Tuesday, May 27, 2014

One Week Later

Almost a month and a half ago my body must have decided it had a great dislike for my comfort. The pains on my lower left side were reminiscent of pains I had two years ago that caused me to lose my right ovary. I ignored them, berated them, angered over them, and finally accepted them.  After a few missed days from work and consult with my doctor I had what seemed to be 3 options in front of Casey and me. None were an easy path.
Option 1: Get pregnant FAST! Now to some this may seem like a no-brainer. Casey and I want to be parents. We have been offered support and love from family members. We have dear friends who have benefited and had blessed results from fertility treatments. What could be the harm? Why wasn't this the logical answer? Well... It just wasn't. It wasn't a good fit for us. The same way surrogacy wasn't a good fit. I had medical concerns about my faulty womb. Spending that amount of money and investing so much hope only to have my body reject a fetus was asking a lot. How do I know it would do that? Well I have a track record. Chemical pregnancies as well as a family line of miscarriage and heartbreak. I truly did not think I could emotionally, physically, or mentally (and right truthfully financially) handle a let down of that proportion. Casey felt the same. We had tried some fertility treatments before and it is a difficult journey. Anyone who has endured the ups and downs of treatments understands. We had to rule that option out. It hurt. So very badly did it hurt to admit that although someday we would HAVE children, I would not BEAR those children. It was through much prayers and soul searching that we determined that although it was painful, there is no easy way to be a parent and the Lord would provide the right path for us if we put our trust in Him. Someday I will post more on how children's movies helped me a lot in learning that families are built in many different ways. To name a few as silly as they may be, Tarzan, Lilo & Stitch, and Up.
Option 2: Hormonal Therapy: Now doesn't that sound just awesome. To be honest I've been doing HRT since I was about 14. I have always had to be on some kind of hormonal medication in order to function. Either to prevent cysts, or to stop endometriosis from growing, or to keep me sane, I've needed it. I've gone off of it only to try to have children. Only with the hopes that my body would work properly. It is that sense of hope I had that was so dangerous. I know that sounds incredibly dramatic and self indulgent. But it's true. While on drugs I would think to myself, "if I can just be off of them for 6 months or more without a problem, maybe we can pursue pregnancy." I would do that. A problem would arise. I would go back on them. It was a really crappy cycle. To remain on them sounded exhausting. Honestly I was already tired. I didn't like the idea of doing that loop-de-loop any more before everything broke down anyway.  Also if I was to graduate my hormones to big girl status to really fight my disease I would get the joys of a "false" menopause. Bone density loss, possible facial hair growth and several other not so fun results. Oh please sign me up. Being on temporary hormones also kept me from committing or admitting that maybe pregnancy wasn't the answer for us. It's hard to focus on adoption paperwork when in the back of your mind you think there may still be a way.
Option 3: Hysterectomy/Oopherectomy: So ominous. So scary. So final. It was the finality of this option that caused me to pause. It required full commitment to something drastic and some consider needless. It also meant I would STILL be on freaking HRT! Only this time it was for real menopause. Menopause?!? At age 30.
What the frak?
When you look up menopause you see things like, weight gain, mood swings, hot flashes... And that is just a few bits of the fun. Is THAT worth it? Given with only one ovary I was more than likely to go into early menopause anyway just as my mother had. In a way I'm envious of her. This sounds awful but at least she didn't have a choice. She didn't have to weigh the options and pick a course of action. No instead her broken and beaten body completely rebelled and she had no choice at 23 but to go under the knife. I'm not saying her way was better or easier. I just wish at times my analytical mind wouldn't have to come into play.
Anyway, with all that fun ahead of me a person might think, then WHY would you consider this surgery?
Doesn't it seem like the worst choice of the three?

To others it would be. For some it may have been the middle choice. For me, it was the best option for my family and myself. Does that make it easy or painless. Absolutely not. Believe me there has been much pain. Less emotional that I originally thought. I only had one or two moment of overwhelming emotion. But for the most part this decision brought about more peace than I had had in years. It closed the door on option one so completely that it felt as if a weight had been lifted. It laughed comically at option two. If I was going to have to be in menopause it would be real dammit.
It made me consider who I really am. 
I am not anything more or less than what I was before a surgical knife administered the first cut.
I still have my laugh and sense of humor. My eyes still change color based on what I'm wearing. My heart still hopes to nurture, love, support, and give kindness to others. I am me. With or without my womb.

A week later I am, okay. My incisions still ache. My mobility is limited. I am very tired.
But I am a peace with our decision of surgery. I like that now is the time to move forward and trust myself, my dear husband, and the Lord. I am moved by the sympathy and tenderness others have shown me. I am grateful and incredibly blessed.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

My lack of Blog

The days are long, the years are short. - Gretchen Rubin

Time is flying right? I was just barely adjusting to October and feeling ready for Halloween fun when in a flash it was over and now we are looking strait into Thanksgiving, Birthdays, and shopping insanity! All my good intentions are getting carried away in the cold gusts of air that fall is bringing.

I wish in the hustle and bustle I had more to report on. Nope.
I have a new calling in Primary teaching CTR 6. They are a fun albeit hyper class. I'm excited though because I needed a little sweet simple gospel in my life at this time. It kind of rejuvenates my spirit to get back to the basic truths that my testimony is founded on.

Casey is now on a different catalog at school so hopefully he will graduate next fall semester. Crossing fingers eyes and toes for that one. We are BOTH very ready for him to be done with school. Given he wants his masters after that but for now we are just happy that he may be finished sooner what his current education.

I drew Casey's blood for the first time last week. It was a little nerve wracking. For him because ya know, needles.... For me because of his fears I didn't want to mess up and add to those fears. He told me that after the initial sting of the poke he didn't feel anything and that it was a really good experience. I think it was for both of us. I find it harder to draw loved ones. I've now drawn my mother and my husband. I think I could take on any other family or friend now with the exception of my father. That would be to much for me right now. Not sure why.

Speaking of parents they are hopefully coming up for my BDay/Thanksgiving! I currently have a long list of household tasks to complete before they come.
Maybe I should start on that......another long day lol

Big love,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wish I had a Clever Title

So lately it seems every post on here is either about A.) Blood, blood donations, blood banking, working at a blood bank, etc. or B.) My cats....
Wow, I mean that is super exciting! lol

Honestly nothing more has happened lately. Today at the blood bank I did my first draw on a donor. Complete success! Hooray for all!!! It's nerve wracking, not because I'm nervous to poke someone with a needle but there are so many more steps to it. Someone asked me today outside work, what's the difference? I like to say they are two different animals. Clinical phlebotomy (what I learned in school) is a lion. Blood donation phlebotomy (what I'm working in now) is a tiger. Both are awesome but now I'm adjusting to having stripes.  Each day I work here I love it more and more. It's a positive atmosphere with people who encourage you to have success. For someone of my mind frame that is huge.

Nothing else new with the cats either...Two of them went to the vet today for routine checkups, teeth cleaning, so on, the other two will go next month.

So what to talk about? Father's Day was nice. I got to talk to my dad quickly before he went off to bed. We also got to have dinner at my in laws and spend time with my father in law. I had a thought that evening of how blessed I have been in my life to have men of honor, integrity, humor, strength, and love be a part of it. Not only my own dad and my FIL, but for other men such as my so called adopted dad Greg, my Uncles Gene and Don, my Godfather Jock, Gramps, and my wonderful Uncle Albert. So many amazing men have shown me what a real man is in different ways. I get to add to that list my loving husband. Although we haven't had the joy of children yet enter our lives he constantly exemplifies what I want in the father of my children. And he pushes me to be the type of woman I want/need to be. It's a wonderful blessing.

Well that's about it. Sorry for the short post but I just wanted to give a quick update. We have been very blessed as of late but nothing really has changed that needs reporting. To any who read this, thank you and I love you. Til next time!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

So far in Spokane...

I am now two weeks into training for INBC in Spokane, WA. So far it's been really nice..... overwhelming but nice.....
Our first few days we spent talking with reps from HR about benifits, rules, so on and on and on and on.... We had the opportunity to observe (and even help a little) at a large blood drive at a high school in Spokane last Friday as well. The organized chaos of this company is amazing. It looks like everything is hectic and insane but it's all for a purpose when setting up. It was pretty awesome.
This week we have mostly been working on training in donor histories. You know when you go to donate blood and they double check your questionnaire and then take your vitals and what not to confirm you eligable? That's what we are working on right now. Go figure Heather does not do well with "donors" who are slightly confrontational. I think I'm so worried about making matters worse that my flight syndrom kicks in. Now some who have known me in the past may be calling B! S! because once upon a time I didn't seem to have a problem calling someone out, or responding. But with age and different life experiences I have figured out that when I DO respond to someone who is confrontational it usually just makes things worse and it's best to just not get into that situation at all. I don't like the negative adrenaline that I feel is associated with confrontation. Our trainer is working with me so that adrenaline level can eventually just get lower and lower until I'm no longer feeling that way. Some of you may be thinking "if people are volunteering to donate blood, why would they get confrontational?" Well short answer, not everyone is patient with our process, and we ask A LOT of personal questions that deal with risky behavior. So there ya go.
We have also worked a little on QC (quality checks.) Next week we get to actually do them and it will count! I'm so excited to be on the floor and doing something for real!

The only down side to this is being away from Casey all week long. This weekend is kind of a bust too because I got home last night and he had to leave today for meeting in....SPOKANE! lol Happily I have Memorial day off so we get SOME time together before I head back up yonder.
I haven't ventured out very much in Spokane. I'm not the biggest fan of the town. But I have had the opportunity
to go to the Temple and take pictures. Next week I want to go downtown to do the same.

It was such a relaxing thing to do. To walk around temple grounds and see all the beauty there.

I am excited to go back next week to finish training in Spokane for a while. Then I get to be here at home for two weeks to train in the facility here. I'm super excited to do that! Then one more week up in Spokane and the the rest of my job training will be in Lewiston.
I'm making some good friends and so far I have met a ton of nice people with this company. It isn't like they all have care bear DNA or anything but it's as if we each have that underlying goal to promote blood donations and be a part of something bigger than we each are. The result is a positive atmosphere full of respect and pleasantness. I love that.
Well until next time!

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Tragic Tail....

So yesterday was full on crazy. We had a great day a church. A nice dinner of breakfast items. And a cat that needed part of her tail amputated.

Let me back up.
We got home last night about 6:30 from a friends house. We were going about our business at home of some chores and what not. All the cats were underfoot. It's the norm here. Anyway, I went to go to the bathroom and our kitty Hazelnut was sitting outside the door. (She always has sat there. She likes it for some reason.) Casey was on the outside of the bathroom in that hall and we both went to close the door.
Then we heard a screech like a hell-beast on fire.
Poor little Hazelnut had flicked her tail into the crack of the door and when it shut, it shut on her tail.
Now normally cats can have a little accident like this and nothing really happens. It's like shutting your finger in a door. It doesn't always end in tragedy. I guess this was not one of those simple moments.
For whatever reason all we can figure is she panicked and tried to pull her tail out. Well by doing so she stripped it of about 3 inches worth of skin, muscle and fur so the bone was completely exposed.
Casey called the vets emergency line and grabbed her carrier. (Well not really her's. Cuzco's carrier was closer but we didn't really care at that point.) I went to catch her. She was hiding and shaking and bleeding in our bedroom. How fun right? I wrapped her up in a towel and got her into the carrier. We then said a quick prayer and off we went. I explained on the phone to the emergency line what happened but she had her tail tucked so far we didn't really get to see the damage until later. We also called my father in law just in case our heads were to pumped full of adrenaline to think clearly. Although outwardly I was pretty calm and so was Casey there was just an edge of panic I could feel.
We then got to the vets office. It took our vet about 10 minutes to show up. The weekend worker had Hazelnut all checked in and ready for him so as soon as we got there he only had to weigh her and listen to her heart. He pronounced her a very healthy kitty minus the obvious injury. He then explained the procedure he was going to have to do. He would have to amputate from the top of the healthiest not exposed vertebrae. He then said that we could pick her up in the morning. My FIL also stated we may not want to see this. I brazenly proclaimed it wouldn't bother me, and that I would stay with her. I hated the idea of her being alone during surgery and then alone all night. The weekend person had left and I didn't even see any other animals. I couldn't leave her without making sure after surgery she was comfortable (as possible) and okay.  Casey gave me a glance and said he would stay for the surgery too. (That honestly made me nervous. My husband does NOT do well with needles, and cutting, and medical stuff.)
I held her while the vet sedated her. He made small chit-chat. Casey at some point mentioned my phlebotomy certification and the fact blood and other stuff really doesn't bother me. The vet then smiled and said, "Well if you are comfortable with medical things, and you promise not to call me all night long, I see no reason you can't take her home with you after so she doesn't have to be here alone." Exactly what I was worried about. I promised I wouldn't bug him until the morning and he laughed.
When he shaved her tail it showed the damage went farther than we all thought. I held her tail for him (even though I know he was capable to doing everything on his own. I think he just wanted to make me feel useful.) He cleaned it. (That part DID make me wince. I know she was out, but the idea of cleaning exposed bone just makes me shudder.) Then he put on a tourniquet and I held her tail up while he talked out loud of each step he was doing. Cutting down the muscle and skin, cutting around this vertebrae, so on so forth.
Casey was given the job of making the carrier a comfy place for her to ride home in. He didn't watch the icky part, and I don't blame him one bit.
After her stitches were finished and everything was cleaned up we then found out I had left my wallet (and our money to pay for the surgery) at home. He then joked that we could come back in the morning and pay. After all Dr. Bell (the other vet at their office) knew where I lived. (She made a house call a few months ago to update all their shots.)
We got her home and settled in the bathroom. It's dark and quiet and a great place for her to rest. It's also one of her favorite places in the house.
Taken only a couple days ago. She loves to sleep in the sink.  What a cute tip of her tail huh?
I'm home from work today to keep an eye out. Right now she is snoozing in the cat tree in the living room near Blitzen, Cuzco, and Izabel.

It's so nice when they are like this and not torturing each other.

We are trying to have a happy mix of quiet alone time for her, and being with the rest of the family to her spirits stay up. A lot of people don't realize that while in recovery many cats can get depressed and it makes it hard for them to heal. So she needs to be with the other cats but a few times I've had to put her back in her hiding place because like anybody who has just had a trauma and is healing, she gets cranky after a while.
Taken today. Poor Hazelnut. She's got a stub.

We both feel terrible for this happening. It was an accident sure but it sucks still. It's silly but when I think of how her tail used to be only a day ago I want to cry. She was so cute with her tail. You would always be able to tell how happy she was because it would stick up and have a question mark curl at the end. She also liked to wrap it around your legs. I feel horrible because she was supposed to come into our home to have a better life. But she still purrs when we pet her, and chirps, and I know she will recover. I just wish she didn't have to.


Friday, April 26, 2013

New Job!

So this is where I will be working soon!

I am so excited/grateful/blessed that I have this opportunity. It's one of those things that I am truly humbled by.

Once upon a time my mother became very ill and needed a blood transfusion. I've had other loved ones that have needed it as well, or needed plasma, or platelets. So when I was of age I started donating blood. I admit my reasons were not always selfless. Um, YOU GET COOKIES?! Yeah, if dessert is involved I'm usually there. I also did it because sick as this sounds I have always been fascinated by blood. Even as a little kid I thought it was cool. If I happened to hurt myself playing or riding my bike or whatever, even if it hurt I couldn't help but stare at my wound with fascination. How the body can regenerate and heal itself is amazing!
So anyway, I also wanted to feel cool like I helped someone who might need it. I know, I know, not the most generous of motives. But gradually as I learned about blood donation and about my own blood type (All O Neg say AYE-YO!) I realized the great importance of blood donation.

Here is a link to INBC's page that can give a ton of info to anyone who wants to know more. My fingers would get cramped if I tried to type all of it here! lol

So anyway, after learning some of these facts I realized how important a service it was to donate blood. For me personally I feel the need also because my blood type can go to anyone, although it is ideal to receive your specific blood type. I decided because of that I would donate any chance I got. And I have. There have been times when because of medication or other I haven't been able to and that always made me sad. This is one thing in my life that I know my service is valuable.
After moving here 6 years ago I decided I register my name with INBC. It's not that I'm against the Red Cross or any other organization, I've donated with other places too. And I can say I've never had a bad experience. I just liked the atmosphere if INBC, so I've stuck with them.
I'm not sure why I never thought of pursuing phlebotomy as a career before where I am so passionate about blood donation. For one I didn't even know that it was called. I also thought for a long time it was nurses who did the procedure so I knew I wasn't up for that! But then about this time last year I saw an ad in the paper for the INBC for a phlebotomist. I called and asked a ton of questions about what the job was and how someone got certified for that. Well it turned out our very own LCSC had a course I could take. (Right place, right time, right frame of mind? Yes indeed.) We actually have two colleges you can take the course from up here. The Clarkston branch of the Walla Walla Community College also teaches it.
For years I had been searching for something I could gain an education and actually use in real life so I thought, hey this is a trade I would love to learn! And I did. It was hard but rewarding. But also nerve wracking. Because two colleges serve to train people in clinical phlebotomy there aren't often jobs open in this area.
I was more than nervous about the fact I had spent a lot of money on a education that I might lose my skills in if I didn't use them soon. I had several job interviews and nothing was working out. I was frustrated and angry with myself. I felt like a failure. Happily my Heavenly Father has a bigger perspective than me.
I've had to wait a year to donate because of traveling to Mexico. (See former posts about what happened when I was finally able to go again.)
Ta-da! It's been a trial of patience for sure. Two interviews, a quick check from previous employers and such, filling out a ton of paperwork, a drug screen, and now waiting on Texas to show in my final background check that I'm not some criminal freak. Once all of that is finished I go to Spokane May 13 to start my training. Over about 8 weeks they will have me training in the procedure for blood donation. (In class I learned more for clinical venipuncture.)  This is a whole different monster.

I am going to be 30 this year. I know that isn't old but I thought I would have more under my belt by now in way of experience in life. I finally feel like I might be on the right track. I will be doing a job I love that helps others. I have felt for a long time that if I could have a career where I help people, and maybe leave the world a little better each day then I would be truly happy. I am grateful for my time in our family business. They have had a lot of patience with me, but I am so excited to move forward and feel rewarded at the end of each day. That's not to say it's going to be easy or perfect. Then it wouldn't be so fulfilling.

My challenge to anyone who reads this is two things.
1 - If you are eligible take a look at donating blood if you haven't before. If you've had a bad experience from someone who is inexperienced doing the procedure try again.  If you are unable to give blood look into ways you can help your community blood banks. If it is a local organization or a national one it never hurts to ask, and most of them always need volunteers.
2 - Find what fulfills your heart. None of us are immune to feeling underwhelmed with our lives. I'm sure we each have moments were we don't think our real potential is being met. But that's the beauty of this world. We are never to old or young to see what we want to be. I encourage all of you to examine yourself and then find a way to be truly happy. You deserve it. If the way isn't clear, take tiny steps ahead but keep moving forward.

Thank you everyone who has supported me and pushed me and even held me back at times. It's brought me to where I am today and that's a good place to be.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Give Me a P!

What does P stand for you may ask? Well....
Prayer, patience, phlebotomy, Personal Progress and post-stress.

The last couple of weeks have been interesting ones. I received a new calling to be an adviser in Young Womens. I was also asked to accept the assignment to be Ward Camp Director again. (Luckily this year is Stake Camp so I don't have AS much to do.) However I have to get a lot done before Stake Camp and I only have about 8 weeks to do it in. That's a little crazy. I know it will all come together but it still makes me nervous. I was camp director once before and although I loved it I hoped to never have to do it again....lol
I got cleared to donate blood again! Yay!
That may seem like a weird thing to get excited for but I feel good when I donate. Plus I gotta say (and maybe this is sick and wrong) but I miss being around the venipuncture procedure. It's not as though I'm some psycho (huh that also starts with a P though...) that enjoys getting stabbed with a needle. I have no obsession with vampires, I just feel like a good person when I do it.  After we went to Mexico I found out that I had to wait a year to be eligable because we were in a malaria zone. Bummer. But I was cleared and was just waiting until I had time to dedicate to the blood bank.
I got off work earlier than usual one day and was running errands to the bank and what not. Well in my head I heard, "you should go donate blood."
At times like this you can think of things two different ways. One as though a mosquito was buzzing in your ear and you want to shoo it off, or two as a prompting. I suppose someone may also justify that it was just a thought I had in the back of my head that carried over to the surface but lets forget that option for a moment shall we? My reaction was to swat at the mosquito thought. I literally shook my head and said, "no, not today. I just don't feel like it." Then very clearly in my head I thought/felt/heard whatever, "no you NEED to go donate blood today." Then images of me being 16 and ignoring a prompting popped into my head and images of the car accident that resulted. UGH! I thought. FINE!
So I went to the blood bank on a prompting/whim. I'm not sure why I didn't want to go initially  Like I said I enjoy donating blood. It gives me a sense of purpose. I enjoy being around professional phlebotomists, it keeps my hopes of one day working in that atmosphere alive. I enjoy the Inland Northwest Blood Center because they always have wonderful treats afterwards and they are genuinely nice people and it's what got me interested in phlebotomy in the first place.
I grabbed a quick bite and went to the donation center. Almost the moment I walked in and confirmed I was there to donate, one of the main phlebotomists Maria looked and me and went  "OH! Great now I know your name. Jose and I were trying to think of it. We have some job openings that are coming up and we think you should apply unless you are already at the path lab or something?"
Hmmmmmmm..... maybe I avoided the car wreck this time?.......
I mailed in a lengthy applications and all the extra paper info I thought they may need the next day. Early this week I had a phone interview and Wednesday an in person interview that took nearly 2 hours with a three person panel asking me questions, as well as me doing a written Q&A.
I don't know if I will get this job. I don't even exactly know if that's the reason I felt prompted to go in there that day. But I do know that if I hadn't followed that prompting I probably wouldn't have had such a good opportunity otherwise. Or maybe someone just really needed my nice O- blood.
But this interview at the very least has excited me. I did really well in my interview. Does that mean I'm a shoe in? No. They can always hire someone with more experience or better qualifications. But it renewed a sense of capability I had been lacking for a while. I've had a few job interviews for phlebotomy since I finished school. I've had some exciting prospects. And each time I was left feeling deflated and discouraged. The difference in this interview was I left feeling challenged and excited. Maybe if not this time than another time? I'm more hopeful than I've been in a long time.

Through this process of receiving a new calling, new assignment, and the hope of my new career I've had to greatly rely upon prayer. I've lost count of the silent and vocal pleas I have shared with my Father in Heaven. I've sought council with Him, my husband, and my family to de-stress and overcome what felt like very overwhelming things going on in my life.

Another thing that has helped me focus on a bigger picture is the fact I am able to work on Personal Progress again as I am in Young Womens once more. I didn't have the inclination or drive as a youth to complete it. The program has changed so very much from that time though and I am encouraged and happy that I may complete it. I hate leaving things unfinished. It kind of drives me nuts. Even if those things don't really seem like a bit deal.

I'm working on the patience and post stress. I'm learning to delegate and take time to breathe. The experiences of the last couple weeks have taught me that it doesn't do any good to not get sleep over these things. It wont fix the problem, nor will it simplify it. It will only make you have a raging headache in the morning on TOP of trying to come up with a solution. I may be finally learning to place things in the Lords hands. I have to do my part of course and not procrastinate. But He certainly will help me shoulder any burden that is placed before me.

In other news this month....
I LOVED General Conference!
Izzy is now a year old and so very precious to us. (I haven't had time for pictures.) :(
Casey has confirmed he is double majoring and then plans on a masters degree.
 So that it in our lives!!!!