Archive for June, 2011

Life is short.

Studies show that the most annoying sound to the human ear is a child crying or whining. That is how I am describing my pain this week: nails on a chalkboard, Pat Robertson’s voice on my TV, teeth grinding . For months I have come to this experience and blog with a silver lining, a We’re gonna make our dreams come true. Doin’ it our way mentality. But, that isn’t the whole picture. Sometimes there isn’t an F-ing rainbow in sight, it’s all Kansas from here to eternity.

Without my regular medication regimen I have become unable to find a position that does not hurt, except lying down completely on my right side. Not terribly conducive to my desk job or to entertaining young children, although the perfect position for a What Not to Wear marathon. I would do just about anything to get myself bed rest for the next 2 months, but it would bankrupt my little family. Seems people with conditions like mine do not qualify for disability insurance of any kind, I am scraping just to pay for my 8 week baby leave out of pocket (yes, Mr. Roberts, lets talk family values). If I think about the fact that I will only have 8 weeks to recover from a c-section, while continuing to deal with this pain, I may start crying and never stop.

You’ll find people swapping “how do you deal” stories in the pain support groups, we all have our ways. Mine usually involves considering meditation and then Googling desperately, hoping for some new research or diagnosis that will end all of this cleanly, in tandem with eating chocolate (insert drinking wine here, when not with child). I don’t think it actually helps, I’m just at the mercy of resource and some sort of manic ADD.

Yes, tomorrow is another day. And yes, a beautiful baby is ever so close. But on this 100 degree summer day, I am tempted to throw my Life is short Caribou mug at the head of the next person who asks is it hot enough for ya? Yes, yes it is , aren’t you clever. You might want to ice that welt.

Done

Time to crack the champagne,  douse me in Gatoraid, send the family to Disney World! I have completed the triathlon of narcotic dumping. I’m still getting up in the morning, and  I have every reason to, the latest scan of this bug-a-boo is looking healthy and feisty, Graves Disease be damned! It may not be a trip to Cinderella’s castle, but a celebration is certainly in order.

The last round of withdrawal has been especially excruciating; after 4 months of leg crawling, sleep deprivation and migraines, I’m emotionally over it.  In the end, the sleep aids and quality time staring vacantly at House Hunters from my permanent perch on the couch are getting me through, but it isn’t pretty.

Without my regular doses of medication, the pain can be pretty unbearable, reminding me why I was taking them in the first place. When I’m truly stuck in a physically difficult position, like a long meeting or rush hour traffic, I’ve decided that a half dose is still an option. Trying to hold on to my blood pressure and sanity, while keeping this baby as safe as I can. Which is really just parenthood in general, no?

At 30 weeks (30 WEEKS!!) I am beyond impatient for a streak in which I feel well enough to come home from the office and hit the park with my daughter, prep the baby room or bake cookies. It is a difficult thing for motivated people to sit on their butts making plans, without the ability to actually get things done; as the world moves on, pulling you forward in fits and starts, you feel lazy. It is ridiculous, but you still feel it. I’ve been stranded on my couch for too long, its time to get my world ready for this little girl.

Huge

OK Ladies, if you have ever commented on a pregnant woman’s body – to her face – sit your butt down, this blog is for YOU. Lucky me, I have officially crossed over from cute baby-bump to ginormous, hope-this-shirt-covers-my-belly-dome.  Despite my constant uncomfortably and difficulty getting up from the couch, I am still taking great joy in this insane and miraculous process. However, nothing can drive me to an irrational rage, and then semi-depression, faster than another woman saying I look “huge” or “ready to pop”.  A. Who the hell pops?!? and B. You seriously just said that to me?

The comment would be enough, but then you stand there  looking at me, awaiting a response.  What exactly do you expect me to say? Where does this conversation go in your head? It truly flummoxes me. I find myself justifying my body to you, “I carry high!” or “It’s my second, just popped right out there!” Insert uncomfortable laugh and immediate clumsy exit, cursing F-you under my breath.

Men are not always know for their excellent communication skills or even tact. But ladies, they have us on this one. They clearly understand the rules as they pertain to pregnant women’s bodies. They do not, under any circumstances, tell you that you look whale-ish.  Women, I plead with you, take a page from the boy playbook and end the prenatal terrorism. Your stature as a woman, even as a woman who has had babies herself, does not give you free reign to pass judgement on how far out my belly button is sticking.

Pregnant women are easy to chat with, mention the word craving or ultrasound and we can vamp for hours. There is no need to turn the conversation to how big our breasts have gotten. Maybe try inserting the word healthy where you might otherwise spout massive.  Just please start thinking before you form words, I cannot take responsibility for the reaction you might get from me over the next couple of months. And, really, I shouldn’t have to. This baby stuff is hard work and I happen to think that pregnant women look awesome doing it.

Spooning

I’ve come to realize over the last couple of weeks that I’ve become a pretty craptastic friend.  I’ve ruthlessly hacked my social life into something unrecognizable. I find myself hating that fact, and owning it at the same time.

Anyone who has been in the chronic pain community for long has heard the spoon theory: a modern parable about how a woman explained what it felt like to live with Lupus to her friend, while sitting at what I imagine to be a Perkins (cause that is where my college roommates and I ate many a bread bowl at 12am). She grabbed a bunch of spoons and handed them to her friend, explaining that each spoon was an activity during the day, everything from getting dressed, to washing dishes. When you have something like Lupus, or pain in my case, you have only those spoons to use each day. The amount of energy, sanity and physical ability is limited in a way that most people never have to consider. Add a couple of things beyond your spoon allowance, even fun stuff like coffee with your girlfriend, and you learn to regret it very quickly.

So that  sounds simple enough, right? Just stick to your handful and live a peaceful, relatively healthy life. The problem that I have with my particular bouquet of spoons is that they can in no way embody the person I imagine myself to be. In my soul I am a good friend, who always has time to make a birthday call, send a card, visit with cookies; I actually see my friends, in person. In reality, I spend my utensil allotment working full-time, entertaining my 5 year old and attempting to be an accommodating and loving spouse.  Once in a while I even manage to vacuum.  I have learned to celebrate the fact that I continue to live a fulfilled and purposeful life, I cannot apologize for the ways in which I have had to draw my barriers.

I guess this is my way of saying that it is not without regret. I acknowledge that I am an absent friend  to many whom I love and dwell on daily. Much like my pain, I have not accepted this as my foregone conclusion, but for today, it is my reality.

Champion

My OB cursed me. After a clean and clear glucose test (thank God, this mamma needs her M&Ms) she said, “You’re making this look too easy!” My husband wasn’t there to share the war stories from home, so I accepted this victory and walked out of that office a little lighter, despite my ever growing belly.

In true form, I got about 2 hours of celebration before my Endocrinologist sent over crap news. Seems that most people treated for Graves disease  see a depletion in the antibody in their system throughout the following years. This person did not, my last test shows double the expected amount. Graves, know for its effects on the thyroid, is actually an autoimmune disorder. I’m learning now that after the RAI thyroid treatment, the disease remains quietly in your body for a lifetime. It’s potentially not so silent for my baby. It can threaten her heart, growth, thyroid and can cause preterm labor. Those couple of carefree hours felt so damn good.

After the necessary freak-out period (thanks to my friends who told me to get off Google and breath) I booked another level 2 scan with my Perinatologist and a massage (more thanks to the most fabulous mom group in the world).  There is nothing to be done but to wait and watch, two things I detest doing.  And, reducing stress, which can reduce the antibodies floating around. Can one be vigilant about relaxation?

The name we have unwittingly chosen for our daughter means Champion – noun, a person who has defeated all opponents. During this last week her kicks have become so strong that I double over, gasping and laughing in the same m0ment.  Mom’s protect their little girls with an unparallelled fierceness. We learn, sometimes reluctantly, to trust our daughter’s ability to care for themselves over time and after years of careful instruction. It is a lesson I am learning far earlier than I ever expected to. I am trying to trust the Morse code of her little limbs, I can’t help but feel that this little champion is already sending the message that she’s got this one, so relax and send more M&Ms.

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