Sunday, September 28, 2008

slowly getting better.

so. you could call me a coward, and that would be ok. round two of antibiotics, FIGHT!

yep, went to the ol family care physician for the sinus infection, because it just became too much to handle on my own. a sinus infection?! too much?! yeah, i know. it's easy for me to deal with other people's illnesses and make recommendations based on what i see/feel/hear/know, but when it comes to my own maladies, my brain seems to be AWOL.

round one was amoxicillin, it did nothing, other than cause problems. went back last week and was given cefdinir, which is what wes usually gets for sinus infections, and it's working. slowly but surely. it's not causing me any problems, so there's a high compliance rate, you could say. no secondary infections, no discomfort, no gastrointestinal distress, whereas amoxicillin makes me pretty ill. the right side of my face still has transient pain, i still have blurred vision, and i'm still pretty wiped, but i'm definitely starting to feel better. also doing nasal irrigation. i have not yet tried a recommendation for sesame oil dripped down each nostril (one of the primary factors in my constitution is overwhelming dryness.) i'm being a little bit of a sissy. funnily enough, wes also went to the doctor the same day for the same problem, but he's got totally different symptoms. i've got dryness, post nasal drip, fluid in my ears, blurred vision, and severe facial pain and headaches. he's stuffy with a ton of nasal discharge, he's got an ear infection, and then also the headache and the blurred vision. same antibiotics, same amount, etc. we've both got nasal irrigation systems so we don't cross contaminate. they took his blood for allergy testing, seeing as how he's gotten so many of them, and the doctor yelled at him to get his cat scan done. (which he's put off for approximately 6 months).

met with an herbalist who i have immense respect for last week. it was fabulous. my only regret is that my donation was much smaller than i would've liked it to have been, but hopefully i'll be getting some more commissions soon, and as such, can throw a bit more his way. he gave me some excellent recommendations for all sorts of goings on, especially the anxiety/panic attack situation. i'm happy to report i haven't had a true blue panic attack since the beginning of last week. (tuesday the 16th). oh, i've definitely had some anxiety, sometimes pretty overwhelming, but nothing like the "oh god, i'm dying, i have to go to the hospital" type of panic attack.

so, he gave me a little hunk of calamus root, as it's indicated by several different issues i've got going on, and i'm playing with that a little. nibbled some of it tuesday night, went to bed, slept like the dead, woke up feeling extremely....thankful. that was nice. nibbled on a little bit more of it last night, was out cold within 1/2 an hour at the extremely early hour of quarter to 11. did not sleep well. could not wake up last night. i was just....done. didn't feel any different when i woke up this morning. calamus root is something i'm going to spend some time working at, just sitting with, and seeing it's effects. she sounds as though she could be a really amazing plant ally for me, if she'll let me.

the problem i'm currently facing is...when. when do i sit with calamus? i, of course, am a little afraid, because if i'm going to be knocked on my rear every time i nibble on the root, i can't do so while i have anything else to do. this includes work, school, parenting, personal studying, "alone time" with wes (wherein we're usually watching cartoons or playing scrabble anyway, but it's nice to just spend quiet time together). then, of course, i'm afraid of the gastrointestinal effects of "too much" calamus. of course, you'll never see me choking down 6-8 inches of root (oh man, the erowid vault for calamus...hilarity), but hey. i'm afraid of everything. and then, of course, there's the self preservation side of having been an anxious wreck for years. what would it feel like not to have anxiety anymore? and that's a little scary too. it's almost like a self defense mechanism.

so, i figure if i nibble a little bit here and there, we'll see what happens.

i've been keeping up on my bio work given to me by my new counselor, so that's a good thing. i'm usually fairly lazy when it comes to doing something that will actually take care of me and serve me, and often hit big road blocks with that. i haven't done it every day, but nearly every day, and that's more than i would've expected out of myself.

more goings on:
got my kitchen aid mixer. with a grain mill. woo hoo! good for milling flour for bread. good for brewing beer. speaking of, i've had 1/2 a beer in the last month, so that's great. being on antibiotics helps with that too, beta-lactam antibiotics + alcohol = total misery. not just beta-lactam, but several in the cephalosporin family specifically cause a disulfram-like reaction, and i don't wanna mess around.

made a couple loaves of bread with the mixer. man, did i screw that up. that's ok, that's what experimentation is for, and that's how you get good at it.

i'm taking the second week in october off, and we'll be putting in our raised beds then, and fixing the water spigot on the front of the house that's wasting water and has turned my front flower box into a swamp. if i had some more cashola, i'd be painting the living room as well.

wes and andrew are currently off stumping around the woods, and i'm sad i couldn't go with them, but my homework is two days overdue, and i really, really need to get a jumpstart on the next module.

i'm applying (again) for a student loan, this time with a cosigner, and will hopefully be able to take care of my balance with ACHS for the current class, and also hopefully will be able to take holistic pathophysiology in november. the classes that are most important for me to take with them are going to be the pathophysiology/pathology/business classes, and those are what i'm going to aim for the most over the short term. other than that, going to keep doing stuff locally, get to know our bioregion's plants, and read as much as i possibly can. it would be awesome if i had friends with similar interests/experience levels with this stuff, or a local mentor, but hey, what can i do? there's tons of email lists and forums and such that i lurk on, so...that's something. and i get to share a lot with wes, especially about wildcrafting.

speaking of wes, he'll be ordering some supplies next commission check to start doing some homegrowing mushroom stuff. we went to the bookstore last week and i happened to see Mycelium Running, by Paul Stamets. I picked it up for him, and he complained that we really didn't have the money for it, but I told him if he didn't buy it, I'd use my gift card for amazon to order it for him. He bought it. He's torn through it. I don't think I've ever seen him read so fast. I'm so happy he's found something that interests him.

man. i'm wordy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

all hail the sinus infection hell!

the hits just keep coming here.

so, saturday when i woke up (i may or may not have posted about this), i had a constant stream of clear goo running from my right nostril. little bit of stuffiness, but definitely some pain and tingling on the right side. fever, achy, etc. went to work anyway. wound up with a nice headache. have had a headache every day since.

started to feel exceptionally ill yesterday, got a terrible headache, again just on the right side of my head. wound up having a surprise panic attack (aren't they all?) on the freeway again. this particular brand of fun lasted about two hours. it was great. i was on my way to lunch with wes. got there, couldn't eat anything, nearly threw up in the parking lot, thought i was dying, thought my headache was an aneurysm, the works. wes was going to drive me home from lunch, but i decided i'd man up and just do it myself. got home and started to cry. this is unusual, i'm not good with crying. i don't do it very often.

anyway, the headache never abated, despite my best efforts. finally broke down and took some tylenol. it still didn't let up. all this time, i'm not really drawing the parallel to the drippy nose and fever i had this weekend (which i didn't treat with anything). i'm massaging my forehead, and it hurts. ...idea strikes. touch all of my right sinuses, hey. they're all excrutiating. and as soon as i touch them, i can feel, from the inside, that they're FULL. i mean, i'm breathing just fine, and i'm not really having any drainage, but there's definitely something going on. start massaging my right masseter, and my ear hurts. possible ear involvement as well.

so, hot towel on the right side of the face. nasal irrigation. voila! post nasal drip. i get up this morning, and cough up something orange. unless someone put some cantaloupe in my nose last night....that tears it. i've got a bloody sinus infection.

this, on the heels of the flu and a resurgence of panic attacks, which i hadn't had in a very long time, and i don't know if i've ever had them this frequently. they take it out of me. afterwards, i have to lay down and have a good nap, and i usually wake up pretty depressed.

i've got an appointment tonight with a woman from the bio self emergence institute in southfield. i've gotten numerous recommendations to go see her from close friends. ye ol primary care physician is bugging me to go get counseling, as she says panic attacks are a sign that something deep inside you is very wrong and crying for help. i figure i'll go see donna @ the bse first, and perhaps start traditional therapy later.

something i found interesting...i was reading about either a tcm or ayurvedic view of sinus infections, and how they tend to be linked to people who cannot, or will not, cry. ...yep. sounds about right.

add in the ear pain and the dizziness, and there's probably an ear infection going on too. we'll see. sinus infections really shouldn't be treated with antibiotics, in my opinion, but i don't know about what may well prove to be an inner ear infection (makes sense, and fits a whole hell of a lot of stuff i've had going on lately). sinus infections usually do well with nasal irrigation and hot towels and steams and stuff, which i've started on. i AM going to my primary care physician today, but mainly to confirm ear infection, and to see what she recommends. also possibly for some antivert. i'm not really one to treat symptoms with pharmaceuticals (so no xanax for the panic attacks), but if you've ever had vertigo....for weeks at a is one of the most disconcerting and awful things i can think of.

the thing is, i've gotten antivert in the past for an inner ear infection, and then never took it. sometimes having the safety net helps. i have a bottle of xanax in my purse, i've never taken so much as a half. (usually, when i have a panic attack, i think i'm dying anyway, so i'm even less likely to take it, since my panicking self usually tells my brain, oh, you're having an aneurysm/viral meningitis/a heart attack/whatever, if you take a xanax, you'll fall asleep and die.)

in the process of making an appointment with an herbalist i respect highly to discuss some things i've noticed and see what his recommendations are. i'm good at helping other people...i suck at helping myself.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

stuff from all over.

so....been a little negligent of the ol blog here.

what's been going on over at the ol house here:

my grandma came and spent last weekend with us. if i hadn't been ill, i'd probably have utilized the time better.

my tincture press came. *squee*

went to bed, bath, and beyond and ordered my kitchenaid mixer. and the grain mill attachment. helpful for making one's own flour, and also for beer brewing.

harvested a crap-ton of tomatoes, more zucchini, more beans. omg heirloom tomato salad. so good.

did some research on benign prostatic hypertrophy and wrote a paper for school. more on that later. learned that hops not only contain phytoestrogens, but also has been shown to produce breast cell changes in those susceptible to female cancers. very interesting. makes me wonder about the overwhelming breast tenderness i experienced during the last few cycles in conparison with the amount of beer i had been drinking. however, no conclusion can be drawn from that, because more late night beer drinking equals more coffee equals i already have fibroadenomas, and that's one of the things you're supposed to stay away from, in the event of fibroadenomas. i've found lately i can't really drink coffee anymore, more than about one cup and i get disoriented and panicky. fair enough. doesn't matter anyway, i can't drink beer on a regular basis, i get pretty bad rebound anxiety from it.

my sister is here, she drove through the torrential rains we had last night to come hang out and eat oreos and pizza and watch back episodes of shin chan and it's always sunny in philadelphia.

speaking of torrential rains, fall out from ike is predicted today, complete with high wind advisory and chance for severe storms and tornadoes. last night while we were at bed bath and beyond, i guess a tornado hit an apartment complex i drive past twice a week on my way out to plymouth. crazy. i'm sitting outside right now, and it's trying to clear up, which is actually not good, because it means more chance of severe weather later. i'm missing an herbwalk today, i'm a little bummed about that, but at some point, it's going to start pouring, it's a long drive to and from, and damn, i'm tired. the spa is actually picking up, so in addition to my 10 hour workday thursday, i went and worked thursday evening at the spa, and all day yesterday.

pressed some tinctures out this morning - cramp bark, wild yam root, licorice root, and calendula. good yields from all - 70-80%. nice.

wes has spent considerable time in the woods lately. my new favorite story is how he got screwed by the michigan mushroom hunter's guild. he went out to proud lake last weekend while the MMHC was having their annual walk there, unbeknownst to him. he would've had an impressive haul, but every clump he came across was picked clean by them. he ran across bears head tooth, chicken mushroom, and some other stuff. he went out in the pouring rain yesterday and had a pretty impressive haul of honey mushrooms, bears head tooth and other hiriceums, and small puff balls. spore prints definitely point to the honey mushrooms not being deadly galerinas, but i'm still suspicious of them. there's a few other look alikes that grow here that are not good edibles. he's going to give them a try later, and if he's not sick and dying for the next few days, well...i guess they're not poisonous. i say feed them to the neighbors. don't know that i'll be eating them, myself.

okay, back to BPH. Benign prostatic hypertrophy occurs often as men age, which is essentially a swelling of the prostate, sometimes cutting off urine flow completely, since the urethra runs through the prostate. I was reading a few articles in addition to my reading for school, and I was struck by the coincidence of the rate of BPH in concordance with a "western" diet. there's a much higher incidence of men with BPH if they're eating the "western" diet, which i take to mean more highly processed. BPH occurs when there are higher levels of estrogens in the body than there are free testosterones, is one of the theories, and the prostate becomes less receptive to DHT, which is a form of testosterone. Westernized diet=more estrogens? Fair enough, especially when you consider a lot of highly processed food contains a lot of highly processed soy. While these men aren't necessarily sitting down and eating a cake of tofu every day, they ARE consuming a crapload of processed soy. I'd read somewhere else (don't quote me on this) that processed soy is more prone to causing cell changes than unprocessed soy, like edamame, or tofu, or even homemade soy milk. Japanese men following a traditional diet with tofu & stuff still have lower levels of BPH than their counterparts eating a westernized diet....processed soy??

anyway, that's all hearsay and conjecture, for certain, but something interesting to think about, and whether it's processed soy or higher levels of garbage in processed foods, it's pretty clear - it's bad for you in more ways than one. apparently that didn't stop me from eating oreos for breakfast. *grin*

we're starting to formulate more of a plan for the mushroom growing stuff. the shed's probably going to be unsuitable, so wes is talking about building another one. he talked to the farmer's market guy about selling mushrooms n stuff there, and the guy was like hell yes! so now wes is trying to talk me into selling teas and tinctures and massages and stuff at the booth. i'm interested, but like everything else, i'm scared. teas would be easy enough, but tinctures? i'd have to look into the legality of that...massages also shouldn't be a problem, but there is an issue with having to be licensed within the city of farmington. i'll have to look into that. then there's also the fact that i don't have an office and don't really want to refer people to the spa all the way up in keego. not to mention, it's freaking EXPENSIVE. good lord. i don't know that i'd ever pay that much for a massage. not that i get most of it, but i get a healthy cut, when compared to how some other places pay their MT's. plus, the table, sheets, oil,'s all provided. i've been thinking about leasing some office space in a historic building not far from downtown farmington, but i don't have the extra income to sustain an office without much of a client base. the office space in the building is quite cheap, but i'm pretty sure part of the process of getting licensed in farmington also applies to the space, and i'm also pretty sure that you need to have your own bathroom. i would love to get a couple of other MT's into sharing a space...something i should work on. i don't do chair massage right now, and don't have a chair for chair massage, but that wouldn't be hard to acquire, both in terms of skill and materials.

i have a new client next week with fibromyalgia. i remember very little from school regarding fibromyalgia, so...research time!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

i am afraid.

i've been thinking about this lately. a lot, actually. and while it's not horribly diy a way, it is.

i'm afraid. of mostly everything. here's a great for instance - i've now been sick all week. minimal fever, but nasty gut pains, like i'm loaded with hot rocks. nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, the...uh...back door trots. no appetite. and this makes me afraid. i am rarely sick. i have no control over it. i'm also afraid of thunderstorms. yes, thunderstorms. specifically, those with high winds, or the threat of *gasp* tornadoes. i'm afraid of airplanes. car crashes. fire. burglars. the list goes on and on and on. i really am afraid of damn near everything. it would be easy to reach for a bottle of xanax every time i was afraid of something, but i won't let myself do it. i haven't in yeaaaars. because i know when the fog lifts...i'll still be afraid.

these are all things i can't control. you know what else i'm afraid of? people. i recognized at least one person at the UpS conference, but said nothing...because i was afraid. i've got an amazing opportunity to drive across the state and learn food preservation skills from a woman who's been doing it for years at a pretty good price...and i'm afraid. what if i have to drive in the rain all the way there? what if i hit another deer? same goes for herb classes that are an hour away from me. what if i commit and then we have nasty weather? what if i have to drive in the country in the dark? what if other people see i'm afraid?

i have another opportunity to go to a couple day retreat in the woods of pennsylvania to learn about scouting, and to learn more about myself. this opportunity is given by an amazing teacher who i've communicated with for over a year now...did a weekend bootcamp with him last summer and it changed my life. he doesn't teach you how to do...anything. but you get to try on different modes of being and it stretches your perception. and guess what? i'm afraid. afraid to ask wes if i can have the money, because it is A LOT of money. it doesn't fit in with our plan which is to throw any money we can toward our debt. wes's car is dying, and we'll soon be a one car family. i'm also afraid to go be in the woods for a couple of days with strangers.

of course, i'm not afraid to make mistakes. and i love owning up to them. i don't mind playing the fool and letting people laugh at my failures. (but i am, on the other hand, afraid of a pressure canner blowing up in my face.) so, i'm putting it out there for all to see - i'm freaking afraid!! one of my teachers rags on me - why do you smile and laugh when you're in pain? because i do. and it's hard for me not to laugh at myself right now, but i know that i would just be covering up the fact that it pains me that i'm afraid.

there was more i wanted to say, but i'm on a conference call that promises to be amazing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

we have a winner!

this has been driving me nuts for some time. it's such a cool looking plant, and we had no idea what it was.

well, i took the whole day off, and i'm feeling a little better. not making a mad dash for the bathroom every 20 minutes, so...that's better. still have gut cramps, especially if i try to eat anything. managed to choke down some real food, and it hasn't given me too much of a problem.

so, on this whole day off, i've done nothing, which has felt INCREDIBLE. i've laid on the couch, laid in bed, read a little of Matthew Woods' book I'm working on, messed around online quite a bit. Catching up on herbalist's blogs. So many got to go to the WHC. ...someday. someone had posted a picture on her blog of a woman holding Montropa uniflora.

which is....indian pipe. which the picture above. plant id'ed. booyah. this makes sense, because proud lake seems to be blanketed in russulas, and indian pipe is parasitic to members of the russulacae.

i'll save the happy dance for another day. i should get off the couch and make some dinner. ...not going to happen.

finally. pictures of my yard.

it's been pretty quiet over here, if by quiet you mean anything but.

my birthday was friday, out to dinner and to bowling with some friends, had some people over until the wee hours. that didn't end quite the way i had in mind, and was a great motivator for everyone involved to stop drinking. i know at least 4 people who are cutting back or stopping altogether after friday.

i, for my part, seem to be suffering from an untimely case of gastroenteritis. i actually took at least the morning off, not wanting to get too far from a bathroom. boo. i've been sick for a couple of days now. this is not the most fun i've ever had, but at least i'm not dying from viral meningitis or something. so, not being able to sit still for more than 5 minutes at a time, i finally took pictures of my yard.
A view of the left side of the yard. In the back corner the raised beds are going. We'll start on those sometime this month. The shed is apparently being turned into a mushroom house, according to wes. i have no arguments with that. he's already done a bunch of research, and i'm fairly certain he'll be growing oysters, although he did mention something about maitakes. i don't think he'll grow maitakes, because they're SO easy to find here at the end of summer and in the fall.

my sad little vegetable garden. also, more space for raised beds. it's going to be hard for me to balance my overwhelming desire to farm the crap out of our back yard while still leaving plenty of space for my son to run around in.

we've got a dog run we've always longed to do something in as well. mostly lambs quarters and grape vine back there now, although you can see a rogue zucchini that my husband tossed back there, as it was eaten alive by bugs.

cucmbers on the top, poor things. there are actually cukes growing, but who knows what'll happen to them. the zucchini plants (on the bottom) didn't do so bad. well, comparatively speaking. we let the zuccs get as big as ball bats before we harvested them. there's a flower back there that i would pick and cook if i weren't nauseated enough to require a stockpot next to me at all times.

melons on the top, only one plant survived, and poorly, at that. planted far too late, for certain. on the bottom, my broccoli plants are finally growing, but a pest is eating holes in the leaves. i believe those are pepper plants behind them, which just started to grow last month. behind that, the beans. we've made a few small harvests. they're tasty. and purple.

big plans for this little plot of land, that's for certain.

now, for a cast of characters. or, my unruly band of felines.

on top, off in the distance, you can see bummer. he's not mine, but spends a great deal of time in our yard. bottom is morrison. he and bummer look like twins. morrison was a feral, and a rescue. he's a lover now. very vocal. here, pissed i am taking pictures instead of petting him.

this here is mr. alex. another rescue. this picture belies his size. he's an 18 pound power house. he was nowhere to be found while i was taking pictures, but decided he wanted to come in and "help" while i was uploading them. if by help you mean....sit on my lap and claw at my hands while i was trying to get stuff done. this is his favorite game. in the background, you can see morrison doing his own brand of helping. this consists of sneaking behind the laptop only to walk on it moments later. (and yes, my couch is red).

shu on top, charlotte on the bottom. both are fairly skittish, and prefer to hang out mainly in the bedroom. both are kittens of rescues we've taken in.

and there you have it.

even though i feel wretched, i think i'll do some studying today. i need to accomplish something. other than a nap, which is coming up shortly. i've been sleeping greater than 10 hours a day. i think i'll also order my canning supplies. tincture press is finally on it's way.