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August 24, 2007

Happy 11th Anniversary, My Love!

11 years ago was one of the four happiest days of my life; the day that Aaron and I were married.  How fun to look back upon our wedding day!  My own wedding was only the fourth wedding I'd ever been to at that point (two of them being in the previous two months), but thanks to the "new" thing known as the Internet, I was able to do all sorts of research.  I had it all planned out (with Aaron's input and approval, of course), and it played out perfectly.  It was everything I'd hoped it would be, and I was surrounded by my closest friends and family, as well as those of my new husband's.  For all intents and purposes, it was a perfect day.

It was especially emotional for me, after having a rough start to 1996.  Aaron was involved in a serious car accident which left him with a permanent injury and the loss of a coworker, who was also a friend.  While we may have been marrying young (by today's standards, anyway), we certainly already had our first major test of our relationship and had passed, stronger than ever.

This strength has certainly come in handy throughout the past 11 years.  We've endured the typical trials: financial worries, career changes, loss of loved ones to name a few.  Then came an unexpected biggie, a time in our lives I 'fondly' refer to as infertility hell.  That certainly tests not only your relationship with each other, but your personal limitations.  We graduated from that one to face the next: triplets (if you are curious, the day I found out I was pregnant with them and the day they were born healthy were two more of the happiest days of my life).  Juggling two careers, work travel and infant triplets saw its share of stressors; good times and tough ones, too.  Four years and some months after the birth of triplets, came another surprise; while at first it was a bit of a shock.  Did you guess it?  Yep, the day I had another healthy miracle was the fourth in the four best moments in my life thus far.  And now here we are 11 years later, trying to be good parents to four wonderful kids while remaining happily married.

Our wedding invitations were very easy to pick out.  On the front of it said: "This day, I will marry my friend - the one who shares my dreams."  He was my best friend 11 years ago when I said my vows, and he still is today.  Sure, from time to time we have our differences, but that is part of any relationship.  We are both willing to communicate and to change when necessary, and that goes a long way.  I have spent all four of my best days EVER with him - in fact, he was an integral part of all of them!  Our life together is more wonderful than I could have imagined all of those times I wished upon stars or blew out my birthday candles.  And we have four incredible kids who are a mixture of both of us.  How cool is that?  I wouldn't want to share this honor with anyone else.

So before I go on too long and embarrass you any more, honey, I'll stop.  Happy 11th Anniversary.  For me, the years just keep getting better and better!

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August 22, 2007

Endometriosis, Continued

It was really bizarre to set foot in the dr's office Monday.  I was seen there initially over 7 years ago to deal with infertility, and I have run the gamut of emotions within those walls.  It wasn't altogether different this visit, as I am in a bad place again because of how I feel.  Luckily for me, I was seeing someone who is an expert in the area of Endometriosis, and had more than one option for me to try.

I am not going to get into the specifics of them all.  In a nutshell, the prognosis is still overall frustrating.  With the exam, he found the free fluid behind my uterus has returned (and got a beautiful ultrasound picture of that), along with lesions that he could physically feel.  Without surgery to confirm it, his guess is that the Endo is back in Stage II, the same as it was previously.  Surgery to burn it off again is an option, but since the Endo didn't take all that long to return this badly, it will do the same again.  That's the part that gets me.  Not that it was a surprise to hear, it's just a really crappy feeling to know that no matter what you are willing to endure for relief, it will all be pointless in the end.  No cure.  I hate that.  I hate that so much.

On the good note, I am at least thankful that while this is incurable, it is not fatal.  I try to see the positive side of things, and while this may decrease the overall quality of my life, at least I still have a life.  It's just still hard.  Chronic pain and fatigue is enough to make you half-crazy.  Again, this is something that is difficult to convey.

So...my options are some techniques to try and control the pain.  I have a few options, more so than my regular OB had presented to me, so I have to decide which I want to try first.  All of the estrogen related options are out because of my adverse reactions.  That includes any of the pills, the patch, the implant, etc.  In other words, the easiest of the options.  However, there are some progesterone releasing options that stand a chance for some relief.  Especially encouraging is that some of my symptoms are indicative of low progesterone levels, so it could alleviate those problems as well as the pain.  There is a medical trial going on right now for which I qualify.  It sounds very interesting, but the main drawback to that one is that after the trial is over, even if the treatment was working perfectly for you, you would have to stop until the time when the treatment is FDA approved.  If not for that fact, I would probably participate.  That said, I believe I am leaning towards one of the options, and the dr seemed to agree it was probably the best choice (aside from the trial).  I am really, really hoping that the first try I get it right, and start to feel human once more.  Wish me luck. 

After learning more about the trial though, it does appear that in the next couple of years, there may be another option with even less side effects which is good news.  It would be even better news if they could just CURE it, but I guess I'll take what I can get at this point.

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August 13, 2007

Endometriosis

When I was first diagnosed with Endometriosis, I was also being plagued by another incurable condition: PCOS.  I was prepared to hear PCOS, but was shocked to hear Endo, even though I should have suspected it given my history of unbearable monthly cycles.  After surgery to burn off the Endo and drill my ovaries for the PCOS, I felt better than I had in a long time.  Slowly but surely, and especially after the birth of my last child, the Endo has been rearing its ugly head once again.  It's finally gotten to the point of unbearable once more.

There is a certain about of sanity you start to lose when you are in continual pain.  For more of the month than not, I will have some degree of cramping or discomfort.  When it's really bad, it's better described as my insides being on fire.  I suppose there isn't much normal about bleeding internally, which is basically what happens with the Endo, and it's really hard to live with; especially hard when you have a household and four young children.  It's next to impossible to convey how it feels to be in pain for so much of your time.  It's not something people can see from the outside.  When the pain is so severe it has me reduced to tears, I can't point to something visible and say: "look, here is what is hurting so badly."  There is a certain amount of visual evidence I could produce, but that borders on the line between embarrassment and humility.  When I just feel completely wiped out and drained, no doubt from being on the anemic side, there isn't any accurate way I can convey how difficult it is to even function or form a thought.  Sometimes I feel like I'm trapped in my own little hell.  I mean, I look normal enough, how can I feel that crappy so much of the time?  I really can't make anyone understand, and it makes me feel so weak to have such a problem.

Treatments for Endo are mostly geared towards the hormonal side.  Take one of the forms of hormonal birth control methods, which will regulate your monthly cycle and usually make things bearable.  This worked for me when they put me on the pill as a young girl.  I wasn't diagnosed back then, but since the pill helped make my symptoms more bearable, that was that.  I tried going back on the same exact pill that worked for 7 years, but my system had changed.  We tried every different hormone combination, but none of them were tolerable.  In short, they made me crazy.  Seriously affected my brain.  That was not a better solution.

I lost my doctor who specialized in Endometriosis due to insurance changes.  I've been trying to find a replacement, somebody who can help me.  My regular OB is out of options, and he wants to move to Lupron therapy which is riddled with side effects.  This isn't a good idea to me.  Endometriosis is still somewhat of an unknown; there still is no cure since they do not know what causes it.  Thankfully, with yet another insurance change, the old doctor is once more in the plan.  I have my appointment one week from today, and it can't come soon enough.  I cannot continue down this path any longer.  I am scared because I feel I've hit a wall, but relieved that I am seeing a doctor whom I trust, and one who specializes in this area.  At this point, if it means surgery number nine, I don't even care; I just need to feel human again.

When I first received word of this diagnosis, my biggest fear was being unable to have children.  Luckily for me, I have four healthy kids.  My family building efforts are complete.  Now my biggest fear is living the rest of my life in pain.  If you don't mind, please keep me in your thoughts next Monday afternoon.

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August 05, 2007

Happy Birthday, Grandma

Happy birthday, grandma.  Grandmas are always special, but you know you weren't 'just' my grandma.  There are a lot of people missing you today, and I wanted to just share my personal thoughts.

I know you are still with me, because I talk to you pretty much daily.  You are still everywhere in my life.  I see you all over the place.  I see you in the things I do, the things I say, the things I want to call you up and tell you.  I see you in my mom, in my kids, in people I meet.  I feel you in the songs we listen to, in the birds we hear, in the emotions provoked from things you've said.  I hear you in the things I say, the things you've said, the things I should say to people.  Every now and then I will catch a scent and swear it was you walking by.  I cook and I taste, ever so slightly, the things you used to cook (although I've never made 'shit on a shingle' and I probably never will...and I STILL cannot recreate the fried potatoes, no matter how hard I try).

In 2003, I was supposed to take you to Las Vegas to celebrate your 70th birthday.  I really, really wanted to do that, because I know you would have enjoyed it.  I hadn't been back there since 1999, and I really thought the next time would be that trip with you.  I don't need to tell you that it didn't work out for us to go that year.  On a fluke, I was there last month, and had the strangest twist of fate I've experienced in a very long time.  An elder lady sat in the aisle seat next to Aaron and I, and I felt my heart drop to my knees.  That was supposed to be you sitting next to me!!!

I am probably overly social most time, but yet I could hardly utter a syllable to her.  She reminded me so much of you.  She was traveling with a friend and went to talk to her during the flight.  I could just see you and Millie doing such a trip.  Finally when we were almost there, I managed some conversation, which only make me think even more of you.  After we landed safely, I was promply hit with such a wave of emotion, I cried.  I could not hold them back any longer no matter how hard I tried.  Here I was, in Las Vegas when it should have with been you, sitting next to someone who could have been you, and I was simply overcome.  But then I realized yet again, you were still with me.  If it means I have to cry during those especially poignant moments, I guess that's the small price I'll pay.

Caden, Connor and Jordyn swear they remember you, and I believe them.  You spent a lot of their early days with them.  Jordyn was 'your' girl for a long time and I know she honestly remembers it.  We all still talk about you all the time, so you are fresh in their memory.  Then Haley came along, one you never met.  But she definitely has your fiesty spirit.  Everyone knows she's named "Haley Faye" because it sounds like "Hellie Faye," a name we all know you were so 'fond' of hearing.  I hope each time we say it, you hear it too.

So, on that note, I guess another "Happy Birthday."  I hope you and 'pa (among the many others we have lost and hold dear), are getting a good laugh at us still down here.  We miss you dearly, and look forward to seeing you again one day.

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August 02, 2007

Eeeby Jeebies

Exacly how would one spell "eeby jeebies?"  I figured this would be the right spelling, given the plural and all.  I often invent my own words, and call that language "Angelaspeak."  Sorry, not the point in this entry.  This gross, eeby jeeby picture is:

 Yuck!

So I guess August arrived in a buzz.  As in literally, buzz buzz buzz.  Wish I meant a nice alcohol induced one and was telling you of some fab party I attended, but no.  I mean these awful looking, scary insects.

Paper wasps are a common thing up here in Northern Illinois.  During the later summer/early fall days, we have to frequently rid ourselves of these wasps and their nests.  It is really my least favorite part of living in this area.  I'd take snow over these any old day.  I despise anything that can sting, extra hatred for that which can sting repeatedly.  In fact, I can barely stand to look at that picture, so good thing I can adjust my screen size to avoid it altogether.  I probably should have caught a video of it, so you could see just how many of them actually live there, slithering in and out.  There are WAY more than the 7 that show up on the picture.  Ewwwww. 

The biggest problem has been their presence in our yard and on our wooden swingset.  Luckily, they are not aggressive unless you mess with their nest.  They eat up wood, mix it with their evil saliva and then make their unique nests.  Even though that process might sound pretty cool, I have a hard time finding anything good to say about them, even though I know everything on our planet has some sort of purpose.  Sorry, Mother Nature, but consider this an obituary for all those awful things in the above picture.  Had to get rid of them myself, rather than let nature take its course.

To pay the price for ridding them of my fence, I'll feel all buggy and have the eeby jeebies for the next week at least.  Yuck.

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August 01, 2007

Um, Has Anyone Seen July?

I am a bit confused.  I mean, just yesterday it was July.  How in the heck did it get to be August already, for crying out loud.  Seriously, what happened to July?  I swear it was just the 4th of July last week.

I guess part of it must be the constant state of "busy."  I am watching my neighbor's two children for the summer.  The daughter is 9 (almost 10) and the son is 5.  That makes, count them, SIX children here with me during the days.  And believe it or not, we even do things.  Like out in public.  With SIX young kids.  It's going ok too, it's just really busy.  Forgive me environment, but I have been using paper plates a lot more often.  I was running out of dishes.

However, 4 weeks from today, it will all change.  The kids start school.  A full day of school for my kids, instead of the half day kindergarten.  That means I will not be having lunch with them everyday.  That tugs a little bit at my heart.  While lunchtime with 6 kids might be a bit lot of work, it's sad to think I will miss out on that part of their day.  The 5 year old will start kindergarten, so I will still watch him during the mornings, and then he'll go off to afternoon school.  Hmm, it sure will be a different week with only a napping Haley in the house!

It's funny sometimes to think of the series of events that come together to form your life.  6 years ago when I was tending to my three little babies trying to mentally prepare myself for returning to work, I never would have guessed that this would be me 6 years later.  It ripped out my heart (with a few extra stomps here and there) to leave my kids for so many hours of the week.  Now here I am with the ideal part time, work from home arrangement (yes, same company) and helping out a fellow dual-parent working family.  I feel so incredibly lucky.  A little tired, but fortunate nonetheless.

Wonder if August will fly by as quickly as July did?  Ah, who am I kidding.  Tomorrow will be Christmas!!!

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