Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Two Years Later...

When I first started this blog two years ago, I had big dreams of what it could be. I was so excited to delve into the world of blogging and share all the wonderful thoughts that were swimming in my head. At the time, I had a daughter that had just turned two, and a son that was about to turn one. I was organized, had my head on fairly straight and was THE BEST MOM EVER (ha!)! Now, I'm going to whine a little lot about poor old me, and catch you back up to where I'm at today. I mostly just feel the need to get it out and be able to move on as a stronger person. I'm determined not to let the crap that life throws at people to get the best of me.

Soon after the last time I wrote, I got pregnant with my third child, a girl, that I ended up having one year after I started this blog. After she was born, I had the "normal" postpartum stuff happening. Life seemed like one big, exhaustion filled blur; I was feeling a bit blue; I felt like a big, jiggly hippo; I was exhausted... I kept thinking everything was normal and that it would go away as my hormones leveled out. I was getting migraines every couple weeks, then that turned into every week, then finally it was every. single. day. I was getting irritable, dizzy, nauseous and felt all around miserable. I couldn't remember one second from the next, and would often wonder how I even got wherever I was - my brain was in a thick fog. I started feeling incredibly depressed, and thought I couldn't go on another day.

In the middle of all this, my husband and I moved to a new house, and oh, did I mention I was in college? And running a business? And had three kids ages three, two, and a few months old? Yeah, so you can see how I was thinking all my exhaustion was normal, right?! Sheesh!

So, anyway, my body started shutting down, and there were many, many days where I would sit on the floor and cry, because I literally couldn't even stand up. I couldn't lift my arms long enough to put my kids' clothes on some days. I was flat out exhausted, in a way that I'd NEVER, ever felt, even throughout all three pregnancies. Yep, worse than first trimester fatigue! Finally, I knew something was actually wrong with me (did I mention that I usually push myself way further than I should?), so I made an appointment with my OB to talk about postpartum depression. After talking to me a bit, he said that I was showing signs of depression, but that he wanted to test my blood first before prescribing anti-depressants. The next day, my doc called and asked me how on earth I was even functioning at all! He went on to tell me that I had severe hypothyroidism and that a normal TSH level is around 0.3 to 3.0... I was at a 104.5. Yes, one hundred and four point five. Now, a level that high (or "low" in the confusing hypothyroid world) is certainly not unheard of, but it's not common. Along with that, I was anemic and severely deficient in vitamin D. No wonder I couldn't function! I was like a dang zombie!

I was so happy that we figured out what my problem was and I could get on a track of fixing it. The bad thing about thyroids is that it takes a long time for your TSH levels to be built up with Synthroid (or any meds), so, especially with outrageously high numbers, it is not a quick fix. It took me probably a good 6-8 months to start feeling alive(ish) again. The time in between was full of tears and frustration over the fact that I couldn't live life like I wanted to, but my weight was melting off, and I could see a light at the end of this dark tunnel I'd been in for so long.

Right about the time that my thyroid problems were getting under control, I woke up one night with horrible pain in my side, and I was convinced my appendix was rupturing. I took myself to the ER at 3am and had a bunch of tests, including a CT. The ER doctor came back and told me, very nonchalantly, that it was just a bunch of ovarian cysts and "a large adnexal mass" and told me to follow up with my OB. I made an appointment for a few weeks out, thinking it was not really a big deal. When I went in and my OB started looking at my CT results, he seemed highly annoyed that nobody showed him them before. I had a 6" mass next to/wrapping around my tube, that was basically starting to kill the ovary. He scheduled me for a slew of tests, ultrasounds, and a surgery to have it removed. He was being extra cautious, because it was mucinous; so, he was concerned about the possibility of a rare cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei, which, coincidentally, my mom had a few years ago.

The surgery went well, and I came out of it one 6" mucinous cystadenoma, one tube and one ovary lighter. My recovery went well, aside from taking longer than I thought it would, and I am feeling much better in terms of health.

On one hand, I'm feeling really weak right now, because I've had a lot of other normal life hardships pummel me along the way as well. On the other hand, I'm feeling a bit like a rock star for making it out alive. This year, we've had our car window shattered and hundreds of dollars worth of stuff stolen; my baby had to be put through the ringer - spinal tap and all - when we thought she had meningitis; one of my husband's childhood best friends passed away from cancer; two of my siblings and their families have moved to different cities and states, when they used to lived within a few miles of me and we hung out regularly; my son chipped his front tooth; my parent's house was broken into while we were house-sitting; my oldest daughter cracked her head open, leading to her getting staples in the middle of my son's birthday party; the hard-drive in my one year old MacBook Pro just stopped working... 15 days after the warranty was up (we really meant to get the extended warranty, but *somehow* in the midst of everything else, it didn't happen!)... taking over 10,000 pictures and videos of my children along with it (also meant to back up the hard drive, but didn't. I know, I KNOW!!!!); my parents recently sold their house, which my husband and I lived in for 2 years while they were out of town, and has been the gathering spot for our family for years. It's where I had 2 of my children and became a mom. After moving 18 times in my life, it's the only place I really feel at home. Worse than losing the house I have so many memories from, this also includes my parents moving to another state... Now, I realize that some of these are relatively minor things, but when they're piling up constantly, they feel a whole lot bigger and more frustrating than they should be.

Did I mention that all of this is happening while my husband and I are in college (online, full time credits), I'm running a business, we're raising three kids aged three and under AND I'm sick and dealing with surgery? INSANITY!

So, this is where I'm at today. I have officially decided that I'm leaving all the crap behind me. Today is a new day and I'm just not going to let all of these things bring me down any longer. I look back and am amazed at how strong I was throughout this year that I've felt the lowest in my life. I managed to not only keep my kids alive, but I continued to do fun activities with them as often as I could. I continued to cook yummy, homemade meals for them as often as possible. I built a garden with them that provided us tons of beautiful veggies to enjoy all summer. I did crafts with them, had dance parties, sang songs, arranged memorable outings, sewed adorable, coordinating outfits for them, planned fun parties... I also continued getting A's in the majority of my classes in college, ending up on the honor roll every quarter.  Don't get me wrong... My house has been a disaster zone more times than I'd like, my kids have spent more days in their jammies than they *should have* and I've found myself ordering pizzas more days than I want to think about.

Oh well, though, right? What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, and I'm still alive.