Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ahhh.... Sweet vino

Yup, that is right. I have a large glass of red wine in my hand. On this brisk chilly winter day, nothing warms you up like a nice glass full of tannins. WHat?! You can't drink when you are pregnant. Exactly.
I had a blood test this morning, and my numbers dropped to 216, which is a lot in just a couple days. This is good, it means the pregnancy hormones should leave my body quickly. We will get back on track after I have 2 negative pregnancy tests one week apart apiece, and a "natural" period. (Which I don't typically have so we will see how that plays out).
In the meantime, I can get serious about losing those 10 pounds I wanted to lose before I got pregnant. And I am due for another laser hair removal treatment, which also can't happen if I am knocked up. My list of things to do is quickly filling up before the next round. Nothing but time on my hands.
I am quite relieved that the situation is ending this way. I would much rather a miscarriage happen naturally, and organically than have to terminate another pregnancy with months of chemicals (I do enough of that trying to get pregnant). To me, this is the way to go. I will be all the wiser to more potential road blocks in the next round. I also think there was also another great lesson that may have finally sunk in (after years of receiving this lesson), and that is how to keep my mouth shut. I will let you all know in the future once I have had an ultrasound and have a solid confirmation that things look positive. I realize that until a baby is born, and healthy, there is no right time, or safe time to announce anything. But in the future, I may wait until at least 8 weeks to say anything. It won't be anything personal. I just get tired of repeating myself.
So there you go. I gotta run, my glass is empty! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More baby blues

Sorry, this is a long one. Bear with me.
So I might as well just say it. I am pregnant. And like the times before, there always seems to be some sort of complication that makes this difficult. When we started this round, it seemed so smooth. I was only going to have to take 1 day off because all of the appointments fell on days I already had off. I didn’t have to ingest many medications, and we had frozen embryos just waiting for us. I started on the pill, and 3 weeks later, stopped. My period didn’t start, and my transfer date almost had to be re-scheduled. But after blood work and an ultrasound, all indicated that I had not ovulated (which was the main concern) so they decided to go ahead.
The day off of my transfer was pretty low key. Jon took me out to breakfast, and I laid down like I was supposed to. Then goes the waiting game.
My first blood test was the day before Thanksgiving. The test came back positive, but the hormone levels that they count in the blood stream were really, really, low (a count of 5 is positive, they like to see somewhere around 100. I was a 6). I had a major meltdown that night an negativity finally hit me. I finally began to wonder if this was ever going to happen. I was not looking forward to being social at Thanksgiving, and i wanted to stay in my black hole and feel bad for myself. I deserved it. Forty Eight hours later I had another test. While still low (11), the numbers had doubled, which is what they were looking for. I told myself not to get excited, wait until the ultrasound to make sure everything was ok. The following Saturday I had another blood test to check that my levels were rising. The nurse called that afternoon with the count - 629. I was officially preggos, and my ultrasound was scheduled for Tuesday. I got excited. This is where I may have gone wrong. I called to tell the family, and basically, felt it could be public knowledge. The question remained, “How many are in there?”
Monday afternoon, during my lunch break from jury duty, the doctor called to discuss the ultrasound that would have to be rescheduled because of my jury duty. But that wasn’t all she called about. She said the doctor was concerned with my jump in numbers and was afraid it could be another ectopic pregnancy. She wanted me to see the fetal radiologist in the morning instead of going in to see them. Crap. Not again. What are the chances? It isn’t so much losing a pregnancy, it is the threat of 3 more months of chemo that freaks me out.
I made the call to Jon, and could hear the disappointment in his voice. We talked a little, I kept my cool. No need to completely freak out yet. And then I called my mom, and was hysterical. Then I had to tell the judge, on record, in front of both councils what was happening and let them know that I may not be there tomorrow. Crying, like an idiot. The judge told me to come sit in the witness chair, there were Kleenex there. Weird perspective.
Anyway, all I could think of was how to patent some sort of super glue for the uterus. I dashed off after court to a holiday party for the Knitting Guild and was trying to enjoy myself (under normal circumstances, I would say it was quite the shin dig, but you can understand that in my distracted state, I will probably not look back fondly). I ran to the bathroom to discover that I was lightly bleeding. I grabbed my stuff in a frantic flurry and rushed out the door before the party was over. Damn.
Restless sleep ensued with dreams of miscarriage. My cat slept beside me all night, aware of some sort of distress. He has been stuck to me like glue since the embryo transfer. I should clue in more to his intuition.
The fetal radiologist was a cool experience last time, regardless of the outcome. Jon drove separately so that if nothing was wrong, I could jet off downtown to court. It wasn’t nearly as neat this time. Gray blobs with no conclusive information. Basically, she said that it was too early to see anything and that there were no signs of an ectopic gestational sac, but she couldn’t find one in the uterus either, so we would have to wait. They suggested that we get another blood test to see if my numbers were still rising, and if so then to come back in a week when they could see more. If the numbers are dropping, then I am miscarrying.
Tomorrow morning I will go in for a blood test and should have results tomorrow afternoon. I will re-post tomorrow when I find out more. This is the easiest way to let everyone know what is going on.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What is in a name?

With all this creating going on, I am running out of gift recipients. I think I may start a business..... That is right. I go to on-line sites and see what other people have done and know I could do the same. I want to start a shop on But I can't come up with a good name. Whatever I go with, I need to get labels printed to attach to my handmade items. Jon said he would help me with the design, but I need help with a name. I need something creative, yet not too long. Summerfield is a ridiculously long name, but I would incorporate it if it is used with something catchy. Cara Creates and Cara's Creations are already taken. Apparently all my creativity is being sucked into my projects, and I am struggling to come up with something snappy. Any suggestions?

Friday, October 30, 2009


I mentioned my new obsession with quilts. I took a 6 week class where we learned how to make 3 different quilts. I took it because I am going to teach the kids how to make quilts for charity this year. I wanted to reinforce what I thought I already knew about the process. My problem with quilts is that though I can appreciate the amount of work that goes into them, they have a tendency to be very country bumpkin. It was no surprise to me when I hated the ones in the book that we had to make for class. That was until I made them myself. It is all about the fabric. The first quilt, I have kept, and am not sure I could ever give away. It is adorable, but has its flaws as I readjusted to a long break from sewing. It has simple, subtle mistakes that no one else would probably notice. But being my first quilt, I have a little sentimental attachment to it.
The quilt below was the second quilt, which was my least favorite in the book. However, because I choose an adorable fabric combination, it ended up one of my favorites. It went to my friend Alexis who had an equally adorable baby girl last on October 13th.
Close up of the fabric:
The back, which I also loved.
This was the third quilt. At first, I was mad that the lady made me pick out so many different fabrics. It wasn't symmetrical enough for me. I used 9 different patterns, but there are 16 squares. It isn't divisible, and that bothers me. It took 2 hours to pick out the fabrics, but I thought I had done a great job. And I don't know what I think of 4 pointed stars. But after it all came together, I didn't want to give it up. But alas, I wrapped it up for my friend Amy who is due next month.
I am working on 2 quilts for friends having boys in December. I will post them as soon as I finish.
The only think I didn't like was following traditional quilt patterns. I can't wait to get more creative and explore some different design concepts. I want to take traditional concepts, and recreate the quilt. But in the meantime, I am just enjoying the sewing itself. More to come.........

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Crowntail Beta

I walked into PetSmart yesterday for a simple purchase - cat litter. I walked out of there with a laser pointer for school (coincidently shaped like a mouse, but I needed it for Keynote presentations), fresh cat nip for my favorite feline, and three new friends. I was going to take my tank to school, but I am not sure they could handle the stress of traveling back and forth a lot during breaks. So I placed them in my new creation studio, by the window so they can watch the birds, too, if they are interested. And the cat loves to watch them swim. One is white with blue spots, one is dark blue with red fins, and one is an iridescent turquoise blue. I need help with names. I hate things like Larry, Curly, & Moe, or Huey, Dewy, & Lewy, so don't even go there. Any suggestions?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birdfeeder wanted

Dear Santa,
I love birds, and the one window next to my desk has a great big yellow bell bush that the birds and critters love. We see all sorts of hummingbirds, finches, chickadees, and lizards. My cat and I could sit there for hours and watch. Next on my Christmas list, to complete my creation studio room is a bird feeder or two to place between the bush and the window. They would have to stick in the ground, or hang on the wall because the bush isn't strong enough to hang anything from. But if you want to start your holiday shopping early, and you happen to be out shopping for me, here are some suggestions as far as look:
This one could double as a feeder, or a bath. If I had 2, I could have one of each.
This one is kind of creepy, but I am wildly attracted to it:
And for the hummingbirds:

Creative Space

This summer I spent some time re-doing my creation studio. Yes, that is what I call it. It is supposed to be a living room. Which it is, because I practically live in there. If I am not doing lesson plans, I am creating. Part of my brief blog hiatus could be accredited to my new obsession with quilting. I forgot how much I love to sew, and how quickly you can get a finished product. But after thinking about it, it isn't just about sewing, it is about finishing. I have a million projects that I have bought supplies for, and they have been sitting for, well, let's be honest, some have been in the cabinet for years. So in my re-model, I wanted to do something to the room that would inspire me. I started with paint. That room has been a half a dozen different colors, and I have never been 100% comfortable. I have finally fallen in love with a pale lime green. It compliments the orange tones of all my wood furniture. I then cleaned, and re-organized. I discovered all sorts of things I didn't realize I had. I concluded that part of my problem is that I don't know what is behind the cabinet doors. I need to be able to see what I have in order to invent and create. A lot of the re-organization process was placing materials into fun containers. I found some old tea tins and colorful pots, glass jars and votive holders, etc. that have just been sitting in cabinets in other rooms. What better way to put them to use? Beads are now in clear containers (instead of a giant tackle box) and placed on shelves. I converted some old CD towers into fabric racks, and yarn holders, and pot notions into pots, tins, and vases. I then decided to inspire myself with "things". These "things" are knick knacks and wall art that my husband hates around the rest of the house. Perfect. Mainly, I brought out the bird decorations. I am still on the hunt for an antique birdcage for side table that I can use as another container for fabric or yarn, or even my favorite books. I also put some fabric into some needlepoint hoops and hung them on the wall, and I think they look quite adoreable. There are 2 chairs that my mother in law gave us when we moved here that are just begging to be recovered with something wonderful. I have a leather couch in there right now that I hate, and will promptly need to get rid of. But it needs a good leather polish and buff first.
I am now wildly inspired, and couldn't spend enough time in there during my days. I start to get cranky if I can't spend time in there. Just as I cross something off my list, something new comes to mind. I love, love, love it! Pictures don't do it justice, of course. Come over and create with me. It is a great environment for bonding.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Girly night

I realize I haven't posted in a month or 2. Every night when I go to bed, I replay the day, and think of how my blog would go. But I never seem to make it to the computer. Yet I have tons of time to check Facebook every night. Go figure.
But tonight I had really fun night, and I have felt giddy ever since I walked in the door. I went to Sepohra and got a make over. I bought tons of make-up that I hope I can figure out tomorrow, ang ogt a free gift for enlisting in their frequent shopper program. A girl loves free gifts. I felt sassy when I left. Then I went to a free styling session at my hair salon where they took a bunch of women and taught us how to style our hair. Sounds kind of lame. I mean, I am thirty something, you would think I would know what I was doing by now. But I don't. They sat us in chairs and taught us techniques on curling and back combing, and then we did it ourselves. And then, more free gifts! I received some really nice bobbin pins (who knew there was a difference?) and a special comb for ratting height into my hair. I went home with a super fun look, and was only sorry that I didn't buy that great purse at Banana Republic between activities. Maybe tomorrow...... You will have to keep your eye out for me, you may not recognize me. I look like a rock star.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation

So its back to school. Three weeks in, and I feel like I have been hit by a truck. Where did the summer go? Did I do everything I wanted to do? No. But I have to be pleased with what I did do. I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the top 10 things I did this summer.
1. I finished chemo. It feels good to be free of everything for a little while.
2. I decided that it isn't tv that rots peoples' brains, it is Fox News.
3. I questioned whether or not to teach the Food Pyramid to my students because I think that while it can be a useful learning tool, it is a bunch of crap based on who lobbies Congress the hardest and not about what is actually good for us (but I am going to teach it anyway).
4. I took 18 college credits in 5 weeks that solidified my confidence, and excitement in teaching and the classroom.
5. I spent some good quality time with family that I love.
6. I did a lot of redecorating. Specifically, I made curtains for every room in the house, a duvet and throw pillows for the bedroom, painted 2 rooms, and created a studio for myself. Which takes me to #7.
7. I now have a creation studio in my own home. My living room has always been my office, of sorts. No real name for it. I cleaned up piles, after piles of stuff, and created a space conducive for creativity. I am openly inspired, and wish I had more time to spend in there.
8. I traveled to beautiful places, with beautiful people.
9. I decided that there is one thing my acupuncturist and I will always disagree on - cheese. I love it, she is against it. Too bad for her.
10. I fell in love with quilting. I forget when I knit how much I love sewing. I have been reinvented. Though I typically find quilts very country bumpkin, I love the construction. And with the right fabric, you can do amazing things.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,
Thank you for a making this summer cooler than the last few. It is much nicer to sit by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow when it is only 108, and not 115. However, I believe there has been a grave misunderstanding.
This morning, I awoke to the wonderful aroma of bacon. I don't believe there is a better way to wake up on a Saturday morning. It was early, but I was willing to look past the time. Upon rising, and moving into the kitchen, I was informed that the bacon was for the dog we were house sitting for, but since I was up, could I please get dressed and help with yard work. Seeing how I don't wake up well, I couldn't think clearly enough to come up with the correct answer of "No, I am going back to bed if there is no bacon," and I stumbled back to the bedroom to put on my tennis shoes. I even forgot temporarily about breakfast, which rarely happens. Upon entering the front yard, I attempted to see the positive. But it failed to come to me. I just couldn't understand what I was doing in the 90 degree heat, trimming bushes at 7 a.m. on my summer vacation. The fact that every pretty plant in AZ has tough needles and barbs that continued to scratch my arms didn't help. The only needles I should be exposed to on vacation should be my knitting needles. The whole ordeal was quite shocking to my system.
Now I am not writing to you just to complain. I have some very logical solutions to this tough situation. I hope you consider some of these options, for many of them have multiple benefits.
1. Stop communicating with my husband. I know you two are in cahoots to try and make me a morning person. Never going to happen! Wouldn't your energy be better spent somewhere else? Like on a date with Father Time, perhaps? This would allow our relationship to blossom in the morning, and I wouldn't hold against him all day long that I am hot and tired before I have had a chance to do anything fun around the house in the air conditioning.
2. Stop making pork smell so delicious when it is cooked. This would also help slow the obesity epidemic that has plagued the world. And I could sleep through the yard work window. I am a much nicer person if I have had 8 hours of sleep.
3. Make it so plants don't grow in the heat, sort of like bears that hibernate in the winter. Arizona plants could hibernate in the summer. This would assist in the push for water conservation, and there would no longer be a need to trim and prune during the hotter months.
4. I don't know how close you are with Lady Luck, but if she owes you a favor, she could rig the Powerball Lottery so that I win. Then I could pay someone to do my yardwork and I could spend my well rested, awake hours doing thing more productive for the community. While I feel this is the best option, I understand that it may be somewhat out of your control.
As you can see, these are all great options for beating the early morning summer heat. I love what you do here, most of the time. You are my most beloved mythical figure, and will continue to speak positively of your work. If you will please excuse me, I must now take a nap and recover from the trauma of the morning. I need to recover so that I don't talk mu husband out of landscaping our backyard someday. I will make sure I double and triple think the plants we put in so I don't run into the same problems in the future.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rocky Mountain HIgh

I guess looking back, life has been a little stressful. It doesn't seem bad in the middle of it, but I get it now. I was tired. My last day of chemo was on June 22nd. June was no break from life, as I crammed 18 credits into 5 weeks for my teaching certificate. Though intense, I learned a lot, and things for work make a lot more sense now. I finished an 11 day cleanse, and flushed any last chemo out of my system. I couldn't think of anything I wanted more after the last 3 months than a few days in Colorado. We met our friends Pete and Jess, and went camping for 3 days. It was perfect. With the exception of the mosquito bites on my ass (man those blood suckers are quick! all I wanted was to use the facilities!) I feel relaxed, and refreshed. I needed the fresh air, and some down time with my husband and good friends. There is something very healing about the mountains at home. We came home for a few short days, and now I am off for the healing properties of the beach and sea air of California. Aaaaahhhhhh.... To feel normal again.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Past Lives

My new favorite radio station is a Spanish channel. I think this is because in one of my past lives I was Latina. I believe my soul still wears the vibrant colored skirts with ruffles that I wore then. I danced to mariachi and flamenco, slow and mournful, full of heart and sex and passion, in courtyards with lanterns and fireworks after feasting on tacos.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I think the Transformers could be my new most favorite movie franchise. We just saw the second one and it was intense! My heart raced through most of the film, and I think it was comparable to a long cardio workout. Star Wars is a classic, yes. And Harry Potter is one of my favorite book series ever. But the action was packed, and the effects were outstanding. If you haven't seen it, you need to. This one is must see in the theater.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mental note

If you are going to layout in the AZ sun, sunscreen should always be applied BEFORE you put on your bathing suit. Otherwise, when you are on your stomach and undo your bikini straps, when you tie them back on and roll onto your back, the top may not be in the same place where it started and could result in racing stripes on the breasts. And apply it evenly, or you will end up looking like a zebra. Just saying.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A dream night

I firmly believe that everyone needs a hobby. Not having one is what kills you. They help people relax and reflect, and be passionate about something. Everyone know that there are 3 things I love to do - knit, go to the movies, and watch birds. Last night I had a dream opportunity to do all 3. Yes, all 3. I wonder how long my husband will continue to humor me and my quirky forms of entertainment. The local Audubon Society was doing a fundraiser in Scottsdale that consisted of an auctions and a film festival. Yes, 2 films, a double feature. I was in heaven as I sat with my knitting next to my favorite guy and watched away.
The first film was the U.S. debut of an English production called Why Birds Sing (find out more here). It was a documentary of a philosopher who tried to convince scientists that birds sing for the fun of it and to create music. The crowd got really into it, which was neat to be a part of. There were a lot of birds chirping throughout the whole movie, and I was convinced Jon was going to lean over and ask for Tylenol. I thought it was funny, and witty, and all around an interesting concept that changed how I woke up to birds chirping this morning. The second film was a documentary about the life and work of naturalist, and Pulitzer Prize winner E.O. Wilson called Darwin's Natural Heir. It was educational, and inspiring, and I want to read his books on Sociobiology and other studies. He spent most of his life studying ants, yuck. It was interesting to see them present things that I already knew, concepts that have been a part of science teaching, and see the root of the studies. His work has influenced and shaped an entire society. I found it inspiring.
Apparently this was the 7th annual Nature Film Festival put on by the Audubon society. I have not yet joined, but am considering. There were a lot of old people there who bitched up a storm about everything. I just don't know if I can handle that type of environment. Either way, I am excited to see next year's films already. But I am not sure I can convince Jon to go again. Any takers?

Friday, June 5, 2009


Two is my number as of Wednesday. Pregnancy levels have to be below 5 to count as a negative test. The doctor wants one more round just to be sure. I am refusing. Apparently, this can cause all sorts of problems, my refusing. The biggest being that my fertility doctor will no longer treat me. Bull shit, is what I have to say. On Tuesday, I went to get a massage. I have been having a lot of pain in my right shoulder. Could have something to do with stress, but I'm not so sure (hear strong tone of sarcasm here). They refused to treat me because of the chemo. That is what I get for being honest and opening my big mouth. I needed a doctor's note to be treated. I cried teh whole way home (meltdown number 3). One more thing in my life that this is affecting. Can't do this, can't do that, blah, blah, blah. I am turning into a sour person without stress relief. And it still isn't over. This has been going on for 9 weeks. I was pregnant for 2 1/2. Hardly fair. The doctor is going to find out if I can get one last shot of a strong dose to finish things off instead of an entire round. The problem is that I am unavailable from 8-5 because of classes until July 6th. I have to take so many education credits to renew my certificate in December, and none of these classes are being offered in the fall. So I either die or lose my job. And if I lose my job, I might as well die because I'll never find another one, and wouldn't be able to afford further medical treatment anyway, which could result in death. Vicious cycle.
I ended up getting my massage on Thursday, and though I went for full body, the knot in my shoulder was so bad, that there was only 15 minutes left for the rest of me. Now I am in serious discomfort from what the massuese worked out. I will have to go back, I am sure of it. And my back has started to hurt again. All this sitting around in poor quality chairs is going to be a real problem. I can't take another summer like last year. So I am downing anti-inflammitories like they are candy and trying to figure out ways to manage my stress.
So to make a long bitch session short (too late), I am not done, and don't know what the next step is, or when that will be. But I am guessing that at this rate, I will be 60 before I am allowed to use my frozen embryos, and I can kind of see where octomom was coming from. Seriuosly. I have officially begun to lose my mind.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Still going

I would love to write about something other than chemo. But when it seems to run your life, what else is there to write about? I was really hoping to hear from the doctor's office this week and have them tell me that my hormone levels were at zero. But to no avail. I am not sure what to do next. I am in the middle of a round, and my hormone levels will probably be at zero when I have my blood test tomorrow. My doctor wants me to complete one full round at that point. But my schedule won't allow it. I have classes to take. I haven't been allowed to leave town, or do anything else I want for the last 9 weeks, and I am done with it. So I think I am going to make the executive decision to make this round my last round. I may do another 1/2 round next week, that I can do. But if my levels are at zero, I don't think I need the "just in case". I am a healthy individual who has had it. Then I can talk about more exciting things. And that is my plan.
In the meantime, I start school tomorrow as a student, out to complete 15 credits in 5 weeks. I am going to be a busy girl with a lot of studying. But everything I need to renew my teaching certificate will be completed in one full swoop. So when I do eventually get pregnant, I don't have to worry about my teaching certificate that expires in December. All the classes I am taking are Career and Technical Education classes which will be very beneficial to me. Now that I have a little experience under my belt, I can reflect on why things did or did not work for me through my lessons, and plan for an even more successful year. I get to take July off which will be for fun and a mini vacation to Monterey for a wedding. I can't wait for life to go on.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yea employment!

I found out today that I will be receiving a contract for next year. Yeah for me, sucks for the teachers still waiting. Some of the core curriculum classes may wait as late as mid June. This must mean things are looking up............

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

By the Numbers

I had a little breakdown at the oncology office yesterday. After an hour drive on an empty stomach, they couldn't get an IV in, and I blew a couple veins in my right hand. Today my hand has taken on an interesting leopard look, except the spots are more green and black and blue, and my skin pasty white. It's pretty hot. I was not looking forward to going back today. So in the waiting room, I sat down and began to think about everything that has gone on in the last 2 months. And I thought I would put together some interesting numbers about my life since February 11th, when everything started.
64: Number of shots I have had (all but 7 I gave to myself, or Jon gave me)
22: number of eggs removed from me
21: Number of blood draws
18: Number of Ultrasounds
16: number of eggs fertilized
13: Days I have missed work
10:Number of IV pokes (and at least 8 more to come, probably 13)
10: Number of Dairy Queen Blizzards I have eaten
8: number of eggs that made it to the blastocyst stage(5 days old)
6: number of fertilized embryos that are frozen, waiting for me
5: Number of knitting projects I have finished on my time off
3: Times I have cried
1: Number of roommates in the hospital who only had 2 months to live

What can't I count?
Times I cuddled with my cat
Number of naps
Moments I thought about my students and whatever poor soul was my substitute teacher
Fat cells that have formed in my body and muscle cells lost
Number of people who have shown me support
Times I have hugged my husband him and told how much I love him

Overall, I think I am pretty lucky. Now if this could just be over soon so I can have:
1: Healthy baby!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mini tantrum

I am tired of following doctor's orders. No strenuous activity. What exactly does that mean? Strenuous to whom, exactly? I haven't worked out since March 3rd, and yes I know the date because it was 2 days before my egg retreival when they told me at my pre-op visit that I wasn't supposed to be working out. Opps. But I felt fine, and produced more eggs than the average woman. I was active before all of this, so its not like working out would add extra stress to my body, right? It is used to working out. Well, maybe not so much anymore. I have at least 2 more rounds of treatment left, and more to be determined. Another month without a workout? I worked hard to be strong so I could handle pregnancy well, and now it is all going to pot. When I heal, I will have lost everything I built up and be a weakling through the next one, probably causing more back injuries and various other issues. And no drinking. I was prepared to not drink for 9 months, but since that didn't worked out........... I can't sleep, when I do I have weird dreams, I am not eating well, I can't concentrate, I am tired of sitting around, and all of this is making me super emotional because there is no way to release basic stress. So today I said screw it (and that is the nice way of saying it). I went to the gym and did 45 minutes of weight training, and 30 minutes of all out sweat time on the elliptical machine. It would have been longer but I forgot my inhaler, and I have lost too much strength to have much stamina. I know it has only been an hour and a half since I left the gym, but I am pretty sure I will be able to sleep tonight. And then I can concentrate on brain activities like homework and lesson plans. If I am ok tomorrow, I am doing it again, and will try to figure out how I can at least squeeze in some treadmill time this week between work and chemo treatments. Because this is ridiculous. And if I am feeling really wild, I am going to have a glass of wine. And no one can stop me. So there.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tired, Tired, Tired

I ended up getting released from the hospital last Wednesday. I guess I was doing so well that they didn't feel I needed to be under observation anymore. Of course, the chemo still had to be given outpatient, so I went to an oncology office Thursday and Friday. Of course it is a 2 hour round trip commute, so it is kind of a pain in the ass. But at least I got to sleep in my own bed. My parents got here late Wednesday night. It was nice to spend some time with them without having to be in the hospital. We played a lot of cards and on Saturday we went to the Chihuly glass exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens, with a lot of walking and a little too much sun and AZ heat for everyone to handle well. Then I did yoga Sunday, thinking it would just be nice to stretch. I could hardly function during the hour session, and whimpered about my loss of strength. I definitely pushed it this weekend. The rest of the day was mostly spent relaxing on the couch and now I am exhausted. I have been on this crazy in one week, off another for the last month, and forgot what it was like to work. Because I am not supposed to do anything strenuous, I have done a lot of sitting in the past few weeks. Walking around chasing students in a lab all day gets tiring. But it was nice to be back on a schedule and have some normalcy to the day.
I have another round of treatment next week. I will have an IV in my arm all week so they just have to hook me up and let it go when I get there each day. That might totally freak my kids out, but there isn't much I can do. After that, I may have a 4th treatment. We really don't know until I get blood work done next week. They are looking for a zero pregnancy hormone count in my blood. It dropped significantly between the first and last treatments, and I only hope it does again before next week. In the meantime, I need to try and keep my energy level up to focus on lesson plans for next week. I can't believe I only have 5 weeks left before summer.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Last day of freedom

Tomorrow I check back into the hospital for another round of chemo. Fun stuff. I feel like I was on probation and I re-committed a crime, so I have to have another 5 day sentence. Not that I have had any fun at home. Doctor's orders - no sex, no drinking, no gym. Who could have fun with those orders? I worked a lot trying to get my class and substitute ready to take over for a week. I did enjoy spending time with Jon. He really is amazing. I appreciate him very much. He has been very patient, and loving, and just plain wonderful. I am dreading leaving him again. Its hard to sleep alone after 10 years. I won't see him much this time. He will probably stay home. Some women think I am crazy. But he needs to work (someone has to pay for this mess) and one of us might as well get a decent nights sleep. I have lots of visitors coming this time to bring me meals and entertain me, so it isn't worth the 2 hour round trip car ride. If something were to happen to me, he would get a phone call. Nothing he can do but sit by and watch it all happen, so he might as well be home being productive. And keeping my cat company. I am going to miss my cat, too.
I am going to try and knit something on bigger needles, with bigger yarn this time, and can hopefully get a couple scarves done. I will not bring my computer. What is the point without internet access? So I won't update my blog while I am gone this time. Mom and Dad are coming down from Denver to spend Thursday thru Sunday with me. So there will be some good uninterrupted game playing between naps. Plus that means I get to have a pedicure with mom on Saturday, and Bingo at one of the casinos if I am not too tired.
I just want to throw something out there. And I am not trying to complain. I know the people reading this are behind me. I just need ot get this off my chest because you all listen to me. There are some people who think I am not going through the appropriate stages of grief. Here's the thing. I was only 5 1/2 weeks, really only pregnant for 2 weeks. I was not attached. Not to mention that crying about it and getting myself into hysterics wasn't going to undo anything, or make me pregnant again faster. The whole thing has been quite neat to watch from a scientific point of view. I am excited to heal up and start again. We have 6 embryos waiting for us in a freezer somewhere. If fertility problems have taught us anything, it is how to be patient. I knew we had a chance of this not being successful, and I came to grips with that before we started. My body just wasn't ready. I am lucky this all happened early in the pregnancy so I can heal faster. I feel strong and positive. Getting pregnant again won't be a problem. No one is in the clear until that baby is born, and I am no different. Lets face it, I am a little OCD as it is. Do I really need to make myself crazy over all of this? No. I have been very lucky to be surrounded by very strong women in my life who influenced me every day to be who I am. And I have listened to those women's stories, to the things that have bonded us, and made us all stronger. That is where I get my strength. A good women knows when to cry, and when to be vulnerable. This is not a vulneraberable time for me. I pull from every other experience in my life, and from those around me (men and women alike) and know that I am ok. So you should be, too. I am not anti-feeling, or uncompassionate, or a monster. I cried when I thought I would lose my uterus and not have another chance at this. But quickly realized that that was why I was at the hospital. All the good doctors would prevent that from happening. Though it is not my choice of vacation spots, it is what it is. I will take this time to enjoy the company of those that visit, and get some good knitting and reading done, while challenging my brain when I watch the Game Show network. I am not discouraged, and look forward to moving on when this is over. I hope you all feel that, too. If you don't, please keep it to yourself. I don't need the negativity. I appreciate the positive support that is being thrown my way, and have been quite overwhelmed by it. It has been neat to re-connect with people I haven't heard form in a while, and have them share their stories as well. More strength to build on. I am not alone, and never will be. Thank you to all of you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Worth the Wait

I was upset about being in the hospital, I was going to miss the premiere of The Hills. I came home to a sweet surprise - 2 episodes on my Tivo. I have to say, worth the wait. All the drama is back, and I am loving it. It sucks that I will miss it next week, but how great that it will be waiting for me! Hell, yeah. I love T.V.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Home again

Finally. I never thought I would be home. The last few days were much like the first. I had some crazy roommates that made sleeping difficult until the last night.
On the plus side, I think I lost a couple pounds. The other thing is that after 2 ultrasounds, the heartbeat has minimized so much that they couldn't get a read on the beats per minute. So it is on it's way out. I still have to go back on Monday for another 5 days of treatment, but I will know what to expect next time. And that's that. I am tired. And going to watch the Biggest Loser and go to bed. Hopefully my next post will be more fun.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In the hospital, day two

I had a couple breakdowns last night. Every time I laid down I cried. I was exhausted, but the water works wouldn’t stop. Besides the overwhelming support of everyone, and knowing what great people I have surrounded myself with, I couldn’t figure out why I was crying. I think it is the not knowing. Sitting around all day thinking about everything certainly did not help. Once I got my medication, I was ok. I didn’t get my meds until about 10:30 p.m. They said they would try to get my meds a few hours each night to get my check-out time earlier by Tuesday. The anti-nausea medication made me sleepy. Jon stayed with me last night (there was a cot in the room), which I didn’t ask of him, but secretly was relieved for.

My principal also called yesterday to check in. He hated to bring up the subject, but he needed to let me know that because of budget cuts, all first year teachers do not have a contract at this time for next year. The good thing is that I teach a stand alone curriculum and they are going to fill those positions first. So there is a good chance I have nothing to worry about. But technically, I am unemployed after June 30. All in all, a long day.

Today was boring, but relaxing. Jon left early in the morning to take care of some things at home. I bet the cat was starving. I had a couple doctors visit me early. I got a shower, and just as Jon arrived with one of the most beautiful bunch of flowers I have ever seen, we were told I would be switching rooms. I now have a roommate. Bummer. But she sleeps a lot from her medications. I expect a lot of visitors tomorrow so I hope not to bother her. I told Jon to go home around 4. We were both sitting here falling asleep from not having slept great the night before. It seemed silly that he couldn’t nap in the comfort of his own home. I had plenty to keep me busy. I have to do lesson plans, mainly. Jon needs to take it home, print it, and take it in Monday morning.

So all in all, a very slow day. As long as I stay not really bleeding, I will continue to have uneventful days. And I do have the Game Show Network, which I don’t have at home. I am loving it.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

In the hospital

Friday April 2, 2009
We checked into Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix at 9 am. We sat in a transition room until about 2 p.m. while multiple doctors came to talk to us about what is going to happen. We were moved to the 7th floor and then told after a few hours that we would be moving to the oncology floor. At 6 p.m. we finally got settled into a room on the top floor, and meds will start around 9 p.m.

The medication they are giving me is a type of chemotherapy, and will be administered over 5 days. I won’t lose my hair or anything. Side effects are mild, nausea and maybe upset stomach. They are going to give me something for that, too. But because it is a type of chemo, an oncology nurse must administer it. The treatment is similar to treating cervical tumors. The dangerous part is the cervix is supplied by a major artery. The embryo is feeding off of that artery, and has recruited a number of other blood sources to feed itself as well. The major concern is acute bleeding. They want to stop anything before it gets bad (if I bleed) so that I don’t lose my uterus (clearly the ultimate goal). The meds work like an anti-folic acid, and should starve the embryo of nutrients. If it dies the way it is supposed to, my body will simply reabsorb it, and we can spend time healing for a few months. And yes, you read right, 5 days. So I will be here longer than we had originally thought.
What I have is so rare that a lot of different doctors are involved. Everyone has been very nice, and I have talked to a lot of people. I am a bit of a case study. I am the first cervical ectopic pregnancy for my fertility practice.
I didn’t get much sleep last night and have done a lot of nothing today, so I am tired. As soon as I get meds I am passing out. I don’t have internet, but can check e-mail on my phone. Jon is going to take my computer home each night and post for me so everyone can be caught up on what is going on.
Thank you to Paul and Marie for bringing Chinese and fresh faces. It was yummy, and a nice break.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hospital, here we come

Today I went to see a fetal radiologist. It was really amazing to see everything in my body, and I find science fascinating. I still have a healthy pregnancy, and there was a heartbeat and everything. Crazy. The problem is that it decided to plant in my cervix, instead of my uterus. It is on the verge of falling out of my vaginal opening, so it is close to gone anyway. But it is still connected to a blood source. Cervical ectopic pregnancies are rare, and dangerous. Tomorrow, I get to check into the hospital for treatment. I don't know much at this point, except that the treatment is the same as what is used to treat cervical tumors, and a type of chemotherapy in conjunction with a drug called methotrexate. It is aggressive and can cause severe bleeding. They want me there to monitor me to make sure I don't bleed so much that I lose my uterus, which is a possibility. I have been pretty cool up to this point, and think I have had, excuse my french, but a pretty great fucking attitude. But this afternoon, I lost it. I am scared and nervous, and wondering what else could go wrong with this whole process when all I want is a simple baby. Crack heads get pregnant everyday. Is that what I need to do? Am I participating in the wrong kind of drug treatment? Lord knows hard drugs might be more fun. And with an IV, it is hard to knit. Do I have enough to read? Can I get enough crosswords done? Did we pack Sequence and cards? Is Jon going to make me crazy? Am I going to starve (wait, I have already lost 10 pounds since my egg retrieval, only 6 more to go to hit my goal weight. Maybe that won't be so bad. Again, something hard drugs could take care of)? My brain is a mile a minute. I am also tired, which doesn't help, and I have to do laundry since I won't be here this weekend. Go to bed, some of you might say. But I can't pack for the hospital when I don't have a stitch of clean clothing. I even went to Target tonight to buy underwear, and realized I would have to wash it anyway. But I don't want to ruin any of my good stuff. And I have to do lesson plans. My poor students have to be so sick of me being gone. I am sick of being gone. I like a regular schedule. I wish I could take my cat with me, but something tells me the nurses won't find cat litter sanitary. But I am packing my pillow and blanket. And I will rehash the whole experience for you when I get home. Or maybe when I am there if they have wireless. Whatever. You'll find out.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Seriously? Saga continues

Apparently my sacrifice to the gods wasn't enough.
The doctor called this afternoon with the results of my blood tests. My hormone levels should have dropped between yesterday and today to verify the miscarriage. And guess what? Mine went up. Yes, up. They think this means I am still pregnant, but it is an ectopic pregnancy (in the fallopian tubes). Apparently when they transferred the embryos into me, they moved around enough that 2 settled into one of my tubes. Great. Dangerous and bad. So tomorrow I see a fetal radiologist to determine if this is accurate. If it is I either need to have a surgery or take medication to terminate it so I don't lose a fallopian tube, or worse, my uterus. This is starting to get annoying. I'll keep you posted.

A Sacrifice to the Gods

Let me bring you up to speed. For those of you that don't know, Jon and I just went through invitro fertilization. That's right, more shots, and lots of them. Everything started at the end of February. I checked a voicemail every afternoon to see what I had to do that night (usually a series of 3 shots) and then went in for a blood draw and ultrasound every morning. On March 5th I had a procedure to remove my eggs, and though I was swollen and sore, they took out 22 mature eggs. Those that they couldn't reach, or weren't mature were left in. Sixteen were successfully fertilized and stuck in the incubator, and 8 made it to 5 days old. On March 10th we went in and they transferred 2 back into me, and froze the rest in pairs for future use. On March 19th we found out we were pregnant Yahoo!
Unfortunately, it didn't last long. I miscarried on Monday. And no, this is not an April Fool's joke. It has been a week of health follies as I have fallen apart at the seams. I had this crazy heat rash all over my legs for 2 weeks. Thursday I woke up with a fever, that turned into a full blown cold with some vomiting. That weekend, I slept so much that I was afraid I would lapse into a coma. Night sweats broke my rash, but Monday I broke out in hives, which usually send me to the ER, and then in the middle of an intense 2 hour state mandated test for all of my students to move into high school, I started bleeding (I am glad I wore black pants that day). On bed rest until I could get to the doctor on Tuesday, I was actually excited to go home and take a nap. Officially, I can't say that I miscarried until I get the results of my blood test back today, but let's be real. There was no visual pregnancy on the ultrasound yesterday, and they don't know what caused it. Though I am sure my having so many illnesses at once didn't help.
Yeah, it sucks, blah blah blah. But I would rather have no pregnancy than an unhealthy one. I think on top of everything, I would have a hard time dealing with a special needs child, and I mean that in the nicest way. Now that I have made my sacrifice to the baby gods (and lord knows I bled enough for that) we wait a month and try again. So here is my top 10 things on the positive note of miscarriage:
1. I got pregnant. That is a start.
2. I fit back into my regular bras overnight. You have no idea how good that feels. It is bad enough to have boobs on the big side, I sometimes worry they will be permanently stuck on extra super huge.
3. We have 6 frozen embyros in the bank, which will make the next process less complicated since I don't have to go through the egg harvesting process.
4. I can drink again, for a while. And I am not talking about water and Shirley Temples. We finally started carrying my favorite beer in AZ (EX Street Wheat by O'dells), and I haven't had it yet, so now I can. And wine. Sweet wine. Aaaahhhhh.
5. My body has time to heal from the itchy, rashy, stuffed up, feverish, coughing, vomiting, bleeding, sleepy mess that I had become. Plus, not having been to the gym in a month, I was turning into Jell-O, which brings me to my next point,
6. Gym, gym, gym
7. We paid for a package deal, so now we get to use it. It's not like I have to come up with another small fortune. It's like buy 1 chance, get 5 more for free. What girl can resist a sale?
8. I didn't want to have a baby on Thanksgiving or during Christmas season anyway. Too crazy.
9. Maybe I can get through bikini season before I get preggo fat. I can't bake in the sun when I am with child, so now I can work on my tan.
10. Practice makes perfect, and since we got to do no such spontaneous acts during this whole process, I can get back to enjoying my husband again.

So there you have it. I feel fine. My health wasn't at risk. I am alive and on the mend. I am not emotional about it, and don't plan to be, and I don't think that is abnormal. That won't get me pregnant again. Something like 40% of IVF cycles are successful the first time, I just fell into the wrong percent. Besides, my dead grandmother through 4 different phsycic readings promised me a boy who chose us a long time ago, and I'll be damned if I let this one speed bump stop me from denying that soul a place on this earth (I know I sound crazy, relax, I have always been crazy, you just may not have know it). If I am not pregnant by November 26th when this one would have been due, I may feel a small twinge of sadness. But that is a long time from now. There are a lot of people having babies right now that I am trying to knit for, and I can get that all out of the way in time to clear my knitting schedule for my own child.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Where can I get....?

Wow, I know. No post for months, and now 2 in one day. I guess boredom has officially kicked in.
Last night I recorded a new show on TLC. This afternoon when it was too hot for birds, but not for lizards, I decided to go in and watch the train wreck that I was sure would become one of my new favorite shows. This show is called Toddlers and Tiaras. Yes, that's right, an entire hour of little Jean Benets that compete for the Grand Supreme title and a crown bigger than my head. One little girl had won 83 tiaras. She was 6 years old. I totally wanted to be one of those girls when I was younger, and now I get to see how it all happens. I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen, and added it to my Tivo season pass manager so I will never miss another episode. I still can't seem to curl my hair wiithout it looking like a fuzzy halo, so the hairpieces alone were mindboggeling. And after 3 days of napping on teh couch (I can't seem to get enough sleep), I decided to take a shower. I am sure Jon was thrilled.
I love days when I don't have any obligations, they are perfect for experimenting. So I decided to put my hair in curlers, and see if I could spend the evening with big Texas hair, even though we are going out to dinner with some friends of Jon's parents. Bold, and hilarious.
Here's the thing though. My hair won't dry on these curlers, so in the past I have resorted to a neat hair drying thing that my grandmother gave me when I was a kid. Why I still have it, I don't know. But you hook it to the end of the hair dryer, turn it on, and you look like someone straight out of the 1950's hair salon.

And then something dreadful happened. I ripped it. And I cried. I actually cried. My grandmother gave me this. And I can't put tape on it because when the plastic heats up it could melt the tape glue.
And my hair will never dry with these curlers in. Here is my question. Do they still make these things? Where can I get my hands on another one? And what the heck is it called? Anyone know a hairdresser who can answer this question?


It is Spring Break, and I enrolled in a couple classes I need to renew my teaching certificate. What better time to get some undisturbed studying done, right? Wrong. It is a beautiful morning (supposed to be 85 today) and I have decided to sit on my porch and bird watch. Yes bird watch. If you remember, my favorite Christmas gift was a National Geographic field Guide to birds. A few weeks ago, Jon and I walked through a preserve that our local library backs up to. It was filled with small lakes (some call reservoirs) and birds, birds, birds. I had meant to look some of them up when I got home, but forgot. This morning I woke to the chirp, chirp, chirping of many morning birds, and reached over onto my nightstand to thumb through my field guide. I decided that today was a day to enjoy my natural surroundings. So I rummaged through the garage and found the binoculars. I moved one of my living room chairs onto the porch, and am snuggled up with a cup of tea. My school work is sitting next to me, but I have yet to crack it open. There are a lot of different birds in my front yard! There is one I am struggling to identify, but I think they are building a nest on my neighbors roof, so they aren't going anywhere. I hope the neighbors don't think I am looking in their windows. I have also noticed that 2 doors down there is a house we thought abandoned, and there is someone in the garage and doing yard work and I am terribly confused as to where they came from.
I have also discovered some great websites to help me with my classification. One site even has sound bites of the birds calls, which has forced me to admit that I have been wrong about a few. Which just means I will have to stay out here a little longer than planned.
I am also taking a break from my new found love of vampire books and I started reading a non-fiction book called Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by Scott Weidensaul, and it is quite interesting, if you are into that kind of thing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hell Yeah!

I have to say, Broncos are my team. And though my loyalties lie with them, I also believe in rooting for the home team. I have enjoyed watching the Cardinals even though they have lost some close games over the last few years. They often break my heart, I'll be honest, but I still stand by them as a team (be it my number 2). Today they rocked, and are going to the Superbowl, which also happens to fall on my birthday. So I'll say it again - Hell yeah! Way to go Cards! I am ready for the party

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thought I could dodge it.

After 2 official days of rest last weekend when everyone left town, work started again on Monday. I could have used 2 more days. I am glad to be in a routine. But I am tired, and have a cold. I thought for sure I would not get sick this year because kids wash their hands so much in my classroom. And, of course, whatever I caught, I caught on vacation, and it hit on Monday. Figures. Could the weekend and no alarm clock arrive any faster?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

Jon's uncle owns a ranch (Horseshoe Ranch) in the middle of Agua Fria National Monument. It is about 2,400 acres, surrounded by nothing but beutiful Arizona scenery. We couldn't think of anything more perfect for a week with out of town guests. We knew Pete and Jess would love it, and after only 6 weeks, my friend Kim flew back out for more fun. She never got to see more than a 5 mile radius from my house. Jon's aunt and uncle were thrilled not to have to go up there for a week, we packed a truck, and were off.
Yep, that is me. And yep, I put the ATV there. Did I get mad and push it over with my super human strength? Not this time. I was actually riding it when I did it. Oops. Luckily, all I did was snap the front break off. Oh, and a lot of bruises on me. I strategically managed to wait until this particular 20 feet of road that contained a ditch between the road and the mountain, so I was cradled in my fall, and also managed to be under the quad, without it touching me. I was more concerned about the ache in my hand from smacking it on a rock then the goose egg quickly forming on the back of my head. If I had to go to the hospital, then I wanted to be ble to knit while I waited there. We had been out for 4 hours, and I guess I got a little confident, and was going a little too fast into a curve. After we realized that I was ok, Jessica and I were laughing so hard, I peed my pants- or maybe that happened when I rocketed through the air. Either way, it was funny, and no one was hurt. So we mosied back to the ranch, had a shower, a hot meal, and a lot of wine, and I was ready to rock and roll. It hurt to brush my hair and sit down for about a week, and I bruised in places I didn't know you could bruise. I was tempted to shave my head, just to see the bruise, it had to be impressive. We hiked, shot some guns, and drank and ate our weight. We had more friends come up for New Year's, and though we had origionally planned on 20 people, we had an intimate 10 to ring in the new year at midnight. All around, a great time. Here are a few more pictures.

This is the river you have to cross to get to the ranch, and also the view off of one of the bedroom patios.