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Friday, May 20, 2011

Lets Try Something Different

Back in September of 2010 on a nice relaxing Saturday evening I had an episode of extreme facial pain.  What do I mean?  I've never been shot, nor struck by lightening.  So I'm just guessing with this reference but I had pains on the left side of my face that felt like I was being shot or hit by lightening.  The pain would come on and last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes.  Lets say each second felt like several hours.  I endured this pain over night.  I still don't know quite how I survived without going to the hospital but my theory is I kept passing out from the pain.  Everyone else in the house was sleeping quietly and I didn't want to wake them so I spent the night on the sofa in the living room suffering in solitude.
The next morning the pain had eased a bit but I was completely spent.  I had never felt so utterly exhausted and completely drained as I did the next morning.  Thank goodness my husband is the type of person he is and he sent me straight to bed.  I slept fitfully for most of the day with little moments of pain but not like the previous night.  Sunday evening I agreed to go to the hospital by taxi after the girls had gone to bed.  I needed something to ensure that I would get through the night without pain and actually sleep.
By the time the doctor saw me I was willing to try ANYTHING to feel better.  I explained my history of low grade pain on the same side of my face and how it started the October of 2008.  Yes, I remember the first time I had any such pain and even then it was nothing compared to the episode which took me to see the doctor that evening.  I wasn't overly confident in the young interne's diagnosis but I took the pain meds and prescription he offered in good faith.  They called a taxi for me, said to see my own doctor as soon as possible to get a confirmed diagnosis and sent me on my way home again.
By the time I got home I was so incredibly out of things that I almost didn't pay the cab driver.  I went into the house, gave my husband instruction to go get the prescription filled and went promptly to bed and slept.... ahhh.... it was an uninterrupted, medicated sleep but I slept pain free.
The next day I started looking up "Trigeminal Neuralgia" - the diagnosis the doctor at the hospital gave me the night before.  I  didn't like the sound of this new 'thing' that I was being labelled with having.  If you want to read up on it go ahead the reading is quite interesting but just let me say life long agony did not sound at all appealing.  The physical pain along with the mental stress of the illness was not something that I wanted to have to cope with for the rest of my life!  I'm still young!  This ailment only happens to old people.... well not really but that was how I was reasoning that the diagnosis was incorrect.
The prescription for carbamazapine helped immediately though... damn.  It knocked me on my keester but it took the symptoms away  and let me sleep. 
It just happened that my mom and her partner were visiting for a few days starting that Monday and man was that a lucky thing.  I could not function on this medication.  I slept for 20 hours a day for the next 2 days.  The Wednesday I decided to try to get out and be a human being again.... My mom and I took the kids to their play group and I drove.  in retrospect that was a BIG mistake.  No way was I in any shape to drive that car - let alone with children in it.  But my mom didn't want me to feel like she was trying to take over or tell me there was anything wrong.... um maybe someone should have said something.  BUT I behaved the next few days - sort of.  I no longer drove unless I was the only one in the car.  Still not responsible but what's done is done.  I was really happy to have the support of my mom and her partner as well as my hubby while all of this was going on but I knew it couldn't last.  I went off the medication after that week.  I just couldn't be a zombie with a family to care for and a life to live.
That following Friday I saw an M.D. at my own clinic and we discussed what had happened and he said that if the medication was working then to stay on it (and sleep the days away??? was what I was thinking) until I got to see a couple of different doctors to rule out other problems. 
What else could it be?  well it could be dental, sinuses etc, etc.  To make an even longer story short it wasn't any of those things.
Since October I have had nearly weekly episodes of low grade face pain on the left side of my face.  Just a couple of months ago it started on the right side too.  I get these creepy crawling feeling up the scalp too.  Classic nerve issues.  I finally broke down and talked to my M.D. about it and she said to try another kind of medication.... so here I am at the reason for my writing this long blog post.  I'm going to try something new and see if I can get the face pain under control. 
There are some kinds of pain that I can handle with a little help from medications that dull the pain.  I've had chronic back pain since I was 12 when I herniated my first disk.  I've dealt with migraines most of my teens and adult life (until I had my first child and then they went away - for the most part).  And various other temporary aches and pains.  But let me tell you there is nothing quite like feeling like your face is about to blow up.  Even the low grade pain in my jaw, teeth, and cheeks is pushing me over the edge.  The waiting game is enough to drive one bonkers too.  Every time I get a twinge I wonder if its going to be a repeat of what happened in September.  Luckily, so far its not been too bad.  THIS is why I finally got a new medication to try.
So tonight at bed time I embark on a new trial with amitriptyline.  I'll be tracking what's happening here in part because other people who might suffer from the same issues may take comfort, as I have, from knowing they're not alone.  The best part is - I don't look sick.  So no matter how much I'm suffering people won't necessarily know it.  Which is a double edged sword.  Let's hope this medication works and doesn't knock me on my butt for a week.  Especially since I have 2 beautiful daughters to look after while their dad is in Amsterdam on business.
Oh ya and for those who have been following the dramas of foster parenting - that's on the back burner.  No more babies here.  It was just too stressful and tiring on top of everything else.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New Online Cookbook I just found

For all of you who are GF by choice or necessity check out this link.  You might find something worthwhile when you download it.  Its an awesome online book.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Coconut Sugar Cookies

I've been a baking fool yet again and tried something new for 2010.  I've baked some gingerbread and sugar cookies following the same recipes as last year and they were a hit.  I must admit though using a better quality of spices certainly made the gingerbread much fuller bodied and lovely tasting.  Thank you Victorian Epicure ( for great spices for my great cookies.  The sugar cookies although good were not quite the statement that the gingerbread were with their flavour.  I've found gluten free oats and managed to make some great macaroons too that we ate WAY too quickly to be considered truly healthy. But yesterday MJ & I made coconut sugar cookies and they were so tasty.  Here's the recipe if you're interested.  I stole this straight from the package label but it bears sharing.
4 eggs
3/4c + 2 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup coconut flour - sifted
2 tsp cinnamon
Mix together eggs and sugar less 1 TBSP
Add butter and vanilla
Add flour and combine until well mixed.
Let sit 5-10 minutes to thicken (I was so surprised at how much it really does thicken)
Mix remaining sugar with cinnamon (I actually used more than what they say)
Form dough into 1 - 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in sugar mixture
Place on cookie sheet and flatten into 2 inch circles
Bake at 375 degree C for 15 minutes
These are soft lovely morsels to savour.
We got just over 2 dozen of various sizes since we were both shaping them... we didn't have a single nice round one - but that's ok we had a blast making them.
Try it for yourself.... we used organic ingredients so they were gluten free and totally organic!  YUM!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Baby A Week 1

Well we have survived week 1 with our newest addition Baby A.  She is wonderful.  She sleeps through the night from 630p.m. through to 715a.m.!!  She smiles and is happy.  She eats - sometimes what I serve her.  She is now snuggling with me and falling asleep in my arms (she wouldn't even really cuddle at first).  She lets me carry her around in my sling facing in when she's tired and out when she wants to see the world.  Her babbles bring a smile to every one's face no matter how crappy the rest of the day has been.
We have had social workers in and out and on the phone nonstop!  Today I had 2 different workers in my home and about 17 phone calls!  Yes seriously.  All while trying to get my own girls looked after and myself to the doctors and pharmacy.  THANK GOD Aunt Michelle was here.  (Hugs Mich I couldn't have done it without you today!)
Brian is out of town and has been since Monday evening but Michelle and her little girl Bre me down to lend a hand.  Thank goodness they were here this week.  I may have lost it otherwise or a child may have been lost in the shuffle.  Like I said today Michelle was a great help but yesterday she walked T to school and took the other 2 girls with her while I had a meeting with yet another social worker and Baby A.  I am also very thankful that Baby A sleeps so well or I wouldn't have made it without my night time team mate to pinch hit at 3a.m. had I needed him.
Now back to Baby A.  Like I said she's a doll.  But the way her visitation is working out is going to drive me crazy.... unless we can work out a better schedule.  Mom has been granted 3 visits per week of 3 hours each.  Which is great for mom and baby time.  BUT any 3 hour stretch runs over naps, meals or my kids schedules.  We need to do some major finagling to get Baby A TO see her mom and then back again and then trying to catch up on missed meals (mom claims she wouldn't eat because she doesn't like the food - funny how she eats it for me) or missed naps (baby won't sleep anywhere but in a darkened room in a crib according to mom - funny how she'll fall asleep in my arms).  So needless to say after visits there is a period of crankiness and tears.  But we just plug onward and hope Baby A gets over it quickly knowing she's back here and on schedule again.  Today was particularly bad and by the time she came home Michelle had to leave and I was left to my own devices.  But we managed somehow.  In between phone calls and social worker visits (again) we got through to supper and bath and bedtime.
My girls are really great too.  MJ sings Baby A a song every night at bed - unless she's in the tub at the time.  T and MJ help feed her and give her bottles.  They like playing with her most of the time too.  Like any siblings though they have their moments.  MJ is the worst for having moments.  She had already been having some behavioural issues and now they've been amplified but her out burst were limited pretty much to 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday evening.  Lets just say I'm glad the door has no holes in it and that Baby A is SUCH a great sleeper.  I think Michelle was completely shocked at seeing THAT side of MJ.  But hopefully in time all the initial anxiety of having a new addition will pass and we'll just have to deal with basic sibling rivalry.  That I can handle.
Well week 1 is over and no court date till Dec 17 so now we just go about our lives and work in visits and the rest of the 'stuff' that we need to do to help Baby A have the best opportunity she possibly can.
I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Baby On Board!

We finally have our very first foster baby!  Wow have the past 53 hours been CRAZY!  (I'm going to call her Baby A since she is our very first charge and we're keeping confidentially etc in mind.)
Wednesday afternoon I got a call about 3:30pm saying that we might have a placement within the next 36 hours... they weren't sure of the timing but did we want to have Baby A come to our home?  My response was almost "duh?!?!" but I refrained and said "of course.  We're ready when she comes"  Not even an hour later they called back and said they'd be here in 5 minutes!  AHHH!!!! What happened to 36 hours???
I had already called B at work and left a message letting him know we were getting a child in the next day or so.  When he finally called back was after I had gotten the 5 minute warning.
Five minutes turned out to be about 25 so the girls and I had time to tidy up and prepare ourselves for our new family member.  When Baby A and her CSW got here my heart melted.  Here was a beautiful bundle of a 9 month old baby girl.  Obviously Baby A was nervous but she got over it amazingly quickly and took right to me and the girls.  When B arrived home about 10 minutes later there was another love affair happening between baby and B. 
The CSW filled me in on pertinent baby info and told me nothing would happen till mom's court date Monday and she left us with our new charge.  WOW that was fast.  I was told that she should sleep though the night without waking - who'd think that!! And sure enough she did!  7:15 to 7:15!  I just wish I had slept that long.  Between my own adrenaline rush keeping me up till nearly 1a.m., the kids waking me up at 1:45 & 2:15 and my cold keeping me awake with coughing and a scratchy throat I managed merely 3 hours of sleep!  The amazing thing was that even though I didn't sleep and was up at 5:00am baking muffins, we had a really good first day!
T & MJ got up and helped us get ready to go to our regular play group.  They actually gt dressed and had breakfast without a fight!  I think that's a first.  Baby A got lots of attention from the other mommies at our playgroup and they gave me some great advice about how to deal with a 9 month old.... after all its been 3 years almost since I had one in the house and I didn't have a slow gradual lead in with this one.  It was an emotional thing to have everyone want to see 'my new baby'.  But it was nice to know everyone there would help if I needed it.
After play group it was home for a speedy lunch then off to school for T.  When we walked up the side walk everyone was in awe that I had 3 children instead of the 2 I normally have.  Only a few of them knew that we were registered as foster parents and we were just waiting for our first placement.  Baby A at this point was absolutely exhausted not having had a nap yet but she was SO well mannered and behaved.  MJ & I quickly walked Baby A home so we could get her down for her long overdue nap.  Much like when she went to bed she laid down quietly and appeared to bed drifting off to sleep.  But she didn't.  The little monkey played for about 30 minutes before falling asleep but since she was happy I just let her play. B came home from work early so I could let Baby A sleep instead of waking her to go get T and she slept until I went in to check on her after 2 hours.  She heard me come in and woke up very happy!
I must admit that because she is 9 months old  she's not the a tiny bundle of squishy baby I was hoping for BUT she is certainly wonderful!  In spite of some minor issues in her physical development, which can be fixed by regular exercise, she is happy and healthy.  She is truly such a joy to have in our house.
Our girls are adjusting.  Today was rougher than yesterday but it was also a VERY busy day full of appointments.  Let's see what tomorrow brings.
Yeah we have a baby in our home again!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One Proud Mama

I had a parent teacher interview with Miss T's SK teacher today.  All I have to say is colour me proud and glowing.  I can't stop grinning about what Mrs S. had to report about T's school work and behaviour as well as her growth inter personally and academically since last year.  T didn't lose anything over the summer... in spite of the fact that we totally let the ball drop and didn't do a single thing with her over the summer break.  T is already through the SK curriculum and is doing additional work in both mathematics and creative writing.  Both of which she comes by honestly.  Her father is the mathe-magician and writer but I too have been known to pen a tale or two. 
Not only is T excelling but her teacher has for the first time in her career put forth an application for an enrichment program to be set up through the school board.  Mrs. S was reviewing the info for grade 1 applications for enrichment programing and immediately thought of my girl and has talked with one of the primary enrichment coordinators to see if they can get permission to work with T in an enrichment capacity.  I knew this would happen and I was at one point thinking about trying to get her promoted to grade 1 this year but everyone talked me out of it in order to keep her with her peer group... well had she been moved with the students she was in a split class with last year then she would have been with her peers still.  That and the fact that she's one of the oldest in her class she could have made the move relatively seamlessly if you ask me.  But that ship has sailed.
Mrs S has strongly recommend that we apply to have T put into the french immersion program next year in order to 'challenge' her a little more.  Although Mrs S believes that T will just excel regardless of the language she is learning in because she grasps things so quickly and knows how to use them properly.  I have been saying all along that I want T in french immersion but B wasn't convinced.  He's afraid that we won't be able to help her if she learns in french and we can't read the directions for her homework and assignments.  Well who knows maybe I'll go take some courses at the local college and regain my own french skills at the same time so T and I can learn together and communicate in french together.  I was fluent about 20 years ago so I should be able to pick it up again pretty easily... in relative terms that is compared to other people with no french background.
One of her and daddy's creations...  Her imagination is so huge!  She is constantly creating.  I love it!

Well enough glowing from me.  I can get the grin off my face when thinking about just how proud I am of my little girl.  I have tried in many ways to tell her just how happy I am with her and how she is doing in school.  I have also tried to help her be proud of herself.  That one I think will take some work though... another parenting challenge I have yet to conquer - teaching my child how to believe in herself and b proud of herself without letting others bring her down or make her feel inferior about being who she is.  Because she is a wonderful, loving, compassionate, empathetic, kind person and she always has been.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween is over. Now on to Christmas!

Last night was a nice cold, windy night that reminded me of Halloweens during my own childhood.  I grew up out in the 'boonies' on a farm in the country and had to go into 'town' for trick or treating...  Town had a total population of 185 people!  Or was it 85??  I can never remember.  But what I do remember is going to my aunt and uncle's house for supper and smelling the hot candy as my aunt prepared her home made candy apples to hand out to every child in town!  They also handed out home made popcorn balls.  EVERYONE always went to their house to get the goodies.  But long gone are the days of giving or receiving home made goodies for Halloween trick or treat goodies. 
Really are people THAT evil?  I like to think that the mass populace are kind and thoughtful people. Aren't we always told that humans by nature are good? Maybe we just use the urban myths as excuses to save time or money by purchasing mass marketed treats to hand out.  Or maybe its the mass marketers who have propagated the urban myths to the point of fear mongering and causing us to buy their goodies instead of making our own.  Whatever the reason I think its sad that my children will never go to Mrs. Baker's down the street because she gives out HOME MADE treats.
That said my kids had a good evening.  We had Gramma L come and go out with us while daddy stayed home to hand out the goodies (store bought of course but NOT candy - we do playdough.... which my hubby thinks is quite humorous since we're a Celiac family).  The girls hit about 100 houses and we were out for just over 1 hour.  Not bad for a 3 & 5 year old.  The wind was cold though on our street.... but I think ours is the windiest street in the entire city!  Once we got onto the side streets the wind wasn't so bad so they wanted to keep going as they were warming up again.  The amount of candy we brought home is quite possibly obscene - but I bet some people would say we didn't get that much.  B and I already pilfered a bunch for ourselves and today I am trying SO hard to not eat every goodie in sight.  So far I have only had 2 mini O'Henry bars and 1 carmel square.  But alas I know there will be 1 or 2 more treats in my tummy before the night is through.
My girls were cute as buttons and the haul was plentiful so I'd say we had a good night.  They're sitting around this evening sorting through everything and categorizing it according to 'food groups' as they called them.  The gum, the chocolate, the hard candy, the chewy candy etc... at least its not just 'the ones we like' and the 'ones we don't like'.  So they're learning something too.... at least that's my theory.  BUT I'm having troubles getting them to eat their supper.  There's no candy until their plates are cleared of the healthy food first.  T is going along with it but MJ keeps saying 'I'm hungry".  So I respond "eat your supper".  To which she says "I'm not hungry for THAT!"... and the game continues.
My plan is to keep the goodies for 1 week then whatever is left will be tossed.  Does that seem harsh?  Na I know some parents that get rid of it the very day after Halloween....  Wait, I can't imagine tossing the candy today - I haven't had MY fill yet!
Well with All Hallows Eve gone and All Saints Day nearly over... On to CHRISTMAS!  I can't wait.