Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

So I usually do a year in review and do goals for the year. I'm going to do this in shortened form this year.

2014 was sucky. MS for Todd, then he lost his job in March. He did find another job that was less stressful but it was a rough start to the year. The middle parts were ok, I think. Most of it's still a little fuzzy. But Dragon*Con, Browncoat Ball, Emily's birthday and Halloween were good.

Of course then I got sick and I'm still recovering from that. Christmas was good but I overdid it and had to go to the ER with a migraine last Saturday. I've been trying to rest and work.

The good parts were ok, but the bad parts were really bad. It's awful being in the hospital but it's even worse having a spouse in the hospital. We got a two-fer of that this year.

My goals for 2014 were to finish the 2nd draft of my novel, to finish Couch to 5K and to finish Emily's stocking. I only got the stocking done.

While I plan on writing more once my memory issues are better, as well as exercising, I only have one goal for 2015. That is to not go to the hospital. No more hospital, no more new and exciting illnesses. I have enough.

Who knows if I can keep that but that's my goal.

But here's looking forward to 2015! Hopefully I can also get my flying car and hoverboard!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sick Mom or Healthy Mom

Me and my mom
Growing up, my mom was the picture of health. I don't even remember her getting colds or the flu, though I'm sure she did. My mom was a force of nature and kept everything on track. Because my mom had such a strong personality and was so seemingly healthy, it was a shock when she got cancer.

She still powered on. My parent's owned a water testing company - where we lived you had to have your water tested when you sold your house. My mom would run the office and pick up the samples while my dad did the testing since he's a microbiologist. Even during her two year fight with colon cancer, she would work scheduling pick ups around chemo sessions. But eventually she died and even knowing how sick she was, it was a bit of shock. Not my mom, who had always been so healthy!

Me, on the other hand, am the picture of illness. Despite my chronic headaches, Todd and I went ahead and decided to have Emily. Chronic pain and pregnancy is not a good mix, so I was pretty miserable for the majority of those nine months. But at the end, I got an Emily out of it and she was / is worth all the pain I went through.

Right now, I'm not doing so great. I've been overdoing it especially over Christmas, so I ended up in
the ER this past Saturday with a bad migraine. Some drugs and lot of sleep has helped me feel better. But I'm still tired, because I'm honestly still recovering from the seizures. So I'm trying to rest as much as I can while Todd is still off work for the holidays.

We went to the store last night to pick up my anti-seizure medicine and just walking around Walmart make me feel woozy. So when we got home, it was straight to bed for me. Todd has been doing storytime with Emily at night because he usually doesn't get to do it. Emily has a story Bible and we've been reading our way through it.

Last night, Todd told me, was the story of Jesus as a healer. At the end of each story their is a question and this one was "If you could heal anyone, who would it be." Todd says that she didn't even think about it before she said, 'Mommy.'

I got teary-eyed when I told me that and it got me thinking. Emily has never know what it's like to have a healthy mom. I was sick before she was born and I have gotten sicker over the years. In her very short life, I've been in the hospital twice.

My life span may be shorter because of all this healthy issues. Or I may take after my Great Aunt Dorothy who has health issues as long as I can remember but it also in her 90's. But I'm not holding my breath to have a long life.

I worry about Emily because of my illness. She's a kind, wonderful child but I feel bad that I'm not the best mom that I can be. I feel bad that I can't give her a sibling. I worry how seeing me sick all the time will effect her. I worry that I'll die before she's an adult.

Of course, there is time to see it all play out and I do know that chronic isn't fatal. I just keep adding on issues and diseases which is worrisome. But sick mom or healthy mom, I know both me and my mom wanted to be the best mom's we could (and can).

Monday, December 29, 2014


Christmas was definitely more low key than usual for me, but I found out that I'm still recovering and need to take it slow. 

I always work on Christmas Eve and this year was a bit of a mad rush after I got out of work. I worked until 3:30 and we had to be to church at 4:15. We only live about ten minutes from church but I'm paranoid so we left a little early and got there about five minutes before we needed to.

Since we were one of the first people there, we got a great seat. Emily and her classmates were whisked away to get costumed up. I went to the bathroom a little before the service started and I had a view of them in the big preschool room donning there costumes. It made me feel a little teary eyed.

Finally the service started. It was a child led service so the old kids did quite a few songs with chimes. And the kids Emily's age and younger, sang the Nativity story. They had angels, wise men and shepherds. Emily was an angel but she said she was Mary. Todd and I didn't argue.

After church was done, we  headed home. Emily opened up two presents. Her Christmas pjs and Pinkie Pie doll, which she loved. We watched one Christmas movie and got small child to bed.

Santa came and I passed out. I was going to try and watch a little TV but I was too tired, so I just went to bed.

On Christmas morn, I woke up a little after 6 because my body said, "Wake up, it's time to work!". Emily didn't get up until nearly 7 but was raring to go once she did. Todd had fallen asleep in the chair which he does sometimes.

The great opening commenced and Emily was very happy. She kept declaring it the best Christmas
ever throughout the day. Todd shuffled off to bed so I was on open the presents duty. Emily was nice and let me take a break between the openings because I wasn't feeling great. But the straw that broke was the Mandy's back (or head as the case may be) was the Barbie house.

Emily hasn't really had Barbie's before but she got a ton for Christmas thanks to my mother in law. She loves them and of course she wanted the house put together. I feel for my mom who put together tons of those sets for me and my sister over the years. 

It was a pain in the butt that required me to sit on the floor. But finally the Barbie house of doom was all together. There was one more thing that needed to be put together but I made her wait for Todd. During the great put together/remove from package

Todd got up, put together the Doc McStuffins center. He started our feast and we called all the relatives. Emily did talk to everyone and thank everyone but she was more interested in her toys of course. 

I ate after we talked to everyone and then I took a nap because I was starting to feel badly. The rest of the day was resting and eating and Emily playing. I was feeling increasing bad but tried to keep my spirits up.

It was a good Christmas but I way, way over did it. Which lead to me missing work the next day and ended up in the ER on Saturday. But Emily had a good Christmas and that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Thank You To Those Working Tomorrow

Happy Holidays! Whatever holiday you celebrate, if any!

Tomorrow is Christmas Day and a lot of people have it off from work, even if they don't celebrate Christmas, lots of people have the day off. I'm lucky and I also have the day off though I had to work today and I'll be working on Friday.

But there are lots of people who have to work tomorrow. My company is open to provide tech support - from what I hear it will be a lot of asking for wireless information for new stuff.

Some restaurants / fast food joints will be open as well as gas stations for those traveling.

Hospital, police and fire departments don't close either. They will be there to help people in need, even saving lives. 

There are probably other places open, which means people do work. I'm thankful for those who do work. I'm especially thankful to those who volunteer at my company so I don't have work.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Things I Am Thankful For

Yes, yes, I know it's almost Christmas and Thanksgiving was a while ago. But I do have a lot to be thankful for and I was stuck in the hospital during Thanksgiving.

Firstly I'm thankful for Todd. He's not a perfect person (no-one is, of course) but he's awesome and caring and perfect for me. He was there for me when I got sick (whenever I get sick) and of course, is a great dad to Miss Emily.

Todd was there for the entirely of my vast and many illnesses. We started dating right around the time when my daily chronic headaches started. He drove me home in a snowstorm from the east side of Michigan to the west because I couldn't drive due to a migraine (I had other friends who drove my car but Todd and I hadn't been dating that long).

And of course I'm thankful for Emily. She's a burst of sunshine in a grey world of disease. I don't think I would every be suicidal but sadly I do understand why people made that decision. But my little girl brightens my world and it's such a joy to watch her grow.

My family is also something I'm very thankful for. They have been really great with all of this health stuff even from Michigan and other places. My aunt Sue and Uncle Gary came all the way from GA to visit me in the hospital. My dad, his wife and my inlaws and my sister and brother in law have been very supportive and helpful even all the way from Michigan. I'm very blessed by a wonderful family!

Thanks to the internet, I have friends all over the word. Of course I'm super thankful for all of them. Especially my GUSP girls (you know who you are!) who have listened to me whist I was in bat shit crazy mode. My friends have really helped me get out of the dumps and keep my spirits up. And yes, even though I've never met most of my friends in person they are still very dear to me.

My job can be stressful, but I'm thankful for that as well. I'm thankfully that I didn't get fired after being in the hospital for 10 days. I'm on many chronic pain support groups and I've heard horror stories. More of why I'm thankful can be found in a previous post but I am super thankful that I still can work and recover at the same time.

Finally I'm thankful for my church. The first time I left the house after I got out of the hospital was to go to women's choir. A friend picked Emily and I up since Todd was at work. I felt so much more human and it was nice to be among people again. While I was in the hospital and for a couple weeks after, I was on the prayer list. And my pastor called me a few time as well as asked how I was in church. Church is pretty much the only reason I leave the house right now and it really is a blessing.

I may have forgotten some things, but I'm thankful I'm alive, out of the hospital and able celebrate Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Review - Spoilers!

I know I'm late to the game. This is the only Tolkien movie that I did not see at midnight on release day. That has to do with the whole hospital thing and especially the no driving thing. But yesterday after church I finally got to see it in RPX 3D! I have many thoughts but mostly I loved it.

Spoilers after the poster!


I didn't get a chance to re-watch the first two movies. But over my lifetime, I've probably read The Hobbit more than a dozen times. So I remember what is suppose to happen. The Battle of the Five Armies is actually not too off the mark as far as the book goes.

I remember watching the first movie and just loving Thorin. In the book he just seemed like kind of an ass, but Richard Armitage bring so much life to the character. I was sad watching the first movie because I knew what happens.

Thorin and his craziness were spot on. The crazy eyes were especially good. Richard Armitage is an excellent actor.

The 'love' triangle between Killi, Legolas and Tauriel was stupid. Like I said, I don't remember the 2nd movie that much, but did Killi and Tauriel have that much time to 'fall in love'? I remember some jail cell banter but not much else.

But thankfully it didn't take up much time in the movie. I think part of the reason they did it was to make Killi's death all that more tragic. In the book, both Filli and Killi get one line about their death, that basically says they are dead. I think some of the other dwarves should have dead but didn't, but that's a minor thing.

I did spend a lot of the battle, which is a bulk of the movie think 'Where are the eagles? Where the heck are the eagles?" I was really hoping they wouldn't leave the eagles out and count the 2nd orc army as the 5th army. But in the end, Radagast did come with the eagles. And we get to see Beorn dive bomb into the battle while turning into a bear, which was awesome.

In the book, Gandalf goes away and then shows back up at the end. I really loved how they showed what Gandalf was up to - book purists probably didn't but I like it. I found it pretty funny to see Saruman fighting for the side of good.

We get to see the setup for several things going into Lord of the Rings which was interesting. And my favorite part was at the end. Because they actually included the sale of  'dead' Bilbo's things.

I wasn't sure they would include this because they cut out the Scouring of the Shire out of the Return of the King movie. But at the end, was a confused Bilbo and then some confused hobbits because here he was, back from the dead. After it ties everything together - going from young Bilbo to old Bilbo on the day of his 111th Birthday.

It really didn't have a lot of flaws, and it was an excellent movie. I'm happy I got to see it in the theater and I cannot wait to see all six movies in order! That will be an awesome marathon for some weekend!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Perks of Working from Home

My workspace
You may or may not know that I work from home doing tech support. I've done this since August 2012. I work tech support and it's like any other call center job. But working from home has a lot of perks.

This first one isn't really a work from home perk but it's a perk. My boss is great and understanding. My coworkers are funny and help the day go on. And yes, I have coworkers. I'm on a team and we can talk in a chat room. We have one room for business stuff and another where we can talk about anything - and we do when it's not busy.

One of the biggest work from home perks for me, is I can work in my pj's. And I do. With all my health issues being comfortable while I work is really great. I can also work in the dark and there are no bright fluorescent lights. This really helps a lot with my migraines.

After my seizures happened last month,  I was told that I wouldn't be able to drive for three months. If I worked outside the home, I'd be screwed since Todd works 2nd shift. But since I work from home, it's business as usual. I did ease myself back in, thank again to a great boss, but I've been back full time for a couple of weeks now.

Working home works great for me. It seems like more and more people are going that route as well. As someone who has chronic pain, it really helps me be able to be comfortable, be able to crash into bed after my shift if needed but still make a living to help my family.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The State of Mandy

I may do these posts from time to time - in part so I can see how my recovery is progressing.

It has been a little over two weeks since I was let out of the hospital. Since then, I'm back to work full time. I'm very thankful that my job let me ease back into working by letting me do half days the first week back. And I'm thankful my job didn't try to fire me. I know there are jobs out there that would have - I've heard the horror stories. But I have a super boss who's been great throughout all of this.

The depression is getting better since I'm bad on my antidepressants. I have up days and down days but it's not the black cloud of doom I felt before. If I didn't have Todd and Emily, I may have been suicidal before - that's how bad I felt. But thankfully the pills are helping. Now the depression I feel is situational, because this situation sucks. But it's not as deep and black which is good.

I'm still pretty tired. Not as bad as the first week in December. Even working half days would wipe me right out. I did way over do it on Sunday. We went to church and went early because the choir I'm in was singing. After choir was Sunday School. I go to the Blessed and Stressed class and now that Todd has to come, he goes too. We are blessed but certainly stressed. It's a class kind of geared towards parents trying to juggle everything.

We went home and just vegged for a bit before Todd dropped Emily and I off at the Mountain Play Lodge for a birthday party. Todd had mixed up the dates and had volunteered to work on a friend of a friend's car. So I had to go with Emily while Todd worked on the car.

I mostly sat in the nice chairs they have but Emily would want me to come see what she was doing. I would also do my normal thing of take some pictures of Emily. Todd did come just before pizza and cake time. It was just brakes and he's really good at that.

Things were starting to get spinny at that point. I ate some pizza, and then some pie and ice cream. Not because I was hungry but because I was hoping it will help stop me from feeling so weak. It didn't. After the party, we went to the grocery store, and got some food. I had to hold onto the cart and Todd had to steer to. But we made it through and I ended back in bed.

I've been feeling a little better since then but still majorly tired. I have a bit of a cold which is not helping but trying to get over that too. It's winter and I have a kid so that's going to happen.

The memory issues are still plaguing me. Not much change there. Memory lapses like passwords still happen and I'm still glad I'm not allowed to drive. Around the house, I don't have issues but out and about I still have flashes of 'where the heck am I?'

Sadly I realized the last few days that I don't remember hardly anything from the Browncoat Ball, Emily's Birthday or Halloween. Makes me sad but not trying to push it. I'm staying away from pictures of all three because I don't want to overload myself.

Christmas is fast approaching and I'm feeling better about it - at least more than when the dark cloud of depression was handing over me. But honestly I'm ready for it to be over and for it to be 2015. I'm ready for a new start.

But I'm very thankful for all the family and friends who has been so supportive of us. I really, really appreciate it

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Just Be Happy"

Like everyone, I have pet peeves. The biggest pet peeve I have stems back eleven years when my chronic pain first started.

I went through nine months of hell trying to get my chronic pan under control. Tried everything under the sun, and none of it work. Finding some home remedies and my triggers helped a lot in the end.

But I got a lot of "Just be happy" from a lot of people during that time. I was depressed - it wasn't chemical - it was 'this situation really blows' depression. Years later after experiencing chemical depression, I know for sure that's what it was.

But people kept telling me to be happy like it was something I could just flip a switch. I was in pain, no-one knew why, I was still grieving the loss of my mom and I was hours away from my friends. I was going to be depressed! So all the 'be happy's' got to be super annoying.

I haven't been 'Be Happied" in years, but it happened yesterday and it was still super annoying. I'm going through a lot right now with my health, and my depression has been really bad. This one is chemical and thankfully my antidepressants are starting to work and the black cloud is starting to lift. But like it was eleven years ago, I cannot flip a switch and just be happy. That's not how the human body works.

I know the 'be happy' people don't mean anything about it, but if you ever have the desire to tell someone to 'just be happy' - DON'T! Especially if you know if that person is in the midst of a bad time. Be supportive, check to make sure they are doing okay, but never, every say 'Just be happy'

Thursday, December 11, 2014

On Memory Loss

So the worst part of this whole aftermath of the seizures is the memory loss. To simplify, I say it's short term but it's not exactly that. Things a year ago and before - I can remember with the same clarity I did before. After that, it gets fuzzy in bits.

The day before I had the seizures. I don't really remember. I know, thanks to Facebook, that I took Emily to a Christmas festival thing. The day I had the seizures until the day before Thanksgiving, I don't remember at all.

I have vague memories of waking up in the ICU. I don't think I'll every forgot the feeling of discomfort and horror at the catheter. I also vaguely remember that the TV was huge in the ICU.

Once I woke up and they recognized that I was lucid, the catheter was taken out and I was moved to a regular room. I have dribs and drabs over the next few days. I slept a lot and watched a lot of movies. I do remember Thanksgiving and watching the parade with Todd and Emily and then the Lions. And I did have turkey for dinner. My aunt Sue and uncle Gary came to visit me and I remember that too - but all the days all kind of ran together as they do when you are in the hospital.

Since getting out of the hospital, it seems like every day I've forgotten some major. They come back to me, here and there, but there are still a lot of gaps. And I forget the strangest things.

If I'm standing up, I'll just turn our TV off in the living room off at the TV. I could not remember how to do that. I started up a movie that I love, Divergent, that I saw in the theater four or five times, and it was like a whole new movie.

And then there are the passwords. I've had to start a word file of all the passwords I keep forgetting, mostly for work, so I'll have them when I forget them again. Even outside of word, I think I've had to change my password on everything at least once. Passwords are not sticking at all.

Finally I have teeny tiny memory gaps. Todd always comes in my office before he goes to work to get his shoes. I'm still working to I hear him. Today I didn't so I took my break and had to go ask Emily if Todd had actually gone to work - he had.

I'll be doing something or standing somewhere, and I'll completely lose my train of thought or where I am. And it always takes me a minute to get my bearings again.

Todd doesn't think this should be a big deal but I HATE it. I'd rather have a level 8 migraine instead of dealing with the swiss cheese brain.

I know it's temporary but I do not look forward to several more months of this. I totally understand why I'm not allowed to drive though.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Grief and Elsa

I'm having a lot of grief issues with this whole seizure thing. I grieve for my lost days, I grieve for the fact that I could have easily died, and I grieve for the inability to give Emily the best Christmas ever.

Yes, I know a lot of these, especially the last is silly and stupid. But I grieve all the same. I think part of this is that I'm Elsa.

Not with the cool freezing powers but 'conceal don't feel' is something that is very familiar to me. My parents Elsa-ised me without realizing it. My sister was a problem child, always getting into trouble. So I was encouraged to be the good child. It wasn't too much of  a stretch for me, but I tended to take it too far sometimes. I would push my feeling down and push my feelings down until I would get to a breaking point and just explode. Just like Elsa, but again, less cool.

This caused me a lot of problems with relationships. My first serious relationship was full of fighting in part because I sucked at fighting. Luckily I learned how to fight better which has helped with things with me and Todd. That's why we've been married for 8 years.

But I'm experiencing the 'conceal don't feel' again with all the grief I'm feeling. I know logically that I shouldn't be as upset as I am, but I am. I keep crying and feeling sad. I know that I need to let the grief run it's course but my Elsa-ness doesn't want to let me.

So dear friends, I may be a little up and down for a little while. Todd and I have a plan to work on changing my lifestyle but it's going to take a while. Even he realizes that he's an odd duck the way he make a 360 change to his lifestyle after he got his MS diagnosis.

I just need some gentle handling in the next week or so. I promise not to wallow too long.  Christmas is going to be rough this year and even though I'll want to 'conceal don't feel' through the holidays I'll try to feel in a normal sort of way.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Seizures and the Hospital

The worst of the bruises
The day before Thanksgiving can be a hectic one. This year, it's one I don't remember much of. Because the day before Thanksgiving, I woke up in the hospital.

I had been in the hospital already for five days. I had been seemingly awake but in no means lucid. I had fallen several times and had been having seizures. I have no memory of those five days. I do have the evidence though - I'm all bruised up from the falls, especially on my right arm.

I think waking up in the hospital, in the ICU, with a catheter in, was about the scariest experience of my life. I was disorientated and scared. As soon as they saw that I was awake and out of the seizure woods, they moved me to a regular room and they took the catheter out. There is nothing so great as being able to pee on your own.

I spent the next five days in a regular hospital room. That included Thanksgiving but I wasn't too sad about that. We don't have cable at home but cable was available in the hospital so I could see the parade and the Lions play. It was also extremely weak so I knew I needed to be in the hospital at first.

Since I had been taken by ambulance they took me to the closest hospital which was Park Ridge. I would have rather been taken to Mission but it wasn't my choice. Park Ridge was ok but it wasn't Mission either. After a few days in a regular room, my meds were weaned off. That was ok, but they still weren't wanting to let me go. I was also having extreme issues with the IV's.

I give blood several times a year and because of this I know that my veins are small and crappy. So I got stuck a bunch of times in a bunch of different places. One night I got no sleep because every time I'd move, an alarm would go off. It was awful!

I did have some visitors. Todd and Emily mostly - they came every day, at least the days that I can remember. My Aunt Sue and Uncle Gary were awesome and came all the way from GA on Sunday to visit me. It was nice to see them.

Finally by Monday I'd had enough and I was leaving come hell or high water. Thankfully the doctor saw no reason to keep me any longer and actually willingly discharged me. I got out a little before noon on Monday. There is nothing like ten days in the hospital to feel heavenly!

I'm still on the mend. I went back to work yesterday but my boss is awesome and letting me ease into work. Today was better than yesterday and I'm sure it will just get better. I have a bunch of doctor's appointments to look forward to and I'm sad this happened in December. Hopefully I can still make it a decent one for Emily and I feel very blessed that a coworker of Todd's gave us a tree - it's new and in the box still!

That's what happened to me and I pray that it never happens again. I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life.