Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Something other than "you know what"

I don't really have anything to blog about, but I was sick of seeing the title of my last post at the top of the page. But since we're on that subject, I don't think my menopause symptoms have begun yet, but what happened last week was much worse. (I think.) Ugh, why did I bring this up? I don't really want to talk about THIS on my blog...

Let's just say that I lost a lot of blood that night and the next day. And the day after that. It was so bad at one point that I could hardly stand on my own, couldn't walk, couldn't drive, nothing. I was so weak. Then I started getting a lot of swelling in my ankles and couldn't even move my feet around. It was really terrifying. I made several calls to my doctor (some of which were not pleasant), a couple ideas were tossed around about how to stop it, but they all involved pumping my body full of even more hormones & pills, so I decided to just hope & pray that it stopped on it's own. And finally, it did. So now I'm waiting for what he calls, "The Crash." He guesses it will occur tomorrow and that is because it takes a week for the injection to kick in and when it does, all of your hormone levels surge and then crash. I really don't know exactly what that means, but it sure doesn't sound pleasant. I'll let you know when it happens.

Now onto "something other" than all that...

First, I'd like to say that I'm proud to be living in (near) a city of champions. Not only did the super duper Steelers win the NFL championship this year, now the Penguins (hockey) are headed to the NHL championship next week. So cool. And check out this huge sign that my cousin has in his yard.

I am all caught up on my shows now (which saddens me) except one (DH). There were quite a few good cliffhangers, but the shockingest ones of all were Grey's Anatomy (except I knew that Izzie & George were leaving the show and would therefore die, just not that way. 007?! Oh my!) and Private Practice (hello?!?!? that was totally gruesome!) Now I'm just waiting to see what happens over the summer. Not really into the Bachelorette, although I enjoy reading other people's recaps. Tonight I plan on watching the premiere of The Goode Family. I think it's totally awesome that finally being "green" isn't necessarily "cool." haha! Of course, though, I am not endorsing this show since I haven't seen it yet myself. You be the judge yourself. But speaking of judging, since it's a Mike Judge production, it should be funny. Hello, Office Space!

I think that's all I have for you today. Kind of slow week around here. You know, just sitting around waiting to crash and all.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Welcome to Menopause

I mentioned a couple blog posts ago that I would soon be starting a treatment plan that would attempt to kill the remaining endometriosis that my doctor was not able to remove during my lap 4 weeks ago. The drug is called LupronDepot, a GnRH, and basically what it does is lower your estrogen levels, thus preventing or reducing growth of endometriosis, which my doctor believes is the cause of our IF. So what happens when the estrogen is removed from your body? Hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, memory loss, insomnia, bone density loss (but not in the small amount I'm taking), etc. So when I got my first injection yesterday, Bobby said, "Welcome to menopause!" Gee, thanks.

I thought maybe I'd have a couple days before the symptoms really kicked in, but no. I had a miserable night last night. It started with some non-Lupron drama that caused anxiety and a much later bedtime than I had planned on. I lied awake until about 2-ish, fell asleep briefly and woke up with horrible horrible pain in my stomach & lower back. I even had to wake Bobby. With the help of two heating pads and more ibuprofen, I had a very restful sleep from 3:45 to 6:45. ugh. Wait, did I say restful? Make that restful and sweaty. Yes, the night sweats have begun already. Double ugh.

So it's going to be an interesting summer. I guess I should start preparing the people around me now to wear extra layers because I'll have the a/c on super high everywhere I go.

And it would be nice if I would start seeing results from The Shred sometime soon!!

Jillian, are you reading this?!?

Since I'll be forced to wear tank tops and shorts, or sundresses, everywhere I go for the next few months to keep cool, I had hoped to feel a little more "shredded" by now. We are planning on starting Level II tonight, so we'll see how that goes. Hopefully better than Level I.

** EDIT: I was so focused on the depressing part of starting this medicine that I forgot the really great part of the story.**

So when we first met with my doctor after my lap and he gave us his recommendations, which included this treatment, we asked the fated questions, "how much is this going to cost?" and "will my insurance cover this?" well, my RE's office has this saint of a person who is the financial counselor and she gave us the bad news, "This drug costs b/n $600 and $700 a month." Multiply that times 3 and you get a lot of money. Then she called my new insurance company and gave us the even worse news, "your insurance company does not cover injectibles of any kind." Shoot! So while we were already leary about taking this medication because of the side effects, now we were even more concerned because of the financial toll it would take on us. We asked around for some opinions and basically were told, "if you've come this far and now you finally have an answer and all it will take is this med for 3 months, do it!" As far as the cost, one advisor said, "some people blow that amount of money at one stop on a new tv, do it!" While I realize that $2000 is a lot of money, yet not at a the same time, we still weren't sure what to do.

And then the call came.

The saint at Dr T's office called and said that she just spoke with the Lupron drug rep and they have a patience assistance program to help pay for the treatment, all we had to do was apply for it. Holy moly! Here was the time line...

  • Dr visit Thursday, May 7th at 9:00 am to find out that the best treatment will cost $2K
  • Call from the saint about the program, May 7th at 4:00 pm
  • I called her back Friday, May 8th to ask her to send me the application.
  • Received application on Saturday, May 9th - she already had the info filled out on the form for me!
  • I had to add a little more personal information, then I mailed it to the drug company on Monday, May 11th.
  • Called drug company on Thursday, May 14th to make sure they had received my application. I was told that they had received it, I was approved, and they had already shipped out the medicine to my dr's office and they should receive it Friday, May 15th.
Can you believe that was so quick & easy?!?! And it's free! No strings attached. I just call them back when I want them to ship my next refill. Unbelievable!

Now we can go blow that extra $2K on a new tv! haha

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bobby Graduates... Again!

Yesterday we celebrated another academic achievement in Bobby's life... he graduated from West Virginia University with a Masters in Arts degree in History! This was a degree that we didn't think was necessary because he already has a Masters degree. You see, two years ago, he graduated from Covenant Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity. What a momentous occassion that was! We couldn't wait to go to graduation and celebrate with all of our friends & neighbors and my family that came out for the event. While there were only 100+ graduates, commencement was held in a huge church building in St Louis, and it was packed. We were so excited and yet sad for yet another chapter in our life was over... but it was not an easy road, let me tell you. Four years is a long time and seminary is NOT cheap. But we were so glad we did it. And survived! He graduated and had hoped to move directly onto a PhD program. Well, that wasn't quite going to work out... because of his unaccredited Bachelor's Degree from an unnamed college, and because an M.Div. isn't considered a research degree (despite the fact that it is 108 credits!! hello, a Bachelors is 128!), no PhD programs would accept him. So... he had to complete another Masters. Ugh! Together we decided to go with the big public school route because he had never had any public school experience and thought it would be good. (I'm not sure why I'm giving you all this information, I really just started this post to show the parents the photos & video evidence!) So he applied to several schools and WVU we were bound.

While originally we thought that these past two years were going to be a waste, we were definately wrong. Since Bobby was able to get a GA, that saved us close to $30K in tuition, he got some really great "life-experience" working as an academic advisor, he thrived in his department and graduated with a 4.0 GPA, we got to live in southwest Pennsylvania near my family, and serve God in our church as secretary (me) and assistant Pastor (him).

Once again, having a family member as a full-time student is not easy. There are a lot of sacrifices to be made, on both parts. But we made it... again!

So here it is... the 140th Commencement at WVU.

All 1200 graduates on the floor of the Coliseum. And the answer is, it takes 3 hours to graduate 1200 students...

The Stage

Bobby - on the big screen! (somewhere in the upper left corner)

A video of him walking across the stage, receiving his diploma.

The graduate... with his second hood. Yes, we own both now... this one was a lot cheaper (free!)

A beautiful day outside to celebrate his graduation!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Log Cabin Living - the Guest Quarters

For the past couple of weeks, I have been enjoying the "tour of homes" otherwise known as "show us where you live" on Kelly's Korner, a new blog I've been reading (click on the image above to go to her blog.) I really wanted to participate the first week, which was kitchens, but mine was way too messy and unorderly, so I skipped out. Week 2 was living rooms and I really should have entered because I do enjoy our living room, I think it's quite cozy, especially in the winter when we have a roaring fire, but I hesitated and by Friday afternoon, there were already 400 entries, so I skipped out again. Well, it's week 3 and this round is Guest Rooms. I thought it'd be a good place to begin participation because I think the bed especially in the guest room is really neat, and usually gets quite the reaction from visitors.

Ok, time for a quick background check for those of you who may be visiting my blog for the first time. We currently live in log cabin, on a 360 acre farm, with my aunt & uncle (they live in their own log house about 200 feet away.) We were invited to live here while Bobby is getting his master's degree at WVU, which is just 20+ minutes away. It's been an awesome opportunity, especially to live in such a cool house and to enjoy all the really fun animals (mostly dogs, horses, donkeys, cats, and pot-belly pig!)

Back to the tour... this house/cabin was originally built in the 18th and 19th centuries (it's actually 2 cabins put together) - of course we have all the modern day conveniences like running water (cold and hot!), central heat & a/c, and even electricity! haha!! But it still has the charm of a log cabin from the 17 & 1800's. Most of the furnishings in this house are not ours, so I really can't take any of the credit, that all goes to my aunt.

So without further ado, here is where you would stay if you came to visit us in southwestern Pennsylvania:

When we don't have any guests, this is what the bed normally looks like because of our kitties. I keep an afghan down to protect the pillows & comforter, then their bed that they like to sleep in together, and their Purr Pads, which they love!

Here is your lovely view of the pond from the guest bedroom window. So peaceful... even with the ducks, geese, and swans.

I took this picture to show you some of the antique decor in the house.

There are no closets in this house, so there are dressers and armoires like this one basically in every room. Did ya hear that? No closets OR cupboards of any kind. That's that charm I was talkin' about!

Here is where our guests bathe, and... the other thing. Actually this is where we bathe too. We only have a 1/2 bath in our master so we come over here to shower. Under the curtain is a claw foot tub.

Here is the other side of the bathroom. I tried really hard to not be in the picture!

This is technically our "second" guest bedroom. It's not really it's own room - it's in an area at the top of the steps that I call, The Parlor. I don't know why, I guess it's just because it looks like a sitting area. Beyond the daybed, there is a little desk & chair, a rocking chair, a dresser, and some more things that you'll see next...

For this picture, I'm sitting on the daybed to show you one of 4 fireplaces in this house. Since it's on the second floor and heat rises, we haven't used this one. That is why it is safe to keep Bobby's guitars in front of it.

These guys watch over you when you sleep in the day bed. :-)

Thru the window of this room, you can see the window to our bedroom. Neat, huh?!

So those are our guest rooms. Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Now, for something non-tour related...

As a quick follow-up to my last post. After reading the very meaningful comment by Natalie, I feel very convicted and shameful that my words were so selfish and self-centered. Don't we all do that when we're afflicted with something though? Nonetheless, childless women are not the only ones who pain on Mother's Day. I am very fortunate that I do still have my mother and could celebrate her on Sunday, but I know many who don't still have their mothers here on earth, and the day brings much sorrow to them as well. I am sorry that I didn't mention that in my little rant on Wednesday. The fact is, I didn't intend for any of that to be written, the words just flowed from my fingers, and I decided to leave it. I'm glad I did so that I could hear from several of you. Thank you for your words of compassion and sympathy. And Natalie is also right about it being Biblical to honor our mothers, but I think we can mostly agree that they "way" it is done in the modern church is just way too overboard. At least in the context that I've been accustomed to. I'm not saying that churches should altogether ignore the day, I'm just saying, be sensitive and loving to those who may not find the day enjoyable. Ok, I'm done now. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother & Daughter

This isn't a post that will elaborate on Mother's Day, but I will say that after reading many blogs that reflect my similar feelings and situation, I think something needs to be done in the church. For those of us who equate pain with this holiday, the first thing that is thought of is, "ugh, I don't want to go to church today." And many people who are not parents skip church on this certain day in May. This isn't the way it's supposed to be, people! Church should be a place of refuge and security. A place where we people should not want to avoid because they are going to be reminded of their pain and have it rubbed in their face. Not a place where the highlight of the day is the oldest and youngest mothers get to stand up and be recognized. Anyone remember reading about that in your Bible?! I know people have good intentions, but there are major boundaries being crossed over (more like, destroyed) when Hallmark holidays (what Bobby likes to call them) are taking over our Lord's day celebration. Have your mother/daughter banquets on Friday night. Take your mom out to lunch on Sunday afternoon. But leave my worship time alone!

Ok, well, I wasn't planning to say all that, but I just sort of happened...

The point of this post is actually to show you two really cute sets of mothers & daughters.

The first is Halle (short for Hallelujah) - she belongs to my aunt & uncle (on the farm where we live) - and her daughter who was born very early on Mother's Day.

The baby is adorable, but don't get too attached. I was just informed that someone from Los Angeles already bought her.

The next is me & my mom. Not quite as little & leggy as Halle's daughter, but I know I do look a lot like my mother, like she does with hers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Can't we have a 22 hour day, Jack?

Some of you have already seen my facebook status today which states that I wish this season/day of 24 would have ended last night, making the 7th worst day of Jack Bauer's life only 22 hours long. This season has been fantastic, nail-biting, exciting, tense, just plain awesome. And last night's episode was no different. Bobby even got up and paced the room (like he often does) because it was so suspenseful. And despite being in the process of dying from the bioweapon he was infected by, Jack saved the world again.

And it should have ended there.

But nooooo, the writers/producers decided to bring Jack's dumb daughter, Kim, back this season and now once again the plot is all messed up because of her. I am not alone in disliking her, there are many a Kim-hating groups out there on The Internet. Just type "I hate Kim Bauer" into Google and see how many results you get. Ok, don't, that's a waste of time. I am actually tempted to just not watch the 2 hour finale next week and in my head remember that Jack saved the world, and imagine that Kim (or her daughter) cooperates in giving Jack the stem cells or whatever he needs to save his life. He lives and will be back next season to save us once again. Capiche?

Ok, there are other things going on in the world beyond the Hour of Bauer. Like, the 30 Day Shred for example.

We began it last night and it was rough. Jillian is a lot nicer on the DVD than in person (by which I mean, on The Biggest Loser.) But her workout is brutal! We started on Level 1 like we're supposed to, and the exercises weren't the worst I've ever done. But the getting on the floor, getting back up, getting back on the floor, then back up again, part is a killer! It goes like this: jumping jacks, pushups, run in place, situps, squats, more pushups, arm curls, situps, etc. In that order, with not a second in between. Whew. I am quite sore today, mostly in my arms because of the pushups. I would be sorer I'm sure had I not been doing a super-modified version (even more modified than what's-her-name does) because I'm still only 3 weeks post-surgery. Doing it again tonight will be tough, I'm quite sure of it.

One final note of business is the real reason I'm doing this workout. Not only is less-clothing season upon us, but I am still working off that extra weight that I received as a lovely parting gift from the Clomid & Femera, but my doctor just prescribed a new medication for me to start taking to destroy the remainder of the endometriosis that he could not get during my surgery. I'm still researching it before I start it because the side effects can be pretty awful, from what I've heard/read. It basically will take all the estrogen out of my body (which causes the endo to grow) so I will experience menopause symptoms. Sounds fun, doesn't it? And I'm sure weight gain is included, so I'm trying to get ahead of the game by shredding what excess I currently have. Make sense? Anyway, the medicine is called Lupron Depo. Anyone know anything about it? Been on it? Known anyone that's taken it?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Shred Begins Tonight

I've seen this mentioned on a bunch of blogs lately and decided to check it out. I am a nominal fan of The Biggest Loser, and not at all a fan of Jillian Michaels. She just flat out scares me. If I were on the show (and thank goodness I'm not and don't need to be!) I would not want her as my trainer. I love Bob and that other girl who is no longer on it, Kim. They seem nice. Jillian seems mean. So when I saw lots of people starting to talk about the 30 Day Shred, I thought, that sounds interesting, but I want no part in it because of Jillian. Well, I decided to give her a chance. And tonight will be Day 1 of The Shred. $14 and 20 minutes, I can handle that, right?!? Wish me luck!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Birthday, Baseball, and Betting

We packed a lot into this past weekend, and I'm feeling it today.

The game was fun. Yeah, we had rain and the temperature dropped 20 degrees while we were there. And yeah, the Pirates' offense was horrible and they lost 4-0. But it's a baseball game, in Pittsburgh, with all-you-can-eat food! What's not fun about that?!

Here is Bobby coming back from one of his trips to the concession stand.

Together we consumed 2 hamburgers, 1 hot dog, 2 orders of nachos, 4 beverages, 2 bags of peanuts, and 1 ice cream sandwich. I think we calculated that all of that food would have been about $60, so we were really satisfied with ourselves, getting our money's worth.

And Phil Keoghan was there to throw out the first pitch. I guess he's on some sort of cross-country bike tour. Why would anyone do that??

Here I am at the end of the game... freezing and soaked, but still smiling!

The most ironic part of the night was that they gave out free umbrellas to everyone upon entrance into the stadium, but then when it started raining, we were told that we weren't allowed to use them. I understand the logic of not being able to use them - blocking views, poking people in the leg, arm or eye, etc - but then why give them to us!?!? Security finally gave in sometime in the 8th inning when it was pouring down sheets of rain and only 10% of occupancy in the stands. Gee, thanks.

Saturday was a day trip to Morgantown. Bobby worked at the university and I attempted to do some shopping while I waited. Boy I missed Walmart during my recovery. I also got to go on a little shopping spree at Old Navy thanks to my mom. I got this cute little dress, along with one of these little sweater shrugs. I know the website only shows pink, but the store had about 12 colors. I got black, but I wish I could have gotten one of each! I also got a pair of capris, a tank top, another cotton sundress, and this cute shirt in orange, even though I really wanted it in pink. I had hoped we could stay and eat dinner at our favorite restaurant, Cheddar's, but I was way too worn out and needed to go home and lay down.

After my siesta, we watched the Kentucky Derby. During the pre-race coverage, they told us the range of prices for the horses. One of them was purchased for $3.7 million! But then at the bottom of the list was one for $9,500. Big difference, huh? I was so amazed by this, I kept saying, I really want that horse to win. And, If I was betting, I'd bet on that horse. (the cheap one of course.) And guess which horse won?? Yep, the cheap one, at 50-1 odds. Ugh, I was mad. I mean, yay, I was so happy for him! After that, we finally watched Slumdog Millionaire. Wow, what a great movie! Bobby kept pacing because he said it was too tense. I just loved those little kids, they were so adorable.

Sunday was another very full day. We drove to Fairmont, WV because Bobby was asked to fill their pulpit and preach for them. (Their pastor just left recently. Or was let go, can't remember.) It was a nice service and they invited us to stay afterward and eat dinner with them. We declared that we could only stay as long as it took us to eat, b/c we needed to get going so we could get home, relax for a really short time, then run back out for youth group. Well, we ended up chatting and I think we were pretty much the last ones to leave. Oh well. It was a good time of fellowship. And food.

Then we were all surprised at youth group because one the girls brought the most wonderful treats for Bobby's birthday... a fiesta-themed cake and tacos (and all the fixings, even guacamole!!) So perfect for Bobby, and for almost being cinco de mayo. We were floored. Here is the awesome cake.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Happy Birthday Bobby!

Today is my wonderful husband, Bobby's birthday. I love birthdays and think they should be a huge celebration, no matter what your age, but unfortunately this isn't going to be an exceptionally celebratory one for him since I just had my surgery a week ago and don't have much energy and strength yet to "go all out" like I wish I could. He says it's no big deal, and I partially believe him, but still, I feel bad. He did get to open a couple gifts last night (he has no patience, like his mother. ha!) and one from me this morning.

And the big birthday plans are tonight... we are going to the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game! Well, we are going to attempt to go. It's pouring down rain right now. Bummer. (but at least they are giving away free umbrellas tonight!) I'm hoping that it will just get it all out this morning and be good to go tonight. He had a gift card, so we splurged and purchased the all-you-can-eat seats. Most of you may know that all-you-can-eat/buffet type places always make a fortune off of me because I can not usually eat much at one time. But ballpark food is different! Check this out. All the hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, salads (uh, no thanks!), popcorn, peanuts, ice cream and soda (pop) you can handle! The funny part is the disclaimer: "a maximum of four of each item per trip." oh my! Not that we condone gluttony, but this is going to be fun!

Go here and wish him a happy birthday. I love this guy!