Friday, July 30, 2010

Two months later ...

After two months I am pleased to report that my Beta HCG levels have now come down to the "normal" level. This past Monday was my sixth and final test!! Here's the summary of everything ...

May 28 (day of the D&C): 200,000+
June 11: around 780 (wow, big drop!!)
June 16 (hoping it'll be close to normal): around 670
July 1 (surely we're there): 114
July 12 (probably the last one): 17
July 19 (now this will surely be the last one): 12
July 26 (*sigh* I'll probably be back): less than 5 (woohoo!!)

As you can see, I kept thinking I was going to be done and I wasn't. By this week I was sure that it would be around 7 or 8 and I'd be back again by the next week. What a surprise (and a relief) to hear it was less than 5!!

I stopped at the cemetery on my way home from work today and the stone had been laid for Brigit's grave. It was sad to stand there and see the two stones there together, Zachary's and Brigit's. I hope there will be no more. Having two of them there is hard enough.

On the bright side, it seems that my body is returning back to normal. Not only are my numbers down but based on my charting things are looking relatively normal. I think the weight I have been losing has helped a lot!! I'm now less than I was before both of the last two pregnancies.

I think I'll go celebrate now with that York Peppermint Pattie in my fridge!!

Awesome Accomplishments

This is formally the "Small Successes" post I started last week. I changed the name because I realized when I went looking for a picture that there is already a "Small Successes" group of Catholic moms in the blogosphere. So as not to steal from them, I've slightly changed the name. But if someone has a more catchy name, please let me know!

My awesome accomplishments for the week:

  1. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work Monday and as I was checking out I bought a York Peppermint Pattie (total weakness!). I'm pleased to say I did not eat it in the car on the way home and it is still sitting in my fridge today (But it may not last the rest of tonight!). The diet has survived!!
  2. I finally finished writing and editing my "Personal Statement" for my promotion file. Thanks so much to everyone who helped by reading it and providing feedback, as well as some editorial comments. The feedback was great and I hope it makes for a very strong statement now.
  3. This one isn't really anything I did exactly, but it is a blessing!! I had my last blood test on Monday afternoon. Yes, the LAST one! My numbers came down below 5, meaning I am done. Definitely a blessing!!

What are your accomplishments or blessings this week??

Friday, July 23, 2010

Small Successes

There are so many difficult things we who have dealt with pregnancy loss have to face. We question why this had to happen to us, to our child. We face friends and family all around us having children. There are baby showers and baptisms and so much more. In my case, and I'm sure it's the case for others as well, there is also the not knowing if you can get pregnant again or how long it's going to be. Will I have to wait a year again? Longer? Will I need to take some sort of fertility medication or should we just pursue adoption and give up on successfully having children of our own. Even if we get pregnant, will the pregnancy last??

Dwelling on all these things can really bring one down!! I have had my fair share of down days because of these thoughts and questions and others like them.

I was reminded recently of a time when I was a lot more carefree--someone referred to me as "bopping" around the office (not at UK, at a previous place of employment). I don't think I really appreciated that time, because I know I had concerns and worries then too. But they were so different then. And in a way, I knew deep down that the things I was concerned with then weren't as big as they seemed.

Is that how, one day far off from now, I'll look back on this time?? Possibly, but it's hard to imagine at the moment.

All these thoughts and questions and things that bring one down forced me to think of a way to undo all that, even if for just a brief moment. And I came up with this post. Now hang on with me here, I know this hasn't exactly sounded like an uplifting post yet. Keep reading ...

I decided today that to help me focus on other, better, things in my life, I would start this weekly post. Yep, I said weekly! I've said it before and it has always fallen by the wayside. So if you are a regular reader of this blog (the 2 or 3 people out there who are??), I need your help if I start slacking off (a comment in any recent post will alert me).

This is what I'll be doing. Each Friday, or maybe Saturday (hey, I need a little leeway, it is the weekend!), I will create a post called Small Successes. The idea is to post about 3 (or more) things that I accomplished or feel was a small success in my life during the week. And I want to hear from others as well. So leave your small successes in the comments, or post your own small successes on your blog and share the link in my comments box. It will be nice to share those small successes and to see what kinds of small things we all do. Sharing these with others may remind us of many more small things we do each week that we forget about or hadn't even considered a success previously. In other words, nothing is too small!

Here are mine for this week:
  1. I actually made it to adoration ON TIME Monday morning! I have to be there at 6am, but also the security system on the door doesn't unlock until 6am. And I got there before the door unlocked!! That is quite an accomplishment for me!
  2. I finished putting together my four "work samples" at work this week and turned them all in. Very glad to have that done!! (This has to do with a promotion I am going up for this fiscal year, it's going to be a lot of work in the next few months so you will may hear about it again.)
  3. I remembered at the last minute to put a card in the mail for my niece's first birthday. I'm usually really good with this sort of thing, but sometimes it slips my mind and I put it in the mail a day late. Just barely got it in one morning before leaving for work! (Not to mention that we have quite a large family, so staying on top of the birthdays for 2 grandmothers, 4 parents, 8 siblings, 5 spouses of siblings, and 10 nieces and nephews--and growing--is a bit of a job! Oh, and anniversaries and Mother's and Father's Day as well.)
  4. One more for good measure: After several unsuccessful attempts, I managed to finally get on a roll writing my "personal statement" (also something associated with this promotion thing). I just needed to find the right path to go down. I actually managed to write almost two pages today after several attempts at a paragraph or two and then deleting all of it. I'm hoping the path I'm on now will be something I still like when I look at it again on Monday morning.

What are your small successes for this week??

If anyone has a suggestion for some sort of picture or clip art that would be appropriate for our "Small Successes" posts, let me know. I'll be looking too but would like suggestions as well.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Saga Continues

I posted last week in "Never Ending Tests" about the several blood tests I have had over the last 6 weeks. On Monday I had my fourth blood test. I had hoped this would be the last one.

The goal is to get my Beta HCG number down to 5. We started at over 200,000 on May 28. By July 1 the number had fallen to 114. So July 12 we tried again.

Thankfully, the blood test itself went well. The person taking it got it on the first try and I have only a very slight bruise. Much better than the last test!! The results came back at 17. The nurse commented that it had come down "significantly." I couldn't help but think that it wasn't significant enough! But at least we are close.

So another blood test is planned for next week. Surely we can drop 12 points in one week!! Thanks for all the prayers! Keep them coming! I'm trying to get to daily mass when I can, I feel the healing of the Eucharist does me a lot of good and I really need it. Lots of healing still needs to happen; this has been a long road of which the blood tests are only a small part. And I have a feeling I'm not at the end of that road yet.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Never-Ending Tests

My tests have not ended yet. I was expecting to be done, but apparently not. Yes, it seems to be never-ending. I was so hopeful that I was through ... and then I called today. Not what I was hoping for, so at least one more blood test is in my future.

Here's the background. My Beta HCG levels (the pregnancy hormone) were basically off the charts on May 28 when I had the D&C. The goal now is to get it down. Thus it has to be checked every so often, through a blood test, to see how it is doing. I had mentioned in a previous post that the Beta HCG increases during the first several weeks of pregnancy and eventually plateaus to somewhere around 60,000-100,000 around week 10-12. Since the pregnancy ended, we want my levels to get to 5 or below.

I had blood taken from me three times on May 28 when I was in the hospital. Three times that I know of; I did come out of surgery with a small bandage on my arm that wasn't there beforehand. So maybe it was four, my doctor couldn't remember when I asked her. My Beta HCG at that time came out to over 200,000. Definitely off the charts.

So on June 11, two weeks later, I had another blood test and my levels had dropped significantly to around 780-something. My next blood test was only 5 days later on June 16 and the results had only gone down about 100 points, it was somewhere around 670 or so.

My doctor decided we should wait two weeks and hopefully we would need only one more test. So I went back on July 1. I called the next day, last Friday, to get the results. After playing phone tag with one of the nurses all afternoon, I left for the three-day, holiday weekend with no answers. So I had to wait. I called again today and learned that unfortunately the result was only 114. Not quite low enough. So I'm going back next Monday for yet another blood test.

The saga continues. I really hope this last test on July 12 will be the end. I think my veins are starting to hide when they see that needle coming. I was stuck in three different places last time before she finally got something. I hope it works better this next time!

Is there a patron saint of blood tests? Anyone know? Or just one for test taking or something along those lines? I could use the extra prayers from someone a bit "higher up!"

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Fourth!!

It's our country's birthday!! Happy Birthday! Happy Fourth of July!! From scanning through Facebook updates today it is pretty evident that everyone is enjoying fireworks, grilling out, parades, a longer weekend, and time spent with family and friends. We've certainly been enjoying much of the same this weekend at our house as well.

Our Saturday started out with a trip to the Farmer's Market where we picked up some fresh tomatoes and zucchini. It was also nice just to walk through the many stalls of produce, cheeses, homemade pasta, and so much more. We passed a cooking demonstration where we got the inspiration to buy the zucchini in the first place.

After the Farmer's Market we walked down the street to downtown to find all the booths and other festivities spread across Main and Short Streets. We located the 1380 Real Life Radio Booth where I registered for a iPad drawing and picked up the new car magnet as shown on the left (and which is now properly displayed on my car).

Saturday night was night one of our three day grilling fest. We started with grilled pizza. This was only our second time making grilled pizza. Had a few issues the first time, but it worked well this time. We made it with the fresh basil we've been growing and the fresh tomatoes we bought that morning at the Farmer's Market. It was quite yummy!!

Today for the actual Fourth our grilling was a little more traditional. Dinner was hamburgers. Nothing exciting. Except ... we grilled up the zucchini we had bought on Saturday. Cut into long flat strips and seasoned with a touch of olive oil and some salt and pepper, then a few minutes on the grill. It was excellent!

But that wasn't all. We also used the grill for dessert tonight. We grilled bananas!! Talk about unique! Hubby cut one banana in half length-wise, keeping the skin on, brushed them each with a little butter/brown sugar mixture, and placed them on the grill face down. They stayed there for just a few minutes. We then cut each half in half and placed the halves in two bowls, two for each of us. Topped it with a little vanilla ice cream, drizzled a bit of raspberry sauce over them (which we already had in the fridge), and then topped it all with the last of the blueberries that hubby picked a week ago. All together we had a perfect July Fourth red, white, and blue dessert. And it was very yummy!! I should have taken a picture to share, but it disappeared before I could. Opps!

Monday is also part of our holiday. We both have the day off, so we're going hiking in the morning. We'll be heading out to Raven Run hopefully around 9:30 or 10:00. Tomorrow night will also be our third and final night of the grilling fest. Just grilling up some chicken and pairing it with a simple salad and the leftover zucchini.

It's been a relaxing weekend full of lots of good food and some good exercise to balance that out. We've been listening to fireworks going off around us, but haven't really gone out to see any. I hope everyone else is having a great holiday weekend. What special things have you done this weekend?? Or what new recipes did you try? Let me know by posting in the comments section. Hubby is always up for grilling new foods!!