29 April 2016

I'm a big fan of fresh starts

Every so often, I need a fresh start.

That's how I've been feeling all month.

April has been chaotic and frustrating, and has been a month of big changes. I'm looking forward to sharing some of those changes on the blog beginning next week.

We're drawing a line at the end of April, and on May 1st, things will be different.

21 April 2016

Sometimes it's too much....

The past three weeks have been a lot for me. For the family, too. And I've got several half-started blog posts. But it's just been too much.

About three weeks ago, Puck's anxiety escalated significantly. Monty, Bo, and I had a serious talk about what we can do to help him, and to help Tink with some of her issues. Part of that discussion included homeschooling as an option (which Monty and I have discussed on and off since before Puck was born). We're working on getting Puck some help so that he can have the tools he needs to cope with his anxiety.

Around this time Tink developed a cold. It wasn't terribly bad, but it bothered her, especially at night when her nose was stuffed up. As soon as she was finished with the cold (we thought it was part of the cold), she was suddenly sick with something else. She had a fever, and the lymph nodes in her neck were swollen. Puck had a low-grade fever, as well, and one swollen lymph node. Turns out they both had strep. Tink's case was kind of severe. We kept them home and in quarantine for the weekend.

As Tink came out of her strep, she developed a stomach virus that she generously shared with her dad. They were sick over another weekend. She was sent home from school on a Friday, and was vomiting over the weekend.

When Bo and I got the kids back, Tink suddenly developed red bumps/welts all over her body. They looked like they could have been hives, but they also looked like they could have been the very beginning of chicken pox, especially because they multiplied so quickly in three hours. So she went back in to the pediatrician, who decided she has a viral infection that caused the rash. Apparently it can be common in kids.

She's been out of school all week because it looks like she has chicken pox or bruises all over her body. Fortunately, she's improving, and will most likely be at school tomorrow.

On top of this, I'm in one of my super busy periods for work. They happen twice a year, and when they come, I work between 70 and 80 hours a week (as opposed to my usual 50-60). This busy period has been a bit more complicated because I have several very large projects with clients. This is a good thing, but it also makes things busy. I've had little time for anything other than work, sleep, and taking kids to the pediatrician's office. In fact, Bo picked Puck up from school yesterday, and will again today, to allow me more time to work.

I keep trying to remind myself that this is just a busy period. In June, there will be a lull, and I'll be able to catch up on all the things that have been neglected lately (like my revisions of the coffee house book).

It doesn't always work, and those are the days I drink extra coffee and turn the volume up on my music and double-check my countdown calendar.

Because sometimes it's too much to have it all at once.

01 April 2016

Apparently my body kind of hates me

Before medication
Almost three weeks ago I was diagnosed with rosacea.

It's something I've been dealing with for a long time. When I spoke with my dermatologist about it, I told him that it seemed to start in adolescence and we thought it was normal teenage acne, but it just never went away. It was frustrating, but I eventually just accepted that I had bad skin.

I discovered things that make it worse: the sun, heat, cold, stress, exercise, anxiety....

When I had my physical, my primary care doctor sent me to a dermatologist not only for the rash on my face, but because I have malignant melanoma in my family history, I have fair skin, and I live in Florida. I should have already been going to the dermatologist for yearly check-ups.

The dermatologist put me on a treatment regimen, which includes an oral medication along with some topical treatments. As of this writing, I've been on the treatment for just under two weeks.

Less than two weeks on medication
I'm pleased with the results.

Of course, I am critical of myself, so I see the redness that's still across my cheeks and the bumps that haven't gone away. But I also see that there is a big improvement. My wife looked at me the other day and said it looked like I was wearing makeup.

I don't expect my skin to be perfect because of the treatment. (Especially because I'm not giving up coffee. Because that's ridiculous.) But I'm so happy with the change that's already happened. I feel more confident in myself, and don't worry that everyone I meet is staring at my face, judging me for my bad skin.

Self-care is good.

Now that my rosacea has been diagnosed and is being treated, I can move on to the next health concern.

I've been struggling with chronic pain for quite some time, and now I have an appointment scheduled with a rheumatologist. The appointment isn't until early summer, but it's at least on my calendar. And I may be able to get in sooner if there's a cancellation.

In the meantime, I'm managing the pain as best I can. I've reduced my exercise goals so I can be a little gentler to myself. I'm taking medicine when I need it, and taking breaks when I need them. There are days when all I want to do is lay on the couch with ice packs on my joints and a Law & Order marathon on TV. Other days, I almost forget that there are bad days.

I know that once I meet with a rheumatologist I'll be able to get some answers. I'll eventually get a diagnosis and on a treatment plan, and then maybe I'll feel as good as I'm starting to look.