was so intense it scrambled my brain and gave me a heart arrhythmia. Add in the mental impact of high dose steroids, and I'm lucky I remember my name. And my husband has a memory that makes people worry there's some kind of pathology. He can't remember jack. Must be all the radiation from Chernobyl because he slept just fine that first year of parenting.

(Oh yeah, I totally remember him snoring away as I woke up every hour on the hour to nurse--the seething resentment burned it into my brain. This is why my husband gets to clean up all the puke forever.)

I do have memories...when she had RSV and was throwing up every time she ate...I remember I often had puke running down my bra. The joys of nursing a sick baby that no one tells you about! I don't think the La Leche League will be inviting me to be a guest speaker any time soon. (Plus, breastfeeding is free MY ASS. Only if you can get someone else to pay for the pump and all the little working parts you need to run the damn thing. If you pump, formula is not as expensive as you think. I did the math once. NOT advocating formula, but I will so poke holes in crappy propaganda used to heap on the mommy guilt.)

I remember reading to her the second her vision would let her see the pictures. Around 8 weeks. My husband made bookcases for her, which are stuffed with books. Right now we are reading James and the Giant Peach.

Of course I edit it as I read because Dahl has very weak sentence structure. Proof that craft is not what sells books, story does.

Anyway, getting back to the gifted thing I started to write about yesterday before my special little snowflake erupted into an epic tantrum like a two-year-old (ha!)...there's some talk of having the kiddo skip Kindergarten. I am not pushing for this, but I am wringing my hands about the best thing to do. She'll be an old 5 when she starts and she's ahead enough that academically she would be fine in first grade. However, the motor stuff and social skills are areas where I think she needs more time to develop.

The Kindergarten curriculum will be challenging for her not necessarily in content, but in motor skills. She'll know the answer, but writing it out or coloring it in will keep her on her toes. And she's a bit of an innocent...a nice kid with a tender heart...the first graders would eat her up and be gnawing on her bones by lunch time.

So we'll see. She still might end up back in OT. I want to see solid motor mastery from her as well as some social facility before I throw her into the deep end of the pool.

There, I feel better now that I organized my thoughts on the topic. Hope it wasn't too boorish for you to read!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quick Status Check

Things are trucking along. I need to eventually buckle down and write a post about bio-identical hormone replacement because, unlike everyone who makes a million bucks hawking the stuff, I will not blow sunshine up anyone's butt.

I am happy to be on progesterone,  don't get me wrong, but five months in and we're still in search of the correct dose. I can still feel like yuck when I'm not on it, which is no fun.

This week has driven home how vital the progesterone is. The hubby was home most of the week on vacation. Since he is the human doppleganger of the Energizer bunny, we were up until 2 am watching movies on Netflix almost every night.

Thanks to progesterone, I have been able to function with very little sleep. So yay progesterone, but is it really going to take a f*cking year to titrate the correct does?

On the writing front, I got an amazing reader review on one book. Wow. Amazeballs. Love readers who get me. I wish I was a faster writer because then I think I would have a shot at really making money. I'm too slow to really capitalize on my skills, although I am now earning a full-time income with writing.(Holy sheeeet.)

And I have to say it here because I can't say it anyplace else without upsetting people..the kiddo's teacher thinks she's gifted.

Yep, my girl is smart. Just don't expect great penmanship or accurate scissor skills. The teacher does want us to work on her writing skills...and I just roll my eyes and think of the tens of thousands of dollars we poured into OT. Teach doesn't get that she's lucky my kid can write anything that resembles a letter. That it took us years to get her to do what she can do.

And now I have to run tantrum interference and somehow get the kiddo to dance class despite the screaming. So much for those five minutes I had to write a blog post, eh? Peace out.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sitting Pretty, Achieving Nirvana

Yesterday finally seemed to be the corner and I turned it well. Of course, today I am wheezing but it's snowing and the temperature dropped by at least 20 degrees...both known triggers.

I don't do Black Friday. The commercialism of our culture makes me wince (even as I, at times, participate) and I hate crowds. So you will never find me anywhere near a retail box store this time of year. I like to spend my money online.

My friends tend to be like-minded. Plus they have kids.

So I invited everyone over on Black Friday.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?????!!!!

And you thought the people lining up outside Walmart at midnight were nuts.

Yowza.

It went well, but I don't know that I would do it again. First, I was still not 100%. Second, we came back from our Thanksgiving meal with family and started cleaning the house. The only upside was I hadn't gorged because I was afraid of eating anything that would trigger another reaction.

The one smart thing I did once I realized I'd just invited 8 children over to play was hire the neighbor tweens to come manage the hooligans. We organized a craft for the kids. I also told everyone to bring a flashlight and let them build a fort in the basement. The kids actually had a blast.  I think I earned my 'entertain flash mobs of small children' motherhood badge yesterday.

For the moms, I put together some easy appetizer platters: Hummus and veggies. Chips and salsa and some local kielbasa (we live where the Eastern Bloc migrated to in the US aka the land of plentiful kielbasa) with cheese. The hubby juiced spinach, carrots and apples for us because I hang with the kind of people who think juicing spinach is cool.

No, I have no idea where I went so wrong in my life. Juicing spinach...clearly there's nothing I won't do.

Anyway all us moms got to chat almost uninterrupted for several hours, which is essentially the nirvana of motherhood.

So while it was a pain in the ass to clean my house, I had a lot of fun. And mostly did not feel like shit. Today is better yet, despite the wheezing.

I'm reading all my labels and it looks like my house is 95% gluten free. Most of the foods I eat regularly are fine. There are some vitamins that are questionable, plus I still need to check my chicken broth (apparently they add gluten for some mysterious reason) and a few stray bottles of salad dressing. Everything else has been scrutinized and googled.

Basically, I just need to find a better response than 'eat all the bread in the house' when the fridge is empty. Or maybe, I don't know, invest in some gluten free bread to keep on hand for those days when I really really really need to go grocery shopping stat.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Loopy Loopy Loo

Well, I can breathe again. Went for a 2.5 mile hike this morning, the first exercise since last Friday and it was fine. Except...I could feel all the latent inflammation in my joints. Not exactly pain free. And I'm loopy as hell. I hate that feeling...like my eyes are spinning in opposite directions and my brain is on at least a thirty second time delay.

I think I'm going to see if Dr. Alternative can squeeze in an IV next week. The things I've been doing help with the inflammation, but I seem to be stuck and probably need some help getting over the hump.

And yes, it did occur to me that maybe the out-of-the-blue asthma was all related to the gluten I'd ingested.  Clearly the inflammation is system wide. But I was still in the 'Que? I no speak-a that asthma dialect' phase of things when I wrote the original post.

This whole reaction has been news to me.

While I am gluten free for the big things like pasta, bread, cakes etc... I still get gluten in hidden sources. I've been reading labels this past week, but suspect I got hit anyway sometime last night as today is a touch worse.

Looks like my next learning curve is routing out all the hidden sources of gluten.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Next

My girl is on antibiotics. It wasn't so much that she was sick, but that she just wasn't improving at the 4 week mark. She's got a lot of fluid behind her ears and the boogies in her nose makes the ped think sinusitis.

Hopefully she'll turn the corner now.

And I know no one really cares about these minute details, but it's in the forefront of my mind so it comes out when I sit down to write here.

I am feeling quite ill today for no apparent reason.

Fairly serious asthma attack out of nowhere this morning. Complete with muscle spasms between my ribs and the inability to talk without shortness of breath.

Now I'm exhausted.

I've taken the albuterol inhaler in back-to-back doses and have taken extra doses of inhaled steroids. Next step is to rest and then possibly the nebulizer.

Blech. I don't think I'm germ sick. No bug that I'm aware of, so the random asthma is a head scratcher. I think we have some kind of air quality advisory though. Something about lots of particulates? Usually I am not sensitive to that so much, but it is possible.

Let's end on a positive note. One book still in the Top 100. Two books on the Hot New Releases list. Wow! I'm excited about my next release which is in line with the current book selling so well and I'm working on a novella that is stretching me in new directions. Plus I think readers will really like it...assuming I can make a good cover for it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A New Day But Someone Is Still Going to the Doctor Anyway

Finally today I feel like I'm going to live! Last night I was chugging water like crazy and even resorted to the nasty slime known as greens powder in an effort to mitigate all the inflammation. Between time and green slime, I seem to now be past the worst of it.

The whole thing has been a good reminder for me that it does matter what I eat and that I can't slack just because there's no good food in the house. I do eat carbs in nominal amounts on a regular basis and they don't bother me, but Friday was an unusually big load of gluten. Apparently I ate beyond my tolerance.

I regret ever bite.

Also, greens powder still tastes like frog dingleberries.

Just FYI.

But I'm going to drink some more today.

The kiddo is not doing so well. I've been dithering about whether she had reached a level of sick that required the ped....going back and forth as her illness waxed and waned. Last week I thought for sure I would be taking her in, but she seemed to rebound. Yet here we are at week four of this bug and she just needs to be seen. The congestion is not getting better and she's clingy and whiny as if she doesn't feel well. I haven't been able to document a fever with the thermometer, but she often seems flushed and hot.

So in she goes to the ped.

We put up the Christmas tree today...a little early because I still need to take photos for our Christmas cards as well as for the calendar we make every year for our family. After she went to bed last night, we snuck the tree into the house and this morning my husband turned on the lights for her so it would make an impression when she first saw it after getting out of bed.

She was so delighted, her gasps of awe were beyond sweet. She loved hanging the ornaments with me. And that was the apogee of our day, she's been either snuggled against my side or in my bed ever since. Poor kiddo.

I hope my chickadee feels better soon.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Inflammation Is Disease

I have a perfect storm of suck brewing.

Progesterone stopped for eight days.

A carb overload on Friday, the product of hunger when food stores were at a low point and the only good choice appeared to be bread followed by more flour based items too numerous to list.

The result...I feel like utter shit.

I don't have Celiac's. I would characterize myself as sensitive or intolerant, but not full blown Celiac's. I don't get the GI symptoms of Celiac's at all, but gluten does cause some serious inflammation. I currently feel like I'm 60 with bad arthritis and a side of flu. The joint inflammation is immense. Wow! Here's my up close and personal illustration of how inflammation is disease. I totally believe it!

Yesterday it took me until about 3pm to feel human. Today I started well and then collapsed into bed for the rest of the day, passed out like a drunk. I've totally ruined the family's weekend and the hubby is chafing at being reined in by all the stupid carbs we consumed.

Usually when I eat stupid carbs I take extra Alpha Lipoic Acid and that blunts the worst of the reaction. However this time I didn't have any on hand and boy, do I regret its absence. It could have saved me some serious misery.

Today I've been trolling various Celiac sites and blogs looking for a quicker way to undo the damage. Sadly, I'm pretty much doing everything I can:

-lemon water with freshly grated ginger
-green tea
-lots of water
-juicing spinach, carrot, apple, ginger
-taking Alpha Lipoic Acid (the second I was upright I went out and bought some)
-hot packs on the most painful joints
-alternating Tylenol and Advil for the pain
-extra sleep (Ha! Like I have a choice. If I go prone, I'm out right now whether I want to be or not.)

The last few rounds of no progesterone have been okay and I was optimistic that this one would be the same, but it has been more like falling off a cliff into the old bad adrenal days. And then I made it so much worse with stupid carbs.

Blech. Hopefully I will learn my lesson. For me, gluten is poison whether I have Celiac's or not.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Digestive Enzymes for GERD: One Patient's Experience

I've been meaning to talk more about how effective digestive enzymes have been at treating my GERD, but lacked time to sit and collect my thoughts. However, watching my parent recently choke, gag and force themselves to vomit because of a GERD related stricture has galvanized me into action.

GERD is a horrible disease. It is not merely heart burn. As it progresses it causes all sorts of problems...cancer, ulcers, difficult (and quite painful) digestion throughout the digestive tract, strictures which are acid related narrowings of the esophagus that cause food to become lodged in the throat (also painful with a side of induced vomiting to clear it out). While there are procedures to clear strictures, they can come back...within weeks.

By the way, I'm not listing any of this from a medical textbook, it is all just what I've observed in my own family, which is almost universally afflicted with GERD.

Due to my family history, I was very skeptical that Dr. Alternative would be able to truly get me off Nexium. Digestive enzymes? What kind of hoo doo was that? I have the kind of GERD where if I miss even one dose of medication I am spitting up acid and in agonizing pain. How was I going to stop cold turkey and take some natural remedy?

Puhleez.

As it turned out, the digestive enzymes didn't work so great in the beginning...but they worked well enough that I stuck with them. As time has gone on, they have become more and more effective. I am now of the opinion that anyone with serious GERD should explore whether or not digestive enzymes can give them relief and hopefully ward off the not-so-fun extras I described above.

There is not a lot of research out there. No medical studies. No official endorsement from the Mayo Clinic or other respected member of the scientific community. In fact it's possible that this blog post is the most comprehensive source of information on the topic..that's how little info is out there. So, of course, my gastroenterologist was just as skeptical as I was in the beginning. Now we are both pleasantly surprised.

Yes, digestive enzymes really do work for GERD. At least for me they do.

Here's how I did it: I took the digestive enzyme supplement recommended by my Integrative Medicine MD which was Enzycore. I took three capsules with every meal. At first, I still had heart burn and would supplement with Nexium. As time went on, I needed Nexium less and less until I was taking it maybe once a week--down from a high of twice a day.

Currently, I'm fine so long as I avoid junky processed food and foods that can trigger heart burn such as tomato, cucumber, chocolate, and peppers. I don't necessarily have heart burn every time I eat the wrong thing, but it does hit me maybe 4 times out of 10. However, I often find that an extra dose of digestive enzymes is all I need to do to control the GERD and I will try that first before I take Nexium.

In addition, I now take a lower dose of digestive enzymes, only one or two capsules with each meal. Sometimes I miss a dose and it's okay, I don't have heart burn...that never happened in the Nexium days.

In the old days if I missed a dose of Nexium (due to prescription running out or missing pills from dropping them), I would miss a day of work as I suffered the equivalent of an acid stomach flu until I could take medication. And it wasn't the kind of sick day where I kicked back and relaxed, it was sitting frozen in one position as horrible pain ripped through me and then running for the bathroom to be sick.

This remarkable improvement in my GERD symptoms has evolved over the last six months. While I can't say for sure, I am hopeful that I will avoid some of the horrible GERD complications other members of my family have suffered from. At the very least,digestive enzymes are much cheaper than Nexium with fewer side effects.


I spent some time googling and listed below are the best articles I could find regarding digestive enzymes. If you're curious about whether or not this is something you want to try, read the links below and then go see someone who specializes in integrative medicine for guidance on your particular situation.

This is a very balanced article on the topic that outlines what we know and gives some guidelines on what to look for in a digestive enzyme---if you read nothing else, read this.


An interview the Today Show did with Dr. Galland that's worth watching

Here's an interesting quote from Life Extension Magazine discussing how digestive enzymes are used in Europe:

"Supplemental oral enzymes have also proven popular in Europe as substitutes for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. They are used to treat conditions ranging from osteoarthritis to rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammation-related conditions. The results of various studies (placebo-controlled and comparisons with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in patients with rheumatic diseases suggest that oral therapy with proteolytic enzymes produces certain analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Generally, these commercial enzyme preparations have been found to be equally as effective as standard anti-inflammatory drugs, but with better tolerability.36-39

In Eastern Europe, oral enzyme therapy (also known as systemic enzyme therapy, in recognition of the activity of these enzymes outside the digestive system and within the general circulation) has been shown to be effective in improving post-surgical recovery time, reducing the need for pain relievers, and diminishing the incidence of troubling edema, or fluid retention, after surgery.9,40 Czech surgeons reported, “Efficient edema reduction and thus accelerated healing…and analgesic effect…” with the use of oral enzymes.9"





Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spooked by Patients with Asthma

The hubby's coworker's adult child just died of asthma today. My husband is beyond freaked out about me at the moment.

I watched him tell our pastor about the death and the whole time his eyes were on me, wide and full of horror.

"Don't die," he tells me later.

"I'm doing my best," I respond. "Why the f*ck do you think I'm pureeing and consuming spinach on a regular basis?" (Yes, I really do swear a lot. Actually more in real life than in print. Prepare yourself.)

I then went on to explain that death by asthma is usually folks who didn't have access to medical care or didn't follow through on their medical regimen or people who just don't respond well to treatment.

I tend to not respond so well once the asthma is full bore, which is a concern.

But I've been fairly lucky so far. Bad bugs but no intubation, which is a bit of a miracle.

I also take my meds for the most part. Oral or IV steroids do diddly squat for me when I'm flared enough to need them....so I hedge on those. I would prefer kickass neublizer treatments as well as IV magnesium, which are very effective for me, but no one ever listens to me.

Stupid patients. They don't know nothing. Standard of care all the way!

Strange to think that if I do kick the bucket due to asthma the root cause will be perceived to be lack of compliance to the medication regimen, not that no one listened to me.

If only she would've taken the steroids as directed...

Ah yes, if only I didn't want to completely jack up my adrenal system. I prefer not to breathe as opposed to take meds that won't work and just cause more problems, thank you.

Anyway, I do pay attention to my symptoms and deal with them fairly proactively. I'm stocked for bear at the moment having just refilled all my meds. Picture a plastic garbage bag...that's the amount of prescription stuff I brought home last week.

People were looking at me with pity--that's how much crap I had-- and I fought the urge to explain 'No, really, I'm not sick, this is just routine stuff.'  That probably would not have made any sense to them because since when do not sick people take home that many meds?

Believe it or not, I still have to go back for more. Most of the bulk is the stupid 90 day fill requirement from my insurance.

In a similar vein, I had an interesting conversation with a friend who was poo-pooing their sibling's outlook on health. The sibling has cancer and is quite fatalistic.

Out of the blue,  I interrupted my friend's kvetching and asked, "Do they have a chronic illness?"

Why yes they do and it's fairly significant asthma. 

I attempted to explain  that chronic illness warps your view of things. There came a point for me where I thought, "I'm dealing with all this bad health stuff and I haven't even hit the heart attack, cancer or age related health problem years. Holy f*ck is my future gonna suck."

People don't realize that asthma is not a minor illness, but it really can be a big deal, and once your health is a big deal on a somewhat regular basis, you just never feel safe again. You are not only sick but you experience all the side effects (most of which no one warns you about), gaps and failures in healthcare...not exactly a recipe for unblemished optimism.

I have to say this exchange strained my sense of friendship as my friend was quite superior in their 'I take care of myself and think positively and that's why I'm healthy' schtick.

Which, of course, brings the corollary into play that I don't take care of myself and it's the way I think that makes me sick. That's always a fun one to bring out at parties, am I right? In reality, there are lots of folks who do everything right and still end up with cancer....case in point one of my relatives.

Last but not least in this litany of patients with asthma...there's the kiddo's classmate in school...overweight and asthmatic with lots of steroids. I broached the subject of weight and steroids with the mom and whaddya know? No one ever told her. Basically, medicine is the root cause of diabesity in some patient populations.

Patients need to be told about how steroids impact weight and what to do to counter it. I do not understand why there is such institutional silence on this topic, not when steroids are so widely prescribed. Is it because no one takes the time to realize that no, it's not one five day steroid burst, but three of those in a month every month for years on top of IV administered and inhaled steroids?



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Amazed

Good morning. I am doing okay. The cold turned out to be more wannabe than anything else. However, the kiddo is still quite sick with it going on week three and now the hubby is ill too.

The kiddo may need to see the ped, I'm not sure. No fever but awful congestion in her chest and sinuses that is not abating at all along with some minor reduction in normal activity. Croup is going around at preschool so I wonder if she has it? There's not a ton of coughing though so I don't know.

Also...does croup mutate too quickly for a vaccine? I was surprised to learn that there was no vaccine for it. We are so vaccine happy I was shocked to see science had let a germ get by without a shot to counter it. Somehow croup has wound up as being okay to have.

Last night we went out to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. Somehow we've stuck it out, through thick and thin, asthma and adrenals. Interestingly enough the start of our relationship coincides with my first adrenal suppression.

We went to see Skyfall and apparently we are the only people on the planet who were kind of 'meh' about the whole thing. Everyone seems to love it and my husband and I were doing the 'Are you bored? I'm bored,this could've ended thirty minutes ago' discussion in our theater seats. No wonder we're together, our pop culture radars are twins.

And then we went out to eat.

The whole point of this recitation is to get to this sentence...I felt perfect. Normal energy. No fatigue. No interest in sleeping at the earliest opportunity. No sleeping all morning to store up energy for our date...in fact I was planning to exercise until I ran out of time to do so, being so busy with other things. I am still amazed at the contrast of what I can do now vs. what I couldn't do before.







Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Uninsurable

One of the stranger life lessons, to my mind at least, has been the way life insurance companies have balked at insuring me. It's the asthma.

Even though for a long time I pretty much never ended up in the hospital. Insurers don't count ER visits for asthma, they just want to know if you've been hospitalized. Despite my lack of hospitalization no one wanted to insure me. This was before all the adrenal stuff started acting up so I was quite shocked. I didn't feel like a huge risk.

We did eventually get life insurance and I've held onto it with a death grip. If I lose it,  I will likely never get another policy.

If you know any young'uns with asthma, give them a heads up on life insurance. They need to lock it in when they are 20 or else they won't get any (assuming they continue to have active asthma like I have).

This all came to mind last night as we worked on the annual benefits selection from my husband's employer. It's interesting to see how the crappy expensive health plan we have is actually very expensive for our employer as well. It's the most expensive plan they have when I thought the whole point of the crappiness was to save them money.

Huh.

I think this means that program will probably be taken off the plate at some point and throw us into chaos as we scramble to choose from  the crappy, ugly, horrible health plans that are left. ( I swear, a managed HMO would be a death sentence for me.)

Anyway, this year the employer is offering Group Critical Illness Insurance. This is gap insurance that helps pay for uncovered medical expenses for approved 'critical illnesses' such as heart attack or cancer. It wouldn't help with a severe asthma episode, but would come in handy if I had a stroke.

I'm all for it assuming it works as advertised (which is always a concern when it comes to insurance). The last few years I've realized how quickly a relatively minor health issue can destroy you financially. Exhibit A: Asthma and adrenal problems. Exhibit B: Toddler with special needs.

I used to say pithy things like 'debt dictates your future' to my younger siblings hoping to help them avoid all the many mistakes I've made. And now I realize that health does too. Both are serious financial constraints and can quickly turn into financial disasters.



Monday, November 5, 2012

Almost Hormone Free!

Here's a good analogy...

Steroids are the AIDs of medication. The under reported epidemic. The testing is poor. The medical science and education are lacking. And the patients suffer.

Why is this coming up now?

Just saw Dr. Alternative today and we touched on how much the steroids have messed with my health.

And it bummed me out.

Beyond that we're playing around with the progesterone dosing. I'm a little fuzzy on the details because the kiddo was with me and refusing to behave so I was rather distracted. Let's hope it's spelled out on the prescription.

I did catch that now my estrogen levels are really low. I am unsure if that's due to the progesterone or menopause or some other hormonal weirdness. Dr. Alternative isn't sure either but we discussed the possibility of menopause (at 39!).  My estrogen wasn't terribly high before either, which is odd given the whole PCOS estrogen dominance thing that's supposed to be going on.

I would not be surprised if I'm about the cross the border into Menopause. Nothing hormonal works properly in my body. Here I am again not making enough hormones. Quelle surprise! So why the hell not be in menopause?

Due to my age it's time to start thinking about mammograms. Dr. Alternative wants me to do a thermogram/thermography thingymajig. I'm interested, but will have to research it.

As for the boogies of doom. I'm sick. Then I'm not. It's a weird thing. I think my body isn't happy with the increase in exercise intenstiy.

I don't know what to do about it. I need to exercise. For my health. For my sanity. To release the kinks from my horrible writing ergonomics.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm Hit

I think I finally caught the toddler's cold and I'm all up in arms with paranoia that this will be the one that pulls the world out from under my feet.

It's been a long time since my body wanted to just crumple to the ground. I was walking with a friend. We'd coordinated our daughters' dance class so we could have time to walk and chat. And all I wanted to do was drop where I stood.

The exhaustion level is just mind boggling.

Add lots of gunk and active asthma to that equation and it adds up to a bug.

Maybe if I go to bed I can sleep it off.

But first my patented mix of anti-bug vitamins.

Oh gosh...the weird thing....I just remembered...I had flank pain today which I wrote off as muscle soreness. I really should know better.