Sunday, November 4, 2018

Catching Up

Okay, so it has been over 3 months since I updated.  Life always gets away from me and goes so fast.  Overall, we are doing well.  Abigail and Olivia both enjoy school this year.  Abigail is in kindergarten and Olivia is in 5th grade with lockers (I know. . when did that happen??)

Abigail - Kindergarten

Olivia - 5th grade

Olivia turned 11 back in August.  The fact that she is close to being a teenager blows my mind.  She still wants to be a preschool teacher and is so great with little kids.  Her little cousin, Ivy, just adores her.  She is so kind and gentle.  We had a peacock birthday party as she still likes peacocks and cats.  I made her a new peacock painting for her room. It turned out better than I expected.

She had a great party with some of her closest friends.  This was the first year that two of her friends slept over for her birthday.  
We also gave Olivia my old phone and reactivated it.  We have been trying to get her to text us, but she is in no hurry to grow up.  

Both girls enjoyed Halloween. Ryan put out his Halloween decorations for the first time since Olivia was three.  

Abigail dressed as a unicorn and Olivia was a wolf.  

Oh and as Abigail would say. . .she met her BFFs over the summer.  Avelyn and Alayna are sisters whose grandma lives across the street.  They met and it was instantly like they had known each other forever.  They play every chance that they get.  Avelyn is a year older, in 1st grade, but Alayna is in her kindergarten class.  Life is always more fun with friends and I am so thrilled that Abigail has made such great ones!!
Abigail and Avelyn

Abigail and Avelyn at their first sleepover

Alayna, Avelyn and Abigail.. the Three 'A'migos

The girls also made friends with the new neighbor, Makinze, who lives next door.  They all play at least a few times per week. It is nice that they have a friend that they can both play with.  We have neighborhood kids at our house quite often.

We also made our annual trip to Applejack Pumpkin Patch this year.  It is always fun (and I love getting all of the new pictures.)

Olivia has gotten really tall!  She is now 4 ft 6 in.  She has been on growth hormone injections for a little over a year and they have helped immensely.  Still not putting on much weight, but I think that's because her body is working on growing taller.  She has never been over the 3rd percentile and is now in the 14th percentile for height.

Abigail is pretty tall as well.

Izzy, Ivy, Abigail and Olivia, cousins

Oh and Olivia started playing the flute this year.  I was able to get my old flute refurbished for her.  So, she thinks it is pretty special to have her mom's old flute.  

Abigail lost her first tooth last week!  She was so excited.  Once it was loose, she was determined for it to fall out. 

And. . .I got a new job at a veterinary clinic.  I started mid-October and I enjoy it. It is part time, but the days are long as I leave at 7 am and don't get home until almost 7 pm.  I enjoy wearing scrubs and not having to think about what to wear everyday.

So. . .that is pretty much a quick summary of all that we have been up to.  I will try to update more often than once every few months.  Hope you and your family have a great holiday season!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

First Day Of School

I can't believe that I have a kindergartener and a 5th grader.  They have been enjoying this past week of school.  Olivia is at a new school, the 5th-6th grade Intermediate building and Abigail is at a new school. . .Olivia's old elementary school.  Abigail even has Olivia's previous kindergarten teacher.  We LOVE her and are so happy she has Abigail this year.  Olivia seems to really like her teachers as well!  Hoping for a great year!

My 5th grader 

My kindergartener

Friday, July 27, 2018

Bumps In the Road

I met with the rheumatologist this past week and he started me on Plaquenil, an anti-malaria drug/ DMAD (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug.)  It is very slow acting and I may not notice if it's even working for 6 months or so.  It is supposed to help with fatigue (how long have I been complaining of that?) joint pain, inflammation, etc.  I am not myself anymore.  I read through the previous posts over the years and I don't even recognize myself.  I've gained 25+ lbs, I'm irritable, I've grown even more tired, I take a crapload of meds, I am having memory issues, etc.  I actually sat down to write about how I was diagnosed with Sjogrens and I looked back to find my last post was about just that.  I just don't remember.  I don't remember how to get places that I've been to 6-7 times.  Then, when I get there, I don't remember even being there before.

Everything got really bad about 5 years ago when I started getting migraines.  I was sent to a neurologist who has done nothing to determine the cause of my headaches. I've tried all of the preventative meds along with Botox injections for migraines with no relief.  I get by with saving up my Imitrex because I only get so many per month and sometimes my headache days exceed my pills. I had a brain MRI that showed white matter abnormalities (WMA) and they blamed it on the migraines.  I still don't know why I have almost daily headaches and frequent migraines.  My rheumatologist now says that the WMA can be a neurological manifestation of Sjogren's, but I don't know what that means.  My blood sugars have been out of whack for awhile and I was sent to an endocrinologist.  My thyroid is enlarged with nodules and if one continues to grow, I will be having my thyroid out next year.  I was put on Metformin and Synthroid.  My restless legs have continued to bother me, but I don't know the cause.  Then my resting heart rate went to 120-130 and I had to go to a cardiologist who put me on a beta blocker.  All the while, I still have no idea why my heart rate increased. Because of my fatigue, I was sent for a sleep study a few years ago that showed moderate sleep apnea.  I had to start wearing a CPAP at night that I hate.  I have random, severe piercing ear pain and dizziness and I don't know why.  I don't know why I've gained weight and why I'm so bloated at times that I can't breathe.  My thyroid levels are normal, they say.  I just need to go on the whole30 diet or paleo or low fodmap or AIP or keto or low histamine diet, etc. Most days I don't even know what to eat and I'm too tired to think about it.  About a year ago, I developed horrible insomnia.  I can get to sleep most nights, but I can't sleep past 3 am. Most days I survive on 3-4 hours of sleep.  It's a good night if I can get 6 hours.  I've told doctors and they've, of course, prescribed more meds.  The meds  help me go to sleep, but not stay asleep.  And I'm left not knowing what has caused it.  My diagnosis of Sjogren's was actually a welcomed relief because it is the first answer that I've had in many, many years.  Whether it can explain everything. . .I don't believe so.  But, it's a start.

Anyway, I don't mean to go on and on and to be so negative.  I just needed to vent tonight, I guess.  And this is the reality of life.  Most people struggle.  They just don't let on how much.  I pray every day that this will work or that will be the answer I need. But, I often come up empty handed.  Please, if there are any of my prayer warriors left. . .pray for me.  Pray for my girls because they need a strong, healthy mom.  They deserve that. . .not whoever this is that I am.  Pray for my husband and pray for my family and friends around me.  Pray that I get from them what I need right now and that they know how to help.  And then say another prayer for my girls again because they deserve everything that is good and wonderful in this world.

Okay, well, I'm going to go to bed in hopes to sleep tonight.  I may need to vent on here again more frequently.  It sure helped me through a dark time years ago.  We all go through bumps in the road and my road is in dire need of fixing and repaving.  Thank you, friends, for listening.  I'll get through this in God's time. .  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sjogren's and Bicycles

After literally years and years of doctors ignoring me, I was finally listened to.  Strange that it was an ENT that finally listened.  I've had fatigue and just a sense of being unwell for most of my adult life.  I'm sure I even blogged about it.  About 5 years ago, I developed migraines and everything snowballed from there.  Doctors would check for one thing and when that came back normal, I had to wait 6 more months to go back in for them to check another, etc.  Some of my test results came back normal, but some would come back abnormal, but they would still dismiss it.

About a year ago, I developed this strange thing called geographic tongue. Doctors would tell me that it is a benign condition, but it was like my body screaming that something wasn't right.  Around Christmas, I got a sore, inflamed throat that didn't go away for 4-5 months.  I took multiple rounds of steroids, antibiotics, antifungals and it didn't help.  My dr finally sent me to an ENT.  He did some bloodwork and found my CRP and sedimentation rate was high.  Funny thing is. . .they've been high for a long time. . .someone just paid attention.  They would tell me that it shows inflammation in the body, but they wouldn't investigate where that inflammation was coming from or tell me how to get rid of it.  Anyway, my ENT sent me to a rheumatologist.  One of the blood tests that they ran was for Sjogrens antibodies because my ENT suspicioned Sjogrens.  They came back negative.  Thankfully, instead of dismissing it again, they sent me for a lip biopsy.  In about 30% of people, the antibodies don't show up and a salivary gland biopsy is needed.  I had the lip biopsy on Wed and yesterday I was diagnosed with Sjogrens Syndrome, an auto immune disorder where your body attacks your salivary and moisture producing glands.  Not only do you experience fatigue, dry eyes, dry mouth. . .but also joint pain, neurological issues, dysautonomia, irritable bowel, constipation and it can go on to attack other glands in the body.  I have problems with my thyroid and kidneys and wonder if it is all related?  You are also at an extremely high risk for lymphoma.

So, not sure where I go from here.  Usually if you have one autoimmune disorder, you have more.  They usually start people on an anti malaria drug that is supposed to help.  Time will tell.  For now, I am grateful that a doctor finally listened to me.  I can't tell you the relief that I feel and the hope that I haven't felt in a long time.  I do worry about my girls as auto immune disorders are hereditary and now my girls have it on both sides of the family.  My mother-in-law has lupus.  

In other news, both girls are now riding bikes!  I told them when they could both ride, I would get myself a bike.  So, I bought one yesterday.  Right when we set out on our first bike ride, however, Abigail crashed pretty badly.  Blood was just dripping from her knees.  After spending a few hours recovering, we finally went on our bike ride and Abigail fell at the end and banged up her another knee.  Needless to say, we invested in knee pads.  We have to tell Olivia not to be so cautious and afraid, but that Abigail needs to have a little more fear.  Ha!  She's kind of a daredevil and rides way too fast.  But, it has turned into a very bicycle riding summer. . .very fun!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

My Signs

As you know, about a year ago, I discovered that I love to paint.  I've been busy making paintings and signs ever since and have learned so much this past year.  Last month, I became a vendor at a local craft store and I am selling my signs there as well as from my facebook page Show Me A Sign Designs.  I've loved the creative outlet and hope to paint for many years to come.  Here are some that I have made recently: