Sunday, September 23, 2007

Here I am! What A Crazy Ride It's Been!

I bet you've been wondering where I've been the last few months, huh?
Well, lemme tell ya, it's been about as crazy as it could get here.

I would like at this point to use the old phrase, "To make a long story short", but if you know me, nothing about me is short, not even my daily adventures. Bear with me here......

We had a great camping trip over the 4th of July at Cape Fair Campground. We spent nearly a week there and did a lot of boating, swimming, eating and sleeping. Our camping trip over the fireworks weekend has been a family tradition for as long as we've had kids. We have a small pop-up camper that we acquired a few years after Kasey was born. Since using it, we will never go back to camping in tents again. I used to be all about the "primitive camping" trips and would have never thought about staying in a camper, but after having a child and spending many sleepless, sweaty nights with a small crying child in a tent, having any kind of shelter with A/C is a godsend.

Then, my worst fear happened. My computer completely crashed the night after we came back from camping. It was the computer that my mother gave me when she switched to a laptop. It's not that old, maybe 4 years old. I've owned computers older than this one and never had a problem with them. This one ran faster so that's why I ditched my old one and started using this one. Anyway, I think the week that I had it shut off while we were gone camping took its toll on the hard drive and it could never get itself up and running again. I didn't lose much except a few photos. So I took it in for repair and was without the "innernets" for a little over a week. Let me tell you, I don't think I have ever been so bored in my whole life! I really didn't realize how much I enjoy and use a computer for the most menial things. I bought my first one in 1999 (3 months after my first child was born) and from the time I opened the box, you couldn't pry me away from it. I thought for sure my husband was going to kill me over how much time I spent on the computer. At times, I would stay up all night and all day the next day just playing games or chatting with friends or doing sweepstakes. Even with all the stresses of having my first child and all that a newborn demands in the first few months, I just couldn't bring myself to turn it off and do the things I needed to do. I was addicted in the worst way. And it was slowly taking its toll on me. At that time, I was a smoker and drank Mtn. Dew like it was water. The combination of cigarettes, Mtn. Dew and not enough sleep was killing me. I was frequently sick, tired and couldn't function normally. I often think back to that time and regret that I allowed myself to get like that because it probably affected my daughter more than me at that time. I took great care of her and always did for her what needed to be done but nothing more. Thank God she's an as well-adjusted 8 year old as she is. I love her so much and can't get past how I could allow myself to get like that and not do for her as much as I could have. Over the last 4-5 years, I cut down my computer usage to a more reasonable time frame. More like what normal, non-addicted computer users maintain. No more overnight game playing or checking email every time I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I finally realized that I needed sleep and my health more than I needed to check my email. Since having my second child, my computer time has been cut even more. Sometimes I might go a couple days without getting on the computer. That's a HUGE improvement over the old days. But the night my computer completely crashed and the week it took to get a new hard drive put in was one of the most boring weeks I have ever experienced. You'd think that I could find something else to occupy my time with, and I did, but I did not like the fact that I couldn't go look up a recipe, or visit a website I saw on tv whenever I wanted. Pile on the fact that it was 90+ degrees outside during that time and I am still in that "stuck inside with an infant" stage and you can see why I got so bored. You can only clean your house so much before you run out of things to do and need other things to occupy your time.

About a week after coming home from the camping trip, my husband was the first to point out to me what I had already had suspicions about. I noticed the dark urine a couple weeks earlier but blew it off on the extreme hot weather we had been having and having come back from being on a very hot, exhausting camping trip and thinking I wasn't drinking enough water. I didn't get anxious about anything being wrong until my husband said to me one night as we sat at a ballgame that I looked very yellow to him. I too had been thinking that I looked a little yellow but again, passed it off to some weird shade of tan I acquired while on the camping trip. It wasn't until I was house-sitting for my sister while she was on vacation and ended up with some of the worst pains I'd felt since giving birth to my children that I knew I needed to make a doctors appointment. So being very jaundiced, lethargic, having very dark urine and experiencing pains around my abdomen area, I saw Dr. Clark who confirmed there was something definitely wrong since it's not very common for people of my age to become jaundiced. He also told me that my liver enzyme levels were off the chart and that I needed to get this taken care of very soon. Since I am not a drinker, drug user or abuse my body in any other way, he was very concerned and suggested I see a general surgeon named Dr. Cardwell the next day. Dr. Cardwell immediately admitted me into the hospital at Cox South and I was there for 4 days. First he thought it was my gall bladder and wanted to take it out until cat scans showed there wasn't any blockage in the gall bladder. So he had a gastroenterologist named Dr. Havaldar come in and he though it might be something to do with my liver other than a gall bladder problem. After many, many blood tests (24 vials, ugh) to rule out hepatitis, AIDS and all that jazz, Dr. Havaldar ordered a liver biopsy. That biopsy showed some damage to my liver but the doctors here in Springfield weren't able to determine what was causing the damage. So I was referred to a really nice doctor named Dr. Lisker-Melman at Washington University in St. Louis.He seemed to think it could either be a toxicity problem or an auto-immune disease, which I already have some form of because I have psoriasis. (By the way, my psoriasis has all but cleared up and disappeared since all this started, so I am VERY happy about that.) So after Dr. Lisker-Melman took another look and ran more extensive tests on my blood and liver biopsy, he's determined it's a toxicity issue. My liver enzyme levels are still in the 700-800 range and if they don't come down to normal soon, I may have to take some sort of treatment. Normal range is 40. Yes, 40! And I have been at elevated levels since at least the beginning of July. When I was admitted to the hospital, my levels were 1600+, so I have improved quite a bit but not enough for the doctors comfort. I took another blood test last week and am waiting on those results to find out where we need to go from here. Nearly $17,000 in medical bills and I still have no definitive answer as to what caused all this.

During all that mess, school started. Kasey is now in the 3rd grade and couldn't love school any more. She is a rocket in the mornings. She gets herself up, gets ready and dressed and comes to wake me up before she gets on the bus. She's growing up so fast. She is getting excellent grades and loves homework. She LOVES homework! This is a complete turn-around from last year when she could have cared less whether she ever went to school again or not. Her main interests seem to be in Science, spelling and Art, which were my best subjects when I was in school. Like mother, like daughter. I love that!

So here it is, nearly the end of summer and heading straight into fall.....my favorite season! Halloween is now close enough that we can start thinking about decorating the house and not feel as though we are jumping the gun. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. We have decided to be a clan of cavemen and women for Halloween, so I am going to be busy trying to get us ready for that.

I've been thinking about learning how to use this sewing machine that I received from Bubbas mother after she passed away. It's been sitting here for over a year now. I'm excited about sewing but not excited about learning. Figure that one out.

That's about all that's been going on since I last posted. I'm sorry that I've neglected my blog for the last few months. I hope to get a couple more posts on here tonight and will keep up a regular schedule of posting every day or so.

Thanks for hanging in there with me! Especially you, Jeffro! Love ya!


PS...Just for the record, I do not smoke or drink Mtn. Dew anymore. After 24 years of it, I quit smoking 2 ½ years ago and have never felt better. I quit drinking soda a little more than a year ago. If you knew how much of those two things I did in the past, you'd know just how proud I am of myself for banishing those two bad habits from my life. Only thing though, they became bittersweet accomplishments for me. I probably lost 20 pounds by not drinking soda anymore but gained 30 pounds because I quit smoking. I can't win for losing....LOL

1 comment:

dirtsister said...

Glad you are back. Missed your posts. Hope you get that liver situation stabilized.