Saturday, October 29, 2011

The ongoing saga of my fertility...

...has come to an end!!

Yesterday I went in for tubal cauterization on the one side that just wouldn't quit.  The surgical center was lovely, all the staff friendly, and the whole thing went swimmingly!  I came away with only one tiny incision.

(Going into it I was more than a little nervous because of my last experience with laproscopic surgery, but that was an entirely different set of circumstances involving a gangrenous gall bladder and trying to recover while nursing a 6 week old, and more holes poked in me than your average pin cushion.  It didn't go well.)

I felt wonderful yesterday!!  Well, wonderful with regular doses of percocet, but still just wonderful!  The only thing that was a little odd was that when I first woke up from the surgery, my jaw muscles were SORE, like chewing bubble gum for 12 hours kind of sore.  I asked the nurse about it, and she asked the nurse who worked with the anesthesiologist.  She said it was a slight reaction to one of the medicines, that sometimes it can do that.  So, I went on my merry drugged way and didn't really think anything more of it.

I am extremely fortunate to have a very dear friend who is also an anesthesiologist.  When I talked to her later that night, she explained that there is a muscle relaxer that is given that can have that effect on patients, but we didn't really go into further details.

At 5am today I awoke in PAIN.  Everything muscle above my belly button hurt like I had done isolation exercises on just that muscle for hours the day before.  I whimpered and groaned my way out of bed and into the bathroom where I quickly took another percocet and tried to figure out what the heck was going on with my body.  I did a little stretching, but it was so painful that I just whimpered and groaned back to bed and let the percocet put me back to sleep.

When I finally got out of bed again at 7 to take Lilyanna downstairs, nothing was better.  It hurt to breathe, move, laugh, cough, and even swallow.  I've never been as aware that my tongue is made up of muscles as I am today.  I emailed my dear friend and asked if this was possibly related to the whole jaw thing from the day before.  This was her response:

Dear Emilia,
    Your intuition is right - it is exactly the same thing as your
jaw muscle effect.  I was thinking of mentioning to you yesterday that
you got "lucky" it was only your jaw muscles and you don't feel
overall achy "like you had the flu".   You are right to feel that
every muscle got an isolation work-out.  The way this relaxant works
is it EXCITES every neuromuscular junction until they're pooped out.
Which means ALL your muscles twitch/spasm before they relax.
  If it makes you feel any better, they normally say
"muscular/athlethic" people have this problem more than flabby couch
potatoes ( since you're into silver linings ;) )
     Hmmm - you know, from now on, if (Heaven forbid!) you're going
to have surgery, we need to talk about what they'll be doing, and then
we are going to form an anesthetic plan for you. :)
   Next time, tell them you had an adverse reaction to
"succinylcholine" and please don't use it!

How awesome is my friend, Sukhvinder, for being there for me through my medical mysteries, btw?  I love and adore that lady!

AND how awesome is it that I'm in complete agonizing pain because I'm "muscular/athletic"??  It's a small victory, but still.

AND AND AND  I don't ever have to take birth control pills again!!!!  Hooray hooray hooray!!  

So, you know, a little adverse reaction to anesthesia aside, everything went very well yesterday and it is not a surgery to be nervous about.

The End.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can you STILL hear that sound??

That is the universe guffawing at my attempts to become infertile.

Not only did Wednesday's procedure not work AGAIN, but several different doctors all came in to have a go at it.  All unsuccessful.

So, next Friday I go in for the real deal.  Anesthesia and cauterization, people.

My dear friend, who is also a doctor, said, "If your tubes withstand burning, I think it's worth considering it a sign from above."

If my tubes withstand burning, so begins my life of celibacy.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do you hear that sound?

It is the universe laughing at my attempts to become permanently infertile.

6 months ago, I had a procedure done. Essure, if you care to know.

Last month I discovered that it had only worked on one side.  (This was not a big surprise, because there were problems on that side during the procedure.  The Doctor was a mess afterwards with apologies and literally said, "I'm so sorry, this has never happened to me before.  I've never had it not work properly."  I admit that I snickered.)

So, tomorrow I go in AGAIN to try to get the still functioning side taken care of.

Throughout all this, I've had to be on the pill for the first time in my life.  With it I have had all sorts of miserable side effects.  Like most of the bad side effects you can get (including my eyes being so dry I can barely wear my contacts for more than an hour or two, and my nose so dry it's been cracked and bleeding inside, etc.  We won't even talk about the weight gain. Ugh.)

So, cross your fingers, say a prayer, do a dance, light a candle, whatever you do, please do it for me that this will all work well tomorrow!

Fertile Myrtle 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Typhoid Us

I once watched a documentary about typhoid Mary.  A very interesting woman just trying to get by the best way she could.  Cooks made much better money than housekeepers, you see.  The fact that it made every family she worked for get sick and have a few deaths in the family is sad, but I'm sure at the time she found it difficult to believe that was really her fault.

While I don't have typhoid, and to my knowledge haven't killed anyone with my germs.  The last year has been physically rough for our family.  And I'm not really sure why.  The kids take vitamins, eat well, get adequate rest, spend more time playing outside than they do with their face in a screen.  We all exercise several times a week for an hour or more at a go.  We wash our hands.  We daily wipe down all light switches and door knobs and piano keys.

And yet, Lilyanna seems to catch EVERYTHING out there.  And once she gets it, we ALL get it.  I have 15 piano students come to my house each week.  So even if she wasn't going to catch something that her brothers brought home from school, with 15 more school kids coming into the house, she's going to get it.  Not to mention all of her own peer interaction with Library Story time, her tumbling class, nursery, and the gym playroom.

There is a part of me that wonders if all the emotional stress of the last few years destroyed our immune systems.  Doesn't it seem a little long for that, though?  A lot of that stress has dissapated in that last several months, but we still seem to be getting ill at an alarming rate.

Last year we got sick once a month (the whole family) from November through June.  (We did get the month of April off.  And then July and August.)  September, Lilyanna got sick.  Cold/fever and I think bronchitis.  She still has a lingering cough.

Saturday night I came down with a fever and a horrible headache.  The type of headache that makes you think your head exploding would be a relief.  The headache lasted until Tuesday morning, when it was replaced by a normal garden variety i-have-a-fever-headache.  The fever didn't stop until this morning.  On Tuesday I was diagnosed with bronchitis and an ear infection and some wacky fever.  (I was also tested for the flu.  Wow.  That test is AWFUL!  The CDC can get their stats somewhere else, because I do not ever need that test again.  I almost punched a perfectly nice NP while she shoved that swab up my nose.)  On Wednesday I was diagnosed with strep throat.  Yesterday, right before I was diagnosed with strep throat, Nathaniel came home sick from school with a fever and nasty cough.  Caleb and Benjamin are also coughing and walking around with that slightly gray look.  Ironically, Todd with his autoimmune disease has the best immune system of all of us and seems fine so far.

I am not sure how to break this cycle.  How do you completely rebuild the immune systems of an entire family?  I am open to suggestions here

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I [heart] NY

One day at the beginning of August, Todd called from work and asked what was on the calendar the week before school started, because needed to go NYC.  I said,  "Oh, no problem, I was going to take the kids to an amusement park during that time, and spend the night at a nearby hotel, so go ahead."  He said, "Um, no.  It's for all of us.  My boss's boss in NYC is having a party in the backyard of her mansion in Scarsdale and families are invited.  

Now.  Do you all remember that movie "Mona Lisa Smile"?  There is a scene in it where Marcia Gay Harden's character puts the fear of God into her Home Ec. students by presenting a scenario in which their husbands bring the boss home for dinner on the spur of the moment.  She goes on to say something to the effect of "You are being tested as well as your husband.  You may very well make or break that promotion he's up for."  This is what popped into my mind when he asked if I'd like to go.  That, and the idea of keeping our children well behaved in front of all of Todd's co-workers, yikes!!  

The thing that eventually won me over was being bribed by a hotel right at Rockefeller Center and tickets to How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.  Apparently, I can be bought.  ;)  I still freaked out about clothes and hair for the two weeks leading up to the trip, but it all went swimmingly in the end.

Literally!  The boss had a beautiful pool in her backyard and had hired two lifeguards to amuse [read keep track of so the parents didn't have to] the children.  So, keeping my boys well behaved wasn't so bad after all.  Also, the caterer had planned a dinner just for the children and he basically served them all.   The outdoor kitchen/pool house was probably bigger than my regular kitchen or bathroom here at home.  I don't think I said anything too awful to anyone, and actually enjoyed intelligent adult conversation where I was not mocked for staying at home with my children for over a decade, as I expected.  AND there was a flourless chocolate cake, so this gluten free lady was HAPPY!

We all survived and enjoyed it and then drove into the city, where I finally drove in NYC!!  First time in the 35 years I've been going into the city.

The next day, Todd went off to work and the kids and I ate breakfast and then headed over to the Intrepid where we met Uncle Mark and saw all sorts of cool things!

 We just happened to be at the Intrepid on the same day that there were ASTRONAUTS there from the last Atlantis shuttle mission !!  I had a vague sense that something was happening so, Lilyanna and I got in line while Mark had the boys down in the submarine.  It turned out that before they got out I had the Shuttle flight commander's autographed head shot and then got in line to meet the female Astronaut.  She was very friendly and happy to chat to all the boys while signing.  I tried to tell Lilyanna how awesome it was to meet a female astronaut, but she wasn't impressed.

 A LEGO replica of the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier.

 Mark is a total space program geek, though for some reason knows more about the Russian program than the U.S. program.  He's a little weird, that one.  ;)

No pictures, but we also went to Serendipity for huge amounts of ice cream and had pizza that was like heaven in my mouth.  (I bailed on the gluten free thing for two bites.  It was worth a rash!)

 Uncle Mark took us back to our hotel and we lounged around until Dad got back and we went out for fancy shmancy Indian food at a place called "Mint".  I recommend it.
 The next day, I told the boys I had a surprise for them.  (It wasn't this very odd sculpture in front of an office building.)
 Or going to St. Patrick's Cathedral.  We just passed those things on the way.  Here is the video of what happened when we arrived at the dummy location. [Warning: you may want to turn down the volume for Nathaniel's initial reaction.]

Not only was the store at Rockefeller Center all things Nintendo, the ground floor was also devoted almost exclusively to Pokemon.  Making it my boys' dream store and my nightmare store.  Funny how that works, isn't it?  Still they were really excited and happy, and we basically had the store to ourselves, because the Today Show had one side of the plaza blocked off for an Enrique Iglesias performance.

 And THEN we went to the American Girl Store.  We weren't going to buy anything but Lilyanna ended up with a bitty baby and matching bunny slippers for her and her baby.  She was obsessed with this video at the time we went.

After this, we hopped on a bus and headed down to the village to eat at a S'Mac, a place that does nothing but macaroni and cheese and will make any of their dishes gluten free!  Caleb and I were in heaven!  (It's right across the street from Angelica's Kitchen, the Vegan restaurant where Todd and I took his brother and wife and our two little boys 9 years ago.)

Then we headed over the river to NJ to see Todd's parents.  We took his Dad out to dinner for his birthday, had a nice day playing and chatting the next day, and then Todd and I headed into the city to see Harry Potter  Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette.  They both looked like they were having tons of fun onstage, which makes any show a delight to see.  Also, I LOVED the set design of this show.  It was minimal but really well executed!
 Todd waiting for our train back to NJ in the wee small hours.   Btw, the Seacaucus station is GREAT!  It's been practically empty every time I've gone through it!  Although walking to the parking lot in the middle of the night alone is a little creepy thanks to how far away it is from the station.

 And then after church the next morning, we headed back to Ohio, where we jumped immediately into before school conferences and the first day of school.

It is my fantasy to someday live in NYC.  Not forever.  Just for a year.  There's just so much to do.  I'd homeschool the kids and we'd take TONS of field trips.  Sadly, at this point, that looks like nothing more than a fantasy.  But who knows?  Things could happen!

Cub Scout Fall Camp Out

In the five years that we've been doing Cub Scouts with our boys and our community troop, I think this is the first time we've been able to go to the fall camp out.  It usually conflicts with General Conference, but this year they were a week apart, so we were able to go and camp out for one of the two nights.  (We don't camp out Saturday to Sunday, so this only works if the pack is camping for two nights.)

I had the privilege to take the boys on the trip.  It's usually Todd's job, but it's gotten too cold at night for Mr. Zero Percent Body Fat to comfortably go without getting sick.  Ironically, as I'm writing this the day after the camp out, I have a fever.

We could not have asked for better weather!  It was cool at night and in the early morning, but no more that a few layers could fix, and the afternoon was nice and warm.  We had sunshine the whole time!  This is a miracle in Ohio.  By next month, we will enter the gray season, and won't really see the sun again until April.
 Beautiful changing trees!  Every time there was a gentle breeze, the pretty yellow and orange leaves came fluttering down upon us en masse!

 I don't know what you all do on a camp out, but our boys play chess.  These boys were thoroughly engrossed for at least two hours in the tournament they had set up.
 We were in a huge open camping area, so Caleb had wonderful amounts of space to wander while I could still see him from my spot at the fire pit.  He loved it!
 Nathaniel and Caleb both wanted nothing more than to play in the fire and were not amused by the strict "no scout may throw anything in the fire unless supervised by an adult.  And any stick you stick in the fire, we will throw in the fire."  Lame safety rules.  ;)
 I listened to a church talk a couple of weeks ago that talked about not just looking at your children, but truly beholding our little ones.  I took as many opportunities as possible this weekend to behold two of my sons.