Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I think I fell in...

...the hole/rut that I've been trying to avoid.

Ugh, I've been trying so hard to keep everything together and it just isn't working this week!

I still haven't done two assignments that were due on Monday night. I keep looking at them and feel stuck, like I don't even know how to start. I really need to finish them as soon as possible, I was hoping to get them done today, but I hardly even tried.

I also need to get things in order to start an internship next month. If I don't do it next month I'm not sure when I'll be able to do it, and that will keep me from finishing my degree program! So it's REALLY important that I get that in order.

I didn't do much today at all. I picked up the Navigator from the shop and then did a bunch of stuff with the budget to figure out how we can pay to get the other things fixed on it. That could've waited a day or two, but I knew it would weigh on my mind if I didn't get it done. Plus, to be honest, I enjoy budgeting, so that's probably why I made that my priority when I shouldn't have.

I should be trying to do the assignments right now, but instead I'm writing on here because it will make me feel a little bit better. Perhaps announcing to the couple of people who read this what a failure I am this week will give me the kick in the pants I need to get stuff done;).

Tomorrow WILL be a better day! I will get things done, and I will feel accomplished by the end of the day!

Thanks for reading:).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Living Life: My Three Girls

Today I am 20 weeks pregnant! There's not much to update on the pregnancy. I'm getting bigger, starting to really show now. Also, baby girl has been kicking a lot more regularly! In the next week or two I think it will be easy for others to feel her kick when they touch my belly. Right now it's only strong enough that I can really feel it, although her kicks are getting stronger everyday! I'm about 95% sure on our baby name, although I have only announced it on Twitter. I'm scared that if I announce it on Facebook and get too much negative feedback that I'll start to dislike the name and have to pick another. When I announced McKaleigh and Adelaide's names I was more like 99.9% sure, so I'm going to give it another week or two before I tell others what we've picked. I will say that this baby's middle names will be Elizabeth Lynn, to go along with the other girls' middle names, Elizabeth Anne and Elizabeth Jane.

There's really not much else to say on the pregnancy or new baby so I thought I would bring up a random topic that came into my head a few days ago.

Have you ever thought about what your children will be when they grow up? I was randomly thinking about how I want to encourage my girls to be interested in science, because it's something that I never liked growing up, but now as an adult have a new found appreciation for science. Then I thought to myself, "it would be neat if one of my girls grows up to be a scientist." I just think it would be so cool to raise someone so closely involved with the latest discoveries.

This led me to begin thinking about what other occupations I would love to see them pursue. So I came to the conclusion that (if I were a puppet-master rather than a mother) my daughters would grow up to be a scientist, a humanitarian, and a teacher. Obviously because this is my wish, none of this will happen and they'll all be business people or something else I find equally boring. I honestly will approve of whatever they do as long as they can make a living doing it, even if it's a struggle at times, it's ethical, and it makes them happy.

I would love for one of my girls to be a humanitarian, mostly because I wish I could be a humanitarian. Once my children are grown I do intend to do some humanitarian work, perhaps we'll even go on some trips as a family when the girls are teenagers. I think I mostly want to instill in my girls the passion to help others, so that's why I would be so thrilled if one of them made it their life's work.

And lastly, I feel that educating the next generation is one of the most important things anyone can do. It's sort of hypocritical of me, because I do intend to home school my girls, for our own personal reasons as a family. But I still believe very strongly that everyone should have access to education and would love if one of my girls would go into that field. I would especially love it if they participated in Teach For America, a corps of teachers who dedicate part of their careers to teaching in low-income areas, to help ensure that those children also receive quality educations.

I don't want to control what they do by any means, these were just random thoughts that popped into my head. Do you ever think about what your children might grow up to be? I haven't even figured out what I want to be! Although I think I'm quite a ways a way from entering the workforce, so I haven't been stressing about it, by any means. It's fun to contemplate about the future:).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beating the Blues: Avoiding the Rut

Now that I'm more aware of my depression, I try to avoid getting into a rut in the first place. My depressed periods are almost always triggered by stress or a specific event. I think the best way to deal with my depression is to take preventative measures. If I know what causes me to get so bad, then I can take action to minimize that. It's a lot easier to walk around a large hole than it is to fall in and climb back out!

One of these trigger events happened today. After a month of emergency leave, we took my husband to the airport and sent him back to Korea. Normally I would use this as an excuse to feel sorry for myself and say it's okay to be lazy for awhile. A day or two would turn into a week or two and it's just not fun to get into these periods. I'm not doing that this time! I'm already starting to think up all of the things I will do to distract myself and keep busy.

I conveniently have a lot that I need to get done, so I won't have any trouble keeping busy;). We have a few different appointments that need to be made for this month. I also have a ton of little errands that need to be done, that I've put off because of all that's gone on. I also want to get McKaleigh started with a few things like ballet and speech therapy, but I've been putting it off because of not knowing what the schedule would be like with surgery and recovery. Then the biggest thing of all, we still are not completely settled in here! I have boxes that still need to be sorted through and tons of things that can be taken to the storage unit.

Here's the car!
Just a little fun update: we bought a new (to us) car! It's a Lincoln Navigator... a much older Lincoln Navigator, haha, a newer one would never fit into our military/stay at home budget:P. I absolutely love it! It's just what we need for our family and lifestyle. We're about to have our third baby and we have two decent sized dogs. We really need that extra room in the back if we want to be able to move all of us cross country in one vehicle. It's even more perfect because it has a luggage rack and a hitch so we'll be able to tow our beater/work car, rather than attempting to drive it cross country again. Plus we are going to have a fairly young baby when we make this next move so going in the two separate cars would be so difficult. It will be nice to ride all together.

I went a bit off topic there, but it came to mind because I was thinking of how nice and easy it will be to put the back seats down and load the navigator with all of the things I need to take to the storage unit! Anyways... if you've read all the way through, thanks for checking out my blog! Also, other bloggers, any tips on finding fun pictures to add to your posts to make them more interesting? I'm not big on taking pictures, but posts that are mostly text are so boring! If you have any tips I would LOVE to hear them! I've been looking on flickr, but have had awful luck finding anything relevant!

Can you tell this post was thrown together last minute? It's better than nothing right? I hope you've enjoyed my rambling:).

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Living life: McKaleigh's Hospital Adventure

It all started on New Year's Day. McKaleigh was running a fever and did not want to get up and play at all. She didn't even want to get up to do little things, she just wanted to stay in bed. We figured it was just a virus so we watched and waited for the first two days. At this time we were also packing up and getting ready to move to my hometown, since Michael is going to Korea for a year. Since we were going to be travelling cross country I decided to take her to the doctor to make sure she didn't have something more serious that would need medicine. She had randomly been complaining of pain, which was my indicator that it wasn't just a virus.

Getting extra rest in the hotel room during our move
We arrived at the hospital and the experience was horrendous. They did every possible thing they could have done, and they were not gentle about it. McKaleigh had blood drawn, an in and out catheter to get a urine sample, nose swab to check for flu, plus suppositories to bring down her fever. Like I said, it was absolutely horrendous. A few hours later we got the preliminary results and everything was normal! They told us it was probably just a virus and we would have to wait it out.

Fast forward a week, we have moved to Iowa, McKaleigh is still sick. Over the first three weeks of the month she showed improvements, like regaining her appetite and having fewer fevers. Over all she was still sick, having fevers and not wanting to move, not even to walk a short distance. So at week three, I made an appointment with a pediatrician. (Part of the reason I waited that long was because I knew they would do all of the lab work again and I didn't want to put McKaleigh through all of the discomfort again, if she was getting better.)

Sure enough when we went in her physical exam was normal, and then they did the blood work and got a urine sample. We didn't get results until the next day, and when the pediatrician called she said the results were mostly normal, but there was an elevated level that indicated inflammation somewhere in the body. There wasn't really anything they could do, so we had to go to the children's hospital in the nearest city. We were admitted to the hospital and they basically said we would stay until they figured out what was going on.

I'm going to fast forward again, because we were there for five days, and I'm mostly going to skip over the million times she had to have labwork done. The labwork kept coming back normal, except for the inflammation, but the first day in the hospital there was one other thing. She was anemic when they took her blood, but the labwork from our pediatrician had her at normal numbers one day prior, which meant she had bleeding somewhere and since it wasn't visible the doctor ordered an abdominal ultrasound to see if she had internal bleeding.

Passing by the time while
we waited for answers.
This is where it starts to get scary. They came back with the scans and they had found a mass on McKaleigh's liver. The ultrasound didn't show a very good picture, but you could definitely see the mass. Next step was to get a CT scan, which McKaleigh did not like at all. After getting a better look they came to the conclusion that it was a hepatoblastoma, which essentially was telling me she had cancer. That was a really rough day, I cried pretty much anytime I was alone, and just had this horrible pit in my gut.

Then came the sigh of relief. The surgeon came to consult with the oncologist, he did not think it was a hepatoblastoma. He wasn't exactly sure of what it was, but he said it didn't look like any hepatoblastoma he had seen before, so he wanted to do a biopsy first. We got to go home for the weekend, because all they were doing was giving her fluids, and she appeared to be doing better, hadn't had a single fever. Then we came back on Monday morning for the biopsy. They sedated her for it and afterwards we spent one night in the hospital and then went back home.

The hospital's pathology got back to us before we left and they said it was a hemangioma. Another huge sigh of relief! This would not be cancerous and probably wouldn't require surgery! So we went home thinking all was well and we would just need check ups to keep an eye on it. But thankfully, they also sent the biopsy sample to Mayo for further testing.

It had been a week without any updates when we finally got a call. Our doctor apologized that it had taken so long, but Mayo was taking a really long time to confirm. They said it was not a hemangioma. Instead it was an extremely rare tumor, called an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT.) It's not just rare in children, it's rare period, and very very rare in children. In the literature, one review will be about 20 cases a hospital had over a 20 year period. There isn't much known for sure because they don't come up often, but they usually present much like it did with McKaleigh. It starts with the fevers of unknown origin followed up by a scan where they find a tumor on a random part of the body.

Getting ready to go into surgery
It's a benign tumor, technically, in that it isn't cancerous. But it's a benign tumor that can behave malignantly. If we had never done anything, there is a chance it would have grown and taken over her insides. Because of the risk, the advice was to have it completely removed. An MRI was done first to get an even better look. Then we started the process of getting Michael here for the surgery, since he's stationed in Korea now.

Michael arrived with plenty of time to spare before the operation. Then two Thursdays ago we went in for the operation. She was in such good spirits and while we had been at home she had started walking again. The surgery was a complete success, they removed about half of her liver. There was some trouble with bleeding and they did have to do a transfusion, but it wasn't anything completely unexpected or out of the ordinary. Then we had a week long stay in the hospital for her recovery.

Checking out her incision
Now we've been home for a little over a week, she's doing so much better, although still crankier than usual. We had an appointment this week and the surgeon said that medically speaking she has made a full recovery and that the worst is behind us. I heard back from our oncologist yesterday with the results from pathology. The findings were consistent with what they thought it would be, but they could not find a cause for the inflammation. We were told there would be a good chance of never knowing what caused it, so that's not a surprise. She shouldn't need any further special medical treatment. I will have to take her in for ultrasounds and blood work every 3 months for the next year, because of the chance that the tumor might grow back, though.

There is our whirlwind of a story. It was a very crazy time for all of us, but I'm so glad that we had the children's hospital available to us. They really have taken such great care of McKaleigh. It's good to be home and to have this mostly behind us. Now we just have to make the most of these last couple of days we have with her daddy:). 

Adelaide giving her sister hugs while she heals:)

Note: Please forgive the poor quality of the pictures, they were taken with my phone. I haven't been able to find my camera since the move!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to keep me blogging?

I think I'm going to start having "themed" days of the week to try and get me focused on blogging. I feel like blogging helps keep my depression at bay, or at least I blog more when I'm happier, so I want to try and do it more consistently. I thought of three different days I would like to do and I want to blog on at least two of those day each week.

The first of the days would be "Beat the Blues Tuesday." These posts would be about the things I do to keep my depression away. I definitely have more than "the blues" when I'm really deep in my depression, but that title is cutesier:). I'll probably write about exercise or organization on these days. Those are two things that I have trouble keeping up with, but when I do, I'm so much happier, so I feel that they actively contribute to helping with my depression.

The next day would be "Creative and Crafty Thursday." In these posts I will write about anything crafty I do. I love to crochet, and I want to take up sewing soon. Plus I'm really strongly considering homeschooling my girls, so I may talk about some of the homeschool preschool stuff I do with McKaleigh. This will also be when I post any tutorials if I come up with a pattern for something.

Lastly will be "Living Life: Weekend Update." This will be a general miscellaneous post about anything going on with me! I'll talk about my daughters, my pregnancy, my marriage, things that I'm involved with, or just about me in general.

For this month I would like to do a minimum of 6 posts! That's less than two a week on average, so it should be totally doable. Now let's see if I can stick to it:). This could technically count as my first Beating the Blues Tuesday post, haha! This is definitely something I'm doing to try and keep my depression from creeping up again. Hopefully I can get into a good groove:).

Monday, March 5, 2012

First Post of the Year!

I can't believe it's March and this is my first post!

In my defense I have had a pretty crazy year so far. With moving at the beginning of the year, my daughter being hospitalized in January, and then her having surgery in February... updating the blog hasn't exactly been my priority. I have made some YouTube videos intermittently over the last couple of months and you can check those out to see some of the details of why I've been away, but I'm sure I'll post about it soon. I foresee quite a few posts this month, I'm on my upswing as far as being productive goes:).

The biggest of my updates would be that I am pregnant! I found out at the beginning of December and am due at the beginning of August:). I'm around 18 weeks pregnant now, and about 2 weeks ago we found out that we are having our THIRD girl! I'm very excited:).

One of the things I wanted to write about today is exercising while pregnant. With my other two pregnancies I was so lazy and didn't really exercise at all. Last pregnancy, that resulted in a very sore achy lady by the third trimester. I'm hoping that by keeping at a good exercise routine this pregnancy I will overall just feel better once I hit that last month or two. Late last summer I had been running a lot, but took a pretty long hiatus. At first I wasn't going to try to get back into running, since I hadn't been running when I got pregnant. Then I decided that walking just wasn't fun enough for me, so I thought I'd go ahead and give running a try.

I like to spend a total of 30 minutes on the treadmill, the first two times I walked the first and last ten minutes, then the middle ten minute section was split up four minutes running, two minutes walking, followed by another four minutes running. Today I decided that I was doing fine and could kick it up a notch. My routine today was a total of 15 minutes walking, 15 minutes running. Going by the MPH settings on the treadmill 2 and 3 are walking for me and 4 and 5 are running, so in 10 three minute intervals I went 2-3-4-5-4-3-4-5-3-2, or you could say six minutes walking, nine minutes running, three minutes walking, six minutes running, six minutes walking. I'm hoping that I can continue to increase and get rid of the walking break in the middle at some point, but I'm really trying to take it slow and err on the side of caution.

I've also done yoga everyday for the last three days and slowly I feel like I am being more productive each and every day. Now that things have mostly settled with all that has gone on with my daughter, I really feel like I'm getting into the groove of things and getting settled in to living here.

So there's a short update on just a few things. I'll probably post a few more times this month and fill in a lot of details!

Check out YouTube if you want to see my video updates for the last couple of months: http://www.youtube.com/tjkoch88