Sunday, January 16, 2011

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

This post has been a long time coming. Some days I've been too busy to blog; some days I just didn't feel like it. It seems I have way too much to say one minute but can't think of it the next. Let's start with a look back at the crazy year called 2010.

As the year began, we were in the middle of our home study (having applied in November 2009). I had my physical for that in January. Ironically, I was almost not a current patient of my doctor because it had been so long since I had been there. I just don't ever go. No serious issues, and I don't go for colds and such. Within about a week of that visit, I started having heart palpitations. It completely scared me. Not just because it was my heart, but honestly I was afraid it would jeopardize all the work we had done on the adoption. So far I've had an ultrasound of my heart, a nuclear stress test, and two emergency room visits with one overnight stay. I even spent Christmas and New Year's wearing a heart monitor. So far, they have not found anything wrong. Several people around me think it is purely stress. What stress? We're just your typical family of four living month to month on a teacher's salary in a very small house. Sure, we're trying to spend about $36,000 we don't have to bring home two girls from Bulgaria, but what's stressful about that? I'm not sure how two more kids fit into the budget or the house, but still... My husband is completely stressed with teaching, but that doesn't affect me, right? My boys are perfectly behaved angels who keep their room clean and do their school work without complaint, right? Honestly, when doctors have asked me if I have any stress, I want to say, "I breathe, don't I?" I mean is there a person on the face of the earth who is actively living life who doesn't have stress?

Okay (deep breath), I'm starting to rant and rave now. Back to blogging. Bottom line, it has been a stressful year made worse by wondering why my heart is working weird. Plus it would leave me really tired at times so I couldn't do anything. Now, I got the monitor off a week ago, and I don't think my heart has done anything strange since then. Go figure. You've heard of a 24 hr virus? It's as if I have had a 1 yr heart palpitation bug. PRAYER REQUEST: As soon as the cardiologist clears me from this monitoring period, I am going to join Curves. I REALLY need to lose some weight, and I know it will help the stress, too. Pray that she does give me the green light to move forward with this.

We started yard sales again in the spring and ended the year with a total of 23 sales since we started fundraising back in the fall of 2007. While I am very appreciative of the money we raise doing yard sales, I just wish I was a "yard sale-er". Personally, I hate yard sales. But sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Just this week, we finally got all of the yard sale clothing put away. It seems almost pointless since we'll be getting it all back out in 2-3 months. But hey, I feel like we did something toward cleaning the house.

Summer started with vacation!! The kids had so much fun. I'm thankful that my memories of the trip are generally positive because I remember a few times that my heart was racing, and I was so afraid that I would have to go to the hospital in a strange place with no one to keep my kids. Fifteen states in thirteen stress! Seriously, the boys are very good with travel and enjoy it as much as their dad.

Late summer, Tim had knee surgery for torn cartilage. Next I had a sleep study to see if I had sleep apnea. I had hoped this would solve the heart mystery. I did have mild sleep apnea, which would explain the exhaustion in the mornings, but it didn't seem enough to cause the palpitations. In October I had wrist surgery for a ganglion cyst. Four weeks later, I had nose surgery to straighten a severely deviated septum (that happens when a ceiling fan falls in your face!) and to take care of some minor sinus issues. We also hoped this would help with the sleep apnea. The last measure taken for the sleep apnea was to get fitted for an oral appliance to sleep in. Never thought I'd be sitting in the orthodontist's chair again! Not to be outdone, Tim also had a sleep study done. He, of course, was much worse than I. He is currently adjusting to his CPAP machine. And since I had had two surgeries and he only one, he had to have gum surgery during Christmas break.

I am so tired of keeping track of doctor's appointments. There were some weeks when I would have 3 in the same week. I really feel for someone dealing with a catastrophic disease. I feel my situation is SO not serious by comparison, but it is tiring just the same.

On the adoption front, we finished our home study and our dossier, even though you may recall it took 32 weeks or so to get my fingerprints approved by the FBI. We were officially registered with the MOJ on December 6. YEA!!! One milestone reached. Now we just wait, right? NOT! If we were to miraculously get a referral soon (and everyone hopes to be the exception), we don't have the money to back up a "yes" response. I did apply for two different grants. One has already denied us. The other keeps postponing us month to month. That's better than being turned down, though! OBVIOUS PRAYER REQUEST: Effective fundraisers and additional income. I would so love to be able to add to our income while not compromising our homeschooling. Any ideas that don't involve salesmanship? I'm trying to turn into a couponing mom, but so far it hasn't worked.

Finally, just a couple of hours after I finished my last post, we got the call that Tim's grandmother had passed away...91 years and 1 week old. We were thrown into the whirlwind of planning arrangements for the funeral in Kentucky. We had a lot of counseling to do with the kids helping them deal with it and then had to face Thanksgiving and Christmas without her. All in all, the holidays went very well. The kids readily understood that Granny was a Christian and therefore in Heaven with Jesus. She had gone downhill fast in the last month or two, so it was comforting to know she was completely healed and happy...and that we would see her again. Colton became a Christian in 2008. Eli prayed to accept Christ about a week or two after Granny died. Thank you, Jesus!

This brings me to the Looking Ahead part of this post. On the health note, I already mentioned joining Curves soon. I'd also like to go in for allergy testing. Long story, but my dad had lots of unusual allergies to foods and chemicals. While being tested at an allergy hospital, he had an apple, and it made his fingernails turn blue and his heart rate dropped. So I don't discount the notion that my heart palpitations could be an allergic reaction. Dad didn't have allergies until he was an adult. I guess they have to start sometime. On fundraising, I guess we will continue offering the ones we have already done. We will definitely be having yard sales. I'll also start working again on more grant applications. I did finish my medical transcription course last year, but that looks like one more way I misspent money. I hate when that happens, and I think, "That could have gone into the adoption fund!" I know we will need to start soon updating paper work. Both of our medical letters have expired by now as well as Tim's fingerprints. I'm a little scared to start the fingerprinting again. I don't want to spend all year on it.

For the kids, Colton is moving right along with his taekwondo. He just earned his green belt in December. Both boys took piano lessons away from home during the fall semester. For money's sake, I've talked them into letting me teach them. Colton is being much more cooperative this time around. Eli has never had lessons with me and is complaining a lot so far. Eli also talked us finally into getting him a guitar for Christmas. Now I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of paying for he ready?...and trying to teach myself and in turn teach him. There may be a full-sized guitar on my birthday wishlist. (His is a half size.)

Well, if you have stuck with me through this long post, I've taken up enough of your day. I hope to blog more often in shorter installments. We'll see...