Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Diagnosis

Sorry to keep you waiting friends. Things have been busy.  
Andrew went to a new urologist last Thursday.  The urologist said to Andrew, “It’s not cancer, but it’s not good” before “diagnosing” Andrew with Interstitial Cystitis.  Also known as IC, and what I will be calling it.   It is a complex, chronic bladder disorder.  It is permanent and there is no cure.  The cause is unknown but this particular Dr looked at Andrew’s history and thinks his severe dehydration from when he was sick vomiting and such may have caused the permanent damage to his bladder.  IC is more common in woman,  and out of all the people with the illness, about 10% are men.
Interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as bladder pain syndrome, painful bladder syndrome or hypersensitive bladder syndrome. The symptoms can vary greatly between individuals and even for the same person throughout the month, including an urgent need to urinate, a frequent need to urinate  and, for some, pressure and/or pelvic pain. Pain levels can range from mild tenderness to intense, agonizing pain. Andrew can always feel it but sometimes the flares are really bad and other times the pain is very manageable.  His pain was not tolerable for a few weeks, including when he was in the hospital. Pain occurring after urination may relate to pelvic floor tension and/or muscle spasms. Pain may also radiate to the lower back, upper legs, vulva and penis.  During flares, patients may also experience the “IC Belly,” a sudden and random swelling of the lower abdomen which Andrew has had. He couldn't even button his pants even though he lost 20 pounds.
Some of the info above is from here

Andrew doesn’t think this is related, but the VERY first time I met Andrew he had to go to the bathroom suddenly. It was at his brother’s wedding and I saw him run out of the function room during his dad’s LONG toast.  I later found out he went to use the toilet.  Then, fast forward 9 moths and I was on my first date with Andrew. We had each had a couple beers and were talking and all of a sudden he said “I need to go to the toilet” (By the way, saying Going to the toilet in NZ is normal…whereas here we would say rest room or bathroom).  I thought it was weird he said toilet instead, but I also thought it was weird he literally jumped up and ran to the bathroom.  IN the next few weeks I kept joking about that, and how it wasn’t normal to have to go so suddenly. I actually straight up said "I think you have bladder issues. Were you a bed wetter?" lol- ya, I was barely dating him! I sure know the way to get a guy to like me!
 He told me it only happens when he drinks alcohol.  IT has been almost 7 years since that first date, and I can say that Is true.  When he drinks, he has to go urgently.  It is the reason he doesn’t like to drink at big crowded events.  Here is another fact- Andrew doesn’t really drink water. IT drives me CRAZY! I drink TONS of water all day. He drinks very little.  I think he is actually dehydrated a lot more than we know of.   SO- maybe the urgency to go isn’t related to alcohol but just the fact that he never sits down and drinks 3 glasses of water in a row like he would beers…or more. Its more the AMOUNT of fluids that make him go suddenly, not WHAT the liquids are.

Anyway, that is a theory of mine- that maybe this has been coming for a long time…but he doesn’t agree with me.
The problem now,  is Finding a treatment plan that works.  The treatments vary for people.  So far, the doctor gave him scripts for MORE pain medicines, anti-inflammatory pills and anti-depressants. He really hasn’t taken any meds yet,  because he doesn’t like the side effects listed.   Another thing the dr mentioned,  and we have researched it, is elimination diets. Eliminating acidic foods that can upset the bladder more may help with the pain. SO, basically lots of Andrew’s favorite things- coffee, chocolate and lots of fruits should be cut out.  He is already a very skinny guy- so taking away his favorite things is tough, but better than pain. 
From what we understand, the only way to confirm this diagnosis is by doing a biopsy of his bladder, BUT a biopsy can also REALLY irritate the bladder more…so it’s not something to rush into. 

Another theory I have...The dr said this may have been made worse or even "caused" (I dont know exact wording because I was not there and I am going by what Andrew told me) by Andrew's severe hydration when sick. Here is the thing- Andrew has been dehydrated a lot in his life. Well, a lot by my standards. He doesn't drink a lot of water ever, and he has been dehydrated from illness before. I wonder if each time he has been dehydrated, it has added to this...and now we have reached the breaking point? From what I understand, the bladder wall is very inflamed from irritation...almost like a burn.

Andrew left the dr Thursday and went home to start researching.  He found  a lot of the bad case scenarios. Scary stats like 90% of people with IC can’t hold a job. Or that 50% of people with IC lose their marriages. It is hard because it’s not something people can see and it’s not common, so people don’t understand it.  Andrew was very emotional about it.  Thursday and Friday were just hard. At one point Andrew said he wanted to move back to NZ so he could be around people who love him.  I admit, I wasn’t being the best at support system,  because I was still processing and learning too.

I am just so happy Andrew has Anika to make him smile and to keep him positive.  He is facing a really poor quality of life right now, and that is very upsetting! I get that.
On Friday morning, it was rough in our house as I was trying to get out the door. I could sense that Andrew was crying after a discussion about him being sick...he had also gotten really upset with me because I don’t seem to care. He was basically telling me I was not giving him the support he needed. When I realized how upset he was, I had him sit down next to me. The second I saw a tear drip down his face, I started to cry. It is so painful to see. We were both emotional and he was upset…THEN, Anika walked over And just started DANCING, Laughing and clapping…looking at us with her huge grin and giggles. She was trying to get us to laugh…and we both did. Shakin her booty! The best part- SHE usually will NEVER clap for me. She claps with her little friends all the time, but usually not for me. That little stinker…I ended up leaving Anika with Andrew for the morning because he needed that purpose…and she gives it to him. She loves her daddy so. She will mimic words he says, but wont for me. She always brings over this ONE book for him to read to her because he makes all the great sounds and she loves it. He hid the book on Friday, and SHE FOUND it and brought it to him to read. I think seeing her love for him is what makes him being sick even harder than just because he is my husband.  I hate the thought of him not being able to do all the things with her he loves to do. 

He will be seeing more doctors and hopefully we ca
n find a treatment plan that allows Andrew to go back to work and live a fulfilling life without being in chronic pain all the time.
I ask that if you know anyone with IC, you let me know.  I would love to learn more. I feel like Andrew is finding a lot of negative things online and we need to find positive stories.  HE is even looking into holistic approaches.  He read that colostrum has worked for some people with IC. Obviously, Colostrum from a human would be hard to obtain, but they do sell cow colostrum. 

Andrew’s dad said it best- Thank God it is not in Andrew’s nature to pity himself and to get down in the dumps over things.  He is such a positive person, so I truly believe after the initial shock and upset wears off, he will be able to start fighting this…or at least trying to find the best treatment for HIM! Depression is a huge issue with this disease and I pray that Andrew doesn’t fall into it.
If you watched the video in my last post- did you see Andrew’s reflection in the tv?? That was on Saturday morning. He was obviously having a good morning and we just need LOTS more mornings and days like that!
And holy crap, Anika turned 11 months old!   That girl will get a post about her last month all to herself! Hopefully tomorrow!  Because, dang, that girl has been up to a lot!  She is one active little toddler learning and saying more every day

I mean- look at how much this girl loves her daddy?

BUT, she sleeps like her mama. I used to sleep with my butt up like that...and even like that pose in current day :) 
Ill be back soon. I wanted to write this post last week because I had a lot more emotional feelings I wanted to record about the whole thing.  It is scary. Andrew's employment is up in the air.  OUR WHOLE future is up in the air. If Andrew cant do the same work, we really cant afford a 2nd child. That breaks my heart.
Thanks for the prayers and thoughts.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dancing girl

Andrew got a diagnosis...I have a big long post to write about it...but for now I give you this sweet girl.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's the 21st Already?

It is already the 21st of the Month? How is that possible. That means ANIKA is 11 months old today. STOP. JUST STOP.
Sorry I have been gone a week.  So, Andrew came home Last Tuesday (Vday). 
They have him on a pain management regimen at home. He went to Dartmouth ER on Wednesday but was just sent home with more drugs. He hates to take the drugs so really tries not to.  This weekend,  he was able to not take them...and same with today. Today was the first time he had Anika alone  in a while, so I could take a class at the gym after work.    HE is  still in pain, but its getting the dull pain is always there, but not like it used to be (sharp all the time). He still has attacks of severe pain, but those times are less than they used to be.   So, there is still something wrong...but he is able to function a bit more the past couple of days.

He is seeing 2 urologists at Dartmouth this coming Thursday. HE really thinks its a urology issue. A urologist saw him at the other hospital, but didnt think there was an issue.  The hospitalist suggested he get a 2nd opinion elsewhere.  
When I got to the hospital last Tuesday, there was a meeting with Andrew's hospitalist and a few people from patient services. We went over the plan and they even thought he needed to get to a bigger hospital-A teaching hospital. THEY were very nice about it and I felt better.  We also went right across the street to a new primary physician they set Andrew up with. BUT, that doctor was Chinese and couldn't understand a word we were saying.  I'm sure he is a great doctor, but not being able to understand each other is an issue.
Andrew gave his big Valentines balloon to one of his nurses when we left the hospital.  She was excited and said she couldn't wait to tell her husband she got it from a hot New Zealander.  Its nice to know even through all his crazy, his nurses still liked him. We also have ALL of his medical records and SEVERAL of the doctors who saw him over the long hospital stay wrote nice things about him. That he was pleasant, etc.  His nurses also told us to keep pursuing this because something is not right. SO, we are.  The Urologist this week. GI 2nd opinion in a few weeks. AND, he is going to see a doctor that specialises in nerve blocks. 
Thanks for thinking of us and praying for us.  I feel like a lot more happened at the meeting and since his discharge, but I'm too tired to remember. 
So, here are some pictures from the past few weeks.
Getting into the liquor cabinet.
I have been going to a local Farmer's Market.  That chunk of meat is grass fed lamb. It was good!  I have been making lots of garlic tea, because there are a lot of sickos around us and I'M trying to keep Anika and myself healthy. Espeically with all those visits to the hospital!  Garlic is a GREAT for your immune system and fights infections. IT can defeat bacterial, viral and even fungal infections.  It doesn't taste great, but I haven't been sick when everyone else has Ill do it. I told my dad to drink it when he was stuffy and he got better too!  Another GREAT natural remedy- RAW unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV). This can also help you lose weight!  Its hard to just drink- seriously, the first shot I took of it was worse than a shot of vodka.  I add it with juice or put it on salads. OR, just buy the drink where its already mixed with juice.   AVOIDING dairy is also a great way to stay healthy and fight colds.  ESPECIALLY sinus issues.  Cows milk  (pasteurized) is a BIG contributor to sinus issues. Commercial dairy is not good for anyone...but as you know, its hard to avoid. I really try my hardest, but of course I cant resist cheese a lot of times or ice cream.  I do eat a lot of goat cheese though. HA.  And, then I buy soup at a local cafe once a week, and the homemade soups are made with cream. yum. So...its hard to give up completely, but I'm very conscious of it ...and Anika gets none! ha. Easy to tell her what she can and cant have. lol.   I also was eating tons of baked goods last week that were around- so refined sugar plus cow milk- not great for the immune system, so I had to make sure to get all my supplements in!

I am not a milk drinker anyway, but I have coconut milk and almond milk for things I might put milk in.  We definitely avoid soy as well. Again, I would love to write about all that...I hope to find time one day!   I found yogurt made with coconut milk as well!  I can put that in my smoothies and even Anika can have that.

 We got some kefir and raw goats milk too.  I added the kefir to my smoothies. Fermented foods are also really good for us...although im not a fan of the taste. Anika can drink the goats milk because its a lot easier to digest than cows milk. There are a lot of homemade formulas made with goats milk.   IT takes a baby 20 minutes to digest goats milk but 8 hours to digest cows milk!  Goats milk is the closest to human milk as well.  As I have mentioned before, I have supplemented Anika with goats milk instead of commercial formula in the past. I had given her formula a few times in the early days after I went back to work,  but after much research, ended up with this option that I am happier with.  It has worked great when I just haven't pumped enough at work.  It is just to supplement once in a while. It cant REPLACE breast milk or formula unless MANY other ingredients are added to it.

We have also been dabbling with a LOT of other homeopathic options.  I am so happy that at 11 months Anika has never had medicines (except baby Tylenol once). And, she is one healthy little critter, even though she goes to regular daycare and gym daycare.
I'm still learning more and more every day, and I'm just so happy that Andrew is on board with this way of parenting.  Many things he even suggests and researches himself.
While we are on this subject, I will mention that  Anika has also gone to the chiropractor a few times. Ever since we started going, she sleeps a lot better!  I will have to write a separate post about chiropractic care for babies.
Love this preppy little outfit.

This dress was given to her by her Nana and Poppa in NZ a while ago.  Its a nice organic Cotton jumper/frock (made in NZ).

These little overalls were MINE when I was younger.  Except I wore them at 3 months old and Anika fits into them at 10! ha

Chunky monkey Ashely on left in same overalls, but my mom is not great at scanning and its hard to tell.

MY OLD Pink Overalls! :) These ones have a small stain so they are "play clothes" and ANdrew seems to put her in them OFTEN!
S is for Suckling.   She entertains herself so well. PS. sorry if you are friends with me on FB and you have seen all these pictures.
Fell in the toy box!  She was actually crying trying to get out Andrew said. He took the picture.

 These purple overalls were ALSO mine! ha. My mom loved to dress me in overalls.

Look- Piri to the left. Piri is always close when its feeding time!

Mum Mum and Anika.

Thanks for checking in friends. I will try not to be gone so long again. Things have just been crazy busy around here!
I Have started making things for Anika's BIRTHDAY PARTY! It is not until June, but I have so many craft projects for the party to get done, so I got started this weekend. I went to Hobby Lobby to get some supplies, and that store is AWESOME. Too bad its an hour away from me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


WELL, Andrew is still in the hospital!!
He had a cortisone shot epidural and it didn't touch the pain. So, the herniated disc is not causing the pelvic pain.  He is being discharged today. They are having him go right to the primary doctor across the street so he can get that doctor up to speed, and so he will be able to prescribe pain medicine and we can "manage the pain at home".  Also, the pcp will be the dr to refer us for 2nd opinions.  I hate to be negative, but the pain meds they are giving him for home are not like what he has been getting in the hospital, so I'm not optimistic that we will be able to manage much at home.  The hospital is saying studies show managing pain at home is better for patients.  I told the hospitalist that I know we will just be in another hospital soon. He said his recommendation is to keep him out of the hospital because he just gets frustrated there. REally? You dont think he will be frustrated at home?
He is currently at Concord Hospital. I didnt write the name before out of our privacy, but at this point, I  want people to know. The doctors prefer text book cases and Andrew is not text book, so they are just throwing their arms up.  I believe the hospitalist still thinks it a urology issue, but the urologists in Concord have washed their hands of if. 
Yesterday they talked about having a psych evaluation but I dont think that ever happened. They also stopped his pain meds and only gave him Tylenol and he ended up in tears. YES, my grown ass husband- who I have almost never seen cry.  THIS hurts my heart.
I guess I will see what the primary is willing to do.  IF he wont refer him right away, then I might just bring him in through the ER at either Dartmouth or B.I in Boston.  I am getting all his records today so I will have those on hand.
This was one of the days we went to visit dada.
By the way, I have been so caught up in Andrew that I forgot to tell you that Anika has been calling me Mum Mum. She also loves to say Uh oh. She drops things all the time and says "Uh Oh"  She also points and says dada when we walk by the hall of photos at our house. There are pictures of Andrew but also I think it is because he always stops and shows her all the pictures and points to who people are. She went to a parent teacher conference with Miss B the other day (For Miss B's son) and she sat in Miss b's lap eating her blueberries and when she dropped the cover she said "Uh oh" and miss b said she was showing off putting on quite a show.
She has been Such a sweetie pie lately. Just melts my cold heart. hahaha 

These are all Iphone photos. Oh yes, I jumped over to the dark side. My blackberry was shitting the bed and it needed to be restarted SEVERAL times a day.  When I went to verizon to look at my options, an Iphone came up and I could get it for $100 so I just got it. I still cant really use it and I hate the touch pad still. I miss a keyboard.  Also it is different with emails and how that all works.  People say I will love it soon.  We had to wait FOREVER at Verizon as well.  Anika just ran around the store and I just followed her around.  I also brought a book and kept reading that.  There was another Little boy there (2 years old) and his mother kept yelling his first and middle name and yelling at him. Like "Brandon Michal- GET OVER here NOW!"  I was so happy that I had the patience to deal with Anika in JUST the way I wanted to.  In fact, I even told Andrew when we got to the hospital that I used to look at some parents and think "WOW, that is exactly the calm, soft spoken mom I want to be" and voila. That was totally me that day.
I was so proud of it because I really try to do positive discipline with Anika. So, when she was just playing at the store well, I kept telling her and kissing her and saying "Anika, you are such a good girl. I really appreciate how patient you are being. I am so proud of you"  AND, having books and toys there in my purse was KEY!
Lets fast forward a few days. I had to go BACK to Verizon because they gave me the "courtesy" option to put the iphone and accessories all on my next bill instead of paying then. I said sure. Then I got my bill and the surcharges and fees were up by FORTY percent. So I assumed that they taxed the additional costs of the phone and such.   There is NO sales tax in NH by the way, so I never pay tax on goods. Come to find out- they didn't. THe government mandates the surcharge fees and they did go up! But it went up by a lot for me also because We had $80 in overage charges! We NEVER go over.  I tried disputing the whole thing and I got no where.  We had to wait for 40 minutes on Sunday in the store and this time Anika had 2 Tantrums. Back arching and screaming when I took the boxes away she picked up off the shelves. I gave her my box and I tried reading to her. it worked a few times but she was done.   Finally, someone called my name to help me at customer service and Anika was over it.  A Stranger came over and said "Hi, do you want me to read to her or walk around with her while you talk to customer service?" I looked at her and she looked like a girl from one of my mom groups, but she wasn't and I knew that.  She seemed nice. At this point I had given Anika my wallet to shut her up and she was pulling all the cards and check book out. I didn't even care because it was keeping her quiet.  I remember very distinctly a few years ago being at my friend's house and the contents of her wallet were all over the floor. I was horrified. She told me her son did it. I was like- oh hell no. I'm too anal. I would be pissed if my kid disorganized my wallet and I wouldn't let it happen.  OH yes, foot in mouth. Granted I would NEVER allow her do it at home but in a public crowded store to keep her still and quiet, I sure did.  The stranger was trying to help....and I eventually just handed her a screaming Anika and turned around and went back to talking to customer service. I was also returning a car charger because I thought they charged too much for it. lol.  When I was all done and got nowhere, I turned around looking for Anika. OH SHIT. WHERE WAS SHE?  The stranger's boyfriend looked at me and said "They are over looking at the Ipads" And i said oh, phew, I thought she took her and the boyfriend said laughing "Oh no, I wouldn't let that happen" haha.
ANika just needed some entertainment and I thanked the girl so much. I still cant believe I did that. Haha.  AND, there was a very made up heavily perfumed older lady who had come over to help before that.  I mean, ANika wasn't being loud- she just wouldn't sit still. ANd, I bet it was all over me that I was a mess. Driving back and forth to the hospital every day, caring for an active little girl, and trying to keep my life puts a toll on me.  I stress a lot about money and Andrew not being able to work.  LET ME SAY, THANK GOD for savings.  THIS is one of those times, Im SOOo happy Andrew doesn't like to spend money.  I mean, its not taking a huge hit yet, but I think it will if he continues to be the way he is.   And the medical bills- I cant even think about those right now.
So, ANika- THis is the problem with a young walker- they don't understand consequences...or bribes yet.   I left that store sweaty and near tears because of getting no where with Verizon and then about to head to the hospital.

This is just a picture I took out my sky light bedroom window of the full moon. haha. IT doesn't really make sense in this post.

Kale chips I love to make with coconut oil. SO healthy and delicious. Coconut oil is SOO healthy and has so many wonderful purposes.  AND making kale chips is super easy. I dont even take off the stems.

Anika visiting dada
 She loves to escape his room and run down the halls. Luckily he is in the orthopedic section so people are not sick. Also that floor is really quite empty! She just does laps around the wing.  I have to let her to burn energy. Luckily she doesn't touch too much.
My friends went and visited Andrew last Friday. They brought him that big balloon that says "I love you" ...I wonder what the nurses thought when I got there as the wife! lol. My friend K and C (and C brought her 14 week old son) all visited ANdrew for 3 hours. ANd brought him TONS of goodies. When I got there Friday night, his spirits were SOO high.  He even told me he had no idea that visitors could distract him from his pain so much.  It was so nice to see him happy. Also on Friday we THOUGHT we had some answers, but come to find out- we dont.

Saturday, I had a ski race. I almost had to miss another one, but my parents finally got back and my dad rode up to the mountain (1.5 hours north) with me and my friend I race with. We took Andrew's truck.   My dad cant watch Anika alone at the house, but said he would watch her while I took my runs. He is a wonderful grandfather and loves to be around Anika,  but he has probably never changed a diaper in his life.  He does more with kids when they get older, but he loves to have Anika with long as my mom or me are around to help! haha  My mom had a race with my niece at another mountain so she couldn't watch Anika.  I brought the sled for him to pull her around.
He said people kept stopping them to talk to Anika. When I got ready to head out, my dad said "What if she poops? If she poops, Im calling 911"
LOL. Luckily she didn't poop....and he probably wouldn't have even known if she did!

She was admiring her Mum Mum who got FIRST Place!

It was nice to race and let some of my frustrations out. We only stayed for my run and were back home by noon. Anika and I went to the dump and did some laundry and then went down to see Dada.
And, I'm off to pick Andrew up. I Just got off the phone with the hospital social services!
This is such a friggen mess and so upsetting.
Ill keep you posted.
WHAT a way to spend Valentine's Day, huh?

Friday, February 10, 2012

TWO Big Things: Andrew update and FRIENDS!

(Added after I wrote this post. This post covers 2 important things and I got off track and started on the 2nd topic and then made my way back to the 1st topic. You will see!)

Andrew is STILL in the hospital.

He called me around 1 PM yesterday telling me he was going to be discharged. I told him I would be right down. I had been down to see him the night before and he was not well, so I knew he should not be discharged. Even with morphine and lots of other meds, it only took the edge off! Also, the meds make him act intoxicated. I brought Anika to see him and it was just hard with her. And he gets so short with me.
I left work. After hopping in the car, I called my friend C. I have been talking to her daily about all of this and she has been a HUGE support! She is such a logical thinker :)  I wanted her to look up the difference between MRI’s and CT/Cat Scans and email me the information, so I could review it before going into the hospital to deal with Andrew’s doctor. A few people had mentioned an MRI to me and I got to thinking that I would request one, but I needed to know what I was talking about first. Andrew already had one ct scan during his first ER visit and a 2nd ct scan on this visit. Both came back fine.

 C didn't didn’t answer the phone. I called another friend, L who has also reached out to me several times to help with all of this mess. I want to say here, that there are friends who say they will help in these situations, and then there are friends WHO DO HELP. L and C are both Doers. They are both real friends. C lives half way across the country and has been a HUGE support via phone, email and text through all of this. L lives close and she has her own baby and juggles working, baby and dogs, etc. She also had offered to help in many ways.
L searched the web and sent me the info (I didn’t see any of the emails until I got to the hospital which is 50 minutes away)  C ended up calling me back and I told her why I had called, so I had her still pull info and email it as well. I am glad, because they BOTH sent me different info and I was able to use it all! My gram also called while I was driving about some lunch plans we had made for Friday (today). I told her I couldn’t go because I had no idea what Friday would hold and if Im not at the hospital, I should be at work…and then I just cried to her. She is 85 years old and offered to pick Anika up at Miss B’s for me and help out. The thing is, I LOVE my Gram, but she wouldn’t even know how to use a modern day car seat! She offered to come meet me and drive down to Boston with me to bring Andrew to a hospital in Boston. At that point, that was my plan: To bring him to Boston, but I also needed to get Anika at some point, so I had not worked out the logistics of that yet. I saw a text from Natalie wheN I stopped to get gas, so when I got back in the car, I called her.

I want to take a moment to epxlain THIS friend, N. A couple months ago I was invited into a private on line group for moms (and even moms to be) by Brittany. A blog friend who by the way just opened her own photography business

YOU CAN SEE HER First series of MOMS BF'ing in Public HERE. I became “Friends” with Brittany when I was pregnant. She lives in Boise. The mom group is a bunch of moms from all over the country that believe in natural parenting and living. Some are more “hardcore” than others. Some are pregnant and don’t have kids yet. MANY of the moms know each other in real life. A majority of the group lives in CA. IT is a place for like -minded moms to post questions without any judgment. There are currently 111 women in this group and I’ve never seen any fights or catty behavior like I heard exists in other online groups. I have no idea, because this is the first online group I’ve been part of.
There is one member in the group who had a natural homebirth right when I got into the group. Since the birth, she has experienced EVERY difficulty possible with breastfeeding. EVERY obstacle you can think of. I dont want to get into specifics because of her privacy.  Also, her partner left after the birth of her beautiful daughter, so she is doing this ALL alone. He is not helping out in ANY Way. About a month ago she mentioned how she was not eligible for ANY assistance. She was soon going back to work full time and would have to pay her mortgage (alone), pay daycare (alone) and everything else related to her baby. Here she was- trying to make an honest living and support herself and her daughter, and she couldn’t get any assistance unless she left her job and took a lesser paying one...or didn't work at all! This touched my heart. I know a lot of people who don’t make this effort, and get a lot of help. It is not fair. I Know people who choose to stay home and get assistance, but this hard working mom cant?! That is effed up.  Here she is using cloth diapers and breast feeding (both save money).  She also mentioned several times how she wanted an Ergo baby carrier when other moms posted wearing their babies in them.  I have one and they are about $110 brand new. I wanted to surprise her with one SOO badly. To let her know I was proud of her and I appreciated her efforts to support her family. I see too many people who abuse the system and don’t do this.

I talked to Andrew (this was when he was still working and pre health issues) and he didn’t go for US buying her one, but he said I should ask other HM’s to go in on it. I took a chance and texted Natalie. She had given me her number a while before, but I didn’t really think I would text her! I texted asking her if she thought the other moms would donate towards the ergo. It took her a while to respond, but she finally did and she said it was a great idea. We got started on the logistics of sending out a message (actually it had to be several message) without the recipient girl knowing. I figured out how to get donations on paypal, etc. Once Natalie sent the messages out (I wanted her to because she knows a lot of the group members in real life and I was still new to the group and know NONE of the girls in real life). The donations started rolling in. We only needed $120 to cover the ergo and shipping and we raised almost $400 in the first DAY! I was busy with work that day, so Natalie took over a lot of the administrative issues dealing with all the other moms.

Once we were able to order the ergo, we started thinking of other moms in the group-either in need or having  a hard time. Gifts and gift cards were sent. Since then, we have raised money for other people in the group. I think just this week, one mom about to have her 2nd baby, is getting a doula paid for by the HM’s.
Through working with Natalie on these secret missions, we became closer. Other moms have now sent in ideas, and now the whole group is on giving missions! It is amazing, truly. It is SUCH a special group to be part of! N texts me a lot and we have even talked on the phone a few times. While I was driving, things were going through my head about how scared I am if Andrew can’t go back to work because of this health issue…and what if we run out of savings…I can’t pay for everything on my salary! The fears are endless! He can’t even really play with Anika right now! THIS alone, would break his heart, and IM afraid he wouldn’t want to live that way. I had a full out breakdown in my car. I keep taking time off from work and granted, I am using PTO time NOW, but It will run out if this continues! After talking to L, C, and N on my ride down, I cheered up a bit. YES, I am in a shitty situation, but WOW- Do I have some great friends! Friends who know me in real life, and Friends I HAVE NEVER MET! My “Imaginary” friends are just as much my friends as well. AND, That extends to THIS BLOG- and the imaginary friends I have through blogging. The emails, comments, texts and tweets-letting me know you are thinking of us and praying for us- THOSE HELP. They make me smile in a shitty situation when I am scared. You guys throw ideas at me and they help. I have looked into the possibilities you have thrown at me. Most of you know Andrew is not a fan of this “Imaginary” life, but I think he gets it now. I mean, sure he thinks I have Plenty of great in real life friends so can’t imagine why I would need “imaginary” ones, but I think he is starting to get it.

I also want to note that I have two other friends that live around here who have helped me watch Anika and I appreciate their support as well. I also have a “friend” who turned down watching Anika one morning because it was “too early for her to get out of bed” This friend is Great with Anika and with kids, but she does not have her own kids. Fine, I get her sleeping in time is valuable to her, but I also reached out to her to go visit Andrew in the hospital while I am at work and she hasn’t responded. In fact, she doesn’t respond to a lot of my calls or texts. That stings. (UPDATE – ANDREW JUST called and said she called HIM and is going to visit him! So, I Take back saying that, but she still doesnt respond a lot of times). I have tried not to ask my friends with kids to help because I get it- life is busy with kids. But, for SOME of my local friends who don’t have kids, I just wish they would show a bit more support- even if it just means going to visit him!  No one has visited him except me! Andrew’s brother is out west for the week, so even he hasn’t been around to visit him.

Anyway, I JUST want you ALL TO KNOW, THANK YOU. I appreciate your friendships- IRL and Imaginary. I am ONE LUCKY LADY To have all of you, I really am.

I also just want to make a note on my friend L. She is the older sister of my high school boyfriend. I was with him in HS and into college. I no longer speak to him, but THROUGH him, I met her. We even lived together in my tiny Boston apartment the semester after I got back from New Zealand. She was married at the time but lived down there during the week while she went to school! It took me MANY years to get over her brother,  and in a way, I probably never fully will (This is embarrassing because L reads this),  but IF it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have L in m life! We both moved back to NH after college and we both struggled leaving the city, but our husbands love it up here. We both struggled career wise up here. We both bought houses like 20 minutes from each other. She encouraged me to rescue Piri! We were also pregnant at the same time! I KNOW that her brother was in my life FOR MANY reasons (He taught me a lot about myself) but I think the main reason was to bring us together, because now I have HER and we won’t have a breakup! Haha

BACK TO THE ANDREW UPDATE, Sorry for the side track, but I REALLY have been wanting to POST about friends, and what better time?

OK, so I went down to the hospital and when I walked in his room, he was in his clothes and leaning over his bed in pain. I asked the LNA (a nurse assistant) to gather all his records, CT images, and we would not be leaving until we had all of that in our hands, so I could take him to another hospital. I WAS serious and I meant business.

The LNA also whispered to me that there was a number I could call to dispute the discharge. Andrew had already signed all the papers, but I argued he was not competent to do so. He is on HEAVY pain medicines and when the medicines wear off, the pain is so intense, he is irrational. He had already had 2 CT scans but people (friends, family and moms on HM’s) kept asking me about MRI's. I had looked over the stuff L and C sent me, on my way into the hospital, and one of the links had something about a herniated disc. Many symptoms sounded like it. I even forwarded to Andrew to read when he could. When I was in his room, I saw a reflection of myself in the room mirror and I was red in the face and red in the eyes from my meltdown. Ugh, I needed to get my shit together to be taken seriously.

The LNA (male) hung around and seemed to really like Andrew. I asked Andrew if he had any discharge papers, but I guess he had turned them in, but I read over the parts he got to keep. I had to fish them out of his bag.  There was no number. The RN came in and I was reading over the papers. I was also filling out the record release form by then. The RN said she called the doctor and he would be back since Andrew had asked for a note from him...and it was obvious that he was crippled with pain. He couldnt even talk in full sentences!

 Apparently the dr told him he was ok to go back to work, so Andrew asked for a note or something (before I got there).  HE COULDN’T EVEN STAND UP. The drugs he was on earlier were obviously wearing off. We waited (I thought we were waiting for records).

Finally, the dr who discharged him came back with a slew of other people (one being his supervisor I THINK). I told them we wanted an MRI. The "team" thought that was a good idea.  It was mentioned at one point that a back dics may have slipped and could be pinching a nerve causing all the pain in the front (pelvic/groin area). The hospitalist didn't think it was possible though, and kept sending urologists to see him. The hospitalist did say he just didn't know what was going on and it didnt make sense! Well, then GET specialists in here! Many prostate exams showed nothing wrong. Also, he is not tender on the outside. The pain is deep in.

The doctor said In front of all the other people that Andrew was CLEARLY in a lot more pain now than when he discharged him. They got an IV in him and gave him some morphine. I will also note here, that the RN KNOWS MY MOM!! She has been Andrew’s day RN for a couple days but this was the first time I saw her. Andrew JUST told me this when I got there.
I called my mom who is still in Canada later that evening, and I guess she has kids on my niece’s swim team and my mom was JUST talking to her last week at swim about Andrew being in Concord Hospital the week before and how he got no answers, etc. LET me just say, that at first I was HORRIFIED that she knew my mom, because Andrew’s language has been poor. He also gets frustrated and says embarrassing things. I know it’s bad to say, but sometimes I have felt that his behavior might impact the care he gets. For example, when all those people came back in with his main hospitalist dr, they were asking him questions about his pain, and while explaining about his pain, he used the terms “cock” “balls “ and “nads” I JUST ABOUT DIED. I seriously turned even redder. This “Team” was in there because I caused a ruffle when I asked for all his records.

 I also think the RN saw how much pain he was in and might have mentioned it to the doctors. I told his RN later that his pain meds make him act intoxicated and use improper language. My GOD! One of the supervising physicians (I assume that is what she was) called me out in the hall, and asked me how long this pain has been going on, etc. She wanted my take on it.

They readmitted him and did the MRI last night.

The results were read this morning. The orthopedic dr said the current MRI shows a pretty bad herniated disc and it is pinching a nerve, however it is not pinching the nerve connected to his scrotum area where the pain they are confused as to why he has pain where he does.

They want to do a cortisone shot to test something; however Andrew has recollection that he is allergic. We are trying to get in touch with his doctors in NZ to find out. Andrew’s old doctor was a sport medicine doctor and she is now an official doctor for the NZ Allblacks! But, we can call the practice she used to work at and hopefully get some answers. Just need to wait for them to wake up on the other side of the world.

I am so happy to have SOME kind of answer, even if it still doesn’t make sense to them, BUT it doesn’t explain the FIRST visit- with all the vomiting, diarrhea, etc. But A HM wrote that “Herniated discs cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite... and a whole slew of other issues. Especially if there is spinal cord compression happening” and I’m going to research that more now.

Now, Please pray that they can FIX him. I know a lot of people live in chronic back pain, and I Just hope we can fix this. I want my husband back (Pain and Med free). I know Anika wants her daddy back too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We need Prayers

Andrew went back to the hospital on Monday.  My parents were away this time, so are not around to help with Anika. On top of that, we have THEIR dog on top of my own dog and kid. Andrew was in pain all day Sunday,  as I wrote in my previous post. He stayed home while Anika and I were gone all day.  Monday I left Anika home with him, but by 11 AM he was dropping her off to Miss B (who usually does not watch her on Mondays).  He then drove himself to Urgent care.  Urgent care sent him by ambulance to the ER. Same hospital he was in before. When he said he was going to Urgent care, I said that sounded good. I don't know what I was thinking...well, I thought, "Oh good, UC doesn't have a copy like the ER" but now instead of the one copay, we will have UC, ER AND 2nd ambulance in 2 weeks!  YEs, he has insurance, but I mean, they only cover so much. I havent seen any bills yet, but IM getting scared. Very scared.  I am trying to stay positive. When we first got married, Andrew didnt even have insurance for a couple months. I told him to get a private plan, and he did, after some serious persuading. At that time, he was not a Citizen and I was responsible for any debts he incurred while in America! eeks. He just didnt have a concept of the American health system. Its not NZ honey, health care AINT FREE! ha.  So, I am grateful that he has insurance, and good insurance at that now that we need it!!

Anyway, so Monday I asked if he wanted me to come down to the hospital and he said no. He said no all day.  After work Monday, I went home to take care of dogs, house, Anika, etc.   At 8:30 PM ANdrew called. He wanted me to come down.  WTF. ANika was already in BED!  I woke her up, and brought her down. 50 minutes away. He was still in ER.  I brought her in the ergo carrier. She was ok at fist, but then she was just tired. She would cry. I stuffed my boob in her mouth and that worked here and there but she could only use that for so long- she just wanted to be in bed....OR get down. I couldn't let a toddler down in the ER! She would run around touching everything...and probably licking stuff.  yuck.  Andrew was in pain and on meds. He kept snapping at me when she would cry. Then, I would walk out in the empty halls- walk up and down, up and down to keep her happy, hoping she would fall asleep! If she cried, he would snap again that I was bothering others.   The whole reason he wanted me down there was to talk to the Dr and advocate for I wasn't going to leave until the dr. came. I kept asking the nurse, how much longer. I Know I was coming off as a major bitch.   Finally, I gave up and put on my coat and walked out to my car...I was thinking of getting the stroller and trying to get her to sleep in that. Then Andrew called  to say that the dr was there. I walked back in. This dr was way better than the one we had at our last visit. He wanted to start from scratch. All the symptoms are different this time than last time.  This time the pain is in his LOW LOW abdomen. Behind his pubic bone. he said it feels like he got kicked in the testicles, but he didn't.  He also gets dizzy and has passed out.  He has NO bowel issues. He hasn't vomited.  The doctor wanted to examine his privates since the pain was down there. He asked Andrew if he minded me in there, and of course Andrew said it was nothing I haven't seen before. I did turn to a wall with posters on it and was pointing to letters and saying them to Anika.  I mean, it was weird to have Anika watch it.  Then I heard the doctor say "nice. Very nice Testicles here. Yup, Nice testicles" I had to hold my laughter. I was also so happy it was a male. I guess earlier in the UC he had a hot female dr doing the same inspection and he asked for a less attractive dr. lol. I told this  dr. I wanted him prepped for a colonoscopy.  He agreed they would do a colonoscopy and endoscopy. I said Ok, I just wanted to make sure those tests got done IN The hospital this time. We dont need to sit around again for 4 days with nothing being done.  He was referred to a GI dr. as an out patient last time and has an apt. for Feb 16th for that colonoscopy which is too long to wait. I felt ok with what THIS dr was saying, so I went home.  I was definitely a bitch. I was tired, ANika was tired, ANdrew was a sick snappy bitch...therefore I was on the defense. The dr took one look at me when I came back from the car and said "You don't look happy"  ugh

Tuesday. I went to work because SOMEONE has to be working!  I am too afraid to use all my PTO time now,  because who knows how bad this is going to get! Oh, actually, before work, I dropped ANika off at Miss B's and then went and ran at the gym. Sorry, I'm an emotional mess right now, and I REFUSE to give up my exercise. My exercise keeps me sane...and healthy.  And, yes- I NEVER wanted to bring Anika to a germy hospital, but when put into the situations I have been put in...things change. I do keep her close, don't let her down...and Breast feed her as much as I can to keep her immune system strong.  Ive also been drinking my garlic tea daily, all my vitamins, Apple cider vinegar (AMAZING natural remedy but gross), etc.  Anika gets what I hopefully we can stay healthy even though we have to be around sickos. While I was at the gym, I got a call that ANika fell down a few stairs. I had to go see her and she seemed find but her sitter was Very upset. SHe had no signs of concussion, etc. Her eyes were fine and she had coordination. SHe did have a big welt though. She is a crazy wild child.

Tuesday night my friend came over after work to watch Anika and  I went to the hospital alone. By the way, MOST of my friends have been awesome. The ones that live far away have been here for me by phone, email and text. The ones close have offered to watch Anika. Although one friend said she couldn't get out of bed early enough to watch her one day.  That was rude. I thought I was going to touch on my great friends (real and"fake") in this post, but I am running out of time and it will have to wait, yet again. Yesterday, I actually told Andrew I wasn't coming earlier in the day because he was being a dick. I Know he is sick and isn't being himself, so I always planned on still going. I brought him his laptop, magazines, books, clothes, slippers, phone charger, etc.  (I forgot everything the night before).   

After I left, I guess he dropped his laptop on the floor and it is now broken.  He was shocked to see me walk in.  I cant believe he really didn't think I would show up! I spent some time with him and he was supposed to be drinking the prep drink for the colonoscopy, but he was having  a hard time. He was drinking Tiny sips every several minutes. He was supposed to be drinking an 8 ounce cup every 10 minutes. He still had not had a bm when I left last night.  My friend texted around 6:30 and said Anika was falling asleep in her arms! That is WAY early for her.  So, I told her just follow her cues. She did end up sleeping until. My visit with Andrew was hard. He just was not pleasant. I mean, he doesn't yell at me, but he was annoyed with me, therefore, I was annoyed with him.
I wanted to say "UM, do you know how hard this is on ME too?" IM the one taking care of everything else.  This is a very emotional situation to be in.  I left the hospital last night and he told me to stop and put air in my tire. He said he had been putting air in it and that I should get it looked at as well. SO, I stopped in the freezing cold and tried putting air in but it was dark and I kind of gave up. Then as I was driving on the highway I got paranoid so I stopped to get more air. That time, I put a lot in, but I had no idea how much because the gauge wouldn't work.  Then,  I got driving again. AND, I Got PULLED OVER! AGAIN.
THIS time the cop was NOT an asshole.  He asked for my license, and I gave him my debit card. Then it took forever to find the registration. Then he asked where I was coming from. I said hospital. He asked where I was going and I said home to my baby (I throw in baby!) who was with a sitter. I told him my husband was in hospital and he asked why. I said I DONT KNOW!  He also asked what I do for work and what my husband does for work. I answered.  he asked how old my baby is.  He went back to his car and I thought for sure he would see I was pulled over just a couple weeks ago ON THE WAY to hospital, but I don't think he did. When he came back to my car, I think I may have fallen asleep waiting and with the lights Because I kind of "came to" to him asking if I was ok! ha. whoops. He said he knows my car can be fast and hard to keep it in check but to try so I can make it home safely to my baby! HE is not the first person to comment on my car being fast. ITS NOT Fast and it doesn't have all the power people think it does! (its a volvo S60) I just get distracted. He also gave me a written warning and said he decided to save me a few bucks because it would have been $150. I said sorry and thanks a lot and he was friendly.

I got home, chatted with my friend for a bit. She left and I cleaned up. I plopped on the couch to watch A DVR'd Real Housewives, but fell instantly asleep. I woke up on the couch at 2 AM, went up to bed, and Anika cried.

Andrew had the colonoscopy and endoscopy this morning. They found nothing.  A urologist saw him and he doesn't think its a urology issue. He thinks it may be a disc issue and maybe his back discs slipped or pinched a nerve!  Or maybe when he was violently ill, he disrupted something. I have no idea, but seriously, HE CANT COME HOME LIKE THIS! I cant handle it. He hates pain meds so he doesnt take enough of them, and then when he does take some of what they offer, he acts like a weirdo.  Plus, he is still in pain even with the meds, so he would just lay around miserable at home!  This is all adding up- him out of work,  the medical bills, his health in question, not knowing what to do next to fix it, etc. Also, there is no FIRE Wood left, so I am heating the house with propane...which gets pricey in this cold weather.  There is fire wood but he hasn't brought it up from wayy down below our house. I can get fire wood from the shed, but I cant carry it from where it is...not with Anika in tow!
I have cried a few times today because I dont feel equipped to handle these "adult problems"  I KNOW I can deal with Anika on my own, but its harder.
I think I will just bring her with me tonight and stay for a short time.  Also, I think I need a new phone. Mine keeps freezing up and not working over and over all day.  There is a verizon store down in the same town as the hospital.
Ill keep you posted friends. Please pray for answers!
And to end this sad post on a happier note, Anika is doing just fine

Sunday, February 5, 2012

None of your Business!

 People keep saying things to me like "You are STILL breast feeding?" or "HOW long do you plan to do that for?" 
Really? Why do people care?
First of all- ALL babies need to be fed Breast Milk or Formula for the FIRST year of their life!  Would someone ask me "Why are you still feeding her formula?" at the age of 10.5 months? No, probably not. Why would I waste our money buying formula that is mass made FOR ALL "generic" BABIES when my body produces CUSTOM made milk for MY Baby?? FOR FREE!!!  
Between the savings of not buying formula and not buying diapers, my kid's college account is looking pretty good f or a 10.5 month old!

SECOND- The American Pediatric Association recommends a baby be breast fed for one year.  The World Health Organization recommends two years.   So again- WHy do people find it so odd that I breast feed a 10.5 month old?  Is it because she is walking?

Third-  My 10.5 Month old is around kids ALL The time. I take her everywhere. She goes to an in house daycare and she goes to gym daycare.  I have seen her get sneezed on and then NOT even get sick!! In her 10.5 months of life, the girl has had a few runny noses and one 10 hour belly bug.  Her  10 hour belly bug was more a laundry issue. She didn't even act sick or phased!  So, this girl is HEALTHY.  I am also healthy and I pass on all my great immunities to her. I also take a lot of supplements that boost my immune system and she gets all those great supplements through my breast milk.

Fourth- I am paranoid of cancer, including breast cancer. I don't want cancer. The longer I breast feed, the less my risk is of getting breast cancer.

And, then I wont get into the convenience factor, because that's obvious.

I am not a controversial person. I don't care what other people do, so just stop looking at me like a freak for feeding my kid the natural way!

Ok, end of that vent.
Boo-the Patriots lost.
But, Anika had a great time at her first Superbowl party!  She even wore the right colors. The dress she wore was MINE when I was her age )  My mom just brought over 3 boxes of my old clothes that Anika will be wearing. So cute.  Andrew is still sick. He is in pain. He has some good moments, but then bad. Sunday was a bad day.  We had family plans, but he just couldn't move, so Anika and I went and did them -just the two of us. He called his Dr. today and he said to go to the ER, but he wont go.  I am not his mother. If he wants to live like this, then fine. IM annoyed about it, obviously.

Yesterday Anika and I went to a birthday party, half hour away for a 4 year old. Then we drove down to Massachusetts and went to Trader Joe's.  We dont have one in NH. Then we went to Marath*n sports where I like to get my running sneakers. I Needed new running sneakers, and they fit you for sneakers that are best for your feet. I have weird arches.   It was a little hard to do the testing with Anika, but we managed.  I am doing a 10K in June.
I did the same one RIGHT before I got knocked up with Anika.

Oh, and she had her first explosive Poop in seriously, like 6 months while at Trader Joes. She DESTROYED her tights. I tried to change her in my car and she got poop all over my back seat (Thank God for leather).  Then, I sat in it.  I didn't have another pair of tights for Anika so I had to put on ugly black fleece pants with her dress. I Just wiped it off my pants.    There was poop on her dress too but I  refused to take that off, so I just cleaned the poop off with wipes.  After all that, we got to my friend's Superbowl party (also down in MA) and they had a plumbing problem. SO, their basement had poop in it just hours before we got there, so no one smelled poop on us since they had their own poop problems! haha.   Anika stayed busy and that kept me away from all the yummy food!  She was the only kid there and was KINDA on good behavior. She kept going up and taking people's food though. She also tried to take pizza out of someones hand a the bday party.  We left the party around half time to make the hour and 45 minute drive home. She slept the whole way since it was her bed time.
Saturday morning Andrew was feeling ok, so we went with him to get a hair cut and then the Farmer's market.  Before the market, we went to breakfast. 
 I have a feeling most of you might have freaked out!  The restaurant was a small place we had never been before(well, I went with my mom before many many years ago). We usually go to a bigger/more formal place, but this place was small, tables close together, more like a family diner feel. It seemed like a "locals place" but it was a few towns away from ours.  We were supposed to seat ourselves, but it took us a while to catch on! The waitress came over and told us there were high chairs over near the men’s bathroom if we wanted one. I went and got one but the tables were so close, it was hard to fit the seat at our table. No big deal, we made it work. When the waitress came over to take our order, she started talking to Anika and then Just PICKED her up. Then she asked me if she could bring her back to the kitchen because she “Just had to show the cooks this adorable baby” I kind of looked at Andrew and he didn’t have a look of fright on his face, so I just shrugged like “OK” LOL. The whole restaurant was looking at us smiling…and just saying “oh how cute, etc” The waitress came back a minute later with Anika- smiling away! She said she wanted to show her mom who was out back in the kitchen , etc. She also said how she has 3 boys and always wanted a girl, etc. VERY Friendly waitress AND restaurant. Other patrons were talking to Anika as well. Ani waved and smiled and seemed ok with it. She is so social and friendly. Andrew HATES attention so he does get annoyed sometimes, but yesterday he was ok.
SO, tell me, would you have freaked out if this happened to you? LOL. I feel like if someone told me this story, I would think it was weird, but it just seemed so….safe when it was happening. I usually have pretty good mommy instincts, I think. OH and by the way, there was a lady with her baby and husband sitting near us and I KNEW she looked familiar. I finally went over and we GO to the same LLL meeting!! It was fun to see her.
I feel like living in a rural area like we do might make a difference in this story. And, babies just make people happy- especially old people.
I let Anika walk and follow me at walmart on Sunday and she kept going for the doritos display! like OBSESSED with the doritos! haha
If you you leave the dishwasher door down, she is up on it in seconds. It appears when she climbs it sometimes,  she is trying to get up on the counter!  SHe tries pulling herself up on the racks!  She also Would NOT leave the stairs alone at our friend's superbowl party. It was SOOO annoying .She can go up just fine, but its coming down she needs practice with.