30 September 2009

A Quickie

So I have an appointment with my surgeon tomorrow. I really hope that the last cat scan that I got last week is going to show that the abscess has resolved itself. I'm trying not to worry about the implications of having an infection in my ladyparts. I just need to hear that my fertility wasn't affected from my last health episode.

Okay, now I'm going to distract myself with the newest episode of G.lee. It's my new favourite show!

p.s. It's gotten so cold in the past couple of days that I'm wearing polar fleece, socks and flannel pyjamas! EEEK!

28 September 2009


I just got home from getting a Thai yoga massage. One of my yoga friends is doing her training and she needed some guinea pigs and of course I signed up! The massage was at least an hour and a half and I was so relaxed at the end that I could've just slept on the mat until morning.

I've been having a really hard time with my body and the healing process. For some reason I expected to have my pre-surgery body back by the time I went back to school. I know that I pushed myself too hard and that I should've taken it easier. I know that I can't blame myself for the abscess and my last stint in the hospital, but it's obvious that I just need to chill out.

I wish that I could just bounce back and go back to doing level 2 yoga classes. At the back of my mind I'm worried that I'm going to get all flabby from the lack of exercise which I know that is completely irrational. I also have to stop giving my body deadlines. I have to stop thinking, "In October I'll be able to go back to my yoga practice." I should be taking advantage of the restorative yoga and yin classes that my studio offers.

I'm not good at being patient and the past four years of infertility have definitely made waiting that much harder.

I wish that it was easier to just take care of myself and rest. If only my mind had a pause button....

26 September 2009

Wiped Out

Mentally I'm doing better. Thanks to all of you for your support and prayers. Although going back to work has me in an exhausted state, I'm so glad that I'm back in the land of the living. When my class saw me on Tuesday morning they started to jump up and down. They were so excited to see me. I told them that I cried every day when I was in the hospital because I missed them so much, but I don't know if their 6 year old brains could process that.

Tuesday was a really long day because we had our Open House and Barbecue. All of the parents in my class came, with the exception of one who's kid was sick. Most of them asked me how I was doing and I gave them a vague explanation of what happened to me. One mom told me that her son was so upset that I wasn't at school that he threw up and that he didn't want to go to school because I wasn't there.

I've only worked a total of 8 school days and I'm completely exhausted. I had plans to tackle our walk-in closet for the fourth weekend in a row and I can't even imagine having the energy to do it. We had a function at church last night and I had to take a nap after to school in order to go to it. I didn't get up until 9:30am and I feel asleep at about 11pm. I was so out of it that I slept on the couch until 5am! I have to pick up the adrenal supplement that my naturopath prescribed to me. I haven't felt this tired in so long and I know that the supplements will help.

Health wise I'm feeling better. My incision was bothering me yesterday but I think it was because I was so tired. The swelling in my belly has gone down considerably and I can button up my pants for the first time since my laparatomy. The B.ella B.and was helping, but it's nice to be able to wear my clothes properly! I'm really looking forward to seeing my surgeon on Thursday. Hopefully he can shed some light on my abscess.

I've also noticed that my L.upron-related side effects are starting to subside. I'm not having as many hot flashes which is such a relief. It also helps that we've had cooler weather around here. I've also noticed a lot more cervical mucous. I've been pretty much dry as the desert since my first dose of L.upron in May so it looks like my ladyparts are starting to wake up. I have no idea when my period is going to come, but I suspect that it will be sometime later in October, but we'll see.

I guess that I have to listen to the cues that my body is giving me. I can't push myself too hard. Mr. JB is heading to a hockey game tonight so I'll have the house all to myself to watch girlie things on TV without interruption! Sounds like a pretty good night to me!

21 September 2009

I'm done

The events of the past week have finally caught up with me.

As I walked out of the hospital after my CT scan, I started to feel quite emotional. I tried to hold it together enough to get out of the parking lot without losing it, and I succeeded. I had promised myself some tasty Thai food to get me through the needle and the discomfort of having to drink the nasty contrast liquid, and even that wasn't enough.

As I drove away I just felt done. I feel so wiped out. So completely spent that I feel empty.

The reality of three hospital stays, two surgeries, an abscess (that I believe has drained) and still being infertile has caught up with me.

I feel like God is testing me. Why would He have me go through so much in such a short period of time?

While I was driving I kept on saying, "I'm done Lord. I can't do any more. I don't know what your plan is for me, but please spare me from any more pain. I just can't do it."

I need to have a good cry. I have to let these emotions out. I need to see my class and have my life go back to normal.

It isn't normal to have repeated tests done to my body. It isn't normal to be so familiar with the local hospital. It isn't normal to have to juggle three different doctors in three different locations.

I thought I was a healthy, clean living 34 year old. Not an old lady.

Not even the Pad Thai helped.

Now I know that I've hit rock bottom.

20 September 2009

When it rains, it definitely pours

While I was having my adventure in the hospital quite a few things happened to people that I care about.

First off, a close family friend was found dead in his house last week. His daughter was worried because he wasn't answering the phone (he lives alone) so she sent Mr. JB's uncle (the family friend's brother) and another friend to check on him. When the guys arrived at the house there were three days worth of newspapers on the porch. He was sitting in his chair and the doctors figure that he died in his sleep. This poor man struggled with drinking for many, many years and it was a very big factor in his marriage collapsing. Mr. JB's uncle and friend (who Mr. JB lived with for a few years, so they are very close) are taking it very hard.

Secondly, Mr. JB called his cousin (who is married the contractor that did our basement) and she told him that her 6 year old son had a grand mal seizure. The family was asleep in her parents' basement when she heard him making horrible noises. When she got up to check on him he was seizing and had stopped breathing. They called 911 and her dad (the uncle that found his brother dead a few days earlier) gave little L CPR. Mr. JB's cousin is convinced that his heart had stopped more than once during the seizure. He's doing better and is out of the hospital. He has a CT scan tomorrow to see what is going on. I'm wondering if we could get a family discount!

I can't believe how much stuff has gone on in the past week. I really, really want life to go back to normal. No more drama, no more hospitals, nothing!

Please keep my family in your prayers, there's quite a few people that need them!

p.s. I took my first bath since my surgery. It's was heavenly!

19 September 2009

Taking advantage

I definitely feel that in the past six months I have really gotten the most of my tax dollars. I have been in the hospital three times and I'm certain that somewhere in some government building that there is a red flag on my file the size of my city.

So friends, here's the long story of my most recent hospital stay.

My tummy started to bother me last Friday. I figured that it was just upset because we had gone out to eat the night before. Stomach upset isn't unknown to me, besides the endo that used to bother me, I do have ulcerative colitis. Although my belly was still a bit unsettled on Saturday I went ahead and did my usual Saturday stuff like laundry and grocery shopping. I even went out for hot chocolate with a girlfriend that night.

Mr. JB's dad was staying with us because he was helping him do some work around the house so I didn't want to complain too much about my stomach issues. On Sunday morning I got up and did my business in the bathroom but my stomach was starting to feel worse. I went downstairs for some cereal and then I decided that I wanted to make one more trip to the bathroom before we left for church. After my second visit I could barely stand up. I called down to Mr. JB and by the time he got upstairs I was in so much agony I could barely lie still on the bed.

I started to panic and asked Mr. JB to call T.elehealth O.ntario, a phone line that is staffed by nurses that give health advice. When I described the horrible stomach pain the nurse on the line told us to get to an ER immediately.

We decided that we would go to a hospital in our area rather than head back to the city where I had my surgery. I was certain that with the amount of pain that I was feeling that I couldn't make the 20 minute drive on the highway. We usually chose this particular hospital because it's smaller and the wait time in the ER is shorter than the bigger hospitals in the area. I was happy that the nurses got me into the examination area within an hour.

By the time the ER doctor saw me the pain had gone from a 9 to about 7 and she suggested that with my recent laparotomy that a c.at scan was the only way to see if it was appendix or another issue. The first scan showed that I had some fluid build up either in my pelvis or in my fallopian tubes, both of which caused a serious fit of panic. The ER doctor asked for a consult with the ob/gyn on duty and we proceeded to wait for about three hours.

When the ob/gyn finally made it back to the ER she did an internal exam and decided that I had an abscess in my cul de sac which was most likely was a complication from my recent surgery. Apparently only 5% of women that have the same surgery grow bizarre abscesses and of course I had to be part of that small minority!! The doctor then explained to me that the only way to treat the abscess, which measured 6cm by 3cm by 2cm, was via IV antibiotics and that I had to be admitted.

That's when I lost it for the first time.

I didn't want to miss school. I didn't want to have to stay in the hospital again. I was just so tired after being in the hospital for almost 10 hours at that point. The doctor was very apologetic, but I knew that I just had to give in. I waited in the hallway while a room was prepped for me and Mr. JB called my principal with the news.

It was 11pm by the time they got me to my room which was in the maternal-child unit, and yes I heard a lot of crying newborns that night. I was in a semi-private room and the woman that I was sharing with had recently had a hystorectomy. I was so glad to have someone to talk to since I was pretty scared.

I had a pretty good day Monday. The roomie was discharged so I got to move to her side of the room that had the window. Mr. JB took a few days off to keep me company so I wasn't too lonely. The doctors seemed to think that I would go home the next day since my pain was lessening and I was doing well on the medication.

Unfortunately at about 2:30am I started to throw up and have diarrhea. I figured that it was just my stomach, but the pain got progressively worse. I called the nurse countless times and by the time the ob/gyn came to see me at 7am I was doubled over in bed around some pillows. My pain seemed to increase exponentially and the doctors and nurses started to get concerned as well. The ob/gyn called the infectious disease team and I had to have a second CT scan.

That's when things started to spin out of control.

Because of the vomiting and diarrhea the ID doctors decided to put me in isolation. Anyone entering my room had to wear yellow gowns, gloves and a mask. Then the doctors got the result of my CT. They expected to see something with the abscess, but the second CT showed that my intestines were inflamed which seemed to present itself like Crohn's disease.

Heart attack number two.

My colitis has been in remission for over 5 years and the last thing that I wanted to hear was that my disease had gotten worse. So a gastroenterologist was called for a consult.

One thing that the team of doctors seemed to downplay was that one, if not two, of the IV antibiotics could aggravate colitis symptoms. The nurses all seemed to be of the mind that it was the medication and I was 100% certain that it wasn't anything besides the meds. The ID doctors decided to take me off of the first three medications and they put me on a broad spectrum antibiotic that only gets prescribed in extreme situations. The medication is used so rarely that the ob/gyn couldn't even prescribe it, the ID doctor had to.

I was given my first dose Tuesday at 6pm and I almost immediately started to feel relief. They also pumped me full of X.antac and anti-nauseants so I was pretty comfy. By Wednesday I was ready to lose my mind. I was so emotional (thanks to Sew for listening to me!) and feeling so frustrated since I was in isolation. I begged the doctor to go home, but she wanted to see how I would do on the oral version of the medication.

Wednesday night I had to be moved to a private room because they needed the space in the ward. Lucky for me the new room had a view of the street and a television that was still set up (apparently the TV people at the hospital aren't the most efficient people). Again, I begged the doctor to let me go home the next day. I was feeling so much better, although I did have some stomach discomfort, but I needed out.

I spent most of Thursday waiting for the gastroenterologist to see me. The ob/gyn and the ID doctors had come to see me and they were happy with how I was responding to the new medication. Although the ID doctors thought that I could probably go home it was still the decision of the admitting doctor. I know that she didn't want to send me home without seeing how I reacted to the oral antibiotics, but she showed some mercy and discharged me.

And yes, as I posted I did get out in time for the U2 concert. In retrospect I don't think that it was the best decision to go since I was in pain and still feeling weak, but I couldn't imagine sitting at home. We're trying to keep the fact that I did go to the concert pretty quiet. My parents and my father-in-law would freak out if they knew!

So I'm so happy to be home. I had the best sleep of my life Thursday night. It was just so nice to be in my bed with Mr. JB beside me. I have a third CT scan on Monday to see how the abscess and my insides are doing. I was having some strange discharge yesterday and I'm assuming that it was the abscess draining. I'm not feeling the same pressure in my bowels and the discharged just looked like pus (sorry, TMI!). I have no idea how an abscess in my cul de sac could drain through my vagina, but I swear it happened yesterday!

Thank you for all of your prayers and support. I have a follow-up with the surgeon in two weeks and I have to make an appointment with the ID doctor on Monday. The ob/gyn reassured me that the abscess won't affect my fertility, but I need to hear it from my surgeon.

I hope and pray that I have a really boring weekend and no more trips to the hospital for a long time!

17 September 2009

I'M FREE!!!!

Physically I'm at about 80%, mentally and emotionally I'm a mess. I just want to break down and cry from joy AND frustration.

Although I'm sure that my doctor -- okay, I saw a total of SIX doctors while in hospital -- thinks that I'm nuts, but we're going to see U2 tonight. I begged and begged to be released so we could go and I also felt like I was just in limbo doing nothing.

So I promise a more detailed post about what happened to me. It's a pretty crazy story and it looks like I'm going to have A LOT of doctor's appointments in my future. I have to see an infectious disease specialist now!!! So crazy.

The next step is a CT scan on Monday to see if the abscess has shrunk. I have to take my first dose of the oral antibiotics soon. I hope and pray that I don't have a reaction because I'll end up back in the hospital. I didn't have any side effects with the IV version of the drug so I'm not too concerned.

Thank you all for your prayers. As I told Sew, I offered up all of the pain (and there was a TON of it on Tuesday!) for all of you!

11 September 2009

Eight years ago today

I had just moved to Ottawa, Canada's capital to start teachers' college. I was pretty excited because it was the first thing that I have ever done that felt right. The sky was a beautiful shade of blue and the temperature was just perfect. I remember thinking that I was so happy to be home.

My decision to return to Canada from France seemed to be a very easy one, especially since I was moving towards a career that I felt called to. I've mentioned before how although I loved my life in Paris, it just never felt like something that was permanent. It was also a great compromise to move to Ottawa since I could speak French whenever I wanted and my university was bilingual.

I was with some new friends I had met from my section (the teacher candidates were divided into smaller groups and part of my section had all of the teachers that were studying to be French teachers in particular) when one of the girls got a phone call from her boyfriend. He told her that one of the World Trade Centre towers was hit by a plane. She immediately told him that it was an awful joke and she hung up on him. We were between classes and trying to figure out a place to go for lunch. A's boyfriend called her back and told her that we had to find a television.

A had previously lived on campus so she called one of her old roomies to see if we could come over and watch TV. All of us sat on the couches completed agog. I remember being hungry, but not being able to eat the lunch I had packed. All of us oscillated between horror and tears and when it was time to go back to class we were shell shocked.

Lucky for us our seminar leader was really cool and we talked about what had just happened. After our class we heard rumours that there was a bomb scare on Parliament Hill and that students were being told to go home. Apparently a "suspicious" package was found and the bomb squad was investigating. I didn't want to home since I was living alone. I didn't have my cable installed or my phone line.

When I finally made it home I kept the radio on the entire night. I was very worried because one of my oldest friends was living in New Jersey and I knew that she did quite a bit of business in New York. I called her to make sure that she was okay. She was pretty shaken up. Her company had lost quite a few clients that worked at the WTC, but they weren't sure how many at that point.

The one phone call that sticks in my memory was a call to my dad. I was used to living alone and being independent. I had lived on another continent for heaven's sake! Despite it all, I am still a daddy's girl at heart. I told him that I was scared and I also told him about the bomb scare on the Hill. I had never felt so unsafe in my entire life. And this is what my dad told me:

"Nothing is going to happen to you. We live in Canada, we are safe. You can go to sleep now."

And I did.

I know that my dad had no idea if what he was saying was 100% true, but he knew what his little girl needed to hear. I listened to him. I went to sleep and every time I woke up that night I thought about what he had sad to me.

I remember walking around in a bit of a fog. Digesting the news was difficult. I am still so glad that I didn't have a television. I would've spent the entire night transfixed if I had cable. The radio reports were one thing and the images that I had seen earlier in the day were enough.

On September 12th I went to mass at the parish that I attended and I had never seen the church so full. It was a very popular parish in a hip part of town and the pastor was an amazing preacher. The folk choir did the music and I remember just singing my heart out and crying. I have gone to mass many times in my life to find comfort, but for personal things. It was the first time that I turned to the church to make sense of the world.

It had taken 26 years to make me realize that true evil existed in the world. I know that up to that point I was pretty idealistic and naive about how things worked.

I was looking around at my adorable class today and I thought, "These kids are never going to know a world without 9/11." And it made me really sad. Even when little Ralph was playing S.tar W.ars (with a light saber made out of some linking cubes that I use for math!) I couldn't shake the sadness. The kids that I'm teaching were born in 2003, two years after the planes crashed. They will never see the majestic buildings, they will never go through airport security without having to take their shoes off and having their belongings completely searched. There will always be that element of fear every time they fly.

Eight years ago today our world changed. I changed. And it makes me so absolutely sad that we had to.

9 September 2009

They weren't just trying to impress me

Okay folks, please have it on record that I think that I'm going to have a good year.

My class was just as good today as they were yesterday.

Praise Jesus and all the angels in heaven!

It wasn't just a fluke or the first day jitters or being just too darn tired from the summer vacation. They sang, did their alphabet activity and even sat patiently when the French consultant came in to see how they were doing.

We practiced what to do if we had a fire drill and their behaviour was stellar in comparison to the other grade one French class. My new teaching partner was lamenting the craziness of her class and I had to bite my lip to keep from gushing about my kiddies.

I think that most of you remember how hard last year was. Not only was my class nuts, but my teaching partner was unbearable. I'm sure that my calmness and happiness is sensed by the kids. Whenever I'm agitated or stressed my class starts to act the same way. I think these students can feel how happy and blessed I feel.

Trust me, I'm not taking this for granted. I've been saying prayers of thanksgiving since I saw how quietly they could sit at their desks.

Is this the start of good things?

I'm disease free. I have a much happier working environment. My house renovations are done. Hey, I even have a really cute hair cut!

I'm trying to be realistically hopeful. I have no idea how long it will take to get pregnant once the lovely L.upron wears off. I have no idea if the endo will come back. Every little twinge that I feel has my imagination running wild. I think that every pang I feel in my lady parts is endo growing back. I worry that the adhesions and cysts will grow back.

I know that my system is supressed and that since I'm not producing estrogen that the chances of any of the disease returning is minute, but my body hasn't really been cooperative for the past four years.

I'm deciding to ride this wave of positivity.

That's it.

Btw, my buddy Ralph was so cute today. I taught them some new songs and he was grinning from ear to ear. Oh yeah, his middle name is Benedict. He likes to be called R.B. or just plain Ralph.

You're right LifeHopes, I'm taking my C.oach bag to work for the first time tomorrow. I think he might just fit...

8 September 2009

One down....

...and 191 to go (I think!).

Your prayers worked! My class was so good and they actually sat at their desks and did their work! The "work" was pretty easy. They had to practice writing their names and their letters. I didn't get to this point with last year's class until almost Christmas!!! I can already feel a different vibe in the room. They're calmer and quieter and just more obedient.

I guess I'm being rewarded with a good class after having such a challenging one last year.

Although I try to keep my blog as anonymous as possible I do have to mention one of my kiddies. They are all pretty cute, but the cutest one is a little boy named Ralph.

Now who names little kids Ralph anymore????

To top it off he wears glasses! And he can read!

I'm totally going to put the kid in my purse and take him home!

Okay friends, I'm exhausted and I'm supposed to be watching H.ell's K.itchen with Mr. JB. I hope that tomorrow is just as good as today was!

7 September 2009

Happy New Year

September has always felt like the start of a new year. Perhaps it was one of the reasons that I went into teaching. The promise of starting anew every September is something that I have always looked forward to.

Until this year.

I have been having anxiety attacks all day. My heart has been racing and I haven't been able to relax. We even checked out a new dessert place in the neighbourhood and I still couldn't enjoy the moment and my mango sorbet.

I've been so zen about my classroom set-up. I finished everything in two days. I have the first week of school planned and photocopied. I've taught this grade before.

I have no reason to be nervous.

I think that the anxiety is coming from fear. Fear that my body isn't ready for working full time. Fear that I'm not going to be able to handle 23 6 year olds and their demands. And most of all, fear that I will see another school year as a sad infertile woman.

Every September since I got married I have thought to myself, "Next September you're going to be home with your baby. You won't have to worry about this back to school business!"

This is my fourth September without a baby.

My fertile best friend's son asked me if I had a baby in my belly too. I had to tell him, "No buddy, Auntie JellyBelly doesn't have any of her own babies, but she loves you very much."


Before we packed up and left the island yesterday I turned to Mr. JB and asked him that perhaps next summer we would be packing up our baby's stuff to go home. For the first time since my surgery I got tears in my eyes because of my barrenness. I've been numb since my surgery. I would say that I have been more hopeful, but I still have the past four year of trying still on my shoulders. I know that even if I become a mother there will always be a part of me that mourns for all of the time I spent childless.

I would give so much to be able to be home tomorrow. Despite all of my education and all of the passion I have for teaching, I would give all of it up to be a stay at home mom. I would love to make Mr. JB his breakfast and see him off. I'd cook dinner again. I'd clean my house again -- well, I don't know if I would fire my cleaning lady, but I would certainly make more of an effort. I would fill the empty part of my heart with the joy that my child would bring me.

I really hope that this is my last barren September.

4 September 2009

Island bound!

So Mr. JB and I are off to my fertile best friend's cottage for a few days. I'm so excited that I'm all ready for school and that we can get away before the craziness starts up next week.

There is internet up there, and although I will be bringing my computer with me, I don't know if I'm going to be checking in.

Btw, I love this B.ella B.and! I'm going to continue to wear it even when the swelling goes down. Thanksgiving dinner is going to be so comfortable with this thing on!

Happy Labour Day everyone!

1 September 2009

One last kick at the can

So my classroom is set up and my first week of school is already planned (photocopied and everything!). I have never set up so quickly! I guess having three former students working all day on Thursday and then having two cousins help yesterday was the trick! I guess it also helps that I had set up a grade on classroom before and I wasn't stressed at all. Perhaps having major surgery puts things like classroom set up into perspective.

Yesterday was the first time since my operation that I didn't feel completely dead tired after doing stuff. My cousins and I worked until almost 6pm and didn't have any incision pain. Mind you a lot of the prep work that I had to do involved typing stuff at the computer and organizing paperwork. Any of the physical stuff I had to do I delegated to my helpers. I really hope that my little rolling stool is going to help with my energy level. If I recall the beginning of last year I lost almost 10 pounds from the increased activity level of teaching little kids.

Which brings me to a question: For those of you stage IV endo girls out there, how long did it take for the swelling in your abdomen to go down? My tummy is definitely still swollen and a little distended. When I touch my stomach it still feels tender on the inside and my incision is definitely still numb. Also, did any of you have any strange sensations while urinating? I know that I had endo removed from my bladder and most of the time when I pee it just feels strange. Also my urine is a bit cloudy. Should I be concerned?

I see my Napro doctor on the 24th so I'm going to have quite the long list of questions for her.

And I'm enjoying wearing the B.ella B.and that I bought. I love not having to do up my pants! Thank God that looser fitting tops are in fashion right now!

I better get my act together. I'm off to get a pedicure and then Mr. JB and I are going to the E.xhibition in the city. It's become an end of summer ritual and post-surgery or not, I'm not about to miss it!