It’s Not Cancer!!!

The tumors in my liver are benign, likely caused by ~20 years of hormonal birth control. My bone marrow looks good. Chromosomes look good. Doc thinks that the high LDH was caused by nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) — a specific type of fatty liver disease, which we already knew I was dealing with.

So, amazingly enough, there’s nothing new to deal with here — just another situation where I’m being told to lose weight and increase activity. I’m on board. I’m eating less, thanks to gastritis, and I’m almost done meal planning for a month’s worth of AIP. Part of me is looking forward to it.  It’s gonna be my form of Lent.

One great side effect of genuinely believing that I was about to have to fight cancer is that I have a fucking long to-do list, filled with awesome things.  Stuff like, “Record all your original songs, even the ones that you think are mediocre.” and “Remember how to have fun by going on lots of adventures and writing about it.”

are-you-not-entertained-24264909

I will try harder. This health bullshit is boring AF.

I think I’m going to need to hire someone to transcribe music for me. For too many years, I’ve let my distaste for transcription (read: knowledge that my skills are so weak that it’s painful, slow, and often inaccurate) stand in the way of my songwriting.  It’s actually the reason that I dropped out of Songwriting I at Berklee.  I rocked all available lyric writing classes and absolutely loved them, but when it came to actually writing out my own music, to be judged by a guy who has taught iconic songwriters, I cowered. There’s no other word for it.  I felt like I just couldn’t do it… so I couldn’t. And I haven’t. Add the facts that the class was at 9 a.m. and I’d just chosen music business as my major, and dropping the class seemed like a no-brainer at the time.  If ever I wished I had pushed myself harder while in college, it’s then.  Opportunities like Berklee songwriting classes don’t come around every day.

One thing that 2 weeks of wondering about my mortality was good for was recognizing areas where I’ve let myself down, and I’m kind of sick at my stomach over my level of cowardice. I’m gonna work a lot harder on feeling bad about myself for actually making mistakes instead of feeling bad about myself for not doing things that I’m afraid I’m going to fuck up. You can’t fail if you don’t try… but if you don’t try, you’re kinda failing at life.

img_9810

 

 

Advertisements

Uncorked.

So, this entry is a little overdue, and I’m not even going to pretend that I’m going to be able to be terribly organized in my thinking… but I’ll try.

I’ve been living through a medical shitstorm. Here are the highlights.

  • Tummy Troubles: I had an endoscopy last Friday (1/12). I have gastritis. Unknown cause. Stopped omeprazole & ranitidine. Started taking Dexilant. So far, so good. I don’t know the cause, but I’ve had more energy since I started taking it.
  • CT Scan results: very small hiatal hernia, small umbilical hernia, hypodensities in the spleen & liver
  • Hematology: Lab results were abnormal. They found immature cells in my blood. My immunoglobulins are low across the board and wonky especially in my igAs. LDH was really high. Doc said I needed a bone marrow biopsy, so I did that yesterday (1/17). Results will be given 1/31.

Of all of the diagnostic testing and surgeries I’ve endured in my life, the bone marrow biopsy was, without question, the most painful to endure (though for a short period of time), and the quickest to recover from (less than 24 hours before I was feeling fine.)

I actually said, while still in the room, that I’d rather get another c-section than go through that again. (I’m talking about the surgery being done with spinal anesthesia.  As long as I can’t feel it, I have absolutely no fucks to give. Recovery? That’s another story. Also, I want another baby, so sign me up for another c-section. Seriously.)

I still think it’s hilarious that my mom thinks that it looked like they were trying to uncork a bottle of wine when they were doing the aspiration. I kinda want to do that right now.

New-York-Magazine-Wine

I’m a lightweight, but that doesn’t look like enough.

See, I’m a realist. I know that if they’re seeing shit on CT and my immunoglobulins have been decreasing for a year and my LDH is up and I need to use marijuana to be able to eat that I probably have cancer. Blood cancer? Liver cancer? Is there such a thing as Spleen cancer? Who the fuck knows. It just is a question of whether it’s the kind that you can survive.  I’m ready for a name so that I can kick it’s ass.

witches-cauldron-shakespeare-code-drwho-doctor-who-back-when

I name you, Carrier Knight!

Anyway, it turns out my deepest, darkest fear right now is that my son will grow up and have no memory of me, so I plan on recording videos. Like, a lot of really awful, candid videos. I might post em here. I might not. I honestly don’t know.  I’m not sure who would want to see them who isn’t related to me anyway. Hell, I don’t even know if Future Henry will want to watch em. Or if he’ll even need them. God, I hope he doesn’t. Truly, I can’t really get settled on whether or not I’m worried.  It all seems surreal.

Like, I’m not scared about adding another disease to the roster. I’m resigned to treatment already. I’m honestly thinking things like, “Hey! If I have to nuke my whole immune system to survive, I might be able to kill cancer and MS at the same time. TWOFER, BITCHES!!!”

And on the other side of things, my parents want to be at the 1/31 appointment, and that part that’s in complete denial about how much this could all suck is like, “WTF, guys. Nothing to see here. This is all boring crap. Stay home. I’ll text when its over.”

So, IDK, guys. This is what my life is like right now.

I’m grateful that my mom is in town, and that Henry is getting special time with her.  I’m grateful that my biopsy site is healing up well. I’m grateful that Adam’s root canal surgery was painless today, and am hopeful for a similar experience for him day after tomorrow.

If I find out that I’m terminal, I wonder what about life I would do differently.  If I can answer that question, I’ll be making the changes anyway.

 

Challenges.

Earlier this week, a new friend challenged me, since I hadn’t yet really gotten into the Wahls Protocol, to go ahead and try AIP first for 90 days.

I said that I could do anything for 90 days in the interest of not having seizures… but to be honest, I’m not sure that I can. I mean, I can’t even get myself to eat 9 cups of veggies a day… and that’s on days when I can make good food decisions for myself.

Physical

Yesterday and today have been difficult for me, health-wise.  Bunches of seizures. (Like, so many I lost count.) Many ended in post-ictal confusion “time travel.”  Lots  of gastric pain. I even fasted for 24 hours because of the pain… It even hurt to drink water.

But you know what made the pain stop enough for me to be able to eat and return to being a mostly-productive member of this family today?  Cannabis. To be more thorough, it was a high CBD edible. Specifically, 2.5 mg of CBD and 1.25 of THC — or an 8th of a piece of 1 Strawberry Peach sour gummy.

Or, if you’re ignoring the medicine in it, and are only thinking about diet… an 8th of a piece of gummy candy that definitely contains sugar and probably contains artificial flavors and coloring.  *sigh* Heck, there’s even a sign at the dispensary making sure everyone’s aware that edibles are not being created in a sterile environment and that anyone with allergies is advised to forgo them.

So, I find myself wondering if that small amount of verboten food, (truly, about a cubic centimeter of candy that may have come into contact with gluten, dairy, etc.) taken almost daily, would make the rest of the diet, well, pointless.

If it were for weight loss alone, I would know that such a small indulgence wouldn’t matter in the long-term — but when the dietary objective is to decrease inflammation and improve symptoms, I’m not so sure.  Then there’s always the questions — “Is the CBD more anti-inflammatory than the sugar is inflammatory? And “How long do the effects last?  Is sugar inflammatory for a half hour and CBD anti-inflammatory for 4 hours?”  It’s really hard to science that shit when you have degrees in music and law and know diddly squat about chemistry.

And then there’s the whole “family planning” thing. Obviously, I’m not going to start trying to conceive while I’m still waiting for results from the hematologist and CT scan, but if I’m all clear in those areas, it’s time to make another Majka… and the last time I gave up paleo and cannabis was when I was in my first trimester with Henry, and the doctor stressed the importance of eating a “balanced” diet, including grains and dairy, and he dropped a whole bunch of pamphlets on me.

I honestly don’t know what the fuck to do.  It’s not the optimal time to make any decision at all, when I’m hurting, anyway… certainly not the time to thoughtfully consider something that will change the way I deal with life a minimum of 3 times per day.

Mental/Emotional

For anyone who is curious about the psychological gems that I mined for in the dungeon of yesterday’s seizures, I got to spend a surprisingly long amount of time yesterday (almost 15 minutes!) as my 2008 self.

She was absolutely furious with my lack of career, lack of discipline, and 50 lb weight gain. She cannot believe that I’m not only living in IL of all places (There’s fucking snow here! UGH.), but that I refuse to take the IL bar. (She accused me of being lazy! It’s only a 2 day test!)

2008 Rae believed I gave up on life, and that I am now pathetic and worthless and deserving of contempt. But, hey, at least my kid’s cute, and Adam’s still hot.

She was waaayyyyy more of an uncompromising cunt to me than I realized while I was going through the process of being her. She was proud of herself for standing up immediately and continuing to study for the bar exam after she had drop seizures. She thought it was proof that she was tough and “has what it takes.”

But then again, that was before almost a decade of therapy. Before self-compassion was even a term that I’d heard. Before EMDR. Before marrying Adam. Before becoming a mother. Before redefining what “success” means to me.

My favorite incorrect insult from her was when she accused me of being a boring, suburban housewife with nothing to add to society.  If I ever needed something else to rage against, it’s that.

God forbid I be boring.

*jazz hands*

Taking My Sweet-Ass Time

HAPPY DECEMBERWEEN!!!!! 🙂

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… the month of a millionty holidays, including 4 family birthdays, 2 anniversaries, Chanukkah, Christmas, and a ton of other reasons to celebrate that I’m, frankly, too lazy to delineate. Other sites have my back.

Anyway, there’s a lot of scary medical stuff going on with me right now that I have been trying not to focus on.

My Immune System Is Very Slowly Getting Worse

You know how I told y’all that my immunoglobulin is low across the board? (Not low enough to require IVIG yet, but if I get sick for an entire month again like I did in October, I’ve got to go in.) Well, sadly, it’s low and not stable. It’s been consistently declining for over a year now… so my hematologist wants a second set of eyes on me. He says that he doesn’t know why, with all my other bloodwork showing readings that are normal, that my immune system would continue to be in decline, but it is — so, I’ve been referred to a blood cancer specialist at Loyola. My appointment is the day after my birthday.  *tosses glitter in the air*

It’s Probably Because Of My Liver.

Also in the “all tests show normal, but you’re clearly not ok, so I really don’t know” camp is my gastroenterolgist.

About a year ago, I had such severe abdominal pain that I stopped being able to get myself to eat without medication, since the pain was always most severe right after eating.

An ultrasound came back showing lesions on my liver.  So, I got an MRI which showed nothing more than a ton of hemangiomas and the fact that I have a “fatty liver.” Hemangiomas are not troubling. They’re totally natural. They’re noncancerous growths of blood vessels that usually resolve on their own.  The MRI radiologist wanted me to follow up with a CT scan.  I didn’t, because I felt fine after they increased the dose of omeprazole I take, and being this “being medically interesting” thing gets expensive.

Fast forward to earlier this year — I became pregnant, so they took me off of omeprazole and switched me to ranitidine because it’s safer for the embryo — you know, the one that died anyway. (Boooooo for miscarriages.)  I was doing great on ranitidine until November, when the intense pains after eating returned.  Dr. D put me right back on omeprazole and now wants me to get that CT scan.

I have no idea why I don’t want to do it, but I really don’t.  I’ve been taking my sweet-ass time making the appointment, since the medication seems to be handling it.  But I should try to get in before January, since that’s when deductibles reset.

I’ve actually come to the point in my life where I’m trying to comparison shop tests at hospitals to figure out where I can get care for the most reasonable price. UCMC is almost always my #1 choice because of their financial aid options, but Palos Health is much closer. Still, my gastroenterologist works out of MetroSouth, and it’s an option with my health insurance. I can’t get a straight answer from anyone about how much the test will cost. So… I haven’t scheduled shit, thanks to anxiety.

Anxiety Doesn’t Cause Cancer, But MS Drugs Do.

Healthcare in America is BROKEN, y’all. BROKEN. I’m on a Blue Cross PPO through my husband’s work. I have Medicare A & B, and I *still* don’t know if we’ll be able to afford my care.  It’s still no reason not to try to get it.

So, while the GOP debates just how badly they want to fuck over literally everyone in the country, I get to worry about whether or not I have a blood cancer or liver cancer (both of which were potential side effects of my MS meds), while raising a precocious 2 year old and managing my multiple comorbidities.

Oh, and hoping that I’ve gotten the “right” gifts for everyone I love.  😉

Wahls Adventure: Stalled

Another thing that I’m taking my damn time on is starting the Wahls Protocol in earnest.

I tried adding 6-9 cups of veggies to my daily diet, and it looked almost exactly like eating paleo again. (Green smoothie for breakfast, soup and/or salad for lunch, roasted something or other for dinner.) Unfortunately, I tried doing that at about the same time that my stomach was like, “Uh, no food please.”  9 cups of veggies is a lot of volume when it comes to food, folks.

So, I’ve been “feeding my disease” instead of “eating clean” because I have to fucking eat, and whatever stays down and doesn’t cause a fuckton of extra kitchen work is pretty good with me right now.  Besides, it can take up to a year of being strict on her diet before you even feel better — which, TBH, sounds fucking exhausting.

Fatigue has gotten me so badly in the last few months that I’ve spent full days in bed (not on the couch) on several occasions.  I mean, it’s gotten to the point that I keep a protein shake in my bedroom just in case, so I can take necessary medication.

I honestly don’t know how we would handle things without my in-laws’ help with Henry.  This is something I regularly think about when anyone brings up the idea of trying to get pregnant with a second child or my PTSD tells me that for our continued health and safety, we need to leave the country.

My thought is that I’ll plan out Wahls-friendly food choices for January (since everyone and their mama seems to be doing that for Whole 30 anyway), and I can start in earnest then.  Adam got me an awesome dehydrator for my birthday, so that ought to help too. I am looking forward to making some bitchin’ jerky, fruit roll ups, and veggie snacks.

Don’t worry. I’ll share my January plan here and share the love. 🙂

I genuinely hope that you are having a happy holiday season, and that you and the ones you love are doing well. ❤

Wahls Adventure: Prologue

It’s been a tough weekend so far.

Yesterday, out of nowhere, I started feeling like there was a ton of heat coming off my solar plexus, and then it shot through my body like I was on fire all over. I could barely breathe (like, I was gasping for air), and in that moment, according to Adam (because I legit do not remember), I had something akin to a grand-mal seizure in the car, hitting the dash and tearing at my clothes before passing out.

I don’t remember getting home. In fact, I don’t remember much of yesterday, aside from being really frustrated when I opened my vape cartridges that Adam so thoughtfully picked up from the dispensary for me, and they were both unusable. So, tomorrow, we have to take them back and get them exchanged.

I remember that we were on the way to the Orland Park indoor neighborhood garage sale, and I’m still pissed that my body made me miss that.  Next year, I guess!

Anyway, the panic attacks and seizures didn’t stop in the morning, or even after I slept. We’ve started keeping a log of my blood pressure, which is kind of all over the place, considering that I am on a high dose of Labetalol.  Today, I keep feeling like Blanka… electric all over, and like even soft touches are too much for me.

blanka

This motherfucker gets me.

Pictured: Blanka from Street Fighter during his “Giant Bomb” attack – electricity coming off of every part of his body

I think I know what may have precipitated the attack, but it’s not the only variable in play.  The day before yesterday, I was sick with stomach flu (fever and all), and I drank 64 oz of Gatorade, followed by a ton of Halloween candy.  The intensity of pain and large number of seizures that occurred within 24 hours made the correlation of sugar consumption to discomfort too obvious to ignore anymore.

So, I finally decided that reading other people’s blogs while hemming and hawing about whether or not I’m willing to go paleo again was insufficient, and I purchased my copy of The Wahls Protocol.

The Wahls Protocol is very different than any other diet I’ve tried before because it has 3 steps to it — basically 3 discrete diets that increase in difficulty to adherence.

Step One: The Wahls Diet (or “What Rachael is going to be starting this week.”)

wahls

  • No gluten, eggs, dairy (except for ghee), refined oils, or processed foods.
  • Sugar is limited to that which occurs naturally.
  • 6-9 cups of vegetables daily (3 cups of leafy greens, 3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) and 3 cups of deeply colored vegetables and fruits, such as berries, carrots, winter squash, beets, etc).

Everything should ideally be organic, grass-fed or wild-caught foods, if your budget allows. Mine does not.

This is very close to the paleo diet, but it allows for non-glutenous grains like corn, oatmeal, and rice.  Y’all know I can hang with the traditional paleo diet, but that’s “step 2,” and considering the point of the diet is to maximize the nutritional content of what you’re eating so that you can power up your mitochondria (and hence your whole body), as long as I’m getting the veggies in, while limiting sugar, I think I’m making positive headway.

Honestly, I’ve been through all the tests, and I don’t have Celiac Disease or any allergic reaction to wheat, so the only reason that I’m avoiding it is because it helps force me to find a way to put a vegetable in place of whatever bread product my brain immediately jumps to. So, fortunately, I don’t need to be afraid of cross-contamination like many folks do.

In the past, I think the biggest barrier to sustained compliance on the paleo diet for me has been the All-Or-Nothing mindset. To help ensure that I actually get this done, the only thing I’m going all-or-nothing for is eating the cups of veggies.

I’m trying really hard to shift my mindset from “This is gonna suck.” to “This will help me feel better and is totally worth it.” So far, it sounds like, “This is gonna suck until it helps me feel better.” 🙂

Ah, honesty.  You’re almost optimism.

  • If I eat inflammatory foods, I’m literally feeding and empowering my disease.
  • If I eat the required vegetables and avoid foods that are known to cause inflammation, I’m feeding and empowering my mind and body.

When I think about it that way, choosing any other course of action seems beyond stupid.

Thus, once I’m done with this entry, I’ll be doing some meal planning… because I’m certain I won’t get Henry on board for green smoothie breakfasts and salads at lunch, but I’m pretty sure I can figure out meals for him that use at least some of the ingredients. (I mean, really, that’s definitely part of what makes me shy away from the level 3 ketogenic diet. I’m not sure how I’d do without bananas in my life.)

Adam is totally on board to power up his mitochondria with me.  I really lucked out in the supportive husband department. But he’s also been watching Henry for several hours now while I read and then wrote this. So, I should probably quit blogging and go spend time with them before making the grocery list.

Hope you’re having a good weekend!

 

Have you tried the Wahls Diet?  Do you have any favorite recipes that happen to contain a fuckton of veggies?  Let me know in the comments or email me with suggestions!

The Things We Cannot See

It’s been a while since I gave myself license to sit down and write. It’s easy right now because I’m sick with laryngitis, and my mother-in-law has Henry.  After the miscarriage (which took an inordinate amount of time to resolve), I ended up having an MS relapse.  Immediately following the 6 days of oral steroids, I am now sick… so, it’s been a challenge to get basic things done, let alone to opine on the finer points of life. That being said, today is World Mental Health Day, and I write extensively about my mental health, so it seemed like a good time to give everyone an update.

The Banal

Recently, I’ve been taking a second look at the Wahls Protocol.  It’s a diet plan that Dr. Terry Wahls used to help her decrease the negative symptoms of MS.  Obviously, long-time friends and readers know that I tried the paleo diet to improve my MS symptoms and found very little relief from seizures, but some relief from fatigue.  Unfortunately, the number of dishes I created by following the diet used up any extra energy.

In the last month, scientists have discovered the brain’s lymphatic system.  This might not seem like a big deal at first, seeing as how the rest of the body has a lymphatic system, but for those of us with MS, it’s huge.  Essentially, this is not just proof of the immune system interacting directly with the brain, it’s the hardware in our bodies that make it possible. It’s literally part of our immune system, and it’s integrated throughout the entire brain… and until just now doctors didn’t even know it was there.

For those of us who have experienced the terrible side effects of MS disease modifying drugs, it’s galling. There’s something terribly unnerving about reading that “The discovery of the central-nervous-system lymphatic system may call for a reassessment of basic assumptions in neuroimmunology.” Essentially, it means that we’ve all been sold insanely expensive, and potentially harmful, snake oil.  It reminds me of how “bleeding” patients with leeches to “balance the humours” used to be a real thing, which is kind of scary if you think about it.

The first mystery these scientists need to solve is how those vessels receive and dispel fluid, anyway.  They already suspect that the flow of glymphatic fluid (That’s the fluid that goes in and out of the lymphatic system within the brain.) may affect folks with Alzheimer’s or other neurological diseases that disrupt sleep… like MS!

The article states that “The flow of glymphatic fluid can change based on a person’s intake of omega-3 fatty acids…”  And that means that aside from the brain-gut connection, we can find evidence to improve our neurological health by eating well here, too.

I already take 750 mg of Mega Red Krill Oil every day for Omega 3 supplementation.  It’s been helpful for lowering my triglycerides, and I believe that its use in conjunction with Vitamin D3 has been more helpful as an antidepressant for me than Effexor or Cymbalta ever were.

So, I’m looking in to Dr. Wahls’s research and am about to start Phase 1, which is simply adding 9 cups of vegetables a day (3 cups of dark, leafy greens, 3 cups of sulpherous, and 3 colorful.) to your diet.

Whether or not I will move forward to Phase 2 (which includes going on the paleo diet again — but this time using the autoimmune protocol), is yet to be determined. I think that it might be too difficult to try to keep paleo/keto with a 2 yr old in the house who basically subsists on Peanut Butter Ritz Bitz, Goldfish, and cookies. (Don’t worry. I offer plenty of fresh fruits and veg too.)

So, for now, I’m more interested in feeding my mitochondria the nutrients they need to produce energy than I am interested in reducing inflammation in my body by avoiding foods that I may (or may not) have reactions to.

The Sublime

With all of that setting the stage — I have to let you know that it has made me think about the bigger picture.

Back when I was living in California, I got the chance to take a walk and chat with Reichart Von Wolfshield — a notable scientist, and a pretty cool guy to hang out with. During our walk, we shot the shit about atheism vs. being a believer in a higher power.  I was very well aware of his staunch atheism, and he was curious as to why I am a devout believer in God.

He wanted to know why, with a lack of evidence, I am so sure that God exists. My personal take is that everything is God — the whole universe and anything beyond — everyone and everything is a part of this higher power, which is part of why we don’t necessarily notice it. It’s too big to comprehend, and it very likely lacks the sort of sentient thought that we would like to attribute to anything that is omnipotent and omnipresent.

My actual response to him that day, however, was that I know that people are very limited creatures — that we can only see part of the visual spectrum and hear part of the auditory spectrum, and that I simply believe that since the concept of God has existed alongside all of humanity, it must have basis in reality, even if we cannot substantiate it yet with science.

The discovery of the lymphatic system in the brain reminds me why I believe in God’s existence — not because it makes me more hopeful for a cure for my ailment (thought it certainly does), but because 2 months ago, we didn’t believe it existed, even though it did, and even though, more than likely, it was present for of all of humanity leading up to now.

I genuinely wonder what we’ll “discover” tomorrow.

Well, *that* happened.

suckitIt’s been 2 months since my last post.  In part, it’s because of the 12 week rule.  I found out in late July that I was pregnant. I found out last Wednesday that I no longer am.

On the one hand, the outpouring of kindness from my friends and family has been heartwarming.

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that I don’t have full access to that heart right now.

I don’t want to talk with anyone. I haven’t even wanted to blog. I barely wanted to Facebook. I had no idea so many amazing women, who I genuinely care for and love, had experienced this kind of loss quietly or even silently.  The compassion I’ve showed friends who had experienced this was present, but seriously lacking. I had no concept of the depths of emotional darkness and physical pain that come with this experience. I’m finding it hard to emotionally connect with my husband without turning into a sobbing mess, and that is profoundly uncool because I really love that guy.  We started dating 11 years ago today, and I can’t even think of a quirky way to celebrate it right now.

My brain is, of course, doing what it always does when things go sideways (and man-oh-man, do they go sideways frequently!). Idiot brain is rationalizing all the ways that it’s my fault that the baby died (It isn’t.), berating me for those imagined slights (No, brain, I’m not sorry that I went on an airplane.), and then forcing me to find all the ways that the change in direction is positive.

Here’s why my brain believes I “should be happy” about the miscarriage:
(Name the ANTs!  SPOILER: They’re all “should” statements.)

1.) It means that I can pick Henry up again.  He’s at a phase where he wants to be held or touched almost constantly. Pick him up and put him in the stroller. Pick him up and put him in the swing and then push him. Pick him up to change his diapers. Pick him up to put him on the potty for the billionth time, silently praying that he will eventually take a dump in the toilet. Pick him up to put him in the high chair he’s outgrown, because watching him teeter on our kitchen chairs is too much for my anxiety. Pick him up to move him away from distraction when I have to discipline him. Pick him up to take him off the couch when he won’t stop jumping. Pick him up to put him in his car seat to go anywhere. Pick him up to give him hugs, all the time. Pick him up to dance.

2.) It means that I can take the medication I need to help with MS & PTSD symptoms again.  Yes, I’m talking about weed. I missed the help with the pain in my limbs.  I missed the help with anxiety, especially when Nazi-palooza exploded onto the scene.

3.) It means that I can get Henry potty-trained for sure before we introduce more diapers into the mix. A woman can only wipe so many butts per day without losing her mind. I’m pretty sure he’ll be using the big boy potty like a champ in a couple of months. He already pees in it at least 3 times a day.

4.) It means that we have more time to save money. Kids are expensive. This is also not something that I care too much about. But my brain likes to rattle off anxiety about money, since I’m disabled, so it’s counting this situation as a fiscal “win,” in that sort of way that makes me want to smack myself.

5.) It means I can get back to losing more weight. I dropped 10 pounds in the 2 months prior to this pregnancy, thanks to participation in accountability groups online.  I’ve now been under 200 lbs for 12 weeks. Didn’t even gain 2 lbs in 9 weeks. I’m not sure why I’m proud of that. Anyway, the next pregnancy is more likely to remain viable if I can drop even more weight.  It’s even supposed to help with my GERD issues, since that’s being caused by fatty liver. So, hopefully, once I stop bleeding, I’ll also be able to stop wanting to eat my feelings. (I have had way too much chocolate this week. I cannot actually care. I may buy one more clamshell of brookies before the week is over because they taste like what I imagine feeling “good” is like.)

6.) I wasn’t sure I could handle it anyway.  2 kids? They’d outnumber me all day.  Good luck, “Mom.”  At least now, life is manageable.

But all the sunshine in the world won’t change a turd into a flower.

The shitty truth is that we lost a baby we were all really excited to have — even Henry — even his grandparents.  I’ve been bleeding profusely and in sometimes shocking amounts of pain for a week straight. I’m more than ready to be done with it…

I just really hope the next one sticks, when I get brave enough to give growing our family another chance. I don’t ever want to go through this again. I can’t imagine anyone would.