Monday, November 26, 2012

October 22- Just Me and Bill Murray, taking it one day at a time??

You know what I have been thinking about lately......

Groundhog Day.

Not the actual date, but the movie.

Interesting, I know.

I watched the movie a year ago with Greg for the first time. I don't think I found it super inspiring at the time, maybe just funny.

Now I do though.

????? Ha Ha!

For those of you who haven't seen it, or maybe just cant see how any parallel could be taken from it, let me defend myself...  :)  Bill Murray's character is a man who is actually lost and doesn't even realize it.  He is self centered, mean, and unlikable (well, in my opinion).  That's obvious to everyone but himself.  He gets an opportunity to change in the form of being forced to live the same day over and over.  He spends a lot of time failing miserably and wanting to return back to the way things were, and get out of the little town.  But, it is finally when he realizes that he can use this limitless day to improve that he begins to become great.  He transforms into an amazing individual, and then, he is able to wake up, and move on with the rest his life, a much improved man, and not only that, he actually buys a house in the town he so desperately wanted to get out of he loves it that much!

Like the character in the movie, We wake up each day and follow much of the same patterns that we did yesterday, either because the things we did made us happy, or because we were too lazy to do something else, or because the things were habits from the days before.   There are slight variations but its about the same.

It seems as though in the midst of challenges it has to be our focus to stay out of the rut that will suck us in.  To not let the sadness or the monotony of life overtake us is the greatest challenge within a challenge.  It is the purpose of the trial; to find the joy, to find our true selves, to find Him, in the middle of all of it and continue forward.

The hope is that little by little, we start to become great.  And love the new place that we are.  That we embrace the new phase, the new us.  Its hard. Its harder than I thought it would be.  I don't think I necessarily love this new life without running. Its just that I use to feel as though I was constantly grappling to get back to the old Steph, the one who woke up, super excited for a hard run and whatever else the day my endless energy would bring.  I am slowly getting to know a new Steph though.  She doesn't run as much, she does more yoga.  She is more understanding, hopefully less judgmental   She sews more now.... doesn't burn as many calories as running but is rewarding in its own way.  Spiritually?  Yes, spiritually I believe I am closer to my Savior.  Which not to say that the old Steph wasn't, but there is no way she could have gotten to this depth without taking running out of the equation.

And so, I am starting to use this limitless day to try and better myself. And maybe someday, when i wake up from this "day" I will realize that I am actually right where I wanted to be, after all.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Surviving it

OK, here is what I DONT have.

brain tumor
bleeding on the brain
Lyme disease
ovarian cancer
thyroid disease
heart arrhythmia
oh, and I am not pregnant! haha

We are slowly but surely ruling things out.  Which is comforting to have the above things scratched off the list!

I met with my family Dr. he said that he does not know what could cause these symptoms. I walked out of his Dr. office very discouraged.  He also called some friends of his who are neurologist and he got me an appointment with one of them.......  In September! Um thanks.

Yikes, we will be trying other things before then!

I have been trying to move on-ish.  When I start to get a little depressed at the current situation I have to remember that this wont last forever. And for Heaven's sake Stephanie! There are worse things!!!!!!!

I can't quite get on with it though.... Maybe I am not suppose to get comfortable with these symptoms as the new me, maybe I am suppose to get angry to help fuel me forward to search for answers....
You know when you have the stomach flu, and you feel awful, and you say,"Yuck, I am just going to take it easy today, tomorrow, when I feel better, I will run those errands, clean my house, take my kids to the park, etc.....

I cant do that!

I have a tendency to do that with this.... ailment?  

It didn't dawn on me that I had been doing this to some degree until Grant's birthday, June 4th.  I was driving to my pelvic CT scan bawling because it was my little guys birthday and because I had been "sick" I had not planned a lot or run the errands for presents and stuff.  It hit me hard that I did not want to let that day pass me by with just a sort of "celebration" of him.  I am passionate about not missing them, while they are right here with me.  And I had been missing them.  By putting off things that I would normally do with them I will miss these moments.  Which is worse than any sickness or disability that could come.

I feel a little stuck.

I am struggling with the balance of trying to fiercely find out what is going on here.... and also trying to move forward with and for my family and maintaining a happy environment.  They feel like opposites. I cannot do both at once for some reason.  Either I am researching and calling doctors and moving forward somehow to get healthier.  Or I am maintaining the household stuff, playing with the kids and just trying to be grateful and happy for where I am now and accepting the new normal.  One feels like it requires survival mode, the other tries to repair.  We cannot function in survival mode for too long.  I think that is where I have been.  And it was ok for a while.  But it is not anymore.

When you are surviving, there isn't room in your body/spirit for planning for tomorrow, or preparing emotionally/physically/spiritually for what is to come.  Not to mention making sure that the wonderful people in your life are cared for not just for today, but for tomorrow too.  That their buckets have been filled today, and that there is lots more for tomorrow......  

There is just today. And making it through the day is all that matters. Old goals go out the window.  Because, after all, if you make it into your bed at night, that is all that survival has asked of you.

I want to thrive again.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I scared off my Nuerologist

I thought I would make a fun list of symptoms since I get asked about them and then this way, I also have a list so that when they go away I can just check them off.....  :) Please be aware that I am not trying to whine...

numbness on my left side (not new, but I am excited to check this one off)
pressure in the left side of my neck
headache and pressure on the back of my head (left side of course)
pressure in my torso, pelvis area
bloated feeling
no appetite, I even try to eat but I am immediately full, and nauseas when I do.
lower back pain
breathing feels "tight"
occasional slurred speech
night sweats
pain, pressure in my armpits
I have lost 8 lbs in the last month, 5 in the last 2 weeks.

Yay, I am so glad that I blogged about all of those details.

I went to the ER on Monday because with all of these symptoms and throwing up and slurring, I was sent over the edge.... Greg and the kids were at the lake so I had a perfect opportunity to go, I wouldn't inconvenience anyone. Haha.

They did a CAT scan of my brain, to make sure there was no bleeding, an EKG, blood work, and I peed in a cup.

All of these came back..... normal.... of course. Haha.

Because of my trip to the ER i got into my nuerologist sooner though! I was able to get in this past Wednesday.  It did not go the way I thought it might.....

After I had gone through just a few of my symptoms (he was the one I really wanted to complain to) he stopped me and said that he felt like he had ran the tests that he needed to and those were all normal and so I was now out of his specialty and that I would now need to report back to my family doctor.  He said I did not have MS or brain tumors and so that was all he could do.  He then said that to him, it sounded like I could have Ovarian Cancer.  With these symptoms all together and the fact that my Grandma had it, he ordered a CT scan with and without contrast.

Interesting.  I don't fit the risk factors (other than family history) so its highly unlikely.  Some of my symptoms do line up but they are all so non descript.  So we have another test, its scheduled for Monday morning.

I am excited for these test results to come back normal, and then after that.... I think I will move on to see if I have a weird allergy or something.  :)

I really, really need to put cute pics of my kids on this blog.  That is what blogs are for, isn't it?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Happy Ending

Greg and I have been talking a lot this past month about Admiral James Stockdale.  He was the highest ranking Navy POW in Vietnam.  He was a POW for 7 years and his attitude had everything to do with why he survived.  Look him up, his story is super inspiring.  James Collins wrote a book called Good to Great (which is how we learned about him) and he interviewed Admiral Stockdale.  When asked how he was able to cope he said,
 "I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade."[11]

When Collins asked who didn't make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied:
"Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."[11]
Stockdale then added:
"This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."[11]
Collins went on to describe this as the Stockdale Paradox.

Yes, we MUST have faith that we will prevail in the end.
And, we MUST confront the brutal facts of where we are at this very minute. 

At times, it seems that they are opposites!

The end of my story says that I will be healed, in my blessing it said that it will be imperative to remember those words.  At first I thought, "How could I ever forget? "What is this thing that is wrong with my body that would require such faith, and such a blessing?"

Now I am thinking, "Oh, I will need to 'remember' because it might take a while or maybe even a long time to be healed.  Even now.... even though it has been a little over a month, in the grand scheme of things, that really isn't a long time.  But I have to keep reminding myself that I have received a promise.  A beautiful blessing that I will be healed.  A Happy ending..... but the facts that I am confronting now need to be addressed and helped and if possible.....treated.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

What exactly do you mean....... normal?


As in, I am really tired all the time.


As in, I feel a lot of pressure in my torso area.


As in,  I cant feel the left side of my body!!

So with all of these tests that we have been having, 2 MRIs, 3 different sets of bloodwork, a fun spinal tap, etc... everything is coming back... normal.  But my symptoms are not normal.  So what is a girl to do? I talked to the assistant for the nuerologist (for the 3rd time) and she, somewhat begrudgingly, told me that all of the test results were normal.  I asked her what tests were next and what the new plan was and she said there were no more tests..... that I just need to wait for my next appointment (June 28th) and then maybe he can prescribe me something for my symptoms.

Um, No.

I do not wait.  I will not wait for another month to find out why my body is reacting the way it is.  Something must be the cause.  Another month without running or really feeling like myself?  No.

I am trying to remind myself that normal, is good!!  Bad news would be terrifying.  Not knowing the real reason why, just might make me go crazy.

......Blood patch...... fun?

I called the radiology department at St. Francis on Monday morning.  I figured that if my headache and backache were still this bad that they would probably like to know.  Right?  I thought that they probably got these kind of phone calls all the time though... whiny patients saying they just had a lumbar puncture and wanted relief?

As soon as I said what my issue was, the receptionist said, "uh oh, not good, I will page the radiologist and we will call you right back. Within 5 minutes he called back and walked me through where my pain was.  He said that he would check back in with me throughout the day.  And boy did he!  He called me 5 more times that day to check in and then at 4:00 he ordered a "blood patch" for Tuesday at 1:30 with the Intervention Radiologist.

A blood patch is where they run an iv in your arm and then they insert another needle into your spine and then draw the blood and insert it directly into your spine so that your own blood will clot, and close the hole in your spine that should have healed on its own. The severe headache is from the inbalance of not having enough fluid because it is leaking... to cushion your brain.... ouch. I didn't care what they had to do, I was just so happy that they knew how to fix how I felt.  It got a little tricky because when I was laying there he said that I was going to feel pressure from the blood going into my body, and that i needed to tell him when it felt like there was too much pressure and then he would need to stop. With the left side of my body being as numb as it has been since the spinal tap (an 8/9 out of 10), I had a hard time figuring that out but he was able to put in 8cc of blood.  They said that i should find relief within a few hours.  I was so excited for that!

They were right, by the time I went to bed on Tuesday night I was feeling a little better and by This morning (Wednesday) the headache was gone!  I was still nauseas and everything below my head felt like it had been hit by a truck but hey, I'll take it!! haha!!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spinal Tap Fun!

I went to Indianapolis yesterday and had that wonderful spinal tap (lumbar puncture) that everyone is always raving about! :) haha.  The actual procedure wasn't too bad at all!
My mom (more on their visit later! :) and I and the two littlest ones left our house at about 6:15am and drove over to St. Francis Hospital.  She dropped me off and then drove over to Bill and Debbie's (my in-laws) and took care of my little crazies over there. So awesome!  I walked in and they took me right back and had me change into those awesome hospital gowns that automatically make you uncomfortable and sit in a special waiting area.  My appointment was at 8:15am, at 8:30 a technician walked in and said that they were running behind and she asked when I would absolutely have to be out of there.  Now as all mommy's know, when our children are in any kind of activity/performance, no matter the size, it is imperative that we are there!! I told the radiology tech that I had an all important, 1 minute long talent show that I promised Taylor that I would attend that started at 1:00pm, so I had to leave Indy at 11am at the latest.  She promised me that would happen and left the room. Ten minutes later Kate was back with a big smile on her face and said she "got me in"!!
Before I knew it I was laying on my stomach and the radiologist and Kate said that I was all done.  Seriously, I was waiting for that long sting from the numbing medicine that I was familiar with from epidurals, but I just felt a tiny little sting and then it was over.  He said that it was because he uses a much smaller needle than epidurals and puts the medicine in slowly because they aren't in a hurry like in epidurals. Yay! I did feel a little pressure, and they did need to tilt the table up to get the fluid out because it wasn't coming on its own but then, it was done.  It was cool, they had an ex-ray machine above me and a computer screen that the Dr. (and I) could watch and it guided him the whole time in getting that needle into my spine. It really was neat to watch. Four viles later and they were rolling me into a recovery area where I had to lay completely flat and still for an entire hour.  Then I was dismissed to leave! Easy!
About 20 minutes later, my mom was driving us home on the interstate (I wasn't allowed) when I got a call from Kate at the hospital.  She said that the radiologist told her to call and tell me that some blood work had been ordered and that I needed to come back.  Boo!  We turned around and by the time we got back to the hospital it was 11:05.  Kate was yelling at people and they all started running and I got my blood work and was out of there in 10 minutes. Hahaha. She was awesome!
We made it back home with 3 minutes to spare and I got to see the coolest little 1 minute gymnastics/dance show ever! :)
And then the pain hit, yikes.  I now know what people are taking about when they say they got a "spinal headache".  Wow.  I had been in an upright position for way too long and I guess you are suppose to try and lay down flat on your back for 8-12 hours.  Its been almost 33 hours and I still cant be up too long or that piercing feeling comes back into my head and back.  Poor Greg, he has played the role of daddy/mommy way too many times. That makes me sad.
Now we just wait.  Kate said that we should know something by Monday or Tuesday... maybe Wednesday. Yay! I am glad that we don't have to wait too long! :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Come what may and love it! ??

Today I went for a run.  Something I have done countless times, dare I say a gazillion times, since I was 13.  Something that quite frankly, I am obsessed with.  I was hoping that I would feel different.  I didn't.  The neurologist said I could run as long as I didn't start the run fatigued, and as long as I stopped running if I felt fatigued during the run.  I got a 1/2 mile in before I had to turn around, the numbness swept in and blanketed my left leg again, its too bad, because I really needed to be out there longer. Running clears my head, and helps me to drop all of those silly things I worry about.

Silly things to worry about.  I feel guilty.  There are worse things! I keep telling myself that, but I am having a hard time dropping the fact that I cant run the way I need to right now.  

2.5 weeks ago, on April 21st, I was doing my normal Saturday morning long run.  The Indy mini marathon was 2 weeks away, this would by my last long run before the race.  When I was 4 miles into my run the left side of my body went completely........numb.  

For the last month my toes had been feeling that pins and needles feeling when I went running, I thought my shoes were too tight or ....something, then the feeling stuck around even when i wasn't running.  I made an appointment with my doctor and the earliest I could see him was May 1st. 

I immediately started praying.  I felt like I should turn around and run, not walk, back.  Every time my foot hit the ground I had to look down to make sure it was still there, and still working.  It was, I just couldn't feel it. I called Greg when I had a mile left, he met me at the trail parking lot and we both tried to grasp what just happened. The severity of the numbness lessened slightly when I got home, but the feeling stuck around.

I got into the nurse practitioner the following Wednesday, April 25.  She did a couple of little tests in the office that I failed miserably, and so she scheduled 2 MRI, one of my brain, the other of my cranial neck area..... and told me ,"NO RUNNING!!"  Um.  I was able to make it to the van, load the 2 little ones, make it home, turn on Barney for Grant and put Mia down for a nap and then.... I let myself lose it.

On Friday, April 27, my MRI was scheduled at 3:20.  As the day went on I felt like I was getting worse.  At about 1:00, it felt like I couldn't breath, I felt weak and tired.  Greg came home, picked up the girls from school and we went to the ER, they checked all of my vitals and the ER doctor said that everything was working, my lungs, my heart... but that I probably just couldn't feel them working on my left side.  We went ahead with the scheduled MRI and my amazing mother-in-law drove over and took the kids home to give Greg and I some time.  After the MRI we drove over to Hays Arboretum. We talked about what this could be; tumor? MS? some weird fluke virus sent here to teach us something?  We talked about our future, and that our picture of it will probably need changing.  We talked about the fact that we have an all knowing, and loving Heavenly Father.  We read Elder Wirthlin's talk, "Come what may and love it", one of my all time favorites.  I will never forget that moment with Greg.  I have always said that I need running and Greg to survive.  So of the two, I am so glad it was running that got nixed and not my very best friend. 

Sunday, April 29th, started hard.  One of the worst.  I am sad to say I had lost hope, its amazing how an experience like this brings you to your knees.... and your breaking point.  I watched Elder Neil L. Anderson's talk called, "What thinks Christ of Me?".  Amazing!!!  And President Henry B. Eyring's talk, "Mountains to Climb".  Humbling!!!  Later in the day, Bishop Baker came over.  What followed was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life.  I am so grateful that God's power can be here on the earth.  Because of this experience I can never doubt that my Savior is aware of me.  I am full of hope, everything will work out, and if my hope wanes, I know I will need to remember this experience and have greater faith.

Matt and Janet (My brother and his wife) and their kids got here sunday night to spend the week with us and run the mini marathon.  We quickly filled them in.  We were so very blessed to have them here for this past week.  They watched the kids while we got more MRI and test results and they lightened the mood around our home.  We all had so much fun with them!!!  Janet did way more than her fair share of chores around here.  

I have felt so blessed to have friends and family fasting for me!  I feel so humbled! I am so grateful for their love and support.

I met with a neurologist yesterday, which was a pure miracle in and of itself that I was able to get into one so quickly (thank you Leah!).  I had some blood work done and I will probably have a spinal tap sometime in the near future.  

I must end this ridiculously long post! Wow!  My stake president, who lives an hour away came over last monday and told me to journal all that I can about this experience and to share my testimony of my Savior with others.  I will work on that.  Until I can run for reals I will need to find other ways to drop those silly things I worry about and clear my head in other healthy ways.  I will work on that too!!