Thursday, December 29, 2016

My Year in Review ~ 2016


For most of my adult life, I was faithful about writing a Holiday letter to enclose with the cards I'd mail out to family and friends. At first, I sat and hand wrote every single letter to each person. Then as time went on, I'd use the computer, still making sure I somehow personalized each letter to each individual or family. Then as the kids got older and life became more hectic those personalized letters became more like a form letter, mostly the same information but with a personal closing and signature.

Then one year, I stopped writing altogether. I haven't written a holiday letter in at least 20 years. I didn't write one this year either and I didn't send out holiday cards at all, but perhaps I should have. There have been quite a few changes, additions, and even a loss that impacted our lives in 2016.

Most of January and February were spent just regrouping from the holidays and surviving the winter. Not much excitement and lots of quiet down time. Of course, my seasonal depression tried to get the best of me, but I conquered it and came out positive on the other side as Feisty as ever. Jimmy and I both spent our birthdays very quiet, didn't even go out for dinner.

March brought one of the biggest changes for the year, Jimmy went to work for a new trucking company. Big G Express is a 100% Employee owned company with some of the best OMGs! benefits I've ever seen. Monthly mileage bonuses, twice-yearly safety and fuel economy bonuses, stock options, 401K, retirement, and the BEST health insurance I personally have ever had. We had coverage from the date of hire, but once he had been employed for 90 days, the coverage changed to give us even better options AND the copays for office visits and prescriptions were reduced.

May brings another big change. Mylia and Cheyenne moved from Maryland and are now living with us full time. The effects of her Chiari became more than she could manage while living alone and after much discussion, we all determined it would be best for them to come live with us and not try to take care of herself with no reliable transportation to the doctor or panic attacks over how the bills were going to be paid on time when she wasn't able to work full time any longer.

July I began seeing a doctor to finally try to figure out why I have this chronic cough I can't get rid of no matter what I do. When I filled out the pre-registration papers I gave them a laundry list of things I live with on a daily basis. Among those annoyances were the cough, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches and a general lack of interest in most things. Treatment began by testing for more things than I can remember and acid reflux was her first thought, xrays, various prescriptions including a mega dose of vitamin D, seems my level was lower than she had seen, I was at a 2 ... 20 nanograms/milliliter to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people. So, I'm still taking 50,000 units of VitD once a week. In addition to the VitD, I'm also taking Zoloft to help with the anxiety I was living with having Jimmy on the road. Since that part of life isn't going to change anytime soon, the decision was made to give me a mild antidepressant. And it is helping with the seasonal depression I go through every winter as well.

(Last week I went back to the doctor and yes, the VitD is still lower than she likes, the acid reflux is under control, I still have the cough, so she's begun testing for mold poisoning. Yep, I'm going through all that again. The lungs are clear, no asthma and the Zoloft is still helping with the anxiety. There will also be tests for rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases).

Late September I had my first ever mammogram,  and they discovered a spot that caused some concern. Since I'd never had a mamo before, they had nothing for comparison, so I had to go back for an ultrasound and the 3D screening. Thankfully, the findings were negative, the tiny spot they found didn't concern them at this time, BUT I go back every 6 months for 2 years just to make sure the spot doesn't change or grow.

In November we lost Mystik. She was a faithful part of our family for 13 years, even survived cancer 2 years ago. But developing issues with her hips and being unable to eat among other things, we made the very difficult decision to let her go. We took her to the vet who had been taking care of her since we moved to Hope Mills and they took care of everything for us. This part seems rambling, and I apologize for that, but I haven't come to terms with the loss, even though she was Jimmy's she had a great impact on the whole family.

Well, there you have the highlights and important parts of what happened here in 2016. I'm not sure what 2017 holds for us or anyone else, the politics scare the hell out of me, but I refuse to cower and hide. I'll be around, maybe more vocal, maybe not. But I won't give up and I won't give in.

Happy New Year ... may your 2017 be everything you can imagine it to be.