October 23, 2018

Falling

OH MY LIFE.YOU GUYS. 

LIFE IS HARD RIGHT NOW. 

Incredibly, frustratingly, exceedingly difficult. 

It's been hard for awhile now, which is why I haven't really been around much. I mean, the kids are getting bigger... and older...and having bigger, older kid problems. It's actually been really, really hard. We have had a lot of sleepless nights around here. And I feel responsible for the problems... like, it's my fault that there are problems in the first place, because my brain doesn't work, and I irresponsibly passed that on to my kids. 

My three older kids have all been diagnosed with mental illnesses... depression, mostly, with a sprinkle of ADD in one, and a dash of a crippling social anxiety in another. Lots of BIG TALKS around here about cutting, and other means of self-harm, and suicide, and drug overdosing, and emotions, and thoughts, and feelings, and on, and on, and on, and on. 

Frankly? I'm so friggin' exhausted. 

I really miss the days when our biggest problem was a missing toy, or an imaginary friend. 

We have SO many new rules. We  have SO many new internet filters. We have safety plans, and counselors, and medications, and side effects of medications, and teen angst, and hormones, and oh-so-many questions with no answers. 

Today I was able to get TWO children to school successfully. I guess it would actually be three, since Blayne is now being home-schooled. And the fourth MIGHT have to start down the home-school path, but we're still not really sure, and we have to go and talk to another counselor first. 

I am SO sick of talking. No lie, the only time I have to myself is a 7-10 minute car ride after the morning school drop off. I CRAVE alone time.

Troy, of course, is at a loss of what to do. Who can blame him? There's not a clear path when you're navigating through different brain chemistry's. And his usual, playful teasing is hurting people's feelings instead, so he doesn't want to talk to kids, because then everybody gets all upset, and TEARS. SO. MANY. TEARS. 

So, that's the update. We are restructuring our ENTIRE EXISTENCE in order to be just a teeny-tiny bit more helpful to the people who live in our home. AND IT IS NOT GOING WELL. #JOYFULPARENTING 

And although I haven't been posting, rest assured, I am WRITING. IT. OUT. because that's what I need to do to process things. I just haven't, you know, made those things public... and I won't, dear children of mine that read my blog, so chill out. (that last sentence probably won't go over well with them... too bad, so sad.)

May 16, 2018

Spring

We are all alone again. 

Meredith and her kiddos came to visit us for a bit, before heading down to Arizona for a summer internship.... (Tyler is required to do 2 internships as part of his undergrad.) Then my parents came for a few days, because DANIEL turned TWELVE and was ordained a deacon.  He got a new suit for church, and next week he gets to pass the sacrament. It's pretty exciting. 

Meanwhile, we are in the final weeks of school, and I'm trying to figure out what we're going to do for the summer. We have guests coming and going throughout, sprinkled with our own adventures, and I need to get the calendar finalized. It takes a long time to be organized. Don't get me wrong, I totally LOVE and NEED to know all the details, it's just so exhausting to coordinate everything, especially when you've been putting it off for awhile. 

What else.... we have a new dog! Morgan and his family moved, and there are no dogs allowed at his new place. So we got to adopt a cute little blonde cock-a-poo. His name is Sammy, and he likes Troy! Lucky likes everyone in the family, but he prefers to sit by me all the time. But SAMMY will sit by TROY! It's real fun, and now Troy doesn't have to have his feelings hurt by a dumb dog that just loves his mom a little too much. 

I had my third round of Tysabri yesterday. I think it's going welll. Unfortunately, you can't tell if a drug is working or not with MS without imaging. However, the three middle toes in my left foot aren't numb! I haven't had feeling in those toes for almost 10 years. I think it's a good sign, and proves that some reparations are being made. 

I've also been working outside a lot, getting the garden ready. I have some more plantings that I need to get in the ground tonight, Typically, I'd be seeing results by now in some of my cooler weather crops, however, Sammy ate my garden and my little baby plants, so I've had to start all over again. Step one for starting over was to put up a short fence all around the vegetable garden. I have some plantings that aren't fenced, but Sammy doesn't seem to like rhubarb. I also have FOUR NEW TREES. I have three apple trees, and a peach tree, and a smile on my face. Also, I got a huge pot to use for water bath canning. I've never done this type of canning on my own. I've volunteered at some canning facilities, but typically, all the food I've grown has been eaten fresh, dried, or frozen. I was nervous, but after researching the process, and quadruple checking myself, I made a small batch of cranberry rhubarb chutney, and YOU GUYS... NAILED IT. The seal on my cans was super tight. And my chutney turned out super delicious, and now I just want to CAN ALL THE THINGS. I'm hoping that in the next year or two, we can be totally self-sufficient on our garden, and that we can harvest enough food to feed our family and stock our pantry. I'm pretty excited about it. 

Think, think, think. I know I have so much more to say, but can' recall exactly what at the moment, so.....yeah. I'll be back soon, PROMISE. 

March 13, 2018

Brainwashed

I've been very busy the last couple of months, on account of getting all my medical needs sorted out. I've met with my new neurology team four times. I've seen my primary care doctor at least twice, and have been to the urgent care thrice due to my stupid kidneys/bladder/urinary tract. I have been referred to a urologist (YAASSSS PLEASE!), a gastroenterologist, and a rheumatologist. I've had my thoracic and cervical spine analyzed, along with my brain... it was the longest MRI I've ever had, and included a spectroscopy. At the follow up visit, I learned that I have a "SIGNIFICANT burden" of MS, emphasis not added, with a lot of lesions in my spinal cord. I will now be heading to an infusion center every 3-4 weeks to get yummy drugs pumped into my blood stream.

Additionally, my children have required medical intervention along the way, thru no fault of their own. Sadly, they have my strong predilection for mental health issues. Luckily, they have a mother that has a lot of experience in that field, and has received extensive training in mental health first aid. My kids now have the necessary tools and support system needed to improve their cute little chemically imbalanced brains. It has been a difficult few months, but we are all BACK. Our brains and bodies are working again... for now.

I've also seen a nutritionist, because I have a very specific diet that I need to be on in order for my body to work better. I've been compiling all notes and suggestions, and am in the process of making myself a definitive guide book to help along the way. I've even gone thru my pantry, and purged the Caroline-unfriendly foods. There actually weren't that many, because this ain't my first rodeo. But I needed to double check ingredients, especially in the canned food items. For the most part, I was golden because our canned items are mostly just vegetables, with a couple of soups. I'm also to keep a food journal to see if we can find any triggers for my migraines. and to note any symptoms related to the MS. We're 75% sure that I've moved on to Secondary Progressive MS, but we need records to be sure. I'll have a follow up MRI in 6 months, then at a year, to note any changes. Meanwhile, getting medical records from different states is not a fun time. So much paperwork. So many phone calls. So very annoying.

We've started prepping our garden! I'm super pumped about it, because I LOVE gardening. It really makes me feel good about myself. And I'm excited for all the FOOD that we get from it! My yard is gorgeous, and has a vegetable garden area, and then has beautiful beds of shrubs and flowers and herbs. Naturally, I am yanking a bunch of the plantings (allergies), and replacing the perennial flowers with perennial vegetables. I think fruit and vegetable plants are gorgeous, in addition to being functional. We DID plant six rose bushes though. And I have 4 hydrangea bushes that I need to plant today. I'm *thisclose* to getting my garden in the ground.

I started a few vegetables from seeds a few weeks ago. I ONLY use heirloom seeds. ONLY. And I have my seeds organized by month, and then by week, because I am an organized gardener. Besides, a little bit of work in the beginning reaps huge rewards at the end. I've had to wait for so long to get this garden going, all on account of the weather. I want to have food available year round, which means that I need to build cold frames. But that will cost money, and since this is our first garden at this house, that money needed to go towards hardware.I like to grow food UP as much as possible, which means I needed a trellis system. I like to use rabbit fencing as my trellis', because it's sturdy enough to support lighter vegetable crops. I do have some new melon varieties to try out this year, but I haven't decided where to put them. Next to roses, I have a dozen or so raspberry bushes. I also have two blackberry, and three blueberry vines. I'll try grapes next year. And will get fruit trees: peach, plum, apple, and pear.

Canning goes hand in hand with the garden. I have all my jars, ready and waiting. I would like to get a pressure canner, but that might need to wait awhile, because I want a food dehydrator FIRST.  And I need to replace my apple corer/peeler thing. While I'll have to wait awhile before I have my own orchard, there are local orchards where you can go pick your own fruit. So I'll have a box or three of apples and peaches and etc. in the summer.

My kids are hell-bent on running a neighborhood farmer's market from our backyard. Just yesterday, I told them, "You realize that most of the food we grow is going to go on our table and in our pantry." to which Taylor replied, "Yeah, but what are we gonna do with 60 pounds of blueberries?". Pffht. WE'LL BE IN BLUEBERRY HEAVEN, THAT'S WHAT. I kid, I kid. I have no problem sharing some produce, but for real, it's mostly going in the pantry.

And that's all I have for now. I should be blogging more regularly, as it helps with brain function and all. It's just that sometimes, your family goes into crisis/survival mode, and all your energy is devoted to healing the rift. I'm so glad to be back though. So glad.