Saturday, February 20, 2016

It's been a long 2 years!

February 2016
I can't even begin to explain why I haven't posted on my blog since 2014. I'll probably just start writing and see where I end up! I will say that I never DID get to the gym like I was talking about in that last post! LOL As I read back over the last few years, I realized that a lot has changed from my original plans, my health, my job and of course, my jeans size!

Let's start with my original plans....I moved to Tx in 2012 with the intent to get an apartment of my own and be available to do things with my 3 grandkids here. I was on a waiting list for the most perfect place for over a year when I had such a bad flare-up of psoriatic arthritis, that I could barely do anything for myself. It took several months of trying different medications and different doses and combinations, and it was a blessing that I WASN'T living by myself! By the time it was under control, my Son and DIL convinced me to continue living here with them and that's where I am today. They have been searching for just the right house for their family and one requirement is a MIL apartment or suite. :)
2 years of this before finding a solution

My I mentioned, the main problem was the arthritis and it's never going to go away so with the help of my rheumatologist, I'm managing it pretty well.  Fortunately, the shots that help the arthritis also keep the psoriasis under control. That was a huge shocker back in 2005 when I first noticed that my scalp was itching and flaking, then my legs and back started getting really bad. Only about 10% of people with psoriasis get the arthritis too. No one else in my family has had this, unless it was in the past. In the middle of these afflictions, I was also diagnosed with Type2 diabetes so I had to change my eating habits and exercise to control my blood sugar.

My job....for 18 years my job was creating Minnie Pauz, which became my sole source of income. When I moved to TX and had the flare up of arthritis, it really hit my motivation hard and crushed my physical ability for a long time. I became depressed and just couldn't keep up with the website, newsletters and emails. Then my hard drive crashed and I lost all my editing programs and couldn't grasp the idea of starting all over. Since I couldn't get back to doing the mental work on the website, etc., I went to work as a server at McAlister's Deli!

First time I had done work outside the home in over 20 years and you know what? It helped me out of my slump! It was great to be communicating with customers in person and I realized my wonderful personality and sense of humor were still intact!! The only problem I couldn't handle the physical part! I was on my feet for 4-5 hrs. at a time, carrying heavy plates and lifting heavy chairs (like highchairs). As of March 2015 I was hired by my son's company to do part time administrative work at home, on the computer. :) I've decided to see if there's any interest in someone buying Minnie Pauz as an addition to their thriving healthcare projects. In case someone reading this is interested, contact me @

Regarding my jeans size....well, let's just say the sizes run a very wide gamut! Since 2010, when I was diagnosed with diabetes, until today, I have such a variety of clothes that change sometimes daily. What's with that??? :) I will say that in 2014 I got down to my smallest size in a long, long time and I'm not even sure how I did it!! It might have been when I was sick, so I guess I won't try that again! I'm up a few pounds now, but I'm finally getting back to walking every day so that helps me feel like I'm in control again.

So I feel like I caught you up on the last two years! Hope there are a few of you who are still following my blog. I would love to hear how YOU are doing! I've always enjoyed the interaction I've had with women I related to. Some of you were just starting to have symptoms of menopause when we first connected and now....well, my 41 yr. old daughter is having hot flashes! So let me know if you're still here! I've missed you!   Dee

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Learning to love exercise....NOT!

This is one of the first cartoons I did (maybe 20 yrs ago?) and it is still SO relevant! I still feel so resentful about HAVING to exercise! I wish it was involuntary like some of the other bodily functions that we have no control over! For instance, what if we were a few pounds over and our body forced us to head for the gym or our personal workout space just like we are forced to head to the bathroom when we have to pee? 

As I get older I become even more resistant to all the "advice" that comes flying at me via the tv, radio and, of course, the internet, but at the same time I realize that there are gems of information that I can use to benefit my health. Sifting through all of it and trying to determine what is valid and effective can give you a real headache! That's why I try to pull out bits of articles for you each month in my newsletter.

Just like all the "health food" and supplement tips....if you don't take the time to read the small print you're possibly wasting your time and money. You each have your own health radar that tells you when something sounds legitimate. You've also had experience with what works for YOUR body and I believe we are all becoming more self-educated which is to our ultimate benefit.  

As many of you know, I found walking to be the perfect exercise for me about 4 years ago, but it took literally one month of forcing myself out the door each morning before I started seeing the benefits. Even when I did notice that I was losing weight, could breathe easier and my back didn't hurt as much,  I still needed extra motivation to keep doing it. 

That's when I started taking my camera on my walks which provided a much needed distraction to what I consider very boring exercise! I know not everyone has a beautiful path to walk, but even everyday scenes and objects can become something special when you zoom in on it or catch it at the right time of day.  

Anyway, I'm getting off topic (which is what happens to me when I talk about photography). My point is that it's not easy to get healthy or stay healthy before, during and after menopause, so we have to keep talking, keep trying, keep searching for what works. I am a prime example of what happens if you don't pay attention to your health until AFTER it starts going downhill. It's so much harder to recover and you're more susceptible to illness than if you can "nip it in the bud" and take precautions like eating healthy (for YOU) and exercising regularly (at YOUR pace, with YOUR routine).  

Monday, August 05, 2013

The best shoes EVER and other favorite things!

For several months I have been having trouble with my feet because of a flare up of psoriatic arthritis, which causes not only very painful joints (of the toes), but also swelling. There's another element also and that is anything that touches the top of my feet is also very painful. I know, it makes you wonder how in the world a person could put anything on their feet, right? 

I was trying to deal with that same question until I found the perfect shoes! The only shoes I could wear up to this point were flipflops that had soft straps...nothing rough or rigid. Fortunately, I had several pairs of Wave Zone flipflops that I had purchased at Meijer's in Michigan, but they didn't give me the kind of support I needed. I was also considering these NorthFace flipflops, but I really needed more support and coverage.

So what are my perfect shoes (for now)? Skecher's GoWalk are so flexible and have the support I need, yet
so much easier to get on and off than my Nike walking shoes. Since I also have the arthritis in my fingers, I have trouble even tying the others. 
The GoWalk shoe is a slip on and so lightweight! They're also machine washable! I was excited about all the colors too, but unfortunately, the day I bought mine at JCPenny's, all they had was black. That's ok for now since they are saving me from a lot of pain! That makes it perfect for me!

As for another of my favorite things....that would be any Gloria Vanderbilt pants or jeans! OMG, I've never found anything with so many styles, so much comfort and wonderful fit! Whether it's jeans (in a variety of colors), capris or casual, lightweight pants, they fit better around this middle-aged bulge without the legs being so huge that two people could be wearing them! :) It was a joyous day when I got my first pair of button up, zip up jeans after YEARS of wearing only elastic waist pants! VG does make what are called "comfort waist" pants, as well as the "slimming" variety!

Here's the other good thing, you can find them online or at nearly every store you want! Kohl's, Bealls, Sears, etc. Just type in Gloria Vanderbilt pants into any search engine. The prices are great too!

As we get older, I'm finding that our needs change so much regarding our clothing and shoes, so I wanted to let you in on some of the great solutions I've found! Let me know if there's something you love and would like to share!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I finally joined a gym!

Are they even called "gyms" anymore? Ok, how about workout center? 
Fitness place? I don't know what they're called, but I do know that even a free membership is not enough incentive for me to start going, but I'm trying...I swear! Even went and bought 3 outfits to wear then ended up taking them back because I didn't want to look too "cutesy"! I figured I've got enough things to wear and I probably won't be there long enough to even get sweaty! LOL!

Since I got the (1) free membership (Silver Sneakers) with Medicare and since the orthopedic doc said (2) I should get some physical therapy for my knee that doesn't involve walking, and since it's (3) so freakin' hot here in Texas, I figured there's no time like the present!

Before I registered at 24HR Fitness (so I could choose odd hours where no one would see me struggling with the equipment or going into the pool), I bought a bike (since the doc said he's rather I bike than walk).

It was really a CUTE bike, but unlike the old saying "you never forget....", I will have to differ! Well, you don't forget, but you know about muscle memory, right? Mine didn't remember how to stay balanced! Just like everything else at this time of life--out of balance! 

Yes, that is my son holding the seat of my bike just like I did for him when he was 5!
So, I will let you know when (and if) I make my first journey to use the gym. I just know at 65 I've lost some muscle strength after having my walking routine interrupted for 5 months, so I really need to quit acting like a 5 year old and do it for the, for my health, I guess! :) 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Am I really on Medicare???

It's been 7 months since I moved to Texas and posted here. Why has it been so long? Well, I was promising myself to make at least one post a month, but after a quick "note" in February (about side effects of another drug for menopausal women), I woke up in the middle of the night with searing pain in my left knee. Seriously, I thought someone was cutting off my leg or something! How do you injure yourself while sleeping???

About an hour later I could finally stand up, but the pain was still excruciating and to make a  long story shorter, I spent the next 3 months limping, not knowing what was wrong with my knee (which was swollen too) and then having that injury make the arthritis flare up in my TOES of all places! That made it even more difficult to walk and to go up and down the stairs. I couldn't do my daily walks, which was very disturbing after walking nearly every day for 3 1/2 years to keep my weight and blood sugar under control.

But now I've been on medication for a week that has halted the arthritis pain, plus the knee pretty much healed itself. That was a relief after I had an MRI to make sure there was no injury that would require surgery. I've walked three days in a row now and am feeling so much better, so I thought I would attempt to do a little writing that doesn't involve a lot of whining! That's pretty much what I was doing for several months!

In the meantime....I had a birthday in April, finally hit 65 and still find it hard to believe!The kids took me out to a Japanese Steakhouse (my first time) and yummm was it good! 

Everytime I pull out that Medicare card (which has been quite often lately), I have to relive it over and over....I am 65 years old! :) I know, many of you say 65 years "young", but hey.....whatever! I keep thinking, based on my family history, I've probably got another 30-33 years left in me and I am trying very hard to stay healthy. It's hard because the older you get, the more things start falling apart!

I've been doing a lot of backyard birdwatching and practicing with the camera I got for my birthday. Still don't see the variety of birds that I saw in Michigan, but I still love trying to capture some great moments like this one of a White Winged Dove and others at the feeder: 
I'm also happy to be able to get outside and take pictures, although I have to get out there around 7:30 am before it starts heating up. Yesterday I met a gentleman who is 79 who also was getting back to walking and it reaffirmed that it's never too late to pick yourself up and start over. :) So, I will leave you with a few of my photos from this morning's walk and will promise AGAIN to try to post more often here and share my journey into the aging process. Maybe I should change the title of my blog to "From middle-age to seniorhood and all that inbetween stuff"! 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

If the side effects are worse than the problem.....

Federal regulators today approved a new drug to treat women experiencing pain during sex from menopause-related symptoms. The drug, called Osphena, is by Shionogi Inc., a Japanese pharmaceutical company whose U.S. headquarters is in Florham Park.

Osphena treats a condition known as dyspareunia, which is associated with declining levels of estrogen hormones during menopause, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said today in announcing its decision.

Less estrogen can make vaginal tissues thinner, drier and more fragile, resulting in pain during sexual intercourse. It is among the problems most frequently reported by postmenopausal women, said Victoria Kusiak, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Common side effects reported during clinical trials include hot flashes, vaginal discharge, muscle spasms and excessive sweating, the FDA said.

Osphena will also come with a boxed warning alerting women and doctors that the drug may cause the uterus lining to thicken, which is not normal for postmenopausal women. The warning will also include the drug’s low risks of causing stroke and deep vein thrombosis.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A new year, a new life....

After my move from Michigan to Texas in November, I set my mind to getting settled into a totally new lifestyle....again! Did that 17 years ago when I moved from Missouri to Michigan and then watched as my family grew from 3 kids to 3 kids with 3 spouses and 6 grandkids.  Then my oldest son, moved to Texas with his family about 7 years ago and I visited about once a year, but felt that my 3 youngest grandkids were really missing out on having family around so I made the decision to move here and give them the benefit of visiting Grandma for a sleepover or having Grandma attend their plays at school or Cubscouts, etc.

So, as I said in my last blog, I decided to sell everything and move to Texas. I'm 1st on a waiting list for a one bedroom apartment that is only 10 min. from the kids' house, so for now I'm a live-in Grandma! :)

The first thing I had to do was get my computer set up so I could work on my website so my son made room in his office. Here's the view from the window behind his head. I call it my tower.

With Christmas looming right after I got here, there was shopping and wrapping and learning where everything was located. Plus I had to get Tx license plates and driver's license (actually not a bad photo this time!), so there was always a flurry of activity around here, but we made it through the Holidays and although I missed seeing the Michigan kids on Christmas, I was happy that I had made the decision to get here in time to spend Christmas with the younger ones.

I did end up with a bout of the flu after Christmas and I think that's another result of being around school age kids. :) Thank goodness my son and daughter-in-law were off work long enough for me to stay in bed and recover!

It's not easy to move in with a busy family after so many years of living alone, but for the time being the situation is working out for everyone. I'll be 65 in April and will be on Medicare, which is something else I have to adjust to. I guess my point is that our lives keep on changing and we have to keep on adjusting. Otherwise, we get in a rut and so far I can't remember a rut that I wanted to stay in, can you? 

I've checked into the Senior center here in Keller, but to be honest with you, I just don't feel like that is my cup of tea. They seem TOO senior or something. Maybe it's just that I'm not interested in the kind of activities they offer and the photos on the website seem to show much older people. I don't know, guess I'll keep looking to find some groups that match my interests.....dancing, fishing and birdwatching. :)

I'm feeling healthy again, going for my walks each day and getting back in the swing of things with my website, so I guess you could say I'm feeling normal, even though it's a new normal. What I'm working on now is deciding if I want to take some online classes for illustration. I want to do it but at this point I don't want to have huge student loans to pay back. I'm doing research to find some scholarships for people my age who want to go to college. Wish me luck!

Thanks for following my blog and for your comments and encouragement! I look forward to hearing from you! Dee