Progress Pics

Monday, March 8, 2010

Back -- (yeah, really!)

Ok, I am back for real this time.

I realized that I cannot get you caught up if I go into everything in detail so I am going over the main points briefly and bring you up to date. Here goes:

#1 -- DEATH OF ELDER, Lakota elder Jerome Yellow Dog was like a father to me for over 30 years. Right around the time of my birthday in early February, his niece called from Nebraska to tell me that he passed away.

To make a long story short, our finances are a mess right now and there was NO WAY that I could fly out there for the funeral. I felt just terrible about this and my guilt over not being able to be there for the family was just as strong as my sadness over his passing.

I never had a father. This man is the closest thing to a father I ever had. That I couldn’t be there to pay my respects just tore me up.

#2 -- Teen Suicide- Within a week after Jerome passed, a teen I’ve been working with on the rez committed suicide. She was an artist and a friend of one of the other teens whom I sell crafts for. I was going to both have note cards made from her art and also sell her original acrylic pieces. The samples of her work were gorgeous!

I sent her a box of art supplies and spoke with her on the phone several times. All of a sudden, I get a call that she committed suicide. The teen suicide rate on the rez is high-- three times the national average. I have been touched by many deaths there over the years because of the health issues and the suicide rate.

For whatever reason, I was profoundly affected by this girl’s death even though I hadn’t met her in person. This is not something I can explain. Maybe I don’t need to…….

But I felt a terrible sense of futility about trying to help the kids and about everything that I do for and with the Lakota. This was awful. I almost gave up. But the enthusiasm of some of the other kids about their craft projects brought me back and I threw myself into listing stuff on ebay and I even started creating an etsy store-- which I am still working on.

#3 -- medical stuff - When I last posted, I’d had a colonoscopy that was inconclusive because the one-day prep was not enough. And I was concerned about the results of all of my (then) pending medical tests because of early deaths of two siblings from cancer.

I did a four day prep for a second colonoscopy which I had last week. Let me be brief with this and say they removed four more polyps and will call me when biopsies come back.

I had my first pap smear in 15 years two weeks ago and got a letter Saturday telling me that was normal! YEAH!!!

Also, I had my mammography several weeks ago and that was normal too!

The vitamin D and calcium supplements that I’ve been taking worked, as my Dr tested my levels at my last check-up two weeks ago and I am no longer deficient.

I am having a bone density screening tomorrow and that will be an end to all of these extra tests. I go back to my primary care Doc in three months for a blood pressure and thyroid check.

So I’ll just keep taking my medications and supplements and all should be well in the short-term. I was extremely preoccupied and stressed out over all of these pending medical tests and procedures, so I am glad this no longer needs to be an area of focus.

#4 -- Finances: We’ve had one disaster after another this winter --- dog emergencies resulting in huge vet bills, appliances dying, vehicle repairs and you-name-it. The end result is that with two kids in college and the other strains on the budget, we are now going on two months behind on our mortgage and we are barely able to keep our utilities on.

We have never, NEVER been in this situation before. We have always paid our mortgage on time our entire married life-- even if that meant we had to live on rice and beans and go without “extras.”

But the disasters were one after another all winter and we got deeper in the hole each week. My husband is terribly depressed and upset.

We’re hoping to have enough of an income tax refund to get us back on track. He dropped all of our papers off at the accountant a few days ago and everything should be ready to file next week. We should have enough of a federal return that we can get caught up.

I am so worn down by everything that has happened that I am afraid to comfort myself. Until we have the money in hand and are paying the mortgage, I can’t be satisfied.

I can’t deal with stress as well as I could when I was younger so I will be glad when we get past this. It is killing me.

On other fronts, I told you in the past about our wildlife garden and had given you a tour of the property which you can view in this post. Well, this past weekend was gorgeous out so Jeff and I spent both Saturday and Sunday outdoors raking and bagging leaves, trimming the trees and bushes, and cleaning up all of the flower beds.

We must have filled 30 of those brown landscaping bags. With everything cleared away, you can see the tops of the daffodils and tulips emerging. The crocus are already up-- it gave us a boost to be out there.

Anyway, when I went for my check up two weeks ago I could not believe that I lost 3 pounds as I have NOT been counting calories and I was SURE that I was going to show a gain. I guess I was eating just under what I needed to maintain.

That’s pretty much what I am still doing.

As this post is already so long, I’ll end for now. It is good to be back and I will be going around to check on all of you and see how you’re doing.



  1. Welcome back and I'm sorry you've been through so much. I hope the rest of 2010 is happier and healthier, and wealthier, for all of you.


  2. have been through the wringer. But..spring is coming and how exciting that your dafodills are emerging. I just noticed that my neighbor has crocouses up and blooming. Phew! I can use Spring. I bet you can, too. Sorry about the loss of you dear father figure, and also the teenager.

    In Kenya there is something called a "harambee" where the community or a circle of friends do a fundraiser of sorts to help out a member in need. If that was our culture here, you could have done a harambee to get the money to go the the funeral.

  3. Wow-so sorry you are so stressed right now-I will pray for a big return for your family :)

  4. Hey - it sounds like you've been paying your mortgage for a while so I wonder if refinancing is an option. I don't know much about these things - I only know my Dad refinanced his house at least twice to bring the payments down.

  5. Wow, it sounds like it was a super challenging month. I am so sorry for your loss Lori-Ann. Loss and grief are hard and take time to process. Congrats on taking care of all of the medical stuff; it is so good to have a health baseline.

  6. I hope everything works out ok.
    I'm sorry for your losses.


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