Posted in Change, Health, Me

When Did I Become a Drinker?

I grew up in a tee-totalling household. We were Baptists and that was part of it, but my mother’s father was a active alcoholic until his death and that was the larger part of it. I chose, at 21, to try it. My brother cannot drink and be ok, and I didn’t want to end up where he was. But I figured I would be able to tell if I couldn’t handle it. And honestly, that has largely been true.

I chose, on my honeymoon, to actively allow myself to get drunk. I was in DisneyWorld, at a bar that we walked to from our hotel room and I figured it didn’t get more safe than that. I got schnockered on two mixed drinks and HATED it. I couldn’t control my body and felt awful. I thankfully didn’t get a hangover, but that was my one and only time being totally drunk. In the last 20 years or so, I’ve mistaken how much I could have on an empty stomach or how strong a drink was and been a little loopy, but all in all, I’ve been a responsible kind of imbiber.

It helped that I didn’t like it much. Beer? YUCK. Straight liquor? YUCK. Wine? YUCK. Mixed drinks where you can’t taste the alcohol, ok. Then a few years back I discovered moscato and hello! I liked wine! I could have a glass at a social event and fit in! I could go to a winery and actually drink something! I could buy a bottle, keep it in the fridge and enjoy a glass here and there.

And that’s mostly where I’ve been. I really hate the current culture where people joke about how much wine they drink or how hard it is to get through the day until they can get a glass in their hand.

But with all the new research that’s coming out about how there’s really no level of alcohol that is healthy (despite all the crap that the spew about red wine and the heart), I’m finding myself at a place where I think I want to just stop drinking. I read this article today, where the author talks about how she gave up drinking a year ago. It won’t be missed in my side of the family. My sister can’t drink after having chemo. My brother is in recovery and doesn’t drink. My parents still don’t drink. Just my husband and my brother in law do on my side.

So I’m taking a leap of faith and announcing here, officially, that I am no longer a drinker.

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Posted in Health, Kids

Neurology Out, Psychiatry In

So, in the good news/bad news front, the EEG and MRI are both done and both show only the expected. Which is:

Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) is a type of brain injury that affects premature infants. The condition involves the death of small areas of brain tissue around fluid-filled areas called ventricles. The damage creates “holes” in the brain. “Leuko” refers to the brain’s white matter. “Periventricular” refers to the area around the ventricles.

(Quick Back Story: My first pregnancy was quadruplets (please feel free to read back posts for more about that!), which ended in a premature birth at 25 6/7 weeks. Baby A, Connor, passed away about 12 hours later. The other three all had various and sundry issues from the birth, one of which was called Intraventricular Hemorrhage, or a brain bleed. Bennett’s was a Grade II, aka NO BIG DEAL. Laura and Ethan both had a Grade IV, or THE WORST POSSIBLE. The neonatologist said there was a possibility of a “vegetative state”. Which, obviously didn’t happen, thank the Good Lord.)
The MRI only showed the results of that prematuring, and the EEG basically showed the same thing. So, what’s going on with Laura is NOT neurologically based (as far as they know), it’s more psychological.
What that means, at least to me as a parent, is that we need to step it up a notch with the psychiatrist. Our current one, well….he’s ok. We see him because we have to. The practice has hired a woman who is an adolescent psychiatrist (YAY!), but she’s still going through the process of getting approved by insurance companies. Which is no bueno at this point, because that can take up to three months and Laura can’t wait that long.
I have a call into the secretary at the practice to see where she is in that process, and am investigating other options. Unfortunately, our insurance company’s website is not that great when it comes to specific information about doctors–they can give me general psychiatrists, but not specifically adolescent ones. Sigh. I want Laura to be doing better. Talking to the MRI nurse about why we were there (Laura wasn’t in the room) and how the person I knew three years ago is NOT the same kid I see every day now. I want her back, if possible. If it’s not possible, I want her to be getting through this life far better than she is right now.
Posted in Addiction, Family, Health, Kids, Me, Vacation

End of Summer Update

Y’all, I’m sorry. I never mean to disappear over the summer, but it almost always seems to happen.

Looking at a week left until school starts (two seniors, a junior and a sophomore), I’m processing all that has happened over the course of the last 10 weeks. Like the rest of 2018, a lot of it didn’t look like what I had expected. Ethan went to Diller Vacation home, came home and immediately left for a four week program, IDEAL. Laura spent three weeks at Penn State’s Summer Academy. We spent 12 days away from home, 9 of them in Michigan and the others traveling to and from.

That was the expected.

Unexpected, well, that would include a plane ride off the island in Lake Michigan, a transfusion for Catie, a night over in a hotel just the two of us and a plane ride back. (by plane, picture a Cessna, and not a 747!). We still don’t have answers for WHY she is having this bleeding (a period since February except 3 weeks in June). The current course of meds is making it lighter, but has not stopped it. I’m trying to get an appointment at duPont instead of staying at the OB-Gyn’s. While they have been great with me, I’m not thrilled with the level of care with my 15 year old.

Unexpected would also include the death of Ethan’s best friend, the daughter of one of my closest friends. Which, even as I type that, brings tears to my eyes and hurt to my heart. I loved her like a daughter and don’t know how to live life without ever hearing her sweet, soft voice asking for Ethan on the phone. Or to see them, snuggled up on the hammock or a couch, talking and sharing time. If I ever (EVER) tried to picture him actually being romantically involved with someone, it was her. I’m trying to figure out what friendship with her mom will look like when it was our children’s special needs that brought us together. I WILL be her friend. I just don’t want to hurt her.

Unexpected has been my raging-out-of-control addiction. It started before Michigan, so I can’t even blame it on Devon’s death. It certainly helped me avoid grieving, though. And hey, that’s been GREAT. (that facetiousness, people)

Unexpected has been the decision to go forward with another round of SI joint injections on Friday. I’ll be sedated this time around, and have much better expectations of recovery and the pain involved. I flared last time; most likely I’ll flare this time. I have four full days of nothing planned, and then it’s driving the kids back and forth to school. I’ll manage.

Unexpected has been the washer breaking, the hall bath leaking, another spot on the ceiling today that we have NO idea where’s it coming from, and other financial woes. HOWEVER, unexpected has also been a promotion for my husband FINALLY. He’s been working towards this for several years and it’s amazing and wonderful for him to have the recognition that we as his family have thought he deserved. Yay for my husband!

So, yeah. The unexpected has mostly ruled this summer.

Posted in Health, Me

The Change

Those two words deserve to be in capitals. Really. Perimenopause sounds so…unassuming. So not a big deal. The Change, though, sounds much more descriptive, though both are true. I’ve been in perimenopause for maybe two years? Ish? Not sure when it started, although it’s been more than a year. My cycle is still very regular (for me, which equals roughly every 6 weeks). I don’t typically get much in the way of hot flashes, thank goodness. But moodiness? Oh my yes. It’s like I have PMS all the time. And when I actually DO get PMS I’m biting everyone’s head off. And weepiness? It literally just occurred to me yesterday that the weepiness I’ve been dealing with for the past few months might not actually only be about being sad because the kids are getting older and doing so many milestones.

I was reading a book–a novel!–and read a paragraph that was sad.  And found real tears in my eyes. And though to google “perimenopause and weepiness” and BOOM. Hello other people going through it! I haven’t been like this since I was pregnant, which was a long, long time ago. I’m not a cryer by nature, except for videos of soldiers coming home and adult children telling their families they are pregnant. But lately commercials, TV shows, watching my kids…you name it and I’m in tears. Which believe me, makes me feel stupid. Which yeah, I know I need to get over.

I’m just grateful I can put a name to this moodiness and that at some point it will actually be done once I’m in menopause. Right? Or does this actually continue? Readers who have gone through it please comment!

Posted in Health

In Which I Didn’t Have a Heart Attack

 

Saturday morning started very normally. Catie had to be to work at 9, so we were going to head out the door at 8:45. At 8:15 it crossed my mind that I could get a quick shower, but I decided nah, I’ll do it after I drop her off. And brush my hair. And brush my teeth. And get more protein to add to my “only had an English muffin and coffee” breakfast. Except, no.

8:45 I’m walking through my laundry room on my way out the side entrance of our house. I’m passing by the dryer and OW OW OW OW OW. My chest suddenly feels like there is a really tight elastic band around it and it HURTS. I can’t breathe, even, because it hurts so much.

What is RULE #1 of chest pain as an adult? PAY ATTENTION TO IT.

I paused a few moments, thinking it would pass quickly. It didn’t. Catie came up behind me, so I started to walk forward again. I took a step or two outside the house and stopped again because, really, I shouldn’t ignore this. Catie is looking at me at this point. I get my phone and start to google “women heart attack symptoms” because I know they are different from men’s. The first one is chest pressure.  Well, yeah. But I don’t seem to have the other ones, so I get in the car and keep scrolling, holding onto part of my chest because it still really hurts. Catie gets Dad, and I start to think–you know, I probably should get this looked at. I drive to urgent care and let Jim take her to work.

Urgent care scolds me, saying I should have gone to the ER. She calls 911. At this point I’m starting to get a little scared and cry a bit. Which I hate. Because I am woman, hear me roar, not cry in public! Jim calls and finds out what’s going on and agrees to meet at the hospital. The ambulance pulls up, gets me on a gurney and out the door (humiliations galore–I DO NOT like attention!) and into the back of the ambulance. The start hooking me up to stuff and asking 100 questions. The comes a moment when the band tightens around my chest and I literally couldn’t breathe at all. It passes and I can breathe, but am kind of getting really frightened at this point. If it isn’t a heart attack, what the heck is it?

We arrive at the ER, I’m wheeled in, hooked up to their EKG and asked more questions. They do bloodwork and a chest x-ray quickly. Jim and his mom come in. I get another squeeze-can’t-breathe thing. My bp (normally 110/72) is 145/82, which kind of freaks me out. I NEVER have high blood pressure. Even pregnant with quadruplets I never had it.

EKG is normal. Chest xray is good. Blood work is good except for the D-Dimer, which is positive or elevated or something and might indicate that I have a blood clot. It’s going to be a few more hours. I feel ok, so Jim’s mom leaves to go home to the kids. Jim leaves to get me McDonalds and then head home to take Ethan and Laura to a field trip with Overbrook at a local park. My sister comes to the ER to keep me company. The CT is ok, although the contrast part hitting my system is WEIRD.

While waiting for CT results, what the doctor tells me is that I did not and am not having a heart attack. Which, HALLELUJAH. Thankyouverymuch.

CT shows I have slight pneumonia. And the horrible band of pain and pressure is Costochondritis. “Costochondritis (kos-toe-kon-DRY-tis) is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum). Pain caused by costochondritis might mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.” (mayoclinic.org) Yeah, that.

They sent me home on a Z-pack and an anti-inflammatory. I took it easy the rest of Saturday, but Sunday I was up and doing regular stuff. Today I was grocery shopping and feeling fine. If I had to go to the ER and have a dramatic adventure, at least it’s with an “all’s well that ends well” ending!

Posted in Health

40 Hours Later

I went in on Thursday at 2:30 to get Betamethasone injected into my SI Joints. If I could have anything negative to say about going into it, it would be the lack of specific information I had. I didn’t know where I was getting the shots–was it two shots in the actually joints? Was it one shot into my spine and the meds would travel down? I didn’t know that I would experience several DAYS of bad discomfort/actual pain in the injection sites and hips, and that even though I was technically allowed to drive afterward because I hadn’t been sedated, the injection sites were so sore that I drove scootched up away from the seat back and that was really uncomfortable and probably a little dangerous. I didn’t know that I was going to be on restricted activity for five whole days afterwards. So, yeah, a little information going into would have set up much more realistic expectations.

I’m sitting at my desk right now, which I haven’t done much of since I had the procedure. Not sure if it’s going to be ok today, or will get worse and I’ll be laying on the couch again with ice packs on my hips like yesterday. Before this, I haven’t had a lick of trouble with my hips, so it was a little weird that that is how my body decided to get back at me. I couldn’t lay on them. I couldn’t sit up for long periods. Sleeping the first night was, well, an exercise in waking up and rolling over very carefully.

The procedure itself involved a shallow shot into my skin of lidocaine, followed by a deeper shot of lidocaine. Both BURNED and HURT a lot. Then, within a minute or two, the doctor did the actual injections of the betamethasone, which is a steroid, into both of my SI joints–sort of 2 1/2 inches down from the top of my pants and about an inch on each side away from the middle of my body. The goal, as far as I understand it, is to calm down the inflammation in my joints, get some good pain-control going on, and then have me start back to PT and regular life again.

40 hours ago I was not a happy camper. The shots, quite frankly, hurt A LOT. I wanted someone to hold my hand–yes, really–and a nurse rubbed my arm. Having my 49 year old bottom out in front of two male doctors, well, let’s just say I’m glad I’ve had kids because that made it easier. Svelte I’m not. I sat in a recovery seat for about 30 minutes, eating cheese and peanut butter crackers and diet ginger ale (hands down, my all time favorite thing to drink, so at least that helped). The nurses were great and explained all the after effects stuff. Leaving the surgery center, I never wanted to do it again.

40 hours later, and after a decent night of sleep, I woke up and was able to fairly comfortably put on a pair of socks. Coming down to the kitchen–with no pain in my hips as I walked down the stairs–I saw a bowl on the floor and picked it up. Without pain or stiffness. That was AMAZING. That hasn’t happened in over a year. So, at this point, I’m cautiously optimistic about what the day holds. They saw 24-36 hours of needing ice, which ended a few hours ago.  They said to expect pain relief to start between 3 and 5 days. I think I’m starting now.

Here’s hoping for good results!

Posted in Health

This Wasn’t The Plan

When I began this year, it was definitely with the idea of focusing on myself–especially my health. And yeah, I’ve been doing that, but not like I thought I would.

PT? Check, but then stopped because of pain.

Exercise? Haven’t started yet. Because of pain.

Breast Reduction? Haven’t started research. Because of pain.

Dietician? Check. Doing so-so with following what she’s told me, but better with eating more protein. Currently working on drinking more water.

Back? Did PT, stopped, saw a spine specialist, got an MRI and 6 x-rays. Saw them for a follow up and got an official diagnosis of Sacroiliac Sclerosis. Which, translated to the non-medical person, is arthritis in the joints shown below:

sacroiliac-joint-pain-exercises-diagram-copy

Which, honestly, stinks. Next Thursday I go back to the spine specialist and get two injections of Betamethasone, which is supposed to help the inflammation and pain. I’m utterly creeped out by the concept, although I’ve had two spinals with my c-sections. Everyone on Facebook has been encouraging about how not-big-a-deal the injections are, and how great my doctor is with them (he’s a very good doctor).

So that’s basically it. I’m waiting. No Ibuprofen allowed at this point because of the injections coming up, so sleeping is very challenging. I’m hopeful that this will help, but leery of the actual procedure. I’ll keep you informed. when it happens.