Saturday, July 15, 2017

ICYMI, AFAA: The New Normal

Before I begin, I'd like to point out that Action for Adrenal Awareness was nominated for the 5th Annual WEGO Health Awards. Check out our nomination for "Best Team Performance" here, and feel free to both endorse us and share the link.

Best Team Performance (Sixth Annual WEGO Health Awards)

In case you missed it, Action for Adrenal Awareness released May's video on YouTube. For May, the topic was The New Normal. When diagnosed with a chronic health condition that can quickly become life-threatening, the definition of "normal" is quickly redefined.

Kim, Debby, and special guest Susie all gave input and insight into their "new normal," how they have adapted to with Adrenal Insufficiency.



Finding the New Normal

Debby was diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency in 2002. Kim was diagnosed in 2013. Susie was diagnosed in 2015. But for each of these ladies, finding their "new normal" took a bit of time.

Susie states it took her about a year. For the first nine months after diagnosis she was faced with a hospital admission every three to five weeks. This was mainly due to improper steroid coverage. At the start of her diagnosis, her doctor advised her to just take 20 mg of HC, once a day. Through her own research, she realized that this was far from optimal. She tried many different types of steroids and dosage regimes, but always ended up back in the hospital. During one of her hospital stays, she and her medical team realized that she responded better to solu-cortef injections instead of hydrocortisone tablets. She now injects herself five or more times a day with solu-cortef instead of swallowing pills.

For Debby, her adrenal crisis leading to diagnosis caused significant brain damage, which affected her memory. She took about two years before finding her "new normal." This included accepting her limitations, learning all that was still possible, and figuring out what dosage schedule worked best for her. Acceptance does not happen overnight.

Kim says it took her about a year before she accepted her "new normal" with just adrenal insufficiency. But it took her much longer to process the changes that came with that new normal.

It is normal to grieve. Please remember that this process takes time.

Defining the New Normal

Susie is still able to work full time, but she knows that she would be unable to achieve her success without the support of her husband. Additionally, her kids are grown and out of the house, which she admits makes things easier on her. Three to four nights a week, she does fluids at home. She can still manage activities, but she must plan for them in advance and try to not push herself too far.

Debby notes that to the people who do not know her, she looks completely normal. She often hides how she is truly feeling. But she does rest several times a day. Her life is now centered around her family, her pets, and her baking business. Her husband also does a really good job of stepping up when she is not feeling well.

Kim admits that her life has changed drastically, but not necessarily just because of her Addison's Diagnosis. Before, she was always busy, always go-go-go. Now, life is a much slower pace. She does what she can, and tries to remain positive.

Coping with the New Normal

At times, Susie needs to have a good cry. She tries to follow "mind over matter," and definitely relies on her faith, family and friends. But there are days where she just curls up in bed and has a long, good cry. But she does not dwell in the crying phase. She wipes the tears away, picks herself back up, and moves on. She figures out what she needs to do and how she should do it. I have written about the benefit of that mindset previously here.

Debby states that it is perfectly normal to be depressed about this "new normal." She encourages us to not dwell on the past. Do not look back and wish you could be healthy again. Take every day a day at a time and look forward. Once Debby became stable, she was able to put her Addison's Disease more on the back burner. It is something that she must be aware of, but it does not define or control her. Addison's is not who she is, it is just something she must deal with.

Kim would like to remind us that it is normal to go through the grieving process. There is the bargaining and there is the denial. There are the emotions and the feelings. And then there is the acceptance. However, we will never have closure. Be prepared to revisit all of the stages of grief multiple times during your journey with a chronic illness. And having a good cry is extremely healthy.

Discovering Purpose

Like many of us immediately after diagnosis, Susie made it her mission to learn as much as possible about this disease. She is the support group coordinator for her local NADF chapter and an admin for a Facebook support group. She wants to prevent unnecessary deaths, and she can through education and awareness.

Debby wants to use her life story as an example to give hope. She was comatose for almost two weeks and was not expected to ever recover. And yet, she did. She was given a second chance at life, and she will always appreciate that second chance. She uses it to love and care for those close to her. She is also passionate about helping others who are struggling.

Since diagnosis, Kim has discovered more meaning in her life. She has been given a different perspective. She understands the importance of making the most out of every day. She wants to continue to help others and to pass on the beauty of our community.

Closing Remarks

Susie is grateful for the advocacy work that we are doing. Debby would like to remind us that we do deserve to have a good life through more research and more awareness within the medical community. We are all unique and we should never stop striving to find our new normal. We can do this through education and continuing to fight to be the very best we can be.

Kim reminds us how we are all very different and we are all in different places in our diagnosis journey. And yet, we can continue to help each other out. Life can still be good and meaningful. Purposefully work towards finding your new normal.

Did we forget anything? Please comment below! 
Have a suggestion for a future topic? Suggest it here!

Medical Disclaimer

All content found on this website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.

By using this website, you acknowledge and agree to and accept these Terms of Service, including all policies and terms linked to or otherwise referenced herein.

Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

ICYMI, AFAA: Meet Heather!

In case you missed it, Action for Adrenal Awareness has added a new member onto our team. While Kim, Debby, Nichole and I all live with some form of Adrenal Insufficiency, Heather has joined us to represent the voice of a caregiver. Heather supports her mom, who was diagnosed with Primary Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison's Disease) in 2008.


Pink Converse in the Emergency Room

Heather's mother had been ill for a good part of Heather's life, but the real trouble began around 2000. She was in and out of emergency rooms constantly. Her mom would come to Heather, or her brother, stating that she needed to go to the ER. Her mom would always be wearing her LSU shirt and pink converse on.

Heather and her brother became so exhausted from trying to explain each ER visit that they began texting one another Pink Converse. That would set off the prayer and support chain. No need to explain. No energy to explain. No time to explain. Pink Converse.

"Pink Converse" = Another ER Trip

The doctors were all baffled. They only treated the symptoms:
  • Low blood pressure? She got blood pressure meds. 
  • Stomach issues? They removed her gall bladder. She had multiple scopes. She had the balloon endoscopy surgery, not once, but twice.
  • In pain? They gave her pain meds.
  • Dropping weight quickly? An endocrinologist told her to eat more protein.
  • Salt cravings? Eat cheeseburgers and Tex Mex.
The fatigue caused Heather's mom to miss out on many things. She started dealing with confusion and dizziness and black outs while driving. Specialist after specialist continued to just treat the symptoms:
  • She became sensitive to the sun. Now, she saw a dermatologist.
  • She got headaches and was given medicine for that.
  • She had low Vitamin D and Potassium, and got vitamins for that.
  • She could not sleep, and got medicine for that.
  • She got moody, irritable and depressed and they gave her medicine for that.
  • She had chest pains, and got medicine for that.

By 2007, her med list had grown along with her symptoms. But there was no improvement. Meanwhile, Heather was attempting to help her mom while simultaneously planning a wedding. On Heather's wedding day, her mom was pushing through as much as she could. She was down to 78 lbs and was unable to gain weight.

Photo from 2007.
A few weeks after the wedding, Heather's mom drove herself to an endocrinologist. He initially had no answers. She cupped her face in her hands and bawled. She told him she was ready to check herself into a mental hospital because no one believed her. No one could help her. She felt terrible every day. Every day was a fight, but nothing came up on the tests. 

Photo from 2007.
The endo started going over her tests with her. He looked at her medication lists. He told her that some of her medications were probably interfering with her tests. He felt like the low cortisol, digestive issues, sensitivity to sun, fatigue, pain all pointed to Addison’s Disease. He shook his head that it had not been brought up sooner. He ordered an ACTH test immediately.

The ACTH test was a confirmation. 
Heather's mom was not making cortisol. 

But a diagnosis did not immediately equate to better care. One particular ER team didn’t know about Addison’s Disease and did not recognize her mother's adrenal crisis. Her mother had trouble answering questions and explaining what was wrong. Without an advocate, Heather's mom was inappropriately placed in a psych ward overnight with an IV until further evaluation. She was humiliated, defeated, weak, frustrated. She needed a fighter.

That’s when Heather joined the fight.

By 2011, Heather's mom had a new internist, neurologist, and pain management doctor on her team. People were starting to understand the disease better. Slowly, the family began to see improvements. But Heather still refers to 2010 and 2011 as the lost years.

At the end of 2013, Heather and her husband adopted two precious children. The pitter patter of tiny feet into the home brought joy and stress. Her mom was happier than she had been in years. She didn’t have the energy to help with the kids too much, but she sat with them, played with them, read to them, and cuddled them. Every now and then, she could even muster the strength to go out to lunch or on a small trip with Heather's family. The kids learned quick that Mimi was ill and they needed to take good care of her.

Then the worst crisis to date occurred.

Heather's mom just had medication added to her pain pump that Friday. She did not feel well and stayed in her room all through the weekend. By Sunday, Heather was frightened. Her mom was loopy. Confused. Unable to focus. Heather realized she had not eaten, so Heather made her a sandwich. Her mom fell asleep in the plate of food.

Heather checked her mom's blood pressure. It was lower than Heather had ever seen. Just then, Heather's brother in law stopped by. He tried to talk to Heather's mom. He shined a flashlight in her eyes. She was not responsive. 

Pink Converse.

All they had to say at that ER was "BP is less than 70/40. Confusion. Adrenal Failure." They did not make her wait. They did not make them sign forms. They raced her to the back. Heather told the doctor that her mom had a small procedure on Friday and had been resting all weekend. Heather was afraid that her mom may have missed her steroids. The ER doctor screamed, "This is TEXTBOOK ADRENAL FAILURE. MOVE!!!!!!"

Her mom’s kidneys began to fail. Her temperature dropped. They had to put a heater under her. Heather held her mom's hand tight and prayed over her. Heather felt so guilty. Over the years, Heather had times where she made sure her mom took her medication. But Heather stopped because her mom wanted her independence back.

Heather had to respect her mother, and yet help her, at the same time. The job of a caregiver and yet still a daughter is a challenge. Her mom still wants to be her mom and help Heather, and always will. But sometimes, Heather has to jump in and mama her mom. That’s tough for both of them.

Her mom was in ICU for a full week and in the hospital for another week. Because that young ER doctor recognized the emergency and acted on it quickly, Heather's mom is still alive.

And today?

Her mom continues to have great days and miserable days. Heather continues to administer injections when her mom feels ill. Her family knows the ER crew here by first name, and how to talk to them. Her mom is driving again. She sometimes get outs for a walk or to shop or have lunch. She loves spending time with her grandchildren.

Heather's mom, surrounded by her family.
And the pink converse?
Well, they are still here.
Heather still texts her brother Pink Converse sometimes.
And he knows to start praying.


Did we forget anything? Please comment below! 
Have a suggestion for a future topic? Suggest it here!

Medical Disclaimer

All content found on this website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.

By using this website, you acknowledge and agree to and accept these Terms of Service, including all policies and terms linked to or otherwise referenced herein.

Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Not Yet

Living with a chronic disease that requires daily medicine can be quite difficult at times. It is easy to slip into depression and hopelessness. 
I am done doing that. 
I choose life. I choose optimism. And I choose to share some of my stories here. 
I want people to know that I am Clearly Alive.
This is not an easy choice. There have been many times that I just wanted to give up. To stop taking all of my medicine. To quit fighting. It appeared easier to just surrender.

This is a dangerous loop.

Recently, one of my friends decided that she no longer wanted to be alive. She stopped taking all of her medicine, including her cortisol steroids. Thankfully, someone found her and immediately gave her an emergency injection of solu-cortef.

Check out Project ;
As I grappled with the fact that she attempted to carry out what I so desperately wanted to do, I was overcome with grief. But then other thoughts entered my mind.

I am not done yet.
We are not done yet.
Our story is far from over.

I am not done yet.

I started stitching these little butterflies on top of a semicolon. The blue butterfly represents hope within our Adrenal Insufficiency community. The semicolon represents a sentence that the author could have ended, but chose not to. The sentence is your life, and the author is you.

Each butterfly will be unique.
I am not using a pattern.

I will be selling these on Etsy. Each butterfly is a bit different. Each hand stitched "Not Yet" is far from perfect, but I find that fitting for such a message. We are all so very different and we are all so very far from perfect.

Handmade by me.

This design can also be found at my Zazzle store. Proceeds benefit NADF, AIU, and keeping the theoretical steroid curve plotter live.

Necklace can be purchased here.
And remember, Zazzle is ALWAYS running some sort of sale.

Will you join me in proclaiming "Not yet"?
Will you join me in our fight to remain Clearly Alive?

I mentioned suicide in the post above. I want to inform my readers that I am safe. I have a good network of support that regularly check in on me. Before I was properly diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency, I struggled with a dangerous voice inside my head that would tempt me to hurt myself. A few times, I would listen to it. A few times, my mom would have to come in and forcibly stop me. 

With proper cortisol coverage, that voice is silenced.

If I am ever overwhelmed while running low on cortisol, that unsafe voice returns. I am learning to recognize it quicker and react. I seek out help. I speak openly about it. By speaking openly, I can have accountability. Through accountability, I can remain Clearly Alive.

If you are struggling, know that you are not alone and do not be afraid to seek help.
I want us all to remain Clearly Alive.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

ICYMI, AFAA: Adrenal Insufficiency Knows First

In case you missed it, Action for Adrenal Awareness released March's video on YouTube. For March, Debby spoke on how Adrenal Insufficiency knows first.




Adrenal Insufficient Knows First

I had to receive my emergency injection on March 10th, 2017.
Debby begins by telling us about an episode she had recently. She was just sitting in a chair, playing a computer game when she suddenly had a buzzing in her ears, became dizzy and momentarily blacked out. The next day, she was sick.

Her adrenal insufficiency flared long before any other "normal" symptoms of the illness occurred.

If she ever starts crying for no reason, or is very sleepy, she knows an illness is brewing. Other people struggle with brain fog or slurring of speech. Personally, I struggle with coordination and an increased dizziness. Whatever these symptoms are, it is very important that you learn how to recognize them. It is our early warning system.

Upon noticing any of her symptoms, Debby immediately updoses. Please check with your doctor and determine your own course of action for updosing. For Debby, she'll take 5 mg of HC and then wait 30 minutes before she re-evaluates. For me, I set a temporary basal rate on my cortisol pump that allows me to increase my medicine by a certain percentage.

Also, women, be mindful around your monthly cycle. Some women (I fall into this category, by the way) notice low cortisol symptoms kicking in a day or two before they begin their cycle.

Why does this happen? Why does Adrenal Insufficiency always seem to know first that something is going on in our bodies? Our immune systems are compromised. They do not respond to infections and stress in a normal or typical way. Clinical presentations of infections may be atypical. Also, the severity of the infection may be masked, which allows the infection to become advanced before being recognized.

We will feel the low cortisol symptoms long before the actual symptoms of the virus or illness show up. I can definitely relate to that statement.

Jo, another blogger within the Adrenal Insufficiency realm, just posted her experience with AI knowing first here. Her husband, Derek, had a few off days with his Adrenal Insufficiency before they discovered he had a UTI. Through pro-active up-dosing, she and Derek were able to avoid a hospital stay!

Low Cortisol Symptoms

It is important to recognize your most common low cortisol symptoms, as we all respond differently. Learning how to updose is very empowering.

Below are a few common symptoms. Do any of these stand out to you? Are there any that we missed? Please, comment and add them below!

  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Forgetting Words
  • Zoning Out
  • Anxiety
  • Blank Stare
  • Hunger
  • Forgetful
  • Perplexed
  • Sweating
  • Brain Fog
  • Tiredness
  • Clumsy
  • Irritated
  • Confusion
  • Blurred Vision
  • Shakiness
  • Apraxia (inability to perform particular purposive actions)
  • Bewildered
  • Disorientated
  • Inappropriate Behavior
  • Mood Swings
  • Exhausted
  • Frustrated
  • Weakness
  • Crying
  • Headaches
  • Depression, Nervousness
  • Noise Sensitivity
  • Depression
  • Exaggerated Startle Response
  • Fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Flank Pain
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Low Blood Sugar
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Dizziness

Photo from here.
Photo from here.

Did we forget anything? Please comment below! 
Have a suggestion for a future topic? Suggest it here!

Medical Disclaimer

All content found on this website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.

By using this website, you acknowledge and agree to and accept these Terms of Service, including all policies and terms linked to or otherwise referenced herein.

Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

ICYMI, AFAA: On Diet, Weight and Food Intolerances

In case you missed it, Action for Adrenal Awareness released February's video on YouTube. For February, Kim spoke on diet, weight and food intolerances.

Although there is no defined diet for those with Addison's Disease or Adrenal Insufficiency, how we eat can make a big difference in how we feel and our weight.


General Guidelines

Most guidelines start out very vague.
  • Higher sodium, watch the potassium.
  • Three balanced meals a day.
  • Make sure you drink enough water, especially when it's hot outside.
As Kim interacted with more people in various support groups, she found other tips such as...
  • Avoid gluten.
  • Limit carbs.
  • Treat the hypoglycemia with multiple small meals throughout the day with a combination of carbs and protein.
  • Avoid dairy.
  • Avoid white sugar.

Some Basic Principles

Kim would like to remind us that before starting any dietary change, please consult with your doctor first. And health always always ALWAYS comes before weight. She also comments on how sensitive our bodies are and encourages us to handle them with care. And to be patient. You may have to try several different things before you find what really works well with you.

How AFAA Eats

Kim then explains the general diets that our team follows. As you can see, we all do something a bit different.

Debby

Debby eats light. She avoids potassium but loads up on sodium. She limits carbs and sugar and starts each morning with a breakfast of yogurt and blueberries. When I visited her in November, she treated me to one of her blueberry shakes. For her dinners, she eats a balanced meal that contains meat, veggies and some sort of side.

Nichole

Nichole follows the ketogenic diet. She strives to have her food consist of 70% good fat, 5% carb, and 25% protein. She uses macros based off of her individual measurements, energy expenditure, and physical activity.

Our team would like to state that you should not start a ketogenic diet without the consultation of your doctor first. Also, people with certain medical conditions should not follow this diet. However, the ketogenic diet has worked well for Nichole.

Amber

For me, I started reacting to dairy at a very young age. I've never really been able to drink milk, but I can handle cheese and yogurt. I must be very careful of my sugar intake and I avoid caffeine. I mostly drink just water, and I carry my water bottle everywhere I go.

I also have been gluten free since September 2013.

Something happened during my nightmare crisis and suddenly my body could not handle gluten. I must confession that this dietary change has left me rather bitter. Kim can relate. She has a very limited diet and it's hard to not be able to enjoy traditional food. She encourages us to grieve that loss, because it is a loss. If you are struggling, please reach out to us. We understand.

Kim

Kim's food sensitivities caused her chronic inflammation. She started out with no gluten, lower carbs, and following the hypoglycemic protocol. Although the changes helped, they did not completely eliminate the problem. Her endocrinologist discovered she had insulin resistance. Through treatment, she was able to loose some weight. Yet the chronic inflammation did not go away. After her diagnosis of EDS, she completed a food sensitivities test. Learning about her food sensitivities helped her modify her diet.

For a while, Kim followed the Autoimmune Paleo Diet protocol. This is an elimination diet tailored for people with autoimmune diseases. You stop eating a food for a minimum of thirty days. After that, you reintroduce it back into your diet. If you notice a reaction, then stay away from it.

After completing that, she switched to a rotation diet. She highly recommends keeping detailed records for this diet as each family of food can only be eaten every few days. Although it is a difficult diet to follow, it has worked well for her.

Final Thoughts

As a team, we would like to stress again that health always comes before weight. Do not manipulate your meds or restrict your food in an attempt to lose weight gained by your medicine.

Also, there are more options out there than you think. What we follow may not be the answer for you. Find something that works for your individual body, while keeping your main priority as your health. Keep asking questions and keep searching. Eventually, you will find an answer.

Did we forget anything? Please comment below! 
Have a suggestion for a future topic? Suggest it here!

Medical Disclaimer

All content found on this website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.

By using this website, you acknowledge and agree to and accept these Terms of Service, including all policies and terms linked to or otherwise referenced herein.

Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Reno Run 4 Love

When I first introduced my husband, I introduced him as my running buddy. This title started during college. Back then, he kept me safe during long runs in a questionable part of town. After he graduated, we ran a five mile race together with less than a day before he had to report to his job in Iowa. He finished the race and then drove fourteen hours to report to work the next day.

Cinco de Miler. May 5th, 2013.
When we returned from Malaysia, we ran races together all over Dallas. These included everything from 5k's to a half marathon.

Dallas Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon Relay. March 2015.
Then life got busyChaoticUncertain. We stopped running together. We were in survival mode, attempting to just stay alive.

Marriage is hard.
Life is hard.
Being chronically ill is hard.

It is easy to get bogged down by the "hard" and forget the "good."

We were drowning.

I saw an advertisement for a new race through downtown Reno for Valentines Day. I asked my husband if he was interested in running a race with me.

Would I like to run four miles with someone I love?
I think yes.
Confession: We did not train for this race. Life is still too hectic for me to establish a regular running routine. We woke up morning of, I increased my meds, and ventured to the cold downtown area. I do hope to start regularly running once the weather warms up.

It's cold!
Want the shirt? You can order it here.
Proceeds benefit NADF, AIU, and keeping the Curve Plotter live.
During the race, we stopped along the way to take pictures of the Truckee River. We have had a record wet winter, and as such the river was swollen to capacity.

This is a very full river.
As I turned the corner and saw the finish line, I started sprinting. My poor husband was chatting with two lovely ladies as I took off. It caught him off guard, but he is much faster than me. He was still able to catch me, even with my head start.

Gun Time: I won. I crossed the finish line before him.
Chip Time: He beat me by a second!
Reno Run 4 Love marked a fresh start for us. It was a reminder that, first and foremost, I married my Running Buddy, my best friend. We must continue to make each other a priority and spend time building on our relationship. We have been married for three years, but we cannot take each other for granted if we plan on staying married.

This is our home.
This year, we want to run more races together. We already have several mapped out. Our next one is a "flat" 5k on March 12th. Look for pictures on my facebook page or instagram.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

One Year in Nevada

I use an app on my phone called timehop. I link together all my social media accounts, and every morning it reminds me of memories. This past week, it notified me that it's been one year since we moved to Nevada.

My facebook status from when my husband arrived.

The move started out with my mom meeting me in Sacramento to drive over the pass together.

The Olive Thief wondering where I have taken him.

A few days later, my husband and his good friend arrived from Texas with the rest of our belongings.

To our friends in Texas that helped us pack up, thank you.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We welcomed many friends and family to our new home this first year. Some were able to stay for only a meal while others were able to stay for the night. All in all, we had over twenty visitors. This does not include the two board game nights that we hosted for our FRC Robotics Team and any occasional four legged friends.

My grandfather became friends with Miss Charlotte.

In August, we closed on our house and began a major home remodel. We are currently knee deep in the remodel, which is a combination of my husband's DIY efforts and a professional contractor.

Our house is a mess of boxes, covered furniture, construction tools, and three cats running around like crazy. The dog mostly sleeps.

It's an odd feeling as I walk through our vacated apartment less than a year from when I first picked up the keys. Our first year in Nevada was a tumultuous one. Our hope is to remain here for a while. I am perfectly content living the Clearly Alive lifestyle with less crazy adventures.

Our friends in Nevada are also amazing.
To those who helped us move and clean, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.