Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quick update on digestive issues

Didn't wanna leave anyone out there wondering, just because I'm supposed to be on a break.

Got my biopsy, bloodwork, and other test results today.

Basically... I'm fine.

He said the EGD showed serious irritation in my stomach, but all the biopsies came back negative. Meaning, no cancer, no infection, no virus, no Crohn's disease, no celiac disease, and no evidence of any food allergies. Bloodwork showed all enzyme levels normal.

So he's declaring it a variant of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and basically told me that I should take my new medication to control the symptoms. Twice daily. For the rest of my life.

I'm not exactly satisfied with that answer.

Meaning, I had to hold back the tears.

Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful to be told that there's nothing wrong with me. It's just that... clearly something is wrong.

And, while I certainly appreciate and value what modern medicine can do for us, I already feel like I'm taking too many medications, and would really prefer not to be taking a medication for the rest of my life just because they can't figure out what's wrong. It's one thing if they can pinpoint a diagnosis. But to drug myself permanently to treat symptoms? I'm not really into that.

My sister has suggested I see if my insurance will cover a second opinion, and I suppose she's right, so I need to look into that.

In the meantime, dear readers, I ask for your help. I know several of you are familiar with homeopathic / natural healing sorts of things. If you have any resources that you would personally recommend, I would appreciate it. Yeah, I know I could google it, but I would have no idea which references to trust or not. So instead I'm trusting your recommendations.

There's my quick update. And a big Thank You to ya'll for your support thru this, and a Thank You in advance for any references ya'll can provide.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Re-focusing... my self

I've decided to take a break, of sorts, from writing on my blog.

I will also be greatly limiting my other internet interactions (facebook, twitter, message boards, etc) at the same time.

Not a total break, but a self-imposed significant restriction on those items.

Why, you ask?

Well, the word "image" has been brought into my attention over the past year or so, first at such great intervals so as not to really notice, but lately with greater and greater frequency.

And I have been struggling internally because, on a related note, I often feel like my image doesn't reflect who I am.

And that fact was thrown in my face brought to my attention very clearly recently on a message board. The member's response to my post not only assessed my actions, but touched on her assessment of me. And while I disagree with her assessment, I own it.I would like to state that again.

I take ownership of her assessment of me.

Why? Because the image others have of ourselves, their assessments of us as people, they can only base on what we put out there.

Oh sure, they combine what we put out there with their own experiences, their own baggage, and roll it it all up into their image of us, but... at least 90% of it we have to own, because it's what we have shown.

So while I disagreed with her approach, I never refuted what she said. But I have given it the situation a lot of thought, and how it fits into my journey. It's something I was already thinking about, already trying to improve upon.

In fact, a major catalyst for my Spread the Happy posts was, well, not so much intended to change my image, as it was to help me change my mindset and what I am putting out there.

This past weekend I attended our church's Women's Retreat. Friday night the speaker spoke on... you guessed it... image.

Okay, she never actually used that word. But her message was based on this verse:

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:..."    -- Proverbs 23:7a

and she used this picture for illustration:


source
 And her whole message revolved around how we see ourselves versus how we truly are versus what the world sees versus what God sees.

And somewhere during her message, it hit me. I need to stop. Just stop. I need to stop putting things out into the world, until I get my internal self in order. And the fact is, I'm just not there yet.

I'm working on it. I'm greatly improved, but... not there.

And as much as I enjoy writing thru my journey, and as therapeutic as I find it, and as much wonderful support as I have gotten from my readers... I need to take a break.

I don't know for how long. And it won't be a 100% total break. And most likely I will still be writing, just not posting. Yet. Because the writing is so therapeutic for me.

And then when I am ready to post those musings, I can read & re-read and re-read again, and decide if they are truly reflective of my self.

If the image truly reflects the person.

Because right now, I don't think it does. Not totally.

I hope ya'll will stick around. I do plan to be back. But if God leads me in another direction, I'll be sure to let you know. But for now... I do plan to be back.

Take care, and, as always... thanks for checking in.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My favorite room in the house (for now)




Oh sure, it still needs curtains, and wall decor, but... it is the most "done" room in our house. And it's beautiful.

And it looks out over our lovely backyard.

And yes, I splurge on fresh flowers for the table weekly, just because they make me happy.

What's your favorite room?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My First Colonoscopy

** warning: this post contains descriptions of bodily functions & body parts. Some readers may find it uncomfortable to read further **

Well... ends up, among the very few IRL folks who knew I was having this procedure done, most of them had a lot of questions. I suppose being a thirty-something year old woman having a procedure that most of them apparently thought was more well-suited for elderly men made me something of an oddity.

And the object of their curiosity.

So... I thought some of ya'll might be wondering too.

And... I'm hoping it might ease some fears out there, and maybe get someone to the doctor for this early-detection test, before it's too late.

So, what's my take?

It ain't that bad.

Honestly, the worst part was drinking the prep solution. Yuck! I honestly think that was the worst part of the whole thing.

My tests were on a Monday afternoon, so all day Sunday I was on a clear liquid diet*. That evening I took the prep. It took me 15 minutes to get it down. Sixteen ounces of nasty I tell ya.

And then... I waited.

The first time I felt something, I ran for the bathroom. It was gas.

Second time.... gas again.

Third time... still just gas.

But the fourth time? Jackpot.

I was on the toilet for 55 minutes. No lie.

And I will warn you, that stuff stinks. Like no other.

Have you ever seen those infomercials, trying to sell you a colon cleanse, telling you how that stuff has been sitting in your body for months?

I might believe it after that smell. Seriously. So bad. But only the first few times. Then it's practically odorless. Which is interesting, in & of itself.

Anywho... I exhausted the supply of reading material in our bathroom in no time, and asked FireMan to bring me my laptop.

He complied, and I propped my feet on FireGirl's training potty, and proceeded to Facebook (I swear, it's the only time I've laptopped from the bathroom, promise).

But... my legs soon fell asleep being in that position, so... the laptop had to go.

The worst part about being stuck on the toilet? Besides, you know, being stuck on the toilet? Well, that and my legs falling asleep because I tried to laptop in there? I was B-O-R-E-D. I highly recommed stocking up on reading materials beforehand. I was not prepared.

But honestly... the action... itself, wasn't bad at all.

It's not like when you're sick. You don't feel bad in your stomach, there's no cramping, no pain... it just comes out.

I was very relieved at how easy it was.

Seriously.

Maybe I'm a little biased because I've been dealing with random bouts of diarrhea for the past five months (you know, why I was having the procedure in the first place), but this was a piece of cake. It's not like being sick at all. It's just boring.

That... and tiring. Having not eaten all day, and then voiding yourself of whatever might have been left in your digestive system... my body was worn out. No energy at all.

If you have children, I highly recommend finding a sitter for the night (thanks Mom & Dad!). I also recommend no plans other than lounging on the couch in front of the boob tube.

Honestly, after the first round of... emptying... I didn't even have the energy to get on the laptop. I sat on the couch, catching up on my Netflix, pausing it about every 15 min or so for a potty break. Sometimes more frequently, sometimes less, gradually less... and less...

That went on for about three hours.

It is exhausting. But really... not bad. Not as bad as you'd think.

Went to bed about five hours after taking the prep. By then what was coming out was clear, and it was about 45 min between episodes. So I went to bed.

I usually get up at least once during the night to pee anyway, and when I did that, I had to do something else too. Other than that, I slept the entire night.

I had to set my alarm the next morning, to make sure I was up in time to take my 2nd dose of the prep.

Yep, they make you drink that yucky stuff twice.

This time, the resulting "action" is even easier. There's just not much left in there, you know? Although... surprisingly more than I thought there'd be...

Still trying to figure out how you go from clear at night, to brown in the morning....

Anywho... still on a clear liquid diet, but rested from my night of sleep, I managed to fold one load of laundry before running out of energy. And so I resumed my position on the couch. I could've fallen asleep, if I weren't running for the potty every so often.

About an hour before I had to leave I started getting an itsy bitsy hemorrhoid, but to be fair, I had just had one the week prior from all the pooping I was doing from my illness (or whatever), so... that may or may not be normal.

Time to head out for my appointment, and I decide to take my mother's advice and put one of FireGirl's diapers in my undies.

Since we had to be there at 1:45pm for a 2:45pm appointment, FireMan wanted to hit McDonald's up for his lunch, so we stopped there. He got his food to go, while I visited the bathroom.

If it weren't for that pit stop, I probably would've needed the diaper.

Mental note - borrow a diaper from someone, buy some Depends, or stuff an old towel in your shorts. Seriously.

Got to the office, signed in, went to the bathroom. Came back out & waited for them to call me up. They got my info, gave us some after-care instructions, and we waited for the nurse.

Now, since I was having a colonscopy, EGD, and multiple biopsies, mine might get a little different from the routine colonscopy here, but not by much.

They called me back, weighed me (seriously, liquid diet for 2 days & pooping my brains out, and only lost 2 lbs?!? are you kidding me?!?), and I went to the bathroom. Again. They put me in a hospital gown & booties, I got two hospital-y bracelets, they took my vitals, started my IV, and brought me a blanket. Then they brought FireMan back.

Somewhere in there, I had to poop. Bad. Couldn't find my nurse, so I ended up pulling the call string. A different nurse came running. I felt kinda bad when I told her I just had to poop, but had my IV in, and she just smiled and said that they hear that a lot there, before grabbing my IV bag & helping me to the bathroom.

I pooped one last time.

Got back to my bed and after just a few more minutes they wheeled me in to the procedure room.

The nurse took all my vitals again, had me roll onto my left side, then the doctor came in. We chatted for a second, then they started the anesthesia.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Next thing I know I'm back in my bed and they're telling me to wake up and I'm yelling at them that I'm tired. Well, I was trying to yell at them, but FireMan said it was barely a mumble because I kept falling back asleep.

I do a little too well on the anesthesia, I think.

Apparently FireMan got me into the car & drove me home, because I slept on the couch until... sometime later, when I remember my parents bringing FireGirl home. I ate some Arby's in there somewhere too, but I don't really remember it, I just know the empty bag was there the next day. And then I fell asleep again.

I slept for about four hours at home, then nine hours overnight, and still had a hard time waking up the next morning, was groggy the entire day at work, and ready to fall asleep at any moment even into the evening.

Seriously, I do really well on anesthesia.

My throat hurt a bit from the EGD, but just minor discomfort that went away by evening.

And... to answer the question asked most frequently... no, my butt did not hurt. Not one bit. Honestly, would never know they'd been in there, if they didn't tell me. And I have a funny feeling they don't lie about stuff like that.

I'd like to repeat that: my butt did not hurt.
It did not feel weird. I did not feel violated in any way.

My annual gyno visit is way more invasive. Seriously.

Now, if you happen to be age 50 or older, and have not yet had a colonoscopy, or it has been more than 10 years since your last: GO! It's not that bad. My butt didn't even hurt.

If, like I do, you have a family history of colorectal cancer and/or colon polyps, and have never had a colonoscopy, talk to your family doctor about when to start, and how frequently to get them.

I'm good for another five years.

GO! It's not that bad. My butt didn't even hurt.

Sorry. I was asked so many times if my butt hurt, that now I just think it sounds funny to say that.

My butt didn't hurt!

Now, go!



* instructions vary per each specific test given, follow your doctor's instructions exactly

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yard Sale Score


Spent half a Saturday yard-saling, topped it off with a stop at the Farmers' Market, and scored some great deals!

Got the entire lot above, plus some edible goods that aren't shown, for around $50.

Here's the list:

- stand up clock
- Thanksgiving salt & pepper shakers
- toy firetruck
- large mirror
- pumpkin decoration
- Barbie piano
- seven packages of paper kids' cups (Easter, Thanksgiving, and firefighter)
- toy truck
- pair of work shoes (me)
- two packages of gift bows
- preschool workbook
- five packages of Thanksgiving napkins
- two pairs of shoes (FireGirl)
- complete firefighter play set
- cleaning brush
- shirt (FireGirl)
- three pairs of jeans (FireGirl)

- dozen made-from-scratch chocolate chip cookies
- two hot dogs, one soda, two bottles of water

checking out the firefighter play set


yep, it has it's own pack

Mommy! Watch me play piano!

I probably could've done better on some of the items, but I'm not much of a haggler, to be honest. Still... I'm pretty pleased.

The clock & the mirror I got as projects. I like them... just not "as is". So... when I find time... (ha!)

I'll try to remember to post before & after pics. Well, maybe only if they turn out well            =)

As always... Thanks for checking in!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Spread the Happy

Spread the Happy


Okay everyone. Spread the happy. Grab the button. Play along. Spread the happy.

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I am so happy I finally figured out what FireGirl needs from me in order for prechool drop-offs to go more smoothly. It makes mornings much easier!
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I am happy that we're making some progress on our home renovations. Slowly, but we'll get there. One day. And when that day is here, I know it'll all be worth it.

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I am soooooooooooooo happy for my cousin, who recently married her Prince Charming.

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I am overcome with happiness for my friend, who is pregnant after struggling for years with infertility.

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I am happy my GE tests are over, and that preliminary results seem good.
I'll fill ya'll in on the details once final results are in, 'kay?

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I'm happy I have a supervisor who believes in me and stands up for me, even against other managers, even when he's outnumbered. Priceless.

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And a few of my favorite blog postings from the past week or so:

The Toothbrush Elimination Project
because it screams OCD, like maybe worse than mine
"The Bad Kid"
because even though I try really hard not to judge other parents, I would have judged this too

Where to Begin
because it's love

Early Morning House Fire
because it reminds me...

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What's making you happy?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tubby the Toad


This is Tubby.

Tubby lives... well, we're not quite sure where he lives, but he visits us every evening on our back deck. He sits right up against the French doors, smart enough to use the side that we don't, and cathes bugs.

He's quite smart, that Tubby the Toad.

I mean, no other toad has figured out that all the bugs are attracted to our lights, and so sitting on our back deck is a prime spot to grab some dinner.

Or... perhaps they have, but maybe they weren't smart enough to stay right up against the house, where the dogs can't get them.

And, like I mentioned, Tubby stays to the side of the French doors that we don't use, never bothered by our comings or goings.

Yes, Tubby is quite smart.

He's been coming to our deck for dinner for months now, yet it's only been a few weeks that he's had a name.

I remember it well: the night I watched him eat a wolf spider.

It was quite impressive. Like an episode of National Geographic unfolding before my eyes.

And then, right then, I decided he was our toad. Any toad that eliminates wolf spiders for us, deserves to be called "ours".

His round belly full of relatively large (compared to him) wolf spider, Tubby seemed a suitable nomenclature.

So yes, Tubby the Toad it shall be.

The past week his visits have been less frequent, I am assuming the change due to the slight chill that's been in the air. A reminder that he will not visit every night, for very much longer. And that it won't be long till we may never see him again.

FireMan & I have gotten used to his presence. We look for it going out the back door to feed the dogs, take out the trash, or tend to other items.

And yes, occasionally just to see if Tubby is there.

FireGirl has never seen him, as Tubby's arrival time is far past her bedtime.

But FireMan & I... I dare say we shall miss our little friend, our Tubby the Toad.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"It's always worth it"

One summer night, not long ago, we finally pulled into the driveway right about dusk, after eating dinner and then grocery shopping before eventually coming home.

And Jena spotted them immediately. The "flashing bugs" (really, isn't that much more accurate than lightening bugs anyway?)

She asked if she could catch one.

My body slumped, I sighed silently. We were already way late getting home. She needed a bath. And it was a weeknight, meaning if I had any chance of her waking up in time in the morning and her not being a complete grumpy butt, we needed to get inside and start the nighttime routine, like five minutes ago.

And then I looked at her face. She was so excited at the prospect of being able to catch a flashing bug. The anticipation of the joy that little insect would bring was billboarded across her little face.

And at that exact same moment, Kelle Hampton's words from a blog post that really touched me came back to haunt me (it wasn't the first time, it wouldn't be the last): "It's always worth it."

"Of course we can catch some flashing bugs."

I got her out of the car and set her on her way under the watchful eyes of our dogs as I carried items into the house.

In & out I went, several times, smiling as I watched her meander her way through our expanse of a front yard, following the path of the flashing bugs.

After what seemed like too long about five minutes I was done unloading the car, and went outside, just to watch.

She walked, and pranced, and I swear sometimes danced, and followed one bug all the way down to the edge of the woods. It was the farthest she had ever been away from a grown-up while exploring our property. But I didn't move. I had full view of her, she was perfectly safe.

Although Buddy did become quite nervous at her being so far away, and left my side to go to "work", watching his charge. {{sigh}} I love the dog that protects my child.

Anyway, Jason pulled into the driveway soon after, which brought a squealing Jena running up from the edge of the woods.

She never caught a flashing bug.

I managed to catch one close to the house, but before I could transfer it to her hand, it flew away, higher than any of us could reach.

We went inside, and started our nighttime routine. Very, very late.

She got to bed late that night. And awoke cranky the next morning. And I was certainly exhausted.

But, oh... the joy of watching my daughter chase flashing bugs on a perfect summer evening....

Yep. It's always worth it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

If I could mother a million babies...

... I would adopt them all.

I saved this link as something to write to my readers about. But what to say still escapes me. So maybe it is enough just to share the story.

Despite Rapid Growth, India Lets Its Girls Die

Saturday, August 13, 2011

PPD related: Yeah, I recognize(d) this in me

I came across this posting a while back about indecisiveness as a symptom of PPD.

It struck a chord.

I can be indecisive at times anyway, but I distinctly remember... not caring, not knowing, wanting, but not wanting, probably being a general pain in the butt to those around me.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), I also seem to remember being weak enough mentally & emotionally that, at least for a while, I just let everyone rule my life, accepted decisions, did as I was told.

It was enough for me just to make it thru the day. Making a decision and get thru the day? Geez! What more do you want from me?!?

I was fortunate enough to have those around me, mainly my husband and my mother, who I think saw this in me. Maybe they didn't realize it at the time, but they acted just how I needed them to... they told me what to do.

Sometimes I didn't like it. Sometimes I cried over it. Sometimes, it didn't seem fair. And sometimes I felt like I was losing control (duh, like I was in control anyway, right?)

Example? Sure. I only saw my Ob for PPD because my mommy told me to. I didn't think I had a problem. I thought it was normal "baby blues". But I was unable to make a decision, so mommy told me to make an appointment? Okay, I'll make an appointment.

See... sometimes it's a good things for others to take the reins in your life. As long as they are doing so with love, because there is a real need... this is why we need loved ones in our lives whom we trust. Because for each one of us there comes a time when we find ourselves relying on someone else, whether we realize it at the time or not.

Mostly... it was what I needed to happen, what our family needed to happen, so we could all get thru this period of time.

It's all a healing process, and reading that post, even now, nearly three years later, serves me. I didn't know why I was that way, other than that I knew I was weak in those moments. I had no idea that it could be a sign of PPD. No idea at all.

I didn't find that blog until after my treatment for PPD was through. But I still check it regularly. I love it because it's not your run-of-the-mill site, listing "usual" symptoms, telling you to talk to your Ob if you suspect you have it. It's written by real women, has links to real help, and resources for real families - all who have personal experience with Post Partum Depression.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Fragments


Mommy's Idea

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My sister texted me the other day asking what I knew about rabies. She tried to rescue a cat that apparently didn't want to be rescued.

The good news? There hasn't been a confirmed case of rabies in her area in over 15 years.

Animal control caught the cat and allowed it to be quarantined for 10 days in their home.

Except it ends up their pit bull, who had never seen a cat, did not do so well.

Sort of. Long story short, it wasn't safe for the cat. So now the cat is quarantining elsewhere.
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I've met with my neurosurgeon regarding my back issues. My MRI did show injury & degeneration to L4, but since my symptoms are more of an annoying nuisance right now (as opposed to debilitating), we're going to try an alternative treatment, in the way of an epidural injection, in the hopes of avoiding, or at least postponing, surgery. Fun
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I'd also like to have Lasik eye surgery sometime soon, but with all of the other medical things going on I'm kinda waiting to see.
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FireMan's business has been doing fairly steady work for nearly a year now. Nothing huge, but slow & steady work. Which is awesome.

He's picked up three new clients just in the past two months and I am super-proud of him!
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I still can't figure out why I can post comments on some Blogger blogs and not others.

Similarly I can't figure out why some of you can post comments on my blog, but others can't.

Yo, Blogger! Fix it already!
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Last week FireGirl started going to preschool early, in time to eat breakfast there. It's quite a change for both of us, being 90 minutes earlier than her previous drop-off time, but so far, so good. Her meltdowns aren't any worse than normal, so... I guess we're good.

And... what kicked me in the butt to get her there earlier - I found out that on Wednesdays they have dance class right after breakfast. So this whole time she was missing out on dance!

I knew they offered it, and finally asked the teacher because no one ever said anything. On Wednesdays a dance teacher comes in & dance class takes the place of their first physical activity (open gym, playground, etc) time.
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Speaking of dance class, we're probably going to enroll FireGirl in a dance or tumbling class after her 3rd birthday (which is coming up way too soon!).

Right now we're just thinking we'll start at the local YMCA and see how it goes before paying for a more specialized instructor.
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I really want to take a trip to Iowa and a trip to California this year, both to visit loved ones. But it's already August, we have a trip planned in October for our anniversary, another family trip planned in December, plus I have to figure out what's going on with me medically, so... I have no idea when I'll be able to go.

Which makes me sad.

Because I really want to go this year. Like... yesterday.
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My life has been too many peaks & valleys lately. Highs & lows. Joyously goods followed by enourmous frustrations. Incredibly busy wherever-will-I-find-time, followed by same-old-ness.

I don't like this many peaks & valleys together. Stresses me a bit. I'm more of a rolling hills kinda gal, I suppose.
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Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What are you trying to prove ??

A while back, Nota wrote a great post entitled Walking Away from the Proving Grounds.

I love this post.

Why? Because I think it's something every single one of us can relate to.

Oh, sure, Nota's post is specifically about running. And Lord knows I'm not a runner.

But as a young musician I once cancelled my audition for the conservatory the day before, because I realized I didn't need to prove myself to anyone.

While most people in my real life know that I play the trumpet, what relatively few know is that I used to be quite good.

I trained my entire junior high & high school years for a career in music. Classical music, specifically.

My family had limited no funds to really support my endeavour, so I saved my allowances to pay for private lessons. I bought my own books, did my own research. And practiced. I spent God-knows-how-many hours practicing in our basement. Lord, did I practice.

By all means I had nowhere near the book knowledge of classical music, music history, etc. as many of my student-colleagues. But I was good.

Quite frankly, I was darn good.

My teenage years I practiced daily, performed several times a month, and had the privilege to perform in several different states around the country.

I became known.

In certain circles, anyway.

You know, when you meet someone completely new, in a totally different, non-musical environment, and they cock their head and say "hey, aren't you that trumpet chick?"
Why yes, I am was.

I loved it. I loved music. I loved making music.

But I digress.

As I progressed, the natural normal society- and- education- imposed progress is to compete. In ensembles. By yourself. Against others. Against yourself.  You allow others to judge you. You allow experts to judge your performance.

You prove yourself. To the experts. To your colleagues. To yourself.

And that's what I did. And I did well at the competitions. Somewhere in my parents' home are the trophies and badges and ribbons to prove it.

But sometime during my senior year of high school, as I was desparately saving every penny (it was not uncommon for me to pay my tudor in change, bless his heart) to pay for lessons to prepare for my conservatory auditions... well, somewhere in there... I had an epiphany.

My audience loved my music.

Do you know, in marching band, I once had a woman tell me that my solo was so moving it made her cry? A chick in a marching band uniform standing on a football field played so beautifully it made her cry?!?

I was regularly told how people were moved to tears. That I gave them chills. That I was blessing them. That they were touched by my performance.

So why then... did I care... if some judge, any judge, any expert... thought I was good at all? Why did I care if I was marked down, yet again, for my embouchre, which was never what it "should" be? And really, why was I still seeking a career in music, if as an amateur, a teenager even, I could invoke such a reaction from my audience?

I fought a philosophical war with myself for weeks. This is what I had prepared my whole life to do. This was all I knew. If I didn't allow this judging to continue, and enter school for music... then... what would I do?!?

But I already had my answer. And when it came down to pressure time, the night before my audition, I called and cancelled.

After I graduated from high school, I stopped playing for two months. I never intended to stop altogether. Just needed a sabbatical, of sorts.

Eventually (and a long story of how it happened later), I joined my university marching band, and played to my heart's content.
And then basketball band. And then concert band.

And then I took so many music courses that by the time I graduated I was fairly close to having my minor in music.

But mostly, I just enjoyed being a band nerd.

Because I liked making music. And when it came to the music part of band, I no longer had anything to prove.

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So that's probably my biggest single story of walking away from the proving grounds. Of realizing that I don't always have to prove something.

There is balance in there though. I am not nearly the musician I was when I was proving myself to the world. And there is beauty in that achievement.

I think the most difficult part of any journey is finding that balance. Of proving yourself, and enjoying the moment, enjoying the accomplishment. Of jumping in when you're ready (and sometimes when you're not), and walking away when you sense that that part of your life is over.

We all prove ourselves in different ways. I still sometimes find myself struggling to prove myself as a wife & mother. Mostly to myself, but somewhat to others.

And with the variety of supervisors I've had at work lately, I've found myself in the unsavory position of having to re-prove myself in the workplace, repeatedly, over the past several months.

We all do it. It's part of life. And like any journey, sometimes it's about knowing when to get on the highway, and when to take that off-ramp to the next destination.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Sandals! Score!

And I didn't even pick them out!

FireMan needed some new shorts, so he headed off to the Gap Outlet. Before leaving, he asked what kind of shoes I'd been looking for for FireGirl, because I'd said that one of the other little girls at our church had some just like I wanted, and her mom said she'd gotten them from the Gap Outlet.

Brown sandals, I said. Just simple, but cute, brown sandals.

Wouldn't you know it, my man can shop!

Not only did he get his shorts, and not only did he find simple, cute brown sandals, but he also found some cute pink water sandals for FireGirl. Both pairs in the right size. Both cute.

And... the kicker?... if memory serves me, he paid less than $3 for each pair. Score!

This is the pic he sent me from his phone. After he had bought them, mind you.
I'm not gonna lie. I was pretty impressed that he picked out something so cute!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Spread the Happy

Spread the Happy


Okay everyone. Spread the happy. Grab the button. Play along. Spread the happy.

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I am so happy that we were blessed to be able to take a short family trip together two weekends ago. One night at a state park in Kentucky, but still. So very blessed for such a wonderful time.

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I am happy that my workload seems to be easing (somewhat) at work, and I'm actually making headway on some of my projects.

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I am happy to be a mom. And a wife. It's my joy in life.

most of the time - ha!

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I am thankful for good friends, who invite me over with my toddler, even though they don't have any kids of their own.

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I am thankful (and thus happy) that FireMan took FireGirl out of the house to run an errand the other night when I wasn't feeling well, having some more of my "digestive issues".
Just being able to deal with them without also dealing with a toddler, and then being able to lie down on the couch in peace, even if for just a bit, was soooooooo nice. Thank you FireMan!

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I am happy for our beautiful yard. Looking out thru the kitchen window early in the morning might just be my favorite view. I'll have to remember to take a pic and post it for ya.

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And a few of my favorite blog postings from the past week or so:

Someone Get Them a Dictionary
because it's funny

Honoring a Marriage that is Over
because it's real

Where I Confess about my Morning Routine
because it's... human. and because I can relate all too well

MODe(e)rn Boy's Room
because she's talented in ways that I am not... but wish I were

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What's making you happy?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Update, and a prayer request

I've mentioned in a couple of past posts how I've been having some "digestive issues" off & on since March. Well, my symptoms are getting more frequent, and worse. Well, sort of.

My family doctor put my on a prescription medication to control the symptoms until we can figure out what the cause is, but even with the medication (which I take as needed, so I don't even start until after the first... "episode") these episodes of illness are happening more frequently, and seem more severe. I can't imagine what they would be like without the medication.

Basically I'm sick for 2-3 days, then I'll have 3-5 days of feeling okay, then another 2-3 days of being sick.

And during these episodes eating anything makes me sick. I've literally run to the bathroom after eating a popsicle. A freakin' popsicle people. That was a bad day. (usually popsicles are my solace, as it makes me feel like I'm eating, but doesn't usually make me sick. usually)

When my ultrasound came back clear, my family doctor referred me to a gastroenterologist. I saw him a couple of weeks ago. After talking to me for a long time, asking me a ton of questions, inquiring about my family history & past medical history, and even having me call my mom from the exam room to ask her questions about my family history and my medical history as a child (he was definitly thorough), and doing a physical exam... he thinks he's narrowed it down to one of four possibilities:

- a severe bacterial infection of the digestive tract
- some condition I don't remember the name of, but you get after you have a virus (basically would mean that back in March I actually did have a virus, that resulted in this condition)
- Crohn's Disease
- Colon Cancer

The first three are based predominately on my symptoms, and a little bit on my past medical history.

The last one is based on my symptoms, combined with my family history. My maternal grandfather died from colon cancer, and several members of my family, on both sides, have a history of colon polyps. The GE said that considering my family history I really should have already been having colonoscopies regularly.

Hey - don't look at me. No one ever told me that before, and I always fill out my family history completely.
So next week I go in for some tests. They'll be knocking me out and simultaneously running two scopes: one two view my upper digestive tract, one to view my lower digestive tract (ie. my first colonoscopy). They'll also be taking multiple biopsies from various areas of my digestive system as well. And should they find any colon polyps those will be removed during the procedure.

So... why didn't I tell you right after my initila GE appt? (ie. why am I telling you now?)

For prayers.

The last two episodes I've had have been so... draining. And last night, as I was a prisoner in my bathroom yet again, instead of being able to go to bed like I wanted, I realized that I was being stupid. That I need help. That if I'm tired of being alone in this, then I need to ask to not be alone in this. That if I want prayers, I need to ask for them, I have to tell people what's going on.

 I had planned on waiting until we had the results of the tests to update you, especially because there's such a wide range of possibilities.
Bacterial infection? Take some antibiotics. Strong ones, sure. But get the right meds, you should be fine.
Cancer?... that's just a whole 'nother ball game.
And the other two in-between.

But I'm exhausted. I'm drained. I'm tired of nobody knowing. I'm tired of co-workers asking if I'm pregnant because I called in sick one morning, and then a day or so a week I'm running to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes, and have been missing work for multiple doctors' appointments over the past few months.
And, loyal readers, you know that just adds emotional insult to injury, right? Having to tell people that no, I am not in fact pregnant. And that invariably starts the when-are-you-guys-having-another-one, doesn't-FireGirl-need-a-little-brother-or-sister conversation.

Shoot me now. No wait. No time. I have to go to the bathroom again.

Anyway, I got tired of not telling people. I'm tired of no one knowing what's going on. I'm tired of being sick & tired and trying to hide it. I'm tired of being sick & tired and no one understanding, simply because I haven't shared. It's exhausting.

So, my dear readers, I am asking for your prayers. And if you're not the praying type, I'm asking for you to just know so that I can know you're out there wishing me well.

Thanks ya'll.

And I'll be sure to keep you updated.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Fat Butt


Well, it's been a while since I've done an update, hasn't it?

In my last update, I told you how I was below my pre-pregnancy weight. The weight loss has slowed, as expected, but I am happy to report that I am now at my next milestone, my wedding weight.

That... is exciting. To me, at least.

Part of me is totally tempted to rip into the storage preservation box and try on my wedding dress. But the larger part of me knows that it won't fit. I may weigh the same, but my shape is definitely different.

I've told you before about the extra skin I have around my belly from my pregnancy. It's still there. Probably will be unless until I have it surgically removed.

I'm also fairly certain that my breasts are bigger than they were when I got married. No complaints about that one.

Just that those two things mean that I am 99% sure that there's no way my wedding dress would fit.

But still. I'm at my wedding weight. A grand total of 51 lbs lost.

Mostly I've settled in to just watching my portions. I do try to eat more fruits & veggies, but quite frankly I don't find it that pleasant, so I still need to work on that.

And while I usually drink water anyway, lately I've made an effort to cut out caffeine when I do drink other beverages. Not a weight thing, per se. Just a health thing.

One thing I've noticed is that my tastes have changed. Not sure if this is because of the chemical changes in my body brought about by the drug therapy, or because of the changes I'd made to my diet, or maybe a combination of both.

Mostly, I can no longer tolerate as sweet of foods / drinks as I used to. I got a Mt. Dew a few weeks back, just because, remembering how much I used to love it, and about gagged on the sugary-ness of it. And even chocolate - I can't take too much chocolate without a glass of milk to balance out the sweetness. Oh, and cotton candy! We went to a festival and got cotton candy to share between the three of us. I needed a glass of water so badly!

In the past - and the not too distant past at that - I would have eaten the cotton candy with the Mt. Dew! Ha!

So that's about it for now. I'll keep you posted if there are any major developments or I meet another milestone.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

First Trip to Chuck-E-Cheese

FireGirl's, that is. Not mine.

I'd been several times before. All as a teenager with our church youth group. But whatever.

Anyway, one of Jena's friends had his birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese. So we went. It's safe to say she had a good time.


by far her favorite ride was the horse

Apparently putting the tokens in the machine is just as fun as playing the game

Took this pic just because I couldn't believe how big she looked next to the machine


playing Guitar Hero with Daddy

He was WAY more into it than she was

back in the saddle, again

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How I finally figured out I had Post Partum PTSD

I mentioned in my first PPD / PP PTSD post that while I had a doctor's diagnosis of PPD, I also eventually diagnosed myself with PP PTSD.

This took a while to figure out, because the primary symptom that I was experiencing, well, kept me from being able to know, being able to tell my obstetrician when I was seen for PPD at 4 weeks post partum.

You see, have huge gaping holes in my memory, primarily from the two days I was in labor, but also from the next few days in the hospital, and even in the months that followed.

I know, the reaction I usually get is "yeah, I forget a lot of stuff now that I'm older too", but... this is different. And I know it's very difficult to understand if you've never experienced it.

So, the day after FireGirl was born, I started hearing stories of things that happened during my labor. And I didn't remember any of them. By "didn't remember", I mean it didn't even sound familiar, and as far as I was concerned the person could have been making them up. We're talking things that I did, conversations that I had, major events that one should remember.

Of the 36 hours I was in labor, I can piece together maybe a grand total of 4 hours.

Even after looking at pictures, talking to FireMan & my mother, hearing the stories over & over... well, it's just like hearing a story. As far as my mind is concerned, it never happened.

Except that it did.

I didn't realize the seriousness of it until one day, months after FireGirl was born, when I said something to FireMan about how I couldn't believe they allowed me to make decisions, that I decided to forego the C-section, that I consented to the forceps delivery, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on & on. I told him that since I don't remember even having these conversations, I obviously was not in my right mind, and it was irresponsible of them to allow me to make those decisions, they should have had him, as my next of kin, be the one to make them.

I still remember the way he stared at me when I said that. And then he explained. There was no sign that anything was wrong, mentally. I was completely lucid, appeared clear of thought. I spoke clearly, I participated in conversations, I asked questions.

I was dumbfounded.

That was the moment that I realized it was more than me blocking some things out because of the pain I was in. More than just a defense mechanism.

I carried on clear, lucid conversations, made major medical decisions, and I remember none of it. Never did. Next day, it was like it never happened. For me.

There are huge gaps in my memory. There are numerous things from the first days of FireGirl's life that I only know because other people have told me, or because I've seen a picture.

As far as my mind is concerned, it's like they never even happened.

I can't stress that enough. It's not like when someone's telling you a story from your past, and you're like "I don't really remember, but it does kinda sound familiar, maybe", where there's at least the hint of knowledge of the event.

It's like it never even happened.

It's like someone is telling you a story about something you did, something in which you are the main character, and you are racking your brain to remember, but it doesn't even sound familiar at all, and then the person laughs and says "oh wait, that wasn't you! that was so-and-so! ha ha ha!"

Except it was you.
And then there are the flashbacks.

Last year, right about this time, a couple of months before FireGirl's 2nd birthday, I started having flashbacks to labor & delivery.

At the time, I thought it was the first occurrence of flashbacks. Until last month, when I stumbled across this post from 2009, where I talk about flashing back to my birthing experience and dealing with the trauma of it all.

I'd forgotten about my flashbacks.

Again, as if they'd never happened. How crazy is that?

So when there was no explanation for the memory loss & flashbacks, where else to turn, but Google?

And without fail, Google kept returning results of PTSD. Which made no sense to me, especially since not one of those sites mentioned giving birth, even a traumatic birthing experience, as a possible cause (although a few did mention "medical complications" as a cause).

I searched the internet for probably two months, looking for answers.

It was finally on another blog that I found talk of Post Partum PTSD.

And I cried.

There is something about feeling utterly alone, as if no one understands what you are going through that is... defeating, isolating, scary. So when you finally find that someone, anyone, knows what you're going thru... there is relief. An overwhelming sense of relief, a sense of not being alone, not being so scared, and not being so defeated.

I cried at not being alone in this anymore. I cried because someone else understood. I cried with relief.

And that, my dear readers, is one of the reasons that I write about everything that I do on this blog. Especially this. Because I know what it feels like to feel like you are the only one who possibly knows what you are going through. But I also know that we are on this journey together and someone else out there has experienced, or is experiencing, the same things I am. Or pretty darn close anyway.

And whether I get that sense of community, of not-being-aloneness, from them, or they get it from me... I believe it is good that we share what we have been through, what we are going through. There is strength in sharing. For ourselves. And for others.

Thanks for checking in.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My mommy. Her momma. My daughter.

'Cause girls rock. Very belated pics from Mothers' Day.
Mommy
My mom. She rocks. Hates having her picture taken (thus the candid shot). While I admit no one is perfect, she is as close to the embodiement of the righteous woman as I have ever seen.
I have a lot of her in me. But a lot of my dad too. I only hope that over time I grow into as awesome a woman as she is.

Grandma
My Grandma. Also hates having her picture taken. At 90 years old (looks pretty good for 90, doesn't she?) she has a legacy of love in the means of children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
I have come to the conclusion that it is her love for God and her love for family that have grown our family into the close-knit community that we are. I have yet to meet the extended family that has as much closeness, and tenderness, and love for one another as we do. And I credit her for this... awesomeness.

Daughter
My daughter. My love. My joy. My legacy. She made me a mom, and being a mom is the most satisfying role in life I have ever had. It is my calling. She fulfills my calling, simply by being.


And yes, that is that darn turtle. Thought I posted about it before, but now I can't find it. She's had him since she was six months old. Sucks on his tail. Last December she was addicted. Drove. Me. Nuts.

I broke her of it by introducing the paci. That's right, I intentionally gave my never-wanted-a-paci kid, a paci. Decided I was either a genius, or crazy.

Ends up, I'm a genius. Totally broke her addiction to the turtle. And she never became addicted to the paci.

Now she only gets him at night for bedtime. Unless she's sick (like two weeks ago). And on days when I know ahead of time she's not getting a nap (like Mothers' Day) we secretly bring him. A surprise visit from Mr. Turtle is sure to calm any meltdown. See pictures above for evidence.
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