COVID-19-Anxiety, Annoyance, Overwhelmed

In February we started to hear about this sickness at that time called Coronavirus but I know my family believed it could never affect us like it was in Asia. Good, bad, or ugly all of my diagnosis’s cause me to be more anxious and I’m a preparer in general so I started picking up a few things here in there in case things would change here. I never really stockpiled just picked up a few extra things. It became an ongoing joke with my daughter and husband because I would go to the grocery store and ask my family if Coronavirus came here and we were quarantined what would you want to have to eat or do. So yes I picked up some comfort items that we would have in the house if we would be stressing about going out.

In March, things became more real where cases were starting to appear and people were talking more about having to be quarantined. Grocery stores started to empty out too. I told my husband several times during this that it was great to be gluten free as the gluten filled breads and other items would be all gone but the gluten free areas would still be full. Still at this point I hadn’t hit the anxiety, annoyance, or just being plain overwhelmed.

The end of March our state decided to lock us all down. The Friday before this all happened we had made the executive decision to take our daughter out of school so that she could spend a day with a set of her grandparents. We weren’t sure what the future would bring and when the next time we would see them again or if we would even see them again. Who knew that Monday the governor would shut school down and change everything so dramatically. We are incredibly thankful that we did that though.

Now starts the phase of our life change. The first thing that happened with me was the fear/anxiety. I started to hear that people with PBC are higher risk (later learned that it depends on what stage you are in). We also started reading about what COVID does to the body and it scares me to no end. Its not just that we might end up with bad symptoms its that we might end up in the hospital when there aren’t enough doctors, hospital beds, etc. It leaves me sleepless. I worry that my husband and I are going to leave my daughter parentless. I worry that I’m going to lose my parents (one of whom has multiple health conditions that cause him to be higher risk). I worry that my daughter will get it and develop bad symptoms and end up in the hospital. I worry about what this is going to do to society as a whole.

With all this fear we as a family haven’t been into a grocery store since March. We have done pickups, thank goodness for instant cart and target pickup. I have made us all face masks and we have gloves. Yet with all of that we still go out and walk and live in a small town and you can tell most in our small town do not believe that this is a thing.

Now on to annoyance. So many things can cause annoyance depending on the moment. Politics in general are driving me crazy. I can’t even imagine opening things back up currently. I get people wanting to work since they have lost their jobs but is it worth losing your life or someone else life for it. If you can shelter in place for that much longer it may take the risk down a lot more but instead of our leader leading us like he should he’s encouraging other to protest people who are saying to shelter in place. I can’t imagine why our leader would do that its just ridiculous.

I love my daughter dearly but there is a reason we chose not to homeschool. Teachers are desperately trying to learn how to do this distance learning. Its going better then I thought but I do feel bad for my daughter as she is an only child and because we are higher risk she can’t even play with the neighbors. At least she gets to talk to friends online but us doing schooling at home and us entertaining her is getting old for her I’m sure.

One final annoyance, at the beginning of this gluten free shopping was getting easy. Now I’m having to shop at new stores and trying to learn what is gluten free. Also now companies who made great gluten free stuff are stopping that to make gluten stuff because everyone is hoarding stuff. Therefore finding gluten free stuff is getting harder.

Overwhelmed, that seems to describe my constant state now. I don’t know what to expect everyday when we wake up. I pray that we won’t catch it. I pray that government can make smart decisions and quit spending their time ripping each other apart. I pray I can control my anxiety so that my daughter doesn’t get scared. She’s definitely going to grow up in a different world. I pray we can get past this and somehow get back to some sort of normal. I basically am just trying to put one step in front of the other at this time.

Final Diagnosis, I hope-PBC

So after I got diagnosed with Celiac Disease my GI doctor decided to run the gamut of tests to see what was off in my body. We already knew my iron was off and so I got to go on iron for that but he attributed that to my celiac and my other issue (previous blog posts), but he also said other things could be off so why not test some more.

Can I just say I have never had any issues getting blood drawn. My mom hated getting her blood drawn as her veins always rolled but I never had an issue, oh wait spoke too soon. Sometime in the middle of all my diagnosis’s and blood draws my veins decided that they had enough and decided they were going to be stubborn. From there on out every time I went in the lab people would have to spend 10-15 minutes digging in my arms for veins and let me tell you not fun!

Anyways so my doctor noticed on my blood draw that my liver enzymes were slightly elevated and so he decided I needed a liver biopsy. That scared me a lot. I questioned him thoroughly because I had been on multiple medications that would impact my liver and so didn’t want to go through with it if it was just those medications. He pushed back and wanted me to have it and after much debate back and forth decided to go through with it.

Now I didn’t get a lot of information on what the biopsy would entail just was told to plan to be there with someone to drive me home after 4 hours. Needless to say my mind started right up on the anxiety. If you look things up online it makes it even worse… don’t!

By the time I got there for my biopsy I decided what will be will be and had shaken most of the fears away. They took me first to get blood drawn (yay!) and then I went back where I got an IV put in for getting something to slightly take the edge off. They then took me back to have the biopsy done. First before I tell you about the biopsy I will say I loved all of my doctors and they immediately put me at ease with the process.

That being said for me it was not a pain free process. The doctor who was doing the biopsy said for some they feel no pain at all and others its a bit more it just depends on how your body takes to the meds. Mine was lucky in that I felt it. They took 5 samples from me and on was fine but the others you could feel everything. It at least was a quick process and the doctor did his best to distract me. After they get done with that they then hold pressure on the area for 10-15 minutes to stop any bleeding and then you lay for a few hours after. They monitor your blood pressure every 15 minutes.Recovery was fine, I had a bit of discomfort that day but nothing like my surgery.

Then came the waiting game. They told me it would take 3 days to hear results. By 5 I still didn’t have any. Finally a week and a half in (I did get an update from the doctor telling me it was taking longer) I found out I had been diagnosed with early stage of PBC Primary Biliary Cirrhosis.

PBC is another auto immune disease (they run in groups). Basically my body is attacking my bile ducts. Slowly but surely my liver will get cirrhosis and need to get a transplant. This could take years and years though as it depends on the stage you are in when diagnosed and how well your body responds to medication. I am now on Urisidol capsules twice a day and I will be on them the rest of my life.

Some of the not so fun things about this disease is you can develop terrible itchiness, dry eyes, dry mouth, teeth issues, extreme fatigue, amongst others. Not everyone has every symptom. Me currently I only have some mild itching as the disease progresses though it could get worse. I’m doing my best to keep up with my family though and not let this diagnosis slow me down. I’m still in the try to accept this phase but hopefully I will get there.

What’s that something else is wrong with me? Why not :)

So during the time that I was getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease I also had something else going on that I ended up at the doctors with. Whats that you ask? I was dealing with very heavy periods. For the past several years when I would go to the doctor I would ask about my periods because they were heavy and all over the bored as to when they would arrive. My primary doctor just chalked it up to the fact that I was probably going into perimenopause.

In 2018 I discussed options with my doctor as it was just getting very old and I wanted to know if I had any options. The tough scenario with me was I had a blood clot in my legs and lungs many years ago caused by birth control and breaking my leg (great combination). This then means I can’t do the easy way out and use birth control to level out my periods. Nope I have to take the hard road for everything. My doctor said we could do either an IUD or ablation and gave me information to review. I went home and after much review decided I wasn’t ready to do anything at that point in time.

Speed ahead to 2019, my periods are all over the board sometimes super light, sometimes heavy, sometimes non-existent, and sometimes never-ending. In the summer of 2019, they became so heavy I could barely go an hour without needing to change my pad. I was to the point of complete frustration and decided I couldn’t wait any longer. My doctor couldn’t see me until December so I went to talk to an OB/Gyn.

The OB/Gyn then proceeded to draw some blood and did an ultrasound. The blood test revealed everything except my iron was completely normal. My iron was extremely low 6.2. She said I was in the heart attack zone and immediately ordered me to get two iron infusions. This brought my iron up to 9 which was still low but better. The ultrasound detected that one of my Fallopian tubes was extremely enlarged. The doctor then told me it had to come out.

Now mind you in the middle of this I’m going through all the testing for Celiac Disease and determining that too. So let me say at this point I was a bit overwhelmed but glad to be getting answers.

In January 2020, we scheduled surgery to remove my Fallopian tubes and to do an ablation so that “hopefully” I won’t have periods again. My doctor did say its very possible they will come back but hopefully not so heavy. She recommended that versus hysterectomy at my age due to other complications that can arise.

During surgery they were able to remove my Fallopian tubes and discovered that I had the worst case of endometriosis that my doctor had ever seen. Yay for me! So she removed as much as she could and then did the ablation.

Since I had such severe endometriosis she said I had to get a Lupron injection for 3 months so stop my hormones from encouraging it to live. She warned me it would cause me to be very moody (told my husband to not piss me off 😉 ) and that I would go through multiple menopause symptoms (yay). She said I could go on ad back therapy after a month to offset some of the hormone fluctuations.

In the meantime I was getting a third diagnosis which caused me not to be able to do ad back therapy. On a good note though, so far no periods (hallelujah), moodiness sometimes but not as bad as my doctor made it out to be, and definite hot flashes sometimes but all completely livable. Now lets just pray my period stays away!!

Its been a doozy of a year let me tell you and the worst diagnosis was still to come!

Gluten apparently is evil to my body!

The last six months seem to be a whirl of doctors visits.  I went from going once a year for myself to once a week and why you ask well it all started with a sore throat that just wouldn’t go away. 

 At the beginning of September I noticed that it was painful swallowing foods in particular breads and meats (denser items).  At the time I figured it was my allergies acting up and decided to change allergy medications.  Two weeks past and no real changes and so my parents suggested Flonase so I thought I would try that.  It definitely seemed to help my allergies but not my throat.  At that point I decided I better see a doctor as it was not going away.  

First doctor visit;  I started with my family doctor who proceeded to give me a strep test to cover the bases.  Came back negative which I knew it would so she sent me to an ENT.  The ENT did a scope and told me that my vocal cords were inflamed and that even though I wasn’t have symptoms of reflux I was most likely having LPR (silent reflux) so he prescribed me omeprazole and said he would see me in three months.  A week into seeing him I had to call as the omeprazole was causing me to have major headaches so I got switched to Lansoprazole.  He also said I needed to cut back on coffee and alcohol (not that I had much to begin with).  

In the meantime, I also started having menstrual issues (a different blog post to come) and started seeing an OB/GYN.  She after discussing and doing tests found out my iron was extremely low, I was severely anemic.  She said normal is 12, low is 8-11 and any lower is extreme; I was at 6.2.  She later informed me, after it had come up a bit, that I was in heart attack range, thank goodness she didn’t tell me that initially.

A month into taking the pills my throat was a little better but not resolved so I reached out to him and he sent me to a GI Doctor.  The GI doctor listened to everything going on and said we need to do an endoscopy to confirm there isn’t anything else going on and so scheduled it the day before Thanksgiving.  Got up that morning and noticed a rash forming all over my body and so after talking to my GI doctor I got to postpone my endoscopy a week and go to another family doctor to be diagnosed with tinnea versicolor and given a medication that is hard on the liver but should resolve the rash.  

A week later I go in for my endoscopy and mention all the new problems, low iron, rash, etc and ask if its possible (after doing research online) that I have celiac.  He agrees its a very real possibility and says he will check for that while he’s doing the endoscopy.  A week later I get the results and he tells me from the looks of my intestine, the blood work, and the sample that it all confirms that yes I have celiac.  So he tells me start a gluten free diet and we will discuss more after the new year.  So now I’m starting down the path of teaching myself what all celiac entails, relearn to cook/bake, and converting my family to a gluten free lifestyle!

Halloween Mystery Menu

When I was a kid my mom would create a “mystery menu”  which consisted of strange named things and we would have to order off of this menu.  We never knew what exactly we were ordering but that was most of the fun.  We could end up with ketchup, ice cream, and a fork or water, a napkin and carrots.  To us as kids it was always a blast to do and to see what you would end up with.  When I became a parent, I decided I wanted to continue this tradition.  I decided at least initially that I would tie it in with Halloween.  Therefore my menu always has Halloween related items; such as witches tears, monster bites, bone chunks, etc.

Last year was the first year that I did this for my husband and daughter.  My husband had never done anything like this but thought it would be fun.  It was a lot of work but my husband and daughter absolutely loved it.  Now as I’m getting ready for year two I decided to share what I did last year.  I can’t share this year’s menu and key as I don’t want to give away the secrets yet.  If you have never done it I highly recommend it.  It is a blast for kids and adults alike.

Tips:  Block off your kitchen so they have no idea what you are making.  Plan in advance and have a key in the kitchen so you know what you are doing.  Maybe even have some of the items already dished out. 🙂

Halloween Mystery Menu

Mixed up menu (food key)

How do you decide to Home school and still support your family?

My daughter is currently in Kindergarten at a great school.  She is doing good, not above average but keeping up with everyone.  Her class size is 24 kids which seems like a lot.  Lately I have been looking into homeschooling and what you need to be able to do to home school your child.  There are many things that make me contemplate homeschooling from, being able to set your own schedule, not necessarily having a huge summer break, controlling what your kids are exposed to/learn, etc.

The major thing that holds me back though is, how do you afford it?  I have been home with my daughter for 3 years and its been surprisingly easier on our budget then expected but its still not as easy as when I was working.  I’m concerned as I know we have some major expenses coming up that I don’t want to just ignore and so I’m torn.  Do most home school parents find jobs in the evenings?  How do you do it?

Next concern what happens come high school/college time.  I have a 4 year degree in accounting but I don’t know if that means I can teach her well enough to get through High School.

How do I know homeschooling if the right choice?

Pregnant after 35 is it worth the risks?

So my husband and I continuously talk about whether or not to have a second child.  we were blessed 5 years ago with a wonderful little girl and even though I wasn’t sure about it at first I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Since then we have halfheartedly tried for a second child.  Never going over the top with all the extreme methods to conceive.  I am now 35 and to be honest overweight (even though I battle it and exercise daily 🙁 ).  We started seriously talking about the fact that we both wouldn’t mind a second child.  I have read about the risks associated with having a child after 35 especially if you are overweight of course if you are even lucky enough to conceive.  It sounds like everything is stacked against you.  Is it worth risking everything including the child’s life to do it?

Trying to figure out what to do next

Do you ever just feel lost?  Right now everything is changing around me and I’m feeling very lost as to what to do next.  My dad got a job in Oklahoma in July and so has been living down there but my mom has been living up here while trying to sell their house.  All of us knew selling their house would be a challenge as they living in a dying town of 500 people and their house was built in the 1800’s.  We all felt horrible that my mom was playing the visit my dad and then come back up here but yet my family enjoyed that she was still here.  With her being here she still played a major role in my daughters life and in mine.  She was around if we needed a babysitter, if we needed help with anything, or just when there was a concert or something that we wanted her to attend.  Yes we were selfish but with her being the last family of mine to still be in Minnesota I wanted someone here.  I wanted someone here for holidays, for summer outings, for shopping with.  I’m not one who goes out and socializes easily and family has always been extremely important to me so I enjoyed having my parents nearby.  So anyways in December, they got 2 offers on the house, one with an inspection and one without.  They jumped on the one without and are now officially planning on moving January 24th.  I spent my last night visiting their house last weekend.  It was hard.

Now of course this makes me question a few things, we have been talking of moving for a while but have unfortunately been stuck in a house that had been underwater (bought it and then the bubble burst).  Do we move?  My husband is fortunate enough that he can work wherever he wants to but he never moved in his life until he got to college and has definitely never lived outside of Minnesota.  I on the other hand had moved every three years until I was in High School.  To me moving is exciting and expected.  To him moving is scary and doesn’t necessarily need to happen.    Plus then there’s the fact that his family is still here.  Unfortunately with his family we aren’t as close to them.  We don’t see them as often and when we do its usually just a day trip here and there.

Next there is the fact that I’m supposed to be getting a job here this year.  This scares me to no end as I have been staying home with our daughter for the past 3 years.  It doesn’t help that now I look at my family spread all over and I think of all the vacation days that will be spent visiting family versus doing our own thing or spent on a sick child, or school closed now that we don’t have someone who can come up.  I loved staying home with our daughter and am very sad to be thinking about it ending.  I look into Homeschooling her as I thoroughly enjoyed doing her preschool at home but there are so many questions about this that make me worried.

So many questions about things lately and nothing being decided.  I’m one who has to plan things and knows where things are going to go.  Quitting my job to stay home with my daughter was the first thing I did without having a back up.  It scared me but was so worthwhile.

Stay at home to working mom

So for the past 3 years I have been blessed in the fact that I got to stay at home with my daughter.  It was a very tough decision to come to originally as I was working hard at being an accountant and was definitely rising to the top but the question I kept coming back to was at what cost.  I was working probably around 50-55 hours in a 4 day week plus driving 45 minutes each way to work.  By the time I got home at the end of the day after starting at 5 AM I was exhausted and not much good to my family.  On the weekends I would stress about trying to get done those things that had been missed and then start stressing about my upcoming week at work.

To say the least I wasn’t very happy.

Then work started making some changes which pushed me to realize I needed to make some changes in my life.  I did and became the stay at home mom that I am today.  It has been 3 years and I don’t regret much about it.  The biggest fear now is the day that its time to go back to work.

Now that my daughter is in Kindergarten I have decided that I need to start thinking about next steps in my life and probably get a job.  Can I just say this terrifies me on so many levels?

First off I keep thinking that I need to go back into accounting as I was obviously good at it but after being away for 3 years can I still do it?

Second its going to be a huge adjustment on our family in so many ways.  I currently plan all of the meals and home cook most of them, I am hear when our daughter is sick and can’t go to school, I clean the house thoroughly, I research and plan things to do, and I help my parents who are currently having issues selling their house.  If I go back to work how do I balance all of that and a job.

I have time before I have to go back but I’m using some of that time to actually research what is out there.  Ideally would be staying at home and working from home but I’m not sure how to find a legit opportunity.  Stress!:)

Kindergarten Expectations and Realizations

So my daughter started Kindergarten this year and let me tell you I was not expecting everything that came with it.  You try and prepare your child and ensure that they know their ABC’s, 123’s, address, phone number, writing (as best they can) and if you are able reading.  You don’t want them too far ahead as then they get bored and in some cases become problem children and you don’t want them too far behind as then they can’t keep up and get frustrated/sad.  It just amazes me about kindergarten now compared to 30 years ago.

The first difference which we were aware of going in was the class sizes.  My daughters class is 24 kids with 15 of them boys and 9 of them girls.  Her class is one of 5 classes this size and there are 4 elementary schools in our town (2 private and 2 public).  We knew going in that this was going to be a change for us as my husband and I grew up in small towns and the difference between small town and a suburb of a major cities means more kids.  I tell you though after volunteering a few days that I give the teacher kudos as there’s a lot of energy in that classroom.

The second difference was that every weekend they have homework.  Since when do they do homework in Kindergarten.  Oh yea and part of it is supposed to be done on an IPad.  What if you don’t have an IPad well too bad you better figure that out or find a way to practice some other way.  And its that hard line of kids spending too much screen time to trying to keep up with technology issues.  But back to the homework every weekend she comes home with 3-5 homework assignments although they do not have to turn them in.  Me being the parent that I am always makes sure that she does them.  But who knew there was homework in Kindergarten.

Next every night they are supposed to read for 15 minutes or have there parent read for 15 minutes.  That’s not a big deal for us as we read every night anyways.  Then besides that they are supposed to practice their numbers thru 20 or patterns every night also and document it so that they can win a coupon at the end of the month.  Trying to find a way to get your child to want to practice/work on things after spending all day in school is definitely a challenge some days.  I can only imagine parents who work.  I’m blessed that I get to stay home for this first year with her.

Another thing which we knew but didn’t know…. Sickness.  You all know that when your child gets in to school that they are exposed to more germs.  Our daughter has had a cold since the second week of September.  It comes and goes but never officially goes away.  We finally even got to the point of taking her in to the doctor pretty much to be told its just a cold.  Its hard though to have her always having a cold.

The last thing is the separation/mood adjustments.  Ever since she started kindergarten she has been having major mood swings it seems.  I’m sure that she is just trying to understand the actions/consequences of what she sees at school but let me tell you its not fun.  At times its I don’t want to have anything to do with you mom to the next day being why can’t I stay at home with you mom?

Kindergarten’s hard and don’t let anyone tell you differently.  Its good and our daughter loves it but its hard.