Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pain, Understood.

I love the phrase “you learn something new every day.” Or at least I did. In the past, I had no idea what people were referring to when they said they had back pain. Sure, I’ve had my share of aches and pains, but nothing constant or life-altering. Until now.

I cannot function. I want to cry all the time. I consider myself one tough cookie, but this is beating me. (I am venting so look out!) For three weeks, I’ve had an annoying soreness in my upper back between my shoulder blades, but this week, it has kicked in to some sort of sheer and awful pain radiating outward from the center of my spine at the bottom of my neck.

I can’t see a doctor until Friday, so in an attempt for any sort of relief I saw a chiropractor yesterday. Unfortunately, he was not able to move anything around in a way he was happy about, so the only relief I’ve had was from the four year old c-section vicodin I took last night. I can’t tell you how good it felt to have the edge taken off. And I only have two left! (Can’t take ibuprofen because it worsens my colitis.)

My kids, obviously too young to understand, are upset with me for canceling a swim date at a friend’s house today. I have several other weekend plans that I will change as well; I can’t handle the thought of cleaning the house or cooking to entertain this weekend, nor can I imagine attending a party that I really want to go to, because I can’t turn my head in either direction, much less stop furrowing my brow from this smothering pain. I am totally overwhelmed.

Isn’t this uplifting? All I want to do is crawl under the covers until it’s gone. I cannot wait to see that doctor.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lake Gaston 2009

I think I live all year for this trip. Even the car ride was good with the new souped up van. I’m sure that I was the most impatient of everyone, only on the way home, my mind already racing into phone interviews and deadlines, not to mention school supplies and schedules. Changes are on the horizon.

But for one week each summer, thanks to Alby and Mary, we get to savor the season, reconnect with family and just spend time enjoying life together.

I used to think that there was some kind of family nirvana I was working towards. You know, a space in life where everyone is happy and peaceful and satisfied. I realize now that that kind of euphoria might be waiting in another life for me, but here I’m glad to count my blessings. Our vacation bliss was of course interrupted with the occasional fight or tattletale. There was some bed-wetting due to late nights, botched bedtime routines and too much soda pop. They didn’t magically become perfect listeners as we hit the waters of Lake Gaston.

What happened was they smiled for long periods, laughed and learned new things together, reveled in each other accomplishments and got 100 percent of mom and dad for eight straight days. And we got them. At their best.

I am so grateful.

This year marks our seventh year of what will now be an anchor in my children’s memories and life, a tradition in the truest sense. I hope they will always love to go as much as they do now. I know their Daddy and I will.

Here are a few of our favorite shots from this year…

Dog Days of Summer

This summer has been a blur. For sure because of the kid-craziness that accompanies this time of year, but also because of an eight-week struggle with our puppy, Jesse. On June 1, she began having all sorts of recurrent and seemingly unrelated problems including eye, ear and skin infections, unstoppable vomiting and other GI symptoms. After a million useless tests (they were sure the vomiting was from a blockage), lymph node biopsies for possible lymphoma (all her nodes were enlarged) and eventually a full GI work up (yes, endoscopy and colonoscopy included), we finally have a diagnosis. Jesse has inflammatory bowel disease, just like her human mommy, but hers is caused from a severe allergy to proteins used in dog food.

Her inflammation is so severe that she’ll be on eight medicines for the next two months, including several that I have taken for years on a regular basis. The chances of me contracting this disease were so small, but to actually choose a dog who has it? I can’t imagine how small the chances of that are! Luckily, in dogs, this is an acute condition and once we find the right food and taper her off the meds, she’ll live a normal life with no meds and a boutique dog food. Could be worse.

Until then, the poor thing is enduring prednisone at high doses and most of you know how I feel about that drug. I can tell Jesse feels the same way. And the kids are under serious training measures to ensure the dog does not eat table scraps. This, by far, will be the most difficult part of the process.

So without further ado, I give you the new face of inflammatory bowel disease…