Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book progress.. this is daunting.

I've never done anything super ambitious in my life, something that requires a lot of patience, time, and work. I mean, I guess growing four humans is a thing, but aside from that, I've got nothing.

Well, nothing I can remember anyways.

I've been doing some journaling, and every once in awhile I start working on what I think might be my book about AFE and the aftermath, but then I get overwhelmed. Everyone tells me to just write- it'll come. Which, I guess that might be helpful to them but for me it's just not that easy. I used to blog and just do it, words would just come out and without any effort at all, I could make people feel something. Now I feel like.. it's just not there. Like that part of my brain isn't firing on all cylinders. I want people to read the book and feel a gut punch. Feel like you are right there with me on what have been my lowest, most private moments. There have been so many things I have wanted to blog about, share on Facebook, tell someone, and I just haven't. In my head I'm saving them for the book but I'm scared to put it all out there.

Then I think, well, a total stranger isn't going to fully understand how far I have fallen if they don't know where I was. So then I feel like I need to explain where I was, what kind of person I was, and that really is the only way someone can appreciate what my reality is now. I also think, I kind of have to explain my marriage and why it is the way it is.. otherwise me screaming at the nurses how dare Matt do this to me, after everything I've been through with his sorry ass!, won't really make any sense, will it?

I just feel like I have a lot of story and so little room to give it, if that makes sense.
So in the meantime, I have been sorting medical records. I separated out my actual hospital stay into one pile and the rest into the specialists I've seen. I'm slowly going through each pile, highlighting things I want to remember (or more realistically, refer back to because we know damn well I won't remember) and it's a very daunting task. I've learned some new things that I didn't know (or at least remember) and I'm trying to come up with a list of questions to ask my OB and anesthesiologist because they have both told me I can ask anything, anytime. So that is really great.

The worst though, by far, has been reading my mental health records. That is not for the faint of heart and unless you really want to know what your therapist thinks about you after you cry hysterically on the couch for 60-90 minutes, DON'T DO IT. Ugh. I had to stop but I know I need to go back to them. A lot of holes in my timeline will get filled by reading those because I know I've been brutally honest with her. All of the awful, dark, scary things I'm too scared to tell Matt or my family have happened in there. And it should be in the book. People, I don't think, understand what a toll this takes on a person. I consider myself to be a fairly logical, strong, common sense bearing person and if something like this could take me down? What would it do to someone who wasn't these things?
So there's that. Also new, well developing over the last few months, is this super fun rash on my face. On the left is my face, right away in the morning, no makeup or anything. On the right is my attempt at covering it up. I have this fun rash that has started on one cheek and is slowly creeping over my nose to the other side, and it feels kind of like a sunburn. Some days it's worse than others and it was noted in my file for the rheumatologist because it could be a sign of lupus. Which, that's exciting.

(Sarcasm.)

I go on Friday to that doctor and I'm kind of nervous about it. I'm sure it'll be all questions, maybe some labs, but I 100% do not think I'm walking out of there with any kind of diagnosis. It's thought that all of my issues have got to be an auto-immune thing because nobody else knows so I'm shipped off to the next specialist. I keep saying there should be some kind of punch card system and once I hit 10 doctors I get a prize or something.

I also see my pulmonary doctor on Wednesday and I can't really remember anything about him but in my notes I wrote that I really like him and he's super nice. So there's that. I'm going in with questions for him as well.

But today I see my therapist. I go every other week and honestly, she's so great and keeps me off the ledge, literally. I've said (quite a few times this week) that had I not started seeing her last November or December (whenever it was), I would have killed myself already. She is worth every dollar my insurance is paying for, which I'll be paying for come January. It's been a rough last week so I'm anxious for my appointment.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Into the Dawn (First Force Series #5)

I don't know how long you've been following my blog, but I have been reading this series since it began and I look forward to the new book every time Cindy McDonald emails me to say, "Hey- it's ready!". I also need to confess that my secret love is for romance books that are... kind of insanely not possible but I love them anyways. Would this story happen in real life? Psh, probably not. Do I care? No I do not because my love for a romance novel trumps all of it. You give me a romance novel with a military character and I'm even more all in. Cindy gets me. It's like she's writing these just for me. Swoon.


While on a camping trip in the Colorado Rockies, First Force operative, Casey Rhodes and Hawke International operative, Peyton Mattock were having the time of their lives. Separated by an ocean, the two operatives rarely saw or heard from each other, but on this short vacation the sparks ignite the flames of passion they believed to be real, but now cannot deny. Peyton insists that on this lover’s holiday they leave all weaponry behind—after all, what would they need them for? Casey reluctantly agrees, and it seems like a wonderful idea—until Peyton goes missing. 
Trapped in the middle of every-lovin’ nowhere, unarmed and alone, Casey must find the man she yearns for and fight with primitive weapons, alongside an unlikely ally to gain his freedom from those who have an unbelievable scheme!


I have read this series from the very start and I have really enjoyed all of the books. The stories are kind of crazy and unbelievable, but the characters make up for that easily. The other great thing is that though this is book five in the First Force Series, they are all stand alone, so you aren't going to feel like you don't know what's going on. Each book has an independent story line and the previous characters only feature a cameo, but their story doesn't bleed into the next.

The story centers around Casey and Peyton, both are in a governmental/military like job (Casey is a First Force member but Peyton is not, though he does a similar job) and they travel all over the world doing dangerous things, but on their off time they get together and you know... do grown up things like  have sex basically the entire times.

Anyways.

This time Peyton has arranged for him and Casey to do some camping and hiking in the Rockies where he has a cabin that mostly sits vacant and he admittedly hadn't been there in years. Once he gets to the area though, he quickly learns it has become a "quiet zone", free from all modern technology thanks to a bizarre little community full of people who suffer from EHS- electromagnetic hypersensitivity. All of these people get sick, in various degrees, to electromagnetic waves that come from all wifi based things (computers, phones, TV's, etc), fluorescent lights, power lines, etc. It's not a recognized medical ailment so these people have all picked up and made their own EHS free community in the middle of nowhere, led by an odd leader- Ben Lorde, and his even stranger sidekick, Darius Woolfe. Clearly, it's an odd little cult, and as cults do- this one kind of implodes once the end game is revealed.

But to get there, Casey and Peyton have to start their camping trip, and they do. They meet up, have some great sex, try to befriend a wolf named Elvis, and finally set off into the rugged terrain of the Rockies on horseback with some mules to carry their stuff. All is well until Peyton goes fishing alone and basically all hell breaks loose, but I won't go into that for you.

This reminded me so much of one of my guilty pleasure books, Linda Howard's Cover of Night, because the premise is so unbelievable you can't help but love it. It's almost a similar set up, with them in a rugged area trying to get out and around the bad guy, middle of nowhere with no technology to access, etc. I really enjoyed this book and finished it in one day. And though Peyton wasn't a First Force member, his backstory (the little that we got of it) was interesting, but I'm glad that we "met" him through Casey. She and her twin brother, Clark, are both First Force members and (I see you throwing in that OMG moment with their biological mother, Cindy!) have their own troubled past and shaky beginnings. Are we going to learn more about this? I hope so! I know Smitty's story is next, but man... it makes me highly anticipate Clark's story because I assume we'll delve more into that potential story line then.

Overall? I'm going to give it 5 stars. I know, I don't give them out often but I really love this series, I'm invested in these characters, and this was right up my alley. I know not everyone is going to get into the hokey story line, but what can I say? It's my guilty pleasure.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Journey's End SPOTLIGHT



Book Details:
Book Title: Journey's End: Death, Dying and the End of Life
Authors: Victoria Brewster & Julie Saeger Nierenberg
Category: Adult Non-Fiction; 558 pages
Genre: Resource/Educational
Publisher: Xlibris
Release date: July 20, 2017
Tour dates: Sept 4 to 22, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M

Book Description:

In Journey's End, we write about death, dying, and end of life issues. We attempt to define and describe these real-life circumstances, and we discuss ways to proactively deal with them. Multiple personal and professional perspectives provide valuable insights.

What is dying like for dying persons, for loved ones, and for those who lend support in the process? Each experience will have unique qualities. Everyone dies in his own way, on his own schedule. While we explore the dying process, we make no assumptions about how any particular death will unfold.

Grief and bereavement support, training tools, and educational resources are included.

Buy the Book:


Meet the Authors:




Victoria has a master of social work degree. She has worked as a case manager with older adults for the past seventeen years and as a group facilitator. Her past work experience was as a therapist with children and families, and as a case manager for adults with mental health issues. She just launched a consulting business, NorthernMSW to focus on end of life issues, planning, training, and advocacy, along with memoir writing and life legacy writing.

Julie was inspired equally by her professional backgrounds as a biomedical researcher and long time educator. Julie values open and lively discussions based on interview and research findings, trends in health and wellness, and exciting new modalities of treatment and professional education. She believes it will be through such discussions that we will create new and more satisfying cultural paradigms within which we may live all the days of our lives with dignity and quality of care.

Enter the Giveaway! (ends September 30)
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Next year? Teenager. HELP ME.

The thought of Olivia eventually becoming a teenager has always been kind of a distant thought, not something I've really put a lot of stock into. But time is a funny thing, it keeps rolling even when you aren't ready and I need to get ready because next year? Next year Olivia is going to be 13.

I've got a year before I really cry it up, so this year I was overly excited about her birthday. I had convinced Matt to get her a GREAT gift and I splurged and got her the jacket she really wanted from none other than Hollister. She informed me that only babies wear snow pants to middle school and she absolutely was NOT going to wear a matching jacket/snow pants set. I do remember freezing my ass off at the bus stop in middle and high school, wearing shorts and sandals in the dead of winter and only a hoodie because I was for damn sure NOT wearing a huge jacket.

I can't even argue with her because my mom would sell me out immediately.

The very cool thing was this year we were going to just go out for dinner but joining us would be my cousin Stephanie, her husband Kyle, and their daughter Cedar, who just turned two. They could only visit for the day and I was so excited. I only have four cousins and she is easily the most like me and that's probably why we get along so well.
We went to dinner at Grandma's in Canal Park because it's good but also it was the restaurant Matt and I ate at while I was in the early stages of labor with Olivia. We had walked around Canal Park and ate lunch and then that night I would be in full blown, holy-hell-this-is-horrible labor. It holds a fond place in my heart, basically.

My cousin got Olivia a hair straightener (YAY!!! This means mine won't get stolen during sleepovers again!) and a bunch of other stuff I don't remember. I was just super pumped about the straightener.
Her present from her siblings was a book (from Jackson- he used his free book from Barnes & Noble for her), a fidget cube (also from Jackson), and new makeup (from Penelope and Lucy because Penelope ruined all of hers.. a post for another day), and my super talented friend Jessica made a custom make up bag for her. 
I was so excited to give her the jacket, Matt asked me afterwards how much it cost and I told him to not kill my high, man. Just go with it. 
The big present? The big present was a phone.

I know. I've been on the fence for so long but now that she's at middle school and doing activities where she needs rides, it really only made sense. So she got a phone, has a ridiculous amount of restrictions, can't have any kind of social media, and we'll be checking her phone nightly. She was so incredibly surprised and kept thanking us the entire night.

She's had it for almost a week and so far, so good. She's kind of funny because she texts me as she's getting on the bus, when she got to school, and the entire journey home. I know more about her day now than ever before.

My sister in law and brother got her a gift card that she's dying to spend. I am SO glad my sister in law and niece were able to make the drive up. It's a two and a half hour drive and it really just kills your entire day so I'm so appreciative that they came.

After dinner we ended up walking around Canal Park a little bit because there was an incident with someone locking their keys in the car (not me!), and that was unfortunate because someone in our group also discovered they had Shingles that day in a really unpleasant region (not me!), but we made the best of the situation.
The kids climbed rocks! 
Penelope threw rocks at everyone (you see that crazed look in her eye?!). 
Olivia did a great job at entertaining all of the toddlers. 
The really terrible thing? I got next to no pictures. Seriously. Do you think I got one with me and my cousin? No. What in the hell?! Someone grabbed this one of everyone, minus Kyle and Matt.

The next day it was super sucky to miss my cousin before she left because I had a doctor's appointment, but Penelope and Cedar got to play for awhile. They became fast friends and Cedar gave Penelope a run for her damn money. 
It's kind of fun that they are so close in age, same with my niece. I hope that they all grow up knowing each other. I always wanted to have extended family to hang out with and I just didn't. 
But these two played for quite awhile, Cedar bossed Penelope around, and I wish I had seen it because my mom said Penelope's reaction was priceless!! She's so used to bossing Lucy around, it was a total shock to her to not automatically get her way. 

Overall? Olivia said this was her best birthday ever and that I was "mom of the year". I'm documenting this in case she forgets that in a few weeks when I say no to something. 

I told Matt that next summer I really want to drive to visit them in Ohio. That's not too far from us (certainly closer than Florida) and I've never been to Ohio, may as well check it off our map! 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Class Mom

I have to tell you, I saw Laurie Gelman on some morning show a few weeks ago promoting her new book, Class Mom, and I knew right then and there I had to order the book immediately. I ordered one for me and one for Jackson's teacher as part of her back to school teacher gift. I knew this book would resonate with me because I was the PTO President of the elementary school my kids went to way back when Olivia was in Kindergarten. I was a newbie mom and made the absolute rookie move by emailing the school to say, "I'm new and I can't make the PTO meeting but I'd really like to help out!".

You know what happened?

I got roped into the role of Vice President because "I would hardly have to do anything, maybe lead a meeting once in awhile" and I figured no big deal. Little did I know the President had some kind of midlife crisis, left her husband, and sailed out of town leaving me, the rookie newbie parent, to lead the way.

And lead I did for five years. Yes, FIVE YEARS. Why five years? Oh, because I couldn't get out, lambs. I was sucked in. I couldn't find a replacement, people thought I was doing an OK job, I turned the sinking PTO ship around, but I was not loving it. I could write my own book someday on what it's like to really be the PTO President.

Someday.

So you see why I needed this book. And lord alive, it was like someone was looking in on my life.


Jen Dixon is not your typical Kansas City kindergarten class mom--or mom in general. Jen already has two college-age daughters by two different (probably) musicians, and it's her second time around the class mom block with five-year-old Max--this time with a husband and father by her side. Though her best friend and PTA President sees her as the-wisest-candidate for the job (or oldest), not all of the other parents agree.

From recording parents' response times to her emails about helping in the classroom, to requesting contributions of-special-brownies for curriculum night, not all of Jen's methods win approval from the other moms. Throw in an old flame from Jen's past, a hyper-sensitive -allergy mom,-a surprisingly sexy kindergarten teacher, and an impossible-to-please Real Housewife-wannabe, causing problems at every turn, and the job really becomes much more than she signed up for.

Relatable, irreverent, and hilarious in the spirit of Maria Semple this is a fresh, welcome voice in fiction--the kind of novel that real moms clamor for, and a vicarious thrill-read for all mothers, who will be laughing as they are liberated by Gelman's acerbic truths.

I absolutely adored this book. I honestly don't think you can appreciate it fully if you aren't a parent and have never been through the school system with a kid. You just can't understand the greatness of this book until you've been in those trenches- looking at the other parents, silently judging, hoping to find an ally in the class, preferably one that doesn't mind that you swear and who would be open to lunch dates where you gossip about the other moms. You have the working moms who you almost never see, the stay at home moms who know everyone and come to school in their yoga pants complaining about how they need to lose weight and you roll your eyes because that bitch can shop at every store in the mall except Lane Bryant, and then you have the parents who never show up. You hear about them but you never see them and you start to wonder if they are even parenting their children at all because they come to school in pajamas every day and steal your kid's snack.

This book covers it all.

You even get the new teacher who is kind of bizarre and you wonder if she maybe has a mental illness but you aren't trying to rock the boat because you have zero interest in home schooling, you're standards are to just keep your kid alive and you figure your child will learn along the way. Probably.

I loved this book because Jen Dixon, the class mom and main character, is what we all want to be. She's saying and thinking what we're all thinking. You have the lack of volunteers, the allergy mom, the lesbian moms, the financially well off-too-good-for-the-rest-of-us mom and of course her tag-a-long friend, the hunk of a single dad that you don't mind sitting next to on the field trip bus.

In the middle of organizing classroom parties, Jen is training for a mud run, getting too flirty with an old classmate and questioning why she feels so unsettled in her life (mid life crisis?).

Jen is all of us. She just is.

I loved this book. So much. On page 255 there is this line, part of a conversation between Jen and her husband:

"I think about how I look just a little less attractive every day. I think that when I'm sixty, Max will just be finishing high school. I wonder if I should have had a career instead of a bunch of jobs. I wonder why you love me and when you might stop. I worry that I'm not a good enough wife, daughter, mother, and friend. And I worry that if this is it, this is my whole life, will it be enough?"

Cue gut punch because THAT IS MY LIFE. It's all of our lives, isn't it? I just so highly recommend this back to school read because you need this. You need a funny book with a story line we've all had play out in our own lives in some way, and you need to feel like someone gets you. Laurie Gelman gets you, lambs. She does. I do, too. Treat yourself.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Back to school... the struggle is real.

I am the first one to tell you that school honest to goodness should be year round. I am not that mom that needs/wants this much together time with my kids. I love them to bits but at some point I am sick of the noises and messes they make. 

Admittedly, I was kind of nervous for the start of the school year because with all of my disabilities and limitations, change is not great for me. It's like a fish swimming upstream, I can't just turn around and go the other direction, my brain just doesn't function that way anymore. With Olivia going to the middle school, it's going to be a year of firsts. I don't feel confident as a parent because it's a whole new school, new way of doing things, at the same time I'm letting go a little bit of the control. It's up to her to do homework, solve problems, arrange her after school activities at school, ask for help if she needs it, etc. Whereas Jackson is still at elementary school and I know what the expectations are. I know where he is, what he's doing, I know the routine- we've already done it before. 

Also new this year? Olivia rides the bus! At first she was excited. Over summer she got a little annoyed because friends are still being driven to school and she doesn't know why she has to take the bus. Well, you have to take the bus because school starts at 8 and I'm not trying to get up and moving that early with three other kids. So on the first day she wanted me to walk with her to the bus stop. 
So I did. And we spoke to the neighbor who informs us there are lots of kids (usually) and in the winter the stop isn't always shoveled/plowed out. Super. But Olivia was very nice, and I could tell she was so anxious to get on the bus. 

Because she's a good girl she obliged with a quick photo before the bus stopped. I started tearing up because it really hit me in that moment that she's moving into a new phase of childhood, one that I won't get to dictate or control- I'm just a bystander offering support and guidance when she needs it. It's really up to her and I can only hope that everything I tried to teach her about being good in the world made some kind of impression on her. So as I'm thinking all of this, and I'm feeling anxious and a little bit sad but also very proud, the bus pulls up and I tried to give her a hug but she instead said, "Mom, stop crying. It's fine. See you after school."  
And just like that, the oldest piece of my heart rolled off on the bus. The walk home is fairly short and I had to hurry because Jackson had yet to get ready and I left him to guard the house since Penelope and Lucy were still sleeping.

He is far less dramatic. My favorite boy is in fourth grade this year and that feels so weird to me. I can't even wrap my head around the fact that he's in fourth grade. It seems like just yesterday I was bringing him to 4K and he was so sad to not be with Olivia.
He's a different kid, he's sensitive but doesn't want to show it. All of his friends are essentially girls, he doesn't really fit in with all of the other boys at school and they aren't particularly nice to him. He's a weird little kid but he's the sweetest and funniest. He has a distinct laugh that he can't control and he isn't always confident in himself. I think it's hard being raised among all girls but I keep thinking he's going to be a great partner for someone someday. He let me take his picture in front of his locker and when I turned around, he was gone. Just like that. No hug, no kiss, nothing. 

Sigh.

I went all day just dying to know how it was going for either kid. It was far too quiet in the house. I told Olivia I would try to meet her at the bus stop after school, and it was a nice day so I managed to get both girls in the stroller by myself and I walked for a few blocks with them.
Penelope kept saying, "Sissy, are you??" as loud as she could, as if Olivia was going to jump out and surprise her. 
Finally! We saw the bus coming down the street and the girls were SO excited. 
The only picture Olivia would let me take of her coming off the bus and she was clearly embarrassed that we were even there. HA! But it was great to see her. She had a great first day and absolutely loves middle school.

Did I mention it was also her birthday?! Yes. I'll talk about her birthday and how great that was later this week. Tomorrow we are going to talk about a GREAT book for back to school that I think you all need in your life. Truly. It was hilarious.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Medical Update... not as cool as Weekend Update.

Lots of interesting things to talk about this week. I didn't realize how jam packed my September was going to be with medical stuff, but here we are.

I think it was last week when I told you about my last visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Scheduling my appointments there is kind of a nightmare because I live far enough away that I can't just drive there and back in a day and see doctors. I have to spend the night the night before my appointment, hope that my appointments don't go too long in the day so that I can drive back and be well rested. I generally don't drive much after 5 p.m. because by then I'm absolutely exhausted and running on fumes. I hang out at home so if I doze off it, not awful. If I doze off in the middle of rush hour traffic? Not so great. So though my next appointments were going to be in September, they had to be pushed out to October 31. I'm attending what I'm calling the "fat kid class" in the bariatric center and then I'm meeting a doctor in the Women's Care Clinic to explore my estrogen replacement options. Which sounds thrilling, right?

Well, when I spoke to the scheduler on the phone she told me there is a "short" questionnaire I would have to fill out and bring with me for them to scan into my file. Which, alright- that sounds fine.

And then it came in the mail. I didn't give it a lot of thought, just threw it on my desk and figured I've got some time, but then when I was waiting for something to download, I figured I would page through it.

Holy balls, lambs.
It's twelve pages asking me about my "perceived stress", sleep patterns, depression, and sexual function. The perceived stress things are hilarious because honestly, I feel like I should have two questionnaires, pre-AFE and post-AFE, because that would show how far I've fallen.
The sexual function section?! I'm not a prude by any means but JEE-SUS. We're just getting right into it, aren't we?! Needless to say I filled out all twelve pages and filed that into my Mayo folder. Sounds like that appointment is going to be a treat.

In therapy, I talked a lot about my recent visit to Mayo, my frustrations at being shuffled to one doctor to the next, and then I talked about my marriage. About how my support system isn't totally stellar and how I wonder if I'd be further along if it were better. It's literally the only hour in a biweekly span that I feel like someone gets it and validates my feelings. Helps me work through them. Then I come home and I just feel so.. discouraged and sad.

Sigh.

At my local endocrinology appointment, that was frustrating. Not only was I late (which is so not like me) but I almost wasn't seen because I couldn't remember my birth date. I had to explain about my memory issues and she didn't sound totally convinced but honestly, who comes to this appointment for fun in my place? Honestly, let's be real.

Then when he comes in, and I really like him a whole lot, he doesn't seem super interested in seeing me. He knows I see the endocrinologists at Mayo and it's like he's trying to shuffle me out of there? I don't know. I'd much rather stick with him and the point is for me to kind of phase out of Mayo unless I have some kind of major problem. But I'm explaining all of my issues and he's like, "Yeah, those aren't fun.." and then NO SOLUTION. I think the problem is everyone hopes "the next specialty clinic" can fix me so it's not really their issue anymore.

The really cool visit was with my psychiatrist, though. It doesn't sound like a thrilling thing but I got the results of my GeneSight testing, which is a test based on your DNA. It gives you the lists of drugs that might work, might not work, and gives you indicators why. This was my next option because I've been on a variety of different anti-depressants, in different classes, and nothing works.

Interestingly, remember when I was highly suicidal on the Cymbalta? And everyone was like, "Oh, that's mild and works for almost everyone!" Yes well, that's in my "significant gene-drug interaction" also known as my "big time no-no list". All of the other drugs I've taken (Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac) are in my "moderate" or "moderate no-no list".

Sure, that sounds bad and it is because it's all of the cheap stuff, but at least I feel validated. I don't feel like a whiner. It confirms serotonin based things aren't going to do it for me, which is what he (the psychiatrist) thought all along.

I am on Wellbutrin right now, but that's on my "big time no-no list" and while my suicidal thoughts are still there they aren't like they were with Cymbalta. So we're going to experiment and double my dose. Which means in the next two weeks we're going to know if I REALLY can't do it or nothing happens. The trick is that while this test is really cool, it doesn't factor in brain injury or trauma, so my DNA says one thing but my body processes drugs differently know. This can only be used to point us in a general direction.

The drugs that "should" work on me aren't great. Either they are new and fancy (Trintellix, Fetzima, etc), and EXPENSIVE, or they are "old and dirty" (Norpramin, Anafranil, etc) and have really awful side effects for not a lot of improvement. They basically aren't commonly used for a reason.

Here's what we also learned: my DNA really wants me to be a prescription drug addict. Pretty much every single drug on the market that is commonly abused and easy to get hooked on is what my DNA wants. Guess what it doesn't want, or at least shows up on the "big time no-no list"? Methodone and other drugs used to treat addictions.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Just kidding, because that's not funny. It's serious.

Also things I shouldn't be taking, ibuprofen (seriously), Propranolol (which is what I use for my migraines and blood pressure), and most mood stabilizers (sorry, Matt). Interestingly, drugs used to rev you up, get you going, give you more energy? I have no issues with those but we've tried three and they do nothing for me, even at the highest doses- an example of me processing stuff differently.

So overall, I'm a genetic mess (and they can even tell me that both parents gave me this crap shoot deck I'm working with). It's really a neat thing that science can do this now, and while it's disappointing in a lot of ways, I feel better knowing I'm closer to finding something that works. The journey to finding a depression medication that does something positive for you is harrowing and I can understand why people give up. I get it.

I have no appointments this week (yay!!) but teh following week I have therapy, I see my pulmonary doctor, and I see rheumatology. I'm nervous for that one.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Ra Ra Ra... Cheerful Cheerleader

Admittedly, I only know that Olivia participated in cheerleading last year because I vaguely remember writing a check and signing something, but mostly because my amazing friend Andrea got her to every practice and game, and somewhere in there got her photos taken. And she took a ton of pictures and shared them with me.

Other than that, I would have forgotten all about it. I didn't go to any practices or games. I didn't see anything because I was either in pain or exhausted.

Last year our family was amazingly gifted "The Best Christmas Ever", and I know I didn't blog about it, but only because I still don't know what to say. To be surprised by friends and strangers, people from this community, and businesses, too and basically gifted Christmas? What can you even say to convey what that fully meant to your family? I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it, to be honest. But one of the things included was from the local cheerleading team, letting us know that they would waive the fee for Olivia to participate in cheer this year. It's not a huge amount, but to guarantee that she could do this was so great because things are tight right now. That isn't even an exaggeration.
So cheer has officially started. They have had some practices and already cheered at two games. It's been pretty great to watch her, she absolutely loves every second of it.
Some of her best friends are doing it again, too and it is so fun watching these girls grow up. It seems like we were just starting kindergarten and now we're moving onto the middle school.
Even better? That was my first high school football game since... I have to guess maybe tenth grade? This was my school and I'm not really a fan of sports, I have no idea what I'm watching. Hockey? That I understand. Football? Nope. Seems completely stupid. Dammit if I didn't have a great time, though. Our team won the home opener, the cheerleaders did a great job, and would you believe the high school has baton twirlers now? Where was that when I was in school?! Sigh. The new stadium is amazing and you can't sit in those bleachers and not feel Spartan Pride.

I hope this is something Olivia continues with things like this- I so enjoy watching her little face beaming with excitement. Well, not little anymore. Olivia is officially a 12 year old tween today. I can hardly believe it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Summer is winding down.. let's run into fall.

Once of our favorite things to do in the summer is a local event called Wednesday Night at the Races. It's organized by the Grandma's Marathon folks and it's to promote fitness in children, but maybe also to spark a future generation of runners. We always try to go to one or two of the races and the final race and picnic of the year. The kids enjoy it, it's almost always nice out, and who doesn't love an excuse to not cook dinner? 
Before I completely forget, Lucy is an official walker! She's been cruising along furniture for almost two months but just the last week or two she's been walking around without hanging onto anything. Very exciting stuff, here!
Penelope has discovered a love for running free. Olivia and Jackson ran after her for about an hour. When she wants to, Penelope can really haul ass. She takes off like a shot and has boundless energy.
They were both exhausted before their races even started. I almost felt bad for them, but I was eager for an easy bedtime so there's that.
Lucy wanted to run but she's still a little wobbly and the feeling of shoes is new to her, but it's almost winter- time to get used to socks and shoes, kid.
Jackson tried to rest but Penelope wasn't having any of it.
Lucy isn't to be outdone so she also beat her brother up.
Olivia took an actual break because the girls don't beat her up. They love her.
The kids did a great job running! Matt actually ran with Penelope otherwise she may have taken a kid or two out or just made her own course all together. Jackson finished in the top ten of his race, and Olivia came in dead last. (She's convinced there was someone else behind her, but no. Dead last. HA!) The kids all ate and I froze my rear end off because at some point the wind switched and I didn't think to bring a sweatshirt. Rookie move. 

Olivia is signing up for the running club in middle school and I think it'll be good for her. She's not the most athletic kid in general, but I want her to get involved and try new things. Maybe she'll end up loving it. Who knows? 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Twist

I have a serious impulse buying problem when I'm on the Amazon app and I see a book with a pretty cover. I can't help myself. It only fails me 10% of the time, and this one was not in that 10%, lets put it that way. 

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot, bearded, bartender extraordinaire, Joe Collins, only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, friendly, and pretty much everything he's been looking for in a woman. And in no time at all they're emailing up a storm, telling each other their deepest darkest secrets... apart from the one that really matters.

And when it comes to love, serving it straight up works better than with a twist. 

Alright lambs, I know. I know that when I explain this book to you, you are going to roll your eyes at me and say, "The likelihood of this is non-existent!" and I know. We've all watched enough episodes of MTV's Catfish to agree on that. 

But this is a book and anything can happen. I mean, if vampires can sparkle than certainly Alex and Joe can make it work, dammit! 

The book starts off with Alex, through all caution to the wind and showing up in the middle of nowhere Idaho to meet up with Eric. Turns out, Eric isn't really Eric, it's his brother Joe who was just emailing her back and forth on this dating website, never thinking that they would actually meet. Well, they do, and Joe isn't Alex's "type" at all. As she decides to go home with her tail between her legs, she gets sick. The worst case of flu possible and she's now bed ridden until she can get better. 

Wait, who is going to nurse her to health?! JOE. 

Joe does it and Alex learns that perhaps he isn't the world's largest douchebag. And that, GASP, she might, kind of, in the smallest way be attracted to him? Alex, once on the mend, keeps stalling her return home to help Joe, coming up with different excuses but at the same time not fully admitting to herself that she wants more from Joe and Joe not admitting he wants more with her. 

Cue car accident, an ex-girlfriend coming back, and drama. 

I won't tell you anymore, but it wraps up quite nicely. I'm going to give this one 4/5 stars because I enjoyed reading it, the sex scenes are pretty good, but the humor and sarcasm throughout this book are top notch for me. I really identified with Alex because she reminds me of myself, and as she says, "social awkwardness is my jam". HA! The best thing? The book is only $5 on Amazon. It's a steal. Truly. Pick this up for your friends (think Christmas, lambs!) and pair it with a gift card to their favorite dive bar, or maybe just some wine or beer. You will win the holidays.