Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Miracle of Miracles

Right now I'm neck deep in a community theatre production of "Fiddler on the Roof".  I was picked to be the musical director, so I'm teaching all the songs, working with the soloists, putting together a mini-orchestra, and working with the's a ton of work, but it's so much fun!!!

Anyway, the title of this post is the title of one of the songs from the musical.  The song is basically a recounting of all of the big stories in the Old Testament where God shows Himself to the Israelites in a miraculous way, and the character singing the song equates getting to marry the girl of his dreams to those big miracles of long ago.

Wellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll........I can totally agree with that character.  We have been given an opportunity that is no less of a miracle, and if God continues to keep this door open, it will give us a chance to grow our family.

A very dear friend of mine from college, someone I always admired, but never felt in her league, has offered us a miracle!  This friend and her husband also slogged through the marshes of infertility, thankfully not with PCOS, but an exhaustive and brutal journey nonetheless.  Through the miracle of modern-day medicine and IVF, they have been blessed with three of the most. adorable. children. ever.

She contacted me about a month and a half ago with a dilemma they had. (I use the word dilemma, but in reality, it was a blessing!)  They still had two embryos that were frozen from their last transfer.  Their clinic would let them donate those embryos, and they did not want those teensy, tiny lives to perish, but they also wanted them to go to someone they knew.  Enter me and my husband.  I was asked if we would consider this as a path to parenthood.

Talk about a miracle!!!!  My husband and I stayed up until the wee hours of the night (OK, it was midnight, but since I had to get up at 5 in the morning to go to work, that counted as "the wee hours of the night"!) discussing and praying and hoping and praying and discussing.  We were at an iron door in our pursuit of parenthood.  We did not qualify for fostering/adoption because of where we live, my body was still refusing to work, and we had no options of moving to a better location.  We had just been treading water, barely keeping our heads up, living without LIVING.  It was kind of a forced resignation; I was in a holding pattern--the same holding pattern I have been in for the last 4 years.  If you were to see me in public, you'd probably comment on how I have adjusted to child-free living and how it's such a shame I don't have any little ones because God has blessed me with a "mother's heart" (Yes, I still have people telling me these things--I've learned the smile and nod technique quite well)

Anyway, I contacted my friend again and practically screamed (online, anyway) YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!!  Words weren't right for this---how do you put into words the fact that my husband's eyes lit up with hope for the first time in years; that I felt like every prayer had been answered; that I was seeing the world in color again?

So here's where we are:  I'm going to meet with my friend to go over what exactly everything will cost; if we can go through with this, it will require a trip to Illinois, which we could pull off over Christmas break; if we can't do this in the next 8 months, we will need to help them pay the $500 storage fee; I have GOT to get all my body issues straightened out and talk with my GP about what all has to be done here so I can have this opportunity; and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY...

Miracle of miracles, indeed!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Healthy (er) Living

So, what's a girl to do after being so sick that the doctor thought it was touch and go?

Well, you re-evaluate your life,(especially when one of your closest friends tragically dies during this time) you change your habits, and you set goals.

Before my health scare, I weighed 270 pounds.  It just happened.  If you'd have asked me in high school, I would have told you that I would do whatever it took to not ever weigh over 200 pounds.  I'm five foot tall, for crying out loud!

But PCOS takes good intentions and throws them out the window.  I will admit that my eating habits weren't the best in the world.  I could have eaten more vegetables and drank less soda, but if you were to compare my diet with other women, you'd have been surprised that I constantly gained weight.  My husband has been continually surprised at the fact that I gain weight with the amount of food that I eat---even when counting calories and sticking with a 1,500 calorie/day limit, I gained weight.

So, I lost 15 pounds in that month between surgeries.  I felt like crap, plus I was on super high-powered antibiotics, so nothing tasted decent.  When I was admitted after my second surgery, the hospital sent a dietician to talk with me about that "drastic" weight loss.  I was all "Whoo-hoo, at least SOMETHING good has come out of all of this", but the dietician was concerned that I was losing muscle mass--as if!  I was really weak, but considering what my body had gone through, I expected it.  I was on really severe restrictions for another six weeks after my stent was removed.

So, as of today, I am down to 236.  I need to lose another 100 pounds from here, but it's a start.  I actually was down to 230 by February, but I'll explain why it's not gone down in my next post.

How did I do it?

1.  I've been methodically eradicating HFCS from my diet.  I'll use products that have regular sugar instead.

2.  If I can make it myself, I'm doing that instead of buying processed food.

3.  Lots and lots of fresh spinach---I even turn it into pizza dough--hubby likes it too, and he's not into ANYTHING that looks vegetable-ish at all.

4.  I've cut out soda.  I will have a couple of swigs to clear drainage in my throat, and we still have our Soda-stream machine that makes HFCS-free soda for hubby, but in the last 8 months, I have maybe had the equivalent of 3 sodas.  I was so sick that I went cold turkey for that month, and then the meds I was on made all soda taste like vinegar, plus I didn't want to throw up ANY more, so I just avoided them.

5.  Daily exercise---I was up to walking 10-15 miles every week, which sped up weight loss.  Now that it's summer, I'm trying to ride my bicycle around town to run errands.  This gives me a two-fold savings: health benefits and reduction in gas for my car!

6.  Adding fish to my diet.  I've been trying to eat fish with at least one meal a week.  If I'm doing really good, I'll have 5 meals with fish  in the week.

7.  Per my surgeon's orders, I've been drinking LOTS of water, lemon-water, and even lemonades (like lite raspberry lemonade--double the water per packet).  According to his testing, I am to be drinking 1.5 to 2 gallons of water/tea/citrus drinks a DAY.  I haven't been able to do this during the school year (um, I don't get that many bathroom breaks because I am always responsible for students), but I've worked my way up to that amount since I'm on break.  It's a chore to drink that much water a day.

So that's what I'm doing.  Stay tuned to find out what ELSE is going on as I now have time for daily blogging!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wrapping It Up

Yeah, it's been a while since I've updated.  I thought that some of you would want to know how things turned out.

Item 1--Surgery
I finally had my second surgery and it was a success.  However, I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and had to stay overnight.  Then, during the night my IV failed and I ended up covered in IV fluid (and blind, as I hadn't put in my contacts before I went to sleep because I was so out-of-it from the surgery and reaction to the surgery).  The nurses (and these were the ONLY nurses who were like this) pooh-poohed it and told me that my racing heart (which was the reason for the overnight stay) and the leaky IV were nothing to be concerned about.  I was shivering almost uncontrollably and was told that it was just a figment of my imagination---so I asked for a cup of hot chocolate.  I was able to control my shivering long enough for my hubby to sign me out.  He took me out to lunch, where I ate two bites before the shivers returned and I began feeling horrid.  I crawled into the back seat of the car and tried to sleep the entire trip home (1 hour), but I was freezing.  I put my jammies on and crawled under the covers---only to shake them off within five minutes.  I felt so bad that I called hubby in.  He checked my temperature--102.  (So I wasn't "faking" it when I told the one set of nurses that I felt awful!)  The surgeon told him to rush me back to the hospital---another hour-long trip--and when I got there, my temp was up to 104 and I was almost having convulsions.  I was re-admitted and kept on high-powered antibiotics for another 4 days.  I had so many antibiotics that I developed some sort of fungal infection that required a different medication.  Oh, and on my last night there, at 2 in the morning, I was transferred to another floor because my roommate apparently developed staph and the room needed to be quarantined.  Lots of fun.

Item 2---Stent removal

I had to have a second stent put in with that kidney-stone surgery, or the trauma to my urethra would have caused it to swell shut (oh goody!).  But the downside was that I would have to have it removed during my final office visit.  I got to the office well in advance of my appointment because I was told that I had to have lab work AND x-rays done.  I brought my mom with me to be my driver on the trip home, and she insisted that we take her vehicle instead of mine because she wanted to be comfortable (she's a wonderful woman, but in this instance, I should have put my foot down harder or picked someone else).  This will be important later in the story.   

Anyway, as I checked in, I was told that I was *obviously* mistaken about the labwork, and that I would just have to wait the hour until my appointment.  I even stepped over to the lab check-in area and double-checked, and they told me that I wasn't anywhere on their list for the day.  Sooooo, upstairs I went, where I waited for over an hour.  Then the surgeon's nurse came out and told me that even though it was time for my appointment, the lab results and x-rays hadn't come in yet, so they couldn't take the stent out.  When I told her what had happened, she said, "THAT is never supposed to happen!  Every patient we have has lab work before they are seen.  I WILL take care of this."  Sure enough, two minutes later, she printed off an official-looking sheet that showed the orders HAD been placed that morning.  So, off I went back downstairs.  I got in and out of the lab---I had to show them the special sheet AND use my "no-nonsense" teacher voice, but I got in and out.  I walked across the hall to the x-ray, where the receptionist told me that she had put me in the system and that I would be right in.........30 minutes later, EVERYONE else in the waiting room had been seen and I was still sitting there.  I was in tears, and my mom called because the surgeon was concerned that I hadn't come back.  Mom told that nurse, and they made another call to radiology--meanwhile I tiredly tromped back to the receptionist and tearfully explained that I had been sitting for over 30 minutes back there and that I was now an hour late for my appointment, that I had arrived an hour early, and that it was almost closing time, and that I lived an hour away and didn't have any more sick days at work to take. 

After that production, I was FINALLY taken back to x-ray.  The x-ray took all of 1 minute, and the tech was apologizing for everything, but I felt so awful that I just kind of like, "Fine, whatever.  I've been yanked around by this entire office today, and I haven't been treated like a human by any of you."  I am not normally like this, and I understand that mistakes happen, but in this ENTIRE two-month ordeal, I had heard, "We're sorry, stuff like this just doesn't happen around here" so many times that I could have just recorded it and played it back each and every time I entered a doctor's office in the big city.

When I made it back upstairs, it was almost 5:00, a full two hours after my appointment.  I was ushered in for the stent removal.  If anyone EVER tells you that this is a "mildly discomforting" procedure, they are a liar.  I was put into a reclining chair with stirrups--not comfy if you are five-foot tall!  Then, they laid me back and applied the topical anesthetic, which was as effective as water---it actually felt like a syringe of aloe vera gel being applied.  The doctor arrived for the actual procedure and tried to insert this little grabby hook in to grab the end of the stent.  Once again, I was too short for him to get the proper angle, so two additional nurses were called in to hold my legs up in the sky (beyond embarrassing) while he did the removal.  Now I was already cranky, tired, and teary-eyed from the previous three-hours of crap, so I was on the verge of a breakdown before he called in the nurses.  The tears started flowing at the embarrassing predicament and even though he was really nice, they didn't stop. 

"You might feel a bit of discomfort." ----words uttered by someone who has NEVER had a 10-inch long straw stuck up their body between their bladder and a kidney.  I was in agony---it wasn't a long period of time, but it was agony.  The topical stuff didn't touch this pain.  I felt every inch of that sucker as it was taken out.  But it was out.  FINALLY.  I laid down and sobbed for about five minutes before the pain leveled out and I could both sit up and put my feet down to walk.

They told me to lay down and not sit for the next few hours so that everything would heal.  But of course, my mom needed her comfort and we had taken her vehicle, which had two car seats in the back.  No laying down, and her car seats are not comfortable at all, so I endured an hour-long trip in agony, then crawled into my bed, took some heavy-duty pain meds that my doctor had provided, and slept.  The ordeal was finally over.