Music Monday

I know this song is everywhere and it probably getting totally over played on the radio but I just can’t get enough of it! This might be my favorite cover of this song so far! I wonder if I can get PC to sport that hat? I wouldn’t mind that at all…

I have this crazy fascination with the dancing elderly. How cute is that? I love to see that music remains in the soul even if your body can’t move like it used to. It reminds me that we are not that different from one another. Age, physical abilities, race, religion…none of that matters. Music can unite all of us. If only everyone saw it that way..

Much Love To All!

Health Care Management?

Maybe this is the “getting older sucks” part of my life. How does one rank their health symptoms? Unless one is a doctor, how do you know where to start, what symptoms are related or what kind of doctor you need?

My symptoms are random and growing in numbers. Let me give you a little background here. My tummy has always been sensitive. About 5 years ago I had some sort of weird episode while on vacation and later was told by my doctor that I have a hiatal hernia. For more info on that, here is a link. Then a few months ago my gyn prescribed me a high dose birth control pill. Long story short, I ended up in the ER with a “toxic reaction”, severe dehydration and a UTI. I was so sick for days! Vomiting, diarrhea, chills, panic and this burning sensation that started in my tummy and quickly spread throughout my body. I was pissed! What the hec is wrong with me? I can’t even take bcp’s? Anyhow, fast forward to a few weeks ago when I visited my GI. After an exam and several questions, he asked if I have ever had my gallbladder examined. I said no. He was shocked! He then scheduled me for a blood test, and ultrasound and another test I can’t pronounce. Naturally, as soon as we got home I did my gallbladder research. I am going to share what I have learned because if my symptoms sound familiar to any of you, this info might save you some pain and time. I am not a doctor! Please do not view my findings as anything other than amateur research. The info I am sharing is a combination of many websites I ran across, including one called Gallbladderattack.com.

The liver makes the body’s supply of bile. Bile helps break down fats during food digestion. Not all bile is needed at one time so excess is stored within the gallbladder. In gallbladder disease, bile in the gallbladder becomes concentrated and thickens. Gallstones are born out of this sludge from cholesterol and bile salts. (Apparently, bile is no match for cholesterol) The end result of the disease process is inflammation (cholecystitis) or stones (cholelithiasis). A gallbladder attack occurs when the gallstone blocks the flow of bile from the gallbladder and is manifested as a pain in the right side (sometimes perceived in the right shoulder because of referred pain) as severe as the excruciating pain of a heart attack). Some of the symptoms of a gallbladder attack are:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever
  • yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • severe abdominal pain
  • feeling of fullness
  • belching
  • headaches
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • fatty stools
  • burping with regurgitation of bitter fluid
  • sweating
  • lightheadedness
  • weakness
  • shortness of breath

I have every single one of those symptoms. The shortness of breath only occurs due to the panic I experience. One symptom I have that is not listed anywhere I can see is the burning sensation I mentioned earlier. It is just as random as the other symptoms. It starts just under my ribs in the center and quickly spreads to the rest of my tummy, my neck and my arms. I am fairly certain it is related to my tummy problems because once I “void my tummy” the burning stops. Actually, it stops shortly before I begin vomiting, It takes all of my will and prayer to keep this burning sensation from turning into a full panic attack at this point, especially once it spreads! This is where the priority and management comes in. Is my panic causing me to vomit? Or the other way around? I haven’t had panic in years! It only returned (at least in full force like this) the night I took that damn high dose birth control pill. I haven’t been well since that night and have been fighting a panic attack every day since. Now allow me to share what I read about the causes of gallbladder disease!

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease
  • Low stomach acid
  • Food Sensitivities or Allergies
  • Gluten Intolerance
  • Brain degeneration
  • Overweight
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Lack of exercise
  • Pregnancy (due to excess hormones)
  • Estrogen intake and birth control pills(estrogen increases the concentration of cholesterol in the bile)
  • Chronic Heartburn
  • Frequent use of Antacids and PPIs
  • Atkin’s Diet
  • Over age 40 and increase in risk as one ages
  • Female especially those who have had children
  • Ethnicity (Pima Indians and Mexican-Americans)
  • High triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol, decreased HDL cholesterol,
  • Alcohol intake
  • Family history of gallbladder disease (Heredity)
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs, immunosuppressive drugs
  • Antidepressants which slow down gallbladder contractions
  • Very Low Calorie Diets
  • Diet high in saturated fats
  • Diet high in refined foods and sugars
  • Diet low in fiber (which is what the refined diets are) and not enough vegetables
  • Non-fat diets
  • Low-fat diets
  • Constipation
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Diseases such as chronic inflammatory bowel disease, Chron’s disease (ulcerative colitis is controversial) Hemolytic anemias, PCOS

I fall into at least 10 of those categories! And that’s not counting rapid weight loss because that isn’t my symptom, that is what has resulted from my symptoms. (can’t complain about that one though, 20lbs and counting.) And did you notice the bold and italic cause? Why didn’t anyone tell me that????? I am printing that page out to take to my next gyn appointment. She was just as shocked as I was about my “toxic reaction” to the pills. What about the HORRIBLE reaction I had to the Metformin when they thought I had PCOS? Was it my gallbladder that made that med so hard for me to take?

Do I dare be a little excited about this? I pray it is a gallbladder problem. That is not a life threatening organ. I can live without it. Could it really be that simple though? Well, after what I have been through, simple doesn’t sound like the right word. Either way, it would explain a lot! I am excited to possibly have an answer, finally!

How do others cope with multiple health issues? I haven’t updated anyone on my endometriosis because I have been focusing on this tummy crap. So, again I ask, how do you juggle multiple symptoms? Is that what a primary care doctor is for? I mean, do you go to one doctor first and then let him/her send you in the right direction? I didn’t grow up with the resources I have now, so I have never had a PCP in the past. I have one now but I’m starting to think I do not use her properly. So far she is great! Wonderful beside manner, polite, and I always leave feeling like I was heard. I guess that may be what a pcp is for. A ring leader of sorts. Our insurance doesn’t require referrals but maybe there is a good reason for getting your pcp to give you one. They are the educated ones, they can steer you in the right direction. They can hear your symptoms, help you categorize them and make an educated guess as far as your next move.

Anyhow, I hope this information is helpful to someone. I can’t believe no one warned me about the risks. Every one of my doctors is aware of my tummy problems. Why didn’t anyone put 2 and 2 together? I guess this situation is a great example of being your own advocate! Always educate yourself! Even if your doctors are as amazing as mine. They do not live in our bodies and we (as patients) aren’t usually able to connect the necessary dots for them.  Between my own research and my health journal, I will get answers!

Much Love To All!

Music Monday!

I have always loved this song! The original version is Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. I walked down the aisle to it when PC and I got married in 2003!

This is my favorite Christmas song ever!

PC and I bought the tickets to TSO back in September. Pre-sale in fact. We were so excited!

Fast forward to this weekend. I woke up Saturday (concert day) feeling horrible. My tummy was upset and I was fighting a panic attack with all my might. Plus, PC and I were arguing. Then my dad called to tell me my grandma passed away, my step mom’s mom. Well shit…

I had no idea what to do.

I wasn’t very surprised that something came up though. This is the story of my life. No good stuff without bad stuff at the same damn time, creating all sorts of struggle, anxiety and moral decisions to be made. It felt like a challenge. The universe was giving me every reason NOT to go to this concert. Where the hell was the universe when we bought the tickets??? No where! But the day of the concert…..BAM! Ugh.

I am not extremely close with my step mom’s family. Most of them don’t like me much. I’m too honest for their liking. Being around most of them would not have helped me grieve and I wouldn’t have brought much comfort to them either.

So we went to the concert as planned.

The show must go on.

It was incredible! I was miserable through most of it, unfortunately. My panic wasn’t going away and I made sure I knew where the nearest restroom was. I wanted to leave several times but I wanted to hear Carol of the bells even more. You know they save that one for last, of course. In the end I am so glad we went. Screw you panic! You were not going to stop me from FINALLY seeing this concert! I heard my 2 favorite songs live! I could feel the beat in my bones. It was beautiful. I cried several times. I think we found our new holiday tradition!!

Dear Gamma B: “HOW ‘BOUT THEM COWBOYS??” You were always their number one fan and today you had the best seats in the house. Mele Kalikimaka!! We love you and will miss you greatly!

Much Love To All!

How WE need to prepare for the holidays

The holidays are here. Faster than any of us expected them to be. I can’t believe it is almost 2015. Where does the time go? I have put together a plan. A plan that will hopefully make the holidays a little easier to handle.

I know it is hard for people in my real life to understand why I feel the way I do about the holidays. I’m sure they think “Why does it upset you that you can’t have kids if you have decided you don’t want children anymore?”. I wish it were that simple. My decision to remain childfree is based on my infertility. For personal reasons as well as financial, PC and I have decided not to pursue fertility treatments. That doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking for us. In the end it was still a very difficult decision. I still feel confident it is the right one for us but the anger/depression/resentment (etc) remains. I’m dealing with all of those feelings and probably will be for quite some time. The “why her and not me” question is likely a permanent part of my thought process now. I have a plan! I will survive this holiday season. I will enjoy my time with PC. I will not be the party pooper. Here are some holiday tips for us to follow. This list is a combination of info I read in an article from The Huffington Post, random internet reads and my own concerns.

  1. Prepare answers to questions ahead of time.   We know the usual questions. Think about your current situations and possible new questions that might arise at the family gatherings. Sit down with your partner and decide how to answer them together. What are you comfortable sharing with others if anything. It is important and much more comfortable if you and your partner are on the same page here.
  2. Take time for yourself.  People say this is important but what does it mean exactly? Well for those of us on the IF journey it can mean meditation, acupuncture, warm bubble bath or maybe a massage. But more specifically, we should remember the importance of time management. If you use one of those relaxing techniques today and then you wait until February to do it again, you might be defeating the purpose. If you look at your December calendar and see 2 holiday parties in one week, maybe you should schedule a relaxation day for yourself in between them. Why wait until you are all holidayed out to get that message? After all is said and done, that message may not help as much as it would have in the middle of the holiday shuffle. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to say no.  This one sounds like a no brainer but it’s easier said than done. Stand up for yourself. There is no reason to go to every single party or gathering you are invited to. Maybe you have that one friend who is known for her drama. That could be the one you skip. Or maybe you decide to only go to the “adult” parties. You and your partner might be the ones that usually host the holiday party. In that case, you can schedule the party for late in the evening or at an adult location. Separate your options from your obligations. 
  4. Avoid your triggers.   I have a pretty good idea of my own triggers. I have a list of them actually. Lists are very helpful for me. I chose to do a lot of online shopping this year. Doing that kept me out of the children/infant’s department. I had a lot of kids to buy for this year so online shopping was my pretty much only option. What about holding that new baby in the family? For some it might be comforting, for others..excruciating. Know your triggers, know your limits. What are your emotional triggers and how can you avoid them? 
  5. Start a project.  I find that I can keep myself composed and focused when I am busy. It is when I have down time that my brain automatically goes down that road of “infertility” thoughts. That’s when my feelings have time to become overwhelming. Here is where a new project might help. maybe project isn’t even the right word. Start a new book series, or pick up where you left off on that hobby you started. For me, I am practicing my piano. I try to practice as often as possible, especially when I start feeling a little down.
  6. Rely on your support system.  If you have a good support system at home or in real life, use them! And I am not just talking about your partner. Reach out whenever you feel like you need to. Whether that means calling a friend or family member or posting on your blog. I consider most of you family at this point. I don’t have anyone in my life who knows what I am going through, I mean who really understands. So you guys are more important to my IF journey than you know. I hope you all know I am here for you! Anytime! If you just need to vent, do it! We are in this together. Do not hesitate to reach out!

So that is my list of tips for the holidays. Next week’s list will be more comical than this one. I am already working on it but I will take a few days off because I tested positive for strop throat today. Don’t even get me started on that though. I just went to an Ear, Nose, Throat doctor on Tuesday and she couldn’t find anything wrong with me. No swelling, no fluid on my ears…nothing. She scheduled me for further testing though. My primary care doc looked in my ears for half a second and found a lot of fluid in BOTH! Ah! I will be revisiting the ENT as soon as i feel better just to make a complaint.

Much Love To All!

We are the definition of “Un-traditional”.

I am proud of my tree this year. My nephew named him Olaf. Hopefully this will be our last Christmas in this apartment. I am determined to have the holidays at our new house next year. We have passed on a couple of houses we had our eye on because they were heated with gas instead of electric. I thought gas heating was pretty rare for Texas but it turns out I was wrong. I mean. I have seen several gas stoves but I thought that was just a preference for cooking. PC and I were just concerned about the unknown. Neither of us are familiar with how gas heating works. I have learned a lot about it in the past week or so. We have decided not to pass on them anymore, which has considerably widened our search.

treeI am willing to bet I am the only Jewish girl on the block with a Christmas tree. Ha! Yeah that usually confuses people. I was raised recognizing both religions. My mom was raised Jewish and my dad wasn’t.  As an adult I have had a hard time choosing just one. Why should I? I am very proud of my Jewish heritage. I feel like it would be disrespectful to my maternal family if I didn’t recognize that part of my “race” (for lack of better word). My mom and her siblings are the last generation still living. So I have my menorah up every year. But PC isn’t Jewish, so I also put a tree up every year. Our decor makes no sense to others. Our Christmakkah decor = Un-traditional.

I am still struggling with our family Christmas celebrations. At least the one for PC’s family. I don’t think they will ever understand how emotionally challenging the holidays are for me. I have to buy gifts for at least 13 kids! Hopefully I’m not leaving anyone out. And that’s just his side. Only two of those children belong to an adult that is older than PC and I. I am not saying all the children in the family were born to under age parents. I just mean, I am the oldest in my sibling group and PC is the middle child in his. Natural order would suggest we should already have children. At least before the younger adults in the family. Right?Again…Un-traditional.

Pc’s schedule is tough. He works nights. We are usually asleep while most people are awake and vise versa. He doesn’t get holidays off unless he can get them approved way in advance or if the holiday falls on his normal days off. Well let’s just say Wednesday and Thursday are not his normal days off. So that leaves me going to his family Christmas celebration all by my lonesome with a sac full of gifts for way too many children than I can handle being around all at once! And that is only IF I just happen to not be vomiting that day. Ugh…Un-traditional.

I guess it will just take time. That’s what people say anyways. For now, I will sit in my cozy little apartment and enjoy the company of Olaf. I will wrap these gifts with love in my heart. I will pray for GOD’s help along the way. Pray for the strength to smile when I feel so sick all the time. Pray for my family. For their health. Pray my dad makes a full recovery from this stroke. And pray PC and I can enjoy this holiday season no matter how untraditional it may be for us.

Much Love To All!

Hear me roar!

Here is my thought for the night…

chaos

When my heart finally roars I hope it is loud enough to be heard across the country! Yes the chaos is disturbing to say the least but somehow, somewhere, sometime we will come out of it stronger. Maybe not in all aspects of our lives but stronger nonetheless…And I for one will take any amount of strength I can get.

It’s 4 o’clock am and I am nowhere near tired. I’m yawning but we all know that means nothing when it comes to insomnia.  So here I am blogging. I promised an update anyways so that’s what I will do.

Update:    Dr. appt went as expected. He was very confused  why the meds weren’t helping me. I expressed my concerns regarding the connection between my current symptoms and my infertility. He didn’t have a response to that. His only reaction after jotting down many unknown lines, was to put me back on the combination of meds I was on a few years ago. Ya know, the ones that didn’t work either. I accepted right there in his office, that he did not see a connection and was still convinced I needed to be medicated for bipolar. I smiled, checked out, and phoned my new primary care doc as soon as I got to my car. I made an appt with her for March 3rd. I hope to get another plan together then.

I have gone thru so many doctors in these past 2 years. Is there something going on here I just can’t see? Am I giving up on these doctors for no reason at all? I just don’t feel like I have found the right one for me. Is this selfish? What happened to the good ol days when you had one doctor. Yes just one. Sure you were still sent to a specialist when needed. But the results were sent to this one dr and you went back to THAT ONE to go over the results. I need a ring leader! That’s what I need, a ring leader. Wishful thinking I suppose. Still waiting for the magnificent part but I do not doubt it is on it’s way.

Much Love.

Pregnant for years???

This is probably going to be another TMI (too much info) kinda blog. Ever heard the phrase “Sh*t or get off the pot”? If mother nature received email, that would be my subject line to her!!  I feel like “I have been pregnant for years!” Yes I know, that sounds ridiculous so let me explain.  My diagnosis has gone from possible cancer in the beginning (turned out not to be the case) to PCOS to endometriosis and so on.  I may not know what is wrong yet but I know how it feels!

A) For about 7 years straight I vomited EVERY morning before work! I had to get up earlier than usual to give myself enough time to brush my teeth 2 or 3 times instead of just once. I would brush then get sick, so I brush again, then get sick again. I just kept brushing until there was nothing left to give. I do not mean to insinuate that this sickness only happened in the mornings. Mostly mornings but the rest of the day was NOT immune to the problem. My poor hubby. I can’t tell you how many times we went out for a nice evening but had to rush home right after dinner because mine “wasn’t settling well”. Unfortunately I can say I DO know what “morning sickness” is like.

B) Then there is the bloating. Nuf said.

C) Oh and the cravings! Random cravings like peanut butter. I have told  people for years that I’m allergic to peanut butter because all my adult life it has made me horribly ill with a complimentary migraine. Why does it sound so good lately? Ugh, ok so maybe it isn’t all bloating after all. :/

D) The mood swings aren’t fun either. In the past I was diagnosed with bi polar. Yay me!!! This is yet ANOTHER diagnosis that my current doctor isn’t so sure about anymore. So not only am I dealing with constant hormonal changes but they might be manic or depressive episodes on top of that? Kidding right? Nope. I wish I were. I am slowly trying to get answers but that takes time. Meanwhile I am left racing for the TV remote when Sarah Mclachlan and her dad-gum SPCA commercials come on late at night when I can’t sleep. Those poor animals, and have you ever really listened to the lyrics of that song??? If not, forget I mentioned it!! Seriously!

I’m probably skipping a “symptom” or 2 but let’s move right on to the physical pain, shall we??? I will not ever claim I know what child-birth feels like. I will however, tell you how freakin’ aggravating it is to feel the kind of pain I do every month (off and on for 2 weeks or so) and get NOTHING out of it! Sounds crazy but geez, at least pregnant women can psych themselves thru the pain by reminding themselves of the gift they will receive when it’s all over. Me? Nopers! I feel like there is a very DULL ice pick inside my tummy slashing me from the belly button down to the south freakin pole! Each cramp will gradually gain in intensity until it peaks, then it slowly subsides and goes away. As if nothing ever happened. Sneaky little smurf!!  And if that’s not enough, mother nature throws in the lower back pain. I swear it’s on the verge of crumbling into a million pieces at any given time. Want me to sweeten the pot? I also have scoliosis (approx 40%), spina bifida occulta and a bulging disk (between L4 and L5 I believe) WTH?? Moving on. What about the blood work, did I mention I HATE needles? The sonograms without a heartbeat. The internal sonograms (not as physically painful as emotionally). The meds, side effects…

Now here is where I mention the “other” pains I have felt for several years now. 1) The heart wrenching “congrats” you muster up for yet another pregnancy announcement!!! The agony of knowing some of these women I am congratulating didn’t plan these pregnancies, they were accidents! What? Accidents? Not to mention, MORE than one of these preggos… I USED TO CHANGE THEIR FRIGGIN DIAPERS!!! I am close to these women, I love them dearly. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less. I wish it did. 2) Turning on the tv/radio  to hear about children getting hurt/killed DAILY. Sometimes by their own parents. The news is not allowed in my house and it may never be allowed again. That is pain. 3) All of the “reserved for preggos/with child” parking spots. Ok, not the same kind of pain as the first 2 but still makes my tummy hurt so it counts.  4) Not wanting to share your feelings or thoughts or negativity with family and friends. I don’t think I have one adult friend who doesn’t have a child/ren. My point? Birthday parties, holidays, school programs and such year round! And don’t even get me started on Christmas! My hubby and I are buying for a minimum of 13 kiddos this  Christmas, AND THAT’S JUST CLOSE FAMILY! That doesn’t include our distant relatives, my students (when I was teaching) and all of our friend’s kids. By the time we are finished buying for the kids we can hardly afford to buy gifts for any of the adults or for each other! Maybe I am selfish in complaining about this part. I won’t stop buying for the children! Totally not what I’m saying, my point is, this hurts too. 5) The sudden sympathetic phone call from a loved one when they hear of another pregnancy and know I might be sad. Thanks but the call doesn’t make me less sad. It just reminds me that everyone knows I’m sad. Not fun. 6) Baby showers. Doubt I need to elaborate on this one. 7) The sadness in my hubbies eyes when he holds our newborn great nephews in his arms. Yes I said great nephews, great=we are too old for this (and they are too young to be parents) and nephewS=plural! He doesn’t confide in me much regarding this topic but after 18 yrs, I know when he is sad. 8) Knowing he won’t cry because he knows that seeing a grown man cry is devastating to me. (especially one I love).

So I could probably go on and on about this subject. I’m not too sure what the lesson here should be. I don’t think I am the only woman who has felt this way. All of this “pain” makes me wonder. If it hurts this bad before pregnancy, how would it feel during and after a pregnancy. I’m no spring chicken anymore. I guess I’m at the point where I just wanna get “off the pot” already. I don’t wanna be pregnant any longer.