Friday, July 21, 2017

I Spy With My Little Eye- Digital Painting by Tracey Grumbach

Driving by a green field with tall grass most people would think it needs to be cut down. However, approaching the edge of the field one can certainly see this messy field is actually teeming with life, both plant, and animal. Look at the delicious color combination nature provided, pink, and the yellow wings of the butterfly. Just beautiful. Can you see the cattail hiding?

Two days ago I learned of some opportunities for digital artists and photographers. A magazine was having a call for art and two separate entities were offering grants to photographers. So yesterday I spent the day preparing and submitting work to all of these. I need to finish up the grant writing today. Grants are a new thing for me, so I am not hopeful of winning, but at the very least it will give me some practice for the future.

I am also wrapping up writing an article for The Mighty and should be submitting it today. All this quiet time at home with Brenna has made it easier on me to focus on some things that I simply didn't have time for before. Speaking of Brenna, she is slowly, slowly making some progress. I truly think this surgery was a difficult one compared to most wisdom teeth removal because of the position of her teeth. The doctor even stated that he had to give her a lot of "medicine" to keep her comfortable during the procedure. Poor thing...she is miserable. At least she has not vomited in the last 24 hours. That is a plus for sure.

I'm hoping everyone has a fabulous weekend. I was supposed to go visit my mother this weekend but I will be staying home because Brenna simply can't travel right now. I will have to reschedule this trip later in the summer.

See you Monday. Stay cool.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

I Heard the Fog Horn Sound- Digital Art by Tracey Grumbach

Taking the old and making it new again. I've been falling in love again with photographs I took in Maine years ago and reworking them using some methods and apps I've learned over the last few years. The morning of this excursion to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Maine is forever sketched into my mind. The mist hitting on my face, the sound of the seagulls, the fog horns in the distance, scrambling over the huge is like it was yesterday.   I'd love to go back one day. I have such wanderlust in my soul to see and experience all the amazing things this country has to offer and it seems like I can't get out of this house even for a weekend.

I'm feeling trapped and sad lately. It feels like groundhog's day over here. All the fun plans I had for me and the kids have not come to fruition. The summer is almost over and here we the house. So frustrating and lonely.

Anyway, I am sure I will be feeling better emotionally in a day or two. It is just frustrating to see all of my hopes and plans for the summer go down the drain. But you know me, the ultimate optimist, so I will get over it soon.

Everyone has been asking about Brenna...she was still very very sick yesterday for most of the day but once I pulled her off pain meds and switched her to milder anti-inflammatories and alternate pain control methods, she began improving. Those drugs are nasty! She actually was able to get up and shower last night. I didn't hear from her all last night so I am hoping that means she had a great night's sleep. I think she is finally turning the corner. Thanks again for all of the prayers and well wishes. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This Topsy-Turvy World- Digital Art


What a day yesterday. Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes for both Brenna and I. After a very difficult and long day yesterday, we are home...she is finally recovering peacefully after a very difficult bout with anesthesia and pain, and I am coming to terms with the information I received from reviewing my tests with my doctor. Prayer works, and I am so thankful for all of yours.

I received many messages yesterday wanting to know how the latest testing came out related to the liver function tests and the ALCAT test but I had my hands full with helping Brenna recover from her emergency oral surgery. So, I will answer everyone at once here on the blog today...first, my liver function tests were completely normal, praise the Lord. My liver seems to be holding up to the massive amounts of antibiotics I am taking. According to my doctor, I am definitely improving from the infections but he still foresees at least several more months ahead of treatment. Since beginning his program, I would say on good days there is about a 70% improvement in my symptoms than when I started. Also, the good days are becoming more plentiful and the bad days are becoming less severe and less frequent. So, I will continue antibiotic therapy to try and regain the other 30% to a full recovery.

As far as the ALCAT test, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I was expecting to have a TON of my favorite things on the severely reactive or moderately reactive list, but I didn't. Most of the foods on there were foods I don't eat often and most of the chemical additives were ones I avoid anyway. The molds I am reactive to I don't know much about and I have to do more research on how to limit my exposure to them. I did find out that I am severely reactive to kale, kelp, leaf lettuces (except for iceberg and romaine), nectarines, scallions, and sorghum. I eat kale and leaf lettuces almost on a daily basis, so that stinks. I love nectarines (but don't eat them that often) and scallions, so I need to remove those from my diet as well. I will replace the leaf lettuces and kale with baby spinach, which I also love, so that won't be a big deal unless I am trying to eat out. Many salad bases at restaurants I will be reactive to. I am mildly reactive to beef (and lots of other things), so I have to limit my exposure to that to once a week. Not shockingly, I am reactive to gliadin (which cross reacts with gluten), which means I have to have a gluten free diet (which I've been on for a long time) and also to casein, so I still need to remain dairy free since it cross reacts with whey. On the bright side, I can add back beans, wild rice, and gluten free oats to my diet since I am not reactive to those.

The only disappointment, if you want to call it that, was finding out I need to start a rotational diet to limit my exposure to all foods so that I don't become sensitive to them. With my current leaky gut situation and my current antibiotic treatment, I need to control my exposure to all foods to once every 4 days to lower the risk of adding more foods to the sensitive list. So, that is going to take some serious planning, preparation, and dedication on my and my family's part. It doesn't seem complicated, but it is considering I usually bulk food prep so I have meals throughout the week. Now, only being allowed to eat the same fruit, vegetable, and meat once every 4 days, that eliminates my ability to prepare that way and instead I will be cooking more frequently. I am also not quite sure how to do this with eating at restaurants and while on vacation, but I will figure those things out as we move along.

My doctor did say I have a magnesium deficiency that is adding to some of my symptoms, so I will be taking a supplement for that. He also said it is time to start exercising again and has ordered me to walk, do yoga, or swim/water walking 30 minutes 3 times a week. I am not sure what he meant by this, but he said when he listened to my heart he could tell I needed to exercise. That kind of scared me because no one wants something wrong with her heart. 

On an exciting note, The Mighty finally released my 4th article, To the Chronically Ill Parent Who Feels Like a Failure. I am really proud of my articles because I am trying to help those who are in my shoes to know they are not alone. They are deeply personal to me. The other day I went to hug someone and she backed away saying she was wearing perfumed products and from reading my article Why Hugging You Is Not Good For My Health, she knew that it could affect my symptoms for the rest of the day. That made me smile because it was one small example of my writing affecting people's thinking and actions.

I created and titled this piece Topsy Turvy World because that is how I am feeling today. Like my world is beautiful yet off kilter somehow. I hope you like it.

Have a great Wednesday! I will by lying low and nursing my baby girl!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Silent Finger to the Sky and Stars- Digital Art by Tracey Grumbach

An instinctive taste teaches men to build their churches with spire steeples
which point as with a silent finger to the sky and stars.
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Just as I have an obsession with barns, I also have an obsession for the architecture of churches. The subtle differences in details between each of them intrigues me. I am particularly fond of steeples and bell towers. One day I plan on making a collage of all the different barns I've photographed and separately, all the churches I've photographed. I think it will be cool to see them all together. I don't have any clue just how many different ones I've taken. Probably dozens!

I have my monthly doctor appointment today with my Lyme specialist. Except for last week, my pain levels have been a lot better while on this restricted diet, which is a plus. I am still dealing with ridiculous levels of exhaustion, but hopefully I can find answers to that at today's appointment. He will be presenting the results of my ALCAT blood test and helping me fine tune my diet so that I can avoid trigger foods for my system. Frankly, I am petrified that my digestive tract is so screwed up that all I'll be able to eat is lettuce and cucumbers. I will find out for sure today and let you know on tomorrow's blog. I will also find out the results of my liver function tests. I pray that my liver is holding up to the onslaught of antibiotics I am still on. I would appreciate any prayers for the doctor's wisdom and my patience as we move through this difficult process.

I found out late yesterday afternoon that Brenna needs to go in for emergency oral surgery to remove her wisdom teeth today. Please say a prayer for her as well. I hope the surgery goes smoothly and her recovery is swift. Poor thing got back from Canada Sunday night, had a emergency dentist appointment yesterday afternoon and surgery scheduled for 11:00 today. I am sure this is the home coming she was hoping for!

I'll see you here tomorrow with updates on my doctor visit and Brenna's surgery. Happy Tuesday, y'all.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Baltimore County Rural Landscape- Mobile Artistry by Tracey Grumbach

Tracey Grumbach- Barn Art

I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.
-George Washington 

This quote says it all...I don't have a lot of words today other than to say my daughter made it safely home from Canada last night after the trip of a lifetime. She truly was blessed to have this life experience and we are so grateful to her friend's family for inviting her along on this adventure. Brenna only has 3 more weekends here at home before moving away to college, so I'm glad to have her back to spend some quality time with her before she leaves again. 

This barn is one I admire greatly and pass frequently along my route to and from where I see my doctor and get blood work. The barn and the property are just magnificent and I would love to explore further but I don't know the owners. I am thinking about putting together a collage of all the many barns I have photographed over the years. I truly have an obsession with them!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and I look forward to sharing more images with you in the coming days.

Have a great Monday!