Life’s Little (and big) Ups and Downs

Here it is the middle of September and my summer is now at an end. It is back to school/work and being a productive member of society once again.

It has been a bit difficult because everyone wants to know if I “had a good summer” and the truth is, our summer was very stressful and filled with health difficulties for both my husband and myself. I took a bit of a break from blogging – both writing and following – because my head was not in a good place.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I have lymphocytic colitis and severe IBS. Sometimes these conditions don’t bother me too much and sometimes they make my life miserable. I have been very sick most of the summer, suffering since May with constant bouts of colitis. I went to see our new family physician who prescribed a new medication, then I proceeded to go back to the colon surgeon who was treating me last year, who then referred me to a new gastroenterologist. I am now on a very restricted diet – no wheat, dairy, or high fiber fruits or vegetables -and also a new regimen of OTC meds. Hopefully I am on the way to regaining my life.

My husband has also been dealing with his own issues. For the past few years he has been experiencing episodes of memory loss, difficulty concentrating, struggling at work, trouble driving, etc. Our new doctor ordered an MRI and the results showed something called Global Volume Loss and Atrophy. This was a very frightening diagnosis for both of us, as it can sometimes be a precursor to early dementia. It took months to get an appointment with a neurologist who specializes in memory loss and dementia. In the mean time he was evaluated by a psychologist who determined he has all the symptoms of mildly-severe ADHD without it actually being ADHD. While we waited to see the neurologist, we began to get our house in order, having our wills drawn up, getting durable powers of attorney, etc. and discussing options should he become unable to work. Suddenly our future looked very different than it had a short time before.

Finally in late August we saw the neurologist who looked at his MRI, did some in-office tests and asked a lot of questions. She declared she didn’t see anything concerning on the MRI and basically said she didn’t know what is wrong with him and sent us on our way, referring him to other specialists for more evaluation. Even though this was “good” news, we left that office in a state of shock and frustration and anger. Instead of celebrating we left there with more questions than answers. One specialist she referred him to is a neuropsychologist and the earliest he can be seen is January! In the meantime, he is still experiencing the same symptoms he’s had all this time. We both feel frustrated and a bit bewildered.

In between all our appointments we have managed to go up north a few times.  The work on our place up there continues at a positively glacial pace. The new septic tank and leach field is in and operational. The new well has been dug but has not been hooked up yet. Not one other thing on our long list has been accomplished. Instead, we have mountains of dirt in our back yard, a bulldozer in our front yard, and mess everywhere. (I know, I know, it WILL all be worth it in the end!!)

Here is a gallery of photos of some of the work.

The weekend of August 20th when we were up there we actually had some very good birding opportunities and I added several species to my list including grasshopper sparrows, clay-colored sparrows, and I finally got to see and photograph a brown thrasher! I was so thrilled!

The birds were active in our yard, too.  We have had many northern flickers and I got some really good shots of an ovenbird.

Over Labor Day weekend we didn’t do too much because of the high heat and humidity.  A couple of days it was all we could do to function!  We did go to a lot of garage sales and one night we drove out to Sportsmen Dam Lake in the dark and watched the northern lights.  On Labor Day the temperatures fell enough that we could take a nice hike on the High Country Pathway. We drove up to Tomahawk Lake and did a four mile trek.  We didn’t see anything of interest, but it was a very pleasant hike and it sure wore the dogs out!

This past weekend we went on a little local adventure, driving up to Lake Erie Metro Park in Brownstown, Michigan for the broad-winged hawk migration.  It was a really awesome experience!  I didn’t get any photos of the hawks as the “kettles” they fly in were way too high up, riding the thermals.  They were very hard to see with the naked eye.  There was a very nice group of hawk counters there, from Hawk Watch, they were very helpful and encouraging.

The hawk counters and watchers.

The hawk counters and watchers.

 

We also walked two different trails while we were there and saw plenty of birds.  Along with adding the broad-winged hawk to my list, I was also able to add black and white warblers, pie-billed grebes, Philadelphia vireo, and black polled warbler.  As many of you know, I’m Miss Perfectionist about my photos, so I was intensely disappointed by all my shots from the day.  Here are two of the best and they are not very good.

I posted a few others on my Facebook page, so you can check them out there if you wish.  Despite my frustration, it was a lovely day and we had a great time.  We may go back this weekend.  Watching the hawks was certainly a thrill!

Now that I am back to work, we won’t be free to go up north as often.  We hope to go up for Elk Fest the last weekend of this month, but it will be a very quick trip.  Then I will be off to Tennessee with my six sisters for our annual Sisters’ Retreat the first weekend of October.  I hope to get back to blogging on a regular basis and want to catch up with all my blogging friends.  I really have missed you!

I send my best to all of you and hope your summer was better than ours! 🙂  God bless and thanks for reading! ❤

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16 Responses to Life’s Little (and big) Ups and Downs

  1. tootlepedal says:

    Not a summer to look back on with joy. I hope that your husband gets a sound diagnosis soon. Worrying about what may be wrong is very stressful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t know whether to “like” this post or not. I do like all the bird photos, and to hear of the progress that your making as a birder, but didn’t like hearing of all the medical problems that you and Mark are having, or that the doctors aren’t finding the root of the problems. Stress is a terrible thing, and often manifests itself in the form of physical ailments, and you’d think that doctors would know that and do all that they could to relieve a patient’s stress level, but that doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. I wish the best for both of you, and hope that the doctors are able to help you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jerry. I appreciate it. Stress really is a “killer” and it is hard, even as a Christian, to not feel anxious when there are things going on and we don’t know the cause or the cure. I really have to walk by faith each and every moment. The good news is that I am feeling much better so far on this strict diet! And also, Mark wants to go back to Lake Erie Metropark this weekend to see the hawks again! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. kathydoremus says:

    I always “miss you” when you are not blogging. I will be praying for you and Mark…sorry this is such a hard season!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Praying for you both as well! Gluten is not good for anyone, and GMOs can wreck the body too (per my doctor) – I wonder if Mark would improve any on your diet? Getting off gluten and dairy and GMOs did wonders for me. Best to you both!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Laura, for that encouragement! I do think the diet would help Mark as well, but he has a tendency to think the gluten-free stuff is all hokum. 😦 He will be forced to adapt somewhat to my diet as I do all the cooking and we eat a lot from scratch meals and he takes leftovers for his lunch every day! So, he will be doing the diet some. 🙂 I’ve only been doing this a few days and I already feel better and am not even taking the OTC meds as prescribed because I haven’t needed to.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s great news! Somewhere online there’s a list of the 300 symptoms of gluten intolerance. I had lots of the symptoms, and so did my daughter but my husband only had two. He went gluten free to support my daughter and me, and he felt so much better that he stayed off it. Wheat in today’s stores isn’t what God made anymore; it’s been genetically engineered to contain more gluten than ever (lots more) to make bread fluffier, etc. that’s why more and more people are affected. I’ve done some research and it affects our brains, hearts, nervous systems, etc. my husband’s cholesterol numbers even went down off gluten. It’s been pretty amazing. (Just sharing in case anything there might help you convince him. Two books “Grain Brain” and “Wheat Belly”, both written by doctors may also help.) Good luck, and I hope you continue to improve!

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  5. Bob Zeller says:

    I can relate, Amy. My summer has been similar. First trying to get my original BP meds adjusted, then having that bad urinary infections, then completely changing my BP med again. Now I have similar digestive problems as yours. It has been an up and down six months. Now I think I am on the right track. But I do like your photos and glad that you are trying to get back to blogging. My best to you and Mark. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tiny says:

    I have missed you too, Amy, and wondered what might be going on. I pray you’ll continue to improve (I have bouts of IBS too at times) and that Mark gets a proper diagnosis and treatment. It is hard to live under such stress. I’m happy that you have been able to be in the nature, at least some, as nature has a healing/calming effect on us. Hugs and much love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bless you, Tiny, for your kind words! They mean so much to me. You are right, the best times of the summer were the times we were able to be out in nature, or to just sit on our porch up north and watch the birds! I am feeling much better so far! (Even though I am jonesing for a piece of cheese! LOL)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. J Guy says:

    I read your blog from time to time and really enjoy it.I spend as much time as I can in the Pigeon River area so I always look forward to your reports and photos. So sorry to hear about your family’s health issues.As a retiree from the health care field I know not getting clear-cut answers can be frustrating ,as can then long wait for appointments. Have faith in your physicians and try to remember that Medicine is sometimes more Art than Science. I wish you well.
    J.Guy http://jeguy.smugmug.com

    Like

    • Thank you so much! I really appreciate that you stop in from time to time, and that you took the time to comment. Thank you for the encouraging words, they really do mean a lot! I told very few people about what was going on over the summer, so it has helped expressing it on the blog and getting such wonderful encouragement and understanding.

      Like

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