Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Seven Percent

Here we go again.  Looks like I will be ringing in the new year with my third operation in eight months scheduled.  That's just crazy.  I met with my surgeon today who went over the MRI with me.  It's bad.  Even worse than last time he said.  The same disc has re-ruptured and is bulging even more than it did before the first surgery.  He said I'm one of the unlucky 7% that it happens to.  I always was an overachiever.

At first he mentioned physical therapy with spinal traction, but didn't think it would be effective based on the size of the bulge.  Surgically, he said I had two options.  One is to do the same procedure as last time... clean everything out and let it heal.  The second is to fuse the two vertebrae together so the disc wouldn't be an issue again.  The first would leave me with an increased risk of re-rupturing it once again, but it could also be just fine.  The other would cause more problems in the future like more back pain and the possibility of faster degeneration of the next disc up.  At my age, he recommended doing the first.  I agreed.

This just fucking sucks.  More work will be missed.  More money will be lost.  And I was really hoping that we'd get to start trying to conceive in the next couple of months.  So much for that.

I'm so frustrated right now.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Meals and MRIs

Hello all!  It's been quite a while!  A lot has been going on as it always seems to during the holiday season.  We were prepping for some of the boyfriend's friends to join us for a few days over Thanksgiving and were a little frantic for a bit.  We had to finish the guest bathroom which had been taken apart for painting a couple of months ago.  I'm happy to say it turned out very nicely.  We also needed to declutter the rest of the house to make room for two adults, two little kiddos and their large dog.  The house looked amazing!  Then they didn't come.  They would have been driving through that snow storm that hit the east coast the Wednesday before and didn't want to risk their family's safety.  We were bummed, but it was the right decision.

So instead all of the boyfriend's local family came over for dinner!  I was freaking out about cooking everything, but it turned out amazing.  We prepped as much as we could the night before and the morning of, and the actual afternoon cooking went very smoothly.  We did a deep fried turkey for the first time, and it really was one of the best I've ever had.  The whole event was relaxed and all eight of us fit in our little house pretty well.  They brought over three bottles of wine and about two whole glasses were partaken of one, so I've had some nice evenings since then, haha.

I am so thankful that I love his family and they seem to love me!  They are all so wonderful and we get along well.  The conversation always flows easily, and I feel very comfortable around them all.  I loved my former in-laws very much, but I never felt like I could relax around them.  Maybe it's because they were my first experience with "meeting the parents" and I really didn't know how to act.  Me being all awkward in general anyways didn't help, I'm sure.  It is a great relief to know that my future in-laws are freakin fantastic.

But through all this holiday wonderfulness, there have been some troubles.  Mainly, my back.  Oh, my aching back.  Well, leg actually.  The sciatic pain returned for good about a month and a half ago and PT isn't helping anymore.  I met with my surgeon who ordered an MRI with contrast, which I had this past week.  It was pure torture.  I can't lie on my back for more than a minute without being in some pretty horrific pain, and the MRI required I be in that position for about half an hour.  I was in tears it was so awful.  But they said the images turned out great, so there's that.

I meet with the surgeon again week after next to discuss the results.  He said it could either be scar tissue from the back surgery or something could be going on with a disc again.  I'm so frustrated and tired of being in pain every fucking day.  Luckily I have lots of good pain pills left over from the surgeries this year and they're actually working now with no side effects.  I'm thankful for that.  I'm just really nervous to hear what's wrong.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

No Matter What

I've been thinking about marriage a lot lately.  Maybe it's because the boyfriend and I are getting closer to official engagement and have been talking about it more often.  Maybe it's because we've been discussing other long-term plans more.

Maybe it's because I had a dream about the ex-husband a few days ago.  I think he was more symbolic than anything because in the dream marriage was forever by law, and he was legally required to move in with me.  We were sitting in the kitchen discussing our lives and what had happened between us in the past.  I won't lie... I woke up missing him a little.

But more than anything I was left wanting that forever-no-matter-what commitment.  Which I feel mostly confident enough to say now I think I've got with the boyfriend.  I would say I know I have it, but if I've learned anything from the past it's that people and minds change.  You just never know.  But I do know that he's the one I want to try to have it with.

I love him so much, but sometimes he makes me so mad and to the point that I wonder why we're still together.  Why I kept going back to him.  Why I still love him.  But every day he shows me how he loves me, and when I look at him, even through that anger I want my life to unfold next to him.  I want our lives to play out together.  I want to see what the future has for us.

I heard a part of Sonnet 116 recently, and it's been repeating in my head.  Who knows if I'm interpreting it correctly, but here's what I got out of it.  I like to think we have that strong love now.  I realize that I bended in the earlier part of our relationship.  I was the remover.  He is like no one I had been with before, and some of that scared me.  I didn't think I could be happy with him.  But then again, I'm not sure I was fully in love at that point.  I believe I was on the way, but I wasn't there yet.

My heart knew better though and wouldn't allow me to fully let him go.  It continued to tell me to give it another shot.  I'm glad it did.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quick Rant

I get so frustrated with some of my friends who have kids.  When I call or text asking about how they (the friends themselves) are doing, all I get back are either just pictures of the children or "Well, he's been doing this," or "She's been up to that."

I want to scream, "That is not what I asked you!!  I want to know how and what YOU yourself are doing.  Tell me YOUR thoughts, YOUR emotions!!"

I understand that their kids are an enormous part of their lives and make up a large part of what they do.  I don't at all mind hearing stories about the little ones, but I don't want to just talk about them.  And I don't want to be bombarded with pictures of them... one is enough.  

I can understand where they're coming from.  They're proud parents and want to brag about the newest things their babes have accomplished.  Although with one in particular I get the feeling her husband isn't too involved with the whole parenting process, so most of the responsibility falls to her... I wonder if at times she feels that's all she should or can talk about, which makes me sad. But that's a whole other post.

Anyways, they all know my story.  They know I sometimes have a hard time with things related to children.  I don't expect them to go out of their way or anything.  I just wish they could be a little more sensitive to the fact.  Or at least reach out to me every once in a while.  They are never the ones to try to keep the friendships going by reestablishing contact.  Grrr.

Okay, end rant.  I feel better now.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Local Doc

This week I finally had my follow-up appointment with my local gyno, which went well.  I was there for about an hour and a half, and most of it was just waiting.  I was in the main waiting room which was filled with pregnant women for about half an hour.  I totally agree with everyone who says there should be separate waiting rooms for preggo and for non-knocked up patients.

When I was finally called back I handed over the records from the surgeon, and the nurse started typing them all into her computer.  When she first looked over them she said, "You had all of this done at one time?  It's amazing you're moving around so well."  And this is five weeks after surgery.  I sat next to her for about twenty more minutes as she typed everything in.  As she escorted me to the next waiting room she said, "Sorry that took so long... there were so many -ectomies to type in!"  Yes, yes there were.

A few minutes later I was taken to the exam room where I would wait for the doctor.  For at least another twenty minutes.  It.  Took.  Forever.  When she finally came in she herself looked over all the records and notes and said, "You had endo all over the place... we never see that."  All I could think was, "And that's why I went to Atlanta."

She was actually pretty interested in everything.  She asked questions about the surgery and was impressed with how they did it.  She was pretty excited to do my exam and really wanted to see the internal pachingo stitches.  The exam wasn't very pleasant for me, but she said everything looked great and gave me the okay to resume normal activities after this cycle ends.  (Which, by the way, did coincide with another flare up in my back, which totally leads me to believe that they're related.  Craziness.)

She went over my list of medications and asked if I was still on birth control, to which I said no.  She asked, "So if you were to get pregnant now, that would be okay?"  I happily replied with a yes.  It felt wonderful to say that now, no longer being in the dark and knowing that my chances are much better than they were before surgery.  We want to wait a little while, but if it happens, I'll be completely okay with it.

Asking for Good Thoughts for a Friend

I'm sad right now and scared.  Someone I've known a very long time is in medical danger.  She's a girl who lived down the street when I was growing up and someone I used to babysit.  We share the same birthday, but a few years apart, and always give each other a FB shout out on that day.  We've never really been close, but she was best friends with one of my "sisters" for a long time.  We've seen each other through the years at various social functions.  At the most recent encounter we shared a reception table after a wedding where we talked a little and got to know her husband.

She's been pregnant and wasn't due until January.  I learned this morning that she's had the baby, which weighs one pound, and she herself has had a massive stroke.  And that's all I know.

Her mom is asking for people who know her to send out good thoughts for her, and I guess this is one way for me to do that.  If you could spare a moment for one too, I would be very appreciative.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

No more walking dead...

I feel much better now.  It was definitely the pain medication that was making me feel like crap, so I just stopped taking it this weekend.  No withdrawals like after the last surgery, so yay!  I feel so much better and not as much like a zombie anymore.  My appetite is back and I have a little more energy.  Emotionally I feel a lot better now also.  I still tear up occasionally, but not at all like I had been.

I was supposed to have a follow-up appointment with my local OBGYN today, but I still haven't received the operation packet yet.  Dee Dee from Dr. Sinervo's office called this morning to check in on me and answered some questions.  I love her.  I really wish I could use them as my regular OBGYN.

I went to PT for my back yesterday because it has been hurting again.  I couldn't do a whole lot, but she helped with some stretching.  She is very interested to see how things will go as I continue healing since my last flare-ups have been matched up with my cycle starting.  I'm interested to see that as well.  She is pretty amazing too.  She had everyone there sign a "get well soon" type card for me, which was not expected at all.  And she's gonna squeeze me in next week for an unofficial non-appoitment on one of the machines there just to keep me loose and flexible while I'm healing.

I stopped by my workplace on the way back from PT to pick up my paycheck and to say hello.  I'm very bummed that I've had to use all of my vacation and personal days on these surgeries, but I feel lucky to even be able to.  It's also nice that there are three paydays this month.  :)  Everyone was happy to see me and said they were looking forward to my return, which looks like will begin with some half days starting a week from today.  My energy level is better than before, but I still lose steam very, very quickly.  I just don't see full days happening just yet.  And again, I feel lucky that my workplace is flexible in that respect and will allow me to return when I feel ready.

I made a voice recording on my phone at the post-op appointment back in Atlanta which I listened to today.  I really was pretty out of it for that.  It was good to be able to go back to hear again and remember some things that were said.

Also while listening, I realized that my voice really sounds like my mother's sometimes, which is not a bad thing at all.  She is so kind and friendly towards everyone she meets.  She was amazing during our trip, and I grew to appreciate her so much more, not that I didn't already.  She has always been there for me no matter what, and I hope that I can be half the incredible mother she has been for me.

She received an email from my aunt the other day saying that my cousin wanted Dr. Sinervo's information.  She finally confirmed that my cousin has endo and has been suffering for years.  This is the cousin that was never able to conceive.  I hope that she's able to see him and find some relief.  I love that through this albeit hard endo journey, I've learned so much and can hopefully help other people with information or even from just referring them to Dr. Sinervo.

I guess that's enough for now.  Everyone have a good rest of your day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Post-Op Review

I'm home.  The rides down and back were long.  Pre-op was a big ol' kerfuffle.  Surgery itself went well.  Recovery has been a bitch.  And now I'm home.  Resting.  And doing laundry.

It started with the hotel calling while we were driving down there to inform us that they didn't have a room for us.  Are you kidding me?  We chose that hotel because it was less than two miles from the doctor's office and the hospital.  We ended up with a free night but at a hotel about eight miles away.  Now eight miles doesn't sound far, but in Atlanta traffic on 285 it meant driving at least half an hour to get anywhere... what should have only taken us five to ten minutes at our first choice.

The day before surgery we decided to go the hospital for their pre-op requirements in the morning since the appointment with the surgeon wasn't until the afternoon.  Northside is a bigger hospital than I've ever encountered and was interesting to navigate.  When we finally arrived at where we needed to be, they informed us we were supposed to see them after the pre-op appointment at Dr. Sinervo's office, which no one had told us.  Apparently no one informed us of some other things either.  I got all flustered, but everything worked out in the end, and luckily we didn't have to go back later.

When his appointment rolled around, I met everyone in the office I had been talking to and emailing with for the past few months.  Dr. Sinervo really is as amazing as everyone says he is.  He's warm and friendly and gives really strong hugs.  So does Dee Dee. We spoke with Dr. Sinervo, then he got the privilege of being the first male doctor to ever go "down there".   He did a pelvic exam and a vaginal ultrasound and told me I had pelvic floor dysfunction and a retroverted uterus, which I didn't know.  Dee Dee held my hand and wiped my tears during the painful exam.  Based on everything, he decided to do a few more things while he'd be in there the next day.  In addition to excision, partial vaginectomy, and possible bowel resection, he wanted to do a cystoscopy to look in the bladder, a hysteroscopy to look in the uterus, and to flush my tubes (can't remember the official term) to make sure they were ok.  I left his office that day knowing I had chosen the right doctor.

That entire day I had been on a clear liquid diet, and that afternoon I started the dreaded bowel prep.  Actually, neither was as bad as I had been anticipating.  I wasn't quite as hungry as I had been expecting, and the bowel prep was a ton of liquid that really filled me up.  I had eaten light the couple of days before that also, so that evening wasn't as gruesome as I'd been picturing.

The next day we arrived at the hospital a little before 5:30am.  Admissions was quick and I was soon back in the pre-op area.  After I was all dressed down and hooked up, they let my mother come back to pass the time with me.  We met the anesthesiologist, who was amazing, and many others on my team for that day.  After they wheeled me into the operating room, Dr. Sinervo held my hand and comforted me as I drifted off to sleep.  What an incredible man.

Surgery lasted about two hours, and I was in recovery for about three.  I had kind of a rough time in there and was relieved when I was finally allowed to go into my private room.  My mom came in a little later, and I immediately asked her what the doctor said he found.  Here's the rundown:

- My uterus was retroverted because it was attached to my bowel... ouch!  He unattached it, put it back in its proper place and excised the endo on them both.
- The endo on the bowel and rectum was superficial, so he didn't have to go into the muscle layer or do a resection.
- My ovaries were also scarred down in that area, and he was able to free them up.
- There was a nodule of endo going through the vaginal wall, so he had to cut out part of the vagina and stitch it up.
- Endo was excised on the uterosacral ligaments and part of the abdominal wall.
- Removed the appendix because it was stiff with possible endo.
- Inside of uterus and bladder looked fine.  Tubes looked fine.

Dr. Sinervo came to visit the next day and went over all of the above.  He also said the endo was Stage IV due to "complete obliteration of the cul-de-sac," but from a fertility standpoint it was more like a Stage II.  He added that after this surgery, my chances for natural conception went up from 60% to about 80-85%!!  That's so exciting!  He also said that the endo shouldn't come back.  The fact that I should be able to live my life from now on without that pain brings an amazing feeling.

But the next three periods should be bad, they said, and it figures that I started two days after surgery!  It's been rough.  The pain meds they sent me home with were too strong for me, and I've felt like absolute crap.  And I can't stop freakin crying!  I've heard that's normal after this kind of surgery, but come on.

I had a post-op appointment at Dr. Sinervo's office yesterday morning, but it was with a doctor I was unfamiliar with.  He introduced himself and said he worked with Dr. Sinervo, then went over the pictures from surgery and some follow up care instructions.  The fact that it wasn't Dr. Sinervo upset me, and I was really out of it from the pain meds, so of course I started tearing up.  Geez.  Dee Dee held my hand again and was so comforting.  I had some questions but could barely get the words out right, but luckily my wonderful mother helped me there.  This doctor did the best he could and tried to be comforting.  I did end up seeing Dr. Sinervo before I left, and he gave me another wonderful hug.

After the appointment, we headed back to the hotel and decided to get on the road.  We were going to drive about halfway and stop for the night, but we ended up trucking it all the way home.  For some reason I felt like I wasn't ready to be home yet though.  Emotionally I really wanted to stay at a hotel one more night.  I didn't feel ready to face the real world just yet.  But I could tell that my mom was anxious to get home, so I didn't say anything.  She's been absolutely incredible through all of this.  So supportive and there for whatever I needed.

So now I'm home.  It feels kinda weird, and I don't know why.  The overcast sky outside matches my mood.  I should be happy... I just had the surgery that I've been wanting to have for years and got really good news about my fertility.  My insides are going to be as normal as possible, and I'm going to feel better.  So why am I so freakin sad??  Even though I know it's normal to feel like this right now, it's really bothering me.  They say after a little time I'll feel like normal again, so that's what I'll plan for.

But to end this on a good note, I feel so very thankful.  For finding an amazing doctor and sticking to my guns about seeing him.  For finally being able to go through with this surgery.  For all of the support I've received from family and friends all of these years.  I am truly lucky.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One Week

This time next week I will be in Atlanta about to meet the amazing Dr. Sinervo for the first time for my pre-op appointment.  I'm so nervous and excited.  I've got my list of questions for him prepared and am eager to hear what he'll have to say.  I keep hearing he's a very kind individual, and I'm thankful that I'm able to see him.  And be operated on by him because he's one of the best.

I got a call from the hospital in Atlanta yesterday for a pre-surgical assessment which took about 20 minutes.  The nurse I talked to was super nice and took my history and told me where to go and when.  Turns out I have to go into the hospital after meeting with Dr. Sinervo at his office for blood work and such.  I had that a week before my last surgery and I don't know why I didn't even think about it for this one.

I've gotten almost all the necessary supplies for the procedures before and after surgery, and pretty much just need to stock up on food to take.  It'll be interesting staying in a hotel with a mini-kitchen for a week.  Gotta do laundry and pack this weekend, since I'm working Monday.  I think I'm prepared.  I hope so at least.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

It's been building up...

I need to write right now.  I need to get out what I'm feeling and work through it.  I really want to call someone and talk about it, but I don't know who.  So I write to no one.

I'm tired.  Of a lot.  Of general things, of specific things.  It's just exhausting.  I don't know what to do.  I don't know where to turn.

I feel like part of it is my fault.  I feel like I'm bringing it all down on myself.  But am I?  It takes two.  It takes a cause and a reaction.  Am I the cause?  Have I always been the cause?  Why is the reaction always so hard to deal with?  Why can't the reaction, just for once, be love and understanding?

Am I asking for too much?  Why, when I ask for what I want, what I need, is it met with defensiveness?

Why is everything so hard lately?  Why does everything take so much effort?

Am I happy?  Is this really what I want?

Will I get any sleep tonight?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Flare-up #2

Last week, not one week after I'd "graduated" from physical therapy, my back started hurting crazy bad.  With my first flare-up I knew I had overdone it and was suffering the consequences.  This time I don't know what brought it on.  The day it started was just a normal day off at home and I was doing things around the house.  I'd been being mindful of everything I'd learned in PT and had been incorporating it all into routine life.  That afternoon my back got stiff and by that night I was in tears just trying to walk.  It was a different kind of pain; it was very central.  Before my surgery when I was having the terrible sciatic pain, not once did my actual back hurt.  But this time it felt like the weight and pressure from simply standing was too much for my lower spine.

I went back to the PT office the next day terrified that I had re-ruptured the disc, but luckily my wonderful PT lady didn't think so.  She said I would have been having the same sciatic pain had it re-ruptured.  Instead, she thought I was having issues with the next disc up.  I've seen her three times since then, and she thinks it's a good sign that I seem to be improving with each session, even though the progress has seemed much slower this time.

I had a follow-up appointment with my surgeon today and I was so nervous in the days before it.  My PT lady advised me that he may want me to have another MRI, and I was not excited about that thought.  I was thinking worse case scenario (of course) and was worried about what he would say and if that would interfere with the surgery for endo which is in just three short weeks now.

Nope.  He didn't seem concerned with any of it.  He said to keep doing PT and to come back in a month.  I then told him about the upcoming surgery and said I probably wouldn't be available in a month, so he made it two.  I also asked him about trying to get pregnant soon and how it could affect my back.  He reassured me about all of it and said, "Go for it."

I am so relieved!  Now I just have to focus on getting my back feeling better so that it'll be one less thing to be concerned about as the excision surgery gets closer!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Preparation

Four little weeks!  Just under one month until my excision surgery!!  I'm so stoked and absolutely terrified at the same time.  I've been wanting this surgery for a very long time, and it's finally about to happen.  Having been through my first surgery ever just a few short months ago, I feel like I know what to expect in regards to the process of it.  I know the nervousness I'll be feeling when I get up before dawn to head to the hospital.  I know what the pre-op area and process will be like.  I know how getting the initial sedative and being wheeled to the operating room will go.  I know what groggily waking up in post-op will be like.  I know what spending 24 hours in a hospital bed will be like afterwards.  It could be longer depending on what they find, but I really hope it'll only be one day this time too.  (I don't know what to expect the day before with the bowel prep as I've never had to do anything like that before... eek!)

With the surgery for the ruptured disc the surgeon knew exactly where to go and what to fix, and I knew I would immediately feel better.  There's a huge element of uncertainty for me with this next one though as it's partially exploratory.  They'll puff me up and look all the way from the upper abdomen down, which is awesome but also just weird to think about.  It'll be very thorough which I am so very thankful for, but who knows what they'll find.  I have no idea what all of my organs will look like.

The plan is to entirely cut out whatever disease they find, roots and all.  I'm hoping the pain that the endo has caused all these years will be eliminated, but I'm nervous about the pain from surgery and during the recuperation time.  With my last one I felt better as soon as I woke up, having pain only at the incision site.  Well, and from the breathing tube... really hoping that doesn't happen again.  I'm nervous about the pain, but I know I can handle it.

I think I'm most nervous about the news I'll receive after surgery... whether or not he thinks there's a shot that I could have children.  Whether or not my reproductive organs have been affected by the disease and if pregnancy could happen naturally.  Whether or not the only dream I've had for my life will be able to become a reality.

I've been thinking about that aspect of it a lot lately.  I think possibly my brain has been preparing me for worst-case scenario just in case the news is not good on that front.  I've been exploring the possibilities of a child-free life and trying to put it in a positive light.  Thinking of things I'd want to do if adoption turns out not being a possibility (which would be very likely, at least for quite a few years).

I do occasionally think about it being good news and starting to TTC after I've healed from surgery.  I think about what it could be like to get pregnant and prepare for a little one.  To bring a new life into the world with the man I love and help it as it learns, grows and becomes his or her own person.  And as stupid as it sounds, I think about what it would feel like to not be so different and feel so ostracized from my friends.  To no longer feel the jealousy I've felt all these years as I've watched every single one of them move on to and thrive in motherhood.  

For the most part though I think I'd rather prepare for the worst and be happily surprised than count on the best and be devastated if it doesn't turn out that way.  Maybe that will change as September 18th gets closer, but for now, even though it makes me sad, it feels like the best approach.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Uphill... both ways... in the snow

Things have been so up and down these past couple of weeks, and I've been stressed the eff out.

Down:  Everyone's pissed at someone about something at work.  The business is going downhill quickly.  A two week notice was given.  My manager is looking for a new job and/or may get fired very soon.
Up:  I may be manager soon!  That means more money!
Down:  I have no desire to be manager of that sinking ship and inherit all the stress that goes with the job!  I never wanted a career, I just want to be a mom... waaah!

Down:  The dogs have been fighting lately.  Well, one dog.  The dog the boyfriend and I got together has been attacking my dog for sometimes what appears as no real reason at all.  He put a big hole in my dog's side which led to an appointment for him getting neutered.
Up:  Luckily I work at a vet's office and got the patching up and the neutering at a highly discounted cost.
Down:  He turned on my dog again, and now we think it's got to do with something else.  It's been so frustrating because they were fine with each other for a year and a half.  Now all of a sudden one's turned into an asshole.
Up:  Free advice from the vet I work with, and we have some new things to try.

Up:  My youngest "sister's" wedding is this weekend!  Three-day weekend and a night of possible partying at the beach.  Gonna see all my sisters and their significant others.  We're all gonna get to hang and they'll get to know my boyfriend more.
Down:  It's more money to spend that I just don't have, including buying a new dress because nothing I have is appropriate or even fits.
Up:  Find a beautiful new dress online!
Down:  It gets here and it doesn't fit, and the tiny online boutique I bought it from only does store credit, and I don't like anything else they have.  My big fat stomach that has kept getting bigger since I can't fully work out yet because of my back and eating bad shit lately makes me look freakin big and preggo.  (Phew... that was a long one.)  Have to actually go to a store and try on dresses, but can only find one that is halfway appropriate.  Go home and cry because I'm fat. :'(
Up:  Decide to buy a waist cincher so I can wear the dress I originally bought, and...
Down:  ...even though it'll be labored breathing for a few hours...
Up:  ...at least I'll feel pretty.  (Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds and is.)

Down:  Started painting the house and hurt my back again.  Two extra weeks of physical therapy just to get it back to where it was halfway feeling better.
Up:  Now it's better, and I may potentially only have one session left before I'm done with PT altogether!  Can go back to the gym and lose some weight!
Down:  Have no money to pay for the gym.  Maybe I'll invest in some free weights and work out at home.

Up:  Surgery is in six weeks!  Time is going by so quickly.
Down:  No real down for that, except maybe the cost, but that's okay.  I'm ready.

Okay, that pity party's over.  I think the ups and downs have felt so huge lately because the birth control and anti-depressant I've stopped taking are really making their way out of my system now.  My hormones are doing their own thing again, and my emotions are back to being triggered very easily.  With a combination from those, recovery from surgery and the nerves/stress of thinking about and preparing for the next upcoming surgery, I think my body's been through a lot these past couple of months.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

It's a Date!

I'm having another surgery!!  Never thought I would be so excited to announce that.  I spoke with the CEC this week about the costs and got a date all set up... September 18th!

Luckily the hospital there is considered in-network by my insurance.  Since the back surgery took care of my out of pocket responsibility for in-network, that part won't cost me a thing.  The CEC itself though is out of network, so I will owe them a hefty chunk of change upfront.

I hate to do it but I'm going to have to put it most of it on a credit card, but it'll be so much cheaper to do the surgery now than to wait to maybe save up and have to postpone until possibly next year.  Plus, this surgery will allow me to discover what's really going on with my insides and hopefully let me know the status of my fertility.   That knowledge and the fact that it may eradicate my pain possibly forever will make it worth it.

I looked into a popular medical credit card, but the reviews weren't that great.  I may set up a help fund me type of fundraiser, but I'm still not sure about that.

The boyfriend won't be able to go with me, so my wonderful mother said she would.  I love her so much!

I'm so nervous and excited!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy 5th of July!

I'm a day late, so, yeah...  The boyfriend and I had a great day yesterday!  We went to the palace and walked around the gardens.  We strolled downtown and grabbed a beer at one of our favorite restaurants.  Took a bunch of pics including some of us, which we don't really ever do, and it was so nice.




Me rocking my Endo Awareness shirt :)

It was an absolutely gorgeous day that a couple of days ago I was afraid might not happen.  We had Hurricane Arthur blow through Thursday night, and a lot of places rescheduled their holiday events.  I know farther east had it worse than us, but we've had stronger thunderstorms than that, and luckily no real damage from him.  I think we're in for stronger storms later this year though.

The rest of the week was busy.  The manager at work has still been on vacation, and I actually had to go in on my other day off when someone didn't show back up after their lunch break.  Fun.  Luckily no real crises though, knock on wood.  The big boss man is having a pool party this afternoon, which I really need to start getting ready for soon.

I had another physical therapy appointment this week which was quite entertaining.  It was early in the morning, and all the people who work there were cutting up.  It was pretty amusing.  I started doing some new exercises that kicked my ass and I've been sore ever since.

We're having a little cookout here at our house tomorrow for some of the family.  His mom, aunt and uncle will be here.  I invited my parents, but I don't think they'll come.  I didn't get my anti-social tendencies from a stranger.  But my step-dad's health is bad too, and I know he can't really leave the house for long.  We'll see.  Either way, I'm looking forward to it.  I'll be trying my hand for the first time (I think) at a NY style cheesecake.  Pretty stoked about that.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

This week on...

My posts are turning into weekly updates.  I'm just too tired at the end of the day to write anything.  It's been a pretty good week though.

I guess my biggest news is that I got the call from Atlanta on Tuesday!  They had just gotten my records the Saturday before, and I was not expecting the call for at least a week.  The doctor was so nice and said I was the perfect candidate for laparoscopic excision.  I should be getting another call soon about the financial aspect of it all and to set up a date for surgery.  They're currently booked out about 8-10 weeks, so maybe late August/early September.  Eeeek!  I'm so excited to potentially not hurt from this anymore, or at least not to the same extent.  I've been selling stuff on Craigslist and eBay and doing my side online job to try to raise funds for this thing.  Thinking about setting up GoFundMe type account to see if anyone would be willing to help out a little.  Don't fully know how I feel about that yet.

I've been to two physical therapy appointments this week, both of which were quite awkward.  First of all, I'm the youngest patient there.  I think the average age of everyone else is around 75.  The place is mostly one big room that everyone "works out" in.  There's a good amount of slight pelvic thrusting exercises in my nice routine.  Friday I was moderately humping the table I was on, and for the entire duration Time Warp from Rocky Horror ran through my head.  It was pretty fantastic.  *sigh*

My manager at work is on vacation, and I've been in charge.  Got a call Thursday night at 10pm that the alarm had been tripped and they needed me there.  Just lovely.  Nothing missing or out of place luckily.  I'm hoping this week passes by quickly without any mishaps.  Usually when the manager is away there's a leak, electrical issue or something weird like that.  Fingers crossed!

Friday, June 20, 2014

♪ No more drama in my life ♫

I don't know how people go through their lives with so much drama.  Drama that they appear to be creating for themselves.  Do they thrive on it?  Do they not know how to be without it?  I hear it from pretty much everyone at work almost every single day, and just listening to them exhausts me.  I can't and don't even want to imagine what they feel.  Some of it really isn't their fault... whether it be from bad luck or ending up with in-laws from hell.  But some of it really is of their own doing.  Why do they continue to do it to themselves?  I'm the go to person when they need to vent and I'm to a point where I don't know what to say to them anymore.

No real drama in my life, just jumbled nerves.  I got my packet of paperwork and medical records mailed off to the CEC yesterday.  So sometime in the next few weeks I should be getting a call from one of the doctors there.  Wow.  I really hope I can afford to do the surgery if they think it could help.  If not, I guess we'll jump right into TTC, so in theory I'll be happy either way.  Well, once that ring shows up on my finger we will, haha.

I had my six week post surgery check up the other day and I'm doing well.  Still feeling some pain, but he said I will for awhile.  I start physical therapy next week to teach me how to move correctly and exercise without re-damaging my back.  I kinda am and am not looking forward to it at the same time.

When my back is better, the boyfriend and I want to repaint the old roommate's bedroom and bathroom and fix up the rest of the house.  Wenesday we drove through the neighborhood we'd like to live in seeing where the houses in our price range are.  I'm so excited for that.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Hello!

Again it seems like so much has happened so quickly.  We went ring setting shopping this week and found the perfect one.  Unfortunately it's $2500 in the store which totally defeats the purpose of using my grandmother's stone.  But I found one pretty much just like it online for about $400.  I'm not expecting it to be exactly the same, but hopefully it's decent quality.


Is that not effin gorgeous?!  The boyfriend has said he does want a wedding, so I've been dreaming up all sorts of ideas and camping out on Pinterest.

I took the first step towards getting excision surgery for the endo.  I contacted the Center for Endometriosis Care in Atlanta and am currently filling out the 24 pages of paperwork, gathering my medical records and writing my narrative for them.  The surgeon will actually call after sending all the info in for a free phone consultation.  How awesome is that?  So I may be potentially having surgery again later this year.  I pretty much just decided it was time to do this a few days ago.  I'm super excited to get the ball rolling, but... eek!

I've been back at work for a week and a half now.  I've been taking it very easy but am still exhausted and sore at the end of the day.  Everyone has been great about looking out for me and handling the animals and all the food.  I could get used to this.

I also made a freakin fantastic chocolate creme pie last weekend.  My first attempt at one from scratch, and it turned out deliciously.   That's definitely worth mentioning too, haha.  

Happy weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2014

This is a long one...

(That's what she said... maybe?)

So many things are going on and running through my mind right now!  All good things!

Health-wise, I'm doing pretty great!  My sciatic pain comes once every so often, but it's very minimal and doesn't last long.  The doctor said that's normal and will get better with time.  The incision still gets a little sore but that's getting better too.  The middle part of my back is causing a little trouble now, but I guess it's having to work a little harder since I'm trying my best not to use the lower part much.

I'm scheduled to go back to work this coming Wednesday and I'm really nervous.  I've been relatively inactive during my recovery and get worn out pretty easily.  I'm not supposed to bend or twist or pick up anything heavier than a chunky chihuahua.  All of those are kinda part of the job, but I'm going to be pretty adamant that I'll be staying at the desk for a while.  At work I've always done what's needed and disregarded the pain.  Not anymore.  I've finally learned that my physical well being is more important than the job.  On a side note, I just realized that today marks three years since I've been back there.  Wow.

These past couple of weeks I've mainly been a housewife, and I've actually really loved it.  If I could make the little online job I've been doing since out of work pay the bills I totally would.  This whole time I've only made about a hundred bucks at it.  Oh well, every little bit helps.

I received the scariest doctor bill I've ever gotten in my life yesterday.  Over $19,000.  Luckily insurance is paying for that.  I can't even imagine the amount of freaking out I'd be doing right now if not for the insurance I got just two months ago.  In total, I think all of this would have ended up around $27,000 when all said and done.  Geez.

Other news on the home front.  Huge freakin fantastic news!  The boyfriend and I are now on the fast track!  He's ready to get married and start a family!!  I told him I'm due to get a refill on my birth control next week, and he said he thought I should stop taking it.  I told him my back needs to get better before we get pregnant, and these next few months will be for my body to get back to ovulating.  We even started discussing baby names, which blew me away!  Eeeek!

I then asked his opinion on getting engaged in the next couple of months, and he was cool with it!  He still can't afford a ring yet, and lately we've been pondering putting the diamond from my old engagement ring in a new setting.  It was actually my grandmother's, and she left it to me when she passed away.  I've been trying to sell it since the divorce because I didn't think I'd want to wear it again, but had no buyers.  I've come to realize that I don't associate it with my ex anymore.  I look at it and think of my grandmother and realize that I truly don't want to part with it, no matter how much the money from it could help.

So, in true girl fashion, here are some of the settings I've been looking at...  Picture a beautiful round champagne colored diamond in them.







Gorgeous!  All of them!  And actually in our price range.  :)

And last, but definitely not least, we've started pre-gaming for house hunting!  The bf has been spending a lot of time online looking at houses.  We contacted a realtor who will be on the lookout for us.  We've started talking about the minor renovations we need to do to the house before we put it on the market.  We're also paying close attention to a house in our little nook that went up for sale about a month ago.  It's the exact same floor plan and square footage as ours, but they're asking $20,000 more than what I bought this one for!  We're very interested to see how long it'll be on the market and what it will actually sell for.

So that's the update on all that.  I'm pretty excited about everything right now.  Except work... really don't wanna go back, haha!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Post Surgery

I am currently two days post-op and very sore.  "Laminectomy Lumbar Disk Foramen Facet" is what was on the paper taped to my hospital bed, so I guess that's what I had done.  I was kinda out of it when the doctor talked to me, but we'll go over specifics when I see him again next week.

I had to be at the hospital at 5:45am on Thursday.  Upon arrival I only sat in the waiting room a few minutes before I had to say my goodbyes and let my nurse get started.  I got nekked and changed into a very unflattering gown.  I got hooked up to an IV and pulse-ox monitor thing.  And they put on the tightest blood pressure cuff I've ever felt... I thought my arm might pop right off.  I got some sexy compression stockings, which they told me I have to wear all week.

The anesthesiologist came by to talk to me and decided I needed to take a pregnancy test just to be sure.  So the nurse unhooked me from some things but left me attached to some others, wrapped a blanket around my backside, held the IV bag up and paraded me in front of everyone in that room over to the bathroom.  For someone with social anxiety, it was just fantastic.

Later I was back in bed, and a slight sedative was administered.  She said I would feel tipsy as I was wheeled into the operating room, and I did.  I remember them putting a mask on me, and then I was out.  I woke up maybe an hour and a half to two hours later in a recovery room totally out of it.   I heard someone talking on the phone about what I had had done and that I came out of sedation agitated.  Oops.  I drifted in and out there, then was taken to my room when I was more alert.

They had me up and walking just a few hours after surgery, and I found that my sharp, shooting sciatic pain was gone!  I'm still having some numbness in my foot, but they say that's normal and will go away.  I was very tired and napped throughout that afternoon.  I had some visitors and got some beautiful flowers...


And someone brought me this thing to use so I didn't get pneumonia...


I slept on and off throughout the night but was woken every so often by a nurse taking vitals or making me go for another walk... or by the lady down the hall who was screaming all night.  My mother came to see me around 10:00 the next morning.  I was discharged around 11:30, and she took me home.  The boyfriend was at work, but I was getting around okay and told her I would be fine by myself.  I slept most of the afternoon, still very groggy from all the meds.  I was up and about a few times and even walked way out to the mailbox for the first time in weeks.

I woke up this morning very dizzy and was a little worried, but it slowly went away after some breakfast.  I've still been taking it very easy, but made my second trip out to the mailbox a bit ago.  I'm supposed to be up "putzing around" throughout the day with frequent resting periods.  Can't drive or pick up anything more than five pounds for at least a week.

When I nap, I've got the whole gang to keep me company...



Hopefully the recovery will be very quick and easy, and I'll be back to my life in no time!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pulling Pigtails

I've been having a ton of very vivid dreams lately and I think it's because of the pain meds.  Last night I woke myself up apparently acting out part of my dream.  In this one I was at a park and had a bag of clothes sitting on a picnic table.  I guess I was going somewhere that night?  Anyways, I had walked away for a few minutes and when I returned there was a little girl with pigtails going through my bag and tossing my clothes everywhere.  I remember my pretty pair of red undies getting thrown into the dirt.

The mother of the child was about thirty feet away, and I was trying to get her attention to no avail.  So I did the next logical thing... I reached out to grab the girl by one of her pigtails to get her to stop.

And that's when I woke up knocking over the glass of water on my nightstand.  Somehow I managed to catch the glass, but not before about half of the water went all over my phone.  I have no idea how that happened, but luckily my phone was unfazed.

I woke myself up talking out a dream the other night.  I dream about work a lot.  They're usually about me going back after all this, and everything's different or it's crazy busy.

Very strange.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Getting Ready for Thursday

The neurosurgeon told me that the disc between my L5 and S1 is herniated, and that's what pinching the nerve.  So I guess they make a small incision and go in with a camera and cut out the part of the disc that's causing the trouble.  Or something like that.

I went to my pre-op appointment Friday and got this beautiful thing to wear until surgery...


And they told me I had to stop taking the one medication that actually helped with the pain.  I stopped taking my wonderful ibuprofen yesterday, and the past day and a half has been full of non-stop ridiculous pain.  This is going to be a long week.  I've got some straight oxy, but it barely does anything.  Grr...

Anyways, I go back to the doctor Wednesday to get "marked".  I guess they make a little mark with a permanent marker for where to cut the next day.  And if for some reason that mark isn't there on the grand day, surgery is totally cancelled.  Oh my.  So, yeah...  I'll get a call that Wednesday afternoon to tell me when to show up at the hospital the following day.

Apparently, barring any complications, I'll be up and walking around the same afternoon, but I'll be staying there over night and get to go home the next morning.  From there I'll be back to work in a couple of weeks with a weight restriction of what I can pick up for three months.  Fun.

I'm not at all looking forward to it, but weirdly enough I am so excited for it.  I just want to feel better.  This pain which hasn't allowed me to do much of anything for the past few weeks has just gotta get gone.  It's really been wearing me down.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Surgery

Next Thursday.  Awesome.  It sucks, but I hope it'll fix my back, and hopefully I'll be able to get on with my life afterward.

I'm really nervous.

Monday, April 28, 2014

My Heart is Aflutter

The boyfriend said many sweet things yesterday that made me fall in love with him all over again.

I know he can't afford an engagement ring yet and I've been suggesting a very real looking fake ring for the past couple of months.  He hates the idea and has not entertained the thought one bit.  We were talking about all sorts of things yesterday and we got to joking about that.  I said, "Forty bucks and you're done!  What's the problem??"  And he immediately said back, "BECAUSE YOU MEAN MORE TO ME THAN THAT!"  Aaah!  I melted.  It was so sweet.

Later we were talking about my birth control, and he said, "Why don't you just stop taking it?  I'll put a little one in there for ya," as he rubbed my stomach!  Aaah!!  Killed me!  In all seriousness though, he did say he'd be fine with us starting to TTC now in case we have trouble with it.  I said I wanted to get through this possible back surgery fiasco and then go from there.

Then he totally surprised me with this next one.  When we got back together we compromised and decided that we would stay here for us to have a child, then move out towards Western NC when it was a few years old.  He hates this area, but my family and support system are here, so we agreed that plan worked for us both.  Well... yesterday he said absolutely out of no where that he'd be fine staying here if we could find another house that he'd be more comfortable in.  One with neighbors that aren't as close to us, one with a garage and a huge back yard for the dogs.  One possibly on the water.  Something we could really settle down and grow old in.  AAAH!  Craziness!!  Never ever ever did I think he'd want that.  He said he's really been thinking about it though, and it would just be such a hassle to pack up everything, move across the state, find a new place and new jobs.

I just don't know what to think about all this wonderfulness!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I Shaved My Legs!!

Today is the bf's and my second anniversary!  We've been on and off through them, but today marks two years since we first met and is when we've chosen to celebrate.  We were going to have dinner at the restaurant where we first met, but unfortunately that's not gonna happen... I'm still having a lot of trouble just walking around the house.

I did manage to shave my legs (among other areas) for the first time in awhile!  This was huge for me, haha.  Showers are tough when you can't stand up for long.

So, those are my and our accomplishments for the day!  It's the little things.  :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Pain Update

The Vicodin didn't work.  Like, at all.  So Wednesday morning I called the doctors office and requested something else.  That night right before they closed they called to say they could offer me a prescription for Percocet if I wanted it.  Yes, I'll try anything!  So the boyfriend raced me over to the office before it closed, and never have I had so much trouble walking.  A turtle probably could have passed me.  Anyways, I've been on it for two days now, and it does help a little more.  I'm still supplementing with ibuprofen, and together they take most of the edge off.  It still hurts to walk, especially if I'm a little late taking the meds, but for the most part it's a lot better.

One of my very best friends was in town yesterday with her son and stopped by for lunch and a nice visit.  We hung out for a few hours before they headed out.  It was so nice to see her.

I've been attempting a few work at home online jobs, and so far I've made a whopping three dollars... wooo!  Maybe once I get qualified for a bit more I'll have some better paying days.  My manager at my actual workplace talked to the big boss about me getting temporary disability, but he didn't say anything.  I was researching that all morning and didn't find much.  I'm thinking it's probably not gonna happen.

That's about all my excitement.  It's been nice to have the opportunity to stay home and rest, but I'm getting a little cabin fever now.  When the meds are doing their job, I could potentially attempt to drive somewhere, but it's really not worth it.  I can't do much walking wherever I'd decide to go.

I feel pretty worthless.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The word neurosurgeon scares the crap out of me...

So much has happened in the past 24 hours that my mind is spinning.  It was really only one doctor appointment, but so much went down.  I couldn't take the pain anymore and went into the local urgent care place when they opened at 8am yesterday.  I got the nicest doctor who just happened to be returning to work after three weeks off to recover from the exact same thing I have.  He was so sympathetic and made me feel like a priority.

I was in tears as he examined me, testing each leg.  I ended up getting X-rays and an MRI which told him that I have a protruding disc that is pinching the sciatic nerve.  And that it's pretty bad.  He said it's past the point where a chiropractor can help and gave me a referral to a local neurosurgeon, and that appointment isn't until next Thursday.  He said no work until I'm all better and he releases me.  He said the surgeon will probably suggest one of two things... epidural steroid injections or surgery.  Both sound just lovely.

He prescribed me Vicodin, which I've never taken before and does not seem to be helping one bit.  I actually feel worse now, and it makes me sleepy all the time.  To be fair though, there was a lot going on yesterday to aggravate the pain, so I'll give it a couple of days before requesting something else, if that's even possible.  I literally could not stand or walk this morning.  I got out of bed and thought I was going to pass out from the pain.

I'm freaking out.  I may have to have back surgery, which I was never expecting to have, especially at 31!  The pain medication is not working and I can barely get out of bed.  I'm out of work for who knows how long.  It's all a bit overwhelming right now.