Category Archives: Photography by db walton

Getting Ready to Move

That’s right, we’re getting ready to move. My plan is to include beckwithmansion.com with the house when we sell it (providing the new owners pay for the domain transfer.)

Having this disease has made it necessary for us to downsize and move closer to family. We’ve already put money down on a lot in Utah that is close to several of my daughters and some of Elizabethe’s sisters. We hate to leave Palmyra and this beautiful home, but it is the right thing to do.

Accomplishments Before Getting Sick

To show an attitude of gratitude I want to list some of the things we’ve done since moving to Palmyra…

  • Operated a successful tourist home – in the process, we met some wonderful people. Some of them celebrities, and others just downright nice folks.
  • Owned a commercial property with very little vacancy periods.
  • Served a 5 year mission for Church Publishing Services – during this time (and even now) I’ve had many photos published in church magazines and websites. Just this last General Conference issue had one of my photographs.
  • Ran a successful photography business – photographed lots of people, several weddings and had a great time.
  • Documented NY Route 31 in photos
  • Did a Route 66 end-to-end road trip that took 30 days. (This was just a few months before getting ill.)
  • Three trips to Israel!!!
  • Survived getting hit by a car as a pedestrian.
  • Served the entire time in the Palmyra Temple as an Ordinance Worker.
  • Served 8 years as the Palmyra Ward Organist.
  • Visited by many family members and friends and took them around Western New York.
  • Several day trips to NYC (by bus) where I photographed models and did street photography.
  • Made more friends than I ever imagined.
  • Saw my best friend of 30 years and his wife join the church, go through the temple, and then he passed away.
  • Met hundreds of missionaries.
  • Photographed several general authorities, including several apostles.
  • Met John Bytheway and spent an afternoon talking to him and his family.
  • Worked security every year at Hill Cumorah.
  • Was VP, then president of Finger Lakes Professional Photographers.
  • President of the local Chamber of Commerce – Canal Connection Chamber of Commerce – worked on the re-branding of the Chamber.
  • Hosted a really fun Walton Family Reunion – so, none of my extended family attended. It was just 3 of my daughters and their children, but we had a BLAST.
  • Had pictures published in Waterfalls of New York Calendar (2017).
  • Attended PPSNYS Workshop at Hobart and William Smith Colleges for the last 6 years. (Last year I was already sick, but managed to sit through the classes. Decided that would be the last year given it’s too much to handle with MG.)

Still Testing

Still Testing

I’m still testing my limits.  Currently, it’s about 30-60 minutes per day.  It is not a lot, but if I choose to day, say 2 hours, I’ll probably be down for the rest of that day, plus the next 3 days.

I saw the neurologist last week, and he placed me on prednisone in addition to the pyridostigmine.  He said the pyridostigmine goes after the symptoms, where the prednisone goes after the cause.

CT Scan

I also go in next week for a CT scan of my chest — specifically the thymus gland.  The idea there is to rule it out as the cause of the myasthenia gravis.  (A tumor on the thymus gland is believed to be one of the causes of MG.)

Keeping Limits

Keeping these limits are helping.  I haven’t had a really bad crash since holding to my limits.  With 30-60 minutes per day I’ve decided I must prioritize my week and choose ONE activity for any given day.  (I mean, how much can you do in 30-60 minutes?)

I did learn the other day having a dentist AND a doctor appointment on the same day not only exceeded my limit, but I paid for it also.   I was thinking… how hard can it be to sit in the dental chair and sit in the doctor’s office?  Well, evidently, too much.  I suspect it was the walking from the car to the offices and back that did it.  Oh, and I also stopped to get a couple of items at the store.  Yeah… I overdid it that day.

Next Steps

It sounds like the next steps are the CT Scan, followed by 3 more weeks on the pyridostigmine and prednisone.  I then go back to the doctor to talk about the results of the CT scan and discuss if more changes need to be made in my medication.

In discussion with other myasthenics, this process can take up to 3 years to get things dialed in.  And then, the body is constantly changing.  Some people go in to partial remission once on a steady program (and by that, I mean they feel much better, but still have to limit physical activity), while others experience a tolerance to the medications and need other changes.

Either way, it is a lifetime of learning to deal with it.

Oh, and it’s official.  I now have handicap plates on my car.

Nearly Two Weeks

Nearly Two Weeks

It’s difficult to believe it is nearly two weeks since my last post.  Natalie and our grandsons went home a couple of days ago, and it was a joy having them here.  At the same time, it was a huge help having Natalie around.  Time sure flies.

When thinking about my blog the other day, I thought… I don’t have a lot to update.  My days lately are spent resting mostly.    Aside from the digital art I work on, it’s been a pretty lazy summer (and not by choice.)

Watkins Glen

I did manage to go to Watkin Glen with Natalie and the boys.  I made it to the 2nd set of stairs and had to turn and go back.  My feet weren’t working properly and I didn’t want to ruin everyone’s day by falling and getting hurt.

oh well

We Tried to Cover His Name, but, Oh, well.

dbwalton

Yeah, Cover the Crook’s Name Please

Cheesy Smiles

Cheesy Smiles

Natalie and Boys

Natalie and Boys

Current Adaptations

My current adaptations may change with my next doctor visit.  We’ll talk about adjusting the pyridostigmine and what activities I should and shouldn’t be doing.

 

Making Adaptations

Making Adaptations

I find making adaptations necessary given my prognosis.  Whether it is myasthenia gravis, lupus, ALS, diabetes, etc… they say if you don’t manage it, it will manage you.  I’m learning how to manage it.

My dad, upon learning I have MG, sent me 4 books on the disease.  I just finished reading 2 of them.  Elizabethe read one of the other ones while I was reading these two.  Comparing notes, they basically said the same thing – learn what works for you as far as a daily schedule, manage what you eat, get plenty of rest, don’t over do it, communicate with your doctor, etc.

Speaking of the latter – communicating with your doctor…

One of the last things he said to me was, “And, whatever you do, don’t lie to me.”

I wondered if he thought I was pulling his leg regarding one of my symptoms, but I knew I was being completely honest with him.  There was one symptom, I thought I would find odd if I were him.  It was water getting stuck in my throat.  Not solid food, but plain water gets stuck.  Then, when reading one of the books the author noted choking on thin liquids as being a symptom.

Daily Tasks

I’m starting to learn I should limit myself daily to one major task.  A major task right now is anything requiring me to be on my feet exerting myself – mowing the lawn, doing a photo shoot, going to the stoor, attending a meeting, etc.  If I try to do more, I pay for it during the night and the next morning… or longer.

Over doing it sneaks up on me.  I can’t wait until I’m mid task and decide I can’t do any more.  I’ll feel okay, but then I’ll stop for a bathroom break, and then it will hit me.  When it hits, it hits HARD.  This is what I have to learn is how far I can go so that doesn’t happen.

What It Is Like

What is it like having myasthenia gravis?

They say it is different for each person.  It’s nickname is the snowflake disease.  Every snowflake is different, so is every MG patient.  Here is what I go through…

  • My vision starts to “quiver”. It’s like my eyes are vibrating (is the best way to describe it).  It creates a little blurriness in my vision.
  • Twitching under my left eye,
  • Flu-like aches and pains all over the body,
  • Arms and legs always feel like I finished a big workout,
  • Clumsiness,
  • Loss of control and strength of my fingers, arms, legs and feet,
  • Strong spasms (muscles knot up in to lumps the size of a marble or as large as a golf ball – very painful),
  • More coughing and sneezing,
  • Brain Fog,
  • Occasional aura migraine flashes,
  • Difficulty sleeping (because of the pain and spasms),
  • Tinnitus,
  • Problems swallowing water, milk, and most other non-carbonated liquids (the carbonation seems to help).

As a result, I’m worn out from the time I wake up, until the time I go to sleep.  Exercise makes things worse (in fact, it causes muscle damage in people with MG).   Relaxation and sleep are the most rejuvenating activities.

Comparing with Other MG Patients

I’ve joined a group of men with MG, and I’m reading some books written by people with MG.  We all have one thing in common as far as our symptoms – fatigue.  Fatigue and weakness are the biggest complaints.  As a result, there is a common thread of longer-than normal sleeping and mid-day naps.

Other Adaptations

I’m going to have to start reducing the clutter and getting rid of things I don’t need, don’t use, and most of all, things I cannot use any more.  With MG it doesn’t pay to have big aspirations to take on a big project.  So, if they are things associated with big projects, I’m getting rid of them.

Life will have to be simpler from here on out.

Blessings

I’m counting my blessing.  MG has not affected my ability to type or play the piano.  It has not impacted my ability to chew my food.  It has not distorted my face.  I have not gone cross-eyed.

In spite of the brain fog, I can type (write) (given quiet time).  However, I’m doing less blogging because it is mentally exhausting and tiring.  For now, I’m thankful when I have moments that I don’t feel out of it.

Picking up my 2 year old grandson today made me grateful I had the strength to pick him up.  (He’s quite the chunk.)  The other day, I couldn’t move a door that was simply leaning against a shelf, and a few days  later, I couldn’t pick up the aluminum step ladder.  So, I’m grateful for occasionally being able to hold my grandchildren.

PPSNYS Workshop 2018

PPSNYS Workshop 2018

Yesterday I completed my week at PPSNYS Photo Imaging Workshop 2018.  My instructor was Rick Friedman.  Excellent instructor and I learned a lot.

Our topic was speedlight (battery powered strobe lights) photography.  There were 8 of us in the class and everyone had a great time.

copyright 2018 db walton

Receiving my 2 PPA Educational Merits

Healthwise

Healthwise, I started off pretty well, but by the time Tuesday rolled around I was in bad shape.  I started having involuntary tremors in my left hand.  But, Wednesday was better, and then I proceeded to go downhill again from there.  Today, I’m guarding myself so I don’t end up feeling sick for church.

I’ve discovered steak seems to help.  Not hamburger, but rare beef.  (I have not noticed any real change after eating a burger.  However, I’ve been experimenting since making this discovery and lean steak seems to boost my energy level and reduce the other symptoms.

Texas Roadhouse

In keeping up with my red meat consumption, we used our gift certificates for Texas Roadhouse for dinner last night.  I ate half my steak there, and brought the other half home.  This morning, I ate 1/4 to keep my strength up in case it is red beef related.  So far my theory is holding up.

Another Scorcher

Another Scorcher

Today is another scorcher.  It’s one of those days when you wish you could take a walk, but one step outside and you feel like the heat is going to kill you.  The high humidity and 92 degrees outside feel more like 110.  It’s miserable.  This heatwave continues.

Idiotic

I received an update for some software today.  I installed the update, but the personalized data that goes along with the software was all deleted.  Talk about frustrating.

So, I figured out what’s going on, but it requires I re-download and install all of the “assets” associated with it.  This is so inconsistent with how they have done things in the past.

I opened a trouble ticket, and received a response that reads, “We do not operate as a 24 hour help center. Our hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm, Mountain Standard Time. Please note, it can take up to 1-2 business days for a response, and up to 5 business days for a resolution. There are rare cases that take longer to resolve, should we need to conduct additional testing or other departments to step in.”

They must not care that some people use their software in their business.  At AT&T I used to negotiate “service level agreements” with vendors.  Known as SLAs, depending on the product, an SLA might require anywhere from 1 hour to 24 hours for a call back.  And, if it was customer impacting, resolution time was set at 1 hour!!!

So, these guys have a 48-hour call back and a 5 day resolution time.  Yikes.  If I were in the motion picture industry, I wouldn’t be buying their software.

 

Pageant Rush

Pageant Rush

Pageant rush is upon us.  Elizabethe tells me a guy called in a frenzy asking if we had enough rooms for his group.  She says, he said, “I can’t believe practically every place is already booked.”

Yes, that’s what happens in Palmyra during Hill Cumorah Pageant season.  The Pageant rush hits and every one is frantically looking for lodging.

Why?

Because Palmyra is a tiny village near a very small city (Rochester).  That’s why I tell people to try to book 6 to 12 months in advance.  Expect to pay more.  It’s supply and demand.

Bond, James Bond

I’ve been learning how to do gobos (go betweens) in Poser and DAZ3d.  I created this James Bond inspired piece today as part of my studies.

copyright 2018 db walton

Bond, James Bond

I’ve finally got a handle on making and using gobos.  A gobo is a sheet that goes between your lighting and subject to create shadows.  In this case, a spiral pattern falls on the lady and the floor.

Taco Bell

We went for a cheap date today.  We drove to Victor and went to Taco Bell.  While I miss the good ol’ 5 item menu, their XXL grilled burrito is pretty good.  I gave it a try today and I’d give it a 5 out of 5.

A Month Away

A Month Away

It’s hard to believe pageant is only a month away.  They have trucks staged in the big parking lot at Hill Cumorah.  It looks like the stage construction will begin soon.

My workshop classes for photography are during pageant this year (again).  This means I’ll be in school from about 8am to 5pm daily.  I’ll miss much of the daytime stuff that accompanies pageant, but I’ll be able to watch the show one of those nights.

Social Media Fast

President Russell M. Nelson asked the youth to do a 7-day social media fast.  If the prophet asks the youth to do it, it must be good for others too.  But, like any fast, there are some things to consider.

  1. Do it in private.  Christ warned not to be as the publicans who disfigure their faces and dress in sackcloth and ashes.  In modern terms, I would take it to mean, don’t post stuff on social media like, “Okay, I’m going on a 7-day Facebook fast.  I don’t know how I’m going to manage, but I’m doing it okay.  Starting right now.”
  2. Social media is more than just Facebook.  It’s Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, chat rooms, message boards, etc.  A 7-day social media fast must include all of them.
  3. A fast isn’t complete without an offering.  What will be your offering at the end of your 7-day media fast?  I’ve been thinking a lot about this.  I think it would be appropriate for 7 days worth of internet or phone charges donated to the fast offering fund.
  4. It should start and end with a prayer.  You should have in mind what Heavenly Father wants you to learn from the experience, and you should pray for understanding and strength.

I guess one learning might end up being that people can do with out so much social media.

Zoe Baptized

Zoe Baptized

Zoe was baptized today.  She was so excited.  Her grin went from ear to ear.

Rebecca and Steve commented the attendance was more than they expected.  The little room was packed to capacity.  Zoe asked me and her Grandpa Martin to talk.  Russ Martin talked about baptism, and I talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost.

copyright 2018 db walton

Their Happy Family

Lunch

Before the baptism we met them for lunch at a diner named Kirby G.  I had a brisket burger.  It was a lean beef patty topped with slices of brisket.  Best burger ever.  As a result, I’ll want to return when we visit Atlanta.

copyright 2018 db walton

Zoe and Avery at Kirby G’s

Open House

They had an open house for Zoe after the baptism.  Some of Steve’s family showed up, as well as some friends.  The full-time missionaries were also there.

I enjoyed talking to the elders about missions and stuff.  The elders were telling me they are going away from tablets and just using smartphones now.  (Just wait for the next technology and they’ll be carrying something different.  Technology changes too quickly.)

Chick-Fil-A

We stopped and picked up a snack at Chick-Fil-A.  I wish we had one here in Palmyra.  Elizabethe was reading they are #1 where ever they have a location.  That’s impressive.

The Trip There

We arrived her yesterday afternoon.  We had dinner at Rebecca’s with the Sister Missionaries.

copyright 2018 db walton

The Gang Friday Night After Dinner

Extreme Fatigue

Extreme Fatigue

I have never felt extreme fatigue like I have today.  I woke up sleepy, and spent the entire day feeling like I was about to fall asleep.  This is the strangest feeling I’ve ever experienced.

Taking a walk didn’t help.  In fact, it made me feel more sleepy.  Dinner didn’t help either; it didn’t have an impact either way.

Let’s hope tomorrow I don’t feel like this.

More History

The house on Teal was my parent’s first home.  Prior to buying the house, we lived in rentals.  My little brother never knew what it was like living in a rented house.  In a few cases, they were houses with tenants upstairs and downstairs.

Trouble on Teal

I’ve mentioned a couple of times I got in to trouble when we lived on Teal.  There was the flooding of the farmer’s fields.  Setting the shed on fire (even though that happened near Grandma’s house, it was during the time period we lived on Teal.)

While they were building the homes nearby, I decided to play Superman and dive through the insulation.  I didn’t know how stupid that was, but I must have torn out the insulation of at least 5 or 6 framed homes.

Another time I had Karen and Lisa sit in the front scoop of a tractor with a payloader scoop.  Back then, they left the keys in these things.  I managed to get them off the ground.  I was probably 5 or 6.

I’d also wire up “electric” fences and connect the wires to the fuse box and then throw the switch.  Sparks were all I got.

The Tree House

I found some boys playing in the barley field the last summer we lived in Pocatello.  They were building a treehouse and invited me to join them.  It was at the far end of the field near the Yellowstone Highway.  (Later, that would have been the entrance to a K-Mart parking lot.)

They were a few years older, but I learned how to get a 4×8 sheet of plywood  25 feet off the ground and secured as a floor in a tree house.  It was awesome.  To this day, I can’t believe we pulled it off.  We were 3 stories off the ground and looking across the highway into the 3rd story windows of the Naval Weapons Plant.

They also taught me how to drive a nail without bending it.  It took a lot of practice, but they were patient with me… as long as I brought them lots of nails… which I would scrounge (actually steal come to think of it) from the local housing construction.

The Big Move

When Mom and Dad announced we were moving to Moscow, I was quite excited.  To me it meant friends.  I really didn’t have many in Pocatello.  Many of the kids (boys) near us had farm chores and weren’t outside playing.  I fantasized about meeting new friends.

We had visited Moscow once before.  We stayed in a strip motel next to the railroad tracks and the freight trains kept us awake most of the night.  Dad said our new apartment was on the bluff above where the motel used to be.  He said they tore it down that winter and built a Chevrolet dealership there.  Gubb Mix Chevrolet.

Mom and dad were also going to be the apartment managers in this 40-unit, 2 building complex.  To a 10 year old, that sounded pretty cool.  “Apartment Manager”, just had a sound of prestige.

This also meant we were going to live very close to Jeff and John – our cousins from Mom’s sister Shirley.  They lived in Pullman where Uncle Dick was a professor and audiologist.    Jeff was a couple years younger than me, and John was a little younger than Mark.  They would become our best friends during the year we lived in Moscow.