Year in Review

Earlier in 2010 I decided to set a goal for myself to walk or bike 400 miles in 2010. This seemed like a completely attainable goal—and it would have been if I’d not started having some health problems. I was tired often and wrote it off as stress. I figured exercising regularly would help. It didn’t.

Things finally came to a head in October with a scary episode that landed me in the ER one sunny afternoon. At least eight tests/scans and two months later I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Specifically I’m having absence seizures. From reports I’ve been having these at least since I was a toddler but for some reason they’re only now a disruption in my life.

What this all means is that I’m on anti-epileptic medication for the next few years at least (if I remain seizure-free I shouldn’t have to stay on them forever, which is what I was originally afraid of). I’m still adjusting to how the meds affect me, but once I adjust I’ll be back to my normal self—well, as normal as I ever was. After a little over two weeks on the medication I’m feeling better than I have in years.

Another complication with all of this is that Ranger seems sensitive to the dizzy spells I was having (not the absence “blips,” which I’d have multiple times a day), so I am still considering him to be a service dog to accompany me in various situations. Since he’s a social dog and now that the medication made what he was alerting to (if he was indeed alerting) go away, this may end up being a dead-end road. I will have to wait and see how this works out.

Some of the side-effects of the medication (according to various personal testimonials in various online epilepsy forums and I am seeing this already) is voracious appetite and lethargy, resulting in weight gain. Since I’m pretty good at that on my own, I’m once again giving myself some fitness/mileage goals for the new year (though I’m not yet sure what that’s going to be). I’ve also noticed that while the short-term memory problems caused by the meds are improving with time, my typing skills are still far behind where they were before I started the prescription. I hope this improves soon (my speed and accuracy is far off from where it normally is).

I’m also trying to better while keeping things convenient (and reducing my driving), so I’m working through books, magazines, and websites on container gardening. This way I can have fresh veggies on hand even during weeks that I can’t make it to the farmers’ market. I’ll keep you all up to date with what’s working for me (or not), links, reading suggestions and more.

Right now I’m definitely looking forward to spring—I spent much of the last few months (while hanging out around the house trying to figure out what was wrong with me and thinking it was a cardiac problem) knitting holiday presents (5 hats, 11 market bags, 11 wash cloths, and 1 pair of wristers–I knitted well over 4 miles of yarn this year, mostly since June):

And doing things with Ranger, which gives him even more letters in front of his name:

And my friends helped me out with a gift for me to use with Ranger once the ice comes off the lake:

I obtained a canoe via a trade last fall and want to take Ranger out in it. The float coat will help me out (even though he’s a pretty good swimmer to begin with) because he’s got a bit more buoyancy and a little handle to help me get him in and out of the boat (or on a dock) safely. I’m excited for this.

My brother is in the process of updating the software for this site, so once I get my stuff squared around I’ll be able to post much more often (gee, I think I’ve promised to do that before). You may see some craziness here and there during the transition over the next couple of weeks. (Plug–if you need some web hosting or design services, fire off an email to Tikki via his website).

Thanks everyone for the support you’ve given me in the nearly 10 years I’ve been running this site. It’s been a steady companion through countless ups and downs and I’ll continue to stick with it as much as my life allows.

See you in 2011.

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2 Responses

  1. Strap says:

    I love how sensitive pets can be. My dog can always tell if I’m having a bad day.

  2. threenorns says:

    my dog is my diagnostician. he’s a border collie mixed with some kinda lab but mostly he’s BC – all 70lbs of him! imagine a 70lb ADHD border collie: that’s him. the only dog i’ve ever seen able to keep up with him is a jack russell terrier.

    so of course i wanna get him into carting – keep him under control, give him a good workout, and, most importantly, keep my 4yo daughter under grips = she has developmental problems tied with a very high IQ so she’s got the attention span of a fruitfly and the impulsivity of a monkey in a fruit shop. shoulda named her “random brownian motion” instead of saari.

    my big questiona bout your harness for carting: is it me or does it look like your dog is pulling the cart by the shafts? cause from everything i’ve read, that’s a no-no, isn’t it? the plans for carts i’ve seen have all had the same thing: two big eyes bolted or screwed into the frame to which the harness attaches and does all the pulling – the shafts are for braking and steering.

    if you could clarify, that’d be great – sorry for hijacking your thread but i can’t find any other way to contact you directly: all links lead to the home page.