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Saturday, May 10, 2014

COME OUT, COME OUT wherever you are....from hibernation, that is.

My oh my how time flies... I can't believe it has been months since I have been to my blog. After my last entry in January, I seem to recall doing this:
Me with Blankie and Pillow heading for hibernation

Im really not sure what happened....I just remember taking a Fukitol pill and surrendering to the warmth of my home and hearth. January, February and March seems like a bad dream.Then suddenly it was April.

 I don't need to tell anyone with a chronic illness how bad this winter has been for those of us with fibromyalgia/autoimmune/dysautonomic issues. Not to mention all the lovely seasonal affective disorders like depression and anxiety most of us battle. There were days I could barely make it to work and back home and collapse at 7pm into my favorite place, my bed - refuge, my inner sanctum and my faithful friend.
Thank God I can sleep, so many with these illnesses cannot get any sleep. I do sleep, albeit non refreshing sleep. Sleep studies  have shown that  people with Fibro do not  go into the deep restorative sleep of Delta sleep or stage 4. I have had two studies  and the doctor said I only stayed in stage 4 sleep a maximum of  90 seconds at a time and then started the cycle over. Her response was "no wonder you are tired." That was over ten years ago and now much more is known about the link of sleep deprivation and Fibromyalgia. I also have had a very difficult time with my blood pressure and my Hyperadrenergic POTS condition. My family Doc referred me to a cardiologist in Knoxville for some testing. I was having some wicked jaw and radiating neck/shoulder pain and my bp was hovering around 146/110- that is with two blood pressure meds each day. So I now have a new Cardiologist helping in my POTS treatment, Dr. Mahlow at the University of Tennessee. Very nice young man who has some knowledge of POTS and at least was aware of the condition and had some lecture time on the syndrome at Johns Hopkins. He is the first doctor in my life that has ever looked at my chart with interest and asked pertinent questions. He also said  " I'm so sorry you have this, I hope you will let me try to help you manage it and work with  your doctor".  He set me up for a chemical stress test and started me on a third BP medicine which so far has kept me in the normal to low range. My tests came back normal so I am back to managing the symptoms of POTS and trying to keep my stress levels below the "Thar' she blows" line.. hard to do in my job.
Anyway , we have survived the winter, and spring in the Great Smoky Mountains is beautiful this year. The Dogwoods and Redbuds were absolutely lovely and the botanists at the National Park have stated that the wild flowers are the prettiest that they have seen in over 40 years.   Every April the Park hosts the Wildflower Pilgrimage and thousands of people flock to the area to see the wide variety of wild flowers that thrive in the Smokies for a short lived life. I have attached some beautiful photos from the Great Smoky Mountain Association's Facebook page. Even though I live here, I sure don't feel like exploring the mountains. I have noticed many people in other countries view this blog, so I say a big  Tennessee "Howdy" to you and I hope you enjoy the photo's below.
Dogwood and Deer   Cades Cove  photo by Deb Campbell Photography

Pink Lady Slippers

Shooting Stars

Showy Orchid
 And along with the wildflowers, comes the emergence of other critters(other than me) from hibernation. The black bears are out and about. Below is what I can only say is a once in a life time photo opportunity. It was taken last week in Cades Cove.  A large bear was feeding on a wild boar carcass while a coyote patiently waited his turn to dine.
How amazing is this?

 I am so glad to be able to show this photo of a wild American Bald Eagle in the Foothills Parkway area.
When I worked in the Park, there were no Eagles in the wild in this area.
The past couple of  months I have been doing some major spring cleaning with the help of my friend Lisa. Mainly she does all the hard work and heavy lifting. I have always wanted to clean up my barn area that was used in my other life as a storage building/hoarding facility by the ex.  It's a beautiful old barn. Probably built in the early 1940's but it was packed with everything you can imagine. Old rusted tools, lawnmowers that didn't run,car parts, etc... he never threw anything away.  It was so cluttered it made me physically  sick to look at it, so I simply didn't  look for years. I often think how I was left to literally clean and sort all the piles of debris that was my 25 year marriage. I was not only left to clean up the emotional issues and untangle painful  webs of  deceit and lies, but I was also responsible for the tangible piles of flotsam and jetsam left in the wake of the divorce. He moved on with minimum baggage to start a new life. I suppose a stronger and healthier woman would have worked her way through the mess much quicker but it has taken me 8 years. First I tackled the house and slowly made it mine. The barn and storage area have been on the back burner because it seemed such a monumental task to take on. When you're  too tired to live, cleaning is not a priority that is high on your list. But I felt like it would release a huge emotional burden I have carried and remove the last evidence of that life from this property.  So I called and got an industrial dumpster delivered in late March. Thank God for good friends and I have one in Lisa. We started first grade together and have stayed close as sisters since then.  She and I have worked a few hours at a time when the weather permitted and my health allowed and we are now on dumpster #2. She knows my limitations and understands when I say "I have to sit" or "I'm done" that we are through for the day or I need a rest break and water. I think the barn represents my resentments, anger and unresolved issues. The need to clean and clear that barn drives me like no force has in years. It has energized me to a certain point.  It's the complete burial of the past, the purging of my soul,  the last pieces of rusted dysfunctional memories being hauled  to the land fill where they belong . Maybe the barn is me...conquer the barn , conquer myself.  A wise man told me many years ago, even before the divorce,  to get that barn cleaned out. He told me  it held a much deeper, spiritual meaning to me. I didn't understand at that time, now I do.  I think he would be very happy to know it is done. Do you have a barn in your life that needs a spring cleaning?