Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring Garden 2014

Just to let you know more about where I live..I do live in the city but also the country. Ok, that sounds weird but let me explain. I live in Jacksonville, Florida so I live in that city. However, our city has the largest land mass in the United States. How does that work? Our county is our city. It takes over one hour to drive from East to West in our "city". It also takes over one hour to drive from North to South. We are on the Eastern coastline and our river lets "out" into the Atlantic Ocean near our beaches. The St. Johns River is actually only the second river in the world to flow North! (The Nile being the first river discovered to flow North) Our city is called the River City to reflect the geography.

But my geography is far inland from the river. We are living in what would be the "sub-burbs" in most communities. So we live on a few acres of land with my in-laws. This year we wanted to start a garden in a different area. The soil is still very sandy, so you need to add lots of different soils to get the ground ready for planting. We also had lots of rains as much as the north has had snow. So we were a little smarter this year and planted seeds in newspaper pots and peat pots. Here's some pictures to share. I hope I will be able to share more once we are able to transplant the seedlings to the actual rowed garden.

These are some starter plants we decided to buy to see if they would grow well in our garden.

This is my husband's newest project, a compost drum made from a 55 gallon plastic drum. We are hoping to keep this going to help add more nutrients to the soil.

The seeds were purchased from Patriot Supply Company. Not the most likely place to purchase seeds but these were well priced non-GMO seeds. They are stored in mylar seed bags which I liked because I may be able to use some again for a fall garden.

Well those are pictures for now until better weather comes our way and seedlings start more sprouts. Always come back Sew Hungry For More.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Surgery date for husband coming soon (Keratoconus update)

I know my blog is mostly about sewing and I'm hoping to share some other things later for the homemaker and even home-schooler.
But right now I would like to give an update of why my blog hasn't gone so far and how my family seems as if it is traveling at the speed of light sometimes. Before the birth of our second daughter, a little over two years ago, my husband was diagnosed with a disorder known as keratoconus. (Say what?) Keratoconus is where my husband's eye though either genes or by series allergies has gone from looking like a normal contact lenses shape to looking more like a cone of ice-cream popping out from his eyeball. When he went to Lens Crafters for his regular glasses three years ago, he was told that his vision was still distorted after all the eye tests. We were referred to an eye surgeon to check up on my husband's astygmatism. At the time, our out of pocket expenses for medical care were high and thinking it was just some sort of "little" problem, we postponed his visit for a later date when we could afford it.

Months went by and my husband decided he should follow up as he was having some vision errors that were unexplained. They examined him and asked the optical surgeon, Dr. Bowden, to review the pictures and testing they did in office. I can remember my husband calling me..."Well, looks like I'm starting to show signs of keratoconus." My response was "What?" After he got home we researched and started to find out about more of this disorder. But in the beginning, it appeared that all he needed were special contact lenses to help his eye keep it's shape and not cone out as it was beginning to.

Months went by and we had our second child. I had a horrible pregnancy and was diagnosed with everything from Pre-eclamsia, gestational diabetes to eventually placenta previa at 2 weeks til inducement! I was hospitalized from about six months til c-section at eight months. This was hard on our family...not to mention me! I came home tired and had a terrible time healing. I bled twice out my incision site and felt as if death was at my door! But finally, I got better and things were somewhat back to normal with our family...or so I thought.

My husband resumed a check up through the doctor. The contacts were not working well. We were informed at this visit, his right eye would need intacts. (Contact lenses surgically installed over the cornea to stretch it back into shape.) We were also informed that his left eye was also showing worsening signs and he may need an intact in that eye as well. When we went into the "billing" room...we were floored at the cost. Most of the procedure was not covered! Our out of pockets were needless to say out of reach! Plus we still had to get approval from our insurance company to see what they would pay for! That was December...ya know, the month the insurance ends and a new plan begins. Time went by, he was approved on December surgery dates available!

January started and so did our new insurance plan. We went back at the end of January for a follow up. My husband's eyes were again checked..bad news again. Right eye has gotten so bad we need a corneal transplant. Left eye still intact but uncertain if that will progress. We were also asked about my husband's weight....apparently they had also changed the laws about how much someone can weigh when they are put under for surgery. So now the goal was lose over 50 pounds to meet requirements!

Months went by again. My husband tried several methods of losing weight, but he was just going up and down. During the summer, we had a recheck of his eyes once more. This now revealed he needed a double corneal transplant! So, desperate for change, we sought the help of a natural nutritionist. She told my husband to go gluten free. He did and lost 20 pounds in four weeks! We were excited but then a plateau hit. And something else happened.

My husband called me on his way into work that morning..."Honey, I'm on my way home, I just had an accident, I rear-ended a truck" My husband could no longer judge the proper distance and the morning sun in Florida was just too bright for his condition. This was scary. We decided I would drive him to work with our the mini-van I might add! My mother in law also helped drive him when she was able. Two months passed and my husband was now having even more trouble work. He was typing things incorrectly, he was having more headaches, and even dialing phone numbers wrong. His boss at the time encouraged him...take company disability and get your eyes fixed..otherwise you'll be good for nobody. I encouraged him as well and he finally went on disability. A few months passed and he started losing more weight.
So now after sitting on the husband has been approved for surgery at the first of April. It's scary to think about but it needs to happen so we can move our family forward. They will do a right corneal transplant and when the doctor feels that has healed (anywhere between 3 months and a year) they will schedule him for the left corneal transplant.
Until then, I will try to blog as much as I can and as often as I can...but my God and my family do come first. Right now is a time for our family to prepare for the unknown. Thank you for all the support and keep coming back Sew Hungry For More!
If you would like to know more about Keratoconus, there is another blog here that you need to check out.