Category Archives: Health

It’s All About Perspective

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MTHFR.  No, I’m not trying to curse, although I’ll admit that mother ****er has slipped from my mouth on more than one occasion.

MTHFR, unheard of by me until a week and a half ago now takes on a new, unpronouncable meaning:  Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase.  I have it.

At the end of July Dave and I found out we were pregnant again.  After having our first two pregnancies end in miscarriage earlier this year, we chose to keep this one relatively quiet.  Weeks of all-day morning sickness passed, and in mid-August we were able to see a very small baby at our first ultrasound.  We were elated!  This was more than we had ever seen with the other two, and although they couldn’t hear the heartbeat (the technician said it was too early) we had scheduled another ultrasound for two weeks later.

Unfortunately, God had other plans for us again.  Within a week of the ultrasound I started spotting, and on September 4, we had our third miscarriage at 12 weeks.

Dave and I were exhausted.  We are blessed to each already have children whom we love with everything we’ve got.  With that said, however, we would love to have a child together, a child who can bask in our love and enjoy a life where mom and dad love each other and will share the rest of their lives with each other.  No split custody, no hard decisions to make on holidays, no absentee parent.  We decided to give our emotions and my body a break and cease trying for a bit, however before my doctor would put me on birth control he wanted to run blood tests to see if there was a root cause for the miscarriages.

So, three weeks ago I had 24 vials of blood taken.  24.  And the results came in positive except for one test which showed I have the MTHFR gene mutation.  I looked it up on the internet (and honestly still don’t totally understand what I’m reading), and basically it means that my body isn’t absorbing folate.  With folic acid so crucially important to a developing fetus, this isn’t good.

This Monday Dave and I went to my hematologist appointment.  For me especially, the time waiting in the reception area shared by oncology put everything in perspective.  Here we were, fretting over why we couldn’t keep a pregnancy, and we were surrounded by patients in all stages of cancer treatment.  Bandanas covered their heads, sores  were hidden by bandages, and the wear and tear of chemo was written all over so many of their faces.  I felt suddenly…  Fortunate…

While we may not be getting what we want, Dave and I aren’t being dealt what we don’t want.  We’re healthy.  Our children are healthy.  We’ve got a roof over our heads, food in our cabinets, and a job to pay the bills.  Dave’s college education is very successfully underway and courtesy of the U.S. military/government, and our cars are running.

And our house is full of love.  Lots of love.

So while I may want to have a child with Dave, I don’t need anything.  I am blessed with everything I need to live a happy, peaceful life.  For that I must remember to thank God each and every day.  He will give us what we need, when the time is right.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” ~Psalm 37:7

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Are We in the 47 Percent?

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I normally ignore politics.  I followed the Obama campaign four years ago because I thought he would be good for America, but ever since then, my following has been just about non-existant.  Well, until the last couple weeks that is.

Dave and I have been working on a couple (BIG) projects and in effort to get our name out I’ve been working on developing a presence in social media.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, we’re on them all.  Twitter has been my primary concentration, however, because I’m realizing that in order to build a presence over there, you have to be consistently active.  As such, Twitter has become my news source.

Although not always the most reliable source for the latest news story, I was looking through the posts of those I follow when the video of Romney and his 47 Percent leaked.  Having just come back from laughing my butt off when hearing his interpretation of “middle class” income, my jaw dropped.  I HAD to watch the video.

In case you missed it, you can either click above or read what he said:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Again, my jaw dropped.

When I left my ex-husband, I was unemployed.  Feeling it was necessary to get my sons and I into a safer environment, I looked to the state for public assistance.  Did I expect help?  No.  But I was EXTREMELY appreciative when I received it.

In order to qualify for Ohio’s Cash Assistance program, I needed to be actively looking for a job or be employed.  Let me preface this by saying that it was not my choice to be unemployed.  I am a college graduate with my bachelor’s in interior architecture.  I am an artist, or at least I would like to believe I am.  Two years prior to leaving my ex I lost my job.  While I tried to secure another job in the industry, finding an interior design job in the midwest was, and still is, like finding a needle in a haystack.  I applied at gas stations, fast food restaurants and local stores.  For TWO years I applied to all of these places just so I could contribute to my household.  The response I got was always somewhere along the line of, “You’re overqualified,” or “We don’t want to put time into training you when you’re just going to move on to something better.”

Finding a job after moving out turned out to be a whole lot of luck.  I was in the right place at the right time with the right person, when I secured my first job in more than two years.  But I didn’t get a job because somebody was telling me to.  I was doing it because that’s what I needed to do for the boys and I.  I didn’t believe anybody owed my a job.  I simply hoped somebody would give me a chance.

Every Friday morning, recipients of the cash assistance program were required (I’m not receiving the assistance anymore so I don’t know if it’s still the same) to attend an open interview session at our local job office.  Upon hearing about this I was excited.  I thought it would be my chance to get a job.  I was wrong.  Walking into the office, I was visably one of the very few attendees who cared about getting a job and getting off the program.  First, I had bathed.  My hair and teeth were brushed.  And I had worn a suit.  Looking around, I was surrounded by unkempt people wearing pajamas and sweat pants who looked as though they hadn’t showered all week.  I was flabbergasted.

But it got worse.  The employers, knowing this is how people were approaching the mandatory open interviews, had stopped attending.  There was ONE employer there, a gas station, and they were looking for somebody to work third shift.  As badly as I needed a job, I couldn’t work third shift with the boys.

I’m digressing, so I’ll get back to my point…

I work full-time now and Dave is in college full-time.  The cash assistance and food stamps are long expired, and yes, we struggle.  But no, we don’t believe the government “owes” us.  I don’t EXPECT them to give me housing, healthcare and education.  I didn’t even apply for housing assistance when I left my ex.  What I do expect, however, is that all Americans be given the same opportunities for equal care.

I have been employed by the same company for the last 17 months and have been a great employee.  I get my job done and don’t create drama at the office.  I get paid every week and pay for health insurance out of my paycheck.  I repeat, I pay for health insurance.  With that said, paying for health insurance doesn’t provide me with the same benefits as somebody receiving public assistance.  Example: Dave and I found out we miscarried earlier this year and I had a D&C shortly thereafter.  A month later the bill came in the mail.  We owed $8500.  Out of the $9000 bill, our insurance had covered approximately $500.  Does this sound right to you?

When I had the boys 7 and 10 years ago, the entire pre- and post- natal bills for each boy equaled $500.  This included monthly-turned-weekly check-ups as well as delivery and the hospital stay.  For the youngest, it also included an extra week in the hospital for me when he tried to come two months early.

Following our miscarriage earlier this year, Dave and I had two more (miscarriages).  During the third pregnancy, I found out that women who met specific (low) income guidelines could apply for pregnancy health care through the state.  While I didn’t want to apply, I did.  With a bill of $8500 from an out-patient procedure, it scared us to think what the labor and delivery would cost.  Would we be shelling out the cost of a full-year college tuition to welcome this miracle into our life?  Bah!  When I started miscarrying the third time, however, the fear of cost played into my health decisions.  I went through three days of excrutiating pain and dizziness before finally going to the ER.  That bill has yet to come, and I’m sure it’s not going to be pretty.

I can’t say who I’m going to vote for, however I can say that I don’t like being generalized.  Dave and I DO take personal accountability and responsibility for our lives.  Can we always pay the bills we have?  No.  But we’re not applying for assistance we don’t need.

The Downfall of Being Radically Right Brained

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To put it simply, I think too much.  WAY too much.  My brain is constantly filled with thoughts beginning with “What if…” or “I wonder…”, as well as a handful of scenarios for each possible answer for each question.

About four years ago my brain felt very similar, however today’s circumstances are very different and much more positive.  Back then I wasn’t taking my thyroid medicine as I should have been (and am today) and my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) levels were horribly off.  To give you an idea, my TSH levels should have been between .1 and .2.  My levels were 186.  Note that there isn’t a (.) in front of the 186.

My levels being this far off caused rapid thoughts, paranoid dillusions, and suicidal thoughts.  It was very scary for both me and my family.  Having had a hypo-active thyroid since birth, I had always been told to take my medicine, although I didn’t know why.  While not taking my medicine in 2008 was not intentional, and was just fall-out from having too much on my plate and not taking care of myself the way I should have, I should have known better.

After getting out of the hospital, I educated myself, with much help from Ridha Arem, M.D.’s book The Thyroid Solution, and my body is 100% on track.  It’s a good feeling.  But being the right-brained person that I am, my imagination still tends to go into over-drive once in a while, making me wonder “what if?” on any number of hypothetical situations.  It’s exhausting.

Time Flies and Life Changes

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I can hardly believe it has been over a month since I last wrote.  At first nausea and pure exhaustion were hindering my will and desire to write.  Then we got busy with wedding planning and last…  Well, I’ll get to that.

I’ll share the positive first.  Dave and I were married this past Saturday, March 31.  Our small ceremony at home turned into a bit larger celebration at a reception hall during the planning process, and we had about 70 people attend.  It was a beautiful day that will be remembered by us both for the rest of our lives.

Dave and I on our wedding day

We both had to get back to work Monday morning, and I was asked numerous times if I had been drunk the whole day of the wedding.  While I can’t deny that I had my share of drinks at the reception, at no point was I intoxicated.  I was just intoxingly happy.  And so was Dave.  And it was WONDERFUL.If you’ve read previous posts, I’ve probably got you concerned right now, thinking something like…  “WHAT!?  She’s pregnant and she was DRINKING!?!”  Unfortunately, that was another change since the last time I posted.

In mid-March, Dave and I went to the OB-GYN for our eight-week ultrasound.  We were incredibly excited to see our baby, hear its heartbeat, and know it was healthy.  Unfortunately, God has/had other plans for us.  While the ultrasound tech found the sac, it was empty.  I had what is referred to as a blighted ovum.  What it means basically is that the sperm and egg did not fully do what they were supposed to do, and the pregnancy terminated itself early on.  While the embryo did not develop, the sac continued to grow, causing my hormone levels to go up and all the pregnancy symptoms to show themselves.  Without the ultrasound there was no way for even the doctor to know that the pregnancy wasn’t a good one.

We had a double-check ultra sound a week later, and that ultrasound showed the same thing.  With just over a week left before the wedding, we had a difficult decision to make.  Did we wait for my body to realize there was nothing there?  Or did we get a D&C and remove the risk of miscarrying on our wedding day?  We decided to go with the D&C.  So, with five days left until the wedding, I had a D&C last Tuesday.  Dave has been incredibly supportive, and despite the pain we both felt (emotionally for both of us and physically for me), our love and committment to each other has remained as strong as it was before, if not stronger.

Following the D&C, it was the doctor’s recommendation that I proceed with the LEEP procedure as soon as possible.  This upcoming Monday the pre-cancerous cells will be removed from my cervix, hopefully for good. 

I have said it before, however I can’t remember if it was before or after I moved my blog to WordPress, and I’ll say it again, that it is important for EVERY woman to visit her gynocologist regularly, if for no other reason than for her yearly PAP smear.  Women, please read and follow my advice.  If you don’t have an appointment scheduled for your yearly exam, make one.  Now.  You owe it to yourself and all the people who love you.