#microblogmonday 8

So I had this bright idea that I could get up early and go for a run before I would normally even get up…….I’m not entirely certain whether it was a genius idea or the stupidest thing ever.

I hate mornings…..with a passion.

My little boys need to be at school at 8:35am. I consider it a win if I crawl out of bed before 8am.

I try my hardest to do EVERYTHING the evening before: lunches packed, backpacks packed, outfit picked out, coats and shoes ready to go…..

That way….we get up, get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast and head out the door.

When I run, I typically do so after I drop the kids off at school, but I find that “the morning” is taken up by eating breakfast, checking social media, dawdling around….and then there is the post run shower and by the time that’s over, it’s almost noon.

I figured that if I didn’t think about it too hard and got my running gear ready to go…..I could POP out of bed at 6am and run for half an hour and then still have time to shower and be available to help the kids by 7am.

That’s a whole extra hour than I normally have…….it’s got be to a good idea, right?

I went to bed at a decent time and managed to sleep for 7 hours – Yay me! The alarm went off at 6am and I’ll be honest…..I did not just jump out of bed. I really contemplated not doing it but finally jumped out of bed at 6:18am.

I threw my gear on and was good to go for 6:26am. Yay me. It wasn’t as bad as I anticipated but it wasn’t the same as running during the day or in the evening when I’m more warmed up and limber. I’m still running really slow and taking it really easy since the whole “shin splint” episode. Things are slowly getting better and I’ll be back at it in no time, I’m sure.

I was excited to finish at 7:01am and ran up to take a shower…..I was a little later than I originally planned but still WAY earlier than usual.

During my run I had a thought flash through my mind……as awesome as it is to be done the run and to have extra hours in the day – what that really means is more hours to clean the house. While that’s awesome as far as actually taking care of my home, I hate house cleaning.

I was also a little nervous about being hungry all day or the dreaded 3pm crash.

I really wasn’t too hungry, but man!!!! By 3pm, I was BAGGED! I’ve managed to make it through the evening, and I’ve gotten a TON done today but I’ll be heading off to bed sooner rather than later.

I’m still trying to decide if I’m gonna try another early morning run on Wednesday.

Oh and I managed to freak the crap out of Jon and the kids…..NO ONE is used to seeing me up that early and it really threw them all for a loop. Throughout the day, I had different ones asking me what was wrong? What was up? And what was I thinking?

From that standpoint, it’s nice to shake them all up once in a while. Gotta keep them guessing!

My Journey with Food Addiction (part 1)

It’s said that knowledge is power and when it comes to food addiction and me, that saying is so true.

Here is a decent explanation of Food Addiction and how it relates to me…….(just click on the underlined words)

I’ve struggled with my weight for a really long time…..I’ve had issue with food for even longer. I remember sitting down as a child/preteen/teenager and pounding back cookies or chocolate bars or candy or to a lesser degree chips…..any kind of junk food specifically those with sugar and/or flour.

I’ve never really understood people who could take “just one”. As far back as I can remember, it was kind of an all or nothing deal. If I had a bag of M&M’s….I’d eat until they were gone…..and it was never the small bag – always the BIG ONES. I’d never just buy 1 chocolate bar…it was 3 or 4. I’d grab a handful of cookies and most likely head back for a second or third handful.

While I was a teenager, it never seemed that big of a deal because I was a tall, big framed person and weight wasn’t ever an issue for me.

I was 170lbs when I got married and definitely was not overweight by visual standards.

I still struggle because according to different standards like the BMI or other weight calculators, I was overweight based on my height vs weight ratio….but in no way was I overweight back then……I was thin, I modeled. I firmly believe those standards are flawed…

As far as my weight goes, I did ok until after I had my second child and then things started changing……I didn’t lose the weight as fast as I did after having Angelica. Literally, 10 days after having Geli, I was back in my pre-pregancy clothes and I could see my hip bones and everything. It was not the same after having Alexandra and from then on I began to actually “struggle” with my weight.

But this whole issue is about SO MUCH MORE than weight……and that’s where the “knowledge is power” aspect really comes into play for me.

I remember my sister telling me about a friend of hers who was eating a certain way and she briefly mentioned “food addiction” when she was telling me about this “way of eating”. I briefly looked into it but mostly because I was desperate to lose weight. I didn’t particularly “like” the food eating plan and so I dismissed it…..after all, I wasn’t an addict and I most certainly wasn’t addicted to food…I only had 10 pounds to lose and then I’d be happy……

I’ve spent a huge portion of the last 20 years dieting or eating according to a “food program”. I’ve eaten low carb, sugar free, fast metabolism, 3 day diet, and so many more gimmicky eating plans to try and lose weight. And while some of them worked for a bit, in the end……I’ve gained the weight back and felt more miserable and like a HUGE failure on top of it all.

I think that there have been 2 periods of time over the last almost 20 years where I’ve been close to a healthy weight. Neither lasted very long and between the different traumas and stresses in our lives, its been a brutal battle.

2014 has been an extremely difficult year for me and yet……..it’s been an amazing year.

We are exhausted.

And that’s putting it mildly.

Over the past 10 years, we’ve had numerous job changes and losses, a stillbirth, 2 second trimester losses, an early miscarriage, the long desired arrival of Josiah, a crazy long, difficult and exhausting journey to an Autism Diagnosis, children with special needs, cancer and the birth of our sweet Judah in the middle of it, serious Mental Health Issues, and 2 BIG house moves…..there is more that I’ve not accounted for, but that’s enough….it’s just too much. We are tapped out.

I feel like I’ve been fighting a battle for a long time. I have been…….. but what’s worse is that I really didn’t understand what or who I was fighting.

Earlier this year, I committed to 100 days of investing in myself. When I look back, I see that I was searching for answers and that I was close to finding them but just not quite there….

See, in the past, my focus has been for the quick fix….

– If I lose 10 pounds, I’ll be happier and then I can go back to doing whatever I want.

– Ok, realistically, I should lose 20 pounds, but that’s a lot and so difficult so if I eat no/low carb for a few weeks, I should loose a ton of weight, and then I’ll be happy and be able to do whatever I want.

– OK!!!! So I should probably be REALLY SERIOUS and just go for an entire month and hopefully lose more than 20 lbs and then I’ll be happy and can do whatever I want……….

It was all about losing the weight as fast as possible – which for me typically meant no sugar, no fruit, no carbs……just veggies and protein….and then something would happen and I’d “cheat”………. cause everyone deserves a cheat now and then, especially when you’re being SO GOOD. That cheat would typically turn into more than just a little treat and BAM…….soon I’d be stuffing my face with whatever I could find.

The “100 Days” challenge was difficult for me and yet amazing, when I look back on it. I’d decided that it needed to be more than a quick fix. I needed something longer term, because the quick fixes were not working. I needed a shift from “short term/quick fix” thinking to something that was more a “lifestyle/long term” plan.

So I started back in February….on Valentines Day to be exact…. my plan was no sugar, no gluten, low carb, only natural foods that I could eat in whole form or combine to make something. I’d started running in 2013 and planned on combining that exercise with my food eating plan to be able to lose weight and really get control of my life which felt so chaotic and out of control.

It started out pretty good. I started 2014 at 230 lbs…..

Towards the end of March, I was doing pretty good. I was down to 208 lbs. I’d run over 100 km in the month of March….and then I stalled.

March-April-May…nothing shifted and I was getting frustrated. I started eating things that were outside of my chosen allowable foods and my running slowed down and by the start of summer….I crashed. it probably didn’t help that I was anemic over the summer.

Summer of 2014 was an absolute out-of-control, gong show. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I didn’t exercise. I felt lousy. I was trying to just survive. It was so bad, that even walking upstairs to my bedroom was a colossal effort and so once I came down stairs, I avoided going back up until I had too. Lotta couch time over the summer and anything I did do, came at a huge price as I’d crash the next day.

Every time I walk upstairs now, I flash back to how bad it was over the summer and I’m amazed at the difference from then till now. It’s pretty drastic. I went up on my anxiety meds and even added another one into the mix. There were days that I contemplated hospitalizing myself because I could not get the anxious thought under control and I’d spend the entire day fighting thoughts….crying…..it was pretty bad.

September’s are always like a new year for me….a new start……so I kept looking forward to September and the kids going back to school and routine and…….when it came…..everything was still brutally difficult and nothing changed except that I didn’t have the kids home all day…..I didn’t do anything. I couldn’t. I was so exhausted. Just existing was difficult….it was bad!

I went to give blood in September. I’ve been donating blood since I was 18 and while it’s not been as regular as I’d like and been broken up by pregnancy, breastfeeding, and different meds that I’ve been on….I could finally give and so I did….only to be denied because my hemoglobin was too low. While at the time I felt pretty embarrassed to be denied, that was the start of something amazing…….like the catalyst that kick started this next phase in my life.

I went to my dr and asked for some blood work. I started taking iron…..went and saw my naturopath, got a few supplements…… Finally towards the end of October, I started to feel a bit better.

I honestly cant remember why or how the whole concept of food addiction came to me but right at that same time, I started doing some serious research and reading about food addiction.

It was like my whole world exploded into tiny shards of hope and shame, exhilaration and denial…….

Day 15 – February 28

Today feels like a good day. I woke up at 6:15…..stayed in bed until 7:15am, BUT….I made the choice to do that because the older kids are home today; and except for breakfast and getting dressed….Siah was all ready and packed to go to school (Yay for evening prep). So, I had time……

It’s been 2 weeks since I started this “journey” and it’s been filled with ups and downs. There have been a lot of downs, but I keep attempting to focus on the ups.

I’ve seen a pattern that I hope to break. I managed to make it out of my “fat” jeans and into my “regular” jeans…..this was a fabulous feeling, BUT…….I noticed that as soon as I reached that milestone, I wanted to quit.

Yup!

I have no idea what my weight is right now, but I know that I’m no where near an optimal weight/size/shape/fitness level. And so I choose to carry on.

I know that this has happened in the past….I’ve reached this place and figured that it was good enough and that it gave me a reason to give up. I say give up, because while I am comfortable eating this way (closer to Whole30 than paleo), it’s not easy. It requires effort and discipline. It requires not inhaling a bowl (or 3) of Frosted Flakes or Lucky Charms. It requires planning ahead to have lunch and snacks. It requires making dinner instead of eating out. It requires going out for a walk/run even when I don’t want to because I’m tired or it’s snowy or it’s raining…..or I really just don’t want to. It requires a recognition that all my choices have consequences, when a part of me just wants to “do/eat whatever I want” without having to deal with the consequences.

That’s really what it comes down to……one of the things I talk the most to my kids about…..

CHOICES and CONSEQUENCES

Now, I did make a choice. It was actually a conscious choice. I chose to not monitor my food choices for a while because I was exhausted and so worn out. I knew that the consequences would be weight gain and a general feeling of physical, mental and emotional “blergh”. I needed to not feel like I was trying (and failing) to control every aspect of my life. And so I just ignored that area of my life….until I felt pretty horrid and was at the point where I could no longer fit into my “biggest” clothes.

And here I am…..wanting change.

When I was on my walk/run last night, that word was on a loop in my head.

CHANGE

I’m typically resistant to change. I like safe. I like routine. I like knowing what to expect.

Basically it all comes down to fear and control.

Again with the fear and control. ARG!

But………… I feel like this is a year of change for me.

I’m not out to force change onto myself, but I’m willing to allow change to happen and to do what I can and what I need to do to encourage that “change” to happen.

The last 2 weeks have been interesting for me. It’s eye opening to see that I do things to sabotage myself so that I can stay in a “comfortable” place. And yet that’s part of the lie….that the place I am in is comfortable….cause it’s not. And who said that life is supposed to be comfortable, anyway?

One of the “downs” of the past 2 weeks have been anxiety.

I haven’t been walking around in a 24/7 panic attack, and in fact, I’ve felt pretty stable most of the time.

I have noticed that I must be feeling worse than I realize because the desire to “escape” has been intense at times. I’ve wanted something to “take the edge off”. I’ve noticed that there have been a few more times than I’d like where I’ve wanted a glass (or 3) of wine; or to take a few Ativan just so I could escape from the pressure. I’ve noticed this particularly at the end of the day, and definitely on weekends. I’ve also noticed that when confronted with certain situations, my anxiety goes from what has seemed like “non-existent” to full on panic.

For example, Jon called me the other day when I was picking the girls up from school. My initial thought, when I heard that he was not at work but on his way home (it was earlier than his quitting time – but I had forgotten that he had a dental appt), was that something terrible had happened. He couldn’t explain himself fast enough and I could feel “worse-case-scenario-girl” kicking into overdrive.

And, Geli messaged me the other day from school…..I totally forget about what….I just remember “the forbidding feeling of doom“. I quickly cut her off to clarify that everything was ok and that she wasn’t about to “drop a bomb” on me.

I hate that aspect of my brain. I have a Dr’s Appt on March 13 and I’ll be talking with him about meds and whether or not we need to tweak things. I feel pretty good most of the time but those “flare ups” and the “desire to escape” bother me.

On a positive note….I feel a lot stronger, in regards to walking/running, than I did 2 weeks ago. I don’t feel like I’m going to die before I finish, HA!. Which is a good thing, right? I’m going further, faster than I did two weeks ago. I’m definitely not where I was when I stopped running last year, but I have the memory, both physical and mental, of what I am capable of and that has me excited for both attaining and surpassing where I was. I’ve restarted the C25K program because I figure that it can’t hurt…..and even with that…..I see differences from where I was to where I am.

Last night, I just turned the running app on and hit play without looking at exactly what the walk/run info was….I just followed the prompts, instead of anticipating them. It felt a lot easier. Just going with it. Instead of anticipating the “tough” times and counting down every second…….I just let go of all that “control” and trusted that I could do it.

I let go of the control and put aside fear and……..it felt great. Even better, I was over a minute faster per km than my previous run/walk.

I’m excited for where I’m going and trying even harder to be content with where I am at.

It’s a process. I’m in process. It’s ok. I’m ok. I’ll be ok.

How are you doing? I’d love to hear what’s happening in your life….the good, the bad, the ugly…..it’s all ok.

Day 3 – February 16

I am still nervous about actually getting up at 5:30am and going for a walk/run. Mornings have never been my strong point and so, I went for a walk last night instead of this morning….and then I woke up at 6:30am this morning and reluctantly heaved myself out of bed at 6:45am. That’s still better than 7:30ish – no?

I really, REALLY did not want to go out last night, but I didn’t want to do it this morning, even more. So, before I could really think too much about it…..I laced up my runners, harnessed the dog, and set out. It was GREAT timing on my part. There was a horrific rain storm and it hit about 5 mins into my walk. Zeus was all stressed out and kept stopping to shake the water off himself.

But, I plodded out 3 very wet and soggy kilometers. Yay me.

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post walk/run, blotchy lipstick and all

I’ve been struggling a bit with anxiety over the weekend. I have a tendency to run events over and over and over and over inside my head. Which……can be absolutely horrific. We were chatting with someone this weekend and later, I mentioned to Jon what stuck out at me the most from that conversation. Which I received as a horribly negative criticism and yet in reality it was a totally unimportant and insignificant comment. I recognize that it’s “anxiety” but that doesn’t seem to stop the “loop” from playing endlessly in my head.

At that point, Jon said to me, “It must really suck to live inside your head, sometimes.” Which it totally and utterly does.

HOWEVER……..I also realized, that this exact same tendency to go over and over and over an event or scenario is also what allows me to come up with creative, inventive and excellent ideas for issues or problems that I may come up against. I look at the “issue” from every angle and aspect; and am typically able to come up with incredible solutions.

So, what is a weakness……can also be a strength.

It’s interesting for me to realize that something that I thought broken about me……is also a huge gift.

Hmmmmm………..

Let’s Talk About Mental Health Issues……

I’m frustrated with the whole concept of guilt and Mental Health.

I, in no way, have all the answers; and on most days I question whether I have any answers. What I do know is that I deal with anxiety and have for as long as I can remember. My mom says that I was fearless as a child and so, I’m not exactly sure what happened, because I don’t really have any concrete memories where I wasn’t dealing with anxiety.

At least 3 of my kids deal with some level of anxiety and Jeremy is also dealing with ADHD, Executive Function Disorder, Learning Disability and Autism. All of those fall under the “Mental Health” umbrella. They all have areas of “Brain Disfunction.” In my mind, that means there are areas where the brain is not functioning in a Neuro-typical way. I do understand that there are many who don’t want autism classified as a mental health disorder because it is usually thought of as being a genetically predetermined disorder, and there is a certain amount of “shame” associated with mental illness or mental disorders.

I choose to think differently about the whole concept of Mental Health.

I deal with any physical health issues for myself or my children in a completely non-guilty manner. If myself or one of the kids has a cold, or a broken bone or some other physical ailment, I don’t feel guilty taking them in to see our Family Dr or a specialist, if needed. Why then, if myself or one of the kids are dealing with Mental Health Issues, should it be any different?

In my mind, it shouldn’t be any different at all.

If my car needs a tune up. I get it done. If my house needs a hose for the water tank, we get it done. If our clothes are in need of repair or replacement, then I take care of it. Why do we take care of our physical bodies and our belongings, but hesitate when it comes to mental and emotional issues.

We, often, hesitate to talk about it openly and freely. Sometimes we hesitate to even admit it to ourselves. It’s a tricky subject and not one that everyone understands or even cares to try to understand, but Mental Health and Mental Illness are not going anywhere.

I’m trying to raise my kids to understand that Mental Health is as important as Physical Health. It’s important to take care of your mental/emotional state; and it’s important to take care of your physical state.

If I needed insulin because my body never produced it, or it produced a very small amount……would that make me “less” in some way. Would it mean that I was broken and not as valuable or worthy as someone else who didn’t need insulin shots? So what if I need extra seratonin in my brain, for either a while or even forever……I don’t see how the two are different. What if genetically, I don’t produce as much as you do? Or what if I experienced some traumatic event in my life and the stress has negatively affected my body in such a way that I needed some help, in the form of seratonin or any other mental health drug…….why is that any different than needing insulin or any other drug.

I don’t see that it is.

In my family, there seems to be a huge history of anxiety and depression. I have also experienced a stillbirth, 4 pregnancy losses and cancer, as well as dealing with a child/children with special needs. So whether it’s genetically predispositioned or because of some life trauma…..I don’t know.

What I do know, is that being on medicine has helped “ME.” I’m not advocating that everyone needs to be on meds. Because if you can deal with your mental health issues through counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy….then awesome….but by doing that, you are still “taking care of” your mental health.

For the first time in my life, that I can remember, I feel like the inside of me matches the outside of me. It’s crazy hard to explain, but I will try. I’ve had many people not believe or understand that I was anxious (as a teen or young adult) because I seemed so confident and in control. I think that must be where my kids get it from. They seem to hold themselves (mostly) together when they are at school or church or “out” and then when they get home, they feel comfortable enough to “fall apart”.

I don’t know that I did a lot of “falling apart” but I did use “control” as a method of dealing with how “out of control” I felt. I felt that I needed to control my situations, the people around me and myself in order to feel safe. It got to the point where my “control issues” were hurting my relationships. And yet, I didn’t understand “why” I felt the need to “control” everything. I just knew that I felt safer when I knew exactly what to expect.

I did believe that I was a good person and yet a part of me didn’t believe that. I believed I was a good friend and yet the insecurity and anxieties held me back from actually “being a good friend.” I thought I could do things like “sing” and yet I could never put myself fully “out there” because I couldn’t possibly be good enough and what if I made a mistake…..what would people think of me. I know that lots of people deal with a certain amount of insecurity and I don’t know that I can fully explain just how it felt inside of me. But imagine if you thought you were good enough but then you weren’t really sure if you could believe yourself…..and if you were so unsure then maybe you really weren’t good enough. Throw in some perfection issues which meant that you couldn’t or wouldn’t do ANYTHING you weren’t absolutely certain that you could do with 100% accuracy and confidence………and that pretty much left you not doing much at all. You wanted to do “stuff” but unless you could control the situation and knew exactly what to to expect and exactly what people’s reactions would be and exactly what the outcome would be……….which having all of that fall into place for any specific event, was pretty much an impossibility and if it did…..you came across so confident that no one would ever guess that you were dealing with insecurity and anxiety……and throw on top of that whole mess, that you never wanted to come across as anything less than confident and so you were exhausted all the time just trying to hold yourself together so that you could come across “PERFECTLY” because anything less than perfection was failure and “FAILURE” was never acceptable and basically you have a perfect recipe for disaster.

Knowing what I went through as a teenager/adult, and then when I finally figured out that I was dealing with “anxiety”, feeling so relieved and yet angry and grieved over all the lost time………I am strongly advocating for my children’s Mental Health when necessary.

I look back at my teenage years when I didn’t feel strong enough or worthy enough or acceptable enough to do things like, go to college or university. I figured that I was good at looking after kids and so rather than do things I was interested in, like music or teaching or even in the medical field….I took whatever jobs fell into my lap, got married and had kids. I was too scared to do anything else.

I love my husband. I love my kids. I’m not unhappy with my life, and yet…..I could have done things differently. I’ve shared this with people before and I usually hear something like, “We all feel insecure and regretful of the things we wish we had done but didn’t do.” This is different. I’m talking about life crippling anxiety. Like there where things I wanted to do and yet was SO scared to do them that even the thought of doing it stressed me out, and so I did what felt safe.

I’ve lived my entire life, up until now…..only doing things that felt safe……and that doesn’t seem like a huge list of things, especially compared to things that I have dreamed about doing over the years.

I’ve accomplished a fair amount in my 38 years but I’ve dreamed of accomplishing so much more. I’ve just discarded those dreams because I wasn’t good enough, or people would think I was stupid for wanting to do those things. I believed the lie that others could do it better than me and I shouldn’t even try in case I failed. Because failing is one of the worst things ever. I believed that. I’ve believed that for so many years and I hate it.

This is why I’m a HUGE advocate for my kids and their mental health. I’ve pushed my kids beyond every “limitation” that I’ve had that has held me back. I’ve explained why I’m pushing them into uncomfortable situations. I’ve had them ask for things from adults/teachers/doctors/etc. when they felt uncomfortable doing so. Discomfort isn’t a bad thing. Failing isn’t a bad thing. It just means that you tried and for whatever reason it didn’t work out, this time……..and that’s ok.

Never try, never win
never get a break
You miss a hundred percent of the
shots you never take

Hedley came out with this song and it’s been HUGE for me……

I’m a lot more open now. I say “yes”, when everything in me wants to say “no”, because “NO” is safe. I don’t mean that I say yes to everything. I’m still in recovery mode from the 2.5 years of cancer treatment and the havoc that wreaked on me. But, I will honestly assess my stress level, versus just saying “NO” because I’m scared. I ask myself if I’m allowing anxiety to hold me back from saying yes to something that I might actually want to do and even be good at. I try to be honest with myself about what I can do and what I can’t do, and to not view everything through the lenses of anxiety. I will even tell others that any hesitation they might sense from me is anxiety and I’m not willing to allow it to control or rule my life any longer.

Does this mean that all my days are good, confident days…..NOPE! Not at all. And when I’m having a particularly bad day – as far as anxiety goes – I am gentle with myself and honest with both myself and others as to how I am doing. Because I know that tomorrow is a new day and most likely I won’t feel the same. I have stronger days and weaker days, but now I know that I am “fighting” anxiety and that it’s not me……I’m not bad.

I am enough. I am good enough. I am strong enough. I am confident enough. I am enough.

I want my kids to believe that they are good enough and can do whatever they want. I want them to “go for” the things they want and so I advocate for them and I encourage them to advocate on their own behalf. We talk about strategies for dealing with “issues” and “insecurities” and “anxieties”. We use medication as an aid, if necessary, and we do it all without guilt. There is no guilt or shame in needing help…….whether its physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

I am enough!
They are enough!
You are enough!

Details

Hello Friends,

We are in the final countdown of the last days of Angelica’s Treatment.

It’s so exciting….not counting today, it’s 5 days left. YAHOO!

Some of you may have heard and I’m so sorry if you have not, but we are celebrating on Sunday September 30th from 2-4pm at the cafeteria at Walnut Grove Secondary School.

You can let us know if you need directions, but we’d love to have you join us as we celebrate the very last day of Geli’s Treatment and the first day of the rest of her life…..

What an amazing day. We are so looking forward to it.

We had a HUGE day at the hospital yesterday and I’m still recovering from it all. We left our house at 9am and didn’t walk back in the door until 5:30pm. It was all good news and we are so looking forward to wrapping this phase of our life up and starting to move forward in a life without daily chemo. We are looking forward to building strength and regaining that which was lost…..to just moving forward instead of feeling stuck.

We’d love to have you join us.

We’ll have coffee and cake available so if you can, stop by, we’d love to see all of you who have supported us and helped to carry us through these past 2.5 years…..it’s been quite the journey and we are so thankful that you’ve been there along the way helping us to keep moving forward.

Let me know if you need more details…..look forward to seeing you.

24

So, it’s been a while since I’ve done an update on where Geli is at.

It’s been a GREAT summer and we are having a great kick off to the fall, too.

Angelica is officially finished cancer treatment as of September 30th. She wakes up on Sunday morning takes her last dose and BAM!!!!!! just like that…..no more chemo.

She still does have one more hospital visit that we fit in on Monday September the 24th. It should be a super quick “in and out” of the Oncology Dept, BUT…….she is supposed to see the physiotherapist BEFORE her 11:30am chemo appt and then she has an appt with the Orthopedic Surgeon just to assess where she’s at….which we are thinking is in a much better place than she’s been in over a year…….YAH!

This summer was great. Geli has gotten stronger and stronger. She was walking (not for very long) with quite a wobble in her gait and now there is almost no wobble. She still needs to work on some stiffness and shortness in some of her muscles but it is exciting to see HOW FAR SHE’S COME!

She was able to swim and swim and swim and swim, while we were up at the Lake and even went knee boarding a number of times with minimal muscular soreness the next day. She is walking around our community to visit friends, shop or buy junk food at the local convenience store. It is SO nice to see her “just being normal”.

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Last school year, there was quite a bit of talk about enrolling her to home school for Grade 10 as she was in so much pain and we were not sure where she was going to be at this year – physically, mentally and emotionally. We even signed her up at the same school that the two boys are at, but then she decided to stay at her local school and it’s been a great couple of days for her. People have been so complimentary regarding how she looks physically and there have even been a number of double takes as people recognize her and almost always there is a comment about how AMAZING she looks or how long her hair is….and honestly….she looks amazing.

At our next appointment, they will send off the request to have her VAD (the port that goes into her heart that she gets the chemo into) removed and then……and then….

Well, Angelica will still be going in monthly for check ups for the next year. Then it will space out to 3 months, and 6 months and then once a year. She will stay on the prophylactic antibiotic for the next three months and basically as of January….Angelica will be medicine free and after she gets the VAD out, if she gets a fever……I can just treat her like a normal kid and give her some Tylenol and send her to bed with some chicken noodle soup – as opposed to stressing and heading into the hospital.

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We have been throwing around the idea of having a get together, maybe at a local park or something, to celebrate the end of this season and the beginning of the rest of her life……

We will keep you posted if and when……and we’d love to have everyone who has prayed and supported us over this time join us, if we manage to pull something together.

Thanks again for all your support. We appreciate you more than you could ever imagine……

The Countdown is On…

This past Monday we were in at BC Children’s for another monthly chemo appointment. As of today, Angelica has 4 more monthly chemo appointments left until she is finished taking chemo and only 1 of those appointments will have a sedation procedure. This is SO exciting.

There is not that much that is new or interesting about the actual chemo appointment itself! Angelica goes in. They admit her and draw her blood. They give her the chemotherapy and then we see a Dr. and go home. At this point, as long as I don’t think too closely about the poison that they are giving her, it’s all very routine. I know that it’s a necessary evil and I’m so thankful that we are here and can get the medical help, but it’s still tough…..and that’s never changed from the day that she was diagnosed until now….

What’s been different about the last few appointments has been the issues regarding the bones. The news of Avascular Necrosis/Osteonecrosis has been tough. Dealing with how much constant pain Geli was in was so hard. She had a hard time walking, moving, dressing, doing her hair, bathing……Life was pretty tough and every report we were getting was pretty much preparing us that life would pretty much be like this and possible worse…..

Things started to change after our appointment with Dr. Brown the Pediatric Surgeon at BC Children’s. He gave us news that we received as god news….as positive news and in the middle of all the crap…it’s what we needed to hear.

Angelica is doing so much better. It’s not all butterflies and roses, but she is in less pain. She’s tired and her muscles are sore, but she is working SO HARD!

Geli is doing about an hour and half of physio a day…….on her own…..or mostly on her own…

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It’s pretty incredible. She is doing exercises 3 times a day – morning, after school and before bed. It’s making a HUGE difference. Instead of walking around like someone who is 90 years old, she is walking and standing more like a teenager. She is standing straighter and walking straighter. While there is still a bit of a wobble in her step, she looks AMAZING!

It’s exciting to see how far she’s come. Sometimes, it’s hard because she can’t see the change, but to us, looking at her and seeing what she can do now that she couldn’t do a month ago….the changes are astounding. For example, she couldn’t stand up in the kitchen to help with dinner or dishes for 15 minutes without being in pain and so tired. Now, she can do at least an hour. On Monday, she had the sedation procedure with the chemo into her spinal fluid (a Lumbar Puncture) and there has not been one day in the past 2 years that she has done anything other than lay around on an LP day. On Monday, she wanted to walk up to the store a few blocks away from our house to get something that she really wanted for dinner. It blew me away. So SO much different than a month ago……she also has SO MUCH MORE range of motion in her shoulder and elbow and it’s making a difference in the daily living things that she is able to do, like reaching for things up on shelves in the kitchen and doing her own hair.

She still requires help, but all of this change…..it’s only after ONE MONTH of exercise…..The physiotherapist at the hospital said she was doing incredible and our nurse COULD NOT BELIEVE how amazing she looked even all groggy after having the LP. She looked healthy and happy….in fact, more than a few nurses mentioned how great she looked.

It’s so great to see positive change and forward movement in this situation. We have our next appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon on Tuesday June 14th….I’m looking forward to Geli going in and being in better shape than she was the last time.

One other AMAZING bit of news, is that the Physiotherapist at BC Children’s suggested that Angelica go THERAPEUTIC RIDING…..as in HORSE RIDING. Any of you who know Geli, know that she has been in love with horses for as long as we can remember. I have lost count of the number of horse calenders, horse bedding and other horse paraphernalia that Angelica has collected or wanted to collect over the years. To say that she was a horse fanatic is putting it mildly. Unfortunately, horseback riding has not been something that we’ve been able to do, but it has been something that Geli has wanted to do forever.

To have the Physio suggest that as another form of physio that Geli could go riding…..well, it’s pretty huge. Just talk to Geli about it and see the smile on her face when she talks about it….she has this amazing smile that just lights up her WHOLE ENTIRE FACE. She is SO excited! We’ve contacted the stable that does Therapeutic riding out here in Langley and have sent out referral forms to her Dr.s to get them filled out and as of last night we received them back so now we forward them to the stable and then set up a time and …………she starts riding.

What an amazing opportunity that is so perfectly picked just for her. What a blessing! We can see God’s hand in this.

There are other emotional side effects from this whole journey that we are working through and it can be tough at times, but there are a lot of things that are going so well. We keep praying and believing for miracles for Angelica’s physical body. It is so encouraging to be at a place where she rarely feels pain as opposed to the constant pain that she was in.

Thank you for your prayers, your encouragement, for your love, for your support. We couldn’t have done this or carry on without your support. We are so grateful to all of you.

Laughing Instead of Crying

I’m laughing right now, because the other option is crying and well………I just need to laugh instead.

This is SO ridiculous. Like you wouldn’t even believe it…..I mean, maybe you might, but seriously….I almost can’t even believe it and I’m living it.

Judah had diarrhea for most of the day yesterday and yesterday evening, I went to change yet another diaper and……..found a worm.

No, I don’t mean one of those squishy, squirmy earthworms….I mean a PARASITE!

And it was still moving. *let me throw up a little in my mouth here*

So I freaked, I panicked and then I pulled out my Google medical degree and got to work because it was after hours…..of course it was after hours….you think this would actually happen WHILE my doctor was in the office…..no, of course not.

I don’t even know where to go from here – storywise, I mean….

I read. I read a MILLION articles. Determined that these little wrigglers living in my son’s gut and diaper were pinworms or threadworms…..same thing. and that they are extremely common……like 4 out of 10 kids have ’em. YUCK!!!!!

Changed another few diapers (I already mentioned diarrhea, eh?) and found a few more worms…….DOUBLE YUCK!!!!

Judah’s been sleeping really poorly the last few nights and waking up crying and saying ouch and squirming around fussing at his butt and more than a few of the articles talked about “your normally angelica child becoming irritable and fussy for no apparent reason” while I wouldn’t give him angelic, he’s definitely been WAY fussier in the last few days than normal. Coupled with the lack of sleeping, appetite that’s been off, and lets not forget about the ACTUAL WORMS!!!!!! TRIPLE YUCK! It’s pretty safe to say that he (and by extension, there is a good chance that at least the majority of the rest of us) has worms.

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While I would have much rather talked with my Naturopath and gotten some natural parasite killer….would ou belive that her offices are closed on Wednesday….ya when did we find the worms….ya that’s right…on TUESDAY EVENING…after her offices were closed too. Unreal. So rather than waiting for a few more days…..Jon went to Shopper’s Drug Mart and talked to the pharmacist. She showed us this medicine – Combantrin

One dose will kill the worms currently living inside of you. And then you need to take another dose in two weeks to kill any more worms that grew from the eggs that you still had or that you picked up from within the house…

Apparently the home protocol is very similar to the home lice protocol and in fact, apparently, these little guys are WAY easier to eradicate than lice are. Which I guess, if I’m looking for silver linings….I guess that I’m glad we have pinworms and not lice…..if I can even wrap my head around such a statement.

And so, the de-worming has already begun…..meds have been taken and I am currently on a rampage against the little wormies…..that just sounded wrong. Almost cute and in my mind, this is anything but a cute situation.

Please reassure me that you or someone you know has gone through this and that I’m not the only one. Supposedly this is not an indication of poor hygiene, just like lice are not a reflection on poor hygiene. I can read that and know in my head that it supposed to be true, but BOY OH BOY…..am I ever struggling. …

I didn’t need this right now. Not that anyone ever needs this….but seriously…..this is not exactly reducing the stress load in my life.

So, what say you…….say something…please (yes, I’m begging)