A New Beginning

It has been quit some time since I’ve blogged. In fact it has been a long time since I have felt like writing. I’m not even sure I’m ready now. The past months or maybe it’s been several years if I were to be honest, have been a living nightmare. It feels like I’m on a roller coaster ride from hell that has no ending.

This place I have been living is a sad lonely existence. Endless nights and days filled with a body racked in pain, gasping for air, always in search of a comfortable place to sit, lay, or walk. Every night I try sleeping in my bed with the C-PAP machine. I wake up after about an hour. My body has stiffened up so much I can hardly get out of bed. Then I walk into the kitchen. The most comfortable place seems to be perched on the end of a chair, sitting straight up. Then as total exhaustion consumes me, I find myself falling asleep. I jerk awake catching myself from falling out of the chair. One day I might not be so lucky. The extra padding I’m carrying around might not prevent me from getting hurt. That’s something I don’t need another thing added to the ever growing list of health issues. Then the cycle begins. I go back to bed for a few minutes until I wake up in pain and can’t breeth, then back to the kitchen or recliner in the living room. Every night it’s the same routine. Kind of like the movie Groundhog Day. The same scene keeps repeating itself.

My personality is changing right along with my health. For over forty-four years Garry and I have been blessed with a good loving marriage . Now I find myself being mean and hateful to him for no reason. I try not to act this way, but more times than not, this ugly side of me wins over. In turn Garry has taken on some my negative attitudes. We find ourselves bickering over things that don’t mean a hill of beans. I never dreamed one day we would be the old cranky couple that made people uncomfortable to be around us because of our contestant bickering.

On the 18th of August I will be having the gastric bypass surgery. All my doctors agree this is the one thing that will help restore my health. They say I have a 98% chance the diabetes will go into remission. I should be off all diabetic medications and insulin. The lymphedema should greatly improve, as with all the other health issues. Due to my health the operation is high risk, however if I choose not to have the operation chances are my life expectancy is less than a year. For that reason alone, I’m proceeding on with the surgery. I have the best surgeon in the Kansas City area. I’m confident he’s going to do everything in his power to make this operation a success.

My grandson Garrison recently wrote me a letter saying, it will be six months before I see you. In that time you will be getting skinny. Then you will be able to walk and play with us again. We will be going to the beach, and we will boogie board together. His words gave me the motivation to make it happen. I may never be back to where I was before, but I will be walking, playing, and boogie boarding with those grand babies. I have so much to look forward to. The future looks brighter each day. I better pull out the old swimming suite and get ready for the beach. The Gulf Shores and Hawaii here I come.

For Today I am Grateful

For today I am grateful for so many

Everything thing you really didn’t want to know about sleep disorders.

During the past few years I have increased my medical knowledge through the wonders of internet Googling. I have been told by more than one doctor to put the IPad down and leave the doctoring to someone who has a real doctors’ licenses. They do not think me surfing the internet qualifies me as an internet certified doctor. What do they know? I have found more possible answered to my health issues than they ever came up with. Does it really matter that most, or all of my diagnosis were not even close to what was wrong with me. The way I look at it surfing the net keeps me busy on those long lonely nights I’m awake while the rest of the world is sleeping. However I have found a few of my friends on Facebook must have some sleeping issues too because they can be seen playing games in the wee hours of the morning. Somehow that’s comforting knowing I’m not the only one up. Also the more slots they play, the more free points I get. It’s a win win situation.

After one of the Mayo Clinic visits I was diagnosed with sever sleep apnea. I already knew that since it was previously found way back in 1996. The problem was I did not use the CPAP machine for the majority of the years following the original diagnosed. As a result , I have paid the price for my stupidity. It is a fact that untreated sleep apnea can result in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and many other health issues. I know this played a major role in my current health situation. Now I’m pro-active in trying to adjust to using the CPAP machine, exercising, and living a healthier life style. I wish I hadn’t waited until it almost killed me before I decided to do what I should have done in the first place.

The road the better health is going to take time. The progress is extremely slow. Sometimes it’s hard to see any progress at all, and sometimes I take two steps backwards and get a baby step forward in return. But I will keep on trying, since the alternative is not very appealing .

Remember to take whatever diagnoses the doctor gives you seriously. The health issues doesn’t magically go away, no matter how hard we try to ignore them. I will trust in God to give me the strength I need to get me through this. All things is possible through Him.

We are Family

What does family mean to me? My being a part of a family began sixty years ago when my Momma gave birth to me in an old iron bed on a farm south of Napoleon Missouri. The act of her giving birth didn’t automatically make me a part of that family. It was the unconditional love of my mother that started my legacy in the family. From the beginning I was blessed with both parents, a sister, a brother, and three years later, a bonus , a baby sister.

There was never a time I questioned their love for me. My Daddy was closer to the two older sibling, while Momma had me and Bettie clinging tightly to her apron strings. I have to admit I was a Momma’s girl. She always made me feel special. But she was equally proud of her three daughters.

At sixteen I married the love of my life, and became a Barker woman. I suddenly had a mother-in-law, eight brother and sister-in laws, and a host of other Barkers in my life. Did I automatically become a Barker? No , they welcomed me with open arms, but I had a protective wall between me and the family. It has only been in the the past few years that I allowed myself to become a member of this amazing family.

My family grew with the birth of a daughter and son. They in turn blessed us with the best gift of all Grandchildren. Now I had a loving loyal husband, two fabulous kids, kid in-laws, and grand babies. Then almost twenty years ago my family once again grew with the addition of Rick. I thank God each day for the love this young man has brought into my life. Rick, Melissa, and the grandkids completes what I consider the best family ever.

I pray I will never take my family for granted. I will always love , honor , and respect them for allowing me to be a part of their lives. I am a blessed family woman.

Jenny’s stories continue…

We all knew I was Momma’s baby girl, until she came along when I was three years old. Then all her attention was given to the new baby Bettie. I always managed to worm my way to be safely tucked under her one free arm. The poor woman never has a moment to her self. I think I even followed her to the outhouse.

The transition into starting school wasn’t an easy one for me. I was the poor white trash kid, that no one wanted to touch let alone play with. It didn’t help I was always sick, and had a snotty nose continually. My clothes and shoes weren’t like the other kids. My Momma always cut our hair herself. I don’t think my bangs were cut straight until I was old enough to pay for my own hair cuts.

One year the Odessa coat factory donated new coats to the children at school that was in need of one. I was so excited, I had never owned any thing new, let a lone a new coat. I was called up to the principles office to be fit for the coat. They handed me the most gorgeous coat I had ever seen. It was pure white and made of the softest fake fur. It even has a hand muff to match. It was a few sizes too big, but I didn’t care, it was perfect. I worn that coat with pride every day. It wasn’t long before my beautiful white coat became dirty and stained. We lived in an old farm house that was heated with wood that created soot everywhere. Also a six year old girl that plays outside with the many dogs, cats, goats and any other animal I could get my hands on, couldn’t keep anything nice and clean. If we didn’t have the money to buy a coat, then we certainly couldn’t afford to have the coat dry cleaned. So my once beautiful white coat became another source to be made fun of.

One day I returned home from school to find my little sister had her arm bandaged. She had slipped on ice on the front porch and fell on a jar cutting her arm. We didn’t have a phone and my dad was in the fields working, so momma picked Bettie up in her arms, and carried her up the long hill to Mrs, Colvins. They went to old Doc Martin’s in Odessa to get her wound sewed up. I was worried sick about my little sisters arm. I guess I had grown pretty fond of that baby who was taking all my attention from momma. My Sis and I had often wondered why momma carried her all the way up the hill. The adrenaline must have kicked in for her to been able to carry her that far. There is no bounds to what a mothers love can do.

My husband was talking the other day about my can do attitude. It got me thinking about my Momma. That amazing woman would take old scraps of material and make mittens for us kids to keep our hands warm in the winter. She reworked old dresses turning them into dresses that fit us to wear to school. She dumped flour , lard, baking powders , and milk into a bowel making the best biscuits and gravy I have ever ate.

I was blessed to have a Momma that showed me a can do attitude. I am even prouder when people say I am a lot like. I couldn’t think of anyone I would rather be like.

The Ugly Side of Me

At one time my blog was sub titled “The world According to Babe, the good, the bad, and the sometimes funny. Lately it takes everything I’ve got in me to find the good, and humorous side of my life. In all fairness I know how truly blessed I am. I have the most amazing family . They constantly shower me with love and encouragement. They bend over backwards to make my life easier. More times than I like to admit they are thanked with a very nasty mean spirited tone to my voice. Why am I so hateful to the ones I love the most? This is the not so pretty side of me that I am trying to get under control.

What is the driving force contributing to this behavior? Is it the never ending health issues? I’m sure that is a factor, however some things has recently improved . Thanks to the pumps, the swelling in my legs have gone down greatly. I have continued the exercise program given to me by the physical therapist , and in addition I am now up to 20 minutes a day on the recumbent bike. The pumping combined with exercising has helped with mobility and pain control.

The new CPAP machine with all the high tech accessories is a work in progress. I find it extremely difficult to tolerate the high pressure setting. I don’t think I will never like that damn machine, but I know it is vital that I continue breathing at night. I have to have the mask strapped on so tight , it bruises my nose and cheeks . The other night the pressure had built up in the mask . I woke up when the mask blew off my face. See I found a little humor in this story.

I’m tired of being in constant pain. The Mayo Clinic diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. I always thought that was a catch all disease that doctors used when they had no idea what was causing the pain. I’m still not convinced that is the issue. In April I return to the Mayo for four days of classes on managing fibromyalgia without the use of drugs. I’m all for learning everything I can to make my life more tolerable.

For the time being I am in search for a place to sit, lay, or stand that is comfortable. A place that makes breathing easier, without feeling like I have a ton of bricks on my chest. A place I can lay more than a few minute without my extremities becoming stiff making any movement extremely difficult, and painful. A place I can fall asleep without the fear of waking up gasping for air.

How about a place where I stop complaining on the negativity and start thanking God for all the wonderful blessing he has so abundantly gave to me. I am so impatient. I want my life back, and I want it right now. I have to trust in God that he knows what is best for me and accept whatever that may be.

45 Years Ago

Thanks to Facebook, yesterday I reunited with a long lost friend. Last night we messaged each other back and forth catching up on our lives since we last saw each other over forty five years ago. We discovered we each have eight grandchildren, and she has a bonus of four great grands. She now lives near Warsaw , that’s where we a a travel trailer on my sister’s property. We hope to see each other in the near future. We certainly have a lot of catching up to do.

I first met Vickie when my sister was dating her brother. I was around thirteen and thought they were the coolest people I had ever met. Vickie and her brother were extremely musically talented. One time her family brought their electric guitars to our house and put on a show for us. Her brother was tall dark and so handsome. This little thirteen year old had a huge crush on him. I can still hear him singing “Barbara Anne ” that night. Now Vickie was the real talent in their family. She had a beautiful singing voice. I remember her Daddy telling us about the time they took her to Nashville hoping she would get picked up by a recording studio. Unfortunately nothing came out of their venture. I’ve often thought of her as I watch American Idol. I bet she would have done well on a show like that. She was that good. Maybe she’ll sing a few songs for me sometime. I would love that.

After we finished chatting on line, I remembered a very important reason to remember Vickie. It was the summer of 1969, and I was staying at her house for a few days. A friend of hers and the family stopped by for a visit. He was a little older around 25, and drove a cool car. ( 1965 GTO) He brought into the house an eight track player and a bunch of music for everyone to enjoy, Not only did he have a cool car, but nobody I knew had the latest in music , an eight track stereo system. He drank whiskey straight from the bottle with a beer chaser, and smoked unfiltered Camel cigarettes. Now how cool was that?

In September I met this exciting young man again through Vickie’s brother. This time we started hanging out together, and fell in love immediately. I knew this was the man I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. On November the first 1969, Garry and I were married at the Reverend Dryers home in Odessa. This year will be our 45th anniversary.

Gone are the days of fast cars, we now drive a SUV, an occasional beer has replaced the whiskey drinking, and cigarettes have been out of the picture for over 25 years, What remains is a love that has lasted over 45 years, through the good times and bad, and most recently through sickness and in health.

Thank you Vickie for reminding me of a time long ago, when life was a whole lot simpler. Those are some good memories we have way back when. Hopefully we make new memories when we meet again,

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