Monday, October 4, 2010

4 Years

Four years ago today I woke up in the afternoon knowing that I was on a ventilator. I can't tell you that I remember being put on a ventilator, but I do remember waking up knowing that a machine was indeed breathing for me. Contrary to what you might think I was reasonably calm about this idea. I had a million and one questions and that tube definitely got in the way. So, instead of waiting for the tube to be taken out, I began to write. Somewhere in my "stuff" I still have those yellow sheets of paper to remind me of where I came from when I need reminding. And truthfully every once and awhile I forget how fortunate and blessed I am.

When I woke up that day I had no idea how long I had been "sleeping" and how much had changed. There were answers to questions I hadn't even known I needed to ask. So many tests were done while I was unaware and the results would change me and my future. I think the first question I asked a doctor was about having more children. Why I asked that when I had a newborn at home I couldn't tell you, but I did. And I got the answer I had no desire to hear. That OB's advice was absolutely never again. Another OB suggested that I could talk to a high risk OB about it after some time and then it would be all about odds. Of course the odds would never again likely to be in my favor. This idea was one of the hardest I have ever had to deal with in my now 31 years. The girl who dreamed of having between four and six children would have to stop at one?!? NEVER. Until recently anyways.

I wouldn't say that I wouldn't welcome another child in my life as a son or daughter, but I am guessing it won't be me delivering said child. And while that reality just about cripples a part of me, the thought of dying or permanently losing heart function is daunting. I don't believe that I can take that risk for the sake of the two people in this family that do depend on me today. My son needs a mother and today someone said to me, "One child with a mother is great, two children without a mother is horrible." That could be what I leave Tim with if I decide that having more children is that important to me. So, I could choose to knowingly risk everything I have for more and then I might never get to experience it or have to experience it in an incredibly debilitated state.

Peripartum cardiomyopathy is heart-wrenching. Well, not literally. It more accurately makes one's heart fail. While I was on the ventilator it was determined that I have a rare heart disorder/disease that can basically be considered pregnancy-induced heart failure. At some point I was told that less than 1/4 of 1% of the female population is diagnosed with this type of heart disease. I have never met anyone who has this issue and it is likely that I may never physically meet face to face with another woman who has been diagnosed unless I actively seek her out. I have heard of someone my Mom knows having a daughter with it, but that's as close as I have come to knowing someone else who deals with this reality.

From the outside today no one would know that I barely skated through things four years ago. I am positive a few years disappeared from some people's lives when this happened in that week four years ago. I cannot think of something a whole lot more stressful to be told than someone you love is on life support for heart and respiratory failure. I know one friend who found out while at work and another who called me in my room and was connected with my Mom in the ICU. A third found out from her mother. My poor brother and sister were each on different sides of the country and my husband was at home with our newborn son.

I remember my Mom being there and trying to comfort me as she told me that if I couldn't leave the oxygen mask alone then they would have to restrain me. I was screaming and combative because my oxygen saturation was in the low 70's and I was choking. And for the first time in my life I understood that I could die. I had no idea what was happening to me, but I did understand that it was serious when a team wheels you quickly into the ICU and a new team shows up immediately. I remember being asked if I had ever been on a ventilator for my asthma and I shouted a resounding, "NO"! And then things went dark. I am told by my Mom that everything happened quite quickly and that she wasn't there as she was asked to leave the room to give them space for intubation.

For many months I decided that it was the sepsis that caused my heart failure, not my pregnancy. I could not face the idea that another pregnancy would never happen for me, or at least should never happen again. I hardly had a chance to enjoy my son before this all came to a head and now I would never get to take another newborn home from the hospital?!? The head of the heart transplant and failure group at Loyola University Medical center tried to tell me when Matt was just shy of one years-old that it was the pregnancy, not the sepsis. He told me that the labs actually suggested long term heart failure, so for the second half of my pregnancy when the swelling was outrageous and I got worn out so easily, I was dealing with the heart failure then. Although he told me then that we would just focus on protecting my heart and getting healthier and that we could talk about pregnancy later, I now know that he never wanted to talk to about a future pregnancy. No doctor in their right mind would be in favor of me taking a chance. I think they believe it's like playing a little game of Russian Roulette.

So, today I look at things a little differently and maybe it's with a touch more reality than ever before in my life. Today I could not in any way take a chance at death or at a significantly diminished life for additional children. My odds for that outcome are too overwhelming. And frankly, it terrifies me. Because of all of this, lots of things are terrifying and overwhelming. It can be a secret hell because while I may no longer be incredibly weak and ill, my memory is sharp. Some days when my breathing is compromised due to allergies and asthma, I have to try to remind myself that I am not dying like I was four years ago. Now I am just learning how to live with the damage that all of this caused in my figurative heart (and mind) vs. my physical heart.

I feel like today is almost as special as my birthday because it was my day to be born again and feel like new life was possible. It was and continues to be a day on which I need to remember that I am so incredibly blessed and loved. I just hope since this appears to be the year when I become more and more in touch with reality that I work harder at building the life I was given a second chance to live.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Feeling sick...

So I am up in the middle of the night worrying. I know that I am not alone and that there is someone else doing the same thing somewhere in the great big ol' world. However, there is not much I can seem to do to comfort myself. It has been a rough day and I don't really know how to even express myself. So, I will do the best I can to explain my frustration and worry.

I went to my doctor's office to have a follow-up visit earlier this morning. Funny enough I thought I had this one all figured out and low and behold it couldn't have been further from the truth. My heart is aching and truly pounding. My anxiety level is pretty high and I would be lying if I said I see this as getting better quickly. I might have made a BIG mistake this evening causing and intensifying the feelings I am overwhelmed with right now. I know better than to look up medical issues on the internet and yet I just told myself I would just check one thing on my labs that my doctor didn't mention for some odd reason. I was curious what it meant. Should have stayed away like I promised myself I would do.

All I did was seriously cause myself serious stress and anxiety. As I read those letters that made up the words I could have passed out. For as long as I can remember I have rejoiced in the possibilities, earning lots of money, buying my first house, my future with a family, etc. I knew that the possibilities were endless. What I didn't always count on was life and how my choices played into that scenario. Now this may start to look like a personal bashing or a pity party. However, I would say I just really recently starting taking some responsibility for my actions, short term and long term. I have always thought that you could just get back on track and fix everything pretty easily. There were no real hurdles that one couldn't get past. In otherwords I thought that if I took my medicine as directed which I have struggled with for many, and I mean many years, then everything would be righted again. I would lose weight, save money, and be healthy (and much thinner).

Now I would say I knew I was never going to be a supermodel, but I didn't realize the hole I began digging for myself. A hole that could become a early grave. Sounds ridiculous I suppose but at the weight I am with the heart history I have and the recent discoveries of my lab results, I should be thankful I am still kicking. There are no words to explain the onslaught of anxiety this doctor's visit has caused me. I have been feeling like the world as I know it is changing before my very eyes. I want to strike and not go to the specialists and the pharmacist. The medical insurance industry winces and cries when they see my name on their current enrollment list. I am the person who utilizes the full benefits of my insurance coverage.

This year alone I have had two nuclear tests, one echo cardiogram, numerous blood tests, almost endless antibiotics, specialist visits, surgeon consults, one sinus surgery, one CT scan, one upper endoscopy, and close to weekly visits to my internist. Seriously, who knows all of the names of the people in their doctor's office?!?!? Oh and did I mention I have had at least two visits of my own to the ER? Probably not.

It's July. All of this happened over the last six months. And because of this I am the walking wounded. I am shaky and incredibly edgy. Now what everyone should be aware of is that everything that I was told this morning can be handled and my doc is great so I have a great deal of confidence in her. As four of my close family members have pointed out so kindly is that all of these issues are highly treatable. I have scripts for each issue and some basic instructions and additional testing I need to do before I see my beloved internist again. Having said that I am freaked out. I don't know too many 31 year-olds who have been through some of this crap. Right now I am on medicine to relieve my acid reflux, protect my heart muscle, relieve allergy symptoms (3 different ones), and an antibiotic to annihilate my sinus infection that refuses to pay rent. Plus I recently started a multi vitamin in an effort to do something in addition to give my body some little advantage. Now in my past life I have super sucked at taking medicine and anyone who has known me for awhile, knows that I try and then I get forgetful, and I mean REALLY forgetful.

I decided I felt fine awhile back and quit making any attempts to take my heart medication because that's what denial has done to me. With the mystery illness that I have had for the better part of this past year I suddenly scared myself into taking them. Now most would say that fear as a motivator is a poor choice. I just figured that fear was what was going to get me on the train and will power and dedication would keep me on. So here I am three (or four) months later and indeed I have been very faithful with few exceptions. Because like I said earlier taking my medication would automatically allow me to pass go and collect $200, or at least that's how my mind was working all of this time. I started religiously brushing my teeth (like my orthodontist would adore) because I found out that oral hygiene was very connected to heart health.

I also recently began eating far more organic food to try and rid my bodies of any crazy chemicals from pesticides. In addition to eating differently I made an action plan about my weight with regards to working out. I am holding myself accountable by paying a load of money for a personal trainer. I hate throwing away money, so I would need a really good reason to miss those appts. And part of the agreement with the trainer is to work out on my own so she will be checking in. Right now I would be seriously embarrassed in the first week if I already failed my early assignments.

BTW - Did I mention that I am also the person that thinks that everything can be reversed and worked with given some time? That translates into me saying I can fix everything that is wrong very quickly and easily. I just recently got the memo that changing really takes ALOT of work and dedication. I actually have to give up my comforts and seek out a new lifestyle. Sounds almost like fun, and I bet that parts of it will be. But what I also am learning is that life with medical issues is not all that it cracked up to be. It can be scary and unpredictable and unnerving. This whole thing makes me feel weak and somehow in all of it I know that I am strong. Whatever, and I mean whatever, the results from these latest tests have told me, the one thing that paperwork didn't mention was my will. I will not be beaten down for long...I am forever optimistic. It may take me a week or two to really wrap my brain around how I am feeling as I know the shock is wearing off now.

And funny enough I will be trying my best to not use the internet as a tool containing information regarding these tests and results. Why do I have a doctor if I think I can diagnose myself? It's like what I wrote in a previous post regarding my son, why would I sign him up for tumbling if I actually thought he could pull off a somersault??? What a waste of money that would have been. So clearly my insurance and my out-of-pocket money are buying something at this doc's office (and I don't mean her car or house). I am supposed to depend on her to lead me through these health issues as well as her staff. So tomorrow (or rather later today) I will be calling the nurse to ask her some additional questions so I don't drive myself crazier than I already am. I am hoping I don't come off as a crazed, anxious patient who is worrying unnecessarily. I want to know that there is some level of understanding on the other side of the telephone, which I am pretty sure there will be.

So in the meantime I will be visiting a nearby pharmacy tomorrow and seek out the three new medications I have to start and learn how to live with it. There are some interesting directions with the meds this time, so it will take some planning which has not been my strong suit in recent years. However, this has to be different. The entire issue has to be handled differently than I have done so in the past. It has to actually be taken care of and figured out and not stuffed in the back of the cabinet or closet waiting to be seen and heard. I will be taking this medicine and I will start loving it. Because these new meds just actually give me a new lease on life.

So now my eyes are tired enough that I am going to attempt to sleep. I hope there is some mercy tonight and I can just fall asleep quickly. Please God, pretty please with a cherry on top!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Purposeful living

I find it interesting to think that sometimes I am not really checked in when it comes to my life. I am not present so much of the time, whether it's because I am running on autopilot or because I am just reacting to the events of the day. Somewhere along the line I got pretty discouraged and quit planning. My guess is the medical stuff both in my life and those around me contributed to this as well as my general laziness. I love talking about planning and changing. I am SO incredibly good at it. The follow through is a different story. Like this blog for instance, I meant well when I started this a year ago and let's just say I never found time for it and consequently it got left in the dust like so many other things in my life.

Now I would be remiss to say that wonderful things never happen if I don't plan them. That is completely untrue. However, I would guess that a little more planning would go a long way. Plans such as financial planning, eating, exercising, biking, cleaning, reading, or doing just about any fun activity (i.e. picking blueberries, pumpkin farms, etc.) might just make life more purposeful. I have spent a great deal of time thinking and talking about the direction I want my life to take, and I have to say I am a little proud of myself. I have started to take steps to make things happen!

I said I wanted to ride the bikes, so we bought the helmets and the water bottles to begin this journey. I said I wanted to start exercising safely, so I bought new shoes, got a heart monitor, and I start training sessions with a personal trainer tomorrow. I wanted to start eating better and I have taken two trips to Whole Foods with another on the horizon tomorrow, and I have done quite a bit of research on the subject. I have wanted to get back into reading and I have read two books in the past month. We are currently reworking our budget to better suit our needs as well. While change doesn't happen overnight, I am definitely feeling the winds blowing in a different direction. Being more proactive vs. reactive makes a difference to me, a big one actually.

I will not just continue on floating along and hoping that I have enough of everything to make it through. I have plans for both myself and our family! There is a life I am meaning to live and its headed my direction...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tired. Just plain tired.

I am tired. The kind of tired that you just want to lay your head back a little and close your eyes and head on into dreamland. I don't usually fall asleep sitting up, however today I could make an exception. I think it must be the three and a half hours of sleep plaguing me. Go figure. For the record, I did try very hard to get to sleep last night. Something was just keeping me up. :(

Somehow I have even been somewhat productive. I worked today, did a bunch of laundry, organized some more bills/paperwork, ran an errand for my Mom, and kept track of my dear son. I would say that dinner is seeming like a bit of a stretch today. Although let's be honest, most likely I would say the same thing over and over each night (sometimes for a different reason).

And now I must retire soon...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How does one apologize?

So what do you do when you need to apologize to someone in your life and you feel like the more time passes the harder it gets? I disappointed a friend recently and I feel horrible. All I want to do is pick up the phone and beg forgiveness but then I wonder the response will be. I have done odd things to my friends throughout my dealings with my depression and anxiety over the last 13 years, no question. And for the most part I have been completely forgiven (as far as I know). My friends have always accepted the whole person I am, faults and all. When I am anxious or upset I have a difficult time communicating and it weighs heavily on me.

I hate disappointing my friends. I really hope I end up being able to make amends with this friend and start feeling like I can pick up the phone. I have been told that I am a much nicer person since my work craziness ended, so I hope that stress is over. I was an absolute mess at the end of the site contest. I clocked in more than double the hours during the last few days of the contest and my hubby worked like a slave over the last week as well. Of course while my part ended and is back to normal, his job still has him incredibly tied up. I just pray for some courage and some level of forgiveness from the people who love me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A New Leaf

This past weekend we started to make a set of house rules for our household. Nothing crazy, just ideas to make our home run more like we want it to from here on in. One of the rules is to only eat one dinner &/ one lunch out during a week's time. I am feeling more comfortable in the kitchen and work has calmed down, therefore we can handle this. Another rule is that we must go to the YMCA at least twice a week to take M swimming outside of his assigned lesson day. He needs the activity as much or more than we need it. Plus since I am starting personal training in about a week's time I now have to remember how to be more dedicated to learning a new lifestyle. Working out and exercising somehow have to become a part of my day, not a part I fit in, but rather a part of my day that I work around like sleeping, showering, or eating. It's been a battle to exercise for a long time. I have been afraid of injury or compromising my health and I have been lazy. Many times both.

I think I view working out as an embarrassment to be honest. It's me saying look at what I allowed to happen to myself over the last several years. How could anyone look at me and not judge? I certainly spend time reprimanding myself for my mistakes. At least I try not to do that as much as I used to do though. There is a realization that there will always be something to strive for in life. So, right now one of my focuses can be learning how to live a healthy lifestyle again. If I am unhealthy all of the time (which is what it feels like most of the time), then I will not be able to participate fully in what life has to offer me. There are many things I would still like to do in my lifetime, so if something doesn't change, many of those wishes will become unfulfilled.

So much to learn, so little time. :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Short Circuit

Well I would like to say that I never have doubts, however that would be a giant lie. Everyone should have been at my home a week and a half ago to see my melt-down. People talk about a toddler's meltdown, but mine was just as awesome. I freaked out after M had his first preschool tumbling class at our local YMCA. It might be hilarious if there was a video of the mess I became shortly after leaving. I was almost speechless (and anyone who knows me understands just how rare that is); we were supposed to go and eat dinner at a good friend's house and I couldn't manage. I had to go home immediately; I whizzed in the door and laid down on the bed rocking myself. My dear husband was questioning me as to why I was upset and what we were going to do for dinner as we were canceling our plans. I just told him to leave like a 13 year-old yells at a younger sibling who is annoying them to no end.

But of course that didn't work with my husband who is way past that point in his life. He just kept on insisting that I needed to talk to him. There was nothing to say as I had no idea why I was short circuiting. I was being honest and was all the more distraught that I had no way to verbalize how I was feeling. He finally took our son and sought out dinner for us so I had some quiet time to try and calm myself down.

I sat down on the couch after the coast had cleared and started working on why in the world I was freaking out. Here's what I came up with....

I suddenly realized that I had two and a half years to prepare my son for kindergarten and in essence the rest of his life. The questions came at me fast and furious, all with the same theme - was I doing alright as a parent??? You can't love your child enough, but were our child-rearing decisions going to produce a bright, social, well-behaved child? I began questioning every decision, big and little. Should I continue to work from home? Was I ignoring my child's needs? Did I register him in additional classes at the Y to expose him to additional experiences? Did I find play groups that had children his age? What reality were our decisions creating for our son?

So, as you can see I had a meltdown because I was questioning my parenting abilities. I bet no one else has ever done that before...unlikely. I knew in my heart of hearts that all of this would take time. I could not judge his readiness for school after his first tumbling class. Fast forward to Saturday morning when he took his first swimming lesson. We decided to do swimming classes with a parent because we thought that would make things easier all around for him to get used to the environment. I thought I was going to have a stroke almost the entire class. Because I am not dying to get into a bathing suit in a public place where I frequent and people might recognize I encouraged T to take him in the pool.

The entire lesson I could only focus what he wasn't doing to participate. Believe it or not I actually taught swimming lessons and spent years of my life in the water as a competitive swimmer and eventually a lifeguard. I could not handle the experience any better than tumbling...I kept trying to micromanage from the bench. I was that mom. Shameful really. I should have been ashamed, but instead I was once again in the position that I was freaking out about his never learning how to swim. I bet he completes every lesson just like I did and does better.

I don't give my child near enough credit to grow and learn at his own pace. Lesson to self: Don't micromanage from the side when you won't get in the water yourself. Also, don't harass the person who willingly gets in the water and has a preschooler glued to his neck like his life depends on it. So, I know you will all understand why I am not going to lessons this week. God must have known I needed to stay away because I took other co-worker's shifts this week during both lessons not realizing I wouldn't be able to attend. It's as if someone is being really direct about how I need to take some time and deal. My child is going to grow up and every step of the way there are going to be things that are difficult for him, however if I expect him to do a somersault in the first class like a pro, why would I sign him up??

I guess I still have as much or more to learn than my son at this point in his life. Better start working on that....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Another one bites the dust

And another day ends...

Thank goodness for sleep! I fully intend to indulge in my sleeping habit for as long as possible tonight and into the morning. I don't have to work until 9am so dreamland it will be. :)

On a happy note I am really looking forward to this summer with Matt. He is such a delight to do things with these days and always excited for the next adventure. I just really hope that we hold up our end of things to schedule and execute all of those fun adventures while the weather is warm.

Maybe we should start scheduling soon!!! If anyone has ideas, please feel free to comment and offer up suggestions. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another day, another dollar...

I really want a brownie right now. If you ask me why I am unsure why; it seems like that would solve my world's issues. Clearly unlikely! Just called 2 different Caribou stores and they are both out of them. What is the world coming to?!? I would actually leave my home after 9pm to buy a brownie. I am not one of the most savvy or smart individuals out there (obviously). I would also love a mocha, and strangely enough I have everything in my place to make such an item. So why would I want to waste gas and money when I could make this very thing in my kitchen? I really don't know. It's become my hobby to throw money at Caribou and Starbucks lately and I am certain they appreciate it. My checking account is crying on the other hand, almost weeping.

I want comfort ultimately and someone else making my drink somehow offers me just that. I swear it tastes better! In the end I am not going to leave and go out seeking an elusive elixir to soothe myself. Most likely I can find something, such as writing on here, that will make a fine substitute. This is what I am going to tell myself.

So as for the title of this post...I work from home which I have mentioned before and it used to be almost fun. However, right now it's the bane of my existence. No lie. Seriously. This job is slowly sucking the joy out of my days. Now mind you I have been picking up extra hours because money sings in my checking account every week that I receive a paycheck. Anyways, working is becoming tough and not really because the weather has been so awesome (which it has) or because I dislike working. Nope, not in the least. I love being able to interact with other adults and making a difference (albeit very tiny)in some anonymous person's life. Because of course the people I police on a website have no real idea of who I am. I could be someone in India for all they know. I LOVE the women I work with and it's such a blessing to have some of them as my friends too. Bur recently my job tasks changed and it's stressful every hour I work.

But I digress. I took the job as a means to save a little more money for a down payment on a house and that is what it shall become in the next month or so, just in time to celebrate my one year anniversary working for the site. Hahaha! I can't believe that I haven't saved more. In my defense we actually put off so much over the previous years that we needed to do some catching up with buying some "stuff." And of course I may have indulged a little more in the eating out category and buying some little stuff that I might not have needed. So yet another day that I have worked passes and tomorrow is yet another day that I will continue to earn a little bit more to currently contribute to all of our family graduates (people even more desperate for money right now). :)

On a completely different note. I really miss my siblings, one of which is abroad and the other who is located across the country. I have picked up the phone numerous times to call one of them realizing that one can't take my calls right now and the other is actually working. Argh! Oh well, at least the world traveler will arrive back in the states in a few days and then I can call and annoy to no end. And I can keep stalking the other sibling in case there is a chance of loneliness or missing me (most unlikely).

My goal for this week is to make it to Friday and enjoy my wonderful, beautiful, amazing day off! Thank you God for making this possible, and in case you're reading this God, I am kindly requesting mild weather with no rain. Just in case. Always be prepared...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Strung out. Period.

I am so incredibly tired and my knee is killing me. I would like to say that is the end of my whining, however I am sure I will whine just a bit more before I hit the hay tonight. Between Matt and work I am at my wit's end. Six hours of work doesn't seem that bad and especially when one can work from home. Let me just say what I think moms and dads everywhere would say - easier said than done. Working from home can be brutal. Yes, you don't necessarily have to pay for childcare or a wardrobe to work outside of the house in. However, you end up ignoring your child to some degree because work is calling and your home gets messier by the minute.

Everyone talks about how jealous they are of me and sometimes I just wish I worked in an office so I could work in peace. I love my son more than almost anyone...but at three and a half he still needs a great deal of interaction. And right now I have never worked harder than I do at this job. This job suddenly became much more complicated and difficult lately due to a promotion on the website. I am sure some of my friends think I have gone into witness protection because I no longer want to leave my home. In my spare time I try to sleep and keep up at home or hang out with my now retired Mom.

I can't wait for Friday; it will not come soon enough! So as for the catching up...I will work on a month of events each day starting Friday (my first day off).

Until then I am off to take a shower and ice my knee...and probably indulge in a little ibuprofen. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday is just the beginning...

Well, at least I made it one more day writing on the blog! Nah, just kidding...I am trying very hard to start a mini-revolution for myself. :) I spent a great deal of time writing late last night or what some call early in the morning. This is a hard process to get back into the grind of remembering to write stuff down and such. We shall see.

So, I might have promised a more complete update, however I didn't get to my pics today and we were out and about most of the day. Therefore, it will have to wait until tomorrow or later this week. And, while the day is not over, I have not had any big/scary problems with anxiety!!! Thank GOD! Makes life sooo much easier.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

So, I might have gotten lost along the way...

Ok, I have not perished or entered into the witness protection plan. However, I might have gotten a little lost along the way over the last several months. I have a couple of friends, let's just call them Lee and Cali, who have been very supportive about my blogging. I on the other hand have been lazy and have struggled with this notion. So much happens and I never seem to find the time to write about it or the will to tell a crazy tale. Theoretically I am supposed to be journaling to relieve my anxiety, so I would assume this could take its place (to some degree).

Tonight I had an anxiety attack and I really didn't appreciate it at all. For the record, they are not welcome visitors in any way...until now. Tonight I thought I was going to lose it and we would have to go to the ER for me to be sedated. And here I am, writing and doing alright. One could almost say that I had a breakthrough. I was watching a movie which I surmised to be a comedy and perhaps I should start reading the movie info before I decide what kind of movie it might be in the future. Everything's Fine is by no means a comedy unless the ending, which I did not watch, becomes funny. It is all about death, surviving the loss of a loved one, lying, and serious health issues.

The last item mentioned would be the most important for me (as well as the first). I am terrified (and I mean truly terrified in the seizing up way) of being somewhere and not being able to receive appropriate medical care for breathing or heart issues. Now I can't say that I haven't been able to get proper care as I have always been in the right place at the right time for everything. I feel like I am definitely reliving the nightmare after having Matt over and over again and I got wonderful care so promptly at that time.

I keep having that gut seizing fear that my breathing is going to be seriously compromised and my heart is going to fail and I will be out of luck. I will never be able to truly explain how I felt in those moments when my breathing was so labored and I was choking, while watching the oxygen saturation numbers go down into the low 70's without a clue as to the why. I know that I became combative (normal when O2 sat is that low) and was being introduced to the respiratory team in the ICU. That is the last thing I remember other than my Mom trying desperately to calm me and convince me to leave the O2 mask on or they would have to restrain me. It was almost comical to me that the nurse mentioned (while they rolled me in at neck-breaking speed) that they would have to put me in a room with a male and they hoped I would understand. I can honestly say at that moment the ONLY thing I was thinking about was my breathing and choking. It wasn't like we were going to be roomies and chat over magazines.

I woke up with a sense that things were drastically different then when I "went to sleep." My Mom was sitting right next to my bed and I knew that I was on a ventilator when I awoke. I was confused for obvious reasons and I had some serious catching up to do. I had a million and one questions to ask and no way to ask them. Someone kindly offered me some paper and a pen to start the process. I think the OB came first and I asked her what happened and could I have more children. Now why in God's name that would come up so quickly in my mind, I have not a clue in the world. I don't completely remember everything I wrote about or asked, however that answer is forever imprinted on my heart and soul. "No, you should never have another child again. It could kill you."

Now, frankly let's just say I have spent the first three years of my son's life in complete denial. I took precautions to not become pregnant, which was extremely painful because I wanted 4-6 kids with M just being my first. I refused to believe that my pregnancy caused the heart failure. Instead I decided with my multitude of medical knowledge that my sepsis clearly caused my heart and respiratory failure. Now to be honest I hadn't mentioned it until now because now I know, courtesy of an incredible cardiologist at Loyola that pregnancy is the real reason my heart failed. My heart was failing through the second half of my pregnancy. Devastating news in my world given to me almost a year after M was born. Now if you look up peripartum cardiomyopathy you will find support sites and research (although very little). What I chose to focus on were the sites that women went on and told their stories, mostly how they survived and went on to have more children.

So, last year when I got pregnant twice over (very much unplanned and unexpected) in the end I was going to be ok (thrilled) with it. After my second miscarriage I told my husband that I was not willing to go through that again, esp since that news came about after a dramatic hospitalization. The shock, the peace, the build-up and anticipation, the worry, the fear, then the horrible news, and lastly the incredible pain (physical and emotional) of going through a miscarriage was too much to keep doing. I needed to reassess. I still in my heart want children more than almost anything, although right now I am willing to focus on saving for a house and a new car, and gaining my health back one step at a time.

I am not sure the yearning to have more children will pass, however for now it is off the table. With the anxiety surrounding health issues I might very well be out of commission if I were to become pregnant. For the first time in my life (including the last 3.5 years) I am scared (um, probably trembling and terrified) of pregnancy. I am so incredibly envious of people who have had typical deliveries and no issues later. Though not for a second have I ever regretted having my son even if the experience almost killed me. His life is the greatest blessing in my life outside of my husband and my family, which as far as I am concerned includes many friends too.

I just wish for a time where I can be healthy and content, have a chance to build up my immune system and start on the next leg of my journey. For now and for the rest of my life I have to start thinking about being here and healthy for T & M as well as myself. I found out after being sick for months that I have a rather dysfunctional gallbladder, which adds to my list of issues, and crazy sinuses to boot. After having sinus surgery the day after my birthday last month I am honestly going to say there better be a pay-off for that experience. For weeks my face felt like it was hit by a baseball bat and I still don't have all of my senses of smell and taste back (5.5 weeks). SO ANNOYING! I can't wait to be out of high allergy season!! I am tired of being that girl, the one who is always sick and has a million health issues.

I have so many aspirations right now...I guess let's just go along for the ride and see where life takes me. :)

Next entry will hopefully be a short catch up on the past months and some goals for the next several months...