Archive for the ‘Pictures galore’ Category

Allergies? Allergies? You don’t have no stinking allergies.

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

I have a very very bad habit of starting things and not finishing them — oh look!  Something shiny!  Where was I?  Right.  Unfinished tasks.  I also have a motivation problem.  I can think about something so much that I am exhausted before I’ve even moved and it never even gets started.

Why start my post this way?  Well, for years I have suspected I have allergies.  I don’t get sneezy (except this year) and I haven’t noticed a consistant “seasonal” onset, but I have post nasal drip.  ALL THE TIME.  And after I eat (not every meal, but MOST) I get very phlegmy and have to clear my throat for about 30 minutes.  In addition to these minor things I SWEAR I can tell when I have eaten a walnut because my mouth hurts and sometimes I throw up.

So…  A few years ago I had a nasty experience at my favorite Indian restaurant where I ordered something new that didn’t have walnuts in it, my mouth exploded as if I had had walnuts, and I threw up in our parking lot when I got home.  When I spoke to the owner he said there were only cashews in the dish, and only cashew powder for that matter.  No matter…because I used to snack on cashews by the pound so I’m pretty sure I am not allergic to cashews.  To this day they insist there was nothing other than cashew dust in the dish, but my mouth is usually pretty specific with the walnuts so…who the heck knows.

This prompted me to finally go to an allergist.  He was a nice guy.  He listened to my story.  He got his assistant to bring in a few huge trays of pokey allergens that they smooshed into my back, and afterwards, after NOTHING happened on my back (aside from me feeling like someone had turned me into a pin cushion) said, “I’ll bet you think you’re done.”  Well, actually I didn’t…but I was wondering what the next step would be.  Turns out it’s blood.  They take your blood and test it for all the things they just stuck into your back.  Good times.  Unfortunately, that blood work required me to find a place to take my blood, make a time to go (with no end time since you know how long you can end up waiting at those walk-in blood places!) and *sigh* actually go.  That never happened.

Fast forward a year or so (sad how I used to be so specific with my timeline memory) and put me in front of my favorite steak house/fancy drink restaurant with a couple vendors.  Business meeting.  Talking shop.  Had some garlic bread, a couple drinks, and all three of us split a shrimp cocktail – but they were huge so that means it was a prawn cocktail, right?  Anyhow, one vendor left and I was sitting with Rick whom I have worked with for a decade when suddenly my blood pressure took a large dive and it was all I could do to keep from fainting.  As I fought the darkness shoving its way forward from my periphery, I managed to say something like “I think I’m going to pass out” before VIOLENTLY THROWING UP…TWICE…on the table.   Mmmmm.  Good times.  This led me to believe I am allergic to shrimp, or prawns, a theory which I have not tested since (repeat? no thank you!) since immediately after “the incident” I felt better.  But did I get around to that blood test?  Did I follow up with the allergist?  Of course not.  Fast forward a couple of years to, oh, say, 2 weeks ago.

This allergy season was killing me!  Feeling like I had to sneeze for hours at a time.  Watering eyes (accompanying the feeling that I was just about to sneeze), runny nose, and that darned post nasal drip!  I was getting tired during the day again, so of course suspected my sleep apnea was rearing it’s Supposed-to-be-gone-now hideous head and began to despair.  For some, their hours of darkness find them calling out to the heavens.  I cry out (on email, so he doesn’t have to hear my sniffly whine) to Dr. Li.  And Dr. Li always answers.  This time he said, “Get thee to an allergist.” (I may have paraphrased a little).

Made the appointment.  Since it’s a new doctor and I didn’t  have records transferred (I did think about it!  But you know how that goes)  she didn’t take my word that someone else’s 3 trays of needles smooshed into my epidermis had no reaction and so she ordered her own.  I think her tech was way too into making each one hurt.  Whereas the 1st allergist had been able to smoosh one tray at a time (each tray housing some couple dozen allergen stick points) for a total of 3 moments of discomfort, this one had each allergen administered individually underneath my skin…and she had ordered many many allergens tested.  Unfortunately the burning I felt was not a reaction anywhere on my back and so the tech came back with the big guns.  Real needles.  None of these little prick your skin things.  These 8 needles had larger doses of certain allergens that were then INJECTED under my skin.  Those burned too, but according to whatever chart they had, none of them reacted (though it sure did look red and welty when I got home and stung until I got up in the middle of the night and exfoliated my back in the shower).

Turns out, the only thing you can do with the sticking and the pricking and the injecting of allergens into someone’s body is the existence of an allergy.  You cannot prove one doesn’t exist this way.  So what next?  Yes.  Blood.  I now have another blood work form to take to some blood work center.  I’m pretty sure I’ll do this one since my post nasal drip has turned into the feeling that something is caught in the mucus that has taken up residence at the back of my throat and I am tired during the day, especially while driving in traffic.  Boo Hoo.

I am going to stop writing now to go take an allerclear, drink a gallon of water, and forage for a salty snack that I hope doesn’t turn me into more of a phlegm monster than I am presently.  Hasta!

Oh…here’s a picture of my back that night.  Yes.  I have a lot of dots.  I know this.  What I am trying to show you are the “non-reactive” needle sticks.  Primarily I’m talking about the ones on the left that look like flea bites, though you can still see the writing on my back where she labeled the ones on the right.

Yes, I know I have lots of dots.

Yes, I know I have lots of dots.

TAD – Last Day! Day 28 Watermelon Tourmaline with Magnetic Clasp bracelet by smac

Sunday, February 28th, 2010
Okay! So, things I learned about magnetic clasps…they’re really difficult to work with if your tools and/or findings are metal! :)
I was going to make this a two-stranded bracelet, but I think in the future I should string the beads before dealing with the clasp.
Thank you everyone for your awesome creations and comments. As usual, TAD has rocked!

Posted via email from Shelby’s Posterous Adventures

TAD Day 22 that I forgot to post on Day 22 doh! Cat’s Eye and Lab Opal earrings by smac

Sunday, February 28th, 2010
Here it is, the last official TAD Day and I just realised I hadn’t posted this particular day…Day 22. So I am posting now. I’ll post my last creation after I create it. :)

Posted via email from Shelby’s Posterous Adventures

TAD-Day 26 Faceted Labradorite Discs with Freshwater Pearls Knotted Necklace by smac

Friday, February 26th, 2010
This is a semi-replica of a necklace I made years ago that a friend of mine really liked. I tried for months to find the same pearls I used in the first one, but to no avail. The hardest part is knotting between each pearl. How do people do this for a living? Hand cramp!!!
I hope you can see the awesome opalescence in the labradorite discs. So beautiful!

Posted via email from thing-a-day 2010

TAD Day 21 – Opalite and crystal cubes with square sterling silver wire earrings by smac

Sunday, February 21st, 2010
Don’t be such a SQUARE…okay so they’re cubes, but it is square wire.
This square wire looks so cool…in theory, but is rather difficult to work with as far as repeating a look is concerned.
Instead of twisting, I just bent. Next thing to learn: silver soldering. It’s been on my list for eons.

Posted via email from Shelby’s Posterous Adventures

TAD – Day 16 Sterling Silver wire with Swarovski Crystal drops and Crystal Rondelles by smac

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
I call knee surgery for non-TAD posts the past few days and am posting 2 pair of earrings today to celebrate ability to sit for more than 15 minutes with knee un-elevated at my jewelry workshop (and to catch up). Can you tell I was into these green drops today?

The above shot is to show the hammering on the wire since it’s not really visable in the first shot.

Posted via email from Shelby’s Posterous Adventures

Another surgery? What the What?

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Here I am, luxuriating (read: flopped and propped) on my chaise lounge, post-op.  It’s like deja-vu, but not really.  This surgery was on a body part well below my neck and not, I believe, a contributer to sleep apnea.  Although, I did hypothesize to my surgeon that the reason none of my previous forays into this particular body part repair in essence failed previously was due to the fact that I did not breathe at night, hence had greatly diminished my healing power, and he agreed there was a high likelihood I was right.  I love being right…or even people suspecting I am right.  It just feels so…RIGHT. But I digress as usual. Please do keep in mind surgery was this morning so I’m still in the “don’t operate heavy machinery” zone – which is why I am using a laptop! (ba-dum-bum)

What was it this time?  (Believe me, I heard that question plenty) Alas, it is my knee.  The left one.  But I’m already doing 50% weight bearing (as in 50% of my body weight) and little knee bends (per doctor’s instructions!  I promise I’m not jumping the recovery gun!).  How did this happen?  Well there’s really no easy answer.  Let’s go back in time a few years, shall we?

December 1983.  Or maybe go back even further to my birth.  This story is already too long.  I’ll put it in timeline fashion.

Birth: I was born “toeing in” and wore a Denis-Browne splint to turn my feet/legs/hips out.


Not sure if it was tibial or femoral, but nonetheless, I got to wear a lovely pair of shoes attached to a big blue bar.  I don’t remember this.  I do remember my brother also got to wear one.  Not my sister, lucky duck.  It is hereditary and my mom actually had casts on her legs to correct hers.  Now I don’t know if this contributed to my knee issues, but I figured I’d mention it.

Age 4: Enter the world of ballet.  It’s possible Mom put me in ballet just to help with the pidgeon toed swayed back pot belly thing, but the main point is that I LOVED ballet and I was evidently pretty good.

Age 6 (I think): I was accepted into the San Francisco School of Ballet on scholarship, and by age 7 I think I was dancing in the professional level.  I got paid (I think it covered bridge toll–this was not the lottery) to perform in various ballets, the primary one being, of course The Nutcracker.

Age 10: One of my parts was as the tail end of the Chinese dragon in Act II.  Imagine 5 girls harnessed together under a big dragon costume with only their legs showing.  It’s a short piece, but the guy playing the Chinese Dragon Tamer found himself in a little bit of a pickle when he vaulted himself up onto his pole (he would do cartwheels using the pole instead of his hands if that makes sense) and found his landing spot was either the dragon or the orchesta pit.  He chose the tail end of the dragon (aka: me) and since I couldn’t see more than the girl in front of me, I had no idea what was coming.  Boom!  Splat.  The costume even came up for a moment and I saw a guy in the front row laughing (not mean laughing but probably surprise that the dude landed on the dragon).  ER visit that night, back to performing almost immediately.  Years of PT and chiropractics.

Age 14: Lots of factors contributed  to my leaving ballet, but a big one was that I was watching more classes than I was taking due to knee pain.

I love this picture of the last full length ballet I was in.  Check out the knee brace AND band-aid.  My mom was so mad that I hadn’t thought to take them off before the shoot!

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Age 18: Left knee surgery.  PT rocked me back into recreational ballet shape.  I think I would have been good to go.

Age 19: Car accident.  Woman ran a red light and hit me while I was turning Left across an  intersection with a green arrow.  Hit right knee on steering wheel.  College student = no money so no treatment until knee started locking and I started falling.  It was actually kind of funny except for the horrible sudden pain.  I mean, how many 19 year old girls do you see falling out of cars when they are trying to exit when they are NOT drunk?

Age 22: Right knee surgery.  (Doc found pieces of cartilage hanging out in joint, one was the size of a quarter – it had been growing for 3 years. I believe the limping and falling thing was probably what tore the Left knee up again.  No PT (recent college grad also = no $), which resulted in bad knee tracking which led to shredding the cartilage up.

~Age 26: After trying to take Tai Chi and asking my instructor: Is this walk supposed to hurt?  Right knee surgery.  Doc said it looked like “shredded crab meat” on back of knee.  It’s supposed to be smooth like a cue ball.

~Age 26 6 weeks later: Left knee surgery.  Doc found the back of this knee fractured from stress.  When I woke up he said “Well, it wasn’t in your head, it was in your knee!  It was broken!”  6+ months of PT and they still couldn’t get me pain free.  This was when I started REALLY slipping downhill health-wise and still had absolutely no idea that I had Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  I think a couple years earlier I’d started getting “treatment” (read: Ambien) for insomnia.  And as we all know, you don’t give people with untreated sleep apnea sleeping pills.  Almost immediate disintegration of knees Rice Krispy syndrome I call it).

2005: Started Adult Ballet Classes for exercise – no center, just barre.  Painful, but no more than stairs so I stuck with it.

2006: MMA/GA (The BIG Sleep Apnea surgery)

2007: WHAT THE–I went RUNNING!  My knees were actually beginning to HEAL!

2008: UPPP (The small yet ever so painful Sleep Apnea surgery)

2009: Started ballet again.  *joy*  Not professional – nowhere near.  Just a little (yes, sometimes painful and definitely crackly when I bent, but happy) barre work in the Adult Class, but by July I was Jumping.  Unfortunately that also led to falling (with style!…and embarrassment) but I recovered and was back in class (sans jumping) the next week.

November 2009: The infamous Ridge Hike on Oahu.  The trail looked like this:

The Trail - uh, what?

The Trail - uh, what?

I was told it was a 2 hour hike.  Yeah, 2 hours…ONE WAY.  It probably wouldn’t have ended the way it did, except the group I was with was JETTING up the mountain.  Way too fast-paced for someone with problems stepping UP.  And if you know anything about patellar knee pain, then you know that down hill is worse than uphill.  At 1 hour 45 minutes I was in way too much pain and kinda figured out (yeah I’m slow) that this wasn’t ending anytime soon.  I had to turn around and go back (using poor Courtland as my crutch).  From that incident, I never recovered and stairs became a thing of the past.  Also, squatting (which I do frequently when adjusting chairs and evaluating people for my work) became excruciating no matter how much I stuck my bottom out.  It was time to see the doc again.

2010: Stanford. X-Rays.  MRI’s.

Today: Left knee surgery.  I’ll post those pics later (don’t worry, not gross IMO).

Next Tuesday: Post-Op and PT.

I’m hoping my hypothesis holds water!  And I’m also REALLY hoping my right knee doesn’t take a big dump (it didn’t look as bad on the MRI so we’re going to try just PT instead of surgery) and fracture like last time!

Okay that was maybe my longest post ever.  Smac Out.

TAD Day 11 Faceted Adventurine Briolette with Labradorite drops and Hammered Sterling Silver Wire Necklace by smac

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
I couldn’t resist trying to work these amazing labradorite drops into something. I’m having fun with hammer and anvil, though I’m still working on technique so I can repeat designs. Not sure if I’ll be posting anything tomorrow as am having knee surgery, but who knows!? Maybe I will come up with some kooky post anesthesia design!

Posted via email from Shelby’s Posterous Adventures

TAD Day 10 Faceted Crystal and Freshwater Pearl Earrings by smac

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
I can’t get the brilliance or the color of these earrings to come across in photos, but as I’m sure you can gather, they are of the sparkly nature. Must be a theme.

Posted via email from thing-a-day 2010

Thing-A-Day Day 9 “Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams” Jet Black and Champagne Crystal with Sterling Silver Wirework by smac

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
Timeline Shmimeline. I took out these crystals together and they had to stay together. A match made in Heaven? Perhaps. Maybe I’m harkening back to my black and gold high school colors…but probably not. I kept hearing Robin Leach wishing you champagne wishes and caviar dreams, and somehow this bracelet materialized under my needle nose pliers. I banged a little on the wire to give it some hardening and texture. My camera skills did not capture the sparkle, but believe me, it’s there. (I also used a cute little magnetic heart clasp. No fumbling!)

Posted via email from thing-a-day 2010