Monday, December 30, 2013

Day 65: Dichotomy


So, things got really frustrating and difficult to explain or express.  Just when I thought I was figuring all of this out, the rug got pulled right out from under me.  And I just kind of tucked in like a turtle.

I'm not usually a fan of Rihanna, but this song has really struck a chord with me lately (Don't watch the official video--it's kinda freaky).  I've spent a lot of time feeling exactly that.  And wondering, "what now?"  And feeling like this whole battle is too much.  That I'll never have the energy to keep fighting it.

But, I know where that path leads.  Because I'm really good at heading down it.

So, I've been trying to hang onto my faith this time and let that guide me through.  A challenge for someone like me who really wants (needs) to have control over everything.  And a plan for the rest of forever.  And everything worked out.  Preferably neatly.

But, I know that is what I need.  Faith.  And faith begets hope.  "Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope."

And I've just been oscillating between those two states of mind.

I suppose I'm strong enough to eventually stick to the faithful state.

But, the Adrenal Fatigue makes me so tired.  It sometimes feels all but impossible to get out of bed in the morning.  So, finding the strength to change old habits and to NOT choose the path of least resistance... well, that's hard.

But, I can do hard things, right?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Day 64: Hugs and Shnuggles!!!

I reunited with my babies today! (We got home around midnight last night, so I only got to pick in on them and kiss their sleeping cheeks.)

It was so so so fantastic!

They had such a great time with HH's mom.  I can't express how grateful I am that she came out to take care of them.  It made our trip all the better knowing that they were being loved on and well-taken care of.

My only regret is that HH and I hardly got to spend any time with her.  She flew out this afternoon. :(

Tonight we showed the kids all of the photos and told them about each day of our trip.  It was really fun to share that with them.  And they loved it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Day 63: Bucket List

See the Florida Everglades.


Hold a baby gator.


It was a beautiful and amazing experience.

And then we flew home.

And I'm going to sleep in my own bed.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Day 62: Final Days

Today was our last day at sea.  It was a nice, relaxed day.  Spent trying to make sure we did all of the things we wanted to, but hadn't yet made time for.

Like get a picture of this over-sized chess set.  For our chess-playing kids.

It was a great day.

But, I'm kind of ready to go home.

I miss my babies.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Day 61: What A Difference Anti-Fog Stuff Makes

Today was spent in Grand Turk.  With this sexy man.  On this beautiful beach.  In this gorgeous ocean.

We decided to snorkel out to the coral reef.

See where the water turns from turquoise to dark blue?  That's where the reef was.  It was a little bit of a hike.  Well, the swim version of a hike.

Everyone kept telling us there weren't any fish to be seen and that the water was too murky.

We went anyway.

My mask kept fogging the whole way.  I agreed with those who went before--the water was very murky.  I kept rolling onto my back to try and fix my mask, but in the process always took in quite a bit of salty ocean water, got the mask tangled in my hair and lost plenty of it in the process, and got the goggles back on only to discover they were still completely fogged over.  Which I could only tell in the brief moment I could open my eyes before the salt-water-induced burning made it too painful.

So, it was an awesome trek for me!

HH kept finding all of these sand dollars.  I couldn't figure out how he was seeing them because I didn't realize just how much my fogged mask was inhibiting my view.

And, we actually turned back probably a few yards shy of the reef.  We weren't positive it was out there, and the view under water was so murky for me as we ventured into deeper water, that I got a little freaked out.

So, we headed back to shore and I tried to warm up.

Then this guy came over and told us that he'd heard that the most amazing snorkeling was happening out at that reef--reassuring us it was indeed there.

So, we headed back out.

But, first I checked in at the rental desk to complain about my goggles.  He sprayed some stuff in them.

We went back out.

It was a totally different experience.  With fish.  And a sandy ocean bottom.  And sand dollars galore.  A fairly disappointing reef.  And a sea turtle on the way back.

It was seriously so great.  And so fun.  And even better because I got to share the experience with my HH.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day 60: Fancy Pants

We went to San Juan, Puerto Rico today.  We were both pretty tired, so we maybe didn't get the most out of our visit.  But, it was fun and the weather was beautiful.

And then we had another fancy dinner tonight.

Would have been better if we didn't eat lunch at 6:30.

But, when you're eating four meals a day, these things happen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 59: Photos Un-Taken

Pulling into port at St. Thomas.  It was so beautiful!!!

We did this sweet excursion kayaking, hiking (using that term loosely), and then snorkeling.  The saddest part was that we had to leave HH's iphone behind, since the advertised dry bag was not actually available.

So, no pictures--besides those taken with my mind.

It was beautiful and fun and fabulous!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 58: Motion Sickness

Turns out, I get that.

Fortunately, a whole lot of Dramamine-induced sleep + one expertly made fresh ginger drink + a priesthood blessing from my HH = A much appreciated cure.

Enabling us to enjoy a WINDY round of mini golf on the top deck.  I was totally winning on the side where the wind blew my hair out of my face.  I lost once we turned and golfed on the side where the wind blew my hair all over my face.

The first side was a lot more fun.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Day 57: Bahamas!

This beach was so amazing and beautiful, our kind photographer couldn't even see straight.

We also took a fun (at times, harrowing) drive with a local guide to take in the sights of the main city, Paradise Island, and the City of Atlantis!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Day 56: Welcome To Miami

It was -3 when we left home.

Adding a good 80 degrees has been indescribably fabulous!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Day 55: Toes In The Sand

I forgot to mention yesterday that I also got diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue.  Those of you who have been reading this blog since its inception might remember that I had that back when Little M was a baby.

So, yesterday was made a little more crazy with that news.

In a way, it's good news.  It explains why my workouts feeling like they're getting harder and my running is getting slower.  And why I just want to crawl back into bed when I'm done.  And all throughout the day.

But, it's not so good news when it comes to my exercise addiction.  I get loads of anxiety every time I think about "taking it easy" and "lowering my intensity" as I was instructed.

But, I was praying for help in getting my addiction back in remission.  So, this is probably the only way the Lord knew how to make me.

And it's good timing.  HH and I leave for a cruise tomorrow morning.

Just what the doctor ordered!  (And I probably won't be posting for a week. :))

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day 54: Speaking of Chaos

Did I mention that I've had about a million lab test run over the past few weeks?  The results are finally all in.  And it turns out that I've got a lot of wonky levels of all sorts of things in my system--from amino acids to hormones.

Fortunately, most of my physical symptoms are explainable now.  And fixable.

So, once all of my prescriptions and supplements come in, I will be taking over 20 pills a day.  Figuring out how to space those out so they don't interfere with each other has been quite the adventure.

And, we can make order from chaos--right?

So, I'm hopeful that within a few months, my levels will be normal again and I will be feeling much better.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Day 53: Hap-Happiest Season Of All

Last night we decorated the tree.

She took a break from the festivities to read about Rudolph.  Love how comfy she looks.  What's better than a tree for a backrest?

The rest of it was chaos, as it always is.  We have way too many ornaments for it to be anything else.  But, as is so often the case, we managed to find the fun amidst the chaos.

It's tradition, after all.

And I know there will be a day when the chaos-makers will be grown up and gone and I will miss the madness.

So, I'm choosing to love it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Day 52: I Get Along With The Voices Inside Of My Head

I hope today's title doesn't offend anyone.

It's just kind of the way I'm choosing to face reality with a touch of humor right now.

And I think my reality has recently opened up to include a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder.  Which is a big deal for me.  A month ago I would have fought such a diagnosis with every fiber of my being.  For whatever reason, depression was okay.  But, Bipolar?  Not me.

Because... what?  I'm too good for something with a stigma like that?  Mostly, just because it scared me.  How could I live with something like that?  What would that mean for me?  For those around me?

The funny thing is, I'm basically coming out with that diagnosis on my own now.

Let me 'splain.

Several years ago, a therapist suggested I might have Bipolar Disorder because I had some anger issues.  Unfortunately, she didn't explain to me that there are different types of BP.  All I knew was Bipolar I, and I was confident I didn't fit that.  So, I got mad at her (not to her face) and never went back.

But, while I was doing the program at the hospital, they showed us a movie about a variety of mental illnesses.  One being BP I and II.  And this little tiny voice in the back of my head said, "Maybe that fits."  Tiny because I didn't want to risk getting mad at myself, right?

So, I mulled that over for a week or so.  I got more information on it.  And the more I learned, the more I knew it fit.

And suddenly, so many things made sense!

Like, why I haven't responded well to typical antidepressants, but why I am responding well to a mood stabilizer.  And why I can get over my depressed periods relatively quickly (most of the time), but why I always sink back in.  And why, sometimes, I get overly talkative and excited when I'm out with my friends and then I can't sleep when I come home.  And why sometimes I'm just so irritable and angry.  And the way this has all progressed over the years.

And then, this diagnosis that would have terrified me just a short period ago became this welcome relief.  The last decade of my life is no longer inexplicable.

But, more importantly, I know how to treat, deal, and cope with it.

So, I went to a therapy appointment a couple weeks ago and got brave enough to blurt out a quick, "I think maybe I have Bipolar II".

And, it was like the flood gates had opened.

I'm pretty sure he's suspected BPII for a while now, but he didn't want to make me angry.  He's done that before.  He knows how stubborn I am.  And I'm pretty sure he knew it wouldn't have done any good to mention it to me.  Before I brought it up on my own, that is.

So, he explained more about it to me and how he thought it fit my history and that, in a recent conversation he'd had with my nurse practitioner (who is treating my psychiatric needs) (so fun having all of my doctors consulting with each other about me--but, not really), she asked a lot of questions that made it seem to him that she suspected BP, as well.

I talked things over with HH.  I helped him get more informed as well.  And I told him that once I got the official diagnosis, I was going to go public about it.  I'm done being afraid of stigma.  And I'm done worrying about what other people will think and letting that rule my life.  And he has been so supportive.

No surprise there.

Fast forward to my next appointment with my APRN.  I brought BPII up with her, after she reviewed some genetic testing results that came back saying I have a marker that is correlated with BP.  I expected her to confirm my self-diagnosis.

Instead she told me that she avoids "labeling" like that, for fear that I would then "become the illness".  She just wanted us to be aware of the possibility and move forward.

But, I'm not really good with that.

I understand where she is coming from.  And maybe at a different place in my life, that would be exactly what I need.

But, not here.  Not now.

I am embracing this.  Because with it, my life makes sense.  I make sense.  And I know what to do.  I know that I need medication.  Probably forever.  I know that I need therapy.  Probably forever.

And now, finally, I get it.  The necessity of those things in my life aren't a sign of weakness or failure.  Shouldn't be a source of guilt.  Aren't evidence that I'm just not strong enough.

They are the treatment I need to be well.

That is all.

And it has brought me so much peace.

The proof is in the striped sweater:

I did my best to avoid photos during the horrible month of October.  But, this is pretty much what I look like in all of them.  I just couldn't muster a smile.

This was me on Thanksgiving.

I don't know about you, but I think I kind of look like two entirely different people.

I still have my struggles.  Every day is a continuing challenge.  But, I'm doing infinitely better now that I'm at peace with myself.