Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The holiday season

I love Christmas for so many reasons.  First there is the meaning of Christmas and the celebration of the birth of our Savior.  Then there are all the traditions, festive decorations, family meals, and time spent with extended family.

Over the past few years, I put great effort into establishing traditions with my family.  This includes getting a new pair of PJs the night before Christmas, a new ornament to reflect each child's interests over the past year, adding a tracing of each child's hand to the Christmas tree skirt, and the list goes on.

Well needless to say this year was different.  Some of the traditions still happened, and others did not.  I have to get a new tree skirt and retrace all the handprints minus one onto the new skirt.  I didn't have enough time with the kids to do some of the other events that we have done in the past.  We were able to spend Christmas eve and Christmas morning together, and I am so grateful for that.

But there is such heartache and grief now that they aren't here.  The house is filled with new toys scattered everywhere.  And yet the house is totally silent.  It looks like the kids were just plucked out of the home into thin air.  The drop off today was harder than nearly any other.

How do you hand your kids over to their father and another woman who has just moved into their lives without any regard for me?  How does another woman who has never been a mother before get to claim my children for this great holiday?  It makes my blood boil and my stomach curdle.

And then I remember why today is so important, why I want it to be important to my children, why I teach them what today means as I know they will never get that message at the other house, and I try to relinquish my grief and anger.  I try to be on bended knee before the manger.  And I try to think of Mary giving birth and later watching her Son be laid in the tomb, plucked into thin air.

So on this day I try to remember the reason.  I try to exemplify the qualities I want my children to have. I try to remain hopeful, faithful, and filled with grace.  And I try to think of the unspeakable joy this day brings.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday crafting 2012

I know it has been awhile.  I will write more again someday about adjusting to life as a single mom.

But for now I wanted to share my holiday crafting.  Last year I posted my pinterest related crafting attempts.  There were definitely some hits and some misses.

So I thought I would show what I was able to do this year.  I feel that this year's projects went much better than last year.  And I was able to resurrect one of last year's misses and it was much better this year.

First was the remake of last year's miss.

This year I used green fabric (instead of burlap) that I had on hand and wrapped a single large picture I had hanging on the wall.  I stapled the fabric to the back of the frame (obviously not a super valuable picture so I didn't care about staple holes).  Then I hung the same letters and stapled those to the back of the frame.  I used duct tape again to just hold them in a place a bit better.  And the result was a success!


The second project was an idea I first saw on "The Chew" but saw all over pinterest that same day.  This one involved taking cheap peppermint candies, unwrapping them, and melting them in the oven to make something.  Pinterest pins mainly showed how you can do this to make a serving plate.  But "The Chew" mentioned making ornaments with this technique.  So that's what I did.

Unwrapped a bunch of CVS peppermints.  Heated oven to 350.  Then placed peppermints on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Popped them into the over for 8 minutes.  The peppermints melt together - and voila a serving tray for your holiday cookies.  Or make small little rectangles (10 or so mints), let them cool for a minute or two, then use cookie cutters to make some ornaments.  The key to this project is you have to let the mints cool enough that you can cut/score them.  If you do it too soon, they melt back together.  So I cut them several times over and over as they cooled.  Once cooled enough that i could touch them, I could just break off the extra.  I also used a tooth pick to create a hole.
And here is the finished result!

A sibling and wife recently bought their first house.  I wanted to give a bit of a unique house warming gift.  So I decided on etched wine glasses.  I bought the glasses at Target (just didn't have time that day to make an additional trip to dollar store to buy glasses), got some armour etch from Michaels, and found a font on the computer that I liked.  I downloaded a free font, made a text box in a word document, typed the initial in the text box and blew up to size that I wanted.  And now the reason I did in a text box is so that I could use the "flip vertical" tool.  So now I was left with a backwards letter "V".  I held up a small piece of clear contact paper (still on backing) to the screen and traced the letter onto the backing of the contact paper.

Then cut out the letter/design from the clear contact paper.  Clean the glass surface with isopropyl alcohol.  Peel contact paper off of backing and place on glass surface (design will now be in correct orientation).  Use a popsicle stick to rub contact paper onto glass making sure no air bubbles are on the edges of the design.  Use same popsicle stick to stir etching cream.  Then use stick to gob some over your design.  The stick allowed me to easily make an even coating.

The bottle said to wait 1 minute - but in my trial on a mason jar I didn't think the etch was deep enough.  So I let it sit on the glass for 2 minutes, then washed off with water.  Peeled off the contact paper - and beautifully etched glasses!

Some tips: I used the clear contact paper because it was easy to trace, easy to see where the air bubbles were, and once the goo was on the glass I could look through to the inside surface of the glass to make sure there was cream evenly applied to the cut out area.  I used a small blade exacto knife to cut out the stencil.  I used my cutting mat and a straight edge to make sure I had a very neat cut out.  I used a clear ruler and held the stencil up behind it so the top of the "V" was exactly at 3.5 inches and then stuck it to the glass.  Then they were all placed at the exact same position.
To do non-straight lines you would have to use some sort of guide on the OUTSIDE of the cutout area.  Then if you slipped you cut into the area that is being removed instead of the area you don't want etched.

So that's a quick synapsis of this year's projects.  Not too many.  But I liked how things turned out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I don't do goodbyes

I now officially live full time in a city.  I never thought I was a city girl, but I think I kind of am.  Not crazy Baltimore city, but easy going, easy access, walk to the store kind of city (without being afraid that I'm going to be shot at).  I am adjusting to my quiet, quirky, old house.  Quiet only because the kids aren't here right now.  So weird to have a quiet house hold and the only mess there is (which there is still a ton) is because I haven't cleaned up my own stuff.

And in the process of moving from one town to the city, I told friends that I don't say goodbyes.  I don't.  When I graduated from high school, I knew I was moving over 1000 miles away.  I wasn't super close to more than just a couple of people.  I knew I didn't have to say goodbye to them because they will always be a part of my life.  But other people might get all sentimental and stuff - I just walk away. I knew I wouldn't see those people ever again (well then FB came around and here I am "friends" with people I would never have really considered myself "friends" with in HS - so odd).

And then came college.  I knew I was moving 2000 miles away at graduation.  Again only a couple of people that I knew I would stay in touch with.  So after the ceremony, I just walked home.  Didn't say goodbye to anyone then either.

And the same came true after medical school.  Again knew I was moving 1000 miles away.  Graduated and just walked away from the ceremony.  Hung out with a small group of friends that night.  And walked away.

Then came the recent move.  This time I only moved 90 miles away.  So different.  I still don't do goodbyes.  And this time there is a real chance that I will see some of these people again.  But the truth is - this time I am sad to be leaving some great people.  How do you say goodbye to friends and colleagues that have been with you through SO much??  The nurses who were there the day I started 7 years ago - who showed me the ropes in the NICU - who let me hang out with them when I was on call?  Some of the same nurses who then took care of not one but both of my children when they were born?  The nurses who became my mentors and cheerleaders during fellowship. Who willed me to succeed and be better.  Who thanked me for being different than the others.

And then the few that I shared with what was going on this past spring?  The reason that I looked awful was 1) in part due to the absolute chaos going on in the unit 2) dealing with the death of 4 babies in one week - an extremely rare event 3) but then the few that knew not only was it all of that it was because my "life" had just crumbled.  Thankfully reasons 1 and 2 were enough for most people to not question my total change in attitude and usually upbeat self.

Gosh thinking about it brings a sting to my eyes.  Those days when a nurse would come to my office and just be there while I cried. Others that would know that I just needed to not be bothered for a few moments and would direct the residents elsewhere so I could.just.breathe.

How do you say goodbye to those people (and so many others that helped me rally and were there when I needed them)?  Well if you are me - you don't.  I simply said thank you. And the beauty of it all - I won't be 1000 miles away.

So again "thank you"- which doesn't even come close to what some of you reading this deserve. I am excited about the future, but this time I really am sad that it means I had to not say goodbye.

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Beginnings

Well if you asked me where I was going to be 6 months ago, this is certainly not the spot I would have picked. 
As I have eluded to in prior entries, the last year or so has been rough for so many reasons. From being burnt out of work and training and never having true control over my schedule, to having dealt with a baby who had some major problems that impacted our family's quality of life (granted nothing life threatening and I know I work with families that deal with so much more), and my own health problems.  There has been quite a bit on my plate, and I so wanted to be the person that could do it all.  But in the end, it wasn't possible.  Too many sacrifices over the years led to me becoming a shell of the person I was and wanted to be.  And the sad part, I didn't even realize the full extent of that issue until now.

So here I am. In a position I had never dreamed of, but realizing how good it will be.

As for going through a divorce (I put this out there only because few people talk about it openly and I am pretty much an open book) - well it is so emotionally tough.  My beliefs in God and marriage were such that I didn't believe in divorce.  That was never an option.  There was the part of me that over the years so wanted it to be an option. So when it became the fact, I was relieved.  The heartache you experience going through a divorce is gut wrenching, even though you know that life will be better after all.  Trying to separate your life of 10 years from someone else is rough.  It's like ripping a part two super pieces of velcro.  There are so many little hook and loops that are intertwined, and they just keep snagging on each other.

Over the past few weeks, those last little hook and loops are just about fully apart.  The reality of it all has set in.  But I am finding myself again.  There are so many little parts of myself that I had just kind of tucked away in order to accommodate someone else (or make it easier to be with someone else) that I am now finding again.  Two people do this in a relationship - I know my ex did the same thing.  But at the time, neither of us could see how much of ourselves had been tucked away.  And giving these parts of me room to breathe again, it is amazing.  I feel so much more alive and aware than I have in a long time.  I am happy and exuberant (most days- there are still some struggles).  I love my new little quirky old house.  It is so me. 

And the kids are adjusting.  The little man has no idea what has happened.  He misses the other parent when they aren't around.  But he is laid back and just so fun to watch.  Not too much bothers him (other than some super killer 2 year old molars that have made their way in).  Then the munchkin.  Well I don't know how much is being a 4.5 year old girl vs the life changing events.  She has moments of total discontrol.  These seem to happen after a parent exchange.  Then she settles in.  She still doesn't know exactly what has happened, but just that she now has 2 houses to live at.  We have lots of snuggle time, but I would say that her behavior has probably been one of the most trying parts of the whole process.

And throughout this process, I have had some amazing friends and family who have become such a great support network.  There are those that have been there over the last decade, and those that have come in to be silent ralliers.  I still have my faith and beliefs that marriages can work, that I am not a failure in God's eyes because my marriage ended, and that the future is still completely untold.

And with that- here is to new beginnings!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The ring

When I was young, all I wanted was a bright, shiny ring.
I prayed for the day when a ring would come.
In the midst of chaos and stress, a ring came for me.
Not the way that I wanted one to come, but I thought that was ok.
I had a bright, sparkly ring.

I never took the ring off.
I got it polished and cleaned almost weekly.
So much so that I was warned the ring might become too thin.
But I loved that ring.

The ring survived deep trials and tribulations.
The ring survived the birth of two amazing children.
When I took the ring off, I felt bare and that something was missing.
The second I could put the ring on again, I would.
I absently twisted the missing space on my finger.

But years went by.
I polished and cleaned the ring less.
Every once in awhile I would remember to clean it myself, but it never went back to the jeweler.
Didn't make time to get it cleaned.
And then there were times I took the ring off and I would forget to put it back on.
I didn't immediately seek it out when I got home again.
I didn't realize something was missing.

The bright and sparkly ring no longer seemed so bright and sparkly.

And then there was a day when the ring came off.
I thought it would go back on again.
But that day never came.
Suddenly it had found a permanent place in a little box on the shelf.
I had no idea that the day I took it off that it would never go back on again.

So here am I, without a ring.
I have learned some lessons along the way.
I have learned that you need to keep polishing and shining that ring.
Not all rings are the same.
And one ring does not fit all.

So take your time.
Wait for the right ring.

Dirt will get in the prongs.
The band will get scratches.
But don't neglect the ring.
Not all the dirt or scratches will come out.
But despite the flaws, the ring can still shine and sparkle.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Just breathe.

What a month it has been.  I have to remind myself to breathe.  Just breathe.
There are times when I forget that I can do this.  That it won't be too painful. Just breathe.

Those of you who know me probably have realized that I am one of those way too uptight people.  Type A to the max.  This is not always a good thing.  Yes it makes me strong.  But sometimes it gets in the way.  Just breathe.

For nearly all of my life I have been too uptight.  When you pick out your career at age 17 and set forward everything that has to happen to achieve that goal, it probably doesn't help you to live in the moment.  The goal is so far away that you feel if you blink you might lose the way.  So therefore you have to be uptight.

Well at least that is how I approached the goal.  It takes incredible effort for me to relax and enjoy and live in the moment.  Some people are good at bringing that out of me.  But it isn't easy.

When I was in my senior year of college, I began the medical school application process.  My dad died quite suddenly of a heart attack right after I sent my applications in.  I remember him reading to me over the phone the list of medical schools I had applied to.  He wanted to make sure he knew where all the places were.  I believe that was one of my last conversations with him.

After that I decided to delay medical school for a year.  I moved across the country for a guy for a job.  I found myself relaxing.  I had no agenda that needed to be completed in the next year (well other than reapplying for medical school).  It took me a few months, but I relaxed.  I went to work everyday at NIH, I worked as a barista on the side, and then I learned how to have fun in the in-between.

It was an amazing time.  However as the following summer approached, I felt the tension starting to creep back in to my life.  Medical school was rapidly approaching.  I stayed cool for most of the first year.  Some of the second year.  And then third year rotations kicked in and the fun was kicked out of me.

That was 10 years ago.

Not to say that I haven't had fun in 10 years, but I haven't been able to relax in to it like I used to.  I have had moments, but not the months on end where I had found a balance.  Where I could just breathe.

So I am working on that again. The light at the end of the tunnel for my training is approaching.  I am finally reaching the surface of this massive wave I have been under. I have to relearn how to find my balance.

And most of all, I have to relearn how to just breathe.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Black clouds and burn out.

It has been awhile.  Some of you are letting me know that.  (So that means there are people reading this!)
But yes it has been awhile.

I'm burnt out.  I am so close to FINALLY being done.  I can see the end.  I can almost truly envision what it will be like to be done.  I have never run a marathon (oh the days of being an athlete) but maybe this is what those people feel at about mile marker 20.

I feel like I am moving in slow motion towards the finish - that I am stuck in some goo and have to work that much harder to reach the end.

And that is exhausting.

In medicine, we have this idea of being a "black cloud" or "white cloud".  This refers to that resident's luck while on call.  I was always a "black cloud" which meant that when I was on call, I would always have a bad night.  Either I would get a ton of admissions or I would have incredibly sick patients.  It was kind of a good thing as a resident because I saw a ton and got to experience lots of different things.

Fellowship has been a bit of hit and miss.  Which is good.  But this last month I was back at the labor and delivery hospital (2 hospitals here, babies born at one and NICU at the other.  Yep.  Not good.  Take it up with the man.)  Well let's just say that the L&D service and me were always a bad match during residency.  When I was over there last month, I saw another physician who was on the rotation with me as a resident.  He relayed the following story. "I remember walking in one day and having a L&D nurse ask me if I was on call that day.  I was all excited thinking I was going to get to do some stuff.  I told her I was on and she said good.  Thank goodness it isn't Fuzzy Granola Mom again."  He was so bummed, because indeed his nights would be quiet and mine would be awful.

Well with all of that being said, this was my first return to spending a month in L&D.  My little black cloud found me.  It was crazy.  I was also on home call, which means my pager stayed on 24 hours a day, 4 days a week.  The idea was that I would probably get called in 1x/week.  Not so.  Many more than that.  And many nights where I never even got home until 7-8 only to go back in by 10.  Yep.  Exhausting.

And instead of going back to my so nicely paced (I'm in control of my schedule) research month, I went straight to the NICU.  And these last 2 days have also just been crazy.

So I am burnt out.  I have short timers disease.  I am rarely coherent.  And I can't wait for my little black cloud to find some other person to rain on.  And in just a few short months, instead of doing this crazy schedule for months on end, I will have 1-2 weeks followed by many weeks of research.

Ahh... to be in control again.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The things my kids say...

Whenever I tell stories about my kids, everyone says I have to write these things down.  So here are a few or so things that just crack me up.

When we told Munchkin she was going to have a baby brother, she was a wee bit upset.   And by wee I mean Wee bit.  She really wanted a baby sister.  So for the next 4 months, we heard on a daily basis how mad she was about having a baby brother.
"He's going to live at the circus.  He's NOT going to live with us."
"I'm going to trade him for cousin Addie."
She then developed several imaginary sisters.  Tutti, Lolli, and one other that we heard about.  They live in the blue house.  She still talks about them.  One has since gotten married and now she's called something else (got that from when her teacher at school got married and changed her name).  But now they all live in Virginia (because we are officially moving to Richmond, VA this summer!).  And they like Virginia because they don't have to wear snow pants, boots, mittens, or hats.

She also kicked me quite purposefully and quite hard in the throat one night telling me how mad she was that I was going to have a baby boy.
But then the Tank was born, and she was happy.  Thankfully.

Sisterly love.

Today she told me (yes 2 years later she is still at it) that we were going to have another baby - a sister - that is going to be named Rainbow Unicorn.

When I was BF/pumping with the Tank, she asked me when she was going to get big "belly buttons" and have milk.  After the above discussion about Rainbow Unicorn, she asked when she was going to have a baby.  My reply was when she was old, old, old.  She said, "Yep. I am going to be a mommy and then have a baby.  And I am going to have big belly buttons."

And then at dinner, she had to relay the whole conversation to the husband.  And she promptly pulled up her shirt, "And these little pink things are going to be big belly buttons when I am a mommy."

Yep.  That's my girl.

And to be fair - a few words from the Tank.  Well he was severely deaf (65 db) hearing loss until he was 15 months old.  So he sounds like a deaf person talking.  Well - a deaf toddler.  We are finely getting some words - or sounds - that have meaning.

"nana" - nookie/pacifier.  He doesn't get it at school, but it is in his cubby because he has it in the car and then we can trade off drop off/pick up.  You walk in the door and he starts yelling "nana" and runs to his cubby waiting for it.
"mi" - milk
"Hi" - perfectly clear - heard that last week and had to look around to see it.  So cute to finally hear a real word pronounced perfectly from the little man.
"Rea-gy" - Reagan.  Just heard that tonight.
"Ni nigh" Night-night.  Just heard that tonight too.
"Beeee"  Bean.  The kid loves beans and lentils.  These days it is all lentils but he calls them beans.
"Bow" ball.  There is the history of being hard of hearing.  This was actually his first word.

And because he takes after me and my food preferences.
"Chuc chuc"  Chocolate.  The kid would eat it all day.  He asks for it as soon as he gets up in the morning and as soon as we get home.  He goes and stands below the cabinet that has it and just starts signing "More.  Please.  More. Please"  While yelling "chuc chuc".  I almost have to give it to him because it is so darn cute.  And for those of you who don't know what "please" is in ASL - it is rubbing a circle on your chest.  But when the Tank really wants something - he pounds his chest - aka baboon style.  So cute.
Did I mention he is 125% for height and 50% for weight.  He hasn't gained weight in 4 months.  So maybe not so much a "Tank" anymore.

And that's what I have for you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

To be a better doctor

I am so close to the end, I think I can taste it. 7 years of training since medical school. I have a contract from one place and will have another in the next week or so.  Then it is decision time.  I get to choose for once.  Not a computer.

(If you don't know the system that tells medical students and fellows where they go for training, it is a computer program.  Trainees rank where they want to go, and institutions rank who they want.  Then some program tries to create the best match.  And you get an email telling you were you go. And then there are the years that the program malfunctions - like my final year of medical school.  Urology has an earlier match, and the program messed up.  The match had to be redone.  Talk about devastating a lot of people - they think they got their 1st choice and then they didn't.)

So yes, I get a loud say in where we go.  We haven't decided yet.  But I can tell you it will not be where I am currently.

Every time a medical person nears the end of a training period, there is usually a freak out period.  You realize how under prepared you are to take the next step.  But you are not really under prepared.  Again it has been 7 years in my case.  But now all those decisions are finitely mine (well not really all).  A bit overwhelming.

And here is where you all help me.  I have had a long standing goal of asking families that were in the NICU, what can we do better.  Yes there are surveys and this and that with information that tells us how we can be better.  But I mean, how can I be better a doctor.  Better than what you have experienced.  Better at informing you of what is going on.  Better at telling you bad things.  Better at telling you good things.  Better at preparing you for life beyond the NICU.  I may have never taken care of your baby, or maybe I have.  Maybe there are things that other doctors did great.  Maybe there are things that other doctors didn't do so great.

We do this all for you and your family.  And in the end, I want to know that I gave it my all.  That I listened when needed.  That I spoke when needed.  That I cried when needed.  That I pushed on chests, placed lines/ needles/ tubes when needed.  That I recommended dangerous surgeries/procedures when needed.  And the rare times when the only thing I had to offer was for you to hold your child during the last breaths of life.

So please help me.  Tell me what makes a great doctor in your mind.  I would love for you to post directly on this blog so I can keep them all in one place (instead of FB).  I have made it so all comments have to be reviewed by me before being posted so that you can be honest and real.  Tell me if you want the comment published or not.  Either way, I still get to see your thoughts (you can leave them anonymously).

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Becoming the patient...Part 4: I survived

What a week it has been.  The events of last week seem SO long ago.  After my last post, I had to run in for a cardiac echo (ultrasound of the heart) to make sure things looked ok - just a routine check before the ablation.  Most of the time, during an echo your back is to the machine so you can't actually see the pictures.  This time, I had my only little monitor so I could watch the whole thing.  While I am far from an expert, I have watched enough echoes on babies so that I can actually tell a bit of what is going on.

As I mentioned, nothing ever tends to be "normal" with me.  It has become quite a joke.  Well the echo was par for the course.  I could easily see that my mitral valve wasn't working the best - this was known before but I could definitely see the problem.  After the tech finished, they go review it with the physician.  If the physician has questions, usually they will come in and do part of the echo.  Well a different tech came back and said she needed to do some more.  A bit odd.  I noticed how she instantly honed in on my mitral valve- no surprise.  But then she spent way more time zoomed all the way in on my aortic valve.  I couldn't see anything wrong with it, so I was a bit freaked out on why she spent quite a bit of time on it.

And many hours later, I still hadn't heard anything about the results.  So I made some frantic phone calls as it was nearing 5pm.  I got ahold of the cardiologist that I had seen, and he told me there was some stranding of my valve and there was concern that there was a tumor in my aortic valve.  I would need a transesophageal echo in the morning (they put the ultrasound probe down your throat while you are semi-asleep so they can look at the underside of your heart closer). Not my idea of fun.  And then the panic set in.  This was an "incidental finding" as has been every other organ system that has something wrong in me (which is nearly every organ).  Not good for psyche.  I panicked.  I cried.  I definitely wasn't anxious about the ablation cause now I was worried they would need to do open heart surgery.  So maybe that was a blessing.

I made some phone calls to my pediatric cardiology friends and told them what was going on.  I got a bit of reassurance.  I still didn't sleep.  I got up at the crack of dawn, and the husband and I made our way to the hospital at 5:15 am.  And then we promptly waited. And waited. And waited.  The echo happened around 8:30.  I got put to sleep, then woken up by 10. And then we waited. And waited.  And finally at 2:30 pm they took me for the ablation.  So glad we got there at 5:30 am. I actually could have eaten breakfast.  But no -no food or drink in 15 hours by this point.  Have you ever seen me when I get hungry? Yeah -I turn into a bear.  At times I become a bit delirious.  I may or may not have tried to rip IVs out in the past when this has happened.

Then I met the nicest nurse anesthetist.  Seriously bless her heart.  She gave me a ton of fluid and then asked if I had a caffeine headache (again have you seen me without caffeine) "YES I want my coffee". "Ok - here it is" and she gave me caffeine in my IV.  Ahhh... We use this on the babies all the time to make them remember to breathe.  But let me tell you - the IV form was worth whatever the cost was.  Headache instantly went away.  Then I got knocked out by the magic drugs.  I was supposed to be awake for most of the procedure.  But guess what - my heart was "more than compliant" and put on quite a show even with me knocked out.  The next thing I knew I was being told it was all over.  That they fixed my heart.  It was a success.  And the time - 10pm!  Dang that was a long day.

Oh yeah - and there was no tumor.  Something isn't normal with the valve and it is leaking a bit.  But for now, it will just be watched every year.  And my heart is pleasantly ticking away at 60 beats per minute (or less).  I don't feel my heart beating anymore (ok never knew that most people don't actually feel their heart constantly beating).  But with all the worry, fear, and anxiety - I am pretty darn pleased with the results.

Turns out the third time really was the trick.

And they found 2 different areas that were messing up my heart (left atrial tach around the mitral valve and right sided AVNRT for my geeky friends).  I asked if they ever see that. "Um...Rarely...No not really ever".  Yep. Go figure.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Becoming the patient...Part 3

Aghh.  This am was the cardiology follow up from this recent bit of heart mishap (part 1 and part 2).  I had been on some meds when I left the hospital.  I have previously been on the one med and tolerated it fairly well.  Not this time.  I am not a compliant patient.  I stopped the heart med after a few weeks.   And I didn't call my doctor to tell him.  But really - I do listen to my doctors.  sometimes

Today went ok.  My doctor completely agreed that I wasn't tolerating the med and shouldn't be on it.  He also said I have pretty severe arrhythmia and we should do something about it.  Not that I would die from the rhythm, but it will certainly (and it has) limited me in some ways.  So as we had suspected while in the hospital, the recommendation is to back into the electrophysiology lab (EP lab) and try to map out my heart.  Again (maybe the 3rd time is a charm?)  And hopefully be able to burn the parts that are causing a problem.  I told him I wasn't willing to accept a pacemaker as an option.  I would rather live with it than depend on a battery-for the rest of my life.  He agreed with that.

I am a bit freaked out.  He left the room to look for dates.  The husband was with me and I was trying not to panic.  The doctor returned.  So calmly sat down and said "how about tomorrow?".  What.  YIKES.  Guess I can't panic for too long.  And when I panic, my heart does something like this:

Not good
So it is probably best that I don't panic for too long.

And that is it.  Bunch of blood work done.  Have to go in for an echo in a little bit.  Then show up at 5:30 tomorrow morning.  I will come home if they can't burn anything.  And if they burn something, then I spend the night in the hospital.  Assuming all goes as planned.  Which, if you know me, is about as likely as me winning the lottery.  So again - trying not to panic.

I will give lots of kisses to my babies tonight.  I will try not shed tears.  I will try and hold it together.  I will try and sleep.  I will try to relax.  I will try to keep my heart in a normal sinus rhythm.  And I will pray endless prayers that I get to see my babies faces tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

DIY: Christmas Pinterest Projects

All right, the blogging hiatus is over.  Time around the holidays always flies.  Doesn't help when you have to spend a few days in the hospital.  Or run kids to various appointments, tests, surgery.  But we all survived.

And now it is show my attempts at completing some Pinterest projects.  That might become my new focus of this blog.  You know you see all these great ideas on Pinterest.  And you pin them to your various boards.  But then do you ever find time to do them?  And how hard are they?  Do they actually turn out as nice as you hoped?

Well I tried 4 different projects.  Some turned out better than others.  So in no particular order - here are the projects.

1. Clothes pin wreath for Christmas cards from craftinessisnotoptional
I followed the directions posted on the link.  I painted the pins red instead of green because I already had the spray paint.  I have to admit- this project was kind of a pain.  You really do need to use a hanger to have heavy enough of metal to hold everything and keep the shape.  The beads barely fit on the wire.  Hard to get a perfectly round wreath.  And once you actually put all the cards on the wreath, I thought it looked sloppy.  I think next year I will take the wreath apart and just have a long straight line that I will hang from nails.

Here is my complete version.  Not as nice as I had hoped.

2. Spray painted letters hanging over a picture as inspired by this thriftydecorchick

This was definitely not a hard project.  I bought the letters from a craft store and again spray painted red.  I stapled ribbon to the backs.  I had three pictures hanging over our mantle.  I decided to cover them in green burlap, which proved to be a bit difficult.  It was hard to get them to stay wrapped - turns out duct tape and electrical tape worked pretty well.  But the weight of the letters were hold to hold up.  I didn't put the tacks in them like the above blogger did.  Tried duct tape, but only the "Y" would stay up.  I liked the result, and will have to find a better way for them to stay next year.  Also, our pictures our larger than the inspiration and so the letters were spaced apart quite a bit, on the verge of being too far.

 3. Advent calendar as inspired by simple mom

This was very easy to do and my favorite end result.  I found the same scrapbook paper at JoAnns.  It was in a large scrap paper pad, so I had to buy the whole thing and I am not a scrapper.  So now I have lots of paper.  Oh well.  But I bought the same book marks and did exactly as the blog said.  Except cut strips of paper to cover up the clothes pins.  I had a framed picture in the kitchen that I covered in wrapping paper and then hung the advent calendar ribbons from.  The kids loved it.  Definitely a keeper.

4. Covered foam wreath for door as inspired by vintageindie

I decided not to do yarn because I had read it took forever.  So I used wider ribbon.  And I found these silver snow flakes at Joanns.  Not sure if I like the result.  I wish I could find a fatter wreath foam to use.  And then maybe change out the silver snowflakes, or add some other sized ones.  It was a simple enough project (1 spool of ribbon I believe).  Just wasn't exactly what I had hoped for.

And there you have it.  I have tried a few other pinterest projects, and will post about them in the future.  If you have any projects that you want to try but are afraid that they will either be too hard or not turn out right, let me know and maybe I will give them a whirl.