Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Health Diagnosis

As I mentioned on my Project 365, I finally have a diagnosis.

While I was pregnant, I had aches and pains. Normal right? Absolutely. I felt stiff and sore. I had trouble getting my hips, knees and ankles to cooperate after I got out of bed in the morning. And like you would if you were pregnant, you would attribute the aches to the pregnancy.

So I dealt with it. And I thought that after the baby arrived, all would be better. The aches and pains would eventually be resolved. I delivered Petite in August 2009 and by Christmas that year, still in pain.

Spring 2010... still in pain. I thought, "This is weird," and I mentioned it to my doctor. Nothing strange or startling according to her though. So we let it go on some more. Fall 2010, I mentioned it again. She didn't seem too terribly concerned, but noted it in the file. This past year, I continued to have pain and voiced it yet again in September.

She referred me to a rheumatologist (I thought she was a bit off her rocker to be honest) and she also referred me for physio and an MRI for my swollen ankle and heel... an injury ongoing since July 2010. I had the MRI and that diagnosed Haglund's syndrome (swollen bursa, inflamed Achilles, etc.). I have been doing the physio and that was helping. But the pain in the joints, notably ankles, knees, hips and elbows, remained.

I saw a rheumatologist early in January. One of the first questions he asked, "Do you have psoriasis? Is there a family history of psoriasis?" Yep. I have psoriasis, mild though it is. It is much worse in the winter months with the -30 degree weather that chaps my hands and elbows. I have a prescription cream (Dobovet) to ease the symptoms and cracking.

He initially diagnosed psoriatic arthritis. I thought he might be off his rocker too. He prescribed Voltaren for me. I was a little shocked, admittedly. Arthritis?!

I started taking the medication, and honestly, within two days I was pain free for the first time in three years. I could take the stairs one after the other again, instead of one at a time. I could bend over and stretch without aching and feeling unsteady. I was able to get on the floor with Petite and play a game without dragging myself to a chair to help get up again. The immediate difference was marked. Phenomenal. Impressive.

And scary too. To be honest, it's a little scary. I'm only 41. Ah, but it isn't degenerative arthritis, it's inflammatory, sort of like rheumatoid arthritis. It can be diagnosed at any age. It can be controlled, and it won't do severe damage as long as I keep things in check.

I have psoriatic arthritis. Not that I wanted it, but there it is. I know my aunt has it too. What's good about all of this is now I know what it is. Now I know I can control the pain. Now I can make sure I listen to my joints and pay attention when I sense those aches and pains creeping back in.

If we ever decide to go for another IVF, I will stop the medication prior to the protocol and take it from there, consulting with my RE and my rheumatologist throughout.

I saw the rheumatologist for the follow up and to report back on how I felt after the first course of medication. He was really pleased to hear what a difference it had made in my life. I had dozens of questions for him. All of which were answered and I feel good about the information that I have. It's a chronic issue. It will always be with me.

I like to think that I'm fighting back. "I have psoriatic arthritis. But it doesn't have me."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Best Advice

In protest today of the American SOPA and PIPA legislation, many websites are blacked out or are discussing the details of Internet Censoring.

Our resident Stirrup Queen, Mel, has a counter-idea in play today: post the best advice you have to give. In her entry, she shares The Best Parenting (and Marriage) Advice I Have to Give. A very good read. I think I need to read it a few times to absorb the information she has in there. Thank you for posting it Mel. At the moment, your advice could be very helpful in my world. It's good to hear it.

And while I am absolutely swamped this week with a bunch of things at work and at home, I have one motto, one creed, one piece of advice that has served me well through all these years and likely for many years to come.

It is better to live with remorse than with regret.

I first heard it in French in a Patrick Bruel song (Place des grands hommes). At the beginning of the live version, he shouts, "Il vaut mieux vivre avec des remords qu'avec des regrets." It resonated in me, from a very young age. And I have taken it to heart.

That piece of advice has seen me through the most difficult of times. It has spurred me onwards when I wasn't sure. It has made me take stock of my life at various times and pushed me to make decisions.

It is the one piece of advice that I keep coming back to. Without it, I expect Petite simply wouldn't exist. For while I am stubborn, I very well may have given up before we got lucky.

Now, I keep hearkening back to this advice, as we look ahead and determine if we are going to try for a sibling for Petite. "Il vaut mieux vivre avec des remords qu'avec des regrets. Alors ESSAYE." Just TRY.

If I don't try, I will regret it forever more. I'd much rather live with remorse for having tried than with regret that I never grabbed the opportunity.

Essaye. Alors essaye.

Friday, January 13, 2012

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by FindingChaos/Soulemama.
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment'
in the comments for all to find and see.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Mom's Life Changes; Another's is On Hold

I read a blog entry the other day about a woman in her late 30s who was preparing to give birth to her second child. She already had a precious little girl, just over two years old (as Petite is now) and she was cherishing the idea of her daughter having a sibling. She imagined two children bonding together. Playing house. Having tea parties. Arguing about which game to play. Etc. All the "normal" stuff that one would think about when on the verge of having a second child.

This mom savoured the last moments of their life as a threesome and as day turned into night, she went into labour. When the time was right, she went to the hospital and delivered her second baby. A girl. The baby arrived safely. But the mother knew. She KNEW something wasn't right with her daughter. She knew it long before anyone dared utter the words: The baby has Down Syndrome. Precious nevertheless. Loved nonetheless. Beautiful anyway. However, the fact that the newborn had Down Syndrome quickly changed the mother's imagined scenarios about what the future would now hold for their family of four. And how things would inevitably change for the older daughter.

As I read the blog piece, I shed a river of tears. I had that scare. I was there. I was labelled high risk to have a baby with Down Syndrome. I had the amniocentesis. Obviously Petite does not have Down Syndrome... but it leads me to wonder. What if? What if I were to go through another IVF? What if I were in that position? Do I want to risk it? Do I want to go through all of what that would mean? At my age, I really don't know if I could handle it. I applaud any and all parents who take on the challenges of raising any child who is differently-abled. Absolutely! I just don't know if -I- have it in me to tackle that at my age and at this point in my life.

So if we were to try again, would it be tempting fate? Playing with fire? Just asking for trouble? Would God look down at me and say, "Hey missy, you had your shot! You got what you wanted. Really? You really want more huh?" And then He would proceed to test me to my absolute limits? Would He do that?

Do I really want to find out? I don't know.

I don't know. Would I do that to my family? I don't know. Could I do that to Petite? I don't know. There are pros and cons to everything of course. But at my age, and using IVF, these are things that must be considered.

Either you make a plan to deal with it, try to foresee every twist and turn in the road and what you would do to handle it. Or...

You hope for the best and say, "We'll cross that bridge when/if we come to it."


You remain immobilized by fear. Wondering if you'll ever take the leap at all.


Yesterday I published a couple of photos that I took. These pics are photos of Petite's rash. The ongoing, never-ending, irritating, nagging problem that it has become is just NOT. GIVING. UP. Ugh.

We're not sure what it is. But I've got to find out. Poor girl. I'm changing her bath wash tonight and we'll see if that helps at all. I may try to get an emergency same-day appointment with the doc tomorrow.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Public Service Announcement

I've decided to participate in Project 365. Or rather, 366; this year is a leap year, after all. (Thanks Vee for inspiring me!)

For every day this year, I will try to take a photo and post it. I've noticed that the first four posts are Christmas things I cherish. Obviously this will not endure and the theme will be changing as the year passes!

I created a new blog to store the photos. If you want to follow along, feel free.

Gil's Project 365

See you over there if you're so inclined!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

It Gets Better... Right?

This one is just depressive. Click away while you can. Really. I mean it.
I just needed to get some of this off my chest. And my blog is one of the best places to do that. So if you choose to keep reading, know that you were forwarned. So "nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah" to you.

I'm not in the greatest of places to start off 2012. I keep saying it'll get better. I really don't know though. Honestly. I'm just sort of going through the motions in the hopes that by doing so, I'll will things to be better. Does that ever work? Personal anecdotes most welcome.

This is a thought-vomit post. Hold onto your hats:

I learned two weeks ago, right before Christmas, that our original clinic in Montreal has lowered their IVF treatment cutoff age to 43. FORTY-freakin-THREE.
I think I'm about to miss my window of opportunity, because I turn 42 in May. Which brings me to my next statement of disbelief: When the hell did I get to be 42?? Where have the last 20 years gone? Sweet mother of baby Jesus. And here I am, terrified of tossing out anything of Petite's 'in case' we might need it. Looks like the decision is about to be taken out of my hands entirely. That saddens me. It was never what I wanted. I'm surrounded by clothing, toys, paraphenalia that I hoped to be able to use again. I don't want to part with it just yet.

Petite has been toilet trained since the week after her second birthday at the end of August. However, last week, for one day only, she deliberately peed anywhere else BUT the toilet. In fact, she screeched when we tried to get her to go to the toilet. We coaxed her and returned to our original rewards program of stickers and Smarties and that seemed to do the trick. We'll continue that for a bit. She really tested us though. In fact, she deliberately peed on one of the new dolls she'd received for Christmas. Took me two days to wash that thing properly and get the smell of urine out of it. I'm not sure why she took to doing this. Some of it I attribute to the insanity and upheaval of Christmas and lack of routine. With luck, it was just a one-day event and won't repeat itself. Keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

I've spent the better part of 2011 angry at Hubby, and by extension, some members of his family. I'm trying to stop being angry, but I'm not sure how to do that. I don't have the tools in my repertoire to attain that goal. I simply cannot stop being angry; the events that brought me to this point and have raised this anger in me have deeply affected me, our family and our life. Added to that, the resulting effects are ongoing. That makes me angry too. I'm seeing someone to try to work that out, but it isn't helping at all. It's been a few months now. I'm not getting anywhere. I need something more. Or someone else to guide me. I cannot spend 2012 like this. If I do, well... let's just say that more upheaval will be in the coming months. Upheaval that I am trying to avert and overcome.

My Christmas decorations still deck the halls in my home. I am a traditionalist; they will remain up until at least January 6. I hope to make a dent in taking them down on the 7th. No guarantees though. Hubby is working that weekend so I'm not sure how much I'll get done by myself. I know that my sister had taken hers all down and it was all stored away again on Boxing Day (December 26). What a shame. It takes so long to prepare for the holiday, and just seeing the tree and the lights gives me a sense of peace (albeit temporarily so). I can't fathom being rid of it already. I will cherish it for another week or so.

I am inexplicably tired. Not tired, as in needing sleep. But tired as in worn down. Dejected. Wondering if it's all worth it. Some days, I really don't know. Many days, it's Petite that keeps me going. Her kisses. Her hugs. Her sweet snuggles at night before bed. Those things are gold to me.

I was out to pick up some meats and cheeses for our New Year's raclette meal, and what do I see, but Valentine's chocolates on the shelves? That's insane. Really people? Is there a need to jump from one commercialized holiday to another quite that quickly? Good Lord. Let us breathe for a week, willya?! Man oh man... Friggin' ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

I have not made any New Year's Resolutions, nor will I bother to do so. Honestly, after the sh*tstorm that we endured in 2011, I'll be damn lucky just to get through 2012 in one piece. So if I'm vertical at the end of the year, that's the best I can ask for at this rate. Suffice it to say, I ended this year sadder, thinner and poorer than I entered it. I like the thinner part. The 'sadder' and 'poorer' I could certainly have done without.

We did have champagne at midnight on New Year's Eve though. In fact, it was a little bottle of Moet et Chandon that was purchased to celebrate the birth of Petite, more than two years ago. It's been in my fridge ever since, unopened. In the hospital, I was shoved from pillar to post after Petite's birth, moving rooms alone, etc., and Hubby was back and forth to the hospital and the house, with my family being there for the baby's arrival. So it got overlooked. And while I knew it was there, we just never had time nor the right occasion. With the ushering out of the miserably crappy year that 2011 was, I thought it best to pop the cork on that sucker and enjoy it, and PRAY to God that 2012 is better.

Vee has inspired me. I'd like to partake in Project 365 (well, this year it's 366; it's a leap year). I'm going to try to take one picture every day for a year. My main issue becomes publishing them. Here? To Facebook? Who can say I'll have time to do that every day this year? Who can say I'll have access to a computer or method of uploading every day? If you miss a day publishing, but you still took a photo, can you upload a few photos together? Is that in the rules somewhere? (And who makes said 'rules' anyway?!) I have two pictures already. And a bunch of ideas for the coming days and weeks.

I'm dealing with an issue at the office that is royally pissing me off. I'm not sure that I can do a damn thing about it. It's making me take a hard look at the workplace I'm in.

I wish I could be a stay-at-home-mom. I wish I had won the $50 million that was won last Friday by a local couple. I wish that my situation was different.

And even as I wish it so, I know full well that the only one who has the power to CHANGE my situation is...

... ultimately...

... me.