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planned ob·so·les·cenceˌ
pland ˌäbsəˈlesəns/
noun
1. a policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design, termination of the supply of spare parts, and the use of non-durable materials.
 Yup, it exists. And its a sneaky and greedy way to gouge the consumer. I’m so sick of being forced into upgrades for devices that are no longer working properly due to planned obsolescence.  Case in point. My phone, which I bought a year ago in June, is at its end of life cycle.It went from introduction to end of life cycle in 10 months – which is infuriating.
Now, its not working correctly and its out of warranty… Ugh!!  I’ve already tried resetting to factory specifications and that didn’t work. So… we’re off to the phone store.

Good morning on this beautiful bright, crisp and clear day! Such a glorious day! Every window in the house is wide open and all the wonderful scents from outdoors are coming in and the breeze through the trees sounds so amazing!

Lavender

I love the smell of lavender!

I was out early this morning plucking broad-leaf plantain and lavender (as well as trimming chives and pulling yarrow out from where it doesn’t belong!) and as I was immersed in nature I had so many random thoughts running rampant through my head. What is it about early mornings that bring on a peaceful calm and formerly hurtful thoughts don’t have the power to cause you pain at that moment. I cherish those times! AND, bonus! I’m not dizzy this morning! So here’s some of those random thoughts:

Random Thought #1: I woke up thinking about plantain and lavender and decided to start an herbal oil infusion for a healing salve and using fresh herbs when you have them is best. While I was picking I thought back to recent comments by people that have hurt. On Mother’s day my daughter posted a blog about how Mother’s Day is for children and how she hated the day growing up. She talked about how she could never be sure I’d received the gifts or cards she sent – I never got a gift, but I di

Plantain and yarrow

Plantain and Yarrow in the washing up phase

d get a sum total of three cards. She talked about how she was stuck in the middle and she’s right, she was, and again she’s right by saying that’s no place for a child to be. I sure wish she would remember who placed her in the middle – it wasn’t me.  So while she was denied a relationship with me, I was also denied a relationship with her. So… it was a lose – lose situation for her, her brother, and for me.

Like I said, I was hurt she would write those things, until I realized while I was out picking herbs this morning that she has every right to feel this way. And, that she’s not ready to accept the truth. That’s ok. I love her, and even if she never accepts the truth, I’ll still love her. You see… no one can take that away from me. So, as soon as I thought that, my resentment and hurt just melted away and it was such a lifting experience! So, Happy Mother’s Day my darling Daughter…

Random Thought #2: I’m so glad I decided to start Hilltop House Bed & Breakfast! I can’t tell you how fun its been to meet people and serve people. This morning while I was picking herbs I kept thinking about how to make the experience better for guests, how to improve upon the rooms. What is the image I want to portray with what I’m doing? And, what improvements I’ll make first when our Home Improvement Savings Account has enough to begin. You see, that’s where all the room rental funds are going. Straight into an account so we can make improvements to the house without financing them (I really like the idea of not financing our renovations!!). One of the first things I think I want to do is to replace the flooring from the living room, straight through to the kitchen. Make it all one kind, and no transitions. I would love a hardwood floor throughout. I think that would be stunning. So I’m busy looking at pictures, and every time I go to the hardware store I’m looking at flooring – when I’m not looking at plants or tools LOL! Having the time of my life and grateful to Michael that he doesn’t mind me doing this. He never minds whatever I want to try as long as it makes me happy – which I can tell you NEVER happened before I met him. Truly blessed that God arranged it so we would meet.

Random Thought #3: I developed an allergy to the adhesive on the TENS pads I was using and I’m back on paid medication until that clears up. Meanwhile I’m seeking out hypoallergenic pads (the snap kind) so if you know of any – please let me know! I really miss my TENS! I started out with the Icy Hot Smart Relief unit that we got at Walmart and loved it so much that Michael brought a Magic Pulse Ultra Massage TENS unit home from a trip he was on. I’m so impressed with the effectiveness of it. We went on a quick vacation to upstate New York and I used my TENS while fishing, hiking, jolting around in the truck on four wheel drive roads, and running up and down stairs that are so tall and steep you could almost get a nosebleed. And not once did I take a pain pill!  That was HUGE, and completely life altering. I can now foresee a life ahead of me. That having chronic pain is not going to be a prison anymore. For the first time in over three years, I was almost pain free.  Last year on this same vacation I could hardly function without pain medication – just trying to go on short hikes was excruciating – NOT ANY MORE!!

Random Thought #4: Why is it that every time you want to post about how fabulous the weather is, it changes to rainy just at that time?  LOL Oh well, it this keeps up we won’t have to water the garden today.

Have a great day everyone!

~Kathy

imageAbout three weeks ago Michael brought home one of those ICY HOT Tens units. Every time I’d see their commercial I would wonder, would that have any effect on my pain. So, he brought one home.

Prior to this, I’ve been using two different pain relievers, one is twice a day and the other is as needed and frankly, I felt it was needed too much. I’ve hated taking pain medication all my life and these last three-plus years have been a study in frustration. Do I try to tough it out or do I take the pain medicine….  Struggle with the pain or feeling ‘less myself’…

Since Michael brought home the ICY HOT Tens unit, I’ve been using it daily, keeping the pad on sometimes all day long. But…. It’s been WORKING!!! I’ve had a dramatic reduction in the amount of pain medication I’m taking – and that to me is a HUGE WIN!  It doesn’t take away all the pain, but it’s clear to me that it’s taking away much of it. Next step, we are going to the pain clinic in a couple weeks for my regular appointment and I will discuss whether a more professional tens unit will be useful. I think one with smaller pads would be good. And if they don’t want to or don’t think it would be beneficial (How could they not???) I’ll continue using the unit I have.

Looking over the information on the ICY HOT unit, it doesn’t specifically say it’s for the reduction of chronic nerve pain but it should! I plan on letting them know how wonderful it’s been for my life.

I can finally plan things! I don’t feel like I am just living for the next pill, I’m finally living for REAL!  Thank you ICY HOT for making such an incredible product, and, thank you Michael for bringing one home!

 

Today, September 9th, is Pain Reality Day.

Its the day where you tell the truth about your chronic pain, no glossing over it with pretty words. Let people know how you’re really feeling.  For those of us who try not to bother anyone with our everyday battles, this is so difficult.

Here goes.

I took pain medication in order to sleep through pain. I woke up anyway several times last night so I’m awake this morning with a headache from lack of sleep. My eyes are looking  bruised with shadows. My lips are compressed slightly. The pain that is my everyday companion is situated in my lower right abdomen. Just up from my groin, down and to the right of my naval. Its right where you bend, twist, turn, and move throughout the day.

It sits there every moment, below the skin like someone is holding a lighter and a pair of vice grips on it at the same time. Waiting to erupt. I may look fine on the outside, but on the inside, I’m not. I wait for my everyday movement, my simple walking to my office, the bending to pick up Patches, the stair climbing, the sitting and relaxing to aggravate my pain into a roaring, clawing tiger. There is no particular trigger, my pain often wakes me from sleep.

What is causing this?  My doctors believe that I have a nerve, or branch of a nerve, that is trapped in my abdomen. I’ve had nine abdominal surgeries since I was sixteen. Its believed that one of these surgeries accidentally trapped the nerve, so now, every day is painful.  Its no one’s fault. This is one of those unforeseen complications that we’re warned about when we go in for surgery.

And so far, no one can fix it. I’ve had a nerve block (twenty-four blissful hours pain free) and two ablations. The first was the freezing kind,  and the second was a radio frequency ablation.  Neither worked, although I was very hopeful both times.  The second disturbed a nerve down my right leg and has given me excruciating pain there too. But I am assured that this should resolve ‘over time’.

My pain manager has done extensive research on my case, and other than one trial in Oregon that highlighted ‘dissecting’ the nerve to relieve pain, no other doctor wants to touch this. He doesn’t feel that the Oregon trial would be right for me since there is no way to tell exactly where the nerve is trapped. Traditional tests such as nerve conductivity studies can’t be done in the abdomen since nerves don’t follow prescribed paths like they do in arms and legs.

And now, here I am. Feeling ancient and ugly because of the stress of dealing with chronic pain (and vain enough I’m not showing you a picture of that face). I have hidden much of it – unless I’m in the middle of an episode – because I don’t want to make people uncomfortable. In reality, pain is always on my mind.

When I go on the Tri-Glide with my husband I pre-medicate. When I want to go for a hike – we’re talking a light hike – I pre-medicate. If I know I’ll be doing something that means I’ll be more active – such as exercising or walking – I pre-medicate. Just to keep the edge off. I also have to be sure I have medication with me wherever I go. Then I have to worry about being able to get something to eat so I don’t take my pain medication on an empty stomach.

When the pain blasts past the medication there is very little relief. I am doubled over or curled into a ball with my hand clutched to my abdomen – not that that helps at all, its just a reflex. Waves of white hot lightning blast out, twisting and burning and radiating out from the spot just a little. That’s one good thing I guess, the pain doesn’t radiate very far so its very confined to one place. Perspiration forms all over my body as I fight the pain. I take more medicine and beg to get through it.

After the episode is over, I’m shaken to the core. Weak and trembling. And waiting until the next time the pain attacks me again.

Michael and I on the trike

Michael and I on the trike

My method of compensation is to keep my mind busy. I’m a busy virtual office assistant with some incredible and understanding clients. I’m a photographer, I do wood work, and pyrography, I’m an herbalist (and believe me I’ve tried to find something to help!), and my latest love is Avon. Without these activities I would be lost and depressed.

So, now you know the truth. The next time you ask me how I am and I say Fine, look me in the eye, and ask me again. Because, this is my reality.

As if I don’t already have enough to do, I’ve taken on one more. This is something I’m very excited to return to having been ‘one of them’ back in the early 1990’s in Colorado.

I’m a new Avon Lady! 🙂 My friend Angela asked me and caught me in the right moment and I said yes. My goal is to generate mostly online sales since, as many know, I don’t drive so deliveries would be difficult. But I still take my brochures and cards everywhere.  

I’m already having a great time and getting to know some incredible ladies, and learning tons. 

Feel free to visit my new Avon store at www.youravon.com/kmccabe, and my new blog, www.kathy-mccabe.com  I’m available my chat, phone and email, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

Browse my store or shop my latest catalog.