Friday, February 20, 2015

My Two Valentine's

Willow Creek

Willow Creek in Arizona was just an hour and a half away and the perfect place to go boating for the day! It was Valentine's Day and the whole family was excited to try something new. We woke up around 6 AM and headed to Willow Creek to get our boat. We forgot about the hour change :o( and we had to fill out paperwork so we didn't get in the boat until 10 AM. We had to have the boat back by 3 PM and we did, but we easily could have stayed longer!

We saw so many cool things and played on two sandy beaches. The water was only 50 degrees but it was so nice and warm out the girls had no problem getting in a little ways.  Everyone had such a great time I bet we do it again soon.

Corn Creek Oasis

There is a little oasis just north of the city across from the mountains called Corn Creek. I guess they call it a hidden gem, I don't think I would go that far but we decided to check it out and have a picnic and explore the area.

It was very dry, and a bit windy, and a lot dusty.  It was mostly dead looking and had a pond and a spring. There were 5 trails, most were easy but pretty boring. Unless you like looking at desert and dead trees, we probably didn't pick the best time of the year to visit. Then again if you wait too much longer it would probably be too hot.

Fine, I am being negative but I didn't like this place. I would probably not go back. But, at least I went once! And we did see a duck. One single duck. Maybe some birds.

This is what the web has to say about the place:

The Corn Creek Spring is the largest of 34 springs that can be found on the Refuge. Corn Creek is fed by a deep, underground aquifer. Here, water welling from deep within the earth has sustained an amazing diversity of plants and wildlife – and people – for thousands of years. Generations of people have come to Corn Creek, drawn to the beauty, tranquility, and richness of its resources. This was and still is an especially important place for the Nuwuvi (Paiute) people.

Some people think the desert is beautiful I guess :) but we did have fun, we all brought picnic food to share and had a great time visiting!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It was the end of the road

A few weeks ago I found out I only had a short time left to live. It was scary and confusing and a million different thought went through my head. As I went to see the doctor that Monday morning I looked around my room and into my closet and wondered what would happen with all of my stuff. Who would even want my clothes and my shoes and my books? I knew as soon as the doctor took a look at my test results that I had taken the Friday before that I would be admitted into the hospital never to leave again. I debated writing letters to the girls and composed them in my head, but I hoped I had enough time to write them while I was in the hospital.

In retrospect I was happy with how my life had played out. I didn't have many complaints and had so much to be thankful for. If I ever had to be ready to go it was as good as time as any. I was sad to think about all the things I would miss, mostly with the girls. Watching them grow up is something I really wanted but wouldn't get to have. I guessed I had a few weeks at the most and wondered what I should spend my time doing. I figured I would have access to a computer and that gave me a lot of options.

In the days leading up to my doctor appointment my condition was quickly getting worse. I went about 2 hours out of town on a BBQ with family and friends and worried the whole time I was there. The nearest emergency room was so far away I hoped I could last the day. All I could think about was what if, what if, what if. I did not enjoy myself at all. When we finally left I thought maybe we should just head to the emergency room and once they saw my results they could keep me then, but I decided to go home and did feel a little bit better once there.

Headache, shakiness, overall just a bad feeling. When I made it to finally see the doctor I admitted I was having a lot of anxiety. When he told me my blood work all came back fine, quite healthy actually, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. Tumor. Rapidly growing tumor somewhere in my body slowly destroying me. The doctor went over the "what it might be" with me and when I mentioned tumor he knew that I had also been researching the condition on my own. Thank you google for allowing me to do that at home.

Then he told me he didn't think I had a tumor. He went ahead and put in a request for one more blood test and sent me home for two weeks to monitor my condition.  As I left his office I was more confused than ever. Could this really just be anxiety again?

In 2001 I had a panic attack that put me in the emergency room. After a quick work up and evaluation I was sent home with valium. Over the next several months I struggled with nightly anxiety attacks. Eventually I went on Paxil and things were much different. I was calm. I was not anxious. I also didn't feel much of anything anymore, which is good and bad. I didn't stress, not that anyone would have knows I was stressing, I kept in I guess. I started collage and joined a gym. I felt calm. After 8 months on Paxil I decided I was better and weaned myself off a bit too fast. Don't do that, you have strange reactions when you come off of mediation like that. Afterwards the anxiety and panic were controllable and I was mostly fine.

Mostly. I am a hypochondriac now. but I am not longer scared of dying, I have come to accept that it is going to happen at some point. I deal with it but I still have some issues most people don't. I can't take medications without worrying, even simple things like tylenol. I worry that I will get the side effect. It is just easier not to take anything, luckily I rarely have conditions that warrant medicine.

I worked myself up that weekend and the doctor sent me home with a test kit to monitor myself, which I have never used. What was wrong with me? Well, I had low blood sugar. I checked one morning after eating because I felt shaky and I was pretty sure my blood sugar was high, but it wasn't, it was low. 82 to be exact. When I googled blood sugar it seemed way too low. The next day around the same time I felt shaky again and when I tested it was 78. Now I was worried. I was eating and still getting really dangerously low readings, or so I thought. I was also drinking coffee, and looking back I have always known to be sensitive to caffeine. One cup a day usually causes me to get jittery. Was it just the coffee? I don't know but just incase I don't drink it anymore.  Well, I drink decaf now.

The doctor also sent me home with a bottle of Xanax. Do you want valium or Xanax, he asked, and I didn't know, I don't remember what worked better back then because I rarely took them, you know, because of the issue I have with taking medications and all. The bottle of Xanax is still sitting in the cabinet above my chair and it hasn't been opened. At least it is there if I need it. It helps just knowing it is there, unopened, in case I ever need it.

Weeks have gone by, the jitters have stopped and slowly so has the anxiety. I could probably even drink coffee and deal with the caffeine jitters again. Well, not quite yet, but maybe soon. Or not, maybe I will just switch to decaf, or tea. I am still trying to decide. In the meantime I am reminded how fear is the worse thing I have to deal with. Fear itself is scary. Anxiety will always be a part of me, a part that I have to fight with to keep under control. I guess I don't mind a good fight every now and then.

I guess I was never really dying. I guess. Sometimes I still wonder if the doctor didn't notice something. Maybe the numbers are really too low and maybe there is a tumor slowly killing me. Maybe I am not being overly sensitive and maybe I am wasting time not getting treatment that might save me. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, all a part of having anxiety. I worry that one day something will be wrong and I won't find out because I will just write it off as having anxiety. Luckily everything so far has been just anxiety. Nothing has been wrong. Well, I DID have a cancerous mole on my ear cut off, but I wasn't anxious about that. Funny how that works.

What set me off this time, everything was going great? I have no idea. I know a friend's daughter was recently diagnosed with diabetes and I was pretty upset about it. Initially I thought I had diabetes only to find out my number was not at all high, which turned into having a low number, so I was hypoglycemic, except that is really rare and unlikely, unless you have a tumor, so that had to be it. I also, during this short weekend, had headaches so I was pretty sure I had high blood pressure only to test and ind out it was actually low105/70 and therefore I self diagnosed myself again and determined I was just dehydrated.

It was an interesting weekend and the crazy thoughts that went through my head make me question and lack of sanity I pretend to have. One thing I do wonder ... it amazes me how the body mentally controls things. I had several physical ailments, headaches, jitters, dizzy spells. If I can cause my own body to physically react it should be possible to mentally control my body all the time right? If something ever does go wrong I would have to assume that I am in control of my body, well, when I am in control of my sanity, and therefore I should be able to heal myself, mentally and physically. Just food for thought.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The President

Lately I have seen a lot of negative posts about our current president. I am not going to bother to name him because it does not matter who he, or she is, so we will just refer to the person as president.

America is a great country. We have a president and the president does what they can to make our country better. Americans get to vote for the president. The president is the president because they won an election. Once they win the president has 4 years to do a job they won. Or they have 8 years if they were won two times.

I had a job before. I had a boss. He was hired to do a job. I was hired to help him do his job. If I didn't like my boss, which happened before, I still had to do my job and I still had to help him do his job. If I didn't like my boss, or my job, I could leave.

The president is doing a job. Your job is to help them do their job. Complaining is not helping. I don't care if you like the president or not. Do I like our current president? It doesn't even matter! Complaining never helps anything. If you don't like the president and you are going to continue to complain you should leave!

In summary, the president is the president and will be the president until a new president wins. Do you like how many times I said president in that sentence?  You complaining about the president does not do anything except make you look like an annoying complainer.

Stop being an annoying complainer! I don't like annoying complainers, in fact no one likes annoying complainers because they are annoying!  You don't have to like the president, but if you aren't going to do anything positive and just continue to complain - well, I am going to probably call you an annoying complainer.  Not behind your back either.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Redstone at Lake Mead

Not far from Las Vegas is a wonderful little lake called Lake Mead. Fine, it isn't little, it is really big, but if you haven't heard of it you have probably heard of the Hoover Damn. Anyway Lake Mead has more than just a lake if you can believe it! There are roads that go around the lake and a bunch of neat hidden spots.

Kris really enjoys Roger's Spring, which is a hot spring out in the middle of no where! Because the area is smaller and because they warn that scary amoebas live in the water, we really don't visit it much. Plus, the area around the spring is uneven and not as much fun to hike around. Check out this video Kris took that shows some of the fish that live in the water.

One area that we all love to hang around is Redstone.

Redstone has a short 1/2 mile trail but that's not what I like best, I like the small sandstone rocks that are perfect for kids to climb all over. It reminds me a lot of the rocks in the Valley of Fire. These rocks have houses, windows, rooms, caves, or areas that look like it anyway.  The rocks aren't that steep in most areas, and children can easily get all over the place.

Besides having some of the best climbing rocks, the site also has 4 picnic areas. 3 are smaller and close together and it has a larger area for a bigger group.  We went out and had a BBQ a few weekends ago and it was really a lot of fun.

We have seen a lot of animal tracks from some larger animals, like deer, and smaller animals, like mice and lizards. This place is only 45 minutes away from our house and is usually deserted. I have never seen else anyone else using the grill/tables. If you have a chance to explore I recommend this place, it is great for families and dogs!

Heading to the fun sandstone rocks at Redstone Lake Mead 
One of the many cave / house / tunnel looking areas at Redstone Lake Mead

The three small picnic areas - looking back from the big rocks

Looking back toward the main road from the picnic area

Redstone Lake Mead

Playing in the sandstone rocks

more playing inside the cool areas

just posing after a short climb up on the rocks 
Awesome hiking/climbing on the sandstones for kids