Sunday, December 28, 2008

We're Home

And I'm useless.

I have mountains of laundry to conquer, gifts to exchange and misc items to find a home for but I am planted firmly on my couch, snuggled up in my big Blues Clues comforter.

I am so tired I can barely function....add to that, my guts are on complete strike. I am paying a huge price for dinner Friday and breakfast yesterday. I slept the day away as soon as I got enough of the house put back together yesterday (you know my anal retentive self can't rest with the house in too much disarray). And slept all night with no problems. And I'm sleepy now.

I have pictures to post and a recap of our week away. For now, I'm off to watch mindless television.

Hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Status? Already Over It

Let me start by saying I am in no way, shape, form or fashion NOT completely and totally over the moon about our upcoming week out of town. It's the 'getting there' part that has me in a slump.

Thank the Lord we don't have visitors often at our house or else I would have to issue hardhats and have people sign waivers before entering. If you come through the front door you will no longer notice my stunningly beautiful tree but you will instead be greeted by Steven's ginormous suitcase. I am certain this thing is older than me and I could totally fold up in it...yes, it's that large. And ugly. Did I mention he covets this suitcase and we've moved it several times yet this is the only time I can actually recall it being used? I bought us beautiful shiny new luggage just for this trip. I come home to find he's packed. And used the giant suitcase. Don't be looking for any tales of my trying to get that thing anywhere. If it doesn't have a pull up handle and smooth gliding wheels, I don't fool with it.
Arissa was so darn excited about the new luggage she claimed one of the larger pieces, leaving Isaiah with 2 mismatched pieces to handle all his clothes. His shoes? Yeah, she took all the room for those, too. My dining room table is covered in ecofriendly Kroger bags overflowing with baking supplies, spices, and snacks. The bar is being occupied by a large Rubbermaid container that will double as a coffin in a pinch. I have a cooler that will be packed tomorrow. Then there's the big ol' bird to wrangle and booze to pack. MUST. NOT. FORGET. BOOZE.

I should have paid someone to get us there. At this point I am thinking it would have been money well spent.

Let's not even discuss the conversation I had with Steven regarding my shoes. Let's just say they are getting their OWN suitcase. Priorities, people! And where else did you think Arissa got it from?

hm?

Is it terribly horrible of me for my biggest concern of the upcoming week being that I may or may not have internet access while out of town?

Nevermind the logistics of Christmas not at home or the laundry that needs to be done or the packing I haven't even started for 4 people over 7 days or the last minute grocery shopping I need to do or the Christmas dinner I am preparing....

You know, a girl's gotta have her priorities in order!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Surgery Off. Surgery On.

My surgeon had a ginormous kidney stone that had to be surgically removed therefore leaving him unable to saw on my jaws. My new date is December 31st at noon. Happy New Years to me!

In other news...Here is the most awesomest Christmas jingle going. I have been wearing it out for awhile now and it was sung at church last week. Seriously, I love some Faith Hill and this song just gives me goose bumps. In 2008 A Baby Changed Everything.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Morning with Baby Hunter


He was laughing at Al Roker on the Today Show


Aunt Anne teaching him the fine art of self portraits



Another try at the self portrait


Ceiling fan man



Aunt Anne put some clothes on me NOW!!!




All dressed and waiting for Uncle 'Tebie to get home


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Basketball and Fiddles

Steven is once again playing men's league basketball at the rec center. Steven and 2 other guys are the only team members who AREN'T PHYSICISTS. Let's just say scientists can't ball. It's going to be a long season.



Let me set up the above photo for you: Jayden (Johnnie & Melissa's little guy) comes into the gym and immediately drops his pants...to reveal his 'basketball shorts'. Then pulls off his sweatshirt to reveal his 'basketball shirt'. He watches the game like a hawk always looking for that perfect chance to run out on the court. He watches the guys run to the other end and off he goes, running out just enough to be 'on the court' but not enough to get in trouble. He is always back in his spot in plenty of time, thanks to his 'fast shoes'. Notice in the above picture his stance. He stayed like that until Steven and Johnnie stood upright.




Here is Ms. Arissa at her very first fiddle concert(actually its a violin but he torture her). Her portion was a whopping 10 minutes. Considering they've only been playing since Septemberish they weren't too bad. Of course, that didn't stop Steven, Daddy, Mom and I from cracking oodles of jokes. The Ode to Joy was more like Ode to Death.







And here we have what I like to call 'a lesson learned'. The lesson being that if you don't cooperate with the photographer you will most certainly be exposed on the internets. My advice, Sara Baker? Smile next time. As for Todd, well he was the victim of trigger delay on my part (and is that my finger on the edge?). He was a good sport and tried to take a friendly photo with his wife.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Short and Sweet

Here's the point....

My jaw is whacked out and locks open. Often. And with great pain.

I saw the jaw guru today.

I have surgery (tentatively) scheduled for next week.

He is going to shave my bone down and repair the damage I've done since April after my FIRST surgery for this problem.

If it isn't one thing, it's another and lately it seems to just be piling up.

I am starting to think God skipped over a few people and is double dipping on me again!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

More Disappointment.....

I talked to my GI today.
Latest test results were normal.
I am to wait until January when I see him in the office and to call if things get worse.

I am mad
I am aggravated
I am defeated

I will get over it
I will go on

Tomorrow is a new day
Tomorrow I will not cry about this
Tomorrow I will live
But tonight, I'm sad

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wedding Wrecks

As a past bride who was pretty far from Bridezilla status (well, except for that little incident the day of with the florist) I would have LOST MY MIND if my baker had rolled up with these gems. Thankfully, my disaster was remedied with new flowers and 2 awesome friends making my bouquet 30 minutes before I walked down the aisle. I haven't the slightest clue what these poor brides did.....

Click here for the shock and awe of wedding wrecks....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Update on my 'guts'

There was good, bad and ugly with Dr Brown (the GI) today.

The good--he is NOT giving up. I go a week from tomorrow for a gastric emptying test to check the motility of my guts. He is wondering if things aren't working as they should since I get full so fast then have severe discomfort after eating. If motility is the culprit, there are medications. He brought up the motility issue before I presented it to him. He also brought up the Mayo clinic. He said he understands if I want to go and he would help me get there if that is what we decide to do. Again, he brought this up, not me. We (Steven & I) have decided to exhaust all our local options before heading to Mayo but it is good to know we have Dr Brown's support if/when we make that decision.

The bad--I was down 2 more pounds since my last visit.

The ugly--a feeding tube is a very real possibility if things don't turn around by the time I see him in January. This is certainly not a path I want to travel but it is what it is and if that is what I need to be healthy, then so be it. Hopefully, if that is needed, it will be short term and enough to jump start my guts to behaving.

Again, we wait and trust

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nothing's Up....

or wrong, just nothing going on!

I've been sick since Monday and returned to work on Thursday. Nothing major, just typical crud that everyone else has. I feel much better with the exception of the insanely annoying scratchy throat that is lingering.

Today I have major grocery shopping to tackle. Our regular groceries need to be shopped for and I am buying everything I can at this time for our Christmas dinner. That I will be preparing. By myself. In a condo in Gatlinburg. I am super excited! Worse case scenario, we'll be found at Shoney's for Christmas dinner. Either way, it will be a memorable Christmas for us.

Isaiah brought home his mid-term with all A's and B's! We are very proud of him and hope he keeps those grades up.

Like I said, nothing going on here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

And she shall be called Spinderella






Steven met Tommy (our neighbor) to pick up our washer today. The one that was ordered for me didn't come in and the floor model was sold earlier today. So, the owner upgraded us to a nicer, bigger model at no additonal 'cost' to us. God continues to amaze me.

And Daddy...your stand works perfect! Thanks so much for doing that for us!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

When you BELIEVE....

We found a new church home and for the first time in my memory I am not only excited about going to church, but I feel very lost when I don't go. I have a new found interest in my faith. Don't get me wrong, I am still way flawed and have an extremely long road to hoe in this journey but I feel the promise of a new day. I was excited this week to have God show me His hand in my life. Truthfully, excited wasn't the word...scared is more like it....hard to explain if you haven't been where I am.

As I stated before, the washing machine I bought 8 years ago (used) for $150 spun its last load and that was all she wrote. I was livid. So mad that we are struggling the way we are and the thing picks now to die. Last year it wouldn't have been any big deal. We would have wheeled down to the Maytag store and bought one that same day. This year, the idea of replacing an appliance makes me tick. So I panicked then somehow I let it go. A week passed and Steven I met at the Maytag store to hunt for a 'scratch and dent' bargain. After a few minutes of speaking with the owner I realized that this was a new owner, new store name....DUDE NEEDS NEW SIGNS! So, we chatted and I gave him my card. He mentioned that he would work with me on whatever I needed if I'd work with him on a sign. DUH! Monday I talked to Todd about it, he offered to give the sale to a salesman, I said 'no', if he would help me, I wanted to sell it. I went back to the Maytag store Thursday morning with the intention of buying a washer flat out (still working with the man on his sign but it takes longer than a few days to get a sign deal together and Momma needed a washer). Ended up coming out of there with a nicer washer than I planned on getting with nothing out of my pocket. Got to the office and met with my old boss about cleaning the office and he brought me a photocopy of his devotional for that day. And it was what I needed to hear. At the end of the day, Todd went out to run a few errands and came back with a package for me that took the air out of my lungs. It was the Bible I had been eyeballing and just the night before had told Steven I wanted. I had not told Todd about the conversation with Steven. I picked up Isaiah from his tutor and she handed me a Daily Devotional for Dec-Jan-Feb. A perfect gift to help me in my journey and the perfect companion to my new Bible.

Before I would have told you that "my planets had aligned" that day and "man, what a coincidence Thursday was!" Today, I will tell you that I have no doubts in my heart that it was God. Plain and simple. I have felt what it is really like when you 'LET GO AND LET GOD'...and it feels so good.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For those readers not in my email address book:

Hey All!

Arissa was selected to serve on the safety patrol for her school this year. Not only is this an awesome learning experience but it also gives her the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC for the AAA Safety Patrol trip.

As you can imagine, the cost of a 3 night/4 day trip isn't cheap. She is selling cookie dough as well as coffee and candles to offset the cost. Arissa gets 30% of her sales applied to her trip bill.

You can visit www.classiccookie.com to see the flavors available. Arissa is selling the following categories:

Cookie Dough Tubs ($15.00)
Specialty Coffee & Cocoa ($15.00)
Pre-portioned Cookie Dough ($16.00)
Brownie ($16.00)
Mason Jar Candles ($16.00)
Premium Candles ($19.00)
Cookie Scoop ($11.00)


If you would like to help by making a tax deductible donation directly to her account, please let me know and I can get you the information.

The "goody" sale ends Dec 2 with a delivery date of Dec 11. "Straight" donations don't have to be turned until after the first of the year.

If anyone has opportunities for Arissa to earn money for her trip, please let me know. She really wants to go and has committed to working hard to raise the money.

We thank you SO MUCH for anything you are able to help with, including those very important prayers!

It truly takes a village-
Steven, Anne & Arissa

Thursday, November 6, 2008

When the left hand doesn't talk to the right hand

I have been waiting for a week to hear from my neuro about a plan for my treatment since my stupid insurance denied my claim for Botox. The nurse finally got a plan from him and called me today. The plan? Have a sleep study. Um, yeah. Been there, done that. The problem? The sleep people didn't send the results (normal) to the neuro. Now, my neuro is out of town until Tuesday which means I am still in a holding pattern. This really aggravates me since I have had a migraine EVERY DAY FOR TWO WEEKS. I have been able to function with them and today was the first time it was really bad but even still, I don't consider DAILY MIGRAINES a high quality of life. Yes, I am using CAPS LOCK excessively because I am that AGGRAVATED. I wonder if these people just DON'T GET IT. They claim to. They are very sympathetic and feel 'just terrible' for me but apparently not enough to GET OFF THEIR ASSES AND FIGURE SOMETHING OUT ALREADY. I know if I call and throw a fit the only reply I will get will be to go to the ER if the pain gets worse and I can't get it to subside....which only makes me feel worse with the way I am treated. Talk about a crappy situation to be in.

Do you ever wonder why things happen? Do you ever wonder why some live their whole life with no more than the occasional cold while others struggle daily just to live? Do you ever think that "God never gives us more than we can handle," but think that maybe he loses count and 'double dips' on some people?

Monday, November 3, 2008

What's Up In Our World

Let's see what's going on with the Freeman's

  • Isaiah brought home an awesome report card (all A's and B's). With the exception of his Business class (an elective class...meaning he picked it which to me means he should elect to do the work). This class killed the whole report card with a D. This is the class that has brought our family lots of laughs. Part of this class is a virtual world. He has virtual parents, turned 16, got a virtual car (a 1993 Chrysler Town and Country. Maroon. Simulated wood paneling), had to buy virtual tires and maintenance, has a virtual car payment. Of course, to spend money you have to make money. He is now your virtual pizza maker at Domino's. Boy is crushed his pay is only $6.10 per hour. He quickly figured out his plans to 'pimp his ride' would have to be put on hold. He is trying to figure out how to meet his financial obligations and still afford gas in his virtual van. Welcome to the real world, kid. Elective or not, we don't tolerate poor grades and more importantly, poor effort and therefore Isaiah is only allowed to breath and eat for the next 10 days which could be extended depending on his compliance.
  • Arissa is still plugging along. Cheerleading came to an end last Saturday and officially closed this past Thursday with our banquet. Please remind me next year to keep my mouth SHUT and not volunteer for this gig again. Really, it wasn't that bad. Most of my frustrations were on Saturdays with the insane delays we had to deal with on game days and that was the fault of the 'powers that be' and not my girls or parents. Arissa is insisting on cheering again next year so it looks like I'll have to deal with the insanity for one more year but I'll be on the easier side of the bench.
  • Steven is the same. He compares his life to the movie "Groundhog Day".
  • Me in summary...very little change. Insurance denied my Botox; waiting on neuro to figure out what to do next. I had a migraine every day last week....something must be done. No change on the GI mystery. I've gained no weight but the pain has decreased so that is a blessing. I'm not sure if things are really any better or if I'm just used to feeling like shit all the time.
  • We hosted our annual Halloween Roast and Toast. The gang was all here with the exception of Joseph (too cool for us) and Kathy (too sick for human interaction). We had a good time with it being on a Friday night and no rush to get it done and in the bed for school the next morning. No one lost an eye or ate a cold weenie, and I think we lost very few marshmallows in a ball of fire.
  • Our washing machine is dead. It works...if you don't want your clothes to agitate and therefore get clean.
  • Isaiah and Arissa are still 'working out' with Steven. Whatever that means....I don't get into that whole ordeal.

I think that's got you caught up for now...

Stop reading and GO VOTE!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hunter Love and Crazy Day

I don't rise until 730am. Isaiah and Arissa wake themselves up, get ready for school, eat, brush, etc. then wake me up when it is time to leave for school. I roll out of the bed, pee, throw on my shoes, grab my keys and take them in my jammies. Most days I come home and lay back down for 30 or 45 minutes before getting ready for work. I used to be at work at 730 every morning. Those days are looonnnnggg gone.

This morning was different. Carol's sitter was sick so she needed someone to watch Hunter. His Uncle Tebie (Steven) volunteered to watch the little fellow. So that meant I needed to be up and ready by 7am. We were supposed to leave promptly at 7 to meet Carol in Oliver Springs at 715. Got the kids in the truck and it was dead. Not just a little dead. A whole lot dead. So after cussing I called Carol, told her she would have to bring Hunter to me, called Steven to vent, then called AAA for some roadside assistance. I told Arissa she would have to ride the bus, checked the bus schedule to see what time she needed to leave and sat back and waited. I sent Arissa out the door, in the 29degree weather, to hitch a ride on the school bus. She wasn't gone a minute when I heard her bust back through the front door and drop her bags. I met her on the stairs and she was out of breath, trying not to cry and see through her fogged up glasses. Apparently there was a strange car that pulled up next to her and stopped. She stood there for a minute then her gut instinct kicked in and sister turned tail and ran like hell home. I looked out the door but the car was gone. (We found out later today that it was actually a well meaning neighbor with tinted windows and since it was still dark outside it made it even harder for Arissa to see who it was. Regardless, I am proud of Arissa for trusting her gut and running).

Carol pulls up a few minutes later with Hunter and his gear. We got the low down from her. She gave her kisses and was off. We waited for the AAA man who finally showed up about the same time Hunter decided he was hungry. So I made him a bottle, sat him in his carrier on top of the video game and rolled a blanket to prop the bottle. Isaiah was pretty impressed with my skills and I informed him this wasn't my first trip to the rodeo; told them to make sure he didn't choke or end up with the nipple in his ear. Dealt with AAA man, got the truck started and off to the dentist we went, a mere 30 minutes late. Got Isaiah taken care of, dropped both kids off at school, sent Steven and Hunter home to sleep and couldn't find my phone. So I came home to see if it was here or at the dentist (Steven had it) left again and went straight to Starbucks for some sanity in a cup then FINALLY headed to work.

Slow day at work except for the fact that my guts were working overtime and my head was hurting. I hung around until 3 then came home for a nap before PT. I met Steven and crew at PT where I got Hunter, who hung with the receptionist while I did my exercises, then delivered him back to Carol. I am now firmly planted in my recliner and dinner is 'find it and fix it'. This Momma is D-O-N-E!!


The scene I walked into when I came home to look for my phone:



Isaiah took these:




Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Workout World









I find it funny that Arissa got all pimped out in her workout gear; Isaiah was just 'whatev' and worked out in the same clothes he had on. She is certainly my child.
My idea of a workout:





Friday, October 24, 2008

Click here for a post that brought tears to my eyes....for more reason than one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hard Day

I came home from work at 4 o'clock. I sat at my desk for hours before with tears in my eyes, gripping the sides of my chair, waiting for the waves of pain to pass. I decided that enough was enough when I couldn't see the numbers on the sheet I was working on. Somehow I made it home, white-knuckling the steering wheel the entire drive. I walked in the door, sat down my stuff, took off my shoes, and curled into a ball on the couch. I stayed that way for over an hour then finally fell off to sleep. I woke up with mascara tears streaked down my face and the pain had eased up. Steven offered to take me to the hospital a few minutes after I got home but I declined...I already know they can't help me. I have no idea why the pain eased nor do I know why it is increasing again as I type. I was so uncomfortable today. All I took in was 2 bites of dry cereal, a few sips of coffee and a tic tac. I made myself finish a nutrition drink once I got home but it took until after my nap to get it all down. Today was not good, hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Steven took Isaiah and Arissa to the dentist today. Yesterday they both went to the orthodontist. Isaiah got his bracket and wire fixed from where I had tinkered on them with the wire pliers, kitchen scissors and nail file and Arissa was evaluated for the need for braces. Shockingly (only if you've never seen her), Arissa does require braces. She goes back next month for impressions then the following month we'll meet for the game plan then in January she should have them. He didn't mention the need to have any teeth pulled but she may require a small procedure to cut her lip free from her gum line. Isaiah has a month off. He still has his brackets but there isn't a wire running through them. His teeth have moved so much and so fast that his gums are swollen so they want to let them rest. Isaiah has a small cavity that will be filled next week and Arissa is cavity free and had her spacer taken out.

Thank you, Daddy. Your support of me means more than words can express. I knew what you did but seeing it in print made it real. I love you.

Trying to remember all I've been blessed with....
Anne

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Skinny on Skinny Me...

After 2 hours in the doctors office then 2 more hours at the hospital today, we still don't have answers BUT we are in the process of looking in places not yet explored. Dr. Brown (ha, GI with the last name Brown...tacky joke, I know) renewed his vow to me to not stop until he ruled out everything under the sun. He also reminded me how complicated my case is and that he is no closer to knowing what is going on than he was when he first saw me in the hospital. I didn't expect to leave his office with a diagnosis today so I wasn't letdown. I was praying for a plan, and God answered. A plan we have and it involves 'collections' and the Mayo Clinic as well as some blood work and imaging. I have a few more visits to the hospital to make this weekend and Monday so I have to keep on my lovely hospital bracelet...should make for interesting discussions when in the presence of unknowing folks. At this point, I really don't care. If you know me enough to inquire about a hospital bracelet and don't at least *think* something is going on then you are blind as a damn bat.

I am tired, frustrated, uncomfortable, scared and ready to have my life back but I am not hopeless and that makes the rest of it a wee bit easier to handle.

And to answer the question everyone asks when I go to the doctor...today's weight was 119 before deductions for shoes and clothes...so almost 30 pounds in 3ish months.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election 2008

I'm one of those people that makes it a policy not to discuss politics (and religion) in public forums. The reasons are pretty simple...people are passionate about their beliefs and no matter how much you try to make them see things 'your' way, it just ain't gonna happen. I have friends that are passionate about McCain being the ONLY choice; I have friends that are passionate about Obama being the ONLY choice. I have friends that believe in a god but not necessarily God, and some that live their life by the word of the Bible with no wavering whatsoever. Me? I keep my mouth shut. Some might see it as being a coward or not believing enough in my choice. I see it as a simple lesson in picking your fights. This lesson I learned early, as a new mother, and it has served me well. I will say that I do listen to what each side has to say and to a limited degree, it will factor into my decision on election day. This is only because it seems like everyone but me has infinite amounts of time to spend on the Internet researching everything printed about their candidate (good things) and the opposition (bad things). Basically, I let the ramblings and passion of others give me some jumping off points in my own research and go from there. It would be selfish and irresponsible of me to not vote or to make a choice based on the musings of others so I have to research. As my momma always says, if you don't vote you can't complain. I will say that this is the first election that I've paid much attention to. The first time I was legal to vote was the last time I voted. Am I proud, no. But it's a fact. So this November I will vote..and I will not divulge who I vote for, so don't even ask. I think you should vote, too.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A family kind of week

Adding to the stresses of my ongoing health struggles was the death of my new, beloved camera. Fuji was my friend and perhaps, I wore him out. He suddenly stopped working. I bought him new batteries thinking that would perk him up...no dice. Fuji is now repacked and headed back to the land of HSN for a replacement. Yes, I realize it is just a camera and there are far worse tragedies in this world but I had coveted Fuji for months, had visited him in the store to play, with promises that one day I would bring him home and he would be mine. He sat useless on my kitchen table all week. THIS was the week I needed him. Grandma Mary was here, Georgene came for a visit, we went to the St. Mary's Fall Festival where Arissa climbed the rock wall and bungee jumped, I saw Hunter no less than 4 times this week. Those moments lay only in my mind as Fuji was not available to capture these moments for eternity. I have hopes that the fine folks at HSN will be speedy in sending a replacement; I have concerns that there will be no more Fuji's available and I will have to choose another model. My family hasn't turned me in for a different model even though I am broken...why should I have to do the same to Fuji?

Okay, I'm done whining about Fuji.

So, Grandma Mary and Aunt Marti blew into town on their way home from visiting other family in Illinois. We all went out to Mom and Dad's on Thursday night to visit and have supper. It was a joint effort of our culinary skills...Mom went all out and put not one but TWO pans of Stouffer's lasagna in the oven, I made a tossed salad, Carol heated up garlic bread and Kathy made a pan of brownies and family favorite, chocolate eclair. No one cared what we ate; we got full, loved on Hunter (and each other), got our fill of Gma Mary pink lipstick kisses and had a nice night. It has been quite awhile since all of us were together to eat and hang. I had forgotten how fun we can be when we're all together. It was merely a stop-over for Gma and Aunt Marti so they were gone as fast as they had arrived.

Friday night the kids and I went to the grocery store then came home to clean our super gross house. I did the best I could with my limited amount of energy and strength but was disappointed that I didn't go full force for the entire house. It is much better than it was so it wasn't a total loss. Steven was gone to the Oak Ridge football game so it was just me, the kids and the iPod. I always get distracted at the same point in their play list...the Cupid Shuffle. Isaiah found it most comical that I was vacuuming and shuffling at the same time. I think he was screaming for me to stop before someone saw me (who? I don't know) but I just laughed and shuffled on.

Saturday we were supposed to cheer in Campbell County but again, the disorganization of the VFC threw a wrench in our plans. We found out on our way to the game that the time had been changed from 1pm to 6pm. After making frantic phone calls to my squad to go back home we stopped at Willow Ridge Nursery. Steven and I have a weakness for Willow Ridge. They make shrubs and flowers look like child's play and those folks have gotten more of my money than I care to admit. We did a really good job and just looked Saturday with the only purchase being a birthday gift for Georgene. Steven wanted to go to the golf course, I had a family activity in mind. It was a beautiful day and the St. Mary's Fall Festival was happening. We'd never gone (the kids had with Grandma) so we decided to give it a shot. We met up with Mom and Georgene and I turned into super-crab. It was one of those days that I really wanted to have fun but nothing was making me happy. I admitted I was a crab, which is half the battle right? Anyways, it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I think Arissa is the only one that had a good time. We came home for a few hours then headed out to Mom & Dad's for dinner to celebrate Georgene's 65th birthday. We don't typically celebrate her birthday but this was a 'big' one and she happened to be in town. It was the least we could do for the woman that has been with our family for as long as my memory stretches, has let me be sick in her bed, puke in her car, has seen us through unexpected babies, failed marriages, remarriages, moves, and all the twists and turns our lives have taken. She dotes on our kids like they are her own grandkids and our kids love her as much as they love their other grandparents. Daddy fried chicken wings and fries, I brought my now favorite pasta salad (thanks Sara, my Daddy loves the Italian dressing pasta salad), and we hung out around a fire. Good times, good times.

Today we've killed and buried a mouse, went to church, ate lunch, made dip cones, done laundry, washed cars and the house and watched football.

Arissa FINALLY goes back to school tomorrow. The child has been out for a month and we (and her) are ready for her to be back in a routine. Isaiah has a fall break coming up in a week or two and it will be his turn to sleep while the other is at school. Tomorrow I start PT for my knee. I saw an ortho guy last week who put a really long needle in it, gave me a diagnosis, and was optomistic about the chances of my recovery without surgery.

So, I think that is about all for now. Thanks for hanging with me...I will be sure to post after my long awaited GI appointment on Friday. I ask your prayers for answers (or at least plans to get answers), wisdom of the doctor, patience for me and everyone else that crosses my path, and peace for whatever comes out of this.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sometimes I Realize God Does Listen

After writing the post the other day and crying on my way to the doctors office (only to make a delivery..not to see a doctor) the elevator door opened and there stood my doctor. I swear I could hear the angels singing as our eyes met. He asked me if I could hang around for a few minutes because he wanted to see me. Of course, I agreed. Two hours and twenty dollars later I was leaving. Still no answers but my emotional health was better. He assured me that just because my tests are normal DOES NOT mean there isn't anything wrong. I had lost another pound in the 5 days since I'd been in his office. He wrote me a script for a pill to try that is supposed to calm the lining of my colon. So far I don't notice a change but I've not eaten much, either. I am still waiting to see my GI on the 17th but now I feel like I can make it until then where before I felt like I would die before I saw the 17th.

My physical hasn't improved but my mental has....and that makes handling the physical a little easier.

Oh...and I didn't intend for my previous post to turn into a love fight of my supporters! I totally appreciate it though and each comment brought a smile to my face. I love you all the mostest too and I don't know where I'd be without you guys. Thanks for sticking around, even when I'm no fun to be around.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Honesty Post

As you probably know by now, posts with only photos or no posts at all is usually a sign that things aren't okay. In this case, that holds true. Things aren't okay. No matter how much I smile, how many times I say I'm fine, how much make up I plaster on to hide behind...I am most certainly NOT fine.



We thought going off the Topamax was the answer to all of my issues. That after a few weeks the medicine would be out of my system and I would be able to eat and my body wouldn't reject what I was putting into it. Weeks have turned into over a month and I now weigh less than I did when I was admitted to the hospital. I don't have a terrific appetite but even making myself eat has not produced the results we thought it would. I eat..my body rejects (one way or the other, without getting graphic). The cycle is relentless, it doesn't matter what I eat, how much I eat, when I eat. I've had a CT and lab work...NORMAL. I don't see my GI until the 17th. I hoped my ID would get me a quicker appointment but I'm not hanging my hat on that.



I am at the end of my rope with this deal. I honestly don't know what to do. Doing nothing doesn't help; going to doctors doesn't help; crying doesn't help. I just don't feel good and it makes it really hard to keep on like everything is fine, but saying it's not okay is just as hard.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

FORT SANDERS REGIO
Private Room 08-25-08 to 08-29-08 $2384.00
Drugs 08-25-08 to 08-29-08 $ 375.18
Med/Surg Supplies 08-25-08 to 08-29-08 $158.99
Laboratory Services 08-25-08 to 08-29-08 $859.00
Laboratory Services 08-25-08 to 08-29-08 $158.00
Laboratory Services 08-25-08 to 08-29-08 $130.00
Laboratory Services 08-25-08 to 08-29-08 $483.00
Laboratory Services 08-25-08 to 08-29-08 $32.00
Drugs 08-25-08 to 08-29-08 $355.82
Diag. Medical Exam 08-25-08 to 08-29-08 $480.00

Total $5415.99

Total Benefits Approved $5415.99

Amount You May Owe Provider $0.00

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Medical Hodge-podge

Let's see...First of all, Arissa is doing terrific! Her incisions are looking great and her energy level is pretty good. She had to go to the eye doctor yesterday and our fears were confirmed..the kid needs glasses. So, she picked out a super cute pair of glasses and she should have them in 7-10 days.

Isaiah's eyes seemed fine (and the insurance won't pay for an exam until 2009) so he'll go back in a year unless something changes between now and then. I wish I had some great glorious news to share about our boy but that isn't the case. His midterm came home with less than stellar grades. That's all I've got to say about that.

Steven is still trucking along and remains the only constantly healthy member of our family.

I saw my neuro on Monday who fell wretched about my Topamax ordeal and apologized all over himself. I appreciated his words and could tell that he took it personally what I have been through. He is planning to report my case to the manufacturer of the drug. He is also contacting my insurance company to fight for Botox approval. This is a tried and true method for me and he feels he has a pretty good shot given the Topamax nightmare. He is also sending me for a sleep study to see if that is a culprit in the migraine mystery. Yesterday I saw my PCP about my knee and other items. The MRI came back normal but he said my knee is clearly NOT normal and is sending me on to a specialist. He does feel that surgery WON'T be necessary so I am thanking God for small blessings. Unfortunately, I have lost more weight (this much I knew) and when I explained my symptoms and typical day he felt that it wasn't a matter of my body getting used to food again (that should have improved weeks ago) and that I need to be seen by my GI. I also got a script for a sinus infection. I told him what was wrong with me, the medicine I needed and the dosage. He said while I am a complicated person, at least I know what I need and also know when to ask for help. I took that as a compliment.

And so...the saga continues.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Caution! Surgery Photos at the end...



So after sitting at the football field for 2 extra hours (I am really over VFC football and their jacked up sense of time) and getting sunburned yesterday all I really wanted to do when I got home was shower and eat. My family wanted to meet Mr. Hunter. Not that I blame them one bit. So, I showered and ate in the car. We got there and Steven went right for the sink, washed up and took the baby right from Carol without a moments hesitation. He FINALLY gave the baby to me and proceeded to undress him so I could check out his parts. Steven let me hold and snuggle for a little bit but then took him back. Isaiah and Arissa were a bit timid about holding him. They both finally did and Isaiah even changed positions without problem (Isaiah also got him to poo, Ha!). So we aggravated him enough that he finally woke up and boy, was he hungry! We took that as our cue to exit.

We got back just in time for me to meet Sara in Mexico (El Cantarito's) for dinner. We had the most horrific service and my food was sent back. I had eaten chips and salsa so wasn't hungry anyways so I didn't let them bring me something else. Total dinner bill=$2.00! We left there and went to Starbucks for coffee and dessert. Sara bought me a coffee and a goody and we found a table outside where we stayed for the next 3 hours. Four hours spent with my Sara was good for my heart and soul and just what I needed after my week and frankly, my month. Sara and I have decided that since our husbands spend so much time together on the golf course we are entitled to at least one night a month to hang. The only interruption I had was a phone call from Isaiah who told me his wire came out. Not just loose or poking him but out as in HOLDING IT IN HIS HAND. He also lost a bracket. Sweet!!! I'll be phoning the orthodontist in the morning.

Arissa is recovering nicely. She did overdo it yesterday and had to take a pill when we got back from Carol's. Tonight she took a shower and washed her hair.

Tomorrow I see my neuro about my wretched Topamax experience and to see what we try next. I hope to hear early this week about the MRI on my knee. Tuesday the kids and Steven have eye appointments. It's always something with us!

Here are some pics of Arissa's incisions. If you don't like icky (they aren't that bad) then stop reading now:







Saturday, September 20, 2008

Yes, We are home....

I've just been too damn tired to even think about updating the blog. We got home Wednesday afternoon. I didn't sit down and headed right back out to do some serious grocery shopping. We had nothing in this house and I knew if I didn't do it then I wouldn't do it later. I managed going to Kroger, Kmart and Walgreens; putting all the groceries away; getting the fridge arranged so Arissa would have access to all of her food; arranged her flowers in a vase; fixed dinner and unpacked; BEFORE I fell asleep trying to eat my dinner. I think I was out by 7pm. Isaiah woke me up at 730 to take him to school and I came back home and crashed until 1030. I would have slept more but Steven woke me up. I headed into work with one eye open. I was there only a few hours and Todd was sending me back out the door. I let Steven sleep and took Isaiah to the orthodontist. Came home, slept until 530, then headed to cheerleading practice. Friday morning I had to go for an MRI of my left knee and could barely keep my eyes open through the very loud test. I came home from that, snuggled in the bed with my girl, and got some serious z's. I slept another 9 hours last night and woke up today feeling pretty good.


Arissa is doing wonderful. She has kept us busy playing lots of board games but otherwise hasn't been any trouble. She has a great attitude and hasn't been in much pain. She hasn't taken any medicine since Thursday night and then she only needed it because she was squatting in her floor, lost her balance, and stabbed herself in the belly button with a marker. Her belly button incision started bleeding and was hurting. We have talked about her NOT doing such balancing acts for a few weeks.


Isaiah has been awesome through this whole ordeal. He decided to stay home from the high school game last night cause he didn't want to leave his sister. He plays whatever game she wants, gets her drinks and snacks, helps me by running up and down the stairs so I don't have to. He's a really big help.

Melissa and Jayden came over last night to bring Arissa some cards from her classmates, a gift from her teacher and her make up work. Jayden had a great time playing with my Mater collection and playing 'girl' with Arissa's vanity. He knew where everything went...he applied 'nail polish', 'lipstick', 'dried' his hair, and planted a pink hat square on his head. Good thing Johnnie wasn't around! It was pretty funny though.


After I get finished at the football game, we are heading down to Harriman and Steven and the kids can meet Mr. Hunter. I have put Arissa off as long as I can so we'll head on down.


Here are a few pictures of Arissa pre and post op:

Smiling big and passing the time before surgery

After the drugs, just before they took her to the OR
Fresh out of surgery with her new friend (thanks, Aunt Kathy!)