Category Archives: Health


What an ogre I was.  The Yuck had left me unyielding and unshifting, someone I’m not.  All since July.

I wasn’t letting the kids be kids.  Too much structure.  Too much control.  Order. Quiet.  Little statues to adorn the sides of my fireplace.  I have chips and a huge dent in the drywall from where my rage got the better of me and I threw a Little People garage towards the safety gate and missed.  A monument to a person I hope is long gone.  Someone I hope is fixed because I decided to change a few things.

And I have much to be thankful for: My health, my home, my family, my friends.  I have been feeling and doing much! better since I started eating better.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m on a diet, because I’m not.  We never really had cakes and biscuits in the house before, and now we have Costco 3-packs of Carr’s (made in Scotland, no less!) Ginger and Lemon Cremes.  Two is a serving.  I know!  Two!  And, I’ve lost weight to boot.  Eight pounds in 3 weeks.  But I swear I’m not dieting.  No, really.  All I have been doing is adhering to serving sizes on the back of the box.  It’s easy for the most part —  except when it comes to pasta.  Two ounces is a serving?  Really?!  I’d be better off buying a Gerber Stage 3 pasta dinner, there’d be more in that tiny jar, let me tell you.  I think Barilla is taking the Micky.  I mean, come on!  Two ounces?  You know they’re sitting in their cushy wee corporate offices with half a pound of farfalle between two of them, laughing till somebody snorts a hunk of it down their nose.

No, but I’m not bitter.  Yep, I’m not.

Who knew?  I’d be feeling dumpy and gloomy, so I’d eat chocolate.  But all that would do is eventually make me feel worse.  So then I’d eat more sugar, and the sinking feelings still weren’t going away. . . I was going around in a circle.  And becoming a circle!

It’s started a revolution.

So.  I’ve decided.  I’m tired of hearing it, so I’m just going to live.

Enjoy being young, you have fit legs, youth is wasted on the young.
Enjoy dating, it’s all serious business and responsibility after you get married.
Enjoy just the two of you, everything changes when you have children.
Enjoy when they’re babies, they grow so fast.
Enjoy them when they’re throwing fits and imploding, they’ll be teenagers soon.
Enjoy being in your 30’s/40’s, don’t take life so seriously now.
Enjoy your grandkids, you can hand them back.
Enjoy retirement.
Enjoy the young, they have fit legs.  Youth is wasted on the young.

I’m stopping it all.  I’m dropping out of the cycle.  Forget it.  I’m living for myself.  I keep hearing “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3) or thinking about how Christ always went to the children first and blessed them.  Or how we should become like little children. I’m letting the kids be kids and enjoying what we have.  Lining up dining chairs and making trains for hours until we get tired of it.  I’m having water fights and making homemade playdough.  They’re eating off of the ‘good’ grown-up plates and drinking from proper glasses that have the potential to smash, but I don’t care so much, because every day is a special occasion.  They’re sitting and laughing with me and getting to know their mother.

Getting to also know she has a sick sense of humour.

I’m playing hide and seek, but not in a cute-come-find-me kinda way.  In the he-can’t-find-me-and-starts-freaking-out way.  Sure, they’ll have abandonment issues and will likely pay thousands to retreive their sanity, but for now, it’s nice to feel wanted.

One of my new favourite things to do is have Ian lie on the carpet and drop cashews into his mouth.  We laugh together when one slides right in.  We giggle and squirm when one bounces off of his teeth or slides down his neck.

We’re all learning and growing, and I couldn’t be happier.


Gaining Some Headway

I can physically feel my stress levels plummet since Thursday.  I loved the Internal Medicine doctor!  Wow, talk about thorough!  I spent quite a bit of time with him and then another twenty minutes with his nurse.  She even took the time to recommend some doctors for me, you know, since my Gyne up and died the end of October.  He ordered a lot more blood work to be done.  He’s having my DHEA levels check again and they’re checking my liver and kidney functions, total blood count, urinalysis and quite a few others — they’re even testing me for pregnancy. I could’ve told them that one!  They needn’t have bothered wasting their time doing that!

I really have to say though, I was impressed by how in-depth he got with my medical history.  I casually mentioned I had had a colonoscopy and endoscopy about six-and-a-half/seven years ago and he filled out the paperwork to request those records too.  He was impressed with my list and we spoke about each symptom individually.  He checked my hairline, noted the hair loss, reassured me it was scattered and imagines my hair will be regrown in 6 months.  I really hope so.

But, I’m no longer worrying about as much.  I will admit, I don’t like washing and styling my hair like I used to, but when he told me he doesn’t think I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), I breathed a sigh of relief.  He concluded my fertility had been kick started in September of 2003 and how I hadn’t struggled getting pregnant with Cameron.  It’s also clear it’s not PCOS because my glucose and insulin levels are normal.  He wants to hold off sending me to the Endocrinologist to see what kind of outcome we get with the further blood tests.  This much we know for sure from the last series of tests:  It’s definitely not my thyroid.

From what I told him with my history of depression with Ian, he said everything I am experiencing could be a mild form of depression, owing to the fact that I can still function, whereas before, functioning with even an option.  It was then he talked about referring me to a Psychiatrist for a consultation.  That’s a first.  Then again, it almost seems the quintessential American thing to do, and you really haven’t lived until you’ve sat in ‘the comfy chair’, have you?

One thing he did tell me about that does concern me though is when someone is first put on anti-depressants they’re on for a short period of time and weaned off.  The second time, his recommendation is 12-15 months and the third time?  They’re on for life.  That is depressing in and of itself!  I don’t feel at this point like I would depend on the medication to function, I do fine all by myself.  I do have those niggling (or nagging) feelings that float past every-so-often, but for the most part, I can deal with it and I move on.  It makes sense that that is what it is, I should have realised before now.  If that’s what it is, of course.
So what now?  I just sit and wait for the results and move on from there.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

On a side note, I invited friends over for an impromptu visit last night.  They have three girls, one of which is just a few months older than Cameron.  I knew it would be great company for the boys and to be quite honest, we don’t invite friends over quite as much as we’d like (or should).

So anyway, I was checking the bathroom for toilet paper (as you do), and as I was coming out, Ian ran at me full blast gasping to get his words out:

“Mummy, the paper got on the fire and it floated off and got on the carpet and it’s STILL ON FIRE!”

After the nanosecond it took for what he’d just squawk at me sunk in, I ran to the kitchen/dining area where the floor changes from laminate tile to carpet and saw burning embers smoldering my carpet.  At least it wasn’t engulfed like my imagination thought!  I grabbed some paper and wafted off the offending charred paper and viewed the damage.  Not AS bad as it could have been, but enough to raise my stress level.  t.  There’s nothing like the smell of burning carpet to say “welcome, come put your feet up and relax.”

A friend had bought me a vanilla and caramel Yankee Candle for my birthday and I took the liberty of lighting it.  It could have been worse, a lot worse and I suppose I should be grateful for that, but good grief, you teach your boys not to touch a gas stove and you assume that same thinking would be applied to an open flame.  If I am the poster child mother for these types of shenanigans and tomfoolery, so be it.

A Thursday Thirteen in My Absence

Today, at precisely 10 o’clock (if no-one in front of me is late, banjaxing the whole thing up), I will be sitting in a waiting room, ready to see an Internal Medicine doctor.

Almost 2 weeks ago, I sat on the phone in my bedroom, staring into a blackened monitor and hoping for a positive answer.

“…I just wanted to check and see if you’ve received my partial medical records from the Utah by fax.”

She told me they had and the doctor was reviewing them, but since it had been a few days since they had received them, she probably needed more information before we can progress and set up an appointment.

I tried to stifle my emotions surging up my throat.  A month of undiagnosis has left me feeling anxious and determined for an outcome — some sort of closure.  Anything to help me move on and finally get better.  I have plans, plans for my future, and I don’t want hair loss and unexplained anxiety to wave their large shadow over them.

“Is it the same for all new patients–?”

That was it, I couldn’t finish my sentence.  Before I had a chance to, she was answering and I got a response to a question I never really meant to ask.  I broke down and cried, and as I tried to regain some sort of composure by slow breathing and concentrating on the remainder of my question, she sat in silence patiently waiting for me.

I really was much more diplomatic, but I wanted to know, did I have to wait till the end of the line, while other “not new” patients got first dibs on scheduling?

She apologised and empathised with me, and told me honestly that the schedule was jam-packed and there was absolutely no wiggle room at all.  In the end, she knew I wanted immediate help and recommended a very good doctor for me, told me to let them worry about “that stuff, and let us deal with the endocrinology.”  So that is where I am with my list of symptoms and wrought memorisation of different aspects of how I am feeling.

For this list, I would like to thank ExpatMum and JoBeaufoix.  A lot of my complaints are the same as JoBeaufoix’s.  To show to myself that I have nothing else to hide, here is my list:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Fuzzy head feeling
  • Hair loss
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of appetite
  • Insatiable appetite
  • Late menstrual cycles (D34-46, instead of D29)
  • Loss of libido
  • Hyperventilation
  • Mood swings
  • Unexplained anxiety
  • Surges of anger
  • Broken sleep patterns
  • Crying easily
  • Tension
  • Irritability

When I sit and think about it, I am grateful for this cluster of the Blogosphere that I have grown to love, and who so obviously loves me back for who I am.  I really couldn’t thank you all enough.  These past few weeks have been hard for me.  I feel like I have been absent from every aspect of my life.  I do what I can to get through the day and leave the rest till tomorrow.  I hope by taking steps forward, that I can get back to doing what I love best: Enjoying life.  Thank you all for being patient with me, I haven’t written or read much, and I really miss all of you.

So without further ado, here is my Thursday Thirteen:

Forget hate, envy, deceitfulness and jealousy, here are Thirteen of the Worst Feelings in the World:

1.  Chopping jalapenos wearing latex gloves and later, removing contacts only to find you nicked the gloves with your knife
2.  Discovering there’s no TP when it’s too late
3.  Breaking out some sweet dance moves on a newly-buffered stage in front of a large-ish crowd, slipping and landing on your behind, and listening to them all laugh
4.  Having your slip fall down during a wedding reception
5.  Slamming the car door shut just as you realise your keys are inside
6.  Making a sounds-like self-depreciating joke with your boss’s boss in the room, and realising his son has the condition you just mentioned and inadvertently made fun of
7.  Watching your spouse cry over hurt someone else caused him
8.  Writing out a long, well-thought-out, heartfelt, nay — INSPIRED comment only to have it not publish and you’re left having to paraphrase mangled and spewed out random words in a small attempt to salvage anything you once wrote.  You now feel Server malice and resentment that technology has left you feeling stolen of your epiphany.
9.  Waking up an hour earlier than your alarm, looking at it thinking you’re late for high school, rush getting dressed and out the door and down to the bus stop.  Wondering where all the buses are.  Getting on the not-crowed-bus for 15 minutes and walking to school the further 15 minutes and only realising you’re (still, at this point) AN HOUR EARLY for school when an old dear at the corner shop across the street asks you why you’re there “at this time of the morning”.  Then, she takes you to her place in a high flat right across from the school gates, and you sit at the window holding a biscuit and a book of the Queen she randomly handed you, and you don’t have the guts to tell her you’re not really Protestant.  And then you watch all your school mates filter up the stairs outside the gates and you feel guilty for leaving her cos all she wanted was a bit of company
10.  Making a passing comment about how funny the granny on the dance floor wearing all white and dancing emblazoned by the black light is to the yummy boy whose lap you’re sitting on who’s sitting the self-determined requisite arm’s length away, only to have him tell you that’s HIS granny
11.  Running after a bus in the pouring rain at full speed with an art portfolio under your arm and having the bus driver shrug his shoulders at you when you KNOW he could easily stop and the rest of the bus is staring at you
12.  Straddling the bathtub and the toilet seat at age 9 about to step in, when your BROTHER’S 16-year-old FRIEND opens the bathroom door and stops and stares and you stand there in all your glory feeling helpless and stuck in an unforgiving time warp
13.  Having a friend’s sister’s friend ask her who that “boy she’s with is” and it’s you, and you’re fifteen

I Can See Better, But Not With My Eyes

I’ve decided. My optician is one of two things: he either has the personality diversity of a sogging wet piece of cardboard or he’s a donkey. I might even go as far to say a jerk. I don’t get it, and I don’t get him.

Having to cut ties with people you’ve become used to and move to another town is hard enough. No-one likes looking for a new stylist, a new family doctor, a new dentist and – ask any woman – certainly not a new gynecologist or obstetrician. I think it’s even harder when you move state.

An eye doctor in the neighbouring town had come highly recommended, the types of recommendations that come with fanfares and bells and whistles. They accepted our insurance, so we all went to them. They were nice enough at first, but I noticed he was very matter-of-fact and didn’t have much of a bedside manner, much less a people personality. I continued to make appointments with them each week, hoping they would finally get my prescription right. If you remember back a few weeks ago, I mentioned my prescription had improved dramatically and I was ecstatic.

It seems like every time I go back and get new lenses, it still isn’t right – but just on the one eye. I don’t get it, I’ve never had this issue in the past, I usually go in, get set up with lenses and I’m done. Today was my fourth visit, and after just two hours, I can already tell it’s not my last.

Last time I was there he said, “let’s try you on the Night & Day lenses, they breathe 6x better than the lenses you’d been wearing and you don’t have to change them so often.”

In a moment of clarity, I asked, “how much do these cost, just so I can get an idea of the cost difference?” “I’m not sure you’ll have to check with the front desk, but I have a rebate coupon for $70 off–” “Is that for a year supply?” I wondered, thinking the worst. “Yes, that’s for a year.”

I should have known better, I really should have. He wanted to fit me in lenses that were $74 a box. Obviously, my prescription is different for each eye, so I am essentially looking at $150. Compare this with the $18 a box I was paying. I might be wearing a sixty-dollar pair of jeans, but I wasn’t willing to spend that kind of cash on something so expendable as disposable contacts. I was flabbergasted they would cost so much, but the woman behind the desk seemed to think (by the look on her face) that I was making a bigger deal of this than it needed to be. She responded to my questions very abruptly with pursed, fake smiling lips that curled up at the edges. I left feeling cheated and taken advantage of. I am just grateful I had the foresight to ask the cost before returning today.

It wasn’t too far into the week that I noticed the lenses I had weren’t going to work out. My brain has been constantly fighting against itself to get my eyes to focus properly.

Today as I sat there at his mercy, I’d ask questions or make comments about lenses or my prescription and he’d answer them, but almost with no feeling behind it and very to the point. For someone who works with people constantly, he has no people skills, no smiles, no empathetic nods, no funny quips and no subtlety. At one point he left and came back with new lenses for me to wear, opened the cases and basically threw them at me across the counter. To say I left there with no warm fuzzies or feeling like I had faith in him or his company is a blatant understatement. I want to go somewhere else, but I am limited in choice in the area and would have to seek help in Missoula, plus pay for the eye exam (1 exam a year free with insurance) and lens fitting ($120) again all out-of-pocket.

I wish I could just nip it all in the bud and be done with it, but I’m not even a candidate for Lasik.

The Post I Never Wanted to Write (Part 2)

Part 1 is here.

In a moment of clarity, I opened up a book and scanned its glossary. I found a reference I was looking for, read some symptoms and made a phone call to a nurse. She validated my fears, but I refused to admit to myself that something was seriously wrong and hung up the phone. My husband walked in the bedroom as I was part-way through the conversation with the nurse. He knew it was bigger than I was letting on and asked how I felt. I said that I was fine, that I could go until Monday, but the empty hope just reverberated in my own ears.

We got to my mother-in-law’s home and I couldn’t go any further. I out-right refused to go to work. I felt like I had shrunk within myself and thinking about all my tasks at work, interacting with others and their potential demands of me – even just interacting with them – was more than I could ever cope with.

Things steadily got worse from there. It’s difficult to reiterate the physical feelings that I had, it’s almost easier to try and relate it through broken, fragmented sentences, because I was broken and fragmented. The day I realised I was suffering from depression was probably one of the worst, darkest days of my life. I didn’t want this. I was happy! Content, even. I had everything I wanted, and how dare it invade my life and destroy every piece of happiness I enjoyed.

The next day after I spoke to the nurse, I thought about waiting until the following Monday to go get the medication she promised was waiting for me. I didn’t make it to Monday. I threw on a poloneck (to cover as much of myself as I could, plus it was November), tried to show I cared a little about my appearance by brushing my hair and forcing myself to put in my contacts and apply some mascara — all in front of a compact mirror because I couldn’t bare to look at myself. If I was going to do this, I had to fake any type of feelings I had about my appearance.

We drove the few minutes down the street to the InstaCare and I sat and waited, wondering how I was going to get through any type of explanation without crying about it. I sat across from the nameless doctor staring down at the floor as I spoke, ringing my hands together. I saw him watch me, realised that I was displaying behaviour he was probably looking for, and stopped. I hadn’t realised I was doing any of it. I just felt so consumed and wanted it fixed as quickly as it had seemed to sweep over me. I felt ashamed that I needed help, and more especially that I needed anti-depressant medication, but he reassured me by saying, “you need this just as much as a diabetic needs insulin.” Then came the words I never expected to hear: “the only drawback is the medication can take up to six weeks for you to start seeing a difference.” I was devastated and scared out of my life. I couldn’t wait that long! I already felt out-of-control of myself and this almost seemed like a death sentence.

I didn’t have days off to take, but I took them anyway. The mornings were the worst part of the day, but the very first thing I made myself do was go downstairs and take my medication, it almost became a ritual. I’d spend hours lying on my bed just trying to exist. I couldn’t bare to shower, dress, style my hair, put in my contacts, apply makeup and take care of my son. These menial tasks were now overpoweringly difficult to rationalise in my head and was far too much to cope with.

As quickly as the disease had overtaken me, the showers rapidly changed from daily to every four days. I didn’t feel dirty. I didn’t feel anything. It’s much different than being apathetic or indifferent: there’s nothing. An emptiness where there was once feelings. All I felt was an immense feeling of physical darkness and I couldn’t pull myself out of it, despite how hard I fought it or tried, and that brought on tears too. Eating was a burden. I couldn’t eat, I felt no hunger. I heard my stomach growl occasionally, but rarely felt hungry enough to eat. All I felt was the powerful tingles that took over any other feeling that I may have been capable of. (The only way I can describe it is a feeling of your blood being icy cold.) Then there was the huge pit in the stomach that never went away. I couldn’t think, all I could do was exist. And if I did think, my thoughts of worry and anxiousness spanned my family’s entire life in one moment, rather than day-to-day. I now carried any plausible stress and anxiety any mother would carry for a child’s lifetime every moment.

It became unbearable to cope with and all I wanted to do was sleep. I was constantly tired, but the thing I yearned for the most was furthest from my reach. Feeling comfortable and secure in my home was not enough, as I lied down to rest, my brain never once shut off, I was consumed by rapid thoughts or music that would run over and over in my head, and the exhaustion increased. I couldn’t bear to go out, I didn’t want to see anyone; to go shopping for food was a huge nightmare, I felt recluse and broken. I also felt vulnerable. I couldn’t bare to look anyone in the eyes, doing so might reveal my plight; but in hind-sight probably just highlighted it. The doctor encouraged me to go out, to be in the sunshine, but why would I want to? It was the thing I feared and despised the most.

My home became a prison and a refuge. But I didn’t want to be alone, being alone with this stranger I didn’t recognise brought more fear and dread, not knowing what I may be capable of or not cope with was frightening. Coping with my own needs and the needs of my son seemed far too much to deal with alone. It couldn’t be anyone, it had to be Bryan, someone I was explicitly close with and loved me. But it just wasn’t possible. My only solution was to have us both dropped off at his mother’s. She cared for Ian and I…I just sat and existed. I dreaded if someone came home for lunch, I knew I looked different – I certainly felt different – and social interaction was not on my list of priorities. I’d lay down to sleep and three hours later, I’d still be wide awake, alone with this other person who was taking over my body and I couldn’t fight. I’d feel ‘me’ coming through every-so-often, and it was all I could do to convince myself that I was bigger and better than this, that it wasn’t me but an illness that had seeped every ounce of happiness from my life. Any amount of pleasure from a task or a daily ritual was now…empty. Nothing. Applying makeup, going for a walk in the sunshine, talking on the phone, all require some level of enjoyment or happiness and they were still out of my reach and burdensome.

By week 3 of the medication, the anxiety was easing and life was becoming tolerable again. I was able to cope. I’d went back to work a day or two each week, but it was difficult and by 4th of December, I spoke with the H.R. Manager and we agreed it would be better for me to quit. I asked that that day be my last and she understood.

At the end of December, I returned to my doctor for my yearly checkup and mentioned the depression. I told him that I had sought help and was getting better. By that point, I had probably lost 25-30 pounds through not eating consistently for three weeks; generally I only was able to eat one small meal a day, usually force-feeding myself. I was now 17 pounds lighter than I was before I had Ian in a very small window of time. He advised me to stay on the medication for about a year.

With time, things improved immensely and I was eventually able to take myself off the medication. But one thing always stumped me: What had caused it? I really could never get a clear or informed answer and l reluctantly labelled it Post-Partum Depression.

Two-and-a-half years later, right before I had Cameron, I told my new Obstetrician everything, and we took necessary precautions. I was able to come off the medication again after a while.

After we returned home from Scotland in April, I decided to wean Cameron. I had continued to do it to aid with the flights and changes in the air pressure to help with his ears. After three days, I started noticing a small change – the anxiety had returned, as minimal as it was.

I now had my answer, and it all made sense.  The hormonal changes from weaning both Ian (accidental at 5 months) and Cameron had caused it.

Cameron was having a hard time adjusting and I gave in and relented. When we arrived at his doctor’s office for his 18-month wellness check, I told him that I wanted to wean him completely but that he was still coming to me for comfort once a day at nap time. He said the best way was to just cut it off completely.

We are now on Day 13 and doing well. My morning anxiety is still there, but I feel like I can cope and have been fighting it with everything I have. I know the help and advice is there for me if and when I need it and I have the support system I need to get through it.

If you know of anyone experiencing depression, the biggest piece of advice I can give is to be there for them and also seek out someone who has been through it and can talk and listen. Depression is a dark, scary, lonely road and they need all the support out there that there is.

HF: My Brave Wee Pooper

Haiku FridaySurrounded by poo
Nappies were rarely just pee
Went on forever

Thought it was his teeth
I’m still hoping it’s his teeth
Gluten allergies?

Theory: I have one
I really hope it’s not true
He has dairy squirts

Aww, poor little man
“Cheese” is a new word for him
Let’s hope it’s not that

Being a second-time Mum, I’m a little more laid back, I don’t feel like I react like I did with Ian, but of course, concern is still there. He rarely has had just a pee nappy for over 2.5 months and I knew it had to be something else and not teething — quietly hoping it wasn’t.

We took Cameron to the doctor on Wednesday, they squeezed us in. I mentioned the slightly elevated temperature, the ear tugging and the nasty nappies. He told me he didn’t have an ear infection, but his frequent “movements” could be an allergy to gluten. That would be such a nightmare, then again, I don’t like the idea of him having an intestinal disdain for dairy either. He handed me some paperwork for the blood work and we went across the street to the lab at the hospital.

I knew he was a little toughie, he rarely cries from needle jabs in the legs. Bryan sat with him and held down an arm to minimise the flailing and showed him his mobile/cell phone. The phlebotomist was great, but even more surprising, Cameron did amazing too. All he did was stare at her jabbing him for the blood draw and pull out a wee petted lip. No tears, no wailing. he was a wee champion!

Now we have to play the waiting game, and if the results are negative, no dairy products will be gracing his life for two weeks. He’ll be “maaah”ing for yogurt and cheese.

Life will be bleeting fantastic.