Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ummmm... I'm not dead yet!

Hi Folks,

I've actually got a t-shirt that says that. "I'm not dead yet!"   Daughter #1 got it for me several years ago when she was studying in England where she saw "Spamalot" live, but that's another story.  I wear it when I'm in the hospital because the nurses get a kick out of it. The fact that I know that, I suppose, needs to be part of this one.

So first things things first, I am still alive and more or less OK.   That being said, it's been a year of changes.  Where do I start?

First the good stuff.  We have a grandson!  Born February first, he's an amazing gift from God for both this parents and us.  His name is Maverick.  He lives, with his sisters and parents of course, about 2 1/2 hours away - which is pretty hard on Grammy De.  Pics to come.

The homestead is pretty much the same.  We sent about 10 chickens to freezer camp and bought a few more.  We have seven now, and just as it turned cold they started a molt.  We'll be glad to get everyone past that.  We'll grow up a few more in the spring.

The garden actually shrunk this year, but it was still respectable.  We had high hopes, but energy was an issue.  There were still 130+ pints of green beans, only 30+ of tomato products.  There were cabbages, beats, sweet potatoes, egg plant, onions, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, a couple different kinds of peppers.  Not a bad year, and we have high hopes for next year.

And the nitty gritty:  It's called CVID - Common Variable Immunodeficiency.  You've almost certainly never hear of it: Statistically there should be only about 6200 of us in the whole USA.  That means about 132 in the whole state of Indiana and 3 in the rural 4-county NE corner where I live.  I don't know the real numbers.  I've never personally met another CVID patient, but know of several from blogs and other web pages.  Google it if you're interested but the short story is that I don't manufacture certain classes of antibodies, and have a pretty constant string of small infections interspersed with the occasional major one.  There is a a short list of weird stuff that comes along for the ride.  I was diagnosed in 2012, but this year it 'bit' harder than most.  Fatigue is the real problem, which is why, sometimes, things just don't get done.

There were a few little health things going on that become bigger things when you throw CVID in the mix.  I had two surgeries this year: One planned - an inguinal hernia fix, and one unplanned - a 7mm kidney stone they had to go fetch ten days after the hernia surgery.  And a prostate cancer scare (I'm clear for now - recheck in a couple of months.)  And a 17mm spleenic aneurysm that seems to be stable for now.  And acute bronchitis - again.  (I'm mostly past that for now.)  And I've stopped manufacturing sufficient vitamin D (that's a CVID related thing) which is part of the whole fatigue thing.  You get the picture.

So with all that, things have slowed down across the board.  At home, pretty much everything takes longer to do and some things just don't get done.  At the day job, I've had to step out of what was a central role in major programs, into more of a support role.  Having to do that stung a little bit, but the folks at work were and are great about it, and it's for the best.  God only knows for certain, but the slower pace is likely a permanent thing.

I think I promised, a year ago, to spill the beans on the day job.  I'm a physicist (BS only, not PhD) at a mid-sized defense company and I am, or was anyway, the chief system test engineer for many of the USA's weather satellite primary sensors (think: "camera", but about the size of a mid-sized garden tractor.)  You likely have not heard of my company and, as much as I like it, I'm not going to name it.  If you've seen weather satellite pictures (think hurricanes this year) on TV or the internet, you've seen a bit of my handiwork.  Ok, promise kept - 'nuf about that.

Just so no one is tempted to think otherwise - I am STILL blessed.  Wildly.  Immensely.  God is still in control.  I have a wonderfully supportive family.  I can still hold a job, and work for a company that is willing to let me.  I can do almost anything I want on the homestead, just not as much of it.  I have a team of about 6 really good doctors that keep me going.  Life on the Hoosier Country Homestead is still really, really good.

I will try and post a more frequently.  And I will get back to reading your blogs.  I seem to be on the upswing, and have collected a handful of post-worthy stories about the homestead, family, and life with CVID.

Do take care all and, as always, Col. 1:9-12.