Parenting

Sorry, not sorry.

At the beginning of next school year, I’m going to implement an optional monthly mental health day for each of my children.

A day to recharge, rest, or catch up if they need it.

This will be a day that they can choose, and I will not question.  The same theory as when a child calls and needs a ride home because no one is sober, you pick them up, no questions asked.

A mental heath day in my opinion is about safety, just as is the call to pick them up, no questions asked.  It’s about promoting safety from stress, anxiety, and possible depression that can come from today’s school expectations.

I understand the other side of the  coin is schools not getting their ADA money on a day that I allow my kids to check out for a mental health day.  I’m sorry about that.  But I’m really not.  My kids give it their all, they put up amazing grade point averages.  I got straight A’s on one report card in 5th grade.  I don’t know where these three kids of mine came from, but they have a drive to succeed in school, and the numbers to back up allowing them to take one day a month if they need it.

I’ve read many articles recently about the anxiety and stress that school and homework can cause.  To be very clear, I fully support my kids teachers.  They have been amazing components in my children’s growth.  In no way are my feelings of frustration over the stress that school can induce directed at them.  I personally feel that the standards that are expected, and the workloads that come home are unrealistic and squeeze out many opportunities to live life outside of school.

So, in order to promote peace of mind in my children, I will give them a day in their back pocket to use if they are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or just plain exhausted.

If one day can help to create a calm effect and a sense of support, I’m all in.

Too soon T-Mobile fees lice ad, too soon!

This commercial came on the other night, and the whole family cringed:

 

It isn’t a coincidence that lice is a 4 letter word. ¬†It is the worst non life threatening thing ever!

Please feel free to laugh at my full lice account from March of 2015:

Lice is Evil

I am one step up from jammie bottoms.

I was so excited tonight that I’m cold enough to wear warm jammies! Jammies are one of my favorite things! Made me think of this post from a while back…
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You can't argue with crazy

About a year ago, I was walking my kids into school and I heard shuffling/scraping of feet. ¬†One of my least favorite sounds in the world. ¬†I must tell my middle child to ‚Äėpick up your feet‚Äô at least 4 times a week. ¬†As I looked to see who the culprit was, my eyes discovered it was a parent, shuffling her slippers across the sidewalk, her slippers accompanied by her jammies and jacket. ¬†OH COME ON!!!!!!

I love jammies.  My family knows that, friends know that.  If I have nowhere to be, I’m wearing jammies, into the home office to do work, around the house to cook, clean and do laundry.  I loved when the kids were little and they didn’t have schedules yet, we would have jammie days all the time!  The warmer the jammies, the better.  Over the years, my kids have gotten me Spongebob jammies, Eeyore jammies…

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I am winning my migraine battle. No, for real, I am!

I have had one migraine in the past year.

Let me repeat that.

I have had ONE migraine in the past year.

If I would have written this yesterday, the number would have been two.  So, I was patiently waiting out yesterday, so I could say those awesome words of one migraine in the past year.

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I had one on September 7, 2015, following a fun, partying weekend which I believe the migraine was the payment for the fun.  See here.

And I had one on Cinco de Mayo of this year.  See here.

I have no special secret sauce, no explanation for this.

In terms of typical migraine triggers, I’ve had above my fair share. ¬†My stress level for a large portion of 2016 reached levels that I don’t believe I’ve seen before. ¬†That resulted in lack of sleep, lots of wine, chocolate, and definitely not eating as healthy as I have in past years, yet a decrease in migraines.

So, what’s working for me? ¬†The constant continues to be my daily anti-migraine smoothies, Butterbur with feverfew, and B-2. ¬†Same as the year prior where I had 9, and the year before that was my most migraines logged at 23. ¬†The year of 23 resulted in having multiple migraines¬†per week. ¬†Each of my migraines last from start to finish: three days. ¬†So, you can see why having one in the past year, that’s pretty freaking awesome.

Maybe I’ve grown out of them. ¬†Maybe the lovely hormones that have come with me in my mid 40’s have assisted with keeping my migraines at bay. ¬†If so, I’m hoping those same hormones aren’t resting me up for some huge whopper of new crap in the future. Trying not to let myself get too anxious with that¬†though.

My second birthday of my little blog here just passed yesterday. ¬†It’s definitely become somewhere that when I’m not writing about migraines, I’m expressing everything from my love of my cat litter box, to challenges with my kids, Pokemon GO, and a plethora of other stuff that no longer takes space up in my head once I write about it and click “post.”

Thanks for all the support I’ve been given over these past years! ¬†I’ve loved it, and I really appreciate when some of my words strike a chord and relate with others! ¬†Hope I’ve even gotten you to laugh a time or two! ūüôā

Over the past two years, I’ve written 127 posts, and as a combination, those posts have been viewed 7,764 times. ¬†That’s wild man.

Here are the top five posts viewed over the past two years:

  1. Thoughts on my 17th wedding anniversary…
  2. My husband is my best friend…NOT
  3. 3 tough questions my kids asked me over the weekend.
  4. Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb.
  5. Atta-Boy Migraine!!!

And the one that started it all:

‚ÄėWinning‚Äô (Charlie Sheen reference of course) the endless game of migraines (for this quarter at least)

One migraine in the past year.  I am definitely winning!

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Pop tarts to the rescue again.

Went to Target this morning, and while checking out, started explaining my purchases to the cashier.

“I never would have thought I’d be buying Pop tarts for my kids’ before school breakfasts! ¬†But if it helps them to get up for these last three weeks¬†of school, I’m in.”

The cashier went on to tell me she gets up early to make eggs and home made stuff for her kids each morning. ¬†That’s nice. ¬†It really is. ¬†Thankfully, she told me her kids are 5 and under. ¬†I made a mental note to check in with her in 10 years and see if the egg thing was still working out for her. ¬†If it is, I’ll allow myself to feel like a loser mom then, not now. ¬†I’m in survival mode.

No one wants to get up for school anymore. ¬†They’ve been doing it for just. too. long. ¬†I’ve heard so many arguments such as “They (teachers) want us to get our sleep, so why do we have to get up so early?” ¬†We even get to the point of “Why do we even need school,” as they walk past me in zombie like fashion.

So, in comes Pop tarts. ¬†If these morsels of sugar can assist in my lovely children getting out of bed without me putting on a one person circus, I’m in.

Deal is, out of bed by specified time, you get Pop tarts for breakfast before school.

I wrote about this epic parenting technique last year, you can find it here:

Pop tarts for the win!

Hoping for a peaceful last three weeks of school, and minimal health damage!

Don’t judge. Whatever works man. ‚Ä™#‚Äépoptarts‚Ĩ

Take the Butterbur.

I’m on day 155 of no migraines.

Yesterday, my son just had his second migraine in 19 days.

I’d trade places with him in a heartbeat.

No almost 16 year old should have to deal with this shit.

Hey, look at what you got from mom! ¬†Migraines! ¬†Happy birthday, oh no, wait, that screws up birthdays and events. ¬†My bad. ¬†Sorry man, I wish you didn’t get that part of me passed down to you.

Thankfully, it didn’t seem as heavy as the last one. ¬†He had the kaleidoscope eyes last night, and a migraine hangover today, but not as bad as the last one. ¬†I am thankful for that.

I had him take one of my Butterbur supplements this morning. ¬†He was not too willing, telling me he didn’t want to take my ‘weird stuff.’ ¬†Good Lord child, I’m not drugging you up, take the Butterbur.

My good friend asked if he’d drink my anti-migraine green smoothie. ¬†I laughed and said no way. ¬†She asked ‘even if it would help him?’ Nope. ¬†It’s referred to as green algae by him and his sisters.

Going to go with Butterbur in the mornings, and maybe some B-2 at night, part of my anti-migraine potion.  I hope that makes the difference he needs for these to not rear their ugly head any more.

Migraines just reached a new level of suck.

I’m on day 135 migraine free, which is awesome.

What’s not awesome? ¬†I watched one of my kids get a migraine tonight.

“Mom, I think I’m getting a migraine. ¬†I have spots all over my eyes, and I feel dizzy.” ¬†About 1/2 hour later, killer headache.

This sucks worse than when I get one.

It’s happened about twice over the last 8 years or so that one of my kids has gotten a migraine. ¬†Good odds actually. ¬†But really? ¬†Why is that something that I need to pass down? ¬†Hey, here ya go kid, a big batch of crap, with the name migraine, all for you!

Ironically, I’m happy that I do know what a migraine is and how disabling one can be sometimes. ¬†I’m happy that if tomorrow is a day that my kid tells me they need to stay home because their head is killing them, that I can totally understand and not second guess them.

I hope that migraines do not become a regular occurrence with my kids.  I hope that if they do get one though, that their teachers and coaches can somehow understand that this is not a made up thing to get out of a responsibility, yet a temporary, painful pause button on life as you want it.

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“Your son is going to require major ear surgery.”

Being a parent of my kids has made me very good at holding my breath.

My son has his third major ear surgery on the horizon.  A tympanomastoidectomy to be exact.  

Last year I wrote about how my Littlest was sick.   I wish my oldest just had a fever and a cough which is something that I know that will go away within a few days.

Anxiety has the ability to make me feel preoccupied with a looming feeling of restlessness, among other things. ¬†Real worry, the kind where you know exactly what is at stake, it’s exhausting. ¬†It’s not productive, but it can take over. ¬†Worrying about my kids is like going ‘all in’ during a card game, it takes all you have, and you hold on to the hope that all will be ok.

The summer before his 7th grade year, my son¬†had a string of ear infections. ¬†This is very much the ‘norm’ for him.

His first ear infection was at 6 months old. ¬†While on antibiotics, he woke up one morning, and his left side of his face was drooping. ¬†We took him into the ENT specialist, where the doctor stated that there may be a tumor, and referred us to get a CT scan done of my baby’s head. ¬†I had to excuse myself from the doctor’s office while he was talking because I started crying from worry. ¬†The CT scan came out all clear thank God. ¬†My son’s ear infection never went away though, and he had his first ear tube surgery at 9 months. ¬†Over the years he had two more sets of ear tubes, as well as his adenoids taken out. ¬†He’s always had ear problems, so when he continued with ear infections into his 12th year, we were not overly concerned. ¬†My husband took my son in to our pediatrician at the end of the summer before his 7th grade year for yet another exam for his ear, and I asked him to see what the doctor thought about us going back to see the ENT since there had been so many infections recently. ¬†At their visit, she did not seem concerned, and said ‘sure’ in regards to going back to have him examined by the ENT specialist.

We hadn’t been to his ENT for years. ¬†Back at this office though, we were in the exam room, my son, both daughters, and I, backpacks stretched out over the room with homework started. ¬†I was prepared to be told that he needed ear tubes again. ¬†More of an inconvenient pain, but not horrible.

The doctor looked into my son’s right ear with his equipment, and quickly met my eyes afterward and said “I am 99% certain of what this is, and if I am correct, he is going to require major ear surgery.” ¬†I think I will always remember those exact words. ¬†Major? ¬†Not just ear surgery? ¬†You throw major on there, whole new ball game. ¬†My son had what is called a cholesteatoma growing in his ear. ¬†It was explained to me that this was a non-cancerous tumor of sorts. ¬†It is made of the same materials such as our fingernails or skin are. ¬†It’s caused by excessive and repeated ear infections. ¬†If not treated, it can be spread into the cavities of the brain, which is seen in children that have come from third world countries that had not had medical attention for this problem. ¬†The only way to treat cholesteotoma is to physically remove it. ¬†There was no way to know how intrusive it was, or how much it has spread until you have opened up the ear during surgery to investigate. ¬†Our son’s ENT doctor who had worked to put tubes in his ear as an infant, and during his elementary years, was now going to perform major ear surgery 12 years later.

Fast forward to his first surgery, January, 2013. ¬†Our son’s doctor came to us in the waiting room, explained that the cholesteotoma had been ‘EVERYWHERE‘. ¬†It had encased my son’s inner ear bones, and therefore all bones had to be removed. ¬†It had spread into crevices, where the doctor had to reach and clean out. ¬†He had to repair and ‘make’ a new ear drum for my son. ¬†When I step back and take away the emotions involved, it amazes me that this all can be discovered and done. ¬†I am so thankful. ¬†The official terminology for what my son had done during surgery is a tympanomastoidectomy. ¬†He explained that with this surgery, there is a possibility that my son could experience vertigo for a short duration, or chronically. ¬†He then explained that his eyes were not showing signs of this, and that he seemed to be doing very well in recovery.

When we got to see my son, he had what the doctor likened to a turban on his head.  A huge hard bowl shaped protective shield covering his ear, and gauze wrapped around his head to hold it into place.  Poor guy was miserable, in pain, sick from the meds.  But he was awake, and he was ok.  So thankful.

 

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At home recovering with his cat right next to him.

At our first follow up a few days later, the doctor was happy to see that my son was not experiencing any signs of vertigo, and that he had a small amount of hearing (5%) in his right ear.  He went on to explain that hopefully he got all of the cholesteotoma, and if so, that we can look towards rebuilding his ear with prosthetic inner ear bones in about a year.  He explained that cholesteotoma is like crab grass, even if a little bit was left behind, it can grow back and spread.  He said the crevices in the inner ear are endless, and that he hoped he had gotten it all, and was really happy with the results.

Our remaining follow ups were great, after two months, he could return to sports, eventually he was able to return to swimming and all restrictions were erased.

I believe it was about 9 months after his surgery where at his follow up it was determined that the cholesteotoma was back. ¬†Surgery was necessary again. ¬†We were so hoping, as I know his doctor was too, that we’d be scheduling the surgery for rebuilding of the inner ear. ¬†We were now scheduling a surgery for the same invasive, painful, stressful surgery as 9 months prior. ¬†This time though, we had a new challenge. ¬†My son. ¬†He knew exactly what was to be expected of this surgery now. ¬†He was scared, worried, and stressed out. ¬†This broke our hearts in the midst of our worry.

The second surgery presented a new worry.  That there was a possibility that if the doctor felt there was too much cholesteotoma, too much damage, there is a procedure where all of the inner ear is removed.  He explained this is a one way street, hearing restoration is never an option.  He also explained that this is something that he would never prefer with someone young, but wanted us to know the possibility.

Fast forward to the second surgery, December, 2013.

Strange how music has always caught me. ¬†I can relate music to memories, and I feel that music can bridge emotions. ¬†While in the waiting room during my son’s second major ear surgery, the TV played a morning show that the Goo Goo Dolls were guest appearing on. ¬†They played the song ‘Come to Me”. ¬†I listened quietly to this song, thinking that I would remember that moment forever. ¬†That song had been playing repeatedly on the radio recently. ¬†And we made up our funny lines of ‘come to me my Swedish friend’ because it kinda sounds like that, and that’s how our family always sang it out loud in the car. ¬†So, I was soothed by singing in my head ‘come to me my Swedish friend’, it brought a small smile to my face, and a feeling of peace while my son was deep in his surgery.

The doctor came out of surgery to meet with us in the waiting room. ¬†We’ve gotten to really love this doctor. ¬†Some feel he’s rude, short, bad bedside manner. ¬†These are the comments I’ve heard or read. ¬†He’s a doctor who is very busy, is old school, and we have learned has a great love for his own family, and is very, very kind. ¬†He has cared for our son in a way that we are forever indebted to him for. ¬†He came out, sat by my husband and I, and said, ‘I had to make a decision in there. ¬†I thought about your son, I though about your family, who you are. ¬†I wanted to give him another chance. ¬†I think we can do this. ¬†I feel good that I got it all. ¬†I wasn’t ready to say that’s it.’ ¬†And there we had it. ¬†I was fully expecting to hear that he had to wipe out my son’s entire inner ear, with no hopes of ever hearing in his right ear again. ¬†He went to bat for my kid. ¬†Because he’s old school, we went old school and after both surgeries wrote a very sincere thank you letter.

At our month follow up appointment after his second surgery, the nurse was asking the regular round of questions and pointed out how large my son’s file is. ¬†His doctor said ‘I have elderly patients that don’t have a file as big as yours! ¬†You’re 13!!!’ ¬†He examined my son’s ear, rolled his chair away from him, and said ‘I am thrilled! ¬†THRILLED!’ ¬†He did a little tap, tap, tap on his legs with his hands, and was giddily smiling. ¬†He explained that my son’s ear, with all of the patch repairing that he had done during the surgery, looked better than he could have ever expected. ¬†He said that this surgery’s success is 1% skill from the doctor, 99% luck. ¬†I disagree with that of course. ¬†He was so excited! ¬†He even pointed out that we don’t see him get excited, he was EXCITED!

At a regular follow up in 2014, as my son’s ear continued to look good in it’s healing, ear drum staying in tact, ear canal staying as it should, we began to talk about a future surgery where he may be able to restore partial hearing to my son using prosthetic inner ear bones. ¬†My son told the doctor that he didn’t want to have the surgery over the winter as we had the previous two years. ¬†He was now a freshman in high school, and he explained to the doctor that he really wants to try out for the high school baseball team, and the 2-3 month recovery period following surgery wouldn’t allow for that. ¬†The doctor looked at my son, and said, ‘that will be fine, we can wait.’ My son questioned whether or not he even had to have the surgery, that he is fine with just hearing with one ear. ¬†Of course he’d rather opt for not having to go through the horrible pain, a new scar to replace the one that currently rides from the top of his right ear all the way to the bottom along the backside of his head behind his ear, or to sit out of any activity which could lead to contact for a 2-3 month period. ¬†The doctor explained that putting aside the opinion that my son is fine without hearing in one ear, the doctor needed to go back and open up his ear one more time to make sure there was no cholesteatoma left. ¬†And at that time, it may be possible to rebuild the ear. ¬†But that even then, there are times that the rebuilding does not work. ¬†This was a blow to me. ¬†I had been naive and thought ‘oh, he rebuilds the ear and then my son hears again.’ I did not realize that it was not a for sure thing.

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Incision a few days after the second surgery.

We have continued to have two month follow ups regularly after my son’s second surgery. ¬†Each time I go silently terrified, wondering if he is going to say the cholesteatoma is back. ¬†During an appointment last Spring, the doctor looked into my sons ear as I held my breath, and said ‘there’s a cholesteatoma on his canal.’ ¬†I didn’t breath, I didn’t talk. ¬†I just watched and waited as my son made a stone face through the pain of the doctor cleaning out his ear so he could have a better look. ¬†As he had that better look, he stated ‘I may have spoken too soon, it may be cartilage that has grown, not cholesteatoma.’ ¬†And with that, I breathed again. ¬†I don’t know everything there is to know about this type of problem, but I do figure that if there is cholesteatoma again, the chances of more, and more, and more surgeries gets higher, while the chance of my son ever hearing through his right ear and having this all behind him gets lower.

I know that things could be so, so, much worse. ¬†The doctor himself told us after my son’s first surgery, as I had tears welled up in my eyes because I was so surprised at the magnitude of what had just been performed, he said ‘It’s going to be ok. ¬†He doesn’t have cancer, it’s his ear, he’s going to be ok.’ ¬†And it is. ¬†I fully believe that. ¬†Although, there is the reality that, this is my kid. ¬†He’s scared, stressed, and doesn’t want to have to have this surgery again. ¬†Of course, things could be so much worse, I want to acknowledge that. ¬†But at the same time, I have to take my own advice that I have given others; that this is one of¬†our worst things that has happened to one of our kids. ¬†That it is horribly worrisome and scary, even though it could be much worse.

I look at my son and see how resilient he is. ¬†You would never know he can’t hear out of his right ear. ¬†There are times if he’s on the pitching mound, and a coach talks to him from the dugout, the coach has to be reminded that he can’t hear from that ear and that’s why he isn’t paying attention, it’s not disrespect. ¬†My son is super funny, his hearing has been the butt of a joke from time to time, always taken well because it’s out of love. ¬†After his first surgery, they played the game ‘telephone’ in his English class. ¬†The telephone message was passed into his right ear, and after he said ‘what?’ twice, he turned and passed on a message. ¬†I asked him if it was the same as what he had heard, he said he had no idea, he just made something up. ¬†Hilarious. ¬†He certainly does not want special attention nor treatment.

During a regular follow up in the summer of 2015, when all was still clear in his ear, no cholesteatoma was found, his doctor talked about scheduling a surgery to repair and possibly restore hearing. ¬†My son asked his doctor if he HAD to have surgery again. ¬†His doctor looked at him, and explained that my son was at an age now that in some cultures is considered to be a grown man. ¬†That he feels it is appropriate for my son to have a say in whether or not to have this surgery. ¬†It was not necessary to undergo surgery unless there was a returning cholesteatoma, and that he could even decide to have a restoration surgery as an adult if he chose to. ¬†Yet again, I had tears in my eyes as we left the doctors office, because I did not know that it was possible that we could be done with surgeries. ¬†I thought it was just when will the next surgery be. ¬†As we got into the car, my son looked at me, huge smile on his face, relishing in the moment of being old enough to participate in this choice, “Well, I’m definitely not having surgery!”

And that’s where we are. ¬†We had one more recent follow up, all was clear. A hearing test was performed and it was the exact levels (approximately 5% hearing in the right ear) as it has been for the past few years. ¬†Which, as the doctor explained, is very good. ¬†If there had been an increase of hearing in that ear, it may mean that there is a growth that is allowing for sound to bounce off of and produce some hearing. ¬†The gigantic worry weight of a looming surgery is off of our back. ¬†If he chooses to have a surgery in the future to see if he can regain hearing in that ear, it will be up to him. ¬†We, as parents went back and forth wondering if it was something we should try and push him to do at this point, feeling that his hearing now would be incredibly valuable. ¬†But, in the end, the stress, pain, and worry that our son would experience with another surgery, one where hearing is the expected outcome, yet not a guarantee, it’s just not worth it. ¬†As much as it seems like just yesterday my son was a 9 month old that had his first set of ear tubes put in, he’s almost 16 years old now, and I’m glad his doctor put a lot of the decision in his hands.

This post was long, I know. ¬†It is my hope that it can help others who may have just been told their kids have a cholesteatoma, or need major ear surgery. ¬†Here’s to hoping that his ears stay clear and free of cholesteatoma forever, and that any future games of telephone will be headed the direction of his left ear!!!

 

 

 

My 100th Post! How did that happen?

I can’t believe this is the 100th post on my blog.

The fact that I’ve had enough to say about something 100 times is pretty crazy, but also pretty cool.

As my blog states, You can’t argue with crazy is about how ‘Migraines suck, and other tidbits of my life!’

Well, as I look back through these 100 posts, I’ve written a lot about the other tidbits…

Here’s a few of those tidbits from along the way to 100. ¬†They make me laugh and smile. ¬†So, hopefully when you click on them and read them, they make you laugh and smile too!

Take for instance, posts about bugs:

Or animals:

My husband:  

My Recreation Therapy profession:  

My kids/parenting:

Random no real category posts:

And of course, migraines:

There is one thing about this whole blog experience that leaves me puzzled.  How in the world people find my blog from some of the things they search!

Here are some search terms that led people to my blog. ¬†I can’t make this stuff up:

  • how can someone be so drunk that they do abnormal things like peeling wallpaper
  • when moms argue because kids friends argue
  • can fruit fly follow you

and, the one web search that got them to my site, that is just nuts:

  • i promise. I will kill you soon.

That one just makes me nervous!  What the heck?  How did that lead to my blog about migraines?  The internet is weird.  Maybe they got my anti-migraine smoothie recipe and all is good now.  Hope so!

Anyway, 100 is a lot! ¬†And I have my sister in law to thank for this very first post to You can’t argue with crazy:

‚ÄėWinning‚Äô (Charlie Sheen reference of course) the endless game of migraines (for this quarter at least)