Nov 21, 2017

Off my chest

I need to write. Writing is how I process and I need to process.  Since our return from Bolivia the first week of October my body has ached.  At first I wrote it off as the change in temperature. But it continued to worsen and about 2 weeks ago now I couldn't stand the pain in my body any longer.  There seemed to be 2 things at work against me; all over body aches, and pain in my breasts along with a lumpish mass in the left one. The body aches were becoming increasingly painful, I couldn't stand to be touched, it felt as though I had been used as a human punching bag and that my entire body was a giant bruise. 

As a mom this meant it was painful to hold my kiddo, as a wife I dreaded intimacy with my hubby, not because I dislike him, but because it felt like torture, not love to be held. You can imagine how heartbreaking that was.  No loving mom wants to say to her daughter, "mama cannot hold you right now, it hurts too much."

So, I gave up hoping it would pass and went to Doctors on Duty because our long term Family Doctor just closed her practice.  The Doc on duty drew my blood and said to check back in a week.  I left feeling  pushed aside and in as much pain as when I entered.  My follow up was scheduled for the following Saturday, (this being a Friday) but by the time Sunday rolled around I was in more pain than I could handle. Our Sunday night date night turned into a trip to the ER where they kindly gave me a shot in the ass to help with the pain, drew their own 10 vials of blood and prescribed some heavy duty pain killers to get me though.

I went to Doctors on Duty on Monday as instructed by the ER Doctor to follow up.  The Doc #2 said the blood work didn't show anything and I should see a Rumatologist because perhaps I had Fibromyalgia. (something I had suggested on my first visit) I asked them to check my breasts, because though I had mentioned it at the first appointment and at the ER no one had even checked.  When the Doc (Doc #3 a female) got around to me she was shocked by a red spot the size of a quarter on my right breast, about as shocked as I was, as that was not there in the morning when I got dresses.  I tried to get her to focus on the lump in the left and the severe pain in both but because of the red dot she was convinced I had an infection.  She prescribed 2 antibiotics one oral and one topical and a referral for a mammogram just incase.

I was notified the next day that though I had chosen Doctors on Duty as my new primary (not because I wanted to but because no one was taking new patients besides them) my decision would not actually take affect until Dec 1st, so while they did refer me the doctors may not take me because of this.  But that I could schedule the mammogram anyway and contact the Rumatologist to get on her schedule.

I quickly called to schedule the mammogram but the radiology office said I should not worry about a mammogram but just get an ultra sound. So, I scheduled that, but there were none available until Nov 28th. I then called to schedule with the rumatologist and there was no answer just a machine, I left a message. After no returned call, I called the next day and left yet another message.  This went on for a week. Until I followed up with my original blood work on Sat.  There I saw Doc #4 at Doctors on Duty a brand new Doc, who was kind but knew nothing of my case, having to explain all this to him for the uptinth time left me literally sobbing. 

He was appalled that the Radiology office had decided what I needed instead of following the recommendation of the referring Doc #3 so he said I should call and tell them I absolutely need a mammogram on both sides. As the pain is worsening daily, even though the red mark is less defined. He knew this because he gave me a breast exam while I was sobbing. He and the nurse were also frustrated that the Rumatologist had not even gotten back to me. Said they would also call there on Tuesday. He said the pain meds that I had run out of were no good if I did have Fibromyalgia and prescribed me an anti seizure med instead that he said may or may not work but could take up to a week to have any affect. I was again balling as my pain was overwhelming, and affecting all aspects of my life.

I went to the Pharmacy to pick up the prescription only to discover that Doc #4 was too new to be prescribing the meds he had told me about.  So, I left empty handed to take my daughter to a birthday party. While I was trying to enjoy the party, the kind Pharmacist did her best to solve the problem, found a comparable drug that he could prescribe and got the meds for me.

But here's the thing, the drugs, take at least a week to work, and can cause the same symptoms we were trying to cure. Knowing that this was going to be a battle, I had started doing some independent research on Google about Fibromyalgia and found that changes in diet might help so I has already eliminated everything except veggies and protein and water.  So, no pain relief, plus a killer caffeine withdraw headache was the icing on the cake.  Saturday was terrible.

Sunday was worse, as I took my second trip to the ER because the pain was just ridiculous. But ER Doc #2 was not nearly as helpful as Doc #1 and refused treatment. Said I should be seeing a Rumatologist...funny I said though gritted teeth as that is what I would love to be doing if only the Doctor would answer my calls.  The less than helpful ER Doc suggested I go to her office in the morning, and demand my appointment.

I slept for 4.5 hours that afternoon, and then slept all night, exhausted from the pain and the lack of answers and caffeine. In the morning I went to the Rheumatologists office to get an appointment.  The front desk gal said that they only schedule appointments after the doctor as decided to take on the patient,  and she hadn't looked at my case yet.  She was out and would look tomorrow and let me know. I let her know that it was completely unprofessional to not return messages, especially when I had left multiple messages, and that with 2 of them sitting at the desk they should be able to answer their phone and their messages. She told me they don't bother calling patients back until the doctor makes her decision. I said that was not acceptable when people are suffering and waiting on answers.

Surprise, surprise the rumatologist office did not call as promised today, until I called them at 2pm and again had to leave a message. They they left a message for me saying the doctor had decided not to see me.  What??! After waiting a week and a half the Doctor decided she didn't care to see me? What in the world kind of doctor is she?  There was no reason given for this decision only a suggestion to try and find someone else.

So, here I am in my livingroom having the least pain but still pain that I have had in 2 weeks, jotting down all my thoughts, because I cannot bring myself to have to explain all of this every time I have to see a new doctor and it appears that because I have Alliance I will have to continue to get less than quality care now that our beloved Doctor has gone.

I don't know if the new meds will work or not, but I do know that they have given me a crazy metallic taste in my mouth, that I can only rid myself of for a little while before it returns. I know that I don't like the way it makes me feel, and that the color of my urine is unsettling at an almost glow in the dark yellow/green.

I don't know what the mammogram that I confirmed again will say, but I pray the Doc will know something so they can do something, because I long to hold Kiley and Freddy with no pain. I don't know if they will find me a specialist who will see me, but you better believe I will be a thorn in their side until they do.

If you have Fibromyalgia and have wisdom, actual wisdom I would welcome it. But please don't tell me to exercise (I can barely move) when I can move, I am playing with Kiley, or working housekeeping.  I am attempting Yoga as I hear it may help, but don't tell me to lose weight, as I have no thyroid, and no metabolism, so even though I eat very little, and move a lot, I won't lose weight (even my Thyroid doctor agrees) But I welcome real advice, with the wisdom of experience.

If you read this far I am amazed, I mostly just needed to get all this on paper, and out of my head and heart, so I can focus on getting better.

Apr 25, 2016

You're Taking Her With You?!?!

You’re taking your baby with you? Everyone was in disbelief that we would embark on a cruise with our 21 month old.  Of course, we are taking her with us she is why we decided to go on a cruise rather than a flight to Dubai.
Our baby girl may only be just over 1 year old, but our desire is to travel and to have her see the world so had they stamped our passports in Mexico she would already have two stamps in her passport.  Sure, going on vacation with a kid is not as easy as it was when it was just hubby and I or when I was single, but that doesn’t make it bad.  Traveling with kiddos is challenging because it means you have to prepare, you have to take into consideration naps, toys, diaper changes and car seats and so much more.  However, when you explore the world with kids it forces you to slow down, to see things you would have missed and encourages you to dig deeper into the culture.
We chose to travel on the Carnival Imagination, it disembarked from Long Beach which gave us two options; quick but costly flight from San Jose to LAX or long drive down the coast with as many diaper change stops as needed and just a tank of gas. The drive down highway 101 sounded like the better option.  I meant we could save money, have a relaxing beautiful drive and not need to rent a car or get shuttles taken care of.  We decided that leaving first thing in the morning was the wisest choice as it would allow our daughter the opportunity to sleep for the major part of the trip.  Our plan worked!  Kiley slept from home till our stop in Carpentaria, leaving us only an hour and 20 min.  So, we got out did a diaper change walked around a bit and she was back to sleep for most of that last leg of the drive! 
Embarkation I knew would be a struggle, but we packed light and Kiley carried her own little ladybug backpack that she got on our trip to Bolivia a year ago. The lines were long, but we shuffled along and Kiley blew kisses and flirted with those in line making everyone’s journey just a little sweeter.
With the hard part of the trip over we were ready to relax and enjoy our vacation.  I had made sure to do my part ahead of time to make our trip less hectic. I had Carnival supply our room with a crib and we chose a room that had a window so we wouldn’t feel trapped.  I also asked for a room mid ship away from the elevators so that we would get the least amount of rocking (hoping to avoid seasickness) and noise from people returning to their rooms late at night.  My planning paid off, our room was great.  Kiley sleeping in the crib never happened, but hey, kids are kids.
Our time aboard ship mostly included relaxing by the pool, and eating more than anyone should.  We knew going into it that Kiley was too little for their kids programs so we were not thrown off by the fact that we had our little one in tow.  We also, decided that the options for excursions in Catalina and in Mexico were better left till the last moment, as there is no telling how your kid will be the day of.  

Our first stop was Catalina and we took our time to have a good breakfast before catching a boat ashore. This was a good choice, but it meant by the time we got off the boat the golf carts at the closest shop were already booked, with a line down the street. If you have never been to Catalina, it is gorgeous, but there really is very little to see or do.     I knew this ahead of time because of a little thing I like to call the Internet. So,  I also knew that the best way to spend our time was on a golf cart and that they would provide a car seat for Kiley.  So we wandered down to the last golf cart rental place and hopped on board and away we went.  Our drive around the little island offered up some stunning views and photo ops and it was also the perfect way for Kiley to take her morning nap! Score!
After a little souvenir shopping, we decided we would prefer an afternoon at the pool, so we headed back to the Imagination.  Back on board we had lunch at the buffet and then were disappointed to find that the pool was closed.  I never got a good answer as to why the pool was closed for the majority of our trip, but we just went with the flow and relaxed in the sun.  Kiley decided that it was time for an afternoon nap anyhow, and that a nap lounging on top of mom was the best kind.
Carnival does offer a program called Night Owls where parents with little ones can drop them off from 10pm-1am for a group babysitting if you will.  We decided to give that a go so we could dance a little.  Kiley went in no problem, but before we even had a chance to dance, the staff called to let us know she was very upset. By the time we got there she had puked all over one of them.  They were gracious and kind, and once we got her cleaned up she went to bed happy as a clam. (She throws up when she cries such fun) Oh well, so much for dancing the night away.
The next morning we woke up in Mexico.  We made our way to the dining room before leaving the ship, because why leave hungry, plus the dining staff on the ship were the best!  They absolutely adored Kiley and took such great care of us at every meal.  Once we set foot in Mexico it was time to figure out how to spend our day exploring Ensenada.
I had done my due diligence to know our options as they were offered on Carnival and ashore. So, we opted to ignore Carnival excursions and head out on our own.  Found a bus, which took us into town and then once on that bus discovered that they offered tours exactly where we would like to go and at less than half the cost of the same tour offered by Carnival.  So, we switched to the second us and got a tour out to see La Bufadora, which we were told is the second largest blow hole in the world, and a market where we could get some great fish tacos and other good food as well as a good place to barter for local souvenirs. 
I would love to tell you this was an amazing tour, I can tell you that our guide was super friendly and that he would make a great realtor as he spent most the time on the bus telling us the cost of buying property and why we should own a home in Ensenada. Kiley got a good nap on her Papa’s lap and we gazed out the windows as we passed; Costco, Home Depot, and McDonalds.  Not really what we had in mind, though not surprising. Once at our destination we made our way down the street sampling many versions of pina coladas and street food. We finally arrived at La Bufadora, and we waited expectantly to watch the ocean shoot up into the air.  We waited, and waited and then gave up and went to grab some lunch.
We ate up stairs at a little place with a great view of the Pacific Ocean and that is about all it had going for it.  Our tour guide had promised they had great ceviche which I had been craving, but his idea of great and my idea of great are not, as it turns out the same.  After our quick lunch complete with pineapples filled with pina coladas (yes we gave in) we went shopping.
Our shopping time was short because the bus was scheduled to leave and I wanted to try the “best handmade tortillas” before jumping on the bus back to town. This time the guide was right; the fish and steak tacos in the handmade tortillas were delicious.  Kiley napped on me the whole way back to the bus station.
Once back in town we wandered downtown and decided there was not really much to see and headed back. We had drink and some chips as we waited for our bus back to the ship. Ensenada was exactly what we were expecting so we were not disappointed, but had we not done our Google search pre-vacation I expect we would have been sorely disappointed. 

Our last day was a day at sea and the pool was finally open, it was also my husband’s birthday and there was a soccer match happening somewhere in the world. So, I let him enjoy the morning listening to the game sitting poolside and I took care of Kiley and her nap time.  Unfortunately there was some sort of maintenance happening outside our room resulting in loud banging. So, Kiley and I took a long walk around the ship and ordered her Papa a birthday cake to be delivered later that night. Finally, we headed back with the hopes that the banging had subsided. It had not, I called guest services and they said they would give me a credit for the inconvenience, the banging continued but by this time Kiley was too tired to care and she crashed. Her nap time gave me a chance to catch up on Facebook and watch Friends. Once she woke we headed up to find Freddy at the pool and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
When dinner rolled around we were once again treated warmly by the wait staff and enjoyed their song and dance routine. At the end of the meal they sang Happy Birthday to Freddy and presented him with a little cake.   We were so full from dinner that we left the other cake Kiley and I had ordered until morning. (yep cake in the morning, it’s vacation)
While this was not the best vacation ever, it was what we had expected.  It was all inclusive, it was economical and it was fun.  Cruises with a  kiddo are a nice way to go, there is something for everyone and you are always close to your room for a quick nap, diaper change (ah be forewarned there are no diaper changing tables in the restrooms) or just to escape if need be.  Everyday offered something new to do and it could all be done at our pace. Would we do it again?  No, probably not because we still have the rest of the world to explore!

quotes i love

  • "they will never care how much you know until they know how much you care."
  • "never be afraid to trust a well known God with an unknown future." - Corrie Ten Boom
  • "God doesn't need you, He loves you, that is much better."
  • "the world has yet to see what God can do through a man/woman who is totally commited to him." - D.L. Moody
  • "be who you is, cause if is ain't who you is, you is who you ain't."-
  • "some people say movies should be more like real life. I say real life should be more like the movies."