Tuesday, April 29, 2008

There's a Soccer Game Tonight

Our son plays soccer for the YMCA and tonight their coach is going to be holding a practice disguised as a parent/kid game. I look forward to it. Our son hasn't played in a whole lot of sports so this will be the first one of its kind. I remember all the times in sports that we played against the parents, teachers, or others. I am pretty sure that the "adults" always let us win just as we will probably tonight but it will be a lot of fun all the same. I can't wait.

However, this first parent/child game is also a bit on the bittersweet side because I don't honestly know if there will ever be another. They are telling me that after my head heals, I can do everything I do now but I have to keep in the back of my mind that it might not be the case. I mean honestly, is it truly safe for me to play sports such as soccer after I've had a piece of my skull removed? Maybe it is but it just seems a bit... odd. I don't know. I trust my doctor but I have to believe that after this surgery, whether I like it or not, my life is going to be changed forever. *sigh*

Ok, I'm getting off this subject. Wish me luck keeping up with a bunch of 11 year olds tonight!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rare... or not so Rare?

I guess it depends on who you ask and what your definition of rare is, as to whether or not the earthquake we had last week in the central part of the US is considered rare. Apparently, smaller ones are rather common but they are so small that we don't really feel them. The 5.2 that we had last Friday morning was a little less common for this are. However, living near any fault line tells me that you have to expect the occasional earthquake. I personally don't live near the fault line but we are close enough that we felt them... or at least some of my family did.

The original quake occurred some time in the early morning Friday. It registered a 5.2 on the scale. John and I neither one felt or heard anything but my son did. He woke up the next morning asking what made the house shake. I looked at him like he was nuts but he was adamant that the house shook, "Just like the washer makes it do sometimes... but the washer wasn't running." I was getting ready to leave for work so I just made the out of no where comment, "I don't know, hun, unless we had an earthquake or something. Daddy and I didn't feel anything." I get in the car and on the radio they are talking about the earthquake we had in the night. I called him to let him know he wasn't crazy. "See, mom, I told you!!!"

I racked my brain trying to figure out how others felt this earthquake and John and I completely slept through it. I've come to a couple of conclusions. One is that I had been expecting wind and storms throughout the night. The wind hits our house head on so it often shakes the house. Therefore, if I did feel it, I would have subconsciously blamed it on the wind and ignored it going back to sleep. The second is that I probably blamed it on John subconsciously. Then again, it's possible I just didn't feel it.

We then had two large aftershocks felt in our area. One was Friday and the other was over the weekend. I felt the one on Friday but not the other one. It's weird. This is the first earthquake that I remember. :)

Anyway, no damage in my area and really other than a bit of excitement it wasn't much. Just wanted to report.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Only Seven Weeks and Counting

Wow, if surgery stays where planned, it will be seven weeks from today. YIKES!!! My list is much longer than 7 weeks. LOL However, by staying busy I don't have as many "oh my gosh" moments where I get super anxious so I guess it's a good thing.

In progress, we have made great strides on the computer room and with any luck the major parts of it will be done by the end of the weekend. (It's wishful thinking I am sure.) When that is done we will only have two more "areas" within the computer room to finish but neither are of a critical nature. One is my craft desk but I can organize around that and the other is the lab rack but again I can work around that. Other than that I would like the rest of my shelving as well but they can come at any time. I have found other homes for the stuff that belongs on them.

I have been working hard at work to try to get as much as possible done before I leave. I don't know how far I'll get with it but every inch I get will make it that much easier for my co-workers.

I still have a lot of paperwork to organize before I go in. I need to get some of my medical bills turned into the medical savings account, finish my planner book, organize my doctor visits for the year, make sure the existing bills get paid and insurance pays what they are supposed to, get all the certifications and paperwork for work done... See what I mean. This is going to take a long time but I know I will get there. I also really need to get a hold of my medical records since the beginning of the year. I really should do this by the end of the week. We'll see if I can make time.

As if all of this above isn't enough, my son has soccer practice tonight, we go to my mom's tomorrow night, we have dance on Thursday night, and there's a soccer game on Saturday....

Ok, off for awhile. I will write about the earthquake this week if I have time while eating my breakfast in the mornings. Beyond that, I will probably be a bit on the quiet side for obvious reasons. *Huggles*

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Week in Review 4-18-2008

Sorry that this was a slow blogging week. I've been extremely busy and just haven't had time to sit down and blog. *Sigh*

Medically - This was another good week on the blog front. Other than my eye being aggravated by the combination of my allergies and my trigeminal issue it has been rather uneventful in this arena. I have to keep using moisturizing drops on my right eye though. It gets dry anyway because of my trigeminal and when you put allergy meds on top of it... you know it's bad when you eye sticks to your eye lid.

Emotionally - I'm just going to avoid this subject today for various reasons. This was not a good emotional week... well I shouldn't say that because it only was bad for a few days over the weekend. Let's just say, I'm putting it behind me and choose not to think about it.

I guess this is related to emotions as well. I've been fighting my insurance company AGAIN because they can't keep my account straight. How hard is it to look at my benefits and pay accordingly? I have had to call them on the exact same issue three times now. They still are not sorting it out right. At least I've got a couple others resolved. I am so mad right now it's just pathetic. As if I need any more stress in my life. (This goes without being said that I should just drop it with them and pay what they are saying I owe since I am going to max out my out of pocket this year anyway. It would be easier but it's the principle behind the thing and I don't want them coming back next year, when I don't plan on maxing it, and saying that it is the same as this year....)

Mentally - I have made good progress at work even though the plan I have set out for the next six weeks is going to be impossible. At least I have a plan and goals to work towards, even if I don't accomplish them. If I don't get them done, my goals with me good documentation for the guys at work so that they know what is still up in the air.

I have also continued progress at home although I'm struggling to finish my planner book. I guess I just need to force myself to do it but I feel good physically and have lots of energy right now so I'd rather work on things like the computer room. It'll get done. Nothing gets things done like a hard deadline.

Physically - As I said above, this has been a good week physically. I feel good and I have lots of energy. I have also done my exercises when I've not been so busy that I worked until bed time. I plan on getting more focused on this next week. I can really feel the work I've put in on them. :)

Family - I've not really got anything to say on this or at least nothing I wish to get into.

Oh, wait, John's birthday was yesterday. Happy Birthday, LOVE!!!

Play - My son has been having fun with soccer. He's been doing pretty well this year.

We have a dance this saturday that we are planning on attending.

The tribal wars game I play is getting interesting. I dropped out of worlds 12 and 13. 12 was just getting to be too time consuming and in the end we were losing a war and soon our villages anyway. In 13, I just finally got fed up with it. I took a village fair and square and some guy asked if he could have it since he was trying to move to the area. Me, being the nice gal that I am, agree. Well, several hours before his attack is to arrive, one of his tribemates attacks the village, destroying the troops from another village I had there. I couldn't see the point in someone getting free shots on the village so I was waiting to move them. Apparently, getting 500 troops wiped out is my payback for being a nice gal. I decided it wasn't worth starting over and left the world.

Then last night the ultimate knife in the back occurred in my only still active world of 10. While I was away at work, someone whom is an ally and that I thought was a personal ally, took one of my villages and began working on another. I have no idea why he turned on me because he didn't respond to any of my mails... shows me what kind of coward he is. Anyway, I was proud of myself for weathering off his attacks the way I did. He lost 60000+ troops. :) He was also promptly dismissed from his tribe since he attacked me. His tribe and my tribe are allies. Anyway, I'm hoping to take my one village back from him and maybe I'll be the recipient of a few more before it is all said and done.

I have also been working on my "brain games" again. I'll report when I have a few sets of results and possibly a graph.

A final thing or two to post. I promise I'll post a better post on this during the week. Illinois ground was shaking a bit today. We had a 5.2 earthquake and a 4.5 tremor along with a handful of smaller ones. There doesn't appear to be any major damage in my area. I'll give a full report later in the week. There was something else I was going to report on too but I forgot what it is. I'll try to be better at posting next week. I have a ton to say just don't have the time to sit down and do it.


Friday, April 11, 2008

The Week in Review 4-11-2008

Medically - Well, after spending the whole first half of the week extremely sick, I'm doing much better now. All three of us were down with a stomach bug of sorts and we're all glad to be "almost normal" again. I am still having to watch what I eat and get stomach cramps every time I do eat but at least it's staying put now. Beyond that, we really didn't have anything medically related.

Emotionally - This ended up being yet another emotional week and again it wasn't for the reasons most would expect. It is indirectly related to the surgery and tumor but it is directly related to my feelings and unfortunately no one seems to think that my feelings in this whole thing matters. Maybe I am wrong by what I am wanting but I can't see where it is so much to ask. I know this is a bit cryptic but basically I need to have a confrontation this evening and we'll see how it goes. If it doesn't go well, I may have some unwelcome announcements coming out real soon.

Mentally - Despite being sick, I have continued to make forward progress on preparing for this thing... well for surgery at least. I have got a plan laid out at work that will allow me to get a good portion of the critical stuff done there prior to surgery. Things are laid out by week. We'll see how it works out. At home, I continue to make progress on the computer room and I FINALLY found a CD program I've been desperately looking for. I need to make some changes on a legal document and I couldn't find the program for it. Now that I've found it, I can finally make the needed changes.

Physically - So much for feeling great last week. The bug and my emotional state zapped most of my physical strength this week. I dropped 7 pounds in 7 days. Not a pretty way to lose weight and way too fast. Anyway, I didn't do my workout all week because of it. I'm going to let myself "heal" the remainder of the week and try to jump back in next week. Hopefully, I'll be feeling up to it by Monday. Otherwise, as soon as I can get back to eating without feeling like I'm going to lose it, I'll be all set to go again.

Family - After all of us fighting this bug this week I think most of us feel a bit run down but if you take that out of the equation, we are feeling pretty good. We've had several good talks this week on various subjects and John has reassured me many times that he will stand behind the decisions I feel I need to make. He has occasionally tries to make me see what I am saying but for the most part he realizes that this whole battle has to be fought with me in the lead and his job is to stand beside me and give me that lift when I need it. It's fabulous to have someone that truly understands who I am and where I am in this journey. He knows that if this is to be won, it has to be a journey that I am able and willing to take because if it's not, well it will be a losing battle. He also understands that if this is a path I am going to go on, I need to do it my way. If I don't feel like I have control where I need it, what's the point in fighting it?

Sorry, that one kinda dovetailed into what I mentioned in the first paragraph. I'm struggling with a situation right now that has to deal with family but neither of my boys. I am really trying to see this person's point of view but we are just enough different that I am struggling to put myself in her shoes. I know that if the roles were reversed and she felt the way I do, I would step down because it's not my fight to win. However, that is where we are different. I am willing to fight down when it is best and I guess she's not. However, I know I need to focus on things that are important and although this is important to me, it's not important in the grand scheme of things. Tonight I plan on addressing it, one final time. We'll see what happens when it is all said and done.

Play - Well, last week before we all got sick we were able to watch my son's soccer game and enjoy a night dancing. This was only the second game that John has been able to watch him play. Last fall, when he played, John was in harvest and only saw the very last game. Luckily, he had Saturday off so he got to see another one. It was a great game. They lost but they played well. He got to be goalie and I do think he's found his niche. It will be interesting to see if he gets to play it more. I think it's a good place for him and he felt good about the position.

Dancing was pretty normal. We had a really good crowd and as always had a good time. My neck was bothering me a bit so I didn't dance as much as I normally do but not a big deal. We were sick and didn't get to go to the 4H meeting. *sigh*

Well, this will be a mostly quiet weekend. JJ has soccer but beyond that it will be staying home and getting some good work done. I'm hoping we'll be able to get the next piece of the computer room brought in. :D


Monday, April 7, 2008

Many Things Can Be Blessed

Yesterday my son came down with some sort of a stomach virus. Early this morning, I came down with the same. By noon, John was home with it as well. So we are all three home today and sick. How can this be a blessing?

This afternoon we were surprised by a call from John's Grandma. (My Grandma-n-law) His Dad had passed the word on to her about my condition and my decision to do surgery. She wanted to let me know that I was in everyone's thoughts and prayers in South Carolina. It felt really good. John and I have been married for 11 years and I have never actually met her. She sounds like a wonderful lady and I am blessed to have spoken with her. Had we not all been home sick, we would not have had this blessing today.

My husband's family is scattered around the country so I have not had the privilege of meeting many of them and those I have I don't see often. However, their support as we've continued this journey means a lot and I am deeply touched by all of their kind words. It for everyone that I fight the good fight and know that I will come out on top in the end.

PS. Thank you Dad for lifting my spirits Friday and passing the word along to Grandma. It really meant a lot to me.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Can I stick a magnet?

Oh the things that come from the mouths of kids. I was pretty worried about telling my son about surgery. He's old enough to understand part of what is going on but I was afraid he wouldn't understand enough to feel comfortable about it. (He's 11) Anyway, one day he and I were talking about the surgery on our way home from his soccer practice. We got on the topic of what was actually going to happen during it. I told him that they would remove a piece of my skull and then when it is all over they would replace it and put some little metal plates in to hold it in place until it healed. To what would his first words be? "So you will be a metal head when it's over?" I really shouldn't have worried about his reaction. I should have known his reaction would be all boy. I laughed and said that I guess you could say that. Then the comment of all comments... "Will a magnet stick to your head?" DOH!!! That comment I was not expecting. I am now wondering if he and I being home alone after surgery is such a good idea. I can already picture me taking a nap one afternoon and waking up with him trying to attach a magnet to my head!!!

Hope you enjoyed this laugh for the day. Something tells me there will be more of these as we move along. *Huggles*

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Week in Review 4-4-2008

This week's review will feel very good because for the first time this year I can truly give full updates. I have been unable to do this all year because of the things I wasn't yet revealing. It's good to have my mind made up finally and now that I've informed those that need to know... I'm ready to rock.

Medically - Well, I've made the announcement I've been hiding under my cap for several months now. We are moving forward with surgery in June. The other thing revealed this week is the headache that occurred when they found the hemangioma in my neck. Luckily, the hemangioma isn't really an issue right now so it is just on the back burner of things to keep an eye on.

Also on the medical front, I have been in touch with my NeuroSurgeon's office and we are beginning the paperwork process that needs to be completed for me to get the time off at work. Things are moving forward.

Emotionally - This was a rough week in many different ways but perhaps not for the reason most of you would assume. Most of the conflicting emotions had very little to do with my surgery or even my tumor.

Most of the emotions were aimed from some aggravating events that occurred at work and the blame I put on myself for this happening. I also had some emotional events when I saw some of the "changes" I am going through already and surgery has not even happened. I know these changes are not permanent and they are directly related to stress but they bother me all the same.

Beyond that the emotions that were directly related to surgery was in telling my immediate family about my plans and trying to work out some "details" on it.

However, today I am in very good spirits and I am looking forward to a fun but busy weekend with my family.

Mentally - I continue to drag my feet on some of the really important things I need to get done but I know I will get them as I get closer to crunch time. These are the type of things you need to be in the right mindset for and nothing sets a mind quite like a looming deadline!!! Especially when that deadline is one that can't be surpassed. So I'm not making the progress on those things that I want but I have made very good progress in a little more normal areas. John and I have finally gotten the desk units in place in my computer room and the room that was once a disaster of stuff that I could not put up is now becoming a functional room again. This makes me feel really good and I know it is good progress towards where I want to be in early June.

Physically - For the first time all year, I feel great!!! I don't have any sinus pressure. My neck/back is doing very well. My allergies have been in full swing but I've finally found a combination of medications that successfully fights it and allows me to enjoy things.

Also on the physical front, I am proud to say that every day but Wednesday this week I worked out in some form. I have been walking (although not this week due to weather and the desperate need for new tennis shoes), lifting weights, and working with my balance ball. It has been a long time since I've consistently worked out and it really feels good. I know I won't be where I was when I was younger and got pregnant with my son but I am confident I can be as physically strong as possible going into surgery. This can only help me in my journey. I plan on evaluating my workout over the weekend and determine where I may make changes or add things.

Family - Overall my boys seem to be going well. My son has stepped up and made me proud in many areas. He is helping out a bit more around the house and he is trying really hard to improve his behavior and school work. He frequently comes up with questions out of the blue so I know my pending surgery is on his mind but I feel he is handling it well. Luckily, he has others he can talk to about it as well and he is aware of that so I think that helps him knowing he can talk to many about his fears or questions. I have also been very open with him from the beginning (well I worked out things for myself about surgery before telling him) and do not pull any punches when discussing the surgery or my tumor. I don't go into more detail than he is ready to handle but I do answer all of his questions. I have also let him make a few decisions himself about things and I think that makes him feel good. Besides, he has one of the most important jobs of all and that is to be my supervisor when I get out of the hospital. I think his role as supervisor will change from someone to take care of mommy in the early weeks to keeping me from doing what I'm not supposed to in the later weeks. Normally I have to keep him occupied during the week but I think he's going to be responsible for doing that with me after surgery. I can't think of a job any more important or someone I would rather have taking it. He's a good kid and I'm so proud to be his mom.

John is doing as well as can be expected. He has been a bit more open in talking of late and I know that means that he is accepting the path and ready to take it on just like I am. He has been wonderful in all this and dealing with my many different ideas of what the best plan is. He has told me many times that it has to be my decision and he will stand behind whatever that is. However, he is also quick to make sure that I get back on the right path if I linger too much in a bad direction. It's amazing how much you can pick up about someone and their moods. I guess in 11 years of marriage we have seen a lot and have learned how to handle each other and guide them without making them angry. I know early on he didn't speak much about anything with my tumor and it bothered me that maybe he wasn't quite grasping it all. But soon enough I realized that he was just wanting my emotions to settle down before he started adding to them. After I was stabilized, he gave me his opinions, thoughts, and concerns. Together we make a pretty good team. I analyze things to the point I narrow down the options and hit a road block... he sits back and watches as he forms his own opinions and then carefully guides me away from the road block and into a final decision. I really do love him with all my heart.

Ok, now that I've had those two sappy paragraphs...

Even though I don't talk about my extended family, there are four members of it that I am rather close to. We see each other anywhere from 1-5 times a weeks and we try to support each other. These members are my mom, dad, little brother, and grandma. I don't think anyone but my little brother reads this blog but they are whom I needed to tell prior to posting it out here. I did not want any of them reading it on my blog first. My little brother found out in a way I didn't intend but I think he is doing ok with it. I had told my mom about it last friday but he was late getting there so I didn't tell him. Unfortunately, my mom didn't know I hadn't told him. OOPS. I guess it's my own fault for not telling him sooner but you can't turn back time. Anyway, my point to this section was that they seem to be handling it just fine and I know they will come to terms with it just as John and I have.

Play - I'm not going to even attempt to summarize since I last posted an update. However, I will say that this week I enjoyed playing with my husband's new play toy in the garage that my little brother got him for Christmas. It's a rotary tool and I had some fun playing with it on some scrap wood. I keep teasing John that if he would draw me out some things (I am totally untalented in the drawing department) then I could probably do so neat things with it. :D

This weekend will be packed full with activities. We have a soccer game, a birthday party, a square dance, and a 4H meeting. Should be busy.

I'll talk to you all soon. *Huggles*

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Cat is Out Now

I finally let the cat out of the bag and my family knows now so... I'm just full of new things this past week. This one is the big one though. Tentatively, I will be having an open biopsy/total resection on my tumor on June 10th.

John and I have been thinking long and hard about this decision for several months now and we finally made the decision that it is in our family's best interest to do it in June. I'm sure those that have watched my blog from day one is asking why I've had the sudden change of opinion. Well I'll do my best to explain.

  1. I reserved the right in the very beginning to change my mind as I saw fit.
  2. In December, they changed the coil in the MRI machine (some of you may remember me writing about this). This caused my December MRI to show change, whether or not I felt it was verifiable. My MRIs have been clean since so I'm holding on to the hope that it did not change in December but the stress it put on John and I over the next two months was brutal. The thought that it could grow verifiable over a time that would be hard on our family (harvest, son in school, holidays)... this made me think it's best to do it on our terms. So I guess you could say I've decided to get the tumor before it gets me.
  3. By doing this in June, my son is out of school for the summer so I don't have to worry about him being four hours away in school worrying about me. Also, this way, he can be my "supervisor" when I do return home and John doesn't have to worry about finding people to stay home with me in the event something should go wacky.
  4. By doing this in June, we are successfully between planting and harvest seasons so John can take the time he needs to be with me in Chicago as well as take me to appointments as needed.
  5. It was not a sudden change of opinion. I may be telling everyone about it now... less than 10 weeks to surgery but John and I made the decision back in January. We've had plenty of time to think about it and work out what details can.
  6. I've got one of the best doctors in the field working on me. I trust the man that will do my surgery with my life. I'm young. I'm healthy. I have no deficits. I have hundreds of people behind me supporting and praying for me. I can't imagine that the time will ever be more right than it is right now.
I made this decision no differently than I have every other decision I've made in my life. I thought long and hard about what all the possible options meant. I mentally worked out the details of the pros and cons. I spent many nights working everything over in my head until I knew what I felt was the right move. Don't get me wrong, I changed my mind 100 times before I got to where I am now. It's not a decision you just make on the fly like what you are going to have for lunch. I knew the decision would come when I was ready. When I had it all worked out, the right decision would be sitting in front of me. That is where I am now. I have worked it out. I have decided this is the best way. I have focused on the goal. I have stepped into the ring to take the "bull by the horns". I have worked out the possible scenarios in my head. I have prepared the things I feel I need. I am ready to fight this thing.

I am doing well. I am focused. I am set. I am ready.