Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thursday Thirteen

I totally forgot to do a TT last week, so I'm doing it a day early this week.

With the new year coming up, as usual I am spending some time thinking about the changes I want to make to have a better year. Last year I started out doing awesome and following my plans, but then I totally scrapped my goals towards the middle when things started going south in my life. It took the PE to make me realize how important it is to me to remember these goals and to keep working towards them. I will need my friends and family to help keep me in check and remind me of my goals and to encourage me to stick to them. So here we go!

1. I will do my best to accept myself the way I am - not just how I look, but who I am as a person. I will try to love myself a little bit more and take time for me without feeling guilty. Along with this, I will try to stop caring so much about what others might think of me. I always worry that people don't like me or only like me out of pity. That's silly since I'm obviously a pretty cool chick.

2. I will make sure to let my loved ones know how much I love them and appreciate all they are and do and what they mean to me in my life.

3. I will eat a better diet and focus on drinking less of the bad things (pop and alcohol) and drinking more of the good things (water and is good, right? hehe).

4. I will work hard towards my goal weight and will go to the gym at least three times a week and one the days I don't go to the gym I will do some sort of exercise at home whether it be doing a workout video or even just taking a walk or playing outside with the kids. I just gotta get up and around!

5. I will blog and write more. Writing is such a great way for me to work through my feelings and is a way for me to express myself in ways I can't do in person or by just talking. I write so many blog entries that I never publish because by the time I am done writing them I feel better and realize that if I publish it, it'll only make the negativity in my life last longer.

6. I will spend one on one time with each of my children doing something special at least once a week. That can include going on a special trip, playing a game, or even just bringing one of the kids with me on errands. It's important to have that time with them and to get to know them and learn what they like and don't like. They are only little once and are growing so fast - I don't want to miss it.

7. I will work a lot harder at my relationship with Chris. Right now it seems like we focus so much on the kids that we aren't taking enough time for our marriage. We NEED date nights and time together without kids.

8. I will do fun projects and games with the kids as much as possible. It keeps them busy doing something good and helps us spend time together.

9. I will have professional pictures done of our family at some point this year. We never have and I only have about 4 pictures of all of us together total since Sam was born.

10. I will do my best to keep the house clean and organized. I would like to have it decorated a bit better but I will need help from friends and family for this because I am completely stupid when it comes to making my house look good!

11. Less screen time, more people/kid/friends/outside time! More time spent honing my talents, interests, and skills (like music, crochet, and photography).

12. I will spend less money!!!!!! I SWEAR. And this may sound selfish, but I will spend less money on the kids and more on myself. I honestly never buy anything for myself which is why I don't have clothing that fits or looks nice on me, why I'm still wearing nursing bras even though I'm not breastfeeding anymore, and why I only own about two pairs of shoes. My self esteem needs a boost big time, so having clothes that look nice on me and a variety of things to wear will help with the physical aspect. Learning to love myself more (see number one) will help with the other aspects. I shouldn't rely on others to tell me they love me to be able to love myself. Though it's nice to hear nice things about me too, haha!

13. I will relax. I will take time to just be.

Monday, December 17, 2012

50 Reasons Why I Love Timmy

1. He made me a mommy.
2. He is so clever and smart and eager to learn.
3. He speaks above and beyond most four year olds.
4. His love for anything on wheels has not changed since he was just a few months old.
5. He loves his Rhino Pillow so much.
6. He is incredibly sensitive.
7. His fear of flamingos is actually pretty cute.
8. He picked up on his letters and spelling so quickly!
9. Some of the things that come out of his mouth make me laugh more than a professional comedian's jokes.
10. He is so clumsy yet athletic at the same time.
11. He never gives up. If there is something he wants to do, he tries until he gets it.
12. He uses adult phrases in every day conversation.
13. He is so snuggly when he wants to be.
14. He is devoted to his mommy even though he is a daddy's boy.
15. His grandparents mean more to him than anything else.
16. He loves dogs and cats and has a really soft spot for them.
17. His eyes are the crispest, brightest blue.
18. He has the cutest little nose.
19. His leprechaun ear.
20. He has always has a huge interest in reading and loves to sit and look at books with people.
21. He is so social and has so many friends. He loves each and every one of them so much, and their parents, and is so loyal to them.
22. He adores his neighbors and has formed a "friendship" with them.
23. He loves to be outdoors and has since he was just a few weeks old.
24. The way he says "Lightming McQueen"
25. He loves school and is always eager to go. He loves his teachers and has learned so much from them.
26. He adores his brother and sister and is protective of them.
27. He thinks about things a lot of other kids don't necessarily take the time to think about. He loves to know how things work and how things are made.
28. He already has crushes on the little girls in his class.
29. He loves to go to church and to his Preschool Pier class and remembers the stories he hears.
30. He makes up songs all the time and loves to sing.
31. He loves the water and is learning to swim and is getting very brave in the water after a couple years of being terrified of it.
32. He is so enthusiastic about the things he loves. He wants everyone to love what he does.
33. He learned how to ride his bike with no training wheels after practicing really hard and never giving up.
34. How he "break dances"
35. He still sucks his fingers.
36. He gives random hugs that always brighten my day.
37. He loves to get dirty when he's playing outside but can't stand being dirty inside.
38. When his dad is out of town he sleeps in my bed so that I won't be lonely.
39. He tries so hard to keep up with his older cousins.
40. All he wants for Christmas is Light Up Lightning McQueen Shoes.
41. He knows what everyone drives and can identify many different kinds of cards.
42. He is a major backseat driver and neurotic about seat belts.
43. When he sits next to me he wraps his hand around my arm.
44. He has the cutest little freckles on his face.
45. His hair is always sticking up and messy.
46. He loves to get mail, even if it's just junk mail I give him.
47. He loves to wear hats and wears one most of the time.
48. He is so good at doing puzzles and can do 100 piece puzzles on his own.
49. The way he laughs and grins at every silly little thing.
50. The way he makes up jokes he thinks are funny even though they make no sense whatsoever.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Normal to be Not Normal

It hasn't even been two weeks since my diagnosis of PE, but I've had almost no real information on how recovery really will be, so I assumed I'd be back to normal by now. I pushed myself this week thinking there was something wrong with me for feeling like I wasn't okay yet. I've been having several panic attacks a day now and am feeling anxious most of the time. My heart beats so hard and so fast most of the time that I'm surprised other people can't hear it. I am winded by walking up or down a flight of stairs. My back pain is off the charts most of the time but I figure that's because I'm a wuss. I pretend it's all okay and tell everyone I'm doing great because I don't want to be a complainer or an attention seeker. I want to be normal. I want to get back into life again and enjoy my kids and be out and about doing normal activities. Right now even grocery shopping sounds fun.

But the truth is, I'm not doing well. Not at all. I am freaked out over every little pain I feel. I am scared that it's another clot or that the clot I have isn't dissolving and it's going to move out of my lungs and into my heart or my brain or somewhere it shouldn't be. I realize this is silly - I'm on blood thinners now and it would take a lot for the clot to move elsewhere at this point - but it still crosses my mind.

I am exhausted. I'm not just talking like, "Oh, it was a long day, I'm ready for bed" exhausted, but full blown I just did 500 crunches, ran a marathon, and am pregnant with quadruplets and it's the first trimester kind of exhausted. EXHAUSTED. From doing what you ask? Nothing. I don't have the energy to do ANYTHING.  I could lay down at any given minute of the day and fall asleep and sleep through til the next day, get up for an hour, and do it again. Yet I continued to push myself this week. I even toyed with the idea of going to the gym (thankfully that didn't work out because there was no electricity at the gym on the day we were going to go).

Don't even get me started on survivor's guilt. You have no idea how I feel right now. Depression, many "it should've been me" thoughts. What's worse is that I also wonder how many people think, "It should've been you." Two women, same week, same diagnosis - one lives, one dies. I know that someone out there has to be thinking it.

My kids haven't had a nice meal in two weeks. Chris is so busy with work and it's not something he can easily take off time from right now. I'm exhausted (did I mention that?) so between the two of us, our kids might get half of a real meal twice a week. Right now the kids eat crackers and yogurt for lunch. It's terrible. I'm just not into doing anything. Those rare moments when I finally have any energy to do something are spent doing laundry or the dishes.

No matter how much I talk about this, I feel like I just can't justify feeling this way. My PE was pretty mild compared to most. So why am I feeling like this? I should be grateful I'm as healthy as I am. Instead of bitching and moaning that I feel like crap, I should be out and about and enjoying life now that I've been really given a second chance to live it.

So I did some googling. I know, Google is not my friend. But I wanted to read real accounts of recovery from PEs from people who have experienced this first hand. I found this absolutely amazing site and here is a great list that describes different issues with recovery and some ways to cope with them:

And guess what - the list that the author made - made me realize that all these feelings ARE normal. It's OKAY for me to feel this way. I was trying so hard to get back to normal and I guess I need to accept that fact that right now, this IS normal. I don't know when I'll be able to have energy to do anything or be able to take a walk and not get short of breath or even be able to go a day without feeling like someone is taking a sledgehammer to my back and chest, but at least for now that's normal.

So if you see me and you ask how I'm doing, I'm going to tell you that I'm doing great and I feel great. It won't be the truth, but at least you'll know I'm lying now. And then maybe you can just say a prayer for me or give me a hug or maybe offer to help with the kids or bring the kids something to eat. Or not, it's okay. I get by. I guess this is my feeble attempt to ask for help.

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Current Favorite TV Shows

1. Modern Family
2. American Horror Story
3. The League
4. Parenthood
5. 30 Rock
6. Alf (Yes, I watch the old reruns)
7. The Aquabats Super Show
8. Yo! Gabba Gabba (Don't hate on my Yo gabba)
9. Big Rich Texas
10. Dance Moms
11. The Daily Show
12. Bitchin' Kitchen
13. Twisted Whiskers (Tinyhead kills me)

Three Months Til Five

5th birthday is only three months away, so I was asking him how he wanted to celebrate his birthday. He said he wants cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Easy enough. I asked him who he wanted to invite to his party.

"Peter and Andrew and Joel and Karson and Kayla and Lily and Jude."

"Anyone else? Anyone from school?"

"Ryan and Parker."

"Anyone else?"

"Lucas and Max and Krishtian and Andon."

"Any girls?"

"Paige V."

"Any other girls?"

"Just Paige V. She's my only girl."

Seriously, my kids are already into boyfriends and girlfriends. Nat has such a crush on Parker and apparently Timmy's latest crush is Paige V. I am so in trouble when these kids are teens.

Now to plan a party - his first party where we will invite friends. My house is definitely not big enough for friends and family, so it's either two parties or we need to find a place to have a party where the kids will be entertained - and it won't be expensive. In March. When it's typically too cold for a park party. Any suggestions, local friends?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Pulmonary Embolism Story

I've been meaning to write up what happened over the last week and just haven't had a really good chance to sit down and start. This could get kinda long, so bear with me.

A few weeks ago, the week before Thanksgiving, I ended up getting really sick with some form of nasty flu virus. I was at the doctor three different times in four days and no one could seem to figure out what was going on with me, but I knew there was something they weren't figuring out. I wasn't able to breathe -period. My chest hurt, I couldn't stop coughing, and I was coughing up gunk on a regular basis. I had a fever that hovered around 101-102 for several days and was pretty much laid out on my back for almost a week.

Eventually, I did seem to get over the flu part of everything, but the cough never went away. I was feeling pretty good otherwise, so when my friend, Lindsey, invited me to join her at the gym one Wednesday morning a couple weeks ago, I was excited to get back into a gym. We did cardio for 30 minutes and then she showed me how to use a bunch of the weight machines...and we discovered my abnormally short forearms...

That evening I was starting to get a pain in my back, but I assumed it was from working out that morning. The following morning, a Thursday, I woke up in a lot of pain and hardly able to get a good breath. I had to ignore it and move on with my day because it was the morning that Natalie's class would be telling the kids about Mrs. B. I was having a really rough morning and by that night was in so much pain that when Chris came home from work, I laid down for awhile before he left for basketball. I got up and put the kids to bed and went back to bed myself - except that it was impossible for me to find a position in which to get comfortable and I was still having an incredibly hard time getting a deep breath. All I could do was shallow breath and try to relax my body. Finally, I texted Chris and asked him to bring up some Ibuprofen when he got home because I couldn't even move to go get some meds myself.

The next morning I was still sore, but not like I was the day before so I figured the worst was over. That afternoon I went over to Lindsey's so we could work out (or in my case, flop around like a dead fish and nearly knock over her Christmas tree) and I actually was starting to feel better at that point. Chris and I even started a Wii tournament that night.

On Saturday morning, the 1st, I woke up around 4am completely unable to get a good breath, shallow or not. I was in so much pain that I wasn't able to find any position to be able to go back to sleep. At 5am, I took some Ibuprofen and settled down in the recliner because sitting was the only position I could find any form of relief. I texted my sister, Erika, and asked her what I should do. I describe my symptoms to her (painful breathing, unable to get a breath) and she said I needed to go to the ER - it sounded like a collapsed lung or a blood clot. I am a "wait it out" type of person, so I decided to take a hot shower and see if that would help. When I got out of the shower, I was still barely able to stand up and still couldn't breathe, so I told Chris I was going to the ER.

I made it to the ER around 5:30am and was brought back to a room immediately. I guess they take shortness of breath pretty seriously around there. The first thing they did was draw some blood and do a D Dimer test - which the nurse was telling me it was 95% accurate in detecting blood clots. They also had me pee in a cup and then I was sent back to my room to wait for awhile. They gave me some pain meds as well and they seemed to help take the edge off. I waited for about an hour and finally they came in to tell me that my D Dimer was negative, so no clot, but I had a lot of blood in my urine so they sent me for a CT scan of my kidneys to check for stones.

After waiting for awhile again, they came in to tell me that they didn't see any stones but they did see some fluid around my right lung and that I most likely had pneumonia. I was okay with that. Finally - some answers! The nurse was the one who told me that. The ER doctor came in a few minutes later and said that after she went over the scans she was concerned that there was a blood clot and that my lung was partially collapsed due to the pressure of the fluid around my lung. She wanted to know why a seemingly healthy person would have so much fluid around only the right lung.

I was sent for another CT scan, this time for my chest. They had to use contrast, so that was really uncomfortable because I already had to pee. For those of you that have never had to have a CT scan done using contrast, it is such a weird feeling - it seriously makes you feel like you are peeing and it makes your body HOT. I got back to my room and waited...again...I watched some Informercials and some Law and Order SVU and texted with friends - when I had service. They started me on an IV of fluid to help push the dye out of my system.

After awhile, the doctor came back in with bad news - the D Dimer was wrong. I was in that 5% that had a blood clot that wasn't detected. I had a pulmonary embolism in my right lung and I would need to start on blood thinners right away - and I wouldn't be going home for a few days. I started bawling. I had so many mixed feelings. The first thing I thought was, "My kids' teacher just died of this..." The doctor was awesome and she gave me a big hug and left me alone to make some phone calls. I called Chris first and he was able to get his parents to come be with the kids. I called Erika next and then left a message for Lindsey that ended in a pile of blubbering jibberish. Thankfully she never got the message...that would have been embarrassing...

I honestly don't remember if they explained the course of action with me before or after Chris arrived. He did arrive before I was moved to my room, I know that much. I don't even know what time I got to my room. After I was settled, Chris went home to get some rest. I made more phone calls to explain what happened - I know that I talked to my mom, who was disturbingly unaware of how serious this was, and I talked to my dad and Cherie, and eventually, after some crazy phone tag, talked to Lindsey.

That first night I went for an ultrasound of my legs to check for more clots. While I was there, my brother, Nick and his family came to see me but I missed them. I was so bummed but felt so loved at the same time. The ultrasound came back clear which was a huge relief. I didn't sleep very well that first night. I was on the Heparin drip and it made me have to pee all the time, not to mention that I was still in quite a bit of pain and couldn't get comfortable. Besides, every time I moved I set off the IV alarm because I bent the tube.

The next day they took me off the Heparin drip and taught me how to do the Lovenox injections. There was something sort of exciting about learning how to give yourself shots. At first it was kinda fun. It got old really quick, though. I think it was that afternoon that Beth came to see me. That made me so happy! I started the Warfarin (Coumadin) that night. I was hopped up on some pretty good drugs while I was in the hospital so I was pretty loopy most of the time. I cried when one of my nurses left and told her I loved her. When the next nurse came, I thanked her for being "ever so nice to me." I remember their names were Kara and Mary Ellen. I liked them. They were awesome.

Unfortunately, I was also really nauseous while I was there. I felt so sick to my stomach and nearly threw up several times, so I had to stay an extra day until they could get my nausea (and pain) under control. Finally, I got the okay to leave that Tuesday morning (the 4th). Lindsey came to see me (with Pax and Parker) before I left and brought me lottery tickets. I lost, but Parker won. Too bad for him, I have his ticket, bahaha. She also brought me some chocolate because Natalie told her that I wanted chocolate. I still have half the candy bar in my purse waiting for me when I am in need of chocolate again.

I had to do the Lovenox shots through Thursday afternoon. It's Sunday night now and I have a giant bruise the size of a baseball on my stomach. I've had several blood draws done to check my INR and have had my Coumadin adjusted. The pain is mostly gone, but mornings are still rough. I was coughing up blood for a few days and even had nose bleeds. Thankfully that is all done now. I just am really sore in the morning but by afternoon I'm doing much better.

Through all of this I have found out that I am surrounded by the  most amazing friends anyone could ever ask for. They've helped me with meals, rides, the kids, prayers, babysitting, hugs, comfort, encouragement, support, a listening ear, cheering up, and have gifted me with flowers and other treats. I am beyond blessed and cannot thank everyone enough.

I have no idea what the next few months is going to bring. I've had to make a lot of changes, but I know that in the long run it'll be so much better. There is a reason this has happened to me and while I've yet to figure out completely why, I know the first step was to learn that I am not alone and that I am loved.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Band-Aids Fix Everything

Ever since I got home from the hospital (will post the whole story eventually), the kids have been obsessed with things like shots and getting poked and blood and all that icky stuff. Today the kids insisted that their beloved Pillow Friends, Panda and Rhino, needed to be fixed.

Timmy's Rhino is actually in need of some doctoring. The last time we washed him two of his feet (paws? hooves?) ripped open a little bit. Timmy made me find him some special band-aids for Rhino and he very tenderly took care of his best buddy.

Natalie's Panda lost her tail a long time ago, so that, along with Panda's ears, needed to be fixed. Nothing is really wrong with Panda's ears, but Natalie insisted they were broken, so band-aids were the cure. 

I am really hoping this obsession with blood and all the icky stuff goes away soon. The other night Natalie told me she couldn't go to school the next day because she had blood in her throat. Timmy had to tell me all about how he fell down and was bleeding at a friend's house. I, for one, have had enough blood talk to last me a long time. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen: Things I have learned about Pulmonary Embolisms

Here is a great site that really explains what PEs are:

1. The pain is like no other pain I have felt. Any time I have pain of some sort I always say, "This is the worst pain I have ever been in." This time I meant it. And I have had three children, appendicitis, and gall bladder attacks.

2. I will learn to do things I never thought I'd ever have to do - for example, give myself injections in my stomach. Thankfully today is the last day that I will have to do that.

3. I will endure some really gross moments, like the first ten minutes every morning when I cough up blood.

4. I will have some sort of survivor's guilt in knowing that my kids' teacher passed away from this at the same time I survived it. It's not fair. It really isn't.

5. I will be poked more times in a few days than in the rest of my life put together. Between blood draws, IVs, and injections, I estimate that I have been poked about 30 times in the last five days.

6. I will quickly get over caring what people think about my home or how I am dressed. All that matters is that people care about me and come to see me and help me.

7. I will have to make some huge changes that will change the rest of my life. I will always be at higher risk for blood clots now so I have to take precautions. This means no more birth control pills, no smoking (not that I have really done that in the last five years anyway), no alcohol (this is my decision - if I need to be healthy, alcohol is not the way to go - besides, with the drugs I am on, alcohol is probably not a wise idea), and really taking care to eat healthy and stay away from junk.

8. I will become attached to certain nurses and cry when their shift ends. I will also profess my love for them.

9. I will spend a great amount of time staring at nothing in particular because I am so doped up that I can't do anything else. I will also say things several times or not at all because I am not sure if I am saying things out loud or not.

10. I will come to terms with the fact that I nearly died. I will figure out what is important in my life and what is not and the things that are not important are really, really not important.

11. I will make a point to let the people in my life know how much I care for them and how much I appreciate everything they do. There may not be another chance to tell them. So, just to warn you, I may be extra sentimental over the next while, but I suppose that's better than being extra b*tchy.

12. I will realize that I am never alone and that I am loved. I will have the most amazing friends and family anyone could ask for and they will rally around me and pray for me and feed me and love me and take care of me and my family. I have something better than a "best friend" - I have amazing friends - more than one. I have people that will put their lives on hold to make sure my life is taken care of. I have never felt this kind of encouragement, support, and love in my entire life. I only hope that if the situation were reversed that I could be even half as awesome as the people who are taking care of me.

13. I will be humbled. I will have to let go of control and let God take over. I am not an overly religious person but I do find great comfort in having faith and hope in something Greater.