Sunday, January 02, 2011

Almost 4 Years Later...

I decided I need to start journaling again. Just for me. I am quite sure nobody will read this, but I shall journal. Let's see if I manage to update this again in less than 3 years.

Last I wrote, HB and CB were only a few months old. I still look back on that time and wonder how I made it through. But it gets better. COTY (Coach of the Year, my husband, Mike) was diagnosed with brain cancer September, 2009. And I thought life could not get more stressful: 3 kids (including one set of twins born Dec. 2006), new house (December 2008), new FULL-TIME job January 2009, husband diagnosed w/ brain cancer (September 2009) and now I have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (November 2010). Full plate? Needing to learn some lessons? Me thinks so.

When COTY was diagnosed, I thought life was over as I knew it. It was. Our world turned upside down. Where there was certainty, there was now fear. Where there was calm, there was now a storm. Where there was peace, there was now tumult. Now, I look back on that time and wonder how we got through that. COTY had a craniotomy on Sept. 26, 2009. After surgery, the surgeon thought it was a Grade 4--the absolute worst with a life expectancy of about 1.5 years. We started to digest this and do some research and the REAL fears set in. About 2 weeks later, at a post-op appt., the surgeon was very excited to come in and tell us that pathology diagnosed a Grade 3 instead. You would have thought we won the lottery!! Mike began radiation and chemo and fared pretty well. It was a trying time for both of us, but somewhere in that time, my faith did kick in. I started getting used to the idea and found some peace as I grieved the loss of "certainty" in life. Certainty that we'll all be here tomorrow. Certainty that we'll live to an old age. Certainty that we will all be healthy. That is not to say I don't still struggle with that, but by and large, there is so little control that we have. I pray the serenity prayer often. It is so applicable every. single. moment. of. every. single. day.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Each line of that prayer is equally challenging.

So, here we are--almost 1.5 years after COTY was diagnosed. He has had all clear MRIs (he goes every 2 months). He has returned to "normal" with a little less memory and a little less balance. I have spent a lot of time in therapy and prayer to work through it all. I returned to church after a long hiatus and find such peace and comfort there. Then BAM!! Type 2 diabetes.

I KNOW I've been neglecting me. I know that. But did it have to come to this??!! Yes, I guess it did. I am very stubborn. Despite all the warning signs I've been given, I still have not put myself anywhere close to the top of the priority list. So, what am I gonna do now? Get over it and get going. But, it is hard.

It was hard when I woke up this morning and COTY had made biscuits and gravy--such wonderful comfort food. It would be so much easier and yummier to just eat that. But, I didn't. I ate granola and yogurt. It is hard to move my large body, but I must and i will. It is hard to carve out time when I am so tired and am trying to balance a full-time job, multiple schedules, what seems like tons of doctor appointments, and laundry! Excuses are futile.

As I lay in bed last night, I thought about our children not having either parent as they grow older and I sobbed. Perhaps it is time for us to take this seriously and change our course. Or at least I can.

So, as I return to blogging, I am aiming at keeping track of a few things:

  1. Living with a brain cancer survivor.
  2. Living with Type 2 Diabetes.
  3. Raising 3 children (it feels like this should be more than just a number on a list).
  4. Working full-time.
  5. Taking care of me (oops, I guess that should be #1).
  6. Growing spiritually.

I hope that I can be honest with myself and that whoever reads this....isn't bored to tears.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Hardest Job I've Ever Done

I told Mike the other night that this is the hardest thing I've ever done. Hands down. Bar none. Caring for 3 kids under 3 all day long exhausts me emotionally, mentally and physically. Not to say that it isn't wonderful. It is. I have to remind myself of that while I'm trying to get all 3 of them out the door: dressed, fed, and changed. No small feat.

So, to remind myself what a blessing it is, I'll write 10 things that are wonderful about it:
1. When the girls smile at me.
2. Holding the girls while they nuzzle into my neck.
3. Having Owen say he loves me.
4. Having Owen say something funny that makes us just crack up like "This place is adorable!" when we pulled up to a BBQ joint the other week.
5. I sleep VERY well (I really earn it).
6. Owen telling stories to me and requesting that I do the same.
7. Watching the girls sleep.
8. Treasured moments to myself (like right now).
9. A real cooperation between Mike and I (and new appreciation).
10. Learning more and more how important my family is to me. They are getting us through this.

So, I must scoot off to spend some time with Owen before the girls wake up. It is getting easier in some ways and harder in other ways, but it is still the hardest job I've ever done.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Girls Team

The twins are here. Thank you, Trista, for making me accountable and reminding me to post something. I have been quite remiss in blogging. I must admit I am feeling somewhat like a robot: feed, change, sleep, feed, change, sleep, rock, pacifier, etc.

Anywho, Cathleen Waldron and Harper Bernadette arrived on December 16, 2006. Both of the girls were healthy and we all came home from the hospital together. It has been wonderful and tiring. It makes one infant seem like a piece of cake! That being said, I am lucky to have one VERY easy baby and one that is pretty good.

We had a huge scare with the newborn screening results. Cate tripped the indicator for a disease called Glutaric Acidemia Type I. As a result, we had to bring both girls back for blood work. After four exhausting and stressful hours in the lab (with several needle sticks into 10-day old premature babies), we found out 2 weeks later that Harper's blood work came back with traces of glutaric acid. We are fed up with the whole process. It is possible that they were both false positives. They want to do DNA testing on them now. We are hesitant to even continue with it since the lack of any positive test results does not necessarily mean that they don't have the disease. The disease is an inablility to break down amino acids. It would show up when they are sick and unable to eat. If they are not given IV fluids, they could have seizures which lead to brain damage...not a pretty disease. I won't bore you with all I know about it--you can follow the link if you want to learn more. Since both of them are thriving and gaining, we even further believe that they are not sick.

Besides that, I am trying to form some kind of routine so I can get them sleeping and eating at the same times. Easier said than done! I think this will take some time.

In addition, one other little update: they were supplemented in the hospital with formula. Once my milk came in, Harper transitioned to nursing without a problem. Cate: not so much. She was quite happy with the bottle and let me know this when I would try to nurse her. She would give me this bitter face and start screaming. So, Cate is bottle fed: mostly formula with some expressed breastmilk. She will humor me and nurse every now and then (mostly for comfort) if she is not really hungry. She doesn't want to mess with the breast if she is hungry. This whole scenario is kind of telling of their personalities so far: Harper is very laid back and Cate is a little more opinionated. So, we are doing our own experiment: formula vs. breast milk. So far, breast milk is winning for giving longer stretches of sleep at night. We've debunked the theory of formula holding the baby over for longer periods of time.

As for me, I am trying to adjust and feel human. I try to get out when I can. Of course, it is about 5 degrees today! We are home a lot and I am attempting to appreciate this stage of their lives and all its wonders.

As for their big brother, he is doing pretty well, I suppose. He still gets out of the house 4 out of the 5 days/week which helps A LOT. He is struggling with going to school (they had to tear him away from me yesterday--screaming and crying--UGH). Besides that, he is doting on the girls but a little less patient with his dad and I. I am trying to carve out time just for him, but no matter what I do give him, it is not enough in his eyes. The mother guilt begins. I am looking forward to warmer weather and the chance to get outside with everyone. No small feat!

Sorry for the long, rambling entry. I have had a lot going on and can't seem to organize all the streams of thought. Perhaps I should try to blog more often and I wouldn't have this problem. Once again: easier said than done.

Thanks for reading--if anyone still does. Til next time...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Runnin' on Empty

I have no right to complain. I'll say that first. But, I'm going to. This pregnancy has been HARD. It is double the pain and exhaustion. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes this time and it is a pain in the butt (no, I don't have to take insulin shots---yet). I have to write down all that I eat (it will help me get prepared for Weight Watchers again) and stick myself 4x/day. But, I am going to play the optimist too: it is short-term and if the result is 2 healthy babies, then it is MORE than worth it.

My worst feelings throughout this pregnancy have been my lack of patience--especially with Owen. Once he is gone to day care or school, I could cry because I lost patience with him. He cries more these days when things don't go his way and I get SO frustrated. I raise my voice and this morning I took his cheeks in my hand and made him look at me while I told him to stop crying. I feel terrible that I am not myself for him--that he has to put up with a cranky, uncomfortable mom. Getting him dressed is so challenging these days. Yes, he should probably dress himself, but then I'd be waiting til 5 PM to get out of the house. So, I try to bend over my enormous girth and get his clothes on with very little cooperation on his part.

I hate that I am all sour grapes and can't just enjoy this pregnancy. But it hurts!! Every move I make reminds me that my pubic bones are screaming. It feels like I have ridden a horse across the country and back.

How insensitive of me--I kind of started my blog when we were having TROUBLE getting pregnant. I read a lot of fertility blogs (or should I say infertility). I have no right to complain when I have two babies inside me. Yet I do.

I am not looking for sympathy. It is just hard. Then, I think about the monumental task of parenting all 3 children in a few months and a whole other bucket-full of doubts creep in.

I know children are resilient, but I should be a bigger, better person. I am an adult and I should be able to treat my 3-year old respectfully all the time regardless of whether I feel like crap. The hormones are raging, but he doesn't understand that.

I know I'll make it--one day at a time, right? Just wish I could take back every little moment that I lose patience with my son. He deserves so much better.

Any suggestions on how to fill this empty tank are welcome. I have less than two months left (c-section is scheduled for January 4). I hope they come before that, but we will handle what we get.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Child Care for 3??

I was talking to a friend of mine this morning about child care. She asked if we had figured out what we are going to do once the twins come. No, we haven't. The thought of trying to figure it out makes my head spin.

Currently, I am working from home part-time and it is nice right now. But I long for more. I miss the office environment. So, my thought is to cobble together enough family to help from March-June next year so I can get in about 20 hours in my current situation--just to bring in a little money. Owen would still go to his day care 2 days/week. Of course, this presumes that my current employer will go for this and I can find some warm bodies to come help 2 days/week. Then, I would try to find a real job in the summer and Mike would take over. Then, when school starts again, well I don't know what to do then. I am thinking maybe a live-in au pair? Does anyone have any experience with obtaining one? This all assumes that I get a decent paying job. If I can't, then it becomes a wash--having 3 kids in full-time day care would be $1800/month. OUCH! Now I realize why people don't have as many kids these days. The option for me not to work and stay in our current home is not there.

What do people do who don't have to worry about money at all? I know we are very blessed and have more than most. I know that. But to not have to factor $$ in to decisions would be a huge shift. I don't know what I'd do.

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

I am becoming more and more uncomfortable. I am still 3 months from my due date, but I feel like I am just about ready. I am trying to enjoy every minute of solitude and peace while we wait for our world to change. I am savoring every cuddle with Owen because there probably won't be as many come January. I am relishing my full nights of sleep too!

It is Fall and it is beautiful: changing leaves, crisp air, cold nights, apple cider and cozy sweaters. It is Mike's favorite time of year and I think I may have to concur.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


We had our 20-week ultrasound on Tuesday and everything looked fine. The tech gave us 98% confidence that we have two girls on the way. We told Owen and he cried. He wanted a baby brother. I guess he'll have to get used to not getting his way all the time.

I am feeling great and am measuring like I am 30 weeks pregnant. I must confess I kind of feel like I am 30 weeks pregnant. All I can do is do the best I can and hope they stay in there as long as possible.

So, now we prepare. I can finally buy those little girl clothes that I admire when I shop in the paltry little boys section. We are starting to toss around names more seriously. It is still weird that we have to name two babies. TWO GIRLS! Wow....

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sweet Sara

After a very stressful few weeks trying to figure out what to do with Sara, we were presented an option. Is it perfect? No. But it was the best option considering our choices.

To catch you up.. in my last post, I talked about how Sara (our dog) bit Owen. After contacting several foster shelters locally, we feared that we would have to put her down. So, I emailed a bunch of people in hopes that they might know someone who knows someone. A woman I work with sent it to a friend of hers who told me that he would help. And help he did. He got us hooked up with an organization in Roanoke, VA called Angels of Assisi. They do many things and one of them is taking dogs in and finding homes for them. They normally don't take dogs from the public, but this guy helped us get her in there. We dropped Sara off there two weeks ago and I proceeded to cry (bawl) for a long time. It was like leaving a child, and we couldn't even tell her what was happening. She was scared.

Although it is not ideal (ideal is that she never bit Owen in the first place), we feel that she has a chance now. I hope that a loving couple comes to her. If you look on their website under adoption, you can see her. She is a sweet, sweet thing. The hurt of what we had to do creeps up on me frequently. She never asked for this. It wasn't her fault that she was abused. However, this is the way that it has to be. Our other dog doesn't seem to notice at all. He is not well known for his powers of observation!

On a lighter note, tomorrow, we have the BIG ultrasound. I don't really feel pregnant. Yes, I am bigger, but I don't feel the babies move much at all. I think I've only felt them a couple times. So, I worry. I will be happy to see that everything is OK. AND, we are going to find out what we are having. I was always firmly in the camp of NOT finding out (sorry, Jennifer), but we feel differently this time (you are welcome, Jennifer). It is our 2nd (and 3rd) and it is twins. Somehow, that makes me feel like we should know more. So, stay tuned. I'll post tomorrow about what is baking inside of me.