Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not much to report

I'm still home from work healing from my surgery. I sleep a lot because the pain medicine makes me drowsy. In addition, I have an itchy reaction to tape. Since I have to remained taped until further notice I have to take at least 2 Benadryl a day. Talk about wiping me out! Mostly I'm just hanging out with Andrew and feeling like a drowsy T-Rex since I can't use my arms much. This morning I was still groggy from the Benadryl, but I decided I definitely needed a shower. Its a bit difficult to manage since I can't get the tape wet, but personal hygiene is important too! Thankfully, we have a hand-held shower-head, so I can direct its flow pretty easily. Of course, that requires quite a bit of arm movement. So by the time I'd washed my hair, washed my body, rinsed all of the above, and dried off, I was exhausted. I had to call Andrew in to dry my hair for me. Its just another reminder that God calls us to help one another AND to humble ourselves to ask for help when necessary. Tomorrow Andrew has physical therapy & I have my 2nd post-op appointment. Maybe I'll have more to report then!

Not much to report

I'm still home from work healing from my surgery. I sleep a lot because the pain medicine makes me drowsy. In addition, I have an itchy reaction to tape. Since I have to remained taped until further notice I have to take at least 2 Benadryl a day. Talk about wiping me out! Mostly I'm just hanging out with Andrew and feeling like a drowsy T-Rex since I can't use my arms much. This morning I was still groggy from the Benadryl, but I decided I definitely needed a shower. Its a bit difficult to manage since I can't get the tape wet, but personal hygiene is important too! Thankfully, we have a hand-held shower-head, so I can direct its flow pretty easily. Of course, that requires quite a bit of arm movement. So by the time I'd washed my hair, washed my body, rinsed all of the above, and dried off, I was exhausted. I had to call Andrew in to dry my hair for me. Its just another reminder that God calls us to help one another AND to humble ourselves to ask for help when necessary. Tomorrow Andrew has physical therapy & I have my 2nd post-op appointment. Maybe I'll have more to report then!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Success & worry

My surgery Thursday went very well. Dr. S had to do a bit more intensive stitching internally, but all-in-all it wasn't a bad experience. Dr. S told me that my expanders had slipped out from under the muscles and were only stretching my skin. The whole purpose of the expanders was to stretch the muscle. However, she doesn't seem to think it'll be a problem. She put at least 4 rows of stitches in a U shape on each breast. I was sent home in an elastic bandage and told not to attempt to move it. I didn't - mostly because I kept falling asleep.

Today I had my 1st post-op appointment with Dr. S. She removed the elastic bandage & revealed all the tape she has in the same U shape as the stitches underneath. I'm not to remove this tape until she gives me the 'all clear'. However, even with the bandage & tape (& swelling) my foobs actually feel real to the touch! They're soft & squishy! I'm so excited!!! I'm still in quite a bit of pain, so I'm *ALWAYS* sleepy.

This afternoon Andrew & I went to my mom's to pick up the kids. I stayed behind to chat with mom. About 30 minutes later, Andrew called & said there was something wrong with Rachel. She wouldn't/couldn't use her right arm. Mom & I rushed down the driveway. By the time we got here Andrew had her soothed, but as soon as someone touched or moved her arm, she screamed bloody murder. We (mom & I) resolved to take her to the ER. We chose the Methodist Hospital in Henderson b/c they have a *much* better ER. Poor little Rachel had to have her temperature taken in her diaper. Then they had mom go with her into the x-ray room to help hold her. Since I can't pick anything up heavier than 10lbs nor should I struggle with something like screaming flailing Rachel, I had to stand outside & just hear her wail. When the doors finally opened, the tech told me that as he was positioning her arm for one of the x-rays, he felt her elbow pop back into place. The x-rays apparently agreed with his assessment. She's fine now, but we are of course worried it'll happen again. They say nursemaid's elbow (her condition) happens quite frequently & there's little you can do to prevent it. However, the next time it happens, they said we could try to reset it ourselves by stretching her arm out a bit. Whether we'll do that or not, I'm not really sure. On the way home Rachel was doing her usual yodelling & giggling. She got a Ty raspberry colored bear for being a good girl. We've named him Razbear.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy birthday Simon!

Its hard to believe that this time 3 years ago Andrew & I didn't have any children - except for Simon in the womb. We were frantic that year because here in KY we'd had an ice/snow storm that practically stranded us out in the boonies where we live. We actually spent the night in town at my aunt Jacqueline's house to make sure we could get to the hospital on time. We were driving a big 4-wheel drive Dodge Ram truck that could go anywhere, but we didn't want me to be in labor & deliver in it! 

When we got to the hospital, I was already over 3 cm & 80%+ dilated. I was scheduled for 'augmentation' which was Dr. B's code for induction. Around 6 am they plugged me into the Pitocin drip. For many hours, nothing really happened. I read a 300 page book. When I'd have a contraction, I'd hold my breath & say, "That was a good one." Then Andrew & I would look at the monitors to see how 'good' of a contraction it was. Then the nurses kept coming in every 15 minutes or so to fiddle with my IV. They kept turning it down more & more. I had gone into labor on my own & they were no longer in control. I wasn't hurting much, so I decided to wait for Dr. B to break my water before getting my epidural. BIG MISTAKE!!! Once my water was broken the contractions started HURTING! They couldn't give me my epidural fast enough!!! However, I sat really still like a good little girl & they got me started quickly. About 2 hours after the epidural went in, Dr. B came in & asked me to push on her count. Andrew held my hand & coaxed me into breathing through the oxygen mask. Ten pushes later (about 10 minutes too), Simon was born at 6:36 pm February 14th. Ever since then our world has pretty much revolved around him.

On his first birthday we had a party for him. He did the requisite face-plant in his cake. He also attempted to blow the candles out himself. That night he decided he was a big boy and no longer wanted to nurse. I was happy, but also sad because it was already a sign of him growing up.

Last year, for his 2nd birthday, I was recovering from chemo while pregnant, delivering Rachel, and finishing up chemo after delivery. I was also preparing for my bilateral mastectomy and implant reconstruction. As a matter of fact, we had been in Houston for doctors' appointments on February the 11th, came home for Simon's party, and went back to Houston for my surgery February 19th. He had a tractor cake made by my mom & he LOVED it! He blew all his candles out and had a blast. He even shared the spot-light with Rachel to a degree since she was so little & new everyone wanted her.

This year for his birthday, all the usual suspects were present - my family gang! We had Kid's Haute Cuisine (basically kid favorites made much more tolerable to adult palates). Mom made scrumptious sugar cookies with home-made icing in race-car, hearts, & flowers. Some of them she skewered and made into a bouquet. Dad made Piglets in a Blanket (Lil Smokies = Piglets) and 6 various, but all delicious, dipping sauces. Jill made terrific corn fritters as well as comforting baked Mac 'n Cheese in cupcake pans. Laura & Rowan brought a chocolate fountain with strawberries, bananas, blueberries, & marshmallows. Can you say "YUM"? My contribution were bite-sized, crust-less PB&J sandwiches. As usual, the kids were having more fun running around than eating, but I think they all relished the fact that we had some of their favorite dishes available for them.  

We played "Put Yourself in the Driver's Seat" - my very own variation of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey". Each child colored their very own gender specific cut-out child. Then they were challenged to put their driver in the driver's seat of the tractor I'd created out of a card-board box. The littlest (Lukas & Rachel) just staggered up there with my help & placed their cut-outs. The 3-year olds (Simon & Sarah) were blind-folded. Sarah objected to the blindfold, so she forfeited her turn. The older children (Abby - 5 in March, Corbin - 5 in September, & Evan - 6) had blind-folds AND were spun the amount of years between Simon's age & theirs. The winner was Corbin who was really quite spot-on. Next we tried to play a static-electricity game with the balloons, but it didn't work out so well. However, the balloons in general (I blew up 25 with my own air) were a big hit - sometimes literally as the boys & girls took them & pounded each other with them. 

Simon was really quite impressed with his gifts too. He got a Cars bed tent, a Cars sleeping bag, a lantern, boots, a Cars puzzle, a monster truck,  a Cars eating set, a firetruck, a dump-truck, a Ford tractor, and Cars books. His favorite seemed to be the firetruck & dump-truck for the time being. He changes favorites like most people change their clothes. All in all I think he had a great time. He's so excited he can't sleep, plus he's having some paranoia about bugs right now. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sex sells?

As the new(ish) mother of a little girl, I find myself faced with so many choices of clothing for her. She's only a year old, but wearing 24 month sized clothing. As I look through on-line catalogs and in magazines I see things that simply shock me. Not so much aimed at her age, although the 24M stuff sometimes borders on shocking to me. I see tiny little girls wearing little less than bras & panties or logos that are *way* too easily mis-interpreted (actually, just interpreted - I think the intention is there). Now, I can hear some out there saying, "You're just a prude or not 'in style' - there's nothing wrong with it." However, I disagree. I have no problem with Rachel wearing little girl dresses and knee socks - even thought that has become fetish-wear - simply because she *IS* a little girl. However, I draw the line when little girls are wearing things that *I* would consider too 'sexy' for everyday wear for myself. I also hate having my child be a poster for a particular brand. I mean, I love the quality of certain brands, but I love them even more when the only identification is on the tag - not plastered all over the article.

Its not just the clothes either. The TV shows, costumes, and movies are becoming so very sexualized it is difficult to know who the audience is meant to be - children or adults. A blogosphere-friend of mine just reviewed the current wolf animated movie. I trust her judgement & she mentioned that within the first 15 minutes the female dogs were 'strutting their stuff' in front of the males and the 'alpha' male was strutting around & getting comments from the females about being hot & such - I'm sure there was some panting & drooling going on as well. That may sound innocent enough, but is it really necessary in a children's movie? Here's how I see this playing out... Innocent children watch this male-female interaction and mimic it among themselves. Soon, an adult sees it & thinks its cute. The adult drags out the video camera (or phone) and posts to YouTube or FB. Then some pervert gets his/her hands on it and feels sexually stimulated by these innocent children's mimicry of an animated seduction scene. I realize that perverts can take any video or image of a child & turn it into something gross, but when the primary intent of the initial scene (from the movie) is seduction, it just makes it that much easier and worse in my opinion.

At the same time, local events have brought sexual abuse in the clergy to the forefront again. I am NOT saying that any child 'asks' for sexual abuse. I definitely know better than that. However, I do believe that innocence is lost much sooner these days. Immodest (sometimes blatantly sexual) clothing and behavior make children easier targets for thes sexual predators. There is NO excuse for any sexual abuse, but in my opinion neither is there an excuse for teaching our children these immodest values. Things are much different now than even when I was growing up (I'm 29). I knew the rudiments of sex as a child from living on a farm. Animals had 'boyfriends' and 'girlfriends' that 'spent the night together' to make babies. This understanding lasted a *very* long time (thanks mom & dad). This is what I want for my children. I don't want them corrupted by society's unwavering facination with sex, power, and money.

At this point, I find myself second-guessing my own actions with my children. While as a whole society has become very much more sexualized, we have also emphasized 'wrong touches'. It makes certain things you must do to keep your children in good health, seem questionable. If someone asked either of my children if mommy or daddy had touched them, they'd say yes. When you're wiping poop off wiggly hineys (and other assorted body parts), there's a lot of touching going on down there. When you have a little boy, there's a certain amount of checking that must be done on occasion. Its definitely not done with any sexual intent, but if the wrong person asked in the wrong way, it could appear so. So on the one hand, society causes our children to be (over)sexualized too soon, but it also makes parents paranoid about doing basic cleaning & maintenance of their children's bodies.

I guess the point of this post is that I think society has done us ALL a disservice. The Sexual Revolution has spun out of control. Public health officials are recommending children as young as 9 (male & female) get vaccinated for an STD (the HPV vaccine). Clothing manufacturers are producing clothing more fit for a brothel than a play-room. Animation studios are producing shows with more adult content and less innocence. As parents and members of society as a whole, we MUST stand up for our beliefs. Its not about religion or even morals as much as it is about protecting our children who are the world's future. I just pray that its not too late!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wholly concerned...

I've got several concerns at the moment. I'm trying to not freak out and think the worst, but sometimes its difficult.

1) My mom has been ill with what seems to be the flu for quite some time. She's home in bed instead of spending time (baby-sitting) my kids. I'm not complaining that she's taking time to heal - NOT AT ALL. Instead, I'm concerned for her because she's just been feeling so lousy. She also went with me to my doctors' appointments Monday & immediately started feeling worse. So I feel like part of her illness is my fault. Send up some thoughts & prayers for her if you would.

2a) This my selfish concern(s)... I spent a large portion of Sunday and most of Monday with my mom. I'm scheduled for my reconstruction surgery next Thursday (the 17th). I am absolutely terrified that I'm going to have to post-pone AGAIN. I took the day off of work yesterday because I wasn't feeling up to snuff. Today I had to come back even though I'm not really feeling any better because I don't want to use up all my time off (there's not much) before my surgery. I basically feel like I've been hit by a truck & my head took most of the impact. I'm also exhausted even though I slept for 14 hours night-before-last, took a nap yesterday afternoon (completely unlike me - especially since I was in the living room w/ 2 kids running around), and slept for a good 9 hours last night.

2b) As another side concern, I've been having some bruising lately that doesn't make sense to me. So yesterday as part of my pre-op I had my blood drawn. I have large veins & usually no one has any trouble finding them and getting plenty of blood from me. Not so yesterday. One nurse 'stabbed' me 3 times. She barely filled 2 tubes. One vein blew before she got anything out of it really. Then another nurse came and stuck me in the hand. She managed to get one more tube out of me, but it was a *slow* process that involved a lot of digging around and slow drip-drips of blood into the tube. Since I had some lymph nodes removed on my left side, I only have my right side to give blood. I'm afraid there's some blood problem with me... I'm going to blame any problems I have with my blood (and immunity) on after-effects of the chemo/cancer. That can also make me have to post-pone my surgery.

3) Simon is a wonderful child. He's very smart & I really don't think I'm just saying that because he's mine. However, lately he's been throwing tantrums with frightening regularity. Sometimes the tantrum starts simply because I tell him to pick up a toy or something. Other times its over bigger issues like finishing his food or going to bed. Regardless of the cause, he goes into a crying, screaming, flinging, kicking, and completely unreasonable tantrum at the drop of a hat. His cries mixed with his screaming really hurt my ears - it's that high-pitched wail w/ his mouth wide open. When he flings himself to the ground (&/or does the limp noodle) it hurts to try to pick him back up & make him do what he's supposed to do. Since the tantrums last for an extended period of time, I get terribly frustrated with him. I don't ever want to punish him while I'm actively frustrated. However, I don't get the luxury of walking away because it seems like he chooses to have these tantrums when Rachel is asleep (right next door to his bedroom) or some other wholly inappropriate time (like the middle of Mass). I also have to contend with Andrew... His anxiety levels ratchet up very quickly when he perceives one of the children in distress. When his anxiety levels sky-rocket his first instinct is to give into the child's desires instead of ignoring the child & helping me stay strong. Simon is also frustrating me to no end because he will not attempt to potty train. He'll be 3 on Valentine's day & he's still not even vaguely potty training...

4) Rachel is another wonderful child. She's very smart too (same as with Simon - I don't think I'm just saying that because she's mine). However, her intelligence is already causing her to be a bit of a handful. She already knows how to play the game of snatching & running away. She knows she's not supposed to do something (like smack at the computer), but she does it anyway. Then I (or whoever) tell her "no". She looks at me (or whoever) and does it again. Then she gets her hand tapped. She jerks back quickly, but immediately darts back into whatever she wasn't supposed to do.I can even remove her from the vicinity of her 'temptation' and she'll make a direct bee-line for the no-no object/action again. This process can go on & on for what seems like hours.

I know I have been amply blessed by God with my family. I know that it is all in God's hands. I keep repeating "Jesus I trust in You" to myself. Hopefully, eventually, I'll believe it. :-)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hi Sarah!!

I had doctors' appointments today. One with Dr. B to check on my gyn progress. I spoke to her about my still frequent hot-flashes. I get at least 10 a day & at least 1/2 of those are all-over body sweat ones, some are anxiety attacks, & some are accompanied by chills. She's changed my medication again & we're hoping it'll help this time.

My next appointment was with Dr. S. my reconstruction surgeon. Although I did not specifically meet with her, I met with some of her staff. I got an entire booklet that lets me know what to do, what's going on, what to expect, and even more information. I'm so excited I don't know that I can contain myself! I NEVER thought I'd be excited to have surgery - much less plastic surgery! But its true - this is one step closer (maybe the close) of feeling 'normal' again. To those of you who haven't experienced anything like that, you really can't identify, but anyone who has experienced something similar, you'll recognize the absolute JOY I feel about finally maybe feeling 'normal' again! I know at this moment I 'look' normal in clothing, but my view is different than the typical person's (thanks be to God). Plus I have to feel these rocks on my chest. I've surprised a few people by letting them feel them. They're always shocked at how hard and un-forgiving the expanders are. Even Andrew made the comment that it feels like an I-beam on his chest if I'm pressed against him.

After those doctors' appointments, Mom & I had another girls day. Just like usual, we only went to one store. We picked out things for Simon's birthday party on Sunday (he'll be 3 on Valentine's Day). It was an excellent girls day if I do say so myself. Even though we were afraid of the weather, we had a great time together. It is again apparent how similar we are in our thought processes & even coincidental things. I LOVE spending time with my mom!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A new perspective?

I've felt called lately to listen to Catholic radio in the mornings. I get to work 30 minutes to an hour before my co-workers so I've been tuning to EWTN or Catholic Radio on Sirius. This morning I caught 7 am Mass on EWTN. However, I'm torn. I'm at work to work (in a government setting - even though we're pretty relaxed) & we have the radio as entertainment. However, I felt kind of inappropriate listening to Mass while I dealt with my case-work. It just seemed an injustice to the Mass (even though I wasn't in attendance) to be thinking about crimes against people while participating long-distance with the Mass. The other morning I was driving & listening to the Mass & it still felt inappropriate - although not as bad as this morning - because I try to pay strict attention to the words & spirit of Mass. What do you guys think?

While I was listening to Mass, the homily was about the race-inspired scripture of St. Paul. You know the one - running the race with Christ as our goal. Winning the race is really about fulfilling our God-given talents and overcoming sin (our competition). Anyway, it made the think about strength. Then, as usual, my thoughts turned to the abortion debate. I've never thought in this light before, so I thought I'd share. The pro-aborts make abortion about the woman's rights and/or her well-being. They can cite facts, figures, and ancedotes about abortion basically being a woman's salvation from a horrible situation. Basically, the pro-aborts equate abortion rights with feminism & woman empowerment. However, I think having the option of abortion has lead to not only the de-feminisation of women, but also as a show of weakness for women.

Everyone (even the pro-aborts) acknowledge that women who overcome their bad situation and carry their baby to term are exceptionally strong. However, I don't think they're *exceptionally* strong - I think they are embracing the inherent strength of woman-hood & motherhood. As women we are give many struggles that even many men admit they could not or would not have a desire or the strength to overcome. One of my husband's favorite sayings is, "Never trust something that can bleed for 7 days & still survive." Its a crude way of expressing the male acknowledgement that women have an inner strength that they don't - even though men are theoretically the 'stronger' sex.

Back to the abortion debate: abortion is a show of weakness because it takes away the need for strength. I'm not saying that abortion is an easy choice (even pro-aborts admit that). I'm also not saying that women who have succumbed to the temptation to abort have had easy lives. Instead I'm saying that if these same women had felt that they had the inner strength that is inherent to women and mothers, they wouldn't have felt the need to abort. Whether their abortion was brought about by personal circumstance, poor fetal prognosis, poor maternal prognosis, etc; these women would *not* have felt the need to abort if they had trusted themselves to have the strength to carry to term. In other words, these women short-changed themselves because society has taught them to short-change themselves.

While feminism claims to empower women by making them 'equal' to men, in reality it reduces us to male strictures. Women and men are fundamentally different on many levels.That's why God paired us as he did. He knew our strengths and weaknesses. He designed us to complement each other (compliments are also appreciated). Feminism has made women try to become men. However, this has made us less than we were intended to be. We don't embrace our God-given strengths because we're too busy trying to emulate men's God-given strengths.

Having abortion as an option has lead to women not trusting themselves to be strong enough to face what women have *always* faced - their femininity. It has lead to the acceptance that women aren't strong enough to face the difficult situations we find ourselves facing. Instead we have to terminate a life growing within us in order to make ourselves feel like we're in control. Instead of protecting that life within our bodies, women are made the think of their babies as alien invaders. Instead of realizing that being the protector of innocent life requires more strength of character and will than terminating that life, women are mislead to believe their lives will be better and easier without that responsibility and gift. Women are being taught that shirking responsibility is what is *best* for them and society. So instead of abortion freeing women and making us stronger, it is actually whittling away at our inherent strengths.

Pray to end abortion. Pray for women who have had abortions & who will have abortions. Pray for the aborted babies. Pray for hearts to change.

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Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

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