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Category Archives: Helpful Info

Progress

I’ve had a bit of a sidetrack on my recovery journey, due to some health stuff, but I’m proud to say that at my psychiatry appointment on Friday I surpassed her expectations and the goals set at my last session. *happy dance*

Last time she helped me look at the failed adoption as a miscarriage and the goals were to grieve and let go of the grief that I will never have the life I had planned for since I was a child. It hit me one day that I’ve had to adapt almost all expectations of my life all ready, due to my illness, so realistically not having children in our life together is just one more expectation to change. He and I still make a family, with the relatives and friends that support and love us as the bubble of family around us. A child isn’t a requirement to be a family. It still hurts at times to be missing out on the special moments and to not have the parenting aspect to share, but this different path gives us other opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have, such as traveling and exploring other educational avenues.

Another goal that tied in to everything was to learn to value myself. To stand up for my needs, demand respect, and let go of toxic influences. One huge lesson was to stop trying to obtain verbal praise and validation from others for what I had done/achieved or for my personal growth. I realized that I have sought that my entire life, especially from male figures, and is also probably part of what made me an easy target for my ex. It also held me back in a lot of ways. So I’m learning to embrace my inner badass, which is a comment that my psych loved hearing. I’m a complex, flawed person, but I’m a survivor and I’m stronger for that. So yeah, I won’t use a more polite term. I’m embracing my inner badass. *grin*

In realizing that I value myself and my personal journey, it was an epiphany to me that I have sought L’s verbal validation for about 20 years, yet he’s always shown me that he values me. It’s just not his style and not an empowering way to show me that he values me, so I felt like I was lacking for years because I was so lost in trying to find that validation of value. He became friends with, admired, and married a strong woman; there isn’t a higher vote of confidence than that, really.

That realization made me feel even stronger and a few days ago I actually unpacked the adoption tote. In my immediate grief I boxed everything I possibly could that we didn’t send to Kid via the social worker. I hid that tote under a pile in the back of a closet. Last week I took the label off, threw out some of the items that can’t be donated or are too personal to share, and sorted the rest. I then packed a box for my friend to give to a couple that she knows is adopting. I even sent along my adoption tee and all of my adoption necklaces, which I wore instead of my cross throughout most of the adoption journey. It wasn’t as hard as I expected, honestly. It mostly was bittersweet to see and touch all of these tokens of hope. I seriously love that I’m able to share these with others that are holding that hope inside as well and that the items might help them through the tough times during their journey.

While sitting next to the box I realized that I was staring at the joint bookcase for Kid and I, which I had filled with some of the keepsakes I had always planned to pass down, along with my literature keepsakes. It dawned on me that I don’t have a child to pass my little treasures to, but I have loved ones that I can, so after checking with their mom that it would be okay, I also boxed up some of my book collections, like the Anne of Green Gables and Emily sets. I have three large mailing boxes to send all ready. LOL I know that my nieces will find as much joy and wonder in the books as I did, and my friend knows how much these books mean to me (they’re some of the few possessions that I truly value and wanted to pass on), so it makes me so incredibly happy to be passing my beloved books on to them. I don’t have to throw out or donate them for a library fundraiser, and know that they’ll still find life, so to speak, in the hands of much loved avid readers.

I also wrote an addendum to my will, which I’ll need to get witnessed, for the remaining treasures like fossils and collector items to be passed on to them and other kids/young adults. I’m not sure when my illness will overtake me and it is utterly heart lifting to realize that I can still pass on the few material things I treasure. I’ve always thought that passing down those little things are an incredibly meaningful way of saying “I love you”, especially if receiving gifts is part of their love language, so this all was a huge step in processing and leaving the other fork in the road behind. This progress left both my psych and I with red eyes after discussing all of it. I didn’t need that validation anymore, but the joy and hug meant a lot. So I straightened my imaginary superhero cape and walked out to L with a huge smile on my face, followed by a big thank you for showing me all of this time how much he values and supports me.

I hope this vulnerable post, and blogging this difficult journey, helps you find and celebrate your value, too, especially if you find yourself on a wildly different path than you ever wanted or dreamed of.

Tapeworm Education

Today’s post is going to obviously be about tapeworms, so if you’re squeamish or not interested, please pass this post by. I totally would have myself in the past if I hadn’t gone through an experience with them.

For context, I’m going to be providing information on the type of tapeworm that cats and dogs get from fleas, not the type from raw meat like eating raw rodents and such or contracted usually by trappers (even I couldn’t handle any of that research). Back in October we adopted twin stray nearly solid black kittens to make things all the more lively with having two older cats all ready. Zane and Izzy are now almost a year old and although I may slip and call them “the kittens”, they’re really not anymore. Just a heads up on that.

Anyway, one day as we prepared for bed (we are day sleepers since he works overnight), we noticed what looked like white rice around the backside on Zane. L held Zane and I removed them with a tissue, and promptly freaked out when one moved. Although it was way whiter than the following picture shows, here is an example.

We thought it was mucus or something until the bugger moved. Thankfully on a black cat they’re extremely noticeable and one of the few times I’m thankful that the twins tend to moon us frequently instead of keeping that tail lower. LOL After it moved L looked closer and said he thought it looked like a tapeworm, but maybe he was wrong and it was a different kind of worm. He was certain it was a worm, so I jumped into researching. After a few hours of research I discovered a lot of contradictory and even downright false information, but confirmed that the three were indeed involved with having a tapeworm. So, I wanted to provide the correct information here in the hopes that it helps someone.

Let’s start with getting to know the truth about the tapeworm itself. Usually your cat has only one infecting it and by the time they are mature, they average between 5-8″ inside the intestine, with the head latched onto the intestine. It is made up of three parts: the head that connects to poor kitty, the neck, and a long body of segments. This picture gives a great example.

Now, this worm tends to be difficult for the vet to detect unless segments have detached and the owner finds them, since it’s not detectable in a blood test and is really tough to test for in a standard fecal exam (unless the segments are breaking off). Now comes the creepy, crawly part. That segment that breaks off and passes through is actually an egg sac. First they’re a bit lively when they’re freshly out of kitty (or pup) and the nasty buggers have the ability to move around to find a host. You can even see them snake their way out of the anus sometimes (insert gagging). After exposure to the air and lack of finding an immediate host, they drop off and dehydrate.

You can find these anywhere the cat has walked, played, or slept. At this point they will not move and are waiting for a host. The important thing to know now is that tapeworms need an intermediary host, such as this variety needing to be ingested by flea larvae, which then grow into infected fleas. (Note: the dry segments/egg sacs, break open and the eggs are released, which the larvae can then infest.) The sacs can not infect you or your pet directly, even those nasty crawling ones, and they’re not going to go back into kitty’s backside. If your cat roams the house freely, you have a high chance of finding these dehydrated sacs in your own bedding as well, so don’t freak out if you see these tiny, really weird gold looking, sesame seed-like, hard sacs.

Here are the top keys to taking care of this. First, make sure that kitty is treated with a flea preventative, preferably one that kills fleas and larvae ASAP. Contact your vet and buy tapeworm anti-parasitic treatment from them (oral or liquid application, so whichever you’re more comfortable with. Since we use the liquid flea treatment, it made since to use the same for the other), and thoroughly clean anywhere kitty has been or where fleas could have gone, especially vacuuming anywhere possible. Now, I am not addressing a heavy flea infestation with this, but instead the random type. If you have an infestation, contact your vet and follow their recommendations to the “T”. Also, it is worth the extra cost of buying the tapeworm treatment from your vet instead of an OTC version, because the OTC isn’t usually as strong and sometimes doesn’t kill the worm itself, so you may get this issue all over again once that worm is at a reproduction stage again. Now, poor kitty may spend a lot of time in the litter box trying to get the irritating matter to pass like fecal matter (which won’t happen, so the poor thing is just getting kinda tortured trying to care for itself) and every so often, although it’s more common in dogs than cats, they may scoot on the carpet to remove what is irritating their backside. Thankfully Zane didn’t do that or I’d have probably set fire to that area of the carpet and just dealt with L’s anger later. *laugh*

Now, those infected larvae grow into fleas and kitty either eats one while grooming or while nipping at the itch of fleas biting, and ingests it then. Within three weeks of eating the infected flea (most vets seem to agree that the flea can still be infected even if it is dead and the cat grooms up that dead flea), the worm living inside the flea then attaches to the intestinal wall. Note: the worm MUST go through the flea to complete the life cycle, according to our vet and most documents I found written by actual vets.

If you use a good flea treatment, then all traces of fleas on them, even the larvae, will be dead within 24 hours. Your vet will let you know how soon after the flea treatment that you can administer the parasitic treatment. The good thing is that a prescription based tapeworm treatment will kill the whole thing within 12 hours and only needs the one treatment! (Again, this is not the case in a heavily flea-infested environment or if your pet is able to go outside, since their exposure possibilities are nearly endless outside. Your vet will be your best instructor on this. Do NOT rely on the internet for guidance on this, please!! A LOT of the information people post is so wrong.) Also, make sure you clean the litter boxes often, just as an in-case preventative, especially while in the possible “something might still be alive” window.

At this point it is a good idea to clean thoroughly again, especially since there will be dry sacs and dead fleas in your linens and carpet. There’s contradictory information, but you can also use a cleaning spray solution such as Lysol or a bleach or borax and water solution, and spray anywhere you can’t reach with other cleaning methods. The jury is out on the safety of Lysol around cats, however, thankfully mine hate it and stay away from any wet spray, and they won’t lick dry spots either. With having a compromised immune system, Lysol helps give me an extra peace of mind, knowing that it’s killing any other germs or bacteria that may be hiding and can affect my system later, as well as making me feel confident that this is DONE.

A few more key notes now. It is extremely rare for humans to get this type of tapeworm. Basic hygiene should prevent this. You have to ingest an infected flea in order for the possibility of getting infected, so, in normal circumstances, you have nothing to worry about, even if you have a compromised immune system. Next, most vets all agree on only giving the tapeworm treatment to those that show they have been infected. As our twins have a tendency of sharing their grooming (blech!), we all agreed it was probably best to treat Izzy too, while the flea treatment was done on all four. And now the biggest thing to know. You must continue to use flea preventative all year long to prevent this from happening again, even if you have a foot of snow, since one can hitch a ride from a house that has fleas on something they bring over or on their clothing, or something of that nature, thereby bringing the infection into your house. It seems insane to treat even when the ground is frozen, everything outside is dead, and there’s snow everywhere, but if you never want to deal with these nasty buggers, it’s worth the cost of treatment. One last note that I almost forgot – if your pets roam your house freely, make sure to also vacuum your mattress pad while your linens are in the wash (warmest temps for washing and drying that the manufacturer recommends)! I don’t know how they can get around like that, but I found dry sacs on the mattress pad itself, despite us using several layers of blankets and sheets, so don’t half-ass clean (excuse the language please). For something without a brain, they’re very creative and goal oriented.

It’s up to you what flea preventative you want to use, but make sure it can also kill the larvae. Our vet actually recommends the new Revolution Plus, since it prevents a lot of other issues too that may affect kitty.

The only signs now that we had an issue is that I need to brush the twins’ fur where they had the treatment applied, since they have some funny fur patterns from the dried solution on the back of their necks, my house is way cleaner than it has been in a long time and all laundry got washed including anything the cats could have laid on, and I am out of energy spoons for the foreseeable future. *laugh* However, I was really upset that something common and so easily treatable didn’t have accurate information easily handy, despite the availability of information on the internet! I felt an obligation to help provide some accurate knowledge about this as a result. If you would like to read an actual trustworthy article, click HERE for the site that our own vet trusts.

So, other than a step back with my recovery due to using up too much energy and getting a little injured during the cleaning, and some irritated cats that hate getting their monthly treatment, life is returning to normal for our little menagerie. Zane is catching up on missed sleep from when he was kept up by his issues, the others are enjoying fresh bedding and a new heated cat bed, and all of them are super affectionate right now for some reason. I truly hope you never have to deal with this, but if you do, hopefully this helps prevent you from freaking out like I did, and also gives you a solid base of information to get this under control. Our key take away is that we will be giving year long flea preventatives with treats afterward and never dealing with this again. (And in case you wonder, nope, we didn’t have a single flea found on the pets or in the house. A great way to find out if you have an issue is to walk around wearing white socks. It’s easier to see them jumping on you and getting tangled in the material before making their way toward their food source and gives you a good idea of how bad of a flea situation you’re dealing with. With my immune issues, if there is a flea around, typically it comes after me and I react with a big red bite, or a series of them if I enter a place that has an infestation.)

Anyway, sorry for such an icky topic, but I really hope that it’s helpful, even if it’s just education to keep in the back of your mind for “just in case” purposes. In the meantime, happy pampering and please do a little extra for me, since I’m too tired to even get out of bed right now. 😀

Christmas shopping

I did a search and couldn’t find that I mentioned this right before we lost the internet, so I’m hoping this is new information from you.  You’ve probably heard of the Wish app, where you shop vendors at really low prices, pay almost an even amount for shipping, and wait a long time to get these little packages from China.  I learned about another app, Joom, that has no shipping charges and their items have been a lot better quality than most Wish ones, so far, in my opinion.

 

Now, I know some are going to be like “seriously, Christmas shopping in September?!  That’s going too far!”.  Stay with me here though.  For $30 I got a bunch of stocking stuffers (which have some of my best purchases for people usually).  Then try to forget about it and the packages slowly come in.  Due to the massive delays, I’d advise you check it out as soon as possible if you’re interested in some interesting, cost effective little items!

 

I do have a few bits of advise though.  One, the sizes are usually incredibly off on the clothing, so read reviews or may the odds be with you.  Two, use the app if possible – the website is much harder to navigate in my opinion.  In addition, the app immediately checks that you want to pay in US dollars instead of other currencies, so it’s a LOT less frustrating.  Three, if you’re considering makeup, see if there is a screenshot or list of ingredients, because knock offs sometimes have some bad chemicals mixed in, so just be aware (goes for any outlet type shopping).

 

They even have a section where you can enter a lottery for select items for that day, to get them for just $0.10, with the caveat that you need to do a photograph-containing review on the item.  I haven’t won all week, but I’m noticing that I kind of set myself up for loss anyway.  I was selecting items that a lot of people were in the raffle for, so I’m watching that number of other entries more now.  We’ll see if I might get a fun and wild wig or piece of jewelry this way.  *laugh*

 

So, I definitely recommend you at least take a look and see if anything appeals to you.  I even found a bunch of business items that are really inspiring me (unfortunately the most inspiring item is not here and it’s been almost two months – see, that’s why you need to order early!).  The only really bad side I’ve found so far is that it’s incredibly addictive.  That thrill of getting a great deal is almost nonstop, especially with “item of the hour” flash sales with things for $1 or such.  *grin* Hopefully this will help some people have a more cost effective holiday while still having lots of fun (check out the Harry Potter alloy wands if you have a Potterhead to shop for; looks so pretty but is a phenomenal price!).

 

This is definitely one of my favorite apps.  Makes for a rather random blog post, but that’s what makes me interesting, right?  *laugh* Who knows what the next one will be about, but for now, happy pampering (and shopping!)! 🙂

A Few New Favorite Things

After being a lot sicker than usual for five months I started thinking about what could be playing with the Fibro to make me even more susceptible to illnesses. I dusted (I admit that I suck at staying on top of that), I used baking soda in the carpet, stayed away from my business shelves in case I had developed an issue with an ingredient…I tested a lot of things. My ability to grip things is getting worse, but caught even me by surprise when I couldn’t hold onto my drink while sitting in bed watching GMM on my phone. (Since my body is irritated by straight water right now, I’ve had to get creative with findings things to drink and Frappuccino became one, unfortunately. Lol) I knew my comforter would need to be washed to get the milk out. I stripped the bed and did a quick half fix to get us by until I built up another spoon to make the bed fully again. When I went to properly make the bed I truly saw the state of our pillow top and it was embarrassing. We had a foam insert inside the pillow top, so I knew that it had to be bad, as well.

I started thinking and realized that we bought the Sleep Number bed with pillow top and foam around 13 years ago. The Sleep Number and bedding was such a blessing as my Fibro pains began, and I truly think the combo gave me a little more time to enjoy having a career and a more active lifestyle. Years later I’m looking down at the bedding and thinking about what has probably developed in bedding that we didn’t realize was so old. With his help we went to straight onto the mattress with a fitted sheet and I knew this wasn’t going to work. Once we got our taxes done and knew we would be covered, I spent a few days researching mattress pads and pillow tops. During all this I realized that my congestion had improved dramatically and that although I was hurting more, I was actually getting better rest (which any Spoonie knows is nearly impossible). Something inside of our old set had gotten bad enough to compromise my system further. I was floored.

Anyway, fast forward to yesterday and five boxes from the mail man, with one being incredibly heavy so he brought it in for me, and a new bed was born. Lol They really need to put warnings on pillow top bags that states there may be an explosion upon exposing to air…I cut open the bag and literally got knocked over as this cushion exploded out and tripled in size immediately. It’s now funny, but was quite startling and irritating. *grin*

I then had to wrestle the mattress pad out of the big and heavy box. It was literally a wrestling match. It won several rounds. After I was pouring sweat and breathing harder than when I box, I managed to get the pad partially up onto a crafting table to air out. It was full on the hardest workout I have ever done. *laugh* As I collapsed into my recliner and stared at the 2″ pad draped over the table in front of me I realized that it was hanging unevenly. Dude. You suck. I kept staring at it while trying to catch my breath, but my OCD started screaming inside of my head. I can’t stand when things aren’t even. Sides have to line up if I can see them (I can’t see his side of the bed from where I am, so our bedding can be high for fun sized me and low for tall him without bothering me thankfully). The right side was at least 6″ longer. When I managed to get back up and try to even it out the doggone table tried to collapse!! L was still sleeping, so I knew I had an hour with this nightmare, and found that if I leaned onto the arm of my recliner with my phone at eye level, watching YouTube, it was all out of sight and my mind could quiet down. But seriously…a freaking piece of bedding got the better of me! After the brother knocked me on my bottom all ready!

Thankfully L got up and drug everything into the bedroom, and we made our revived bed. When we crawled in for a nap before he had to get ready for his shift it was so worth the beat down. There’s a little firmness, but for the most it just cradles all of my trigger points. And I woke up without trying to hack up a lung, too! It took about five minutes to convince ourselves to get out of the cloud of happiness. *grin*

I also ordered a germ guardian air purifier, but just got that running, so I’ll have to give it a thumbs up later on if it proves itself worthy. In the meantime I want to share the links for these two incredible pieces of bedding that quite quickly eased a lot of the extra pain I’ve been suffering from lately.

The gel memory foam mattress topper is by Milliard and set us back $124 for the king size.

The pillow top was a hard one for me to decide on honestly. I had a really difficult time deciding between the three I had narrowed it down to, but decided that the hypoallergenic and antimicrobial properties, plus being overfilled if I’m honest, were the winning features. The Leisure Town Mattress Pad Cover was $80.

These are Amazon member prices, of course, and the free shipping for such heavy items is so worth the membership, let alone the sales and shipping frenzy during the holidays, in my opinion.

Kiddo’s room is still the most incredible in our house, but our bed feels like the one I slept in at a Marriott. We got her an incredible bed set, but I have to say, I won’t hesitate to order if she asks for the topper and foam. A two hour nap all ready convinced me (at the time of the writing…I’ll schedule this to post in the morning while I’m still sighing happily in my fluffy bed. *laugh*). These are definitely going to be on my list of favorite things!

Before I go, I want to mention one other thing. I’m hoping that the links I embedded for you actually go to smile.amazon. If you haven’t heard about it, a portion of sales from Amazon, when ordered through the sister site of smile.amazon.com, go to charity. There’s a place in your account where you can pick the charity that you would like to have your percentage donated to. I totally respect that you may have a favorite charity that you would like to support. If you do not, though, it would be absolutely amazing if you would consider helping raise money for KCSL, who is the company Adopt Kansas Kids, our adoption agency, is under. KCSL supports a lot of different areas of the process, including fostering, adoption, training, and parent assistance. I embedded the link if you’d like to read their fast facts and hopefully look around their site a bit. Part of the reason our adoption has had a lot of delays is because there aren’t enough resources to process the less urgent parts quickly. It would mean a lot if we could help raise more for them and help more children who need all of us to advocate for them, not just an overburdened system. Here’s a quick view of the charity screen, although I marked out our part, especially since I don’t need L to see and figure up how much I’ve spent on Amazon. *grin* (Not really; we are open with each other about finances. We are private with public consumption though.)

There are a lot of charities being helped, although a lot of people don’t know about it. Although the heavy hitter charities are very worthy, it would be an incredible blessing if you would consider choosing KCSL for your charity. It does nothing for our adoption journey, but every bit truly helps take care of the children. “It takes a village to raise a child” as the proverb goes. I’d be so honored if just one in “my village” will help the children.

Okay, I’m done with the sentimental moment for the week. *grin* If you’d like more information about the products, Smile, or KCSL/Adopt KS Kids, please don’t hesitate to write a comment or email!

Happy pampering (and yes, a comfy bed is totally under the pampering umbrella!)! 🙂

Short and Helpful

Today has been filled with medical stuff, so I wasn’t able to write and schedule the morning post as I have been. Since it’s a rough evening for me and two new sedatives are about to knock me out, I thought I’d make this is short, but wanted to provide some helpful info.

While doing research and prep for any emotional issues our adopted daughter may have I found tons of great worksheets on the internet and Pinterest. Some are even provided by social workers for this. Since it’s been a bit difficult to keep waiting on the adoption to progress when I’m an impatient person *grin*, plus the new health issues that cropped up that we’re trying to pin down, I decided to try a few of the forms and see if they truly are helpful. I swear to you that it really helped me put things into a more positive light, not be so judgmental of myself, and actually took a lot of the stress away once I looked at things differently. If you’re unable to save and print out the pics of the forms from my post, hit my Pinterest board for Teenage Adoption for access to the originals. I do not take credit for these, didn’t create them, and am not totally sure who even came up with a bunch of the others that I’m not including on here. I actually just wrote my responses in a lined notebook and did different topics, so I could use the same original, so no completed worksheets for you to peek at. *teasing smile* Anyway, I hope you consider trying at least one out when things get overwhelming or emotional. Tomorrow I’ll try to have a clearer-minded post for you!! Lol

(The Self-Talk is my favorite one)

I Picked New Habits

Instead of picking resolutions for this year, I decided to develop new habits. I’ll share a few later on, but for now I’d like to share this incredible post that was sent to me. I think it’s a much healthier perspective and will definitely help me for a lot longer than any resolution. Hopefully it may help a few of you as well.

Please read Miss Mustard Seed’s Nurturing Habits. Once I’ve healed from my recent falls I plan to be less inspirational and write more of my long-winded random posts, I promise (or threaten, if you prefer the usual randomness *teasing grin*). Until then, I wish you success developing your new habits for this year!!

Something To Think About

Today the post is going to be short, because I want to share a quoted lecture that I was sent, and it was very profound. It is truly changing how I handle some of my fears and thoughts. I hope it helps at least a few of you, dear readers, and helps you start this year with a much better way of handling what life throws at us. The picture’s print is small, so be prepared to enlarge your screen. I’m sorry about that!

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