Parenting with an injured brain

My kids are struggling. Parenting is hard enough. Parenting with a brain injury seems so much worse.

My oldest son, 8, is autistic. Since he started third grade, he has been struggling with multiple things. He is scoring poorly in reading. He is sensory seeking, and constantly touching his brothers’ hair, which they hate. They ask him to stop, sometimes screaming at him to stop. And he doesn’t stop. I find this especially triggering because I am trying my hardest to teach these four boys that when someone says “No” it fucking means no. If someone says “stop” it fucking means stop. I feel like I am failing to protect my other kids when he is touching them and they don’t want him to.

His teachers, and his parents, think he is lacking focus and attention. His scores for reading are in the toilet.

He is increasingly hyper focused on various things he finds on YouTube (trick shots, Rubix cubes, and other things).

He is argumentative and defiant. He will not do his homework when he’s asked to. When he does his homework, he forgets to turn it in.

Last week, his aunt took him to a birthday party at a trampoline park. On the way home, he repeatedly called her a “dumb idiot.” She said he said it at least ten times in the 20 minute drive.

He can’t be re-directed when he gets a thought stuck in his head. If he’s told no, he badgers us, asking over and over for whatever it is he wants that we already said him no to.

To me, he is showing signs and symptoms of both ADHD and OCD. These fall under the autism spectrum. But, I am not trained to know when one disorder ends and another begins. Nor do I know that it even needs to be defined. To me, he might need treatment for these things. In February, he’s seeing a pediatric behavioral specialist. It seems so far off. Help seems so far away.

All of this has made me so incredibly sad. I feel like I am failing this kid. I also hate admitting I no longer enjoy spending time with him. I really hope these people can help us, and him.

He has to enroll in tutoring after school due to his poor reading scores. We are also on the waiting list for him to have an OT eval to help with the sensory input. Help will come, I hope, but I’m impatient.

I’ve gone back to journaling, practicing gratitude, and meditating more. Before I react, I’ve been pausing. It helps, but sometimes I’m just in over my head.

My other son, who is closing in on 7, is globally delayed. He can’t do any of his own activities of daily living. He can’t feed or dress himself. He can’t bathe himself or brush his own teeth. He can’t wipe himself. He struggles to write and is majorly struggling with reading. He is also being tutored, but it’s not taking. We’ve started talking about special education for next year, increasing his OT appointments (again, waiting for a spot to open up), and we work with him every day on his reading.

There just aren’t enough people around to help with all of these things. I don’t know how people do this, along with working, and taking care of themselves.

My life feels impossible. I’m so tired.

I can’t tell what is just life fatigue and what is neuro fatigue and what is burnout. It’s probably all three.

I’m grateful for the help we do have, for the tutoring opportunities, and for the OT we are getting. I’m grateful for the behavioral health appointment next month. I am trying to be hopeful that things will get better. But, right now, things are just really hard.

Happy 2023

I really wanted to keep up with this blog more. I like writing. It’s cathartic and therapeutic.

I’m disappointed in myself for not writing more.

I’m trying my best. Between the job, the fatigues and the four kids, it has been difficult to make time for any hobbies for myself. There are only so many hours in a day.

The Christmas season came and went. I think this will be the last year my kids believe in Santa. I feel like I should be sad about that, but I’m not. They should know all the work is put in by real people who love them.

Work is hard. I’m so “in my head” about management recording our calls and spot checking quality. What if I slur? What if I lose my train of thought? What if I have a word finding issue? The whole thing just makes me so anxious. I can’t wait to get this first one over with and see how bad it is.

My oldest son is having major behavioral issues. He has OCD and ADHD symptoms. I don’t know where his autism ends and a different diagnosis begins. He is so angry and agitated at times. He has started hitting other family members and will not respect a boundary if someone puts it up. He’s mean and he bullies his brothers. We are getting him into an outpatient behavioral therapy clinic. I don’t like spending time with him. I’m just so sad about it. I hope these people can help him.

My other son was diagnosed with precocious puberty. As if that kid needed another diagnosis. He got his first dose of Lupron last week.

I really hope 2023 is better. It’s hard to believe it will be six years since my stroke. It feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago.

I mostly hate my shunt

VP Shunt

I developed hydrocephalus as a result of my ruptured brain aneurysm. From the Mayo Clinic: Hydrocephalus is the buildup of fluid in the cavities (ventricles) deep within the brain. The excess fluid increases the size of the ventricles and puts pressure on the brain.

Cerebrospinal fluid normally flows through the ventricles and bathes the brain and spinal column. But the pressure of too much cerebrospinal fluid associated with hydrocephalus can damage brain tissues and cause a range of brain function problems.

About six weeks after my coiling procedure, I had a VP shunt placed in my head. The shunt is programmed by a magnet and can be easily adjusted. It allows the fluid to drain into my abdomen because my busted brain doesn’t work properly. The shunt is located in the back right side of my head. There is a large bulge there and the drain goes into my abdomen.

I’ve been lucky with my shunt. I haven’t needed any revision surgeries and the setting they picked seems to work well for me.

I have a love/hate relationship with the thing. Of course, it keeps me alive. Even though people told me it’s ok to lay on the shunt, I find that when I do, I wake up with a headache. I can’t sleep on my stomach. It’s just not comfortable for me, so I end up sleeping on my left side most of the time. This has caused me some issues now that I’ve been doing it for almost six years. I have developed pain in my left hip and knee that seems arthritic and related to all the weight being on my left side for 1/3 of my life. I sleep with a pillow between my knees, but that hasn’t helped.

The pain has gotten so bad that I have started alternating between sleeping on my left and right side every other night. I have to pick which I’d rather have: a headache, or an arthritic left side. I feel like a hip and knee replacement are assuredly in my future, however.

But more recently, I’ve become irrationally angry at my shunt. To explain, it’s important to understand that strong magnets can inactivate the shunt. I can’t go near an MRI machine. When I get an MRI, they wheel me in so my head is never at the same level as the magnet. After each MRI, I have an X-ray of the skull to verify my shunt settings. It’s a whole process. I have to get orders placed by neurology and then a neurologist needs to sign off on the X-ray and determine the settings of the shunt are where they should be.

My son….my sweet boy, has an extremely complicated medical history. Without sharing too many details, he has to have an MRI of his brain next week. He’s six. They don’t want to sedate him. He’s going to be terrified. It’s not going to go well. We are looking for a brain tumor. A fucking brain tumor in my fucking six year old son.

They said a parent can go and hold his hand during the procedure. I can’t go with him. I can’t be the one to hold his hand because of this stupid shunt. His appointment is at 6 pm, and I know what a shit show it will be if, in fact, I do go, and my shunt’s settings get fucked up. I just can’t risk it.

So, there is another thing that having a brain aneurysm took from me: being able to hold my son’s hand while he’s scared during an MRI.

If you are the praying kind, please offer up some prayers for sweet Gabriel. If you don’t pray, please put some positive energy out into the world for him.

I anticipate that we will have a go at the MRI, he’ll panic, and they won’t get good images. Then, we’ll have to reschedule it with sedation. I tried to get it scheduled with sedation but the MD wanted to try it without, first.

We probably won’t have answers for awhile.

Limbo really sucks. Waiting is hard. I’ve never been good at it, especially when so much is on the line.

The scared part of me has suspected this tumor for almost a year. The logical part of me tells me I can’t possibly know that. So we wait for the radiologist.

I will try my best to stay calm while I wait. But, it’s excruciating.

Memory Loss

The NHL Winter Classic, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2011

Trigger warning: mention of sexual assault

I used to religiously follow the National Hockey League (NHL). Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a super fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mario Lemieux was my idol growing up.

One of my favorite memories was seeing the Penguins play in Winter Classic in 2011 against the Washington Capitals. My brother and I went to the outdoor game together. I owed him a game after he took me to the Major League Baseball All-Star game in Cleveland in 1997. It took me that long to make it up to him.

I continued to follow hockey until my I had kids. Then, priorities shifted. I followed the sport peripherally, but mostly just read about the games after they happened. I’d watch highlights, but rarely watched the whole game.

Last week, an NHL player named Ian Cole made headlines for being accused of sexual assault and grooming a minor.

Before I continue with this, I want to say the point of this isn’t to discuss what Ian Cole is being accused of.

The headlines read, “Former Pittsburgh Penguin Ian Cole accused of sexual assault.”

I was puzzled. Ian Cole? Who was he? He played for the Penguins? When?

I was unnerved by my faulty memory. I couldn’t remember this guy at all. I had no idea what he looked like, what number he wore, what position he played, or when he played for my favorite NHL team.

I read that he played for the Penguins during their back to back Stanley Cup wins.

Once I read that, I became very upset because I recalled that their back to back wins were before my kids were born, and at a time when I watched all of the games and knew all of the players. I could rattle off the numbers they wore, and various other statistics about them.

But I had no idea who Ian Cole was.

Is my memory really that bad?

I was too upset to continue reading about his career with the Penguins.

A few days went by, and this stayed on my mind. I kept trying to find some memory of seeing him play.

Finally, I decided to look up the years the Penguins won the Stanley Cup. I found that I was completely wrong and their back to back wins happened after I had kids. The first one happened in the months following the birth of my triplets. And the second one happened in the months after I had my stroke.

You might think that this gave me comfort, but it concerned me even more. How the fuck did I forget that the Penguins won back to back Stanley Cups? As I said, I still pay attention to the sport, read the recaps and watch the highlights. I always watch when the Stanley Cup is presented to the winning team because I think it’s the best moment in sports.

But, I forgot. I thought they won back to back cups in the years before I got married, in 2009. But, that was wrong. They only won one Stanley Cup in 2009 and then they had the back to back wins in 2016 and 2017.

So, not only did I have no memory of Ian Cole, I had no memory of their back to back Stanley Cup wins.

I made a Facebook post about it. So, clearly I knew about it at the time.

I don’t know what this means for me, but it has really scared me. I’m 43. It feels like I’m 83 most of the time.

I’m trying to do as much as my brain will tolerate to help make new connections. Word games, memory games, reading, studying.

I try to eat well, and exercise as time allows. I stopped drinking and I don’t smoke. I sleep as much as I can for someone who has a full time job and four kids.

I feel like I’m doing everything I can, but it’s not enough.

While this might sound insignificant, I’m shocked I don’t remember this.

In 2017, the day before my stroke, I told my friend I wasn’t going to watch the hockey game and was going to bed because I had a headache. She told me about it later, but I have no memory of it. I don’t remember having a headache that night, I don’t remember telling her about it, and I really don’t remember anything about the hockey game.

All I can do is keep trying to exercise my body and mind. But, the fear of what might be in store for me later in life weighs heavily on me at times. And this was a reminder I didn’t need.

The High Cost of Living

Last weekend, I worked. I had a stretch of working 7 days in a row. It was taxing because of the different assignments I had each day. On day six, I woke up with a headache. My coworkers were chatting away in a group chat, which I mostly ignored. I tried all my tricks. Took my Ubrelvy, drank some coffee, tried some ice to my forehead, used some CBD, and nothing helped.

I didn’t participate in the group chat until the end of my shift. I told my coworkers about my headache and they were very sympathetic. Some tried to give advice, some just commiserated. One of them told me to just go lay down, but I had an hour left of work and we were swamped.

By day 7, my headache had resolved. But, the neuro-fatigue kicked in. I wasn’t as productive as I could have been. Our manager eventually signed on at the end of the shift and asked everyone to stay and help out. We were swamped. I said no. I had no battery left. No more spoons. I was done. I do not feel bad for not being more of a team player. I’m no good to anyone when all my spoons have been spent. I still had a full evening of mom-ing to do after work.

The following Friday, I had a wedding. This wedding was about an hour drive, and was held in a large barn. It was on a gravel road in the middle of nowhere, and was heated by two heat lamps. I was freezing. I anticipated the cold and dressed appropriately, but I was still uncomfortable.

Something about the cold bothers my shunt site. I always wear a hat in the winter when I go out, but didn’t anticipate needing a hat at this event. I was wrong. My shunt site was prickling and eventually started burning.

Then, the DJ started. The music was ungodly loud. This is coming from someone who, pre-stroke, attended numerous rock concerts. I love music. But, this was just loud blaring noise. I couldn’t hold a conversation with anyone.

Eventually, we finished dinner and my partner said he was ready to leave. I was relieved. But, suddenly someone came up to talk to him and he wanted to stay longer. So I sat, with my head burning, and the noise getting to me, in complete misery.

After about 30 minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore. I signaled that I was going outside, even though it was cold and raining and people were smoking everywhere. It was still a more comfortable environment than inside with the blaring music. We eventually left.

People were having a good time, dancing, singing and drinking and all I wanted to do was go to bed.

These things: the headaches, the sensitivity to cold and noise, and the neuro-fatigue are all what I call The High Cost of Living. They are the prices I pay for surviving my stroke. Them, and many others.

Other things that are in The High Cost of Living category are the depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms. The aphasia. The need for more sleep than most people. The short term memory loss.

The personality changes. I used to be fun. I used to laugh a lot. Now, I hardly do. I’m quick to anger and easily agitated.

The alcohol addiction. This was my first sober wedding and I’m proud of myself for not drinking. I’m approaching 2.5 years since I’ve had a drink.

I survived. And that came with a price. I pay the price through The High Cost of Living items I’ve mentioned.

No one ever warned me about any of these things. No doctor or therapist or anyone every told me that these things could manifest.

As I try to navigate life post-stroke, I wonder what complications will arise as I get older. Dementia? Parkinson’s? It’s scary to think about. Most people don’t have this doom complex. But, most people haven’t been through the things I have.

Life post-stoke has been difficult. I think it will always be difficult. I’m hoping there are some better days ahead.

More medication adventures

My last round of Botox left me with some strange complications. The day after the shots, I developed a stabbing pain in the corner of my left eye. It was on and off for two days and eventually subsided. I was left with a foreign body sensation in that eye for a few days after that. I’ve never had this before.

One shot on the left side of my head is incredibly tender, a week later. I can’t look at to see what’s going on, but I assume it’s bruised.

This time and the previous time, I had a new practitioner give me the shots. Before, it was the MD that runs the headache clinic. He’d come in, stab me all over like a sadist, and be done with the 36 shots in about 45 seconds.

This new practitioner, an NP, is slow and deliberate with each shot. It’s more painful this way. And, based on the last two appointments, causes me side effects.

I used to think the sadist was a little aggressive and maybe slowing down would be less painful. But, that’s not the case.

Next time, I have to see someone completely different, so who knows what sort of fun I’ll be in for at that appointment.

I’m hoping this sore spot goes away quickly. I hope it’s not infected or anything.

I also had more adventures trying to get my Ubrelvy refilled. The NP gave me a coupon. I tried to use it at a retail pharmacy, and my insurance company blocked the damn coupon. Once they realized I had a new script at the retail level, the mail order pharmacy canceled my remaining refills with them. But, now that I can’t use the coupon, I have to go back to mail order. So I had to go back to the NP and ask her to e-scrip a new prescription back to mail order.

All of this hassle! And I know how to navigate the healthcare system and the insurance companies. I can’t imagine what this is like for someone who can’t advocate for themselves.

I’ve said it before, but it shouldn’t be this hard.

Mini life update

I can feel the Botox wearing off. My neck and shoulders are stiff. I’ve needed the Ubrelvy more in the last week than I’m used to. My appointment is late in the week for the next round of shots.

The prior authorization on my Ubrelvy has expired. This is a double edged sword for me. I hate prior auths (PA) from the patient’s perspective. They approved it once, so obviously I meet criteria per the insurance company‘s policy. What possibly could change in a year that would make me no longer meet criteria? What a dumb practice this is.

From the pharmacist’s perspective, I like PAs. A lot of pharmacists have jobs working PAs. The job market for pharmacists in the US is over saturated. There are too many pharmacy schools churning out too many new grads. Not enough pharmacists are retiring and not enough jobs are being created to keep up with the surplus. The more jobs that stay in pharmacy, the better. Therefore I don’t want to see PAs go away.

There is also a PA on my Botox and that will expire soon, too. It’s always a fight to try to get things covered.

Today, I’m on seven days in a row of working. The neuro fatigue plus the headaches from the Botox wearing off is making this a bad week.

My oldest starts school this week. He has trouble with insomnia and his bus comes at 6:50 AM. I’m anxious about how he’ll handle the extremely early start.

My other kid was just prescribed an epipen. I’m fighting with the insurance company to allow an early refill so he has an epipen at school. I’ve had to call the school a few times to get the necessary paperwork for everything.

I hope things calm down, but I don’t think they will. I’m tired.

Fertility meets stroke

My children were all wanted. So much so, that I underwent four rounds of in vitro fertilization to have them. Two of those rounds were complete failures. The second round, I developed ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome. This causes the ovaries to swell and become painful. I couldn’t walk without severe pain. My abdomen was huge.

Despite all the eggs I made, none of the embryos survived that round. We didn’t get to transfer any. I was crushed, devastated, and all of the other synonyms you can think of.

I also, apparently, was somehow exposed to the Hepatitis C virus. But I didn’t find that out until later.

After the two failed cycles, we switched to a different fertility clinic. I had to start over with all of the tests, which included a full panel for any blood borne infections. I never imagined any of them would come back positive. To use a quote from my favorite Stephen King character, “God always punishes us for what we can’t imagine.”

A few weeks later, I received a letter from the Department of Health stating that I tested positive for antibodies to the virus that causes Hepatitis C, and that this didn’t mean I necessarily had the virus or an active infection.

I was shocked and terrified. I was also angry that I got this news, not from my fertility clinic, but from a letter in the mail. I called the clinic immediately, and I was hysterical.

It took them hours to call me back. It was a Friday and I was an anxious mess thinking they wouldn’t get around to talking to me until Monday. I called a few times and begged for someone to talk to me.

Eventually, the doctor called me back. She explained that the clinic was aware of my lab results, and was not aware the Department of Health would be sending me a letter. The doctor said my labs indicated that I had been exposed to Hep C, and therefore had antibodies to the virus. The labs also indicated I did not have an active Hep C infection. The doc said I needed to see a hepatologist and that my fertility treatments were on hold until I was cleared by hepatology. They said they don’t allow embryo transfers to women with active Hep C due to risk of exposing the fetus.

I remember that hepatology appointment so vividly. It took at least two months to get an appointment. I had an early morning appointment, the first one of the day. I waited for two hours before I was seen. They brought me back into the exam room and no one came. I eventually left to go looking for someone, and was told the doctor wasn’t even in the building and they had no idea how long the wait would be.

I almost left. I came so close to leaving. Just fucking giving up. I cried alone in that exam room, so fucking frustrated at how awful it all was. All I wanted was a baby, and here I was, with two failed cycles, and now a fucking Hep C exposure? What the fuck was this life I was living?

I texted my husband to let him know I was going to leave. He convinced me to stay and wait, and he was right. So I waited.

Eventually, the doc showed up. I can’t remember if he apologized for being so late. But, I told him why I was there. He looked over my labs. He said, “you were exposed. No one will ever be able to tell you how or when, but you were somehow exposed to Hep C. However, you also don’t have hep C. The labs are clear about this. I’ll let fertility know.”

He softened as he was documenting. He said, “my sister had to go through IVF. They have a son now. I know how hard it is. I wish you luck.”

He was kind. He also said that he could have cleared this up with a phone call with fertility, and seemed annoyed they put me through the process of having an in person appointment. I was annoyed, too.

We got the green light for IVF. IVF is an emotionally taxing experience even in the best of cases. We transferred two embryos and that round ended up resulting in the birth of my oldest son. We also had 7 embryos make it to the blastocyst stage for embryo transfers. They were frozen for future use.

About a year after my son was born, we did a frozen embryo transfer. The doctor recommended we transfer two embryos due to my history of making shitty embryos.

I never imagined what happened next. And God always punishes us for what we can’t imagine.

That pregnancy resulted in quadruplets. Yes, both embryos split into two pairs of identical twins. One of them passed very quickly. The other three continued to progress.

I was terrified. All I could think about was premature babies, long NICU stays, brain bleeds (ironically, not my own), cerebral palsy, retinopathy of prematurity, and necrotizing enterocolitis. Plus the logistics. We’d need a bigger house and a larger car. I’d have to worry and stress about moving while still working full time, growing triplets, and having a one year old.

What the fuck was this life?

Look, I wanted kids. I did what the doctor recommended. They said to transfer two embryos and we did. But, no one in their right mind wants higher order multiples. It’s not good for the mom, and it’s really fucking bad for the babies. And our story is no different.

I almost immediately developed gestational diabetes and required insulin and frequent sugar checks. I had gestational diabetes with my first pregnancy, as well.

My baby B was found to have a plethora of problems. I was told at my 18 week ultrasound to expect him to pass within the next two weeks. I was also told his death might lead to preterm labor and I could easily lose all three babies.

I walked around like a zombie wondering if I would know when he died. If I’d feel different. If he was already dead by the time I got home.

Two weeks went by, I had another ultrasound and he was still alive.

We were stuck in the hell of limbo. Not knowing if he’d make it or not. Not knowing if I should tell people I was having triplets or twins. We didn’t get to celebrate anything because it always felt so dire.

With each successive ultrasound, he was still alive. He kept growing, but slower than the other two. He didn’t have a lot of amniotic fluid around him. There was a good chance his lungs would be under developed.

Around week 21, I got up in the middle of the night to pee. One of the babies waters broke. I sighed, thinking, “this is it. This is the end.”

I went back to bed and waited for labor to start. I cried. But, I never developed any contractions. I eventually fell asleep.

In the morning, I called my OB, who got me in right away. She said she didn’t see any leaking fluid and the fluid levels on the ultrasound were the same as the previous ultrasound. She convinced me I just peed myself. But, I knew that was bullshit.

I went home, and I kept leaking fluid. Not constantly, but frequent gushes of fluid. Despite telling all of the doctors, I never had a contraction and no one could ever see the fluid leaking, either on exam, or on ultrasound.

Eventually, around week 26, as we moved into our new house, that fluid turned bloody. This was a change and I packed my bags and just headed in to labor and delivery. Finally, they were able to confirm that Baby B’s water had indeed broken. I was admitted to the hospital until delivery.

This is where the story of my fertility journey and my stroke journey intersect, I think. The stress of those babies jammed into my ribs, pushing all my organs up, gave me crazy tachycardia. I could not breathe. I had a cardiologist consult in the hospital because I was so dyspneic and tachycardic. They found my heart was fine. But for almost six weeks, I laid there, stressed to the max, heart pumping, sucking air like a fish out of water, body taxed. And I believe that’s when and why my brain aneurysm formed.

The babies came around week 32. Maybe someday I’ll do a blog post about the NICU.

I still have five embryos frozen.

We live in a red state. Not the reddest of states, but it’s red all the same. With Roe being overturned by the SCOTUS, I have made the decision to have our remaining frozen embryos destroyed. I didn’t want to make this decision and I don’t make it lightly. But, it’s clear they are paving the way for IVF to be restricted. They have stopped fertility cycles at my IVF center because no one quite understands yet what will happen. I think it’s highly probable they will require frozen embryos to be implanted regardless of what the couple wants. We feel forced to make this decision.

I almost died, could have died, more than once in our fertility journey. I feel so sad thinking my daughter that I never got to have might be among those embryos.

But, I’m grateful to be alive and to see my four sons grow up. I hope they are grateful to have me around.

Possible TIA

I’ve had a headache for a week. Off and on, it comes and goes, but was constant yesterday. A squeezing pressure around my forehead, wrapping around my temples. My scalp is sensitive. Rated 8/10 at its worst, about 4/10 at its best. My vision has been blurry all week. When I walk, my left side is weak. I have trouble walking in a straight line. There is no facial droop. My upper extremities are fine.

The slur that I hate so much, the one that always gives me away as a stroke survivor, is worse than normal.

I maxed out my headache meds and didn’t get any relief. I called the stroke center for guidance. They said since my MRI was clear, they don’t think my symptoms are related to my stroke or my brain aneurysm. The nurse said she felt all of my symptoms were related to my ongoing headache. They punted me to the headache clinic.

I called the headache clinic, and they called me in a new prescription to get me out of this headache cluster: a 10 day taper of valproic acid. I took the first dose last night and the headache is somewhat better, but not gone.

I’m still wobbly, slurring, but my vision is better.

I’ve had at least one, and I suspect more than one, mini-stroke. My current symptoms feel like that. There’s nothing anyone can do for a mini-stroke. There’s no treatment, and it doesn’t show up on imaging studies. It’s diagnosed based on symptoms. I’m diagnosing myself at this point.

I don’t want to spend my weekend in the ER with a bunch of idiots who blew their hands off setting off fireworks. Especially when I know they can’t help me anyway. So, I’m riding it out, hoping it gets better.

A TIA is typically a warning that a major stroke may happen. I’m already on one anti-platelet. Having a mini-stroke while on an anti-platelet is not a good thing. I’m going to take some aspirin in addition to my clopidogrel for the two weeks to hopefully prevent a larger CVA.

I never thought this would be my life at 42.

The Summer Ahead

I have a pretty stressful summer ahead.

It was already stressful with my MRI. Thankfully, that’s over and everything came back ok.

My son has a number of health issues. He’s facing at least one, and most likely two surgeries this summer. He also needs labs that can only be drawn at the Cleveland clinic main campus branch. These labs have to be done two days in a row. Depending on the results of those labs, he might need an MRI, which will require general anesthesia.

My other son is undergoing intensive therapy called interactive metronome to help him manage his ADHD symptoms. He goes three times a week for six weeks.

My oldest son has a number of dental concerns. He has sensory issues with his mouth and just immediately vomits while the dentist tries to work on him. So, he has to go under general anesthesia to have all this dental work done.

The kids have T-ball/baseball games. My oldest has Cub Scouts. I’m trying to get him together with kids from his class for play dates because he has difficulty making friends. He wrote in his journal at school last year that he wanted friends. It broke my heart.

My job is continuing to implode. Everyone is quitting. Those of us that are staying, are looking around for something else. We are all miserable. I’ve applied to several other positions and been immediately rejected. Everyone is trying to move around. The competition is insane.

Our air conditioner isn’t working. Between paying all the bills, the unexpected expense of my dining room needing to be rebuilt, and now this….I’m stressed about finances.

The fatigue has been worse the last two weeks. I have a big presentation at work next week, and I’ve been working late hours on that.

At T-ball this week, the assistant coach asked about the triplets. He did it in a kind way. He didn’t ask, “did you do fertility treatments?” I snap judge anyone who asks me how my kids were conceived. It’s rude and none of anyone’s business. Anyway, he asked who was oldest. And I explained they were triplets. He asked how we do it. And I told the truth. It’s hard. It’s chaos. It’s exhausting. He asked me how I take care of myself and I didn’t have a great answer.

It’s something I need to work on. Self-care is something I don’t have a lot of time for, but I need to make it more of a priority. The mountain of shit that is looming over me right now is just awful. I’m anxious, tired, and worried.

I really hope for better days ahead.