Monday, April 30, 2012

I've got a Golden Ticket!

I do I do! It comes in the form of a clean blood test and 2 months grace.

Remember my last Eeyore post?

Well, I went to the Endocrinologist again today to get my most recent blood tests read.  I was not expecting much, I really wasn't. Neither was my doctor. He had made it more then obvious that he was certain there would be no good news.  My husband was peaceful, he had said just days before "don't worry, we will get the results and they will be 100% normal. I know it." And you know what? He was right! I like it when my husband is right!

I am not exactly sure what all happened to be honest. My numbers were bad, the doctor - 2 doctors were sure. I don't know if I really do just have a bad case Postpartum Thyroiditis that is now finally passing on, or if I do have Graves and it has since gone into remissions...or if the power of prayer has shown itself to be above it all and I am clear and free. I am ok with that! But the evidence stands, 4 weeks ago my tests showed everything wrong - and I know they had been wrong for months. Some of these symptoms I have had for years. And a week ago they were supernaturally fixed.

I was truly so astounded at the out-pouring of supportive emails and messages telling me people were/are praying and thinking of me. I feel so very very blessed. It was the very day after I posted on here, once prayers starting pouring, that I woke up feeling 1000 times better. It truly was night and day. Since then I have had good days and bad, but prayer works guys, it is truly amazing to me!

I have most of the symptoms still - though the lump in my throat is very noticeably better. Still there, but MUCH better.  From what I have read it can take a while for everything to regulate and for everything to go away.  There is a very good chance my symptoms will swing into hypothyroidism in the next few weeks. From what I read, it almost certainly will.  The doctor says there is about a 50/50 chance of it being chronic and needing a lifetime of treatment...but honestly, if that is how it needs to be I am ok with that.  Do you know what the best thing I heard was today?

"You require no treatment at this time."

I feel like I was handed a hall pass for 2 months, my golden ticket. And that makes me so happy! At the end of 2 months my baby girl will be very close to one year. One year means she will be able to easily take a sippy cup and can transition to cows milk. It means that if weaning is needed, it is very doable and will not cause to much stress for her or I.

That 2 months feels like it makes all the difference! And if at the end of these two months I end up with bad numbers again, sure it will be frustrating. But I know I can handle it. My family is more supportive then I could ever have imagined. My baby girls, I love them!  Taylor said I have Spring Fever. That is her word for it.  I had explained things as loosely as I could, not wanting to scare them in any way - but also wanting to make sure they knew I was not at my best and it was no fault of theirs. She would ask "Mama, is your spring fever acting up again?" When I would get flustered and snappy. As we came out of the doctor today Ayla asked if "the butterfly in my throat was better now." And how exciting to tell her yes!!

 I will not keep you all long tonight. But I wanted to update and to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart. My Spring Fever is getting better. I am praying for it to go away all-together and a completely clear test in 2 months. But I am also praying for God's will. I know he has plans for me that I cannot even begin to understand. And if struggling with Auto-Immune and/or thyroid issues for the rest of my life is part of it then I know there is a greater good in His plan.  This is my adventure for now, and I am so completely honored I have not been adventuring alone.

I love you all...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


    'I thought,' said Piglet earnestly, 'that if Eeyore stood at the bottom of the tree, and if Pooh stood on Eeyore's back, and if I stood on Pooh's shoulders --'
   'And if Eeyore's back snapped suddenly, then we could all laugh. Ha ha! Amusing in a quiet way,' said Eeyore,' but not really helpful.'
    'Well,' said Piglet meekly, 'I thought--'
    'Would it break your back Eeyore?' Asked Pooh very much surprised.
    'That's what would be so interesting, Pooh. Not being quite sure till afterwards.'
                                                                                     (Tiggers Don't Climb Trees  -A.A. Milne)

I love Eeyore. He says all the things we want to say in our darkest hours but we can't because we don't want to complain or be seen as a whiner. Or maybe that is just me...

We all know an Eeyore. That person that always seems to have an ailment. The wind is too cold, the water is too wet. The car wont start which means that the milk in the trunk is sure to spoil. All their facebook statuses are dismal and full of news such as "well it looks like we are all sick AGAIN" or even worse "I just don't think I can take anymore of this!" but they never actually say what "this" is?

I have a sign in my kitchen that reads "complaints will be heard the second Tuesday of each week." I had to buy it when I saw it because "the second Tuesday of each week" is a phrase I have often said about something that I want never to happen. And complaining of any sort is high on that list.  

Now I want to be clear, I am talking about whining here. Not general venting when something is frustrating and you need to get it off your chest, I understand that. I don't mean pouring your heart out when you are in need of a listening ear. No, complaining is the constant bringing up of a subject in a negative way, especially something menial and/or fixable, while in the meantime never ever actually doing anything to make it better.

All that to say, I feel as if lately I have been an Eeyore. And if I have, I apologize to those that have had to hear it!

A few months ago I started feeling weird. I would get dizzy, my fingernails started falling apart. I get a buzzing in my ears that wont go away and regular headaches. My eyes hurt, even upon waking up first thing in the morning, like I had been staring at a screen for hours or swimming in chlorine. I was droppings things, forgetting things, my feet would hurt, my wrists would hurt. I would get what I called "surges" of anxiety for no reason and I was less able to handle kids and their noise and constant movement. My heart would pound so that I needed to focus to regulate my breathing, especially at night. I was exhausted all the time, exhausted where my chest hurts and it feels like breathing takes energy (and going to the gym made that worse instead of better as it normally would). And worst of all, I had a lump in my throat that felt like I had swallowed a pill that would not go down.  I went from losing a ton of weight after the baby (which I usually do) to gaining 25lbs back in a matter of weeks (without changing my lifestyle). I knew something was up, and for a while, I put it off thinking I just needed more sleep. After all, I have three kids, one under a year. My husband has to work a lot, even when he is home, so the brunt of everything at the house is on me. Surely this has only to do with all that?

I decided I needed to go in to the doctor to ask about the weight gain and the lumpy throat if nothing else, as well as ask about a few trivial other things that have been nagging me (a couple moles on my back, etc.) Well, the first thing the doctor said when I told him I had a few questions about my health was to sigh and say "give me the top 2-3." Frustrated I started on my list.

Me: I usually lose weight after having a baby, with breastfeeding and all that. And this time I did too, but in the last 6 weeks or so I have gained 20lbs back without changing..
Dr: Well, you know every kid is different. Sometimes you lose sometimes you gain.
Me: No, I did lose. And in the last 6 weeks or so...
Dr: Especially when it is your 3rd kid. I have some moms that lose it every time but then with that third kid it is just hard to get the lbs off.
Me: I DID lost weight. I lost 45lbs. after having the baby. Mid January I was 126 lbs. I have gained 20lbs back in the last 6 weeks but I have not changed my exercise or eating in any way.
Him: Oh...ok, yeah, we will get some blood work done.

Me: Another thing is my heart. I have an extra beat, I got it checked out 4 years ago, I was recently told I needed to get it checked again.
Him: Alright (he listens) Oh my, that is not right. Have you been to see someone about this?
Me: Yes, I just said that in 2008 I had an echo and wore the monitors for 24 hours and they said I had an extra beat, but it doesn't seem to be a problem. It is just how my heart is.
Him: (still listening to my heart) But you HAVE seen a cardiologist?
ME: YES! I just said in 2008....etc

Him: Ok, I'll go get that referral set up for you now
Me: I had another question as well..
Him: (Sigh) Alright, ONE more.

Now, I have mentioned, have I not - that I don't like complaining. I believe I have also mentioned in this blog in the past, that the number one thing that bothers me is when I am perceived incorrectly. Well, in the case of the this doctor I was perceived as an Eeyore. And I understand that in his line of work he probably sees LOTS of Eeyores. But please be polite!

All that to say I got the bloodwork. I got the scan of my thyroid. I got the cardiologist scan. I have been given the results...

I probably have Graves Disease. Trust me, it is no better when it turns out that there was reason for your Eeyore-ness. You see, there is a good chance that if Pooh and Piglet had stood on Eeyore's back it would have broken.

I broke.

I don't like being broken.

I REALLY wish I had just been one of those over-paranoid people now. Why can't I have just been one of those over-paranoid people? 

Graves Disease basically means my body is attacking my Thyroid (no one knows why) causing it to produce to much...of whatever it is that it produces. It is an auto-immune condition. I hate auto-immune things. Google tells me that "Graves' disease is rarely life-threatening." Which makes me feel better? I feel as if this is supposed to make me feel better....

I saw an Endocrinologist on Monday. There is a small chance this is still just temporary postpartum hyper-thyroidism that will go away on it's own.  But he has told me that with my numbers and how it is all lining up that he doesn't think that is the case. He has also informed me that the tests and treatment are not really compatible with breastfeeding. I have done my own research on this of course, and it is a controversial subject in the medical world. You CAN, but it will be harder and they have to do extra monitoring of both you AND the baby. And the pediatrician has to sign off on it too.

It is funny to me that as I go through this, one of the things I find myself focusing on is that this can change how your eyes look. They "bulge" as the medical termination puts it. Sometimes bad enough that you have to "tape your eyes shut" at night to sleep. I don't want to look different because of this, I don't want my husband to no longer be attracted to me...

I know this is ridiculous, and in the grand scheme of things makes little difference, but gaining 25lbs in such a short time has done a number on how I feel about myself lately. (My clothes don't fit) And so my mind is choosing a meaningless part of all this to focus on. Especially since it feels as if there is nothing I can do about it. There is nothing I can do about any of this. And once we get to the point where there is, and I need to take medication (which will likely be talked about on Monday) it seems there is a long road ahead trying to find the right balance, and then ultimately it will get worse and worse (after or before one or more remissions) until I will have to have my thyroid removed, and then be on medication for the rest of my life. Not to mention how this affects my baby girl and whether or not I can feed her how I choose as her parent.

And I know this is not a big deal when it comes to medical conditions. It is easy to treat, remember? "Graves' disease is rarely life-threatening." So I should feel better! And I do...I am glad that if it has to be something it can be something as "easy to treat" as this. But...I still feel like an Eeyore. Or perhaps like a Tigger in a tree? Being broken feels wrong. Like it was not supposed to happen but it did... Maybe I was not paying close enough attention? Maybe I tried something I was not supposed to try? Maybe I jumped too far?

You see, after he had already climbed the tree, Tigger thought that he was rather more of a swimming animal then a climbing one. Although he had never really tried swimming before... But it is very easy to imagine something that has not happened yet, good or bad. And have you noticed that we like to imagine nice things? Especially when we are in the midst of one that is not so very nice?

I wish I could just jump out of the tree onto something nice and bouncy like a jacket, held out to catch me. Of course, when Tigger fell he fell right on top of Eeyore...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"One girl is more use than twenty boys."

Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it.
  - Proverbs 22:6 (ASV)

I will start with a word of warning. I have written this post before. See? But since then, things have changed a bit on my side so I feel the need to write it again. I have also been feeling like this has been something that God has been working on in me lately, mostly because it keeps coming up. And it keeps making me angrier then I feel it should, which makes me want to look deeper into why and do the work on my part to make sure my own attitude is where it should be.

It started about a month ago. I was having a casual conversation with someone I barely know. Honestly I don't even know her first name. All I know is that she has all boys. I think 2 - right about the same age as my girls. The conversation went something like this:

Her: Good morning.
Me: Good morning!
Her: *Something about how cute my kids are* (they were with me)
Me: Thank you! How are your boys doing? (they were not with her)
Her: Good! Crazy as usual - but that's how boys are after all.
Me: Yup, kids can be crazy. They keep us on our toes.
Her: Yes, But boys are the craziest! So full of energy. Girls are less work I think (glancing at my kids waiting patiently for me). I have heard boys are harder when they are small, and girls are harder when they are older, like teenagers you know? 

Ok, I will stop right there. And please, moms of boys I mean no dis-respect, and maybe I am just being overly sensitive (typical girl?). But do you realize a comment like that basically says "I work harder then you" as a mom? It is no different then asking a stay at home mom "what do you do all day anyways?" It is naive and makes you appear ignorant. As I was talking to her, my big girls were standing respectfully by my side waiting for me to complete the errand I was there to do. So perhaps this comment came from the fact that she didn't believe her kids would have done the same. Perhaps it came from a place of insecurity about her own ability to control her children (i.e. boys will be boys, so rambunctious behavior gets excused. The flip-side being/Girls are sensitive so why bother teaching them to control their emotions). And perhaps I am wrong, perhaps she really did believe that, or was making casual conversation out of what she may have conceived to be an awkward silence?

In response I think I laughed, said something along the lines of "wow, if it is just going to get harder from here I will need to find a way to get more sleep because I am maxed out as it is." or something as equally un-clever, excused myself and left. Marking her forever in my head as naive and ignorant, which was probably un-fair, but the best I could do in the moment.

I think the thing I hate the most about comments like that is the need I feel welling up inside me to prove them wrong. To get defensive. To shout "I work hard too!" Or spout some example of my kids getting dirty, playing with bugs, getting excited about rockets or superhero's or making a train out of the kitchen chairs for the 4th time this week. But then I don't want to stoop so low, after all. If I were to say "I have heard boys are harder then girls at this age, you must be exhausted!" she would have seen it as a true mark of motherhood, so why does she not see the opposite as an insult? I know for a fact she would not feel the need to get defensive about her boys if I were to mention my sensitive, delicate girls that wilt at the first sign of sun-exposure and have tea parties all day - stating defensively: "oh my boys just had a tea party together last week! And then they cleaned all the dishes together and worked so hard as a team, I was so proud!" Yet a comment like that from a mom of girls most would not think twice about. And I bet boys would love a tea party and a chance to play in soapy water afterward!  I know lots of boys that have done it, and loved it. But on the other hand,I also hate feeling defensive because I don't want to short-change my girls. I LIKE the fact that I have three girls. And I love it when we get to do girly things together, especially since I am really not girly, so it feels like they are getting to teach me something or they want to be just like me ("mama, I like pirates just like you. Do you like it that I like pirates just like you?")

About a week later I had another conversation with another mom of all boys - again I do not even know her first name. We were waiting in line together for something. I had one of my big girls with me. She had none of her boys.

Her: She has such pretty hair!
Me: Thank you.
Her: I have only boys so we just get buzz cuts
Me: Yeah, I wouldn't know about those since I have three girls! (we didn't know one another well)
Her: Sometimes I wish! Girls are so calm and polite you know? Boys just run around all over the place. I was with a girlfriend of mine the other day, and she has a girl, and she just sat there, so calm the whole time!

I mumbled something about girls giving me their fair share of running around....but luckily for me she had moved on. Again with the defensive! Drives me insane. Is it that I feel the need to educate them or is it the need to prove that I have worked my ass off as a mom of three to have kids that are respectful and obey?

I am pretty sure in this lady's case she is simply ignorant. I say this because the only thing she could come up with was "I have a friend that has a girl-kid." (I do know this lady's son a little. He is out of control. He would NOT sit calmly the whole time. And I highly doubt it is because he is a boy.) So simply for the sake of education I am going to make my case. And please, if you do not agree that is ok. You are welcome to make a case yourself, but no bashing please. We are all learning here, and I am always open to different ideas and opinions.

In my own humble opinion, here is the difference between boys and girls.

Boys are designed biologically and Biblically to toil. To protect, to work the ground and to hunt for food. Because of this they need a certain skill set that basically involves muscles, (and so they are driven to develop these) as well as the knowledge of weapons and how to use them. The ability to protect those that they love deeply and the intellectual knowledge of where to find food and how to bring it home. Boys are designed to want to be like their fathers.

Now, I may only have three girls myself as a mom (and I know that there is a certain amount of ignorance on my part because of this - but hear me out). However, I did help raise my little brother and I have spent much time around little boys who (gasp!) had complete control over their bodies, their voices, their attitudes and they stood respectfully next to their mother's when she asked them to and do you know why? Because when they were little, their parents brought them up in the way they should go. They were trained well.

Child behavior, regardless of male or female, is all about training. Now some kids are more challenging to train (And I will even argue that those are the ones God has the best plans for) but difficulty is not gender discriminant.

Girls are designed biologically and Biblically to toil. To birth babies, to care for them and to grow food. Without the biological need to hunt and fight we do not need the large muscles, so there is going to be less drive to develop them. However, the need to protect those we love deeply is very much there, and so is the need to gather around us the things we will need to maintain a structure of protection. Girls are designed to want to be like their mothers.

So yes, there is a good amount that is different between boys and girls. And there is some "play" that is naturally different, both because they are different biologically as well as because Disney said there should be (and so that is what their parents modeled for them, because their parents modeled it for them, etc.). But do you know what? I know lots of girls (big and small) that are out of control. They talk back, they are disrespectful. They fight, they argue, they hit, they throw things. They are complete terrors and they have no control over their bodies or their words - no control over their attitudes or voices and they would only stand next to their mothers calmly if they had been promised candy if they did so.

I may ruffle a few feathers here - but you know what, that is ok. I understand that every rule has an exception (or many) and honestly - I could use a good reminder most days that my kids will not just be good because I want them to be...and I do want to say that my kids are not always good. In fact, if we didn't work HARD on it everyday they would almost never be. But we do! And even with hard work we have bad days, bad weeks. Bad days where I have a bad attitude, bad days where my kids are regular public terrors. But we have lots of good days too and do you know why? We work so hard, I work hard, they work hard. We remind each other to watch our attitudes. We practice good manners, we use kind words and this work started EARLY. We are already starting it with Kaylee. And do you know how we are starting it with her? We are respectful of one another around her. Monkey see, Monkey do (no pun intended). I do my best to not let even one thing slide if I see behavior that is un- acceptable. I try to be as consistent as physically possible and sometimes that means Ayla is in time-out 80 times a day and all privileges have been revoked. Luckily that doesn't happen very often anymore. We got through a lot of the big battles when they were tiny  - for instance, and I think I may have even written a blog about it...hold on...Ok, there are lots of posts about that sort of thing! But I am looking for a specific one:

Nope, can't find it. I think it is there somewhere, but I can't find it. It was about teaching Ayla to stay in her bed when it was rest time - it took about a month of putting her in it, and then walking out only to have her get up again, and put her back in over and over and over. About every 10 times of putting her back (or so) I would remind her "it is time to stay in your bed and sleep right now." The biggest number of times putting her back I believe was 48 times before she finally fell asleep (and that is when I was writing the post). And that was just after I started counting. And yes, this was a month of doing this, every naptime and bedtime. But you know what? After a month of hard work (on both our parts) she stayed! And now that is a battle we no longer have to fight at 4 because at 2 years old I WON. And you know what else? With God's grace, staying in her bed is not a battle we will have to fight at 16 because we learned it at 2. THAT is my goal. Everything I do as a parent now is geared towards not having to fight the big battles when they are capable of causing real harm with their disobedience. I want those lessons so ingrained in their minds by the time they hit that age that they will not depart from them.

You know what? I just figured it out. See, this is the purpose of these ramblings. You know why the mom told me that her job was harder then mine? You know why the mom told me that girls were easier? Both of them, they feel sorry for me. Because they love their families of all boys so much and they feel so very sorry for me that I don't get to experience the joy of being mom to a boy. And you know what? That makes me feel 100% better. You see, they are right. I am missing out on something. But you know what else? I have so much joy, so much. And they are missing out on something too. I get defensive because in a sort of way I am jealous, but I want to prove to myself that I am not which is why I get defensive. Because honestly, I am not jealous even in the least!  I LOVE how things have turned out. And I know this is exactly how it is supposed to be. And in a sort of way, they are jealous too. So from the beginning they are on the defensive too, and who knows - maybe it is harder from the other side and I just can't see it. But I too, feel so very sorry for them. And that is ok. Because they are really not jealous even in the least, and they LOVE how things have turned out and they know this is exactly how things are supposed to be. And that is perfect.

After all - I know the truth, Peter Pan says it. And he is a boy that can be borrowed by all mothers:

"One girl is more use than twenty boys." ~ Peter Pan

Of course Peter is also the only one who could get the kiss...