Saturday, April 26, 2014

A New Grosbeak & My Colon

Yep, a post about my colon!
Hooray for colons!

I had a second colonoscopy on Thursday, and it went great.  Of course, they're never FUN, but the team at my endoscopy center is amazing and they make it feel easy and enjoyable.  They're very professional, but relaxed at the same time. 
my colon around the turn of the liver (hepatic flexure) last May

my colon's hepatic flexure on Thursday

You can see that the inflammation (the part that looks like a rash) covers more surface area and is a little more angry-looking.  So the news is that the inflammation is worse, but still mild.  That doesn't mean that symptoms don't still affect my daily life, but it does mean that I'm not likely to need to have any pieces of my intestines removed - yay!  A bunch of biopsies were taken, and the results should be back next week.  Last year, the results of the biopsies were extra surprising; they showed that I have Crohn's activity ("archetectural changes" meaning that individual cell structures were damaged) affecting every area of my colon that was tested, even though it's not visible to the naked eye.

I have been still using the following supplements (links are to the scientific studies that support use of these substances for Crohn's patients):


plus vitamin/mineral supplementation, probiotics, and rhodolia rosea (for mood stablization and recovery from physical stress/illness)

Greg & I are praying and thinking about what the next steps should be, if any.  It seems as if maybe something should change, but I'm still not excited about immuno-suppressant drugs or steroids, and those are the typical treatments of choice.  I have a follow-up appointment with my Gastroenterologist in a month or so to discuss options.

I'm tentatively planning to send in my documentation for the Crohn's study that's happening in Canada.  I applied and talked to their intake person about the next steps in the process, but I didn't go any farther because I didn't want them to tell me that I'm not sick enough to be of use to them (every once in a while, in spite of the fact that my symptoms are pretty mild outside of fatigue, Crohn's feels like a life-changing thing to me, and I don't particularly want it minimized).  But my Mom helped me realize that it's just like a survey - if I don't fit the target demographic, that's okay; I'll let them make that decision rather than making it for them.  


In other news, we had a new bird at the birdfeeder today!  
A Black-Headed Grosbeak:


Here's a close-up (sorry about the graininess - it's super ZOOM!)

Isn't he pretty?  I love his beautiful orange undercarriage!


Here is a dose of adorable kitten mews for you today.
I was standing by the drawer that holds kitty wet food, and Stephen and Allistair know what's in that drawer!  They gave me lots of cuteness!
video


Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jell-O & Gatorade



Yep.  It's that time again - it's been almost a year since my first colonoscopy (when I was diganosed with Crohn's Disease) and it's time for a re-check.
This time I am better prepared with a prescription to hopefully prevent the nausea and vomiting so that the preparatory process can be easier and more pleasant.




I am praying that the procedure will show that that the inflammation is GONE and that my intestines are in amazingly good health!  But I have a plan if that's not the case, too.  I'll keep you in suspense on that one - hopefully I won't need that alternate plan!

 In the meantime, I am enjoying my little fuzzy babies and watching, "Murder, She Wrote" on Netflix.
Really good for taking my mind off feeling icky and hungry.

Stephen is enjoying the birdies at the feeder right outside the window:


I imagine he's thinking about eating them, since his tongue is sticking out!


Here's some cuteness for this Wednesday - Allistair washing his little face!
video


I also found a lovely green spring bag at Ross the other day . . . for $13.99!
I really like this bright green color, and it goes with a LOT of the stuff in my closet.  
I love the boxy shape, and it holds a lot, too!


I recommend checking out the clearance rack at your local Target . . . 
they have some cute cotton shirts on sale!

Bicylces?!

Squares


This one wasn't on clearance yet, but how could I leave it behind?
Polka-dots on my favorite color!


Okay - off to mix Miralax with Gatorade . . . and then drink far too much of it . . . 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Summer is Starting . . .



Allistiar loves to sleep belly-up when it's warm.
And this week has been the first week where many of the days have been in the 90s. 


Look at that widdle facey!!!


Here's Claude looking like the princess she is.


Claude has adopted this orange birdie (named Megan) and plays crazy with it.  
It's lovely that she's feeling calm and happy enough to be crazy!
 



More sleepy Stephen (tongue-out!):


He likes to get into the mesh garbage basket in the bedroom.


Look at that dignified profile!


Allistiar loves to get behind the curtain by the patio door and watch the birdies stealing Juvy's food.
I think he feels sneaky, but his whole front is sticking out and perfectly visible!



And I couldn't help but wear these polka-dot jeans again this week!
I love them with these navy flats.


Happy weekend!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bloomin'!

Red yucca in bloom


notice who's hiding in the top-most flower?


This morning around 6:45 am, I went for a walk.  I prefer evening walks, but the weather is heating up here (85 today and in the high 90s later this week) and soon I'm going to need to walk as early as possible in the coolest part of the day.  I decided to transition now.

I took my camera this morning - and I'm glad I did!
The desert is in bloom!


I caught a bee in flight!


Bougainvillea



Close-up:

Bougainvillea are very beautiful and cheerful, but they are SPIKY and grow like weeds here in the desert.  We had four bougainvillea plants in our backyard.  Every January, when they were dormant, we would chop them down almost to the ground, and when spring came, they shot back up and took over.  Leaves everywhere in the fall.  And chopping them down was no mean feat, considering all the spikes.
From now on, I'll look at OTHER PEOPLE'S Bougainvillea!



Lantana


Lantana has no spikes, and it has lovely teeny weeny flowers, but whiteflies love to live in it and the sap is very sticky (I hate sticky!)  So we removed our Lantana.  I saw this multi-colored one on my walk this morning.



White Oleander tree



Desert trees of various kinds against the beautiful clear blue sky:



And the mountains in the far background!
(California is in that direction!)


And I saw this wonderful woodpecker (anyone know what kind?):


He was pecking on every lamppost he could find!
video


And here he is again!
Maybe he just doesn't recognize real trees!
video



I walked two miles.  Then I came home.
My parents gave us Oskar (this lovely little green owl) as an anniversary present, and now he guards our front door for us.  He's fierce, so watch out if you're not authorized to be on the premises! 


At one point over the last couple of days, I came home to find these little cuddling kittens:


Stephen was getting smushed by his brother Allistair, but he didn't seem too sad about it.



I climbed right up and took a picture with me in it.  Blurry, but worth it!



Allistair:  "Rub my belly, please?"


And here's what I wore today . . . I actually wore heels out and about for the first time in about a year.
When I got home from mega errands, my feet were sore.  Guess I'll stick with my ballet flats on errands day.
I read that as people age, the fat pads in the bottom of the feet disperse, meaning that feet need more cushioning.  Okay, but only as long as the shoes are CUTE!

Necklace: J. Crew opera length "pearl" beads from eBay
Old Navy t-shirt
Target pencil skirt
Born Cornflower shoes


This afternoon, these skirts arrived in the mail (from Target), and they are a good fit and a wise purchase (SOLID, no patterns = goes with more stuff!  I love patterns, so it's tough to buy plain stuff):
I thought the pockets might lead to a weird drape, but they don't.  Yay!




I also found these necklaces on www.target.com clearance (less than $5 apiece!)
Opera length (reach my belly-button) and very sparkly!
They are much prettier in person - I just couldn't capture their beauty in photos.


And this one is blurry, too - sorry!


I found this scarf for less than $4 at Ross, and I'm going to wear it in my hair when I put my hair up this summer.  It's a long skinny one, so it's good for wearing around the lapels of a jacket, too.


Look at the pretty pattern!


One more new purchase, also from Target:
Merona® Petites Long-Sleeve Chambray Shirt - Blue


I saw this outfit somewhere (Pinterest, probably), and want to recreate it - 
can't remember where I got this picture -
if it's yours, let me know and I will credit you!


I have plenty of floral skirts, but I didn't have a chambray/denim shirt that I could actually wear as a shirt (rather than a topper).  This one is 100% cotton and will be nice for summer because the sleeves roll up pretty high and button there.


What a productive and enjoyable day!  Hope yours was just as lovely.

xo

Thursday, April 3, 2014

WIND And Cats On My Desk






Sadly, my parents left to go home to Minnesota.  But before they left, Greg & I got to attend one of my Dad's barbershop chorus concerts!  My Daddy is the tall one right to the left of the director.
Love the music, and we've seen these particular men two or three times, so we feel like we know the performers.  It's fun!


Here are the songs they sang:


My favorite regular songs are "Mary Lou," and "Lida Rose."
This year, I fell in love with, "Dear Hearts and Gentle People".  The words made me a little teary.

My Mom and I both wore navy ballet flats!


I typically work in our great room because it's more central and I don't feel holed up in my office.  But when I'm scanning in curriculum illustrations, I need to be connected by wires to the scanner, so I always go in my office.  The "kittens" (they are huge long cats and turn two on April 21st!) always join me ON MY DESK.

I put a fuzzy blankie on top of the printer I wasn't using at the time, and Stephen sat on it
and watched the birds out the window (that's why he's so alert!)

He also wedged himself behind my laptop (it's warm back there!)


Allistair draped himselve over the keyboard . . . 
look at his cute little reflection in the keyboard!

I had to bundle up in a blanket because I was chilly, which encouraged Allistair to sit on my lap (he loves the fuzzy blankets).


It has been a little on the cool side this week, which makes everyone happy.  We don't need the HOT to come early - we already had a winter without much winter in it.

Yesterday was very windy and chilly.
The palm trees make a cardboard/plastic banging together sort of noise when it's windy because their leaves have such a unique texture.




We had some pretty wispy clouds, too.  They look like calligraphy in a foreign language with a different alphabet! 


The other day, I wore dotted jeans with dotted socks, and then had a beautiful little guy sit on me, so you get a cat picture PLUS a (half) outfit picture at the same time!


And yesterday I dropped by Old Navy, and they had a huge metal shelving unit about 7 feet tall crammed with clearance items.  I got this sweater (in three colors: emerald green, baby blue, and navy) for $4.98 apiece!  They are lovely and thick, yet not heavy.  



Here's an outfit of the day from last week.
I was wearing my lace-print black leggings (Macy's), a turquoise blouse (Target), a ribbon and "pearl" necklace (J. Crew from eBay), and a black & white striped bag (Ross).  


When I was at Sprout's, our local health food store, I saw these funny products:


Get over it!!!


I can't officially recommend either of them, because I haven't tried them, 
but if you need to get over something, give it a try!

Happy April!