Category Archives: #Raredisease

Officially Saying Good Bye To Being Pregnant: Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month

Pregnancy was a Pandora’s box for me.  This is how I explain this to my daughter Hope.  I opened the box and my first daughter Avery died of a rare disease.  Then, Hope came.  The box stayed open and I went on to experience 4 more losses and infertility.  I learned our family was the first documented medical case to carry this horrible rare disease.  A second child Addison died.  If that wasn’t horrible enough, the demon of breast cancer came out of the box and I was diagnosis with in six months of my second daughter’s death.  My mother died 10 months later.  For years, nothing.  No baby.  Then 11 years after the Pandora’s box was open, our last daughter Joy was born.

Joy is two now.  I started the family space cellar a year before our first daughter died.  For years, it nagged me.  After Joy was born, it was finished 11 months after her birth.

For years, I would store everything that Hope had in that cellar.  Joy’s unfinished nursery haunted me before her birth.  Hope would come home in tears. Another baby brother or sister was born at school.  When will it be our turn?

At age 9, Hope asked me to paint the room that is now Joy’s nursery because she felt it was too childish for the playroom/home office.  When I started the trips to the West Coast to start my embryo donation cycles, Hope decided that room was bigger and she asked me to let her switch.  I said, “no.” There are wall decals in that room that were hard to put up.  Two walls were blank.  Upon the news of Joy’s pregnancy.  I decided one wall was to be a rainbow.  At 32 weeks, Hope started one hand print at a time (a color a week) to make that rainbow.  Joy presses her hand against each print.  It’s really going to hurt when the house gets sold.  It’s not on the market yet.

When I decided it was time to have a baby, I kept my eyes on yard sales sometimes.  My babies had a room at this house, I worked on it from the second I found out I was pregnant with Avery.  On the eve before our big trip to England (the belated honeymoon we never got & the last fling before we became parents.), I sit in there weeping.  The baby had multiple birth defects and we had no reason to believe who ever it was would survive.  My anger rose, I pushed all the furniture to the floor screaming no!  My husband was ready to cancel the trip, when I said, “look if the baby is to die, let’s show little one the world.”

I kneeled everywhere at Westminster Abbey begging for my child’s life.  I brought the baby a cross.  We were not of that religion.  This wonderful trip became anxious.  We waited for word from Boston.  Instead of laughing and having the time of our lives, we quietly cried.  I refused pictures of myself the entire pregnancy.  I hope someday, our family returns to England for a happy trip.

Avery saw the world in utero.  We found an expert in Maryland.  We flew down.  I was pregnant with Avery in New York.  Sadly, the week afterwards, Avery was born prematurely, she lived a day and died.  I was a girl of faith and spirituality.  The Pandora box of Pregnancy made me question everything.

Moving from yesterday to today, I kept storing baby items that Joy outgrew.  I see signs of Perimenopause in myself.   Yes, there is no way we could do it again.   All those years of chasing for a Rainbow, it happened.  I was planning to try a yard sale.  Every weekend, I found an excuse.  This weekend we are going to try to have one.  After Joy’s birth, I was asked if I wanted my tubes tied.  I declined. After all those years of trying, it felt like insult to have your tubes tied.  Our family works so hard to pay for her conception back.  I got pregnant with Hope after an infertility evaluation on my own. The babies who never came home had a few things here.  Some outfits, we are keeping incase of grandchildren.  A few years ago, we took the final genetic screening.  It is supposedly, just our generation.  Hope will be fine. So, here’s too hoping.  (Remember Joy was conceived embryo donation.  There is no effect.)  I am skeptical.  It wasn’t suppose to happen after the first lost.

I hope to live to see grandchildren, if my children choose to.  It has been tough to hold each outfit and remember.  Sunday will be a little tough.  When the house is ever sold, I will need consoling.  It was in this house all the babies were suppose to come home to.   After all those years, I am saying good bye.  Hopefully, I will be able to live to see grandchildren.  I have always promised my children if for any reason they end up struggling with infertility, I would be there.  Isn’t strange due to the weather, this yard sale will be occurring on Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day.

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Briers For My 7th Breast Cancer Anniversary

Our family has been facing some medical issues recently.  I took a break from remodeling.  Sadly, my schedule on days off have been very booked.  The family ferret has insulinoma (caner of the pancreas).  She has required multiple trips to the vet to check her sugar levels.  My oldest daughter has been having dizzy spells.  I feel like a cab.

Since the family vacation in April, I found a lump on the top of my ear near the skin connecting to my head.  It has seriously hurt, when I wear glasses.  I thought this is a cyst.  For weeks now, I have been trying a number of home remedies to get rid of it.

I had surgery to remove a number of polyps from my uterus in February.  I was having heavy bleeding and 21 day cycles.  Last week, the heavy bleeding returned.  I got up and left stains everywhere.  So, I called the OB GYN.  They made an appointment for this week.

On the same afternoon, my phone rings again. My daughter’s doctor office called with a neurology appointment for Tuesday, which is the same day as my OB GYN appointment.  This neurology appointment is in the morning.  The OB GYN appointment is in the afternoon.  Both are hour drives in the opposite direction.  I thought no problem.

Monday was my physical.  I had been suffering with the bump on my ear for awhile.  I had to take the youngest with me, since my husband took Tuesday morning to go to my oldest daughter’s appointment.  I showed him my ear.  He felt a Ears, Nose and Throat Specialist should look at it.  He was concerned about skin cancer and if it should be biopsy.  Cancer again?

My toddler fell asleep on the drive home.  I sat in the driveway in disbelief.  My phone rings again.  The specialist can see me mid morning on Tuesday.  I felt so emotional drained.  Yes, I do have my girls and my husband.  There is just no family involved in our lives.  There isn’t an aunt or a grandmother to call for help with the kids.  It’s in these situations, I feel very isolated and alone.  (My last C-section erupted with an argument with my in-laws about who was going to take care of my oldest.  I actually mentally prepared to go into a C-section by myself with no support.) I couldn’t ask them for help.  I spoke to a few friends about the lump on my ear.  It made me feel slightly better.

Worst of all, I have been working Monday and Tuesday nights at my other job.   The neurology appointment for my daughter made me anxious.  I buried two babies due to a rare disease.  There was another part of me that knew this was routine.  My recent surgery on the polyps reminded me how alone I am.  I am running all over the place.  I got my glasses tighten.  Hope, my oldest, was anxious about the state exams and the neurologist appointment.  I promise to take her to one of her activity stores.  I spoke to my medical oncologist, who said I couldn’t have a hormonal IUD for cycle control due to my previous history of breast cancer.  Some of the IUD’s can thin and make a cycle quicker.  We also talked about my ear.

Tuesday morning at the neurologist appointment, it was a bit of a rough start.  I am staring at this genetic history form and I am tired, drained and overwhelmed.  I am telling her it’s not a good day to ask me if I am in good physical health.  Another cancer diagnosis my happen again.  Finally, I said, “I am struggling with this form.  Our family is the first documented genetic carriers of a rare disease.”  The person, we met with softened.  All sudden, I felt she got it.  Basically, Hope was diagnosis with Vertigo.  They want us to see a Ears, Nose and Throat Specialist to rule out allergies.  One appointment down. My husband asked to work from home to cover all these doctor appointments.  My toddler is very active.  He takes Hope to school.

I call my aunt, who is 80 something.  She sounds horrible and wheezy due to a cold.  I go to check on her.  I meet the Ears, Nose and Throat Specialist and explain all the appointments I am going through.  She was very understanding.  She told me that the lump looks like a cyst, but it should be biopsy.  She explained if it is cancer or not cancer, it needs to be removed only.  More good news.

I decide to drive home and drop by to see the toddler after eating lunch at my favorite bakery from my childhood memories.  I am wiped out.  I figure I better update the school nurse.  She says to me, “your daughter landed wrong on stage. She is here now.” Now, I know I have to take this kid to the walk in clinic after school.  My ear starts throbbing bad from the biopsy.

The OB GYN appointment was okay.  There is little they can do to control this bleeding.  I leave and I go to check out.  There is a couple sitting down talking with check out.  I go up to the other window a few times.  No one comes.  So, I give them their space.  All of sudden, a medical receptionist screams at me, “is someone hiding in the hall.”

So, I corrected her.  I told her, ” I am not hiding.  I have been at the window twice and no one is paying attention.” It’s been a miserable day.  I hate doctors.  I am at the end of my rope.  My ear is really throbbing.  No painkiller is touching it. When the receptionist is checking me out, I am telling her to retell me the information.   I called my boss and asked to go in to complete my work and leave early.  She agrees.  I can’t miss work since I have no vacation or sick time.

I can’t go to another doctor.  I just can’t.  So, I called my husband and told him to take the oldest to the doctor’s.  I got good news mostly.  I felt so emotionally drained today.  My oldest has a groin injury and she can not walk.  I spent half the night finding other things for our family to do this Memorial Day Weekend that require no walking.

I have come a long way since starting this blog.  I stopped complaining and I am doing things to improve my life.  I am making friends.  I am aware I can’t discuss my baby loss issues with them either.  I tried to get out once a month with my friends to take care of myself.

It was the Friday before Memorial Day that I was diagnosis with breast cancer.  It brought new meaning to LONG WEEKEND.  Today, I finally told my oldest what is going on with the ear.  It was so hard this morning because she was in so much pain and I work during the days Wednesdays through Fridays.  Even if I could stay home, she would have missed the state exams.  She had to go to school.  My ear just throbbed today due to the biopsy.  I am hoping for better days.  I am also taking this as a warning sign to take better care of myself such as count my steps, quit smoking and sleep right.

Gratitude For My M.O.M: All I Learned My Babies Taught Me

Mother’s Day is tough.  Many have lost children.  Some face infertility. Others have lost their mothers.   I am very lucky to have my children.  I have been pregnant seven times in my life.  I have two living girls.  In my twenties, I studied hard and worked hard to get a career.  Nothing in life prepare me for what was ahead.

In 2010, we learned we were the first documented case in the world for carrying a rare disease.  Nothing in the universe prepared me to hold my first born child, then end life support the next day.  I had never watched a human die before.  Months afterwards, I remembered over and over.  I became obsessed with is there an afterlife or God.  I tried to reach out to others.  My soul begged, please just hug me and love me.  People misjudged this.  I was told to get over it…  I planned my entire pregnancy.  I brought things.  I took my folic acid three months before hand. I went to the doctors.  I toured churches looking for that perfect family church.  I went to the OB GYN.  I made sure all dental work was complete.  When we learned our baby had multiple birth defects, it tore me apart.  Although not every pregnancy had a happy ending with us bringing home a baby, I appreciate and give thanks for each one.  I am forever their mom.

My first born Avery died a day after birth in our arms.  I wanted to take her place so bad.  Avery barely opened her eyes.  When we spoke to her, her head would turn and she would look for us.  I nicked named her Avery Bravery.  In my darkest moments in life, when I need to be brave, I whisper, “Avery Bravery.”

My first rainbow is 11 years old.  She gets so excited and happy.  She still happy dances.  I have so many wonderful memories.  I am filled with her love and wisdom.  At times, she says things with such great wisdom as if she is 11 going on 80.  Her name is Hope.  I love to see her dance with such gratitude and grace.  Hope fills me with Hope.  Every day, I see a young lady growing up fast.  I am honored that her care as been entrusted to me.  I am proud of her.

I wish a rainbow meant it would never happen again.  Sadly, we lost a pregnancy at 6 weeks and 13 weeks.  I love them from the moment, I tried for them.  My heart was empty.  They were mine for the time they were here.  I desperately tried and lost them.  They are apart of my being.

At 18 weeks, we lost our son Haven.  For weeks, we did not know if we lost a boy or a girl.  We had to name him something either a boy or girl could use.  Years later, unknown to me, I was gathering medical reports.  In the pathology report, it questioned if Haven had been a twin.  I found myself grieving two babies.  I could not hold him because  he had been dead over a week.  We buried a baby without knowing if it was a boy or girl.

My miscarriage at 13 weeks as previous mentioned in the blog was at Christmas time.  Shortly after Christmas, I was outside crying and shoveling snow.  I heard an animal crying horribly.  Under my neighbor’s porch was a all black kitten with a small patch in the shape of a heart on his chest.  He had an abscess on his neck.  We took this kitten in with the intention of finding a new family.  The kitten was estimated with the actual birthday of Haven’s original due date in September.  We named the cat Raven.  When I tried to give this cat away, Hope said, “my cat.”  She was 2 years old at the time.  Raven is like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.  He gets so excited that he pounces on you.  As small as he is, he can almost knock the wind out of you.  It broke my heart, when I had breast cancer, because literally I need to put Raven in a room because he would pounce on my chest or treatment area so hard.

This leads me to my daughter Addison.  She was born still with the same rare disease that the doctor’s said it would most likely never happen again a week before Thanksgiving in 2009.  My heart broke as I watched Hope, who was 4 year old cry.  For many years afterwards, Hope took it hard when she learned someone at school became a big sister.  She asked when it was going to be our turn.

Eight years of infertility and pregnancy losses, I am happy to say it was with Joy that Joy was born.  At 20 months, she has taught me a lot.  She is not sitting in her highchair what so ever until she gives Buddy, our dog, a treat.  She is going to strap herself in.  Joy is still trying to change her own diaper.  She is independent and going to be an outstanding CEO someday as soon as we survive toddlerhood.  She is your classic toddler with a heart of gold.  Over half of my steps on my pedometer are from chasing her.  Keep reaching for that cell phone or keys, because sooner or later when no one is looking she gets them.  Set goals and reach them.  Life is adventure.

I have said this before.  Without seeing all my babies, it’s like I am a painting at a museum half covered.  If you look at my professional accomplishments only, you miss the picture.  If you see me as a breast cancer survivor only, you miss the picture.  If you only see me as the mother to my two Earth girls, you miss the picture.  You see the whole me, when you can acknowledge everything.  Without one piece, you miss the picture.   I carry my love always.  My gratitude is to be alive to see another Mother’s Day and to all my babies, who chose me to be their mom.

Today is my Birthday…

In 2009, the unthinkable happened.  We buried another child due to Campomelic Dysplasia.  We become the first medically documented case of genetic Campomelic Dysplasia.  I was loosing my job.  I was able to find another job.  Six months after my daughter died, I was diagnosis with breast cancer.  I had just got another job through a previous employer.  Half way through chemo, my mother and cat died.  I had to get a new car the same year.  A number of appliances had to be replaced.  I worked and my daughter went to kindergarten.  We went to all her activities.  I wore my wig.   The day after I finished chemo and radiation, our ferret died due to cancer.

For many years afterwards, I ignored my home.  I spent my weekday off from work driving our daughter Hope to school.  I would come home and lay in bed until it was time to pick her up.  I no longer cared about the home or housework.  My soul was empty.  As the years passed, it look like we were going to be the couple who never brought home a child from infertility treatment.  My last cycle failed in March with my own eggs.  A friend who helped me so much during my cancer treatment and inspired me died from cancer.  Another friend relapsed, he took his own life two weeks before my big 40th birthday.  My favorite cats died within three weeks of each other due to stomach cancer before and after my birthday.  I painted a smile on my face.  My world was uncertain.  There was the possibility of another child through embryo donation on the West Coast.  I struggled with coming to terms that this child could not be conceived by my egg or my husband’s sperm.

When the embryo donation worked, my youngest was born.  In pregnancy, I realized how much my depression caused our home to become a shack.  I couldn’t fix it.  My oldest grew up in a shack.  Where are you Ellen?  The million dollar miracle child came home to a “shack.”  I promised my children that I would make this old house into a beautiful home for them.  For about a year now, we have been working hard to fix this house.  I am trying to paint the living room.  We are into problems.  Today, I am not painting.  Last year, I cried daily until my birthday.  On my birthday, the oven went causing a stream of electrical problems.  I thought about this.  My father was very abusive.  He never wanted me and he verbalized it.  I am sure my friend who took his own life would not have wanted to not become the meaning of my birthday.  Through it all, I am alive.  I am grateful for my life.

Although, I have done some things that I need to come to terms with, this year, I am not crying.  At some point, I stopped getting angry and crying.  At some point, I realized I need to give myself a life that I wanted.  So, I stopped looking for my family to step up, I took the wheel.  Some would say, I took the car way off the road.  I am coming to terms with myself.  Where are we going next?

This year, I am not staying home to see who calls, who posts on  facebook  or if the oven goes again for another year.  This year, I am enjoying my children.  I have a whole day of errands and activities.  After all those years of hard work to have my children, my best birthday gift is with them!

Everything I Learned About Life: Rare Disease Day

I wanted to honor today as Rare Disease Day.  I do not proclaim to be perfect but learning.  My husband cut his thumb, while painting our daughter’s bedroom.  In that moment everything was happening according to plan.  Then disaster struck.  My perfect day with my oldest daughter got twisted.  He could not continue to work.  He needed 5 stitches.  Yesterday, I did not feel well.  I tried to fix this.  The room was suppose to be done on her last day of school vacation.  We set up a temporary sleeping situation.  My oldest struggle to sleep or get her clothing.  I did what I could.

I thought over the film project.  I stayed late at work, while a co-worker helped.  At midnight last night, I started to paint.  The ceiling roller broke in half.  Paint spilled on the floor.  At 4AM it was done.   Our family is the first document case known of passing this awful disease, which took 2 of our children’s lives.  I miscarried multiple times, who know how many were really effected.  I am not going to tell you that we didn’t feel angry or shut down.  Somehow, we had to make a choice.  It was hope or despair.  Life is not perfect.  This morning I was so over tired and sick that Joy missed her first gymnastics class.  This has been a journey of learning to “roll with the punches” and learning when to punch back.  Hopefully, I am developing wisdom on choices of the 2.

My hope is someday to hear someone say, “Ms. C., if Avery and Addison were born today, their lives would be different.  They may have been alive.  Families now can get genetic counseling and mental health services to deal with the genetic information.  Families now don’t have to wait for a loss.  They can seek services before conception and make choices.”

Genes are not all we are made of.  Everyone deserves medical care!  Today, I am make through the day, because we are relatively healthy, except for the cold.  This a lot to be thankful for.

Semitemental Value

Last night, my heart was cut into a million pieces.  I have come from a tough background.  Last night threw me over the edge.  My birth/marriage family has basically been emotional cold.  Since Joy’s birth, I have been trying to get to a state of acceptance, move on and rebuild.

The surgery went okay on Friday.  I don’t have too much information because the doctor came and I was out.  My husband was called so all I know is Polyps were found and removed.   I don’t know how many etc..  We had to leave at 5AM.  The girls fell asleep.  I woke up with a head cold.  So, I just went anyways.  I asked him to stay with me in case the hospital decided not to do the surgery.  I got a bunch of snappy answers.  My head clicked and I said forget this now.  Our former marriage therapist told me he may be some underlining issues that I need to understand.    I have not shared that back.  I am trying to accept and adjust.  He apologized and all.  I just brushed off.  Let the show go on, I will take care of myself!

I get to the waiting room.  It’s packed with people and their family.  I tried to bottle up my feelings of sadness.  When I had breast cancer, those feelings of isolation resurface.  My in-laws have my name, email address and number.  My well wishes went to his cell phone not mine this time.  Which brings me back to another matter.  I find in this electronic age, my own sister will dictate messages through my aunt.  I address this again.  Auntie, the woman is almost 50 years old, let her call me directly.  A few weeks ago, I called her directly because they was a shooting at a popular teen spot.  In the middle of the frenzy, we didn’t know if anyone was shot or killed.  I called to check on my nieces and nephew.  No one was killed thankfully during the incident just shots.

Maybe it was the combination of my first daughter’s birthday/death anniversary, the fact it was called a “D&C” and the fight I had, I cried hard in the waiting room.  I resented the procedure being called a D&C.  I had been through a combination of 3 D&E/D&C.   Emotions were raw.  I was in and out to the bathroom trying so hard to bottle it up.  It didn’t happen.  I squeezed out one last call to my daughter’s cell phone.  I learned the girls went home and fell asleep.  They pregnancy tested me.  I felt myself even through we are officially done daydreaming about conception.  Oh well, it didn’t happen.

Friday, no pain.  A string of messages perked me up.  It was odd to be home and child free.  Even the cold behaved, maybe I wasn’t really sick.  Saturday, the day was a mess.  My husband needs to manage Joy, our toddler.  I can’t pick her up right now.  Joy extends her arms.  I don’t know how much she does understand.  So, I tried to explain.  I sit down.  Joy go get a book. I will snuggle you and love you that way.  Joy is a persistent little person.  No, I want my mommy.

Saturday, raw anger was boiling.  I wanted to finish that movie about the angels of our rare disease for Rare Disease Day.  Hope practiced Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for weeks on her flute.  Her bedroom is a mess, because we are trying to paint it.  He is sick.  I am sick. Hope is not feeling well.  We went back and fourth trying to finish this movie.  I posted a rough draft up.  I was thanked by the one mother who submitted anything.  Hope made slime and covered the kitchen.  The cramps came and I found myself in a squat position with preteen upset with her failed slime project.  Thankfully, my purse is well stock.  I went to the basement room because I was ready to tear her apart.

Then, came this critique  about the movie from a friend about the music and text.  I was having serious cramps and my nose is burning.  So, I practice a type of coping skill, which is like putting the ball back in her court politely.  Okay, you have these ideas, so help me fix it.  I watched the wording.  Of course the answer was “I can’t do these things.”  She texted me with an apology.  For a month now, I have been trying to pull this off with little invested interest from the group.  Again, I watched how I said this, but this one hurt.  I have been there for years.  I sent her messages when she was pregnant with her baby who didn’t make it and during her subsequent pregnancy, which was a healthy girl.  I was heated.  I sent a message explaining these things.  I accepted her apology.  You know she was one of those messages after the surgery.  So, we are good today.  She is still my friend.  All fixed.  It was a very thin line because I wanted to loose my cool.  The answer is we are all living beings.  To use old 12 step wisdom, I was a proud member of Ala-Anon for many years.  I am grew up into a substance abuse counselor.  “It’s about progress, not perfection.” The more I live. The more I understand, you need to be flexible in life.  Perfection is something for TV show.   In the real world those perfect plans are not always realistic.

Next year, just one movie for Avery and Addison.  (Period the end.)  I am done with my co-dependent slip.  I am feeling better today.  I hope we finish painting Hope’s room.  Funny enough, she wanted this different color.  I braced for it, because the room was originally painted for Avery’s nursery.  It ended up, it’s the same color.  It was a string of communication errors.  One could say it was like the angel Avery just said no to Hope’s color choice.  My husband has hearing loss.  I am still trying to adjust.  He swears I told him to buy the paint last week.  What I really said was for Hope to think about it.  He just saw something circle and brought it.  Hope is saying it’s okay.  It may be a few years before the house is sold. Let’s end it with, it’s about progress not perfection!

 

 

Disappointed, Stress, Overwhelmed & Grateful

On the second, anniversary of my first daughter birthday/death, I was holding my new born rainbow as a storm of betrayal was brewing.  Maria, a dear neighborhood friend died after a long illness with cancer.  I had hired what I thought was a good bunch of people to care for my daughter Hope.  My brother hid his son’s autism and I did not know that his anger was directed at some of the people I hired to care for my daughter.  Tomorrow is a horrible anniversary of one of those care givers breaking down and physical intimidating  both my daughter and I.  I had no idea of the demon I had hired.  I was exhausted from learning about Maria’s death.  He told me what he thought of me and my family.  He made me feel threatened for my daughter’s safety and mine.  Somehow, we made it out.  I reached out to others afterwards.  Finally, I decided to fire all the caregivers.  I learned an important lesson that day.  When your gut tells you something is wrong, listening to it.  Instead, I was so caught up in everyone else liking this person that I missed my soul was telling me that this person was evil.

For months later, my mind was taunted by the incident.  I couldn’t sleep or eat.  It was the hardest lesson, I ever learned.  After that incident, I avoid routine appointments during the month of February unless it is urgent matter.  It’s going on 13 years this year, Avery, my first daughter, was born with a rare disease and died a day after birth.  Some years are emotional charged. Others I make it through.  We used to get together with my in-laws and go out to eat to acknowledge Avery’s birth/death.  We haven’t done that in years.  I find comfort in participating in Rare Disease Month, which is February.  I find comfort in doing something special with our family.  Sometimes, we go to a museum.  Sometimes, we go to a restaurant for a night out.

I am having surgery again.   The last ultra sound showed uterine polyps.  I am trying to fix the house, we are in the third phase of remodeling.  (I am sorry to tell you there is most likely going to be a forth, fifth phase then more.)  Things unexpected are going wrong.  We owe taxes.  I can’t meet my own deadlines.  I promise myself not to stay up all night.  Last week was a series of disasters.  Joy, our toddler had a high fever.  Hope, the oldest found a lump in her hand.  It was a cyst.  It was a long night at the doctor’s.  The cyst went away.  We had snow days.  The original blog for this was saved as a draft, but I couldn’t find it. So, I am starting over again

I brought a tablet to catch up on work.  It doesn’t support my work program.  I ran late trying to get the tablet to work.  I was suppose to go to a mediation class.  After an hour’s drive, I was late and the door was locked.  I was in the cold.  So, I went Valentine’s Day and drove back home.  I never got to paint another room.  The refrigerator needed to be cleaned out months ago and it smelled like it.  Then Hope, my preteen daughter got sick.  Another snow day.  I couldn’t cancel with the OB GYN.  My husband had to come home again.  We got up late today.  I couldn’t get the kids out on time.  I got a bunch of angry looks from the receptionist for bring my oldest daughter sick to the pre-op appointment.   They made her wear a mask.  I was spoken to for her not having it on right in front of the waiting room.  We were a half an hour late.  I just get so overwhelmed.  All the rooms in the house need to be repainted.

My husband and I have decided not to sell the house this year.  We still owe a lot of money for Joy’s conception through embryo donation on the West Coast.  It makes sense to lower the bills and try to move.

Yesterday was the ultimate disappointment.  I was looking forward to ending the heavy 21 day cycles.  Sometimes, I am running to the bathroom to avoid an accident.  The surgery was the key so I thought. My doctor tells me the surgery will lighten it for a while.  My uterus is inflamed, which happens sometimes after birth.  The heavy cycles will continue.  I was so depressed.  I don’t run.  I live my life around cycles still even after infertility.

Today, I am just so overwhelmed between the surgery and the house.  I called out tonight.  Surviving what I have has taught me, I am having a difficult time right now. Let’s give thanks.  No one in the family is in active cancer treatment.  My children are in relatively good health other than the stomach bug or cold.  The house drives me nuts, but there is a roof over my head with walls to paint and rooms to declutter.  I am hoping this surgery works.  I am a behind in my schedule with the house.  I am going out this weekend for myself. We are going out to eat next week and going to a local museum.  Then, I have to work on the #rare disease movie with the other mothers about loosing a child with Campomelic Dysplasia. Now that the cyst is gone.  Hope can play her flute again, so I can record the song for the movie.

 

 

February Is Rare Disease Month & Avery’s Birthday/Angelversy

My sweet first daughter Avery was born unexpectantly at 31 weeks due her rare disease in February.  I woke up Saturday, February 21st at 5AM to my water breaking.  Since we had been warned about the possibility of her preterm labor due to her birth defects, I had all my clothing always packed in the car (just in case.) I carried documents and medical records in that bag to explain her rare condition.  My sister had issues with preterm labor, so I knew what to do.  We only live about 2 blocks away from the local hospital.  Literally, we sprang into action.  When I was awake enough to understand I was not having an accident, we left the house.  We went to the local hospital first to try to stop the contractions.  I was given meds, loaded into an ambulance heading to the Boston hospital.    At first this was a regular transfer, the labor returned as the ambulance almost crossed the next town over.  That’s when the ambulance put it’s lights and sirens on.  It took a left on the main street.  We went on the highway we went.   When I on that highway and an ambulance drives by in a certain area, I burst into tears sometimes.  Avery was born by emergency C-section in Boston at 9:04AM on February 21st, 2004.  It was not your normal delivery.  There were no cries of a newborn in her delivery room.  My delivery nurse was  a saint.  She kept updating me on if Avery had a heart beat or not.  Then I saw the team wheeling her to the NICU.  They stopped for a brief second and let me kiss her head.  I remember trying to see my beautiful baby that I gave birth to.  There wasn’t time to study her face.  Off they went.

Almost 13 years later now, since she was born and died.  She made me a mom.  For 33 1/2 hours, she was with us.  Her eyes only open, when we spoke.  It broke my heart, when I asked them to stop CPR.  My husband and I collapse hands we held her in our arms until she died.  I had never witness a person die before.  Months after her death, I was haunted by her loss.  A mother with no baby to care for.  A broken heart and empty arms/uterus, my mind was haunted by the memories of that day.

For years, I would not drive to that side of town, where the labor returned and the ambulance put it’s lights on.  Hope, our rainbow daughter started daycare in the area.  It become a daily event.  Her birthday was the first time I remarked the city I move to as home.  Home prior to this event was the city I grew up in.  When the ambulance doors closed, I realized I am leaving home.

Rare Disease Day is on February 28th or February 29th if it is leap year.  Since learning of the first one after our second child Addison died of the same disease, every year my daughter Hope and I have Rare Disease Awareness Day projects.  This year, we are trying to do a project with other parents who lost their child to the same rare disease.  Sometimes, we go to a butterfly museum to mark her anniversaries.  Almost always, it feels like the butterflies follow us more.  This year, I join a parenting after loss play group.  The plan is we are going with them in early March to the butterfly museum.  This year, she would have been a teenager officially.

I renew my promise to God.  I asked him to help me fight breast cancer.  I promised him and my daughters that I would forever advocate for rare diseases.  My hope is before I die to hear that Avery and Addison’s life would be different if they were born in the future.  Avery was the only burnette of my children.  Both my living daughters were born with very blonde hair.  Both Hope and Joy have been referred as the Gerber babies.  Strange enough we were grieving the Gerber Baby, when I was pregnant with Avery.   This is a term parents, who have had children with birth defects use to describe their feelings.  This year, I was going to enter Joy’s picture into a contest, unfortunately due to computer problems, I couldn’t.  Every year, I remember what it is like to have a child with multiple birth defects.  Hear me Avery and Addison, your mother has not forgotten!

What I Have Done:

The holidays were crazy days.  My agenda was so full.  I am still doing stuff I said I would do over vacation.  My mammogram was normal. (Thank God!) It was a crazy day.  I went from the craziness of the holidays to working the night before my mammogram.  I woke to a bad morning.  I love my glasses, but the frame is so light colored. I can’t seem to find them a lot or I drop them.   I get out of the shower to discover my glasses missing.  I half stepped on them, which bent the frame.  Oh wonderful from holidays to back to work to mammogram morning.

The day couldn’t get much worst, when at the hospital, I discovered my wallet missing.  I was I.D.less.  Panic stricken, I kept going to every parking garage except the one, my husband parked at.  I learned I had an appointment at 10AM for the breast surgeon.  I am 150% anxiety now.  What else could go wrong?  Two people joking with a Firefighter that a drill was planned for today.  Not before my mammogram.

(Oddly enough, when I was having radiation treatment at a different hospital about 7 years.  During one treatment, the fire alarm for the hospital sounded.  I was told to hold still because it wasn’t our area that needed to be evacuated.  Someone made the joke that someone had brunt toast on the maternity ward.  I held myself together.  I went out to the car and I sobbed horribly.  I should be the one burning the toast in the maternity ward.  My baby Addison had just born still about a year before.  Here I was fighting breast cancer instead.  When Joy, my daughter was born 4 years later.  I kept refusing to let any member of my family use the toaster on the maternity ward. )

I have the hardest time with mammogram day.  Somehow, my anxiety is always out of control.  The hospital worked with me.  I had to call the school and tell them I was late.  My oldest was sent to aftercare.  My anxiety was Hope remembers when mom had breast cancer.  Her ABC’s in kindergarten was different from other kids.  A is for my Angel baby sister Addison and my Angel Nana.  Both had just died.  B was for Breast Cancer, my mom is fighting.  C is for Chemo, my mother has no hair.   Hope knew it was mammogram day.  I was scared that she would get frightened about a bad test result.  Here I am anxiety high plus trying to explain this to the school.  This made my anxiety higher.  The delays were caused by me.  Everything worked out in the end.  I finally found the right garage and my wallet was on the floor of the car.

The relator got the stomach bug and canceled during vacation.  So we rescheduled for mammogram day. I worked the night before the mammogram and I thought I would have time to clean it up quick before she came.  My husband dropped me off at the house.  I quickly walked to dog and I cleaned the stove.  I decided not to cancel.  The entire month either she canceled or we did.  It is what it is!  So, the quote was lower than expected.  After all the cleaning and reorganizing last year, I heard reorganize and repaint all the rooms.  We are waiting for our taxes to see how we are going to proceed.  The chimney needs repair.  Bricks are close to coming out.  We need a new cellar door.  The kitchen needs new counter tops and the bathroom needs a new tub enclosure.  I was schedule to work that night.  Just last year, I stayed up all night to clean up the mold.  I would sleep for a few hours, then Hope needed to go to school.  I would stay up all day and care for Joy.  Those were my three days a week off.  There was no complaining or back up.  That was my life from April to June.  We had a serious health issue brewing in the house.  I did it for my kids and pets.  I have kept my promise to myself.  NEVER AGAIN!  I still can’t seem to sleep all night.

I kept my promise to myself to not let myself be worn out.  I cut down my hours at part time job number 2.  I rescheduled myself from one weekend day to Mondays and Tuesdays evenings.  If I am going to be working so is everyone else!   So, last weekend in the middle of a major snow storm, we started phase 3 of remodeling the house.  It’s not clear if it will sell or not.  We are not sure if we can afford the mortgage in the town next door.  There is a huge price gap between our crime ridden city, which is on the top 100 violent cities in America and that town next door, which is 3rd in the state for one the best towns to live in.  Honestly, I don’t know if I belong there.  I can’t seem to connect to others.  Hope says people ignore her at the school.  I am not sure if we will end up there.  Hope wants to graduate there.  She can live anywhere in the state and continue to attend the school through the program of School Choice.  The only agreement is we need to be willing to drive her.

I have also been on other social media accounts exploring other parts of my life.  Sometimes spending too much time on it.   I don’t want to discuss it.  My decision has been made.  Life is not “perfect.” I don’t live in daily active cancer treatment.  No one died in this family from a rare disease today.  This is about still picking up the pieces and determining what is best for the family.  The house is way better than the day Joy came home from the hospital.  I am hoping for us to move this year.  Hopefully to a new joyful place for our family to live.

 

When Your Christmas Train Only Works In Reverse!

Last weekend was a bit of emotional roller coaster.  My oldest had her Christmas performance and she was marching in the parade.  I had to work odd hours again to get the weekend off for her activities.  My daughter has belonged to an organization that I did as a child and my mother as well.  She has just gone further than us.  There were some issues with the other girls, who choose not to talk to her.  I was behind in Christmas decorations etc…  My daughter Hope doesn’t like much sports.  They decided to have a Christmas party at an ice skating rink.  I even volunteered to help this organization.  The other girls would not talk to her.  Here I am freaking out about Christmas decorations.  Hope told me, “I don’t want to go there anymore.”

My first response was a screaming match with her.  You know when you are wrong.  I texted the leader.  She doesn’t want to belong with the organization anymore.  Hopeful, Hope would be happy with this message, but she cried for a while.  I remind her with that organization you can just have a membership and earn awards at home.  You do not need to belong to the local units.  She dried her eyes.  She is just not athletic.  I wasn’t either.  The girls are very heavy into sports.  Problem resolved right?

Welcome to Puberty 101.  Mom, that was too easy.  So she starts with, “I don’t like Sunday School.” At this point, I am thinking life is easy dealing with a toddler instead.  Forget this puberty stuff.  Where’s my magic wand? Hope become a toddler again. We are massively late for church.  The director is running an activity.  I let the director know Hope was having a bit of a morning.  I drop Joy off at the nursery at church and there is a lot of little ones.  It hits during church that Hope belongs to a community volunteer club at the school.  She has barely done any volunteer work.  So, I decide to talk to the director and Hope.  Guess who will be helping in the nursery.

I start blaming myself.  It was when Hope was so young, I decided to disconnect from the world.  I hid the miscarriages and infertility treatment.  I rarely talk with anyone in the face to face world about what it is like for this family to find out you are the first documented ones carrying a rare disease that causes your children to die shortly after birth.  I am not going to say we are all fixed.  I wouldn’t quite say we are still at complete devastation.  We are healing.  I am struggling to find a path honoring my bereavement and still feel connection with society.  I decided after Joy was born that I need people.  Some are not coming back.  I have noticed telling people that I am sorry for being distant in my quest for another child does work for some.  I was so overwhelmed that I never intended to teach Hope to disconnect.

This brings me to the title of the blog. I spent numerous hours trying to make one of the two train sets work.  One only won’t derail in reverse.  The story of my life…  Well, we are going somewhere in reverse.  The house was a real shack when Joy was born.  I lived and breathed to be pregnant.  It’s not completed.  Does a house ever get completed?  The contactor has to come back for shutters and the awning.  I am trying to keep up.  The relator was suppose to come this week.  Unfortunately the stomach bug struck us.  Hope needed to go to the doctor, because it was 16 hours later and I was concerned about dehydration with her.  She was out of school a few days.  One was my day off.  My husband worked from home.  He threw up too.  I crossed my fingers and put myself and my toddler daughter on probiotics.  So far so good… Either of us have been sick.

I was sitting in reflection of the sadness, isolation and despair we have felt.  I think of it like this.  I can never undo the wrong that was done to me.  I have a choice.  I can choose to be the healing lite for others.  I can choose to treat others with the compassion that I deserved in my pain.  Hopefully, we can continue to heal and become who are intended to be.  I am the light for rare disease and breast cancer.  I can become the complete opposite of what those who do not care for me say…  That is my path.  Honor the memory of the babies I carried.  Honor my battles.  Raise our daughters into beautiful young women with wisdom.    Hopeful if there is a heaven, our angels will smile on our lives and decisions.