Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Unexpected beauty

Beautiful, isn't it? This is a microscopic picture of my nemesis and my savior. Methotrexate.

Methotrexate, my medication for my rheumatoid arthritis, is my enemy in so many ways. When I first began taking it, I took it one night a week. I always knew that the next day I would spend feeling miserable - achy, nauseous, mildly disoriented, tired, and just generally bad. As long as I am on this medication I cannot have more children. In the last few months, it has started to effect my liver. But, in many ways, it is also my wonder drug.

Before being on methotrexate, I awoke each morning with pain. My fatigue was often nearly disabling. I couldn't clean my house or do my laundry. Driving my van caused me pain in my elbows, wrists and shoulders. Trying to buckle all the kids into their car seats? I shudder at the memory. Now, I can (mostly) do all these things. I am not pain free, but I am so much better off than I was. I am so grateful for this medication. It is not perfect, but with it I am better than I could be.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Sebastian

A very happy birthday to my littlest man. You are a continual blessing and a joy to me. Always ready for a snuggle, a hug, a kiss. You have a wonderful, quirky sense of humor. I love that your current favorite "curse" is "Darnit Pickles!" You are one of our family's greatest gifts and I love you all the way to the moon... and back.

Friday, April 16, 2010


As I have talked about before, the kids and I often listen to audiobooks during our drives back and forth all over town. This week, we have been listening to Jack London's The Call of the Wild.

This morning, my two youngest were outside playing when I began to hear yelling and giggling. I stepped out to investigate and I was really disappointed I didn't have my camera handy. This is what I saw - Vibiana sitting in the wagon, holding one end of a rope in her hand. The other end of the rope was wrapped around Sebastian's waist as he stood in front of the wagon. Sebastian looks at me and says, "I'm Buck!" Vibiana is yelling, "Mush, Mush!"

I am so glad to see they really understood the heart of the book. I think we will save the story of Joan of Arc for later - I don't want to think about them acting that one out!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sometimes, God knocks softly on your door

And other times He whacks you with a 2x4.

Over the past few weeks I have been self-evaluating my progress with my work. No, I did not run out and get a "real" job, I am referring to my work as a stay at home mom. I have a number of responsibilities, and I am fairly successful with most, but my major downfall is housework.

Now, I can give plenty of justifications and excuses as to why this is so - namely my rheumatoid arthritis. But, I am not looking for excuses. Rather, I am trying to change my thinking and habits so that housework will not be such a burden. The truth is, physically, my RA is not so advanced that I cannot accomplish simple housework. My problem is that I let it go until it seems so overwhelming that I just feel discouraged. However, over the last few weeks, I have made great advances. I have dusted, wiped, rearranged, de-cluttered, and vacuumed (I even vacuumed the ceiling to get rid of cobwebs!) Both of the kids' rooms are cleaned and vacuumed. We are all doing a pretty good job of maintenance. Of course, part of the major cleaning of the kids' rooms was laundry. I have loads and loads of laundry yet to do, and more gets added to the pile every day. For me, laundry is my least favorite chore - it is frustrating because it never ends, I will never be caught up, and I will never be done.

This morning, as I was gathering a load to stick in the wash and leering at the ever expanding pile, I was reminded of a quote from St. Josemaria, something about the perseverance of the donkey that turns the waterwheel. I was annoyed because I couldn't remember the full quote, so I grabbed my copy of The Way and found the section on perseverance. The first one my eyes fell upon -" #989 Come, now! After saying so often, "The cross, Lord, the cross," it is obvious you wanted a cross to your own taste." I burst out laughing. Talk about being put in my place!

BTW - I did find the original quote I was looking for - " #998 O blessed perseverance of the donkey that turns the waterwheel! Always the same pace. Always around the same circle. One day after another, everyday the same. Without that, there would be no ripeness in the fruit, nor blossom in the orchard, nor scent of flowers in the garden. Carry this thought to your interior life."

Sunday, April 11, 2010


On Friday, I took the kids for our annual trek out to the Poppy fields in Lancaster. We all had a great time. The weather was beautiful and the view was spectacular. I absolutely love the desert this time of year!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Not our usual Easter celebration

Well, Jason and I certainly had one of the most eventful Holy Weeks yet, and I sincerely hope we never repeat it.

On Monday of Holy Week, Jason went in for his colonoscopy. The doctor removed a few benign polyps and told us everything looked fine. On Wednesday afternoon Jason started having bleeding. He contacted (via email) his doctor who told him that if the bleeding happened again to go in to urgent care. So, Holy Thursday morning, Jason experienced more bleeding and left work to go in to urgent care. He was examined and blood work was done. The doctors decided he was o.k., just experiencing bleeding from the polypectomy. He was told that if he was still experiencing bleeding in two days to go to the emergency room.

Good Friday arrives and Jason is still not feeling well, but he goes to work and we meet at church for the evening service. Late that evening, just before midnight, we decide to head off to bed. I get in bed and Jason gets in the shower. Just as I am drifting off to sleep, I hear a crash in the bathroom. I jump out of bed, calling out to him and getting no response. I open the bathroom door to find him unconscious on the bathroom floor, shower running, blood all over the tub and shower. I tried to rouse him and was unsuccessful. After about 30 seconds, he came around, very confused, and tried to get up. He laid in the bottom of the shower while I called 911.

The fire department and paramedics arrived within minutes. I called a friend's mom to come stay with my kids and off we went in the ambulance to the hospital. We arrived in the ER at 12:45 am. He was finally given a bed in the ER around 1:45 am. I have many comments to make on my disgust with the hospital and health care system here, but I will save that for another post. His blood pressure was really low - 102/56 as opposed to the normal for him - 135/75. They also tested his hemoglobin which was down to 9. Now, for me, a 9 is pretty good. But, on Monday before the colonoscopy, Jason's hemoglobin was over 16. Quite a drop. Also, his potassium was very low. Around 4:30 am we were told that he was being admitted. Just after 6 am, they finally found him a bed upstairs and he was moved to a room. Around 8:30, the gastroenterologist who performed the colonoscopy came in and told Jason they would perform another colonoscopy the next morning.

Holy Saturday was spent in the hospital, with wonderful friends and family coming to visit and sending their well wishes. At 8 am on Easter Sunday, Jason went in for his colonoscopy. The doctor found that two sites where polyps were removed had not healed correctly and were causing all the bleeding. He "clipped" them and told Jason that after eating some lunch he would be free to go home. Of course, we missed all the masses but we had good friends bring us communion.

It was a Holy Week that we will never forget. I certainly have a new understanding of Christ's suffering and the fear and anxiety his disciples must have felt. I also have a new appreciation for sitting up and staying awake for someone when you are purely exhausted. Jason is feeling much better with no ill after effects and I am almost caught up on my sleep. Many thanks to all who offered prayers, helped with kids, and supported us through this most difficult weekend. God bless you all.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Fasting

Darian, in an attempt to educate his siblings, decided that they should all try fasting today. This did not go over very well. The little ones lasted until the first snack time. Sophia lasted longer, but she finally caved.

Sophia : I'm hungry.

Darian : Well, today is Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross. Don't you think Jesus was hungry, too? Don't you think you can wait until dinner? Jesus never got dinner on Good Friday.

Sophia : I think Jesus loves me enough that he wouldn't want me to be hungry.

I love the logic of a six year old!