Nips, Lips, Hips, ‘N Fingertips

{February 15, 2007}   Why I hate to take Celebrex

First of all, I apologize for not writing for months! I moved my business from a way-too-time-consuming YAHOO!-hosted website to an easy-to-build eBay store; my family and I have been ill (we had the whooping cough! and a nasty cold that lasted over two weeks, including a record-breaking five and a half days and six nights of fever with yet another febrile seizure!); I bought a sewing maching (yes, me, a sewing machine!); I have been going to aqua classes at the local rec center; and we are in the process of taking classes to become certified as a foster-adoptive family. 

So I’ve been taking Celebrex since sometime in September for Osteoarthritis (OA). I finally saw a Rheumatologist, at the advice of my PCP (Primary Care Provider, not street drug) and after an extensive bone scan, some bloodwork and more X-rays, I was diagnosed with “severe, widespread OA”. It is mostly in my neck, shoulders, hips, knees, and lower back. I do not yet have painful ankle or wrist joints, which is a saving grace since I like to do a lot of things with my hands. My knuckles occasionally ache in the Winter, and used to be much more painful whenever I played the cello and guitar, two time-consuming hobbies I have since given up only because I am a full-time at-home momma now, not because it hurt too much.

Anyway, I have tried Celebrex at the lowest dose possible despite much anxiety about taking such a risky prescription drug. I once had a client who took Celebrex, plusI’ve heard in the TV commercials about the risk of liver problems and stomach bleeding, and I’m the poster child for GI problems. Call me crazy, but I don’t take lightly the risk of serious liver problems and stomach bleeding “that may occur without warning” and be “potentially fatal”. I’m a mother, and the thought of leaving my two boys behind just because I wanted to get some relief from joint pain is more than I can bear.

I couldn’t even read the Patient Information. I had DH read it and then boil it down for me as it makes me crazy with worry and I think that I tend to induce the symptoms in myself when I know what they are. So far, I’ve had threeof the less-common side effects including darkened urine, facial swelling, and weight gain (10 pounds since I started on it about 5 months ago, even though I am far more active since being on it and not being in so much pain). I started out on the twice daily dose, but I experienced heart palpitations and dizziness upon standing up. One night, I even thought I was having a heart attack and almost called 911. I called my doctor the next day and she recommended that I cut the dosageback to once daily. I did so, and I was still terrified to take it, but it helps. And even though it really does help, I hate to take it!

For the record, I have tried the following (with some relief, though not lasting): Rhus. Tox. (a homeopathic remedy), fish oil (most recently,  krill oil), Reiki, an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise (aqua classes and weight-bearing exercise/weight-lifting to strengthen the muscles that support the joints), and yoga. I have been trying to lose weight for over a year now, and I have also been diagnosed with “Metabolic Syndrome” for which I was prescribed speed (phenterfine) that had its own set of risks and which I decided was first and foremost not safe to take while I am still breastfeeding (you can find out more about by looking up the drug phenterfine in the reference guide Medications and Mother’s Milk by Thomas Hales).

I hate to take Celebrex, but here I have been off of it for only 48 hours now and I am in a great deal of pain- especially in my knees. Our house has a multi-level floor plan, with four levels and four sets of stairs, and I need to be able to ascend and descend them as needed to take care of our children and our house.

I was going to stop taking Celebrex for Valentine’s day- I don’t know why, but when I get some idea in my brain, I go all the way with it- but I gave in and called in my prescription to the pharmacy just now. I also looked up Weight Watchers and there is a meeting location “0 miles” from me so I am going to go to a meeting this evening at 6:15 p.m.

This will be my third time joining Weight Watchers. I lost a good amount of weight with WW after my first was born (and thanks to breastfeeding on demand until he was eighteen months old), and although I didn’t stick with it after my second son was born, it was mostly because the “nearest” location was just too far away in downtown Ogden, and the time of day when I could go to meetings was the worst time of day for traffic so it took me thirty minutes to get there. I also tried to go to a “Mommy and Me”  WW meeting but it was a joke- with my two boys in tow, it felt more like “Fussy Baby Brother, Mommy & IT’S ALL ABOUT ME”. My oldest was too old to be entertained by the baby toys that were provided (and wouldn’t have anything to do it the activities and books I brought along for him), and my youngest was just too loud and obnoxious, fussing the whole time and wanting to nurse which involved a great deal of exposure and juggling on my part. Nonetheless, it was the only way to keep him quiet, so I did it, and likewise suffered the consequences (weird looks, no one wanting to be my partner when we were to pair up for an activity- basically, I was socially ostracized for nursing in public.)

So tonight I’m off to Weight Watchers, because I am at least 75 pounds overweight and that has to make my OA worse. I don’t think my weight has *caused* my OA- in fact, I think it is the other way around- but I have to do everything I can to feel better. I know I’m way too young to hurt like this, and I am just.not.ready for injections and surgery for my knee pain.

I hate to take Celebrex, but I’m going to take until I am at least 25 pounds lighter, and then try to come off of it again. I will continue to do that every 25 pounds until I am at my ideal weight. If I go off Celebrex then, and I am still in a great deal of pain, I will most likely consider the injections. The older folks with OA and RA in my aqua class swear by them!


{November 4, 2006}   Happy Housewife’s Day

Yesterday was “Housewife’s Day”, according to my Hathor calendar anyway I prepared nutritious meals and snacks, did the dishes and laundry, helped the boys get dressed twice (the second time after getting wet in my sink while I was blogging), joined in and supervised play, blogged away some more, sorted through the mail and recycled most of it, put more Halloween stuff down in the basement, dipped the turtle, and swept all the floors as usual.

 I hate being a housewife! There, I said it! So another thing I did yesterday was to call and make sure that I belong in the informational session that I am signed up to attend Tuesday to find out about getting my BSN through an accelerated program at the U of CO. They don’t have an RN program, but because I already have a BS degree, I can take the accelerated 19-month BSN program if I have the four prerequisites. Unfortunately, Anatomy & Physiology classes aced in massage school do not count as it is considered a vocational school, so I think I have to take A, P, and Microbiology. I can’t remember what the fourth prerequisite is but I think I have it. I will either take the other prerequisites at a community college or through a home study program if that is acceptable. When I grow up, I want to be a Labor & Delivery Nurse and/or Lactation Consultant.

Last night, DH brought home a new Claddagh ring for me- one that had to be ordered when the first one he gave me was too small (and it had to come from Ireland which took a few weeks). Go finger, this one is too big. I seem to have lost some weight without even trying. So the ring slips all over the place and I may have to wear it as a thumbring until I can get it re-sized, but it’s oh-so pretty. It has an emerald in the heart and diamonds (I call them diamonds but I am sure that they are Cubic Zirconia) on the crown and sidebars. I fell asleep staring at it last night, it’s so bee-yoo-tee-full.

If you don’t know what a Claddagh is, read this:

I ought to be happy, and I wish I was. But something’s missing, and I think it’s me.

{October 21, 2006}   Did you watch ER last night?

I’m becoming an ER junkie. I’ve been watching the show for years but it is now dovetailing so nicely with my own angst that it is like Gestalt therapy to watch.

I find myself wanting to pull for Kovac, but knowing that it’s more complicated. Forest Whitaker does an amazing job of portraying the frustration of being asked to put ones life in the hands of doctors who chat and eat bagels with cream cheese while we are suffering.

I was bawling again watching last nights episode, at how deeply Ames (played by Whitaker) felt betrayed- and the distrust that comes from betrayal.

Yes, I know the big picture- and I LOVE that the writers of ER are digging deep to really show how complicated it is- but I have also been on the receiving end of malpractice.

I wonder how many people out there watching ER can relate?

How many of us women (before and/or after birth) have been left to sit in our own blood/milk/sweat/urine-soaked bed for hours or days, neglected, overlooked, patronized- even abused, or can I call it brutalized?- by an Obstetrician and “overextended” nursing staff? How many of us have been told that the doctor knows what is best and that is what will be done? How many of us have had a doctor or nurse play the dead baby card in an effort to get us to comply with hospital protocol? How many of us have been denied food, water, comfort, and our lover or other partner while in labor? How many of us have been told that we do not know what we are talking about, that being flat on our backs in a hospital bed on the monitors with a posterior baby isn’t as bad as we are saying it is, that we just need to relax and if we would only get the epidural all the pain would go away? How many of us have taken the epidural (after several tries) and still been in pain but then unable to move about? How many of us have been cut open for no good reason except that we were taking up too much of our OB’s time? How many of us have been told that our babies were in distress because of late decels when s/he was simply responding to contractions the way God/Nature/The Universe intended? How many of us have been told that if we refuse surgery our babies would die? How many of us were told we needed a hysterectomy when we didn’t? How many of us have had our babies taken too soon, because an ultrasound was wrong? How many of us have aborted babies because an ultrasound showed a defect that wasn’t there? How many of us have worried about a defect the entire pregnancy only to find out that it didn’t exist at birth, and better yet that the baby was the complete opposite sex that we were told she was? How many of us were not aware of a defect until birth despite the fact that we had countless ultrasounds during our pregnancies? How many of us have been told that we needed to have an episiotomy to ease the baby out at birth only to tear from clit to anus and find that we are then in pain for the rest of our lives? How many of us have had an OB (or a resident) put an entire hand inside of us and extract a perfectly healthy placenta that just needed a little more time to come out on its own? How many of us were told we had to be induced because the placenta was dying only to find a healthy baby and healthy placenta? How many of us have pushed out one twin only to go to the OR to have the other one surgically removed because s/he was breech? How many of us have had a scheduled Cesarean surgery for a breech baby simply because knOBs do not know how to deliver breech babies anymore? How many of us have had a scheduled Cesarean surgery for breech, only to have the baby turn before surgery, but been told that it is best to go on with the surgical plan? How many of us have been denied a VBAC because our knOB doesn’t want the possibility of a lawsuit? How many of us have been told that VBAC is dangerous and been coerced into an increasingly risky second, third, fourth or fifth Cesarean? How many of us have had a nurse holding- even pushing back in- our baby’s head while waiting for an OB to show up so s/he could “catch” the baby? How many of us have been told not to push so that we could make it to the OR for a scheduled surgery? How many of us have been told how/when/where/why to push (an urge that is extremely primal and best followed by the mother without “coaching” or counting)? How many of us have been told that we couldn’t have given birth vaginally, and gone on to prove them wrong? How many of us have vaginally birthed babies larger than the ones we were cut open for? How many of us have avoided sex after Cesarean for fear of getting pregnant again? How many of us had babies we didn’t really need or want just to have another chance to birth? How many of us have wished we could back to being ignorant and perhaps more blissful? How many of us have been told after having an avoidable/preventable/unnecessary Cesarean: “You should be grateful” or “Fifty years ago you would have died in childbirth” or “All that matters is a healthy baby!” How many of us have been told while undergoing repair for a fourth degree tear that the really hot water the resident is pouring on our labia is not really that hot? How many of us have refused induction, surgery, repair, or medication for a repair just so that we could leave the hospital? How many of us have been told that if we leave the hospital because we are sick of being mistreated that it will be written in our charts that we left AMA (Against Medical Advice) and that we will then be saddled with the hospital bills when our HMO/PPO won’t pay? How many of us who have refused/resisted circumcision of our male babies were told that it doesn’t really hurt them and asked to hold our screaming infants still while the procedure is performed? How many of us have felt like no one understood that we were essentially raped and then blamed for our anger, frustration, mistrust, reluctance to seek further medical attention?

Wow. I feel better, and I feel worse. I feel like part of a silent majority that is too apathetic to speak up and too busy to actually do anything to change the system and too scared, too. 

I know there are many of us. I have met you through the ICAN list and meetings and La Leche League meetings and the Nursing Mother’s Circle at Kangaroo Kids in St. Louis and on the MotheringDotCommune message boards and the Modern Moms board, and…

There are so many of us. Each with a story to tell, if anyone is there to listen to us.

For some, that’s all we need: just for someone to listen to us. Just for one other person to acknowledge that what happened to us was wrong, and that it should not have happened.

Some of us still feel like it was our fault, and some of us KNOW it wasn’t our fault and we expect something to be done about it and we can’t understand why no one really cares.

The thing is: the system isn’t going to change. It’s broken, it’s dysfunctional, and it’s looking for a way out without having to say that it’s sorry it did something wrong.

But we are not broken, even though that is exactly what they would like for us to believe. We can *choose*. We have the *power* to choose health and wellness and VBAC and HBAC and UBAC- and, better yet, freebirth in the first place and all-ways unmedicated birth if we are willing to take responsibility for our actions and choices.

As the prosecutor asked Ames, on the stand in ER: “Did you refuse the cure that could have saved you?”

I refused the cure in birth, both times. And that made all the difference.

I could have sued my sOB for a number of things, but I didn’t.

Surviving, thriving, and helping others is the best revenge.

{September 15, 2006}   Can I have a do-over?

A fly kept me up almost all night and it is still pestering me now. I started to use the word “terrorizing”– that is how oversued that word, and that whole ism of terrorism, is. I know, I know, I need to learn to write more better without the dangling participles but for now, just dip the extra bread in the runny yolk that is my writing style and slurp it up.

Morning comes whether or not mothers have slept, and boys who have slept have no sympathy for mothers who have not. My boys are high-spirited to boot; right now, one is taking pictures and the other is sailing on a pirate ship he built. This is before breakfast.

What kept me up last night is the issue of Homeshooling/Unschooling. It has been eating at me since the real estate agent told us, over a month ago now, that I would be doing our boys a disservice by homeschooling them here as the schools are so good. It was a hard pill to swallow, because I really liked the man up until then, and I should have just spit it out at his feet and told him how bitter it was and how I would never swallow something so nasty but I was trying to be The Good Mommy, The DotingWife, and The Easygoing Buyer Who Just Wanted To Find A House WIth A Biggish Yard.

What made the whole deal worse is that I had this sort of crush on the man, although it was a platonic crush. He was an older, successful family man with a family business and I think it was just a huge craving-a-father-figure thing. So I didn’t say what I wanted to say to him, I just sucked it up and let it eat away at my spirit (and I ate away at it, too, with bread and candy) until now. I am regurgitating everyting today. I want a do-over.

Here is what I wish I had said to Jim Pollock, and what I am saying to him now: 

“No, Jim, we don’t want to put in an offer on the tiny little cookie-cutter house that is right across the street from the elementary school because then it would be too easy to send our bright child into the sheeple factory which could completely crush his spirit.”

(We actually did put in an offer on said house and they rejected it so we walked away, taking it as a sign that it wasn’t the house or neighborhood for us. I have since had severe “Buyers Remorse” for the neighborhood we didn’t buy into, because after all it was called Park View and was right across the street from an extensive, paved walking trail.)

“A disservice?! Did I hear that right? I beg your pardon! You mean to tell me that you think that those ‘cottages’that they have had to put up over there in what used to be a field due to overcrowded classrooms would be a better learning environment for my gifted and talented son than a loving, (mostly, unless I am PMS’ing) nurturing home where he gets 1:1 attention most of the day (although he will tell you his brother gets more because his little brother is still nursing) and that a ‘certified educator’ who doesn’t know my son and his interests (photography, nature, science, anatomy and physiology) or his preferred modes of learning (he can count to 100 while jumping on a trampoline) would do a better job of seeing to it that he learns what he wants and needs to know in life? I think you’re off-track there, Jim, but I will forgive your illogical comment.”

I thought I wanted a big-time do-over last night at about 2:23 a.m. when I still hadn’t slept and had tried to do so in three different places. I thought, maybe “They” are right and maybe I ought to send Liam to public preschool now that he is 4 and they will come and get him on a bus and we are down to one vehicle (“Minivan Lite”) to save money because gas is so high and it is so expensive to live here andI am not working outside the home and besides I really need to focus on myself and getting my “Arthritis” and my weight under control so that I can be more active and grow our business and write more.

No. Stop it! (Coffee makes the brain work better). This is not an all or nothing deal. I can do all the above things much more easily *while* homeschooling, especially when my boys are young and we are homeprescooling and unschooling most days. Yesterday, they helped me pack up an order, a six-pack of lotions, for one of our best customers. They “read” the pictures on the lotion bottles and COUNTED them to help me assemble 2 Key Limes, 1 Grapefruit, 1 Jasmine, 1 Lavender, and 1 Rosemary. How many 4 and 2 y.o.’s can recognize herbs? How many 2 y.o.’s are learning how to run an at-home business? They helped me inventory all of the lotions I have on hand for a BOGO Free Sale while we were at it. And that was just one of about fifty things we did together yesterday. We are  truly living The Continuum Concept and living proof that children are little info sponges.

I will not drive nor will I allow my little lamb to be bussed into the woods. He is just way too smart for public school; and I don’t care if it is the best school district in the country, it is the public school system and its learning process in general that we have a problem with. When we can afford a private Montessori or Waldorf school, we’ll look into it.

So there.  Do-over done.

{February 26, 2006}   An Earth Prayer

Okay, this has been building up for a long time and I finally feel like I have created the safe space in which to spit it out: It sucks to be a non-Mormon in Utah. It sucks that we moved from “the bad part of Ogden City” to “a nice subdivison in Shadow Valley” where no one talks to us at all now, presumably because we do not go to the church around the corner. Yes, it’s good that it’s quiet- but it’s a little too quiet.

I let our sheepdog bark his fool head off this morning because it’s Sunday and I figure all of our neighbors are up getting ready for church anyway. I never really pay attention, but I have heard that a lot of LDS families walk to church- which would be great to see- yet somehow, the parking lot of the church around the corner is always overflowing (and it’s a big, big parking lot) with Audi’s, BMW’s, Excursions, Lexuses (Lexii?), and Yukons.  I have seen a few people walking from the church to their cars. I wonder where they all come from? Don’t the people in the neighborhood go to the neighborhood church? Maybe they are all from the really nice houses up the mountain? The ones with the view of the lake. 

We have a really choice view of the church from our bedroom window. It’s especially breathtaking when there is fog. The church looks a bit gothic and spooky then, but maybe only because I am an outsider. I am a not-Mormon.

And even though we have found some solace in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden’s Sunday service, lately my partner has had to go in to work for a few hours on Sundays at 1 a.m. (that’s Saturday night if you ask me). Then this morning he got called back in at 8 a.m. So we may or may not go to “church”. I got this great book at the Antelope Island visitor’s center, called Earth Prayers From Around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth. Here is one of my favorite poems from it- I especially appreciate the lines about pleasing women!!):

So, friends, every day do something

that won’t compute.  Love the Lord.

Love the world.  Work for nothing.

Take all that you have and be poor.

Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace

the flag.  Hope to live in that free

republic for which it stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot

understand.  Praise ignorance, for what man 

has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millenium.  Plant sequoias.

Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested

when they have rooted into the mold.

Call that profit.  Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.

Listen to the carrion— put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering

of the songs that are to come.

Expect the end of the world.  Laugh.

Laughter is immeasurable.  Be joyful

though you have considered all the facts.

So long as women do not go cheap

for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself, will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?

Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.

Lie easy in the shade.  Rest your head

in her lap.  Swear allegiance

to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos

can predict the motions of your mind,

lose it.  Leave it as a sign

to mark the false trail, the way

you didn’t go.  Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary,

some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.

~Wendell Berry

I don’t know who Wendell Berry is! But I thank him for that. 

Great Mother, I pray that more Utahns will become environmentalists this year, especially because Utah is about to become home to even more nuclear waste- and unfortunately, it will travel through and be stored near Native American land.

et cetera