My Health Scare

I promised to talk about this, so I guess today is the day.

A few years ago, back in 2016, I got a splitting headache, went to the hospital, and promptly passed out.

An aneurysm in my brain had burst. But not only that, oh no, there’s more. This aneurysm had formed within an AVM (one of those scary, rare things on medical shows). Basically, the veins and arteries in my brain weren’t connected right and had formed a “spider web” type tangle. Usually this tangle is about the size of a small plum… but not mine. Oh no, mine had to go and be the size of a grapefruit with a couple tentacles coming off it.

There were 3-4 surgeries (so many that I’ve forgotten) to glue up this AVM and aneurysm. Then I had a big surgery to remove it from my head. During that surgery, I stroked out and nearly died.

After not dying, I went through months of therapy to learn everything over – everything – like, I couldn’t even swallow my own spit.

When that was over, I had two more surgeries to help my eyesight.

Even now, my voice shakes a bit because one of my vocal chords is weak, my balance is crappy, my eyesight is better, but not good enough to drive, and no one will hire me for a job because I don’t seem like I can do a lot.

Even so, my mind and personality haven’t been impaired at all.

That’s my stroke story. If anything, it should inspire you, because even with all that, I still do a lot. I’m in charge of the budgeting, the homemaking, and most of the homesteading at my house.

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Deals at the Store

I got so many good deals yesterday!

I doesn’t happen often, but sometimes you find that rare item that is mispriced. Yesterday I received a huge 8 lb jar of chicken boullion granules. It only cost me $14.08! That’s amazing because this amount would usually cost $75.

Pint jar for reference

The same company makes a 16 oz jar that looks the same, and I believe they put the same price on them by accident.

Yes, some people would think I’m crazy because who needs 8 lbs of boullion? But I can stick this jar in the freezer to keep it fresh, and it saved me $60! For this price, I needed 8 lbs of boullion (for those interested, here is where I found it, but they may discover the mistake soon: https://www.amazon.com/Knorr-Caldo-Pollo-Chicken-Bouillon/dp/B01N1849MA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=24LFE34WQCGK4&dchild=1&keywords=knorr+chicken+granulated+bouillon+7.9+lb&qid=1586104322&sprefix=7.9+lb+k%2Caps%2C204&sr=8-1 )

That was the one big deal. I also saved some money on Easter candy. Chocolate bunnies were 50% off at the dollar store this weekend. (I adore the dollar store) Since the bunnies only ended up being 50 cents each, we bought 7, plus some big ones that were $1 each. Plus, we bought some other candy that was a buy 2 get 1 free deal. So, I ended up saving $11 on candy. (I can only imagine how much of this candy is going to be wasted. If I could drive, I would totally be doing the dumpster diving thing… but I can’t drive and it’s too far to bike comfortably. And the hubby doesn’t like that idea at all anyway…)

I’ve also been looking at a lot of things on the Wish app. There are many deals where if you’re the first to buy something, it only costs 50 cents, and they refund the money if you’re not first. I’m sure there are people that hunt down these deals, so it’s a long shot that I’ll ever get something, but if enough long shots are taken, a few will hit the target.

Skin and Spring

Let’s talk about skin. Here’s some history to put things in perspective.

I’ve had eczema my whole life. It kept getting worse, and I was seeing more and more specialists who didn’t know how to help me, so in 2019 I took matters into my own hands. I stopped using my prescription ointments and creams, and I began researching ferociously and took a holistic approach to healing my skin. (I wouldn’t recommend stopping prescriptions cold turkey. I went through steroid withdrawal pretty bad. My face swelled so badly the skin on my cheeks cracked and I refused to leave the house for a week.)

Here are pictures of me. The “before” picture is definitely not me at my worst. I was looking ok enough to allow a photo to be taken of me. During the worst, I definitely didn’t allow pictures to be taken.

May 2019 – sorry for the weird face, this is a screenshot from a video
Just a random photo from today – April 5, 2020

Even though “the worst” was during the end of March 2019, you can still tell how much I healed from these photos. You can’t see it, but I had eczema down both of my arms and spots going down my chest. I didn’t even wear a shirt for half of 2019 because the eczema patches on my chest would hurt and stick to it. It took me from March 2019 to October 2019 of water fasting, supplements, clean eating, and going to bed early.

Nevertheless, I eventually did it. How? I watched a lot of videos and got a lot of advice from YouTubers like Michelle Mills and Susan Valkai. I cut out most oils, gluten, and eggs at first. That helped immensely, but after a while I discovered that I also have a problem with histamines (aka, anything not fresh). I was eating a lot of sauer kraut and apple cider vinegar, and I didn’t fully clear up until I cut them out of my diet. (as well as peanut butter later on)

Jump forward to now. It’s allergy season in East Texas. The pine pollen is settling onto things and turning them a hazy green. No one’s said it, but it seems to me that there’s more pollen than usual this year. The problem with eczema is that there is so many toxins for your body’s system to deal with that it can’t do it all correctly, and the excess waste gets pushed out through your skin. That’s why water fasting is so effective, because you’re taking a break and giving your body time to focus on healing itself. My skin’s been clear for five months now (which is amazing because I had eczema problems almost daily for twenty years), but with all the pollen in the air, my body is being overtaxed and I’ve sprouted some eczema patches on my hand.

See, right there between my fingers.

For most people, eczema just seems like dry skin that could be fixed not scratching and putting on some lotion, but let me tell you, eczema is painful and gross. These little spots looks like nothing, but the skin is cracked open and it stings like alcohol every time I wash my hands. No amount of olive oil will fix this (my clean alternative to lotion, because most lotions contain harmful ingredients that actually make eczema worse – even those for “sensitive skin”)

I’ve begun taking milk thistle supplements for the time being (because they help flush the system), and I think I’m going to do a water fast for the rest of the day.

A Day in the Life 4-3-20

There’ll be many of these, so I guess I should throw the date up there to tell them apart.

First thing’s first, I actually didn’t sleep last night. I was too busy thinking, so I finally got up and started to sew a dress. I’ve never made a full-on dress before, but my husband had several old shirts I could cut up and use, so I went ahead and started. I’ll share pictures when I’m finished, don’t worry. (Update: the dress is turning into a top because the dress looked like it was dying, and I’m not skilled enough to save it)

Remember how I cooked all those bean yesterday? Well, I saved all the juice and the odd leftover bits in a jar. Today, I threw the juice and some rice together in a pan so that I can put some on top of the dogs’ food. They love being cooked for. For a long time I cooked all the dog food, but after a while, I was done with it, and it wasn’t saving as much money as I thought it was.

Then I went out and made hay (ok, it was just grass clippings – I plan to dry it in the warmer months) for the rabbits. I have a whole blog post about it. You should check it out.

Finally, I sat down to eat breakfast, which was actually my homemade cream of rice. I grind my own rice into rice flour and add some sugar and cinnamon, and voila! cream of rice.

I sat up for a while doing little things on my computer, and I ended up taking a nap until about 5 pm.

Then I got up and did several “normal” housekeeping tasks. I dusted, put the dishes in the dishwasher, swept, wiped down the kitchen, cooked for the hubby, and after all that, I sat down to sew some more.

Most of this day wasn’t too exciting, but I did do a few crazy things and managed to save at least $11. That’s not too bad for sleeping most of the day.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Usually this is a figurative adage, but today, for me, it became literal.

I own rabbits. They don’t eat much, and the food comes in a huge bag, but I like to take every chance I can get to stretch that food.

It’s supposed to rain later today… and every day for the next 5 days. Generally, I put the rabbits in their moveable outside pen in the mornings to get fresh air and chew down the grass where the pen is. However, with it raining, that’s not going to happen.

So this morning, before the rain came, and before I’d even had breakfast, I got out with the reel mower (I actually forgot that this is a frugal alternative, I’m so used to it.) and mowed part of the backyard. Then I raked up the clippings to give to the bunnies.

This actually worked better than I thought. The mower didn’t destroy the grass like a gas mower does. I got 5x the clippings from an area half the size as one mowed with a gas mower. (I know because yesterday I tried to scavenge some clippings after a lawn was mowed and the clippings weren’t cleaned up.)

Just a side note, I did the rabbit math, and after butchering rabbits, the meat comes out to $1.25-$1.50/lb. Now, I’ve never seen a rabbit in the supermarket, but the antibiotic-free chicken is about $1/lb and the cheap, antibiotic-ridden beef is about $2/lb. This is smack-dab in the middle, and it’ll be organic and humanely-raised on a small family “farm.” Honestly, we’re not big enough to be considered a farm. We’re a try-hard homestead. But, back to the topic.

I don’t know whether I’m proud or a little abashed that the old “make hay while the sun shines” has become literal for me. I’d probably be more proud if I weren’t a petite woman living in town. I need a farm… maybe someday… maybe goats… but I digress.

Anyway, I’m here to say, go forth and make hay while the sun shines, whether that be figurative or literal.