For My Son on His 10th Birthday

If you would like to see other birthday messages to my son, you can click here.

Dear Tyler,

I am three days late in writing this and for that I do apologize. It’s been a year since I have been sick with nausea and a low grade fever and the doctors still don’t know what’s wrong with me. You have been absolutely great about it, letting Jacques take you to Tae Kwon Do, to school, swimming, etc. Even though it’s out of my hands I have enormous “Mom Guilt”, although I always make it for the big things in your life, no matter what.

Ten is such a big year! Double digits, a decade old! Where has the time gone? Every year, just like most mothers do, I look back on your birth day and remember what was happening at what time. It still seems like yesterday.

You had your school birthday party with cupcakes and candy and are looking forward to your birthday party with laser tag, pizza and cake. Your dad and I are hoping our money will stretch this month but we really wanted to give you a special party since this is such an important birthday.

You love watching videos on youtube. Your favorites are Five Nights at Freddy’s and Undertale. You love playing with the FINAF collectibles and you still love your Imaginext Batman playset.

This was also the year of “My Little Pony“, even though you are totally embarrassed about it! You and I watch it together and we collected some of the characters. Nobody but dad knows about your pony love and I like having something that only you and I do together. We also play this action figure game “Kracas” that you made up. We’ve been playing it for years and it’s just for you and me. I am amazed at your imagination and creativity!

You hate school. You do well in it but don’t have any friends in class this year. You have problems with people teasing you which makes my heart break. You punched a child last week and part of me was happy about it, even though you got punished in school. You are working on anger management, control and learning how to make friends in therapy.

This year you did develop two new really good friends. David, a boy in your grade, and Daphne, a neighbor in our complex. You pretty much play with Daphne every waking hour and it makes me happy to see that you are having fun with her.

After having some bad times with your OCD you are doing better and your anxiety is decreasing. But you do tell us that you have problems with your self-esteem and even though you look happy, you are sad most of the time. The therapist, your dad and I are trying to determine if you are depressed. I hate to see you hurting, Tyler, I wish I could transfer the pain to me.

Despite all of this, you are so courageous, compassionate and smart. You are the best thing that I have ever done with my life and I pray every night that God can give me the wisdom and health to be a better parent.

I hope your tenth year is a magical one for you, my amazing (not so) little boy!

Love,

Mom

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Last Day of Summer Fun

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 5. If you had more time, what is one last summer excursion you would plan for your family?

My soon to be ten year old son, Tyler, has had crushes on girls before but this is the first time he has one on a girl in our neighborhood, so they do get to spend a lot of time together.

I know he has a crush because I asked him, “Is Daphne a girlfriend or a friend who is a girl?” to which he responded to me “Shut up!”

On Labor Day I planned to take Tyler to a really pretty beach on Lake Erie, the last summer hurrah. Even if I was sick I was going to force myself to go because he loves the water.

When he got up this Monday I said, “Today’s the day we’re going to Fairport Harbor!” He got this weird look on his face, the look that means he doesn’t want to disappoint me. “Um…I think I’d rather play with Daphne.”

My child is growing older. I am no longer the number one woman in his life but that’s okay. It’s all a part of growing up. His growing up, and me knowing when to let go, but not too much!

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More Doctors, Less Answers

All of my test results are back from my appointment with the Hematologist/Oncologist. My blood tests results that were only slightly out of range previously have returned to the normal range and my CT scan of my abdomen and pelvis were normal.

While I am pleased that I do not appear to have a serious illness, my frustration with being undiagnosed and the toll it has taken on my quality of life grows. My son Tyler has been great about it and Jacques has been wonderful about taking Tyler to tae kwon do, swimming lessons, haircuts, etc. But I want to be the one doing those things for him and I don’t want to have him playing video games when I am too sick to sit up.

Oftentimes it hurts to have my laptop on my stomach so I can’t blog and sometimes I am too nauseous to read. Sometimes I can only lay down and stare around the room, wishing to get some relief from sleep, even though I am not tired. I seem to get a break for a few hours after I have taken a nap and then I am sick again. I am tired of soft boiled eggs and chicken noodle or rice soup.

Last week I saw my Infectious Disease specialist that I saw when I had Lyme Disease. Apparently she was under the impression that this was a follow up visit. No one ever asked me. As soon she came in she said, “Well, we have problem here. You are seeing me for a new problem and I only have twenty minutes to see you!” She sounded…bitchy. Awkward!

She told me that no one with an Infectious Disease runs a fever for a year, so this was basically a waste of an expensive co-pay. She didn’t test me for anything because nothing had changed about me since I was tested last. She said it could be anxiety, that it could raise my temperature, but I looked it up and it said it happened during panic attacks, which I have never had, and the temperature it could raise up to was lower than the fevers that I run.

I felt like she was grasping at straws. She is no psychiatrist!

I was hoping it was some sort of an infectious disease that could be easily treated with antibiotics and was so disappointed.

Then I got more bad news. I was scheduled to have an colonoscopy/endoscopy in October. I called up to see if I was on a waiting list for a sooner appointment if someone cancelled, and found that I was in fact never scheduled! I spent two days getting the runaround from people who said they would call me back and never did. Now I will have to wait even longer than three months to get the tests. In desperation, I messaged my doctor to see if he could get me to a person who can help me.

Of course this depressed me on top of my ordinary depression! It will be a year in September that I have suffered with these symptoms and I just feel like they will never find out what’s wrong with me and this will be my life.

General-Physician-Doctors

I looked for pictures of mean doctors but couldn’t find any.

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Book Reviews!

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

I’ve been enjoying some great reading this summer. Here are three books I’ve really liked. These reviews are taken from my goodreads account. I hope you will follow me on there!

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Best friends Jessie, Claire and Gabriela all made decisions the year they turned 40 that they regret. Ten years later they are given the opportunity to relive their 40th year and must make a decision whether or not to stay back in time or go back to where they were. What will they choose? This was a fun book which included choices, regret and friendship. It’s a great, quick read that had me guessing to the end as to what the three friends were going to choose. This is a great summer read!

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Written in 1933 and not published until 1992, Mary Mann Hamilton tells her story of helping to develop the South. She tells of surviving floods and tornadoes, managing a boarding house in Arkansas and helping to run a logging camp in Mississippi that helped to develop the Mississippi Delta. All this along with raising her children! I was really surprised how hard Mary worked, right along side the men. This book tells of her triumphs and tragedies during her life from 1866-1936. I really enjoyed the first hand account and the history, and would say it’s not to be missed!

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With a loving husband, one beautiful daughter, two stepsons and a baby girl on the way, Kelle Hampton thought life was perfect. But her life is shattered when her baby is born with Down Syndrome. This book is the story of Nella’s first year and how Kelle comes to terms with it. I was really struck by her honesty and of the support group of family and friends to help Kelle get through that first year. At times it was a bit tough to read, but the growth Kelle experiences is a lesson about life for everyone. The book also includes absolutely gorgeous photos.

Happy reading!

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My Favorite Summer View (So Far)

Linking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

6. Your favorite summer view so far.

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This was taken about two weeks ago at the Headlands Beach State Park’s Summerfest in Lake County, OH.

The festival consisted of live bands, food and amazing kites but I’ve always loved and been fascinated by sand sculptures and my son, Tyler, has never seen one before. This was also my first time at the beach this summer as I find it hard to wrap my mind around everything you need for a beach day!

Summer’s not over yet and I am sure we will have more amazing views to come!

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Pets of the Past and Future

(Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.)

1. Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous July and write a poem or a blog post.

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This photo goes back to July of 2011 and is a picture of my cat, Lizzie, who threw my husband out of bed and slept with me all night. Lizzie and her sister, Rosie, were the first cats I had when I left my parents’ house. They were a symbol of my dependence, my foray into adulthood.

I got them when they were six and half weeks old and they still hadn’t retracted their claws yet. Lizzie and Rosie were special, and it wasn’t just me who thought so. Even people who didn’t like cats loved them. Rosie was born with a problem where her knee would dislocate. As she aged the problem became worse and when surgery was finally warranted she was declared too old to go through it. That didn’t stop her from still having some good years left and being a loving companion to me. When I was bedridden from chronic illness, she laid right next to me, moving only to eat and go to the bathroom. Maybe it sounds silly but I thought we understood each other. Rosie died at age 12 of kidney failure due to lack of movement.

Lizzie made the move to Ohio with us. She died of cancer when she was 15. I am so glad my son had the opportunity to know both of them.

I grew up with a cat named Whiskers who was a diabetic. My dad had to give her insulin every day. She was worth all the medical care needed. She was a Siamese and super affectionate, especially to me. She was the one I told all my secrets to, the one I cried to. She died when I was in college and when I found out I asked my professor if I could reschedule my midterm due to a death in the family.

I have four cats now, two who are indoor/outdoor and two who live on our porch. We provide warm shelters for the outdoor cats in the winter. My indoor/outdoor cats are Max and Rosie. Max has been gone for six weeks. He is known for striking out for parts unknown and just showing up out of nowhere. Sometimes we think he has another family or two. I pray every night for him to be okay and come back. He is my son’s cat and he would be so sad if we declared him gone permanently.

Betty…I just can’t figure her out. She used to love and cuddle with me and now doesn’t want much to do with me. I’ve never heard of a cat who grew to love you less! It’s clear Jacques is her favorite but she is enjoying the summer, stopping in for a short time every day to eat and drink before meowing to go out again.

If Max is truly gone, I wonder if I should get another cat. Allowing my cats to go outdoors has been the worst thing I could have done and I never want to do that again. I think of a cat who is super affectionate and who would cuddle with me. I wouldn’t want a kitten, I’d want a cat on the younger side whose personality is fully formed.

I’ve had the priviledge of being the mom to many cats and each one was different. They have all brought meaning to my life and have even helped shaped my growth.

Part of me is excited over who my next friend will be.

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A Week of Doctors’ Appointments

Linking up with Being Fibro Mom’s Friday Linkup.

Based upon the advice of my Rheumatologist and blood test results I had my appointment on Monday with the Hematologist/Oncologist. I liked her a lot. She told me that although I had some results that were out of range they were only out of range a bit. She wanted to do more blood work to see if these results were trending up which would be cause for concern. For many months now I have had a pain in the lower left side of my stomach and she also ordered a CAT scan of my abdomen and pelvis.

On Tuesday, I went to the Cleveland Clinic main campus to see a new psychiatrist. I had decided that I was kind of at a standstill with my old psychiatrist. Depression-wise I am not as bad off as I have been but I am still depressed. I have difficulties with day to day activities such as showering, opening my mail and cleaning the house, as well as feelings of sadness and being overwhelmed. Sometimes I wonder if this is the best I can hope for but I switched doctors hoping that there is a better quality of life for me.

I met with the resident first who did an hour assessment, which included my medical history, stressors in my life and the history from my childhood to the present. After the assessment she met with her supervisor who was the doctor Jacques and I had picked out for me due to her reputation. I met with her too. She felt I was on a lot of medications and she wanted to make some changes but one change at a time. I had been on two sedatives for my anxiety and she took me off one of them. She recommended Intensive Out-Patient Therapy (IOP), which is mostly group therapy three to four days per week for three hours a day. I’ve done it before and I’ve hated it! I told her that would be difficult with my physical illness and that I did not like group therapy. If I want therapy I want all the attention on me, maybe I’m selfish but I’ve got too many issues for the focus not to be on me the whole time! After the appointment I really felt I had made the right move in changing doctors and in the doctor I had picked. I have a follow-up appointment in a month.

On Wednesday I got lucky. There was a cancellation with the new Gastroenterologist I was supposed to see on August 31st. I have already seen a Gastroenterologist but wasn’t happy with the way she dismissed me. He recommended that I have an endoscopy and colonoscopy. The only problem is I have to wait THREE months to have them, although the nurse said the procedures could be moved up because a lot of people chicken out! I have had a number of colonoscopies due to having Ulcerative Colitis, which I have been in remission for twenty years and do not see any sign that it has returned.The worse part of a colonoscopy is the prep, where you have to drink a nasty gallon of a laxative and can have only clear liquids the day before.

It is disappointing that I may have to wait three months to get these tests done. I don’t look forward to being nauseated with a low grade fever for what then will have been going on for over a year.

Have you had the experience of a long wait to be diagnosed or waiting a long time to have an appointment or procedure?

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Book Reviews!

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

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“I was born twice: first as a baby girl on a remarkably smogless day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petosky, Michigan in August of 1974.” That’s the first line of this fascinating and wonderful book, which relates the story of the intersex life of Calliope who becomes Cal. The story is interspersed with the tales of three generations of a Greek-American family. I highly recommend this book, unless you are uncomfortable with the subject matter, but it did give me more understanding of the LGBTQ community.

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Major Ernest Pettigrew is part of a generation that still believes in decorum, respect to be earned and modesty. When his brother dies, Pakistani shopkeeper Mrs. Ali shows up at his door to see if he needs anything and an old-fashioned romance begins. I really enjoyed this book; set in a small village in the English countryside. The Major and Mrs. Ali have to deal with prejudice, there is the tenuous relationship between the Major and his son, and still there is some humor to the book. I highly recommend this!

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Librarian Tori Sinclair is new to the town of Sweet Briar, South Carolina and finds it hard to fit in in a town where everyone knows everyone else. But when the town’s sweetheart is found murdered outside the library dumpster Tori becomes everyone’s number one suspect, including the police. Tori must clear her name before she finds herself taken into custody. I found this cozy mystery series (A Southern Sewing Circle) on Pinterest and at first decided not to read any more books in the series. But for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking of Tori and I got the second one in the series and found I liked it better. Tori is likable, there’s some romance and a great cast of supporting characters.

All of these reviews were taken from my goodreads profile and I hope you will friend me on there! Happy reading!

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Doctor’s Visit and Blood Test Results

Linking up with Being Fibro Mom‘s Chronic Friday Linkup

If you have been a regular reader you will know that I’ve been experiencing nausea and a low grade fever since last September with no doctor being able to tell me what’s going on.

I was finally able to see my Rheumatologist. When I explained my symptoms to him he said, “I’m curious to know why you would choose to see a Rheumatologist for these symptoms.” I was a bit shocked but I told him I always think of Lupus when running a low grade fever but he said that was not one of the prominent symptoms.

He said that when patients experience Fever of Unknown Origin (FUO) the first step is to see an Infectious Disease specialist and if nothing turns up, a Hematologist/Oncologist. He told me he was going to run a lot of blood tests and they took ten vials of blood plus a urine specimen. I may have gone to the “wrong” doctor but he was the first one to give me some direction.

It was the first time that certain tests came back as out of range and instead of being happy about it like I thought I would because I’m desperate for a diagnosis and treatment, the feedback from the doctor was that I should make an appointment with a Hematologist/Oncologist, which to me is about the scariest doctor to see.

I think of my therapist telling me that my nausea was probably due to depression and I am angry that she made me think for one second that this was in my head. Every time a doctor doesn’t know what’s wrong with you, they want to go right for a psychological diagnosis.

I picked my Hematologist/Oncologist out of the many from Cleveland Clinic. I read her patient reviews and one of them said that the doctor actually hugged her. I wanted a doctor that hugged people so that was a big selling point for me.

When I called to make an appointment the hold music and information said, “Welcome to the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center.” There was even an advertisement for wigs that they sold at the clinic. It was one of the scariest things I have ever heard.

When I got through, the scheduler asked if they had access to my test results through the clinic’s system. She told me a nurse was going to study my results and they would get back to me.

In about a half an hour I got a call back to make my appointment which is in mid July. I felt like they had been looking to see if I was sick enough to be seen.

I am trying not to freak out but I can’t help it. I am doing better today. I know I can’t be a mess until I see the doctor, I’ve got to get it together for my son’s sake.

Next week I already had an appointment scheduled with my primary care physician with blood work ordered so perhaps she will be able to shed some light on my results. Normally I research my lab results, and I did to a point but what’s the use of making myself more upset than I already am? It doesn’t have to be cancer, it could be a blood disorder.

Your prayers and good thoughts are appreciated.

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Not my real test results.

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Epic Fail

I was looking forward this weekend to meeting people from one of my Facebook groups at a state park. The group is made up of people in my county who help spread the word when a pet goes missing and I thought they would be a very nice group to meet, with all of us having our love for animals in common.

At 8:00 Sunday morning I felt good and was looking forward to going. Then at 8:30 the anxiety began to kick in. The fear of driving to the park by myself, the sweltering heat of the day; I even had anxiety about getting into the shower, shaving and dressing.

I still felt I had plenty of time to “get it together” but my anxiety only got worse and I started to feel sick to my stomach. I took two of my sedatives for when I am anxious but by about 11:00 I knew I wasn’t going to make it.

When I announced this to Jacques I immediately felt better. The thought of not going out and not showering, and watching Netflix and reading relaxed me. The sedatives kicked in and I fell asleep.

When the party was over and the Facebook posts about the get together started to pop up, I felt really disappointed in myself. I wondered, and you may be wondering too, “Why didn’t I just push myself?” I knew once I could get there I would be okay but the hill to get to that point was just too steep to climb.

The group said they may hold another get-together in early fall on the beach. Hopefully through therapy and the right medicine I can get my anxiety in check to be able to go to it.

For now I just feel like I failed myself. I missed out on something where I possibly would have made some real life friends and I haven’t made any friends since I moved to Ohio.

I haven’t been out in five days but I managed to take a shower yesterday. Today I am planning on taking my son to the pool. On Thursday night he will test for his next belt in Tae Kwon Do and I know I will be there. I seem to be able to make the important events for him but if it’s something for me, I just can’t make myself do it.

For now I will just remain in my tight circle of loved ones, Tyler and Jacques. Even my son’s dad and I get along well but that’s about it.

For now I will concentrate on being the best mother I can to my son and making sure he has as good a summer I can give him.

Epic Fail

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