Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Remember me? Long overdue update...

I know, I know...its been a LONG time since I've posted anything. More than 5 months in fact.  I can not believe its been that long. The last time I blogged, Harrison was in Oklahoma.  Well a lot has certainly happened!  Harrison got home from Oklahoma at the end of June.  He was hoping to start another position at Barnhart but after several weeks of waiting, phone calls, emails, etc., he officially left Barnhart at the end of August.  He has been searching for jobs ever since which has been a journey in itself.  He has had multiple meetings and made a lot of contacts, but as of now, he still has not found a full time opportunity.  He is working several days a week with his friend Mitch who owns a landscape company so that has given him something to keep him occupies when he isn't job hunting.   We are praying that God will present the right opportunity for him in His time.  He is also starting to study to get his real estate license, something he has always been interested in.  Please pray for him and us as he and that God will make His plan clear to us. 

As far as me, my health and pain over the summer and early fall was very well controlled.  I had one bad flare up that took me to the emergency room for the first time in about a year in the beginning of August (the night before my High School Reunion in fact).  I did end up making it to the reunion fortunately.  As the weather started to turn colder in late September, early October, my pain gradually started getting worse, which is pretty common for me.  I am very sensitive to low pressure systems and can literally feel it in my bones when one is headed our way.   By the beginning of November as my pain continued to get worse, I realized that it had been 9 months since my radio-frequency procedure at Vanderbilt.  THe procedure is supposed to last any where from 6-12 months so I was right in the middle.  I called Vanderbilt and scheduled the procedure.  I had the right side done last Monday and I am getting the left side done next Wednesday.....just enough time to recover before we head to Hawaii for 10 days with Harrison's family.  Yep, that's right....Hawaii.  Go jealous.  While I'm so excited to go to a place I have ALWAYS dreamed of going, I am a little anxious about how I am going to feel and especially the long travel day and flights.  I do not travel well.  Flying is really hard for me.  The airplane seats are very uncomfortable for me for some reason and it usually takes the life out of me and a few days to recover from a big traveling day so please, please pray that my body handles it well and that I feel well for the trip so that I can enjoy it to the fullest and enjoy Christmas!!

There is one more pretty big thing going on with us...I can't tell you how many times I have come to this space and started writing a post, only to stop myself because I haven't felt ready to say anything yet.    (Disclaimer- this part of the post will be a little personal.)
When I decided to try to wean off my fentanyl patch last summer, I was doing it for my health of course, but the main reason I felt so strongly about it was because we were talking about wanting to try to start getting pregnant.  So after 3 months of weaning, by November of last year, I was off my patch and stopped my birth control.  After a couple of months and a meeting with my GYN, we discovered that I was not ovulating properly.  This was not a huge deal since there is a nice little pill called Clomid that helps in this process.  I was on this drug from March to September with no results so after more discussion with my GYN (who is one of the best infertility specialists in Knoxville) we have moved on to injectable hormone medication to try to get pregnant.  We are currently in our second month of injections (I will try for 3 months on the injections before we move on to Invitro Fertilization).  I have to be monitored very closely because these are very powerful drugs and I definitely don't want to be an octomom, so I go to the doctor every couple days to get blood work and other tests done.   This has been quite a journey for us and has been hard and emotionally draining on both of us as we have gotten negative results month after month.  I always kinda had a gut feeling for some reason that it would be hard to get pregnant but I guess I never thought we would get to this point. So here we are, a year of trying and hopefully it will happen soon.   Please be praying for us specifically about this process.  I am trying very hard to stay calm, relaxed (stress is a very big contributor to infertility), and positive about the process.  I pray everyday that God will bless us with a child according to his timing and plan.  

So there it is....that's whats been going on with us for the last several months!  As always, thanks for reading and thank you for your prayers and support.  

Friday, June 15, 2012


I leaving tomorrow to go see Harrison in Oklahoma and I'm so excited!  Actually, excited doesn't fully  characterize how I am feeling.  I am overjoyed to see my husband for more than 24 hrs for the first time in almost 2 months.  I am flying to Chicago, then to Oklahoma City and arrive around 6:30 CST.  He is planning on cutting out of work early to drive the 2 1/2 hr to pick me up.  We played around with the idea of me getting a rental car and driving, but since flying usually leaves me in A LOT of pain, we figured I probably wouldn't be able to handle it. He is off work on Sunday (cross your fingers it stays that way) so we are staying the night in a hotel in OKC and going to spend some of our day Sunday exploring some.  Then we will make the drive to Hobart.  He will have to work on Monday so I need to find some way to spend my time and then I leave Tuesday around noon.  I am so excited to be able to see what he has been doing up close and meet some of the guys he has been working with.

They are supposed to finish up the project sometime next week.  How long after the project is "done" that he will be able to come home, we aren't sure but we are definitely thinking it will be by the end of June.  I am so ready for him to be home and get back to "normal."  The past few weeks I have really adjusted to being without him which is good and bad. I still miss him terribly but have come accustomed to coming home to an empty house and sleeping in a bed without my husband beside me.

It turns out that there isn't a full time position available in Knoxville after he is done with this job and after a lot of thought and prayer, he decided that going to Iowa just wasn't worth the extra 6 months and sacrifice.  So, once he gets home from this job, he will officially be on the hunt for a new job.  We have so much love and support around us and I have a peace in my heart and know that God is in control and the next opportunity will present itself in the right time and everything will work out.  He has worked so tremendously hard the past 2 months and will get some raving reviews from the guys he is working with now.  He is an amazingly smart, talented, hard-working guy and I have complete faith in him and his abilities.   Despite how everything has transpired over the last several weeks, I think he is glad that he had this experience.  We have both learned so much over the past 8 weeks about love, commitment, and marriage.  We are truly a team and the distance has not only made us miss each other tremendously, but I think really appreciate everything the other person brings to the table on a deeper level.  I know now more than ever that he is the person that I can not and will not be separated from, no matter what.   We have been through more than our fair share of struggles in the first 3 yr of marriage (illness, surgery, job changes, moving, etc) and it all just boils down to me and him, being together, loving and supporting one another thru thick and thin.  I can't imagine my life without him standing beside me, loving me, caring for me, no matter what the circumstances are.  I consider myself truly blessed to have found and be married to the love of my life, my soulmate, and my God-ordained partner in this life.

As far as my pain goes, the past couple weeks (thank the Lord) have been pretty consistent a fairly tolerable.  I have noticed a lot of relief from my nerve ablation procedures and trigger point injections( in May,)  I have been able to cut back a lot on the muscle relaxers and have been doing pretty well on my pain medication as well. (I have only had to take 1 pill daily for the last 3 days!!!)  Those who know where I've come, know how HUGE this is!!   I praise God daily for feeling as good as I have.  I can only hope and pray that it continues and becomes a new normal.  Thanks as alway for reading! Can't wait to update when I get back from Oklahoma!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Big changes...

Theres been a lot going on the past few weeks.  If you haven't heard or seen on Facebook yet, my wonderful husband Harrison started a new job and is in Oklahoma for 2 months for training.  He got a job with Barnhart Renewables, a crane and rigging company, as an assistant project manager.  This is a career field he is really interested in and very well qualified for.  He is in a very, very small town  of Hobart, Oklahoma, population 3700.  He left last Sunday morning and drove, yes drove the 16 hour trip to Hobart.  The first four weeks he is out there, he will be training underneath someone else and learning the ropes. His job out there is quality assurance manager at a wind farm called Rocky Ridge.  They are putting up over 90 wind turbines. Fortunately, he will get to come home after the first 4 weeks for "R&R" (rest and relaxation) and then will return for 4 more weeks when he will be supervising the rest of the project. He is working EXTREMELY hard, usually 10 or 11 hours a day and even works on Saturdays.  He is staying in a little motel with a small refrigerator and a microwave about 15 minutes from the job site.

I miss him terribly and am literally counting down the days till he gets to come home for R&R.  It gets so quiet and lonely, especially at night.  I haven't been sleeping well because I wake up very frequently missing him and looking for him laying next to me.  The weekdays tend to go by fast but nights and weekends are harder.  Reese also misses her daddy very very much.  She stares at his side of the bed looking for him and even lost some of her appetite the first few days, but that didn't last too long.

Harrison has started a new blog to document his adventure and experience.  You can read all about what he is doing and life in the booming metropolis of Hobart at It's a Windy Adventure, OK?.  While the 2 months of him being away won't be easy or fun, I am so proud of him for stepping out of his comfort zone, accepting the challenge, and working so so hard.

As far as my pain, I have actually been feeling fairly decent the past 6 weeks or so since my radio frequency procedure.  I have had about 5 or 6 really bad days since the procedure which is much less than normal.  I went to Vanderbilt yesterday for an appointment at the pain clinic and got about 20 trigger point injects with Botox  from the base of my skull down into my neck and shoulders and down through my mid-back to help relieve some of the intense muscle tightness and spasms.  I have had them done before, about 3 years ago before the wedding, and had pretty good success. The doctor said that they usually last 3 to 6 months so I'm hopeful I will get some long term relief.

My medication regimen is still the same. I haven't weaned down any more on my breakthrough medication but I'm still off the fentanyl patch.  My pain doctor thinks I'm probably about as low as I'm going to get on my medication and are comfortable with my dosages right now, and even though its not ideal, it is actually relatively safe for me to get pregnant.  I've worked very hard the past year or so to really get off a lot of medication and wean down as low as possible and my doctors are very impressed with my progress and I'm pretty proud of myself to be honest.

Please pray for Harrison and I over these next several weeks as we are apart. Pray especially for Harrison to stay safe and healthy while he is out there. Pray for physical and mental strength and perseverance.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Time for an update...

Dear friends-
So sorry it has been so long since I've posted. I hope this update finds you all well and happy in this new year. Its been a busy few months and I haven't really had much to update on until lately. So the pain patch came off on November 1 and has stayed off which has been a big accomplishment. After that, I started to wean the medication I take for breakthrough pain. I cut the dose in half before Thanksgiving and did okay but then I had to have a gynecological procedure in the beginning of December which entailed a not so fun recovery process where I had to go back up to the original dose for a few weeks. We had a great Christmas with my family (Harrison's family was in Hilton Head) and then went to Birmingham for a New Years Eve wedding of one of Harrison's fraternity brothers. Once we got back from Birmingham, I weaned back down to the half dose and then attempted (key word) to make a change to Percocet. Well, my body pretty much hated it and I had a horrific week of pretty unbearable pain. I was at a level of pain where I could not function. I was bed bound for 5 or 6 days and was very miserable. I went and saw my pain doctor a few weeks ago and was in tears because of the level and pain and frustration I was feeling. My doctor did said that it wasn't worth it for me to be in such a level of pain that I was unable to function. So I went back up to the previous medication. While my pain is more tolerable than it was, it is still worse than it has previously been. It may be related to all this crazy weather we've been having and all these low pressure storm fronts that have come through here recently, but who knows.
Back in the summer when I went to Vanderbilt, the recommendation was that I wean off the pain patch before they do any more procedures. I emailed and called Vanderbilt to update them on my progress weaning off the medication. Originally I was scheduled for a consultation next week but I just got a call from the office that the doctor has read up on my progress and wants to to a round of radio frequency injections (where they go in and burn nerve endings) on the 22nd. So that's the latest on that.
To try and keep myself somewhat busy and focus on something other than just my pain level, I am getting involved in two different ventures. First of all, I am taking a photography course through the University of Tennessee one night a week. I've only had 2 classes so far but I'm learning a lot and really enjoy it. I'm super excited because in the spring, the wife of my instructor teaches a course on newborn photography. Of course you all know how much I LOVE babies and how hard it has been not being able to work in the NICU these past 3 years (Can you believe its been 3 years? Cause I can't!) I would love to be able to take pictures of my friend's babies and children (and goodness, there are a lot of them right now!) and of course, my own someday!
The other venture I am going to start doing is co-leading an Eating Disorder Support group through the Celebrate Recovery program at Cokesbury Methodist Church. This support group was VITAL to me during my recovery process back in college and it has always held a special place in my heart. The group has endured some difficulties and changes in the past few years and after a short break, is starting up again next week with a new format. I am so excited to be a part of this with a dear friend and feel like it is something God is really calling me to do. (For anyone in the Knoxville area that would be interested in the group or knows of anyone that would be interested, feel free to contact me for any information. It is a group for all types of disordered eating. )
Harrison continues to do well. He provides for me in so many ways and is a loving, supportive husband and best friend. Our biggest issue (as shown in the image above) right now is trying to figure out how to keep our crazy dog Reese from climbing, yes climbing, our fence and escaping to wander the neighborhood. She's a mischievous but sweet, furry companion.
Not too much else to report. I'll update after the radio frequency. Thanks for reading.