Friday, November 22, 2013

11/22/13: Gone Fishin'...

I wish I was gone fishing, that's Dave right now.  I'm actually sitting here in isolation in an office on campus attempting to write my first draft of my lit review for my thesis.  It's due tonight and I haven't started writing your regular Friday blogging program will return when said paper is finished.  Wish me luck!

Until then, please enjoy this little gem of a philosophy I'm choosing to live by right now in spite of being taught to rise above this temptation during my English undergrad years :)  What can I say?  Grad school is just a different ball game.  Sometimes mediocrity is all we can afford to achieve if we want our sanity to remain in tact!

Friday, November 15, 2013

11/15/13: Menopause isn't all it's cracked up to be...

I don't know what to write about today.  It's been a boring week because I haven't been feeling great, but I'm bored in class, so I'm trying to come up with something to say.  What I really want to do is just advertise the show Chuck because it is so good.  Dave and I have spent wayy too much time staying up  too late watching too many episodes because we can't get enough.  It's a show that I don't hesitate to recommend (which is rare) because it's clean, clever, has action, romance, mystery, and some talented actors!  But even though I'm loving Chuck so much, I feel like my life probably shouldn't revolve around a TV show so I'm going to write about something else.

I got my Lupron shot last Friday after I blogged and it wasn't bad.  I actually didn't even feel the shot at all because the needle was so tiny.  And I got to babysit my nieces later that night so I didn't really have time for self-pity, which was great!  I didn't feel the effects until just a couple of days ago when I started to notice my body's temperature regulation being all wonky.  (Wonky?  Who uses that word?)  I haven't been sleeping too well because I wake up completely drenched in sweat and completely sweltering when it's only like 60 degrees.  It's ridiculous.  I don't understand why more women don't complain about hot flashes!  Every time I get one it feels like my body's punishing me...I've also been slightly irritable (understatement) since the medicine started to kick in.

Fun Example:

The other night I came out to the kitchen looking for my glass of water and I couldn't find it on the counter and I completely freaked.  I started accusing Dave, "Where's my glass?  I know you put it in the dishwasher!  You always put it away before I'm done!  I'm so tired of you cleaning up for me!"  He was so taken aback he just stammered a "I...I don't remember putting it away babe.  I'm sorry if I did, but I don't think I did..."  To which I replied "Well, who else did it Dave?!  No one else is in this house!!!!"

I then took one step to the left and spotted said glass half full of water on the table hiding behind one of the chairs...woops.  I shamefacedly apologized, "I'm sorry I freaked out.  I don't know what's wrong, that just made me so so so mad."  That was when I realized the medicine had kicked in.  I was totally crazy!  Poor Dave.  But at least we're aware of it now, so I'm pretty good at checking what I'm thinking before I let the word vomit fall out, haha.  

Aside:  My professor just said, "Holy Samolies!"  Um...what?

No pain relief so far from the medicine, but I see my first client today and another one on Monday so I'm kind of distracted!  I'm so excited and anxious!  I'll let you know how it goes, maybe.  We'll see :)

Also, you all should come to my UVMCO concert on Tuesday, December 3rd at 7:00 I think.  It's going to be phenomenal.  It's sounding so great!!  I feel so lucky to be a part of this choir because I've learned so much, and it's been amazing to be part of such a high quality choir.  The Christmas music is absolutely beautiful and inspiring.  It's a little pricey, but worth every penny!  Link to tickets here :)

Also, our choir performed this past Sunday and it was so gorgeous!  We had Maddy play the harp and Emma play the viola for us to "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need".  The spirit was so strong and I was so impressed with how musical the choir sounded and how well we did with all the different parts.  The choir is starting to come together and blend well and come into their own new sound.  I'm totally loving it.  Choir has been such a blessing for me this semester.  I look forward to it every week and I love conducting such a fun, hard-working group :)  Hopefully we can keep it up for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Class is over, the end!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wrong Roads...

Wow.  I just watched a video from Elder Holland where he told a story that I so needed to hear.  Here's a link to it if you're interested.

His son and he were on a trip and they were turning back home when they came to a fork in the road.  Neither of them recognized it, so they prayed about which way to go.  They felt like the right road was the correct one to take, so they proceeded to go right and found a dead end.  It was clearly the wrong road.  They turned around and headed forward on the left side of the fork, which was clearly the right road.  

When his son asked him, "Dad, why did we both feel like the right road was the one we were supposed to take, when the left one was correct?", Elder Holland answered by saying, "I think the Lord was trying to reassure us of the right road, and the quickest way to do that was to let us go about 400 yards on the wrong road so we'd be certain that the left road was correct."

This so profoundly touched me because I feel like I've seen this application in mine and Dave's lives multiple times.  This is pretty personal, but I hope it's alright that I'm sharing this on here.  Dave was engaged to a girl before me for a long time (like a 2 year relationship experience total).  Things eventually didn't work out and he ended up having to break off the engagement.  Throughout the entire engagement, though, he felt incredibly strongly that he was doing the right thing by sticking with her.  It wasn't until the night before he ended the engagement that he felt peace about walking away.  I won't go into too much detail, but there were some problems with her family accepting him and some stuff about him being short and having a Psychology degree which wasn't secure enough for her or her family.  He was hoping she'd be able to work through the issues and have an open dialogue with her family so she could make her own decision, but she never could, and he didn't feel right waiting any longer after about 2 years.

He didn't meet me until a year or so later and I have been grateful since the day he met me for his experience with this previous engagement.  When I first heard about it, we were just friends and I thought, Wow, I could never marry someone knowing they were ready to marry someone else before me...  But surprisingly, this hasn't been the case at all.  This other girl and I are pretty similar in our interests, major, hobbies, etc, but I handle difficult situations very differently.

Dave wouldn't have appreciated the qualities and abilities I bring to our marriage half as much as he does if he hadn't watched her function so differently with them first.  He's always so vocal about how much he values me because he has this whole other life he almost walked into to compare it to.  He loves my family so much and is so grateful for their support and love of us because he dealt with an "in-law" situation where they didn't support him or their daughter in anything they tried to do.  And most of all, I think Heavenly Father led him down this "wrong road" for so long so that when the "right road" (that's me!) came along, it would hardly take any time at all for Dave to know it.  And that's how it happened.  Dave knew before I did that he wanted to marry me, and I think it's because he had the certainty that comes with traveling down a wrong road first.

I think for right now, my life is full of wrong roads.  (More like a complicated freeway rather than a simple backroad fork.)  I'm constantly chasing new ideas about what could be causing my chronic pain.  And I'm not just chasing; I'm fully driving down the road all the way to the dead end.  I've had surgeries, hormone treatments, physical therapy, and other procedures that have all left me wondering, why did I feel like these were the right things to do at the time, when they were so clearly wrong?  We're getting to a point now where there aren't many possible diagnoses left, and I think Elder Holland might be right that Heavenly Father is letting me travel down all these wrong roads right now while we don't have kids, life is pretty low-stress, and we can handle the expenses of everything so that when life gets more complicated, we can feel peace about a diagnosis and treatment for whatever this is.

Maybe this is just naive optimism again, but I'm personally choosing to cling to Elder Holland's possible explanation for this wild goose chase we've been living for the past year or so.  It gives me hope, patience, and peace that I'm doing the right things by listening to my intuition and guidance from the Spirit about my health plans--even when they turn out to be wrong.

Friday, November 8, 2013

11/8/13: Slow it Down Now...

We had a slower week this week.  Well, it wasn't going to be a slower week, but I kind of broke down this week and decided something needed to change.  I can't keep running a million miles an hour every day with this pain unless I want to seriously become addicted to strong pain meds.  So Dave helped me sort through the things I don't really need to be doing right now and how I can slow down from day-to-day so I leave myself some time to rest.  Overall, it was a better week and I feel like I have more energy than I normally do on Fridays, which is great!

Sorry, I forgot to take pictures, but we had my cohort over last Friday night and unfortunately about half of my cohort was sick so they couldn't make it.  It was fun to have the spouses and boyfriends of everyone who was able to come, though, and we had some delicious treats like peanut butter bars, artichoke dip, pumpkin pie, home-made hot chocolate, and more :)  It was really great to hang out with each other in a different setting from school and get to know the spouses as well (considering we all share stories about our marriages and relationships, but no one's had a very good picture of the relationships yet).  Dave and I have kind of been stuck in a place where no one is really our age or in our life situation in our ward and neighborhood, so it's been totally awesome to have peers we get along with, and I think the next 2 years will be really fun with everyone :).

On Saturday morning we had my date for which I picked seeing the Ender's Game movie.  Now, you have to understand my possessive feeling about Ender's Game.  Ever since I read it in elementary school I've felt like it was one of those books that should only be shared with those who would really appreciate it.  This sounds totally ivory tower-esque, but I just felt like I loved it so much that I didn't want people to read it who didn't deserve to read it, you know?  (I know, that's totally bratty)  I remember seeing this first book cover in elementary school and being so upset about it.  It just made the book look so juvenile and dumb.  I thought the only cover should have been the second, "spacey" one that I grew up on!

As I've gotten older, I've come to like the Ender's Shadow side of the series a lot more, but that didn't change how hesitant I was about Ender's Game being turned into a movie.  So, after that crazy set-up, aren't you soo anxious to hear what I thought??  Haha, just kidding, but I'll tell you anyway, even if you don't care.
Can you ever go wrong with Harrison Ford, really?
I thought it was alright.  It didn't ruin the book, which was a total win in my book.  But on it's own, I don't think the movie was all that great.  It felt totally plot driven and it just glossed over the intricate relationships between the kids in battle school which is what makes the book so compelling in my opinion.  Caveat: I didn't really like how they represented Bean, which sort of killed it for me.

So after the movie on Saturday, Dave spent the entire day raking leaves, mowing the lawn, laying down fertilizer, and other stuff outside that I wanted to help with, but was just too exhausted to pitch in with.  The lawn looked almost clear of all the leaves after about 3 hours or raking, mowing, and picking up, which Dave was so proud of.  But we woke up the next morning to a lawn covered in more leaves from our tree in the front yard.  My soul just hurt for Dave :(  It's a losing battle, really...

On Sunday I hadn't decided yet to slow down and stop trying to do everything 100%, so I was covering primary as well as doing choir and it was so much fun!  Our choir's performing this week on Sunday and it's one of my favorite pieces "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need", arr. by Mack Wilberg.  Maddie is accompanying us on the harp, and Emma's playing the viola with us.  It should be absolutely beautiful if we can just not get nervous and be able to do it like we've practiced.  I'm way excited and nervous.

Primary was a blast this week as well because 1) I miss those kids like nobody's business, and 2) all the primary presidency and teachers are being switched around right now, so I felt like a veteran in there!  We played Don't Eat Pete, and I was going to use skittles, but it was fast sunday (woops!), so I just played it with beads, but the kids still totally loved it.  They learned a new song with me "Thank Thee For Everything", which is so beautiful!  And so they got to play the game.  I think I'll do the same thing this week because it'll be easy for me, and because I can actually use skittles this time which is way more fun, right?
School this week was pretty mellow because I'd already gotten most of my projects done ahead of time.  We've now officially turned everything in for us to be approved to see clients.  Dr. Harper says we should start getting assigned clients next week!  Can you believe it?!  I'm so anxious to get started, I can't wait :)

So since school was low-key for both Dave and I, we decided to start a new show--Chuck--which is basically Dave's all-time favorite show, but I've never been able to watch it because it wasn't on Netflix until this last week.  Um, you guys, it is so so so so so good!  It's totally clean, clever, a perfect mis of humor and seriousness, and it's basically a mixture of everything I like about Big Bang Theory and White Collar without the bad!  We've watched wayy too many episodes, but I feel alright about it because I've been trying to take more time to mentally relax and physically recuperate this week.  Everyone should watch it if you haven't.  It's awesome.  

P.s. Dave told me it's totally a guy show, but I really love it,
so girls would like it too, I think!
We learned this week that Dave is getting sent to Chicago in two weeks for work!  Exciting, but it's the week before Thanksgiving, so that's just a lot of travel and kind of makes school hard :/  I'm not sure of all the details yet, but I think it'll be about 5 days that he'll be gone.  We'll see how that goes...haha.

This afternoon I'm going in to get a shot of Lupron from my doctor.  Lupron basically induces a temporary menopause in women to stop the production of hormones from the ovaries.  Ideally, this should stop my pain, but it does put me into menopause, so there's a pretty good chance (like 99%) that I'll experience hot flashes, memory lapses, intense mood swings, and other menopause-effects.  I've been hesitant to do this, but I feel like the pain is getting worse so I'm willing to do just about anything at this point to try to get the pain to stop.  Wish me luck!  I'm really praying I don't have too intense of side-effects because I'm about to start seeing clients, so yeah...self explanatory.   But I'm hopeful that this will help.  

So that wraps up our week!  We're excited for the BYU football game this weekend!  Thanks for reading :)  Oh, and also?  

This is not okay...
It's freezing!!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

11/1/13: Happy November!!

It's been a busy week around here at the Rackham household, and it's a miracle because I took pictures of almost everything, so I'll just jump right in!

Last Friday night our ward had their annual Fall Festival and Dave and I had to go.  It was a chili cookoff and we signed up for cornbread to make sure we'd be obligated to attend.  It was super cute and really fun!
Loved these cute costumes!

Amazing Iron Man home-made!!

Now, please allow me to explain why we absolutely had to go:  At the time of last year's Fall Festival Dave and I had been married for just 2 months and we didn't fully understand yet how important celebrating holidays was to me.  (Read: we had no idea that ditching the Fall Festival and forgoing normal Halloween traditions would result in uncontrollable sobbing by me later that night...)

So one of the biggest things I've learned about myself since being married is that holiday traditions are kind of a big deal to me.  (HUGE understatement.)  Unfortunately, Dave isn't nostalgic or sentimental about many things, and least of all holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, etc.  But I'm incredibly nostalgic about holidays, and when they come around I want nothing more than to be with family, eat good food, sing Christmas carols, carve pumpkins, do fireworks, and whatever else the holiday tradition dictates.

We've slowly indoctrinated Dave into the excessive celebrations that come with marrying into the Penrod family and it's been getting easier and easier for him as time goes by.  I actually think Dave might start to be nostalgic about some things pretty soon here!

So, in the spirit of holiday traditions, we went to a full on pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins this year because I cried last year after just picking them out at Walmart.  And you know what?  I'm not even embarrassed about crying either, because picking out pumpkins from a pumpkin patch is so much more fun and it's something I want to do with our kids, too!
Heaviest pumpkin ever!!

Is this not the most perfectly shaped pumpkin
you've ever seen?!

So after finding the perfect pumpkins, we carved them with Russ and Annie on Monday night.  We usually go all out with the pumpkin carving in my family, but everyone was a little pressed for time and energy so both couples just did one pumpkin each.  Dave and I found an awesome mockingjay pin stencil for our pumpkin in the spirit of the new Hunger Games movie coming out soon!  It looks way better in the picture than it did in real life, but we'll pretend it was a success ;)

This was such a hit with our primary kids who
trick-or-treated to us, haha.  They love
Hunger Games!!
So this week was Dave's week to have a date and he wanted to go fishing (of course...).  I knew I wouldn't want to go come Saturday morning, so we invited one of the guys from my cohort, Micah, to come with us.  He likes to fish, but he's never had anyone to teach him how to fly fish.  We were nymphing which is a little different than the classic dry-fly fishing, but it was so much fun!!  It took a lot out of me and I completely crashed that night and felt like I was sick with something, but we caught like 8 fish!  

Overall, the trip was a success because I think we got Micah hooked (pun intended?).  He says he's a lot more motivated to make money now so he can buy some of his own gear.  And I actually really enjoyed it.  I thought it was super fun and I caught 4 of the fish, one 14 incher!  I'd go back out with Dave again because this was way better than any fly-fishing I've done before.  He was basically on cloud 9 that night because his wife enjoyed fly fishing with him!  He was filled with hope for a bright future ;)

Please disregard the crazy eyes, but look at that fish!!  
So those were the fun things that we did this week, and now onto the not-so-fun things about the week.  ...I had a nerve-block done on Tuesday up in Salt Lake.  It was basically an hour-long procedure where I lied down in a CT scanner and a couple of doctors stuck needles in my back and probed around to find the right nerves and injected a few things in hopes of shutting off the nerve temporarily.  

It wasn't as bad as I had thought it was going to be, but it was still really draining.  I blacked out in the middle of the procedure when they hit the nerve which they said was a first, haha.  Something about having needles stuck in me and moving around for an hour solid was just too much for me to handle.  

We were really hoping once they injected the anesthetic the pain would go away, but it didn't help.  I was definitely numb all along the nerve, but it didn't touch my regular pain :/  I was really heartbroken about it because I was hoping so badly that this would solve everything.  (naive optimism, in hindsight)  So now we aren't really sure what to do.  We're going to be a little more aggressive about attacking the endometriosis we think might be causing the pain, but we'll just have to do some more trial and error to see what works.  

School was tough this week because of the procedure.  I was just feeling overwhelmed, sad, hopeless, exhausted, and everything that sometimes comes with chronic pain.  But I have an amazingly supportive husband helping me through this and my entire cohort has been so thoughtful this week with asking me if I'm alright, how everything went, if they can do anything to help me, etc.  They've been sort of like angels.  So today I'm feeling more optimistic and hopeful that there's still a chance we could figure this all out.  

Tonight we're having my cohort over for a get-together with delicious fall treats and the classic Penrod artichoke dip!!  (Sometimes I think we like to host people just so we can have an excuse to make artichoke dip all the that bad?)

We're excited, and hopefully I won't forget to take pictures!  Thanks for reading!