Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Praise report!!

As some of you know, I had a hysterectomy 4 weeks ago (I'll try to post about what lead up to this monumental decision one of these days soon). I had a migraine that morning while I was getting prepped for surgery. While I was going under, the anesthesiologist also gave me Toradol to keep my migraine under control so I didn't have it when I woke up. I have been migraine free since that day! Four whole weeks without a migraine!! Hallelujah!! Thank you, Jesus! Wow, I didn't even remember what it's like to be migraine free for so long. I did have a period of a couple years without chronic migraines till the twins were about a year old but since I was 11, I have had migraines off and on and since I had Brighton they have been more frequent "friends" with me.

Yesterday was the first day I haven't taken an anti-depressant since we tried an anti-epileptic medication last year to help control my migraines and it backfired and plunged me into a depression that I couldn't talk myself out of (either self-help or with the help of a counselor friend). It took 3 different anti-depressants (two were trial and error and the third one helped) to pull me out of that deep, dark pit. I have even forgot to take my blood pressure meds (now only 25 mg a day -down from 200mg a day) for a couple of days and when I took my blood pressure at home it was amazing (115-70ish range). This hasn't happened since before I was pregnant with Brighton. I did have some really low blood pressures while in the hospital on bed rest with the twins but that doesn't count because I was in rest and relax mode with no "added stress"!

I'm loving this new healthy normal for me and I'm looking forward to being off of lifting restrictions so I can start exercising with kettlebells and doing higher impact exercises than walking! :-)

The most drastic reduction in my migraines and my blood pressure has been due to using the auto CPAP machine to treat my obstructive sleep apnea. The new "no migraine in 4 weeks" development has been due to my hysterectomy and having my left ovary (my "bad" one) removed and I believe also due to this enforced "rest" while recovering from the surgery.

I'm looking forward to a year full of activity, lots of busy-ness without having to plan in "recovery" time, enjoying my family and bigger house!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Kindergartener is now a First Grader!

*sniff* I get teary-eyed thinking about it! I cried saying good bye to his teacher last Tuesday.
I can't believe how fast this first school year went by. But I am looking forward to summer adventures with all 3 kids! Swimming, hiking up mountains and hills, camping, bonfires and picnics!

Being Real.........A.K.A Spilling my guts!

I'm a pretty private person when it comes to my health struggles and what it has been like since I had kids. I've posted now and then to ask for prayers on my Facebook page but really don't say a whole lot about this kind of stuff. Unless you see me on a more day to day basis or you are one of my sisters that I talk to frequently.

I have been absolutely exhausted since Brighton was born over 6 years ago.  Add having twins almost 3 years later and you pretty much get a complete zombie! It's been harder than I thought possible. I was prepared for it, being a mom, the sleepless nights (ya, like you can really be prepared, but you know what I mean). Kicking, screaming, laughing, crying, you name it, I've probably done it! And now I know why it was so much harder than I planned, hoped, prayed it would be. It's really been amazing, these last 6 years, being a mom is so cool, fun and rewarding but SO HARD!

When Brighton was 5 months old, I had a migraine for a week and a half. I have had migraines (hormonal ones) since I was 11. I thought it was from the stress of working (with a baby), stress at work, having a baby who got me up 2-3x a night and hormones. My doctor finally got rid of it with multiple pain medications, a migraine medication, a beta blocker, some sleeping pills, 3 days of solid sleep and several shots in my butt! My blood pressure was also sky high and after the migraine was under control it stayed that way so my beta blocker dose was upped and my blood pressure returned to a nice low, healthy number. Isn't 32 much too young to have Hypertension?

Fast forward to when the twins were about a year old, I started getting migraines again after an almost 3 year reprieve. They got worse, then even worse till I had one that I couldn't get rid of for a month and a half last summer. We put out a plea to family for help, because I was in such bad shape that I wasn't able to even properly take care of the kids. Again, it took multiple pain meds, migraine meds, sleeping pills (by this time we realized that when I lacked sleep/rest, that I got more migraines) and several shots in the butt. In June, Dewayne's Aunt came up to help for a month. She stayed at Dewayne's mom's house and would come take care of me and the children while Dewayne was working. I started feeling better, more rested and the migraines lessened. Then this past November/December they starting getting bad again, we moved in December and were getting our house ready to sell. I've been able to stay on top of most of them but they were an almost daily occurrence and really took it out of me. My doctor put me on an antiepileptic to see if that would help keep the migraines at bay. It put me into a deep depression. He changed me to an antidepressant that was also prescribed for migraine prophylaxis, it helped with the migraines but didn't improve the depression and made me more irritable. He then added another antidepressant to help with the depression that really didn't work. I was so sad and tired of the pain that for a second I considered overdosing. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, it was dismissed but scared me bad enough that he got me in the next day and took me off both of those antidepressants. He then put me on a different one, a "lite" version of a commonly used antidepressant and I had 19 incredible migraine-free, energy filled days. During which I over-did it physically and gave myself De Quervain's Syndrome (tenosyvitis) in my left wrist. I had to wear a brace, get ultrasound treatments and have chiropractic adjustments for two weeks, till it was back to normal.

After that, I was still having migraines, wasn't sleeping well, so he prescribed sleeping pills and muscle relaxants to help me sleep and get rest. Because when I didn't sleep well, I noticed that I got worse, more frequent migraines. After numerous blood tests to check several different things, the sleeping pills not helping me any less exhausted, I was at the end of my rope with pain and exhaustion and we still had no idea what was wrong. At my doctors appointment to follow up on the new antidepressant, we were discussing how I am always optimistic, I never lose hope (except that one brief thought) and that I have faith that God is in control and that my family and friends were praying for me. Dr. Brooks asked me if he could pray with me. He prayed that God would give us answers and the very next day I got the answer during a phone call that I made. The next time I went in I asked him if it could possibly be sleep apnea. He was very skeptical but because we hadn't gotten any other clear answers he got me set up for a home sleep study. He said that I don't fit the physical profile for sleep apnea. I don't have a thick neck, on examination my airway is wide open, even though I snored it wasn't extremely loud or disruptive and even though I'm overweight it doesn't look like my weight is an issue. He said it's a long shot but we might as well rule it out.  I took the test on Feb. 11, turned in the equipment on Feb. 12th and on March 17th, my Mama's birthday, I got the test results. Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea with 17 AHI (Apnea/Hypopnea Index, meaning I stopped breathing 17 times in 1 hour) and a O2 desaturation of 85%. And guess what kind of health issues Sleep Apnea can cause? Just to name a few......Migraines, Depression AND Hypertension....not to mention Strokes, Heart Attacks, etc if left untreated. Pretty crazy, huh??

I have now been on an APAP (an automatic CPAP machine) with a pressure of 6-18cmH2O nightly and if I take a nap (which doesn't happen nearly as often now) for 2 months. My migraines are now only about 1 every two weeks, my blood pressure has gone down considerably (I'm taking only 50mg daily instead of 200mg) and my antidepressant med dose has been cut in half. I still tired easily but I don't have the extreme fatigue and unbelievable exhaustion that I had before I started treatment. I'm so thankful for the visible signs that my health is improving with treatment and as much as I want to have overnight renewal of all my lost energy, I understand that this isn't something that happens overnight and I have to be a patient patient and let my body heal from all the nights of having "not good" sleep. I know it's been the last 6 years for sure, but it has possibly even been longer than that. So that many years of damage will take that much longer to repair.

Throughout all of this, my faith has kept me alive, hopeful and able to live with joy. Someone told me recently that no matter how tired and ragged I looked, dragging my 3 kids around, that I always had a bright, happy smile. There is HOPE! I want to thrive, not just survive and I'm been surviving for a little bit longer than is optimal. The Joy of the Lord is my strength and it has carried me through. My Bible verses for the longest time have been Ephesians 3:20, 21 - Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. God has been walking with me, over and above what I've asked or thought. He has been working in me, growing me in ways I've needed, yet didn't know that I needed. He is faithful and so good!

My husband has been a faithful warrior in all of this drama/saga! He has stepped in where needed, whenever needed without complaint or grudging. He truly is a treasure and a hot one to boot!! The kids are amazingly resilient and so caring. Brighton really wanted me to come help out in his Kindergarten class room but was so worried that the kids would be too loud for my poor head. I did end up getting to go spend a morning, helping the kids with their sight words. It was so fun and Brighton loved that I got to do it! We (the twins and I) got to go on the end of the school year field trip to the zoo, park day and field day. Something I couldn't have even considered just two months ago. :-)

That's all for now, Folks.....stay tuned for the next episode of this drama.....it will be called...It's all in Your Head!! Ha ha.

Here are some pics of my new nighttime (and sometimes daytime) companion. For you giggling pleasure....this is my life now!
This is me today. I had a migraine, needed a nap and used my APAP!

My Fabulous PR S1 560 Series Auto CPAP w/ A-Flex

Trying out my new nasal pillow mask!

My first mask - A nasal mask. It worked well.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Whole New World.....of gardening, that is!

Now, we wait and see if they thrive or die! I finished planting my "little" garden in pots today. The kids planted some herbs for me, Sweet Basil - Geneva, Parsley - Brighton and Mason planted Cilantro! I do have a couple more starts that haven't sprouted yet so we'll see if we end up with a couple more pots. It's been a fun process so far with a few of my wee little plants not surviving because I didn't keep them watered properly and they were in the sunny window. I've ALWAYS killed my house plants and I've never considered myself a green thumb. So this really is quite the ADVENTURE for me.

Here are the pictures for Proof of Life!!

My Pot Garden
The Herb Stand

And my two cute 3 year old gardening apprentices with their new gardening gloves!
Show me your gloves!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Life in Alaska is just peachy!

The twins - Geneva & Mason (3 1/2 years old)
So, Hi there, Friends.  I know.....I haven't written here in ages. We moved the beginning of December and got the "old house" ready to sell and it should be closing here in a few days.

I took current pics of the kids to include on our "Here's Our New Address" card. These are the outtakes, mostly, with the one that I did end up using at the bottom.

Taking pictures of these kids is quite a challenge and these were taken with a "backup" buddy because Dewayne was home. Usually I do it by myself and end up wanting to strangle something or somebody but I won't name any names.

And even with Dewayne's help getting there attention there are always other things to look at & arms waving around!

Brighton - my kindergartner (6 years old)

 So, yes, we are all still alive. I'm a little bruised and battered from the last 6-7 years but that's a whole 'nother blog post. The kids are growing, learning and are a blast to have around.

They love the new house and so do I. It's much easier to have friends over to play and have bigger groups of people over, too! Looking forward to entertaining more in the years to come. Backyard bonfires, picnics, play dates, you name it, it's gonna happen here!!

Got a candid shot because the 'posed' shots weren't happening!

"How big are my babies?"
Dewayne's been in the Auto Body Repair field for over 15 years now. I'm enjoying being home with the kids for now. Who know what will happen with me when the twins start kindergarten in 2+ years. I'm looking forward to having a little more time to knit, crochet, craft and garden.

Oh, yeah.....gardening. Wow, I have starts for a few veggies growing in my house already and I'll be gardening in pots this year and hope to have a couple, four, five raised beds to plant in next year. I figured I should start small my first year growing things. I know, I grew up on a farm and we had a garden every year till I was in my teens. I just never thought I'd really enjoy growing stuff or getting my hands dirty. But here I am.....a completely, utterly and irrevocably reformed non-gardener.

I'm thinking of yummy fresh veggies from our garden. Kale, lettuce, zucchini, squash....just to name a few. Also, cherry tomatoes and snap peas for the kids to graze from.

Bye for now. Thanks for visiting!

The Prizewinning Pose - L to R Mason, Kohl (the Dog), Brighton & Geneva

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hello.....yes, why, yes....we are still alive up here!

We are still alive and well. I just haven't posted anything for over a year! So this is just a post to let you know that I'm thinking about starting to post again. My life is a little calmer now that the babies aren't babies anymore. I can't believe they will be 3 in November and Brighton just started Kindergarten! He is so happy, riding the bus to and from school and he absolutely loves school itself, too!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

June 25, 2013 - Impromptu Photo Shoot

I had so much fun doing this photo shoot. After I did it, I went and bought a newer version of the camera I used to take these pictures. I love to take pictures of my kids but sometimes it makes me want to pull my hair out. I have to just let them do their own thing and just shoot as they ramble around, discover new things and play with flowers, ribbon rings, etc. whatever to distract them and get natural expressions and candid pictures.
My three kids - Mason, Geneva & Brighton


Such a sweet little man

Trucking through the grass

This is a flower?

My littlest man

Now there's a smile

It's hard to see, Mom!

Hand in pocket?

All my kids

He's so sweet

Mason, Geneva & Brighton

He's my big boy

The babies

Sideways glance

The girl in the grass

A little kick

Telling me about it

My sweet, sweet girl

Dandelion fluff

Looking a little smug