Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Call Me Fatty McMenopause

Weight Gain.  One of the side-effects of the Lupron injections I'm receiving. 

I went in yesterday for my second injection.  As usual when you go to a doctor appointment, they checked my blood pressure, temperature, pulse (all normal), and then it was time to step on the scale.  I wear light clothes to the dr on purpose, just for this reason.  Even so, I was up 6 pounds since my last visit.

*I gained 6 pounds in 4 weeks*

Pretty sure I'm not ok with that. 

Other things I'm not ok with, concerning this treatment, would be my mood swings.  I feel like a bipolar crazy lady.  If you ask Big Brother where Mommy lives, he grins and says "Mommy lives in the Cuckoo House".  Pretty accurate.  I'm taking Klonopin for my crazy episodes (which happen more often than I'd like...), and it works, but it relaxes me so much that I get sooo tired... 

I'm not ok with the pain.  Like I said in a previous post, it's constant.  And when I run out of (or get low on) my pain medication, I freak out.  Last week I needed more.  Thursday night I realized I had 4 left.  I had my appointment scheduled for Tuesday, but there was no way I'd be able to make it 4 days with 4 pills.  So I called and had Dr Stitt write me a prescription.  I had The Hubs pick it up since he was in town, and had asked him to fill it.  He didn't.  Said it would have taken too much time.  Luckily, a friend had some (same drug, same dose) that she didn't need, so she gave them to me until I could get the rx filled.  Good thing.  Apparently pharmacies won't fill a prescription with an electronic signature.  I went to three (3) different pharmacies trying to get it filled, and nobody would do it.  The pharmacy here at Martin Army would do it, but that 'would have taken forever to wait for', according to The Hubs.  I'm sick of the pain.

Oh yeah.  And my boobs are all shrunken.  (breast changes was on the list of side effects)... Not sure if that is solely related (or even related at all) to the Lupron, or if it's simply because this is the first time since summer of 2007 I haven't' been pregnant or nursing, but this is the smallest my boobs have been since my sophomore year of high school.  It's depressing.  Seriously.

Other than that, these injections haven't been so bad.  The constant pain sucks.  The frequent mood swings, anxiety and freak-outs suck.  The small boobs suck.  The weight gain REALLY FREAKING SUCKS!  But I haven't noticed any hot/cold flashes, and I was told that the first month would be the worst, hands-down.  So here's to a better month.

Dr Stitt did say that since I'm moving, probably soon, but not sure how soon, if this injection doesn't cause a significant drop in pain within the next four weeks, she's going to refer me to a pain specialist to try to get something done...  But if I do see some improvement, she's going to give me the 3-month injection and find a doctor in Colorado that she can get me transferred to, so I don't have to start all over... 

I'm just ready for this to be done!

Tag... I'm It

 My sweet, awesome, amazing friend Jaci (of Me And My Soldier Man) tagged me!

1. When someone tells you to "go to your happy place," where do you go?
I don't really have a 'happy place', I guess...  I think of the beach, or of Disneyland, or of a big, fat, awesomely yummy ice cream sundae.

2. You're in a room with a stranger - who will certainly die tomorrow. What do you say to them?
 Forgive me for answering a question with a question... but how do I know they will die tomorrow?  And do they know?  If they told me, that would mean that they are comfortable talking about it.  In that case, I would ask them if they felt they had lived their life to the fullest, what they would change about how they lived, what things, now, at the end of their lives, seem like they were actually important, and what they wish they would have just let go of and gotten over...
3. What one TV show would you like to be on (reality or fiction)?
 I wish I could be on one of the crime-solving shows... CSI (Vegas, NY, Miami), Criminal Minds, etc... I think I would do a dang good job at figuring out who done it.  It would also be lots of fun to be on Scrubs though.  Gotta love Sacred Heart Hospital.

 4. How many facebook friends do you have?
  I have 439.

 5. What did you have for dinner last night?
 I had yummy homemade meatballs, pasta, and Texas Toast.  Good food, and good company :)

 6. Describe yourself in 200 words or less.
I am an army wife, a stay at home mom to two amazing toddlers and a little furbaby, a daughter of awesome parents, a sister to a great man, an in-law to a bunch of crazies (but I love them despite it), a cousin, niece and granddaughter to an insane zoo of people.  I love my family and friends more than anything else, especially The Hubs & the kiddos... I'm a Mormon, and love the idea that, as long as I do my part, I will be able to be with my family forever.  I am a neurotic insomniac with some control issues and a little bit of ocd.  I try to make myself seem like a hardass, but I'm really a bleeding heart.  I love to decorate, to make things look 'pretty' and am obsessed with Damask.  I used to write, and wish I still had the 'touch' but lately I can't get into it as easily as I used to be able to.  I love love love taking pictures of anything and everything, love being able to document life, especially the special moments, so they're not forgotten.

7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  People not being polite; not returning smiles, being rude when you accidentally bump into them and then apologize, cutting you off, or just not acknowledging your presence at all.  Rudeness really bothers me. 

8. What is the thing that, when it happens, you think, "Today is going to be a good day"?
 Waking up to a clean house, and the kids waking up happy, not crying.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A pain in the gut is worth a pill (or two) in the hand...

Tomorrow (technically today, since it's after midnight, but feels like tomorrow since I haven't gone to sleep yet) marks the 3rd week of being on Lupron to try to help with my PCS.  I haven't posted about this since I went in for my shot, so I figured that now (while I'm not sleeping) would be a good time to kind of document the past 3 weeks, pain-wise.

Dr Stitt is an amazing woman.  I am so happy to have found her and have her treat me while I'm here.  She listens, she advises, and she takes time to spend with each patient.  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this in my other posts on the subject, so I'll get right to the nitty gritty.

As scared as I was to start the injections (hello - if something happens, it takes at least a month for the drug to wear off!... not even mentioning 'normal' side effects and stuff like that...), when I got to the office and spoke with Dr Stitt, I felt better about the decision.  Gary and I had decided it wasn't the right time to have kids right now, especially if it was just to put off this treatment and hurry and get one in so our 'child timeline' would work out right...  This was the thing to do.  And I was going to do it.

I picked up my injection from the pharmacy on my way to my appointment, but they were out of the hormone replacement drug, so I'd have to go back the next day to get that.

The shot & I made it safely to the dr office, where we waited, for not very long, if I remember right, in the waiting room and even in the actual exam room.  I was pretty upset about what the scale said (but that's a vent for another post. promise.), but kinda blew it off.  whatever. It's just a number, Right?

Once I was in the exam room, Dr Stitt came in,  talked to me about what was going to happen, just to go over the details again and answer any new questions I may have come up with since I'd seen her last.  We talked, then she removed my Mirena IUD, the nurse gave me the lupron shot in my butt, and that was that.

I left with a prescription for percocet for the pain, which she assured would get MUCH worse, a prescription for Neurontin- a new drug that's being tested - it's actually a seizure medication, but has shown signs of being good at treating chronic pain, so she's trying me on that as well.  I also got a prescription for an anxiety medication, just in case I can't handle something (mood swings & all... and I need it anyway), a HUGE hug from Dr Stitt, and the thought that I could do this.

I've been very good at taking my drugs that are supposed to suppress the pain - the Neurontin (supposed to take it 3x/day) and Celebrex (2x/day), and also the hormone replacement (1/day), in addition to my sleep aids and my depression meds... I feel like I could open a full pharmacy for crazy ladies in pain over here!

Ok. So on to the real stuff. The side effects...  if you remember, there was a looong list of potential side effects from taking this drug:

burning/pain/bruising at the injection site, hot flashes increased sweating, night sweats, tiredness, headache, upset stomach, breast changes, acne, joint/muscle aches, insomnia, reduced sexual interest, vaginal dryness, vaginal bleeding, swelling of the ankles/feet, increased urination, dizziness, bone thinning, depression, weight gain, anxiety 

Of these, so far, I've experienced the increased pain. lots and lots of it.  My feet have been swelling more, my boobs have shrunk and are now smaller than they've been since my sophomore year in high school (which might also have something to do with the fact that I just stopped nursing).  I'm not much more tired than usual, headaches aren't any worse, no acne... depression and anxiety are normal anyway... So really, the only thing that's bothered me enough to somewhat change anything I do, is the extra pain I'm feeling.  Because, seriously, with a list like the one above, I'm sure at least half of women who read that would come up with multiple symptoms they could claim, and blame it on the drug, rather than just deal with the fact that that's the way it is? make sense? (i know my caps & punctuation suck tonight. it's 3am. bite me.)  

But the pain. omg. I have literally been taking percocet around the clock.  I was given 40 pills that were supposed to last me 4 weeks... but the dosage instructions (and dr stitt) said to take one every 6 hours for pain. that would equal out to 4 per day, if it were a bad day.  those pills would last me 10 days.  So they were surprised when i called after over 2 weeks and said i needed more.  I had to go to an after hours clinic because they were closed and on call dr couldn't call anything in for me... so i got 15 more from the clinic, and then an rx for 15 more from the dr... should last me. 

But here i am, 6 days out (if you count today (thursday) and tuesday (my appt is in the pm), which i do), and have 5 total pills left.  I have been subbing in 800mg of ibuprofen when I can, but it doesn't do anything... This is so frustrating.  I don't even know what to do.  I'm going to call the office first thing in the morning and see if she can see me tomorrow or friday and go in then, and if not, just write me an rx to get me through the weekend... because i'm seriously dying here.  

I've been able to deal with my daily pain.  It hurts, but if I have meds, i can take them and deal.  Right now, I can't.  I HAVE to take the percocet, and even that barely takes the edge off.  I am so sick of my body not working right and being in constant pain...  physically, and don't even get me started on the emotional crap. 

Anyway, it's 3:16am. I think I'm gonna go forage for a snack and then try to read myself to sleep.  

loves... xoxo

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ranger School Rollercoaster

" ...When you are compelled to give up something, or when something dear is withdrawn from you, know that this is your lesson to be learned right now.  But know also that as you are learning this lesson, God wants to give you something better..."

After the mental, emotional, physical, and financial preparation of both The Hubs and myself, the day was finally here.  He shook me awake yesterday morning around 8am, and as soon as I realized what day it was, what waking up would mean, I started crying.  And we laid in bed while I cried for over an hour.  Like, gut-wrenching sobs, alternating with quiet little sniffles, and everything in between. We even ignored the cries and demands of the kids (for a bit - not too long) while I got a lot of my emotion out.

The Hubs & I got up, got the kids fed and dressed, he ate, we both got dressed, loaded up his gear into the car, and left.  We drove through post, out to the Ranger training area.  I dropped him off.  It was rather unceremonious.  Since there was a pretty big (4 hour?) window of time to be dropped off, there was no gathering of weeping wives, kids running around, or even soldiers getting ready for the next two months.  There was just a parking lot with a few cars in it, next to a building and a bus stop, across the street from the barracks & part of the training area, where most of the guys who were already there had gathered under a pavilion.  We got out of the car (just me & The Hubs, no kiddos), unloaded his gear, I snapped a quick picture of him completely loaded down, and he left.  Walked across the street, in through the gate, and away from me. 

Yup. I was distraught.  From there, since we would drive right by it anyway, the kids & I made a pit stop at the commissary for all the necessities - BBQ Lays, Tostitos tortilla strips (by far the best for dipping, imo), popcorn (movie theater butter, of course), LoftHouse cookies, Little Debbie's Fudge Rounds (the BIG box), fruit snacks, the little breadstick/cheese snacks for the kids, and some freshly made sushi for my dinner.  Yes.  That was ALL necessary.

We came home, did the nap thing, had dinner, kids had baths, and I stayed up until 2am revamping the blog, watching dvr'd reruns of HOUSE (LOVE that show!), and eating junk food. 

This morning was a little different, but not much.  Since The Hubs had been in the field so much, I had gotten somewhat used to sleeping and waking up alone.  Last night, I left Big Brother's bedroom door ajar when I went to bed, so instead of banging on the door and making a mess when he woke up, he gathered up his cars (his most prized possessions) and crawled into bed with me until Little Sis woke up.  We had brekkie, and I was picking up a bit, when my phone rang.  Not just any ring.  The Hubs's ringtone.  I missed the call (apparently I'd put my phone into the cup cupboard & shut the door?), and called him back, only to hear the words 'I need you to come get me.'

I was devastated. He had been looking forward to (and dreading) Ranger school for months upon months... and now, because of ONE pushup, it was over.  They had counted 48 of his pushups in the qualifying PT test this morning, when he needed 49 to pass.  BOGUS!

So, tearfully, I loaded the kids into the car and drove out to get him.  It was a sad morning.  Disappointing.  Absolutely NO disappointment in him... but TONS of disappointment FOR him. 

So now he's home.  I want to be happy, really, I do.  But I'm not.  The kids are ecstatic.  But I want him to be out there, starving, fighting and rucking and marching and not sleeping, and doing it all over again, because that's where HE wants to be.  We don't know what's happening now.  2 more schools (Airborne & Mec Leader) and a PCS to Fort Carson are in our future... but exact dates, times, and details are still in the air.

Life changes, so quickly, and we don't always know why, but we've got to roll with it and hope there's a damn good reason.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do You Remember?

Do you remember where you were on this day, 9 years ago?
I do.

It was about 6am.  I was getting ready to go to early morning seminary, blow-drying my hair, listening to the radio, as usual.  I turned the blow dryer off for just a minute, and heard the dj say 'another plane has crashed. two planes have crashed in New York, it's on every chanel' and of course, being the impulsive 16-almost-17 year old that I was, didn't wait to hear the rest, just ran into the living room where my mom was getting ready for work, where my grandma was waiting to ride with her, where my brother was studying his spelling words, turned on the tv, and we all watched in awe as they played, over and over, the clip of the second plane hitting the tower.  It was the scariest day of my life.  My stomach was in knots. I had no idea what this meant... were we at war. I thought so, but had no real clue what would happen, what chain reaction this one event (which I would later learn was just one in a series of many) would bring to pass.

I remember that the rest of the day , even the rest of the week, at school, there was little real instruction.  Instead, we all took turns piling into the classrooms and offices with tv's to watch the latest news - how many people they had found alive how many bodies they had pulled from the rubble, how many people were frantically searching for loved ones.  We saw the white, ash-covered people walking, dazed,  not sure where to go or what to do.  It was terrifiying.

I was a Junior in high school at the time.  I do remember how so many of my classmates had already, in those few days following the attacks on our homes, made the decision to join the Armed Forces, to defend our country, to try to ensure that this would never happen again.

I remember how this event, meant to scatter and terrify our country, caused us all to pull together, to trust and help and love one another, even if it didn't last.  I remember knowing that this day in history would forever change all of our lives.

Today, I have encountered so many consequences of this event.  I have seen the casket of a soldier, an amazing friend I had known almost all our lives, be laid to rest.  I have seen photos of a boy, the age of my baby brother, an athlete and great person, who lost his legs in the service of his country.  I have met men and women who have been in battle, who have seen and heard things that they will not talk about, and who have come home changed.  I have seen first hand the support people give the service members, thanking them for all they have done, and also thanking their families for being such a support to them as they fight for freedom.  I have also seen the ugly side of that - I have seen people protesting funerals of men killed in duty, people saying that these heroes deserved to die, that they were fighting a war that was wrong.  I have seen people try to pick fights, try to demoralize these amazing men and women who fight for the right for anyone to say what they want to say, these service members who give up many of their rights to ensure that those rights are kept safe and sacred for the civilian public.

I am so proud to say that my husband is one of those amazing men who has volunteered to stand for freedom, to stand for what is right, and to try to make a difference in the state of the world today.  He feels that if he can help one person gain the right to express himself, give one person the knowledge and training he will need to keep his family, neighborhood and country safe, give one person the means to support himself, he will feel as though he has accomplished something great.

I want to close this by honoring all of those who were lost in the horrible attacks on this day, September 11, nine years ago.  I want to honor the soldiers, the police officers, firemen, healthcare providers, and everyone else who lost their lives, or helped those in harm's way.  There truly are people out there who care for others.  We all need to be like them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blue Cords, Graduations, and Separation Anxiety...

This has been a long, crazy week.  The Hubs had his Blue Cord Ceremony on Tuesday night.  This was supposed to be a pretty special ceremony, as they were all considered 'special' enough to now wear the blue infantry cord with their dress uniforms.  I brought my camera, hoping to get some good pictures of him getting his cord, along with some of him & his buddies.  Only problem was, his platoon was in the least photographable spot (right next to where the families were standing, instead of across from) so the one picture I got of him getting his cord was the back/side of his head, along with a bunch of other heads...  Not so exciting.  The ceremony was followed by a dinner...  Pretty lame dinner, since the cost was $25 per person, there was no dessert, no music, and no entertainment.  We did have a decent time with the people at our table.  Besides, it was somewhat fun to get extra dressed up, even though we didn't get any pictures with our camera, a few people at our table were kind enough to offer to take some and email them to us.

Yesterday afternoon was the actual IBOLC (Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course) graduation.  It was very similar to a high school or college graduation... meaning a speaker or two, then about 150 guys had their names called one-by-one, the audience was told where their next duty station was, they walked across the stage, shook a few hands, walked back to their seats, waited until everyone was done, and it was over.  I actually brought my camera, again, but due to a sick, sleeping Little Sister in my arms, wasn't able to take any photos during the ceremony.  Once again, thank goodness for good friends who took some for us!  There was a reception after the ceremony that we went to, and once again, I was hopeful to get at least a few pictures of The Hubs with the guys he'd spent almost every waking (and most sleeping too) moment with for the past 16 weeks, but alas, nothing.  Serious bummer.  At least they've gotten some good shots out in the field. 

Today, The Hubs worked a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon, trying to get everything ready for his next training - Ranger School.  We've already spent hundreds (I mean, in the region of 7+) of dollars on everything that he needs, and there is still more that he didn't get, but couldn't find anywhere.  Ranger school is a pretty hardcore training, with three phases of about three weeks each.  Between each phase the guys get a break of 8 hours, and since the first phase (Darby) is here on Fort Benning, they'll be able to come home...  But between Mountain and Florida phases, the most they'll get is a phone call home.  If they get a no go (i.e. fail) for a phase, they have to repeat it until they either get dropped from the course, or they pass it. 

I've got very mixed emotions about this training.  On the one hand, I guess it will give me a glimpse into what a deployment will be like, and will hopefully make us both appreciate each other more when we're together.  Right at this moment, I'm pretty irritated with him, so I say I don't care that he's leaving, but I'm sure that tomorrow, our last day together, will make me feel differently.  Or not.  I'm really bad about picking fights just before separations, mostly because I feel that if I'm angry at him, it will make me hurt less and make me miss him less.  So not the case, and I know it, but when have I ever claimed to think logically?

I'm most worried about how the kids will handle the separation - especially Big Brother.  While The Hubs was in IBOLC, he was home almost every weekend, and Big Brother would act out the day he left...  Then when he'd get home, both kids would follow Daddy around like dogs, crying when he'd go to the bathroom or leave the room, and especially when he'd go to work.  We'd have to explain to Big Brother that Daddy would be home that day, for lunch, for dinner, whatever would help him calm down.  But this isn't going to be for just 3 or 4 nights... It's going to be for 62 (as long as he doesn't have to recycle!), and that's going to be a lot harder to handle.  At least the kids and I will be going back to Vegas, Utah & Colorado to visit family & friends... mostly to break up the alone-time and hopefully help them cope a bit. 

I'm not worried about being home alone.  We live on post, which gives me some sense of security.  My biggest worry is that I won't sleep enough.  When The Hubs is gone, I tend to stay awake way later than I should, and I have to get up when the kids do, usually giving me about 2-5 hours of sleep a night.  Sometimes I feel like I function better with less sleep, but only for a while until it really catches up with me and I turn into a raving lunatic.  At least I haven't really experienced noticable side effects from the Lupron yet, other than increased pain, but that was expected... but that's another post.

I just needed to vent my worries, frustrations, and feelings about this upcoming separation.  I'm sure my tune will be changing VERY soon, and you'll hear all about that.  But for now, I'm ok with it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Love and Frustration...

I am just so frustrated with The Hubs. I've tried to talk to him about how I'm feeling about the Lupron.  I've tried to get his input, tried to get him to help me figure out other options and what would be best for our family, and he just seems completely indifferent. I do understand that he's got a LOT on his mind. His training has been way intense since we've been here, and in less than 2 weeks, it will be even worse. I just really need him right now, and I'm not getting the support I want.

I had brought up a few months ago that I'd like to try to have another baby before he deployed. Zadie would be 2, and Ryker would be 3 1/2, and in preschool. He said no. Even after the gyn said she wanted to try this treatment, I suggested to him that I get my iud removed, and we try to get pregnant in the 3 weeks we had before he left for Ranger School, and if it didn't happen (which, hello, what are the chances?), then I'd start the Lupron, but I'd rather try to get pregnant first, because: 
1. pregnancy makes my pain go away, and 
2. I don't want a 4 year gap between Zadie and our next baby. 
He said no, said that he didn't think I'd be able to handle three kids on my own while he was deployed. While I understand that, in his mind, he's doing what he thinks is best for me, I really wish we could have an in-depth conversation about it, instead of just going with his assumptions.

Don't judge our current relationship from this argument though.  We have been getting along SO well since we moved here. Something, I think, about being so far from everyone we know, and not seeing each other much, so we kind-of stick together more. But this is a huge stress for me right now - I'm terrified of what this treatment will do to me, so scared of the side effects and how I'm going to react to them, and I just need him to be willing to talk to me, support me, and listen to me. And I want him to talk to me about what's bothering him, what he's dealing with, and how he feels about his job, his training, and about starting Ranger School so soon.

Being here has changed him. His training has been really hard, but not only that, the leadership has left a lot to be desired. Typical of the Army, it has been unorganized, lacking of time management, and lots of 'hurry up and wait'. This isn't basic training/boot camp. This is school for officers, to learn how to lead, and their leadership sucks. Instead of learning to do the things that they will be doing once they get to their units (things that only higher ranked officers can really teach them, and they won't have time to sit down and explain much), they are out in the field learning and doing a lot of stuff that, yes, is good to know, and necessary, but also things that their enlisted subordinates could show or teach them how to do.  All of the guys in this course are frustrated.  It was supposed to be a 'gentleman's course', meaning mostly 8-5 hours with a few weeks in the field.  Instead they've been in the field more often than not, and when they're in garrison (in the classroom), who knows what time they'll actually make it home.  

The Hubs has become so cynical. Where he used to joke and laugh and smile, now he thinks the worst of everything... He doesn't talk anymore, he just turns inward, and I hate it.  I love him so much, and I want to be able to communicate with him, but I don't know what to do. This is so frustrating!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Battle With Pain: Part 2

I am so beyond frustrated today. I had my appointment scheduled with my gyn to get the first Lupron injection at 3:30. The Hubs was going to get off work early so he could go with me, and a friend was going to come watch the kids. I still had to go to the pharmacy to pick up the actual  shot (for some reason I had to get it as a prescription and bring it in to the office).  When The Hubs came home from lunch he said he should be getting off between 1 & 2, so I figured I'd have enough time to go to the pharmacy after he got home, and get back before we had to leave for the appointment.  Our friend couldn't be here until 3 anyway, which is when we needed to leave to make it on time. Well, The Hubs didn't get home until sometime around 2:30, which didn't leave enough time to get to the pharmacy (on the way off post), come back, pick him up, and make it to my appointment on time... and our friend was in a class, so she couldn't come early. I had to go alone. I may sound like a huge wuss, but I've been really apprehensive about the whole situation, and I really needed The Hubs to be there with me. Whatever.

So I get to the pharmacy around 2:45... figuring that 45min would be long enough to get the prescription and leave for my appointment. In the hospital here on post, when you check in at the pharmacy with an external prescription, they enter into the computer the medication, then give you a number. I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, at 3:25 my number was called. I got to the window and was told that they didn't carry the hormone replacement medication she had prescribed me, (there are certain 'tiers' of meds that the military insurance won't pay in full, so you have to get them at a civilian pharmacy), and they were all out of the Lupron. Seriously. I waited for an hour & a half to be told that they didn't have what I've been waiting for. That the girl who entered it into the computer should have told me it was out of stock. I was livid.

I called the doctor's office (10 min after my appt was supposed to start) and told them what had happened, and the nurse was so sweet, and rescheduled me for this Thursday.   I'm really nervous to start the treatment, but it seems to be the best thing to do, so I'm diving in head first.