Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Changes... BIG changes

My husband is going to be quitting his job soon... in about a week. That means he may no longer be a pilot. He is open to doing other jobs and being home more. He may fly here and there some as a contractor pilot, but we don't know for sure if that's going to open up for him as an opportunity. We are going out on a leap of faith that he will find a new job before his end of service pay runs out, and that will be in about four months.
The last time he was home I had wanted him to quit, but then he couldn't find a new job to transition over to. My husband made the point that at least he had a job and it pays well. I agreed that quitting seemed irrational and not the prudent thing to do. So I let him go back to work for 5 weeks... again. Then during this rotation he informed me he would only be home for 3 weeks when he got back and then gone again for 6 weeks because he would be going to recurrent training the week before his work rotation started again. I just didn't see how I could handle 6 weeks, especially after only getting him home for 3 in stead of 4 weeks. My ability to hold it together while he is gone is dwindling. I am lonely and depressed. I miss my husband, I don't like being alone at night while the kids are sleeping. I miss having him around. I am depressed by the daily routine of kids: wake them up, feed them, play with them or take the older one to school, feed them, give them a nap, wake them up, take them to lessons or on errands, feed them, bath time, book time, bed time REPEAT. The routine depresses me, I don't like it.
It hasn't always been this way for me but over this past year it seems every rotation my husband leaves it gets worse. And I kind of feel bad for doing this... but I told him that sometimes I think, "How can I get out of this? Where could I go?" Because sometimes I feel like running away from my life. I'm not really going to leave my children or my husband, its just a feeling. But again, you never know where the breaking point is and perhaps I am capable of doing something like that. I, of course, want to take action before that point comes. And having my husband come home and not work for 5 or 6 weeks at a time is part of taking that action. 

When my husband heard my musings it concerned him.  I don't blame him.  I made it seem like I was leaving him.  He said he didn't want to lose me to another man and he didn't want to lose his family.  So that did make him decide pretty quickly that he needed to quit.  I told him a few times that I wasn't actually going to leave him for another man.  He said he knows that.  But I sure did scare the guy!  Poor guy.  Either way, he needs to come home and not leave me alone anymore.  I am too lonely for that to keep happening.  I need my husband.
It will be stressful for us to have to look for jobs. I am going to have to work part time and he is going to have to figure out how to make ends meet with a lesser paying job. We do have high hopes that his Dad will be starting up a business soon. JD's Dad has been trying to get funding for his business for a while now, it seems like he is almost there... but we still don't have the actual money to say it's a done deal and to rely on. Once the money comes then JD will be hired to work for his Dad and we will be fine financially. But, in the mean time... as we wait for JD's Dad's business to start up, we both will need to find work.
So, I guess this means I may not be a pilot's wife anymore. But that is fine with me. And JD is ready to be done too. He has been stressed out with this job for more than a year now. It's wearing on him too. The time away from his family, living out of hotels and no home cooked meals, away from his friends and all comforts of American living. Then there is the way his company runs things, not good. Sometimes you can put up with all those things I listed when you work for a great company that treats you well. That is not the case here.
So, I guess wish us luck and say a prayer. This is going to be interesting.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

July 29, 2011

July 13th my brother Paul called me to say happy birthday. I was shocked and honored that he made the effort to call me when he was in so much pain and on so many drugs he could hardly stay awake. He said he wanted to see me and the family again. He even said he wanted to come out my way for a visit. I thought for sure that was never going to happen, but I assured him JD and I were planning on a trip out to see him early August.

July 20th was my brother Nathan's birthday and Paul did the same thing, he said he wanted to see him again. This prompted Nathan to hop on a plane right away and visit him the following week. I wish I could have done the same but JD was far away flying and wouldn't be home until August 2nd. My Dad was already out there to stay with Paul and his now wife, Ruth (another great story I should tell soon). Dad planned to stay there until Paul's final day. At this point no one knew how far off or close that day was.

July 29th My Dad told me the hospice nurse said Paul had maybe 24 - 48 hours to live and Nathan's plane was due to land that evening. He wasn't sure Nathan would even make it to see Paul, his breath was labored and shallow. I again wished I could hop on a plane to see Paul right away but I wasn't sure if I would even make it in time to see him if I did that and I couldn't think of who could watch my kids, since the in-laws were busy for the next two days.

3pm July 29th I said, "Screw it... I'm going." This was after a neighbor of mine offered to take care of the kids for me. Amazing when neighbors offer help like that. She has 3 triplets of her own to take care of, but she does live with her husband and parents to help her out. But my MIL suggested I call my Dad to see how Paul was doing and maybe rushing out there to see him wouldn't be worth it. I considered what she said about rushing out there to maybe see my brother one last time before his final breath and maybe not making it in all my rushing and also what scene I would happen on if my brother had passed and how would I feel about that? I called my Dad and he said he didn't think Paul would make it another hour and doubted if Nathan was going to make it. Nathan's plane was almost landed and he would have another hour drive to go from that point. The flight I was planning on catching left at 6pm and arrived at 8:10pm, so I just gave up at that point trying to catch a flight and waited to hear from my Dad.

Nathan called me once he had arrived at Paul's and said he was still alive but not talking. He asked if I wanted to say anything to Paul and he then held up the phone to Paul's ear. I could hear him breathing heavily. I told him I wish I could be there to give him a hug and told him I love him. I was sorry i couldn't be there with him and the family. I then spoke to Nathan again about my dilemma in my head over whether I should run out there on the next flight or if I should just stay home and be at peace with the fact that the last time I saw Paul held good memories for me. Nathan said only I could really answer those questions and there was no right answer. I told him I would call if I decided to come out there.

Later I called one of my best friends and she said I should go and I would regret it if I didn't. I started crying. She was right. It didn't even matter if Paul was still alive by the time I got there. It was about being there with my whole family during this time and not alone in my house with no husband and feeling distant from all that was going on. So I called my neighbor up to let her know I still wanted to leave and she came over and helped me look up flights, this was around 6:30pm. We found a flight that was due to leave around 9pm. I called my Dad and Nathan and let them know my plans. I could wait to leave in the morning or the next evening but I felt I wanted to at least try to make it there as soon as I could for the possibility of being there with Paul one last time before he passed.

I frantically packed my bags and my neighbor got the kids things ready to go to her house and then my in-laws came over to help. My FIL offered to take me to the airport, so I rushed out the door with my one carry on bag and hopped into his car. On the way to the airport my phone rang, it was my Dad, he said Paul had just passed away. I told my FIL to not rush and to just turn around and take me home. I hadn't purchased the tickets yet due to the last minute plans, so I could just wait until tomorrow.

Later I learned that the time Paul departed from this earth was 8:20pm, just 10 minutes after my flight would have landed if I had taken the flight earlier that evening. I would have just missed seeing him and someone else would have missed being with him in those final moments because they would have been picking me up at the airport. I was glad I didn't take that flight. It was meant to happen the way it happened.

I purchased tickets that night for a flight that landed the next day at 8:10pm, it was the most direct flight. And the next morning Paul's wife Ruth called me to let me know how peaceful Paul looked finally. No more pain in his face, finally. I told her I would be visiting for a few days and landing that night. She was very glad to hear that. I was glad I finally would make it out there to be with everyone. I knew, even if Paul was gone, that the family would need me and I would need them to deal with the grief of Paul's absence.

The following days we all spent together memorializing Paul in unique ways. Paul didn't want a memorial service where everyone stood around and cried over him. So we went to a burger joint to each lunch one day that was the place Paul and Ruth went to just after they got married. (They got married one month and two days before Paul died.) Then we went to the fair where Ruth and Paul had gone a year ago just after he had started chemo. Then we all decided to take a Bikram yoga class together at the studio where Ruth taught. Ruth's son was there to help teach a class while the owner was gone, so that made is special on another level as well. So there we were, Nathan, me, Ruth, and Dad all in a row on yoga mats. We had never taken a hot yoga class before (except Ruth of course) and I bet Paul would have been tickled pink to see his Dad in there... not to mention Nathan! Then the next day Nathan had to leave for home and Dad and I decided to take another Bikram yoga class that Ruth was teaching that day at another studio. The class was dedicated to Paul and there were people there that knew Paul and were touched by the experience. It was very special. Paul had taught at that yoga studio when he just first found out he had cancer. That afternoon I flew back home.

I had spent a couple days going through Paul's belongings and photos and found a whole stack of his poetry, he was very gifted. One that I found really hit home and seemed appropriate for the time.

My weight will be transcended
mended and rendered
molded and shattered.

Blowing together again

Though the cloak
envelops me I will
peer through the weave.

My weight will be
rendered and mended.

Heaviness leaves me with
my exhaled breath.
The future is an inhalation
my weight will be transcended.

P.D. Humphrey
In memory of Paul. You will be missed.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Words of Wisdom

After learning my brother Paul was in hospice care I called my Dad and my brother Nate to see when we were going to all meet up for a visit together. We were all going to wait for my husband to get back from work but then JD called me and said he wasn't going to be home until May 20th instead of the May 4th date he was planning on. Since the schedule had changed my Dad and I wondered if meeting sooner rather than later was the prudent thing to do. So we called up Nate and asked when was the best time to get here from the East Coast in his schedule. The best time for all ended up being April 27- 30th. And of course once we had gotten that all settled JD's company decided that he didn't need to stay at work until the 20th and would be home May 4th. Oh well, at least this meant it would be a family visit. My Dad, my two brothers and I all together again. The last time we were together was at my Mom's funeral almost 2 years ago. So we were way overdue for a family meeting.

Of course a couple days before we were all set to leave I came down with a cold. The plan this time around was to leave KD with her Grandparents (JD's parents who live two doors down) and I would just bring baby AD. I was doubting if I would even be able to handle the road trip and if I would just be miserable and too sick to even visit while I was at Paul's. And then the day before we left KD's Grandma got sick! JD messaged me on how things were going and I started cussing via Blackberry messenger. I felt like I wasn't going to be able to see my brother, everything was against me and this visit and I had no idea if this was going to be my last chance to see him or not. My head was spinning and I was starting to freak out.

I had gone to KD's school that morning, despite being sick, to teach and I had forgotten my camera. KD was due to be special helper for the day and I had loaned my camera to another Mom to take pictures of her and I together at the front of the class leading circle time. This was just too much for me to handle, I was sick, Grandma was sick, the camera was lost, my brother is dying. I didn't have the keys to the school and I was leaving the next morning to see Paul, and I didn't want to have to rely on others to take pics and get me copies... anyways, I was unhappy. I finally got a call back from the Youth Pastor of the church where the school meets and he said I could come by and they would let me in and have keys to the classroom so I could fetch my camera (The Mom had put it in KD's bin for me to get it when I could). One crisis over. Now to think about what to do with KD if Grandma was going to be too sick to watch her. Do I take KD or not go or what?

Finally I remembered my neighbor offering to watch KD overnight if I had to run up to see Paul. So I called her and cashed in on the offer. She was happy to help out. I called Grandma to let her know but she said she could still watch KD and not to worry. But the next morning I got a call from Grandpa saying she was even more sick than the day before. Thank God I had talked to my neighbor the day before. I ran next door and told her I still needed her to watch KD and then I went and got KD all set up with an overnight bag. KD was so excited to be staying over with her little buddies next door, she had no problem saying goodbye to me. There is a little girl her age and another one a couple years older next door and also a little boy two years younger than KD. They all have a blast with each other. Crisis averted, now time to get in the car with the baby and my Dad and visit my brother.

We did the road trip all in one day, the baby did really well... slept through most of it. We went directly to Paul's place. When we stepped in the door my other brother, Nate, was already there visiting. It was nice to finally see Nate again too. We had a few good hours with Paul and then he just couldn't handle the pain and the small talk anymore, but at this point it was 8:45 pm anyways and time to get to the hotel and put the baby to bed.

During the next couple days there were moments when we showed up and were pretty much shooed off because Paul wasn't feeling well and in a poor mood. And then there were moments where we were all laughing and having a good time, or talking about death and crying and lifting each other up. In fact during one visit it was just my Dad and I with Paul and they were talking about the frustration of all this pain he was in and not knowing how the end was going to come and Paul was saying he wasn't the type to commit suicide or he may have gone for that route by now. I was sitting there with the baby listening and then started crying. Paul asked me what I needed to talk about, what was on my mind. I said I wished there was something I could do or that I had a solution for all of this and said it was frustrating. He said, "Don't think about what you can't do, think about what you can learn from all of this." I knew he was right, and I knew right then and there that those were some great pearls of wisdom.

I can't believe it! He's the one suffering and dying and there he is offering me words of wisdom! Shouldn't I be the one encouraging here ? Amazing. Truly amazing. He is such a special person. In fact tonight, as I hugged him goodbye, he said, "I'm okay. I know you want to do everything, but I'm okay." Almost got me crying again, but I held it together. There he goes... counseling me in my grief when he is on his death bed.

This whole process is difficult with Paul. I don't know how long we have with him, I don't know how this cancer is going to take him, I don't know long he is going to have to suffer. I don't know a lot of things. But I do know that there will be plenty of lessons to learn from my big brother still and I just need to keep myself open to those learning moments and keep showing him I love him. That's all he needs, for me to love him and to not worry about him. Hard to do, not worry. But I must say I do see that he is in good hands with Ruth, his girlfriend, and I also see he is strong enough to go through this challenge without his baby sister nearby holding his hand. I want to be there for him, holding his hand, but that's not my job. I'm going to miss my big brother. He is wise and amazing and I love him so much.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Brother in Hospice Care

I found out today, via an online forum my brother Paul uses to keep everyone updated, that he started hospice care yesterday. He said he was all hopped up on drugs and in a hospital bed at home. It just hit me hard at that point. Like I mentioned before, I was on the edge of being a sobbing mess and that just did it for me. My daughter was at preschool and fortunately my neighbor, who was working there today, said she would bring her home for me. When my neighbor pulled into the driveway to drop off KD she saw me crying and it was good to have someone offer some words of support at that point. She even offered to watch KD if I wanted to hop on a plane and go see my brother. WOW! I really appreciated her saying that.

I called my MIL and asked her if she could take the baby and KD and give them their lunch, I needed to collect myself and not be crying like that in front of them. I also wasn't in the mood to make lunch and figure all that out for everyone. She came over right away and I had a chance to call my other brother Nate and let him know what I read, and then I called my Aunt (my Mom's sister) to let her know what was going on. It has been too long since I gave her an update.

I called my brother's GF, Ruth, to see what was going on from her perspective. She didn't answer her phone but did call back while I was at church for the Maundy Thursday service. She explained that Paul was really out of it on the drugs and wasn't sure what his post said, but that he is going to get the radiation treatment that he has been wanting. Apparently it was going to cost them a lot of money to get the radiation for him and then she called the hospice people and they are going to take care of the majority of the cost! I think they have to pay $1500 upfront and then hospice will pay the balance. That is great news! I have my concerns that the treatment will do more harm than good, but praying that isn't the case.

Paul has a very large tumor (about the size of half a gallon of milk) in his groin. That is causing him a lot of pain and also a lot of difficulty when going to the bathroom. So the radiation treatment is happening in hopes that it will shrink the tumor enough to give him some relief. It will probably just grow back, but he is hoping that maybe it will grow back in a different shape and not cause so much problems with his bowel movements. That would be nice.

Hospice has started treating his pain, which is good. He was in so much pain he was in tears when I saw him. But I hope also that this radiation will reduce his pain to a level where he doesn't have to be so heavily doped up and therefore not as delusional as he has been because of the heavy medication.

I pray and I thank those of you who pray for my brother.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Visit With Brother

I learned that my brother got off the clinical trial. He wasn't able to stay on it and get radiation or surgery at the same time. He wanted to stay on the trial to keep his tumors from growing as rapidly as they do when he isn't on the clinical trial's pill. But alas, this was not an option if he wanted to do something about the main tumor that is causing him a lot of pain. After I found this information out his GF called the family and encouraged us to make a visit... quickly!

I was on Spring Break from teaching at KD's school, so I had the free time to make the drive up to see him. He is an 8-10 hour drive away up in Northern CA. But JD couldn't go with me and the kids. Although JD was home he was still "on call" for work. They didn't need him for the majority of his rotation due to plane maintenance and co-workers getting surgery or out sick. He didn't have a date for when he was due back, so he had to just sit around at home and wait while I hopped in a car and left to see my dying brother. How sucky is that?! My Dad said he would drive us there, so thankfully I didn't have to do the long haul driving and I had company. My Step-Mother came along too. I get along okay with her, but we aren't very close. KD was cute with her during the trip though. She wanted to sit on her lap or brush her hair for her, or would ask her to take her to the bathroom. Kids are good to have around when making a difficult trip. They keep your mind on happier things.

The drive up was split into two parts, so the first night we stayed at a hotel mid way up and the second night we were at my brother's place. During the drive the kids did fine. In the hotel room I was a bit apprehensive about how things were going to go. KD hadn't been traveling like that since she was 6 months old (and now she is 3 and a half!). And baby AD I have only done over nights with him in a hotel. But I haven't done both kids, and myself, all sleeping in one room. I got a room with two double beds but didn't know if KD would sleep in hers alone in a strange hotel. AD slept just fine in his pack-n-play crib. KD I had to finally just shut all the lights off and get in bed with her to get her to settle down and sleep. She was homesick and didn't want to be alone, but I warned her that after she fell asleep I would be using the other bed to sleep in. She did fine once she was asleep.

When we finally arrived in my brother's town we went over for a visit. He lives in a 5th wheel trailer that belongs to his GF. He was in bed and in pain when we got there. During the 2 day visit he was either in his bed or in a chair in a reclined position. And moving from one spot to the other was painful for him. At one point he cried and then I cried. It was so hard to see him hurting like that.

That second night I was in a hotel room that had two rooms, one for my Dad and his wife and the other had two beds for me and KD, and then of course AD was in that room with us. I was tired from driving all day and then mentally drained after seeing my brother and KD was saying, "I wanna take a shower." I had given her a shower at the first hotel so she didn't need another one, plus it was getting late, and I was very tired, so I said, "NO, not tonight." AD was also ready to be fed and crying his eyes out. My Dad and his wife retired to their bedroom and then all hell broke loose. KD started whining and crying, basically throwing a tantrum about not getting to take a shower, and AD was crying and wanting me to pick him up. I was trying to get KD to get ready for bed and take her clothes off and use the potty while I made a bottle for AD. Anyways, this whole scene started escalating and I tore off KD's clothes while I yelled at her to use the potty and then spanking her twice on her bare bum while she cried and refused to do what I asked. Finally my Dad came out of his room, as I was in the kitchen making a bottle for the crying baby, and asked if everything was alright. I started crying and saying, "NO! It's not alright!" And he then proceeded to get KD to calm down for me. These are the moments that make me realize I need the medication I started taking and the moments that make me think I need my husband home! Thank God my Dad stepped in and helped calm us all down. He even said I was a good Mom and that I am doing better than I think I am. That was nice.

I am sure I was just stressed and tired etc from the travel. But I hate freaking out on my kid and spanking her in anger. I told my Dad that if anything like that starts to happen again to remind me about time-outs. What I should have done is told her she had to get ready for bed or she would get a time-out. There is no reason for her to be in a fit and for me to yell and spank her without any warning. (At this point I wasn't feeling the effects of my new meds and was starting a new dosage. Obviously, it wasn't working for me yet. I started another medication in addition to that new dosage and now seem to be feeling much better. JD left for work a couple days ago and I have been fine with the kids.)

Back to the visit... We were all shocked on the second day when my brother decided he wanted to go out to dinner with all of us! He made it through his meal and then had to go lay down in his GF's camper/ truck. But I am glad he made the effort. I am hoping that he finds something to help him with the main tumor and the pain SOON! Talks of hospice care and plans for cremation were topics of conversation between he and my Dad, not something I wanted to hear. I am so confused as to what I should feel. I feel like I want to mourn but then my brother isn't dead, but then I realize he is in the process of dying. Very strange emotions. I feel like I am about to cry at any moment, just push me a little bit over that line and I am going to be a blubbering fool.

When it was time to leave I wasn't even able to give my brother a hug, it hurts him to even be touched. But we did an "air hug" and said we loved each other. It was good visit, but difficult at the same time. He was sitting or lying down in pain most of the time, but he was able to talk to us and have some conversations with a clear head. That is one thing that I don't look forward to, the day he is in hospice care and he can't even talk because he is so drugged up. I told his GF that if she wanted to move him down near myself and my Dad that I wouldn't object. I don't want her to have to go through those end days by herself. And I don't want to have my brother dying and in a place where I am unable to see him as often as I want. I want to be able to sit by his bed and talk to him and encourage him, even if he isn't able to talk back. I want to be there holding his hand as he journeys from this life to the next. I would want my family to do that for me if the tables were turned.

Of course the morning of the last leg, driving back home, I found out JD had to go back to work. This news was horrible to me. #1 It meant he could have gone on this trip with us! #2 The moment I got back with the kids he was going to be packing and heading out the door! He needed to stay at a hotel by the airport because he had an early flight the next morning. When I got home JD suggested we all stay at the hotel with him. I hated the idea of another night in a hotel, but I didn't want to miss out on seeing my husband before he left. I agreed to go with the kids, but then KD decided she wanted to stay at her Grandma's house (JD's parents live two houses down from us). JD actually let her do that! I was shocked, but I also knew KD was ready to be in familiar surroundings, and the next morning JD would be leaving and I would be in a hotel room alone with both kids to get fed and ready again. So I didn't object to her sleeping over at Grandma's. But this whole leaving right when I get home from seeing my dying brother thing just sucked. And not going with me to be an emotional support while visiting my dying brother when he could have (even though he didn't know that at the time) also sucked.

Sometimes being a pilot's wife sucks! Although the time he was home has been great. And I am blessed to have him home like that, around 24/7 with me and the kids and no job to go to every morning. And he has been kept home from his last two rotations. The last time he only had to work the last week of his rotation. This time he has only one week as well, after that he has to go to recurrent training though. We are still hoping he can quit his job soon. But for now I'm still a pilot's wife. Loving the times he is home and helping out full-time, and hating the weeks he is gone and I'm doing it all alone. Even if I have the in-laws down the street and great neighbors no one can take the place of your husband. No one else can take that role or fill his shoes.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Much Needed Update

So... its been a long time since I wrote anything. So sorry about that. Sometimes Blogging is the last thing I even want to do these days. But I do need to add some news to update everyone.

First, very good news on my SIL! She and her husband did adopt a baby finally. The paperwork is final and she is all theirs! Such a little cutie, a head full of dark spiky hair, beautiful big eyes, and just the sweetest little baby girl one could ask for. They are truly blessed. I am so glad their prayers were finally answered and their search and heartache is finally over.

Second, my husband wasn't able to give notice yet during his last rotation. But we are hopeful that this next one will indeed be his last. It is interesting though... his last rotation in February got cut down to 10 days, instead of the usual 35 days. The reason is that he went ahead and got "the snip" and them a complication arose and his Doctor said it would be better to wait another week before returning to work just to make sure everything was okay. My husband was feeling a strange pulling sensation and got some bruising in his groin and the Doctor thought perhaps it was just an infection, but if it was something worse neither one of them wanted him in the Middle East dealing with it. His man parts were not going to be trusted with a Middle Eastern Doctor if he could help it. He called in and told them, and his boss wasn't too thrilled. There were two other pilots that were off line due to illness or surgery. But it was so so so fortunate JD stayed home because the protests in Cairo started a couple days after he called in sick to work!! JD stays in Cairo about 98% of the time when he is at work. I am so thankful to God that He worked out this for our benefit and safety.

Even after that week was up and JD was ready to go back to work they told him to stay home. There were issues with the planes he flies in his fleet, so there was no reason for him to go over and just sit in a hotel until they were ready to be flown again. That is why in the end he only was over there for the last 10 days of his rotation. And the only reason that even happened was that his work Visa had to be renewed and there was an English proficiency test he had to take (which is a joke, since he is American and is definitely fluent in English).

Third, my brother with the cancer... well, his tumors re-grew. But he got on another clinical trial and the pill for that one is at least keeping them from growing any bigger. The reason he started that trial is to qualify for the next pill coming out on the next trial. Once the next pill is ready he is going to take that one and its suppose to shrink the new mutated cells in the tumors. Basically, the cancer cells changed and the first pill that was working no longer works. So, that is good and bad news. He can't even sit up for long periods of time and he is in a lot of pain. But I am hopeful for him that the next pill will work for him and he will find some relief again. Prayers for him are coveted and I thank you if you would keep him in yours. His name is Paul.

I personally needed to go see someone about my mood swings and irritability, agitation, etc. I was concerned I have Post Partum Depression, so I saw a counselor at the hospital where I had baby AD. She said I do have some symptoms of PPD but the other symptoms that were really bothering me sounded to her like Bi-polar. My Mom was bi-polar and her brother is, and my middle brother is... so I guess its a good guess for me. I was also treated for hypo-mania (a mild form of bi-polar) before I had KD, but have been off medication for 3+ years. I got off of it to get pregnant and then my symptoms hadn't reared their ugly head until after I had AD. I also saw a regular medical doctor to rule out any problems with my thyroid or vitamin deficiencies. Although he did find I was low on vitamin D he said I probably needed to go on Lithium as well. So, I gave in and went to see my psychologist that I saw when I was treated before. She ended up putting me on a low dose of Lithium and I have been on that for just a few days. Its a low enough dose that I can still nurse, so that is good. She will check in with me in 3 weeks to see how I feel and if I need more or need to add an anti-depressant or whatever. I guess we shall see soon if this helps me. I think mainly the stress of my husband being gone for five weeks, being stuck at home alone when the kids are sick (which was most of February and is still going on now) and all the other stuff that goes along with being a pilot wife/ single mother of two is what has caused my symptoms to worsen with the bi-polar. My psychologist said that can happen. Life can cause symptoms to reappear and sometimes we just need an adjustment to get all the chemicals back in line. So, that's what I am doing.

I am ready for the kids to be done with being sick. But I am so happy JD is home to help out still. He has been delayed to work for 10 days, due to the plane needing maintenance. And that is good. A rain storm is on its way, and I don't want to be stuck in the house with sick kids and no help again. Hopefully I won't catch the strep throat that KD caught this time. And since AD is still on antibiotics from his last cold hopefully he won't catch it either. I am basically sick of being sick.

Well... that was quite an update. But hopefully I will do better with keeping this blog updated on how things progress. I do have more things to talk about, but this is all I can do for now. Time for lunch!! lol

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas 2010 Summary

OH! And I just realized I didn't say anything about our first Christmas together in 3 years in that last post! JD finally was home for Christmas and it was baby AD's first Christmas, and the first time KD (who is 3 years old) even understood what Christmas was!

Jason and I decided to go ahead and let KD believe in Santa. I was raised in a home where my Mother hated Santa, didn't like to hear the song, "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" or anything! So I never knew what it felt like to believe in Santa. Jason's parents did let him believe in Santa until he figured out he wasn't real, and he has some fond memories from those years he believed. We are also telling KD about the real reason for Christmas, Jesus' birth. And I am telling her that Santa is giving presents to everyone because it is Jesus' birthday, just as we all give gifts to each other for the same reason. We read her two books about Christmas, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (the classic poem with illustrations) and another one about the birth of Jesus.

It was fun to take KD to see Santa at the mall and have her tell him what she wanted for Christmas and then get that gift for her to open Christmas day. In my house my Dad filled our stockings and pretended to be Santa, even though we knew there wasn't a real Santa. He kinda did it with a wink in his eye, telling us Santa filled our stockings and ate the cookies we left out... but we all knew it was our Dad that did that. (I don't know how he got away with doing that much, since my Mom hated the whole Santa thing so much.) I had fun getting different wrapping paper and a big gold bow to put on KD's gift, so it would look like it came from somewhere else, and then seeing her eyes pop out of her head as she opened the gift that "Santa" had brought her. You only get a few years of your life with such innocence and wonder, what does it hurt to allow your child to believe when they still have that childlike ability to actually believe in Santa? Once she figures it out I won't be trying to force the belief on her, its just something fun to do for a while. And I am sure I will keep "playing Santa" like my Dad did, even after she stops believing he is real. And I will be sure to keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus' birth, even if we do "play Santa."

The only downer was that the Santa we brought KD and AD to see was rather grumpy. He took off his glasses and was rubbing his eyes between kids coming to sit on his lap. And we even got there right after his lunch break! You would think he got to have his break and would be refreshed enough to at least smile for the camera. But he made no effort to smile as the kids sat on his lap. He just held them there like a big lump and had a frown on his face. But I don't think KD even noticed. She was just in awe that she got to see Santa in person. And it will be a funny story and picture to show the kids in the years to come. And at least the kids were both looking at the camera and looked happy... and cute.

JD and I didn't have gifts for each other, but I am joking with him that what he is about to do in the next week is our gift to each other. He is going to get "the snip"... as we call it. LOL We both have decided we are done having kids. We have one girl and one boy, and they are both healthy. And my pregnancies were difficult on me, as were the deliveries (I tore very badly with both). I tell people all the time, if I were to get pregnant again I would ask the Doctor to cut me open and take the kid out, there is no way I would push another kid through my lady parts and be tore all up again and have all that pain and recovery that follows... not to mention the pain that comes with having sex again. It sucks when you want to be with your husband physically and you have pain down there that makes it almost unbearable. It makes me very unenthusiastic when it comes to being intimate again. I know I need to do that, and the more we are intimate the better it gets... but its like doing my homework. And who wants to do homework?! I just want it to feel good, not like work. I know, "TMI!"... right? Sorry about that. So... very soon JD will be laid up with an ice pack on his privates. LOL

And with that I again wish you a Happy and Hopeful New Year! ;-) God bless you!

A Hopeful New Year (2011)

The last blog, if you read it, is pretty bleak. The news, not so great. But as we turn a corner and enter the new year the situations have greatly changed on all fronts.

My brother with the stage 4 Melanoma cancer did get into that clinical trial in San Francisco and the pill he is taking has shrunk his tumors and seems to be keeping them at bay. The down side is the side effects of prickly feet and sores on his head, but the Doctors are trying to figure out a dosage that minimizes the side effects while keeping his tumors shrinking, or at least keep them from growing any larger. And the bright side to all this, of course, is that he is still alive! He is such a strong person, able to handle a lot of pain. I can't imagine going through all he has gone through, but I am happy he is still with us... whatever condition his body is in.

My sister-in-law and her husband have been chosen again by another pregnant lady to adopt her baby, which is a girl! Which is very good... since the last baby they prepared for (and lost, when the birth parents changed their minds) was a girl and the room is not suitable at all for a boy baby. This time the woman is divorced, her husband left her because she got pregnant, and she has no family or the means to raise a baby. Very sad story. I am now praying that this time the birth Mom doesn't change her mind and that my sister and brother in law get their baby that they have been waiting for and praying for all these years. I don't know if I could handle seeing another baby being torn from their arms. But I am hopeful that 2011 is going to be the year that turns all this sad stuff around.

My husband will be leaving for his last 5 week long rotation with his current employer (knock on wood... that it will be his last). More than likely he will be giving his notice this time when he goes back and then we will either live off his severance pay for a few months, until a new job comes along or until JD's Dad has his company started. JD's Dad has been looking for financial backers, and it seems he is on the cusp of getting that money from some interested investors. So, I will be praying for that to all come through in perfect timing, for JD to leave his current job and hop into that job with his Dad when he gets home (at least before his severance pay runs out). And both JD and I are okay with saying, "Good riddance!" to his career as a pilot and the crazy rotation schedules and time away from home. I guess that may mean I won't be a pilot's wife anymore and I will have to start a new blog. Ha!

This last rotation JD was gone I went nuts a few times. I wasn't handling it very well. I found handling my daughter's tantrums and mood swings difficult while trying to juggle the needs of a baby at the same time, and trying to eat well and sleep well was a challenge. When I don't sleep or eat well I don't function well. I tried my hardest to find someone that can come into my home and watch the kids for a couple hours a day, for at least a few days a week, but no luck in finding such a person. I got tons of offers from neighbors and friends to take the kids or got references for daycare places that were run by friends of friends in their homes. Those kinds of offers are somewhat helpful. But I don't always want to be separated from my kids just to get the household chores together, or just to get a nap in. It would be nice to be in our own home all together and have someone around to just handle the kids and play with them or feed them while I either do some laundry and cook meals, or have some alone time in my room and take a rest or a mental break. It would be very very nice to have someone here at night when its time to put KD to bed. Its hard to deal with a crying baby on my lap and try to read a book to KD and rock both of them together, sometimes while the baby is nursing. And that neighbor who was around the prior rotation was either sick herself or one of her 3 kids was sick. She didn't help me ONCE! Ugh.... and KD and I both got sick at the beginning of JD's rotation away and at the end of his rotation away. And of course JD's parents were sick when we were sick, or when we weren't sick, or they were busy when I was at my end and needed a break. It was a horrible rotation. Plus JD missed Thanksgiving with all of us. But he did come home for Christmas, so I will take that trade off. (Although we did get JD sick when he got home... he had no chance, with the baby, KD, and myself all being sick.)

This next time JD is gone KD will be starting in a pre-school. They meet Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri for school and then Wed they do field trips. I have to work one day a week, since its a co-op preschool, and that day will be Tuesday. So, it will be very different from the last rotation with this new school adventure. Once KD is comfortable enough I can drop her off at 9am, on my non-work days, and pick her up at 11:45am. That will give me a couple hours of free time, I can even drop off the baby during that time at a neighbor's house or with my Mother-in-law if I want to do something "kid free." And my MIL is even going to get a car seat so she can take KD to school or be able to pick her up for me, if needed. So now I am thinking at least once a week she can take KD to school, I can drop the baby off at the neighbor's down the street, and I can take one of my favorite exercises classes at the local gym that is from 9am to 10am. And then two other days of the week I can drop KD off and then when I get home pop in an exercise DVD and work out that way (if I can work that around the baby's feeding schedule as well). Or I can just be alone with the baby for a few hours with no pressure to do anything, that is good too... especially if I had a rough nights sleep the night before or whatever.

So, you can see, I am hopeful that things will be different in 2011. And I hope things will be better for everyone this coming year. I think 2010 has been rough on a lot of people. I pray God brings everything around full circle and we see the many blessings He has been planning for us to enjoy. God bless, and Happy hopeful new year!!!