Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Letters

Last week was the first time I had ever joined in Friday's Letters and it was a really nice reminder of all the things I'm thankful for or thinking of.


Dear Right Kidney....while I know I should be drinking more water than I have been, I'm not exactly thrilled that you've decided to revolt against me only a few short weeks after my last stone.  I've made it my goal to figure out what you're made of and how to shut you down.  Consider that a promise, not a threat!!!!
Dear Hubs....Thank you so much for being so concerned about me.  The past few months have been a roller coaster for me in the health department and while I may not initially respond to your concern in a grateful manner (aka I usually think you're overreacting), it means the world to me that you care so much.  And while I'm on the subject of you, I had the best time last weekend!  I know our "grown ups" weekends don't happen too often but it was one of my favorites (even if you didn't take me to The Container Store). Oh and thanks again for my Tory's!!!
Dear Emmy....I'm so proud of you for being such a good dancer!  I am, by no means, a dancer.  But you are a natural and you're so beautiful when you're dancing.  You truly love to dance and I'm thrilled you've found something that you enjoy so much and look forward to.  I'm going to apologize now but I can't help being a Dance Mom.  Yep.  I'm sure I'll be just as crazy as those Dance Moms on TV.  But you really are the best in your class so it's totally okay if I go Dance Mom crazy!
My little Black Swan
Dear Noah....I'm in awe of how grown up you are all of a sudden.  You asked me not to call you Bubby anymore because you're 6 now but that will never happen.  Sorry.  It's just a fact.  You will always be my Bubby.  While you're trying my patience of a daily basis, I just can't help but feel overwhelmed by how awesome you are.  You're really going to do great things.

Dear Bloglovin.....I'm not really sure how to navigate you yet but I think I'm liking what I see.  It wasn't a painful transition so I'm looking forward to keeping up with my faves this new way.

Dear Readers....I am humbled on a daily basis that people actually read my little space of the internet.  I never imagined that this blog would go from a family update site to a place to capture my day to day life.  I've fallen in love with the blogging community and I've been given amazing opportunities because of it.  I've also been blessed to have made amazing friendships along the way.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's OK

Its Ok Thursdays

It's Ok.....

~to be sitting in my sweatpants with my new Tory's on because I love them that much!

~to get said Tory's as an Anniversary gift 3 months late
~to love when the kiddos spend the weekend with their grandparents because it means a weekend alone for me and the Hubs
~that I saw my first 3D movie this weekend
~to be excited about being a contributing writer for Tampa Bay Moms Blog
~to get a little anxious when ordering food at a restaurant that doesn't have a specific gluten free menu
~that my friends are amazing!!!!
~that I might be a Dance Mom. I just can't get enough of Em dancing.  Plus she's pretty stellar at it!!!
~that I kinda like this guy.  A lot.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Making the switch

I'm sure my story isn't the only story like it but I had quite the road to becoming a nurse.  When I went to college, actually even before I went to college, I was going to be a pediatrician.  I was going to be Dr. Jessica "Whatever My Last Name Would Be".  There was no doubt in my mind.  That's what I was going to do.  Then I got to USF, had the time of my life, maybe focused on my social life a little more than my education, and found myself a junior (almost senior) with no graduation date in sight.  I had changed my career path from Medicine to something unknown because I was no good at Organic Chemistry.  Yep.  Organic Chemistry was my Achilles heel.  I dropped that class in the first week and my med school dream disappeared and left me wondering what I was going to do with my life.  After changing my major 3 times in a semester, I decided I'd go with nursing.  My mom thought I was a crazy person because I couldn't stand blood, needles, people throwing up, all the things that go with being a nurse.  At the time, USF was only accepting once a year so my awesome advisor, and I use the word awesome loosely, told me to take some time off while I wait for my acceptance.  Not the best advice a girl with almost 120 credits wanted to hear.  Once again, I gave up my dream of being in the medical field.

Until one night, at 4am.  I had that light bulb moment that I wanted to be a nurse.  That nursing was where I was called to be.  So I researched nursing programs at other universities and community colleges.  I had a few community colleges I liked so I applied.  About a week later, I got an acceptance letter from Hillsborough Community College.  In the letter, I had a 4 day deadline to accept my seat before they pass it on to the next person.  I had 4 short days to turn my life completely upside down.  After talking with my mom, I made her send in my acceptance because it was too stressful for me.  By accepting that seat, I was finally going to be doing what I was meant to do.  But it also meant leaving everything I knew.  My school, my friends, my Chi Omega sisters, my job, and everything that I loved.  Oh and all of this would be happening in 2 months.  Too much for my poor little heart to handle.  But I put on my Big Girl Panties and walked through the door to my future.  Yeah it was hard saying goodbye to everything I knew, everyone I loved but I knew it was the only way I could be truly happy.  I moved back in with my parents and started my journey to become a nurse.

Not only did I have the time of my life, I also met the most amazing people.  If I never went to nursing school, I would not have met one of my very best friends.  Granted, at first, I was hoping he would be interested in me but I quickly learned that would never happen. Instead I gained a best friend.
I also started working at New York & Company where I met 2 of my favorite people.  At that point, the Bandits were created (more on that another day).

I met the Hubs and we all know how that story goes.
It also prepared me for my grown up life and everything that has happened since 2003.  I never regret my changing schools.  I wish some things played out differently but all in all, I love my life thanks to my decision to go to nursing school.  And I eventually went back to USF and finally graduated with my Bachelors of Science in Nursing.
7 years later, I feel like I'm a seasoned nurse.  I feel like I'm one of the nurses I used to work with in nursing school clinicals who seemed to have it all figured out.  I'm still learning and growing every day as a nurse but that's the beauty of this profession.  Every day there's something new to bring to your craft.

From my first day.......
To the most rewarding work I do now......
My life has been forever changed by those 4 days I had to decide whether to accept my seat or not.  I've never looked back since.....


Monday, March 25, 2013

2013 Season

It's no shocker that I love baseball.  I think it's been abundantly clear over the years.  I love it!  It's my go to sport.  And I'm lucky to have a husband who loves it as much as I do.  {Quick story....when we first started dating, I used to give him the box scores every morning via text. Yeah that's the cutesy type of stuff we did, not lovey dovey stuff.  I'm not a typical girl.  I'm a weird one.  I think the fact that I could read a box score and keep up with a sports conversation is what sealed the deal for his dad.  I definitely impressed him with my sports knowledge.}

With baseball season literally days away, it meant time for our annual Fantasy Baseball draft.  We've been playing for years.  At first it was just me and the Hubs.  Then we expanded to a league of 6 teams.  We have a live draft (aka everyone comes to our house and we literally go around in order and pick the players that we want on our teams.  The Hubs has always been the "Commish" of the league and he takes that role very seriously.  Every year he's gotten a little more crazy about it.  This year he went all out.  This is what he was drooling over for months:
A 6 foot tall draft board.  I mean honestly, who wouldn't want one of these monstrosities residing in their dining room for months?!?  It definitely went with the decor of our house.  I was so mad that he spent over $50 on this stupid thing.  But it was what he wanted to so I went with it.  Then these came home:
Instead of our usual, manila folder draft kits, the Hubs comes home with spiral bound draft kits.  Yes, he's out of control.  But I guess it's a better hobby than snorting coke.  So again, I went with it.  Oh I forgot to mention that he has been trying to talk strategy with me about Fantasy Baseball since October.  Yes. October.  The season hadn't even ended and the boy wants to talk draft picks?  He lost his damn mind.  In retrospect, I probably should have thought about a strategy a few days before the draft instead of winging it like I did.  I abandoned my usual strategy of drafting heavy pitching early and went with a more defensive approach.  We'll see if it pays off in the end.  I'm the defending champ and this year there's money involved.  I'm totally in it to win it.

I'm sure you're wondering how that monstrosity of a draft board ended up.  After a slight mishap with the velcro (yep I'm calling you out eff'd it up), I'm here, eating my words.  It was awesome.  It was nice to see all the drafted players up in one place.  And it was kinda pretty with all the colors.  Everyone liked it so much that they stood staring at it for about 30 minutes after we finished.  Now I wish I took a pic of that.
I love the filter on this one....thank you IG!
 All in all, the draft was a huge success.  We'll see how long the draft board sits in my dining room though.  There was talk of shared custody of it between all the teams.  There was also talk of weekly board updates including all the player changes.  I don't think the Hubs will keep up with that one though.
Please tell me I'm not the only crazy one who lives for baseball and plays Fantasy Baseball!  Who's your favorite team?


Friday, March 22, 2013


Dear Weekend....Thank you so much for finally getting here!  This week has been killer so you're a welcomed friend.  Dear Work...You're lucky I truly love what I do because there have been numerous times I thought about walking out of clinic and never looking back.  But alas, I love my job.  It has been one hell of a week and I'm hoping next week is better. I'm not sure how much more I can take before my head legitly explodes.    Dear Patients....You are my constant reminder that I'm where I'm supposed to be.  I will never be able to express how much each of you mean to me!

Dear In-Laws....Words cannot begin to describe how nice it is for you to be taking the kids this weekend.  The Hubs and I have needed some time to be "just us" and do grown up things.  
Dear Noah....stop growing up so fast!  Not only are you 6 now and almost finished with Kindergarten, you're ordering steak and potatoes at restaurants!  When did this happen?!?  I'm not ready for it.  Oh and while we're on the topic of you, can you PLEASE start being a good listener? I can't handle another pink note being sent home from school.  You're driving me to drink!

Dear Emmy....Words cannot begin to describe how thankful I am you're back to sleeping in your own bed.  Bedtime has been quite the struggle for all of us. I'm so sorry that I ever turned on Frankenweenie because it's all be downhill since then.  I don't understand the "I'm afraid to be left alone" thing you've got going on but I'm am definitely excited that you've taken a liking to the sticker chart I made.  5 nights of easy bedtimes, free from hours of tears (from me and you), and only a handful of visits from you in the middle of the night.  I never knew I'd have to channel my inner Child Life Specialist to conquer this one.

Dear Whole are my new found love! Aisles and aisles of food that actually agrees with my're a dream come true!!!  I'm dealing with the switch to a gluten free diet pretty well (yes I'm totally patting myself on the back for this) and you have made the transition a pretty easy one.  I can't wait for my next trip there this weekend!  Can you  please open a store in Pinellas County?  My gas tank would thank you! Dear Gluten....I don't miss you as much as I thought I would.  Yes, I may have acted like a crazy person this week because I wanted an effing cheeseburger.  And I may have mourned that cheeseburger like it was my best friend.  But I was strong and said no.  I don't miss the havoc you have created over the past 2 years.  I'm feeling healthy, happy, and I'm eating better than I have in a long time. Pretty soon I won't even recognize gluten at all!
Dear Fantasy Baseball....Our draft was awesome!  I abandoned my usual strategy and went a completely different route when it came to drafting players.  Let's hope it was a smart move because I have a championship to defend!  Oh and as much as this hurts me to admit, I really loved the crazy draft board the Hubs ordered.  It made things so much easier.
Dear Hubs....I'm so excited for our weekend!  Hanging out with friends tonight,  heading back to our old stomping grounds for some line dancing, and just spending time together.  Sounds like a great weekend to me (and a much needed one at that).  As much as I love our kids, it will be nice to ride in the car without listening to the Sofia the First soundtrack or hearing our names yelled over and over again.  Dear Instagram....without you, I would not have any pictures.  For some reason I am not using my camera very much at all.  Thanks to you, I can snap a quick pic, add my fancy filter, and post my pic for all to see (and for posterity sake, of course!)

How was your week?  Any big plans for the weekend? And more important, who else is stoked that baseball is back?!?!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

When I figured it out before the doctor did

I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing me mention my health problems.  Believe me, so am I.  I joke that I turned 30 and my body turned against me.  A small part of me was totally serious every time I said that.

Growing up, I was always getting sinus infections (well I still am) and strep throat.  I had a few injuries that required surgeries and casts. I suffered from the occasional migraine.  But as I got older, and really for the last 2 years, things have gotten horrible.  I spent a week in the hospital trying to figure out what was causing my stomach pain.  That ultimately led to my gallbladder being removed.  From that moment on, I always had some sort of GI distress.  I had never been plagued with stomach issues and let me say, I feel for anyone who has chronic stomach conditions.  It sucks for real.  Living on Zofran and Imodium is no way to live.  My migraines went from being once every 3-6 months to every week.  And my migraines debilitate me.  Like sweating, light sensitive, throwing up debilitating.

Next mysterious leg pain.  I'll spare you the details.  You can read them here.  Weird burning pain from the knee down in both legs that my doctor couldn't explain.  But it went away when I was taking B12 injections.  This, along with crazy extreme fatigue made August-November unbearable for me (and probably for the Hubs).  It was in November I was blessed with my first kidney stone.  Only to be followed up 3 months later (like 2 weeks ago) with a second stone.  I walked in to my doctor's office for my ER follow up and told her there has to be something that's really wrong with me.  She didn't really have any suggestion besides start taking my B12 again and to avoid things that can cause kidney stones.  I left that office a little let down but ready to do whatever I could to prevent another God awful stone.   That's when this Instagram post changed my life.
A list of all the foods that can cause kidney stones
A friend commented on my picture saying that she got horrible kidney stones until she got diagnosed with celiac disease. Since going gluten free, she had not had another stone.  So, being the medical professional that I am,  I went straight to Google to see if there was a correlation between celiac and kidney stones.  And of course there is a correlation.  {Oh I'm leaving out an important detail...when I was in the hospital for my gallbladder, I had a colonoscopy in which the doctor did a biopsy of an area that he thought was celiac disease.  The biopsy was either inconclusive or negative.  I can't remember}

In my googling, I came across an article titled "Celiac Disease Head to Toe."  After reading it, I could not shake the idea that I had a horrible issue with gluten. Maybe I didn't exactly have celiac disease but I was convinced that me and glutens just don't mix.  Here's my list of symptoms that match:
~Sinus headaches
~Sinus problems
~GI problems
~Kidney stones
~Peripheral neuropathy
~Easy bruising
~Vitamin D deficiency

That's well over 50%, probably closer to 75%, of all the body systems that can be affected by gluten sensitivity. Plus take into consideration the fact that a GI doc was suspicious enough for celiac disease that he biopsied an area of my intestine.  But I wasn't totally convinced until I got to the peripheral neuropathy section.  My neuropathy is only relieved by B12 supplementation.  When I read this statement from the article, I was convinced:
Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that results in numbness, tingling, and sometimes severe nerve pain in the extremities.  Finger, hands, toes, feet, and lower legs may all be affected. Although usually associated with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy shows up fairly frequently in those with celiac disease, and is fortunately reversible on a gluten free diet supplemented by B-vitamins and some specific amino acids.

This was the best explanation I've been able to find.  The B vitamin supplementation sealed it for me.  Could this be the cause of all my ailments?  Monday couldn't come faster so I could call the doctor.  {Oh another thing I forgot...I was starting to think I was allergic to beef because I'd get violently ill within 10 minutes of eating it.  But after coming up with gluten intolerance, it occurred to the Hubs that I never eat beef alone. It's always with bread or pasta. So it probably wasn't the meat at all}

I did an experiment Sunday night and did not eat any glutens through dinner.  I felt amazing.  Then I had an oreo cheesecake truffle.  Within 10 minutes of eating it, my stomach was in knots.  It had to be the wheat in the cookie.  I was then convinced.

I called my doctor Monday morning and she agreed that I must have a horrible gluten sensitivity.  She didn't feel like I needed to be tested for celiac disease since I had been biopsied before (still not sure how I feel about that) but she told me to go gluten free for 2 weeks.  She said I'd feel better instantly if it was from the glutens.  It was a challenge that I was willing and eager to accept.

Then the anxiety kicked in.  I probably over-googled but I became overwhelmed with eliminating glutens.  I might have thrown a pity party for myself Monday night, tears and all.  But I've done it. Tuesday will be an entire week of being gluten free.  Not only am I feeling great, it's so nice not to spend most of my time in the bathroom (sorry if that was TMI).  I have great energy.  I'm still tired but that's because I haven't been sleeping well, not because I was just waking up exhausted regardless of the number of hours I slept.  I haven't had a headache in 2 weeks but I did just get my contacts adjusted.  And I'm not missing wheat as much as I thought I would.  I'm still trying to navigate my way through my pantry and the grocery store.  I'm still adjusting to the sticker shock too.

But I feel good.  And that's all that matters.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's Okay

Its Ok Thursdays

It's OK.......

~to be extremely mad at my kidneys (and my body in general). I think it's revolting against me since I turned 30
~to have an amazing husband
~to love my kids, even when they're trying my last nerve
~to be nervous that Noah's bored with homework already.  He's in Kindergarten for crying out loud.  I broke the news to him that he has another 16 years of homework to deal with so he needs to figure it out now.
~to sneak Benadryl in my kid's Tylenol to get her to fall asleep
~to be ready to revamp my diet and life in order to feel better
~to pin like crazy on Pinterest and eventually get a few pins accomplished
~to love my life, no matter how crazy, painful, out of control it is!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Life Lately

I feel like so much is going on in my life and I haven't really had time to figure it all out.  Once again, health problems have popped up in our household.  Between the constant (drastic) weather changes, school germs, and the overall crud that's floating around, both kids can't seem to shake the runny noses.  It's even got Noah's asthma acting up.  I had to rush to the pediatrician this week after I got home from work because he sounded like he had croup.  Thank goodness he's 6 because our doc told me that he'd be in the hospital for croup if he was younger.  But since he's older, his airway is bigger and stronger.  So instead, I get to listen to a barky cough and do albuterol every 4 hours.  I guess being a pediatric nurse is okay in this instance because I'm not overwhelmed by the constant nursing stuff I have to provide to my kiddo, instead of just Mommy lovin.  I guess I'm getting a small glimpse of what my parents went through with my brother and his asthma.  I just pray we don't ever have to go to the hospital like they did.

Em is still having issues with sleep.  She can be happy as a clam and the moment you mention sleep, she's a hysterical panic attack.  She fights sleep harder than I've ever seen.  She cries like you're abandoning her when you leave her room.  Something's definitely going on because she's never had such separation issues.  Maybe it's a phase but it's so bad.  She will be sound asleep and I go to leave and she'll wake up.  I just don't know what to do.  Bad Mom Alert but I even gave her Benadryl last night to see if that would help. And it didn't really. All it did was make her "feel funny."  The Hubs and I are truly at our wits end with this.  I'm having a hard time balancing being supportive during her obvious crisis and being patient.  I hate to truly punish her for the craziness because I know she's really afraid of something but the behavior is becoming a huge problem and is on the verge of becoming out of control.

And then there's me.  I had escaped the flu for an entire month and then it hit me last weekend.  And if that wasn't enough, I got another kidney stone on Tuesday.  While I'm attributing it to my kidneys being jealous of Amber's, it came out of nowhere.  I was trying to recover (and planning on finally going back to work on Wednesday) and around noon, I got the pain.  I didn't believe that I was having another one since I had just had one 3 months ago.  How could that be possible?  But lo and behold, the pain migrated down my back and took residence in my right lower flank. I labored at home for a few hours. {Yes I said labored.  It 100%, without a doubt, feels like labor pain.  I've pushed out 2 babies naturally so I consider myself an expert on labor pains.  This is like one sided labor pain.  So if you want to figure out if you can handle labor, stop hydrating yourself for a while and get yourself a kidney stone.}  So after 6 hours in the ER, I got to come home all doped up and spend another day at home.  I'm still not sure I've passed it yet but the pain is getting more and more tolerable (and this is almost 5 days later).  I'm trying to figure out why I could be getting kidney stones all of a sudden.  My PCP wants me to make some serious diet changes, which is good but challenging, and wants me to go back on my B12 injections.  I've done some research (aka Googling) and I think I have a possible diagnosis that would explain every single ailment that I've been experiencing over the past 1.5 years but I don't want to go into it until I talk to my doctor tomorrow.  If I'm right, it will mean serious changes in my life but I will do anything in order to finally feel better.

I have to thank the Hubs for everything he's done for me this week.  He let me get much needed sleep last weekend (I pretty much slept for 24 hours straight) and then being so supportive in the ER.  It drives him nuts that I avoid going to the doctor at all costs but I appreciate having a partner in life who wants nothing but the best for me. He also is ready to face a possible diagnosis head on and wants to be as supportive as he can.  I really did luck out in the partner/husband/best friend department with this one.  I love you!!!!