Saturday, November 10, 2012

Are You Kidding Me?

Hello there, world.  It's me again.  With yet another story about the unexpected journey that I'm on.  I've left the journey of an infertile woman for a bit because my life as a "normal" person interrupted and has pulled me off the path that I've been wandering for the better part of four years.

You're probably tired of hearing about my little kidney stone drama, and I quite frankly am tired of living it, but so much off-the-wall stuff has happened that I'm compelled to share.  If for no other reason than this:  when I'm 90 and in the old folks home, I want to be able to read this blog and go, "Well, wasn't that an exciting month!"  (Hopefully I will see it that way, because right now, it's a month that's lasted about 6 months!)

So here we go with installment 5,6, 8 zillion...

Last Saturday I went in to have some FINAL pre-op labs done.  I was told that I HAD TO HAVE THEM DONE or I wouldn't be able to have the surgery.  So like a good girl, I headed up to the big city (1 1/2 hours away--this is not just a trip to the grocery store--it's an all-day thing!).  I had to have blood drawn and do a urine test.  Since I was told that it was a full metabolic panel, I knew the drill (thanks to all my PCOS bloodwork, I knew that phrase QUITE well) and didn't eat or drink anything but water after 8:00 on Friday night.  Because this stent won't allow me to "hold it", I have to go to the bathroom every 60-90 minutes.  So before we left the house, I went.

We get to the hospital and go to check in...and the little girl checking me in says, (and I quote) "I don't have any record of you needing to come in today for labs.  Did you get the wrong date?"  (By this time, I was doing the potty dance in my chair and crossing my legs AND praying for patience and grace so I wouldn't go across the table)  Then she says, "I'm sorry you made such a long trip, but it's not in the computer so I can't send you to the lab.  Who's your doctor?"  I told her everything that I was told, who told it to me, and when they had told me to arrive.  Finally, she told me that she would look at the fax machine to see if the orders had been faxed in.  I thought that was weird, because her department was the one that called me, but hey, what do I know?  Another 15 minutes passes...which seemed like an hour because I.HAD.TO.GO!!  She couldn't find the orders.  She was in a quandry--I would have felt sorry, but I was ticked that they kept giving me conflicting information and I still had to use the restroom.  She FINALLY looked in the department inbox where everything was and found the orders.  By this time, hubby and I have been sitting there for 30 minutes (2 1/2 hours w/out a bathroom by this point, so I'm almost in tears of pain).  After 10 more minutes of correcting my personal data (for the 5th time), she finally sends us to the lab. 

You'd think the lab was close, right?  Nope, not a chance.  It's a quarter of a mile down the hallway (maybe not quite that far, but we walked from one end of the hospital to the other).  I'm almost doing a duck walk to keep from peeing my pants--it did not look graceful and I was so glad that we didn't see anyone I knew.

I get to the lab and check in...and they are in the middle of a shift change. (of course they are--we are talking about my ability to not ever get the easy pass!)  We wait for an additional 20 minutes. (In case you're keeping count, it's now been 3 hours w/out a bathroom, 20 hours without food, and 24 hours without any pain medication of any kind--I was almost crying, I felt so bad)  Then I am called up to the desk where the nurse confers with me.  You see, according to her computer, I had already had these tests while in the hospital and at my surgeon's clinic, and on the paper under her orders it said that if these tests had been performed within 30 days, they didn't have to be repeated. (ARE.YOU.KIDDING.ME?) After I told her about our long trip, the fact that I was told I couldn't have surgery w/out them, and the fact that everyone and their brother at the hospital kept telling me different stuff, she went back to call my surgeon's office and see if he really meant for me to have the tests done. (If I wasn't about to turn yellow from lack of peeing, I would have appreciated the fact that she didn't want to cost me more $$$ by performing unneccesary tests).  

Lo and behold, she can't get ahold of my surgeon--but he had an associate who was on-call in the ER.  So she called him.  Then she looked at me leaning feverishly against my husband and told me that the on-call doctors always call back quickly and don't leave you waiting very long. (Oh goody!)  In hospital time he didn't wait long, but 10 minutes is a really long time when you've gotta go to the bathroom.  He told the nurse that the tests wouldn't hurt and that I could have the clinic credit my account if they really were unneeded. 

She handed me that specimen cup, and I practically crawled to the little bathroom.  On a side note, doing the old person shuffle is easier than trying to walk with your legs crossed!  I get in the bathroom and find that there is an 8-step list to follow just for a sample--WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I was about to pass out, I hurt so bad, so I skimped on about 5 of the steps.  I couldn't bring myself to "cheat" by skipping them, but there was no way under the sun that I was going to be able to do them properly (like cleaning yourself for 30 seconds then standing and washing your hands again for 1 minute before sitting again---totally not happening)  I'm pretty sure that some man wrote the instructions because I do not know of any woman who would put other women through such torture.   Anyway, I was finally able to feel some relief and was able to stand all the way upright when I walked out of the little powder room to have my blood drawn.  The blood part only took 3 minutes, so the whole actual lab time was only 6-8 minutes.  (Now if I was a scheming type of person, I'd send the hospital a bill for the 3 1/2 hours of my time that they wasted---which I won't do, but for petey's sake, you'd have thought that such a simple procedure could be accomplished more efficiently.)

The up side to all of the waiting and the hurting and the fevering?  Hubby took compassion on me and took me out to a steak dinner!  Then we ended our romantic evening with him pushing me in a wheelchair through Wal.mart (b/c my stent was hurting so bad from the pressure of waiting so long) and buying surgical soap at Wal.greens so that I could follow the rest of the pre-op procedures.  

So how am I doing today?  You'll have to find out by reading the next installment of this never-ending saga entitled "Ranae starts believing the medical profession is out to get her", or "A Comedy of Errors and the Death of Common Sense" *

*ok, these are not the titles of the next blog, but they're closer to the truth than you might think!  

Monday, November 5, 2012

If the Worst Happens, Is It Really The Worst?

As I sit here, there are just about 60 hours left until my next surgery to remove the epic-sized kidney stone.  I'll admit it---I'm mildly terrified.

Don't get me wrong, I want all of this behind me.  I'm not even worried about dying during surgery--which is such a remote possibility that I shouldn't think about it--but when you almost don't make it through a very minor procedure and you lose your best friend 45 minutes after saying goodbye to her, things like this kinda stick with you.

I guess what I'm worried about is the stuff I've left undone...becoming a teacher again, having a baby of my own that's alive, telling everyone I know about my Savior, being completely debt-free, owning a real house, not getting to hold the nieces and nephews, leaving my family and friends behind...I want to say that I've lived a life with no regrets, but I do have some---those times when I was not the person I was created to be.

I don't think I'll die on the operating table, mostly due to the fact that I'm going to owe the hospital so much money that they won't allow me to pass away!  But since NOTHING has gone the way they told me it would and nothing seems to have gone right since I've been home, I think I'm safer to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

So what would I have to gain if I don't wake up?  EVERYTHING.  I will be reunited with loved ones.  I'll get to hold my daughter in my arms for the first time.  I don't know if she'll be an infant, a toddler, or a grown woman when I see her, but I can't wait to touch her, to see her, to hear her voice.  We will spend eternity together, and I'll probably want to keep her right by me for about 1,000 years.  I'll get to see my Savior, my Creator, my Life.  I'll probably be so in awe of Him that I won't be able to speak for a millinea, but when I do, I have a list of questions for Him.  I know that in heaven I'll understand everything and nothing will be a mystery.  I'll know exactly where my wedding ring has disappeared to, why my body refused to work, how it was that it seemed like all my dreams were killed, why it looked like evil always triumphed...you know, those simple, easy questions...

I don't want to leave this earth yet, though.  I have so much I want to do, to be.  I want to tell everyone I know about my Christ, about how to be that kind of person who inspires others to be their best.  My husband tells me that I'm already that kind of person, but I feel that I fall short so very often.

So, as I await this final surgery, I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand, I am prepared to close my eyes here on earth to open them in heaven.  But on the other hand, I really want to wake up to see my husband smiling at me here and feeling good enough to be able to lose this weight and meet my goals.  I want to live intentionally and purposefully--to be the woman that God wants me to be.  I'm gonna need all the help I can get.

Monday, October 22, 2012

How Do You Move Forward When There's Nowhere To Go?

How do you move forward when there's nowhere else to go?  How do you tell your heart that the dream you've had your entire life has just been shattered?  What do you do when everything's gone?

This isn't going to be an optimistic post.  It's going to be raw, and honest, and painful.  I believe in honesty, and in letting my emotions go, and if it bugs you, I'm sorry, but this is my space and this is me right now.

I've been running the numbers in my head since I got to feeling better.  The average hospital stay in my area runs around $10,000/day.  I have insurance, but I have to pay $200 for the ER, $1500 for deductible, and I have this nifty Out-of-Pocket total of $2500.  I honestly don't understand the OOP, because I'm not going to be limited to a bill of $2500.

In fact, the other part of my insurance states that I'll owe 20% of the bill.  Since I was in the hospital for 5 days, that comes out to a minimum of $50,000, but probably closser to $100,000, especially when we figure in the cost of this next surgery.

This means I'll owe between $10,000-$20,000 when it's all said and done.  I MAKE 15,000 a year, but only take home $1,000 a month.  My husband doesn't have a full-time job, and right now we have an extra $400 a month that we use for food and gas and that tiny bit that goes into savings. 

If I set up payments at $200/month, it will take 5-10 years to pay off this bill.  That's assuming that I get to keep my job and that hubby gets to keep his.  We'll survive, but I'm not sure we'll do much more than that.

I don't get it.  I try to be the best person I can be.  I work hard, I volunteer, I bend over backwards to help others out.  I live a clean life--I try to serve others and live in a Christian manner.  So yeah, I'm at the point where I cry, "Why me?  How much more do I have to endure?  What have I done that's so wrong that I must constantly be ground into the dirt?  How come every.single.dream.I.have gets taken away--violently and suddenly?  How come I feel like I am being punished?  When do I get to experience the up side of life?"

I feel overly raw.  It's like there's this big cosmic battle going on and Satan and all his minions are going, "What else? What else?  Can we hurt her anymore? Huh, can we?"  There's apparently a giant neon sign in the sky that says "Ranae is not allowed to have any true happiness, ever.  She doesn't deserve it."

While I have experienced happiness, it comes in tiny spurts, and as soon as hope unfurls her leaves, she gets chopped back to the ground.  It's not pruning, it's annihalation.  Any time I start to think, "I think I'm gonna make it," I get bashed back into the ground.  Hard.

We will not be able to have a family.  Not now, and right now it looks like we never will.  I'm crying as I type, because this has been my dream since I was 8.  I've looked around all summer and kept my jealousy at bay as each IF friend I have has finally conceived and is holding her baby in her arms.  I kept thinking, "If it can happen to them, then there's hope for me, too."  Well, I'm all out of hope.  I think it got killed this time.  My dreams didn't just get put on the shelf, they got obliterated into tiny fragments of nothingness.  It's all gone.  Just like that.

In four years, I've lost my career, my baby, my fertility, my sense of worth.  This money issue means that I'm stuck here in our tiny trailer home for another 5-10 years, we won't be able to go through foster care, won't be able to adopt, won't be able to pay for any kind of fertility treatments, won't be able to do much more than just stay here and hope we can afford to repair what goes wrong with the house.  That's the 10-year plan, and by the point I've gotten everything paid off, I'm going to be too old to do foster care, or adoption, or fertility treatments.  So there, I'm done.  You've won, you've proven your point.  I get it.  I don't deserve any of those things, so you can quit breaking me into a million pieces.  

I've also lost my wedding ring since I got back from the hospital, and that has just done it for me.  I'm done.  Finished.  I will go through the motions, continue working hard because I have students who need me to work hard, continue helping others, continue participating in my family. But I'm done. 

I don't need a giant neon light to tell me that I obviously am not allowed more than fleeting happiness.  I'll do what needs to be done, but I'm keeping my heart out of it.  I'm not strong enough to go through this again.  I need to give up my childish dreams and start living in the "real world".  I need to become a cynic because being an optimist has gotten me nowhere.

I just don't know what I've done to tick off God, and I don't know how to return to a place of grace, and I feel like I deserve every.single.thing that has happened to me because somewhere along the way I have to have failed big-time. 

I've worn my heart on my sleeve my whole life.  Where do you put it when it's been broken so badly?  How do you convince your heart that dreams are for children and that reality doesn't like dreams?  How do I control the jealousy that threatens to overwhelm me---just shut off every emotion like you turn off a faucet?  How do you move forward when there's nowhere to go?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Living Again

I had to take a break after that last post.  I didn't cry (for long), but I really am going to miss my friend so much.  Here is the final (so far) installment of my never-ending week:

As Monday morning dawned, I was finally feeling good enough to get out of my hospital bed and visit with my roomie.  I also got a long visit from my husband, and the chaplain's office sent a volunteer (He was about 85, shuffling gait, pants pulled up high) to see if I needed their services.  He kept looking at my husband who was sitting on end of the bed (wearing regular clothes, mind you), and then just stared and said, "Ranae???"  Apparently he never saw me sitting in the chair three feet in front of him wearing my ever-so-attractive hospital gown... (Hubby and I were able to laugh about that after he left.)

As the day went on, my arms got redder and itchier.  Turns out that I'm allergic to the tape used to hold IVs in.  Whoodathunkit?  Anyway, they had moved my IV in the middle of the night on Sunday---in the ER they had put it in my left arm (I'm a lefty, so that worked soooo well, plus all that crying and bending my arm had bent the line.).  So now I had the giant patch of red, irritated skin on my left arm, plus bruises from where the lab techs had drawn blood, and then irritated skin on my right arm where the IV was, plus the feeling that fire ants were marching up and down my arm from the allergic reaction.  Benadryl wasn't helping, and so on Tuesday they called the needle IV specialist lady in to put in a 3rd IV--hers didn't hurt OR itch!

Soooo, by the time I was allowed to leave on Wednesday, I was a bruised mess.  I was as weak as a kitten, and spent most of the rest of the night sleeping, peeing, and medicating. (What a party, huh?) 

Thursday was my friend's funeral---I couldn't really walk very far, but gave it my all to attend her funeral--or as we called it, the celebration of her life.  I was only able to stay for about 1/2 of it, but I was able to honor her life.  That helped a lot.

So, what now?  Well, at this moment, I'm sitting at home instead of at church, because I truly do need to be able to go back to work tomorrow.  From there I'll see the doctor on Friday, schedule surgery #2, and then get it out of the way.  I still have all the questions I had one week ago, and it still hurts to see all those dreams turn to ash, but I'm going to turn to the words of David in Psalms "Why are you downcast, O my soul?"  I am going to turn to God and lean heavily on him, hoping that my joy really will come in the morning.

Darkest Before the Dawn

Well, I guess it's time to tell part two of my week-long saga.  I actually spent a long time overnight trying to figure out what to say here today, because I want to do it right...

After making it through the night on Saturday, Sunday dawned bright and sunshiny---fuzzy, but sunshiny.  I was on some serious painkillers and antibiotics, and because there's this belief that you shouldn't wear contacts during surgery, I was as blind as a bat.  I had one of my nurses hand me the patient bag with my lenses in it, and discovered that I was on the top floor of the hospital with a little old lady as my roomie (we actually had friends in common-how cool was that?)  My morning ritual was to sit up and eat (2 bites counts, right?), ring for help to go potty (did I mention that I really scared the nurses the night before?), and then flip through the channels.  I was still too sick to be bored, because it struck me as a wonderful idea to take a two-hour nap.

When I woke up, my husband came through the door---and he had brought two things I desperately needed:  my toothbrush and a razor!  So I went around and was able to get rid of the fuzzy teeth thing and the 5'o'clock shadow thing.  He held my hand and we prayed together, and just visited...When my lunch came and I just ate 3 bites, he kinda frowned, but I think the medicines just made everything taste wrong (smelled great, tasted...meh).

Then the visitors started showing up.  First it was one of my cousins and her daughter (totally not expecting them, and she's a little...different)  Then my parents arrived--got me caught up on local news and the fact that half of the United States had been praying for me (I have a HUGE family, plus work family, plus church family...)  We talked about what my surgeon had told them and how serious my situation actually was.

Then SHE walked in...One of my best friends for years, Belinda walked into my room, wearing her Christian Motorcyle Association leather jacket, a royal blue doo rag, and a million-watt smile.  Belinda always reminds me of a cross between an elf and a pixie--all sparkle, all smiles, tons of hugs, and a contagious laugh and love for life.  I was totally surprised to see her.  We each lead such separate lives in town that we don't get to spend hardly any time talking-- but she's been there for me for everything--my wedding (she was a bridesmaid), my pregnancy (she was over the moon!), my miscarriage (she held me tight and loved me through that dark time).  We picked right up where we had left off the last time we talked.  She gave me some activity books to stave off the boredom, lifted my spirits, and then talked about her boys--a 20 year old and 18 year old twins.  She was supposed to be going on a ride with the CMA that afternoon, but told them that I was more important and she felt that God told her to come see me and encourage me.  She was going to meet them back home for a celebratory dinner.  She prayed for me, gave me another hug, and then I said, "Thanks so much for coming.  I've really missed you.  Have a safe trip home!"  Then she hugged everyone else and left the room.

And that's the last time I saw her.  Her "safe trip home" was the final one--straight up into heaven.  I know that's where she is at, because she had an assurance of her salvation.  A kid (that I used to have in school--the "I hate school" type) decided to make a left-hand turn right in front of her cycle.  In an instant she went from being a mom, a wife, a daughter, and a friend, to being a saint in heaven.  I've never lost a friend like that before--not ever been the last one to talk to someone. It's very surreal, and not really an experience I want to repeat, but I'm glad I got to see her that one last time, got to hug her and pray with her... 

At the last moments of her life, I had other visitors praying over me, and it wasn't until 6:00 that evening, when I was alone, that my mom called me with the news.  As I sat there crying, my roommate was so concerned that she called for the nurses.  Nurses often get a bad rap for being too businesslike, but mine were angels of mercy.  They sat with me and let me cry, got the chaplain for me, and called my surgeon to find out if they could give me a sedative to calm me down.  I wasn't hysterical, just heartbroken.  Not out-of-control, but at a loss so deep that the fountains of my soul just overflowed.  My husband called soon after, because he had just gotten home and found out--he called our pastor who immediately called me and told me he was coming.

My most cherished memory of that awful night?  The head nurse in charge of the floor came in, sat down on my bed, gathered me in her arms, and just rocked me like a baby.  She pressed her cheek against my forehead, brushed my hair away from my wet eyes, and talked with me about Belinda.  She told me to have a good cry, because the tears of grief were also tears of healing, and that God understood my loss.  She let me go when the chaplain arrived, although her comforting was much better. 

The chaplain (who was a woman) came in to talk.  I don't have anything against women being chaplains, but I do have something against a chaplain who is supposed to be counseling you over the death of a friend who NEVER once opened a Bible or shared words of scripture or gives you a hug or a hankie.  I actually thought my dog Maggie would have done a better job.  It was just a very...non-religiousy kinda sterile visit.  She left fairly quickly and my pastor came.  By this time, the sedative was kicking in, so I wasn't sobbing.  He held my hand and talked about everything.  My plans that were now tossed, the dream of being a mother that had turned to ashes in the span of 24 hours, the loss of such a dear friend...I don't know how long we talked, probably only 20 minutes or so, but then he prayed over me and I felt as if Jesus himself was sitting in that bed with me, His arms wrapped around me, comforting me.  My pastor stayed and held my hand until I fell asleep.

Needless to say, that overnight was rough, too.  I know God was right there beside me, through each bad moment, holding me tightly to keep me safe.  I cried out, "How much more can I take, God?  How many more things and hopes and dreams do I have to lose?  I know you have a plan, a great plan, for my life, but it's so dark that I can't see it.  We were just starting to get our feet back under us, just planning on starting our family in a different way---and then this.  When does it get to be my turn for happiness, my turn for peace and safety and family?  Your word says "sorrow may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning"...I feel like I've been put into the deepest night again and again---when will the joy come in the morning?" 

I don't know all the answers to those questions yet.  Probably won't for a while.  God doesn't give quick, easy answers.  He just calls us to trust.  Trusting is hard.  It means taking yourself out of the equation, it means not fixing it yourself.  I'm going to have to be trusting God a lot right now, because where we are is this:  It is now humanly impossible for us to move for at least 3 years.  It is humanly impossible to become foster parents or adoptive parents for at least 3-10 years.  It is humanly impossible for me to become pregnant.  It is going to be very difficult to pay off the hospital bills within 3 years. (I haven't gotten them yet, and I do have insurance, but the bills alone are probably close to $100,000.  I have to pay my deductable, plus 20% of everything else, so that going to be a long repayment process)  I have no guarantee that I'll have a job next year, husband still doesn't have one that's full-time.  In short, things are just about hopeless.  I have a hope, and I'm going to cling to it so strongly because it's all I have left.  I KNOW God has a plan in the midst of all of this.  I know it...but it's not going to be easy, it's not going to be quick, and it might demand that I give up on several of my dreams in order to follow the plan.  I'm gonna say it right here--this is going to be one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life, and I don't like it.  But I'll do it anyway, because I want to be used by God for the purpose He created.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I *Knew* Things Were Going Too Well...

Let's see...today is October 20.  Exactly one week ago, my world got rocked again--and not in a good way.  Since I've been a bit tight-lipped about life lately, let me take you back in time to three weeks ago...(cue dreamy music and that hazy, dreamy feature on TV that lets you know you're going back in time)

I actually got a teeny, tiny raise this school year.  Husband is still looking for work, but we've decided that we were going to make the plunge around January and try to purchase a home in the town we both work in. (me at the school, him part-time at the radio station)  This is the town where we go to church, attend social functions, the whole nine yards.  We hadn't looked seriously at moving b/c of our job situation, but the savings in gas alone would almost pay for 1/2 a house payment.  Plus, it's a bigger town than we live in now, with access to a larger town and more employment opportunities for husband.  We were looking--had found a really good house--were getting ready to go look at it, began filling out the loan papers...The plus to this house was: it had a basement, was in a good neighborhood, had 4 bedrooms/3 baths (which was really a big deal b/c we don't qualify for foster/adoption in our current house), a nice backyard--it looked perfect.  We hadn't gotten our hopes up yet, though, because we knew this was going to be a several-month-long project.  We'd prayed that God would help guide us as we picked a house and wanted one that would become our home. 

***But you know how you get that little voice that tells you things are going TOO well?***

Yeah, should've listened to that voice.  On Oct 13, I woke up at 8:30 with some killer pains---the tell-tale signs of the serious kidney infection I seem to get every 8 months or so.  I don't get any of the warm-up UTI signs.  I'm just fine one minute and in absolute agony the next--and this pain hurt worse than my miscarriage did (it was all physical, whereas the other one was physical and heartbroken and desolation).  Since I knew what it was, I padded off to the bathroom and looked to see if I still had any antibiotics left over from the last time this had happened---yup, I had 4.  I thought it would be enough to hold it off until I could see the doctor on Monday.  Well, 2 hot baths, hot pads, and tylenol later, it was getting worse.  I called hubby to have him come home ASAP, and by the time he arrived, I was throwing up.  We decided to go to the ER, but since we live in a very rural area, the closest ER we have is one hour away.  That one hour trip lasted longer since we had to pull over for me to upchuck on the side of the road (real classy, right?).  I was admitted to the ER, then my mom arrived so hubby could go to work.  When the morphine wasn't knocking out the pain, they sent me in for a CT scan, which showed....a GIANT kidney stone that had blocked my kidney (seriously, it's the size of a marble trying to get through a hole the size of a small crochet hook).  When my nausea was increasing, my blood oxygen decreasing, and my pain intensifying, they decided to rush me in for emergency surgery.  I ended up having a stent put in from my kidney to my bladder (it's like a bendy straw--and yes, you feel it every time you have to pee).  The original plan was to remove the stone during that procedure, but the surgeon told me later that as the stent went in, green pus boiled out.  It turns out I was less than an hour away from the infection becoming septic.  It was really, really, really serious.  I made it through the surgery fine, but had to wait in the recovery room b/c of a tornado warning (nope, totally not making any of this up--my imagination is good, but not that good).  When I finally made it to my room, I was feeling TONS better.  However, during the night, my blood pressure bottomed out twice, and I woke up hearing the nurses surrounding my bed adding fluids and talking to me to try to keep me from going from bad to worse.  I obviously made it through the night, but it was touch and go for a while.

I'll tell you part two and part three tomorrow, because this trauma alone wasn't enough to mark my first patient visit to a hospital in 30 years.  No, it had to get worse, and while I'm home now, I'm still recovering and awaiting a second surgery in two weeks.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A *Normal* Day in the Life of Me

Yeah....................................it's been a while since I posted.  I promise that I didn't fall off the edge of the world, but it's been close.  My summer ended in a whirlwind, and then I jumped into the school year with both feet.

Sometimes as a teacher, you approach the new year kinda like dipping your toe in the water.  Other times you enthusiastically jump in with an Olympic-sized dive.  Then, if you're really a glutton for punishment, you do what I did this year:  you say yes to just about anything you can fit in.  For some who choose that option, it's all about the extra money that comes in; for others it's about filling the hours to the max.  For me?  Well, it's because I want to do my best so that this school will hire me as a teacher next year, AND because I'm a sucker for wanting the best for my Sped kids.  What have I gotten myself into?

Well, I (the perpetual night owl who loves her nightly dramas on TV) am currently waking up at 4:45-5:00 AM (as in pitch dark, see the stars for another 2 hours kinda early), then leaving my house by 5:30 to get to school by 6:00 (we're looking at moving so that I can do a bit of sleeping in at some point in the future--more on that in another post).  I then hop on board the ol' yellow school bus at 6:15 AM and ride for an hour and a half so that I can help a student get on the bus and make sure that this student doesn't cause any behavior problems.  (Student is doing great!!!!  I've gotten lots of compliments on the good behavior, b/c that was NOT the case last year with another aide---I'm gonna bank on it being the compassion I have and the fact that I know ASL, as well as the whole "licensed, certified teacher" thing I have going on)

Then I spend the whole day at school where I am the only middle school aide in a middle school of approximately 320 kids.  I just keep hopping all day long.  Then I spend lots of quality time with my *favorite* student who daily tells me that he/she hates me and that I'm a jerk and a moron (not joking, but have you noticed that there are some words, when daily or hourly repeated, that start sounding really funny?  I do a good job of keeping from giggling when this student says these things---I just keep documenting it and telling him/her to get back to work.

Then I get on the bus for the ride home, get dropped off at 4:30, and then drive the 1/2 hour home.  I take my shower, grab a tiny bite to eat, and then go to bed by 7:30-8:00. (which means that I'm not watching ANY of my favorite shows---I have to catch up on Saturdays--when I'm home!) 

Needless to say, I'm pooped by the end of each day, but I hope it pays off for me by the end of the year.  I've got to go--it's almost time to go to bed, and I need to finish using the Internet tonight!  See you tomorrow for the next exciting installment of my life!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Where Has The Time Gone?

Sheesh!!!  It's been a while since I last posted.  As usual, my life has been one big, crazy, hectic, wild ride.  I thought that things would settle down this part of the summer, but since I have a hard time turning down people who need help, I'm going to have just as busy of a end-of-summer as I had for my start-of-summer!  Oh well.  When I'm busy helping out other people, I don't dwell on me or my issues.

Re-cap:
*Spent two days at local hospital helping mom as she had emergency gallbladder surgery
*Girls State (TONS of fun, but too little sleep)
*The garden (the one I've been trying to reclaim from the weeds--so built-in workouts!!!)
*Just got myself *roped* into playing the trumpet for a community theater production of "The Music Man"  (***by "roped", I mean that my mother-in-law asked if I wanted to do it and I said "Awesome!!" before I considered the amount of time it would take up...but it's sooo much fun!)


New Issues:
*Saw my favorite doctor yesterday (no sarcasm--she's my favorite doctor-type person!) for what I thought were two tiny issues.  Turns out I have somehow picked up plantar warts on my right foot and she used nitroglycerin to freeze them off (side note--this stuff was cool when she was done--she let me pour it out of the cup and it turned to vapor!!!  It almost made up for the excruciating pain I've been in since because freezing places off your foot is not recommended for daily use)  The second issue dates back to when I fell at school this spring--my thumb hasn't healed up correctly (my fault).  I just wanted her to look at it b/c I keep doing dinky things like going to open a door and then end up in tears b/c I tweak that thumb just right.  She took x-rays, and is sending them off to a specialist--it looks like my thumb isn't seated against my wrist bone correctly.  (Yuck!, but it does explain a lot!)  Sooo...I have to wear a brace until she calls me with more news.

*As much as the brace thing kinda stinks, I would rather deal with a bit of discomfort now than develop arthritis in a couple of years and not be able to play the piano any more.

**I've lost 4 pounds!  It's not much, but it's a start!

**I've started using HcG drops.  I'm not doing the "500 calorie/day" plan deal, but a modified one for people who need to lose over 100 pounds.   I've just started it, but I already am having fewer cravings and needing to eat less.  As soon as I can walk on my foot again I'll be able to add in some exercise to the regimen and hopefully jump-start some weight loss so that I'll be able to lose that 60+ pounds the OBGYN office wants me to lose before starting on Clomid.  I've got 3 months before I can go back to her, so we'll see.

Here's hoping for good things!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Things To Keep Me Busy

Long time, no post....sorry.  I've been busy finishing up the school year, working on my garden, enjoying being married, doing things for others, and thinking deep thoughts.  I'm setting a goal for myself to start posting at least weekly, if not more often.  Since I've not been posting, I've got several pictures for you to see my busy life.  I'm in a stall pattern, working on taking my Metformin on a regular basis, adding in birth control pills, and trying to lose weight (which would work better if I wasn't a slug!)  I have to get with it, though, because I have to prove that I can lose weight by November, so that I can move on to Clomid, so that I can become a mom....(cue the endless loop that is my life)  Because I'm on a loop right now, I'm just living my life--so here goes:


Here's one of my corsages




Here's another one--I went with oranges and purples this year...they were pretty!


Here's a picture of my Elizabeth garden--with a baby bunny statuette.  It was very healing to plant all of those plants and to have this splash of color to brighten my day and my memories of her.

 This was my first attempt at editing a photo with a scripture verse--I have some friends going through some difficulties right now, and this verse seemed good reminder of God's grace.  It's also one of my Elizabeth flowers, so you know it's been grown with love.


 Itty bitty tomatoes!!!!!

 Side one of my reversible full-sized afghan.  It took me a year to make, and I used a 100-year-old pattern to do the scalloped edging.

Close-up on one square.



Side two--I thought it turned out okay!


Sooo....what to do now?  Well, I'm already starting new projects.  I have 2 baby afghans to make for the newest niece and nephew, another full-sized afghan for my sister, and then some more for hubby's side of the family.  I'll be busy for a few years...but busy is better than brooding, and I would rather be busy.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

How Mother's Day feels...when you're not one

Well, I made it through the day at church, but not without some serious tears.  I worked all day yesterday on my corsage ministry---and it is therapeutic for me to make them.  I took a three-hour break because my nephews came down to visit, and I needed some cuddle time, but I had to make up for it by staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish enough corsages for church.  I'm going to say that I'm sure lack of sleep probably led to the lack of self-control I had in church.  I played the organ today, so I was able to dab tears while playing.  I just sniffled during the song service, but when our pastor announced that his text was from Proverbs 31, I knew I had to leave.  I made it to the restroom before bursting into tears, and kept my meltdown to under 10 minutes.  I just couldn't go back in the sanctuary until it was time to play for the invitation song. 

Herein lies my problem with Mother's Day:  I want to honor my mother, my grandmother, all of my friends who are mothers, and do that in a respectful way.  However, since losing my baby, this day is one of the worst for me to endure.  I was a "mom" long enough to get excited about it, to begin planning for it, to get that "glow", but in an instant it all came crashing down.  I hate dealing with all of the "stuff" that comes with this day for me, and don't want to ruin it for other women.  But I can't help but cry when I see all of these reminders of everything that I'm not.  I don't want to do away with Mother's Day---I think being a mother is a high calling and any woman who tackles that calling should be honored--but I'm gonna have to find a way to not be such a basket case.

Infertility robs you of so much.  It makes you feel like less of a woman.  It takes away your confidence in yourself.  It turns you into an object of pity.  It makes others think you're incapable of knowing what a baby or child is.  It leads to battles with depression.  Having a miscarriage added to that also adds guilt.  The one place that is supposed to be the safest for your child has instead been the deadliest.  It makes you two separate people trapped in one body--the positive, encouraging friend and at the same time the intensely sad, un-confident loser-like loner.  Infertility and miscarriage label you.  They isolate you.  They leave you adrift in a vast ocean.  Even surrounded by family and friends, you still know that you can't truly unburden yourself to them.  Is it selfish?  Maybe.  But most of that is just not wanting any other living person to have to go through your torment.  Why would I want someone else to suffer?

I take it all to God---and keep taking it, and keep taking it. Grief seems to be infinitely-faceted.  Every time I feel that I'm making progress, something else hits that knocks me back down.  If my body could show what my soul feels, I'd be a walking bruise. 

So, this is what we do, those of us for whom this is life.  We fall down, we get back up.  We keep falling down, and we keep getting up.  When we have friends that let us lean on them, we lean instead of fall.  Then we put one foot in front of the other and begin the next day.  Some days are easier than others.  Some days we can almost run freely.  Some days we can only walk two steps the whole day.  And some days we stop and sit and cry, and we lean into the ONLY arms that know our suffering even more than we know it ourselves.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope springs eternal.  I don't know where that quote came from, but it's summarizing where I am today.  I'm trying to shake off my gloomies from that doctor visit on Thursday and get back on track to reach my goals.  What's helping me change?  Lots of stuff, but a lot of it has to do with my faith. 

First up---we've been cleaning out the office.  It's a slow process, made slower by the fact that I don't want hubby organizing my craft stuff and the fact that my allergies have made me a walking zombie for the last month.  While we were looking through papers, we found our one ultrasound picture of Elizabeth.  I had thought it was lost forever, and we both just stopped what we were doing and just stared at her.  She was so tiny, so perfect.  It was like getting a miracle all over again.  Bittersweet, because we still mourn her, but joyous because what was lost had been found. (There's a whole sermon in that, but I'll get to that at another time)

Second--I'm feeling better (allergy-wise), and I've decided that the Nurse Practitioner will not defeat me.  I'm not keeping the food journal (my small act of rebellion), but I am keeping track of my calories.  Since upping my Met dose, I have had zero on the appetite scale, and when I do eat, I am in the bathroom within 15 minutes.  I am eating because I know that I need food for energy, but I'm not eating much of anything.  I'm trying to do 100 ounces of water a day, which didn't happen yesterday, but I'll keep on it.  Then I'm going to start working out again tomorrow--when I'm able to do Curves again (I fell at school 2 weeks ago--sprained my right ankle, severely skinned the left knee, skinned my left elbow, and jammed/hyper-extended my right thumb--go me!).  I'm finally able to grip with my right hand again, so back to working out I go.  Even if I don't lose a single pound this month, I WILL be more forceful at my next appointment.  I have a hard time being hard-nosed with people because I want to give everybody the benefit of the doubt the first time I meet them.  When you bulldoze over me, blow me off, and treat me like I don't have a college education, then I get ticked.  There will be no mercy, but I will still be nice.  This will be their last chance.

Third, and perhaps definitely the most important, is that Easter was yesterday.  That may not mean a lot to you, but to me it is everything.  I got to direct our cantata yesterday, and as we were singing our praise to God, I just felt His spirit envelop me.  It was as if He was wrapping me in His love and letting me know that everything was going to work out.  How can I keep from singing His praises?  How can I ever say enough--how amazing is Your love?  How can I stay in the pit when Your desire is to lift me to the palace? 

I know that it is still going to be a rough road, and knowing me, it will be full of potholes and speed traps and problems.  But I'm not alone.  I haven't ever been alone, even when I've been at my worst.  God is right there with me, supporting me in ways that even my husband can't, reminding me over and over and over that I am HIS child, and that HE has great things in store for us, and that we WILL become parents.  My hope has been restored, my life renewed.  Hope is alive! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Just My Luck

Today was the day of the big doctor appointment.  The first one at the shiny new doctor's office.  The one I waited four months for.  The one I had been dreading for many reasons.  The one where I hoped that I would be treated like a person, not a number, and where I would be taken seriously.  You know, THAT Doctor's appointment.

So I prepared myself.

Freshly shaved legs--check
Nice smelling clean body--check
Deodorant---double check
Made sure to write PCOS on paperwork--double check
Prayed before going in---triple check

It was almost like going on a first date, except I was more nervous.  I got out of the elevator and went to the receptionist, checked and then got asked this question:  "Well, it shows here that we scheduled you with the nurse practitioner instead of the doctor.  Will that still be OK?"  Huh?????  After I waited for 4 months for this appointment, then got called last week that the doctor couldn't see me on my scheduled date, so we re-scheduled so I could see her, AND I DROVE FOR OVER AN HOUR AND A HALF to get to your office to see the DOCTOR that you are now telling me you DIDN'T schedule me to see?  Nooooooooooooooo, there's no problem with that.  (cue my internal growling)  Externally, my sad, sorry allergy-ridden self just said, "Well I suppose it has to be OK since I'm already here."  What was I supposed to say?  "No, please reschedule me with the doctor and let's do another four month wait and forget about the fact that I drove an hour and a half to get to your clinic."

That just rang my bell and put me in a bad mood.  I decided to just shake it off as I waited my turn.  I noticed that every woman was either skinny or pregnant.  Just my luck.  Of COURSE they were skinny or pregnant.  It probably wouldn't have bothered me if I wasn't already in a bad mood, but it did bother me today.  Ugh.

I went in and got my vitals taken.  I've actually lost 7 pounds from December according to this scale.  That perked me up a bit.  Then the NP came in.  I realize that this was a yearly visit and an initial consult, BUT...it still bothered me when she said that most of the time irregular periods are caused by a metabolic disorder.  I politely interrupted and told her I had PCOS.  "Oh, you do?  How long have you had that diagnosis?"  (grumble, growl)  "I've had the diagnosis for over 2 years."  (IT WAS ON THE PAPERWORK I HAD TO FILL OUT IN TRIPLICATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)  "Well, the standard treatment for PCOS is metformin.  We'll start you back on that and get you losing weight before we do any other treatments to see if we can get you ovulating on your own."  Oh, and no clomid for at least six months--they want to see if I can get pregnant on my own...JUST MY LUCK.

I knew I probably wouldn't get anything this visit, but I still had this tiny hope that I wouldn't get just told to lose weight.  Here is my prescription for the next month:

Obesity--(Was I really unaware of this????)  You need to lose 10% of your body weight.  When you lose this 26 pounds, you'll probably start ovulating on your own and everything will be better.

Food Journal---Keep a journal for the next month and bring it with you to your next appointment so you can talk to a nutritionist about food choices and caloric intake.  (Because, you know, the only way you can gain weight is if you eat too many calories and don't exercise--PCOS NEVER messes with that....is my sarcasm showing?)

Metformin--Start taking your metformin again and up the dose.  It should help you to lose some weight.
(It will, because it makes me sick as a dog and I don't eat...but I'll take it to be a good patient.)

Soooo....I have another appointment in a month, where I will be told how to eat healthy, lose more weight, and exercise more.  Because losing weight will magically fix my body and allow me to get pregnant.  Just my luck.

On the plus side, I didn't cry when she handed me the informational brouchure on PCOS (which by now I could have written myself--with a LOT more compassion), I didn't cry when she told me to just lose some weight, and I didn't cry until I got to my car.  I considered that a small victory. 

I just really need prayers right now.  I'm almost 34, just a year away from "advanced maternal age", where they start discouraging you from having children.  I'm tired of being told that I'm only fat because I have been eating the wrong things and that if I really tried, I'd be as skinny as my younger sister.  I'm tired of feeling like the world's biggest misfit because I can't have children.  I'm tired of being stuck in this rut where I can't progress on any front.  And I'm tired of having to fight for every. single. thing. 

I know that I don't have a lot of readers here, and that's OK, but I'd really, really, really like it if I could have some positive affirmations in the comments section.  I know in my head that I'm not alone and that people are praying for me, but right now I just feel isolated and alone.  I know that God has a plan here somewhere, but I can't see it right now.  I'm just, I don't know, defeated, I guess.  Got any good scriptures or words of advice?  Cause I need them, I really do.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Three Years...

Three years ago today will forever go down as the worst day of my life.  Hands down, no doubt about it, no questions asked.  It was the day I miscarried our daughter.  I can't and don't want to tell you every detail, but needless to say, I remember each and every one of them in vivid technicolor.  People tell you that time dulls the pain, and to an extent it does, but not the pain in your heart.  You eventually learn to function, to go out in public, to explain why you get depressed or cry when you hear of pregnancy and birth announcements, and to share why you wear a ribbon over your heart on the anniversary of her loss.

  What never gets mentioned is the fact that things are never as bright, as shiny, as they once were.  The best thing I can think to describe it is that finding out you are pregnant is like waking up in Oz.  Everything is bright and shiny and wondrous and new.  You have all these new experiences, meet new people, and suddenly belong to this elite group of "almost" moms.  A miscarriage is like being picked up by the tornado and hurled viciously to the ground.  Then life after loss is like waking up back in the black and white world.  You got to visit Oz, but you never got to stay there.  Your eyes will never see the colors the same way again.  Then, the longer you stay in Kansas, the harder it is to remember what Oz was like.  You remember the joy, the excitement, the hope---but they seem only like dreams.  On the other hand, the tornado still seems all too real. 

Does that make sense?  That's about the best word picture I have right now.  I know that there's another end to the rainbow, but it's been so long since I've seen it that it seems far away.  That's not to say that I spend every day doubled over in grief.  I've moved on, I've survived.  But I haven't forgotten.  I WILL NEVER forget.  I have been able to make peace with things.  It doesn't mean that I understand what happened, or that I'm happy with the way things turned out.  It just means that I'm starting to see more than just black and white again.  I was able to go through the entire day without bursting into tears.  I was able to explain that the ribbon I wore today was in honor of Elizabeth, and said that without sniffing.  I was able to say that with pride.  I'm to the point where I am ready to make our name in the sand picture into a print and hang it where I can see it every day.

I am more than ready to become a mom.  I want it with all of my heart.  I'm taking baby steps to get there.  I have to get through this doctor appointment on Thursday morning, and then we'll see from there.  Whether I get told that children that look like me and my husband are an impossibility or that we have a chance, I am ready to find a path that leads to motherhood.  Heaven help me, I'm ready.  And willing. And waiting. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

One Month

One month until the big doctor's appointment...

And I am NOT ready for it.  I began working out, dropped 10 pounds, then caught the kidney infection from heck and had to table the working out for 3 weeks.  Of course I gained the weight back, and I'm starting all over again.  I think this is what frustrates me the most about PCOS.

I can watch my intake, add in extra fruits, and make homeade meals that have fewer calories than boxed foods, and STILL not lose any weight.  It drives me nuts because other women can "diet" for a few weeks, drop the exta five pounds, and then fit into their clothes again.  I don't add any salt to my foods, no preservatives, no artificial stuff, and I can GAIN weight just by looking at food.  I know I'm not eating fruit/veggie only, and I'm still eating what tastes good, but surely cutting back and working out would result in weight loss if I was normal.

PCOS is many things, but benign is not one of them.  I've gotten used to all the female issues it brings, even if I don't like any of them, but goodness gracious, the visible signs are almost more than I can handle.  I just want to be able to miss a few days of working out and NOT gain back everything and then some.  I want to have a womanly shape, and not look like the apple guy in the Hanes commercial. 

I want to do so many things, but most of all, I just want to be a mom.  After three years of walking down one path, I've finally reached a fork in the road, and I'm taking it.  It's super scary, and each day I am more scared.  I just want to be told that nothing is impossible and be given that hope that disappeared when I lost Elizabeth.

Keep me in your prayers, will you?  I need peace, patience, and confidence....and a lot of prayers.  Thanks.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sometimes I Just Don't Understand People

Sometimes I just don't understand people.  They baffle me.  I probably baffle some of them, too, but that's beside the point.  I don't understand how some women can callously throw away the life of their unborn child, how anyone can beat the life out of a child, how a person can justify abuse of any kind,...my list could go on for a while, but you get the point. 

I also don't understand how we still have people in our world who are educated but still labor under the belief that a baby isn't real until it he/she is breathing.  I know that I was pregnant---WITH A BABY---not some mass of cells that could have morphed into anything.  I SAW HER---saw her heart beat, watched her turn somersaults and bounce around, saw her teeny tiny hands.  SHE WAS A BABY, AND SHE WAS MY DAUGHTER.

However, this author apparently thought that we need to go back to the dark ages regarding miscarriage and stillbirth.  It's the kind of article you'd expect a guy to write, only it's a woman.  A woman who has never experienced a loss like this, and who did not stop to think and sympathize with those who have had such a loss. 

To her, this kind of loss is an "eeeeewwww, icky" kind of moment.  Why?  I agree that we live in an over-sharing kind of society. But in all of the oversharing that is out there, I don't think I have yet to go 'hmmm, that babyloss momma is just waaaaay oversharing there.  She needs to just ignore what happened and just get over it."   I think of all the women who overshare about their pregnancies, their infants, their kids, their husbands, their dogs/cats/whatevers, and it bothers me greatly to think about how it is still considered taboo to share about the loss of your child who never drew a breath.

I'm still trying to figure it out, but I think it boils down to worldview.  My worldview is that life begins at conception, that all life is loved by God, and that He grieves with us when that life is cut short--by whatever cuts it short.  He grieves when a woman chooses to cut that life short, and He grieves with you when it's not your fault that your child's life is cut short.

The worldview of this author seems to be that life does not begin until a breath has been taken.  She is "concerned" by these crazy women and families that choose to acknowledge that this tiny infant was a real person, that he/she was loved by a family, and that just because you have a religious persuasion it must mean you're a nut.  She seems upset that there are women out there who are still grieving a lost infant after three years.  I am still grieving my loss.  Does that mean that I cry uncontrollably every day? No, but I do still cry from time to time.  I don't know what will trigger it, but that loss created a hole inside my heart, a hole that will never be completely filled, and shouldn't ever be. 

I guess that I still just don't understand how we can remember in memoriam people who were famous for all the wrong reasons, but keeping a memorial of your lost baby who was innocent is offensive.  I still limit my conversations about Elizabeth to people who I think will be receptive.  I don't want someone squashing my bruised emotions about her, so I limit the sharing. 

In conclusion, this article was poorly done and shows great bias.  I guess if you buy into the lie that life is only life once it's breathing air, you won't be upset by what she says.  If you buy into the belief that all life is cherished, then someone who thinks you should hide the fact that miscarriages and stillbirths are babies tends to upset you.

What do you think?  I already know my thoughts are biased, but I'm just writing from my experience.  Have you seen too much over-sharing where the topic of miscarriage/stillbirth is associated?  Let me know.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

More to Love Each Day

Today is Valentine's Day, and it's really only the fourth one I've ever celebrated as an adult.  I was always "the best friend" who told my roomies what to get for their beaus while I sat and admired their gifts and silently wondered when it would be my turn.  Sometimes I didn't wonder so quietly, but in the confines of my own home I would rage against the many injustices in the world that left me home every.single.night while it seemed that the rest of world had someone special.

Then I met S. And my world was forever changed.  He wasn't exactly what I was looking for in a man, but as I reflect, he met every single item on my "want/need in a husband" list.  It doesn't matter to me that he's not Hollywood gorgeous, because I didn't need someone like that.  He's tall, intelligent, has a committed relationship with Christ, a cuddle bug, um...did I mention he's tall?  Anyway, he's everything I needed, and when we butt heads (which isn't often, but does happen b/c we were both single for so long before we met) I am always thankful that his personality complements mine (as in he's NOT a hothead like me)

He doesn't always do things the way I'd like, and I KNOW that I'm not the prettiest crayon in the box, but he always treats me like a princess, and I am SOOOOOO blessed to have him as a spouse.

Infertility and miscarriage can often rob that joy from your relationship, and I'm thankful that he has let me grieve in my own way, but always puts forth that hope that I'm not broken forever.  It is rare to have someone who has that much faith in you, and I want to make sure that I cherish that love closely and keep it with me always.

He is sometimes slightly clueless when it comes to gifts, but not today--here's why I love him more and more each day:




He absolutely melted my heart with this letter!

 A dozen roses!  AND he PLANNED this in ADVANCE!!

Greyson thought that he should check out the new kid in the house...he's never seen me swoon before and was worried that these might remove him from favorite status with me!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sicky McSick

I sit here at the computer, when I should be at church, because I am sick.  Actually this is the first time in 48 hours that I have been upright for more than 15 minutes.  I hate being sick.  I hate it when my body revolts and goes on strike.  I hate it that something that is so small as to only be seen under a microscope can multiply so rapidly that it could send me to the hospital within 24 hours.

I actually didn't have to go to the hospital, but if I wouldn't have left school early on Friday, I would have been looking at an overnight stay with some VERY high-powered antibiotics.  As it was, I felt like crap, tried to tough it out at school, and then realized that I couldn't make it.  I came home and then was going to see if sleep would help.  As I started thinking, I realized that if I didn't go to the doctor, I was going to have to go to the hospital. (which would cost $$$$$)  So I called my doctor's office (have I mentioned how awesome she is?), and they were able to squeeze me in. 

I thought I had a kidney/bladder infection, and guess what? I did.  I find out the official name of the culprit tomorrow, but he's a nasty little bugger.  My left kidney was doing the cha-cha to some serious music and felt as big as a football.  I've had something like this before, and it was a bladder infection on steriods, so I'm pretty sure that's what it is this time, too.  I went straight to bed after seeing the doctor, then became violently ill before remembering that I still had some muscle relaxers left over from my car accident.  I took one of those, got the ol' kidney to stop dancing, and then slept all night long.  Then when I woke up on Saturday, I took my 2nd antibiotic and continued to sleep my way through the day, the afternoon, and the night, getting up only to go to the bathroom and finally after a 24-hour fast, eat a simple dinner.  Then I...slept again.  You'd think with all of that sleep that I'd not need any more, but this little bug has knocked me for a loop.

Anyway, I'm sitting here right now marveling at the fact that I've been able to sit up this long, and thinking that I still feel like an NFL tackling dummy.  I can still feel the kidney throbbing, but it's not as big or as bad, just really sore.  I'm sorry I'm not in church right now, but know that I still need to recover.  We're supposed to help wrangle kids at the church super bowl party tonight, and I want to be there, but it's gonna be a stretch.  I hope I can get rid of enough of this to be able to be in public.  I just HATE being sick.  I'm ready to get back to just dealing with PCOS, which while it is annoying and bothersome, doesn't make me FEEL sick. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mommyjackers

I don't think I've ever had an entire post about how someone else makes me feel.  I typically am willing to give people more than one chance to change my opinion of them.  I know that when I start off a situation on the wrong foot, I like to have a chance to fix that mistake.  I know that not everyone will like me all the time, and for the most part I'm okey-dokie with that.  I know that in relationships, you will have times when you don't like that other person at all and have secret fantasies about hitting them upside the head with your shoe and then shoving it in their mouth (You don't?....Hmmm, my bad....Maybe you just need to get out more...)

Anyway, most of the time, I get over my miffed-off-ness at someone and try to look for the good in them.  Quite often, the person I'm miffed at has NO IDEA that they've gotten on my bad side.  I don't just call them out in public.  I go home and vent to my hubby, or to a really close group of lady friends I have who live all over this country.  I know that what I say won't go further, that they offer up either a "you're right, she's a dingbat" or a "I think maybe that just hit you the wrong way today".  I don't talk to them just to get a yes-man (or woman) response.  I NEED people in my life to keep me in check.  (I used to have a younger brother who thought that was his sole goal in life:  to keep me in check.  Since he grew up and moved to another state and got married and is a dad, he's dropped that role, so I've turned to others to fill it.)  After I've calmed down from the encounter that ticked me off, I generally think about it and decide that either A:  I was right and someone was a dingbat, or B:  I turned a molehill into a mountain.  It's saved me a ton of apologizing over the years, and I've been able to turn to God to change my attitude so that I'm in the right place when dealing with others.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO THE TOPIC AT HAND:  MOMMYJACKERS!!!!!!!! 

I belong to a website that is a support group for women with PCOS.  It has been tremendously helpful for me and has led to some really close friendships with women I've never met in real life, but have bonded with over health issues.  The site has a forum for discussions and features several boards, from teens to singles to women who are trying to conceive (TTC) to pregnancy, mommyhood, and beyond.  You're free to comment wherever, but generally, it is considered polite to not talk about how crappy you're feeling while pregnant with baby #5 on the TTC boards or the Pregnancy Loss boards.  To me, this makes common sense.  I am free to read threads on ANY of the boards, and I do read a lot.  I have even commented on something on the mommy boards, if I could offer my insight or to keep up with a fellow cyster whose children were overcoming difficulties.  But in general, I keep to the boards for women TTC and those who have lost a pregnancy.

What is upsetting to me is that for the last several months, we have a group of mommies who seem to be on this site all the time, doing nothing but stirring up a hornet's nest of nastiness.  They seem to be of the opinion that being online allows you to not filter anything that you say.  They are fountains of wisdom, never needing any advice from anyone, but willling to dispense it to those of us who are less fortunate and suffering from humanity.  (OK, that was really catty, but they never post anything that isn't sarcastic or demeaning)

Here's how they're operating and why it's ticking me off:  They visit a thread of someone who is TTC.  Most women in this group have at some point in time wanted to throttle someone that they know who is going out of her way to try some stupid idea to get "un-pregnant" (ie, early labor, complaining 24/7 about the evil inside her, saying "good thing you can't get pg, that kind of thing).  We never actually say these things to the person, but need to vent in a safe place.  This site has, up to the last few months, been a safe haven to vent these thoughts and feelings.  And until recently, the discussion has usually included some yeah, we get that too's, some maybe you just mis-heards, some how awfuls, generally a mix of responses, as well as advice on how to deal with dingbat people and get to a better place in your struggle with infertility.  I have been on both sides of the thread--angry at dingbats and a voice suggesting that something might have been misconstrued.  I've also given advice.  This has been how things have worked, and everyone has generally respected everyone else.

Until the mommyjackers arrived.  These are women who have struggled with Infertility.  Or say they have.  No, there is not a badge to wear for how long you have struggled, but generally I have less patience for the woman with three children who is just 24 than I do with the woman who struggled for 7-10 years to have her one or two children.  That's just me.  Anyway, it seems that every time a woman vents about being mad at her friend Fertile Myrtle, the mommies attack.  They claim to just be "giving the facts", or "being sarcastic", but in reality they are bullying the TTC women on the site.  So much so, in fact, that several women have left.  Which is sad.  These women jump all over the woman with the original post and tell her she needs to be more compassionate b/c pregnancy isn't all roses and rainbows.  And that she wouldn't complain about Fertile Myrtle if she'd ever been pregnant, but you know, you're not.  Then anyone who steps in to defend the girl is slammed by them.  They then veer off topic and bash women who haven't been pregnant yet.  On one thread, the poster had gone through a miscarriage and was having a hard time with her friend, Myrtle, being an absolute dingbat while pregnant.  They told people who were agreeing that sometimes being around babies is hard to go get counseling and get a thicker skin.  Then brought up the "if you'd ever been pregnant, you'd understand" card.  The TTC board implies that you DON'T have children, or have suffered recurrent miscarriages, and need the support of others who have been in similar situations.  

My close friends who recently had children have all struggled for years with IF. They give sage advice, even if it doesn't always agree with the poster's point of view.  There is a vast ocean of difference between disagreeing with others and bullying them with clubs made of words and superiority.  I find it sadder that those women who should be standing beside you and lifting you up are the ones kicking you when you're down.  It's not cool to bash others, it doesn't make you smarter, or cuter, or sassier.  It makes you look like a jerk.  If you've survived and made it to the other side of infertility, the side with children, you should be the biggest cheerleader for other women, helping them to see beyond the day to day.  You could be passing on what worked for you, how your doctor helped, things like that.  Instead, these women with ENTIRELY too much time on their hands spend their days verbally bullying women who are already in a vulnerable place and take away the safe place they thought they had.  It's just making me sick. 

I don't go to that site all that often anymore.  The bullies keep bullying, and even when they're called on it, they keep doing it.  They've been reported, and call the reportees thin-skinned.  My close friends and I now talk via F.B, because it's safer and we can vent freely.  I try to support the ones being bullied, but have stopped trying to be the voice of reason b/c I am tired of being harassed as well.  I'm just tired of meanness and the "mean girls" mentality.  I don't know how people can be that mean.  It bugs me. A LOT.

Thanks for sticking with me.  I don't have the answers, but I needed to vent, and since I can't on this one site anymore, I thought here would be the next best.  Can anyone tell me what the appeal of being a "mean girl" is?  And why have these women not grown up?  And if they're this mean to others online, how are they to the people they know in real life?  I worry for their husbands and children.  That level of meanness just scares me.  I don't have any answers, just needed to cycle my thoughts.  I need to keep praying for those women, but there are times I don't really want to, they're so mean to others.  Heaven help me, but I need some ideas on how to fix this.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Apprehensive

I have currently been reading the book "The Giver" for one of the classes that my students are taking.  While I totally didn't like the book or the society it showed, I did take away one concept that I want to try to use more often--being more precise with my language.  In the book, people are punished for not saying exactly what they mean, but it does make them think before they speak.  I will obviously not get into trouble for saying the wrong thing, but I do want to be more precise in the words I use.

Having said that, what brings me to the title of this post is my feeling towards my impending specialist's visit.  This is the first time I've been to a "real" OBGYN instead of my family doctor.  I like my family doctor.  She's awesome.  She hasn't made me feel like motherhood is out of my reach.  She mourned with me during my miscarriage, has been frustrated with me during this almost three year frustration of trying to conceive again, agreed with me that PCOS seems to be the likeliest explanation for my symptoms...Well you get the picture.  She's awesome and doesn't treat me like an idiot.

I finally got a referral to an OBGYN that specializes in fertility issues.  If this doesn't work, we're done---there are no REs within a three-hour radius, and I'm not driving to the super-big city multiple times a month---even if I was to magically receive a large amount of money.

What is making me apprehensive?  A lot of stuff.  She's a new doctor who doesn't know me, who doesn't know that I am well aware of the fact that I'm fat, or that I'm working out and taking my Metformin now to try to lose that weight.  She's not experienced my sorrows, my pain, my joy.  I'm just new patient #200 or whatever.  Is she going to treat me as a woman, or just another statistic?  Will she look at me in disdain because of my weight?  Will she tell me that fat people shouldn't be moms?  Will she tell me that I have no hope of getting pregnant again?  Will she give me hope, or take it away with a single sentence?  Will she be so clinical that I leave the office in tears?  Or will she be like my doctor? 

I just don't know, and I hate the unknown.  It's going to be scary, seeing someone I don't know.  The appointment is the day after our three-year anniversary of Elizabeth's loss--that's not going to help anything. 

When I called, the first available appointment was then--that's like a four-month wait.  I guess it's probably normal for this kind of situation, but it seemed weird.  Then I got the paperwork packet to fill out...The hardest question?  "How many times have you been pregnant? miscarried? had an abortion? had a live birth?" 

It just hit me wrong.  It's so clinical.  And how do I answer it?  I was pregnant once.  I know that.  I know I had a miscarriage, but according to the emergency room, it was a "spontaneous abortion".  Because I wasn't out of the first trimester, the world of medicine classified it as an abortion.  Because I believe that life begins at conception, it was the loss of a life, thus a miscarriage.  I see abortion as a definitive choice that a woman makes to end the life of her baby--you may not agree with me on that, but that's where I stand.

I think I'll wait to fill out the paperwork.  I have two and a half-months to do it, after all.  I'm still going to be apprehensive every day until then.  Of course, maybe God will have mercy on me and this appointment won't be necessary because I'll be pregnant before then and the appointment will be the "happy you're pregnant" visit and not the "we regret to inform you that you're not" visit.  God has been big on giving me "growing" experiences in the last three years, so I imagine that this one will be another one.

Apprehensive?  Yeah, until I find a reason not to be. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Starting the New Year Off On The *Correct* Foot

It's a new year, and I've decided that I'm done being the victim of my circumstances and whining about everything.  Soooooo, I'm making changes that hopefully I can live with and can help me be a better me.

I started back working out tonight---and I feel great!  My legs are totally rubbery, but I got to work off some of the stress I aquired from working with a student who chooses to do absolutely nothing when he's capable of it.  It's sad to see a Jr. High student fail, but he just sits and throws a fit when you make him pick up a pencil and write--we've tried everything under the sun to get him to work, but he just wants to do the fun stuff and have me do all of his "work".  Yeah, that's gone over real well, especially since I work in this low-functioning special ed room where we have kids with real disabilities who are working their patooties off to try to complete work at half the level he was born with.  Urrrgghh.  Anyway, I redirected my angst at the workout, and have relieved some of that stress.

As I was finishing up, I decided to weigh myself----and SURPRISE!!!  I've lost 5 pounds since my car accident!!  I'm all kinds of happy about it, and I want to continue this success.  I know that my health will be better if I weigh less, and I'll have a more sympathetic doctor if I do, so I want to get started with this journey before I see my new doctor.  I'm calling tomorrow to set up the first appointment.  I'm really apprehensive about it, and don't want to get laughed out of the door because of my weight.

My other big thing right now is that I am wanting to make a home-cooked meal for my husband and myself every night.  I've done well with that so far, but tonight we're just eating leftovers so that we're not wasting food.  So far this week, we've had baked *fried* chicken with mashed potatoes, chicken alfredo with baked chicken, sloppy joes and fries, baked spaghetti, and we've been eating on a chocolate cake all week.  It's not low-cal food, but it's lower-calorie than fast food, and we're cutting down on fried food.  I'm also trying to eat more fruit and veggies, so I'm foregoing the cake most nights in favor of a giant apple with a bit of homeade fruit dip.  I can cook, and I love cooking, so why not use my talents?

I'm thinking that the home-baked stuff plus walking all over campus with my students plus working out 3-5 times a week plus taking my Metformin should make me lose some weight.  It seems the *correct* way to start my new year.  I'd say it's the RIGHT foot to start off on, but I'm left-handed and left-footed, so I'm really starting my year off on the left foot in order to be right.  Right? (I'm obviously feeling better since I'm back to puns and humor!)

So, off to cook and crochet and read and study and help my students I go----LEFT foot forward!!!