Wednesday, May 7, 2014

All the News That is New

Monday I saw my doctor about an ongoing issue.  I am hesitant to post about it because of the delicate nature.  I've posted about pretty much everything else on here, so I accept that I really have very little privacy left.  But the following is *SUPER* personal.  So, you've been warned.


In 2009 when I was pregnant with my son I was on a Zofran pump for 26 weeks.  Zofran causes EXTREME constipation.  That's all I'm going to say about that.  Now, with the masto I normally have the exact opposite problem.  Anyway, I have not been "regular" in about... 7 years now.  And it's had an effect on my colon.

I have a rectocele.  Which you can google if you really want to know what that means.  It has to be surgically repaired.  The frustrating thing is that I approached my GYN about this in 2012 and he said I did not have this problem.  And now here we are in 2014 and yup, I do.  I am waiting for a referral to a new GYN because if he ignored me in 2012 I'm not going back to him now to throw a bucket of cash at him for a surgery.  I'll see the new doc at the end of June (yup, have to wait all the way until then), and then I'll have surgery whenever he can fit me in, probably middle of July.  It's a 2-3 week recovery time, which isn't that bad and then this will be taken care of.  Grateful that I went to my primary care doc to talk to him about it, it seems like he is often the only one who takes me seriously.


Yesterday was a follow up with pain management after having x-rays done on my back.  Results?  Narrowing in the disc space at L4 and L5.  Exactly what we expected.  I'm having decreased reflexes down my left side, especially in my ankle.  This explains my stumbling.  What's to be done?  Well if I had a pile of money I'd go to physical therapy or the chiropractor.  But since I don't have the money to pay for a $35 copay 2 times a week for 6-12 weeks right now I can't do it.  We did add Gabapentine to my med routine to see if it would help.  And this morning I woke up in no pain.

To wake up in no pain after months of unending pain that the pills have barely touched was insane.  To wake up and be able to bend over and find my slipper under my bed?  To find a pair of socks in a basket of laundry on the floor and not feel like crying?

It was a miracle.

Now, I see if it's a fluke.  I have a friend who has offered to pay a co-pay for me to go to a physical therapy appointment so they can show me some exercises to do on my own.  I'm going to tell them straight up front this is a one time thing and they need to show me everything they can.  I know that my weight is part of the problem.  I'm not dumb.  But when I'm in so much pain I can hardly stand for 3 minutes I can't walk or work out. 

I had been walking at night before this round of horrible pain set in and then trying to walk made it so much worse.  If this can give me some pain relief, I'm really hoping that I can get some weight off to give my back some additional relief and maybe the whole thing can just work out.

I quit drinking diet soda back in November, which was incredibly important.  But I started drinking Cherry Coke instead for the caffeine.  Which meant I greatly increased my sugar and calorie intake.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Now it's time to get off the Cherry Coke and the empty calories.

I'm hopeful.  It's been a long time since I've been hopeful.  It's hard to be in a hope drought for this long.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Earning my stripes as a sports mom

I have always had the rule that the kids pick one activity at a time.  I didn't want to be the crazed soccer mom living in her van.

Last spring Girl child played softball and, while she is not a prodigy, loved the experience.  This fall she had the opportunity to play fall ball in the same league or to dance in the Nutcracker Ballet.  She had to make a choice, there was just no way to do both.  She ultimately chose ballet.  It turned out to be the right choice as there were not enough under 8s to do an 8U league and they combined the 8U and 10U and had them playing together.  My child is *tiny* and I cannot imagine her playing against 10 year olds.

This spring when Girl child said, "Hey when do we sign up for softball?"  I did it, even though both kids were already in ballet.  And then when Boy child said, "Hey!  I want to play baseball!  I'm a big kid now!"  Well... Okay, I guess.  And I signed him up for T-ball through the local YMCA.

AND THAT WAS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE I'VE EVER MADE.  Or at least relating to kid activities.

Now I just watch as my Google calendar has more and more conflicts.  Every single one of my son's games conflict with either a game or a practice for my daughter.

So I'm earning my stripes as a minivan warrior.

Last night I had to meet my husband at his work to drop off our son.  He would take the boy to t-ball.  Then I would take the girl to softball.  Ideally I would have stopped and got the base set from our normal softball fields to take to the guest field we were playing at on the way to husband's work.  Of course that's not what happened.  Everyone had to have major hissies and refuse to put on socks or have their hair done or decide that they hate their shoes (seriously?  SERIOUSLY?).

I wound up shoving bowls of Annie's mac and cheese in their laps in the car and leaving the house with 6 minutes to get to a destination 17 minutes away (when there is no traffic) at rush hour.  As I am being the minivan ninja driving *ahem* slightly over the speed limit on the freeway my daughter leans forward trying to hand me her empty bowl.

"Here mom."
"Um... kind of busy kid."
"Well, I'm done."
"Great, good."
"What do you want me to do with it?"
"Hold it until I'm not doing 77 on the freeway maybe?"

Then at the VERY FIRST stoplight off the freeway she leans forward and stabs me in the back of the arm with the bowl.  CHILD!  Come on!

Somehow I made the drive in 12 minutes.  (My husband was not impressed, he was concerned for my safety and my potential for receiving a ticket.)  Where I handed him a 4 year old with no shoes and an apple.  Congrats, you win the lottery!  Good luck getting those shoes on him!

Then at the game we were at a field with no dugout, just a backstop.  So the girls were just *EVERYWHERE* and dropping their gear *EVERYWHERE*!  I stepped in to grab bats as the girls dropped them at the base.  If you ever have the joy of doing this, watch the girl walking up to bat, especially if they are young and as they get close grab the end of their bat ;)  You do not want a bat to the head.  And I was just cleaning up gear, putting batting helmets back in bags and handing girls gloves, etc.  Well just from that *tiny* bit of exertion I woke up this morning feeling like someone kicked me in the kidney.  Cool body, I get it.  That's awesome.

Next year, if my daughter wants to continue with ballet she moves up to the "real" ballet.  Instead of just once a week she starts classes twice a week.  It just becomes more serious from there.  (And more expensive).  I'm at the point where I don't know if I *want* her to keep dancing.  My cousin dances with the senior company at our studio and my uncle tells my husband every chance he gets, "Get her out before it gets to expensive!  Whatever you do don't let her make it to toe shoes!"

I joke with my friends that I want my kids to be good at everything they do but not good enough to be competitive.  Seriously, I don't want to be travel teams, or competition teams.  I listen to the moms do their humble bragging in the hallways during ballet, "Oh Ashley just got picked for the Elite Cheer team!  I had to write a check for $1600 and we haven't bought uniforms yet but it's so worth it!"  HOLY JEEZ!!!  No it's not!!  $1600 for a 6 year old to jump around?  Heck no!  "Jennifer has been discovered by a modeling agent!  We have been going to Seattle every other weekend and we just spent $500 on headshots."  NOOOOOPE!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Where in the World have I been?

Well, I've been depressed.  And in pain.  And every time I open up blogger the giant blank white page is just too much pressure.

I got my disability denial letter last week.  Which is a huge blow and even though I was trying *SO* hard to prepare myself for that outcome I still keep bursting in to tears.  I won't go into details about the denial, because I am stuck in the same court for the remainder of the proceedings.  But I will tell you that I received my denial on Thursday.  Cried about it all day Friday, unable to do anything with the information.  My lawyer called me on Saturday night, from his home, the night before Easter.  He was so angry he couldn't believe the things that were included.

I had said I wouldn't appeal if I wasn't approved after the hearing.  But I guess I'm appealing.  And my lawyer told me to expect another 9-12 months of waiting.  Which is just unbelievable.  I owe money for my bone marrow biopsy, for imaging.  Ugh.  I just can't even think about it.

My pain levels in my back have been out of control.  This last 30 day cycle has been the first time I've ever used all of my prescribed pain medication.  I actually ran out a week early, which included using up the tail end of the previous month's pills.  There were several nights where I laid in bed sobbing because I was in SO MUCH pain and the pain medication was doing nothing.

At pain management this month she ordered x-rays and doubled my dose of oxycodone.  Which is actually strong enough to knock out my pain.  On the downside it makes me feel like a complete zombie.  I can't take it if I have to drive, or if I'm going somewhere with my family where it's socially unacceptable to stare off into space with glazed eyes.  Awesome.  I hate this.  I hate being in so much pain that I can't just *deal* with it.  I hate needing pain medication.  I hate that there isn't a better answer than "Here have some narcotics."

I am running on empty.  I have nothing left at this point.  But I have to dig deep and find more to give.  I have two active kids who need an able mom.  They're both playing ball this season.  Boy child's first year of t-ball, oh how hilarious it is to watch the little 3 and 4 year olds fight each other for the ball instead of work as a team.  And Girl child's second year playing fast pitch softball.  She's grown so much in a year and I'm so proud of her.  It's awesome to watch her turn plays that last year would have rolled right by her as she played in the dirt.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Late - Family Friday

Since we went out of town to the in-laws I missed posting on Friday.  I had an idea I was going to get it posted Friday morning.  But then I failed at getting things packed on Thursday night and... no post until today.  Ah well.

So the kids made Leprechaun traps at a craft hour at a friend's toy store.  I was just looking for something fun for them to do but it left them with these expectations of a Leprechaun coming and getting trapped.  Especially my son.  He *REALLY* wanted to trap a Leprechaun and for the two weeks we had the trap before St. Patrick's Day he was obsessed with it, and constantly talking about catching his Leprechaun.  I told my husband "Dang, I just wanted to go do a fun craft, I really didn't intend to start a new holiday with them."

But somehow the Leprechaun used his magic to turn into a Lego after he got trapped.  This is the cutest thing, he even has little Lego "gold" that goes in his pot.

Girly's Leprechaun got away but a lucky 4 leaf clover necklace fell out of his pocket.  We are unsure if it was the same Leprechaun that fell for both traps or two different Leprechauns.  But the kids had a good time, and I was able to fulfill expectations for a reasonable cost ;)

Hubby and I were kind of torn on whether to "do" the holiday "myths".  We don't want to lie to our kids, but we wanted them to have fun and believe in magic.  In the end we wound up saying "Well, what do you believe?" whenever we were asked about things like Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc.  And didn't give definitive answers.  I don't go to great lengths to make my kids believe.

When girl child lost her first tooth she told us "I don't think the Tooth Fairy is real, I think it's just parents sneaking in with money.  That night we did put the two dollar coins under her pillow and when she woke up she was surprised and I asked her "So what do you think now?"  She said "Can we google it?"  And we did and I read her the wikipedia article that said it was a myth and she asked if she would still get money and I said sure and she was okay with that.  I told her she couldn't tell anyone because parents like to play pretend with their kids.  

I kind of expected her to figure out Santa Claus after she figured out the Tooth Fairy but she didn't.  One of the kids at her school told her he wasn't real.  She asked me, I said "Well, what do you think?"  And she said she thought he was real and she wanted to know what to tell him.  I told her to tell him that as long as a child believes in magic great things can happen.  I don't know how long she'll believe in magic, but I love her wide-eyed wonder while she does.

I sewed not one, but TWO projects this week!!  I was thrilled!!  Girl child's teacher is pregnant and will not be coming back to school after Spring Break.  I wanted to send her a baby gift early, in case her maternity leave needed to start sooner.  Girly went with me to pick all the fabrics and I zipped this out for her.

A minky blanket baked with leopard print, 3 burp cloths and three bibs.  Girl child saw that little lamb iron on and *HAD* to get it.  She was too funny.  Each of the bibs is double sided as well.  Minky is a pain in the rear to sew with, but it's so soft I love using it for baby gifts.  Girly just about died when she saw the gift.  I was glad she was so pleased, since she is a 14 year old in a 7 year old's body she can be my toughest customer. ;)

And I whipped out another baby gift.  One of my husband's cousins had a baby eight weeks ago.  And I kept saying, "Oh I've got to make a gift for the baby!!"  And then not doing it.  But since we were going to actually see them this weekend I had a fire under my butt to get it done.  Luckily the baby stuff is fairly easy to do.

Three more burp cloths, these are *THE* best burp cloths, they're so absorbent because they're made out of a cloth diaper and they're super wide, so even for the SPITTIEST of spitters they'll keep your shoulder clean.

And another minky backed blanket.  With robots and rocketships oh my!  This is the first thing I have ever done that even begins to approach "quilting".  I really want to learn how to do real quilting.  My sister-in-law and mother-in-law are both doing amazing quilts and I'm totally in awe of their skills.  If I can find even a fraction of that talent I'm going to be happy!

Up next?  Two more baby gifts!  LOL.  It's a mini-baby boom around me.  I'm so happy for everyone that's having babies.  Even though I have a little twinge of jealousy.  I would love another baby, but it's not at all in the cards for me.  But I do get to go snuggle and love on my friends' babies, which is great because then I still get 8 hours of sleep ;)

This is how I found my kid sleeping on Wednesday night.  Never a dull moment around here.  

Masto Monday - Start of Spring!

It's spring!!  I finally found a store with a decent spring themed table cloth.  Ditched the Valentine's cloth.  Pulled out the Peep's basket and filled it with plastic Easter eggs.  Which are tormenting my son.  He asks me daily if they have candy in them.  They do not. 

This was an easy-peasy dinner we did one night last week, kids had right, noodles, peas.  I ate potato, mushrooms, red pepper, onions, goat cheese (look I totally have complete control over my goat cheese consumption...)

I made these Trader Joe's gluten free brownies, because I made them without egg, they were vegan too.  (The chips are Enjoy Life)  These are show pre-baked.  Post baked they refused to come out and had to basically be chipped out.  Next time I will try lining the pan with parchment paper instead of just greasing the pan.

I had a crazy reaction on Tuesday night.  Which was either to the Brianna's salad dressing or it was to the Trader Joe's gluten free brownies.  I came out and told my husband "I am in anaphylaxis I'm going to go take all the antihistamines in my medicine cabinet.  I need a picture for my blog.  I'll hopefully live to see you in the morning."  Priorities.  Burned like crazy, and it wasn't even like my normal "emotional" flush or even food flush.  Complete GI distress.  Luckily the oral antihistamines ran it off at the pass.  I really, really do not want to run up any ER bills this year.

We went to the In-Laws this weekend, which meant packing up food.  I thought this was a better picture of my packed cooler.  But all you can see is my chocolate bars.  (Hey, a girl has to have chocolate, right?)  I have learned that you cannot just leave food to chance and hope for the best.  I packed my zucchini muffins, roasted red pepper and garlic falafel, rice milk, ranch dressing, tzatziki dressing, corn chex and gluten free vegan rice noodle bowl.  

In addition I have found these great boxed meals called Go Picnic  They are gluten free and soy free.  Instead of hitting fast food while driving I buy these for the whole family.  It's much easier than trying to find somewhere to prepare food, and they don't make me sick.  It wouldn't work for a long term food plan, but for a couple meals it's a great short term option for me.

One nice thing about visiting the in-laws is we get to hit Trader Joe's and stock up.  If you have one I'm jealous.  So tonight I got to make a flat bread "pizza" on Trader Joe's gluten free, vegan flat bread.  They're sold in the refrigerated section two for $1.99.  I used my cauliflower sauce, goat cheese and onion. (I really need to hit the store, so I was limited on topping options.)  So, so good.   

I did blow my diet at grandma's birthday party.  Had the best cupcakes ever.  Holy wow, my aunt can bake.  Chocolate with candied lavender and orange something.  I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.  And the cheat was *WORTH* it. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

So what'd we read this week?

Well I finally finished 12 Years a Slave, as did my husband.  Such an excellent book, I really strongly recommend it.  We are quite looking forward to watching the movie.  There was a scene that made me cry, which it takes a lot for a book to do that.  Really, if you haven't read it, pick up a copy and read it.

Started reading Darkly Dream Dexter by Jeff Lindsay.  It's a quick, easy read.  I started reading it because I have been watching the show.  Unlike with Pretty Little Liars reading the Dexter novel absolutely DOES interfere with watching the show.  I haven't finished the book because I got the chance to read... a novel that my friend wrote!  I will give more details about that, hopefully, next week. =)

Hubs read Dexter as well.  And I think he's taking his spring break off, I see him playing a LOT of World of Warcraft.  LOL.

Girl Child picked out 7 Rainbow Magic books at the library.  And I forced her to get James and the Giant Peach.  As expected, once she started reading it she loves it.  She's a stubborn child, but she has good taste.  ;)

We had parent teacher conferences yesterday.  Her child said that she's exceeding all academic expectations.  She's still having problems focusing, and will sometimes goof off and not do the work.  Which we have been struggling with her over all year.  But, as I said, she's a stubborn child.  There's just no convincing her to do a worksheet of simple spelling when she knows that stuff cold. When she does the work she does amazing work.

I posted about wanting to get her a spot in the STEM school.  Well, we did get the spot.  But last night her teacher told us that they are expanding the talented and gifted program to 1st and 2nd grade, and that she is recommending Girly to be tested for the 2nd grade program.  So we decided to do the testing, but now we don't know what to do.  If we give up our STEM spot then we aren't guaranteed a spot for Boy child for K, but he does have options for doing dual language for 1-5 and/or talented and gifted from 1st grade on.  Decisions are hard!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mast Cell Monday - The Topamax edition

I have no food pictures this week!  My phone memory card is full and I never remembered to make my husband show me how to download it to my computer, and here we are a week later, still full.  I did get my real camera back up and working though, so I should have better quality pictures from here on out! =)

Food wise this week, I didn't do a lot of meal planning or prep so for pretty much every meal I wound up having some combination of sauteed veggies and/or potato with or without goat cheese and maybe some of my vegan ranch.  I had food ennui, I need to find some new food ideas, but this week I was not feeling my best, because of changing my topamax dose, I guess.  We did have a really great salad one day last week, which I found an amazing salad dressing!   Brianna's Buttermilk ranch.  No soy!  It does have egg in it, but I can handle the occasional egg.  It tastes great, even my husband and kids liked it.  It doesn't have any weird texture issues.  It isn't even that expensive, I paid $3.50, and that was at the "upscale" grocery store.  I can fully recommend it!

Another discovery this week  Glee gum!  I quit drinking diet soda in November.  I have been a diet soda addict since I was a child (no, seriously).  And I remember one point in my life when my diet pretty much consisted of Diet Pepsi and Xenadrine (but darn was I skinny!).  But, I am a smart person and could not ignore all the research, aspartame is a neurotoxin!  And I'm super reactive to splenda.  So out the door with the diet soda.  I don't miss it, much.  But I couldn't find a chewing gum without aspartame in it.  Until I picked up Glee gum!  The classic Glee gum has cane sugar, the sugar free xylitol; I have done no research on xylitol and have no interest in getting hooked on another sugar substitute, so cane sugar works for me.)  It tastes great, doesn't get crumbly like a lot of gums does, and it really isn't that much more than "regular" gum if purchased on the website.  Great find!

So we upped my topamax dose.  I've been having more and more migraines, and I had one more bump up the topamax ladder to try before finding a new neurologist.  The first couple of days after bumping I had, what I refer to as, "bee hands".  It's like my hands (or feet, or face, I get it in all of those places) are full of bees and are buzzing non stop.  But it stopped quickly.  In the past when I've upped the dose of topamax the "bee hands" phenomena has lasted at least a week, so I was surprised by how quickly it ended.  But then this past Wednesday it started up again, along with facial numbness and numbness in my feet.  And I was just feeling super tired and run down.  Topamax carries the "use caution when driving or operating heavy machinery" warning so I chose to stay home most of the week and lay low.  I think that was a good choice as a couple of times I had some pretty serious vertigo attacks.  I think I'm finally on the upside of it now, but dang, I hate increasing medicine doses!  And I fear it's not helping much as I've had two migraines since upping it.

So Happy Paddy's Day!  Hope you enjoyed it with whatever you ate, I had grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms with some goat cheese.  (Seriously, I'm addicted to goat cheese, we may need to arrange an intervention with Jeff Van Vonderen