Sunday, March 23, 2014

Anniversary weekend

We're in Louisville this weekend celebrating our 19th wedding
anniversary. We drove over yesterday and are going home this
afternoon.

Pic below is a pic of the picture our server at Morton's took. They
put the photo in a paper Morton's frame and wrote Happy Anniversary in
silver pen on the inside.

Morton's is right around the corner from our hotel--21c, a hotel/art
museum that is made up of 5 converted tobacco and bourbon warehouses
from the late 1800s. There are exposed thick wood beams and brick
walls everywhere. The art is all 21st Century--lots of photographs and
weird sculptures...I prefer the Impressionists, but it's still cool to
be around all this culture.

It was our most expensive meal ever. I joked that we had a $100 dinner
and got a $150 photograph. Yes it was stupidly expensive--but totally
worth it. Neither of us can remember when the last time was that we
went out of town just the two of us. It felt nice to splurge and spend
time and money on ourselves for a change.

I've been in a funk the last 2-3 weeks. The endlessly cold weather
(one or two nice days is simply not enough) has been a factor. Plus I
think my Meds are now working against my brain chemistry. I'm weaning
off them, giving my brain a little holiday. Hoping it will reset then
I'll start them again when I can feel the depression coming back. I've
weaned off several times before and recognize what's going on. I
already feel a bit better.

Work is crazy busy, both for me and Mark. I love my job but it can be
overwhelming some days and I'm fried when I get home.

Kids are great.

Sophie's play The Little Mermaid was last weekend. She had a small
part, no lines, one short solo singing part, and was part of the
chorus for a lot of scenes. It was amazing to see her on stage,
considering her surgery was 4 months ago. She got A's and one B (math)
on her report card. She's happy and has great friends.

Luke got straight As on his report card. He is still going to acting
class each week. We took him to see a psychologist for his ADHD Meds a
couple weeks ago, because they were impacting his emotions very
negatively. Doc switched him to a different med, which didn't last as
long and after 5 days made him see a big bug on the floor that wasn't
there. Hallucinations are a side affect. So he's off that. His
pediatrician wrote a script for a third, but we haven't given it to
him. He's been off Meds for 6 school days and his grades are still
great and his teacher hasn't noticed any abnormal behaviors. And we
have our happy, spirited, funny boy back! He had been having major
anxiety and some OCD issues and was really sad and lethargic at night
and even on weekends when we would not give him medicine. Keeping our
fingers crossed he can manage school without medication.

Spring break for kids is this week. I'm working. Mark might take a day
off. Sophie is going to watch Luke a few days and they might be with
my mom one day. The kids actually do pretty well together at home, and
Sophie likes saving her babysitting money.

So we are on our way to brunch and then back home. Life is pretty
normal and fairly stable. Which are great things.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All is well (157)

I really have nothing new to report.  Which is awesome.  Normal is awesome.  Here are the random stats of my life right now.

Work is great, although I'm working a lot.  Last Saturday I worked at the college from 10 - 2, then went to "the office" from 3 - 6:30.  So the only day I had off was Sunday, and it was a busy day filled with church, taking Sophie & her friends to the mall, and having a friend over for Luke.  It was a good weekend, just full.

Sophie's doing great.  Has really adapted to living with her restrictions.  She has straight As so far this quarter.  She's in a play (no speaking role, just singing).  She goes to youth group at church every Sunday night with her friends.  So pleased with how she's doing.

Luke also has straight As. I mentioned his Math genius last time.  His teacher wrote a note on his last math assignment "show your work."  He's doing math in his head.  Smart little bugger.

We are taking him to see a psychologist in March.  When I told his pediatrician (well, his nurse, who told the doctor) about Luke's extreme reactions to disappointments, he referred us to a psych.  I plan to have him tested for ADHD, so we know all the aspects of how his brain works. He's actually gotten better the last couple of days, because I've been restricting his screen time and enforcing it, so he's getting used to it.  When he's tired or hungry is the worst time for him.  So I'm being more careful about what I ask of him then.  I send healthy snacks (grapes, broccoli, z bars) to daycare with him so he's not starving when I pick him up after 5.  He never eats day care snacks, so it's no wonder he was a beast at the end of the day.  His ADHD medicine kills his appetite in the afternoons, so he doesn't want to eat much anyway.

I still get a little thrill every time I pull out my insurance card for doctor's appointments.  Did I tell you yet that our old insurance approved the appeal for Sophie's surgery, and everything is paying in network?  That was huge.  I got a call from the hospital last month, saying we had an outstanding balance of $26,000.  Thank God I was able to tell them we won the appeal and they should be reprocessing as in network!

I'm so ready for spring.  I'm starting to get the itch to get outside and run again.  The past few days have been warm and the runners are out in force.  Makes me jealous.  Which is a good sign that I WANT to be outside pounding the asphalt.

Mark is doing great at work.  He also has stepped up at home. When I work on Saturdays, he does all the laundry.  He keeps up with the dishwasher when I work till 7 on Monday and Wednesday.  We really are closer than we have been in a long time.  He's relieved he has a happy, not-stressed-out-about-money-anymore wife.  We celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary next month!

I absolutely love my boss and my job and the college.  I'm meeting with students regularly, which is really great and I enjoy a lot. There's a steep learning curve and I have to ask a lot of questions.  The other financial aid analyst is a huge help to me and generous with her time.  I'm swamped every day right now, and that's OK.  Keeps things challenging and makes the days go fast.

I've even been able to get every Tuesday afternoon off to take the kids to acting class (both of them take acting lessons).  It was just too hard for Mark to get away from the office at 3:15.  He even forgot one Tuesday and Luke missed class (Mark was so upset with himself and felt horrible; Luke was sweet and understanding about it, which I was proud of him for). When I work Saturdays (avg of 2 a month), I'm off Tuesday at noon.  When I don't, I'm off at 3:30p.  My boss was totally fine with it, as long as I get in 40 hours a week.  How awesome is that! 

The Princess Half Marathon is this Sunday.   My friends are going again, and of course I'm not.  It's good that I didn't sign up--couldn't have gone anyway with the new job.  But I'm a little heart sick not to be part of it.  I really want to go next year.  They think it's the last year they are going to go.  A couple girls are going to try to do the Coast to Coast challenge, which is a race in Florida and a race in California in the same year.  They are sisters in law, and their husbands co-own a company together, and they have a ton of money, and neither work outside the home, so they can do that.  I won't be going to CA for a race unless we win the lottery (and that's impossible b/c I don't play the lottery :).

Happy almost spring time!  May all your snow melt this month.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Busy (156.6)

I have been meaning to post all week. Sorry for the delay.

Life is good. I love my job. Love love love. Started meeting with
students last week. Also started working till 7 on Monday and
Wednesday. And I've been swamped. Getting there early and working over
part of lunch some days. I punch an online time clock so I'm donating
some time, but not because I have to, just so I feel prepared. (I
still haven't mastered the time clock. I worked an hour and a half
overtime because I planned on a 7 hour Friday but took an 8 hour
vacation day. And sometimes I get extra time if I clock in 5 or 6
minutes early.)

I was in Indy two days week before last. Leave for Indy tomorrow at
4:45 am for four days of advanced training. Then done with training
till March. (Not driving up tonight because of the Super Bowl. Go
Broncos!)

I took Sophie to St Louis on Friday (great memory Vickie) for her 2
month post op check. She's doing great, doctor said. Her spine has
settled some. The lower curve is slightly more pronounced (I
think--it's hard to tell) now than last month. She was 5'2 3/4" tall
on Friday. After surgery we measured her at 5'3 1/4". Must be normal
because the surgeon didn't say anything about it.

He also said no scar cream; young skin repairs enough on its own. He
has 3 years post op pics on his website and scars are barely visible,
so I'm sure hers will be really faded by the time she's in high
school.

She can start swimming in two more months. No jumping in pool. She
still won't be able to bend to pick things up until 1 year. I thought
it was 6 months. She can apparently bend a little more in 6 months but
not fully. We go back on May 30, and will find out her range of motion
then. Summer camp and another play in summer--so hopefully she'll be
able to move more.

She's in the March play, which started rehearsals two weeks ago. She's
sore after but it's tolerable. They know her restrictions and she's
good about not doing what she shouldn't so not worried about her.

Lest you think I only have one child....Luke is amazing. He started
acting class again in January. He is scary smart. He scored "advanced"
on his recent Dibels tests (reading/comprehension). He never misses a
math problem. Never. And we don't practice math facts at home. This
kid was doing simple multiplication in preschool. Thank God for ADHD
medicine. It's really allowed his mind to excel.

Mark has adjusted to working on his own. Clients have responded
positively. Soon as they hear it's because of insurance, they get it.
And then usually get side tracked complaining about Obamacare. He's
really stepped up and is dealing with things well. Although he's
working a ton and gets stressed a lot. I worked 6.5 hours at the
office yesterday. So a 48 hour week for me last week. Mark did the
kids' laundry and grilled four pounds of meat while I worked. He's
stepping up at home too.

Still no exercise. Bloody cold weather makes me want to hibernate.
Food's been ok. Not stellar but not horrible. Still going to OA
meetings Monday night although I get there 10 minutes late because I
work till 7 now.

So that's pretty much everything. Basically things are really good
and we're all healthy and I cannot complain. I've come a long way in
the past month.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Work travel

I'm in Indy for training. Got here last night at 10pm CST (Indy is EST
but I'm CST). Slept fine, got about 7 hours sleep.

Training today was fascinating! Financial aid is complicated stuff.
And I love it so far.

Building on my previous "what's in my desk" post, here's another
positive life change.

In the past when I've traveled alone for work, I'd spend a ton of time
finding the best food I could. Looking for restaurants. Eating foods I
didn't usually eat at home. Ordering room service at night, if it was
available.

I justified every sugary bite I put in my mouth. I deserved fancy
desserts and decadent breakfasts and expensive dinners. I was alone,
on the road, working like a dog! Of course I deserved to eat whatever
I wanted.

Not anymore.

This morning I had breakfast at the hotel's complimentary buffet--a
hard boiled egg and small bagel with small tub of cream cheese (no
peanut butter available) and coffee.

In the training room is a basket of mini chocolate candies. I had no
desire for them. None. Before I'd have eaten a few pieces then
obsessed about how to get more without anyone noticing how much I
took.

Having my brain free from sugar as well as free of the obsessive
thoughts is a wonderful thing.

They ordered lunch in for us. I got a salad that was healthy and tasty.

For dinner I drove to the mall downtown and went to Panera. I was
alone and didn't want to do Fancy by myself. I will do fancy at some
point, prob PF Changs, if I can get the other two girls from out of
town to go with me.

Point is--this trip isn't centered around food. I'm alone, but I don't
need food as my companion any more.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

What's in my desk (157.2)

So today as I was pulling a bottle of water out of my desk drawer at
work, and I had a mini epiphany.

I used to store chocolate bars in my desk. Now I have water bottles.

Why water stored in my desk? I don't drink tap water (the amount I
drink a day gives me a headache and makes me tired. Researched this
years ago, and it's probably the copper and whatever trace minerals
and junk are in tap water). And the college doesn't have a water
filter (old office has state of the art fancy shmancy filter and was
fine; Britta isn't strong enough) and I only have one clean canteen
that I bring filled from home. So I have a case of water bottles in
the large bottom drawer of my desk.

A little over a year ago, I never, ever went without having a Hershey
bar or three stashed in my desk. Every afternoon was chocolate break
time. Now I have green tea in the afternoon.

In my desk, along with the green tea and water, I also have a box of
"weight-loss" oatmeal (more protein, less sugar) and a bottle of
cinnamon for the oatmeal. A jar of peanut butter in the fridge. And I
bring my lunch everyday.

Yes I still have work to do to get where I want to be physically. And
I will always be a sugar addict. But today I feel good about the
changes I have made since last October when I went to my first OA
meeting.

Sunday I leave for Indy for 4 days of financial aid training. I drive
home Thursday night. Only working 2 hours next Friday since the drive
time counts as 6 hours of work. Then we're off for MLK day, then back
to Indy for two more days of training that week. I'll go again the
first week of March for 3 days of advanced training. And on Jan 31 I
am taking Sophie to St Louis (day trip) to see Dr Bridwell for a check
up.

I love hotels. I love to learn. So as long as Mark and the kids keep
it together this will all be fine. And they have been apart for me for
days at a time before--Florida half marathons--so I know they'll be
fine.

Best news--I now have employer-sponsored health insurance!! 30 days
employment today and I'm a card carrying United Health insurance
member. I swear, I'm so stinking proud and excited of that thing. I
want to frame my temporary card and hang it on the wall.

Friday, December 27, 2013

End of the year (155.4)

This morning as I weighed myself, and I realized I pretty much ended up the year where I started.  Jan. 1, 2013, I weighed 157.2. Today I weighed 155.4.  My low for the year was 148.4 on April 4.  I hit the upper 140's in March, bounced around 149-151 through mid June, then slowly gained a few pounds and have been bouncing around 155 since October.

I am so much more comfortable in my skin and clothes in the 148 range.  It's crazy how much difference 7 pounds makes.  In the old TOPS days, we'd say 1 pound is 4 sticks of butter. So I guess if you think of 7 pounds as 28 sticks of butter, then yeah, 7 pounds can make a big difference.  At around 148, size 8s are comfy.  At 155, size 8s are iffy and I'm really more a size 10 (new Levi's I bought are 10s, they fit well, not tight, but not loose).  Medium tops fit at either weight, but definitely more comfy at a lower weight.

And while the scale is the same, I'm afraid my body mass is not.  I haven't run or exercised significantly since the half marathon in February.  I have no muscle tone.  My legs used to look pretty good, and now they don't.  I have old woman knees.  I hate it.

So what to do about it? 

My new workplace (which I still love) is having a fitness challenge starting in January.  Normally I hate these types of things, but I'm not going to NOT participate, being the new kid.  So I will and I will make it worthwhile.  We will be judged on weight, body fat %, and activity points.  We get a point for exercising for 20 or more minutes (we can earn one point per day, basically--we don't get more points if we exercise over 20 minutes).  I really don't care if I win.  I'm not competitive against anyone but myself.

I am toying with the idea of doing what Vickie did when she first started losing weight--if she was watching TV, she was on the treadmill.  TV isn't my issue--it's books.  I got a new Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas (LOVE!) but I am a book junkie and books are my TV.  I lay around way too much at night, and end up snacking when I shouldn't be, and vegging out and escaping.  Basically, my body is slowly turning to mush every night. 

It will be simple to read on the TM--the Paperwhite has a built in light and a touch screen, so I don't have to find a button to turn the page, just touch the screen anywhere. But will it be easy to get home, put on yoga pants and a sports bra instead of PJs, take care of kids and housework for two hours and then get on the TM?  Easy just ain't getting it done. I'm going to have to work.

I can feel my age creeping up on me, the less active I am.  And seeing my aunts and mom and grandmother all together on Christmas Eve just emphasized what I'm going to look like in 5, 20, 40 years, if I don't start and continue to work my muscles and keep my weight in line.
 
2013 was a crazy year.  When have I (or any of us) NOT had a crazy year?  The last half of the year especially has been intense.  I'm praying 2014 is somewhat calmer, but I'm sure it will have it's share of worries, stresses, and pain.  And I want to be ready for it, mentally and physically.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Before and after X-rays

Here's the pic of X-rays from yesterday.

The upper curve went from 56 to 20 degrees, which is a success. Spines
never get completely straight in this surgery. Even though there are
no rods in the lumbar spine, it straightened out some too.

She can go back to school Jan 2, after break. She's still on lortab,
about 2 pills a day (1/2 5mg tablet, with 1 reg strength Tylenol, 4
times a day). She's bored at home and misses her friends. There are
only so many craft projects a girl can do. But she's almost half way
through and Christmas will be fun so she'll make it.

Even though we have issues with insurance, we wouldn't have gone
anywhere else. Dr Bridwell is one of the top surgeons in this field.
Everything I read about this surgery said the number one factor for
success is the skill of the surgeon. There was immense comfort in
being 100% confident in her surgeon and the hospital.

These are amazing, aren't they?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week 2 (155.8)

First week was great. Love the people here. It's a slow time of year
so not a lot going on. Thursday is new student orientation and it
will be busy. I'm in charge of the online bookstore so I will have
some real work soon.

I worked at the Office (I'll refer to my part time job as Mark's
assistant as the Office) last Friday (off work at school at 2:30) and
last night. Not too crazy yet. I really think it's going to be fine.

Mark is struggling with the adjustment some but it's mostly the idea
of me not being there, not the work so much, that's the issue.
Although he is working more hours, but he needed to be there more
anyway.

He and Sophie are in St Louis now for her follow up appointment with the nurse.

I have to file an appeal with the freaking insurance company because,
despite the website saying the hospital is in-network, providers
outside Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio are out-of-network. Nowhere can I
find this listed in the member info. It's a big fat mess and makes me
mad. I did everything I was supposed to--that the insurance company
instructs you to do to see if a provider is in-network--and now I have
to jump through hoops to file the appeal and pray that if it doesn't
get approved, the hospital will not charge us the tens of thousands of
dollars that insurance calls "above the customary allowance."

One more thing to deal with. Perfect time of year for it too. Not.

Ok so rant over. Lots of presents still to buy. Planning to do it all
online, except for stocking stuffers. Cannot believe we have only a
week left.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

New Normal (154.8)

Tomorrow I start my new job.  I was looking at my schedule for next week and realized (again) it's been 8 years since I've worked a 40 hour week.  I'm more than a little intimidated by the idea.

And it's not just the time at work.  It's all the things I did during the day when I was self employed that I now have to do after work hours, like opening our mail, paying bills, making appointments for haircuts or the doctor, calling the insurance company when there have been issues (I still have to deal with our insurance claiming the Children's Hospital is out of network), talking to my mom or friends, talking with my husband, sitting in front of my SAD light (this one worries me--I have to get up 30-45 min early, and early mornings & me don't go together, yet).  The smart thing to do would be to go to bed early, get up early, do the household bills & computer stuff while using my SAD light (like I am now).

It's going to be an intense new normal for a while.

But then I remind myself that millions of women work 40 hours a week and manage to someone get everything else done.  They may be frazzled, crazy, out of control women some days, and I know I will be too, but they manage. 

I've spent the last few days getting my house ready for the New Normal. I cleaned out our kitchen closet, which housed the kids craft projects and school supplies--4 shelves of stuff that has accumulated over the past several years since the last time I cleaned it out.  I filled 4 big garbage bags and put everything in bins (as opposed to cardboard boxes or shopping bags); now we can get to what we need easily and all the junk is gone.

That allowed me space to move my scrapbook supplies--of which there is a ridiculous abundance--to the top shelf and off my desk in the front room.  I mourned the incomplete albums and photos I haven't done anything with while I relocated them.  I have no idea when I'll get pictures sorted and put in albums.  Someday.... (code for never).  And now I have a desk ready to take care of all the household stuff at home instead of at work.  It took me all day Friday and was totally worth it.

I keep telling myself, the busier and more active I am, the busier and more active I'll be.  An object in motion stays in motion. I have no idea when I'll fit in exercise.  I haven't fit it in for months.  Now when will I do it? 

Just like with Sophie's surgery, the anticipation is probably way worse than the reality will be.  So many unknowns, and I don't do well with unknowns.

Sophie is doing incredibly well.  Everyday is better.  She can get in & out of bed and in & out of the car without hurting herself.  She can do everything herself except pick things up off the floor (she uses her feet a lot and tries, though).  She met with her homebound teacher twice last week.  Since the first several rough days at home, it has been fairly smooth and easy.

Thursday's follow up visit to St Louis was cancelled.  We were 20 minutes out of town when the nurse called & said the sleet and ice had already started and we should probably turn around.  I wanted to just go ahead and risk it, but my wise husband told me to turn around.  Glad he did.  Getting there probably would have been fine, but coming home would have meant driving through a wintry mix the entire way. 

So Tuesday, Mark is taking Sophie to the appointment.  This does not sit well, but I have no choice.  Can't very well ask for a day off on my second day of a new job.  I will make a list of questions, prep him on how to get to the office, and let it go.  It will be fine.

It's all going to be fine.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

A week after surgery

Sophie is doing incredibly well. Beyond my hopes. It's remarkable.
Everyday has been a big leap forward.

She's basically completely self sufficient now, with the exception of
tasks that involve bending over, which aren't a lot, and carrying or
lifting anything over 10 pounds. She still has pain and is taking
Meds, but can go for longer periods without them. She even went to
the craft store yesterday with Mark to get supplies to keep her busy.
Remarkable.

I've been ok food wise, but haven't left the house since we got home.
I've read three books and watched Christmas movies with the family.
It's been necessary to do a lot of nothing, to recoup from the
hospital.

Out friends have brought us dinner every other day. It's been a life
saver. Mark has been cleaning the kitchen and spending time with both
kids, totally engaged. Which is good since I've been mostly checked
out.

I didn't gain any weight the week of the surgery. Weighed 154.4
yesterday. I ate a lot of starchy comfort food at the hospital but
never dessert and not between meals.

I'm teaching Sunday school in the morning and will get back to normal
chorea tomorrow. I'm not officially working this coming week, but will
need to go into the office a few hours. Mom will stay with Sophie
while I'm gone.

New job starts in a little over a week. I'm nervous. Not thinking
about it much yet. Trying not to worry and just deal with today.

I'm so incredibly thankful it has gone so well. We go to St. Louis
Thursday to see the surgeons nurse for a follow up and X-rays.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sophie this morning with flowers

Her friends sent flowers. She looks really good for having had surgery
less than a week ago.

First day home.

It was a rough transition yesterday from hospital to home. Getting in
and out of the car was brutal (we took my Mom's Dodge crossover car,
since it has a 3rd row--seat pretty high and I didn't bring a stool to
help her get in). I brought a twin sized foam mattress pad and folded
it lengthwise to put under her in the car. At least that worked. But
getting in and out hurt her horribly. We were supposed to stop 3 times
and let her walk. We stopped once because the wind was cold and
strong. Once was too much. It hurt her worse than if she'd just sat
for 3 hours and got out at home, even if that would have made her
extra stiff.

Finding the right place to sit when we got home was impossible. She
has to be straight up and down or lying flat or on her side. We tried
sitting and lying on the couch--firm cushions on bottom but soft back,
and even with pillow behind her it didn't work. I didn't think of
using our rocking chair until this morning.

Her bed is fine and even though it's high off the floor (step stool I
have is too high), she figured out how to scoot without hurting too
much. She slept all night -- lots of pain Meds still.

She's been on and is still on sennakot S and miralax. Still
waiting..... I know it's something to be careful of. We may have to
use a suppository soon.

We borrowed a bed side toilet from my grandma. Also a very smart thing.

This morning I figured out how to use our rocking chair, by wrapping a
section of the foam mattress pad around the back cushion. It's the
correct up-right angle and has arms. And put it in front of our side
table by the couch, which keeps the chair from moving. She can get up
and down by herself.

She can lie in our bed and watch tv. She can't lie on the couch yet.
Still too sore and muscles dodgy to adjust on it easily.

Reading is hard because of the pain Meds making her eyes not focus
well so no reading yet. She's already bored and it's only day 1 at
home. But it's only day 1. She'll keep healing and be able to do more
soon.

Luke went to school today. So it's just been Sophie and me. We've done
ok today.

I'm tired and haven't even taken a shower. Very fried and feeling the
stress let down, semi-depressed. Worried how things will work when I
start the new job Dec 9. Praying she's mostly ok by then.

Friend is bringing dinner tonight and another friend bringing dinner
tomorrow. Our friends set up a meal train and are bringing dinner
every other day for 2 weeks. My mom went grocery shopping for us last
night.

That's about all I can write for now. Happy thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

St Louis Tuesday

We're going home this afternoon! She still needs a sponge bath and
hair washed and a few other things, so a few more hours.

She's doing amazingly well. The pain doc said she's the best patient
she's seen in a long time, as far as how quickly she's recovered and
her general attitude.

Busy so have to go. But great news today.

Monday, November 25, 2013

St Louis Monday

Progress already today. 


Sophie sat up again and stood for the first time for the surgeon at 6 am. She later sat in a chair for 30 min. 


She walked with her PT's help to and from her door. 


She ate French toast for breakfast, her first food since last Wednesday. 


Her drains are out (she had 3 to drain away excess blood), catheter is out, dressings removed, no more IV bags--she's now completely unattached to anything.  


It is still very painful to move. The pain team has been tweaking her Meds and they have a schedule that will hopefully manage it well enough (can't take all the pain away). 


She has a lot of work ahead of her but she's doing amazingly well. Ever the trooper. 


Doubt that we leave tomorrow. My guess is Wednesday at the earliest. Depends on her ability to walk on her own and her bowel movements. 


I slept at the House last night. Rough evening with my mom. Her behaviors are frequently examples of those I hate in myself, and having her here is a learning experience for me on how not to behave. 


She chose to stay at the House with Luke this morning, which was a great idea because we needed a break from each other (although she would never admit she needs a break from anything, or needs anything at all--one of the things that I'm tired of, her martyr attitude). They are riding the shuttle to hospital late this afternoon. 


Sophie will be standing and walking today. Lots of work and it will probably be a tough day. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

St Louis Sunday

Still in ICU but expect to move this afternoon. All her numbers look
good. She sat up this morning with help from PT and nurse. It was very
painful but she did great. We're waiting for orders so she can start
clear liquids. She's only had ice chips and water and is asking for
food, which is a good sign but has to go slow.

I was the only one in the room when she sat up. I was stoic and
contained, because she doesn't need me freaking out, but after she
fell asleep I had a little breakdown. There's a reason I don't cry
when the crisis is happening. When I start it's hard to stop.

BIL got in last night at 1:30 am. Good he's here. She's been awake
talking with us for the last hour+. She's off the dilaudid (which was
the pain med in her button) and has a 12 hour pain pill and a 3 hour
pain pill, as well as a muscle relaxer. I think the change in Meds is
helping her stay awake.

Here's a pic. She looks so good! It's a relief to see her like this.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

St Louis Saturday

Everything's still ok. Her blood pressure dropped last night. They
gave her Meds to bring it up. Weaning her off them now. When her
pressure is stable the PT will have her stand up. We can't move out of
ICU until pressure is stable. They said BP dropping is normal for her
type of surgery.

We do get to be with her all the time, ever since she was in recovery
after surgery. Even Luke can see her in ICU. She has her own ICU room
which is awesome.

Mark stayed in ICU last night. He did sleep some. He'll nap today.
Mom, Luke, and I went back to the House and we were all in bed before
9:30. I took a Xanax and slept until 7 am. Feeling good.

My brother in law is flying in tonight from Colorado to visit. It's a
surprise but welcome. He's good with Luke. It will be good for
Mark--they are very close. Jeff and Mark and Luke will stay at the
House tonight, and mom and I will sleep at the hospital. We plan to
trade off every night.

I know it's going to be rough when they start moving her. So some
difficult times ahead. I'll update as often as I can.

Friday, November 22, 2013

St. Louis Friday

Surgery started at 9 am. We got to the hospital at 5:45. It feels like
1 pm already. Loooong day ahead of us.

Sophie hasn't eaten since Wednesday night. She was ok yesterday until
the late afternoon when her energy crashed and the dressing on the
picc line started itching and burning (sensitive skin--prob just
adhesive irritating it, wasn't blistering or anything). I gave her
Benadryl and Tylenol, she slept a few hours, woke up for a couple
hours and watched tv, then went back to sleep around 9. She slept all
night till 5 am. We kept her well hydrated yesterday. So it went
pretty well, considering.

The place we're staying is called Haven House. I think it's an old
nursing home that's been converted to a hotel-like place for families
of hospital patients. The rooms are huge with private baths. They
serve breakfast and dinner, there are several family rooms with couch
and a tv, a gymnasium. Each wing has its own washer/dryer, full
kitchen, and family room. It's clean and homey.

Our pastor drove over this morning. He left at 3 am and was here to
see Sophie at 6:30 am. Totally unexpected and a huge blessing to us
all.

We have a private waiting room on the surgery floor. The hospital
really does a great job taking care of families and siblings. My mom
and I took Luke to the play room on the lower level. We could even
leave him here, like a day care, if we needed to. He's paying the Wii
right now.

There's a Ronald McDonald family room at the hospital where you can
shower, wash clothes, has snacks and drinks for no charge. Each
patient floor has all that too, but this is smaller and a little
nicer. The lady there said their showers have hotter water than the
hospital's showers. :)

Sophie will be in surgery until 2 or 3 pm. Then the ICU all night,
then moved to the floor on Saturday. She'll have drains in her back
and a bladder catheter until Monday. The surgeon's nurse said she'll
probably go home Tuesday.

So that's everything so far. I'll post more when I can. Thank you for
all the prayers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

St Louis Thursday

We just arrived. Sophie's getting the picc line put in now. She is
such a champ. She watched when they put the IV in (IV delivers a
relaxation med while the doc puts in the central line).

So far so good.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Family pic for Christmas card (155.0)

Here are this year's pictures for our Christmas cards, which are already printed. I have address labels ready, and while Sophie is home recovering I'll be stuffing, licking, labeling, stamping and have them ready to mail 12/2. Yay me for being ahead of the game!

The card is one of the long photo cards, and here's the 2nd pic:

I didn't add these, but here are the kids individual pics:






Thursday, November 14, 2013

Update (155.0)

Counting down to surgery. We go to St Louis Monday to see the surgeon and anesthesia team (day trip). Then all of us go on 11/21 to have the picc line put in. We'll stay the night and then her surgery is at 6 am on 11/22.

We are taking Luke and my mom with us. They'll probably stay through Sat or Sun. I don't want him missing too much school or going too stir crazy. Sophie will probably get to go home 11/26 or 11/27.

My mom being with us so much is causing me some anxiety. She hovers, she has OCD (like I do, so I get it, but she doesn't really understand that she has it and doesn't even attempt to reign it in), she is probably one of the most negative people I know. She drives Mark nuts. The fact is, though, I need her. I need her help with Luke. I'll need her help with Sophie when I start the new job. I'm going to have to take lots of deep breaths, repeat the serenity prayer constantly, be very patient, and figure out how to help Mark deal with her (of course, he's a big boy and is going to have to figure it out for himself, too).

Sophie's spine continues to move a lot. Her ribs on the right side are getting closer to her hip bone. When she lays on her left side, she can feel her rib close to her hip. She's having more pain/tension in her back. I am so so so thankful we are getting this done now.

I'm hanging in there, but I am feeling the late fall funk (using my SAD light but it only does so much). I have had a lot of intrusive thoughts in the past month; I think stress stirs them up. I met with my psych nurse practitioner on Monday to see if a medication change would help. The meds she thought would help these OCD thoughts (zoloft and luvox) are ssri's and cause weight gain. Luvox has other crazy side effects, like magnifying the affect of caffeine, and I am so not giving up coffee. And I'm not taking another SSRI that causes weight gain. Anyway, I'm keeping my meds the way they are and just trying to deal.

Re: insurance. My new job's insurance doesn't kick in until 30 days after my start date, on Jan 9. That was going to mean either we have health insurance exchange coverage for 9 days (assuming we could even get signed up for it) or we go without insurance for 9 days (which is really not an option). BUT. I got a letter yesterday from the state health insurance plan that they are extending coverage until the end of January. This is a HUGE load off my mind. I don't have to worry about struggling with healthcare.gov or struggling to cancel on Jan. 9 and hoping they'd refund 21 days of not using the insurance.

Re: new job. Anxious and still feels completely weird that I'm going to be working somewhere else. I don't know my schedule yet other than the first week. It's not an 8-5 Mon-Fri job. I'll have to work a night or two and some Saturday's from 9-1. Until I'm trained, I'll be working when my manager or the other FA is working so I can shadow them. Primary issue with the night time work is that I'll probably have to give up my Monday OA meeting or Thursday choir. I can't have more than two late nights a week. But who knows. Weeks I work on Saturdays, my manager said I won't have to work an 8 pm night. If I can get a 7 pm night on Monday or Thursday, I can still go to OA/choir, and just be 15 min late. We'll see.

We are putting up Christmas decorations this weekend, since Sophie wouldn't be able to help after her surgery. That should be fun. And the house will be cheery when we get home from the hospital. We obviously aren't going anywhere for Thanksgiving. We always are with Mark's family, and this year it's in Indianapolis (sister in law and niece in law live there). It's disappointing we'll miss everyone, but that's life. My friend Amy is going to bring us dinner, which is awesome. She's in OA too and knows what I can eat.

My food is still not great. No binge-foods but still way too much processed, convenience foods. I've screwed up my taste buds, I think, and I've definitely gotten in the lazy habit of not cooking. This isn't a great time to be making major changes, so I'm working on making small ones. I haven't carved out time to exercise either. When the heck I'm going to fit that in after I start the new job, I have no flipping idea.

Anyway, I'm ok, not fabulous, but not in a pit. I'll post after Sophie's surgery to let you know how she's doing. Thank you all for your prayers and positive thoughts for her. They mean a lot!

Monday, November 04, 2013

I got the job (154.2)

They called me late Friday afternoon. I accepted this afternoon. It's been bittersweet, and it wasn't until we talked with the owner of our office that I knew for sure I was taking it, because we know that I'll still be able to support Mark (paperwork) in my off hours (yes, a lot of work for me, but it will be worth it and frankly is our only option at this point).

My start date is Dec. 9. They were willing to wait for me until after Sophie's surgery.

I'm swamped at work and don't have time for more details. I'll post more soon.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Second interview (155.4)

I had a great interview yesterday for a position as a financial aid analyst for a private college in town. It went really, really well. I like the woman who would be my manager a lot. Her boss, the regional director, conducted the interview, alongside possible-future-boss.

She called me this afternoon and asked if I could meet the campus president tomorrow (Friday) at 3:30. He's over this and one other campus, so he's not here all the time, and they are squeezing in the interview when he's here for tomorrow's graduation (they are on quarters).

We also discussed a start date. I explained about Sophie's surgery at the end of yesterday's interview--how I wouldn't be able to start until mid December and they needed to know about that so they could factor it into their decision making process. They both said it wasn't an issue.

So, they are serious.

I'm nervous. I'm excited. I'm totally freaked out.

I'm worried about Mark and how this will affect him. I'm worried about how it will impact the kids, since I will be working more hours and will have to travel for training several times in the first few months, and my schedule will not be flexible like it has been the past 8 years.

I know, I know, I know it is the best thing for our family.

AND, I mean, duh, I haven't even gotten the job yet! So I'm borrowing worries. But it feels like I will be getting an offer by next week. All this stuff is rolling around in my head, like my stuff always does.

We'll see. If you're the praying kind, please say one for me. I know God will work out the details. I have to trust Him.