Monday, January 30, 2012

Going to the Mattresses

Our new bed (renovated bedroom to come)

I can still vividly remember shopping for a mattress with my husband (then fiancĂ©) just a few months before our wedding.  As we tested each one trying to make a decision all I could think about was that it was going to be our mattress.  We were going to be sleeping on it together.  We were going to fall asleep on our mattress and wake up together.  I must admit that on the day we were picking out our first mattress I was so full of love, excitement and anticipation any mattress would have been comfy.  Though I had spent a good amount of time preparing my heart for marriage, there would still be a lot to learn.

Nine years later it had become apparent that we had outgrown our first mattress.  It was not as comfy as it was during those blissful newlywed days.   It had become a bit too worn in and had lost the strength that our marriage continued to have.   It was time to get a new mattress.

Our mattress this time would reflect the learning and wisdom gained by nine years of marriage and bed sleeping.  We went to the store this time with specific questions in mind.  We knew exactly what we were looking for.  In the end we chose a Sleep Number mattress.  One where we could each adjust the comfort levels of our individual sides.  I like my side to be softer.  My husband has learned that I must be loved softly.  That sometimes I like to have dreams and ideas just to have them and when I have too much to do I get overwhelmed and I need a hug and a smile and maybe a helping hand.  My husband likes his mattress to be firmer and I’ve learned that as a wife I need to give him lots of respect and support with regards to who he is and what he does. It is an art that I continue to perfect.

      Thankfully our mattress can be adjusted at any time to meet unexpected needs.  My husband might need his side to be a little softer when ill or firmer after a long day of working on the house.  I have also learned when I need to be either softer or firmer with him depending on the circumstances that are going on in our lives.  Our new mattress is supposed to last for twenty years.  I hope we will come upon a day when we find that we have outgrown yet another mattress and I look forward to all we will learn between now and that day. 


To those who were curious and asked, Emma (the kitty) prefers a firm mattress we think since she now sleeps on my husband's side of the bed.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Winter of my Discontent

It’s Saturday morning.  I roll out of bed and slide my feet into my fuzzy granny slippers (as my husband likes to call them).  I shuffle downstairs, make a mug of tea (in my favorite green mug) and curl up on the sofa under a cozy comforter.  I turn on HGTV and talk to myself as I enjoy long sips of tea.
   “See, isn’t this nice?  Isn’t this so cozy and peaceful?  It’s a lazy unhurried Saturday morning.”  I try, I really do but inevitably I sigh and admit that it is not as fun as my Saturday morning ritual May through November.  During those months I hop out of bed early and make my way to the Farmer’s Market where I stroll through sun drenched stalls admiring produce of varying shapes, sizes and colors.

 After making my purchases, which include homemade treats for kitty, I stop at the Tree House stand for a cup of iced coffee and then I stand in line at Tortilla Press for a yummy seasonal flavored quesadilla.  I then take pleasure in my spoils as I watch little girls in spaghetti strap dresses and floppy sun hats dance around to which ever band happens to be playing.  Yes that is my ideal of a perfect Saturday morning.
I didn’t always dislike winter so much.  I think the blizzard and ice storm of 1996 somehow broke my spirit. All of the women in the blogs I love to read have such romantic views of winter.  They speak poetically of knitting sweaters, snuggling beside fires with a good book and flannel clad children and cup after cup of steaming hot tea.  They encourage that winter is the time to slow down and spend more time quietly with God.  It always sounds so lovely and each year I do my best to make an effort to find the good things about cold weather, darker days and grey skies.  My feeble list…
-          Fires in the fire place (due to an ample supply of wood this year we have had a lot of them)
-          Cozy cups of tea
-          A kitty who is more eager to snuggle so she can suck up my warmth (sometimes my husband does too)
-          Chili (because that’s the kind of weather that makes it taste best)
-          A chance to wear my large collection of fuzzy socks
-          The crunching crackling sound that cars make as they drive over ice and snow past our house
  That’s all I can think of at the moment.  I’m sure there could be more but I must admit those things never quite compare to walks on the boardwalk, sandals, hands dirty from planting flowers and tall glasses of lemonade.   I’m doing my best though, learning to be content with and appreciate things even if they aren’t my favorite.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Finding my Hulk

This morning I got up excited about the day.  It was my birthday after all and in my mind the sun was shining (though it was not), flowers were singing, and birds were whistling a happy tune.  I was looking forward to coming home to new bedroom furniture and then having a fancy dinner at a restaurant I had yet to eat at.

I was also feeling excited about seeing a new GI doctor; someone who might be able to put a fresh perspective on my complex issues. As soon as he sat down he asked me why I left Cooper and I explained that I just had a hard time making appointments and getting ahold of people when I had emergent issues and he said, "You made a huge mistake. I don't know you, I don't know your history or your issues or what tests and diagnoses you've had. They do. You should have stayed with Cooper. You shouldn't be a doctor hopper." Then he wrote a script for blood work and said "Well we can run some blood work, but for all I know you've probably had all of these tests before." He then said if I really wanted to stay with their practice he wasn't going to cast me out. I'm not someone who cries easily but once I left the appointment I started crying because I was hoping to find someone who was going to be concerned about the issues I was having and help to figure out what was going on, but I felt like a little kid getting scolded for doing something bad.

    Since I have chronic health issues I feel like I just want to assemble the best team possible.  Is that so much to ask?  I feel like I’m Nick Fury assembling my team of Avengers.  My infertility doctor can be Iron Man and my rheumatologist can be Black Widow.  My primary doctor practice as a whole can be Captain America. Since my GI issues are probably my biggest problem I need a Hulk for that I think. Is it too much to ask that I find the best Hulk that I can?

So it looks like I’m going to have to move on to yet another GI doctor.  I have someone who comes highly recommended so I’m going to have to wait and see how that works out. 

I did get my Lupron shot yesterday (it will hopefully suppress my endometriosis) and so far so good with not having any terrible side effects (unless that is where the crying spell really came from).  I can’t say enough about how wonderfully nice and sweet the nurse at my infertility office is.  She made getting the unpleasant shot quick and simple.  I’m apparently the first person in six years of her being there that has received the Lupron shot.

And the day wasn’t all bad.  My bedroom furniture is beautiful and my fancy birthday dinner was greatly enjoyed and while writing this I’m watching Jean Luc Picard.  Maybe the second half of being 34 will be struggle free.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

On the Eve of my 34th Birthday

Tomorrow is my 34th birthday.  Since my birthday occurs only two weeks after January 1st, I count January 13th as my official fresh start of a new year.

       I’m not someone who laments getting older.  This may partly be due to the fact that most people tell me that I look younger than my chronological age. I strongly believe that age does or at least should mean that one has grown wiser so the only thing that I would lament is if the past year had been one void of growth and learning, but grow I did and I have learned quite a bit.

I learned

-          That God does answer prayers (giving me a new less stressful job) He just may not answer all of them at the same time.

-          I am not as patient as I thought I was.

-          People who take pictures of their cats and post them on facebook are perfectly sane people.

-          If you don’t like a doctor look for another one.  There are some really great doctors you just have to find them.

-          Psalms really is a great book of the Bible to read when you feel troubled.  Ezekiel, not so much.

-          Having a wise, calm and supportive husband is better than all of the riches in the world.

-          Having a sleeping kitty in your lap is often the best medicine.

-          How to handle disappointment gracefully, though I still have a lot more learning to do.

-          How to be thankful for the things that I view as not being so great (again I have a lot more learning to do)

-          Though it’s not easy, you can survive a year filled with struggles and still feel hopeful about what the new year will bring.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Department of Mysteries

It all started the day after I got our bad news.  I had a routine appointment with my rheumatologist.  She ordered routine blood work that I have done once or twice a year.  I went the very next day and had the multiple viles of blood drawn, no big deal.

The following week the rheumatologist’s office called and asked for the name and number of my fertility doctor.  On Wednesday we met for our already scheduled meeting with my fertility doctor.  My routine blood work showed that my liver enzymes were extremely elevated.

AST (normal 10-30) 102

ALT (normal 6-40) 73

Alkaline Phosphatase (normal 33-115) 140 

Not quite liver failure, the doctor assured, but still it looked pretty bad.  The main question is…why.

In 2009 I spent several days in the hospital because I had an inflamed liver and pancreas.  At the time it was considered a fluke.  In the spring, after my embryo transfer  I had routine blood work completed and my liver enzymes were high then.  I went to my GI doctor who ordered more blood work.  By the time it came back to her the enzymes had decreased.  She also sent me for a liver ultrasound which came back fine.  She said she wasn’t too concerned.  This time the enzymes were much higher than that time in the spring and again…why.

-          Do I have a yet to be diagnosed liver disorder?

-          Could it be my lupus/immune system attacking my liver and if so is it somehow being triggered by IVF or is it completely unrelated?

-          Is my liver reacting to one or more of the medications used during the IVF and if so why would my system be so sensitive?

-          Do I have endometriosis on my liver?

My doctor said something akin to…I’m puzzled. I’ve never seen anyone who is so young and not obese have a liver that reacts this way.  My husband and I started to laugh.  The doctor was aghast and told us this was extremely serious and worrisome.  We tried to explain that if he knew how many times I’ve heard doctors express their puzzlement over my body he’d find it funny too.  I don’t think he really found the humor.  I am officially grounded from any fertility anything until the mystery of the liver is figured out.  For now the plan is to

-          Talk to my GI doctor when she gets back from having off for the holidays

-          Repeat the blood work in one month to see if my enzymes have gone down

-          Stop taking birth control immediately.  My fertility doctor’s biggest theory is that the birth control pill could be damaging my liver.  They had put me back on it after the IVF failed to suppress my endometriosis while we waited for my Lupron shot to get approved by my insurance.  I’m still waiting for the shot to come in but I had to stop the pill which I had just started taking so my period hadn’t even ended before it restarted again so I have spent weeks with an inflamed intestine.  It has not been fun. 

I’m praying very hard that the enzymes go back down like they did the last time and that it is drug related and that I do not have a mysterious yet to be diagnosed liver disorder.