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elvan Blog

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elvan

Losing a Quit

Posted by elvan Apr 26, 2018

..How saddened I was to have to come clean to my family, AGAIN.  My oldest would tell me not to be so hard on myself, she was a smoker back then, my son would tell me that I could try again when I was "ready"...he is still a smoker.  My husband who quit when our youngest was a little over a month old (she is now 28 and never smoked)....would just look sad and tell me that I needed to figure out why.  I always knew why...it was always a stuff down those emotions time.  My youngest would look at me and her eyes would fill with tears, she wouldn't say anything, she didn't HAVE to. She was the last one I told when I quit this time...I really did know, in my heart of hearts, that I would never smoke again but I did not EVER want to see those tears again.  I didn't tell her until it had been over three months, she was teaching in South Korea so she didn't see me through the beginning months.  When she came home, I had been quit for over 11 months...she just put her arms around me and said, I ALWAYS KNEW you could do it and that you WOULD do it....ALWAYS.  She had more faith in me than I had in myself.

 

It is NEVER worth that one puff because it never stops there...at least it never did for me and I am SO SORRY every time I recognize another thing I cannot do because of all of the damage I did...don't BE ME!  You can't UNDO this damage.

 

Ellen 1558 days of freedom

elvan

Good night all

Posted by elvan Apr 14, 2018

I am SO exhausted from working today, I am home now and I am going to turn the computer, the TV, and the phone off.  I really need sleep.  Love you all, each and every one of you.

Ellen

We took Bijou to the vet...my husband, my son, and me and I paid, in advance for the euthanasia.  I was very clearly a mess.  I took her in a cardboard box with a soft towel in it.  She rallied in the car on the way there and pushed me away from her with her back legs...AND her claws.  She left some pretty impressive marks on my chest. I was amazed that she could do that.  In any event, while we waited in the waiting area, she climbed out of the box and wanted to get down off the bench so my husband set her down.  She walked all over the waiting room while we sat there with our mouths wide open and looking like complete fools.  I approached the desk and the receptionist said it was "vet air"...she said that Bijou was the third patient of the day to miraculously recover in the waiting room.  I told her I wasn't sure she was exactly recovered but I definitely wanted her examined before any procedure was done.  She had lab work and it showed elevated liver enzymes that would be consistent with hepatitis...she has no fever and they could not FEEL any masses.  Her neuro exam was not particularly conclusive but she is a cat and she was not impressed.  They agreed that she has a very odd gait but she always has...she never used to drag her back legs and she didn't drag them today.  The vet said she would like us to consider a round of antibiotics and prednisone to see what happens.  She said to watch her for any seizure activity and that they would add phenobarbital if necessary but she really thinks that she is so young that there is a good chance that this can all be reversed.  I gladly emptied my checking account and we brought her home.  She ate a full dinner after I gave her medication and she is currently sleeping.  She had a very, very active two hours...we arrived before 5:00 and did not get home until after 7:00.  We are ALL spent.  I so hope this was the right decision, I am not sure I can go through all of this again.  I should see changes in the next 48 hours if she is going to respond to the meds.  She wants to see her again in 10 days to 2 weeks and see how she is doing.  She said she is not sure what is going on but she could not believe the change since she last saw her.  My husband and son would have both gone crazy if I had not said, let's do what we can.

 

I thank all of you for going through this with me, I feel like I am a complete disaster at the moment so I am going to sign off and get some sleep with my kitten at my side.

 

Love,

Ellen

elvan

My darling Bijou...

Posted by elvan Mar 20, 2018

Will be euthanized around 5:00 this afternoon, she is not getting better and clearly has no realistic chance at a quality life.  

 

Please understand if I am not here for a couple of days or whatever length of time it takes for me to start to heal.  

 

Thank you to everyone who tried so hard to help and to support me, I know that all of you know that this is incredibly painful and I need a little bit of space.

 

Love,

Ellen

Bijou grasped my hand in her front paws all night, she had her claws out hanging on, I did bend down to kiss her at one point and she licked my face all over, I am sure it was salty from all of the tears I shed all day.  She has an appointment at 5:00 this afternoon, this morning, she is alert and interested in her surroundings, she has eaten, on her own, and she has used the litter box twice.  Her back legs seem to be mostly dragging, I put down a couple of little rugs to help her get around because the laminate floor is slippery and she needs to use her claws to get some stability.  She is sleeping again now, but she is very responsive, unlike yesterday, she actually played with a shoe string that was hanging from a chair..  I am not sure what the appointment will bring, I desperately want her to get better but I do not want her to suffer because I don't want to lose her...I will keep an eye on her today and will try to be impartial when I look at her...try not to see things that are not there...thanks for all of the love and the thoughts and prayers...the prayers seem to be making a difference.  I am not sure if this was a seizure or a stroke or if she has something progressive going on in her spine.  Please keep prayers coming...for her and for me to have the strength to do whatever is best help me to think of HER and not myself.

 

Thank you again, ALL of you, each word has meant so much to me...I know that you know how difficult this is and how my heart is breaking yet again.  

 

Love,

Ellen

elvan

Oh PLEASE STOP!

Posted by elvan Mar 18, 2018

 

My youngest cat is ill…we have known for a long time that she had some sort of neurological issue, her back legs have always been weak…weak enough so that she falls over when she is petted.  She can’t jump down from anything…even the bed which is not high.  Last night, my husband had her on the island in the kitchen and he was giving her some treats.  She suddenly stiffened and stood on her hind legs (he was supporting her so she did not fall), her pupils were completely dilated and unresponsive and she was incontinent of feces.  Once before, she was incontinent when she was left on a table and she could not get down.  I took her into my room and put her on the bed and later she went to the edge of the bed which is her way of signaling me that she needs to get down.  I lifted her and set her on the rug and thought she might want to go to the litter box.  She dragged herself there and put her front paws into the box but could clearly not lift her back into the box so she went to the bathroom…stool again, on the mat in front of the box.  I took her back into the bedroom and put her down on the rug while I cleaned the mess and she vomited a white, foamy substance…I have never seen a cat do that.  I think she may have aspirated during the seizure. In the past couple of weeks, I have found small pieces of feces in front of the box as well as in a couple of other places in the house.  They were formed and easy to pick up and clean but I had no idea which cat was responsible.  She cannot stand at all today, she will not drink or eat, I have been moistening her lips with a washcloth and I put some very small amounts of wet food into her mouth and she did seem to tolerate that but she cannot go on like this.  I have wondered if she was having seizures during the night for the past few weeks because she twitches when she is sleeping…sometimes rather strongly.  Now, I think that after last night’s seizure, she probably aspirated because I can hear her breathing, it sounds like moist purring.  I will get her to the vet tomorrow morning as early as I can get her in but I have researched as much as I can and the fact that this seems to be progressing is a very bad sign.  I cannot afford hundreds of dollars in vet bills and I also cannot put her through medical torture to keep her alive for me.  It would not be fair to her.  I have been crying nonstop since last night…not the watering your cheeks kind, the sobbing, flooding mudslide kind. 

 

She is the sweetest, most docile cat in the world…likely because she has never been completely healthy.  We knew she had feline herpes when we adopted her from a feral rescue, the entire litter did but this is not something that goes along with feline herpes…she is on L-lysine daily to boost her immune system and I carefully clean her eyes, sometimes several times a day.  There were three kittens in the litter, she was the only one who preferred to play alone and did not interact with the other two.  They were adopted together.

 

Say a little prayer for Bijou, sweetest little blonde ever. She is pictured with our other cat, Binx, who is NOT small but who loves her dearly.

 

Thanks,

Ellen

 

 

Sometimes we placed those obstacles there ourselves...like ME when I moved a chair in my room and I ran into the base of my stationary bike.  YES, it hurts and NO, I am NOT going to the doctor.  I already have two appointments on Thursday and I had to take my husband to the doc on Monday and have to take him again on Friday.  My life revolves around doctor's appointments.  I am working on Saturday, this happened last Friday and I worked all day Saturday, probably partly responsible for the intense discoloration.   

 

I think it's sort of like quitting smoking when we seem to trip over the most ridiculous things...or we just obsess over them.  I have been quit for over four years now and this site has made that possible.  Every person here wants YOU to be successful...in spite of obstacles.  You CAN do this, just remember to take it one step at a time...baby steps count.  I can walk without TOO pronounced a limp.  The photos are just to show you that you can overcome anything and everything that might happen...

 

Peace and love to all oh and good night,

Ellen

elvan

Worst headache EVER!!!

Posted by elvan Mar 7, 2018

Yesterday, I had a temperature over 103 that lasted into the night, I could not stop coughing, this very irritating, nonproductive cough that sounded like a goose.  I went to bed last night alternating between chills and sweats and wondering if I had the flu or something else.  I promised I would call my doctor today and I did that.  I woke up with the worst headache I have ever had and I have had migraines so I KNOW a bad headache.  The right side of my face, my teeth or the places where I SHOULD have teeth, the area just below my eyebrow, and one side of my nose…ALL have their own pulses.  I can’t breathe through my nose, nothing is coming out…I think there must be a bunch of infected sinus drainage stuck in there.  I asked the doc if I should go ahead and take the antibiotic they put me on last time I had a sinusitis, they had given me a refill and told me to go ahead and refill it just in case I needed it.  THAT infection got better so I never took it but I have it.  She said to take it and call Friday if I am not better and if the fever is still there, no matter what it is.  I have taken the first dose and will take the second one shortly so I have the best chance of it kicking in.  If I am not around too much, I am holding my head with a hot compress on my sinuses.  This is awful and I can only hope that it lets up soon.  I have taken mucinex, Alka Seltzer Cold & Allergy, something called ACF that my son brought me, and EmergenC.  I am miserable and I have to just try to close my eyes.  Of course, as soon as I do that, something will happen that will either make me get up or I will just go crazier because I can’t breathe through my nose. The GOOD news is that I am not coughing any more...at least I THINK that's good news.

 

Be well, everyone and DON’T SMOKE, no matter what.  It will NOT help ANYTHING, that is a promise…along with the one that if you are struggling, it WILL get better.

 

Ellen

elvan

Ugly, ugly, ugly...

Posted by elvan Feb 17, 2018

I had to leave work early because of the pain and I got kind of sorry of the freaked out looks at my forehead.  Started with OMG, "did you fall?" Kept going on most of the day.  Got home and had wicked chills and fell asleep for about an hour...woke up looking worse than before.  The pain is ridiculous and STILL they itch but there is no way I would touch them.  My husband looked at me and said..."You have to go to the doctor."   There is nothing anyone can do...they run their course.  Lots of fluids, rest, stress control...yeah, that's not going to happen.  Just wanted to share my "progress"

with you...I am NOT leaving the house. Really hoping they don't get much closer to the eye.

 

Mike is miserable, he says he feels terrible and his depression is overwhelming, he cannot stay awake, I told him to SLEEP.  I am hoping he is going to start moving around more.  I will sleep tonight, at least I HOPE I will.  Weather was miserable all day but nowhere near as cold as they forecast so it just rained all day.

 

XOXOXO,

Ellen

I am hoping to get some sleep tonight because I need to get up early tomorrow and I have not been feeling well for the past couple of days...I am really sorry to say that late this afternoon after feeling feverish for days, an area on my forehead started to itch and then feel like someone was pushing a corkscrew into my brain.  I groaned as I recognized the symptoms I have had MANY times in the past...I have Shingles.  Hopefully, this will not be a long course of them but they certainly are painful and in precisely the same spot as they have been more than once in the past.  Fortunately, they do not look TOO bad...at least not yet.  I will try to keep from scratching them during the night and may put some ice on for a while to see if I can reduce the pain. I have been through this so many times and I cannot remember if anything ever worked...I CAN tell you that they run their course and that I have NEVER caught them in time to have an anti-viral medication administered.  I never recognize them until they BLOOM.  

 

Hope everyone has a beautiful Friday evening and Happy Chinese New Year!

Love,

Ellen

I am in a fragile state as many of you pointed out on my blog about watering my cheeks.  I am not watching the news, I have to completely step away and I know of many others who feel the same way.  I am not sure if that is good or bad but if I don't take care of myself, I will completely meltdown and do a Humpty Dumpty.  I do have to try to take care of myself, I am not sure how much time I can devote to that but I have to try.  There seem to be so many demands on my time and energy that I am going constantly.  

 

Today, Mike saw the primary care physician, she feels that his confusion and most of his issues in the hospital were from his "near death" experience and she says that time will tell whether or not the symptoms will get better.  He has gained 12# since his last weight at the skilled nursing facility and HE found that terribly alarming.  I reminded him that it was a different scale and that he was most likely in his pajamas and not wearing a jacket the last time he was weighed. He has a lot of swelling in his left leg which is the graft site, the doctor feels there is enough redness and swelling to start an antibiotic, I had asked for that when he was in the SNF but they felt that Bacitracin ointment was enough.  The next several weeks and maybe months will a blur of doctor's appointments and cardiac rehabilitation.  Guess I have my work as a taxi driver cut out for me.  

 

Again, many thanks to all of you, I will keep watering my cheeks for as long as they demand it.

Love,

Ellen

elvan

Watering my cheeks...a LOT

Posted by elvan Feb 15, 2018

It is no secret that I have a tendency to feel things pretty intensely, sometimes those things are not the same as what others are feeling.  My heart is broken right now…into so many pieces that I do not know if I can put it back together yet again.  I have listened to all of the coverage that I can stand about the school shooting.  I saw the shooter’s face today, he is 19 years old, his father died 14 years ago and his mother died in November, “probably from the flu.”  He had an on line presence with 219 followers and he talked about becoming a “professional school shooter.”  We need to mourn all the lives that have been senselessly lost…I may be alone on this one but I need to mourn this person’s life as well.  His life is over…no matter what happens now, it is over and while I know that the victims of the shooting had no choice in this, I know that this very young man was damaged perhaps a long time ago.  I cannot stop seeing all of the faces, the victims who died and the victim of whatever caused this to happen.  Please don’t get angry with me, my feelings are not something that I stuff anymore and let me tell you that more than one person tried to beat my feelings out of me, it did not work.  The feelings were still there after being beaten and after smoking more cigarettes than I can count.  Clearly, I am not wired the same way as the majority of the world.  Can’t help it and refuse to try to stuff things down anymore.  I am exhausted caring for my husband, serving him three meals a day in bed, pleading with him to PLEASE keep his leg up since it looks like it belongs on an elephant.  Both of my daughters are sick with what sounds like the flu…they are both in different parts of NY State, and my son and his wife just launched their dinner hours tonight.  There is no peace right now, no matter where I look.  Two years ago at this exact time of year, “Courage” aka Fannie died from the complications of smoking, she was 54.  I am sad tonight and I am going to sign off so I don’t spread it all over the place. 

 

For those of you who do not understand the title of my blog...it was what jonescarp.aka.dale.Jan_2007 told me back when I was only about 60 days quit and I could not stop crying...he said it was okay that I was watering my cheeks.

elvan

From CBGerber

Posted by elvan Feb 13, 2018

We haven't heard from Clare in a while, so I emailed her because she recently had a one year anniversary and joined the prestigious 6% Club.  I was worried because she had not posted.  I got an email from her and she is FINE, she is busy getting ready for a family wedding on March 3rd, she is smoke free.  She has not been able to sign in to her EX account and will contact Mark AFTER the wedding when she has the time to devote to figuring out the issue.  I offered to post a thank you to everyone who congratulated her and she asked me to please do so.  She will be back when things settle down.  She sends her thanks and her love.

Ellen

My husband is now home, hopefully, he is going to continue his recovery.  I have seen some pretty dramatic and disturbing mood swings and they are going to have to be addressed at some point.  He needs to commit to regular exercise and I am not going to be responsible for making him do that, I will supply him with the things that I use.  Supposedly, he did wonderfully at the rehab center but he says they stopped doing anything last Friday.  I am not sure how firm a grip he has on the days and I really never know if he is going to explode.  Yesterday, when I was driving him back to the facility after the home visit, he was seriously angry...apparently with me.  I had asked him if he had his seatbelt on, I didn't want to pull out if he didn't.  He reacted like a volcano exploding and he was hurling obscenities at me and acting threatening.  I chose not to engage and took him to the door of the facility where the occupational therapist met him and made sure he got out of the car safely.  I went back there later to bring him clothes to wear home and he seemed to have no recollection whatsoever of there having been any kind of discord between us.  I have done some research and found that some patients DO have significant personality changes for a while after this surgery, some longer than others.  I am hoping that being at home will help his mental recovery.  He made himself a sandwich for lunch and he is keeping his leg elevated which he needs to do.  He seems very calm at the moment.

 

This is a bit of a tense time, to say the least.  No, I have no desire to smoke.  I cannot even imagine what that would be like.  Our son is planning to keep a close watch on things...he has called me already to be sure things are okay.  He is aware of what happened yesterday.  My sister said that her father in law became very aggressive and threatening toward his wife after this same surgery, it did not resolve.  She was the only person he exhibited that behavior toward.  Might be a long road but I know that this too, shall pass.

 

Many thanks and much love to all.  Perhaps, I will be able to get a part of my life back soon.

Ellen

elvan

Here's the latest

Posted by elvan Feb 11, 2018

The skilled nursing facility is coming to our home tomorrow with my husband to assess any potential hazards to his discharge.  I am removing a rug from the hallway just in case they feel that is a concern...one of the cats loves to run through the house and leave it bunched up at one end.  I don't want to use double sided tape at this point because I have no plans to keep the rug long term.  I have cleared all paths that I CAN.  I cannot make the railings on the basement stairs accessible because the things blocking the way are too heavy for me to move AND I have no idea where I would move them to...my son says that he and his father have talked about it and they are both confident that it can be done fairly quickly...after he is home and can offer some direction.  In the meantime, Mike will have to agree not to go to the basement until the stairs are made safe.  After the home visit on Monday morning, the tentative plan is to discharge him on Tuesday afternoon.  My son said he will help with the move...he has accumulated a lot of things in his week long stay there.  He texted me at work yesterday and asked me to bring things that he wanted...they were all heavy and difficult to navigate in pouring rain...BUT, I took them.  When I got there, he said he had been so worried that he could not stand it, he wanted to know where I had been.  I told him I had been at work...we had discussed that at length on Friday.   He said he thought I got out of work at 3:00...I get out of work between 4:15 and 4:45, I have ALWAYS gotten out then.  There is a giant clock in his room there facing the bed.  I know that he is frustrated and depressed and that he feels like he is trapped there...I keep asking him to try to be patient for a couple more days.  He is close to being hostile toward everyone at this point, thinking that he is effectively masking it in sarcasm.  I told him before I went there that I would bring the things but that I absolutely could not stay because I needed to get home.  He said that he understood and then when I got there, he wanted me to sit down on a chair next to the heater...it is like a blast furnace and I cannot sit in that room and breathe.  I explained again that I had to get home, that I needed to feed the cats, have something to eat myself and get some rest.  I told him that our daughter in law was planning to come with our step grandson...to work on a Star Wars kit they brought him.  He asked if I could explain to them that he was really tired.  I told him that HE should do that.  He is complaining and complaining that he is tired and sleeping all of the time.  Part of that is recovery from the heart attack and the surgery, part is depression over being there and the recognition of his mortality and another part is the withdrawal of his ADD medication that may be contraindicated following the heart attack.  At this point, the jury is still out on that one. 

 

I am still exhausted and overwhelmed and feeling ambivalent about his return home...however, I do believe that he will respond very positively to the cats and to his "stuff."  I am just worried that he has become very critical and demanding at this point and I am hoping and praying that I can handle that.

 

I apologize for not updating and for not responding to all of your amazing and loving comments and for your prayers...believe me that they have helped me more than I can possibly express.  Right now,  I HAVE to take care of things that are happening here, one day at a time.  I am signing in to EX and reading when I can and occasionally commenting.  I just cannot be as active as I was...my presence is likely to be quite limited for a while.

 

Love and thanks,

Ellen