Monday, December 7, 2009

A week in review

I'm taking a break from the things I should be doing--emptying boxes, dusting, cleaning, laundry, to do something that I want to do--blogging. I feel that I've been horribly remiss in all things bloggy and hope to rectify that today with a recap of last week.

The temperature in southern Louisiana finally dropped closer to something approximating winter and there were even rumors of snow. You'll have to forgive me, but the white stuff stirs up a lot of excitement down here since it very rarely happens and never lasts long enough. I know people in other parts of the country consider snow a nuisance and I'm sure those of us in the muggy south can relate with our disdain of heavy rain.

Over the summer months, I suffered with increased episodes of skin GvHD. The sun and heat set off my attacks and once one gets going, it's difficult to rein it in. I looked forward to cooler weather and what I thought would be a reprieve from rashes, and random stinging attacks delivered by invisible wasps inhabiting the underside of my skin. The temperature dropped. The attacks keep coming. It would appear that extreme cold also triggers my GvHD attacks.

My face is covered in big flaky patches that no amount of moisturizer can help. The backs of my hands are raw and covered in tiny welts that will break open if I don't apply moisturizer. My scalp is shedding, leading to what looks like unsightly dandruff.

There's another manifestation happening with increased frequency that I heretofore had not mentioned. If any of my extremities get cold, and I mean really cold, then the muscles seize and contract, contorting the affected limb into an uncomfortable angle. It started with my feet and has been happening for close to a year. It only happened occasionally, so I never really thought about it.

One foot will become cold for whatever external reason, then I'll start to feel the sensation that precedes a charlie horse. If I don't start moving and forcing the foot to stretch quickly enough, my ankle rotates inward and locks. It's a strange and uncomfortable sensation that lasts as long as it takes me to get circulation back into the offending foot.

That phenomenon is now affecting a slightly larger area. It starts with a foot and now migrates up my leg and into my hip. The ankle rotates and locks, as does my hip. It's only happened a few times over the last month and isn't painful, only uncomfortable. I'm making a point of stretching my legs throughout the day and paying closer attention to the signals my body sends out.

All of these things are more of a nuisance than anything else, so I'm not worried. I'll mention everything to my transplant doctor when I see her later this month.

I can't really account for where all of my time has been spent over the last week. I've been very slowly unpacking three boxes of place settings that I ordered a week and a half ago. They're to replace the dishes that didn't quite make it from the company that handled our move. Somewhere in a warehouse here in town sits a small number of boxes with the rest of my old dishes. A normal person would have contacted the storage company when only three partial place settings were unearthed from the "kitchen" portion of the move. For those of you who are new to this story, my first house was packed and moved by someone other than me since I was in Houston receiving treatment. Someone else found the company and oversaw the affair.

It seemed like everytime we had to contact the moving company post move to let them know that we hadn't gotten all of our stuff, we were being charged another $500 for the pleasure of having our things returned to us. Chris and I hit a saturation point and realized that we'd done without our things for three years. If we weren't aware of missing something, then we could live without it.

We boxed up some of the mismatched plates, etc and dropped them off at Goodwill. I'll box up the rest of the orphaned dishes today or tomorrow and we'll make another donation run this weekend.

Chris is well, the cats are well, and I am well which makes for a very boring week to write about. We like boring.

It did snow the other day. Big fat flurries that dissapeared as soon as they hit the wet pavement. The pictures below were taken in our backyard.


Susan C said...

LOVE the photos!

PJ said...

Glad to see you're having fun and taking your symptoms in stride.

Jim said...

Snow is good, and so are you, Ann.

Tina said...

You two are so adorable!! I love it. I remember the two times it snowed while I lived down there. What fun!!

Nancy said...

You both look so happy! What a great photo op!

I also had weird "cramps" in my ankles, toes, etc. I found it was caused by a low magnesium level which was due to the Prograf (depletes the mag level). I had to up my magnesium...

I still have some weird gvhd rashes, but it's mild and not widespread. I hope that you're symptoms will subside. Take care stay warm and have fun shopping for dishes... : )

love ya, nancy

Ronni Gordon said...

Sorry about the gvhd. Rashes can drive you crazy. I'm dealing with more GVHD now. There are certainly more side effects than I ever considered. Fix one thing, another goes wrong. Well I'm glad you're keeping it in perspective and that you are happy.

Amy Gleason said...

You look fabulous. So glad to hear you are feeling well. Glenn always checked on you and kept me up to date- so today I decided to find your blog myself. So happy to see you doing so well!! Congrats on the house and all the normalcy-- you deserve it!