Thankful Thoughts

It’s November 8, and I have been less than committed to my “November Blessings” this year. Since I haven’t posted in a week or so, I figured it was time to update what I’m thankful for today.

Today, I am thankful for the right to vote, which I exercised on Tuesday. I realize how lucky we are to live in a country where we can vote (regardless of gender, race, or religion), our voice is heard, and we are given the opportunity to vote in new candidates over time. I believe I am so blessed to live in this country.

I am also thankful for access to great healthcare. I have had a variety of doctor appointments in the last two months or so, and I am so blessed that I have the financial ability to be at one of the best hospitals! My CF care team is phenomenal, and all of my other doctors are great too. I can’t even begin to describe how different my life would be if it wasn’t for this standard of health care.  

And finally today, I am thankful for my insulin pump. I recently decided to go on the pump so that I don’t have to inject myself 5+ times in a day, and so that I would have better control over my sugars. This transition really deserves its own post, and I will try to do that somewhat soon. I’ve been on it for over a month now, and I love it. My sugars are in GREAT control (80s in the morning, under 120 two hours after eating..wonderful numbers), and I only have to inject myself once every three days to change my site. It has made my life a lot easier, and for the first time (in a long time) I forget once in a while that I have diabetes. And that, my friends, is definitely something to be thankful for.

I have another CF appointment today. Last time, my lung function had dropped from 85 to 78. I never see numbers that low, and it terrified me. Hopefully this time they are back up. My respiratory therapist, who is amazing, will be there this time. She wasn’t at the clinic last appointment, and my doctors said that they will wait to see what my numbers are when she is back. Believe it or not, the person administering the test can make a huge difference in the numbers! SO, I’m hoping my FEV1 will be at least 83!

Halloween and November Blessings

Last night was a blast! Halloween is, by far, my husbands favorite holiday. He loves to decorate, he loves to see the costumes, and he loves to watch me hand out candy so he doesn’t have to do it. This year was spent with our normal family traditions: eating big macs (a tradition passed down from David’s father), watching scary movies, and enjoying our decorations.

Yes, our decorations are fun, and for many kids they are scary. We always have kids who have to bring mom/dad to the door because they are too scared to go alone, and we have other kids who hesitantly walk up on their own (parents laughing in the background), and they sit there and stare. This year we actually had a child try to come in our door to touch the decorations, and we had another girl who was so impressed with “Feddie Koogles” that she kept asking everyone to come see him.

 

A little different than last year, and you can see our orange and purple lights in the background on the walls. Also you can see the awesome cobwebs that David put all over the lower wall.

 

Oddly, we had a lot of kids pass our house up this year as well. We’ve never had that happen before, but apparently other adults had the same issue. I’m not sure if kids just are unsure of how to trick-or-treat anymore or what. Although our trick-or-treat hours started at 3:30 so many people weren’t even home.

Overall, we had a great time and we were out of candy by the end of the night! I always enjoy our Halloween celebrations, and I’m not sure what will happen once we have a kid. I’m sure they will change quite a lot.

On to November!

Since it’s November 1, it is time to start my “what I’m thankful for. . . ” each day I post this month. I have so much to be grateful for that it is quite hard to pick out just one thing to celebrate with each post so sometimes I will have more than one. Today is one of those days.

Today (and everyday) I am thankful for God. I have received many blessings recently, and I know that He is responsible for them all. I am overwhelmed by His love and power, and I don’t know what I’d do without Him being such a big part of our lives. We are so blessed each and every day.

Today (and everyday) I am also thankful for my husband. David has been working very hard recently, and he has been helping me pick up some slack at home when I’m not feeling well. He has basically been running the house and managing a full-time job on top of it. I am so impressed by his dedication and love to me, and I wish I could do more for him.

As November continues, I encourage everyone to take a minute and think about what you are thankful for today!!

Fading of Fall

My favorite season is quickly leaving me, and I have let it pass me by this year. I have been so busy with life that fall has seemingly come and gone. I look outside my window and see that most of the trees in my neighborhood are now bare, prepared for the winter chill, and I’m quite sad about this. Normally, this time of year for me is a time of picture taking, open windows, and pumpkin farms. This year, however, it has been a time of busy life happenings: doctors appointments, things related to David’s work, lots of chores, extra naps, illnesses, and just being overall too busy to stop and enjoy the beauty of the season.

Thinking of fall passing me by, I realized that there is one tradition that David and I used to do all the time before we got married but have not done once since being married: carving pumpkins. I totally miss it. We used to each pick out a pattern from one of the books, enlarge it to our pumpkin’s size, and carve away until we had some pretty awesome jack-o-lanterns. But for the past few years, we haven’t even bought a single pumpkin, let alone carved one. I think the mess and time of it has recently outweighed the finished product to us which really saddens me. I feel like it’s about time we reinstate the pumpkin carving tradition simply because it makes me happy in the end, and I can cook the pumpkin seeds (the funny thing is I don’t even like the taste of pumpkin seeds, but I love to bake them).

This realization about the pumpkins led me to think of what else we need to do that we simply have never done together: apple picking. I love  the idea of apple picking, and I have never done it. I just have this desire to go and pick my own apples then come home and make a dozen different products with the fresh produce. I don’t know why this idea is so appealing to me, but I imagine it has something to do with reminding me of many colonial literature books I read when I was a kid. It just sounds romantic, fun, and organic.

So, I’m hoping that before fall is over, we can at least carve pumpkins this year. And my goal is that next year or possibly the year after that we will finally go apple picking! I’ll let you know how these goals turn out, but hopefully there will be cute pictures of jack-o-lanterns covering my next blog post!

Wishing all my friends and family a wonderful remainder of this beautiful season! Enjoy it while it lasts because the cold and snow is coming soon! 🙂

Treatment Compliance

When I was teenager, I was never compliant with my treatments. I used to do them sporadically at best. It was hard to understand what purpose they served because I didn’t cough often, I felt really well nearly all the time, and I had really good lung function. The teenage mentality had hit me, and I couldn’t understand the concept of doing something now that would help me later. 

Sadly, I do believe some of the neglect to do my treatments was due to fear of the disease. I feared other people finding out about it, I feared what would happen if/when I got sick, and I feared dying from it more than anything. It took me a long time to get over these fears, and I struggled to be “normal” for as long as possible. Unfortunately, these fears and lack of compliance with treatments have taken their toll, and my lung function is nowhere near the 100+ that it used to be. It truly saddens me to think that I couldn’t be responsible enough to take care of my body at a younger age.

Fast forward to 2012. 

It’s 4 AM, and I am sitting here doing my treatment. In fact, I can’t tell you the last time I missed a treatment because it’s been years. I don’t care if I’m super busy, I don’t care if other people are around, and I certainly don’t care if I’m too tired to do it (a common excuse I used to give and still sometimes try to pull off until my husband gives me the “are you kidding me?” look). I do my treatments. Every day. EVEN when it’s not easy. 

Today was a prime example of not easy. We were lazy this morning and I didn’t get my first treatment done until 2 PM, and I needed to do chores/get ready to leave for a surprise baby shower for my sister-in-law so I put off boiling my nebulizers to sterilize them. I should note here that I have to boil my nebs every single day. Insurance won’t let me have more than 4 nebulizers, and I’ve cultured bugs in my lungs from tap water so the healthiest thing for me is to do daily boiling. It’s a little inconvenient at times, but it’s not too big of a deal. 

Well, I got dressed and did my chores, and I left the house without boiling my nebs (shame on me). Because it was an awesome party, and we don’t get to see David’s family enough, we didn’t get home until 10 PM. That meant I was sterilizing nebs at 10:15 PM. This meant that I was looking at 12:15 before I could do my treatment because the nebulizers need time to air dry. Sometimes, there are really hard times when I just want to go to bed rather than do my treatment. I force myself to remember that tiredness is not worth the way I will feel in the morning if I skip a treatment, but I also compromise. I usually take a nap when late sterilization happens. Today was one of those compromise days.

So I went to bed. And slept. And slept. And slept. Sometimes, compliance is more than just a one person job as I need a kick in the behind once in awhile, and thankfully I have a wonderful husband who does just that. He says he does it because he wants to see me around for quite some time, but sometimes I think he just enjoys seeing me extremely groggy and confused from being in a deep sleep 😉 . Today was one of those times where, if it wasn’t for my other half, I wouldn’t have woken up and my compliance streak would have been broken. But he woke me, and I grumbled and got out of bed to start my treatment at 4 AM. And, in my opinion, anyone who wakes up and gets out of a warm comfy bed when it is 32 degrees outside, stumbles downstairs, and does a treatment this late in the night just so she doesn’t skip a treatment, is 100% committed to compliance. 

I’ve decided I want to be here a long time, God willing, but if I don’t make compliance and exercise my priorities, I won’t have that luxury. So, while getting up at 4 AM is not fun, it’s one of the million things I’m willing to do to try and keep myself healthy. AND my lungs will thank me in for it in the morning.

The Perfect Reading Weather

If you’re a reader, you will understand this post perfectly. 

Yesterday evening was the perfect reading weather. To be honest, I have four to eight different “perfect reading weather” situations which correlate with the different seasons, but it’s been awhile since this one has visited me. 

Around three o’clock yesterday the air turned extremely cool, and by the time I went to pick up David, I was sorry I hadn’t grabbed a sweater. As the sun continued to set, the air continued to turn cooler and the wind picked up. I was secretly hoping it was coming and sure enough, by 8 o’clock, I had my perfect reading weather.

It was extremely windy and the rain was slightly tapping against the windows. The air was so crisp that I debated over opening a window for the evening, but I couldn’t resist the lure of the fresh air filling the house. So, I opened the window just slightly, lit my mulled cider candle, and I grabbed a big, warm, and fuzzy blanket from the closet. 

As the rain steadily ran down the windows, I cuddled that blanket up to my shoulders and I read for a good amount of time. My current book is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, which fit the rainy setting and helped to chill me even more.  It couldn’t have been more perfect; a scary book, autumn chilled air, a warm blanket, the drizzling rain, and the scent of a cider candle filling the house made for the best reading weather I’ve had in a long time. 

In case you were wondering, my other favorite fall reading weather is when it is beautifully sunny outside and the colors of the trees are painting the sky with vivid colors. That weather can’t help but make you smile. 

What about you? If you’re a reader, what is the perfect reading situation/environment for you?

Thank Goodness It’s Thursday!

I am so glad that this week is going by quickly. I am desperate for the weekend right now. I want to cuddle with my husband in bed on Saturday morning while the sun streams through the window. The chill of the autumn air making us pull the covers around our chins. The smell of coffee brewing downstairs. The peaceful look on our dogs face as she catches the last few minutes of sleep. 

Without a doubt, this is my favorite time of the week. I look forward to it each Saturday morning, and it changes slightly throughout the year depending on the weather outside. I think I’ve been craving these times increasingly more because of the beginning of the school year. With David coming home and working until 11 PM on school work, we don’t have as much time together as I’d prefer. It makes me long for the weekends.

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My other Saturday favorite – Coffee in our huge mugs from Disney

While I wait for Saturday, however, I have plenty to do. I have a house which desperately needs cleaning. It astounds me how the house can be clean one night and a disaster the next night (and we don’t even have children yet)! I also have laundry which needs to be done, and I am kicking myself for not making my own laundry detergent yet because the store detergent is expensive. Today, I have an appointment with my ENT at University of Chicago as well. I’ve been having bad sinus headaches, bloody noses, and swollen lymph nodes in my neck/shoulders, so I think it’s time that I am seen. I’m not looking forward to the drive, but hopefully I can find some relief from the pressure. 

So, it’s a busy time until the weekend, but it will all be worth it the moment that I wake up with my sweetheart next to me and knowing we have nothing to do for a few hours. Best. Feeling. Ever. 

Where I Have Been Over the Past Months

Hello world!

My first order of business is to apologize for the extremely long amount of time since my last blog post. Life got extremely busy at the beginning of June, and blogging take a far backseat priority for me. I’m sorry about that.

So what have I been doing?

I have been quite busy being pulled in different directions over the last few months. For starters, David finished school on May 31, and I spent the next few months enjoying my time with him. We truly love every second we get to spend together, which means the internet, blogging, and anything unrelated to “us time” just seems less important when he is off of school.

In addition, my sister had her surgery to remove her colon tumor and liver tumor on June 12. That day and the days that followed were challenging. Thankfully, she made it through the surgery, and she is doing remarkably well! The surgeons felt that they got all the cancer during surgery (although they did have to remove 70% of the liver), and my sister has now started back on chemo treatments until December. Everyone is extremely impressed with her recovery, and she’s just so happy to be here.

A few weeks after my sister’s surgery, David and I had our first IVF cycle which was a lot of doctors appointments, injections, and emotions that we had to deal with together. David accompanied me to every single appointment which was incredible. During the course of our IVF cycle, we drove approximately 1,100 miles back and forth to appointments, I had 45 injections, 7 ultrasounds, and 9 blood draws. I also had surgery for the egg retrieval, then managed to get sick on the day of the transfer.

Unfortunately our first cycle did not work. It was a hard outcome to handle, but we took the time to grieve and create a plan for our next cycle. Eventually, we will be going back to IVF, but it will be different the next time as we will be doing a frozen transfer which requires less injections, less ultrasounds, less blood draws, and no surgery. We’re hoping that since it is a lot less stressful for my body the transfer will take and we will eventually have our dream of being parents.

After the IVF cycle, we were also part of a wedding for a couple we respect and love so much. We were blessed to be in the bridal party, and we had a blast! It was beautiful to be part of their special day and to watch them exchange their vows. We wish them nothing but happiness and joy in their future. They deserve it.

Unfortunately, we had to start setting up for school as soon as the wedding was over. David and I spent the last few weeks getting his classroom together to create a great library for his kids and a room that feels more comfortable and home-like. It was a lot of hard work, but boy are we proud of the result.

So, that is where I have been. Life has been crazy, but it’s finally settling back together where I will have more time to blog. Sorry about the lack of posts, and thank you for staying with me during this crazy time.