The Death of a Classmate = A Dose of Mortality

download-2As I was casually scrolling through Facebook and came across a post saying how much a member of my high school class will be missed.  I reread the post confused.  Still disbelieving, I went to her page and saw a post from her family with her funeral service information. My heart broke. ‘T’ and I were the same age. ‘T’ had four children. FOUR! One is not even a year old yet. She loved her babies with everything she had. She learned to remove herself from toxic relationships.  She endured the loss of her sisters passing. She was a single mother who provided for her children.

I couldn’t find any information on what happened so I messaged around to get details. I’d missed the funeral because I didn’t know anything about her passing until today. I was told she had a sudden shortness of breath and passed out.  She couldn’t be revived. I am emotionally heavy right now.  I know ‘T’ didn’t want to leave her babies. I know she didn’t want to leave her mother. Her mother already endured the loss of one child.

Two years ago, another high school classmate of mine passed unexpectantly. She was married with two daughters. Her family and close friends loved her dearly.  That was hard to digest.  All death is. She had a growth that went undetected; only discovered during autopsy.

I went in for a physical and found that my blood pressure was high. It is connected to my weight.  I’ve not been diligent at getting the weight off.  Older bodies need more effort to lose weight than younger bodies. My younger body efforts with my older body were only good for five pounds and not the 15 I needed. These two passings, but especially the most recent one, have me taking my health very seriously. I don’t think my classmates were unhealthy but I don’t think they were as aware of their health as they could have been. We, mothers, make sure our children are taken care off and often dismiss anything we might notice as odd for ourselves.  The physical I went in for in December was the first physical I have had in almost 20 years. After I started college, I would only see a doctor for sickness or any other concern that seemed obvious to me.  The only doctor I saw annually was my OBGYN. I figured if they noticed something that required my primary care doctor, I would go see them then. How ignorant!

Too much rides on our health for us to take it for granted. No more. My classmates taught me that.


I Am Not Afraid Of Tomorrow’s Homeschool Day!



Last year, because my pregnancy was so taxing, we used Time4Learning, an online curriculum, as a supplemental and then primary curriculum for Language Arts (LA), Social Studies, and Science.  It was such a God send. It was easy to do.  Jazmine learned how to log-in herself.  It taught her computer skills while she was learning other things. It was super engaging. School was as it should be after we started using it; FUN instead of this necessary evil we had to complete.

Because of our great success with it during the Spring semester of our school year, I chose it as a go to for this school year. I didn’t even look at the lessons for the next grade.  I assumed it would be much of the same delivery just filled with the next grades material.

I was wrong!

The amount of LA that needed to be completed in order to finish the school year was WAY too much for us.  The pace of the concepts was too much for one day. For example, she can put things in alphabetical order but one lesson for A-B-C order included exercises in proper names (remember to use the last name first), entry words in a dictionary, and numerical order.  Plus, they were referencing the Dewey Decimal System! It just wasn’t for us this year. After speaking to a fellow friend and homeschooling mom, it was clear the curriculum was too advanced for us. After reading a blog with another mom’s opinion, we switched to BJU Press for LA and have been enjoying it ever since!

The Time4Learning history and science was just as disappointing. It was not engaging and required materials to do each lesson.  That was very different than last year.  I wasn’t prepared for that.  I did not see a Thinking Ahead section to know that I needed supplemental books (from the library) or materials to do a science lesson. The science materials needed for the one lesson we did complete was doable. We looked at the three states of matter so I needed some ice and an ice-cube tray. Not hard but when I sit down to do a lesson, I need to be prepared up front, not floundering around. It didn’t work for us. We returned to our K-2 Geography book for Social Studies and Nancy Larson for Science. Everything needed for science is in the box which is right up my alley!

I purchased Horizons health curriculum. I thought all I would need was the student book and student workbook.  They offer a teacher’s guide but I was thinking that the two student books should be sufficient.  The student book had coordinating lessons in the workbook so I assumed it would be easy to follow; read from the student book and do the lesson in the workbook.  Nope! The student book had no reference to activities to do in the workbook. The workbook had coordinating lesson numbers on the pages but the information they were reinforcing weren’t wholly explained in the workbook.  I decided to purchase the teacher’s guide thinking that would tie everything together. NOT. In order to complete a health lesson with real learning occurring and no parent frustration, I review it the day before and star the information that needs to be taught and any activies that need to be done in the teachers guide and piece together what needs to be read from the student book and/or activies in the workbook.  Its more work then I bargained for and I will NOT be purchasing this curriculum again.

All other subjects not mentioned were seemless from the start. When there is no subject area that stresses you, school is so much more enjoyable! A concept may be hard and take longer for Jazmine to understand but that is the richness of learning and the beauty of homeschooling. A difficult curriculum is a different matter entirely!

My Fellow Methotrexate Sisters…

Dear sisters,

This Methotrexate ride has been more than I bargained for.  I thought to pen my experience with taking the drug for treatment of an ectopic pregnancy.  I have searched the web, and by search I mean I googled everything from methotrexate and hcG levels to what to eat while on methotrexate, only reading the first couple of search results on the first page.  Yet, in all of my searching, even in the message boards I have read, I did not come across anything comprehensive enough for my liking. In effort to make it easier for you to get some answers, I will pen some answers with a link or two here.

Things to avoid while on Methotrexate:

Exercise, alcohol, Folic acid, and direct sun light.  (Look under “Where can I find folate in the food guidance system”

What to do while on Methotrexate:

Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated.  Listen to your body.  Increased activity will cause increased bleeding.

My Methotrexate experience;

Week one –  had no injection site pain. According to the infusion nurse to administered the shot, I should not have experienced injections sight pain or a rash from the injection.  For the next six days, I still felt pregnant.

Week two – My pregnancy symptoms did not start to abate until two weeks later. I resumed my normal exercise the week after the injection.  It caused me severe pain requiring me to take Advil (600mg) every morning for four days straight.  Once I stopped exercising and rested every time I felt tired, the pain went away.  The next symptom I experienced was fatigue in the morning.  I could make it to the bathroom to pee but was exhausted by the time I got back to bed.  I ended up sleeping for another two hours after waking initially.

Week three – I am experiencing mild boughts of nausea throughout the day.

Peaches and apricots either don’t have or have negligible amounts of folic acid. Yogurt and all other dairy is free of folic acid. All vegetables and beans are off-limits.

I do not know my original (pre-shot) hcG levels.  My day four post Methotrexate shot levels was 5,000 something.  My day seven levels were 3,000 something. A week later my readings were 1,232.

Use an umbrella when going to be unavoidably in direct sunlight. Wear sunscreen.

I wrote this over four months ago with the false understanding that I would be back to normal in about six weeks.  I was wrong.

My hcG levels did not return to less than/equal to 5 until the end of September.  My levels reduced by half with every blood test which I took once every week.  When my levels got into the twenties, they hovered and reduced in increments of 1 or 2 for 2-4 weeks.    Around this same time, my period returned.  It was mid August.  I fully expected that my levels would be at zero upon my next blood test.  I was very surprised and disheartened that they were not.  I was also told by a nurse at my OB/GYN office that I probably had what I thought was a period.  Um no. I had a full fledge period!  I am well into grown womanhood and I KNOW what a period is.

I had had enough by this time.  I was HUMONGOUS! I had gained a lot of weight since I first peed on the stick and because I could not exercise nor eat right, coupled with hormone imbalance and great sadness, I packed on the pounds in a major way.  I could fit none of my clothes.  I broke my bathing suit.  (Picture Ursula popping out of her Ariel disguise in The Little Mermaid)  Breaking my bathing suit (at the hook in the back) I decided I was going back to normal.

I went back to exercising at the gym, eating right (greens, fruits, and beans) and staying in the sun for as long as Jazmine needed me to.

I felt so liberated!  Technically, I was not cleared but as far as I was concerned, the reoccurrence of my period declared me well.  I lived on the wild side for 6 more weeks until I got the call from the nurse saying my levels were at 5.

And that’s my methotrexate story.

Finally In That Place

Finally In That Place

I have often envisioned my physical self as being more fit and firm than it was.   I’ve flirted with real change to my lifestyle and diet ever since I got married. Always trying to get back to my premarital … Continue reading

It Took Me A While To Get It, But I Get It. My Own Personal Yelp Page

When we left the hospital with Jazmine, she was 2 pounds under her birth weight.  My mother believes a major factor in that was she did not get the vaginal squeeze at delivery to push out any extra fluid she was carrying.  (Jazmine was born by Cesarean). I was nervous it was because my milk was not in yet.  I had a bit of colostrum but I would pump and pump to try to tell my body to kick in and if I got two ounces collectively, I felt like a champ!  I would walk my little two ounces down to the nurses station and present it to them like I had just won a grand prize! (I would let Jazmine go to the nursery at night).

Our first doctor’s appointment went well.  The pediatrician’s office we chose came highly recommended. Several family members and friends went there and still do.  The pediatrician we saw that day, Dr. Berkowitz, had been one that some of Brian’s family members had seen for 20 years.  He was very nice and encouraging. He said we needed to come back in a few days to check Jazmine’s weight.

I assumed we would be seeing Dr. Berkowitz again.  WRONG! We saw Dr. Feldman.  He told me some things to do that would help Jazmine gain more weight (switch breast every 10 minutes).  That information went against all that I learned from Amber, my LLL leader, and all I had read.  I asked him about nursing long enough to get the hind milk before switching breast.  He disagreed with me and told me to come in in a few days to have her weight checked again. I listened to the doctor because I was scared.  The hospital had already threatened that they would not release Jazmine if she did not gain some of her weight back to put her higher than 10% loss of birth weight.  Out of that fear, we supplemented her nursing with formula for a few feedings just so we could get out of the hospital.  I was afraid that if Jazmine didn’t start gaining weight enough to be normal, her pediatrician would have her go back to the hospital.

The next appointment in the time frame he wanted her seen was a Saturday.  He was working at another office further away Saturday.  I made the appointment for that office and showed up bright and early at 8:30AM.  Once inside our patient room, I saw Dr. Feldman go by.  He looked at me, my husband, and Jazmine and walked right by.  I thought he was gathering his patient file etc and would be coming back in to see her.  WRONG!  I was seen by Dr. Scott-McKinney.

Dr. Scott-McKinney is an awesome doctor.  She has excellent bedside manner and she is thorough. Her appointment went well. My milk had come in and she had gained weight.  My husband said he wanted Jazmine to see her from now on.

I didn’t make the switch.  We saw Dr. Feldman many more times up until last week.  I endured a lot from him.  This is not to say that he is a bad doctor but my experience with him is that if you do anything against what he would prefer, his demeanor towards you changes and he expresses his opinions of your decisions.  For example, at Jazmine’s four-month check up, he asked what milk she was on.  I said breast milk.  He said to Jazmine (I hate it when people talk to the baby to speak their personal opinions to the parent(s).  It’s passive aggressive behavior and I HATE IT!  It is a poor attempt to be confrontational yet non-threatening. It never works.), “Your mother is a glutton for punishment.”  How Rude!

We’ve had issues with Dr. Feldman because we didn’t want Jazmine to get the chicken pox vaccine nor the flu shot for our own reasons.  He told me on our most recent visit that he said my decision (about the flu vaccine specifically) was a bad one.  His demeanor completely changed.  He ended the appointment and left room.  Now, granted, our visit was just about up anyway.  Shots are the last thing discussed at our appointments but I could still feel the finality of his statements in his actions.

There are other stories in between.  Some appointments went well which is why I think it took two and a half years for me to cut ties with him.  I kept trying to change him? Change his opinion of me?  Change his opinion of my mothering choices?

I don’t care anymore.  I like the parenting decisions we, my husband and I, have made. The only thing I want to dread going to a doctor’s appointment is Jazmine fitting out during her shots; not the doctor.

Today, I made the call and found out that the only thing I need to do to see Dr. Scott-McKinney is request her.  Will do.

PS. Within 2-3 weeks after Jazmine’s birth, I was pumping at least 4 ounces from each breast in ten minutes!  Rockstar tatas baby!

Oh My Gosh. It’s Only January!

I’m at a loss for words.  It’s been something every week.  Concerns about my health one week, questioning relationships another week, second guessing the Word this past week and it’s only January!

My health is fine.  I had several concerns which prompted a trip to the doctor’s office and some blood test.  All is well but I have to slow down.  I have always operated at a sprinters pace.  Now, I must learn how to be a long distance runner.

When people respond to me in a different manner than usual, I often think of what I could have done that they might have found offensive.  I have just now come to understand for myself, that my “offense” is not a flaw in my personality or an unwanted character trait.  My submission to Christ is my “offense”.  I can stand alone for that reason.  My relationships are fine.  As I grow and change, people can and will decide wether or not they want to remain around me.  Their decision is fine with me.

The Word is true!  (It is comical to me that each and every time I question something in the Word, I ALWAYS come back to know that the Word is true!  It’s a blessing but you would think I’d know better by now.  Geesh!)  I have to get my thoughts in line with what the Word says.   Instead of reconciling the thoughts of the world to the Bible, I accept the Bible and throw out the thoughts of the world.

I don’t know what else 2011 has in store, but I tell you what!  It’s been a humdinger so far!