Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where Did All EIGHT of Those Years Go?

For your viewing pleasure, I went through the pictures on my computer and found the OLDEST ones of C and me. Why? Because we are celebrating (or, probably not celebrating) the EIGHT year anniversary of when we started dating today. October 27th is the day that I told C that this whole friends-thing we were trying to pull off just wasn't working for me. And then I kissed him. And we were "officially" dating. That's how these things work in my world.
That said, the best pictures are probably film and in a plastic bin in the other room and since I have a newer laptop (thanks, Mom!), I don't have everything on here. We're going to work with it, though.

R, me, and C in the summertime. I'm guessing it was May or June of 2002. Since I basically dated both of them from the get-go, it is fitting that the earliest photograph I can find is of the three of us. Mom and Dad's backyard, on the trampoline, after church. I've got some funnier ones of R jumping if anyone is interested.

July 2002 at the museum in KC. Yes, I love him. Couldn't tell you why I am wearing the same shirt as the picture before though. Maybe I really really liked it? Anyway, C is just so cute. We went up to KC with Mom, Dad, sister, and some family friends. It was a fun time.

I love this picture. This was probably around March/April of 2003. That bundle of fur is baby Bella, if you can believe it. For those of you that don't know, Bella has a story about why we have her and it is part tragedy, and more parts love. She came into our lives when we most needed her. We were showing her off to my parents in this picture and in the upper left corner, you can see an old family picture on the wall featuring just me and Dad. How funny. Mom, how long has that pillow that Bella's wrapped up in been in the family?

This was a little bit later in 2003, not sure when. But it fully exposes you to the ever changing hair and facial hair of the one I love. He's so funny. I don't think I let him wear those khakis anymore, but I'm sure he still has them.
No telling what would have happened if I wouldn't have amped this relationship up a notch eight years ago. But I am sure glad that I did. To put it in perspective, I had a ring on my finger a little over seven months after this October 27, 2001 date.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Taking Care of Fish-ness

I know you guys just LOVE my collages! Like I said, we cleaned the fish tank on Saturday and I don't think it has been done in a year. Which is actually fine, except some fish have died in there and in case it was an environmental thing, I thought we needed a clean fish tank. We were left with a sucker fish that measures about twelve inches long (can reach two feet) and a tiny little creek fish that had been hiding for so long that we didn't know he was in there. He could have been the legendary fish that survived (without our knowledge) in less than an inch of water inside of a shell for about thirty minutes when we cleaned the tank last. Who knows.

C scrubbing the tank (I helped!) and the living room in disarray. Cleaning the tank means we get to rearrange because otherwise we are not moving that tank full of water (no idea how much it weighs). Mom, Dad, you guys get the exercise machine back. It's great to hang things on.

The glorious sucker fish that I named Pluto. We took the dogs up to Petsmart and got some schooling fish and a few plants. I think there are some Bala Sharks, whatever the stripey ones are called, about five goldfish, and we got a tiny sucker fish (maximum length is six inches) and I named her Plutonia. It's so nice to gaze over at the tank now and see lots of fish! The schooling ones are especially fun to watch as they meander around.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Saturday in the Sun

I declared this past weekend a Family Weekend.
Which means that you have to spend time with your family doing family activities (i.e. not Jeep activities with your buddies in the garage for the entire 48 hours of the weekend). C and I cleaned his 55 gallon fish tank on Saturday. The only issue was that the hose (aka Boris's play toy) was used to wash the tank. But the dogs were fine and spent most of the day in the backyard, like usual:

Tug-of-war with a Chiefs football. The neighbor kids are so great about sharing their toys with the dogs.

He may get on my nerves, but Boris sure is a looker. He can be really sweet and calm too, while he's waiting for you to kick the ball . . .

Bella not getting ready to bark at some of the neighbor kids. She never does stuff like that.
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Me. Because whenever I see people lately, they keep telling me how long my hair is getting. Which is good, because I plan on donating it to Locks of Love in the spring. Fauxhawk, here I come! Oh dear, I just looked closer at that picture - I look a lot like sister B . . . Fun times!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Surgery was a Success

As mentioned in the previous post, I went in for a diagnostic outpatient surgery yesterday. I wanted to let you all know that I am doing really well afterwards and how the surgery went. For those of you that are squeamish or don't care to read about my reproductive going ons, just know that surgery went really well, I am recovering surprisingly quickly, and that the doctor was able to find and fix some things that may or may not have been hindering us in conceiving. For those that enjoy the nitty gritty details, please keep reading.

I found it surprising that October 15th was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (as declared by President Reagan in 1988). As most of you know, we lost our first pregnancy in February 2007 at 11 weeks, and since then have had a lot of difficulty in getting pregnant again. We currently see a wonderful Reproductive Endocrinologist, Dr. G, who has the task of helping us get pregnant. I wasn't thinking about the Remembrance Day until a family friend sent me an email. I saw it as fitting because none of us forget the pregnancies, babies, or children we lose. And this day came on the eve of a surgery intended to possibly help us get pregnant again.

I was nervous going into surgery because I've only ever had one other surgery and when I went into that surgery I was pregnant and when I came out, I was no longer pregnant, but was gifted with an unexpected raging infection. But, you see, Dr. G is a wonderful doctor: confident, proficient, conservative in practice, somewhat charming, and his goal is help us establish a successful pregnancy. Besides, he's done this surgery hundreds of times and I was and am sure that I am in incredibly capable hands with him. I was scheduled to have a diagnostic laparoscopy and hysterscopy. I actually did not have to have the hysteroscopy (where they look into your uterus with a scope) done because Dr. G had performed a sonohystogram in his office early last week. That procedure enabled him to inject saline solution into my uterus and the solution would highly define any scar tissue, cysts, fibroids, adhesions, or anything else out of place when he then used the sonogram wand to look into the uterus. As usual, my uterus looked fine (and believe you me - both the doctor and I have seen it on the sonogram screen enough times to know when it looks okay AND I've never had anything unusual in there anyway) and the doctor probably saved us some money by doing the different procedure in the office instead of the hysteroscopy while I was under anesthesia in surgery.

A diagnostic laparoscopy (and I'll provide a comprehensive link if that helps) is when the doctor makes two tiny incisions in the abdomen - one in the belly button and another right below the bikini line and is then able to insert a small scope (camera) to get a good look in there. He then fills the abdominal cavity with gas so that he can see exactly what is going on in there and so that he has room to work. For fertility purposes, the doctor is looking for endometriosis, scar tissue, cysts, fibroids, or again, anything else unusual that could be hindering my reproductive health. Almost anything he finds at this point can be fixed by cutting and cauterizing. I am then left with two tiny incisions that have to heal up. Easy peasey.

C was able to get the full explanation (with pictures!) of what the doctor found and treated and I got an abbreviated version as I was coming out from anesthesia. We really went into this surgery hoping that the doctor found something and that it was fixable, but we also knew there was a chance that he wouldn't find anything and that everything would look good - which would still leave our fertility issues unexplained. Fortunately, the doctor DID find some things and was able to treat them! First, there were about six small spots (they call them implants) of endometriosis on the top and outside of my uterus. Since the endometrial tissue is so blood laden, the doctor needed to slice the implants off and then cauterize the sights. He said these implants may or may not have contributed to our infertility, but mostly they were mild to moderate displays of endometriosis - and I was grateful they weren't any worse or in more concerning locations, such as on the fallopian tubes, bowel, or bladder. The second issue the doctor was able to fix was scar tissue (again, no idea why or how that forms) that linked my left ovary to my uterus and in the process, twisted the ovary away from the position needed to deposit a mature egg into the left fallopian tube. C said the scar tissue looked like a spiderweb (like the ones that Spiderman shoots) connecting the ovary and uterus. The doctor was able to cut out the scar tissue and cauterize the connecting sights on both the ovary and uterus. Now this issue has definitely had an impact on our fertility - the ovaries and fallopian tubes are not actually connected in the body, so transport of mature eggs is really more of a baseball game: the ovary pitches and the fallopian tube catches. In most women, there are never any issues with catching because the pitcher is dependable and all he has to do is throw the ball at the catcher and everything works wonderfully. We assume this is the case with my right ovary, but essentially, my left ovary (due to the twisting nature of the scar tissue) was pitching at first base, and in this game, there is no first baseman. See the problem?

Dr. G, C, and I were all very happy with the surgery: how quickly and easily it went, what the doctor was able to identify and fix, and my fabulous recovery. I have a post-op visit in a week or so and Dr. G said he was going to look over my chart again to come up with a new game plan. While we don't know whether or not the small amount of endometriosis had any affect on my fertility, a very real concern is that it can redevelop. Sometimes it is gone forever after surgery and sometimes it can build up again in as little as six months. The doctor did mention that we have a realistic window for an increased chance at pregnancy (with or possibly without treatments) of six to nine months, and then we may need to (non-invasively) check and see if anything (endometriosis or scar tissue) has returned. We'll find out more at that visit.

I am doing really well recovery-wise. Last night I rested and read a vampire book. I was told to take 400mg of ibuprofen every four hours and I've used our handy kitchen timer to keep track of that. The doctor prescribed percocet, but I only took two pills last night so that I could go to sleep. Slept well last night. My only small, minor complaints are a sore throat from being intubated, soreness in the shoulders from the remaining gas rising to the highest place, and this morning some slight pain at the lower incision site. The first two issues have already resolved and I am feeling good today. Just getting around slowly and resting a lot. A good friend brought by a taco lasagna today for lunch, C's boss/friend J is coming over for dinner, as are sister B and boyfriend J. C is taking excellent care of me and he's always so attentive through these things. I should just keep getting better and sometime in a week or so we should have another game plan. Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers - we both really appreciate your encouragement and support.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

R Family Update (In Words)

All about life right now:

~ I have an eye appointment tomorrow. Not a huge piece of news, and I understand that, but it is noteworthy for a few reasons: I think my vision is worse than a year ago (and a year ago the nice optometrist inquired why I was driving without glasses or contacts), I think that I am going to join the eye jabbing contact wearers, and I must get my super cool glasses adjusted (because last week, when C FINALLY went with me to see Harry Potter SIX, I knew that the zombies were going to pop out of the lake, C knew they were going to pop out of the lake, and I jumped and smacked myself in the face, while wearing said glasses and now they are a little off). Very exciting all around, wouldn’t you agree?

~ C’s job is going well, although a little slow at times due to the inordinate amount of rain in the last few months and a few projects at a standstill. My job, on the other hand, is not going well. The great big medical center I work for is transitioning to an all encompassing outpatient scheduling system and I was kind of thrown under the bus with the resultant changes. I have a job, which is nothing to sneeze at right now, but it is an unwelcome change to a glorified call center from all the patient interaction I have now. I am in the process of checking out my options both within and outside of this particular medical center. Unfortunately, this change in process brings with it little revelations each day that are disappointing, revealing, and mostly unpleasant. The giant transition to a new location and a new position was recently postponed for the third time to early November.

~ In the midst of the job upheaval, I saw the postponement as an opportunity to get as much out of my current health insurance as possible. It is neither good nor bad insurance, but it does have some coverage for a diagnosis that a) most often goes uncovered by health insurance, and b) I can utilize. Therefore, I have a minor diagnostic surgery scheduled for Friday, October 16. The doctor is fantastic and this type of surgery is the next step on our journey with a few nagging issues I am experiencing. I’ll have the weekend and Monday (Tuesday if needed) to recover and then I should be back up and around.

~ C is sitting for either the national or state specific portion of his LS exam on Friday, October 23. I forget which one. He knows what to expect in testing this time around and the test should go well. We should know in about eight weeks whether or not he passed and is a LISCENCED SURVEYOR! And that is super cool. I am so proud of all C has done within his profession. His LS should only help him in the future, especially when all of the building and rebuilding picks up again.

Truck Time

In other projects, we sold our (my) blue Jeep Wagoneer (1987?) after C spent an entire weekend swapping out transmissions with the maroon one. So when we sold the blue one, it ran, was tagged and titled, and had insurance on it. We also made a nice little profit, since the blue one sold for a couple hundred dollars more than we bought the both the blue and maroon ones for. I find it really cool that the guy who bought the blue one is driving it around town and intends on fixing it up the way we were. We also kept all of the fancy parts and accessories that we pulled out of the blue Wagoneer, since someday we still plan on fixing a Wagoneer up – C would just prefer one that needed a little less work. We still have the maroon Jeep Wagoneer “parts” truck, but that one is not in my driveway, so we really can part it out as the demand warrants. It’s in rough shape, but there is enough there if someone really wanted to work on fixing it up, so that is another option – either for us a long way down the road, or for a sale opportunity.

We are living and breathing Jeeps these days (refer to the three previous posts about our Jeep adventures in CO). Even though one Jeep is sold and a million others are in pieces all over the garage, we still have Jeeps coming out of our ears. The awesome projects that are happening now involve rebuilding three Jeeps – all CJ-7s, I think. One is going to stay fairly stock, and I think that is the one that C’s boss’s daughter (little L) may get to drive when she is sixteen, and C’s boss’s fiancĂ© (double LL) may drive until then (I really don’t know that situation and a lot of this stuff changes each day with new ideas, but I think one of the three CJ-7s is staying stock). The other two are ours (temporarily green) and C’s boss J’s (temporarily red). The boys think they are going to do some serious fabrication and stretch both Jeeps lengthwise about fourteen inches, depending on drive shafts and other assorted parts. They are dreaming big, but are committed to making this an awesome success. C has had drafting paper and pencils out on the coffee table for most of this week just to work up some different measurements and ratios. J was saying last night that on the internet he hasn’t seen anyone stretch a CJ and make it look nice – so I think that is one of the goals. Stay tuned for pictures and stories!

I’m trying to think if there is anything else to mention. I know that C and I are keeping AM, R, and the family in our thoughts and prayers as R is deployed until mid November. We are also hosting my mom and dad’s dog, Abby, at Camp R for two one-week periods over which they are going on vacation in October and November. The three dogs love to rough-house, so both of those weeks should be a lot of fun. The weather is getting colder and that fall crisp is in the air, so it is about time to change out summer clothes for winter gear. I am slowly decorating our bedroom . . . not much else is happening, but I figure all that I mentioned before is more than enough for us.

As always, our lives are busy and full and our happiest times are spent with our families and our close, dear friends. Oh, and we stay amused at the dumb antics of Boris and Bella.