Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I will probably keep him!

Y'all, (I can say that because I was born in Kentucky) I have been sicker than sick since Saturday. I went to the ENT on Friday and he checked me for every ears, nose and throat illness known to man while I was in there just to make sure I was okay. I woke up the next morning with the plague or something. Seriously, I think he did magic doctor voodoo on me so I would have to come see him again. Or, my real theory is that my immune system is completely trashed from all the stress I have been under and my body had to pay the price. Anyway, I rolled around on the bed or couch for 2 days until I could call my doctor to get an appointment only to find out I should have went to the ER for antibiotics on Saturday (I generally refused to go to the ER for non-emergencies you know). So my doctor had no sick appointments open even though my sweet husband called monday morning the second her office opened and I ended up in the ER for a stupid ear infection and laryngitis/pharyngitis (not only could I not talk but my throat was red and swollen and it gave me something similar to croup). Why would *I* go to the ER for antibiotics? Well again... I wouldn't but Illinois medicaid isn't accepted at convenient care so I couldn't go to a doc in the box. Hey stupid in debt Illinois... let people go to convenient care instead of the ER when they are sick... its CHEAPER. okay... really... end of rant (until we discuss the other issue I had with my doctor)...

So from Saturday until probably 10am this morning when I woke up, I had been practically useless. Fever, chills, sweating, could not function my ears hurt so bad (remember I get ear infections all the time and do nothing about them so this one was BAD), could not talk, coughing mess from the tickles in my aching throat. But my best buddy took care of me. Mr. Wonderful took care of the boys (including bathing them... he is pretty terrified of bathing slippery baby), did all the chores, made me soup, got me ice cream, picked up prescriptions, and gave my poor pathetic self hugs when I needed them. I am very proud of him. He was very selfless and sacrificial for me when I needed him to be. Seriously he ran around for almost 4 straight days making sure everything I do plus everything he does got done. He took off work the last 2 days but still worked on his fellowship proposal (which I forgot to proofread... oops) and did laundry and dishes and made phone calls because my man voice embarrassed me. So... I think I will keep him. The truth is, I am very thankful to spend life beside him. And he knows I am there like that for him too.

As for our PCP... I am not as thankful for her. I told you I would come back to it! So Kyle called today (remember I have a man voice) to schedule me an apt for tomorrow *48 hrs after seeing ER doctor* to be told she has no apts until monday and won't be in the office on friday. Seriously? I just need you to stick an otoscope in my ear and tell me if things are healing like they should be, it will take 3 seconds. I have decided she is basically useless and there needs to be more available PCPs for people on medicaid so we don't always have to use less than stellar medical professionals (that was a euphemism if I ever saw one). Thankfully not all medicaid doctors stink, my children have had good luck with pediatricians in Illinois (not so much in Indiana, 3 peds in 10 mos for Super Muscles). At any rate, difficult as they may sometimes be... I am thankful for insurance and for Augmentin because I am feeling much better already. Or UofI could try paying my husband enough money that would could afford decent insurance (that would also require the state to pay bills so I don't see that working out anytime soon either). Either change would be positive in my life. I plan to call my ENT tomorrow to see if I have better luck going that route. He probably needs to know what his doctor voodoo did to me ;) or that I am getting really bad ear infections right before ear surgery.

And sorry for the rambling... I am a little manic and still can't sleep through the tickle in my throat and coughing. But I am excited to be on the mend and needed something productive to do at 11:30 at night. Hopefully the rest of the week I will have the time to get everything ready for the boys' birthday party. Super Muscles is SO excited to see all his friends on Saturday. I reminded myself today that it doesn't all have to get done. They won't know either way so i will do what I can with the time I have left.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

CT results and processing

It has been one really rough week for me. I have been really focused about helping Slobber Rocket get his appointments squared away. Really, I have to try to get it mostly worked out next week but we have been approved by our insurance for the new ped. That is a fabulous step toward having him seen. I also have a good friend who helped me out a bit yesterday (she used to work as a pediatric dietitian and basically gave me some good perspective about it).

But yesterday was also my BIG ENT appointment where I went and saw/heard the results of my CT test. I had really tricked myself into believing I would go in and be told a tube would help but that is not at all the news I got. I am still trying to process it all but I think, as usual, laying it all out may help me.

So the short version is that I have "something" in my mastoid area of my ear. It is near the small bones (the anvil, hammer, and stirrup). Anyway, where there should be air, there isn't. Which means I need to have a pretty decent surgery to my ear to go in and clear whatever it is out. The basic procedure is called a mastoidectomy. Although since we have no clue if whatever is in my ear is infection, it may or may not be so simple and I may require 2 surgeries 4 months apart.

But the longer version is that the mastoid is this area near those 3 small  bones that is typically filled with air. Air shows up black on a CT. My left ear looks fine with air in all the right places but my right ear is covered in grey.

That is essentially what the inside of my head looks like. The left ear is normal (right side of the picture). All that black is air where air should be. The right ear is filled in with stuff. What stuff? Well I am not really sure. There are three main things it could be: fluid, infection of the mastoid, or a cyst that is growing. So far it seems to be located in my mastoid area and around those 3 small bones. The ct does not reveal the shape of my bones so essentially I have no clue what will happen to my hearing. Dr. Y said that we have to be okay with sacrificing some/possibly a decent amount of hearing in my right ear in order to make my ear what he would consider a "safe ear". Leaving any of these things in my head could result in me getting very ill.

*warning: probably not for squeamish people* So the basic idea is to go in through a cut behind my ear and my ear drum and get whatever he can out of my mastoid and reconstruct anything that is fixable. He said there is no way to know the extent of what is going on by the CT because it doesn't show "what" is wrong just that there isn't air where there should be air. If my ear is too damaged, he will fix what he can and go back in 4 mos later for another surgery (after everything has time to heal). After they get everything out of my ear, they will fashion a new ear drum for me out of a piece of skin behind my ear, suture me up and put a drain in. I will have a big bandaged for a few days and need to go back 1 day post op to have the drain removed and a week post op to check my stitches. I am very much hoping it will be outpatient and I will be able to go home the same day with lots of drugs to get sleep in my own bed. Everything I have read says that the surgery should last 2-3 hrs.

My surgery will be on Feb 23 (my nephews birthday). And also, I will have no clue what my hearing will or won't be like until well after my surgery most likely. And really I am not sure how long I will be down for all this. Hopefully not long. I can't imagine it being easy for me to let other people take care of my boys.

Please pray for me as I process all this information and go through the next 4 or so weeks before the surgery. All of the stress has seemed to struck my immune system down and I am quite sick today. Actually I might lie down and go to sleep.  Thanks for any prayers and positive thoughts.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


My sweet boy a few weeks ago in his infant carrier.

I think for lots of people worry is a persistent nuisance. If it isn't one thing its another. If it isn't one relationship, it is another. I have been pretty open about the fact that I struggle a lot with anxiety. It started getting bad in high school until, in college, I was regularly having panic attacks and was unable to sleep or function. I bailed on many many of my classes my freshman year because I was too depressed and tired to go to class. Not only was I processing a lot of my past, I was also worried about my future and not sleeping well. It all mixed together and proved to be a pretty toxic combination for me and my mental health. I went to counseling and tried medications and I mostly do much better now. I have pretty well learned to focus on what I can control and let go of what I can't control. Let the hurt heal and focus on the positive.

But sometimes I fall very much into the trap of worrying beyond what is healthy. It is the kind of worry that makes your stomach hurt for a week and makes you not want to eat because you just feel queasy (but eat I do, I am nurturing a little person so I force myself to eat well). And it all hinges on that little boy that I eat well for. What is wrong with him? That is all I have been thinking about now for quite a while. What is going on in his tiny little body and what can I do to help him? Is there anything I can do? Why has he only gained 11 oz in 6 months? Why is he still the size of a 6 mos old? Why does he still fit into his infant carrier with the straps on the lowest setting? Why can I carry him around in that thing like he is only 6 mos old? Why hasn't he grown the typical 10 inches most kids grow in their first year of life? He is very nearly a year old. And the comments drive me crazy. I have tried not to worry about him for so long. Because honestly he is smart and sweet and learning new games and tricks and words. He is very mobile and has good dexterity. But he just is not growing. And now, after thinking for a long time that he would eventually really start growing, I am worried. Worried about tests, worried about health, worried about what this all means for him. Praying it is simple and easy to fix. Fearing it is neither of those things. I have a (nearly) 1 yr old that weighs 16 lbs 12 oz. I know he eats well. I know he nurses often. I know hes getting calories. What I don't know... is why those calories aren't making him grow. And I feel like if I don't talk about it, the worry is going to drive me mad. So, I am sharing how I feel with the hopes that getting it out will calm my mind and help me focus on what needs to be done.

But he is such a blessing and fun little person in our lives. He kisses my face constantly and plays with my hair when he nurses. He is very very stubborn in many ways and will shake his head NO if he doesn't want something or want to do something. And if that head starts shaking, I might as well hang it up because he is not going to give in. And he throws his arms up in the air to be carried around (on his perch) anytime he sees me or his dad. I am in love with this boy and worry is not going to paralyze me from enjoying him.

I am working on trusting and leaving the fear behind.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help Haiti

I am sure everyone knows about the earthquake that shook Haiti on Tuesday by now. I encourage everyone to find a way to help if you can. Pray for these people. There are so many mothers looking for their children and new orphans because of this. Pray that men and women around the world will adopt these precious children left without families. Pray that food, water, medication and shelter find their way to Haiti to sustain the people who now have nothing left.

And if you can find a way to donate. There are many many awesome organizations collecting money for the relief efforts:
Compassion International
The American Red Cross
Samaritan's Purse (this is the organization we do the Operation Christmas Child through)

These are just a few places. There are so many organizations taking donations. These donations will go straight to providing people with food, water and shelter and eventually help them rebuild their cities and homes.

If you look around online you can find many many blogs who are setting up ways to help as well. Raffles, clicking on their website and they will donate a certain bit of money, leave a comment and they will donate.

A few examples: CF Husband, Kelly's Korner, Hope for Haiti

You can also text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 through the Red Cross. This will be added to your next cell phone bill. Or text "disaster" to 90999 to donate $10 through Compassion

And you can be creative and come up with your own fantastic way to earn money to donate to Haitians who desperately need the hope that rebuilding can bring.

My heart is just broken for these people. I want to wrap my arms around every hurting person who can't find a family member or who has lost their home and most treasured things. I wish I could find new homes for all of the children who are going to need a family. "God brings beauty from ashes",... that has been a motto of late for me and many of my friends. I am praying that some of the beauty brought from this will be exhibited in our kindness upon a suffering nation. I often say that I don't "get" suffering at all but I "get" helping and the impact that it has on people. If we all find our way to help, it will make a huge dent in the rebuilding effort and it WILL create hope in a seemingly hopeless situation.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year, New Goals

The beginning of the year always seems to be a time of reflection and a time to see how you screwed up last year and what you did well.

And I admit, I did mess some stuff up. I could have kept my house cleaner and found more balance between responsibilities and fun. Me and my family life fun a lot more that responsibility. So much so that i can go a while before I do laundry or a long time before I shove most of the dishes into the dishwasher. I can peck on my computer for far too long and neglect my chores because fun is... well, its just more fun than responsibility. I didn't devote enough time to studying the Bible either. I mean, I read it and all but actually study it and listen and meditate... again, I like fun more.

But as easy as it is to point out all of the flaws, I have to try to find a way to point out some of the successes as well. I had a baby :) He is precious and is definitely a right thing of 2009. I also prayed more than I ever have before over the last year. For my friends, for my health, over my children, over my marriage. I made positive changes in myself based on some character flaws I saw. Granted, I still have many character flaws to work on but... progress is what life is all about. I played a whole lot with my children and I have grown in patience with them both.

So what is going to be different in 2010?

1) Reading the Bible (studying). I am going to read the Bible in chronological order this yr.via rss feed because apparently that keeps me honest and dedicated. So far I am doing really well with this. Traveling through Job right now.

2) Increase my volunteer opportunities. I don't have much money but I do have time and talents so I am going to offer them to some very good organizations over the course of the next year.

3) Go back to school and get a degree. Already on my way. Application is sent in and transcripts are requested.

4) Trust people. Going back to school means trusting people to watch my children (so not an easy thing for me). If there is any one reason I don't end up making it in the fall it WILL be this. So... I am trying to trust people.

5) Commit more time to my husband and cultivate our relationship into something that looks more like lovers and less like "only parents of two small children"

6) Continue to eat well and exercise

7) I have a budget and I stick to it (I have to or it would be ugly) but I am not great about meal planning so that our meals are nutritious and well balanced over the course of the whole month. Sometimes we end up eating a lot of pasta the last week because my meal planning is very unorganized. I plan to remedy that.

8) I want to create a schedule for keeping our home clean and organized that will allow me plenty of play time with my children but also keep me dedicated to my responsibilities.

9) Attack my hearing, allergies, and anxiety this year so I can be healthier for my children and husband. Hopefully this will also help me to not have a nervous breakdown when I put Slobber Rocket in daycare part time to go back to school. I don't worry as much about preschool for the big guy because he will love it.

10) Study and develop photography skills

Anyway those are the things I plan to work on. I am not really a new years resolution kind of gal so I won't call these that. But I do recognize that there are some things I want and need to do better in my life and I want to make progress in those areas. I am hoping writing these down will help me to be accountable to my goals and necessitate positive changes in my life.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Need prayers/thoughts

Just writing because that is what I tend to do when I am busy thinking and it is overwhelming me. I don't really write a lot about this because I don't want people spending time asking me about it or feeling bad for me or anything like that. I have mainly only briefly mentioned it on here and discussed it with my husband and a couple of very close friends. Anyway, tomorrow is kind of a big day for me. I am going to have a CT on my ear and sinuses. I have moderate-severe hearing loss in my right ear and in the last 6-9 months or so my hearing has gone from not horrible (annoying when I had fluid in it but I could live with it) to me being near deaf. So... in an effort to figure out why, I get to get massive amounts of radiation shot into my head :) Anyway, Dr. Y will be looking for cysts or masses around my ear that are pressing up against my Eustachian tubes or other parts of my ear. This could be the reason my ear doesn't drain fluid out. It is kind of scary to hear a doctor say you may have cysts inside your head somewhere and I have been really anxious about it all. If there are no real visible causes we will be trying a tube in my right ear to drain it. If there is something else... heck if I know what we need to do. I try not to think about it. I do know that I have been doing a therapy to shift the pressure in my ears for approaching 2 mos with no results or change in my right ear (my left ear has been draining more though). I probably won't find out the results of this test until closer to the end of the month when I have my next appointment with my ENT.

I guess I just wanted to put it out there and ask my friends to pray for me or send me good thoughts. I would appreciate any positive I can get right now ;)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas 09

This Christmas was pretty darn good. We spent the 22-24 with family and the 25 at home celebrating with our children. We built gingerbread houses with grandparents.

We also got took Super Muscles to the dentist. Well... he went to see the dentist that his grandma works for. We have no pediatric dentists our insurance will allow us to use closer than 70 miles away. We have been VERY fearful of taking SM to the dentist because of the auditory issues he has. So we took him to Dr. W to make sure we don't have to be in a huge hurry to get him dental care. So it was a really laid back trip to the dentist. With a nice man looking in SM's mouth for cavities. No cleaning or machines whirling in his mouth so it was an awesome, safe first experience for him. He has "not even a hint of any cavities" so we really don't have to stress out over his teeth right now. We can deal with the auditory stuff for a little bit before he really NEEDS to see a dentist. He also has a crossbite like we have already known so he will need that fixed probably at around age 7+. So it was a pretty good trip. I think it also helped SM to develop a level of trust with going to the dentist which is always a great thing.

We visited Mr. Wonderful's Nana and Papa that morning as well. It was a good time. MW and I used to go over to their house for dinner once a week when we were in high school and dating. SM loves this Bobby Labonte car that Nana has and zooms it all over her house and eats all the fruit she has. And she let him ride on her scooter and he though that was really really cool. Mostly we just talked and visited and it was nice. We miss them a lot and we miss dinners with them.

Then we had Christmas at my mom's house. Wow, it was one crowded apartment but stuffed full of deliciousness! 6 kids under 4... yum... A great dinner, amazing family, loads of wrapping paper flying all over the place! What more could you possibly want? It was great seeing my brothers and nieces and nephews. And my mom did a great job getting everything ready. She served up a great dinner full of most of our favorites. Though, I had no clue that she always breaks an egg in her mashed potatoes to make them creamier. She swears she has ALWAYS done this but I never remember it before. Slobber Rocket got the most coveted toy of the night. A Little Einsteins ride on toy. Totally a baby toy but all the big kids wanted to ride on it too and play with the people that came with it and make the music play. It was funny. It eventually went to the car so there were no more fights over it!

Christmas Eve was spent with MW mom and brothers (and his brothers gf... she is sweet). We had breakfast together and did stockings and gifts. It was fun watching MW youngest brother open his gifts. He is 12 and he was so excited about everything he got. I hope my kids are like that at 12. It was a good morning.

Then something happened that I have never seen in all the years I have known my husband... He, his dad, both his brothers and his uncle went to watch a movie together. Avatar... they all really liked it and I felt accomplished for convincing both MW and his older youngest brother to go. It was fun seeing them do something together and I hope they get the chance more often.

While those guys were gone I got to spend a little bit of time with my bff who was also in town visiting family. Not nearly enough time and I already miss her like crazy but I was so glad to get to spend a little time with her and her husband. 

After that was Cristmas Eve afternoon with MW dad and family. Also a good time. 4 generations (which is really not a lot of people in MW family, they have a small family) all in one home. Gifts exchanged, silly jokes made, lottery tickets scratched and a good time had by all. Then it was time to go back home so we could have Christmas at home with our boys.

So we crammed ourselves in the car along with lots and lots of gifts (so many gifts that opening the trunk would send things flying out of our vehicle and that Super Muscles had no place to put his feet) and drove the 3.5 hrs home. The boys slept the whole way which has never ever happened with Super Muscles. He always stays awake at least for 90% of the trip. He likes to look out the window and see what is happening and finds it horribly difficult to sleep in the car. But on Christmas Eve... he was out at 6 and slept the whole way home. He was exhausted from all the activities and playing he did the previous 2 days. When we got home we put them to bed and MW and I set off on our adventure of unboxing all the gifts and putting them away so our house was not a disaster area the next morning. Then we got out the Christmas gifts that were wrapped and in the closet and put the stocking together and called it a night.

Christmas morning our children got up and tore into the Christmas gifts and we watched and loved all the responses our 3 yr old made about his gifts. Then we went to IHOP for breakfast as it has become our tradition to do. The rest of the day was devoted to playing with toys and having fun together.