The Doctor Says...

Well my surgeon visit went well! Doctor agreed that MVD surgery is the best option for me. So now the nerves REALLY set in (no pun intended)... Someone poking around inside my brain! I can say I have complete confidence in my surgeon. I like him... He is knowledgeable, experienced, and has a great deal of patience to have me as a patient! Bwahaha! He answered almost all of my 3 pages of questions before I even asked them and answered all of my additional questions thoroughly.
 Surgery date is tentatively set for Tuesday June 12th @ UT hospital. Post surgery I am not allowed to lift anything heavier than a milk jug making things a little limiting. And by far the hardest thing for me with having a preschooler who still wants Momma to pick her up. I will say I kinda learned my lesson on that one when I kept pushing those weight limits after my gallbladder surgery last year. So I promise here and now to do as I am told.

 God is with me, who or what can stand against me? That's my motto from here on out in this journey!

My day otherwise was a difficult one in the brain department. Lots of break through pains.  I'll keep you updated on anything, But for now goodnight. XOXO


Trigeminal Neuralgia

Wow! Been awhile since I've posted anything... Well I've been diagnosed with a disorder called Trigeminal Neuralgia. Its a nerve condition inside the brain. Fun... right? Yeah not so much.
I had a tooth pulled last year... You may have read Goodbye 31... Well turns out it wasn't the tooth it was the nerve in my head. I've been on different meds to help control the pain. Anticonvulsants (not that I am in having seizures) we started with Gabapentin but even after reaching the maximum daily dose it wasn't enough. I was still having what TN'ers call break through pains.... I can only describe them as the most horrible pain on earth. An electric shock in the head, burning sensation under the eye, stabbing pains in the ear... Tooth pain. Not fun. After the Gabapentin we moved up to what I am on now which is Trileptal. I take 2 300mg Trileptal in the morning and 2 300mg trileptal in the evening. We added Paxil also to help calm the nerve... Im not depressed but I do have a better mood generally. What's the side effects to all the crap I've shoving down my throat you ask... Well I walk around in a fog most of the time. Ive lost all sexual desire or ability to "enjoy" myself during sex. Its been 6 months since I last "made it over the mountain" If you know what I mean. I need sleep like a drug addict needs drugs or an alcoholic needs a drink. I've lost words I used to know, I fumble my words (even more that I used to prior to TN), my concentration is shot. I'm not me at this point and I miss me. 

So what else can I do you ask? Well basically I have two options:
  • Gamma-knife radiosurgery (GKR). This procedure involves delivering a focused, high dose of radiation to the root of the trigeminal nerve. Because of GKR's effectiveness and safety compared with other surgical options for trigeminal neuralgia, the procedure is becoming widely used and may be offered earlier than other surgical procedures. Gamma-knife radiosurgery uses radiation to damage the trigeminal nerve and reduce or eliminate pain. Relief occurs gradually and can take several weeks to begin. GKR is successful in eliminating pain for the majority of people. If pain recurs, the procedure can be repeated. Fewer than 5 percent of people who undergo this procedure experience side effects, which may include lasting loss of facial sensation. The procedure is painless and typically is done without anesthesia. 

  • Microvascular decompression (MVD). This procedure involves relocating or removing blood vessels that are in contact with the trigeminal root.
    During MVD, your doctor makes an incision behind the ear on the side of your pain. Then, through a small hole in your skull, part of your brain is lifted to expose the trigeminal nerve. Any artery in contact with the nerve root is directed away from the nerve, and the surgeon places a pad between the nerve and the artery. If a vein is compressing the nerve, the surgeon typically will remove it.
    MVD can successfully eliminate or reduce pain most of the time, but pain can recur in some people. While MVD has a high success rate, it also carries risks. There are small chances of decreased hearing, facial weakness, facial numbness, double vision, and even a stroke or death. Most people who have this procedure have no facial numbness afterward. Note that if no artery or vein appears to be compressing the nerve, your surgeon may sever part of the nerve, instead. This procedure is called a rhizotomy.
Well after careful consideration we have decided to go with the Microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery.Why? Well even though the Gamma Knife (GK) sounds safer and it is in the short term... My surgeon said at my age he would only do it twice due to the fact that it majorly raises your chances of a brain tumor. Um no thank you? Plus GK can last 5 years or it could last 1. And at that point my only option would be MVD... Why do the GK twice and expose my head to all that radiation if in the end I am going to have to have the MVD! Oh and why spend the money on the GK twice and then have to spend the money on the MVD too? Ok so I sound a little on the cheap side there huh? We'll call it thrifty... Guess I get that attribute from my momma.So that's why we've chosen MVD.  Even after my MVD surgery I will still have to be on meds for a minimum of 6 months (according to my surgeon). I know it sounds scary and let me tell you it is TERRIFYING! But so is living on meds forever and feeling the way I do. I still want at least 1 more baby maybe even 2... Can't happen with all the crap I'm having to swallow every day.  Tomorrow I will meet with my neurosurgeon for the second time to ask 3 sheets (so far) of questions even though I've done my homework about MVD and about TN.

My person....I have the most AMAZING man (who I've been blessed enough to be married to for almost 13 years) who has been my rock through the last  months. He's been SO SO understanding when I've needed to sleep till 11 in the morning or at night when I just couldn't get off the couch to make dinner (crock pot recipes welcome!). And especially with the sex thing... And yes we're still trying to get me "over the mountain"! Sometimes you just have to laugh... Right? But as I said before he is my rock and helps more than he should have to... But he does it all without complaint. I am SO very blessed and I'm pretty sure he's a keeper ;)
  I've also have been blessed with an AMAZING family and set of friends who have been there for me in so many ways... My life is full of wonderful still and I am so grateful to have so many wonderful people who really love me.

My amazing hubby and I in Paris this March 2012

If God brought me to this.... Then I know HE can bring me through it! I know He's trying to teach me something... And my guess so far is that I'm stronger than I think I am when I lean on Him for that strength. He will have more to teach me in this life and maybe in this journey. 

Well wish me luck and say a prayer... Hopefully Ill have some answers to share tomorrow... And maybe even a surgery date... We shall see...

A little funny to sign off... Have a good one y'all!


Clingman's Dome

Every year we try to make the drive through the Smoky Mountains and up to the top of Clingman's dome during the fall when the leaves are at their peak color change. Well we sorta missed peak this year and all the leaves had dropped off the trees at the top, Still it was a beautiful and the weather was absolutely gorgeous!  We actually managed to get a great family photo using the tripod and self timer! We drove back down the mountain and into Gatlinburg and had dinner at the Smoky Mountain Brewery. It was a great family fun day! Here's some picts of our fun day.


Happy Halloween!

My Groovy Girl, Alice in Wonderland, & Fall Fairy!
Hope your Halloween was as fun as ours!


A Reminder On Who's Supposed To Be Steering This Ship

Ok! I get it! Apparently I just need a reminder every now again.... And Lord the message was LOUD and CLEAR! Im steping away from the wheel and letting you steer! Simple enough right? Yeah right! This is ME we are talking about here... Miss Worry Wart! But I am going to TRY. There's been "stuff" going on with hubby's job (good stuff?) ..... Its been a roller coaster the last couple of days. I am RIGHT now kinda girl... I mean in my defense Lord you DID NOT give me patience of ANY kind! SO these roller coaster days didn't go over so hot with me and talk about frustrated... Well that doesn't even BEGIN to describe it! Needless to say I went to bed in a slight huff and poor hubby kinda got the brunt of it.... Sure am glad that man loves me! I cant say I didn't also kinda "huff" in my evening prayers at God... Sure am glad He loves me too!  So a friend invited me to her MOPS group this morning and so Ava and I went. I was looking forward to being back involved in a MOPS group... Not realizing the message that was about to be delivered to me. After (yummy) food, announcements, and a guest speaker... A mentor mom stood up and gave part of her testimony... It was from back in her younger years a scare with breast cancer and how faith had brought her through it. There was more to it than the sentence I am writing... But in her story she talked about faith... Hmm faith? Who'd a thunk it?  Message received! Where is my faith? In all things He has always taken care of me... Even when I haven't deserved it in the slightest. He's always had a plan and it's always been the plan that was best for me even if it wasn't the plan I thought I wanted at the moment. Im still learning... Which I guess is good... Means I am teachable right?! So now is when I have to pry my hands form the wheel and let Him do the steering... Cause He seems to be better at it than me.


Do you Pin?

So... Have you discovered the addiction called Pinterest yet? If not I'll warn you... ALL your free time will be absorbed by it! It's a wonderful concept. If your anything like me you have 15 gazillion pages bookmarked.... Craft ideas, recipes, things to buy...  You get it. Pinterest allows you to create boards (to keep you organized) and to "pin" all those things in one place and includes a picture... So you dont have to open the web address to remember what it was that you bookmarked in the first place! I have found so many great crafting ideas... And already made a few of them! Yay me! I promise to post some picts of my craftiness  soon... In the meantime wander on over and start pinning your heart away! And don't forget to follow me... Click on the Pinterest link on the right of my blog!


What a week!

Well its starting to really feel like schools started... It only took me 4 full weeks to get into the swing of things! I ended up becoming room mom for both girls classes and we're gearing up for the fall carnival already... The weather still feels like Summer so its kinda hard to think Fall, But I am SO ready for those Fall temps!

The hubby got me started cycling so I've been cycling my butt all over the place while Ava is at preschool... Hoping to lift that butt back up... Its gonna be a process for sure! As part of the "New & Improved Me" or as I like to say "The Best Me I Can Be" (Sounding like a self help book title here) I have also been walking, hiking, and just trying to stay "active"... Mission officially accomplished! I've been busier these last few weeks than I can ever remember, But its a great journey Im on.

Caitlin is playing soccer so we have soccer practice Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday... Michael actually had 3 of his 4 days off this week so we took Ava hiking Thursday at Cades Cove up to Abrahm's Falls... And we (Well the hubby... Probably better that way) saw a bear! I was busy with a half naked toddler trying to teach her how to pee outside (Imagining that its easier with a boy) when hubby heard something... Looked up on the ridge 20 feet above us and saw a bear poke his head up! We scooped up the naked toddler walked down the trail a little more and then re-dressed said toddler. That was an adventure to say the least. 

We've got some house guests this weekend... 4 legged rodent kind... Isabel's class pet gerbils are staying with us. We dropped off our new guests and have them shut securely in the girls room (Objective: Don't let the class pets get eaten by one of our pets) and they (the girls & gerbils) seem to be enjoying their stay. We took the girls up to ride some rides last night at Dollywood (those season passes have really been a lot of fun!) There were NO lines so we got our fill in 2 hours!
Caitlin had her first soccer game this morning and had to be on the field at 7:40 (Why did we sign up for this again?). She has a big heart... But we're gonna need to work on the sport itself a little or a lot! She was her teams biggest cheerleader... Which was sweet... But like I said we're gonna have to work on some things if she wants to stay in this sport... Which she says she wants to... So we will see.
SO my week was full and my cup runeth over... Even in those moments when my attitude seemed to runeth over too... I'm a work in progress... Now onto a girls night out tonight and God's house in the morning. Feeling blessed all around and ready to see what this next week will bring.



Cover Girl Tru Blend

Ok... So this is not something I would normally post about.... But Im going to give my two cents anyways. I had some Cover Girl coupons and Walgreens was having a buy 1 get 1 half off. I needed some new foundation and wasn't really happy with what I was using. I've tried a lot of different brands (including Cover Girl) from the drug store to the department store and never found "the one". Can there be "one" when your talking makeup? Anyways.... I've been using the Cover Girl TruBlend foundation and pressed powder for about two weeks and so far I am blown away by how much I love it! Its light weight, no greasy, and it really does blend in. Cover girl hit a home run on this one if you ask me, but hey thats just my two cents!

I spy... The Natural History Museum?

This past weekend was my father in laws birthday... SO the girls and I flew up to D.C. to surprise him! Pretty sure mission was accomplished and the birthday boy was truly surprised. My sister in law and niece were in D.C. from Denver too so it was a family get together minus the hubby.... He had to work :(
Day 1 we headed to the Spy museum... Here is my official review:

This was a moderate priced activity $18for Adults $15 for children 5-11 Seniors receive a $1 discount making their ticket $17. If you visit Mt. Vernon save your ticket stubs... They will give you 50% off admission to the Spy Museum! I had extremely high hopes for the museum. Our children are no stranger to them and generally LOVE all the hands on activities.... Unfortunately this was not one of those kinds of museums. The atmosphere and decor are fun and exciting.... There are a lot of interactive spots throughout but they are for much older kids.... As in preteens or older.  Lots of reading, memorizing, video watching! Overall it was ok and if I would've had the time to really look at everything, I might have learned something!

Day 2

We headed back to a place we have been time and time before The Natural History Museum. Its A-MAZ-ING! It never gets old. The girls love the dinosaur bones and all the pretty minerals. They darted from one exhibit to the next their eyes getting wider and wider at each one... They were truly enamoured by everything they saw and touched.

All in all we had a great weekend full of family, learning and fun! 


The 3rd birdie is spreading her wings...

Today was Ava Max's first day of preschool. I thought I was a lot more prepared.... Emotionally.... I wasn't! Nope not all! Not one iota.... Someone help me find a brick to put on this kids head to keep her little.... Ok not really... Well maybe?

Well last night was the "Tea Party" aka open house. Just Ava and I went. The older two stayed home with dad. She wasn't quite sure what to think of it all. We toured her classroom and I stared intently at the parents with infants in their pumpkin seats reminising in my mind about how that was the way Ava had last gotten around Wesley. She was only 11 months the last time we had been there (When Isabel was in readiness) and now here we were for Ava's turn at Wesley... It seemed so unreal. We continued on our tour checking out our new classroom and new friends! Yay for friends  (We have a class of 10 of which 7 are girls!) We met our music teacher, art teacher, ordered our tote bag and t-shirt, met our T.A. (at the cookie & punch table) Grabbed some green punch and a dixie cup of chocolate animal crackers and she was D.O.N.E. It was time to leave so we did. I spent the latter part of the evening wondering how her first day would go.... Prayed over her and her first day and everything else that I could think of to pray over about the first day... Thought some more... Worried a lot more... And PRAYED some more! It was an exhausting night for my brain.

D day as I call it arrived this morning. From the moment she opened her eyes all she did is asked the same question "Is it time to go to school?"
We finished our normal routine and took the "Big" girls to school and headed back home again the little voice in the backseat... "Now I go to school?" Not yet kiddo... Soon... Very soon. This type of conversation continued through her getting dressed (In her panda shirt of course !) Me taking a shower, getting dressed, while I fixed my hair, put on my make up and checked my email.  FINALLY it was time to go and she was ready!

We made it out the front door and then it was PICTURE TIME! Yay - Right?
Yeah... Not so much for the three year old.... BUT she was a trooper and I got some cute shots.

We arrived at school as she talked and talked about seeing her friend Jojo (who is in her class too) and wanted to know when she'd see her. Wesley always has the Wesley (Panda) flag hanging... Perfect picture spot... and we did! We finally made it to her classroom... I was terrified she would cling to my leg, cry, and never want her momma to leave her. Yeah... Not so much! She bounced into the room, let me take a few picts of her and then it was off to baby doll land and it was momma who?

As I left Wesley my heart was happy and overflowing.  I have three beautiful, smart, well rounded girls and they've all been able to have the Wesley experience. Im excited for this year and I KNOW Ava is going to have a wonderful time... And momma just might have a wonderful time too! :)