November 18, 2010

A Brutal Day

This was the second day of layoff notifications. It hit closer to home and was even more brutal than yesterday.

The person in the cube adjacent to mine was let go. They're experiencing some personal challenges at the moment, so I feel for them even more than most. Two others I didn't work with as closely were also let go.

And, not only was my closest co-worker, who I work with on literally a daily basis and am also personal friends with, let go, but in her case, her last day is tomorrow. I understand why they did that, but it wasn't really necessary. It also means we have 8 hours to figure out all the stuff I might possibly need from her, and as of Monday, my workload doubles. I've been working 14-16 hour days and working on weekends for the last couple of months, so I'm honestly not quite sure how I'm going to fit more in.

I'm being told we're expected to "work harder".

I told R that we're going to spend time this weekend taking a very close look at our budget and "work harder" making cuts so we can boost our savings.

We have a decent savings account, and at the moment I don't plan to look elsewhere. My work is in an emerging niche, and I think there are still a lot of things I can learn in my job. With a few more years of experience, more opportunities may be open to me, and those opportunities may come with a nice salary boost.

So for now, I'm willing to stick it out. But R and I both have corporate jobs, and I don't want to be beholden to corporate America.

I want the option of being able to tell them where to shove it if they expect me to continue working ridiculous numbers of hours with no end in sight, then turn around, walk out the door, and not have to have a second's worth of stress about how we would survive indefinitely if need be.

On completely unrelated notes...

We ordered the pool fence yesterday. Assuming they're able to install it in the timeframe they say they are, our home study visit will be in 2.5 weeks.

I've scheduled our first LIT treatment for Dec. 11, but I'm still playing "should we, should we not?" with the idea of crossing the border.

I've been comfort eating for the past two days. Yesterday's dinner consisted of butter pecan ice cream with chocolate sauce. Today's dinner was garlic parmesan fries with a kicky paprika aioli, pepperoni pizza, and meatball pizza, topped off with more butter pecan ice cream, with an even more generous squeeze of the chocolate sauce bottle. Oh, and did I mention the bag of peanut M&M's I had while still at work?

Meanwhile, I've earned exactly $0 running dollars toward a massage so far.

November 17, 2010

Dodged a Bullet

The department I work in is having layoffs today and tomorrow. Thankfully I found out that I survived, but not everyone was so fortunate, and there is still more news to come about others' positions tomorrow.

R has been through layoffs 8 or 9 times in his career (and thankfully survived all but the one in which the company closed its local offices and we declined to move to Brazil), so I thought I was prepared to deal with the stress. And I was, to a large degree, but your spouse going through it still isn't the same as walking into the room to hear your own fate.

We were a lean department as it was, so some people who are very great to work with were let go, and others were demoted to non-management positions. Several of my co-workers, including the one with whom I work the closest and have formed a friendship with in addition to a colleague relationship, don't find out their fates until tomorrow.

I have to say that I've been incredibly fortunate - our department is very professional and pleasant to work in, and there isn't anyone in the group who I wouldn't want to work with.

I really feel for those who are affected. There's never any good time to do this, but of course right now is an especially tough time. And it feels particularly unfair, because there are 5 layers of management above them that remained virtually untouched through this process.

I'm thankful to have survived, but at the moment I'm mostly just sad for my co-workers. And anyone else who has had to endure a similar situation, especially in this economy.

November 11, 2010

Testing, Round 2

I scored a deal a couple nights ago on a box of 3 FREDs, on sale for $15. When I got up this morning, the boobs were still sore, so I figured what's another $5 test at this point? I opened a test, I peed, I wiped.

And I didn't even need to look at the test to know the result.

CD1 will be showing up tomorrow. Nothing like a couple of HPTs to bring her on.

On the bright side, dad is still doing well and still has his hair (one of his biggest concerns). He finds out tomorrow if a bone marrow biopsy he did yesterday shows that he's in remission again. The dog is still his limping but happy self.

And, we got the adoption home study agency's finger printing done today.

I was hoping to be able to say that the paper work is all done too. For some reason, though, the agency director only sent us half of it to do in advance. So when we got there today, he handed us a bunch more. I filled it out tonight - we'll either take it down there tomorrow or get it in the mail.

The carpet cleaner is coming Saturday morning, so the only big thing left on that front before the home study visit is getting the pool fence scheduled for installation.

We are planning to do the first round of LIT in December and the second round in January, but oddly enough R's Hep A total test came back positive. (The Hep A IgM was negative.) So we have to figure out what that means in the context of all of this.

I looked it up to get a better understanding of it before mentioning it to him. It's common, infection often comes from eating fruits, vegetables, shellfish or not washing your hands well enough, etc., it very rarely becomes chronic, even more rarely becomes fatal, and pretty much goes away on its own eventually - there's not really a treatment for it.

I tried to approach it very calmly, saying "One thing I need to's no big deal, millions of people get it, it goes away on its own without treatment, but you seem to have the very common mild form of hepatitis."

Still, understandably, his eyes got very wide and he said "what do you mean no big deal?? Hepatitis??!?"

Sigh...our world involves far too many strange, unexpected medical conversations...

November 09, 2010

I Tested

And any sane, normal, rational person (i.e. R) will tell you that it is one very single, lonely line on a very solidly stark white background.

I, on the other hand, still ridiculously continue to cling to hope.

Because I swear there just may be something there. If there is, it's the faintest line in the history of faint HPT lines, even fainter than the time we were scratching our heads trying to determine if it was a line for pg #2, and the beta that morning turned out to be a 5. (I used a FRED then, and it was a FRED again this morning.)

But I swear I can see something if I turn it at just the right angle. I know a stark white background when I see one, the kind where you can't even tell where the line is supposed to be. And this time, I think I can see where the line is supposed to be.

But mostly I just smell pee. And clearly I'm not confident enough that I'm really seeing something to call RE's office and ask for a blood test to be ordered.

So instead, I'm rationalizing that if I ovulated late - which is entirely possible for me - maybe ovulation didn't occur until Halloween weekend, in which case I'm only 8 or 9 dpo. So maybe I just tested too early.

In other words, we're in for another round of this in a few days, unless CD1 shows up before then.

Meanwhile, the hourly boob checks (they're still sore - yea!) will have to be temporarily suspended when I go in to work this morning. There's a security camera right above my cube, and "Woman feels herself up at work while she thinks no one is watching" is not a video I want showing up someday on America's Funniest Home Videos...

November 08, 2010

I Chickened Out

Got up this morning at 6 a.m. to take the dog out, boobs were still sore but decided I'd rather crawl back in bed than stay up for a few minutes to pee on a stick. (Last week, I asked to take today off - I needed a mental health day.)

So I crawled back into bed, and when I got up two hours later, boobs were noticably less sore.

I figured it was over, decided what was the point in wasting a $10 test and starting my day off on a negative note (way to think positive, I know), so I decided not to HPT.

Then, of course, the soreness returned and I spent the day feeling very aware of them every time I ran up and down the stairs. (R and I were working on cleaning up/better organizing/rearranging the upstairs.)

The cramping returned this afternoon and evening. It's not my normal PMS cramping, but then again, it wasn't my normal PMS cramping back in August, either, and I'm not sporting a bump. So who knows what's going on inside my body? Clearly not me.

I'm just going to bite the bullet and take the stupid test tomorrow morning.

I think.


November 07, 2010

A New Idea for Motivation to Exercise

Today, I came up with a brilliant new motivation to get my lazy bottom up off the couch and exercise.

Well, at least, it seemed like a brilliant idea when it popped to mind, although given that said lazy bottom is currently camped on the couch, maybe it's not going to be as effective as I hope it will.

Anyway, here's the idea...for every mile that I run (without stopping, without any walking), I will credit myself $1 toward a massage.

I love to get massages, particularly from one specific massage therapist at a nearby day spa. But it's on the expensive side - $75-$80 not including tip - so I don't do it very often and feel a wee bit guilty whenever I do.

I'm hoping this will be a more effective approach than "if I lose 10 pounds, I'll schedule a massage" (or buy a fabulous new dress or make reservations at that new restaurant I want to try), because that approach hasn't brought much success in the past.

So I'm thinking $80 massage = 80 miles = I'd have to lose at least some weight after running 80 miles, wouldn't I?

Since I'm out of shape, I may start by 1 mile = $2 in order to get myself started, and then switch to 1 mile = $1 after I get a little more up to speed (pun intended).

On another note...guess who has mild cramping and unusually sore boobs, is on CD33, and has 3 HPTs in the bathroom cabinet taunting her?

Yep, you guessed it.

I keep vascillating between thinking I might as well wait another week because chances are it's just CD1 getting ready to make an appearance and thinking I'd better test now, because if it's positive, I'd need to start up the Lovenox, prenatals, folgard, etc., ASAP.

I'll probably test in the next couple of days. Apparently there's at least a tiny part of me that's still an eternal optimist.

Either that, or I just love to torture myself with false hope.

November 01, 2010

A Much-Needed Reminder

On my way home from a vet appointment with our cancer-stricken dog late this afternoon, I called my dad to check in on him. He went into the hospital on Friday for a more hard core kind of chemo than he's received in the past, and today's his third day of it. I asked him how he's doing, and his response made me laugh out loud:

"I'm feeling great, baby! Plus, this new chemo makes me glow in the dark, so it's easier for wifey to find me at night when the lights are off..."

It was a definite reality check. There are certainly things in our world right now that are painful and not how we'd hoped they would be, but my dad's attitude serves as a reminder that no matter what the circumstances, a sense of humor and positive attitude are still possible. If we choose them. So I'm trying hard to choose them.

On that note, updates about the three D's that are dominating our world right now...

The Dad - As I mentioned, the hard core chemo is underway. He has four more days of it. The oncologist decided to take this approach because the other chemo he had been on was only helping for a week or so; it wasn't keeping him in remission long enough to get the transplant under way. It sounds like he'll be in the hospital at least 30 days, and possibly longer if the transplant happens. He'll be keeping the nurses on their toes with his sense of humor, that's for sure.

The Dog - We got a follow-up report from the radiologist late Friday afternoon, and I met with our regular vet today to talk about all of this. It was a sad appointment, but a decision has been made. As painful as it is, I'm also at peace with it because it's the right decision for our "baby boy". The only criteria we used is what we think is best for him. And unfortunately, we decided that is palliative care rather than surgery.

R, my mom, and I had talked about it over the weekend and decided that if surgery seemed like a viable option, we would do it.

However, I noticed during the past couple of days that the dog's hind left leg (it's his front left one that is affected by the cancer) is starting to show signs of weakness. It's shaking a little bit sometimes, and he's sometimes starting to lean his right hip against things - walls, the kitchen island - to gain additional support, which he hadn't been doing before. So I think the cancer has probably spread a bit further than the MRI images can detect at this point.

Our regular vet did an additional exam of him today and is concerned about the same thing. Also, he explained some things I didn't fully understand last week. Because the first sign of trouble was that the dog was holding his left foot off the ground, I assumed it had started in his foot. I thought that if we had just caught this a few months ago, they would have been able to just remove his leg and we would have had a chance for a much better outcome.

But the vet explained today that the tumor started deep in his armpit area, between two major muscles. He said that's pretty much the worst possible place it could start. So even if we had caught it earlier, it still would have been difficult to remove; even then, it wouldn't have been a simple leg amputation - they still would have had to go in and take out a significant amount of under-arm tissue to get to it.

The other thing he explained - and maybe the vet last week also explained it and I just wasn't hearing her since I was in shock - is that this particular kind of cancer isn't encapsulated. Instead, it's as if it's growing along tree branches, branching out into increasingly thinner branches along the nervous system. So not only does the main mass have to be removed, but all of those additional strands of the cancer that follow those branches would also have to be removed. And removing all of the cancer cells with clean margins without damaging the nerves in the process is a very challenging thing to do.

As if all of that wasn't enough, the radiologist's final report indicated that we would have to remove not only the leg and a signficant amount of muscle tissue, but also at least one rib and possibly additional ones.

And odds are that in all of that, somewhere, some place, at least a couple cancer cells would be left behind. Which means that it would grow back, the dog would have a missing front leg, at least one missing rib, and would still lose the use of his hind leg on that same side. Given what we've seen with his hind leg in the last few days, it's possible that he could lose the use of it before he's even finished recovering from the surgery.

So instead, we're going to keep him as comfortable as possible until he's no longer himself, and then we'll make the tough call. In the meantime, we're having a pet photographer come over tomorrow to take pictures of the entire zoo, while he's still feeling well enough that we can get images of him as his usual self.

In the meantime, we continue to welcome all prayers and kind thoughts that you care to offer up, because sometimes sanity can be a very tenuous thing. :-)

The Doctor - Somehow, I managed to hold myself together very, very well during my annual physical over the weekend, which included filling out the medical report for the adoption recertification.

I decided to take the approach of being honest without oversharing.

The nurse reviewed my meds. They know I've been on anti-depressants, it's in my chart, but somehow this time when she ran down the list to ask me if I was still taking each of them, she didn't mention that one. Nor did the form ask specifically if I've taken them. And when the doctor listed my meds on the form, she didn't mention the metformin or low-dose aspirin, only the thyroid meds.

The form did specifically ask about diagnosis of mental illness (no), anxiety (yes), depression (yes), and a couple other things I don't remember. I pointed out to her that my previous doctor had diagnosed (and prescribed medications for) anxiety, but none of the meds worked and the "anxiety" went away when my thyroid problem was addressed. So she noted very clearly in two places that the anxiety diagnosis was actually a misdiagnosis and that the issue was actually my thyroid.

The depression isn't a misdiagnosis, but she also put down that it was situational and caused by multiple miscarriages and by all of the hormones I've taken, which is entirely true. Before we started ttc, birth control pills caused the first round of depression I ever had, and when I stopped taking those so we could start ttc, it went away. (Well, briefly, until we started getting all of the IF diagnoses...) And Clomid and progesterone also trigger it.

On the form we have to fill out, it also asks about professional counseling, so I wrote that we've participated in "grief counseling" after our 4th miscarriage, which was of a baby with a heartbeat that died, and that we've continued to participate "as needed" while we've gone through additional treatments and miscarriages.

My hope is that "grief counseling" (which is a very accurate description) sounds better than "treatment for ongoing depression because my body can't seem to hold onto a kid", and that the social worker won't feel compelled to make a big deal about that in the home study. If she doesn't, international adoption might still be an option for us. Time will tell.