Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Lesser of the Weevils

I have a hormonal imbalance, which has led to all kinds of interesting side effects. One of them is ovarian pain. Sometimes it's just a twinge of pain, and other times it just about puts me on the floor. 

Last March, things got so bad that I went to an ob/gyn to find out what I could do. He put me on HRT. We started with the birth control pill. (The irony didn't escape me.) 

I was on the pill for a few months, but the idea was kiboshed by my internalist, who was concerned that this kind of HRT might play havoc with my FNH (because there is always a risk that it isn't an FNH). So we moved to a transdermal gel for HRT - Estrogel Propak. The dose was lower, and it wasn't taken orally, so better for my liver. 

The Estrogel HRT made me really moody (like, I could feel my mood swing throughout the day as I got closer to the next dose or further away from the last one), it made me really tired, and... it made me really, really itchy. The itching eventually subsided from "crazy ass insane" to "just kind of maddening and only sometimes," but after Christmas, I decided that enough was enough and in early January, I went off the Estrogel. Result? More stable mood, more energy, and way less insane itchiness. 

But the ovarian pain came back today. 

I need to do some careful thinking, weighing the ovarian pain vs. all the unpleasant side effects of the HRT. Either way, though, I've spent a good deal of time during the past few months muttering dark thoughts about various parts of my endocrine system. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Dear Moe (November and December)

Happy New Year, my amazing little bean! 

November and December of 2014 were a wonderful time. You kicked off November with a slightly belated Halloween party at Robin’s house, which involved decorating cookies, lots of crafts, and even a little bonfire in the yard. It was a magical afternoon for you and all the guests. You’ve had a number of lovely days with Robin the past two months, between PD days and the two first days of Christmas break. We are so pleased that you can continue your relationship with her family. She loves having you there because you keep Alex and Nick occupied, and you love being there because you adore playing with them.

Considering that you have been playing with more than twenty other kindergarteners every day, you have remained remarkably healthy this fall. (Knock on wood.) You’ve had the usual sniffles and cough, combined with a blocked nose of epic proportions, but have remained pretty much fever free. You and I went for our flu shots in early November, and you were an incredible trooper. Our strategy of immediate reward by chocolate milk is still working, and I intend to keep that up as long as it works. (It also helps that I don’t call it a “flu shot” – I talk instead about how the doctor is going to give us some medicine to keep us healthy.)

You have had some wonderful visits with great friends. We had about three weekends in a row of time with Bambi, and it was great to have her around. You love her very much. I know this, because you told her so. She was getting ready to leave at one point, and said, “It was nice to see you, buddy!” and you said, “Yeah, I actually love you. Do you want to see my Chima Lego?” I don’t know if she saw the Lego or not, because she stood there for a moment like she’d been shot in the heart with a rainbow. 

We were so lucky to also have a visit from Evan and Megan, who were in town over American Thanksgiving. You greatly enjoyed showing them your room, watching Dooze balance on Evan’s head, and generally entertaining them with your antics. I love that you know who they are and that you enjoy their company so much. 

We had a great snowfall in early December, and you “called on” a neighbour for the first time (as opposed to playing with him because you both happened to be outside at the same time). We knocked on Emmett’s door and asked him to come out and play. We spent the better part of two hours outside playing in the snow with him and his family. We built a snowman and a snow slide. I’m glad we had that experience because within a week, the snow had pretty much all melted. But as I type this, there are reports of a snowy weekend ahead, so I’m confident we’ll be out there again soon. 

Of course, the holidays were also a great opportunity to see and play with friends and family. The Rendells visited from Newfoundland, and despite the fact that you only see Ruben and Jessie once every year or so, I marvel at how beautifully you all play together. You had two fantastic play dates, and kept each other so happily occupied that I barely even minded the play-doh all over my living room. We went to Toronto after Christmas for a quick weekend visit, and you also played very well with Aidan and Maya, and shared your toys very nicely with them. I was very proud of you. 

You had some great adventures this month. Daddy and I attended a concert downtown one Sunday afternoon, so we drove you and Granny downtown with us, and she took you to the Bytown Museum (you love the model of the locks) before bringing you home on the bus. You had a wonderful time, walked like a champ, and didn’t complain at all about the distance. Granny took care of you for two days during the Christmas break, too, and she brought you to a movie (Penguins of Madagascar) and to the Canadian Museum of Nature. You love taking the bus with Granny. In fact, when she picks you up from school two days a week, you are often a bit disappointed if she has brought the car. 

Starting in January, you’ll have weekly adventures with Grandma, too! She’s actually taken you to Funhaven for the day today (she’s the only one in our family who can cope with the chaos of these places – if it weren’t for her, you’d never go, so be grateful), and will be picking you up from school two days a week. I know how much Granny enjoys her afternoons with you and I’m so pleased that Grandma will have this special time with you, too. 

You and I had our own great bus adventure on Christmas Eve. I brought you into work with me for the morning. The morning commute went beautifully – it could not have gone better, in fact. We rode most of the way sitting on the top floor of a double decker bus, in the front seat. You were delighted to be able to see so much, and from so high up. You had a nice time at the Christmas party for kids at my office, and you and Amelia enjoyed helping me make the hot cocoa. When it was time to go home, though, things got complicated. Because everyone was sent home at noon on Christmas Eve, the buses weren’t able to accommodate everyone. We waited an hour for a bus to taken us over the bridge to Ottawa. We didn’t spend that whole hour waiting at the bus stop, though. We walked to a taxi stand and called for a cab (we bailed on this idea because it was too long a wait), and we went to Second Cup for lunch. By the time we got home, it was after two o’clock. I was exhausted. You did beautifully. I can’t even explain how amazingly patient you were. 

Christmas preparations and celebrations seem to have lasted all month long. We attended a Christmas Farmers Market at the Aberdeen Pavilion early in the month, where you fell in love with one exhibitor’s toy train. We broke out the Christmas books. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Mater Saves Christmas, but still greatly enjoy reading Christmas Wombat. We went to Kemptville for a Christmas festival, and you met Santa Claus there and sat on his knee. This is the first time you’ve had any interest in doing this. You told him that all you wanted for Christmas was a toy Dusty plane. Santa sent you a video message suggesting that you just might get one. Christmas morning was a happy time. 


Daddy, Granny, Grandma and I were so proud to attend your first school holiday concert. You and 130 other kindergarteners sang beautiful songs in the school gym, and then you took us back to your classroom to show us how you could play the hand bells so nicely. You also built a candy house at school, and enjoyed a “PJ day” on the last day before the holidays. For PJ day, you were allowed to bring a stuffed animal to school, and you chose Sheep. It was with real pride and delight that I listened to you coaching your furry friend, “I have exciting news, Sheep! Today is PJ day so you’re coming to school with me. I know you don’t know much about school because you have never been there, but I know about it, so I’ll show you.” And then, at the end of the day, I asked which stuffie your friend Nathan had brought to school. You said he hadn’t brought one, and that’s why you shared Sheep with him. That, my darling, is the spirit of Christmas right there. 

You learned more about that through another adventure. I chose the name of a four-year-old boy through my work’s Christmas Wish Cloud Campaign, and you chose his gift. (I explained that you were the expert on what a four-year-old boy would want for Christmas if he could only have one thing.) You very carefully selected a Spider-Man play set. You had lots of questions about this little boy, and I wasn’t able to answer too many of them because I didn’t have the answers. I don’t know if he has parents or where he goes to school. I don’t know where he lives. Although you were disappointed that you would not be able to give him you gift in person, it was a very good experience for you to choose a gift for someone you would never meet. We are already prepping you to choose some of your older toys to donate to kids who need them. 

We celebrated Christmas Eve at Mark and Janine’s with their families, and you had a lovely time, although the presence of four dogs made you a bit nervous. By the end of the evening, though, you declared you loved them all. You enjoyed hanging out with Fiona, although her father Rog was a bit appalled when she brought you upstairs to show you her bed. Christmas morning was at our house with Granny and Grandma, and then we had a restful day until Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house. It was a casual meal, and you loved opening your Christmas cracker and wearing the crown and sitting in front of the TV table to eat your meal. The next day, we drove to Toronto to spend a weekend with Tia and Tio and Isabel and their family. You and I went for a great walk – in your PJs! – to admire the decorations on their street and hit the drugstore to replace my toothbrush, which I had forgotten. On New Year’s Day, we had a visit from Grandpa Leo and Debi, and had yet another little Christmas. People were very generous, and we’ve tried to make you understand (even a little bit) how fortunate we are. 

You will be getting back to school next week after two weeks off. You have had a very successful first semester at school. Daddy and I attended a parent-teacher interview in November, and were proud (and a bit surprised, frankly) to hear what a great listener you are there. You do tend to move slowly and dilly-dally about getting dressed to go outside, and sometimes your play with your friends becomes a bit “hands-on” when things get very exciting. But these comments were far outweighed by those describing how well you express yourself verbally, how much you enjoy being at school, your eagerness to learn, and the other skills you are learning. We are working on fine-motor-skills at home – you love using your “scizzurps” (you know they are called scissors but love saying it that way) and we’ll focus on holding that pencil and writing letters once you’ve back at school and into a routine again. You have come home with beautiful projects – Paperbag Princess puppets (which we used for weeks to read the story), painted dragons, and a great painted shield. There’s even a bag of projects that we haven’t had time to open yet. 

One interesting thing I keep hearing from you about school is how you draw “water eaters.” The first time I heard of this was when you brought home a picture you had drawn for Thanksgiving. You were asked to draw something you were thankful for. You drew a water eater. I’m not clear whether this is a creature that is made of water or that eats water or both, but I’m curious, and I can’t wait to hear more about them. 

We read stories together every night before bed, and we also use that time to go through your school “sound book” and have you read your school reader to me. It has been really great to see how well you are rising to the challenge for more complex readers. Another part of our nightly ritual is how Daddy carries you from the big bed to your bed… by your ankles. I don’t know how much longer he’ll be able to do that, so enjoy it! You seem to have grown so much in the past few months. You can reach all the light-switches without using a stool. You take up much more space on the couch and in your bed. 

You are so sweet and affectionate, little bean. You like to pretend you are a baby creature – a bird, a wombat, a kitten – and climb into my lap for cuddles. The other day, you took a break from play and came and sat on my knee for about ten minutes while I sang “Freight Train” to you again and again. You love giving hugs and kisses, and being “cozy” and warm with a fuzzy blanket and a soft pillow. You also love to be nurturing and sweet to your stuffed animals. You like to play that they are the baby creature and you take care of them. It’s heartwarming to see. I hope you keep that nurturing ability for the rest of your life. 

I hope 2015 brings you joy and learning and laughter and friendship, my little love. I can’t wait to savour it with you.