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elvan Blog

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elvan

Stepping away

Posted by elvan Mar 15, 2019

I am really not feeling well, I am so exhausted and overwhelmed, I think that I have to step away from the site for at least a few days.  I am just too tired to feel like I can make any comments that would be of any possible use.  I saw rheumatologist this morning, she really did not have much to say other than that she thinks I need a pain pump implanted to help with my pain.  I find that horrifying so I told her we will talk about it later...MUCH later.  I am sure she is worried about prescribing opiates...I get it, I have to investigate pumps and how effective they are.  She is talking about dilaudid.  I asked her how they will get a catheter between my crooked vertebrae and she said it would have to be a surgical procedure.  No...not now, I can't deal with it.

 

Please do not worry, just understand that my fatigue level is outrageous, my blood pressure is very low, although I don't think that is related.  I always have low blood pressure.  This was just low even for me...82/40.  They kept taking it and I thought my arm was going to fall off.

 

If you need to reach me, I will try to check PM's every day, I cannot deal with reading much else and I am not even sure I can handle that right now.

 

Love to all...

Ellen

I am so exhausted and in so much pain that I seriously have nothing to offer to anyone.  I went to down to the basement twice in rapid succession and I fully expected to go into respiratory arrest.  I am going to the bed...I cannot deal with any more...any more of ANYTHING.  I need sleep, have to work tomorrow and I HAVE to be awake and alert and helpful. It is my son's 33rd birthday and I have nothing for him that shows any thought ...I am not feeling like a 69 year old should be feeling....I am tired, I am so incredibly tired and overwhelmed and I do NOT want to feel this way.  Perhaps a night's sleep will help...PLEASE LET IT HELP.  There is not a point on my body that is not screaming,  I want my mom...pretty odd thing for a nearly 70 year old to feel, I just want to be comforted.

 

I am so sorry for my pity party, please feel welcome to kick me in the butt...I need you guys, you have gotten me to where I am, my level of fatigue is overwhelming.

 

I love you ALL...every single one of you...forgive me for being a wimp tonight.

Love and hugs and my very best, any my deepest gratitude to ALL of you.

Ellen

I am not feeling very well tonight, not sure what is going on but my entire chest feels uncomfortable, it's hard to take a deep breath.  I am probably just tired and we have a huge weather system coming in so who knows, maybe it is from THAT?  I blame the weather for everything.

 

I am going to get into my soft and fuzzy pajamas and put a heating pad on my chest.  With any luck, maybe I will sleep for a while.  I did not sleep well last night and I guess it might be catching up with me.  I took my husband to the cardiologist this morning, his blood pressure is still elevated and he is having recurrent chest pain so they are putting him on a long acting nitroglycerin to see if that helps.  The doctor was pretty disappointed that he was not feeling much better since the stent was put in.  There is nothing more that can be done surgically.

 

I am outta here...into pajamas, computer off, phone volume down, heating pad on chest, somethings that helps.  

 

Love you all...will be back tomorrow,

Ellen

Mike is on his way home, Damon went to pick him up.  He offered and I accepted.  I was so exhausted last night that I was incapable of communicating.  I did send Youngatheart.7.4.12 a message.  

 

The cardiologist drew a diagram on the white board in Mike's room, he explained that one artery was 85% blocked and that he placed a permanent stent there.  He said that the graft sites from the bypass surgery are holding well.  He did explain that there is evidence of severe, advanced cardiovascular disease and that there are some arteries that could not be bypassed or stented because they were too narrow.  He feels that Mike should be okay as long as he exercises and eats a healthy diet, his medications are to remain unchanged and he is to follow up locally with the cardiologist here in town.  He is to keep nitroglycerin with him for chest pain which is he likely to continue to have intermittently.  He can take two doses 15 minutes apart and if the pain is not resolved, he is to go to an ER.  I am exhausted and glad that THIS step is over.  He has an appointment Monday with the local cardiologist, that was made before this procedure.

 

Thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers...

Love,

Ellen

elvan

Cardiac catheterization

Posted by elvan Feb 1, 2019

Mike is tentatively scheduled for the procedure on Monday in Roanoke.  I am taking him to our local hospital for blood work today and waiting to hear from the other hospital as to a time.  It is over an hour away but it looks like the weather is going to be cooperative, except for rain.  It is going to be in the 50's so that will be nice.

 

He has been having much more "heart burn" and I made him use the nitroglycerin the day before yesterday, it took the "heart burn" away.  It is NOT heart burn.  I really will be glad when this stage is over.  

 

I will get back on here later, have to work tomorrow so will be a bit scarce for the time being.

Love,

Ellen

Today is your birthday and I got you a card but it is lost in the chaos that is currently my life.  I did not send it but then I went to the store last night and I saw the perfect thing to take a picture of to send you with my warmest and lovingest

 

Birthday wishes...Happy Day, my sweet friend and thank you for all the support you give here and EVERYWHERE.  You are such a special lady and I am so happy to have you in my life.

 

Love,

Ellen

elvan

A year ago today...

Posted by elvan Jan 21, 2019

I found my husband in his room not breathing and with no pulse, he was cold and clammy.  I knew he had to have just stopped breathing because I heard him when I walked into the house, I had been at the store.  I THOUGHT I heard him call my name but he swears he didn't.  I was terrified, I could not possibly get him down off the bed to start CPR, he is over 200 lbs and he was on his bed...there would have been no way to get him off without seriously risking injury.  Instead, I delivered the hardest blow I possibly could to his sternum.  I knew that if he had gone into arrest within a minute or so, he would come up.  He came up alright, sitting straight up and begging me to help him get to the bathroom, I told him to put his hands on my shoulders and pretend that I was a walker...I managed to get him to the bathroom and he started vomiting profusely.  I called our son and he and his wife were here in less than three minutes...they drove us to the hospital, he was airlifted to another hospital and was scheduled for triple bypass surgery four days later.  It had to be at least four days after he was treated in the local emergency room because they gave him an anticoagulant and it needed to get out of his system.

 

Today, he went for a stress test, he has been nervous for a couple of weeks as the anniversary approached.  His stress test was abnormal, he has two blockages.  One is likely scar tissue from the heart attack but the other is larger and he will probably need a stent.  He will be scheduled for cardiac catheterization within a week and will have the stent placed at that time if it is deemed necessary.  If I am less present than usual, that may be why.  He is pacing tonight, clearly terrified of what is going to happen.  The PA in the cardiologist's office said he needs to take it easy until the cath, I told her that's no problem, he has been taking it easy since his heart attack a year ago.  He needs cataract surgery and likely a new hip replacement.  I am exhausted and so incredibly sad that I cannot stand it.  My son and his wife said they will help with driving.  The hospital is more than an hour away.  He will have to stay overnight if he has the stent put in.

 

Please keep us in your prayers...

Love,

Ellen

elvan

Just a quickie...

Posted by elvan Jan 19, 2019

First of all, thank you ALL for the congratulations on my five years of freedom.  I am exhausted from working today but I wanted to share something with you.

 

A farmer came in to deliver eggs to the cafe and I gave him the appropriate paperwork to fill out so he could get paid...he asked me what the date was and I honestly could not remember and then when I saw that it was the 19th, which I clearly KNEW.  I told him that it was my anniversary of quitting smoking.  He asked me how long it had been and I said "five years"...he said he had been working on it but had not been able to quit.  I gave him the address, becomeanex.org and told him that I would never have made it without this site and without the support I got here.  I suggested that he consider joining, even it was just as a lurker.  I told him how important it is to read blogs and get perspectives from others...he was pretty excited and so was his wife.  I hope he comes. I have no idea what his user name will be but I REALLY hope that he comes.  I explained to him the damage that I have and that I really would not wish it on ANYONE.  It was a GOOD day...seems like it was longer than a day but it was good.  It is time for this old lady to hit the sack before the sack hits her.

Love and thanks again,

Ellen

elvan

CELEBRATE WITH ME

Posted by elvan Jan 19, 2019

I am off to work but wanted to post this before I leave...

 

Today I am celebrating five years of freedom from smoking.  There was a time when I did not believe this was EVER going to happen for me.  It’s certainly not that I LIKED smoking, I HATED it, I hated what I knew it was doing to my body, I hated the fact that I was seriously ashamed of smoking, I have always considered myself to be pretty smart, that’s a lie, I have always considered myself to be VERY smart.  Smoking is NOT smart, smoking does not reflect intelligence or concern for others. Every time I smoked, I put others who may have unwittingly been in my path, in danger of the effects of secondhand smoke. I did not even know there was such a thing as third hand smoke until after I quit.  I didn’t smoke in the house but I didn’t realize that when I picked my kids up and held them, they were exposed to smoke.

 

There is no way that even I, the Queen of Denial, could possibly deny that I was getting progressively more short of breath, that I was not able to walk up even a gentle incline and talk at the same time without my shortness of breath being evident to others.  I could not laugh heartily without gasping and coughing. I LOVE to laugh and now I CAN without coughing, what a treat that is.


I told people and I think I might have actually believed for a while, that if I could get my pain under control, I could stop smoking.  I suffer from severe chronic pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis, degenerative disc disease and a rapidly progressing scoliosis, among other things.  On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst pain, I am very rarely below an eight. I don’t remember what it was like not to be in pain. Smoking left me with COPD, emphysema caused such severe damage in the upper lobes of my lungs that they were surgically removed in November of 2015.  I had to be smoke free for at least a year to be considered for the surgery. I had been smoke free for a year and ten months. Initially, I noticed dramatic improvement because the most severely damaged portions of my lungs were gone. COPD is progressive, any damage cannot be reversed, BUT, exercise and a good diet and staying away from allergens can SLOW the progress.  Stress tends to cause both my COPD and my RA to flare so I try very hard to handle stress without letting it handle me. I do deep breathing, I meditate, I rest when I am tired, sometimes even before I am tired. It’s impossible to avoid all stress, at least that has been my experience but I CAN at least try not to let it overwhelm me. I KNOW that smoking never helped me with anything, it did not help my pain, my stress, my anger, ANYTHING.  It DID leave me with this progressive disease...don’t let it happen to you. don't allow smoking to steal your mental/emotional health along with your physical health. If you are still alive, there are still things you can learn, feelings you can feel. Smoking is a CHOICE, CHOOSE NO!

 

Much love to all,

Ellen

elvan

Tomorrow is a work day

Posted by elvan Jan 11, 2019

That means a very early night for me...I am signing off, will plan to check in before work but not sure what kind of shape I will be in afterwards.

 

If you don't hear from me...I am probably sleeping.

 

Be kind to yourselves and your quits...protect them with every tool you have.

XOXO,

Ellen

May this year bring all of your wishes true...may it be filled with love and happiness and may you feel that the new beginning is an opportunity to share your love and wisdom with others.

 

I love each and every one of you.  I MEAN that.

Ellen

elvan

I DID it!

Posted by elvan Dec 29, 2018

I made it through an incredibly challenging day at work...business was crazy and nonstop and everything in the cafe has been moved around and made into a MUCH smaller space.  Can't say I am happy about that and I am too short to comfortably reach the register so they had to get me a butcher block to stand on...of course, I fell off once but then I made it impossible to do that again.  This is MUCH more physical than the larger place.  The kitchen is farther from the register and I have to hand deliver every order directly to the kitchen...seating is crazy mixed up compared to how spaced out it WAS.  I will get used to it, we have not started full table service yet, thank God.  I will be seriously challenged when I have to walk back and forth and back and forth over and over again.  

 

In any event, I got through today.  I am exhausted, that's putting it mildly.  I am going to get under the covers and if I happen to fall asleep...so be it.  I am hoping I can trick the kitten into thinking she is full through the night.  I might give her a "bedtime" snack.

 

Love to all...may or may not be around much tomorrow...have doctor's appointment on Monday.  Story of my life.

Ellen

It has been one thing after another since the beginning of December and I am really trying to get back to EX.  I have been so sick and so frustrated because the docs don't know what to do...I am using the nebulizer regularly, I am on high doses of prednisone, my arms are covered with skin tears and bruises from the prednisone, and whenever I fall asleep, I have yet another coughing fit.  The coughing is so violent and relentless that it is causing all kinds of associated pain.  My throat is purple...likely from the coughing.  I am taking antibiotics, using inhalers as instructed, drinking literally gallons of juices and TRYING to get some energy back.  I think the Holidays just about took me out this year.  My computer started acting up first and then our modem needed to be replaced and set up and activated and then all of the upper respiratory symptoms started hitting...or else maybe they started first.  I really don't even KNOW any more, it's kind of a which came first, the chicken or the egg thing.  I have been doing as much as I can to let people here know that I am alive...my family looks so depressed when they ask how I am...I think it's pretty obvious.  I did choose to spend Christmas Day at home, in my pajamas. That might have been one of my smarter decisions.   Today is my oldest daughter's birthday...she is in NY, our youngest is here visiting so we are having a birthday party for her sister...homemade lasagna and garlic bread and cream puffs for dessert.  She wanted to learn to make cream puffs last night so we did them and she is taking some back with her when she leaves on Saturday.

 

Unless I completely fall apart, I am planning to work Saturday.  I have an echocardiogram tomorrow and then an appointment with my rheumatologist on Monday and my pulmonologist the FOLLOWING Monday.  You KNOW you are getting old when your calendar is filled with reminders for medical appointments.  I am going to take a shower and then we will eat dinner.  I am hoping the shower helps my coughing.  My oxygen saturations are in the mid to high 90's and I have listened to my chest, it is clear, just tight feeling when I cough.

 

I love you all and I thank you so much for all of the prayers and the messages, I will get back here as soon as I possibly can.  I will feel a thousand times better just doing THAT.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

 

Love,

Ellen

elvan

For @youngatheart

Posted by elvan Nov 29, 2018
elvan

Four years ago today...

Posted by elvan Nov 19, 2018

I was celebrating my ten month anniversary and wrote a blog saying so just before I left for work.  I was really feeling amazing.  At 3:30 that afternoon, my cell phone was ringing like crazy.  I did not want to answer it because I was at work and I was busy.  When I finally did answer, it was my husband, calling to tell me that our house was on fire.  It did not register in my brain and I told him I am at work, I can't do anything.  My boss overheard me and asked what was going on, I told her and she told me to go home.  I didn't have the car, my husband had dropped me off and while the house was fairly close to work, it was not within walking distance for someone with COPD AND it was on a hill.  She said she would take me home.  I went outside to the parking lot with her and I could hear multiple sirens, I could see smoke, I could see flames.  My knees buckled and I had to go back and get my cell phone because I dropped it in my haste to get out.  She drove me as close as the emergency workers would allow...I nearly bit one person's head off because they wanted her to park at the bottom of the hill.  I knew I could not walk up that hill.  The smoke was so thick and I was sobbing so hard...my beloved cats were in that house, Mina was 19, Poe (who is in my avatar) was 9, and Zep was 6.  I wanted them out, I wanted them safe.  It was not meant to be...we lost everything we owned...all of our possessions, our photographs of our kids growing up, gifts that had been given to us by our families, but the hardest thing was when they told us they had found two bodies and then a short time later, they found the third.  The fire destroyed everything, I went to work that morning and there was no home to return to.  As I watch in horror what is happening in California and the loss of life, both people and animals, my heart breaks into tiny pieces.  That SMELL stays with you forever...the fear, the sorrow, the upheaval are beyond anything I can possibly describe.  

 

Thank GOD, I had EX, I was able to contact a member Jaxson1_quit_01-16-2014 who quit three days before I did and I asked her to let people know.  This site and these amazing people held me up.  It was the Wednesday the week before Thanksgiving.  We actually got snow the following week and I remember because I went to feed the feral cat that lived on our deck and in a little shelter we had made him...there was no more deck or shelter but there were outbuildings and he wasn't leaving.  I fell going down the yard and I didn't want to injure my shoulder so I just fell on my chest and broke a rib up on the left side...very close to my heart.  The pain was horrible, I had broken many ribs in the past and still do but less often.  I ended up having to go to the emergency room two days later because I was not sure that I wasn't having a heart attack.  Nope...just the rib...splintered. 

 

I was working at a university and they immediately began collecting donations of clothing and furniture for us...I still have much of it.  People came forward and made monetary contributions and the cards and letters and messages were so amazing.  I did not think I would EVER stop crying.  I am crying now thinking about that day.  Those beloved cats are buried in our backyard, we have a modular home built on the same lot as our old house which was built in the 1850's. I miss the photographs, the baby books, the little things my mother gave me, but most of all, I miss Mina and Poe and Zep.  They all died of smoke inhalation and they looked like they were sleeping.  Zep had asthma and he had both of his paws covering his face, an image I will never forget.  

 

Many people said they could not believe that I did not smoke over that.  I asked each one, what GOOD would that have done?  It would not have made anything better...not one thing.  Today is the anniversary of the day the earth stopped turning for me.  I knew I would never be the same person, I knew that I would never take anything or anyone for granted.  I knew that what matters in this life is LIFE and I will do everything in my power to protect mine and to help others.

 

For those of you who went through this with me...thank you, thank you, thank you.  You will never know how much your loving support meant to me and still means to me.  The following year...I had both upper lobes of my lungs surgically removed and you were there for me then too.  I owe you all an enormous debt of gratitude.  To all of you newbies...once you accept that smoking really does nothing FOR you, it becomes MUCH easier.

 

Love to each of you,

Ellen