Friday, February 29, 2008

Tearless Onions

This morning I was standing in my kitchen cutting vegetables in preparation for tonight’s dinner (hey, I like to plan ahead). I came to the onion and as I peeled away the layers - I couldn't help but think how people and so many of life's situations are just like the layers of that onion. Haha, okay, I'm just shitting you. I was really thinking how much I hate those little buggars for burning my eyes and how much I'd love to get my hands on one of those new tearless onions I saw on the news a few weeks ago. Its a shame I don't think they are available yet - I would pay extra for one of those. My poor eyes still burn.

Speaking of onions - Last summer Steve and I stopped at a little farm side stand on the way home from a day of shopping and they had the most amazing, juicy onions (Not to mention the sweet corn and tomatoes). Sigh... We got more snow last night and I am truly ready for spring. Super hot summer, not so much, but spring would be nice. And I guess summer, too - I'm can't wait to go to the yummy farm stands and farmers market. I also plan to try my hand at growing my own vegetables but I'm not very optimistic.
The community Easter egg hunt is on the 10th - I hate that Easter is in March this year. I've been excited about this Easter Egg hunt since last year - I think Caden would have SO much fun with it. But, I don't see how well its going to work out with it being held on March 10th - if there isn't snow on the ground then its going to be a muddy mess. Maybe it will be held inside.

Caden has learned a new trick! Yesterday he spent the day at Grandma L's since I still cannot pick him up. Grandma wasn't doing a very good job watching him (heh... you know I'm kidding, Mom! ;) ) and managed to lose my dear boy. When she called out for him she heard a giggle from above and there was Caden... he had scaled a flight a stairs and was standing at the 2nd floor landing looking into the living room below. My Mom is so good with him and I've learned so much from her. In a few hours instead of just teaching him he wasn't supposed to climb the stairs, she also taught him how to safely climb back down.
I've suspected Caden has been able to climb stairs for a while, but since he doesn't have access to stairs in our house, we never quite knew for sure. Last weekend Steve and I did manage to find him on the couch bouncing happily as he looked out the bay window. He is a brave little man - but as Grandma says, he really has no fear which isn't necessarily a good thing.
I'm so excited to have my little guy home hopefully mid/end of next week. We still need to get his 1 year photos taken so I'll have to see if Grandma wants to help me with that.

Otherwise, not much going on. I'm able to drive again (as long as I don't take any pain killers) and I got to pick up Caden last night (Papa Chuck put Caden in his car seat and Grandma C got him out). It was nice to get to pick him up and watch him play. Caden loves his toys and he even enjoys picking them up afterwards, hehe. I have a cute video of him carefully placing his blocks back in his bucket I'll post later. He is doing so well - especially with his motor skills. He has several new words now - among them are doggy and kitty. He is such a silly, fun little guy. I love him so much! This morning before Daddy took him to Grandma C's for the day Steve brought him into bed with me so I could say goodbye and we just laid and cuddled and talked to each other. I miss him. I did try to pick him up yesterday and it hurt a bit so I know I need to give it a little more time. I sit and hold him on the floor - but its just not the same.

Last night MIL/Grandma C was here helping me with Caden since Steve had to work late. We took a quick trip to The Scrap Shack - an adorable little scrapbooking/cardmaking store. Even though its only a few minutes from my house I have never been and now I realize that was probably a good thing! They have SO many adorable papers I've never seen before - they even had dinosaur papers so I had to stock up on a few. I also got papers to scrap Caden's photos with Santa that are still on our fridge so I think I'll work on that this weekend. The pricing is a little more expensive than some of the mainstream stores - but they had a really nice selection and a lot of things I haven't seen elsewhere.

Well this entry is already all over the place and probably sounds terrible since I have no desire to proof read, so I guess I’ll wrap it up. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!! I get to spend all of mine with my pook and my husband, so I know it will be great :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Yesterday morning I had my post-op follow up. As expected, the surgeon was short and to the point and still lacking any personal charm - but she saved something very important to me so whatever floats her unfriendly boat is fine by me! I'm healing nicely, a biopsy was done on my appendix and came back clean (other than a pretty serious infection), and I'm doing well on the road to recovery. I was told to give it at the very least one more week before I start picking up Caden again and at that point only pick him up if I have to and if it hurts, obviously stop. I can start walking for exercise but ease into it, no abdominal exercises for several weeks and I still need to rest and take it easy.

I've felt like a bit of a sissy because I'm still in pain on and off - I don't remember being in this kind of pain 2 weeks after my c-section. The nurses in the hospital said that while the incisions are smaller, the surgery was still major and more involved than a c-section. Yesterday I was told that my appendix was in pretty bad shape and it is completely normal (and very non-sissy like) to still be in pain.

I found out that my appendix was "hot" - meaning it would have ruptured within 24 hours. I asked why I wasn't in pain as I would have expected with an appendix in that bad of shape. As it turns out, my appendix was located very low in my pelvis giving it some protection. The surgeon said it isn't all that uncommon in women to have their appendix located that low. And then she delivered the blow, the bit of information I've had in the back of my head the last 24 hours.

Had my appendix ruptured... Had I waited another day to be seen by a doctor... Not only could I have died, but most likely I would have lost the ability to ever have another child due to where my appendix was sitting in my body.

24 hours. Max. Thats how close I was to never carrying another child. To never even having the option.

In her pre-surgery rush, the surgeon said something about the amount of inflammation even affecting my fertility. Which is why I was so pissed that the surgeon never elaborated on that post-op until yesterday. For 2 weeks I've been sitting here worried that my fertility was affected - it terrified me, which is why I haven't wrote about it and why I haven't said anything. I had nothing to say until I knew.
The good news is that this should not affect my fertility. My appendix was removed, it didn't rupture, and the inflammation didn't affect my reproductive organs. The surgeon said I should have no problem having another child (granted there is nothing unrelated going on).

I can't help but think about the hours before my surgery - the hour before the CT to be exact. In order to avoid the barium enema, I opted to walk around the hospital with my lovely cocktail. Steve and I spent that hour talking about when to try for our next child, weighing the pros and cons of each month and deciding on a tentative date to start trying to conceive. We walked and talked unaware of the ticking time bomb in my pelvis that almost took away any chance to ever conceive another child.
Before I got pregnant with Caden I worried that I wouldn't be able to have a child, but I think that is a common fear. After I took that pregnancy test a wave of relief passed over me. I always assumed I'd not worry about it again, but after I had Caden that familiar fear of "what if I can't have another" came. While that thought is there, it is just a thought. And until all of this, I never truly realized just how much I, and so many others, take our fertility for granted.

I am just so grateful that in my case, this is all just a scenario. Luckily its only a "what if I didn't see a doctor as I decided not to do so many times before". I debated for hours on going to the doctor this time - but I did go, and I am only left with what if. And I am so thankful for that.

Since my surgery Steve and I have visited the thought of trying for our second briefly, some days I think lets stick with the original plan, in others I think lets wait longer (we're not trying now or in the immediate future). The new round of hospital bills obviously factor into things, but more so its the thought of health. I'm terrified of another complicated pregnancy, of another 4 months of bed rest. I've had a hard enough time being away from Caden during the day for the past 2 weeks. Then there is the issue of just being healthy - for the first time in seven years I don't have to worry about those stomach aches, I don't have to worry about another flare up. And I really just get to be healthy. And I wouldn't mind enjoying that for a while.
But then there is the news yesterday, and learning that our decisions of future children were almost decided for us. And the reminder that nothing is promised, not even tomorrow... no matter how much we plan or discuss, anything can happen.

What I know, and Steve knows, and we've known all along - is that when the time is right we'll know. A decision doesn't have to be made today, we don't have to stick with what we decided yesterday, and tomorrow anything can happen.

In a previous entry I mentioned one of my 2008 resolutions. Another one was to stop planning and start living in today, each day and every day. I know that isn't entirely possible, not to plan at all, but we can all stand to live a little more for today. After all - yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn't promised, and all we really have is now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Puppy Love

Yesterday our sweet little Beagle was spayed. In hindsight, we probably should have rescheduled her surgery after I had to have mine. I've spayed three cats (not literally of course), but as it turns out a puppy is a completely different ball game.

Ellie is definitely a beagle when it comes to separation anxiety - she has to be with her mommy at all times. She follows me around, cuddles up with me, and whines if I so much as walk out the door to get the mail. I thought this might work to our advantage since we could both slug it on the couch and recover together. I was wrong! Ellie can't jump up or down off the couch so every time I sit down I have to lift her to the couch and every time I get up or she wants a drink of water I have to lift her down. She was licking her stitches and I really don't want to risk her incision getting infected so I put the little doggie lamp shade around her collar. That thing annoys me more than it does her. Ellie insists on snuggling right up to me so I'm constantly being assaulted with that stupid plastic cone – it is currently digging into my neck as Ellie insisted on resting her head on my shoulder.

She doesn't fit too well in her crate with the cone on so we were going to just put the baby gate up and let her stay in the kitchen. We knew this was going to result in a night filled with barking and I felt bad for her so I decided I'd sleep on the couch with her last night. Bad idea. I didn't sleep well at all - the couch was hardly big enough for me, the dog, and the cone. To top it off Ellie wanted to lay her head by mine so I was constantly being slapped in the face with the plastic cone. Tonight we'll try the kitchen and cross her fingers because I'm not doing that again.

Otherwise, Ellie is doing great. She is already feeling much better and wanting to run and play so its been fun trying to keep her resting. She goes back in 10 days to have her stitches out. I can't wait to get rid of that damn cone!

In other happenings I've been learning how to use my cricut more - I love that machine! I've also discovered a love for making my own cards and started working on that. So far I've only really made thank you cards to send to everyone who has helped us out during my hospitalization and recovery, but I am very happy with how they turned out. Of course this has lead to me making several purchases, which is a no-no, but I think I'm set for a while. I just need to get some solid color cardstock. One of my 2008 resolutions was to be better with money and the steady flow of medical bills we are expecting makes that resolution all the more important - and all the more necessary.

I've also been inspired to do a makeover of my craft room/office. Originally this involved repainting but knowing that this room will eventually become a nursery and thus be painted again, I've decided to work with what I have. Seeing that I can't just go and blow several hundred to a thousand dollars + on all the things I want for the room, this make over is going to take some time and creativity. And to be honest, I'm excited to see what I can do without blowing a ton of money.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Seven years

So I haven't kept up with my blog as I hoped I would, and given the recent events in my life I really have no excuse.

For the past several years I have been plagued with nasty stomach aches. They would come on suddenly, I'd wallow in bed for about 2 days, and then they would go. Nothing I did and nothing I took helped them. After the first attack I saw a doctor who told me in a hurry, as I was crammed in between patients, that I had GERD. I researched it on my own and knew that wasn't what I had, but I had no desire to go back and be told the same thing. So for the past 7 years I've dealt with each attack and moved on. My biggest issue with the nasty tummy aches was that I started to worry people either thought I was full of shit (figuratively and literally) or was just being a big baby. I tried logging my food and keeping a diary to see if I could pinpoint what brought the attacks on, but nothing was ever the same and they seemed to attack at random.

When I got pregnant with Caden, the tummy aches stopped for the most part. After I gave birth, I feared them. For the past year I've been dreading the next attack because I knew a day or two of lying in bed was no longer an option. Every upset stomach, every bout of gas, every twinge sent me into an inner panic that this was it, the attack I'd been dreading since the day Caden was born. I didn't know how I'd manage through that pain and still take care of my son.

Last Monday my fears were realized when that afternoon the familiar pain in the center of my stomach returned. I tried everything to get rid of it but this time the pain was here to stay. I suffered through the day, put Caden to bed, and collapsed into bed. I woke up at 3am unable to sleep and headed to the couch. My tears soon woke Steve and he offered to go to the store to buy me a heating pad (ours had gone missing) in hopes it might help - it didn't but eventually I did manage to fall back asleep.

To my surprise, the pain subsided over the course of the morning on Tuesday. Instead of being all over, the pain localized to the lower right part of my abdomen and eased up. However, something was new this time - now that area of my stomach was rather tender to the touch. I turned to he who is there for all in their time of need - Google. Symptom checker after symptom checker kept bringing up the same "diagnosis": Appendicitis. No, I thought. I wasn't in nearly enough pain and I had been in this pain before. When I finally started to run a low grade fever of 99.9F I decided that I would head in to the doctor and I called Steve to take me at 4:50pm (I didn't feel safe driving with Caden in the car incase the nasty pain came back). I was sure that the doctor would call me a hypochondriac and send me on my way.

By the time we made it to the doctor's office I was feeling fine - unless I stepped heavy or pressed on my tummy. We joked with the doctor and he gave me an exam and interestingly enough, even when he pressed on my left side, it hurt on the right. He told me that the almighty google was correct, the symptoms pointed to appendicitis but there was only 2 ways to really know for sure - a finger inserted up my behind, or a CT involving rectal contrast. He said he was hesitant because most people with appendicitis were in a lot more pain than I was in so he left it up to me... head to the hospital for a barium enema or we'd just do a blood test to check my white blood cell count and go from there. I decided to go with the blood test and give my word that if the pain returned I'd head to the ER. While they symptoms fit, I was simply not presenting as a typical appendicitis case.

Wednesday morning came and I felt great. The pain was still there if I stomped or if I touched my tummy, but the fever was gone and all was well. I was wanting to work out since I wasn't feeling up to it on Monday and Tuesday but I figured I'd wait until the doctor called to tell me my white blood cell count was normal just to be safe. I told Steve not to worry about coming home since I was feeling much better. The doctor called around 11am and I told him I felt great! "Really? Are you sure?". Yes, yes I am! No need to stick anything up my ass today, Doc!
Sadly, that was not the case. My white blood cell count was rather high and I was told to go to the hospital right then and not to eat or drink anything until after the CT. When the receptionist called a few minutes later and was being extremely kind to me, I knew it was a little more serious than I first thought. I called Steve and he headed for home and my Dad came to watch Caden. I showered and we were off.

We get to the hospital and called into the waiting room for the CT. The nurse asks to speak to me in private and in a hushed whisper said "you know this involves a rectal enema".
"but my doctor said we could try to avoid that!!"
The nurse said in most emergency STAT CTs the patient is in too much pain to walk, but seeing as I felt fine they allowed me to drink a lovely cocktail while walking instead. Steve and I circled the hospital for an hour and talked. It was actually pretty nice to get to just hang out together like that. Before long the hour was up and it was time to get a picture of my insides. Steve and I were both sure that I'd be told it was nothing and we'd be home in time for dinner.

Because my CT order was marked as an emergency, we were require to stay and wait for the results. We were told to expect to wait about an hour as it often took time communicating between the hospital radiologist and my Doctor's office. I was pleased when after only 15mintues the phone rang in the waiting room and it was for me.

"You have acute appendicitis and you're being admitted. Someone will be down shortly to bring you to your room."

Um, okay. I made the phone calls to my parents to let them know what was going on, sent off a few text messages, sent Steve for my laptop, and I waited. Finally a nice gentleman shows up with a wheelchair - Lovely. I wasn't even allowed to walk! I assumed I'd be admitted and a doctor would come tell me what was going on, possible surgery in the morning. I get to my room and through a series of questions and a flurry of nurse activity I realize that I'm having surgery now - as in as soon as I get the hospital gown on. I insisted on speaking to a doctor first but I'm not even going to get into all that now.

Before I know it I'm in pre-op getting pumped full of funky drugs that knocked me out before it was even time to move into the operating room.

An hour or two later I wake up in a drug induced haze with a sore throat from hell - I was unaware that they intubate under general anesthesia. My appendix was now gone.

I ended up spending about 2 days in the hospital and was released on Friday. I am so lucky to have such awesome family and friends who helped us out with Caden during all of this and to them I'm so very grateful and thankful. I've been recovering at home and not surprisingly did manage to over do it a bit, so I've been making it a point to rest more, which really helps. The hardest part of all of this is that my little man is a pretty big boy and I am unable to lift him - I did try and I did regret it. But thanks to my awesome family and friends, everyone has been helping us out during the day to make sure he is taken care of and I am able to rest. Hopefully soon everything will be back to normal.

The positive in all of this is that I should never have to fear the tummy ache from hell again. As I suspected, I have not been suffering from GERD the last 7 years, but recurrent appendicitis. As it turns out the body can heal itself from appendicitis at times, but often, as with myself, the appendicitis reoccurs until eventually it gets to the point you head to the doctor and they rip it from your abdomen. My doctor even looked at the notes from my appointment 7 years ago and even he said that I never should have been diagnosed as GERD.
Recovery hasn't been terrible with the exception of not being able to fully interact and care for my son. Of course when not in pain I've over done it but after dealing with an increase in the ouchies, I've learned my lesson. I am just so extremely happy and relieved that after 7 years, I don't have to deal with that bullshit stomach ache attacking at random anymore.

I told you it wasn't GERD, and I wasn't full of shit ;)

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