Monday, October 19, 2009

this and that

Don't feel much like working today at work. I've been keeping my schedule open for an acquisition which will / might be taking over my time. But got word this morning it might be on hold, which was demotivating...

I sold my beloved car this weekend. When I bought it, I thought it was an investment for our family - a larger vehicle we would need. And I keep trying to convince myself it was a wise choice, back then. Before one baby became two, before my husband quit his job and took a lower paying one, before cancer, before the economy took away raises and bonuses and job security. I found it poignant that immediately after the new owners drove off in my 'baby' we took the twins to BRU.

We are still working on solid foods at our house. Some days they literally inhale spoonfuls of anything. And then other days, like yesterday, they can't hardly choke down a teaspoon. They seem to do better during the week when they're in their routine at daycare. But I like living in the moment and letting them hang out in pajamas until afternoon on weekends. We did buy them some handles for their bottles at BRU, with the hopes that they can start working on their fine motor skills and hold their own bottles soon. Selfish? Absolutely! But also an important step toward the sippy cup.

My in-laws stopped by for a visit yesterday. I believe it was the 6th time they've seen the boys in 6 months. And with them, they had a ginormous box of gifts! Six, yes SIX!, Leap Frog Baby animatronic toys - two dogs, one elephant, one line, one spider, and a piano. I have some mixed feelings about their compensating...I mean, just seemed much. I'm happy my boys will have generous grandparents who spoil them. But...something in the back of my brain is thinking we should put some of these toys away in the closet. I mean, they can plan with their feet for hours. So, these light-up, noise-making, sing-song toys might be a little bit of overload all at once.

I joined the Y two weeks ago. And have been 3 times. The only time I think I can go is at lunch, but then I end up working through lunch or running errands - because they're just so much easier on my own. So, no progress on my baby/cancer weight.

And one last thought, I am still disappointed when I get my period. I'm still infertile. Yes, I have these two miraculous babies who are the LOVE.OF.MY.LIFE. But DH and I simply cannot conceive without medical intervention. We can have all the unprotected sex we want. And even though I totally am not ready, and shouldn't be pregnant for a year after my radiation treatment....I'm still disappointed when cycle day 1 rolls around. Weird, huh?

Oh, and in case I have any pride left after all of the fabulous things I shared here. Will spit up on me at 4am this morning, and it got in my hair, and I was too tired to take a shower this morning, so I am walking around the office with crusty spit-up hair. It's hidden in a pony tail, but still...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Ok, I know this post will appeal to only a few of y'all. And maybe I should keep this private, but I'm just so stinkin' excited! So, for those of you who feel bloated from fertility treatments, post-pregnancy bodies, and even those of you suffering from your monthly cycle....consider this -

I have been a spandex 'tummy tucker' underwear wearer for years. It was like the never-ending search for 'thee' tummy tucker.
I had normal spandex granny-sized panties, but then my belly hung over the top.
So, then I had panties that went up to my chest, but the top would roll down.
Sometimes these garments had legs to them, but I preferred a pantie without legs, because the legs would cut into my thighs and leave a noticeable line where my fat would pucker out at the bottom of the leg.
And then I had my favorite, which was a pair of panties that went up to just under my breasts, but also had like steal bar reinforecements that kept it from rolling back down. The only bad part, and by bad I mean humiliating, was that I had to have my husband help me get it all the way up in the back. We had a nice routine worked out where he would grab either side of the garment and I would wiggle my tush until the tummy tucker was all the way up in the back. Seriously, it was effective. But not attractive.
Oh, and even more humiliating, was that if God forbid I had to go to the bathroom while wearing one of these devices. My favorite one had a hook and eye crotch, so I didn't have to take it off. But the others had to be taken completely off. And then I'd have to try to wedge the back side up again without the aid of my husband! More than once I had to lure him to the hallway outside some bar or restaurant restroom to pull up my spandex out of the public eye.

I could never get into the ones with the built in bras, because my chest is HUGE and could not be crammed into them, or they were too saggy, or they were too pointy, or too wide. Nothing was just right.

But I have recently found the best undergarment EVER!!! The Maidenform WYOB Singlet. Wear Your Own Bra!!!!!

It is like a wrestling singlet, a full one-piece singlet that slides OVER your existing bra. It has an opening in the crotch that just opens like the fly on a man's pair of tighty whitey's, only in the crotch, not the front. My husband DOES NOT have to pull it up for me, I can pull it up myself with the straps. There is no rolling down, no need to take it off to pee. And although it has legs, the ends are not tight, so there is no puckering - visible or otherwise. It has fulfilled all of my needs. You should probably buy 2 or 3.

And so today I was able to wear a dress that I really should lose 10 pounds before I wear in public. Yay for the WYOB!!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wow. It's been a really, really long time since I posted. Probably because life has somehow gotten busier, or because I have had less to vent about.

I had this hilarious thought (hilarious to me, and probably only me but I'll share it here anyway) last night. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a wedding shower gift for some friends. I used a coupon, and then the check out lady asked to see my I.D. She didn't think this was funny, but I blurted out, "I bet people who steal credit cards don't use coupons."

I don't think she got it.

Seriously, what do people who steal credit cards care about how much gets charged on the stolen card? It's not like they're going to pay it.

It's not that I didn't want to show her my ID, I just thought it was funny.

Otherwise, life is well. The boys will be 6 months old. Starting solid foods has been our biggest challenge so far, but predictable, consistent practice has really gotten us to an acceptable ratio of spitting out vs. swallowing. They roll over. They giggle. They smile. They're over hating their bathes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I curse you - HOA!

Please do not read this post if you are offended by cursing. I got a little out of hand, and don't feel like masking my emotional outburst.

So, just a little venting, because what is an IF blog, if not snarky, right?!

A few weeks ago, my DH and I received a letter from our Homeowners Association (HOA) that the branches on one of our trees was obstructing the path for the community mowers, and could we please have it trimmed. DH and I discussed this, and he preferred to wait until the leaves fell off this fall, to make it less bulky. I thought to myself, yes, its August, and so the mowers will be done soon enough, so what's the rush at this point? I mean, really, its not like the branches popped out there overnight, they've been overgrown all summer. We did have a friend look at it to give us an idea of what it would cost, but were in no hurry.

In yesterday's mail we received our second notice from the dear president of our HOA saying there had been a burglary at one of our neighbors' houses, and oh, by the way, he noticed our tree still was not trimmed so if we didn't have it done by this Friday, that he'd hire someone to have it done and bill us, if not put a lien on our home.

Commence the cursing.


I would like to fucking cut down that GD tree and put all the fucking branches in this asshole's front yard. I would like to write him a letter, or better yet, call him on the phone and tell him we just had our house treated for termites, have twin sons, I just finished radiation for cancer, and my husband took a new job which meant a 30% reduction in pay. For Pete's sake, couldn't you give us a little more time?! Seriously, have you nothing better to do? ASSHOLE!!!

But then I read the covenants, which say they can do this for any repairs not made in 15 days, and so I know I'm in the wrong. DH and some of my guy friends from work will do it tonight, guy friend 1 is delighted because he loves to saw things; and guy friend 2 is happy to get the free fire wood. But I still fucking hate homeowner's associations. Seriously, fuck off! Why isn't he harrassing the lady who lets her dog run circles around her with no leash - did I mention its illegal in this town and her dog is a huge pit bull?

As a sidenote, I already hate this guy. Two summers ago when I was living in Houston, my husband built a deck on our home. One night, while I was gone, this same asshole approached DH in the front yard and told him he couldn't build that deck, because it hadn't been approved by the HOA and he approved all the architectural committee projects and so he knew it hadn't been approved. So, DH calls me in Houston, and I tell him exactly where the SIGNED AND APPROVED ARCHITECTURAL COMMITTEE FORM IS. The asshole in the yard did indeed sign that fucking form. If only I could have been there to see his face when my DH showed it to him. Fucking asshat.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

DH and I are watching Gangland that we had Tivo'd for weeks. Jack is sleeping in his swing. Will is entertaining himself with his voice in his baby gym. A typical night at A's home.

Jack is working on tooth #2, so its a blessing he's asleep. When he's awake, he seems mostly to be in pain. I broke down and gave him a dose of children's Tylenol. I don't want to be one of those parents who always drugs their kid for their own inconvenience (so they don't have to deal with fussing), and I also do not want to make my son suffer. Since he can't talk, this to me is a difficult line to walk. Will has no signs of teething for now.

I have an opportunity at work to move into a new position, maybe. Our business may be acquiring another business, in a city three hours closer to my family, in the next month or so. One of the VP's thinks I should take the job. I'm not sold. I like the idea of a better opportunity, moving closer to Iowa, and the potential to make more money. But we're kind of established here now, and I'm pretty secure in my current position. So, I'm flattered and flabergasted by his belief in me. And while I'm open to opportunity, I'm not sure this is the right opportunity. So, DH and I have been talking and dreaming about that this weekend. This other city has a higher cost of living, and where we would live vs where I would work would be a bigger commute, so I need to do some numbers and look at housing so I know what kind of base salary I would accept. Also, I'd kind of have to apply for this position, and I really think they should be chasing me. I guess if I don't want to put forth the effort to apply, then I already know what my heart is feeling, huh? But still, I got sweaty palms when the VP was sharing his enthusiasm with me. I was absolutely delighted!

Ok, Will's driving me nuts. I've been blocking it out, but now I need to go distract him so he perhaps will consider giving up the screech.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Single Mom

My DH is hiking in Colorado. I'm home alone with the boys. It was kind of nice to have them to myself yesterday and to nap when they napped instead of worrying about what we were all going to do as a family.

Well, I maybe should have looked closer at the calendar before I told DH he could take this trip. Because the boys had their 4-month shots today. And Jack is teething. That's right! My oldest son has erupted the tip of an iceberg that is apparently causing him great pain. Last night, he was up about once an hour, but would quickly fall back asleep with some rocking. Tonight, he was in so much pain! Even the baby Tylenol wasn't really helping soothe him. My poor little dude!

Tonight was the first night where I felt bad for my twins for being twins. Because I was so caught up in Jack's care, I didn't hardly have anything left for Will. And I felt weird making Will giggle over Jack's shoulder while I was trying to speak to Jack in soothing tones. Like I was this big fraud expressing my concern for Jack when I could summon a silly face for Will. It made me so sad for them both!

I'm still pretty tired from the lack of a thyroid. I'm looking forward to getting my blood test this coming Saturday and hopefully getting my dose increased. Today, I was so tired, it was like I was in a fog. I kept asking the people around me if I was making sense! If I'm dizzy again tomorrow, I'm going to move my appointment up. I'm ready for more energy.

And on that note, I'm off to bed. At 9:19pm. DH will be home this time tomorrow night. Yay!

Monday, August 3, 2009

One Year Later

Tomorrow it will be one year since we transferred our two little embabies.

It seems like all summer I've been thinking more and more about what a difference a year can make. I still can't get over how everything is the same, and yet how nothing could ever be the same again.

Both boys are rolling over now. They love to talk to us. Will laughs when I tickle him with a wet wipe under his chin - sometimes, but not always, and so he probably has the cleanest neck in the world because I'm always trying to get him to laugh. I am so amazed by my boys. They are so beautiful, so cute, so amazing to their mommy.

Little Will

Jack on his back

Jack rolling to his side

Jack *so proud* he rolled over!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Post

I was supposed to get my scan results by phone on Wednesday or Thursday. Thursday came and went with no call. And Friday morning I was busy, so I finally left a message for them on Friday and got my call back yesterday afternoon. And the results were good. Apparently, it was a normal result for someone with thyroid cancer contained in the thyroid area. So, yay for me!!!! Yay for my husband, and for my boys!

Still won't know for sure whether or not last week's treatment worked until my follow up scan in April. And still need to get my thyroid hormone replacement regulated to 1) prevent recurrence and 2) hopefully stop the massive weight gain. But in the meantime, we are elated that it probably did not spread!

So, this is how my cancer story will hopefully go: Um, yeah, well, I had cancer for a few weeks back in '09 but it wasn't really my thing, so I gave it up.

Am home alone with the boys this rainy Saturday afternoon. DH is out doing some favor for his old business partner. And test driving a new vehicle. I hope he gets home soon, just because we kind of haven't had any time together, even though he works better hours now, it seems like we spend every waking hour caring for our boys or catching up on housework. And I kinda miss having quality time with my husband.

I just cried my way through the 16 & Pregnant episode where the girl gives her baby up for adoption. It was so emotional putting myself in both the bio parent and the adoptive parents position through the entire episode. I feel so blessed to have my boys and to have had them at the exact point in my life when we did. I know a lot of people hate that show, but just like the Real Housewives and other top notch reality shows, I can't give it up ;-)

I still can't taste food all the time. I thought I could taste sweets, but not all sweets, I guess. I baked some cookies this morning, and they taste like metal to me. Lovely.

I have been considering the need to downsize my car payment so have been looking at used cars online for the past few weeks. I'd like to cut that payment in half, but I still love my car that I bought last summer, and I'm not sure I'm ready to let it go. But after diapers, formula, and wipes, there's just not a lot leftover in the old grocery budget each week, and so I would like to find some place to cut back. But I love cable. And cable internet. And my car. And our house is cheaper than rent anywhere would be, and more spacious for all of us. And for some reason, I can't convince myself to eat PB&J morning, noon and night. Loser. ;-)

I think its a pretty strong indication that we can't afford to even THINK about more children yet considering my reaction to the cryobank's puny little bill for keeping our totsicles frozen this next year.

In real life baby news, my oldest (that would be Jack, by 2 minutes) thinks he wants to roll over, but mostly he just scoots himself around in a circle. He arches his back, stomps his left foot and rolls to the right, but somehow it just rotates him around. It's so fun to watch. Will is mostly content staring at things while kicking, but I'm sure he'll be up to similar antics soon enough.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Three Things

I had my scan yesterday. Three significant things about that.

1 - I.GOT.THE.ALL.CLEAR.TO.HOLD.MY.BABIES.LAST.NIGHT. Wahooooooooooooooooo! Will decided to celebrate by being up for about two hours in the night, hanging out with mommy in the rocking chair and couch. Precious time for me, even if it was in the wee hours of the morning. Totally worth it!

2 - I had my scan at the same hospital where I had my c-section, thyroid-ectomy, and radiation. But I had never been to the nuclear medicine area before. Um...what is the deal with leaving people basically immobile on a totally thin table with whatever type of imaging hardware that is two inches from their face while random people stroll up and down the hallway and into the adjoining bathroom?

The scan tech had me potty before my scan, and as I closed the bathroom door to the adjoining room I saw what I thought was a mannequin on the table in the next room. But realized on my way out after the scan that EVERY.SINGLE.ROOM had a person, just lying there in the dark with the door wide open. It was eery and somehow wrong that the doors weren't closed. Not that you're scanned naked or even in a hospital gown. But still.

3 - I can expect my scan results via phone today or tomorrow. And that, to me, is basically a time bomb. I know that if this has spread, that the treatment I had last week is basically the treatment for anywhere else it might be. I get that. But finding out its in my lungs or breasts or brain...well, that's going to be an emotional thing to hear. Yet, here I sit with my cell phone on vibrate, constantly by my side, waiting for that bomb to go off...or not.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Radioactive Girl Update

So, I have officially lost my sense of taste. It's a common side effect of radiation treatment. It could last days, months, or forever. No way to tell at this point. In its place, I have a slight metallic taste in my mouth. And my tongue is kind of numb. At least I had a few good days of taste after the iodine diet...oh and I'm still gaining weight. Mother F.

I went back to the office today, which was a joy! I was way more productive there than in the basement. And I'm sure being around people helped my emotional well being, as well.

I have my body scan tomorrow. Won't have the results until Wednesday or Thursday. Praying that the cancer is isolated to the neck area and has not spread anywhere else.

My husband has both boys on the couch. I type this from a folding camp chair in the dining room (MUCH more comfy than the dining room chairs!)

Last night, I laid on the couch with my lead apron doubled over by my neck with the boys on the other couch across the room. Well outside of the six foot range, but I still wanted the lead between them and my neck. It is hard to describe the emotional reality of constantly maintaining a 6 foot radius between you and any other human. THIS is why people get crazy obsessive compulsive disorders and hypochondria. I'm not choosing that, but I can see how you get there from here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Viral Infection

So, I somehow picked up the flu this week. Was shocked to find myself vomiting at 3:30am. So, I called my PCP and was able to get in this morning. Fortunately, he has been cc'd on all of my treatments lately so he knew everything about the twins, the thyroid-ectomy, and my radiation therapy. I found that very reassuring. Especially since I'm not normally sick and hadn't seen him since....well....probably back when my husband was first diagnosed with his varicocele. So, 2 or 3 years.

It was nice to see him, and his nurse. He diagnosed me with a viral infection (common flu). Treating with 36 ounces Gatorade, a prescription to combat the trots, and ... unfortunately ... back to bland foods. The RX is working already, which is wonderful. And I've kept down all my food plus the Gatorade. So, life is good.

It turns out good that I could see him, so we could discuss how he will manage my thyroid replacement until I see the endocrinologist in October. We worked out a plan for labs on the weekend, and appointment with him on Tuesday evening which should help me avoid missing too much work.

Did I mention that he's totally hot? And the first thing he said when he came in the exam room was he liked my hair? Yes, cursed with another great hair day during isolation. I got bored and straightened it yesterday. At least SOMEBODY got to see it.

I also got a TSH test, which will be my measurement of how my thyroid is being suppressed and replaced now for life. I need it to be .1 to .2 and after two days on the hormone, it is still at a 70. Which may explain why I'm still gaining weight even though everything I eat goes straight through or comes back up.

I had been feeling guilty about how little work is actually being accomplished in this house this week. My focus is improving, but I am still not as productive as I would like to be. But I remembered how much I worked during maternity leave. Probably 1-2 hours every day. So, given 6 weeks of leave, at 10 hours a week, then I probably had accrued about 60 hours of comp time anyway. Being back in the office next week will definitely get me back on track. At least I hope.
Yesterday was a really weepy day. I am blaming the thyroid hormone. After DH left with the boys for daycare yesterday, I was struck by this image of him raising them without me. Just typing it makes me tear up again. Anyway, I was hyperventilating, all out bawling in the shower with fear. I'm strong. And most days I'm rational. But when I open myself up to the emotional reality of a cancer diagnosis, I'm scared. I don't want to die.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Radiated Tears

With all the entertaining photos during my stay at the hospital, I never got around to the truly deep and meaningful thing that happened to me there.

The night before my radiation therapy, I prayed to God to be with me on Monday since I would have to go through everything alone. Mentally preparing for the 'idea' of driving myself to the hospital and not having any visitors there was just bizarre. Thankfully, I'm an independent person, but I was still a little unsure of doing this all by myself.

God answered that prayer in the form of JL.

JL is a member of our church. She is a GLBT mother of 4 - two adopted special needs children and two bio children. The second bio child she had through insemination. (IF issues like us) She is a foster mother. (like us) I had been wanting to meet her for months to pick her brain, but could never get to it (they sit on the opposite side during worship and would always be gone before I could get over there). Anyway, about the second or third Sunday we brought our twins to worship, she came over to meet them. And she and I talked for about an hour that day about her foster care experience, her kids, her story. I knew she was a nurse, but she normally works in ICU.

Yesterday, she walked into my room, not really recognizing me, until I say, "Hey, I think you go to my church." And she screams out, "What are you doing????" And then caught herself, "I mean, obviously you have thyroid cancer, but where are your boys? How did this happen?"

So, we have this woman who I respect and admire, and who I totally connected with after the birth of my sons. But it gets even better. She had thyroid cancer two years ago and has already had the treatment!

She spent about 30 minutes with me, talking to me, and telling me her story. We compared new pictures of her kids and the 3-month pics of our boys. And I'm tearing up just recounting it now, because I know in my heart that JL was God with me that day. I wasn't alone. He sent her to comfort me. It was and is amazing how he answered my prayer.

God is good.


Last night, I was the recipient of a text-a-thon from a bunch of my drinking buddies at work known as the Deuce-one-Deuce. I'm the only female, which makes it especially enjoyable for me. Right around 8pm, I started receiving texts and phone calls from these guys who were students in a Management Development course I teach. There were my second class, or the 2nd graders as they call themselves.

My favorite one was from one of their wives, "Please call me if there is anything I can do. Anything. Errands. Cooking. Cleaning. Glenn is grounded from Sam's Club so I'm sure he'd be happy to get you anything from there."


And then today, I walk out to the mailbox to find a care package from my friend J.

J. was one of my rooommates in college. We weren't really friends, we just got along well enough to share a room. We both worked. I was a waitress. She delivered pizza. We had no friends in common. We did not socialize. But we chose each other, year after year. It just worked.

When we were juniors, J. became pregnant. The father and her had been dating, but he kind of flipped out on her and wasn't really supportive. So, I went to childbirth classes with her. And sometime that summer, she went on bed rest to prevent pre-term labor, so childbirth classes ended. I remember joking that the childbirth people thought we were 'together' and I remember she layed on this inversion table with her head below her heart for awhile in that hospital. She didn't have a lot of money, so up until this point, she hadn't had a lot of pre-natal care. A few weeks later, she picks up on something the nurses are saying and figures out she is having twins. I shit you not, she had no idea there were two in there! And she gave birth to her twin boys less than a week later! And I got to babysit them both on Valentine's for her, when they were about 5 months old. Which may be why the thought of my own twin sons was not so overwhelming. I've always lovingly referred to them as my Valentine's dates.

We graduated from college in 1999. Since that time, she married the twins' father and they have a daughter now. They live in WI. We live in KS. I was in their wedding. She came to our wedding. But those are the only two times I've seen her in 10 years. We talk on the phone maybe once a year, and rarely email. But oddly enough, she was planning to bring the kids here for a visit this weekend. Until I called her about the cancer and radiation. Now, its just her coming to visit, to help DH with the boys all weekend. A perfect helper - someone with experience with twins.

What are the odds?

All those years ago, I wasn't a very good friend to J. At least I never felt like I was. I was a pretty big partier, and she never touched a drop. But she remembered some handheld Solitaire game I bought her for the hospital and wanted to repay the favor. So, today in the mail, I found this care package. Magazines. Lemon Drops. And photo frames to take with me to isolation. One day too late for the hospital. But just in time for my basement quarantine.

I was so touched, and so moved, that not only is she coming to my home all the way from Wisconsin, but she sent me such thoughtful items. All with little sticky notes on them. I am humbled by her consideration and care. Really. What could I have ever done to deserve all this?


If I don't stop crying these radiated tears pretty soon, this place is going to be an EPA superfund site.

Radioactive Girl Goes Home

I am home, which is mostly important to me, because it means I can eat whatever I want. And ... all the remotes go up AND down ;-)

I am sequestered in the basement. It's difficult not to touch anything when I venture upstairs for ice. There are dirty bottles on the counter that I want to put in the dishwasher. A pacifier on the table that should go in the binky box. Etc. Etc. Etc. I just want to straighten things like I would under normal circumstances.

I've had my lunch and some soda and I'm feeling better already. Still not ready to focus on work, but I definitely feel better. Have somehow become sucked into a 7th Heaven marathon.

Oh, and here's what's left of my lunch. (Last picture, I promise!!!!!)

I'm Movin Out!

Have you ever heard Anthony's Song? The meaning doesn't really apply to me, but the refrain, oh the refrain....IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'm movin out!

The geiger count has been read and apparently the 20 gallons of water I drank yesterday worked and I have effective flushed my system of enough radiation to go home any minute now. Woo Hoo!

I have a few things to get off my mind before we move on to the pictures.

1 - I drank enough water in the last 24 hours to make even the idea of water cause nausea. Not that I would throw up, but just the idea of taking one more sip made my stomach roll. Not fun.

2 - I hate hospital remotes that make you flip through every station, where you can't punch in a number or at least go 'down'. I scrolled through the medical crap so many times last night, you know, the educational channels offered by the hospital? Well, one theme that I kept noticing was breastfeeding. Which always makes me kind of wish I had tried longer or more to nurse our boys longer than the whopping 3 weeks I survived. But I keep reminding myself that if I had, I would have had to give it up now anyway, which would have been just one more added stressor on the diet, the hospital stay, the remoteness and perhaps made this harder for them and DH as they would have been so accustomed to me! So, anyway, that's that.

The warning posters on my door. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the nurses and food service people would open my door, stand in the hallway, and ask me questions. I'm afraid had I gotten up out of bed and walked toward the door, they would have backed even further away.

Last night's dinner - one piece of plain chicken, one baked potato with no skin, lime jello. I don't think I can ever stomach a baked potato again. The texture, the flavor, all of it! Gag.Gag.Gag.

Breakfast this morning. Another gagger - plain oatmeal that I churched up with some banana slices and sugar packets. I didn't finish it. Couldn't. I was getting nauseas from all the mushy blandness. I'd rather go hungry!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I-131 is not a Freeway

Greetings from Radiation Therapy!

I am stuck in the hospital, feeling just fine, for the next day or so.

To pass the time, I've brought work, my laptop, the second book in the Twilight series, my cell phone, two letters to write, and my camera!!!!!

So, for my first blog in radiation, I thought I would send pictures of my hospital room. It's oh so...private ;-) Mysteriously, no one gets to room with radioactive girl.

There is a paper trail from my bed, to the toilet, and lots of paper in there. My urine will be radioactive, so they try to minimize the contamination in the room. I've also been instructed to 'flush twice' after each trip to empty my bladder. I'm also supposed to flush any food I don't finish.

This big trash can is ALL MINE! I will use it to dispose of my plates, cups, utensils and any food I can't flush. Notice more of the paper trail on the floor.

I snuck this photo of the cannister the pill came in when the oncologist wasn't looking! It looked scary and menacing and they kept talking about "half life" this and "gamma ray" that. I don't think they saw me take this shot, but if they did, then I guess they'll know what a freak I truly am. The pill was inside in its own glass case. It was blue.

Only in isolation could I have such a fabulous hair day. Had to snap a pic as evidence! Sorry, its blurry. I'm kind of dizzy most of the time thanks to the whole no thyroid hormone thing.

Unfortunately, the low iodine diet continues until I'm released from the hospital. This is a plain hamburger patty, and a baked potato with no skin. I also got a plain lettuce salad with no dressing, which I promptly flushed. And some fresh fruit, which forced me to pick around the melon to get to the two slivers of strawberry and 4 grapes. It was a bland, boring meal, but reasssuring that the food I've been eating at home has been right on track. I may have to move to Idaho if I eat many more potatoes!

More News Later,

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Potato Metaphor

Tonight, I was preparing a salt-free pot roast. Unexpectedly, when I cut into one of the potatoes, I found a huge black rotten spot in the shape of a star. That darn potato was rotten at the core.

Somehow, this reminded me of me. Not that I'm rotten. Naughty sometimes, maybe. But not rotten. But I do have a black mark inside me, a cancer that you can't see from the outside. And that caught me off guard when they cut into me.

I'm sure that's how many women suffering through IF feel, too. Like there is this hidden black space in their uterus, ovaries, cervix, etc. etc. etc. I never felt that way, since we have MF. But I thought the potato was a bit too meaningful today. F that potato symbolically reminding me that there is this cancer within me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Minor Freak Out

First, the good news. The PA at the oncologist's office called me yesterday afternoon, and shared that my TSH was already at 42 (needs to be above 30, but hopefully 50 by treatment day; normal value is between 2 and 4). So, it means my surgeon did an EXCELLENT job removing my thryoid. And, it means that we got to schedule my treatment, which we did for July 13th. All good news. The only downside being that I needed to start my low iodine diet immediately.

I knew this was a possibility, and so had planned ahead by eating Taco Bell for dinner the night before, and a chocolate shake over my lunch break. I had even kind of read through the low-iodine cookbook during my training hour (not when I should be training, but when I facilitate online training, kind of like a homeroom monitor). So, I wasn't freaking out but was definitely anxious to get to the grocery store and get something I could eat for dinner.

Also at lunch, I had kind of started reading labels and looking for some no-salt-added foods. All I could find was no salt peanut butter. But even then, I had to find the no salt PB that didn't contain any soy contaminents from the process, because soy contains iodine, too. And since the diet is the one thing I can control right now, and because it has such a great impact on whether or not these I-131 is effective, I am trying to give it my all.

Even though I thought I had a good jump start, I knew I wasn't as prepared as I would like to be. I didn't have a grocery list all ready to go. And DH's aunt was coming over after work to get 'instructions' for caring for the boys since our regular daycare provider has vacation next week.

SIDENOTE: I will always say that our daycare provider is underpaid. Even with two paid weeks of vacation a year, which means that I have to pay her for a week of nothing, and someone else to actually watch the boys. She is still totally underpaid. So, even though the money thing stresses me out, she deserves the break and I want her to take it. Although, it would be nice if family would do this for free ;-)

Anyway, DH wanted to get a haircut after work, which was fine. I texted him that the diet would be starting and I would be anxious to get to the store when he got home. But to please go ahead and get his haircut because I wouldn't be able to leave until his aunt got all of her instructions anyway.

So, he gets home, I still have no grocery list. And he is jabbering on about how I should get extra batteries for the baby swing, look at his new shoes, what can he eat for dinner since I'll be gone. I freaked, but held it in while I was there. I didn't want to blow up at him. But SERIOUSLY?! I can't eat anything in this house, I'm starving, and stressed about figuring out not just what I can eat for dinner tonight, but for breakfast, lunch, and dinner tomorrow and the next day. Oh, and did I mention that we're leaving for a road trip and I can't eat at any restaurant at all, so I will need to pack food for the trip, but not just snacks, but actual meals! But I didn't say any of this, except about the batteries. But he still didn't take the hint as I'm laboring at the table frantically writing down food I want to buy. He's just going on and on about the rest of it. So, I finally left.

While at the grocery store, I realize the diet is totally going to blow our grocery budget for the month. But I try not to focus on that. We have plenty in savings we can use. I'm just stingy. While I'm shopping, I'm on the phone returning more concerned friends and family. I secure one volunteer for him to come help him with the kids one night while I'm radioactive. But by the last few aisles, I'm getting a little panicky because I still haven't really found anything that's a 'meal' or anything that would really travel well. So, I'm imagining what I'm going to eat Thursday night while we're in the car on our way to Iowa. So, I start tearing up at the grocery store. I hold it together. I mean, I'm teary but I'm not actually weeping and the tears stay in my eyes, but I just so badly wanted to sit right down and cry. I *so* want to do a good job of eating right these next two weeks, and I don't want some 'hidden' iodine to get in my system because I was rushing or didn't read the label. I already think that will happen just because it can be anywhere - even in my makeup. How do I know whether or not MAC uses red dye #3?

What set me off was the chicken. Even fresh chicken can be enhanced with chicken broth. And commercial chicken broth contains salt. No telling whether or not its iodized or not, so best not to risk it. So, I searched and searched and searched finally finding some organic chicken breasts that did not say 'broth' anywhere on any label that I could find. They might still have it, but it was the best I could do. But I was still worried about it, and doubting myself and freaking out a little in the meat department. So, I called my SIL who is always supportive. Whined to her, sniffled to her, and mostly just made fun of my real sister who would be packing organic food and sugar snap peas on any given day, but for me, it would be just whatever they had at the convenience store. And I felt better after talking to her, that I could do this, and even if I have to pack a cooler of organic, no-salt-added food, I would be fine. And then I bought some Tylenol PM because I knew there was no way I would sleep last night without it.

Got home, and truthfully, kind of ripped my husband for being so insensitive yet again. He is a wonderful husband, great father, and my best friend. I don't expect him to read my mind, but I asked him to re-read my text message from earlier in the day and explain what I *should* have said to help him understand my mental state since he obviously didn't appreciate the terms "anxious" and "nothing to eat". I'm still kind of pissed. I mean, he skips my diagnosis day. He talks about stupid, insignificant things when its obvious that I'm stressing. And I guess I think he's just being really insensitive, even though I've told him my needs. I don't just pretend like everything's okay, I send him messages or I tell him that I'm freaking out. Meanwhile, he's on the internet looking at cars. So, I asked him to grill up my effin 'organic' chicken while I focused on preparing low-iodine sauces like ketchup, bbq sauce, and oriental sauce. I liked the smell of the ketchup and oriental sauce. But the BBQ sauce, I'm pretty sure that's going in the trash. Anyway, the chicken will be a godsend. I have 8 servings all grilled up, and chicken I can eat cold out of a cooler on the road, as compared to other meats. But I can only have 6 ounces of meat a day, so can't solely rely on that.

Anyway, I finally sat down to dinner at 9:30 last night (normally prefer to eat around 6). I had a salad with a little less than 3 oz. grilled chicken. And then some no-salt peanut butter and jelly spread on some kosher Matzos crackers. Elana has reminded me this will bind me up, so I have written myself a reminder to get out the colace and senna from my c-section. I actually couldn't finish the cracker sandwich, because it was so filling. So, the night ended up on a high note - I could get full on this diet! But all of my organization is going to be required to make this work.

Tonight, I will be making up some more low-iodine recipes for the trip, and packing up our stuff. Our goal is to have the car packed tonight, so we can just jump in and drive off tomorrow after work. It's a 6-hour drive to my brother's in Iowa, so it will be late when we get there.

This morning, I'm enjoying a fruit smoothie for starters, and will follow this up with some oatmeal with cinnamon/sugar/apple. If I'm still hungry, I've packed my kosher crackers. I think I may live on those for the next two weeks! And I also brought some carrots to snack on, as well. I will need to go home at lunch to prepare some sort of salad with my chicken. But I also wanted to go get the scar treatment from my dermatologist's office so I can start working on my 'frankenstein' scar on my neck.

I promise my posts aren't going to stay this long. I just needed to vent about my night. I am going to accept my emotions and feel them. But I also need to function, need to be organized enough to be able to eat during this time. And so, it would not have been helpful to collapse at the store last night. Would also be helpful if DH would take his head out of his ass and perhaps be a bit more attentive so I don't have to reach freak out level. It would be nice if he was attentive and sensitive and supportive, instead of dumb-dee-dumb-dee-dumb which only raises my level of anxiety.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Oncology 101

Somewhere in the middle of the cancer diagnosis, I missed announcing my 200th post. So, a little belated congratulations to me.

It is 12:03pm. My DH is sleeping. My boys are sleeping. I cannot. My mind is racing.

We met the oncologist and his staff today. I'll try to think of everything we learned that you might want to know.

My tumor was 'medium' sized. It was 3.5cm. The oncologist said if it was 1, he'd say small and 6, he'd say large. But even though it was only 'medium' he still kept saying he wanted to test things because of its size, and because it was invasive. So, in the next few weeks he'd like me to see an endocrinologist for an ultrasound study of the neck - to study the lymph nodes; and maybe get a chest x-ray - apparently to check my lungs. Also, becuase of the size, he is more concerned about recurrence with me. That definitely got my attention, so I am glad I will have an endocrinologist monitoring my thyroid function and adjusting my meds. A normal person should have TSH of 2-4. After my treatment, I will need to keep mine at .2 to .4. So instead of being able to accept a phone call that my TSH is 'normal' for life, I will need to ask what the number was so I know that its normal for me. Also, every year I will need to have a thyroglobulin test of less than .5 - if its higher, then I'll know that I have thyroid cells growing somewhere in my body and its time to have another treatment.

They took my blood today to test my TSH. If it is high enough, they will schedule my I-131 (radioactive iodine) treatment for the week of July 13th and I will begin the sucky low iodine diet tomorrow. That will suck for me, because this weekend is the 4th of July when DH and I traverse to MN for our annual celebration with my friends from college. And I will miss all the great food at my friends' parents' homes. But, as DH pointed out so thoughtfully as he was perusing the low iodine cookbook today - beer IS an approved food during this time, so all is not lost. But still sucky.

The worst thing we learned today is that after I come home from my 1-2 night visit in the hospital, that I will have to be >6 feet away from all people, including my babies for about 8 days. So, we have to figure out what we're going to do about that. I'm thinking maybe volunteers to help DH in the evenings from like 6-9. And I'm thinking I will 'live' in the basement during this time. My boss will let me know when she gets back from vacation next week if she wants me to work from home those days, or if she thinks it will be okay for me to work in my office. It's a large enough office, but people can be weird about these things, so I'm letting her make call. She didn't like my first option - which was take the time off without pay (since I'm out of sick or vacation leave until October). That was very kind of her to share up front. And takes some of the stress off.

I can't imagine how hard it will be for me to be lying in my basement while friends and family hang out with my husband upstairs, holding my babies and caring for them while I'm perfectly capable yet poisonous to them. I would really rather not be here, I think, but then again, at least this way I could look at them from across the room or hear my husband's voice. I expect a lot of tears leading up to this, and during those days. Probably need to stock up on Kleenex. I feel bad for DH who got a clunker of a wife. Fool should have bought the extended warranty. Even though I know I didn't ask for cancer and this can't be helped, I will definitely feel like I need to make this up to him somehow. And that's just the 8 days. That doesn't count any days/nights I can't contribute because I'm so freaking tired from the hypothyroidism. Poor DH!

Ok, new topic. This is depressing me.

The oncologist said that I have had great medical care so far, and was familiar with both my OB and surgeon. He said I could have my treatment sooner, because although no surgeon in the world could get 100% of the cells, with my surgeon, there would be very little thyroid left in my body.

So, the goal for now is to get my TSH level high. Normal is 2-4. I need to be above 30 - preferable at 50. Two weeks before that anticipated date, I will start the low iodine diet. 5 days prior I will take lithium, which helps 'glue' the I-131 on my thyroid, and some salivary drug that helps my salivary glands to produce extra saliva to flush them so the I-131 does not stick there. If it did, I could swell up and perhaps suffer permanent dry mouth, and some other negative side effects. The other things I will do to prevent damage there is suck on lemon drops while I'm in the hospital to stimulate the salivary glands and drink water like nobody's business.

Side effects of the lithium include nausea and diarrhea, so I have some nausea medication prescribed as well.

The good news of these prescriptions is I have a coupon for Target for $20 if I fill a prescription there between now and July something. So, I will be buying myself some formula while I'm there ;0 Always the cheapskate!

8 days after the I-131, I will have a full body scan which will tell us if it has spread, and if so, where. And that will be good to know.

Let's see. What else? I think that's about it. Final thought is just that I was so concerned with the appointment for myself, I never thought about sitting in a waiting room with other cancer patients. All of them were older. All of the women were losing their hair and so were wearing scarves or hats, but you could see they were bald. It was sad to think I'm one of them. And yet I feel like a phony. Like I have some 'fake' cancer that isn't real. I will gladly take this 'fake' cancer. I will be delighted to get off easy. But at the same time, I am searching for the right level of concern. Should I ratchet it up and be prepared for the worst? Should I calm it down and stop dropping the 'c' word all the time. Oh this? It's just a little thyroid issue. It's nothing. Really. Struggling with that. And the weepiness that comes and goes.

A colleague who had a cancerous kidney removed 7 years ago stopped by my office today, because my boss had shared the news with him. He teared up for me. Which made me tear up then and does the same now. It's all very humbling. This outpouring of love and concern. I can't even return all the calls in one day, because I want to think of something other than cancer, and some people, well, I'm just not ready to talk. Like my grandfather. And my sister. But I returned a lot of calls today, and I'll get to more tomorrow. And lastly, it kind of pisses me off. Because I feel like I suffered more with our infertility and nobody showed me this much support during that. I understand IF isn't life threatening. But it certainly was all consuming. And threatened the life I wanted and saw for myself. I'll get over it. But I wish I could have had this much support a year ago.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mother F!

Are you f'ing kidding me? I just lost my entire post. And it was brilliant! B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T. I tell you! I guess it gives me an opportunity to use my new favorite phrase - MOTHER F!!!!!
Thank you, whoever posted our bad news on the LFCA. I've only ever been listed one other time - when I got my BFP - so thank you. I really appreciate all the support. You're the best!
Last night, my DH was gone overnight for a work trip for his new job. The boys were mostly good for me. It was a big accomplishment - my first time alone overnight with twins; but also my first night alone in this house E.V.E.R. We've been here 6 1/2 years! Yes, I did lock the door between the garage and house. And yes, I did hide the biggest knife in the house in my nightstand. But otherwise, all was well.
The boys both slept through the night, waking at 5:30am for a bottle - Will's 3rd night in a row sleeping through the night! Jack's umpteenth. Will went right back to sleep. Jack went back to bed, but let me eavesdrop on his coo's and ahh's for the next 90 minutes. How lucky am I?!
My friend J was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year on 6/16/08, and raised $3900 for the Race for the Cure on 6/20/09 which was one year and 4 days later for her. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer just two days later. She is fully okay now. I need her to help me through this, and I need to remind myself of her story until mine is resolved.
I really wish I could remember what else I had to tell you all, but it escapes me now. I guess I'll just give you a few new pics. I have SO much to live for!
Little Will - nap time

Big Jack aka The Dude

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Cancer Talk. Less Melodrama.

Feeling better today.

The more I say the words, the less they have control over me.

I have cancer.

Thyroid cancer.

But no thyroid.

Here's what I do know. I have my 'thyroid ablation consultation' with the oncologist on Monday. It will have 45 minutes for him to tell me his 'plan of attack' and for me to ask my questions.

At some point, I will have radioactive iodine treatment, which is administered at the hospital, they keep you there until the radiation reaches a safe level and your bodily fluids when excreted for 'flushed' would not harm the public or loved ones. To prepare for this, I need to go without a thyroid for about 6 weeks. During that time, the thyroid hormone in my body will dissipate and I will become more and more tired and grumpy. The last two weeks of this, I will be on a low iodine diet, which will starve the thyroid cells in my body so when the radioactive iodine is administered, the thirsty cells will soak up all the poisoned iodine. And then they will die.

At some point, I will have blood work and a full body scan to determine where else the cancer may have spread. And that is what scares me the most.

Lots of tears. Lots of weeping. Lots of hugging my boys. I was mostly fine today. Thank you for all of your well wishes. They mean the world to me, from you, the ladies who have supported me through so much already. I'm so lucky to have you.

Please pray the cancer has not spread and that the radioactive iodine will kill whatever remains of my thyroid cells.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I have cancer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Last night, while sitting in the Walgreens parking lot with the boys while DH went inside to pick up a prescription, I found myself seated next to another idling vehicle. Inside was what at first appeared to be a large bearded man in a local grocery store uniform. But then, I noticed the pony tail and breasts. It was indeed a bearded lady. She was smoking and talking to the driver in her vehicle, apparently waiting like me.

Waiting patiently for DH, I let my mind wander to how unfortunate it must be, how I would make laser hair removal a big budget priority if I had this affliction, etc. etc. etc. Finally, my mind wandered elsewhere. However, a few minutes later, I looked over, and the driver of the vehicle had leaned forward...\and the driver was PLUCKING HER EYEBROWS. Ironic, huh?

Text Messages
My SIL and I's pregnancies overlapped, so we were always calling and texting each other with our daily food report - confessing how much and what variety of fattening foods we had just consumed. I had the boys two months ago, she had her little girl last Thursday. Earlier this week, we had the following exchange:

A to SIL: We probably shouldn't do this since we're not pregnancy anymore, but I just ate the most delicious and fatty cheeseburger at McD's.

SIL to A: I'm jealous.

A to SIL: I'm fat.

The weight which had dropped off on its own before (was up to about 230 on d-day), has now plateaued and I am hovering around 180 which is to me is still like 50 pounds overweight for my 5'4" frame, but only about 13 pounds heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight (thank you, fertility treatments!). And my body has changed shape. I definitely have a FUPA. So gross! I eat frozen diet entrees for lunch, but eat whatever I want for dinner and don't exercise, and am aghast when the scale stays the same. MUST.CHANGE.SOMETHING.

The boys had their 2-month appointment last week. Both weigh around 11 pounds. Both are smiling and cooing. Both are sleeping through the night. We are so blessed!

My DH started his new job yesterday. He went ZERO days unemployed, which I think is absolutely amazing, given the economy. He took a cut in pay, but gets a straight 8-5, M-F job so he can have a family and friends. I get to have the marriage I signed up for.

My follow up appointment is next Monday, 6/22. I will get my pathology report then. I still have not crashed. And am still hoping the hormone replacement therapy will help me with the topic discussed under Me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thyroid - ectomy

I should probably be asleep, but my mom has me addicted to Farm Town on Facebook, so I had to check on my farm!

So, about my surgery.

The surgeon was late, which is why I was playing Farm Town in pre-op. I don't remember anything about surgery, because I was of course totally out of it. I was texting my boss when I got the sleepy drugs, and my last words to her were 'nighty night' ;-)

Woke up hearing a nurse telling someone on the phone that I had my entire thyroid out. If you remember, it was only supposed to be the right side and 'maybe' the left side if he right had malignant cells.

I never saw the surgeon after the surgery but he told my husband that the nodule was on the left, too, and I would have ended up having it out in 2-3 years anyway, so he chose to do it all at once. So, I don't have to worry about a second surgery tomorrow. However, that means my pathology report is no longer a rush and so I won't know whether or not it was cancer for at least a week.

The other bad news is that because they removed the whole thyroid, I will need to be on hormone replacements for the rest of my life. I am not on anything at this moment, and so am anxious to hear when I will start those meds and how they will be regulated. I guess that getting just the right dose is an artform and if its wrong I'll gain (even more) weight and be tired all the time. My RE recommended a regular endocrinologist for me, so I am hoping to get in to see him, and soon.

I think the surgeon or his resident will be in tomorrow morning, so I can get all my questions answered then, before they release me.

Regarding my recovery, the pain meds made me itchy, so I had some Benadryl which made me sleepy until about 8pm. I had sent my mom and husband home earlier, but when I woke up, I felt fine. I had only had Tylenol for a headache since my surgery, so no real pain meds, which is good. I took a real drug - Percocet - right before DH brought the boys up to say good night, because I thought I might be moving around more with them here. But otherwise, I think I'll be almost 100% tomorrow.

I have about a 4" incision at the base of my throat, only covered with one layer of bandage right now, no big deal. However, there is a 'suture removal kit' taped to the hand rail on my bed. I don't know if that means they'll take sutures out tomorrow, or if this is a take home deal, or what :o So, I'm definitely anxious to hear from a surgeon tomorrow to figure out what all is going on.

Oh, and no drain. Which was like the best news ever. Just the idea of a drain makes me want to barf.

Thanks to everyone for their warm wishes and advice. Keep 'em coming til we get the results back, okay?

p.s. Typical husband - DH got lazy in my absence and chose sleep over organization, so he sent the boys to daycare this morning in the SAME CLOTHES they worse yesterday. So embarrassing!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The New Me

It seems like I can never find the time to post anything these days. And by the time I do get around to thinking about it, well, by then, I've forgotten all the things I thought I wanted to say. So although I need to return a bunch of emails, I'm going to post tonight.

Earlier tonight, I found it poignant that my life is nothing like it used to be, and yet its completely the same. I have the same job, same friends, same house, same car. But I have two more people to love, and they bring us absolute joy with every breath. Absolute. And so I'm nothing like that person I used to be, but yet I feel the same. I'm still getting used to the idea of my identity changing to include 'mom.' So weird.

Another interesting thought I had earlier, although probably not exactly p.c. is that one of the greatest gifts a man can give his wife (once they have kids) is a peaceful bowel movement. Yes, I know its gross, but seriously, being able to go to the bathroom without having to jump up to take care of crying baby or not stressing while finishing because there is a baby crying, well, that is just heaven!

I got my period yesterday which really blows. Although I am pleased that my body works, and I know many women out there are counting their cycle days go higher and higher and wondering if theirs will ever show, I still wanted to go a bit longer cramp-free. But low and behold that all too familiar feeling crept up on me, and I knew instantly what it was.

I had my pre-op appointment for my thyroid surgery today, which was total crap. Why couldn't I have had my temperature and blood pressure taken the day of my surgery? What a waste of time?! I will have my right hemisphere removed on 6/11 and if its cancerous or questionable, the other side removed on 6/12. My mother is coming to stay with DH and help him take care of the boys while I'm in the hospital (1-2 nights); and will stay until I don't need her anymore. I'm hoping to go back to work the following Monday, although I hear that is crazy talk and I should plan on two weeks. Seriously?! Two freaking weeks?! NO WAY! I'm sorry, but I was only allowed to work half days from Jan 4 - April 9, and then had 6 weeks stuck in this house. I will fight tooth and nail to go back to work as soon as possible. Hopefully, my body is a willing participant!

Next week is kind of a big week, I guess, because I'm having a mole removed on my stomach on Monday. A scary looking mole that just became uglier after my stomach grew and contracted. The boys have their 2-month appointment on Wednesday, and then the thyroid thing which will pretty much kill next weekend, huh?

Last bit of news, I'm 'trying' to diet, but am having a hard time being motivated. You know how the first day of your period you are bloated, so even if you had lost weight the scale wouldn't show it. Plus, the first day of your period you could eat a house of chocolate. Well, that's me. I can't seem to get away from 180. There. I said it. I'm 5'4" and I weight 180. But I weighed about 167 (yes, about an exact number, ha!) when I got pregnant, so I'd like to at least get to that, which is still about 40 pounds overweight. I started when I went back to work last week and still weigh today what I did back then. I think I might need to step up the plan. But....probably after I recover from surgery. Yeah, probably after that.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My maternity leave ends tomorrow. And by that, I mean, the leave I have saved up, less the leave I have saved for my thryoid surgery, less the one day each week I haven't been getting paid, has come to an end.

I was able to rejoin the adult world for two events today. The Wichita Prayer Breakfast was this morning. I always enjoy this event, and am so grateful to work for the kind of company that not only supports its employees' attendance but buys the tickets! And I enjoyed a small luncheon with our new City Manager, which is a perk of being so young and having given x number of dollars to our local united way. Don't worry. It's not that much money. And I'm not that big of a deal. DH stayed with the boys for bfst, and my friend J. stayed with them at lunch.

And I feel so ... me ... again. Renewed. Refreshed. And wanting those two sleeping beauties to wake up and hang out with me, because I missed them.

Which is how I know that heading back to work next week will be not just a good thing, but a great thing for A. As I've always said, I'll be a much better mommy if I go back to work. I'm simply not wired to be a stay at home mom.


Did you happen to catch the season finale of Grey's Anatomy?

I have decided that I need to carry little signs with me, like the ones that Alex made up for Izzie to remind her of things, for the people who berate us with questions when we're out in public.

1. No, they are not identical.

2. No, twins do not run in our family.

Ok, seriously, I know people are just trying to be polite, but what freaking difference would it make if they were identical? Seriously?! SO.OVER.THAT.QUESTION. Which is probably why I avoid eye contact and walk at a pretty fast pace whenever we're out of the house.


The boys are growing in ways I can't even fathom. In ways I don't even notice. I just know they look different. It's the little things, like how I tried out the baby carrier on Will today, and I wasn't worried about him suffocating between my boobs. He just fits in it now. He's also going bald. So, we call him Dwight Yoakum behind his back.


On Saturday, we had our first official paid babysitter. Two, actually. My college roommate's cousin and her friend. They were fabulous and I didn't have to worry about the boys at all. It was awesome to have that trust and freedom. But most of the time I just wanted to be back at the hotel enjoying the super comfy bed with my boys. See pic below of mommy and daddy's big night out.

And now Jack is waking up so I've got to go. Have a great memorial day weekend!!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

First Mother's Day

This is my post from this day last year.

It was on my long, lonely drive that day that I heard the call to become a Foster Parent.

Here I am, a year later, with a husband who supported that goal, a foster care license, and twin boys of my own.

It was powerful for me to thank the man from church today for his caring comment last year.

But today is a new day.

Today is my first mother's day as a mom.

My husband got me a card, and a new cup with a lid from Starbucks that looks like the plastic cup they give you with an iced mocha. It's pretty cute! I think he's hoping I don't spill as much on our ottoman - which has been spilled on more in the past four weeks than in the past four years.


I've got just two weeks left to my maternity leave. And my company is still making cut backs. My first job when I get back was to train my new trainer. Again today (yes, Sunday) my boss is telling me not to work on his orientation plan, because she's not sure he'll ever start. Hopefully, we'll have a decision tomorrow. Poor guy has no idea his job may be in jeopardy. But I'd much rather it be him, than me.

My husband has three more weeks left at his current job.

I'm too lazy to look back and see what I've posted about this. Long story short - before the twins were born, he worked entirely too many hours - weeknights, weekends, holidays, etc. And he tied up more of our personal finances than I was comfortable with in his business.

In January, he and I agreed he would find another job by June 1 or be unemployed, because we needed a drop dead date. We needed a day that I could set my heart on and know it would all be okay.

Since the twins were born, he has worked only weekdays and has been off every night at 5. And that has been wonderful.

But he hasn't yet found a new job. He has had interviews, but no offers. He works very hard at finding a new job. But no dice.

We decided we don't want to give up our spot at the daycare place, for when he does find a job. We love her so much, and twins are so hard to place. Plus, he'd only have to clear $5/hour after taxes in order to pay cover the daycare expenses.

Anyway, we have this extra daycare expense (on top of diapers and formula) and possibly no income here in three weeks. Unfortunately, he won't be able to claim unemployment, because he effectively quit his position. So, I'm trying not to stress about it. We have enough in savings for him to be off work for 6 months. But the date is fast approaching....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This and That

So, here I am at 8:11am holding Jack, and Will is in his swing. We have had that swing since way before the boys were born, and I just discovered yesterday that not only does it vibrate, but it has a nature sounds setting. Might have been nice to know back when the boys were missing those sounds! But I am just happy that Will likes it.

My friend L dropped by last night, and brought us dinner. Yes, I know, we are spoiled. Here we are with boys who are almost 4 weeks old and people are STILL bringing us food. And it was delicious! DH and I inhaled everything!
Anyway, L has a 2-year old girl and is pregnant with a boy right now. Her amniotic fluid has dropped for no apparent reason, so they are monitoring her more closely. She is insulin-dependent, so kind of high risk anyway. She is a friend of a friend, who I met at a girls night in party about a year ago. I really liked her, and have kept in touch with her between parties.
But, there is something about her confidence, and her demeanor that makes me want to hate her and never see her again. She was great with the boys, very calm, and very soothing. But I don't know, its hard to explain, she's one of those super stay at home mom's who has read every book and has all this lingo. Example #1 - when she was here visiting while I was on bed rest, she brought her daughter and was using every single sentence as a teaching opportunity. I.E. Rebecca, can you hand me the YELLOW flower? For Pete's sake! Example #2 - last night she was telling Will she could feel the gas in his stomach and that he had a very large diaphram. Am I seriously intimidated by someone who can feel my son's organs through his skin? Well, yeah, I guess I am. I know I'm just being petty, but I had to vent a little.
It *looks* like it might not rain today. Which would be a HUGE relief, because we've been cramped up in this house for days on end. I don't have any plans today, so I think I will take the boys to meet their daddy's friends at work, and then to this huge, wonderful park nearby his store. It has great walking paths, but is on the complete opposite side of town, so I normally wouldn't go there.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

We have had such a fabulous weekend, here in our humble little family. It is SO wonderful for my DH to have weekends and evenings off.

Yesterday, I made my weekly grocery trip. Blew my budget again. Bummer. And that was with meal planning around people bringing us several dinners this week, and figuring for the free formula samples we received at the pediatrician. Which is a long way of saying, it should have been way under budget, but mommy must have been hungry. Darn diapers, and snack food - they really add up!

In the early afternoon, DH's aunt and her husband stopped by to visit. I trust them. So, both DH and I took that opportunity to take a shower (get your minds out of the gutter - separate showers).

A few hours after that, our friend K came over and took some fabulous photos of the boys. The poor boys were so scared being naked, but she was so patient and got some amazing shots. Seriously, they are so beautiful - and that was just looking on her camera and the untouched raw footage. How will I ever choose which ones to buy?! I am SO excited to get them back, which will be several weeks from now. I can hardly wait!

And then, I can finally send announcements.

Today, we took the boys to church, and then the mall when his family cancelled lunch plans. We had such a nice, peaceful time at the mall and then Tar.get.

The boys have been sleeping for longer periods of time at night, which rocks. It's amazing what 2-3 more sleep a night will do for your outlook.

I really do feel like we have hit our stride, just this week. I can go places with both boys and not freak out. I can feed them both at the same time. And I'm not totally exhausted at all waking hours. We got here faster than I thought we ever would. Yay for us!

Here are a few mommy pics of the boys from this weekend - Will chillin' in his bouncer and Jack enjoying some tummy time.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm not Schizophrenic

Ok, I'm not schizophrenic. I know if you've read my thoughts about breastfeeding lately, that you might think I was.

I was committed to a month of breastfeeding, but its done. After pumping several times on Wednesday - more than I had done since we left the hospital - I got a total of 2 ounces. And it was stressing me out, trying to pump every time the boys were resting. And then yesterday, well, I never got around to pumping. So, last night, I decided to bite the bullet. I put the pump back in the box. I bagged up all the tubes and other containers. I put them all away so they couldn't look at me anymore. And I sighed to myself ... maybe next time, if we only have one.

I'm disappointed, but I knew it could come to this. Lots of people never even try. I did. And I did everything I could. And as my grandmother reassured me, they got the best, the beginning. So, breastfeeding is now a dead topic. Let's move on.

The boys and I had our first solo outing yesterday, to Target. One car seat in the cart, the other on the basket and we were ready to roll. They behaved beautifully. I bought three things. Pads. Coffee. Thank You's.
We had our second outing this morning, to the pediatrician's office, in the rain. The boys have now each gained over a pound. So, we were approved to go off the 3-hour feeding schedule. Which rocks. Except that so far today, they've fed on demand every 2 hours. I really only care about the nightime. Anyway, I was delighted that Jack is now well over 8 pounds, and Will is almost there.
The best part of the pediatrician's office was the nurse who did our weight check gave us about a week's worth of formula samples, several coupons, and enrollment in a multiples' club which will send us two 6-pack cases of formula as well. She also said to ask for samples every time we're in the office. So, we netted like $150 from today's trip.
I have made an appointment with my thyroid surgeon, to get that surgery scheduled. He will check to see how much my tumor has grown on May 11th. I was able to put it out of my mind while I was pregnant and couldn't do anything about it, but I feel fully recovered from the c section and I'm ready to get this taken care of so I don't have this black cloud following 5 feet behind me at all times.
DH and I have a photoshoot planned for tomorrow afternoon. Our friend is a photographer and she will be coming to our home. I can't wait to see the pictures, to capture their precious little selves before they get any bigger. And then....I can finally send out announcements!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

9 1/2 Weeks or 4 Pounds

9 1/2 Weeks. That's how much more we can expect of sleepless nights, give or take. DH is counting down in pounds. He estimates we've got about 4 more to go before the boys can eat enough to keep themselves satiated through the night. Not that I'm counting, but we're looking at something around July 10. Holy crap, that seems like FOREVER!

When I was mentally preparing for the reality of life with newborn twins, and was trying to think what the greatest challenge would be, I imagined the crying. In my imagination, it wasn't day or night, it was just inconsolable crying. Which hasn't been the case at all. Our boys do cry, of course, but we can usually figure out a way to soothe them. But the nightime feeding schedule is truly kicking my a**. Is it the worst mother in the world who knows it is time to wake up her boys so they can gain weight, but hits the snooze button instead?

DH has been a saint, getting up with me three to four times a night to feed, burp, change, and soothe the boys. I say saint because he has to go to work each morning, and I can at least take naps. If he didn't help like he does, I could not function. It already takes about an hour each time, but if we didn't work together, it would take me two hours of staggered feeding, which would leave 0-60 minutes to wash bottles, go the bathroom, and sleep before starting it all over again. I would be lost without him.

Anyway, as much as I am enjoying their little newborn selves and I want them to remain wee for as long as possible, I am looking forward to that point, in the next few weeks when they can at least sleep for an hour or so more at a time.

My mother left this morning, and so today - with all our visitors gone for the time being - I have instituted Operation Breast Pump. My goal is that every time I put the boys down to sleep (during the day) that I will make pumping my first priority. I'm going to GNC when DH gets home from work tonight to get the supplement recommended by Elana.
I'm simply not giving up on this nursing deal. I promised myself I'd give it a month, and it hasn't even been 3 weeks yet. I am pumping right now (sorry, TMI!) so my record so far is 1 for 1. I'm sure I won't be 100% but I'm going to try to get my supply back up and keep it that way, now that I don't have to go hide myself in another room. Now that our guests are gone, I can pump in my living room without fear of snide comments or showing too much skin. Wish.Me.Luck.
Speaking of feeding, I was calculating last night how much it is going to cost us in formula at the boys' current rate of consumption (meaning - it will only get worse as they eat more). I think a good estimate right now is $40-50/week in formula alone. Which my husband accepted blindly, until I pointed out that our own personal grocery budget before the twins was $50/week, so we have in effect doubled our grocery budget. We could always switch to a generic formula, which I know many of our friends have done, but they are doing so well on the one we have them on (little or no spit ups, tolerable gas, etc.) Anyway, its a lot of money, and that doesn't even include diapers.
Speaking of diapers, I have now tried all the generic and namebrand diapers we had in the house. I have my favorite, and its not generic. But it has caused zero leaks, and zero blow outs, even when DH forgets to point the boys' water hoses in the right direction. So, we could probably spend $75/week on diapers at their current rate. But the avoidance of blow outs and diaper rash is paramount, as well.
I guess there are a billion other things I could cut from our budget before I would compromise in these areas for my boys. It's only +/- 6 months on formula. And they'll go through fewer diapers soon enough. Who needs Starbucks anyway?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

16 Days

We took the boys to worship this morning, and I was overwhelmed with joy that they will be able to grow up in our church, surrounded by such loving, wonderful people. And I was reminded of several hymns I want to sing to my boys around the house. Well, not hymns, really, more like camp songs Sanctuary and Step by Step. Why didn't I think of them sooner? These are songs we sang around the campfire when I was a camp director. Songs I sometimes slip into in the shower. Songs that sustain me. And that I want my sons to be able to say one day My mother sang that song to me as a child. It was a great morning.

Will has lost his umbilical cord and his plastibell, so as soon as his...unit...stops looking kind of..inflamed...I won't have to worry about his wounds anymore. Jack has lost his cord, but his plastibell looks like it will be hanging in there for several more days. I am anxious for it to fall off so we can move on with our lives. A mother's love - not wanting to see your child in any situation that might possibly cause them a moment's discomfort, especially in such a tender place.

The breast feeding has all but been called off. I am pumping twice a day, generating like 2 ounces each time. I keep wondering if my body will sustain this level until I go back to work, when I could pump up the volume (pardon the pun) because at work I could take breaks and the boys will be at Melissa's house, and I wouldn't have interruptions. Hmmmm. 4 more weeks?! If not, I tried my best. I have been open to this reality all along, breast feeding twins is a big commitment. But cheapskate me will be most irritated that I spent $70 on breast pump supplies and have not gotten my money's worth.

Did I mention the boys weight gain is insufficient? As of their Friday weigh-in, we are back on the 3-hour feeding schedule. Which is better than the prior 2-hour schedule, but still concerning. I kinda wanted to just wake up when they cried for me and feed them then. I'm so over resetting my alarm clock on my phone three times a night.

One last thought before someone wakes up, I am feeling irritated by the discussion of twins as a double blessing, etc. It's almost as if my mother just glosses over the fact that we suffered with infertility for those years and that we had a huge medical intervention to get these boys. I don't want to discount the blessing they are, or God's role in our lives, but these boys are bought and paid for! We had IVF. It wasn't an accident. We knew we had a 50/50 chance of twins. And we are SO grateful because we waited for so long to have them, to be blessed with them. I don't know. Maybe I'm being sensitive. But something in the way my mother and others talk about them, I am constantly trying to bring up the IVF. This didn't just happen. We suffered. We are infertile. It's more than what you say. It's so much more. I need to work through these emotions some more before I can fully articulate them. It's hard to express.

Friday, April 24, 2009


The boys are two weeks old today. We had a weight check at the pediatrician's, and then I had my incision check at the OB this morning. It's only 1pm now, but I feel like we've had a full day already!

The boys had been off of their 2-hour feeding schedule since Tuesday. However, Jack only maintained his weight and Will lost 2 ounces. So, we are now on a 3-hour feeding schedule - day and night. Which means I had to reprint the spreadsheet for tracking their intake. And most notably, means I will be getting less sleep, again. And worrying about why my babies are failing to thrive for the next week or so.

The breastfeeding, well, hmmmm. I get the boys to latch for one feeding a day, but I worry it isn't enough and they still seem hungry after that, so they end up eating their full bottle of formula shortly thereafter. The pumping doesn't seem to get done more than once or twice per day, so the volume I am able to pump each time has fallen off from 3 ounces per side, to 1. My big dream is to keep the pumping alive (even at this tiny amount) until I go back to work in another month, and then increase my volume by pumping morning, noon, and night in the parking lot. Gross? Maybe. But a definite benefit to daycare - free time!

In other news, my visit with my mother here is going way better than I had expected. She still says the most awful things. But I guess I am just so grateful to have the help, that I have become stellar at holding my tongue. She means well, and doesn't know how she sounds. I know that. But sometimes I'd like to scream in her face. And I know she bites her tongue, too. We are just so different. So, so different.

For example, today she asked me how I intend to lose the baby weight. I told her I hadn't thought about doing much more than taking care of the boys, but I hoped to take them for walks in the neighborhood in the stroller. To which, she replied, "I think its going to take more than that." Which to me, is code for, you're a fat ass. So, when I told her she didn't need to share any more helpful comments on that topic, she falsely apologized in a very masterful sarcastic tone. I told her I only have about 25 pounds to go, and I'm not worried about it. I should point out she's about 30 pounds overweight herself, so it is exceptionally hard to hear her criticize my weight.

Or, when I vented about my in laws, she suggested that maybe THEY were afraid of ME. No, don't validate your daughter or tell her she'll be okay, she'll get through this difficult time. No, a good mother would apparently suggest that her daughter is the source of the problem, and is indeed, scary. Nice, huh?

And now, yet another picture of the twins:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Major Accomplishment

Jack latched for the first time today! No nipple shield. No hitting me with flailing arms! Just a good, solid latch. And then nursed for about 15 minutes. I was in shock!

Now, if we could just get him to burp more regularly and hence have less gas. Any suggestions other than the big three - shoulder, lap, and leaning forward????

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Week 1

Technically, the boys reached the 1 week milestone on Friday, but who has time to post every day?! They celebrated by staying up late, way way late.

We have the boys on the same feeding schedule. As of now, we bottle feed pumped breast milk during the day, bottle feed formula at night, and nurse Will whenever his little heart desires. It's amazing how close I feel to him and how much I enjoy that part of our relationship. I'm hoping the pediatrician will take care of Jack's little 'tongue tie' issue and he can nurse, too.

Thanks to all of you who validated my concerns and new path. I've been wondering if I don't even mind having to pump as I can't imagine finding a way to nurse them both day and night. I picture various scenarios and think I would be uber-exhausted and that this little setback is actually BETTER for us in the long run.

My incision seems to be healing fine, but my body is in such sad shape. Do all mothers get this droopy belly syndrome? Is it the c-section? Is it all the oreos I ate? Seriously, my skin, in this area of which I speak, is like raw chicken skin. Tough. Yellowish pale. Large pores. Did I mention tough? It's so freaking disgusting!

Today is our last day 'alone' without visitors actually staying in our home. My brother and his family arrive tonight. My mother on Tuesday. I'm mourning the loss of alone time already. And instead of pumping and typing this in the living room, I'm going to have to AT LEAST move the pump to the nursery. Wouldn't want to scar my dear brother for life!
DH and I have commented several times how simple it must be to just have one. We are surviving life with twins and without sleep very well, I think. We definitely make a good team. We are very happy with our double blessing, and grateful for every moment.

We have had several more run ins with DH's parents. They are normally very rational, loving people, but seem to have lost their minds this week. I won't bore you with the details, because I'm trying to emotionally move on. But the final straw was when DH's mom stayed home SICK FROM WORK on Friday, but yet thought she was going to come over and visit that night. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?????? Yes, they are 7 days old, please help us celebrate by bringing your germs into our home. SELFISH. SELFISH.SELFISH. Anyway, after the week we've had, I am feeling a lot more free to be honest, direct and vocal about my concerns with them. But with my family coming to visit this week, I'm sure they will back off and I will get some relief from the stress with them. Bring on the stress of fighting with my own mom ;o

At least my mom will actually be helpful. Sure, she will say hurtful things and scold when she should validate (check back regularly for ranting about her!). She will smother me with physical affection that doesn't match her behavior or words, and that I don't feel in return, she will talk incessantly and she will reek of chain-smoking. But she will wash her hands regularly and she will clean and cook and fold laundry, too.

Probably should reward you all with some pics. We haven't been good about taking pictures, but hopefully with my mom here this week, we will. Actually, I haven't found my way into a photo since the delivery, so yes, we definitely need to remedy that this week.

And as soon as those little umbilical nubs fall off, we are SO scheduling the photographer!