Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An update on me

I am still experiencing mild dizziness, mild anxiety and I cannot sleep BUT I can tell that I am getting better with every day that passes. I have been going to an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor), a masseuse, an audiologist and I have a holistic doctor appt. tomorrow. It has been crazy with all the running around lately but it seems that I am following the correct path to recovery.

12/23-The ENT diagnosed me with vestibular neuritis over labyrinthitis. The only difference is labyrinthitis sufferers experience hearing loss and my tests have came back normal so far. The audiologist tested me before I saw the ENT. She found that the virus is likely in my right ear. She did lots of testing for hearing and balance. I passed the hearing test but my balance was off which indicates that one of my inner ears isn't functioning properly (duh, we already knew that, lol). She had me close my eyes and march in place for about a minute. When I opened my eyes, I had moved forward (which is normal) but then I turned to face the right side of the room. That is an indicator that the damage is in my right ear. This is all preliminary but we will have a further diagnosis soon.

12/29-I saw the audiologist again for a VEMP (Vestibular-Evoked Myogenic Potential) test. I had to turn my head to tighten my neck muscles during it. I had electrodes on my neck muscles and just below them. She placed a plug into one ear at a time and then it would play some loud sounds while I strained my neck muscle. It was awkward but didn't hurt. I don't know what the results of the test were but it will be a piece of the puzzle once all of my testing has been completed.

12/31-I have an interesting appointment with a holistic doctor up in Fort Collins tomorrow. It's strange how I got hooked up with her. I have never been a person to believe in natural medicine (where are the good drugs???), lol. What happened was I went to the spa to get a massage earlier this month (Clayton bought me 3 for Christmas-gotta love that man!). My masseuse knew exactly what I was going through on the anxiety side. She had suffered major anxiety attacks stemming back 5 years ago when she was involved in a car accident, lost 3 family members and her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She had really been put through the ringer that year, to say the least. We compared symptoms and we had many similarities (fear, withdrawal behavior from normal activities, headaches, inability to sleep, mind racing, distorted vision, etc.). I asked her what all she did to get rid of the anxiety and she told me that she tried lots of different methods that involved all sorts of doctors, counselors, gurus, quacks, etc. The one person that helped her the most was the holistic gal that I will be seeing tomorrow. She told me that I needed to be open-minded about my experience and to trust her. It's worth a shot, in my opinion. If my masseuse can go through all that misery and come out okay on the other side then this gives me hope.

1/7-My VNG test is scheduled for this day but I keep trying desperately to get the appt. sooner. This will be the best test I can do to pinpoint my inner ear issue. Once I get this test over with, the audiologist will be able to help me regain my eye coordination using vestibular rehabilitation therapy. Basically, I have to retrain my damaged nerve to work correctly so that it can function properly. I dread the prep for this test because I won't be able to take any meds 48 hours beforehand. Ugh, I don't need Valium all that often (only when my ear starts to bother me and I get dizzy or anxious) but not taking Ambien is going to be hard. I did somehow manage to go to sleep on my own last night so hopefully I can get back into my normal sleep habits before the VNG. I just don't like knowing that I won't be able to take anything 48 hours before it. That scares me just a little bit. 4 hours before the test, I can't eat or drink. I hope that I don't get a headache or lightheaded.

1/14-All the tests will have been interpreted by now so the puzzle will finally come together. I will hopefully know exactly what I am dealing with at this point and how damaged my vestibular nerve is. I will begin VRT (vestibular rehabilitation therapy) on this day with exercises that have been prescribed just for me and my condition. I can't wait!!

2/3-I go back to the ENT for a check-up. This will have been 6 weeks since he diagnosed me with vestibular neuritis.

I know that is alot of jibber jabber but I needed to write all of this down so that my family back home can track my progress. Sorry for the lack of fun stuff. I do have some pics to post soon of my family ice skating and on Christmas morning. ;)

The vestibular system is the part of the inner ear and the brain which helps control balance and eye movement. Although your balance system is located primarily in the inner ear, it is connected with the brain, the eyes and the sensory nerves throughout your body. Each of these centers sends and receives messages to the others causing you to feel dizziness when there is damage to the vestibular nerve.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy 10th Anniversary to My One & Only

Let me just say that the anniversary band was a complete surprise. I have always said that I would like one for our 10th but I honestly didn't expect it.

Today is our anniversary but we celebrated over the weekend. Clayton first surprised me on Saturday by having Aunt Steph take the kiddos. Then he took me to a nice hotel in downtown Denver where we got upgraded to a suite. There was wine and cheese waiting for us in the room. I couldn't believe it! He then gave me my ring. We went to Randolph's for a fabulous dinner and then took a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride down 16th St. It was a beautiful night and not too cold. We had such a good time.

Not to be Debbie Downer but we had a horrible night that night. We fell asleep just after midnight and woke up to fits of crying/screaming in the hallway. There was a totally drunk girl in the hall that would not go to her room (which happened to be next to us). The cops were called because hotel management couldn't do anything. I was ticked and so we got moved to the presidential suite just so we could get some sleep. It was insane. We were wide awake after that so we didn't get much sleep that night. Oh well, at least it made for a funny tale, lol.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Praise the Lord!! I Have A Diagnosis

You guys would not believe the heck I have been through over the past month. I began having constant panic attacks, nausea, sweating, heart racing, blurry vision, vertigo, dull ringing in ears (I can't stand not to have background noise or talk on the phone), nervousness, lightheadedness and just plain couldn't function. It has been awful. I was taken to the ER back on 11/14 because I thought that I was dying. I had electric shock waves through my head and racing thoughts. I also sweat a lot and couldn't sleep. The worry about the weird feelings is what brought on the anxiety and panic attacks. I have had an extremely hard time dealing with life ever since.

I decided last week to turn to God. The doctors at the ER and my general practitioner thought that I was just highly anxious. No prescriptions seemed to help. They couldn't help me. My GP prayed for me and then told me about his church. I decided to take the kiddos and my neighbor last Sunday. It was wonderful! I had a hard time focusing but I really loved the sermon. I have to laugh because the first half of the sermon was hard for me to sit still because I felt like I might embarrassingly pass out. The good news is that my doctor and his wife (who is also a doctor) were sitting beside us. If I were to pass out, that would have been a good place to do it, lol. Anyway, I prayed that night and cried forever as I asked him into my heart. It felt so good that words cannot describe it. I decided to spend the evening with my family rather than the bed that night because I felt so good. Well, that unfortunately didn't last too long. Evidently I needed the spiritual love but I spiraled again the next day and all the bad symptoms came back.

This week has been horrendous. I have tried to deal with the anxiety but finally had a total lapse yesterday. I couldn't function and I knew I couldn't drive. My vision was so bad and the room was spinning. My stomach just wanted to vomit. I called Clayton and got him to come home early for work. We went to the Urgent Care place in Loveland rather than my GP this time. Thank God I did!! When I went in, I couldn't even focus my eyes. Clayton had to fill out my paperwork for me. The nurse was disturbed and couldn't figure out what to do with me. I couldn't look directly at her and the room was wildly spinning. I thought that I was going to faint. The doctor comes in and starts asking lots of questions. I didn't mention the word "anxiety" because I didn't want her to write me off as just being anxious like the ER did. She listened and said not to worry because she could help me. I was shocked! How come it took so long to find someone who understood? If the ER couldn't figure me out, how could she? Well, she had been through it before herself. I was told that this will go away and she could help me do it. What a relief that was to hear for the first time! I fully believe that God led me to this woman. If I hadn't of found her, I would still be suffering. BTW-She said that this could not be total anxiety I was experiencing because I would not have problems with the room spinning. Rooms don't spin with anxiety.

This is what is going on-labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis. My vestibular nerve is to blame. It is aggravated and it sure lets me know it, lol. It controls our overall balance. The brain, eyes and ears are all connected so my head is one big playground run by a bully right now. A regular ear exam looked clear because I had no problems with the part that the doctors can simply look into. The CT scan I had done while in the ER could never have spotted this either. They can detect middle ear infections but not this (which was originally what they thought I may have because they can cause the same symptoms). The big difference is that a middle ear infection can be treated with antibiotics because it is bacterial. My problem is a virus so it cannot be treated in the same fashion. I am now on steroids to help the inflammation and another med to battle the dizziness. I will also have to retrain my damaged nerve to work properly once again. If I cannot do it using the techniques the doctor showed me then I will move on to physical therapy with a neuro doctor.

Check out this:
Chronic anxiety is a common side effect of labyrinthitis which can produce tremors, heart palpitations, panic attacks, derealization and depression. Often a panic attack is one of the first symptoms to occur as labyrinthitis begins. While dizziness can occur from extreme anxiety, labyrinthitis itself can precipitate a panic disorder.

Anyway, sorry for the long post on medical mumbo jumbo but I just had to get this out. I am so happy now that I have a diagnosis and I know I am going to make it. It may be 6 months before I am totally normal but hey, I will take it any day over thinking that I am just crazy. My poor hubby deserves a gold medal for all that he has had to deal with lately. I am sure he is glad to finally have his wife back. God is good!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Zoo Lights @ the Denver Zoo

Members of the Denver Zoo got a special sneak peek at the Zoo Lights display this past weekend. We went on Friday night and it was so pretty. I can't even begin to imagine how much money they have tied up in Christmas lights. Each tree around the place had tons of LED lights all over. I wish I could have gotten pics of everything but it was impossible with my little camera. I knew I should have taken my big camera. Oh well, I still got a few shots of us enjoying the festivities. Clayton's Dad had given him a huge thermos recently so we took it filled with hot chocolate. I brought each of our Christmas Starbucks travel mugs so that we could drink and walk around at the same time. It was wonderful! The only downside to going on going the first weekend of the event was that there were too many people. We weren't about to wait forever to get on the train and Santa's line was unreal. We ended up skipping those 2 things. Maybe we'll go back and do the things we skipped. If you live near the Denver area, I highly recommend Zoo Lights. It won't be open again until 12/11 and the hours will be from 5-9pm.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pumpkin Roll

Hayden and I made a pumpkin cake roll today. I thought that it would be hard to roll up but it was rather easy. I hope it tastes as good as it looks!

I am a bit bummed that no one is coming over for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I have always hosted for family. Heck, we even hosted in our little apartment in Raleigh when we were both at NCSU. We had no money back then but I still managed to do the full spread. This year Clayton's birthday managed to fall on turkey day so we will celebrate that too. Maybe we will go to the movies or something?
BTW-I have changed my blogger template and managed to lose all of the blogs on my sidebar. If you don't see yours listed, will you please leave me a comment with your blog address? I want to add them back.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Deep & profound thoughts on my baby turning 5

It is unreal how time seems to fly now that I am a mom. It seems like just yesterday I had to use a stroller and change diapers. Now I am the mother of a 6yo and a 5yo. How weird! I never thought that I would make it this far, lol. Once I had my babies, I couldn't wait until this point because then I wouldn't have to contend with baby or toddler crap any longer. Being 5 means going to school and understanding rules. I am thrilled to finally be at this point. I used to be so jealous of the moms that didn't have to deal with babies/toddlers because their lives seemed so much easier. I now know that it is easier in some respects but more difficult in others. Just because my kiddos are more self sufficient doesn't necessarily mean it is a cake walk. For instance, I don't have to worry about sippy cups but I do have to deal with occasional spills from regular ones, kwim? It is nice to not deal with washing all those sippy cup parts but I miss not having to worry about spills. Oh well. I will take not having to deal with diapers, bottles, teething, burp clothes, onesies, carriers and strollers any day over the occasional upset that a 5 year old deals me.

Being 5 means more independence but it comes with a price. I now serve as a constant mediator and it is super annoying. I have to settle arguments between my kiddos because they both want their grievances heard. The youngest no longer simply succombs to the bossing around that my older one dishes out. Emerson used to just be passive and let Hayden rule his world. No longer is that happening, lol. My boys now think that they can do many things for themselves that they don't understand fully why we won't let them (like walk to/from school by themselves, get things down from a tall shelf or walk through a crowded parking lot without holding our hands). These things may seem minor but it can be really frustrating to constantly battle my boys' newfound independence. They want to be more self-reliant and I want them to be too but it isn't always in our best interest to just let them be on their own. They still have a lot of growing up to do and I am thankful that they still *need* us.

Anyway, enough about that. Here are some fun pics of Emerson on his special day (11/8):

Emerson laying across my glider and footstool

Opening gifts (he LOVED everything!)

He almost blew out the candle before we sang to him. He stopped himself just in time, lol.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Halloween 2009

Hayden as Optimus Prime

What a ham!

Emerson as...hmm...something evil? demonic? Skeletor?
Let me just say that this costume is pretty scary but it was a compromise. Emerson wanted to be the guy from Scream with blood flowing down his face. Ugh. I wasn't about to allow that costume in my house. Hayden was terrified of all the costumes Emerson wanted so the Scream guy was most definitely out. He settled on this one knowing that he couldn't wear the mask nor the evil necklace that came with it to his preschool party. That was okay by him so everything worked out well. He did make quite a few parents chuckle while he was TOTing because he was so little to be such a scary character. Who knew that a 4 year old would want to be something so demonic?

more Halloween pics

Clayton's pumpkins-Mario and Luigi

Emerson trick-or-treating at the Leal's (our friends across the street)

Now this is hilarious. You saw how scary Emerson looked, right? He was too chicken to go up to the doors because he was afraid that a dog would run out and attack him, lol. He would peek around the corner of every house until he knew it was safe to proceed to the door.

Blizzard pics-October 28 & 29, 2009

Emerson smashing snow on the back door

Don't ya love how the snow stuck to the fence?

Look at how much snow piled up on the table. It was unreal! You would think that it was December rather than October. What's really strange is that we were in shorts 5 days later, lol.
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More blizzard pics


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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pumpkin Patch (a little late, lol)

Clayton showing the boys how to find the perfect pumpkin to carve

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More pumpkin pics

Swan Gourds

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Going Crazy for Bon Jovi & My Scrapbooking Weekend

Yay!! Bon Jovi has recently released their tour dates. I have been trying to win tickets for us this week and I am going nutso listening out for the cue to call in on the radio. I have came so close. You need to be caller 9. I have been caller 1, 1, 7 and 5. I believe the give-away is going on until Friday so I still have a little bit of time left to win. If I don't score then we will be buying them via pre-sale on Friday. Free would be so much better though. Speaking of Bon Jovi, I already bought the album. It was released yesterday. You can purchase it on Amazon (the digital version) for only $3.99 until Friday and then it will return to regular price. You can't possibly get it cheaper anywhere else.

This past weekend was a total whirlwind. I left on Friday to head up to Estes Park. I met a bunch of fun gals up there for a scrapbooking retreat. We had so much fun. I completed my recipe and Christmas lunch boxes. I should have done them 3 years ago but I just kept procrastinating. I will get pics of them soon. I took off early on Sunday morning to get home because that was Emerson's 5th birthday. We had family come in for a little party for him. He got some cool gifts and had a great day. I can't believe that my baby boy is 5!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A White Halloween

Dang it, I got a visitor today that I really didn't want. Look at my front steps. I sure hope it doesn't get worse. We already have more than enough to ruin Halloween if it sticks around. I would guess that we have about 6-8 in. so far from this current storm and we are in for more over the next 24 hours. Now how in the world are my kiddos going to be able to get on all their snow gear underneath their costumes? Ugh.

Our poor Halloween decorations (somewhere under the snow is a giant purple spider blow-up thing)
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hayden Lost His First Tooth-10/20/09

Wow, I can't believe that Hayden is now beginning to lose his baby teeth. It seems a bit weird to finally hit this milestone. My boy is definitely growing up. He is so proud of his new snaggletooth smile and so am I, lol. He managed to simply pull the tooth straight out on his own. I couldn't believe that he did it so easily. When I was his age, I would let the loose tooth dangle by a thread for days before I would tug at it. He's much braver than I was.

BTW, I am really proud of this boy academically. We went to his parent-teacher conference tonight and his teacher said that he was doing very well. He is expected to only be a level 4 reader but he is already a level 8. She said he was a 4 when he tested with her before the school year even began. That's my boy!
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lots of Stuff to Talk About

Wow, the past couple of weeks have been stressful, to say the least. Last week was really hard because we were waiting on Clayton's company to announce who they were laying off. Considering that there are only 2 process engineers on hubby's machine (a great guy that has been around for 30 years and Clayton), we were really concerned. The good news is that they didn't lay off my husband. The bad news is that they let the other guy go. It was a total shocker considering that he was the brain of the whole operation. If anyone needed assistance, he knew how to fix their problems. It is going to be rough around there without him. I am afraid that Clayton will be expected to take on all of the same issues/problems. He is a great engineer but you can't beat 30 years experience. I just hope that he can handle all his responsibilities without feeling too much pressure. Anyhoo, the other engineer was getting ready to retire in a couple of years so this was okay with him. He was shocked initially but he is fine with it all.

My Mom has been spending alot of time in the hospital lately. She had surgery a couple of weeks ago to remove 3 feet of her colon. Her recovery in the hospital took a week and then she went home. Last Wednesday, she had some major complications and ended up going back to the hospital. The doctor said that she had a blockage and that it would take some time to dissolve. She was released to go home this morning. She is sore but at least she is doing better.

We boo'd our neighbors tonight. We had 2 bags of goodies so we chose to deliver them to the Vetters and the Leals. I love this fun tradition and I can't wait to see how many people down the street participate. If you have no clue what I am talking about:
1)You make 2 bags of Halloween treats.
2)After dark, you deliver them to 2 different homes in your 'hood by ringing the door bell and running.
3)The neighbor opens the door to see the treat bag outside with no one around.
4)The neighbor then does the same thing for 2 other neighbors and the cycle continues.
5)Once you have been boo'd you put a sign on your door so no one else will boo you. You want to make sure that as many neighbors as possible get a turn. It's so much fun!

Hayden lost his first tooth today. I can't believe how long it has taken to get to this momentous day. He got his teeth really early as a baby and so the doctor believed he would lose them early. Well, he was wrong. Everyone in H's class has lost at least 1 tooth by now. He is so excited to now be a snaggle-tooth. I will post a pic as soon as I can get around to it.

Anyone hear of a company called Scentsy? Let me tell you, it rocks!! I got a burner from my Mother-in-law for my birthday. I absolutely love it. It works with a light bulb rather than a candle so I don't have to light anything. The smells that Scentsy offers are remarkable. I have honey pear cider going right now. It is delicious! Anyhoo, my friend Johnna is now a consultant and I have agreed to let her demo these things at my house. We are having a party on 10/30 at 7:30pm if any of you are interested. I will be serving cocktails and appetizers/desserts. It will be a guaranteed fun night. Bring a friend. The more, the merrier! If you need directions, just email me from the side bar and I will send them to you. ;)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Booby Woes

Oh man, I am scheduled to get another boob job on 1/15. My right implant is slipping a little bit due to my muscles relaxing more than expected. You cannot tell by just looking at me. It is only noticeable when I am naked. The scar under righty is a bit higher than lefty because the implant is sliding down behind it. The surgery is supposed to be super simple. All the surgeon has to do is go in there and tack it back up. He mentioned to me that he could also trade out the implants for some bigger ones since I wanted a little more cleavage than I got. The new implants would only cost about $300 since I would only have to pay for the implants themselves. That is the actual cost to him for them. We shall see. Anyway, I do not owe him anything but I do have to pay for an anesthesiologist and an OR fee again. Sigh....

I went in for my 3rd round of laser hair removal yesterday and it was super painful. I should have shaved a couple of days ago but I didn't. The hairs were longer than they should have been so it made the laser spark like crazy. Ugh. After getting my underarms done I passed on the bikini line. I may choose to get the bikini line done next week or I may just forget it. I will make up my mind sometime next week.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our Magical Vacation in Orlando and on the Disney Magic (9/3/09-9/12/09)

Clayton and Emerson in Downtown Disney-Emerson has a Mickey pretzel with sprinkles-9/3/09

We started our wonderful vacation on Thursday and flew down to Orlando. We arrived around 4pm, picked up a rental car and then checked in to the Wilderness Lodge Resort. We drove to Downtown Disney and had dinner at The House of Blues. After that, we went to a candy shop that had all kinds of goodies and then strolled along the shops.

Hayden checking our some snails by the water in Downtown Disney

Emerson and me

The kids pretending to be crabs (the one behind them was made entirely of Legos)
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The Wilderness Lodge and T-Rex-9/4/09

The kids and Clayton in the pool

For the past 2 years, we have spent our vacation in the Polynesian. We loved the atmosphere and the convenience of the monorail (which doesn't come cheap!). We didn't like how old it was though and the room rates were ridiculous. This time we decided to try out the Wilderness Lodge. It is newer and the rooms are almost half the cost of the Polynesian's. Well guess what? We LOVED it! I really didn't like that it didn't have monorail access but that was worth giving up. The rooms were nice and new. The pool is pretty cool and the quick service dining area is alot bigger than the Poly's. We were thrilled. I think we may stay here again in the future.

The boys playing on the water slide

We had dinner at T-Rex in Downtown Disney. Getting reservations wasn't easy but it was worth it. The kids had fun although us adults were a bit overwhelmed. It was wayyyy too loud. The food was pretty good but I don't see us going here again. It just wasn't worth the trouble. I am glad that we did it once though.
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