Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I hesitate to write an update...

So it's mid October. And it's been a rough school year for the kids. Especially Luke. This is not good news.

I hesitate to write this, because there's so much personal stuff going on with him. Basically 6th grade was a tough adjustment for him--new school, youngest and smallest of the school, new teachers and classes and students from another school. He did make a couple new friends but it wasn't enough to offset the things he can't cope with.

Basically middle school was more than he could process. He started hating school more and more everyday. Mark had a talk with him about what he hated specifically--the noise, the annoying kids, annoying teachers, the crowds in the hall, switching classes at far distances, band, the bus. For one class in particular, we got him into a different class with a teacher who was a better fit. We started driving him to school in the morning instead of riding the bus. I suspect he has sensory integration issues and asked for a referral for occupational therapy.

On top of this, on August 27 he got a bad sinus infection and what we thought was an ear infection. And basically he had severe ear pain for 6 straight weeks. He was on 3 rounds of antibiotics. The dr put him on a steroid bc he thought it was Eustachian tube dysfunction. Luke missed 11 days of school in total from the ear pain.

We went to see an ENT last week. He said it wasn't his Eustachian tubes as our pediatrician thought. Luke has TMJ. His jaw is radiating pain into his ears. I have read other TMJ sufferers' stories similar to Luke's.

Last week he tried to go to school. He got sent home because the teacher said he can't function in class. Tylenol and ibuprofen don't touch the pain. Heat and cold don't help. Nothing helps.

As of right now he's not going to school. We are getting his homework and having him do what he can at home.

He has an appt with a physical therapist this Thursday. And with his dentist a week from today. I also have an appt for him with an OT for an evaluation on 11/1, and a referral to Easter Seals for OT eval, but they take months to get into--Easter Seals is the gold standard for testing and what the schools require if he is going to get an IEP or 504.

So we are really struggling with him and I am so so scared. It's awful to see him in pain. It's terrifying to not know when he'll be able to go back to school or even if he'll be able to handle it. To know we have a long road ahead of us to get his issues worked through. I tell myself it's not cancer or anything deadly and it's going to work out. But it's still so uncertain and I'm struggling dealing with everything.

He is very introverted, sensitive to sounds, touch, smells, doesn't like to shower or brush his teeth, sensitive to certain types of clothes, socks/shoes, limited food choices. Basically I looked through a list of issues for sensory integration disorder kids and he fits a lot of the categories. He's just been coping well enough and we've helped him compensate, until now.

Sophie is doing well in school (1st qtr only got one B, in Chemistry, all As otherwise), but she has been suffering from depression since May. We think it's from her vertigo med amitriptyline, which we are close to having her completely weaned off of. But it has been a slow process to get her off of. And in the mean time she's still feeling some depression. She also gets anxiety attacks at times. She has Ativan for that when she needs it.

We saw a nurse practitioner last week about her options. Sophie doesn't want to start an SSRI, which I'm fine with. She is deciding whether she needs/wants to do talk therapy.

She is in the school play which is this weekend. She has a principal role, not a lead but a good part with several lines and solos. It's been really good for her to have play practice after school every day. She needs structure and to be busy, in order to be happy.

Mark and I never spend time together. We are all work, all kids, no play. It's taking a toll.

I'm so thankful that Sophie has stayed healthy (knock a giant piece of wood!!!) and she is self motivated and has a solid group of friends. I know she's going to be fine.

I know we have to act now to help Luke get his issues healed, or we will end up with a 25 year old playing video games on our couch and doing nothing else with his life. And he is much too smart and kind and loving for us to let him go down that path. I just pray it's not too late.

Friday, July 07, 2017

It has been a while.....

So yeah. It has been quite a while since I've shared anything here. Amazing how the days march quickly by.

A lot has happened in the past several months. I left my job at the college and got a part time job (with insurance benefits!) at a hospital, as of the first week of April. The pay is quite a bit less, but the insurance benefit cost is also less. My take home pay was basically cut in half, but I'm only working 2 12 hour days a week. So I am working 3 days a week with Mark--so my time with him doubled.

I'm a patient care tech, and was trained to do patient care (taking out IVs, fetching food and water, taking blood sugars, changing soiled bed linens, basically all the people care of nursing but not skilled nursing). But I'm not doing any of that. I was hired for my office skills and am doing data collection, excel spreadsheet stuff, payroll, and other office type help to the nurse managers.

I work on a new observation unit that started May 1, so they need all kinds of data collected to know if it's successful. And we are starting the same type of unit at the East side campus (I am at the downtown campus, and we also have an East side hospital), and I'm helping the nurse manager get it going. I'll split my time between hospitals.

I really like the two nurses I work for. They are both YOUNG (mid to late 20s). Everyone is so young. I'm lucky I still look young. But I don't feel so young anymore. I feel like I could be everyone's mom. LOL

The kids are good. Sophie finished her school year with a 4.0. A real accomplishment, considering her high school was recently ranked the 3rd most challenging school in the country. She also got a 4 on her AP US History exam, which means she should have college credit for that subject. She was so excited to get a 4. She knew she'd pass with at least a 3, but a 4 is a big deal (a 5 is the highest score and I take it quite rare).

She still takes Improv class, private voice and acting lessons. She has an active social life. It's time to start driving lessons, although I haven't signed her up yet.

She went to Prince Edward Island with my mom at the end of May, and to church camp in June. She had a busy start to her summer.

Luke got straight As his last quarter. He goes into 6th grade in August. He'll be in band (trombone) and I'm hoping to get him started in a fencing class soon. He needs an outside activity badly. He only has a couple of good friends and one of them hasn't been available all summer. His middle school will have another elementary school that will join with his elementary school, and I'm hoping he will meet a couple new boys and girls that he can make friends with. He has a hard time making friends. We've talked about it. We'll talk more before school starts. I want him to be happier. It's been harder for him to find his niche.

He enjoys having a quiet summer at home. He is definitely a homebody and it's hard to get him to do things outside his comfort zone. We go to my sister's house to swim and my mom comes down to visit. But other than that, it's pretty quiet during the summer at our house with us both working all day. The kids often go for walks in the late afternoon after we get home from work, which is really great for them as siblings. Mark and Luke spend a lot of time together playing, either video games or with Legos or with the frisbee or his other toys. He gets attention, I just worry he doesn't have as much interaction as he needs with kids his own age when he's not in school.

Everyone has been healthy, thank goodness. That's most important. More than anything.

Mark is working a ton, as usual. He's happy to have me with him at the office more. He went to Louisville for 4 days in June with his brother from Colorado and they saw U2, and did several other fun things. It was nice for him to have some guy time.

Through all this change, I've managed to--what else?--gain weight! Yep. 20 freaking pounds. Thank goodness for the store Torrid. They have the cutest clothes. I actually was going to OA for a while, then I started working on Mondays until 7pm, then that fell apart. And my food is just over the top. And boom. I'm back at 185 pounds. Boo. :(

And my nurse practitioner who does my meds, who has been in Ohio for the last year getting her doctorate (we've been doing appts via Skype at her office) is no longer doing appointments. So I've been pawned off on a new NP and can't see her until late August. My anxiety was off the charts and I took myself off Wellbutrin, which I've been on for years, but it has helped lower my anxiety somewhat. Hopefully I'll like the new NP.

So that's the scoop. Kids start school August 9. It will be here in no time at all.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Princess Half 2017

Well I did it. I finished my 9th half marathon. This was my 4th at Disney. I had been training for about 6 weeks before Thanksgiving, but quit after that. So I went in cold.

I still finished in just under 3 1/2 hours. I lucked out and ran/walked the first 7 miles with a pacer--a team of two people who keep you on pace to finish in a certain amount of time. This pacer was doing a 3 hour 15 min finish, which consisted of 15 seconds of running and 30 seconds of walking, equaling about 14 min/mile.

Around mile 6.5 you hit the Magic Kingdom and it gets really congested and hard to stay together. So I had a hard time keeping up with the pacer (she held a sign so I could keep her in my sights, and she would yell "run" and "walk" when it was time to switch intervals). I had to run for half the walk breaks to catch up, weaving through people. And by mile 7, I was out of gas and was done with the pacer.

So for miles 8, 9, and 10 I ran/walked my own intervals, which were around a 15 min/mile pace. Then I walked the rest of the race. My last mile was slow--19 min. I was cooked.

But I never saw a Balloon Lady--those dreaded women carrying balloons who maintain the 16 min/mile minimum you have to maintain in order not to be swept from the course. I started in the 2nd from the last corral, so I had an additional 6-10 min cushion. Plus the fastish miles of the first 7 miles. And I knew I'd be ok if I walked the last 3 without killing myself.

No blisters, no knee pain, no damage. Normal soreness which I'd have had even if I'd trained. I am beyond lucky that my body still cooperates with me. Especially at my age and at my weight (174--the heaviest I've ever done a half).

We rested and got ready after the race for about 2 hours, then went back out to the Parks. Had dinner at 9:45pm at O'Hanna's at the Polynesian. Got back to the hotel at 12:30 am. I was up for over 20 hours (woke up at 2:15am to catch a 3:15 bus for the 5:30 start).

We walked another 8-9 miles in the parks that day. Walk=hobbled. But it worked out the lactic acid and Monday was better soreness-wise and Tuesday was even better.

It was a great trip. These are four of my oldest and closest friends that I never get to spend time with. It never rained; we had sunshine and warmth every day.

Mark and the kids did fine while I was gone. I of course had everything "idiot proofed" for Mark--left him 5 pages of notes and had the kids lunches pre-packed in lunch sacks. He still had a new appreciation for how much work it is to get the kids ready in the morning and at night. I am glad to be home with them all again. 6 days is a long time to be away.

I am back to being abstinent. I am on day 16. I am doing an intensive 12 step workshop with my friend Amy (she's in the black t-shirt beside me in the pic) through a workbook. I've done steps 1-3. Now starting step 4. That's where I got stuck last time. So this will be new territory. I'll keep you posted.