For the Love of All Things Holy....

If you only ever take one piece of advice from me, let it be this: DO NOT EVER HAVE HERNIA SURGERY! 

No, really, for the love of all things holy, don't do it. It was supposed to be an all easy peasy no big deal kind of procedure, which I could see might be true IF YOU WERE THE GUY HOLDING THE SCALPEL.

Truth is, there is nothing easy about this. It sucks in a big way. Now, I know I am going to hear from all of you with your c-sections, ectopic pregnancies and tubal ligation's. I get it, those sucked too, I'm not saying they didn't. What I am saying is, I was not, in any way, prepared for the amount of pain I am in after having my very small, teeny tiny, umbilical hernia repaired.

I have never been more thankful of a vaginal delivery in all of my life.

I can't move anything, it seems, without being in pain. Who knew your abdominal muscles were attached to your legs? I can't even stretch them without it hurting. I can't sit or lay comfortably and I am not really sleeping because I am a fetal-position side-sleeper and there is no way these muscles are letting me lay on my side. There is no sneezing or nose-blowing allowed (which is super convenient given the status of my seasonal allergies) and laughing is out of the question. I can't even talk about the thought of pooping...I am doing shots of Miralax and praying to the sweet baby Jesus that when it happens I don't pass out.

My mom and Jason have literally been caring for me like I am an invalid, rotating ice-packs in and out of the freezer, fetching me drinks and Vicodin and preparing me peanut butter toast. Jason has had to help me in and out of bed all week and he even had to help me get in the shower yesterday. I have reached all new lows.

The thing about this, quick little no big deal procedure, is that I am not a wuss. I have had plenty of surgeries and can handle my fair share of discomfort. But this? This pain in my gut that aches no matter what I do, even breathing hurts, has exhausted me.

I found out a few months ago that I had this little umbilical hernia because I would have a sharp pain occasionally when moving a certain way or when carrying something heavy. It would quickly go away and I would forget all about it.  The doctor explained that I probably got the hernia when I was pregnant with Joey, that kid is destined to kill me, I swear, and that I needed to have it fixed because some intestine or bowel or important organ could get stuck in the little hole and strangulate. If that happened, it was very serious and emergency surgery would be needed to save whatever important part of me got stuck in the hole.

Knowing what I know now, I say, who needs intestines or bowels anyway! I would just roll the dice and wait to see if something got stuck in the hole or not, it could be a fun little game. Because this recovery? Not fun! I was in ZERO pain when I walked in to the hospital on Monday morning and I was wheeled out miserable. It has been 4 days and I am hoping today will be the day I can walk actually standing up-right instead of hunched over like a troll. It's good to have goals.

So, yeah, things are less than pleasant around here right now and getting the call from Jack's school yesterday afternoon that he was in the nurses office not feeling good didn't add to the fun. Thankfully my Mom could run over and pick him up. He said he had a tummy ache and was tired, truthfully Jason and I were wondering if he was just trying to get out of school. He took a long nap only to wake up barfing his little guts out so I think that confirms we are a-hole parents for thinking he was faking and also, horrible pain and a barfing child? I am super lucky! (Again, thank God for my Mom handling him and all his pukieness.)

After a mini-puke fest Jack seems to be better today and the rest of us are all praying he kept his germs to himself (it only took 7 days of First Grade to bring home that bug) so the rest of us don't get it. As it turns out I am guessing puking would be more painful than laughing. I am hoping to not find out. In the meantime, I'll be on the couch and remember if anyone suggests hernia surgery to you, JUST SAY NO!

Goals

When you are always working on improving anything in your life, it is important to have goals. I have all sorts of personal goals for myself in addition to my professional goals at work. I am obviously overly optimistic when setting goals for myself and there have been plenty of times I fell short of meeting my goals.

I can tell you as happy and shiny and new setting fresh goals can make you feel, not meeting them feels extremely disappointing. Failure tastes like shit.

If there is anything disappointment has taught me it is to expect less. Less expectations automatically means less disappointment. I prefer happy and shiny.

Then I added fitness goals to my list of goals. I have always tried to be active and fit (except for the period in college where all I did was drink a whole lot and eat pizza and Egg McMuffins.) Since all that though, I have been working on being healthy.

This past year I started working with a trainer who is also a nutritionist. I am held accountable by her and by the fact that she makes me weigh in every week with her. We track my weight as I go up and down on the scale. I have the workout thing down, but my diet is a work in progress. She has been crucial in meeting my goals, not only my weight goals, but also pushing me in my workouts. She also helped me tweak my diet enough that I was able to lower my crazy high cholesterol with no medication.

When we started meeting with each other she told me in order for her to work with me I needed to do two running workouts each week. She gave me written workouts that went week by week and I was to follow them. Only problem, I couldn't run a mile without walking at some point.

She encouraged me and we took it a week at a time. My goal was to run, some reasonable distance (more than 1 mile and less than say, a half marathon) without dying. So I ran. I hated it, but each week I did her running workouts at least twice per week, sometimes more. I was slow, but soon enough I could run 1 mile and before long I could run several miles.

I never thought I could be a person who runs, and although I don't really love it,  (the runner's high people talk about is lost on me) I can do it. I am slow, but I run between 9-12 miles each week, not day, week....let's not get ahead of ourselves!

Then I started TRX and could hardly get through class. It was painful, sometimes embarrassing and incredibly challenging. I had to push myself to do things I never thought I could do. I set a new goal for myself, I wanted to do boy push-ups. Again, slowly but surely I worked on them and as of today I can not only do boy push-ups, I can even do a few with my feet suspended in the TRX straps.

Fulfilling those goals inspired me to continue finding small, attainable goals for myself. It feels good to have something to work towards and stays in the back of my head when I need to push through a hellish workout.

My next goal, do a pull-up. Yes, I would love to do more than a single pull-up, but I am also trying to set a goal I can actually accomplish. Just saying it out loud scares me because pull-ups are hard, really, really hard. I know some pretty fit people and they even struggle with this exercise.

It will not be an easy goal to meet and since I just turned 35, I am well aware that I may be 40 before I can do one, if I ever can. This goal is pretty far out of reach for me. It will be a ton of work to check this one off the list.

I may fail, but I will not quit trying.

Cravings

Did you ever have an unsettling feeling that you just can't shake? I am stuck in a rut and wanting things to change. I'm just not feeling optimistic enough to make the changes.

I am craving routine, but don't want to feel restless and bored.
I am craving consistency.

I just want to feel passionate about something and right now I kind of feel nothing.

I am craving changes I am just not sure will ever happen. It feels like no matter how many positive thoughts I send out, I am still being swallowed by the negative ones.

I am craving closeness and family. I am surrounded but have never felt more disconnected.

I am wanting nothing more than to be in shape and eating healthy when instead I find myself feeling tired, making unhealthy choices. I am craving to feel good in my own skin.

I feel like I am being smothered by all that needs to get done and although I am always on the go, I am accomplishing nothing.

I am craving to do something better than half-assed. Parenting, marriage, friendships, work, myself...when I split time between all of these I am just half-assing all of them. I am craving to be better at managing my time.

Most of all, I think I am tired of feeling disappointed. It is so easy to feel disappointed instead of actually changing the way you react to certain situations. I am craving reassurance and comfort.

I am craving a happy place.





Itchy, Sneezy and as always, Wheezey

It's that time of year again and the fall allergy season is already upon us. It seems as though Joey has no real good season though. Spring sucks with trees blooming and grass growing and summer is hard because it is hot and humid and then fall hits and, well, that sucks too. I feel like winter is the only time we get any break from his allergy triggers but then we are constantly fighting colds & flus - the worst triggers of them all.

I guess my point is, it is hard for my kid to live comfortably. I hate that he gets very little respite from the itching, sneezing and constant wheezing his asthma and allergies cause him.

I understand it could be worse, way worse, and that lots of kids have allergies that are more severe than Joey's. I am also aware that his asthma could be worse and that we are so fortunate to have incredible doctors to help Joey stay as healthy as possible. I hate to complain, because he never really does, but I can't help it. The kid got a raw deal. He can't be a regular 4 year old and I fear he never will be able to do everything he wants to do, that he should be able to do, the same things other kids his age do with no problems at all. It makes me angry, frustrated and incredibly sad.

We just completed our usual round of allergy skin testing last week. I went into the appointment hoping his results would be better than the last time we tested and that ideally we would be able to challenge his peanut allergy. I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up. As soon as he was stuck, being brave as he always is, the welts started appearing. He sat there for15 minutes twitching with a back full of hives trying not to itch. I have had this type of testing so I know first hand it isn't pleasant. He listens to me when I explain why he can't scratch, even though I know he wants nothing more than to roll around like a monkey, and he waits patiently for the nurse to come apply the Benadryl. The doctor came in to measure the welts and to inform me that he's still testing highly allergic to trees, cats, grass, pollen, molds, and the list goes on and on. I think there were only one or two things he didn't get hives from. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut.

They then stuck him with the peanut test, set the timer for 15 minutes and sat with us while we watched and waited. Within a minute his back was swelling and after 7 minutes the doctor decided he needed to stop the test and apply the Benadryl. He wasn't feeling optimistic about the peanut challenge but said we needed to do a blood test to check his peanut (all nuts, really) levels before we could say for sure.

I then explain to Joey he needs yet another stick and that they need to draw blood. He is scared but he's done it before and he is trying hard to be so brave. He cries as I tell him he has to sit real still and I bribe him with a reward of ice-cream if he's a good boy.

The doctor called a few days later to tell me the not-so-good news, his peanut and tree nut levels had increased since his last blood test. His allergy was becoming more severe instead of getting better. I was hoping that he would grow out of this allergy, like he did his prior egg allergy. I was told it was not safe to challenge nuts at this time and that we need to continue to avoid all peanut and tree nut products. I was heartbroken for Joey, who just that morning had asked when he would be able to try peanut butter.

Joey usually does all that I ask of him in terms of his medical treatment, as he generally does for all his doctors. It may take a lot of explaining and often bribery, but he does it. He is just 4 years old and he sits still for blood tests, skin tests, a CT scan, nebulizer treatment after treatment, oxygen masks, a scope of his sinuses, pulse ox tests, blood pressure cuffs, peak flow tests and IV's. He is an incredibly strong, brave child. It is because of all of this, all of these things that we constantly put him through, that I am scared of what his doctors are suggesting we try next. Allergy shots.

I know allergy shots are proven to work and there are so many studies that show how beneficial they can be. I know they have been shown to lessen symptoms therefore reducing the amount of medication patients need. This all sounds so incredible to me, I hate that Joey has to take so many medications each day, except for the shot part.

He is just 4 years old and now I am supposed to try and make him understand why he needs to go through more hurt?

Most doctors don't start allergy shots on children under 5 years old. Joey's doctors think we need to start the shots on him sooner than later due to the severity of his asthma and how the allergies trigger it. It is one thing to be itchy and sneezy but a totally different ball game when the allergies cause you not to breathe. They are suggesting two shots per week for 6 months and then two shots per month for 3 to 5 years. Yes, years. I am just not sure I can put my kid through more hell, on purpose.

When he can't breath, the things we put him through are necessary. They help him breath, they keep him alive. These shots, although proven to be beneficial, are still optional. Will it be worth torturing him every week at this young of an age when I know he won't understand how this will eventually help him?

I can't help but feel like a terrible Mom. I hate having to be the one to constantly ask him to do things that hurt him instead of just being the one to comfort him. I want nothing more than for him to be healthy, to feel good and to run and play with his friends without wheezing. I am just afraid that adding more trauma, which I think these shots will be for awhile, will only make things more difficult for us when we need him to cooperate with things that are not optional when he can't breathe.

When is it the right time to put my sweet faced boy through more? I already ask so much.