Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Must Be Her Imagination

Alice has an extremely vivid imagination. She is detailed and committed in her play. She gets extremely put-out with you when you don't know where the story she has in her head is going.

She often has "attend" (pretend) playmates. Sometimes they're sisters or brothers. Sometimes they're her kids (she calls them her "bubs" like I call her, melts my heart) and I'm the Nana. Sometimes it's a party or a wedding we're going to. The other day she came running in saying there were snakes in her room. I asked her to clarify between real or pretend. She said "attend snakes" (Mardi Gras beads). Oh, thank goodness. 

She seems to be a bit more timid at school than she is as home. However, she's starting to talk to them a lot more. 

Yesterday at pick up, Mrs. Christy said, "okay, I have to ask you something."

Oh great..... 

"Does she have a friend or a family member named Belle?"

Me "no."

She then goes on to tell me how Alice talked to them for 30 minutes about her sister Belle and how she hurt herself and had to ride in the Hospital Car (ambulance) and the ride was bumpy. She described everything in detail, without skipping a beat. She talked about how Belle sometimes has blue hair and so on. She was so convincing that they were sure she had recently ridden in an ambulance.

They said she never hesitated or stopped so they really couldn't tell if she was telling the truth or not. 

The only pause she took was to ask Mrs. Karen "are you yistening to me?"

The teachers spent some time trying to see where the story would go and eventually Alice mentioned that Belle had a little sister named Cinderella and all teachers felt that there is no way parents would do that to their kids. 

Mrs. Kelly ended up asking, "Alice, is this for real or pretend?"

Alice said, "attend!"

They thought it was hilarious. She talked the entire time and they're pretty sure she only stopped because it was time to eat lunch. 

They were all extremely impressed with her details and Mrs. Christy thinks she should be a writer. 

Oh be still my heart, I hope so.

Her commitment to the stories dancing through her head will probably be why we spend most of our lives asking "real or not real" like broken Peeta. 

But it's a wondrous thing to watch. 

Until next time....

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Side-Effect Sally

So I should probably tell you how I'm doing health wise. 

Since my last post, the abscess drained. It wasn't as bad as I imagined. It wasn't lovely! But it wasn't the ending scene of a horror movie either. I'm actually thankful we were able to speak with the doctor the day before it started oozing so I was slightly prepared. Had it just started bleeding, I would have had a complete and total meltdown and the house might have resembled the prom scene from Carrie.  

I immediately started my steroids and the antibiotics and now I have all the fun stuff that comes with those! I'm hungry ALL OF THE TIME!!!! Seriously. Ravenously hungry. I'd coat the dog in Nutella if it weren't for all his hair hungry. I know it's the Prednisone and I'm trying my best to not snack but it's so hard. And I want all things sweet, which is bad because Prednisone will do wonky things to your blood sugars and I don't want to end this adventure with a Diabetes diagnosis. So I'm having to physically remove temptations from the house. The struggle is REAL. And I have grown dangerously attached to the Iced Caramel Mocha's from McDondald's. SO YUMMY!!!!! BUT SO BAD!! 

The steroids will also mess with your calcium so I've added that to my daily routine, only I have to be careful when I take it during the day so it doesn't mess with my other pills. 

The steroids will also mess with your emotions. I blame all my moods on it now. HOLLA!! When I'm hungry - HULK HUNGRY!! When I'm mad - HULK MAD!! When I was hurting and things were oozing and I was crying over my sink - HULK SAAAAD!! But I'm functioning. And we're taking it day by day. Alice now says "HULK HUNGY!!" It's the cutest! 

I feel puffy and bloated and gross. And my face is starting to breakout. Again, all normal side effects. And since I'm Side-Effect Sally, I get THEM ALL!! Even the obscure ones that are in tiny print at the bottom of the medicine information - yep, those are mine! Steroids compromise your immune system and can result in various forms of yeast infections, ALL of which SUCK and no amount of yogurt consumed will keep me from getting. I now get to swish with Nystatin every 4 hours. Lame. In hopes of not encouraging yeast issues, I have to avoid sweets, caffeine, and alcohol. So double lame.   

When I start new meds, I have to monitor my blood levels closely. I'm a fragile Coumadin taker. It takes a lot to get me therapeutic and not much at all to completely screw it up. So with the addition of the steroids and the antibiotics, things have been a bit dicey. I have a machine that I can check my INR from home. The strips are crazy expensive but on my normal schedule (every 6 - 8 weeks) it saves me the copays of going in. 

For me, therapeutic is 1.9 - 3. I checked it a few weeks ago and it was 8. Actually, it read "> 8" only I didn't realize it didn't go higher than that so there's no telling what it was. I didn't have any of the usual signs of being dangerously high! I didn't have any bruising. My one glass of wine wasn't making me completely loopy. I was having massive palpitations but that could have been the steroids. Regardless, I had to go off the blood thinners, eat my weight in Kale, and recheck every day. I don't usually get to eat Kale, I have to avoid foods high in Vitamin K. I'm not missing much. 

And let me tell you, going from an extremely high INR to a normal INR hurts. It's the weirdest sensation ever. It's like I can feel my blood thickening. My damaged leg hurts, I get horrible headaches, it's crazy! 

We got everything leveled out but it happened again this week. So now we've adjusted my Coumadin and will continue to monitor it as I keep with the treatment plan. 

As far as how I feel, I feel fine! After the oozing, the pain immediately went away. Things have healed well and while there is still some discoloration, the pain is mostly gone. I can sleep on my side again!! HALLELUJAH! I have a heated hand massager that I use to attempt to break up the scar tissue some. Occasionally I will hit something the wrong way and be reminded that things are still healing but for the most part, I'm feeling MUCH better.

I'm not sleeping real well though. Again, something common with the drug. So that's making the days harder and my patience lower but I'm trying!

With steroids, you have to taper them down, you can't just quit. I went from 60 mg to 40 mg this week which makes me hopeful. My hope is that I went through the worst of it already and now we're just healing. I'm hoping the healing goes by a little faster. 

I have another follow up in a few weeks. I'm hoping by then she'll let me start working out again, I think the inactivity is also contributing to my lack of sleep. 

So overall, I'm doing good! 

I'm no longer on the antibiotics and that's nice.

I'm self conscious about how I look so I'll probably be in less pictures in the next few months. I'm frustrated with all of the side effects I'm dealing with and I'm ready to be done with it all. 

But mainly I'm glad the pain is mostly gone and there's an end in sight. 

Here's hoping it keeps going that way.

Until next time.....

Friday, April 28, 2017

TOO MUCH NATURE!!!

Let's start at the beginning. 

I don't do outside. This garden venture is a complete stretch for me. I do not like outside or all things that live outside. Nope. Not interested. 

Several months ago Tami came to the house. When she does, she parks her car on the street. She comes in an says "hey, did you know there's a snake skin next to where your trash is?" 

Ummm......what?

My Beloved says it's no big deal, it's just the skin, it doesn't look poisonous. 

I freak out. We're under attack. Obviously. 

A week later he says he has to tell me something that's been bothering him. He actually found the snake skin in the garage, not next to the house. "So we're emptying the garage this weekend and covering it in Snake Away, right?!" He knew at the time of finding the skin that we would be unable to completely empty the garage due to some work commitments so he hesitated in telling me.

We spent the next day cleaning the garage. 

Now, fast forward to a few weeks ago. We mentioned needing to put out more Snake Away now that the weather was getting warmer. No big deal, it's an easy weekend chore.

Only I wake up to take Alice to school one morning and the garage smells like a moth ball convention. SNAKE AWAY!!!!

Now I'm in a conundrum. Do I risk entering the garage?! Is it in my car's AIR VENTS!?! (All this stuff happens almost immediately after some crazy news story bounces around social media. Every. Time.)

This is how I handled that conversation:


Notice it took him 10 minutes to respond. We've had a discussion on how much time should go between text responses, especially those relating to dangerous beasts. 

We again checked the garage - no snake. 

And that brings us to today.

Mid morning the birds in our backyard start going berserk. No big deal, this happens a lot, it probably means there is a hawk near by. I walk to the back window and notice two Blue Jays on the fence fussing at something. I look down and see a huge snake moving around a stack of landscaping rocks we have along the fence line. And it looks rather annoyed with the birds. The birds are persistent and the HUGE SNAKE wiggles toward the garage side of our house. 

Side note - I feel like I owe the Blue Jays some bird food. They are WAY more helpful in protecting our backyard than our dog.

Per usual, I text my Beloved. 

He immediately calls and asks the size and color and 'where did it go' questions.

Ummm, no sir. I'm not stepping A FOOT outside! That is NOT my life!! Nope. There could be more! It could be like the plane! SNAKES FALLING FROM THE SKY!!! NOPE!! Everything outside is DEAD TO ME!!! Sorry, garden! You're on your own!!! 

"It went up the side of the house! I don't know where it is!! WE'RE ON LOCK DOWN!! THE HOUSE IS UNDER SIEGE!!!! We're not leaving until it has been proven that it's no longer a threat. And you have to YouTube how to check my car for snakes in the air vents! IT COULD HAVE EATEN THE BABY!!!!" 

God bless my poor Beloved. 

I told him it was big. And brown. And alive. I thought it might be like, 3 feet? I didn't want to say too big because I tend to exaggerate. Whatever.

So he gets home and starts hunting. 

I'm in the front room and Alice comes running. "Momma!! Dada needs you in the garage!"
BINGO!!

Killing the thing was quite comical, snakes don't die easily. A shovel and a scrapper of some sort was used. It started out in a bad spot so getting a good angle of its evil little head was mostly impossibly. Add on Daniel had to balance a stack of boards on his knee the entire time adding to the challenge. 

He manages to get it in a better position, however, then the snake's "flight or fight" instincts kicked in and it started climbing the wall. 

Literally, climbing up the wall. WHY, GOD, WHY???!!!

This all happens on the side of the garage where EVERYTHING is located because life. 

My Beloved eventually knocks the boards out of the way and drags the snake to the driveway. 

The shovel still isn't quite cutting it. Literally. 

So while holding the snake down in the heat, my Beloved asked me to bring him a knife from the bottom drawer of this tool box. "Oh, the bottom drawer, is that where it keeps it's babies, you think?" Him "there aren't any babies." Uh huh. 

Seriously, I attempted to help! I offered no less than 4 times to run to Walmart to buy a gun! 

And of course all of the neighbors arrive home to find my husband beheading a beast on our driveway. We're *those* neighbors.


We also got to have a fun conversation with Alice about the nervous system of snakes. Blessed life lessons. 



It didn't have fangs so Daniel is pretty sure it was just a really large Rat Snake.

Panic mode again.

"DOES THAT MEANT WE HAVE RATS?!?!??!"

Ya'll, this is the WRONG time to be on meds that prohibit me from drinking alcohol. 

THE. WRONG. TIME. 

Until next time.....

Thursday, April 6, 2017

D is for Diagnosis

Well, it's NOT cancer! 

However, it will be time consuming, painful, and extremely annoying. 

After tons of tests and several biopsies, I have been diagnosed with Granulomatous Mastitis

It's rare.

Yay.

It's also chronic.

Double yay.

And the treatment is not immediate. It's a long haul game. It's 5 - 10 months of high doses of steroids along with antibiotics. It'll be painful and it will eventually form an abscess that will eventually start to purge itself. 

Triple yay. 

When I say this is rare - it's really, really rare. My Breast Specialist has seen it twice in her 22 years in the business. I'm her #2. Her colleague who has been doing this longer than her has had 3 cases. 

There is no way to predict it. No way to prevent it. No way to tell where it came from. In some cases it proves to be an autoimmune issue. So, that's just lovely. 

Now I'm waiting on my Boobologist to contact my Rheumatologist and my Hematologist to go over medications. You see, I'm a trial because I am on blood thinners and I am also on a medication for my previous run-in with autoimmune issues. So they have to work through and decide what will work best for me. For a regular patient, the main goal would be to cure the infection. For me, the main goal is to keep me from clotting or bleeding out while we cure the infection. And Coumadin does not play well with others. At all. Too much bleeding is not a good thing. 

I am SO relieved it's not cancer.

SO RELIEVED!

I've spent the last two months absolutely terrified. "How will I tell Alice? What if I'm not strong enough to get through it? What if it's spreading while I'm sitting here WAITING ON MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS??!"

Yes, I am relieved. 

I might actually sleep tonight.

However, I do wish the answer was easier. I wish there was a quick fix. I am so very tired of the pain. And I'm not really looking forward to the medications.

I will go on antibiotics which will cause ALL LOADS of problems. These problems will be extremely uncomfortable. Good times. 

Steroids cause ALL LOADS of side effects that I am NOT looking forward to. When I left the hospital with Alice, I was on steroids. I stayed on them for many months and I gained so much weight. And that dose was small! The doctor mentioned 40 - 60 mg of steroids today. So the vanity side of me is so very, very discouraged. I worked so hard to get to a place where I felt better about myself in pictures and now I'm going to gain it all back and then some. Steroids are going to cause MAJOR mood swings and acne. I'm going to look like a pubescent Pooh Bear. 

AND then there's the pain and drainage. 

And I feel absolutely horrible having these feelings when it could have been much worse. But there it is. 

Yesterday I was crying about potentially losing my hair and my life. And today I'm crying because I'm going to look like a chubby bunny in pictures and none of my clothes are going to fit....again. 

And I know it's horribly selfish. But, again, there it is. 

So now I'm supposed to ice and heat and take Tylenol for the pain. We bought gauze and hand sanitizer for for the potential oozing, which just sounds delightful! And we bought an ace wrap because compression is key. We also bought two bottles of wine because I've earned them.

Now for the special mentions.

I am so thankful for my Boobologist who finally made things happen. Not fun things! But things nonetheless. 

I am also thankful for my mom and my wonderful in-law's who jumped in to help with Alice. It was way less stressful to know she was taken care of. 

I have a village of people who prayed and sent happy thoughts and well wishes and good vibes. I am thankful for each of you.

I am also thankful Tami and Shani were both wrong and it was NOT my twin. ;)

But most of all, I'm thankful for my Beloved. He's had to deal with an absolute basket-case and he handles it so well. He loves me where I am. Always. No matter what rare $#%@ I come home with. 

Tonight I will have a drink to Not Cancer and to answers and to an eventual end. 

Here's hoping I can add to the rare and be a case that heals quickly! 

Now I'm going to go ice my boob. ;)

Until next time.....