Monday, December 31, 2012

Bits and Pieces

We don't get many Christmas cards.  We also don't SEND any Christmas cards, so it isn't a wonder that we don't receive many.  But, there still are a few die-hards that send cards.  This year we got around a half-dozen or so.  I knew most of the people who sent cards, but one came from K's boss, who I have never met.  One card came with NO signature and no return address, so we will never know who sent it.  This is going to bug me for some time...


As far as husbands go, I am very lucky to have K.  He is quite thoughtful and does almost everything asked of him.  He even does grocery shopping, but that isn't always a good thing.  The problem is that he IS a man and does things the way men do.  First, he will open the refrigerator/cupboard door and expect food to jump up and announce where it is.  Surprisingly, the food rarely does this.  And this is why he thinks we don't have certain things in the house and goes to the grocery store.  Today he came home with two bags of food--most of which we already have and that he couldn't 'find'--as if I purposely hide food from him.  (Okay, I have done so in the past, but usually candy bars, etc--NOT loaves of bread, Ritz crackers, or English muffins.)  So now we have two of things we don't normally eat much of in the first place.  Unfortunately, if I want him to go to get groceries ever again, I can't say too many negative things or he'll tell me to do it myself the next time.  ;)


For the past few days a lot of traffic has been sent to this blog because people searched for 'blessed new year.'  I guess I never realized that so many people would search for that term.  And I find it a bit odd.


About two months ago I broke down and bought myself a tablet.  I got the Asus Nexus 7, which runs on Android Jelly Bean.  And I am LOVING it.  I find that I'm not necessarily using the desktop or laptop nearly as much as I used to--the tablet is sufficient for most of what I do online or with a computer.  I still do find it much easier to use a computer to do a lot of typing and for shopping, but other than that the tablet works almost as well.  The last time we went on a road trip, I didn't even take the laptop--one less thing to carry.  Considering we are out of our hotel room so much when we go out of town, the tablet worked just fine for the time I needed it.  And I didn't need to take my NOOK, as I have the NOOK app on the tablet!  It is getting easier and easier to pack these days.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

On Christmas, Blogging, and the New Year

I hope that everyone had a good Christmas.  While I had big hopes for this year--and really wasn't depressed or 'scrinchy' at all--it fell a bit short of my expectations.  Don't get me wrong, I had a very nice time at our friends' on Christmas Eve and enjoyed having The Youngest and her husband here, but 'something' was missing/not quite right.  It has been a long, long time since I felt this way about Christmas--probably because I have kept myself from having any expectations for so long.  Again, I just can't explain what went 'wrong,' just that something did.  But, I am moving on and leaving that all behind.  I put all of the Christmas decorations away yesterday and am throwing myself full force into the winter season.  HOORAY!


There aren't a whole bunch of blogs that I follow, but of the ones I do, the updates have been pretty slim.  A big bunch of blogs that I have--in the past--read everyday, are hockey ones.  Of course, with the lockout, there really hasn't been a lot for the writers to write about, so not much activity has been going on.  Unfortunately, as the lockout has continued, more and more of the hockey blogs I follow are going on hiatus--and most of them aren't even sure if they will come back whenever the lockout ends.  This is just one of the side-effects of this 'millionaires vs billionaires' thing that is going on.  Of course, the biggest tragedy in all of this is the effect it has had on the 'little people.'  Sports' bars, vendors, security at the arenas, merchandise sellers, etc, etc, etc are the ones that are hurting today because of the stubbornness and need to win of the representatives on both sides.  It is very disgusting, to say the least.

Several of the 'regular people' blogs that I follow are looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with the new year.  I so enjoy reading the updates on all of their lives and consider them to be friends, even though I have never met them or talked to them in real life.  This is one aspect of the interwebs that I like very much.  


I, too, am going to try to update at a more regular pace than I have been doing lately.  There are a couple of new things going on in my/our lives and I will share--probably in my next post.  ;)  The new year IS a time of starting over and wiping away the past, so I will be looking at several aspects of my life to try and modify.  I HATE New Year's resolutions and don't make them, but it IS a good time to try and change some stuff for the better.  I am hoping to finally get-it-together and finish some of the many, many started projects I have hanging around the house.  And speaking about the house, I hope to get deeper into organizing and cleaning cupboards, closets, and our basement.  I think it just may be time to downsize a bit--but if I finish the started projects, I may not NEED to downsize, as I'll have more storage space than I will know what to do with.  :D


So, to all who may stumble upon this little piece of my world, I want to wish you a very happy and blessed new year.  May we ALL enjoy health, happiness, and good times!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Enbrel and the Shingles Vaccine

In early 2009, I finally decided to try Enbrel for my psoriasis.  This was not an easy decision for me and it wasn't a quick one, either.  I spent weeks, months, and even years coming to the decision to do this--and I didn't start without a great deal of anxiety.  But, my skin was getting to the point where I couldn't handle it anymore, so I thought I would try.  I chose Enbrel because of the fact that I could use a self-injecting SureClick syringe.  There is no way I can imagine EVER getting a regular syringe even close to my body, much less CONSCIOUSLY deciding to inject a needle in to myself!  Surprisingly, I have had little to no problems with doing the injections.

My skin cleared up remarkably well using Enbrel.  I came very close to being completely clear after a year on the medication and continued to stay clear-ish for two years.  And I praise whoever came up with this medication--it made my life SO much better.  I am one of the lucky ones, though, as we have very good insurance and don't have to pay big money out-of-pocket.  This is one of the only reasons why I am able to continue to use this very expensive medication.

A year or so after beginning Enbrel, my best friend got shingles.  She continued--and still does, to a certain extent--to suffer side effects for quite some time.  Finally, the medical community decided that the shingles vaccine should be given to younger people and The Husband and I became eligible for this.  With K's kidney problems, it was highly recommended that he get the vaccine and my friend BEGGED me to get it, also.  I do know that it is not a good thing to come down with shingles while using Enbrel, so I decided to go through with it.  And this is where my life became 'interesting,' to say the least.

I did know that someone using Enbrel cannot get a live-virus vaccine, of which the shingles vaccine is.  What I did not know, is how long does a person need to be off of Enbrel before getting the vaccine and  how long do you have to stay off before going back on Enbrel.  I called my dermatologists office and they had NO answer for me, but said they would see if they could find one.  I went on the internet and got no answers.  I even called the manufacturer and had no luck.  My specialty pharmacy was a little better, as they had some anecdotal stories, but nothing more than that.  After a LOT of research, phone calls, and 'gut-feelings,' I decided--with some reluctance on the part of physicians--that four weeks off before and four weeks off after the vaccine was sufficient.  My primary care physician has NEVER been happy with me being on Enbrel, but she reluctantly agreed--as long as I understood the risks.  So, after being off of Enbrel for FIVE weeks, I went and got my shingles vaccine.  I stayed off of the med for another four weeks before I went back on and had NO side effects or any other detrimental effect from any of this.

As of today, I am one+ years removed from having the shingles vaccine and continue to do well.  I have been on Enbrel for almost four years and still have reasonable results in terms of clear skin.  The Enbrel does seem to be a bit less effective today than it was during the first couple of years I was on it, so I don't know what will happen in the long-term.  I am seeing my first new lesions in almost four years and what never went away are slowly growing in size.  I think I may need to change meds at some point in the future, but that remains to be seen.

So, for anyone on Enbrel trying to make the decision as to whether or not to get the shingles vaccine, I have only one thing to say:  it worked for me.  The time frame of being off of Enbrel for five weeks before getting the vaccine and staying off for another four weeks before going back on, was within all of the few guidelines I was able to find.  (While doing all of my research, I found out the half-life of Enbrel and calculated how long it takes to leave your body.  After five weeks there should be so little left that it is as if you are almost Enbrel-free.  So, I felt pretty safe.)  Some people feel as if the longer you stay off of Enbrel on either side of the vaccine, the better, but there IS being TOO conservative, also.  As long as one goes into this with eyes wide open and all of the facts available, I don't feel as if this is something that can't be done.  Getting shingles is NO walk in the park--whether you are or are not on Enbrel--but it is potentially life-threatening while using Enbrel, so that needs to be considered.  I hope this helps in making the decision.

***For all of my posts regarding my psoriasis, search for 'psoriasis' up there ^ to the left.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Yes, It's Been Some Time...

Hello!  Anyone out there?  Do I even have any more regulars?  Other than my dear, dear Meleah, I don't know if there is anyone who comes here regularly anymore.  Although, I have quite a few people coming to this site lately, but that mostly is a result of searching for 'Santa Claus.'  And so, as soon as the season is done, I will have much fewer visitors.  This, of course, makes me realize that I need to update things a lot more often if this little corner of the interwebs is going to survive for much longer.  I am here today to do an update.

--For anyone who knows me, you will be surprised to find out that I am NOT doing a 'Scrinchy' Christmas post this year.  There have been some changes in my life lately--and I WILL be writing about them in due time--and my mood is much better than has been in a long, long time.  I pretty much am completely done with my shopping--and, actually, have been almost done for close to a month already.  I don't really buy that much, or for that many people, and that helps get the shopping out of the way quite easily.  We only get books for the grandkids--and THEY provide the list of what they want--so there is none of that wondering 'what piece of crap is popular this year and how much will it cost me?' dilemma that so many people have.  For our girls and their husbands, we give money as their main gift, so anything else that we get them is on a smaller scale.  We only exchange gifts with one of our neighbors--and have for years and years--and with two sets of close friends, so we don't do a lot of gift buying.  I cut our list to the bare-bones minimum a few years ago and have only added a couple of names to that since.  And I am a much happier person because of it!

--A number of people have been coming to this site after searching for how to get the shingles vaccine while on Enbrel.  While most people who come here aren't all that interested in the subject, I will be doing a post to wrap up my experiences with the whole process.  This will give anyone who is considering the vaccine one more place to get some information--even if it is only anecdotal.  I certainly know there is very little info on the subject and it always helps to have one more viewpoint.

--We should have quite a bit of snow here already--and we don't.  As a matter of fact, it has been raining today and pretty much all of what we DID have has melted.  The forecast for the next ten days is calling for temperatures to slowly fall to the mid-20s, but there is no big-time snow called for.  It will be very interesting to see what we get in January and February--our, historically, worst months for snow and cold.

--Our youngest and her husband will be here again for Christmas.  They will get here on the 22nd and will leave sometime on the 26th.  K will come home this Wednesday after his last night shift and not have to go back to work until the 3rd.  It is always great to have people around to do last minute running around.  ;)

--For anyone who isn't aware, there has been no hockey for me this year.  The contract ended between the NHL and the players and the owners/NHL decided to lockout the players while the 'negotiations' proceeded.  I write the word negotiations the way I did because the entire process has been pretty much a farce.  When one side says "Do it OUR way or there is no deal--no ifs, and, or buts about it." the negotiation process is really not going very well.  So far, only games through the end of this month have been canceled, but I really don't see them salvaging even part of a season.  From what it sounds like, if a deal can't be made by the 15th of January, the entire season will be canceled.  It's really too bad, because this is not good in any way for the league.  Many people--even quite a few die-hard, fanatic fans--are promising to not go back to the NHL when this is all over with.  Surprisingly, I haven't really missed the NHL all that much--although I DO miss watching the game itself.  As for me?  I probably will go back to being as fanatic and obsessed with the Red Wings as I ever was--I won't lie.  But I DO wonder how exactly this will affect me in the long run.

--Another thing that is different in my life right now is the fact that we have NO concerts, plays, events on our calendar to attend.  We did so many events this past spring and summer, but there really hasn't been anything that we felt was 'must see' coming up in the near future.  Fleetwood Mac and Foreigner are going to be performing close to us, but with K having to work for both concerts, I don't see where he will take time off so that we can go.  I have no problem missing Foreigner--they DO have a new lead singer--but I am a bit bummed about missing Fleetwood Mac.  I'm not sure we will ever have the opportunity to see them again.  But, they will be in St Paul and that isn't a leisurely drive for us.  Eric Clapton has announced a new North American tour, but so far there are no dates that are close to us.  I am assuming--hopefully I am correct--that he will have a second leg of the tour and come to St Paul or Minneapolis later in 2013.  And I WILL do my best to get to see him again.  I may have my work cut out for me trying to convince K, though.  After all, I am the HUGE Clapton fan, not him.

--So, what has everyone else been up to?  If you haven't updated YOUR blog in a while, let me know how your life is going.  While I won't promise, I do hope to be here more often for a while...