health


       I am sitting here listening to nothing but the hum of the modem next to me. The dog is sleeping and Mark has just said he was going to bed. I am tired, yet not feeling like I can get to bed quite yet. These last 4 months have been anything but easy for me or for Mark either. He has been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder for a long time. I am trying to pinpoint the actual diagnosis and I think it was around 2004. Before the diagnosis, there were times of extreme energy, and extreme “insight”, extreme anger, enlightening, followed by significant depression and paranoia sometimes on both sides of the spectrum.

  After the diagnosis, as we looked in the rearview mirror of our life, we realized that the times of behaviors that were not his normal self-were most likely  cycling through mania or depressions, and we could pretty much pinpoint the cycling was once every 4-5 yrs, and through the years it became more frequent, cyclical and seemed to be certain months/seasons each year.  After the diagnosis and medical treatment, 3 hospitalizations, and after trying a few types of medications, the docs for the meds that worked for him. Meds that helped to control the highs from getting too high and the lows from getting too low.

Well, this last manic episode, the current one, has been going on for 4 months, and it has been probably the most fluctuating, and high energy one yet. There have been quick decisions, fast changes, to the point that from one moment to the next it can feel like the direction changed  360 degrees. Now I am not saying the changes (as I step back and look are bad, )they are just rapid, and for a non-manic person, it is really exhausting.  I am doing my best to keep up with the latest changes, and I think when everything settles down, we won’t regret the changes, but he will be looking at it like he ran a 1000 mile marathon, and with his disabilities, that would be an impossible feat.      (20180314_193806.jpg  This photo represents the speed and number of thoughts and changes these last 4 months have been like )

Everything he has done, he has learned, he has made happen has been with the best of intention. To secure our future, our kids future, and their kids future. It has been 4 months of very little sleep, learning about how investing works, evaluating and adjusting our vehicle situation, thinking about where we live and where we may want to live in years to come, reaching out to family he had not spoken to in a very long time, realizing life is precious, and analyzing every nook and cranny of our life. He has not meant to, but cannot stop talking at times, assuming how an interaction will go that has not yet happened and having conversations with that person before the event even materializes ( if it ever will)

So that is why I am here typing,  the silence right now is priceless. I love him to pieces, and I am sure he has no idea how many words he can say in a short period of time, or how all the things that make sense to him, are hard to process for me, as his mouth cannot keep up with his mind or his thoughts. I read an article on being in a marriage with a Bipolar spouse, and one of the things mentioned is to deep breathe, well I have been a deep breather for a long time, but I have taken it to new levels, my lungs have got to be the clearest they have ever been.  All of the symptoms mentioned he has displayed, and FINALLY, I feel we are starting to calm the symptoms down. It has got to do a number on his body, the non stop everything, the emotions from ecstatic to such anger and rage, the lack of sleep, the continuing fast pace of his brain, and feeling like he is in a fog at times, that all has to take a toll on one’s body.

  HE tries frequently to take off for a bit to give me a break, and even though it is nice he does that, the mania can contribute to more new ideas, more changes. He will take his kindle and cell phone and head off to the library, or Dunkin Donuts and work on things he is doing there.

His doctor just doubled his one medication, and that is slowly working so he can sleep through the night. Last night was the first night he slept more than 2-3 hrs. Yeah, I think he actually slept for 7 hrs last night. I too was sleeping, as it has been a ride and a half. He said he does not feel as scattered or spinning as he has been. He tries to appreciate my needs during the day, but it is not easy for him.    I have learned many times over that Bipolar is not able to be managed without professional care. That med management or therapy might each work, but for the best care, you need both. The therapist should be one who understands bipolar disorder and also how it affects people in different phases of their life. As a person ages, the disorder takes on different characteristics, at least that is what I am witnessing.

 The internet is such a wealth of information, and there are forums and support groups for anything you can think of, BUT I do feel the internet can also be a trigger for the mania to be refed as it is trying to slow down. There is so much coming at us from all kinds of areas, it can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

So as I sit here in silence, I am thankful he can sleep, I am spending some time praying, talking to God, I am trying to gather my thoughts and I am thankful for all the positive things that have happened and also thankful for the support of our family members who have been there through all of this. It has not been easy, not for me, or for him. Thank God for our children, for our grandkids, for his mom, for our children’s spouses, for our friends who understand and for our church.

 One of the MANY things that have been accomplished in a very short period of time, is he signed up for a domain name and will have a website up and running hopefully in a few weeks. We need to take time to dedicate solely to that, to design the web pages and have the platform for him, for me, for others to post on and for him to share some of his thoughts, some of his experiences, some of him that is what makes him the incredible person that he is. So be watching for his blogs to start on his very own website in weeks to come.  There will be things written, that come from his mind through his hands and end up as words on the screen, things that I do not know, things that show what makes him who he is.      So thanks for reading this, thanks for your time. Say a prayer that the meds will continue to slow him down a bit so he can see the world,  so he can stop and hear things being said, so he can stop and see all the gifts God gives us every single minute, every single breath, every single day.

Until later….                                     Mrs Justa  is signing off.

 

 

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After we came back from the first family reunion,100_1023 which was my side of the family,3 weeks later  we went to a camp site North East of Lockport NY and had our family reunion with our kids and our kids kids.

This is the 2nd year we have done this and it is really nice to do it.

We can focus on one another and being less people it is a great way for the cousins to play together and our kids to spend time together.

Life is so darn short, life is so darn busy, we just do not get together enough. We were there for 2 full days, leaving on the third day in the morning. 100_1065As I look back at the time I think I was most moved by just watching the interactions and realizing that all of this could not have been possible without Marks and my children. Adrianne and her kids came out on the 1st full day we were there for an afternoon and evening, her husband unfortunately was not feeling good and could not make it. She said maybe next year she will plan to camp the full time too… It was awesome to spend time with them.

The other part that was special to me was 100_1061some one on one time I was able to spend with Emily. Emily is now 16 and being a teen is not easy ever, I think it is tougher in 2013 than it was when I was a teen. Emily is a smart young lady and she has a pretty good sense of humor. I just like spending time with her. That was special.

I also love time with our kids and their spouses, it is so neat to watch them interact, like they just saw each other the day before, we did miss Josh though. The time separated seems to disappear. And their kids – our grandkids are funny to watch. Jeff and Amanda’s kids are 3 and almost 5 and Adrianne and Josh’s kids are almost 2 and 4. 100_1053So they go right up the totem pole of toddler ages. They walked around, they rode bikes, they watched as we tried to fly kites, they played until they dropped with exhaustion. The magic of the fire, the wonder of the sunset, the toasting of s’mores, the memories are priceless.

I feel blessed to have this opportunity and I look back at all the bumps in the road, the hills of life climbed, the slopes sometimes slipped on—they all led us to here. And ya know what— every tear, every smile, every wonder, every pray— it was all worth it. 100_1114

Until the next post…. hang on to the blessings that come before you..watch for the simplest things that mean so much. Love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

One of the things that the boys faamily reunion 2013 (2)did was come over to our site and use sidewalk chalk and draw on our driveway. We moved our truck down to give them room and kind of create a boundary line form the park road.

They decided to draw emergency vehicles… the top big one is a police car, the middle was an ambulance and the bottom one became a fire truck.

a little later on I needed to move the truck back up in the driveway about 5 feet. Then I was going to go in the camper and get stuff ready for dinner . The boys wanted to join me. Being the truck is pretty high up in the air, I told the boys they had to get in the truck and I would move it. ( That way I did not have to worry they were in the driveway as I moved it.)

From LONG ago— if I had a kid in a vehicle, before I closed the door I would say—“Hands on heads” ( that way the fingers were not going to be in the door frame… ) So I had the boys pop up in the truck on the passengers side and I said “Hands on heads..” I saw they were both doing that and I closed the door. faamily reunion 2013 (55)I moved quickly to the drivers side and opened the door…I had to laugh as Brandon said “ Gamma how long do we have to hold our heads?”

After taking the photo, I released them from position !!

Camping is a time to remember that you have places things go, and they need to get back in their place when you are done with them. You want to make sure what ever it is, that you have what you need and know where it is…

Like the shower stuff goes in a tote bag, you go to the shower, almost methodically take things out in a certain order, and put them back after. I was a little anal with the shower, wanting to make sure it was clean when I got in and clean for the next person. So on the tote bag, in a pocket was a spray bottle of Mr Clean and a squeegee. I really did not mind spraying it before and after, and felt that I was helping somewhat to make it more comfortable.

Now that I am on the other side of this rather weird experience… I can laugh …so here goes…..  on Weds….it was hot and humid, so I decided to wear capri pants that day. Well I  wanted to get my A.M shower and thought that I should shave my legs, so I  made sure I packed the razor—along with all the other stuff… I went over and cleaned the shower, turned on the HOT water..ahhh…. got the razor out and went about my business, when all of the sudden I felt a stinging… I cut my leg !! ( I had not done that since I was 13 !!!) So here I am… all I have is my soap, a scrunggie, shampoo, Mr Clean, clean clothes, my dirty clothes, a white towel and a squeegee. So I am frantically spraying the shower , trying to hold my leg up in mid air and press on the area, as hot water is pouring down on me, wondering how the heck I am going to get from the shower to the camper. I still had to wash my hair—so I did that on one leg- the other kinda swinging back and forth in the air, my body swaying with it…. occasionally needing to grip the wall and I am envisioning me totally loosing my balance and falling out of the shower with my less than taut wet body slapping on the floor..and who knows who would be standing there looking at me… fortunately that did not happen- . But I was still in a predicament – see if I lowered my leg it was going to bleed- so I am trying to maneuver around in this rather precarious position. I knew no one in there..and was thinking ( my mind was like a slot machine –tick tick ticking..) I am looking at my clothes, my white towel and finally came up with tying my slightly used underwear around my leg like a tourniquet and hobbling faamily reunion 2013 (16)back to the camper.  I was relieved to see I had not brought my capris there—for the underwear would have been showing as it soaked up the blood… as I walked back. It was a definite Girl Scout move !!.   I slowly dried off my body, quickly towel dried my hair, did the Mr Clean squeegee process—all as I wobbled on one leg…. then back to the camper.. Oh I can assure you that I carefully stepped ..as I did not my make shift tourniquet to fall off on the pathway… I got in the camper—and put on a rather tight band aid, shared my experience with Mark… and chuckled at the what could have beens as I rinsed out the blood…

Looking at my leg today- I am amazed my process kept it from bleeding—I did not nick it.. I skinned it about 1 1/2 inches long !!. dang !! No wonder it stung… HA.. the joys if improvising..the joys of camping…I love camping… but think my bath bag will now include band aids.. LOL.. Have a great night..more family reunion thoughts to come again soon… Love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

June 2013 029Well it has been a very long while since I popped over here to this home of my thoughts. Life seems to be a little chaotic, a lot busy and sometimes full of unpredictable things.

Work is good, it is never ever boring, and very fast pace. Changes within the government on healthcare reform, changes in medical treatments and advances in current treatments and medications, it is always an opportunity to learn more new stuff.

Mark and I will occasionally go to Oswego and watch the sun set. It is so darn peaceful up there, and a place to kind of put life in a temporary hold pattern. Sunsets and the time just before them is a favorite time of day for both of us.

It is a time when the world slowly changes yet I feel I can stop.

It is a time to reflect on the day passing behind us, and planning for the day that is yet to be.

It almost feels like no matter what happened- it is a closing of a chapter and an opportunity to start a new chapter- fresh.

It is a time to relax and June 2013 042know that the bed is not too many hours away.

My days are busy, I really love my job, and the people I work with are good people. So all that together makes an environment where a day is something to look forward to doing. Have you ever been in a situation you hated? Boy the day drags, the clock seems like a minute is an hour.

I am so thankful that I have the days that fly by!.However, as the days fly by, that means the years fly by.

Our grand children are growing fast, our 1005886_10201429826646558_1989262251_n[1]little guy Brandon just had pre-k graduation! We were able to get to it, the school had it in the evening.  It was so cool to see how hard the class worked for this.They sang a variety of songs, choreographed, and one with even sign language too.

Wow next year kindergarten.

 

And this weekend our niece is graduating from high school. Gee whiz… time flies.

But fortunately as time flies, we learn lessons, we learn that things in life do not always have to matter, we learn that life is short, we learn that there is a reason for everything, sometimes it takes a lifetime to try to figure it out.

This weekend is the “Strawberry Moon” as it was referred to in the news article today. Tomorrow it is supposed to be the best night to see it. I can not wait. For somewhere in the child part of my brain, many many year ago, I found comfort in believing those who had died , those who meant something to me, that they could sit on the moon and watch over me. I refuse to let that comfort go. Tomorrow night- I will be watching the moon, waving to my mom, dad, sister and grandparents…. making loving faces to our dogs and cats…. and trying to capture the moment on film. I hope you too can see it….what ever it will look like. Lots of love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

Feels great..sunshine, changing the drapes, cleaning, snow going away, tomorrow I want to do yard clean up… ahhh another winter is slowly leaving. This photo is last Easter… wonder if the snow will be all gone this Easter???

Easter Sunday 2012-walk weeded, mulched 003I am kinda glad for today. I finally felt good enough to deep clean. The past 6 weeks I had been knocked down and dragged out by an upper respiratory infection that really kicked my ever moving butt.

Today is the first day I have had some energy. We were going to have Jeff, Amanda and the boys come out for a new recipe Easter Meal—totally non traditional… but the boys are sick, and Jeff has to work… so we changed the meal ideas to burgers on the grill and veggies… and will catch up on our DVRed programs later…Hope the lil guys feel better soon…. .

As life goes on, I have come to appreciate feeling good… cuz when I feel lousy—I feel super lousy. I want to take time and start going through some boxes of stuff I have packed and sort what is really important and what is not.

When people can live in a car…. camper….. they have really sorted out all their stuff… I am definitely a ways from living in a camper!. But what things really will mean anything to any one else after I am gone? What things would just end up tossed in a dumpster- without anyone knowing it’s significance? Not that I plan on dying soon… but life does not go on forever! But there are a few boxes we moved in here,,, and no one has touched since…. so they have my sights on them…

I am thrilled with spring time, no garden this year… time for camping…. Riley is better, I feel good… Mark is getting a second opinion FINALLY on his neck pain/dizziness…….and tomorrow is Easter…. church in the AM… and than we are going to cook a small turkey 6-25-2012 Syracuse and Oswego NY 051breast, and just enjoy each others company. Maybe get a walk in…

maybe hit Oswego and watch a sunset appear….

Thank God… I am feeling alive again…. this past 6 weeks SUCKED!!. Love to all, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

AS the days head to the end of 2012, the media and government are creating , for me at least, a vision of insecurity for the country.

The phrase “Fiscal Cliff” is the catchy phrase of the month..the past few months.

And yet as I am shaking in my boots over what this really means for us..the citizens of the USA… the President takes a vacation, congress goes home to their families, and I feel the countries future is placed on the back burner while people have down time.

Well I do not know about you…but I really want these people that have been elected BY THE PEOPLE to be doing their damn job, and work for the PEOPLE!!.

Oh I have read this and that…Some end 8-11 and fair 9-2-11 003and really it seems like once again we get it up the whazoo!. So the average family is looking at over 2000.00 dollars in increased taxes…and that good ol’ Health Care Reform..well let’s see—I bet your premiums have increased… how about money out of your pocket for medical expenses—did that go up??? Or maybe you work for one of the businesses who are forced to cut your hours so they do not get fined for their inability to provide health care. And you might be in a situation where now you are one of  those  who have to now face a HIGH DEDUCTABLE plan— things are changing. I have no idea what our taxes will be on our property or school going forward.

As we slide over the “CLIFF” and we see our personal taxes go up..we also see many things in the government be taken away. I read milk could double in price, because as the cliff appears- so does aid to farmers disappear..and cuts in military, cuts in cost of living for our seniors, ..it seems like we are just always expected to keep on giving…

Than there is the weather dramatics…..

The weather people have won the award for DRAMA QUEEN in my book. Now they are naming winter storms, and this past one we got this week—well one would have thought we were going to be buried alive by mounds of snow…. yet the storm totals were 1-2 feet…Yeah it was nasty, and visability was down..and I am glad I did nto have to drive in it…but I remember once MArk and I were in the city and were advised to head home than or wait out a storm that dumped  3-4 feet of snow on our roof!….

Heck..I remember not so many years ago when I looked out the window and saw just an antenna on my car…. So between us falling off the proverbial fiscal cliff, us losing more money due to Health Care Reform, and the treacherous winter storms with names now… well I think we are all going to end up with major anxiety disorder….

The sad thing is we can not do a darn thing about the sensationalism….except try really hard not to let it consume us.

Off to watch the news … LOL…. Have a great night., Love to all,. Mrs. Justa.. alias Cindy

I gotta tell ya, this is now rolling into my least favorite time of the year. The best thing that happened this time of year was my niece and sister were born. But I am reminded every year of the pain too.

I can not help by go back to  1963

100_002710 years old is  supposed to be a time in our lives where the road to adolescence is being paved and laid down… where Barbie dolls and Roller skates are changing to 10 speed bikes and sleep overs. When it is still okay to get tucked in at night, and you want to be brave and not have the night light on…when you knew pretty soon you no longer could sit on dads lap very comfortably, where the dreams of becoming a teenager seemed to be coming more real.

Yes… a time when life begins to change…and for me.. it changed all right.

It changed for our whole family. I’ve written about it before… and yet it all surfaces again..each year. My dad had one into the hospital –he  went in on my 10th birthday with a heart attack.

My mom was VERY pregnant and she would drive to the hospital every evening with the 5 kids in the car, she would leave us in the lobby at the hospital, and she would go up and visit him.
We were not allowed to go up there. So volunteer women would take moments to stay with us in the lobby. They brought us paper to draw on, tried to distract our worried thoughts, my sister was 11, me 10.. the next in line were my brothers 5 and 6 and my sister 2. Night after night –we would wait for mom to come down….and she would drive us home. She was due on Halloween night.  But that night came and went,… and still no baby. On November 1st… dad actually waved to us in the lawn of the hospital from way up on his hospital; floor. He looked like a small image way up there, but knowing the moving image was dad was so warming..so comforting. I remember waving so hard my whole body was twisting..I thought my arm was going to pop off…..

Than on 11-2- we went in and mom came back down after visiting and said we could go up and see  him… he was coming home in the morning… We loaded in the elevator, anxious with joy… gitty..giggling in the elevator.. the laughter kind of echoing… I remember the volunteers who had now gotten to know us pretty well..they had tears welling in their eyes as they saw our smiles…. up we went… the door opened… a wheel chair around the corner and dad was there… there was a window that the chair was put by..it overlooked the city… each kid got to go to him, sit on his lap, hug him, tell him what ever came to mind…. laughter..I remember laughter… …and than the next. I waited in the back ground.. I wanted to be last… I remember the feeling of the strength of his hands as he held me on his lap… he had Old Spice on…I  remember the smell. I remember the secure feeling… a feeling of safety..as he hugged me , kissed me…. and said I will see you in the morning…

The ride home was like floating on a cloud… the anticipation of morning and daddy coming home was more excitement than I have had since than…

At 11 that night mom went into labor… she called a neighbor to help her get to the hospital … a different hospital.. She called our sister in nursing school to come home and be with us… she got there… it was scary… now mom was going too…. we tried to sleep… and before 7 in the morning the phone rang… oh it must be the baby news… it was a man… He asked for my mom… I said she was not there—she was having a baby… he asked who was there… I said my sister.. she was 19… he heard her voice… he asked her if she was the oldest one there..she said yes… he hung up the phone.. We were all puzzled… I remember sitting in the corner..hugging my knees, rocking back and forth.. in a trance almost… saying in a soft mumble… “Daddies dead/…daddies dead…” I did not stop… I kept saying it… and than the phone rang again…. I remember my sister kind of yelling at me to stop saying that… It was another doctor… he apologized for the previous call..and than he said… your  father died this morning…. The death of my father when I was 10 years old , changed my life forever. …Bam… our life as we knew it was changed …. my sister called the other hospital… left a message to give to our mom who was in the delivery room…. and a miracle happened… the same moment dad died..our youngest sister was born.

And than 35years later—to the day—the time.. our mom died…in her sleep….so that is why this time of year… I like to zoom by 11-3 kind of quickly. I say happy birthday to my sister… the pain and loss I have is separate from the joy of her… but it is tough.. It does not get easy…

So as these days come closer… I find myself not looking forward to the weeks to follow…and than things get better again.

Mom, Dad . I miss you so much… and Dad.. thanks for that hug and kiss on my cheek..had I known it was the last…I would have never gotten off your lap.

Ahhh… the memories are so fresh…. Take time to let those close to you know that you love them, thank them, spend time with them…. for life comes…and life goes… We have no guarantees of anything… Love to all. Mrs Justa.. alias Cindy

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