I Am Not A Great Mom Right Now

As I sit here writing this, my two children are asleep next to me on our giant couch. They barely ever make it to their own beds in their messy rooms, in our messy little house. We are currently living a messy life, and I am not a great mom right now.

It has taken me awhile to admit this. I dreamed of being a perfect mom, with the sweetness of Caroline Ingalls, the brilliance of Claire Huxtable, and the cooking skills of Martha Stewart. But truth be told, I’m becoming more and more like a chronically ill Roseanne.

I always thought I’d be an awesome mom, and I was doing okay during the first few years of my daughter’s life until I was struck hard by illness and other circumstances. I had to suffer through a bad car accident and bruised ribs, five miscarriages, gall bladder surgery, Interstitial Cystitis, Endometriosis, severe PMDD, Fibromyalgia, frequent pneumonia due to asthma, Chronic Lyme Disease, multiple bilateral life-threatening blood clots on my lungs, panic attacks and anxiety.

I am so fortunate to have survived all of these things, but I can feel the dream of being an amazing mom slowly fading away. The stress of being in pain and chronically ill has taken its toll.

Like tiny grains of sand sliding down an hourglass, I am very aware of time slipping away. I realize that I can’t reverse the hourglass, I can only catch some grains of sand before it’s too late.

I can’t bring back the things my children have missed out on, I can only provide them with some new things to look forward to.

I may not be able to show them how to keep a perfect house, but I can show them how to be good people.

I may not be able to show them how to run a marathon, but I can show them how to leave beautiful footprints in the sand.

My family is everything to me. Though I am disappointed that I am not able to be a great mom right now, I will never stop trying to be one.

I will be the best mom that I can be at this moment, and share the best parts of me when I am able to.

When I glide around the ice skating rink with my daughter, I hope she remembers the glow in my eyes as I looked at her. My heart melts when she is near.

When I go bowling with my son, I hope he remembers how proud of him I was after he knocked down a few pins. How proud I will always be.

I hope they remember all of the good times we shared, and all of the magical memories we created like when we visited Disney World. Our trip there was the greatest trip of my life, and I will cherish it forever.

I hope they learn a valuable lesson from me about how when life drags you down, you must keep going and be the best that you can be.

I realize now that there is no such thing as a perfect mom. We all experience the ebb and flow of life and of parenthood. We must accept the fact that there are times that we will not be terrific moms. We must learn to accept life’s quirks, perks and failures. They will help shape who we are. They will make us stronger.

I remember holding both of my children for the first time. Those brief moments were the most powerful of my life. It is when I learned what true love was, it is when I became a mom. It is when I made a promise to my sweet little babes that I would love, protect and care for them for as long as I was alive.

I may not be a great mom right now, but I hope that when my children look back on their childhood, they will see that I kept my promise, and that I loved them with all of my heart.

And hopefully they will remember that love for the rest of their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

The Phone Call

On September 25, 2016 I was diagnosed with Multiple Bilateral Pulmonary Emboli. It was one of the scariest days of my life. I have been suffering from many chronic illnesses for twenty years now, but I was never given a life-threatening diagnosis before. I have faced many rough days, and have spent many nights awake with fear, but this hit me the hardest. I didn’t know how I was going to deal with this information.

I usually work through difficult situations by writing blogs and poetry. This was new territory for me though. I never had to write about a life-threatening situation that I was in the middle of. This was not fiction, or a distant memory, this was happening now, and writing about it would make it all too real. I had to try to distance myself from it in order to survive. I had to try to forget that there are currently blood clots all over my lungs which could kill me in an instant. Which could take me away from my family, this beautiful Earth, and all that I love. This time was different. I tried to distract myself, I tried to keep busy, I tried to rest, I fought to get through the day.

I am sorry to all of you who are currently facing life-threatening diseases or illnesses. I now know how you feel in my own way in regards to what I am facing. I can’t know exactly how you feel or what you are going through, but I wish you hope, strength and lots of love.

I was told that I would have to take blood thinners for up to six months. I am extremely sensitive to medications and was not able to tolerate the pill forms of Eliquis or Coumadin. I was able to tolerate Lovenox in the hospital so my hematologist agreed to let me take it though it wasn’t the normal protocol.

My husband who is a registered nurse injected me twice daily with this life saving medication. It prevents the existing clots from getting bigger, and it prevents new clots from being formed. The shots in the stomach are painful, and have left my entire abdomen bruised and tender. I bruise and bleed very easily now and have to avoid doing anything that could result in bad injury, especially to the head. Some people do fine on the blood thinners, but since I’m so sensitive it has been very difficult for me to stay on them. I have asthma, Chronic Lyme Disease and anxiety and this medication has made all of these conditions worse. I feel strange, dizzy, nauseous and not like myself. My life has been put on hold these past four and a half months and I haven’t been able to enjoy much. I’ve barely gone anywhere besides to take my children to school.

I have not been able to write much due to my anxiety, and the fact that I feel like I can’t put into words what I’m going through until it’s over. I’m so paralyzed with fear, that I can’t think clearly. I have many trapped words in my head waiting to be out of their prison. I look forward to the day when they flow freely, dancing around the page, unencumbered, raw and beautiful.

Though I’m so grateful and lucky to be alive, I can’t wait to truly live again.

And that brings me to the phone call.

Yesterday, I had a CT  Lung Angiogram with contrast. This test will allow the radiologist to see if all of my blood clots are gone. This test will let me know whether or not I can have my life back. This test will let me know if I can breathe again, with less anxiety, and more joy. With more happiness and fun times for my family, a family I have woefully neglected for a very long time. I’ve been sad, scared and angry for too long. I pray I get the chance to make it up to them.

My hematologist is supposed to be calling me today with the results. I jump each time the phone rings. My heart starts beating very rapidly like the Tell Tale Heart. Will I be free, or left with its maddening heartbeat?

And so I wait, and in between taking and picking up my children from school, I will hope, I will pray, I will try to believe that I deserve some good news.

Let’s hope it comes soon.

The Incredible Fall: My story of Pulmonary Embolism.

I love the Fall.

It is my favorite season, one I look forward to all year long. I couldn’t wait for it this year especially. I would be fully recovered from my surgery, and ready to make wonderful memories with my family. Apple picking, pumpkin picking, Fall Festivals, long walks, birthdays and Halloween fun.

I had a rough summer, facing the turmoil of severe PMDD, and a major surgery. I couldn’t wait to be healed and get a long awaited break.

And then it happened.

I was walking my daughter to her school which is very close to our house, when I could barely breathe, and the left side of my chest hurt. My chest felt a heaviness I’ve never felt before, and my heart was beating rapidly. I felt lightheaded and scared but hid it from my daughter while I whispered goodbye.

Little did I know at the time that it could have been my last goodbye to her. My sweet precious girl.

One third of people who have not been diagnosed or treated for pulmonary embolism will die. Wow. That statistic just hit me like a ton of bricks. I have to take a moment to recover.

I walked home with my five year old son very slowly. A walk which usually takes five minutes took about twenty. I called my husband and said something was wrong and that I needed to go to the emergency room right after he dropped off our son at school. My son who is now six years old. My son who still needs me to teach him so many new things such as how to live a full, safe life with severe food allergies. My precious boy who still calls me Mama, and falls asleep by my side each night before bed.

Though I was very nervous and having trouble breathing, I really thought I had pneumonia and pleurisy again. As someone with asthma and many chronic illnesses, I get sick very easily.

I was given a bed and an IV very quickly. Soon after they gave me a full blood panel.

I was completely shocked and taken off guard when the ER doctor told me that he had good news and bad news.

My gaze fell to the floor as I tried to hold back tears.

The way that he said it scared the hell out of me. It didn’t seem like the usual I’m about to tell you that you have pneumonia look.

Bad news? I immediately thought of cancer, and of some other horrible possibilities.

The doctor told me that my D-dimer test was high and that they would have to admit me to the hospital. I thought what the hell is a D-dimer test? I quickly found out that a D-dimer test is a test which measures blood clot risk. I had never heard of it before but it is a very valuable diagnostic tool, one which started the doctors on the path to saving my life.

The good news was that I would get my own room at the hospital very quickly and be able to get a CT scan to see if there were indeed blood clots somewhere. I was immediately given the blood thinner Lovenox through my IV. Blood thinners work to prevent existing clots from growing, and toward preventing new ones from forming. I was given an echo-cardiogram and Doppler Ultrasound of my legs. Thankfully, those tests were fine.

I had never had a blood clot before, but had a few of the risk factors including supplemental estrogen from birth control pills, recent surgery and bed rest. According to the Mayo Clinic, some other risk factors may include pregnancy, cancer, heart disease, smoking, long trips, and being overweight (especially in women who smoke or have high blood pressure.)

I knew there were some risk factors from taking birth control pills, especially the Yaz pills that I was taking for my PMDD. I also knew that my recent hysterectomy/oopherectomy held such risks. I took those risks willingly, never thinking that I, a woman in my 40’s who had never had a blood clot, would actually get one.

Well, welcome to my October surprise!

I was in the hospital for three days and the entire staff was warm, friendly and very knowledgeable. I hated being there for so long away from my family, and was very frightened. The nurses, assistants, nutritionists and doctors all helped me to feel like I wasn’t alone, in between my family visits. I joked with one of the staff and called her Nurse Ratched, every time she stuck a needle into my belly. My belly which is extremely sore and bruised from twice daily injections. My belly which once held my sweet babies is now a giant pin cushion. Brief pause as I imagine Hellraisers face imprinted on my belly. Ok, back to my belly, which may be in pain, but will be the place through which the medicine is placed, to help me live again.

I took a CT scan with contrast which diagnosed me with multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli. I will have to be on blood thinners for at least six months, and take many blood tests and scans. There are other blood thinners our there in pill form, but I reacted badly to them.

The recovery differs for each patient from a few weeks to many months or years. For me, it is taking a long time. I had just recovered from major surgery when I got my diagnosis. I was out of shape, and am now extra anxious due to my new medical condition. It has been hard to breathe, especially due to my asthma, and hard to walk far distances. I had some anxiety before, but now it is at an all time high. It is hard to get things done or leave the house on many days, but I must especially to exercise to aid my recovery, and prevent more blood clots from forming. I am currently on daily medication until the anxiety improves. I am hoping that it will soon, and that when I am off of blood-thinners in March that things will get as back to normal as they can.

I face a long, scary, anxiety provoking six months, but with the help of my family, friends and many doctors, I will get through this. I will keep taking baby steps, and pray I will not have more roadblocks on the way to full recovery. I will take it day by day. I will look at the faces of my children and my husband, and thank God I am still here. I will appreciate their beautiful faces even more now. I will try to show them how much I love them until my last breath. I will work harder to make a difference because this scare has taught me that my time here is limited.

Please learn the symptoms of pulmonary embolism and talk to friends and family about this important and dangerous condition. It can affect you no matter your sex, and risk factors increase with age. Discuss the risks of using birth control pills with your daughters, especially the ones containing drospirenone which can dramatically increase the risk of fatal blood clots.

I did not know the symptoms of pulmonary embolism weeks ago. But, I did trust my instincts that something was very wrong. Going to the ER that day saved my life and now though my activity is limited, I can enjoy my favorite season once again.

I love the Fall.

Now more than ever…

 

Kathy ❤

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