Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What if it's not well...

There's a song that is currently one of my many theme songs during this season of life, "It Is Well".  Go ahead and familiarize yourself with it.  You won't be sorry.  :)


I know many of you read the previous post about my health "stuff", let me give you an update.  My repeat blood work came back negative!  We don't know what exactly I had or why I got it, but I'm cleared now.  I got the green light to start fertility treatment again.


I had a follow up appointment with our fertility doctor that rocked me to the core.  I can count the number of times I've sat in a doctors office and openly cried, this was one of them.

Grander earth has quaked before, moved by the sound of his voice...

The conversation went a little something like this:
"Hi how are you; glad to see you're back and better, but I'm not sure what else I can do for you"
-insert my stunned look here-
"Well, since you had the blood clot in your liver and had to stop all of the preventative measures to keep your endometriosis and cysts at bay, you've got a cyst on your left ovary- another endometrioma.  I can't do another surgery on you- especially this soon- it could do catastrophic damage."

Seas that are shaken and stirred, can be calmed and broken for my regard...

"How big are of a cyst are we talking?"
"Nearly an inch across."
"So what's next?"
"I'm not sure, we can try a cycle but the more we stimulate your ovaries, the larger this will grow."

Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You...

"Can you give me any kind of chance this will work?"
"No, I've had a similar case this past month that it worked but everyone is different- you know that, you work in healthcare."
"I know, I guess I'm just looking for anything at this point."

Far be it for me to not believe, even when my eyes can't see; and this mountain that's in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea...

I left the appointment with plans to call back within a week to get results of some blood work they drew at the office checking for hormone levels, etc.  At the point the nurse was drawing my blood I was just numb.  I acted fine, no one knew anything was wrong on the outside, on this inside I'm singing this phrase over and over...

So let go, my soul, and trust in Him; the waves and wind still know His name...

I walked back to the car and just sat for a few minutes.  I had one of those internal dialogues similar to the angel on one shoulder/devil on the other scenarios:  What if this doesn't work.  It is well.  What if I'm done carrying babies.  It is well.  What if Avery is our only little one.  It is well.  Why is this so hard for me.  It is well.  Why am I not able to do something every woman is born to do.  It is well.  Why can I not catch a break.  It is well.  Lord, what are you trying to teach me in this.  It is well.

I've come to realize that we can sing songs that give us goosebumps in the middle of a church service.  We can listen to a great sermon and take notes but never look at them once they are tucked back into our Sunday bulletin and then eventually lost to the abyss of the floor board in the car.  But what good is that?  Where do those lyrics, melodies, and prose come into play if they are lost in the moment?

I firmly believe that God brings songs, verses, people, and sermons into our lives at times when he is foreseeing that we will need them the most.

So, we are proceeding.  Fully trusting.  Fully expecting miracles.


Because even when it doesn't feel well or look well or seem well, It is well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lately In Mommy's World...

I've been debating on whether or not to get into exuberant detail about my medical issues- but- hinderances aside, here we go.

In early April I made an appointment with my primary care physician because at the time of that appointment I had been having 23 consecutive nights of flu like symptoms (aches, chills, fever, headache, and extreme fatigue).  For a while I attributed all of this to my recent surgery for endometriosis.  You know, "Oh Kristen, you just had surgery, of course you are going to be tired...this is all part of recovery..."  Wrong.

My doctor listened intently as I explained all of these seemingly bizarro symptoms- onset each night between 5-6pm; pain in hands, feet, hips, and spine; fever ranging from 99.0 to 101.7; chills that would send me to bed in multiple layers of clothes; waking up around 2-3am sweated through said layers of clothes; and waking up just fine.  That's the kicker- I'm fine during the day....this all starts at night.

The doctor is just as stumped as I am and decided to order some preliminary blood work to see what that showed.  My inflammatory markers came back extremely high (28x what the high end of the normal range was) and my liver enzymes were extremely elevated.  She recommended we go see a rheumatologist and get her input.

Luckily I was able to get in with a rheumatologist a short 2 days after my doctor made the referral.  Again, she sat and listened while I explained these weird symptoms.  The only thing she knew at the time was that there was some reason my body was attacking itself and we were going to have to do more blood work to find out what exactly is going on.

The next morning I showed up to the lab in the hospital to get my blood drawn.  Little did I know they were going to be taking about half my blood from me.  They drew 19 vials.  19.  Like, one more than 18.  The man that took my blood even told me, "I've been doing this for 15+ years and I've never drawn 19 vials from one person- let alone in one sitting."  They made me stay for 45 minutes after he drew the vials to make sure I wasn't going to pass out.  I didn't pass out and headed off to work.

The results of that blood work starting coming in the next morning and it raised more questions than answers.  My inflammatory markers continue to be extremely elevated, my liver enzymes were actually higher than they were at the other doctor's office, my EBV (better known as Mono) was positive and showed active infection, my CMV (cytomegalovirus) was also positive and showed active infection.  I also had some Lupus markers come back elevated as well.

The rheumatologist called me on a Saturday morning and told me about the CMV testing and advised me to stop our current fertility cycle.  It can be dangerous to get pregnant with an active CMV infection as it can cause birth defects or even miscarriage.  We were devastated.  She also advised me to get in with a Gastroenterologist doctor to evaluate some other symptoms I had mentioned to her (I won't go into that here....).  She called for me and got me an appointment the following week.

Off I go to another specialist.  The GI decided that with the symptoms I was describing it was best to get a CT of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis as well as get a colonoscopy.  Yep.  At the ripe old age of 29 I had my first colonoscopy.  My GI appointment was on a Tuesday morning and the colonoscopy was scheduled for that Thursday...as in 2 days later.   My CT was the very next morning (Wednesday) which also happened to be the day of my colonoscopy prep (if you've had one, you know the absolute thrill all of that is...).  I had to drink 32 oz of contrast within an hour of getting there.  Ugh.  I'm always up for a challenge....but sheesh.  That's asking a lot of a person. We were expecting to see my spleen enlarged because of the Mono but everything was normal- except the blood clot they found in one of the main veins of my liver.

So, this could explain why my liver enzymes were that of an alcoholic with liver cirrhosis.

I then had to have an ultrasound of my liver to see what the blood flow is through the clot in order to see how to treat it.  The soonest they could see me for that ultrasound was a week after the CT.  Talk about living on pins and needles for a week.

During that week of waiting I had another appointment with an Infectious Disease doctor to talk about how severe the mono and CMV infections are.  I know, at this point I feel like I've seen every doctor within my zip code...and I live in the medical district part of town.  I work with this particular doctor in the hospital and know that he is an amazing physician.  I had no problem becoming his patient.  He gave me some interesting news....he thinks my mono and CMV are false positives.  Really?  Jackpot!  All of my research that I had done in regards to getting pregnant after a CMV infection said that it's safest to wait between 6 months to a year after a repeat negative blood test.  In the words of our fertility doctor, "I don't think you've got that much time without having to have another surgery".

Once again, he ordered more blood work and I'm still waiting on that to come back.  One of the tests had to be sent out of state to be read.  One of them will tell us definitively whether I've got mono and CMV or not.  We're praying for not.

My ultrasound finally rolls around and I had to travel about an hour north to Temple to get it done.  It took about an hour to finish and by the end of it I was literally bruised.  Who would have thought getting an ultrasound would leave you with battle wounds.  My ultrasound was on a Friday morning and the GI doctor called on Monday morning to share the results: the clot was gone.  Completely gone.  He said he didn't have an explanation for it because clots that size don't just "go away".  I told him I did- I serve a God who is bigger than any clot and I had an army of people praying for me.

So, here's what I'm asking from you- keep praying.  We still don't have answers as to what the original issues are stemming from.  I did go a very refreshing 14 days fever and pain free until last night when everything came back and it came back intense.  We want definitive answers about what is going on.  The Infectious Disease doctor thinks this is a rheumatology issue and the Rheumatologist thinks this is an infectious disease issue.  Pray for wisdom for the doctors and for us.  We are looking into getting a second opinion at some point in time.  The doctor I work with at the hospital has offered to get me in with another rheumatologist that he is very good friends with so that we won't have to wait until July to get in.

If you made it through all of that, kudos to you my friend.  :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Avery Turns 2!

Since when does time go by this fast?  Wasn't it just yesterday that we were in the hospital just meeting our sweet little baby love?  I'm ready for time to slow down, that's for certain.

We are still riding on our Disney World high and that carried over into Avery's party.  I gave her the option of a Minnie Mouse party or a Frozen party and much to my relief surprise she chose Minnie Mouse.

I made all of the decorations and I will say, it was a labor of love and it was well worth it.  My fantastic sister-in-law helped and made all of this totally doable.

The mantle set up. 

Avery's first set of Mickey ears on display.

I spy some Minnie Mouse ears...

The amazing tassel banner

Minnie Mouse cupcakes

Minnie Mouse cake

The cake and cupcakes were out of this world.  Our sweet friend Catherine owns her own bakery and hooked us up royally with the most beautiful stuff.  She made Avery's smash cake and cupcakes for her 1st birthday party last year and I foresee she'll continue to get a lot of business from us.  Check out her website Sweet Louise Bakery

Our sweet Avery Grace, what a joy you are.

Literally in the last half day Avery has started saying "cheese" on command.  The below picture is usually what we get when we ask for her to say "cheese".  We deserve nothing less.

Eating her snacks before digging into her cake.

So what you can't see is the sheer panic in Avery's face and cry while we were all singing Happy Birthday to her.  It's ok, it's a memory.  She refused to blow her candles out, twice.  It's ok, it's a memory.

"Momma make it stop!!"

Calming herself down

How many Aggies does it take to cut a cake?

Well worth being sung to in order to eat this cake!

After cake we sat down to open presents.  At first Avery was totally in to pulling the tissue paper out of the bags....but then the utter confusion set in as to why we were letting her open presents and then making her put them back in bags.  So rude, mom.  So rude.

Avery Grace,
     What can I say baby girl, it's been quite the year!  You've learned and loved leaps and bounds above what we expected!  Parenting you has been such a journey and in the highs and the lows we are blessed to have been chosen to walk beside you.  Don't forget you special talent of big hugs and sweet kisses- they have the special ability to make any bad day better.  We are looking forward to each new day with you and can't wait to see where the Lord takes us in this next year.  You make our lives much more entertaining, we are truly blessed by you sweet girl.  
                                      To the moon and back, and back again,
                                                           -Momma and Dada

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up- Birthday Edition!

After getting back to Austin from Bestie Weekend 2015, it was time to celebrate my birthday!  Woot!


Avery helping Dadda make birthday cookies...

She was a pretty tough inspector of the cookie making...

Helping with the flour....and surprisingly not wearing much of it.

"Fwour for you?"

Taking the cookie dough.  She approved.

 Sunday: Happy Birthday Momma!
Spending the 4th Anniversary of my 25th Birthday with the people I love.

It was a "Momma gets to pick out what we do today" type of day and after nap time we headed out to my favorite place, Target.  Because let's be honest, who doesn't want to spend some quality family time at Target.

Sharing her Icee with her dada.  What you don't see or hear in this picture is how she was controlling exactly how much she was sharing with him.  She would only let him take a small tiny sip before she would tell him, "all done dada!"  Give it like 30 seconds later and she was asking us, "want some?".

Overall it was a great low key birthday!  29 is starting out with a bang and I'm anxious to see where we go, who we meet, and the impact we have on the next 365 days.

Bestie Weekend 2015

The bestie and I take an annual trip together every year to our state wide speech therapy convention.  It's always in a relatively cool place (Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin, or San Antonio) and it's a great time for the 2 of us to get away for at least the weekend.

This year around 4,000 speech therapists came in hot to San Antonio and set a Guinness Book of World Records record.....largest amount of people in one room rapping (yes, rapping) the same song. I'm not going to lie, I thought it was a bit on the hokey side when I heard about it - but- like a good sport we went and it was actually a lot of fun to be a part of.

Some picture highlights:

Our annual escalator picture.  I nearly fell face first off of it about .5 seconds after this was snapped.

Staci found her new favorite book.

Being studious.  Where else can you get 10+ hours of continuing education AND have a bestie weekend?  No where.  Just TSHA.  We've looked into it.

(no words)

After our first day of sessions, we went and visited the Alamo.  On the walk there, Staci mentioned that she had forgotten that the Alamo was "here".  ....and she calls herself a Texan.


We stopped for some ice cream on the River Walk because when you're on the River Walk, you get ice cream.  We decided to go back to the hotel after our ice cream adventure and take showers and just go to bed....and then we looked at what time it was- 7:45.  Cue the Golden Girls theme song.

After our last session on Friday, we headed North for an overnight stay at Dana's Diner.  Dana was Staci's mom's best friend and there are some stories there that will make you spit things out of your nose.  Trust me.  We were spoiled rotten with a good home cooked meal, rowdy games of Skip Bo, and coffee on the porch in the morning.  Ya'll, I slept until 8:30 in the morning.  8:30.  I honestly don't remember the last time that happened voluntarily.

Can't wait for Bestie Weekend 2016!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up

It's been a while since we did a weekend wrap up!  I have to say- I missed it.  :)

Girl's morning started out bright and early with a trip to our favorite location.....Target!

For some reason, we thought it was a good idea to suddenly need to find Minnie Mouse all through the store.  I'm not complaining, it kept her occupied in the store...granted she was nearly screaming, "Minnie!!" as we searched, but you know.  Whatever.  I don't think the 15 people in the store minded all that much.

The weather was GORGEOUS when we got home so I got the Nikon out and we went upstairs to the balcony porch for a mini photo shoot.  These are my favorite 2 shots from the morning.

Jacob got home from the gun range and we headed out for round 2 of errands.  It got down-right warm outside so Avery had to shed her sweatshirt for a short sleeve number and "sandies" (read: sandals).  The expression on her face really encapsulates my feelings on Tractor Supply as well.  Utter confusion.

 Wait- what?  A second trip to Target?  We live the exciting life around here.
"What.  Move on.  I'm wearing my sunglasses inside and I look completely fabulous."

"Hum on momma, 'es go"

 After Target we went to Jacob's favorite restaurant- CiCi's.
Someone may/may not have gone through 4 pieces.  There were 2 witnesses but they're not talking.

After CiCi's we took Avery through her first car wash.  We were reallllly close to tears, but she handled it very well.  Don't let the super relaxed body language fool you- sister was intense.

I don't know about you, but I'm still having trouble with the losing an hour of sleep business.  Sound check for church seemed extra early this morning.  Extra coffee was a must.

We did some work on our duck faces.  She's better than me.  As usual.

I found out who's been stealing our K-Cups.  Apparently it's not the coffee minions....

More Sunny Selfies!

Hope your weekend was spectacular!  

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