Sunday, 23 August 2015

Off on another vacation!

I'm off on another vacation! This month has been full of getaways which has been excellent. My lung function has been creeping up slowly but I still have horrible coughing fits once in awhile. The last few days of high humidity have been a bit more of a struggle than normal and I haven't felt like doing much more than sit around. It's suppose to cool off soon and I'm hoping it will be a bit cooler by the water in PEI.

And then I'm off to Toronto with Amy (Isaiah had to work) for my 9 month assessment at the end of the month. We don't have anything exciting planned, mostly just hospital appointments and some restaurant ideas. It's all going to depend on how out of it I am after the long appointment day and then the day of the bronch.

Be back in a week and half!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Tidnish pottery!

I went back to the Tidnish Bridge Art Studio yesterday and picked up my pieces and made a new one. I didn't use the wheel and it was very much as "build whatever you want" type thing. Because they aren't an actual studio, it's even more makeshift than the museum in Toronto but it's still very relaxing. I made a half circle thing that I hope I can use for my earrings. It ended up looking like nothing I had envisioned when going in but such is how these things usually turn out.

My pieces from before are really pretty. One of them is bubbly and not the colour that I expected. Even the instructor didn't know what happen. It was suppose to be Autumn leaves which is like burnt sugar only browner and it's simply brown and bubbly. I'm sure someone will like it as a vase.

My 'beach themed' pieces.
A blue bowl. It's almost perfectly round. I think it's my best bowl to date.
Weird colour on what could be a cute little vase.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Cooking: Veggies au gratin

We are swamped with veggies from Mom and Dad which is an excellent problem to have.
The other day before it started getting too hot and muggy to turn on the oven, I made up some Veggies Au Gratin which is basically just veggies baked in cheese sauce. It's awfully hard to go wrong.

I fried up some beans, peas, carrots, zucchini, and a tomato with some garlic and onion. Made up a cheese sauce with cumin, salt, and pepper. Added the two together in a casserole dish and threw some bread crumbs and crumbs that I made from stale nachos. The nachos were 'salsa' flavour which didn't quite work but it was still all very yummy.

I only took one picture but trust me that it tasted good.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Yoga in the Park

On Tuesday, I finally made it to yoga in the park! I had tried two weeks ago and no one was there and last week I didn't make it either since I was in Halifax. But I finally made it with three other people in Springhill. It was my first yoga class in forever, I've done basic poses at home but I always get more out of it when other people are around. Mostly because the instructor says to hold the poses longer than I do at home and if I'm following a youtube video, the video doesn't notice if I quit early.

I forgot how hard yoga can be. I had always said that the yoga classes here were mostly relaxing but then my abs and arms were giving out and I was wondering what was going on. The ab work was harder mostly because from my lack of coughing, I no longer have massive ab muscles.

It was fun being outside even though I kept breaking poses to brush ants off myself. Next week I'll be in PEI but hopefully I can get to go more often once I stop traveling around the province.

The instructor is big on breathing exercises at the end of class which is excellent for strenghting lung muscles and for overall health. As I mentioned while hiking, I tend to hold my breath or breathe shallow while exercising which isn't healthy. I was psyched that I could actually mostly follow along when she did the deep breaths and holding exercises without having to take a million breaths in between. I could really tell the difference and it was marvelous.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


I'm back from a few days camping in Amherst Shore. Amy and I joined Mom and Dad for a night that turned into two nights. It was a fun time of sun and sand, I'm trying to get sunscreen and sand out of everything right now.

Since being back on aerosols, I'm reminded how annoying it is to travel with machines and masks. We were camping in a place with no electricity so Amy and I hauled an extension cord with us and sat in front of the washroom to do our aerosol masks. The small portable battery-operated machines that we had have all but died on both of us. They had a very good run but now only work while plugged in and even then, make scary noises. It is easier to just do a mask and not have to worry about chest percussion (well, Amy still has to to do them) which aren't as easy on an air mattress than home.

I had one man ask me what I was doing and why to which I gave the basic response of "it's an aerosol mask for my lungs." I didn't really think he had enough time for me to share my entire story with him. I was actually kind of surprised to get that question as I figured that most people have known of someone with asthma or breathing problems who have needed aerosol masks at some point. It's not uncommon anymore.

My cough is improving a bit, I'm not positive that sitting by campfires helped but I was not passing up any chance for s'mores. I now just have coughing fits every once in awhile instead of a steady dry cough. My family likes to comment on how different my cough is now compared to with my old lungs. It's much more asthmatic and less of a 'scary smoker' cough. Halfway done my masks! I'll be very happy to once again get rid of them.

Amherst Shore has giant hermit crabs.
Mask time beside the bathroom!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Economy Falls.

Isaiah and I went for a hike yesterday in Economy to a waterfall nearby. I was actually surprised by the number of waterfalls in the area that one can hike to. We'll be checking those out hopefully in the future when Isaiah has days off work.

My knee has been bothering me this week so I haven't been able to go biking as I'm concerned about injuring it further but it felt fine hiking, a bit sore afterward but thankfully not while on the trail. My lungs were what was bothering me while walking up the giant hill. I've been feeling better overall but the hiking got me breathing deeply which came with a few coughing fits. I realized that I still don't know how to breathe properly. Isaiah kept telling me to take deep breaths because I honestly don't have practice with that.

My coping strategy pre-transplant was to not breathe much upon quick bursts of exertion (like running across the street or up a flight of stairs) as that way I wouldn't be crippled with coughing halfway through. The less I breathed, the more likely I could do the short burst of energy and could cough or hyperventilate quietly once I finished.

Obviously, that wasn't healthy and not helpful now that I can breathe deeply without coughing fits. I need to return to yoga where I may actually be able to 'breathe in' and 'breathe out' when instructed instead of my usual shallow breathing at double the speed of everyone else.

View from top of waterfall.
Bridge at the top. Only slightly wobbly.
At the bottom! It was much cooler in person. My phone doesn't photograph moving water very well.
Found a little beach afterward in Economy. The water was actually warm thanks to the cove.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Cooking: Potato crust quiche

Since we have so many yummy veggies, I decided a new way to eat all the greens we have would be to put them in a yummy quiche. Also, I wanted to use up the old potatoes as the new ones are finally ready so I made up a potato crust. The other incentive for the potato crust was that I'm horrible at making pie crusts.

I combined two recipes from the "Simple in Season" cookbook (excellent if you eat a lot of seasonal veggies).

Potato crust: 3 cups grated potatoes + 3 Tbsp oil pressed into a pie dish and baked for 15 minutes at 425 or until brown and slightly dried out.

Filling: You can obviously use whatever you want for the filling but I did: beet greens (a bunch), a handful of snowpeas, some shelled peas, the rest of the beans we had (maybe a cup?), green onion, and garlic. I fried everything up briefly with some oil ahead of time. I like the veggies to still be crispy so I didn't fry them too long but that's a personal preference thing.

Add to 4-5 beaten eggs (depending on how big your pie plate is and the size of the eggs), 1 cup milk, 1 cup grated cheese, salt, pepper, and cumin (because I love cumin).

Pour into pie plate and bake for 15 min at 425, reduce heat to 350 and bake for 10-15 more minutes until firm but not too browned. Let it rest for 10 minutes otherwhile you'll burn your mouth on the veggies.

Potato crush pre-baked.
Yummy filling!
Potato crust, post-bake, pre-fill. The bottom is still soft, it's hard to get everything evenly browned in my oven.
Filled and baked and ready to be enjoyed.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Pfts are normal.

I had a lung function test today and it was the same as two weeks ago. Yay! So the dip seems to just be a dip and/or the medication is working. They've come back up at home too, not to the full constancy but gradually improving. My cough is pretty much down to nothing but I still have wicked coughing attacks sometimes (usually while talking to someone about how great I'm feeling) so my lungs aren't totally clear. I haven't heard anything about my x-ray so I'm assuming it's clear although it could just be that they haven't gotten the ones from Toronto yet so have nothing to compare it too. Obviously, it looks better than the ones that they have on file from before my transplant.

That's all the medical news. Isaiah and I went to the beach after my pfts for some wading and strolling. It was beautiful. 

The tide was out. I waded out past the lifeguard buoys and never made it above my waist.

Monday, 10 August 2015


A groundhog ate my plants! I'm so annoyed. I went to take the compost out and I saw something brown scurry under the deck. I told myself that it wasn't a rat and yelled at Isaiah to get outside right now. I then noticed that two of my zucchinis were chewed to shreds, my lettuce had been razed, and my peas were all but holding on.

We didn't see anything under the deck so went back inside. A few minutes later, Isaiah was watching the porch and yelled out that it was a groundhog munching on my plants as it had returned. We moved everything higher or to the front of the house but not before Mr. Groundhog did some serious damage. The neighbours came outside to inform me that they had taken some pictures of him eating the lettuce. Thanks guys.

Since moving everything out front, he seems to have stopped eating things. He left all the nightshade plants alone which is good. The landlord is going to call someone about getting live traps so he will leave. I always thought groundhogs were cute until now. Stupid Groundhog.

Gnawed off plants.

My poor lettuce. It was doing so well before this.

Where the zucchinis were.

Peas that were not chewed to pieces!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Not cured after two days.

My aerosol masks are going okay. It's not as annoying as I had feared. It's more like slipping back into a old habit. A habit that take a lot of time out of the day but is very familiar. Of course, I'll be more than ready to give it up at the end of the month.

The antibiotics haven't given me any problems so far either which is excellent. I know it's only been two days but even so, no nasty side effects. Maybe some slight tiredness or perhaps that is from being woken up when Isaiah leaves in the morning.

Overall, I feel about the same and my fev1s have no jumped up in two days. They are stably low thought which is a small positive. My dry cough comes and goes and seems to come more in forms of coughing fits than a actual persistent cough. I think both of those options would be annoying though.

I'm still a bit worried that this is rejection and not an infection as I don't have any real 'cold' symptoms, apart from the cough. However, I think the fear of rejection will always be a factor whenever anything happens unless it's because of a obvious head cold or something.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Boo infection.

I'm sick. Boo.

It started about a week ago when I started having a dry cough. And then a few days ago my fev1 at home dropped a bit and didn't bounce back up, even with the humidity leaving. Yesterday I made the panicked phone call to both Halifax and Toronto of 'what do I do!! Fix me!!' Unfortunately, the main coordinator in Halifax who acts as the go between for patients and doctors is on vacation (she should never be allowed to leave!!) so everything was a bit chaotic.

This was my afternoon: I left a message with Halifax to say I had a cough and my fev1 was down so what do I do. I also called Toronto, basically saying the same thing. Toronto responded immediately saying that they prefer to let the family doctors or the Halifax clinic do the treatment as they can't see me. So I left another message with Halifax to say they had to deal with me. I also called the family doctor but the earliest appointment I could get was Tuesday so that wasn't much help. I called Toronto back to say that Halifax wasn't responding and that I had to wait until Tuesday. Finally, when I called Halifax for the third time to leave a message about my family doctor someone answered.

That person then had to chase down a doctor who had someone else call me to relay the plan. And then I had to call my family doctor back to cancel my Tuesday appointment. Most of this while I was trying to have a leisurely hike around the Amherst Bird Sanctuary.

The plan is for antibiotics for two weeks and aerosol masks for a month, plus a x-ray last night. Boo aerosols! I was hoping for an antibiotic at most and a 'monitor it' at the very least. Aerosols for a month is not pleasant but I'm not as bummed out by it as I thought I might be. Honestly, I'll do whatever I need to to get rid of this cough/infection so it doesn't get any worse. I'm not pleased about it but I need these lungs to stay shinny new for as long as possible.

Everything was shipped down to me on the bus today (NS health care rocks), even a new aerosol machine which is excellent. Although I'm sure the new one will not last as long as my old faithful one which is still going strong after 20+ years. 

New vs old machine. Which one will last longer? My bet would be on the old one.
Bird sanctuary! We saw a crow.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Glazed some pottery

On Thursday, my pottery from the little studio in Tidnish was ready to be glazed! I had my pfts later that day so the instructor said I should have my colours all planned out ahead of time so I wouldn't be rushed. I thought I had an idea until I got there and she brought in four boxes of glazes. Some of the colours I had used before in Toronto but a lot were new. She also had a new kind that she hadn't used very much so couldn't tell me much about it except that it's not suppose to run so acts very much like an underglaze but with regular glaze properties. She wasn't sure how it would interact with the other types of glaze but I decided to take a chance and layer the beautiful blue over 'old copper' (which I've used loads in the past). Who knows how it will all turn out!

Three of my pieces. The mystery blue and a aqua with 'desert' which I'm hoping gives a beachy feel.

A vase..? Glazed with what I think is Autumn leaves but I'm nervous I switched the colours and it's actually burnt sugar. Either way, it should be pretty.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Long Weekend!

Happy August! I hope everyone is having a fabulous long weekend! I had big Halifax plans and then those plans were ruined by Isaiah becoming suddenly employed (yay!) so I ended up at the Watson family reunion yesterday.

It was nice to see the family even if it was a bit overwhelming to see everyone at once. Everyone has the same questions which I understand but the conversations do get a bit repetitive on my end. Yes, I'm feeling good. Yes, it's nice to be home. Yes, we enjoyed Toronto. No, I'm not working yet.

I was a bit of a germaphobe the entire day due to the amount of people around but it all seemed to be okay. The one thing I'm trying to be careful about is sharing food and beverages with Amy. We never cared before as we basically had the same microorganisms anyway. But now that my lungs are fantastic and hers are less-than-fantastic, we need to be much more diligent about not sharing things. Diligence!

Lobster hats for all.