Monday, April 17, 2017

An Easter thought.

"You're so UP!", a compliment I received from a prospective student. I have no explanation for it other than together my husband and I desperately cling to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We know our Savior came to earth, he lived a perfect life, died and has risen from the grave for us, for all of us. And that through Him and His sacrifices for us, we can have hope, we can repent and change, and be with our families for eternity.
There is NOTHING beyond His power to comfort us, no loss, no pain, no heartache is too much for Him to help us. Through our (almost) 11 years of marriage we've faced many challenges, some that have been so devastating that it was hard to see a way out, but through fervent prayers & priesthood blessings, we have been given guidance to help us know how to move forward. We were never ever left alone in our challenges we've been buoyed up & blessed, we have found comfort, love, light & hope in our Savior Jesus Christ.
#Heisrisen #becauseHelives #HappyEaster

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Some FAQ's {regarding infertility}

I've personally been asked more than a handful of times in the past week "do you have any kids?" or "why don't you have any kids?". I understand why I'm asked, people are curious and it's usually a pretty innocent question. But the answer never fails to make people uncomfortable. It's illogical: you work with kids (ages 3-75) & you're married so you must have kids...nope. And that baffles most, but no one more that Joseph & I. So with the recent up-tick in questions it seems like the right time to answer some questions.


Q: It's been more than a year post surgery, why haven't you conceived yet?
A: Not sure. We're "trying" , but the real focus has been on making sure that I am healthy and "regular". And we haven't pursued anything as far as fertility treatments.


Q: Why haven't you looking into/ had fertility treatments?
A: Short answer- I'm uninsured.


Q: Why don't you have insurance?
A: We can't afford it (for me). Joseph is fully covered through medicare parts A,B & D, we can't afford not to have him insured. But unfortunately even with obamacare it's just too darn expensive, and I do not qualify for Medicaid because I "make too much $" and I am not pregnant. It's a lose-lose situation for me. Even if I had insurance it wouldn't cover the tests, procedures or surgeries I may need, insurance typically only helps after a loss or complication.


Q:Why don't you "just"_____________??
A: First, I do not believe that you can "just" anything in relation to infertility. Treating infertility is mentally, physically, financially & emotionally taxing- not to mention the stress it puts on your marriage. We know, been there and we've done everything short of IUI, IVF, or adoption.

Once upon a time we had an approved adoption home study, but this was before Joseph lost (most of his) vision, his job and decreased mobility with his legs.


So, no we can't "just" (fertility treatments/ adopt) it's infinitely more complicated than "just" do this, or "just" do that.


Q: How about adoption?
A: We haven't ruled out the possibility of biological children, but we would absolutely adopt.

Please understand that adoption isn't a cure for infertility, it "cures" childlessness but not my inability to (thus far) have children. {FYI: We concieved and lost our 4th baby while doing adoption paperwork & classes- not a "cure"} It's also a long and intense process: paperwork, classes, interviews, home visit, finger printing, background checks, personal reference letters, online profiles, networking.. and more I know that I am forgetting. And it's not cheap. We love adoption, we haven't ruled out that option, but it's not what we're currently looking to pursue.


Q: How much does adoption or fertility treatments cost?
A: Short Answer- tens of thousands of dollars. But there are a lot of factors that go into the cost for with option.


Q: Who's "fault" is it that you haven't been able to conceive?
A: We have conceived, at least 4 times that we know of. I haven't been able to carry past the 1st trimester. Abnormalities have been discovered in my "lady bits" so... me, it's "my fault".


**WARNING** gory details:

-My uterus was sort of heart shaped and my fallopian tubes were completely blocked by scar tissue, prior to my 2008 surgery.

-We know that my uterus is small, and tipped toward my back.

- I have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. (PCOS)

- 4 years ago we found out that I have Celiac Disease, after going gluten free I have had BIG improvements to my health overall (less headaches/ migraines, rashes, stomach issues & so much more energy) as well improvements with my PCOS

-the current theory is that I have an MTHFR mutation, meaning that my body doesn't use folic acid correctly, and can cause multiple miscarriages as well as a number of other health issues.

Q: Are you looking into doing fertility treatments?
A: Yes, we are beginning to look into what tests & procedures we'd need to do (or repeat). What Doctors to sees & importantly the cost....

so far:


MTHFR blood test: $316.05, Treatment= L-Methylfolate multi- vitamin. We opted (under the guidance of my Dr.), to skip the test and try out the vitamins, using free samples. I've been taking them for 1 week now.

Hysteroscopy: Procedure where a thin lighted tube is inserted in the vagina to examine the cervix and inside the uterus. We discussed repeating this test, but I technically just had one done during my D&C / polypectomy in Nov. 2015

Hysterosalingogram (HSG): $2,132, it's an x-ray test to see whether the fallopian tubes are open & if the inside of the uterus is normal. {My 2007 HSG showed completely blocked fallopian tubes.}

The HSG would be the test I'd have done, before seeing the fertility specialist.

Q: So, what's the plan?
A: For now take the vitamins & explore our financial options with the hospital, probably have our consultation with the fertility clinic. A consultantation during which I'd like to get a "road map" of treatments/ procedures (all worst- case scenerios) and cost at each step, all the way to IVF. That way we can plan for and save money or fundraise to pay for it. I've been looking at getting a 2nd job so we can pay off some debts and save $ for fertility treatments, but honestly things for our home might come first (i.e.: gutters, patio cover & new carpet)

So in reality we need to be in a better position financially to really move forward. The job I'm thinking about would be more full-time in the summer, when my student load is low. Then staying on part-time during the school year, when I'm more in demand. Joseph & I have also discussed fundraisers that we could do to help raise the $ for fertility treatments. I guess you'd say that we are in the "exploring our options" phase.

It feels like you're standing on the high dive, calculating the distance to the water, depth of the water & evaluating if it's worth the risk of jumping off the platform: becoming airborne, bracing for impact with the surface of the water & the danger of drowning once immersed. There is one important difference between diving into fertility treatments in 2006-10 and now is that we've been there, we've already experienced so much of what we'd need to do again & so we know what we'd be getting ourselves into, rather than the fear and uncertainty of the first time around.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Family Photos

We had my mom snapped these pics on a snow day. On my phone, we didn't want to risk my nice camera while pushing through the deep snow and wrangling 2 pups.We braved the elements to take pictures that we'd been meaning to before Christmas

Almost 11 years of marriage... (all the heart eyes) 
Our little family,
I love us.

January/February 2017

January....In one word: SNOWPOCALYPSE. Seriously though, we've had 9 snow days at work. I'm pretty sure that we've broken records for most consecutive days with snow on the ground & for school snow days. Our poor pups have had such bad cabin fever, Charlie & I were doing 3, 5k's a week, then NADA. This winter has been so completely insane. Our little family is so over it, bring on spring already!!

Because January is traditionally when everyone sets goals I thought that I'd share mine:
1- Finish the Bible, I don't recall ever reading it cover to cover so Joseph & I are reading together
2- Run 365 miles this year. The weather has made it pretty impossible to get a good start, (I now have a gym membership so that will help anytime the weather is uncooperative)
3- Blog 12 times this year, as a way to journal (optimally it would've been once a month...but I'm already so behind)

February: Snowy, icy, yucky, Influenza- Sinus infection

Now some pictures:
Rylee & Charlie loved the snow... in small doses, but they were fun to watch. 
so cold & frosty, but gorgeous
The snow was so crazy, 
3 storms had lots of winds that blew the snow up around the house and made big drifts.
So many drifts, it made it hard to say with certainty how much snow we actually had.
These are measurements taken from around our yard.
We lived like eskimos/ hibernating bears this winter.
As much as I was over the snow, 
I have to admit that our home looks beautiful in contrast with the snow
We had a day of really really cold but fluffy perfect snow flakes.
The winter ended with some spectacularly nasty ice, sleet, hail, freezing rain... yuck.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Rylee, the service dog

Rylee is legit, in his vest. The vest is there to answer questions before they come up and to let people know not to bother him, he's working. And believe me, he takes it seriously when he has the vest on, he wouldn't even accept a treat from the worker at Petco. He does a great job ignoring people/ carts etc. when we are out {except his Papa, he loves his Papa} and is a great comfort to me to have at home for Joseph while I'm working. 
He's a great traveler too, we are so looking forward to our Utah/Idaho trip for Jessica & Keith's wedding!! We wanted to make sure he had his vest and was used to it before this trip and our spring break/10 year anniversary trip. Life is better with Rylee in our family.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thanksgiving (catch up)

Thanksgiving: Mom & Dad hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house. (Day after surgery- we weren't going anywhere!) so we had 13 people total at Mecham Manor that day, lots of yummy food we had a good time. I don't remember too much it was a slow week for me- no work and I was on a pain pill schedule so the details are a bit sketchy. :)
Piano decor, I love playing it and decorating it too!!
Giddy up Auntie Val!
The kidlets loved the barn, except they turned the door against the wall. 
And Sean loved Joseph's tractors.   
Oma and the kidlets made the decorations, so cute!! 




Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Surgery Summary (almost 2 months post-op)

I feel AWESOME, seriously. So here is the run down of what has happened for anyone who is curious enough to read this
  • Oct. 26th: Ultrasound & Dr appointment @ APW, diagnosis: Endometrial polyp, cysts on uterine wall. Dr. Tandon was sweet, direct and to the point, qualities I value in a doctor. (gimme the facts, but with tact) I really think she must have thought I was a little crazy, because of how calm I was about everything.  Dr T: "we found polyps and cysts in your uterus and endometrium, you need to have surgery to remove them, a hysteroscopy, D&C and polypectomy." Me:"okay" Dr. T: "Do you want to schedule that today?" Me: "yes."
  • Nov. 16th: pre-op/ pre-admission appointments: boring, long, necessary. 
  • Nov. 25th: The BIG day
    • We stayed up late to eat and drink, so I wouldn't be hangry the next day. We woke up early, unintentionally.
    • Mom, Joseph & I arrive at hospital, and get checked in just before 12:30
    • I was hooked with, or up to everything: a gown, a hair net, anti-nausea patch behind my ear, compression socks, pressure cuffs on my legs, another pair of socks, blood pressure cuff, finger pulse ox monitor, some other monitor on my ear, 3 bracelets, and probably about 5 warm blankets on top of me.
    • The I.V. hook up didn't go so smoothly...I squirted blood everywhere, blood EVERYWHERE, crime scene quality I'm sure. The nurse thought it would be more difficult and that I would be more dehydrated (fair skin = difficult poke, she said) 
    • I was given valium in my I.V. right before they wheeled me to the O.R., then in the O.R. an oxygen mask was brought up to my face, I was told "time to go to sleep", had surgery (so I'm told, happily under general anesthesia I don't remember anything) then I woke up back in my "room" 
    • 2, I.V. pain med pushes, a snack, and 1 bathroom trip later I was dressing to go home. We left the hospital, around 3pm
    • We all went to walmart for my prescriptions. Joseph rode behind me (in an electric wheelchair) around the store while we waited for the meds. Got home around 4pm
    • Mom says she was a little freaked out by how coherent I was right after surgery.  She stayed, warmed up our dinner and ate with us, started my medication notebook (schedule) and left after I was finally settled in and relaxing. (around 6 pm)
    • Apparently I am tough one to get to lay down and relax... but Joseph knew the trick, he put a dryer warmed blanket on me and I stayed put. 
  • Dec 17th: Post-Op appointment, kind of a waste of an appointment, if you ask me. Dr. T told me it was a successful surgery, everything looks good, made sure I was feeling well and had no complications, then she gave me the all clear to try to get pregnant. 
  • Other Facts
    • The polyp was benign (yay!) and measured 2.1 cm x 1.4 cm x 0.4 cm, so it was quite large. (Validating for me, I was in real pain and for a real reason)
    • This was not my first surgery, but it was my third D&C.
    • However,  this was my first D&C that had nothing to do with a pregnancy loss, which made it much easier, emotionally.
    • It was so much harder (painful) BEFORE surgery than after. Something I found that people had a hard time understanding.
  • Polyp Info: Not much is known about polyps, I know, I asked and I googled... 
    • What causes them? Not sure...hormone imbalance seems probable.
    • How long was that growing inside me? Who knows...It was kinda flat so it could have been pushed aside during previous ultrasounds.
    • Do polyps prevent pregnancy? Unknown, but likely. Symptoms include unexplained infertility and multiple miscarriages. What I do know is that it was there, it was large and it was causing serious problems (PAIN, irregular periods & excessive and irregular bleeding, difficulty getting/staying pregnant)
Now that it's gone & I've healed I feel so great, I have so much more energy, it's kind of ridiculous! I'm a whole new person, or at least it feels that way, especially after months of PAIN. I like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who checked up on me, left notes and messages on FB, sent sweet texts and thoughtful gifts to me as I endured pain, and underwent surgery. It sure meant a lot, thanks. Goodbye endometrial polyp and uterine cysts and may you NEVER EVER return. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A little pick me up

We received this wonderful email after our 1st center day in our T/TH preschool class. I want it here to re-read when I need a pick me up.
To clarify:
Center day is a very structured day for our students with 5 centers, or stations where they make crafts to do with the holiday or season, it's also an opportunity for the parents to come into the classroom and volunteer. Being our very 1st one of the year the kids didn't know to stay in their groups, or how to cycle from each center to the next one. (And we have lots of "littles" in this class, so they tend to be squirmy even on good days.) I'm also working through lots of pain still, and with so many parents in the room watching I made sure to do my best "perky preschool teacher" performance.  Now you know the background... so you'll understand why I REALLY LOVE this email.

Hi!

I just wanted to give some positive feedback for your preschool program. I think we often only receive negative feedback and I want to make sure that you all know what a great program you have going. I was very involved with my daughters previous preschool because my work schedule allowed that at the time. Unfortunately now because of my new schedule and the distance from my office to this particular preschool, I am not able to be as involved as I would like. I often worry about how the teachers interact with my daughter and if she feels at home. Well, today I was able to take some time off to volunteer for the Center Day and I would like management and the owners to know that you have a great team of teachers and a great program. They had control at all times and if a child got a little wild, they could gain control quickly. They work so well with the children and I can tell they genuinely care about them. Being able to see that myself in person, has given me so much relief. Props to your team and I appreciate all of the HEART work they put in to doing this.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

So, Shaylee needs surgery...(slightly graphic!)

Its been 32 days since the pain first started. I feel like a Star Trek character saying that (you know, "star date..."). 
So,yesterday I had an ultrasound.
It's hard to see, and I can't even tell you what for sure we're looking at. (I grabbed a quick pic of the screen while I was changing) But the ultrasound showed that I have endometrial polyps in my uterus.

 They are causing my pain & other symptoms! It's usually my polycystic ovaries causing problems, but not this time. 
Anyway, it means surgery, a hysteroscopy / D&C to remove them. The following images depict what I'm in for. 
My surgery is scheduled for Nov. 25th. I've had these procedures done before, but not at the same time. Would it be horrible to make a paper chain to count down to surgery?? (It is the day before Thanksgiving) 
I can't wait to have it all done, recover and to FINALLY feel better. The pain is intense and unrelenting, and no medication was adequately helping with pain relief. So it's easy to understand, I haven't really been myself lately. I have a new pain killer that helps tremendously, so that's a blessing. 
Scheduling the surgery was miraculous: somehow the pre-op, pre-registration/admission, surgery & post-op all ended up being scheduled in a way so that I won't have to miss any piano lessons! No make up lessons! Hallelujah!  
Now I just need to be tough for the next 29 days. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Untitled

 Life has been busy lately. Well, not so much in the summer, that was hot & boring (in the best way). Now it's back to life as usual: me {Shaylee} working full-time between preschool & piano, and Joseph handling things at home, our sweet home Mecham Manor.
But we've had a complication recently, not Joseph, he's doing great. {we see his neurologist in 3 weeks} it's me. My body and I aren't getting along lately, I'd even go so far as to say that my body hates me. TMI WARNING: if you're a guy, I would stop reading right now. Lots of yucky details coming up. Okay, you've been warned.
In September my period was 11 days late, I thought I was pregnant. I had 2 negative pee tests, and 1 negative blood test before my period finally arrived. And oh boy did it, bad CRAMPS and heavy heavy bleeding for 8 straight days. Then a week before my next period my body was overcome with severe cramps, back aches and pains shooting down into my legs. Tested for a UTI, negative.  Somehow, my period came, and relatively on time {weird though, 3 days spotting and 2 days borderline hemmoraging} it's over now, and I'm still in pain. See, I said my body hates me.
Today marks day 18 of continuos, unrelenting pain. Although now it's like a 5-6/10 on the pain scale, before my period it was a consistent 8/10.
The theory is that I may have endometriosis. Endometriosis is when the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. I've done research, and I have most of the symptoms. Endometriosis has never been ruled out, with all the doctors I've seen, and procedures I've have in the past. Unfortunately, endometriosis can only be diagnosed and treated with surgery.
I am currently working on obtaining short term health insurance to help cover my future medical expenses. I'll have health insurance through Obamacare, but it won't start until January, I won't wait that long. My goal is to {possibly} have surgery near the holidays, when I have time off work. Right now it's about pain management, and taking things one day at a time. I'm hoping that if I have surgery that we will have more answers about what has been causing our 9 year long battle with infertility. Is it endometriosis? Do I have  PCOS and endo? I want answers.
President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God. … The Lord will not forsake us.”
It will all work out, eventually.