April 07, 2014

emotions

  I want to say I've been super productive these last few weeks.  I want to say that we've settled into the school time routine again.  I want to say that I can't believe that fall is almost here.  I want to say I've been having some really smooth sailing days and  I feel like a hundred bucks and my family is fine.  I really do want to say all of those things.  And while I can maybe say I've accomplished a few things, I really can't say I've actually accomplished or believe any of those things 100 percent.  I know things don't always go as planned but some things are harder to let go and/or accept than others. 
  Life for me really has drastically changed over the last year.  The control I once had for keeping my life in order has really slipped away from me and that has been the hardest change to accept.  Control over my physical body, emotional well being, my attitude, my world.  Everything, even at its most chaotic, still fit right where is was supposed to.  I've never been one for overly emotional outburst, happy or sad, and that fit right in.  It isn't that I didn't care, believe, love, disagree, feel passionately about, or whatever.  It was just that I had a very tight reign on my emotional cache.  It was something I could always control and liked to put on a strong front no matter the situation.  I'm all for emotion and touching and loving in its place.  But it was a hug when needed, an ear for listening, a holding hand, a conspirator smile, a wicked gleam in the eye that fit the situation and the strong raw emotions were saved for another time.  I wasn't cold and unfeeling, just not publicly overly emotional.  My heart could be singing or screaming depending on the moment but my tears were kept in check.  My resolve strong.  Save it for the pillows or the man who took me on for better or worse and let him console me in the way that only a soul mate can.  One who understands the tears of joy and pain were not shed lightly and would let me bare my heart and love me the same.
  Where am I heading here, what's my point?  Ever since this head of mine has started to give me trouble I found that I was slowly loosing my grip on my emotions.  Little insignificant things were starting to make me cry.  Out of the blue many times surprising not just me but those around me as well.  I have this amazing friend who is a big softie.  He has the biggest heart.  He teaches kids with the patience of a saint!  Ever since we have really connected and become friends we've had a sort of running joke.  We were perfectly suited as friends because he wore his emotions on his sleeve and mine were MIA.  We tease each other about how we will rub off on one another eventually and balance our personalities so we both have the right balance of emotion and will.  He's going to soften me up and I'll toughen him up.  He's got a very quick wit and a sense of humor that fits right in with mine.  I love listening to him teach and joke with his kids because it's so much to hear.  He always brightens my day and when he sees me struggle he has a kind word or the needed hug or pat on the back to remind me that things will change.  He's been such a help in helping me sort my feelings as he has suffered from his own private hell of depression for years.  He was luckier than most for he has an incredible wife who supports him, loves him, holds him, and pushes him as needed.  He sought the help he needed and is now one of the biggest supporters I know in suicide prevention and depression.  He says every day is not perfect and at times he still struggles but he knows that help is never far when he needs it and has taught me that it is okay to be sad and feel miserable. 
  I know I'm rambling on and it can be so hard to focus on my thoughts these days.  I guess my whole point is that I've come to realize that I am extremely luckily and super thankful for all the unending support and love I have in my life.  There are people who truly care about me and my well being and that is a huge and wonderful feeling.  Not everyone is as blessed as I am.



September 07, 2013

blue

NOTE:  This was a post I started back in January and was unable to finish at the time.  Tonight I finally feel able to give it what it needed.

I'm feeling a bit blue today.  Not because the Christmas festivities are over, because in this house the fun never ends!  Ha ha ha.   My boys are in full tilt building, playing, reading, jumping, wearing, and whatever else kids need to do to try out their new stuff.  I have to say they are getting along really well so it's good.  Our Christmas was festive and fun but definitely a little low key.

My grandfather passed away Christmas Eve morning.  He's been really sick for a long time and just as recently as last week had another heart attack, so we knew it was forthcoming.  He was such an amazing man, full of life, fun, and laughter.  He was a true jokester and entertainer.  He was a real life cowboy and  MacGuyver, I kid you not.  Ask my brothers about the shop-vac chipmunk catcher or my husband about the bumble bee he watched him shoot straight out of the sky with a BB gun.  He was quick with a hug and a kind word and a world class watercolor artist.  He was a man who LIVED life.  I feel so blessed to have known him and have him be a part of my life.  As kids we spent a lot of time at Grandma and Grandpa Wonderful's house doing things that you only do with grandma and grandpa's.  Like eating ice cream in bed with giant jaw breakers watching silly movies.  I feel okay that he's with angels playing golf, painting, and telling jokes.  What saddens me is the other stuff.  Like that fact my boys never met Gramps in person and discover the amazing man he was.  That I didn't get to hug him one more time and tell him I loved him.  That my grandma has had to see her husband in pain and know there wasn't much to be done.  That his kids and my grandma's kids will all be sad to have lost a person who meant so much to them all. 


This past year during spring break, the west coast side of the family decided to get together and remember my grandfather.  We all met for a few days in beautiful Capitola, Ca.  We all brought pictures and countless memories to share.  We had a great family meal and shared our most favorite memories that meant the most to us.  We laughed a lot and cried a bit as well.  At the end of our evening we set off floating lanterns on the beach in his memory.  It was the prettiest sight and seemed just perfect.  He meant so much to so many.  However, I know that any time his name is mentioned in our family it is with true love in our hearts and smiles in our voices and on our faces.  He was a fine example of the way life should be lived.

where to even begin

Recently I've been struggling.  For the last year and a half I've been dealing with debilitating headaches.  Now I've had headaches before.  Take some Tylenol or Advil a few times, make sure I'm drinking plenty of water and be on with my day or night.  An inconvenience, sure, but not stopping me.  After all, I've given birth to three boys,  dealt with broken bones, a few surgeries here and there including a hysterectomy, and I've always bounced back.  But this was different.  It started out with a strange lightheaded dizziness that I thought was maybe due to elevated blood pressure or maybe a low blood sugar.  The first time it was unsettling but I didn't put too much concern to it.  Maybe I was just overly tired, or stressed out, or maybe it was just too much caffeine.  So I filed it away giving myself a mental note to try and go to bed earlier.  A week or so later it happened again.  I stopped and thought about what I had just been doing.  Did I move suddenly or stand up too quickly?  Had I been standing for an extended period of time and locked my knees?  Had I had anything to eat or just caffeine?  I couldn't explain it.  Checked my blood pressure.  It was completely normal.  I was baffled but still not overly concerned.  Once again I filed it away.  Within a few weeks I noticed I had been having a regular headache that just wasn't going away and now the dizziness was more frequent.  I found that my over the counter pain relievers were no longer working.  So I started taking a stronger pain reliever I had from my last bout of kidney stones so I could sleep.  Yet the headache was progressively getting worse and never fully went away.  Same with the dizziness.  I felt like I was one drink away from being completely drunk, yet I hadn't had anything to drink and it was only my head.  Didn't even get to enjoy the comfortable buzz that might accompany the drinking.  Just the dizzy fuzzy head.  I started finding it hard to see when the headache and dizziness ramped up together.  So I finally went to the doctor.  I was worried.  Was I experiencing migraine?  I've never had a migraine before so I didn't know if it was typical.  Maybe I was getting false readings on my blood pressure monitor.  Had I developed Type 2 Diabetes?  I had Gestational Diabetes and could stand to lose about 30 pounds and knew it was a possibility.  Perhaps I was having more menopausal (sorry guys!) symptoms from my hysterectomy.  It was a partial hysterectomy and I still have ovaries but they said it was possible to go through early menopause.  After arriving with a pounding whole head headache and extreme dizziness, I was sent off for blood work.  Off I went and 2 days later I find out my results are right as rain.  Everything is perfect.  Yet I was still having symptoms and even my prescription pain reliever wasn't helping my head.  I wasn't sleeping well, at times waking with a head worse than I started with.  I cut out all my caffeine, as much processed junk as I could, tried to eat as healthy and fresh as possible.  A balance of veggies, fruit, grains, and protein with plenty of water thrown in.  Nothing helped.  I saw the dentist: no cavities, mouth guard adjusted fractionally but TMJ looking good.  Saw the eye doctor: no significant changes in prescription and no signs of on going high blood pressure.  Referral to a neurologist who tracked my brain waves, ran electrical currents to see muscle reaction, ordered MRI, and CT.  Referred to a hearing specialist.  Even took a trip to the ER.  Was having chest and arm pain.  Come to find out it was just heartburn and acid reflux, probably from all the tests and stress of feeling awful.  Every test I took I passed with flying colors.  One doctor told me that out of one hundred percent I passed with one hundred and ten percent.  It's true I hate to fail but really?  Nothing?  So all of my results and I go back to my regular doctor with the diagnosis of probable migraine.  I thought at least it wasn't a major problem with my body somewhere and I know plenty of people who suffer regular migraines and can still continue on every day.  (So suck it up you wuss!)  I was prescribed Imitrex, take one within the first hour of onset and I could take another 2 hours later if needed.  So off I went, prescription in hand and hope in my heart.  I had a diagnosis and something to help.  That Sunday within a few hours of starting my day, my head is slammed with a headache.  No problem, I'll take my new pill and it will be fine.  First pill and plenty of water and I laid down thinking it couldn't hurt.  At the 2 hour mark, after taking the first pill, I felt like I was in my own private hell.  I dragged myself to the kitchen and took the second pill and waited.  My head hurt worse if that's even possible and I started to cry.  I couldn't help it.  I hurt so bad that I felt like I wanted to die.  My poor family had no idea what to do.  I couldn't be comforted.  I just cried and cried and cried.  Monday morning I called the doctor right away and relayed my experience.  I made and appointment and was prescribed a different, stronger pain reliever to try at night as needed and a different migraine pill to try.  Hopefully this one would be better as now I had a constant headache, day and night.  It never went fully away just ramped up and knocked me on my ass.  During the entire testing time of doctor after doctor, test after test, and ever increasing headaches, I had come to eat less and as a result lost 20lbs.  I hurt too much to think let alone eat.  But each day I dragged myself out of bed.  After all I had a family to care for.  Breakfast to monitor, lunches to make, drop off kids to school, work, pick kids up, homework, laundry, dinner, showers, blah, blah, blah.  Normal every day life that I shuffled through in the headache haze hoping that I'd sleep better that night, feel better in the morning.  I couldn't focus, I couldn't think, I was forgetful.  I'd see the doctor and get new blood work to make sure everything was still the same.  He'd stroke test me, check my reflexes, listen to my heart and oxygen flow.   How were the headaches?  The same.  Never better, always there.  Just migraine unfortunately and it's different for everyone.  Yeah, yeah. 

Summer vacation finally hit and we were able to slow down, sleep in, be lazy.  Maybe this is just what I needed.  Maybe I was just stressed out, summer break was the answer I told myself.  But I knew I was kidding myself.  After 7 days of an especially unrelenting headache I went in to the doctor again and was given a shot of Demerol.  It made me nauseous and sleepy yet didn't touch my headache.  Still there the next morning after it all wore off.  I started spending the majority of my day in bed, neglecting my family. "Go play kids, mommys head is hurting again.  Play Legos, build forts, watch TV, play nice, just don't bother me."  Dinner was bowls of cereal and sandwiches over and over.  I washed clothes and dishes only when absolutely necessary.  Grocery shopping was practically non existent, only getting the bare essentials.  Spending quality time became, watch a movie with mom while I close my eyes and will my headache to go away.  I stopped spending time with friends and family.  I didn't want to leave, dreaded it in fact.  I was afraid that as soon as I left the house I'd be slammed with a miserable headache again and ruin everyone's fun.  As soon as my husband came home from work I'd go to bed.  I cried at everything and nothing.  I was sad all the time.  I didn't want to be a part of my family, I was short tempered and unhappy.  I rarely answered my phone and pretended not to see text messages.  I refused invites for BBQ's and get-togethers when invited.  It was unfair to everyone.  I called the doctor again and he referred me to a new neurologist.  With little hope, I made an appointment. 

I go in and tell my story.  He gives me the standard stroke tests, heal to toe walk, check eye movement and reflexes.  He asks me tons of questions and I tell him that in addition to my ever present headache I now have constant tingling and numbing type pain in my left cheek and eye.  He checks my sinuses and ears.  Tells me all about different types of migraines and how they have such a wide range of symptoms that it many times takes a lot of trial and error to find a solution.  We discuss a maintenance medication.  One to take everyday to help prevent the headaches from happening.  Gives me the most recommended medication to start with.  Works on most patients the first time around and keeps debilitating migraines to a minimum.  I was one again hopefully as I walked out. Prescription to start that night.  Took my first pill that night and woke up the next morning still with a headache.  But still, I knew it could take some time to work.  I had to take it one day at a time and see where I was by the end of the week.  By day 2 I was experiencing extreme dizziness once again.  Day 3 I felt like constantly throwing up.  Day 4 I was in bed and hardly remember the few days after that.  By the end of the first full week, I called the neurologist and relayed my week.  Stop taking it, come back in.  I felt defeated and so very sad.  I didn't care anymore about anything.  I was in too much constant pain to feel anything else.  My next appointment I laid it all out.  I was in pain, I was sad, I was miserable.  I didn't like the person I had become and as a result I was no longer a mom, wife, sister, friend, or anything else for that matter.  I was turning into nothingness or at least so it felt.  The neurologist listened patiently and intently.  Did his normal round of tests and asked me a few more questions.  Then he told me about a different type of medication that has had success for multiple types of diagnosis including restless leg and depression as well as for migraine type headaches.  In a lower dose, taken at night to avoid daytime sleepiness, it had the potential to be the answer.  I figured at the very least maybe I'd get a good night's sleep and help my now realized depression.  So fingers crossed I once again went off with tentative hopes of an answer.  Took my first pill that night with a hope and a prayer for relief to be on the horizon. 

It has been almost one month since I took my first pill.  While I do have sleepiness with the pill I find it is at the wrong time of day.  It seems to wire me and has given me a bit of insomnia with a deep sleep in the early morning hours just before I need to wake up.  It makes for a sleepier day and I'm dragging by mid afternoon.  However, I have gotten a bit of my life back.  My headaches have lessened although not completely gone.  I've still had some slam me in the head, knock me off my feet headaches, but it's better.  My mood has improved and I am starting to reconnect with those I've neglected for so long.  I'm trying to be a better mom and make together time more meaningful.  It's not perfect and I'm still learning about migraine everyday.  I read all I can find about it and grill everyone I meet who suffer from migraines to find out how their  symptoms vary, how they deal with it, and what works for them.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to pinpoint my particular triggers if any but still document what's going on nearest the onset of a headache.  It may be a slow process but at least it is progress.  I still find myself in periods of sadness and mood swings.  I still cry easier than ever before but yet there is still hope.  When I go back for my next appointment I have a list of questions for him and plenty to update him with.  Until then I know that I have a strong support system of family and friends always ready with a listening ear, warm arms, and open hearts to hear me rant, cry, pity myself, and curse the world.  My husband and boys love me regardless.  They give me the hugs and squeezes when asked and hold my hand when I need it most.  I am the luckiest girl in the world.

May 15, 2013

Here I am once again a far and few between post and my seemingly forgotten blog.  I guess it's a good thing that I've been busy enough to not have the time to sit and write.  Or perhaps it's due to not having anything to write?  Although I don't think either is true I'll go with both because they are better than the truth of not having the desire to write like I once did.  Sometimes the day to day hustle is so hectic it's all I can do to veg for an hour before I'm off to dreamland.  But in an attempt to "catch up" tonight, I write. 

Ryan finally graduated with his bachelors degree 3 weeks ago.  I am so very proud of him.  It was a tough, long journey these past few years but now he is done and happy!  My family threw him a fun graduation BBQ to celebrate and we bought him a new car.  Not because of graduation but because his hunk of junk was literally falling to pieces but we're calling it a graduation present.  (Eases the pain of a car payment once again.)  We will be heading out to our first family vacation at the end of the month sans homework for the first time in 3 years.  Then we are heading out for a grown ups only vacation to recoup from our family vacation.  Ha!  I can't wait.

School has been crazy fun and super busy this year.  Bustling the kids between 2 schools, 2 districts, and 2 towns has been an inconvenience this year but one well worth the time and gas.  My 10 year old has finally found himself a "home" of  like minded kids.  It's like the class of smarty pants misfits and he fits right in. He has a great teacher and some really neat friends.  They talk about books and current events and music and video games all in the same conversation.  It's fascinating to hear them chatter on and I'm both amused and proud of him for finding his own unique path. I made it through another successful musical this school year and a really fun and engaging teacher appreciation week.  I've really grown to love and respect so many of the staff members and truly feel loved back by so many.  I love our school and will be really sad in the next few years to leave when our time has ended there.  With luck these great friendships we've made will continue through the years. 

My "health" has been a bit up and down over the last year.  It started with dizziness and extreme headaches and morphed into a crazy quick weight loss trip.  After every test under the sun I'm still no closer to an answer than before.  However, I've learned to deal with the unpredictableness of it all and thus far have had no other major developments to make things worse.  And things could always be worse so I'm thankful. 

October 08, 2012

fun, fun, fun

   This past weekend was a great fun filled way to kick off fall around here.  The weather has finally decided to cooperate and get out of the 90-100 degree range.  So nice to finally not be sweating the moment you walk out the door!  We had a couple of soccer games Saturday and then a we took off to the bay for my beautiful godmother's 60th birthday extravaganza!  I haven't seen my godmother in too many years to remember and it was so nice to catch up and see her family.  She was glowing with happiness and surrounded by a great group of friends and family.  We had a great time and my boys made a new friend to play with, which was great! 
   Sunday morning we got moving and headed to breakfast with my parents.  After completely filling up on waffles and eggs benedict, we headed up to Apple Hill.  The weather was gorgeous for apple picking.  My boys LOVED running through the orchard picking apples and dropping them in their buckets.  My oldest picked a total of 5 apples.  That's right, 5.  Not because he doesn't like apples but because that's all he wanted to pick.  5 different kinds that he remembered the names to each and told me about them.  He makes me smile with his precise and exacting manner at times.  So logical and thoughtful in so many things.  He wandered the entire orchard and met back up with us to tell us which apples he picked and why.  My middle boy remembered the spiral apples that they core and cut right in front of you and stick on your thumb.  It was his first order of business when we arrived.  Walked up, stuck his thumb out, and waited for his turn.  He took his apple and bucket and headed off to the orchard one happy dude.  He picked apples at random.  He loved the fact that you could eat the apples right off the tree while you were picking!  He was happy to trot around the orchard kicking up dirt and picking apples and probably would have continued all day if we let him.  The youngest alternated between following grandma and papa around the orchard trying to reach apples that were just a hair to high for him and running pell mell yelling at you to come check out this tree or that tree.  We are going to make some homemade apple butter, some turnovers or pies and perhaps some applesauce.  Of course this is provided we don't eat all the apples before we cook them!
   After picking, we headed to another farm to play in the hay maze, check out some beautiful crafts, walk a nature trail, have a little treat and enjoy it being fall.  On the way back down the hill we stopped for a little wine tasting and it was the perfect way to end our day.  All in all we came home with 12 pounds of apples, quite a bit of dirt, lots of laughter, and some really fantastic memories.  We can't wait to do it again!

Here are the farms we visited yesterday.  Check them out!
Denver Dan's Apple Patch
 Apple Ridge Farms

Here is the winery.  It was good wine and absolutely beautiful scenery!
Fenton Herriott Vineyards