Wednesday, July 31, 2013

30 More Hours of the Unknown

After a horrible weekend laying low due to horrible cramps and an unreasonable menstral flow, I am rethinking putting off the surgery any amount of time.

There is no way I can deal with life in the classroom when I am having cramps and needing to run to the bathroom every hour or so.

Spending time on the couch with a heating pad on my stomach, knitting in my lap is nice, but life goes on and I'm not one to sit back and watch it pass by.

Monday I was exhausted and got very little done, what I feel is a rebound day after so much blood loss.

This morning, I went through my work clothes.  Thankfully I did a trip to ValuVillage yesterday as the two dress slacks I got are the ky ones that fit.  I sadly folded and stacked the pants that are too tight and uncomfortable on my expanding belly.

In 30 hours I should know my course of action and time line.  I am hoping we can get the ball rolling.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Last Week

My honey and I went riding with a friend on her HUGE horses Sunday, and today is the start of my last week of "summer vacation" as I will head back to school/work next week.

Today I will go to my mom's and try to help her go through things.  She usually gets tired after 5 minutes so we will see how that goes.  We reserved a campsite for an upcoming weekend and we want to go trail riding, so I need to contact the riding stable near the campground and see if we can reserve spots for us.

I continue to be tired, one week one iron supplements.  My question now is whether this is lack of energy or lack of motivation?  I could so easily go back to bed for a nap!

I will see my gyno Thursday and hopefully will have a timeline for surgery.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Laying Low Saturday

For a good laugh, check out the link on yesterday's post!  I am sure some of the things can happen in other states, but they are very much Alaskan (but the moose harnessed has been proven a hoax).

Don't feel well today, want to sit on the couch with the heating pad on my belly -- enough said, right?

On a positive note, thanks to a suggestion from a reader, I tried a slow release iron supplement!  YEAH!  I can take it without getting deathly ill, or other side effects (so far).  I am able to return to my more healthy diet of lean meats, and not daily intake of red meats.  I am not going to Weight Watchers meetings; just can't deal with listening to other's weight loss while mine is stable at best.  I have begun taking weekly measurements and my belly continues to grow.....grrrrrr!!!!  A week of red meat eating hasn't had an impact on my measurements either way.  As I got closer to my cycle, my energy has waned - I managed 83% of my goal on my Active Link.  I will be kind to myself, and do what I can to get as close as I can to 100% this coming week -- no promises!

My honey, on the other hand, is full of energy.  While he mows the lawn, he has salmon bellies in the smoker.

Our Bradely Smoker working hard to create yummy goodness
from our freezer full of Sockeye Salmon
 We were told that Squaw Candy was originally made from salmon bellies, so we are giving it a shot this week. 
Put the bellies in Brine Thursday night.  Removed, rinsed, and placed in fridge to dry Friday night.  This morning placed in smoker.

I am taking it easy, slowly doing laundry, and knitting.  Started the band on Lucy that runs around the body, forms collar, front, and lower band.

The band will be three inches, so I'm about 1/2 way done with it.  I am knitting with Malabrigo, and the two hanks from the same die lot are, hmmm?  They are not the same color.  One is more green, the other more red.  I struggled with doing every other row with every other hank, but settled on doing the band around the body with the red hank, hoping to have enough for that band.  I will use the green hank for the bands on the sleeves.

I hear Lucy calling my name so I'm going back to the couch, after a detour by the laundry room to reboot the wash (fold, move another load from washer to dryer, and insert new load in washer).  I will try to sneak in some activity during the day.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

On the way Home

We stopped by Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center on our way home because my honey had never been

See that little dark triangle in the rocks?

this is what was sleeping in there.

The center is trying to reintroduce Wood Bison into the wild.



Monday, July 22, 2013


My honey and I headed out in the RV and went camping.  After our first choice of campground was full, we ended up at Trail River Campground near Moose Pass, Alaska, after 8 pm Friday night.

A lot of the places we camp are in areas with bear activity.  So you can find these brown boxes, especially near tent sites:

Hmm, what does that sign say?  

All items that are food related are to be stored inside hard sided vehicles.  Even beverage coolers are to be stored.
I managed to get knitting done and I am about to bind off solid color of body on Lucy.  I will post pictures later, after sharing camping pictures:
South Shore of Kenai Lake

Morning walk on the shore.

Day Use area

Morning sun through the pine

Trail River

Trail River

Abby and I

Abby and I taking our morning walk

Abby LOVES the water

Friday, July 19, 2013

Life Moves on....

Dipnetting, Kasilof
I spoke with my family doctor who referred me to a gynecologist.  In addition to the uterine fibroids, my iron levels are "low/normal", and my cholesterol is in the borderline to high category.

When speaking about the cholesterol and diet, my doctor told me to focus on the fibroids and low iron, get that taken care of then we will discuss the cholesterol.  

Iron supplements make me very ill, so, I'm on doctors orders to eat red meat.

I have an appointment with the gynecologist, when I will find out if she agrees that a hysterectomy is the answer. I am almost 50, and I am ready to be done with periods. 

Our plans had been to dipnet for 8 days and my honey would drive down and join us for the weekend.  We went down, got our fish and returned home in three days.  Salmon processed, RV cleaned, still doing laundry.  

My honey and I will head out tonight for a nice relaxing camping trip, leaving my mom at home.  There is a horse riding barn near the campground and we are hoping we can get a trail ride in while we are there.  

So, I have a busy day ahead.  I work at the equine assisted therapy center today, need to pack food, clothes, and other items we've pulled from the camper to clean (dipnetting is such a messy, sandy camping trip).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wow - results

While we were dipnetting for salmon, the doctor called with results.

It is fibroids and my uterus is "about 17.6 cm". That meant nothing to me so I had to go off and research.

My uterus is the equivalent size of 20 weeks gestation.  Oh, that's why my clothes don't fit!

Will call doctor today and either discuss options or make appointment to do so.

No more news on that front.

Home, and now the real work begins

A pink salmon ready for the grill

Monday night we did something we rarely do while dipnetting.  We ate the fruits of our labor.

We got a pink salmon and my brother claims they don't freeze well, so I suggested we eat him!

We reached our combined limit of 90 fish yesterday morning.  We caught our last 17 fish in one hour!

We are home, 89 fish on ice in the coolers.

Now we have to process them.  They will all go in the freezer.  Some will later be smoked.  I want to try "Squaw Candy" as well as trying some canned smoked salmon.  Our house eats most of the salmon grilled, my brother's family eats most of theirs smoked.

Then there is cleaning the RV and other gear used.  

I think I should crawl back in bed for more rest!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Let the Dipnetting Begin

We always stop at the Fred Meyers store in Soldotna for ice before heading to our dipnetting grounds.

I also needed a large cooler for fish; that pretty brand new white one on the floor is it!

We headed out to check things out around 4:30 pm, were back to the RV's around 9:30 pm, cold, wet, and very hungry.  We left in such a rush that we really didn't set up our "camp site." After pealing off waders (brand new and leaked!), I set about organizing things, including counting and putting the fish on ice before we could eat and crawl into bed.

It was crazy!  I had planned to take pictures, but shortly after arriving at beach and unloading the "beach mobile" I put my net in the water, and it then it let loose.  Immediately I caught the first fish, my sister-in-law was seconds behind me with her first fish.  We were pretty much neck and neck, 8 fish in about 30 minutes, and I stopped counting!

In those crazy 4 hours at the beach, with just two nets, we caught 38 Sockeye Salmon!  Two of us in the water catching fish, two on shore removing them from the nets, and then cleaning them, at an average rate of one fish every 6 minutes!

My pretty white, brand new cooler is full of 30 fresh caught salmon chilling on ice. 

Today, will try to take pictures! No guarantees!  

Sunday, July 14, 2013


We will be leaving today for dipnetting on the Kasilof.  I found the above video on youtube (which is showing up while in edit mode, but doesn't show up on the published page on my iPad.  Can be found on youtube, "dipnetting Kasilof").  We will be on the other side of the river.

The weather is forecasted to be nice; sunny with highs in the 70's.

Another great forecast is record number of fish coming in.

We could go down, fish one or two tides and come back home with our limit early.  Or, we could be there the entire week and come home with very few fish.

This year we will freeze most of the fish, some will be smoked at a later date.  We will try canning some of the smoked salmon too.  Time to put my health issue on the back burner, get out and enjoy Alaska and what she has to offer.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Waiting Continues...

The ultrasound was done yesterday and now it is a waiting game.

We are leaving tomorrow for our annual dip-netting trip to fill our freezer with salmon.  We've hear there is a huge school coming in and are hoping we can come home early.  When the hit, you can get your limit in a matter of hours.  Between my brother's family and our house, our limit is 90 fish.

My mom offered to not go so I could be in town when the doctor calls, but I am not sitting home staring at a phone.

As much as I try to relax and not stress, my stress pang in my head is making it difficult!

Woooo hoooo!  Despite my bigger belly, I can get my neoprene chest waders on!

Off to pack for our trip, and try to put all this medical stuff out of my mind!!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ultra Sound Today

In 4 hours I will have my ultra sound.

I have spent the summer trying to get in shape.  Almost daily yoga.  Increasing my activity.  Eating healthy.

Other than the week I did that dreadful 10.6 mile hike, I have not lost any weight.  Instead, I've been slowly gaining.

Yesterday I took measurements and learned that, other than that big belly, I have lost inches.  I have gained an inch on my waist!  All my work has not been for nothing!

So, in 4 hours I will have my ultra sound.

They measure an enlarged uterus in the same manner as a pregnancy.  I am hoping to learn "how far along" I am, despite not being pregnant.

I don't think I'll get any other answers.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wow...part 2

Despite remaining positive, I feel like the rugs been pulled out from me.

Yesterday was incredibly long, so many things to do, but no energy.  All I wanted to do was research and try to find answers.

Went to lunch with my mom and she has so many questions on how my doctor will treat me.


We don't yet really know what caused the enlarged uterus!   Let's do one step at a time.

So many health concerns/issue make sense.  Doing almost daily since the beginning of June, and I'm no different.  Weight gain just in my tummy, when I've always gained pretty evenly.

Despite "being on plan" via Weight Watchers, not dropping weight.  I have given up on this front.

Three or four weeks ago, I started getting full quickly.  A small bowl of soup will leave me feeling like I've eaten a huge Thanksgiving dinner.  I'd been trying doTERRA's Slim and Sassy and attributed my feeling full to it.  But was it the oil, or the lack of room in my "big belly"?

I feel like everything is on hold right now.  Yesterday was numbing as I did more and more research.

Tomorrow I have my ultrasound, but I doubt I will walk away with any answers.  I am taking my mom dipnetting Sunday, thankfully my phone does work where we will be.  Leaving my poor husband home alone to worry about me.

Maybe we will get some answers tomorrow, but I doubt it!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Our wedding day - I knew my belly had gotten large,
but I didn't realize how large until I looked at our wedding pictures.
I finally bit the bullet, made an appointment for my "annual"--it was just 6 months late.

After giving the doctor a list of my "female" complaints she stated it sounded like I have uterine fibroids.  After a full pelvic exam she informed me, "your big belly is the result of an enlarged uterus."  Not sure what was more of a shock, the doctor rudely telling me I had a "big belly", or learning I had an "enlarged uterus".

Once again, looking at our wedding pictures, yep, that belly is big and looks like we may have "had" to get married as I look like I'm 3 or 4 months pregnant!

I have spent the morning researching "Enlarged Uterus" as well as "Uterine Fibroids".  My brain is so full of information.  So many things make sense now.  Constant urge to pee.  Despite being "on plan" with Weight Watchers, not being able to loose weight.  The weight gain in the belly when I've always gained weight evenly through out my body.  Seeing zero results after a month of yoga.

Ultrasound scheduled for Friday, after that we'll figure out a course of action......


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Alaskan Women.....

Getting ready for bed the other night and my husband starts laughing, then says, "Honey, most women have pefume and prettys on their dresser.  Alaskan women have bug spray!"

Yep, there it is.  Not one bottle of perfume, but a can of Off!"

By the way, if you are planning a trip to Alaska anytime soon, bring your own bug spray.  We seem to be having a bad year for mosquitoes and last time I was at the store, there was not one bottle of mosquito spray to be had!

Monday, July 8, 2013


Last section of fence to be removed.

When we purchased our house we learned the back corner (far right in picture) was on our neighbor's property.  It has been like that for so long that legally, we didn't have to move it.  One gate didn't close so it was pretty much useless.
Wednesday, as soon as my honey got home from work, he started working on pulling down the fence, completing the removal Thursday.
We spent a day at my mom's sanding and painting her deck, but then it was back to work on our back yard.
This cow visited us several times Saturday, peacefully enjoying a meal of fireweed.
Her calf came out of the woods a couple times, but for the most part, kept himself (or herself) hidden I the woods.
Saturday we were visited by this cow moose and her calf.  It was very cool to sit on the back deck and watch her eat the weeds.  But, but late Sunday afternoon, that same spot looked like this:
The exact same spot pictures above with the cow moose.  She was standing at the last two steps.
We want to do some terracing, some planting, and enjoy our back yard.  So, sorry Momma Moose, your buffet has been removed.
Our new open back yard.  The stairs lead to a large fire pit and patch of raspberries.
Not sure why my honey wants to plant grass, our back yard is a hill; very steep in places.  I'm thinking bedding plants.  Ones that would grow in thick and not need to be maintained much!
We discovered a patch or raspberries.  Not sure if they are wild or planted.  The first owners of this house had a vegetable garden, several flower beds, and we are told she did have raspberries, so they could be those that were planted.  The back yard has been neglected and left to go "wild" for about 6 years!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

31 Days and Counting

August 9 I must report to work to begin the school year.  That leaves me 31 days before my summer comes to an end.  I am planning on going in earlier that week to set up my classroom.  For the first time since starting at Mat-Su School District, I will be at the same school.  I do have a new position, new classroom, but at least I won't have to navigate a new school building and the politics that go along with a change in school building.

I will be taking over the Primary ED classroom -- grades K, 1, 2.  Little kids with emotional issues.  The last day of school, one of these little kiddos had to be carried out to his bus!  This position at times will be very physical as I may have to hold, restrain, carry a student to keep the others safe.

My main goal this summer was to get fit and one of the mini-goals to get back to wellness to get my yoga home practice going again.  I joined a local yoga studio and have attended 3 to 5 classes a week at the studio.

BUT, until recently I did no yoga at home.

The Fourth of July changed that.  The studio would be closed for three days and I leave my weekends for my honey.

Today was my 6th consecutive day I have done yoga; four of them at  home.  The first day was difficult, I ended up eating and had to wait 2 hours before I could get on the mat.  After that, I've gotten up, had my first cup of coffee and then pulled out my mat.  It has been great to get that over with.  

A great way to start my day!

BUT, there is a slight problem.

Shortly, my family will go dipnetting.

Dipnetting is a crazy time.  We go for about one week, our lives become ruled by the change of the tides.  We sleep, eat, fish by the tide.  

Between the three households, we will be able to bring home 115 fish.  It is just as much work catching the fish as preserving it.  This year, we will not can any -- all will be cleaned, vacuum sealed and froze.  It then be smoked.  We will also try our hand at canned smoked salmon.

So?  How will I do my yoga camping?  I doubt I will have the DVD routine I'm using memorized before we go.  We do have a DVD player in the RV, but I don't think there is enough room in the RV for me to do the routine.

I just downloaded two Apps on my iPad, hoping to be able to do my yoga with it.

Even if I get on the mat for 15 minutes, it will count, because, for me, it is about making the time to get on my mat.

I can do this!!!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sometimes, Living in Alaska is Pretty Cool!

This morning we had some visitors in our back yard.

I have seen this cow moose before; she has a distinctive patch of fur on her left side.

I was not home, but my honey was.  He said they were in the back yard and he was able to go out on our deck and take many pictures. 

At one point, the calf saw him and spooked into the woods.  My honey said they were communicating to each other and eventually the baby came out and joined his/her momma.

Yeah, sometimes it is pretty cool living in Alaska!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

okay, maybe I won't move

maybe I will just make all the changes here and let it be.....

It is a LOT of work transferring information to a new website......

Hope everyone is having a happy Fourth of July today!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

RV'ing in Alaska

I have camped many different ways, from tents to campers, but this "camping" with the RV is nice!

We took my mom with us this weekend and headed not too far away to Williwaw Camp Ground near Portage Glacier. I had hoped to do more hiking and exploring but between the mosquitoes and some other health issues, we didn't get much more further from the camper than a mile. 

One of the Geocache's hanging in a tree.
We did manage to snag 6 Geocaches (so many more for out next trip to the area).

I got some knitting done (not a lot, but the Birch Leaf Shawl received some attention).

We relaxed and enjoyed getting away from it all (cell phone coverage spotty, if at all).

My mom slept wrong and I was able to use doTERRA Peppermint Essential Oil on her shoulder; within minutes she felt relief!  My blisters are totally healed, the skin reattached!

Enjoy some of the pictures taken this weekend.

 Wild flowers

Many miles of boardwalk over the marshy ground

Several little creeks -- you can see where this clear creek joins the blue/green glacier fed creek

Another shot of the two creeks joining.

see that little patch of brown with white flecks?
Those are Dahl Sheep

Miles and miles of wide flat trails (when not on board walks)