Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Amazing Thanksgiving Weekend

I've been so busy that I haven't had much time to write over the past few days.  I feel like so much has happened this weekend, and I needed a day to take it all in.

Thanksgiving was incredible.  Wednesday evening was spent with my parents, my sister, her fiance, and his two little girls.  They are adorable and we had fun doing crafts, playing Christmas bingo, and being entertained by all the wonderfully humorous musings of children.  We stayed entirely too late and I ended up getting just a few hours of sleep before we had to head off on Thanksgiving morning to my mother-in-law's house.

Our second Thanksgiving was just as enjoyable, if not more so, than our first.  We all had a fantastic time, ate delicious food, and David and I got to spend time with our adorable niece (almost 2) and nephew (1.5). We also played UNO for a few hours, set up the Christmas tree, and listened to my favorite kind of music . . . Christmas music!!

David's brother also helped us set up a more realistic and easier budget which showed us the importance of me getting a job next year as our insurance copays and medication costs will be doubling and we will be losing money each month.  We were really trying to keep me from working as it limits my exposure and keeps me healthier, but we can't afford to do it this coming year.

I had been looking into jobs, but the budget made me realize that we had NO choice.  Surprisingly, I ended up getting an interview on Monday for a caregiver position for a 2.5 year old little girl.  I figure it will limit my exposure to just one child which is better than subbing for me.  I ended up getting the job and will only be working Thursdays for now.  In the spring it will more than likely turn into 4 days, 5 hours each day which will give us more than enough to keep us afloat.

There have been so many blessings that it's hard to count them this past week.  I am so grateful for the chance to work again and be able to help our family financially.  I also am grateful for my husband and the hard work he continuously does to ensure I stay healthy and happy.  I couldn't have married a kinder, more caring man that's for sure.

Unfortunately tonight I had more blood in my mucus.  I have been doing really well, but tonight after clearing my throat and then coughing I brought up a nickel sized amount.  It worried me, but I'm also wondering if it's from my nose (draining down my throat) as it has been cold and dry here.  If it happens once more, I'm calling the doctor that's for sure.  I think it's so difficult for CFers to walk the line between being too cautious and not cautious enough.  It's a constant juggling act.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend, and I also wish you all a blessed and happy week ahead.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Extremely blessed

We received the results of David's genetic test today, and we found out that he is NOT a carrier for cystic fibrosis. This is such fantastic news and we are so thrilled!!

Unfortunately, he is a carrier for another disease: Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency which effects the liver and the lungs.  I have to get tested to see if I am a carrier for this now and therefore will be seeing a genetic counselor early December.

We are so blessed and I am so thankful that David is not a CF carrier.  What a wonderful piece of news for our Thanksgiving celebrations! :)

Happy turkey day!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Two Thanksgivings = a very happy belly!

Wow, it's hard to believe that Turkey day is finally upon us! For the past 5 years now, David and I have been enjoying two Thanksgiving dinners every year.  It's really the best way go about the holidays if you ask us because we get to experience each holiday we love twice!

This year, we will be spending the day before Thanksgiving with my family.  My parents are making turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, homemade potato rolls, and I'm bringing corn casserole and strawberry fluff.  My mom is also taking the time to make a pecan pie which ought to be quite delicious as my mom is a pretty good baker!  For those of you who do not live in the United States, it's probably hard to fathom this much food for a small family get together.  It's a lot of preparation and dedication in order to get it all on the table in time, and we always feel bloated and tired a few hours after enjoying our meal.  Despite the work, it's worth it when you bite into that savory turkey! Thankfully, I'm enjoying two meals without any of the work (other than  little bit of clean-up)!!!

Actual Turkey day will be spent with David's mother, his brothers, their wives, and their children, and his great-aunt. It should be a fantastic day filled with more good food and lots of enjoyment with our 1 1/2 year old nephew and almost 2 year old niece.  My mother-in-law always goes above and beyond with Thanksgiving dishes as well.  We usually have a very similar menu to the one my parents make, but she also makes an amazing lasagna or mac % cheese every year as well. Absolutely delicious.  Usually we spend the majority of the day there afterward just hanging out with the family, and I'm looking forward to it this year!

Tomorrow, prior to heading to my parents, we will be making a trip to U of C for the sperm analysis to be completed.  My husband wasn't happy having to take a day off of work for it, but it has to be done and it seemed like a 5 hour day right before  holiday was the best time for a sub to take over.  The kids are going to be completely done with learning anyway for that day.  

As we get so very close to Thanksgiving, I want to share two things that I am grateful for today.  The first wonderful blessing was a visit from my college roommate and one of my best friends.  She is one of the best women in the world, and I am so blessed to have gotten to know her as well as I have over the years.  A couple of years ago, she moved away from Illinois with her husband and therefore only makes occasional trips back here.  She is in town for her birthday this year, and she took the time out of her schedule to stop by, have dinner, and just hang out like we did back in our college days. It was so wonderful!! What a blessing!

I am also grateful for insulin.  Up until this summer, I have put off going on insulin for as long as possible. Once hearing that I had to gain the weight, I reluctantly started using it.  Well, with Thanksgiving here, I am so grateful to be on it now.  I used to restrict myself, especially at holidays, but this year I'm eating as much as I want of anything and everything.  I'll be able to just cover myself with insulin and not worry about it.  Look out turkey...here I come!!

I doubt I will post again before Thursday so I sincerely wish you all a blessed, family-filled, safe, and happy Thanksgiving!! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Our Harvest Puppy!

I had to post this just really quickly as I thought it was too cute to keep to myself!  We had Maya groomed today (we do this every 2-3 months).  When I picked her up she looked just adorable in her Thanksgiving/harvest bows. They are orange with a golden brown material underneath.  The orange sticks out but the brown blends into her fur.  Regardless, I had to share the photo.  Being a energized golden retriever, she wouldn't sit still for a nice photo, but you can at least get a glimpse of how cute she is. 

Today I am thankful for the skilled groomer that we take our little baby to. I am not good at keeping her looking good, but the groomer spends a lot of time and love on her to make her look beautiful, feel better (by taking out the mats from her fur), and smell great! 

Happy Turkey week everyone! :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Still exhausted, must be stressed, but currently no more blood.

Wow, what a title!

I'm going to begin by saying that I can't remember ever being this exhausted besides when I have had a PICC line.  The last 4-5 days I have been struggling just to make it through the day.  I wake up and find myself worn out just a few hours later even if I haven't done much.  I'm either fighting off something or extremely stressed (or both).

That leads me to my next point.  I must be stressed.  The only thing I can possibly think that would be stressing me out is the infertility information overload.  I can't think of a single other stresser right now in my life.  The reason I must be stressed is because I am breaking out like I'm a teenager all of the sudden.  I have always had acne on my chin (ever since I was a teenager), and it doesn't seem to ever go away fully, but the last 4-5 days I have had HORRENDOUS skin.  My cheeks, nose, and forehead look like I'm 14 again and I'm not really appreciating the sudden flashback to high school.  Not only is it acne, but it's cystic acne which hurts and looks bad.  I will definitely be wearing makeup for the holidays, that's for sure!!

As much as I hate the above two issues I'm currently dealing with, I will take them for an entire year straight if it means that my mucus stays blood-free! For the past two days I haven't coughed up any bloody mucus at all (Yay)!! My lungs have been feeling better and less junky, so hopefully my lungs have healed up and I can resume Hyper-sal on a regular basis (I feel better when I use it, that's for sure).

Today, I'm thankful for my husband letting me sleep in this weekend. I have been feeling quite rough and my sweet husband laid in bed (even though he couldn't sleep) for 3 extra hours, just so I wouldn't wake up. I finally woke up on Saturday at 2 PM! I slept for almost 14 hours straight and I still felt exhausted a few hours after waking up.  It was such a nice and wonderful thing for him to do for me and I'm grateful I got the extra (much-needed) sleep!  I'm also thankful that the last two days have been blood-free! :)

I did also post a new page of pictures of David and me (with our sweet little golden retriever).  There aren't too many, but they are some of my favorites! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preparing for Thanksgiving and Junky Lungs

Well! It's that time of year! Thanksgiving is now less than a week away, and the black Friday ads are popping up everywhere.  Turkey Day is truly one of my favorite holidays (and I would imagine many other cysters and fibros might agree with me).  Any holiday which encourages high fat, high calorie, super-filling meals, which I don't have to prepare, is perfection!  I can't wait to sit down to a nice huge plate of turkey smothered in gravy, smooth whipped potatoes bathed in butter and gravy, creamy green bean casserole topped with crunchy fried onions, sweet potato casserole, corn casserole, cranberries, Jello fluff, and pumpkin pie. Anybody else hungry yet?

This year we will be celebrating with my parents and sister the day before Thanksgiving, and then will celebrate with David's family on Thanksgiving day.  I'm planning on making something for each get together, though I have no idea what to bring. I'm just glad we will all be together as a family and able to enjoy a filling and delicious meal! 

Until then, I will continue to worry about my lungs a bit.  Last week I had blood in my mucus which quit after laying off of the Cayston and hypertonic saline for a day or two.  Yesterday, I coughed up more mucus with blood in it.  I really really hate seeing that. I'm grateful that it's not pure blood, but it's still scary, that's for sure.  Today I've been extremely exhausted and my lungs are sore so I'm hoping it's not a sign of a bad lung infection coming on.  I have been coughing way more than normal the past few days so that could easily be the reason for both of those feelings.

I did get in touch with my CF nurse practitioner, Penny.  She was the one who suggested laying off of the hypertonic and Cayston to begin with which did help.  I found out I have 3 different strains of MRSA in my lungs and I'm allergic to one of the best drugs to fight off MRSA.  This means if I have to do a PICC line it will be massive..huge...last-resort kind of antibiotics.  That might be why coughing up bloody sputum scares me so much.  So, hopefully as the week continues my lungs will heal up and start feeling better!! 

Today I am thankful for clean drinking water.  I know this seems odd but I really think that too many of us take this for granted.  I was putting a new filter into my PUR water pitcher and I realized that we are so blessed to have an abundance of clean, delicious, water.  There is nothing that tastes better than ice-cold water when you're thirsty (at least in my opinion).  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One Step Forward . . . Two Steps Back

Sometimes, when you really want something, it seems like progress almost moves backward before you start to see any results.

After posting yesterday I got the news from my doctor that as far as my lungs are concerned, there is no reason not to go through with IVF.  I was and still am elated and overjoyed about this factor.  She said that there are risks with IVF, but it shouldn't be any more prevalent just because of my cystic fibrosis.  Fantastic news!! 

Then she dropped the other shoe.  

The last time I was up at clinic my liver enzymes were much higher than normal.  I run somewhat high liver enzymes always due to the CF, but these were about 2 times as high as normal amounts.  She said that some IVF drugs are rough on the liver and therefore I need to see a liver specialist prior to doing my IVF treatments.  Surprisingly, I was ok with this information when she gave it to me.  I took down the specialists number and realized that this was just another step in the process.  

After hanging up with my doctor, I immediately called the scheduling department for the liver specialist.  Scheduling informed me that the earliest appointment is the last week of January/first week of February 2012.  This part...I'm NOT ok with.  

There's no real reason this should bother me as I realize that seeing specialty doctors often comes with a long wait, but when I was told my first cycle of IVF would be in January/February I was excited, and now I'm being told we have to wait even longer.  Yes, I know it's only another couple of months.  Yes, I realize that the ultimate goal is for me to be healthy to carry a baby. Yes, I realize that God has a right course for me and that it will work out the way it's supposed to.  No, I'm still not ok.

Ultimately, this is just a bump in the road, but once my husband and I made the decision to start a family every  month without a positive pregnancy test has been torture.  I'm so ready to be a mommy and being told that your dream has been delayed even more is hard to hear sometimes.  I'm also worried about the liver enzyme numbers.  I'm seriously hoping that nothing is wrong with my liver outside of normal CF inflammation and such, and I have to wait til next YEAR to find out. 

Until then, I'll just cross my fingers that all is well.  Is 2012 here yet? Please?

With that said, I think it's appropriate to be thankful for fresh starts.  I love the new year because it always seems like a new beginning and that anything is possible. There is no logical reasoning why problems should stop at the end of one calendar year, but sometimes it certainly seems to work out that way.  I love being able to make resolutions (and usually break them), and I love reflecting on the past year and creating a plan to make the upcoming year even better.  It seems like a second chance and it happens every twelve months!  I can't wait for New Years Eve this year!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A writing rut

Despite the fact that dear hubby and I had a wonderful weekend, I am in a bit of a writing rut.  I feel desire to write, but everything that seems to come out is incoherent trash.  Therefore this is going to a very brief update.

David and I are really coming to terms with the infertility issues we are facing.  I even went to a baby shower yesterday and was able to get through it without any feelings of resentment (and only a twinge of sadness).  David also wanted to tell his parents so we told them over the course of the weekend as well. They are both very supportive and keeping us in their prayers.  At this point, we need to schedule David's semen analysis and then just wait for my period to continue.  Technically, I'm still not sure if my doctor has given the green light for the treatment, but I don't want to bother her again (it's only been a week).

My lungs have been a bit junky over the past week, but it seems like they are getting better on their own.  Last week I did have some blood in my sputum, but I think it came from my sinuses/throat.  I did, however, back off of hyper-sal and Cayston for a day or two to let whatever was open heal.  Hopefully everything stays healed and no more blood presents itself.

Other than that, I'm just getting ready for Thanksgiving (a week and a half away!!!) and Christmas.  I'm ready to decorate the house, and I think I may start hauling boxes downstairs as early as tomorrow.  Decorating usually takes me a full week for Christmas.  I can't wait to share pictures of the house and how cute it looks when I'm done this year.  Each year, we add to our Christmas decorations...I wonder what our new addition will be this year??

To get me into the Christmas mood, I've been blaring Christmas music (yes, I'm one of those people).  I have been listening to it since November 1..possibly a bit earlier?  Our one radio station here changed over to 24/7 Christmas music Wednesday of last week which has just caused me to get even MORE excited.  I'm sorry to those who hate Christmas music and early Christmas decorating. I know I'm a bit eccentric, but I love it :)

As we head into another full week, I am grateful for family dinners.  My parents had us over last Friday and it was such a nice time.  We had pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and garlic bread.  Both David's family and mine really enjoy family dinners together. We are very blessed to live so close to our families and to be able to share a nice meal with them on a regular basis.

What are YOU grateful for today?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Winter is coming!

Winter is coming! Today is definitely trying to tell us that fact in the Chicago area. I woke up today and took David to school, as I always do, and it was surprisingly warm outside.  Then, about a half hour after returning home, the wind started to pick up.

I sat watching the leaves whipping through the air and the tree branches bending as the wind beat them all up.  As I looked at all the bare trees and bushes, and my dying mums in the front of the house, I realized that November has definitely arrived in full force.  The power of the wind this time of year never ceases to amaze me.  Today, as we approach afternoon, the temperatures are dropping and the warm breeze is now turning into a chilly, wet, and howling wind. In fact, the forecast is now predicting our first snow flurries this afternoon and tomorrow, and although it won’t stick, it’s still snow. 


When I was little snow used to excite me to no end. I would wait for the first snowfall of the year and all additional snowfalls, and I would play for hours at a time.  Hot chocolate was my best friend, and I vividly remember putting my boots and gloves over the heat vents throughout the house and then tearing off my three layers of soaking wet socks. 

As I’ve aged, my view of snow has changed as well.  I still love the first snowflakes of the season, and words lack the ability to describe the quietness and peacefulness of the first blanketing snowfall.  There is something about the untouched, glistening snow over the ground that calms me and warms me.  I also long for snow on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.  I love waking up to a winter wonderland as we celebrate Jesus’s birthday with our family.
The day after Christmas, however, I’m done with snow for good.  I don’t want to see it, I don’t want to scrape it off my car, I don’t want to shovel the driveway, I don’t want to clean it up from the floor after the dog has gone outside, and I definitely loathe driving in the stuff.  Unfortunately, after Christmas is normally when our heaviest snows arrive.  Last year, early February brought the blizzard of 2011 which left us homebound for 2 days while we dug ourselves out of the 4 foot drifts.  I don’t doubt that this year we will see some heavy snows in January and February again, but when they come they are just irritating, annoying, and troublesome. 

View from our garage this past February.  Our front door had a higher drift, but it didn't photograph well.

Also, last year I started having a harder time breathing in the cold. I HATE the severe cold of winter.  I practically lived indoors last winter, and I didn’t do much of the shoveling because of how my lungs felt. Hopefully, this year will be better, but I’m not putting any weight on that hope.  David also hates the extreme cold.  Because of this, we are REALLY considering getting remote start for our car (which sits outside the entire winter) as a Christmas present to each other.  It’s not too bad cost wise, around $400 for parts and labor, and it would mean we wouldn’t have to wait for the car to warm up before driving off somewhere.  It’s a total luxury, and we really don’t need it.  But, we’re definitely considering it!

With that said, it’s time to state what I’m thankful for.  On this cold and blustery day, I’m thankful for heat, warm coffee, and cuddly blankets.  David and I have become coffee fanatics in the past couple of years, and a warm cup always seems to do the trick for our mood.  Also, I love the feeling of curling up under a snuggly blanket when the air around me is cold.  I feel secure, calm, and happy under blankets.  I know there are many people who suffer from cold, especially at this time of year, and I’m grateful to have heat, warm drinks, and blankets to keep me nice and toasty warm. 

I hope you all stay nice and warm on this chilly November day, and I hope you are able to find something to be thankful for today.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Initial Consult with the R.E.

Good morning all! 

I was going to post yesterday, but I was a bit overwhelmed with everything and needed to just take it all in yesterday. I know you are all wondering what happened, so here it goes:

Yesterday we woke up bright and early, ready to nervously head to our Reproductive Endocrinologist's (RE's) office for the first time.  We made sure to give ourselves PLENTY of time because I had no idea where this office was located, as it was separate from the normal University of Chicago hospital.  We were also given directions to obtain free parking for the clinic, but it seemed confusing and I wanted to make sure we found it easily. We left 2 hours prior to our appointment time.  

Well, an hour later we were at the clinic, parked in the free parking, and walking up to the office.  The building is definitely confusing at first, and it takes a few minutes to get acquainted with the layout of everything.  Upon entering, I was actually surprised at how small the waiting area was. It had 3 small couches in it, and that was it.  Also, it didn't feel very "medical" feeling, which I think they do on purpose to keep patients more comfortable about the whole situation.  

After only a few minutes (we had done all the paperwork in advance), we were led back to a consultation room which consisted of comfortable rolling chairs and a round table. It was actually a really nice little room, but as my nerves were pretty high upon arriving, I didn't really care too much about the decor.  We waited about twenty minutes (remember we were an hour early), and then our Dr., Dr. C., walked in apologizing for being late (even though he wasn't late, we were EARLY).  

He introduced himself, sat down, and started asking us a lot of personal history questions. We answered them pretty quickly, and he started getting down to my medical problems and my reason for being there.  He then pulled out the ultrasound and started talking to us about our options of how to continue.  

Thankfully, there was nothing majorly wrong on my ultrasound. The reason I was referred is because of the right ovary being invisible and the left one being filled with cysts.  My high-risk OB thought that with the time-crunch CFers have, he would rather just have me head over to infertility and get the assistance I need instead of trying for another few months without a result.  Dr. C. said that there are some potential problems because of my ovaries.  He said that with CF there is the problem of tubal blockages, and he feels that with my other ovary "missing", the tubing is probably twisted as well.  He also indicated a few other problems that may arise due to multiple abdominal surgeries at birth.  He said that my adhesions make it difficult for everything to work properly, which makes total sense.  

He continued to tell us more of the potential issues, but honestly I can't remember them all (they're written down on the sheets he gave us, but for the purpose of clarity and brevity, we'll just leave them out).  Then, he told us our two options:

1) IUI
2) IVF

He said we could try IUI if we wanted, but he felt that we would ultimately find ourselves in IVF treatments regardless.  He explained why he felt that and then he also explained the risks of both treatments to us.  After over an hour discussion at the clinic, and more discussion at home together, we've decided that the right course of action for us is IVF.  Why?

One of the biggest fears we have about IUI is the chance of multiples.  With IUI, the risk of twins (or more) is 30%!! Honestly, I do not think my body could handle twins very well as I am EXTREMELY tiny.  I think one baby is going to be hard enough on my body.  With IVF, the doctor will only be implanting ONE embryo at a time.  

Also, the testing to see if my tubes are open enough for IUI in the first place, comes with a risk of infection and requires antibiotics prior to the test and after the test.  I'm already on antibiotics full time, and I do worry about my body handling infection (the reason for infection is that they have to shoot a contrast up through the uterus and tubes).  He said also that even if the test comes back showing my tubes are open enough for dye to go through, they may still be blocked too much for actual conception to occur because of the thickened mucus in CF and the little tiny hairs that line the tubes which can collect the mucus and other junk.  

With IVF, we will be able to genetically test the embryos for CF prior to implantation, which is a good idea as well.  We also will be able to place only one embryo at a time. He suggested, and we agree, that overall it's the safest and most effective method for us.  PLEASE do not take OUR decision as the "right" or "wrong" decision...infertility treatments are extremely personal and each couple needs to make their OWN decision with their doctor's help.  

Gosh these posts are just getting longer and longer..I truly apologize!!

So what now? Now, we make sure my CF doctor approves IVF treatments, and then if she does, we head forward.  I will receive an ultrasound and bloodwork 3 days into my next period.  Then we will start going through the entire process of hormone injections to get me ready for egg retrieval. I will detail all of this much more as we get closer to each process. 

Overall, it was a great day and we now have a plan. I still feel conflicted because I am definitely nervous about the hormones and the egg retrieval surgery, but overall I agree that it's the safest way to go for us. It's just a very strange and difficult decision to make.

Thank you all for your prayers, hugs, and good thoughts as I waited over the past week. I can never explain how much it meant to me, and how much you all got me through this past week.  Now, onto the next part of this journey...just hoping for doctor's approval at this point.  If she approves, we're looking at the first implantation to be January or February! Eek! :) 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Today's a kind of..rough day

Sorry to post so much, but it's one of the things holding me together right now.

I'm struggling today. I woke up feeling great and ready to take on the day, and then early this morning I felt myself near tears and wanting to just sit and do nothing.  I fought the urge by cleaning. I've been organizing and clearing things out; I think it's something I have control over, so I want to do it.

I think this weekend is going to be rough for me because quite frankly I'm scared.  I know that just being referred to infertility isn't saying I CAN'T have children, but right now that's how it feels. I keep worrying that Monday we will find out I will never be able to have a child, or that something is seriously wrong and requires attention.  I also know that God's plan works the way it is supposed to work, but I still find myself worried and upset.

I also feel really weak about this...like I'm not handling it the way I should. I haven't even necessarily received "bad" news yet, but it sure feels heartbreaking.  I wish I was stronger and able to tell you all that I'm breezing through this experience so far, but I'd be downright lying to you.  Some minutes, I'm on the edge of collapsing, and other times I realize it will all work out.  I do, however, feel my anxiety building slowly as we get closer to Monday.  The butterflies in my stomach are almost constant, and I really have not wanted to eat today.

My guess is that my house will be VERY clean come Monday...so next week we may have to invite people over before it gets super messy again :) 


I posted this blog to my wordpress account as well.  Therefore, although it still encompasses what's going on in my life, it is DEFINITELY not detailed in any way, shape, or form.  I state that we've had an exhausting week physically/emotionally, but in reality that might just be the understatement of the year.  Regardless, I promised I would post whatever was posted there, on here. So, with that said, here it is:

Numbers 6:24-26
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be cracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you are all doing well and have had a wonderful and blessed week!
This week has been extremely stressful and emotionally/physically draining for us.  My husband and I are both ready to just go out for a date night tonight and put this week behind us.  We have been reinstating “date night” into our lives, and it feels good.  It provides us with something to look forward to every weekend, and it allows us to just focus on each other for a few hours every week.

Our date nights aren’t usually expensive, but they’re fun.  We typically take out a frozen pizza after I pick David up from work.  We eat at home and then head out to catch a movie in the cheap show.  Ahh, the cheap show.  We have an amazing theater just about 15 minutes away from us and it shows movies that are about to come out on DVD for a highly discounted price.  We saw Crazy, Stupid Love last week, and I’m sure we’ll see something fun this week as well.  We then sometimes head to the mall or other stores to window shop (this is really more for my benefit than my husband’s).  Then, it’s back home where we typically watch another movie or TV show together on the couch.  By the time Friday ends, we’ve spent about a total of $7 (pizza, movie tickets, and gas included) for a wonderful evening!

Other than date night this weekend, we are also looking forward to family birthdays! We will be celebrating my husband’s brother’s birthday, and his great-aunt’s birthday! I always enjoy celebrating birthdays, and David’s family (my family) always has fun with birthdays.  For David and me, the most important part of the birthday is the gift-giving process. We are both givers, and we love watching reactions when our gifts are opened.  We have both said numerous times that we would much rather give gifts than receive them!

Time-change is also this weekend, which means we gain an extra hour of sleep!  Gaining an hour of sleep is one of the best feelings!  It will also be nice to see sunshine when driving David to work again. The last few days it has been pitch black when we’re headed to the school.  It’s depressing and hard to wake up when it’s that dark outside. I can’t wait for this time-change!!

With all of this fun, there must be work as well.  David will be spending a significant portion of time working on schoolwork this weekend, as he always does.  I really wonder if his fellow colleagues have any idea how much dedication, time, and effort he puts into these kids every single day.  He is truly remarkable!  While he works, I will be organizing various parts of the house, going through bills, taking down Halloween decorations, and any other odd jobs that I can find to do (there’s always plenty)!
All in all, it should be a fabulous weekend and a wonderful way to unwind and recharge.
Before I go, however, I need to share what I’m thankful for today.  This morning, I thought it was appropriate to say that I’m very thankful for weekends.  We always take the time to enjoy our weekends and typically we see some part of our family each weekend as well.  We are both thankful that no matter how hard the week has been, we always have Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday to call our own and live out to the fullest.  There are some weeks, like this current one, where we would be LOST without that time. 

I wish you all a happy, blessed, and enjoyable weekend! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shame on me!

Ok, while writing my previous post I completely forgot to tell what I was thankful for today. Shame on me!

Today, I am thankful for laughter.  I am thankful for the Lord's healing touch, and how he has provided laughter as a way to ease pain for us.  Today was beautiful, despite the ups and downs I felt. David and I laid in bed tonight, and we started talking about random things, and we just started laughing. And let me tell you, it wasn't the small giggle laugh either. It was the full on, belly-hurting, can't-breathe, head-pounding kind of laugh.  It was the kind of laugh where you're pretty sure you're going to die if you don't stop to get air.  It was pure bliss and raw beauty together.  Although we're both trying to wrap our heads around this twist of events, and even though we're not sure how Monday will go or what will be said, today was a bit of medicine for our hearts and spirits.

I'm also thankful for my bestie today.  I have so many beautiful friends who will always be there for me and they are all blessings. Today, however, my bestie just sat with me for hours. She sat there, playing with our golden retriever, just listening to me talk or sitting in silence, or watching me fill out paperwork.  She didn't care that we weren't doing anything at all, but she was there for support.  She ended up going back to school this year, and that has allowed her time to hang out with me every week. In my opinion, God really worked his magic here, because I need her right now and she never fails.  I would be blessed even if today was the only day she's spent with me like that, but it's not. Her patience, understanding, sympathy, and wisdom never cease to amaze me.  She is a true blessing in my life.  

Paperwork and a Rollercoaster

Today has been filled with paperwork.  If I was ever shy about sharing any part of my medical history, I'm certainly not anymore.  Today I answered about every medical question I could ever imagine.  10 pages of family history and personal history questions takes forever to get through, but I finally finished..well I finished MY section of the paperwork.  When David gets home, we'll work on his section.

We have not wanted to share this fertility journey with family/friends because it is personal to us, and it is hard to explain that we've failed to do something naturally that most people can do.  My mother, sisters, and a few VERY VERY close friends know, but other than that - no one knows.  Unfortunately, I had to lie to my mother-in-law today...I feel TERRIBLE about it. My husband doesn't know his family history (to be honest, I needed my mother's help for a lot of my family history).  Because of this, I needed to ask my mother-in-law for his side of the family's history. I told her that we had to see a geneticist because we eventually want to have children, and it required us to fill out a bunch of paperwork on his family history. I feel MISERABLE lying to her, but I didn't know what else to say.

Other than that, the day has been a little emotional. I find myself sad one minute and fine the next. I tell myself I could handle not having kids if I had to, and then I know I'm lying to myself.  I feel like I'm going to cry at any given second, but then I find myself laughing instead.  It's definitely going to be a rollercoaster of emotions for the next few days, weeks, months, years...who knows how long.

Telling my husband was hard.  VERY hard.  I told him I was ok with it, and then suddenly started crying. I think I sobbed for an hour straight last night, until I finally couldn't cry anymore.  We realized we are going to have some tough decisions to make, and some tough days ahead of us.  I'm glad that I have him by my side for this journey, that's for sure.

We came to the conclusion, when I could finally talk again after crying, that 2011 has been an exhausting and difficult year for us.  We have had a lot thrown at us, and we are having trouble in two major parts of our life: job and family.  We are stressed, tired, and sometimes defeated, but our love for each other keeps getting stronger.  We will both be VERY happy to ring in 2012 in a few months! :) 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ultrasound Update

Earlier, I posted a really short blog about the following information. Now, having time to reflect upon it and relax, I have edited the post (the information is the same, just written better now). 

Early this morning, I received a call from U of C regarding my ultrasound results.  The nurse, Karen, stated that there was nothing that required immediate attention, but there were some serious concerns about what the films showed.  She said that my high-risk OB felt the best course of action was to be set up with a reproductive endocrinologist (RE for short) who would help with infertility.

Immediately, upon hearing the word infertility, my heart sank.  I have always in the back of my mind thought we would need help getting pregnant. I have worried about it since I was a child due to my CF and very painful/irregular periods.  Hearing your fears confirmed, however, is a whole other feeling.  I was heartbroken.  I sat sobbing on the couch after getting off the phone with her, trying to compose myself.

The only thing I could figure out to do was to write.  That’s why this blog was so all over the place earlier.  I needed to get it out of my system and I wanted to share it with all of you, who were wondering about the results.  The writing helped ease my sadness and fears, and helped me realize that I needed to start a plan of action. 

Karen (my high-risk OB’s nurse) had set up the first available appointment with the RE.  She had wanted to get me in TODAY, but unfortunately he was 100% booked and could not see me until he returned from his 2 and ½ week trip out of the country.  She set up the appointment for Nov. 21 and told me to call the office to set up insurance and get directions.

I called the office and am already very impressed with the kindness of the staff.  The receptionist was amazingly comforting while explaining how everything would work.  She gave me the directions, including the fact that the office offers free parking – amazing when you consider it’s in DOWNTOWN Chicago.  The office is still through U of C, but it is their downtown campus – looks like we’ll be doing some Christmas shopping after the appointment!   She also gave me the link for all of the paperwork (all 10 pages of it, no exaggeration) that needs to be filled out prior to my arrival. 

From there, I called the insurance company.  Again, I was so grateful for their compassion and help with this situation.  They explained my benefits fully (what would/wouldn’t be covered).  They made sure I understood the insurance jargon, and they reassured me that they would be there if I needed help understanding any paperwork further down the line.  I will say, we are VERY blessed by our insurance coverage.  Almost everything will be covered. We will have to pay for part of it, but not the whole thing. Thank goodness.

After getting off the phone with the insurance company, the RE’s office called back and said they had a cancellation for next Monday!!! I am so grateful that I won’t have to wait 3 weeks to see the doctor. We can see him, figure out exactly what the ultrasound showed, and set up further testing.  I read the website and it said after the initial consultation, it will be 4-6 weeks worth of testing before they set up a plan. 

So how am I going to handle this? That’s the next question.  The answer: I’m making it a positive experience.  Yes, I had always wanted to have a baby naturally, without medical help, but that’s just not going to be possible.  I confided in one of my good friends earlier, and she said something very accurate: It will still be our baby – whether it happens naturally, from a petri dish, or I find one in the  driveway.  It will still be our child and we will love him/her the same.  And really, that’s the goal, isn’t it? A happy, healthy baby, regardless of the method it took to get there. 

I’m also deciding that this will be a way for me to form a closer relationship to God and to form a closer bond with my husband.  We will have to be there for each other like never before through this process.  It will strengthen our love and our marriage. 

If you've gotten this far and are still reading this - I'm impressed! I'm sorry it's so long, just a lot to share.  When I started this blog, I decided I would share everything with my readers.  That hasn’t changed.  There are a vast number of women who go through infertility, and there are many cysters who go through it as well.  There’s not enough information out there, and I will share my experience, my thoughts, my worries, and my accomplishments with you all.  I can guarantee that there will be times when what I share is emotional and poorly-written, but it will all be part of this journey.  If it can provide one OUNCE of comfort for someone else, then it’s all worth it to me. 

Also, keeping with what I said last night, I feel like I need to add what I'm thankful for today.  I'm thankful that I have access to tremendous doctors and medical support staff. I know many people are not nearly as fortunate as I am. I'm truly blessed.  I am thankful for the insurance we have, and for how much they are willing to cover during this process.  Also, I am very fortunate for my support system; my husband, mother, sisters, friends, and my CF community. I honestly don’t know how I would be handling this without that system.  Wow, am I blessed!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Welcome November

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.  ~Stanley Horowitz

Happy November everyone!

I thought this quote was beautiful, and I felt a need to share it with you all.  

November is historically a good month for me. I always feel a peace and warmth in this month, and today as the sun shone brightly across the sky, and the remaining leaves were fluttering down to the ground, I felt calm.  Since November brings Thanksgiving, I've decided to include at least one sentence in each post about what I'm grateful for this month.  I believe that gratitude is extremely important, and November is the perfect month to share it with others.  

Today, November 1, 2011, I am grateful for all of my readers.  I am continuously blessed to have people around the world reading and commenting on my writing. This blog has been life-changing, and I am so glad that I have found an outlet for my emotions with CF that also allows me to teach.   There are days where I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to say and others where I want to shout til the world can hear me.  I also feel like you, my readers, make me dedicated to posting all the time. This dedication, in turn, creates a better writer out of me.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for taking the time to read my blog.  

I called my hospital regarding my ultrasound results, and I should be hearing a call back about them tomorrow. My doctor's nurse confirmed what the tech had said: the right ovary is invisible and there are multiple cysts in my left ovary. She was unsure if it was urgent or not, but said that she would have the doctor check the scans tomorrow and she would call me back. I'm eagerly awaiting that phone call.  

Other than that, not much is going on around here. I'm finding the more I try to control things in my life, the more out of control they become. I think this is God telling me to let him take over - that's my goal for this month. I feel a deep need to connect spiritually with the Lord, and I'm planning on working on it as much as possible.  I know faith has helped me heal many wounds, feel confident in life, and worry less. I need to start getting back to a faith-driven life desperately.  I'm just thankful that God gives us many chances because I seem to screw up a lot :-/

As we ease into this month, I hope you all are having a wonderful week. I challenge you to also think about what you are grateful for each day for a month straight :) It helps put everything in perspective.