Monday, December 10, 2012


Rabbit Creek Trail - GSMNP
December 4, 2012

A resounding thank-you is my top priority to start!  As I expected, you came through with kind words, thoughtful suggestions and much appreciated wisdom after my last post.  This has been a tough couple of weeks and unfortunately, it isn't over yet, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  It occurred to me that I've only been sick for two weeks, but it feels like a lifetime!  Here's the latest on that and then believe me, I am more than ready to let the subject go!  On Thursday, I had my regularly scheduled visit with my rheumatologist who was THRILLED with my progress since restarting the Enbrel as my primary medication for Rheumatoid Arthritis.  She and I are both still astounded at the immediate relief once that specific med was reintroduced.  The whole episode which lasted from mid-August until mid-October was quite the wake-up call to me.  It reminded me that no matter how good I might feel, the fact remains that for 30 years, I have had a debilitating, chronic illness for which there is no cure.  Yes, tremendous advances have been made and continue to be made in the treatments available, but I must never become complacent enough to believe that this will not be a primary challenge for the remainder of my life.  Each "flare" takes its toll in one way or the other.

Unfortunately, my rheumatologist (who is also a board-certified internist) was NOT happy with the way I looked or sounded.  Since she noted that right away, I must've still looked pretty washed out although I'd completed my first round of antibiotics and thought I was on the mend.  She promptly sent in a prescription for seven MORE days of antibiotics and I am on day five of that.  I can tell that it is working, but this particular med doesn't agree with my system very well, so I've had to endure some rather unpleasant side effects, most notably a headache.  But as I said, the respiratory part seems much better and I'm hoping for good things this week.  Another lesson reminder has been that sometimes, you just give in and let some things go.  Basically, I've lost two weeks and many of my Christmas traditions simply will not happen this year.  And that's o.k.

For now, I think I've found a way to work around the picture quota limit issue.  Upon further research and based on what some of you indicated, I've learned that this is one of Google/Blogger/Picasa's "known" issues and it seems some accounts are being shown as having reached their quota when technically, they haven't.  Since many of you who have blogged far longer and post lots more pictures than I do report you've NEVER been told you'd reached a limit, nor do you pay for extra storage, I'm going to sit tight for a few weeks and see if the issue might fix itself.  In the meantime, I have reset my camera to take pictures using less pixels and found that I can now upload with no problem.  Quite frankly, I can't see any huge difference in the quality of today's pictures compared to those I'd been posting.  So we'll see.

I was able to hike one day this week, but quickly realized my stamina level had got up and gone so they say.  Knowing I'd spent the better part of the previous week on the sofa, we picked a shorter hike (7.4 miles) that would also net me one mile of new trail.  Thanks to a very patient hiking partner, it was a wonderfully enjoyable day, but jeepers, was I ever slow.   A slow hiker by choice at any time, believe me, when I concede that I'm trudging along, the pace must be brutal to whomever is walking with me!!  But then, surprisingly, when we reached the end and calculated time hiked, the pace wasn't any slower than normal, so guess it was all in my head.

Yeah, yeah, I can hear you all thinking loudly.....she needs to end this rambling, drug induced post immediately.  And I'm going to do just that.   Enjoy a few other pictures from my hike!

This trail was closed for several months following the April, 2011 tornado that ripped through the south wreaking havoc along a swath through Alabama, Tennessee and points further north.  The park service did an amazing job getting trails reopened, but even now, there are still two trails in this section of the park that remain closed  I've hiked many of the trails that sustained damage, but none as evident as this one.  Having hiked Rabbit Creek Trail many times, I had a basis for comparison and can only tell you that it doesn't even resemble the same trail.  What was once shaded forest is now completely open and would appear to a newcomer as if the trail had just recently been constructed.  I understand that this is the circle of life and the forest will come back, but to those of us who love it so much, it is heartbreaking.  These two pictures don't even begin to depict what we saw, but maybe you can get the idea.

 Rabbit Creek Trail - GSMNP
December 4, 2012

This river is crossed via log bridge at the beginning and then the end of this out and back hike.  It is always so peaceful.  This is one of the most remote entrances to the park and one of my favorites.  I always enjoy hiking in this area.

Please continue to remember my friend Jo (A Well Kept Life) as she cares for her terminally ill husband and my friend Tami (Nutmeg Notebook) as she recovers from foot surgery.  This is when blog friendships are tough.  I want to DO something - I want to hug Jo and I want to take Tami a casserole.  I hope they both know that I care.  And I know you do as well!  Update:  Jo posted a short notice late Sunday evening that her husband passed away on Saturday.  Please keep her in your closest thoughts this week.  I simply cannot imagine what that must feel like.  They had been married 29 years.

Are you ready for Christmas?



  1. Aw, so sorry Jo, and you and your family are in my prayers.

    Tami, I hope you heel soon...I know that's a slow recovery, so take care of yourself.

    Sharon, so glad you are feeling better eventhough it's taking it's sweet time..ha. I haven't been on Rabbit Creek yet, but it looked like some nice views have opened up (silver lining?).

    As for Christmas...yes I'm pretty much ready. I have one family member left to shop for and we'll be done, and a few hours of wrapping to do. Our schedule is full of stuff for the next 2 weeks so I know the time will fly, and before I know it a New Year will be here. I'm ready for a new year! ;)

  2. I hope you are feeling back to your old self soon!

    My husband and I are foregoing gifts this year, except for stocking stuffers. I am cheap like that and would rather feel good about splurging on our trip next summer. Let's call my hiking boots and other new stuff "gifts." But I have all his stocking stuffers bought and wrapped. Now if only my youngest would send a wish list!!!

  3. 7.4 miles on a 'bad' day??? Oh my.

    I'm doing my new tradition. Of not doing too much for Christmas. Its a lot more relaxing.

  4. I'm glad you're feeling well enough to hike. I'll be ecstatic when you're back to 100%! :)

    Christmas is smaller for me this year, but I'm learning to adjust. Slowly.

  5. I am glad you are on the mend, but geez - get all the way better already!!

    We are ready for Christmas. I even have all my gifts wrapped except for the ones that are coming from Amazon.

  6. I hope you are feeling better soon! I saw Jo's update. :(

  7. I'm so sorry you have been so sick Sharon. To know that even though you have been down and out you still found the time and strength to send me emails and leave me encouraging comments on my blog for my foot surgery just goes to show what a truly beautiful, caring and giving person you are. I stand in awe of you my friend.

    Prayers and good wishes for healing Sharon. These are but minor setbacks for us and one day we will be back on the hiking trails with plenty of stamina and speed!

    My Christmas shopping had to be done prior to surgery since I don't have much mobility right now and can't drive until after Christmas. Gift cards are my friend this year! Stockings are already filled, I have never been done this early!

    Thank you for the shout out - I feel the love.

  8. You are in my thoughts, Sharon. One thing I know about you is that you continue to move, even when you don't feel like it. For you to be on the couch for a week really says something, so I'm sending you an extra big (but gentle) hug. Hang in there. Each day that passes is one day closer to a better You. Much love!!

  9. Glad you've found some relief! Not finished with Xmas shopping. Running late this year. Thank goodnesss for gift cards. :)

    Thank you for your fabulous photos. Love them. Karen P.