Sunday, June 28, 2015

Our New Car

Today we got a new car because our old one died. It was a head gasket problem and even a temporary fix our mechanic tried didn't work. It even broke down on the way to the car lot and got stranded at Walmart!

The new car is a Nissan Versa Note and I hate it. Not because it's a bad car, but because of what it represents. All our embryo adoption money gone. I doubt we will be able to afford to cycle next year because we had to buy a stupid car.

I mean it could have happened after a successful cycle when we wouldn't have been able to afford it at all, so I guess I'm glad it happened now. But I'm facing the real possibility of never being a parent and that sucks! I see other people get new cars and they are so excited, but I'm just sad. Had a big cry afterwards but now I'm crying again writing this.

It just sucks.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

There is more to this, I know.

It's been a long time since I've blogged. I mean really blogged, not just posted about books. Six months actually. I thought it was time I updated everyone on how I'm doing health wise.

Firstly, I still haven't made it back to the rheumatologist for my follow up regarding the $500 worth of blood work I had done way back when. We just couldn't afford it, unfortunately. I finally got insurance at the beginning of the month so that is my priority once I heal from my surgery (I'll get to that in a bit). So I still don't have a diagnosis regarding my full body pain and other various symptoms. This is still affecting my quality of life greatly.

My psychologist took one of my symptoms, feeling like I walked through a spider's web or a hair is stuck on me when there's not, and decided I was having tactile hallucinations. She diagnosed me with major depression with psychotic features. That basically means you get sooo depressed your mind has a break from reality and you become delusional and/or hallucinate. Since this is also associated with fibro and various autoimmune diseases I'm not convinced that is actually happening to me. It hasn't gotten much better with treatment so far even though my depression has improved drastically.

The treatment they have me on now is Abilify which is also used for just depression so I do think it is helping me with that. They also have me in resilience training which has been so helpful! It's a program called E.P.I.C (early psychosis intervention and care) and I wish it was offered to people who were depressed or anxious without psychotic symptoms as well. They have taught me a lot and I'm able to deal with my depression and social anxiety a lot better now. In that way I am thankful for the diagnosis even if I'm not 100% sure it is correct. One thing I've done is create a playlist for bad days which includes songs telling me I can do this. The above lyrics are from one of my favorites, You're Not Alone by Saosin. You can find it on Spotify under the oh so creative name Songs for a Bad Day. I'll also take suggestions for songs to add.

Did I ever mention my knee problems on here? If not around Thanksgiving my knee gave out and made this sickening cracking sound. My mom actually thought I broke something it was so loud. Every since then it has hurt when I have it bent or put weight on it for too long. It has given out and made the cracking sound a few more times since then. I've tried a brace and some simple therapy I can do myself at the suggestion of a doctor at a free clinic I went to without much improvement. Seeing my normal doctor was the first thing I did when my insurance kicked in and she put me on celebrex for it. That doesn't seem to be helping much either so she is probably going to refer me to a specialist after I recover from my surgery. I did get an x-ray and that came back fine so nothing was broken even if it sounded like it.

Over the last few months my endometriosis has gotten progressively worse so that is what I'm having surgery for. I can't afford to go see the specialist I wanted to in Atlanta since my out-of-network deductible is $11,500 and out-of-pocket max is $23,000. That was really disappointing since when I signed up it only told me my in-network deductible ($0) and out-of-pocket max ($2,000) so I thought it was going to be $2000 plus traveling expenses. I don't have a quote on my specific surgery but I have heard it is $6-7,000 just for the doctor alone not counting the hospital and anesthesiologist etc. That could easily run over $23,000! So instead I am having it done with Dr. E again like I did in 2011 for the affordable price of $300. My surgery is scheduled for July 9th as that's the soonest they had available.

We are hoping I will get another two good years out of it like I did the first one. We are going to see about getting a loan to pursue embryo adoption in August. Either I will cycle next year or I won't and that will be the end of TTC for us. Then whenever my endo comes back they can take everything out at the same time. Dr. E has already told me a hysterectomy is the next step after this surgery, she doesn't want to do one now since she knows our plans regarding embryo adoption. Hopefully soon we will officially be TTC again and I can start blogging about that!

Monday, May 18, 2015

From Left to Write: The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy

I received this book the Saturday before Mother's Day, and expected to use it as an escape from such a painful weekend. These plans were short sided as the book deals with the two issues I wished to escape: infertility and miscarriage. Suffice to say I put the book down for a while and have only recently found it in myself to pick it back up.

Again I found myself questioning, "Am I a mother?" Society, even most friends and family, would probably say no. Yet I carried a child with half my DNA (albeit briefly). All children have at least one mother and father. Who else would be this child's mother if not me? I love Jesse with a mother's love. I grieve like only a mother could. But yet, I different.

I am not parenting like all the other mothers. I am not raising my child with all the joy and heartache that entails. Being the mother of an angel is hard. Being the mother of a living child is also hard, but in a completely different way. The two are beyond compare.

I have come to the conclusion that I am a mother. I became a mother as soon as my egg met my husband's sperm and nothing, nothing can take that from me. But I am not a parent. I stopped being a parent the moment I got the fateful call from my OB saying my numbers had fallen below 5. I believe when most people think of mothers they are actually thinking of female parents. A small distinction, but an important one to a non-parenting mother (through death, adoption, estrangement, etc). I hope one day to be a parent again to another child, one who gets to live. Then maybe Mother's Day will be cause for celebration.

This post was inspired by The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy, a novel about two women are connected by an Underground Railroad doll. Join From Left to Write on May 19th as we discuss The Mapmaker’s Children. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Monday, May 4, 2015

From Left to Write: Spinster by Kate Bolick

My life has been very different from Kate's, seeing as I married my husband at the age of 21 and continue to have a happy marriage. Yet I didn't always think my life would turn out this way. I didn't date in high school and have never gone searching for love. It's quite a coincidence that I met my husband at all, and he had to work hard to convince me to date him!

I've written before (for another FL2W book) that I'm closer to being asexual than not. I have now heard a term I think suits me perfectly: demisexual. Basically it takes a deep emotional connection for me to feel attraction to someone. If you haven't read my previous post I would recommend it, as I don't want to spend too much time on that topic in this post.

Anyway I never knew being married would be in the cards for me, especially not so young. I've always seen myself as a future mother but not so much a wife. Funny how that worked out, isn't it? Married for 5 and a half years but still not parenting. I didn't feel the need for a man in my life and had a hard time picturing that for myself. I could have easily ended up an old cat lady librarian and thought there were worse fates.

Would I have been as happy? I don't know. Throughout the past few years I've relied heavily on my husband for emotional and financial support. There have been many times where my marriage felt like the only positive aspect of my life. Maybe without him I wouldn't even be here; my depression almost got the better of me even with his help. If in this hypothetical my health didn't deteriorate as it has I think I could have been happy living as a spinster. Maybe not as happy, but you can't miss what you've never known.

This post was inspired by Spinster by Kate Bolick, who explores singledom with famous women who fashioned life on their own terms. Join From Left to Writeon May 5th as we discuss Spinster. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

AlterWorld by D. Rus

From Goodreads:
A new pandemic - the perma effect - has taken over Earth of the near future. Whenever you play your favorite online game, beware: your mind might merge with the virtual world and dump its comatose host. Woe be to those stuck forever in Tetris! And still they're the lucky ones compared to those burning alive eternally within the scorched hulls of tank simulators.
But some unfortunates - the handicapped and the terminally ill, shell-shocked army vets, wronged crime victims and other society misfits - choose to flee real life willingly, escaping to the limitless world of online sword and sorcery MMORPGs.

Once a seasoned gamer and now a terminal cancer patient, Max grasps at this final chance to preserve his life and identity. So he goes for it - goes for the promise of immortality shared with a few trusty friends and the woman he loves. Together they roam the roads of AlterWorld and sample its agony and ecstasy born of absolute freedom.
This book interested me from two different perspectives. On one hand I'm a gamer, on the other I'm chronically ill. I may not be dying from any of my illnesses, but my quality of life is quite low because of them. Would I choose to enter an MMO for all eternity if I could? Honestly I'm not sure. Maybe, but probably only if my husband came with me. Said husband is busy playing an MMO as I type but he says he isn't sure either. If I could go back in time and ask my December 2013 self (one of the lowest times of my life) I know she would have said yes in a heart beat.

I enjoyed the blend of game description and plot in this story. At parts it was like listening to a friend describe his latest D&D adventures. We have equipment stats and ability descriptions that might be hard to follow for non-gamers, but are quite familiar to those who have rolled a d20 once or twice. Yet the book is only half game, intertwined is Max's new life with other very real people and problems. As you get farther into the story the immersion gets deeper until the end when you realize for some it is no longer a game at all.

I quite enjoyed this book and immediately upon finishing went to download it's sequel: The Clan. There is a third, The Duty, already out with the forth, Inferno, releasing June 20th. According to Goodreads there is a fifth and sixth planned for the series. I would give AlterWorld 5 stars and (so far) The Clan the same. I would recommend it to other gamers and non-gamers should give it a shot too!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

From Left to Write: If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

“It's not a prison if you've built it yourself... It's a fortress.”

Sometimes I think I'm developing agoraphobic tendencies. I spend almost all of my time Inside already, which would drive some people stir-crazy but not me. I may step Outside the back door when I let the dogs out, but I'm just as likely to watch them from the doorway. When I do go Outside it is with someone else, like my mother or my husband, which makes me feel safer. There are times when I could go to the store by myself (as I am not on any meds that keep me from driving) but I choose not to. Part of me is scared to drive when I am out of practice. Part of me is scared to go Outside alone. There was a time or two over a year ago that I actually had a panic attack about doing just that. 

I have social anxiety, sometimes quite severely. If I am alone there is a higher chance I will have to talk to someone; if my husband is there he can do the talking for me. I have a terrible sense of direction so part of me is scared of getting lost. As I said above, driving when I haven't for so long is frightening. What happens if I have a flare and can't drive myself home? Do I have valid reasons or am I just making excuses?

This is not something I've ever talked about before. It's a normal part of my life now to go Outside with an escort and I don't think about it much. Maybe I should. I have a therapist and I haven't even mentioned it to her! For now I am fine with going Outside as long as someone is with me, but how easily that could change. I wonder if I will ever be that girl who walked around Midtown Manhattan by herself again.

This post was inspired by the novel If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie,about a boy who's never been outside, thanks to his mother's agoraphobia, but ventures outside in order to solve a mystery. Join From Left to Write on January 22nd as we discuss If I Fall, If I Die. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.