View Full Version : ANA Levels

psalm 56 3
11-09-2006, 01:28 PM
I was looking at past entries to see what others have gone through. I have always questioned Lupus for me. The main reason is because the doctors did so often.
For years I have had an ANA level around 1340. I don't know if that means anything to anyone out there. My doctor at the time said that the normal ANA is supposed to be 40 and I was 1300% above that. That is where it all started for me. I went from one specialist to another. I finally gave up. It was crazy to have so many different opinions and diagnosis.
Here I am years later and I swear I am still dumbfounded! I was given a confirmed diagnosis, yet I am still so frustrated. Just going back and reading what everyone has gone through and how closely their situations mirror my own. No wonder so many of us question ourselves. My husband is furious with me because I will not go back to the doctor. I cancelled all my appointments. When I was having a bad flare I went to the doctor and they did their tests.

The tests showed fluid around the heart and lungs. My doctor sent me to the lab to run more tests. After one of the worst flares I have ever experienced all my lab work came back NORMAL. I was astonished! I asked about the ANA levels that have not been normal in years and was told they were fine. She never put me on any medication for the fluid, just Prevacid for a bleeding ulcer. She said she wanted to send me back to the hospital for another echocardiogram and lung x-ray. I made up my mind right then and there I was not going back. I will not answer the phone when the hospital calls nor from her office.

I might be very wrong in my thinking but this is what I have found out. One, those chest pains are not going to kill me. I have had all 8 symptoms of a heart attack and been in the hospital hooked up to their machines and all came out normal. Two, if I stay away from the doctors I perform so much better than when I am going every two weeks. My husband and I go round and round over this. He has even threatened to find a way to get into this support group and tell on me hoping I will be admonished into going back to the doctor.

Nothing is going to change my mind. I am not scared anymore, I am just sick of doctors!! I feel so much for all those who have been given the run around and have beat themselves up over this. LOL, the phone is ringing and guess who it is......

11-09-2006, 01:46 PM
Psalm 56 3 I am so afraid for you. I am serious big time. I have SLE and have had it for most of my life. I however did not get dx until I was 36 years old. I went through heck with the doctors and stuff for years and years. I, like you, gave up on the doctors and that decision nearly costed me my life. When I was 36 years old I ended up with Myocarditis and nearly died as a result of it. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle and you can die instantly from this situation. My heart was not beating normally at all. I could not breath normally as I also had Pleuresy and Costalchondritis and almost all of the symptoms listed to indicate Lupus. My blood work all showed positive. I believe that had I not gone to the doctor 12 years ago, I would not be here today. In fact my doctor, a Rheumatologist, told me so. I have been on medications for the past 12 years and will be on medication for the rest of my life. I am wondering if you have seen a Rheumatologist? Please, do not give up on the doctors. Lupus is not a disease that you can play with, it can kill you.

11-09-2006, 02:56 PM
I am a little confused by the ANA issue, because that is not a number that would normally occur in ANA testing. Different labs do have different testing methods and standards, so it's certainly possible your lab uses a different testing methodology, which would account for the difference.

Most ANA results are reported as a titer (such as !:40) and a pattern (speckled, nucleolar, homegenous, etc.). The titer refers to the number of dilutions the blood sample goes through before ANAs are no longer present. Because the amount of fluid used in the testing process is doubled with each dilution - the titer number doubles also, so it goes up quickly. 40, 80, 160, 320, 640, 1280. 2560, and so on. The difference between 160 and 320 is only a single dilution, although the number seems a lot higher. So it can't really be calculated as a percentage above normal, the math doesn't work that way. I'm not explaining it very well, but hopefully you see what I mean.

Lupus can never be diagnosed solely on the basis of an ANA test, because ANAs are not specific for lupus. They can occur as a result of a viral or bacterial infection, many autoimmune disorders, as a result of medications, or even in perfectly healthy people with no underlying disease. So, while most people with lupus will have a positive ANA, many people with a positive ANA will not have lupus.

I know this is extremely confusing - I wish there were a simple way to explain it that doesn't sound like a tongue twister. But basically, there are many reasons other than lupus for a person to have a positive ANA, so a doctor must look at all the patient's symptoms and lab results to make the diagnosis. Estimates are about 3% of the general population will have a positive ANA. This percentage increases as people get older. These people are considered to have a "false-positive ANA".

About 90-95% of people with lupus or mixed connective tissue disease will also be ANA positive. About 85% of people with Scleroderma and Sjogren's syndrome have a positive ANA; up to 45 percent of people with autoimmune thyroid conditions or rheumatoid arthritis and up to 15 percent of people with HIV or hepatitis C can also have a positive ANA test result, Plus, there are about 100 different medications that can cause a positive ANA, including many blood pressure medications and beta blockers. So a negative ANA can sometimes rule out a lupus diagnosis, but a positive ANA can never be the sole basis for a lupus diagnosis. It is one of the diagnostic criteria, but a patient generally needs to have four of the 11 ACR criteria to be classified as having systemic lupus.

Even though my ANA was extremely high when first tested (1:10,240), my rheumatologist based my final diagnosis (lupus/scleroderma overlap with sjogrens and autoimmune anemia) on the results of other lab tests and symptoms, including several biopsies. I was frustrated because it took so long for him to decide on a definitive diagnosis, but he told me it was very important to have a complete picture, because some drugs used to treat lupus actually accelerate the progress of scleroderma.

Did the doctor who diagnosed you ever explain the criteria he used for diagnosis, other than the high ANA? Do you have any of your old medical records that might have test results? Knowing how he came up with the diagnosis might ease some of your concerns about the issue. Fluid around the heart and lungs could be caused by lupus, but can also be caused by COPD, congestive heart failure, and a number of other medical problems. Whatever the cause, it does need to be treated!!! So please see your doctor. An echocardiogran is quick and fairly painless (just some pressure) - a spiral CT is completely painless and takes less than 10 minutes -please have the tests done! It will make your dear hubby happy and us too!!! :) :) :)

psalm 56 3
11-09-2006, 05:23 PM
I have to admit I still do not understand the whole ANA thing. I just recall my doctor telling me that my ana was 1,300% higher than the normal person. I have been to numerous rheumatologists, in fact I went to the leading Rheumatologist in our area. He told me that I had Fybromyalgia and many of the Lupus symptoms. He told me not to go crying to my primary care physician or any other doctors because they would put me on medication for Lupus if I whined enough about it. That made me livid! I was so angry because I did not want to see the Rheumatologist in the first place. Honestly I am so tight lipped about myself. So for a doctor to insinuate that I would go crying to another doctor was plain ludicrous! It was at that point I quit going to the doctors all together and that was back in 1995.

A few years later I became very sick. I literally became bedridden for a spell. I remember having to crawl to the bathroom. One day my daughter came home early and was shocked to find me in bed. So she and my husband convinced me to go back to the doctors. The new doctor I went to ran so many tests that I had to see her every two weeks. She came back with a confirmed Lupus diagnosis. I recall her telling me that I was not taking the disease serious enough. How could I when the specialist said he didnít think I had it! So I limped along for several years. In 1999 I moved and went to a new Internist. She in turn sent me to another Rheumatologist. Of course he ran his battery of tests and said that all though I had numerous symptoms he felt I did not have it because the Mylar rash was not present. I told him that I did in fact have the Mylar rash. He had me was my make up off and said, "Oh I guess you do have Lupus." Like that made a real believer out of me! The only reason he was going to say I had it was due to some rash on my face! Geesh

He did put me on a drug for Lupus. I am not sure what it was but I had to have my eyes checked every other month. I think I took the medication for a few weeks and stopped. The only time I went to my doctor was for a renewal on Synthyroid and blood work for the thyroid. All those times I went to her she never brought up the Lupus so I felt it was a thing of the past. I am beginning to see things now that I did not see before. It is like putting a huge puzzle together. I remember going to the doctor 3 years ago complaining that I could not breathe. I am not a smoker and have never had asthma so I found it odd. What did they do? They prescribed an inhaler for me. After a couple of months the problem went away. It would come and go through out the years. When the chest pain started that was a little scary. I did not go to a physician right away, I waited until it became very painful. Then I went to the emergency room and I was admitted and they kept me over night. While I was there I did have severe chest pain and they gave me an EKG and put a pill under my tongue.

Even then they found nothing. I passed all the tests with flying colors. As a matter of fact they had a difficult time even getting my heart rate up on the stress test. So I went back to my doctor like they told me to. I asked her what my problem was and she said she had no idea. Back in September of this year the chest pain was unbearable. I could no longer hide it from my family. I finally broke down and told them because I was scared to death something might happen to me while I had my grandchildren. I take care of them everyday. I had an echocardiogram done and it showed fluid around the heart and an x-ray showed fluid around the lungs. My doctor looked at the test results and said she wanted them done again and would see me back in 4 weeks. She didnít seem too concerned to me, and I learned not to be so frightened every time it feels like I am having a heart attack. I have been taking Naproxen which from what my doctor said helps eliminate the fluid. Honestly I had been doing great with almost no symptoms at all until I went to the dentist. I know this is long, but I am hoping you will better understand where I am coming from. Also, I really do appreciate all the support and advice.

11-09-2006, 05:44 PM
If the fluid build up is from inflammation, then anti-inflammatories may help resolve it. If you notice more difficulty in breathing, especially at night, or start to cough up foamy stuff, you need to get back to the doctor asap. Pulmonary edema can cause you to literally drown. If anti-inflammatories don't work, you may need steroids and diuretics.

I'm always amazed at how demeaning, callous, and downright ignorant some doctors can be - it makes you wonder how some of them got through medical school. Unfortunately, what you're describing sounds typical of the way many doctors treat women patients - like we're hysterical hypochondriacs - [pardon the alliteration.

If there is one doctor you feel comfortable with, it would definitely be a good idea to go back. So much of what you're describing sounds like lupus flaring up. The medication you were taking where your eyes had to be tested was probably plaquenil. I know you are disgusted with doctors, understandably so, but this needs to be checked out and treated aggressively.

If you can find a cardiologist knowledgeable about heart disease in women, that would be ideal. Many doctors don't realize that a treadmill test is rarely accurate in women, so a different type of work up may show problems the stress test missed.

Please don't give up on doctors altogether, you are too important to your family to let this go untreated!

psalm 56 3
11-10-2006, 11:47 AM
I had been taking Naproxen and then stopped. Thinking back it really did help. So I am taking it again. I have also noticed a marked improvement in my breathing. Especially if the air is cool and low to no humidity. I have not been coughing at all so that is a good sign. I think I am back on track.

The doctors really are horrible. That is what makes this so hard to take. I feel for all those women out there that are second guessing or even questioning themselves. For me personally I know my body and I am not going to allow anyone to make me feel like I am a hypochondriac or just looking for attention. I have a high tolerance for pain and for the most part I usually ignore signs my body is giving me. Typically I push it to the extremes. So when a doctor tells me to "Not go whining to another doctor" I know he is the ignorant one and not me!

I found my medical records and it is like reading Chinese! However; I was able to decipher a few things from it. It might make sense to you but it still foriegn to me. It reads as follows, and keep in mind this was in 1995:
ANA Screen positive
ANA Speckled negative
ANA Homogenous => 1:1280
ANA Nucleolar negative
ANA Peripheral negative
ANA Quant <20

Apparently when I went to this Rheumatoid Specialist in 95 he ruled that I did have Rheumatoid arthritis, Fybromyalgia and stated that I appeared to be in the early stages of Lupus. Let me know if any of this makes sense to you...and thanks for all the help. It really does put my mind at ease.

11-10-2006, 01:08 PM
It would certainly be a good idea to have these tests re-done, because in 1995 the testing technology wasn't as advanced as it is now. Plus, ANA levels can go up and down over the course of the disease, so you certainly shouldn't base medical decisions on test results that are 11 years old.

Most labs report ANA results as a"titer" - like 1:80 - and a "pattern". The ANA pattern is determined by looking at a specially prepared slide under a miscroscope. By examining the slide, the technician can determine where the ANAs are attacking the cell nucleus. Certain antibodies attack certain areas of the nucleus, producing specific patterns which can be seen under the micrpscope.

The rim (peripheral) pattern is the most specific pattern for lupus, while the homogeneous (diffuse) pattern is the most common pattern seen - it can appear in both systemic and drug-induced lupus. A nucleolar pattern is seen in scleroderma and a centromere pattern in the CREST variant of scleroderma, so the pattern can help the doctor decide which of the autoimmune diseases is causing the problem and which treatment program is appropriate.

The homogeneous/rim ANA pattern can be caused by: antibodies to double and single-stranded DNA (seen in SLE in high titers and in lower titers in other rheumatic diseases),; and antibodies to histones (seen in drug-induced lupus), and eoxynucleoprotein (seen in SLE). So, unfortunately, your ANA results (the homoegenous pattern) could indicate either systemic or drug induced lupus, or another rheumatic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. So any diagnosis would need to be based on more testing, and your clinical symptoms.

I am glad you are feeling better - hopefully the anti-inflammatory meds are helping.

11-10-2006, 01:13 PM
Hi Marycain,
I am wondering, is the speckle pattern ANA most commonly seen in SLE along with Sjogrens? I am wondering about this, becuase this is the pattern that my ANA is and I was diagnosed with SLE in 1996.


11-10-2006, 01:29 PM
The most common pattern in ANA testing is the homogenous or diffuse pattern. A speckled pattern can be caused by several antibodies: Smith (Sm), which is usually seen only in SLE; nuclear RNP, which is seen in high titers in mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) and SLE; SS-A (Ro), which is seen in Sjogren's syndrome and SLE; and SS-B (La), which is seen in Sjogren's syndrome. So the speckled pattern is consistent for both SLE and Sjogrens, but unless your doctor ordered an antibody subset panel, you don't know from the ANA test by itself which antibodies are causing the speckled pattern.

Because SLE and sjogrens are separate autoimmune diseases with different diagnostic criteria, I don't know of any one test that would be specific for both diseases. But it's certainly common for lupus patients to also have Sjogrens. Women can also have Sjogrens by itself as a primary autoimmune diseases - this form of Sjogrens is usually more severe than the "overlap" form most lupus patients have, and can cause life-threatening heart complications in its most severe form.

Hope this helps! :)

11-10-2006, 01:48 PM
I see now what you are saying. My doctor told me that the Sjogrens is an overlap of the SLE. I can not remember what he said about RO or LA. He just told me that I had classic SLE. At the time I presented with 9 of the 11 symptom criteria for Lupus. I had a malar rash big time as well. Oh, I am glad that I asked.


11-10-2006, 06:26 PM
sometimes (particularly after I've been on prednisone) my tests come back darn near normal....once I had a doctor try to de-dx me because of it; I explained that it had happened before that my tests were negative after medication, and he just raised his eyebrowsand smirked. there was no other dr. on my particular plan that I could see at the time, but the next time I went into flare, BOOM, there all those ANA's were. He said, well, labs make mistakes sometimes. I wanted to shake him til his ugly yellow teeth rattled.
The testing IS frustrating; I've shown at one time or another I think at least 9 of the 11 criteria. It's strange, a lot of doctors just don't realize that, with all their training, WE KNOW OUR BODIES better than THEY do!
My new Internal Medicine doctor is great. He did residency in a unit that was specifically for Lupus patients, and he is really up on it. He also seems to LOVE it that I have taken the time to learn about the disease and treatment--another rarity. He loves questions about new meds, etc. I'll NEVER take any cr*p from any smirking doctor again. EVER.
Psalm, you know i care about you, and I've added you to my prayer list. Please don't give up on doctors...they are human, and make mistakes. find one that will LISTEN to you...they do exist. As for meds, please don't let pride or frustration lead you to not doing what you must do to be healthy for your family and others who need you--like US!!! :D Love, Kathy

11-10-2006, 07:40 PM
When I'm on prednisone, my ANA sometimes goes down but it doesn't seem to have much effect on my other labs, which are always screwy. Once I actually got a diagnosis, which was a struggle, I've never had a doctor question the diagnosis itself, especially since the scleroderma patches and the malar rash are pretty visible now. My biggest problem with new doctors is that I have strange reactions to many meds - they do the opposite of what they are supposed to do. Doctors never seem to accept that I know what I'm talking about when I tell them I can't take a certain med - during one hospitalization, the infectious disease doctor put me into kidney failure by prescribing gentamycacin even though I'd had kidney problem with vancomyacin - I had to spend two months on dialysis and only a great nephrologist got me off it. I wish doctors would accept that when it comes to this disease and our own bodies, we are the experts, not them.

Sorry, didn't mean to go so far off topic - I guess that's my rant for the evening.

psalm 56 3
11-10-2006, 11:19 PM
LOL, MARYCAIN , that is the reason I started this post. I agree 100% we know our bodies better than the doctors do. I am not giving up on the doctors parse, right now I just need a break from them. I have every intention of going back but I am going to wait until the first of the year. Reason is I have a 2500.00 deductible and if I am going to spend that much I would prefer to do it at the first of the year. Then I will let them run every test they want.

I am by no means being flippant about my situation, I just do not feel the urgency at this time. As I said earlier I was doing great up until the point of taking penicillin and I am almost finished taking it. I actually think my body has acclimated somewhat to it. I have even noticed the Mylar rash is not nearly as red. I feel great and I am very active from 8 am to 9 pm so that has to account for something.

To be honest I am not worried about myself at all. I know this is maddening to my family and friends, maybe even to some of you. For this I do apologize, however; my stand is the same today it was years ago. I am not going to leave this life one second before God says so. If by chance I were to go tonight in my sleep I honestly feel that even if I had been under strict medical supervision I would still go. What I do believe is there are doctors there that can help us to have a better quality of life. And right now I am not complaining about mine. I read your posts, and I see the pain a lot of you are in.

To not be able to wear jeans because they are too painful. I wear them everyday. Having your hair fall out and being powerless to do a thing about it. I lose hair everyday and as fast as I lose it new hair grows in. My skin does not feel as if it is on fire. I do not feel like I have been hit by a truck. Many of you are suffering and a severe way. Some of you have been hospitalized, some have had heart attacks. I read these things and my heart goes out to each and everyone of you. All of you are very inspirational to me. I have NO room to complain. I pray for each of you and I am grateful for those who pray for me.

Marycain, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and give me a quick lesson on ANA!

11-11-2006, 07:34 AM
Dear Psalm, the quality and depth of your faith reminds me much of my Mom, who had the same outlook on life. She raised ten children during some difficult times with an absolute belief that God would provide, and somehow, he always did. You have that same serenity. If faith is an armor, dear lady, you are a Sherman tank!

I certainly understand the insurance deductible issue - I base a lot of my medical decisions on my insurance coverage. as I guess most of us do. I'm just fortunate to be able to get it at a reasonable premium through the company where I work - I would never be able to afford a private policy.

Have a nice weekend, and enjoy your holiday planning.

psalm 56 3
11-11-2006, 06:08 PM
Dear Marycain, your mother must have been a wonderful woman. Ten children is a lot to take care of and for you to come away with seeing her faith, well I can think of no greater gift to a child. You are truly blessed!

11-12-2006, 10:41 AM
Moms are great, aren't they (WE?) I think of some of the stuff we 7 kids pulled and I wonder how my mom kept her sanity...and how she let us LIVE! Man, whe WAS the disciplinarian in our family...If any of us mouthed off in the car, she could figure out who it was, slap the crap out of them, and keep driving the car without ever turning her HEAD, for crying out loud! Now I don't advocate slapping your kids, but I tell you what, she's a foot shorter than I am and is 85 years old, and I wouldn't DARE disrespect her to this day! course, these days we do more giggling and laughing together than anything else. She's helping me a lot with the book I'm writing, telling me all kinds of Depression Era memories she had forgotten...and I'm getting to know a whole new side of my mom after all these years. She prays for ALL of us, y'all, and I know God listens to her.

11-12-2006, 11:29 AM
Wow, I didn't realize the book you were was about the depression era. My mom is gone now, but my dad is 87 and still had very vivid memories of what life was like in those days. He still talks about Herbert Hoover and FDR as though they were still alive. My Mom was quite a bit younger - she was only 15 when they got married, but they had a long and eventful marriage. Mom grew up dirt poor - her dad died when she was seven, and they never had much. My dad always said she didn't know how to boil water when they got married, so he had to teach her to cook. Of course, her family never had anything to cook. They got married in the back of a little grocery store because the grocer was also the local mayor - Mom had to borrow a coat because she didn't own one. The grocer gave them a loaf of bread, a pound of bologna, a can of tomatoes and some oranges - that was their wedding night supper. Can you imagine any modern-day bride being contented with that? My Dad still carries his original social security card (issued in 1936) in his billfold - it is tattered and worn, just like him, but the numbers are still readable. They never had much money, but there was always a lot of love.

I hope you are writing down all the stories your Mom has to tell, so they won't be lost. I wish I had written more things down to share with my children - I treasure each and every story now because my Mom isn't there to pass it along to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

psalm 56 3
11-12-2006, 02:03 PM
OMG those stories make me want to cry. Geesh, if only time could turn back. I grew up a bit better than my parents but I still worked for everything I got. I am the middle child of 5 and we were not the kind of kids that were bought a new wardrobe for school every year. I wore my brothers hand me downs. The extras I managed to get came from countless hours of babysitting. Christmas was ONE gift. Yet, those were some of the best days of my life.

We were military brats and my dad knew how to use his belt if needed. Needless to say mom and dad could take all 5 of us out and never worried about us getting out of line. There were some bad times in there but I would not change my life for anything. My parents taught me Principals, Morals, and Values. I thought my parents were so mean because we had to go to church every Sunday. All the neighborhood kids would be out there playing while we were stuck in church. I could not see then what it would do for me now.

When Bobby and I married we 16 and 17. Even at that young age we knew when we had children they would not be spoiled brats. We stayed true to our promise until they reached adulthood. Now we are questioning why we let up. Our adult children expect so much. I had my first baby just shy of turning 17 and I took full responsibility for her along with Bobby (husband). There were many events I missed out on because I had kids and we could not afford a babysitter. Mom's mentality was "You made your bed, now lay in it," that I did.

My children are another story. They expect us to drop everything and come to their rescue and no doubt like many other parents we have done just that. Now we cannot help but reflect back in our own lives and see the massive difference. If you did not have the money to buy something, YOU DID WITHOUT! There was no buying on credit. When we wanted to buy our first house we saved and did without a lot just to come up with the down payment. No one stepped in for us. We purchased our first home at the ages of 19 & 20 and we did it on our own. It took forever to furnish it because we bought one thing at a time.

Look at today's kids. They have to have everything right now and the grandchildren are even worse. Personally I am scared for the future. Yes, our parents may have had it hard and we did too, but I bet most all of you appreciate what you have and no doubt worked hard for it.

11-12-2006, 02:54 PM
My sisters are both quite a bit older than I am, so they have adult children my age or older, plus grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They are having the same problems with their children expecting them to drop everything on their behalf. Ny oldest sons are reaching the age where they want a lot of things, but they already know they will have to work for them, just as their father and I did. My parents taught me there is a big difference between wanting something and needing it, and I don't think it's ever too early to teach your kids the same lesson. I want my kids to understand that money represents work, so they do chores for which they earn an allowance. They are allowed to decide how they want to spend it, or save it. If they choose to save it, it earns interest. I think the best way children learn to manage money is by doing it themselves, and learning to accept the consequences of a bad decision, and I want them to learn that lesson before they are old enough to make really expensive mistakes. They also learn about borrowing and lending, because "payday" is every Friday, and if they want to borrow against next payday, they have to pay interest, just like the real world. They certainly aren't hurting for anything - they understand that we will provide the things they truly need, but if they want a 100 dollar pair of sneakers because everyone else has them, they have to save their allowance and do without something else. It's hard sometimes - I hear a lot of "oh, mom" and a lot of pouting, but it's amazing how quickly they decide they can live without the sneakers after all. :) When I hear some of my friends with kids talk about paying $140 for a purse for an eight year old, or $160 for kid's jeans, even though these people are in my income bracket and I couldn't afford to do that for four kids, I wonder if I am out of touch with reality, or they are?

Eeek, sorry for ranting like this - you just hit on a real issue for me because I see it every day in my own family. If you find an answer, please tell me, my sisters need it too, Hugs!

psalm 56 3
11-12-2006, 03:02 PM
Marycain, YOU found the answer. If more parents took that mentality our children would fair so much better. I have no doubt if they had to cough up 100.00 for a pair of shoes they would not be so quick to toss them aside and want something else. I find it ridiculous to spend that kind of money on a child. Shoot I will not even spend 160.00 on a purse for myself.
I don't sit back and worry about it either. I am in a very comfortable place. Our neighbors think we are rich and have even asked us if we won the lottery. None of it could not be further from the truth. We just live with in our means. Its that simple!

11-14-2006, 12:34 AM
Well, we did without plenty of things we WANTED, but never without what we NEEDED. I think plenty of ppl today don't know the difference. Like some of you, Christmas and Birthdays meant ONE gift...and we knew how hard it was for them to afford things, so it NEVER would have occurred to us to complain to them. thier first little house (3 bedroom 50's bungalow that they added onto as needed) cost --are you ready for this??--$7,000.00!! They had ONE car, which my dad drove to work. We wore hand me downs, but they were clean and mended, if outdated. Later Mom started making our clothes (think of 7 kids....the WORK!)
We were taught that being part of a family was like being a member of a very exclusive club...one where EVERYone had YOUR best interest at heart. (sure, we fought like crazy, but nobody ever got hurt.) And our "dues" for our membership were the chores we did. No pay. No allowance. If we needed something, we asked for it, and if it was reasonable and affordable, we got it. If not, we didn't whine. college was up to US...back then middle class kids who worked hard could get scholarships. Some of us went right away, others (like me) didn"t enter unitl we were on our own dime, much later---and we ALL finished.
I raised my kids the same way, though I gave them much more, I guess because I could, and because I remembered wanting so much. They've both turned out great. Not perfect , butI never expected perfection. Just that they try to be good people.
I am loving writing my book because when this generation is gone, their stories go with them unless SOMEONE writes them down. May I suggest that you buy a book, "To Our Children's Children" by Bob Greene. It's a small book, published by Doubleday, and it's inexpensive. It's full of questions that YOU answer, like, what was your house like, how much did gasoline cost, what clothes did you like to wear, what historical things happened while you grew up, etc. It took me 5 big binders (in longhand) to answer all the question, and my kids have the copies now. Someday someone will read them and say, "wow, what a RIP great gramma was!" :lol: Seriously, we all have interesting histories. What would you give to have something like this from your great gramma or grandpa?
sorrry this was so long....waiting for sleep toight, sigh.....