Archive | March 2014

Riddle Me This, Batman ~

Okay, now that I’ve got the title of my newest post down, I scarcely know where to start from here.  The past 24 hours have been … “interesting”, to say the least.  I’m still running amok with a multitude of emotions, convictions and prayers.  At this very moment, I’m determined.  But in ten minutes, I may be a fearful bag of tears.  Trying NOT to go there!

I think I’ve had my wake up call.  Like the drop-dead one of them all ~ besides ever being told that I’m terminal.  But I already know that.  Yesterday I heard the words “you are riddled with” from an orthopedic specialist of an orthopedic group that I highly respect and trust.  I barely heard him say “osteoarthritis in your right foot.”  I had gone there by requested referral from my primary care doc to determine what had been the cause of incredible pain in my right foot for about the past year.  I’ve been putting it off, thinking it’s only tendonitis and it would go away eventually.  Instead, the pain has increased, and I have become accustomed to ignoring it and hiding it (like I do my chronic back pain) until most recently when I realized it’s just too painful to ignore.  My ability to walk distances has become extremely compromised, making even grocery shopping difficult at best.  Any mall is an absolute nightmare, and I’ve given up on ever seeing the inside of one again.  The maximum allowable time limit for me to be able to walk currently is about 15 minutes before my foot “gives out”.  After an hour or two of rest off my foot, I can continue again, for about another 15 minutes… maybe.

But, yeah, OA (osteoarthritis) ~ wasn’t expecting THAT one!  Since yesterday, my thoughts have been racing.  The ortho doc said low impact aerobics, swimming, and ortho shoes/sneakers.  Ugggh!  Seriously?  I’m going to have to change my whole lifestyle for this affliction!  Well, yes, I am!  There is no cure, only pain management and exercise because weight loss will help.  There it is again… that weight loss stuff!  That ALWAYS just keeps popping up, doesn’t it?

I had today off from work, and was planning on staying home and doing some sewing/quilting.  However, I ended up researching gyms/health clubs locally online that also have a swimming pool ~ AND are relatively affordable.  With that, I decided on the YMCA, their North Area location (North Syracuse/Liverpool/Cicero/Clay area), and I drove the 15 miles to take a tour and find out more.  Their “open swim” times coincide pretty well with my schedule, but I will need and am willing to make massive changes, including getting up and out the door by 5:00 a.m. each weekday I go, taking everything work-related with me, including breakfast, swimming and working out and then making it to work (30 minutes from the Y) before 8:00 a.m.  I have not yet joined, but will talk with the husband about it tonight.  Wish he would join with me, but he is NOT willing to change HIS schedule for anyone or anything.

Satisfied with the YMCA tour, I decided to go back to SOS (Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists) as they have a”store” where they sell orthopedic items (shoes, sneakers, socks, braces etc), and I wanted to take a second look at their shoes and sneakers, as I will obviously need to trash all my other non-supportive footwear and get used to buying “ugly” ortho shoes!  The fact that I have small feet (size 7), and a high instep should make this interesting.  But the SOS store had a wonderful customer service woman who was very attentive and knowledgeable.  Of course, all of the shoes were those European sizes (36-37-38 etc), and were created obnoxiously narrow.  After about an hour of trying on various shoes/sneakers, and actually meeting with their specialty orthotic shoe person on staff, we were able to come to consensus on a pair of shoes and a pair of sneakers… with added/padded insoles.  I wasn’t going to purchase two pairs of anything, because it’s very pricey and made my stomach feel a little sick to see the price tags.  But I needed to have something to wear to work, and something more casual.  I mean, what woman can get by on ONE PAIR OF SHOES?  Seriously!  Especially since I knew when I got home I would be trashing all of my current shoes in my closet.  No more even looking longingly at a pair of heels.

My new "ortho shoes".

My new “ortho shoes”.

Okay, so they aren’t “bad” shoes.  They kinda look like my MaryJanes I was wearing earlier, but have now tossed in the trash ($3.00 from WalMart).  But these new shoes are very comfortable.  I was informed it’ll take awhile to get used to them, that is believable.  And they should last!  After all, I could’ve flown from Syracuse to LA and back on the price of these two pairs.  I think I heard my credit card (that I have not used in over a year) cry out in pain as I swiped the card reader at the store.  I’ll add a sneaker photo later on.

So, I guess I’m entering a new phase in my life that will affect my entire lifestyle, yet again.  I’m back “on the wagon” with my better eating habits, after being on hiatus for a few months – off and on.  I so want to make this work!  The alternative is just unbearable for me.  I will not be immobile.  If I don’t lose the weight, that’s exactly where I’m headed – in short time!  This is it.  This is do or die.

By the way, what about the Relay for Life in June, and the quilt raffle?  Yeah, I’m still on board with that all the way.  I don’t care what that takes, it’s ON.  When I explained to my doc about the upcoming relay, he said there are a few “short term options” we can use to just get me through that event… since I’m “adamantly committed”, he said.    So, please keep that in mind when you visit my other blog with the information about the quilt raffle etc.  I haven’t gotten to my goal yet…https://tamaraeckstadt.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/quilting-to-crush-cancer/   Help give me some incentive by supporting my Relay.  And I am adamantly committed!

So, that’s where I’m at today.  I appreciate you stopping by and checking in on me and reading my posts now and then.  If anyone has personal experience/knowledge with osteoarthritis, I’d love to hear about your travels down that road.  You can email me at tamalecks@yahoo.com.  TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Quilting to Crush Cancer ~ Updated 5-28-14

Relay for Life Logo

Do you know someone who currently has some type of cancer?  Either themselves or a family member?  Do you have a friend, acquaintance or know someone who has survived cancer of any kind?  A friend of mine died last week from cancer, and, for some reason, this one death has brought the whole cancer fight to the forefront of my life.  Suddenly.  I have been affected by cancer in my family.  I have a 14 yr old great-nephew who is a young survivor.  My father had cancer (though he passed on due to other causes).  Did you know that this month, March, is National Colon Cancer Awareness month?  Have you ever had a colonoscopy?  Ladies, do you check your breasts often and regularly?  Me?  Yes, yes and yes!

I not only talk the talk, now I’m going to walk the walk!  I will be walking to save lives on Friday & Saturday, June 13-14, 2014, at CW Baker High School (my alma mater) in Baldwinsville, New York.  Why?  Because I CAN and want to for those who cannot.  Relay participants, including me, all participate because we’ve been affected by cancer in some way, and because a Relay For Life event gives us the power to fight back. This is my opportunity to honor cancer survivors, remember people we have lost, and help raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

To help the ACS receive even more donations, I’m not simply asking my friends, family etc. to make a donation, but I’ve giving it a little more “interest”.  I’m making a queen size quilt to raffle, and here’s your chance to not only make a difference by donating to the American Cancer Society, but you just might win a great quilt in the process!

My Relay for Life Quilt is an approximate queen size quilt.  The top and bottom are 100% cotton.  The batting is a collaboration of cotton, bamboo and rayon… and is soft yet light.  The colors of the top are navy blue print, lilac, and ecru & beige print.  The backing is a “mottled” purple.

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This disassembled quilt has been kicking around in my closet for about 4 years, and I finally decided to pull it out and finish it just for this purpose.  It is currently “in the works”.  I am working on “sandwiching it” this weekend, and begin quilting next week and will hopefully have it bound by the end of this month.  I will continue to update and post photos as I go along.

Now to the nitty gritty.  Would you like to own this quilt?  Maybe you’d like to give it as a gift to someone who likes purple?  Maybe you were going to donate to my relay anyway, and this gives you that much more incentive!?  Chances at winning this quilt will cost you a $10.00 donation to My Personal Relay for Life.  I am participating on a local team called “The Pastor’s Flock“, with friends and my daughter, Kristen.  Our team has a $1,000 goal to reach, and my personal goal is $100.  You can help us reach and surpass our respective goals by taking a chance on this quilt raffle.   Here’s how:

Go to My Personal Relay Page and click on the “Donate Now” link, right there to the right of my photo.  Do Not Donate Anonymously.  You need to donate using your name so I will know to put your name on a raffle ticket!  A $5.00 donation will get you one raffle ticket; a $20 donation will get you four and so on.  Once you donate, I will receive an email notification that you have made a donation on My Personal Relay Page, and I’ll know to add your raffle ticket to all the others who have donated as well!  ONLINE DONORS HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT JUNE 10, 2014, TO MAKE YOUR DONATION AND GET A RAFFLE TICKET IN YOUR NAME ADDED FOR A CHANCE TO WIN.

When and how will you know that you’ve won?  The quilt will accompany our Team, “The Pastor’s Flock“, to the event on June 13, 2014.  There, it will be displayed and there will be an opportunity for others to buy raffle tickets for $5.00 each while at the event.  Those who purchase raffle tickets at the event will have their names added to the online donors and all will be mixed up before a winner is chosen!  One ticket will be drawn, and that person will win the quilt.  If I know that person, I will notify him/her in the most expedient way (email/phone/text/Facebook/Wordpress blog)… OR there is a space on the online donation form under Section 2  “Your Gift” where you can fill in a “private note” for me personally.  Give me your contact information there.  If you’re an out-of-towner donor, you’ll need to pay for your own shipping (I’ll get in touch with you about that).

Hey, did I mention this is an overnight gig?  Yep, it starts at 7 pm Friday night (right after a 10 hr day at work!) and goes on all through the night until 7 am the next (Saturday) morning! (see the logo?)  Talk about challenging!!  There are “events” throughout the night to keep us motivated (and awake!).  If you go to THIS LINK, you’ll see how Relay for Life Baldwinsville participates in the fight.

I think that about explains it all, don’t you?  Now, who wants to help me AND my team reach our goals?  Who wants to win that gorgeous quilt?  Who wants to help END CANCER?  You know what to do ~

CLICK HERE TO DONATE ON MY PERSONAL RELAY FOR LIFE WEB PAGE.

~ Thank you for your generous support ~

If you would like to ask a question, or need information, you can email me at

tamalecks@yahoo.com

Tamara Eckstadt

UPDATE~

May 28, 2014 ~ Time for an update!  Well, the quilt is all done ~ has been for awhile.  I should’ve updated this before now!  Been getting ready for the Relay for Life part now.  I’ll be hauling a bunch of stuff to the school grounds for this overnight campout… tent, sleeping bag(s), chairs, table, some sort of lighting (we will have one electrical outlet) etc.  I’m putting together an on-site bake sale at our vendor’s tent that will be set up near the hub of activities – also near the porta-potty (we’ve got our priorities straight!).  The event starts at 7 pm and continues on all night until around 4:30-5:00 a.m.  There will be bands, entertainment, themed laps around the track, all kinds of other fundraisers in the midst.  Sounds like a busy/fun night coming up!  I’m tentatively planning to have our Quilt Raffle drawing at midnight (EST) ~ hopefully going to have our Team Captain pull the winning drawing.

Here are a few more photos of the quilt being raffled…

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I hope you’ve enjoyed checking out my Relay for Life Quilt for the quilt raffle.  Lotsa work and love right there.  I think the best part, so far, is that everyone who has purchased a ticket(s) is someone I really care about ~ whether they’re family, friends, co-workers and/or colleagues.  I’d love to see any one of them win this special gift.  And I’d love to see more family, friends, co-workers and/or colleagues get in on the raffle!  It’s SEW EZ!  The links to donate/purchase a raffle ticket are above.  Only $5.00 per chance!

I’ll be updating again, once more, but this time from the event.  TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

The Blessings of a Featherbed ~

 

For those of you who do not know what it is like to live with pain, sometimes unbearable pain, 24/7, you may not appreciate what I’m saying here.  But I am so excited that I just had to share it!

Yes, I’m “one of those people” who have the handicap of living in pain all of the time.  Yes, it is a handicap.  Never thought I’d think of it in that way, but believe me, when you’re living it, there’s no other way to think of it.  It can direct your life.  I don’t have a wheelchair, I don’t have an artificial limb, I’m not blind and I don’t wear a cast… so you can’t SEE my handicap by looking at me.

I have an L5, T5, T6 & T7 herniated discs in my back.  Since 1988-1989 I’ve been dealing with on-again/off-again pain until the late 90’s when it became full time on-again.  I’ve run the gamut of chiropractors, pain specialists, orthopedic specialists, physical therapy and medications.  I have been medicated since 1991.  The list of prescription and OTC meds I’ve tried is too long to list… every type, color, size, shape, dosage, co-pay imaginable.  Surgery is not an option on this particular location.  My latest “thing”, besides continuing medication, is an ultrasound guided epidural cortisone interlaminar block, given in quarterly injections under mild sedation.  Most of the time they help take the edge off, but never completely alleviate the pain.  So, I continue to also keep getting my medications “adjusted” trying to find the best combination for relief.

The worst for me is bed time.  Laying down and trying to go to sleep is an absolute nightmare for which, oftentimes, I end up taking a double dose of meds and crying myself to sleep.  The pain of laying down is ferocious!  Like Satan is stabbing me in the back with an 11″ dagger over and over.  If it begins to subside, it begins anew each time I shift or move to a new position… all night.  Only a very few times have I ever gotten full relief from this hell on earth, and that was whenever we’ve stayed in a hotel or a B & B that has a featherbed “topper” on their accommodations.  Recently, for Valentine’s Day, we spent the weekend at a local Inn and they had just such a featherbed topper.  It wasn’t until we actually checked out and went on about our way that I actually realized that I’d slept comfortably and gotten up without pain!  WITHOUT pain!  Husband and I finally began to put some pieces together and decided it was either a new mattress and/or a featherbed topper for us in our near future!

Well, to make a long story short, we got the featherbed topper online through Amazon, and it was delivered yesterday.  We opened it up, fluffed it on top of our mattress (covered it with a sheet as we don’t yet have a “cover” for it), and last night was pure unmedicated heaven!  I was able to lay down and, instead of the excruciating pain of my back adjusting to the bed, it was immediate relief!  I could roll onto my side – EITHER ONE – and not whimper and feel that stabbing in my back that I’d become accustomed to.  When I woke up this morning, there was no pain!  None!  I could even stretch, for the first time in years, without wincing.  I could sit up without a struggle and stand up without assistance of some sort for the first time in decades.  And, I was still unmedicated!

Now, I don’t know the “ifs” “whys” and “wherefores” of this miracle in my life, but that 5″ featherbed topper is the best blessing I’ve had … I can’t even tell you!  I don’t know how or why it works for me, but it does.  Such a simple solution for a comfortable sleep!  I do still have constant pain during the day, but it’s much more manageable (most of the time) if I’m careful and conscious about my movements.  But the REASON I’m sharing this is to share my unadulterated JOY this morning, not to focus on the unseen handicap of constant pain.  I felt so good I had to restrain myself from dancing in my livingroom this morning!  But, I digress!

How did YOU sleep last night?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post.  Hope to see you again soon.  TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt