Tonsils and Adenoids, Oh My!

Easton on Easter 2014

Easton on Easter 2014

My little guy Easton will be having surgery on Wednesday. He will have his adenoids and tonsils removed. I am a wreck about it. He’s not the first in the family to have this done. Owen had his tonsils and adenoids removed when he was 5, in 2008; I had my tonsils removed in the fall of 2012; and Macy had her tonsils removed when she was 12, in December of 2012. And I think that is what is making this worse for me. I KNOW what he is in for, and therefore, what WE are in for.

With Owen, I was blissfully unaware of what to expect. And he was easy! He had– and has– an unbelievable pain tolerance. It was bad for 3-4 days. And then he rapidly improved. His surgery was very necessary because his tonsils were so large that they caused him to snore so loudly and stop breathing in his sleep.

With me, I was MISERABLE for 14 days. It was so bad that I SWORE I would never subject one of my kids to this again! I felt horribly guilty for having put Owen through it, even though I knew it was medically necessary. I regretted doing it to myself also. I second guessed how bad my tonsils were to begin with, even though they were pretty darn bad. I didn’t feel normal again for at least a month after the surgery.

Next, with Macy, it was a difficult decision. Her surgery was authorized for an unconventional reason: tonsil stones. Her tonsils were much larger than average, and very cryptic. These holes in her tonsils would produce a ball of bacteria puss that she could feel in the back of her throat. These things were such an ordeal for her. She would act like a cat with a hair ball: coughing and choking and gagging until one would dislodge. This would happen 3-5 times a week. Many times it happened at school, especially when she was playing her instrument. It was so embarrassing for her. Then she would be tasked with trying to discreetly dispose of this smelly, gross, bacteria puss ball. The doctor was very sympathetic. He said that the tonsil stones would probably get worse as she got older if her tonsils continued to grow. He said that some people would unexpectedly have these tonsil stones go shooting out of their mouths at inappropriate and inopportune times, with no warning whatsoever!! He explained how bad the recovery from surgery would be, but he guaranteed she would never have another tonsil stone again. He said that at 12 years old she was old enough to decide for herself if she wanted the surgery. I’ll be honest, I tried to talk her out of it. I knew how bad it was. But she wanted to go ahead with it. Her recovery was closer to my experience. She was miserable for almost a full 2 weeks. She regretted her decision to have the surgery. But then she got better, her throat healed, and she was glad she would never have another tonsil stone again.

So that brings me to Easton. Why does he need this surgery? Since he turned 3 I have brought up his speech at his yearly well-check. And 2 years in a row we have gone for speech therapy evaluations. Each time being told that he has some delays, but they are within normal for his age. For over 3 years, I have watched as people look to me to “translate” what he is saying to them or constantly ask him to repeat something. It was so sad! Lately, if someone would ask him “What?” he would say, “Forget it.” It was frustrating for him and heartbreaking for me. He had ideas that he couldn’t convey and gave up trying! So I continued to advocate for him. At his 5 year well-check, I brought it up again and the doctor ordered another speech therapy evaluation (his third in 3 years!) and a hearing test. The hearing test came first. The tech who did it was amazing! Turns out, he had one when he was 3 too that I forgot about. But even though he technically passed both tests, she noted that he had trouble hearing a certain range both times. She went back and read a note on the first test that said he had a cold when tested and probably had fluid in his ears. This time he didn’t currently have a cold, but had the same results. She looked in his ears and did not see any fluid, even though his current result also looked like he could have it. She asked me about his speech issues. She asked me about how many colds he gets (A LOT… almost continual colds). Then she said, “My ‘Mommy Senses’ are telling me that something more is going on with him. I’m going to have the ENT doctor look at him, even though I normally don’t refer patients who technically pass.” So a week later we see the pediatric ENT who agreed with the hearing test tech. He was quite confident that it was Easton’s adenoids that were pushing on his eustachian tubes and causing the hearing issues and thus, the speech issues, and also the reason he was sick all the time. The doctor also commented that the entire time Easton was in the exam room, he breathed 100% with his mouth open, which I never thought about, but he always does. He said that is a sign of enlarged adenoids and that it can lead to other issues with his palate development and teeth. He ordered an x-ray to confirm, but scheduled the surgery before getting the results, he was that confident. He recommended taking his tonsils at the same time because his were enlarged and because of our strong family history of tonsil issues. He said he might as well do both now, than have to do a second surgery later. I reluctantly agreed. A few days later the doctor emailed to inform us that the x-ray showed that Easton’s adenoids were extremely enlarged and blocking 80-85% of his nasal passage. My poor guy! No wonder he was having so many issues.

So here we are, less than 33 hours away from Easton’s surgery. And I am so sad for him. Not only does he not have anywhere close to the pain tolerance Owen had at his age, he has a completely different personality. Where Owen was a loud, outgoing, and carefree 5 year old; Easton is a shy, sensitive, and often-times anxious 5 year old. He already hates going to the doctor because of shots and blood draws, how is he going to react to this?

We finally told him tonight and he predictably FREAKED OUT. He hid under the table. Said he wasn’t going to do it. And cried. We tried to find out what he was really scared of, but it really came down to all of the unknowns of it. I tried to give him more information, using age-appropriate language, but he wasn’t even able to listen without getting more upset. We talked to him about all the popsicles and ice cream he will get to eat afterwards, but he wasn’t listening. The best thing was just to stop talking about it and move on to something else. I hope that he’ll try to process it over the next 24 hours and maybe have some questions that we can calmly answer for him. I have accepted that he’s never going to be excited or happy to go, but this surgery is necessary to improve his quality of life, and it is my job as his mom to just get him to it and then get him through it. It is not about me. It is about him. And he will be fine.

The One Where My Son is Joey

Owen, almost 11, uses finger quotes incorrectly and inappropriately all the time. He did it today and it reminded me of the time he did it in such a spectacular fashion that I just knew I had to write about it. Because, before this incident, I would have never thought the use of air quotes could cause me to feel such rage. I mean, come on, they’re just a finger gesture, right?

On Sunday October, 20, 2013, Owen fell while playing football in the street. He hit the back of head so hard he sustained a mild concussion. Part of his discharge instructions called for a week of “Brain Rest.” (Those are real quotes, not finger quotes… yet.) Brain Rest involves complete rest of the brain. That means no reading, writing, tv, or electronics. He was allowed to return to school on the third day, but he was just supposed to listen. (Although, now that I think about this, doesn’t listening use the brain too? I don’t know now. It made sense at the time. It was so he wouldn’t get too far behind in his school work.) Our pediatrician was very adamant about the benefits of Brain Rest because she had just gone to a seminar about it. I guess it is a new-ish recommendation and not yet universal. It is supposed to speed the healing of the brain.

Owen returned to school on Wednesday. He, of course, was very excited about not having to do any work. I walked him to school in the morning to explain to his teacher in person Owen’s restrictions and give him the doctor’s note in person. The teacher was fine about it and we discussed some new deadlines for projects and things. It didn’t seem like a big deal at all.

When Owen came home from school I asked him how his day went. He said it was fine and that he was bored most of the day. He then told me a story about how the principal came and sat next to him during class. She asked him about what he did to get a concussion. She also asked him about what “Brain Rest” was. Owen used finger quotes. Then he said he felt like the principal didn’t believe he was really hurt. He laughed it off, as Owen does. He thinks everything is amusing or funny in someway. He was in no way offended at the idea that the principal didn’t believe him.

But I was! What I took from her conversation with Owen is that she wanted to know if he was really hurt and if “Brain Rest” (FINGER QUOTES!) was a real thing. I was so irate! We gave them a doctor’s note! The doctor’s note explained what his Brain Rest restrictions were. If she had a question about this she should have called us! How dare she! I called my husband to bitch about this principal. I talked to my mom about it. I was really worked up about it. THE NERVE of her.

The next day, Owen overheard me retelling the story to a friend. And at the part when I talk about the principal using finger quotes, he interrupted, “Um, Mommy, Mrs. XYZ didn’t use finger quotes when I talked to her. I just did that when I told you the story. Is that bad?”

Yep, that’s my Joey Owen. I have tried to teach him the correct use, but it has so far proved impossible. I just completely discourage his use of them at all.

Finger quotes

Owen Easter 2014



So, I haven’t been writing a lot. I’ve been busy feeling the feelings and thinking about writing. And there have been a lot of feelings. All over the place types of feelings. I know that blogging isn’t like it used to be. So I feel torn about writing about all these feelings here. But I write this thing for me. I want to document my feelings. My changes. My growth.

My growth.

I have been so busy lately beating myself up about basically quitting on my weight-loss journey that I have sunken into a pretty horrible depression. It totally follows my typical depression cycles. Staying up late. Disengaging from household duties. Over-engaging in mind-numbing activities (phone games, twitter, tv shows, books). Sleeping as much as I can during the day. Doing the bare minimum to sustain a family life.

When I’m in these cycles I am miserable and I know I am making everyone else miserable, but I don’t or can’t care enough to stop. Which makes me mad at myself… even when I’m in the middle of it, I hate it and therefore hate myself. Which perpetuates the cycle.

The weirdest thing helped me want to break this latest cycle. And a HUGE part of me is embarrassed by what made me want to snap out of it. I’m talking, head shaking, tear inducing embarrassment. I thought I wanted to write about it. But as I went to type the words I was too embarrassed. Huh. I can still surprise myself. (Aside: embarrassment, or avoiding embarrassment, is a very big motivator for me. It is so big that I get extremely uncomfortable watching other people embarrassing themselves, which is why I don’t watch Reality TV. I feel their embarrassment. Which I try to avoid at any cost. So why would I watch something that makes me feel that?)

So what is my take away from this embarrassing thing that snapped me out of my depressive state? It doesn’t matter it what IT actually is. It just matters that I use it and run with the feelings it stirred up and get myself out of this miserable condition.

This is how my thought process went:


I’m fat and old and unworthy of even THINKING about this embarrassing thing.>>

Wait. Are those things true?>> Fat? Yes. I am obese. But not obese enough to qualify for gastric bypass via my HMO. Stupid HMO.>>

Old? Well, not really. I’m going to be 39 in a few weeks, which means I am going to be 40 in a little over a year. I have a lot of good years ahead. I am technically not old, despite saying it and feeling it.>>

Unworthy? Why have I never realized that unworthy is how I have felt most of my life? This is the way I feel about everything in my life. Not just about EMBARRASSING THOUGHT.>>

Wow. I think if I were in therapy this would be a break-through moment!>>

How do I use this realization to change my feeling of unworthiness?


So because of the above thoughts, I went from thinking EMBARRASSING THOUGHT to wanting to feel worthy and make changes in my life. All of a sudden, I want to refuse to accept that the rest of my life is going to be a continuation of the miserable feelings I feel on a nearly constant basis because of my unworthiness. I want to change the things in my life that I am unhappy with. I realize and accept that it has to start with me. I’m starting to want some big goals for myself. That is a new feeling. I know I won’t accomplish those goals if I don’t feel worthy of them. How do I make myself feel worthy?

I’m not completely sure but I’m going to start with the following:

  • Tell myself I’m worthy at least 3 times a day.
  • Live like I feel worthy.
  • Take steps to change the things I am miserable about. (Everything in my depressive cycle. My weight. Current family dynamic.)
  • Start DREAMING BIG! (I have BIG GOALS that I’m scared to think about because I feel so unworthy. I am WORTHY! I can accomplish them!)

February, Already????

And almost mid-February, at that. Geesh.

I have felt All The Feelings and had all the ups and downs for a whole year in these first few weeks of 2014.

I need to recap some biggies here before I forget.

January started and I was feeling SO MOTIVATED to get healthy. I mean it. FULLY MOTIVATED. This was it!!! I was going to get healthy and lose 30 lbs by my birthday (April 11th) to jump start my 39th year. Then I was going to focus on losing the rest of this weight (modestly another 50, ambitiously another 80) by my 40th birthday, next year. I could just feel it in my core that I was really going to do it! I was excited! I was ready to do the hard work!

And then I had a possible job opportunity that sent me into a tailspin mentally. This was for a full-time teaching position at a high school I recently did a 6 month long term substitute assignment. I was conflicted about working, to say the least! On the one hand, the VERY, heavy, big hand, we NEEDED me to have this well-paying job. We are in serious jeopardy of losing our house. We are in our last chance of getting a modification on our home loan. (This is for another post. I cannot write about all the details until I know what the final outcome is going to be. Some details: DH was demoted, to the tune of $30k less a year 2.5 years ago. Up until the baby was born, I had been substitute teaching here and there and looking for some type of part-time job, to no avail. We’ve been trying to get our loan modified since we knew about the pay cut. They won’t even consider you for a modification until you have missed some payments. So we did. We kept getting denied for ILLEGAL reasons. We filed bankruptcy. We hired lawyers. We are still waiting to hear. It has been a horrible way to live, raise our family, and have a new baby amid such uncertainty. A really, really horrible way to live, if you can even call it living. I’ve wanted to walk away so many times just to be out from under this burden. DH feels strongly about staying. It has taken its toll on our marriage.) So, anyways, me having this job would have financially answered a lot of our prayers, all of them actually. So applying for the job was really a no-brainer. I had to do it. BUT, that brought up so many worries. And I, historically, am not a worrier, although I was raised by a champion worrier. So worry is a difficult thing for me to feel. But I felt plenty of worry.

Most of my worries were about how I could possibly manage working full-time and still be a decent mom to my 4 kids. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. The 6 month assignment I previously worked at this school was VERY difficult because I was pregnant and had 3 kids. How could I do it with 4? Some of my worry was about the baby. My mom refused to commit to babysitting (like she has always done, but that’s for another post) 5 days a week. So I would have to find outside care. This bothered me to my core. I felt like I sacrificed so much to stay home while my kids were babies, and then to go back and have to put the last baby in a stranger’s care?? Even now, weeks later, I’m tearing up just thinking about it. It makes me feel like a failure as a mom (and it makes me angry with my mom, but again, another post). The rest of my worry was about if I still had what it took to teach 5 periods a day. (I will post about my thoughts on me as a teacher another day too. Soon. I will.)

But through all of my worries, I was most worried about if I would get it. I thought I had more than a fair chance. I thought everyone was happy with my performance 2 years ago. My friend is an administrator there. I had a pretty good interview. The job was supposed to start the first Monday of February. I got a call the Wednesday before that saying they had to keep interviewing because the HR boss felt they didn’t have enough of a pool to pick from on such a tight time crunch. He said he would be in touch. It has been 2 weeks since I’ve heard anything. I’ve assumed I did not get the job. The emotions I’ve felt over this have been all over the place. Not getting this job hurt more than I expected it to.

So from mid-January, when I first applied for this job, till now, I have been an emotional mess. With the HIGHS of how great this job would be financially for my family. To the LOWS about having to arrange outside childcare and the stress about working full-time and then NOT getting the job. So that just opened the door to my old nemesis: Depression. I have not been depressed in such a long time. I was not prepared for its return. I don’t think I need to go back on any medication just yet, because so much of my feelings revolve around situations that will be resolving soon or have resolved. But I just need to acknowledge that the Depression is back and work on fighting through it. That’s a big part of why I’m writing this. It helps me feel my feelings.

I wish I could rewind back to the second week of January, where I was losing weight and in a great place mentally. I would never apply for the job. I would never actually look at the posting for that job. Yeah, right. I wish. Since I can’t do that, I just need to recommit and refocus. I’m going to start with my menu planning. For whatever reason, the small act of sitting down and focusing on what I’m going to cook and buy for the week really helps in other areas. It makes me feel empowered. It motivates me. It makes me a better me.

So that’s where I’m going to start.

A Shot in the Foot

My plantar fasciitis has been bugging me since August,  when I started working out again. Some days it is so bad that by 4pm I can only hobble along. Some days it doesn’t bother me at all. So I kept putting going to the doctor off. Because I know what the treatment is and I swore I would never do it again.
In the Spring of 2011, I was also suffering from this horrible affliction. I had been working out and had lost 25 pounds. It was supposed to get better after I lost 20, it did not. So I went to my regular doctor and got a referral to a podiatrist. I was surprised when at the first visit he told me he was going to give me a cortisone injection. Then he proceeded to inflict unimaginable pain on my foot and try to shame me at the same time. It was the weirdest, least professional medical experience in my life!
First thing he did was come in the room with a very large needle, but he left the door ajar. He reclined my chair and then sprayed my foot with useless numbing spray at the SAME TIME AS HE INJECTED MY FOOT MULTIPLE TIMES. (The spray needs time to numb before I should have been injected!) It happened so fast and was so painful, I tried to muffle my screams. He was shushing me. Then he stopped, looked at me, kept the needle in my foot, reached his other arm back to shut the door and said, “I have to shut the door because you’re being so loud. This is nothing! You’ve had 3 babies. Come on now.”
I was in shock. I was in pain. I was ashamed. Through my tears, I quickly and clearly said, “I also had 3 epidurals. And this HURTS MORE.” And I squirmed and moaned more quietly. I then hobbled out of there because NOW my foot was numb from all the numbing spray.
It was a horrible medical experience.  But it worked. It fixed the pain from the plantar fasciitis. But it was such a traumatic experience I vowed, no matter how bad I felt, I would never do it again.
Fast forward two and a half years and here I am at my regular doctor today asking if there is any other options for treating this damn thing. She said no, that it is the best and only real treatment (besides losing weight, which she acknowledged, is hard to do when you cant walk without pain), and especially for me, since it worked the first time. So I recounted my experience and she agreed it was horrible. She then suggested I see a Nurse Practitioner in her office, who specialized in podiatry. I wasn’t so sure. I know cortisone shots can be less painful if administered by someone who does them a lot and does this NP do a lot? She didn’t know, but when I asked her if she would let this same NP give her this injection, she said, “Yes. No doubt, if I decided to get a shot in my foot, which would be very unlikely, because it is such a sensitive area, but if I needed it, yeah, she would be the one to give it to me.” So, with that I said I’d make an appointment with the NP.
At the desk to make the appointment I was a little shocked to find out my choice of appointments was tomorrow or January 11th. So I made the appointment for tomorrow and am freaking out that I have so little time to mentally prepare. But really,  nothing is going to make me ready for this. I just hope it works and is all worth it. 

NaBloPoMo November 2013 Recap

NaBloPoMo November

So I was going to write a recap about my experience completing NaBloPoMo, but instead I ended up having an impromptu family game night with the big kids. So that was better. I will do some bullet points about my thoughts instead.

  • I liked writing, which I’ve always known. It was helpful to have a “I want to post every day for this month” as motivation.
  • I will continue to blog  regularly, but not daily. I think I am going to stick with 3 times per week. I’m going to create a “Posting Schedule.”
  •  I recognize that some of my posts this month utterly SUCKED. Those were the ones that I wrote in bed, on my phone after 11pm.
  • I’m going to include more photos. I like seeing those on other people’s posts, so I should include them too.

Thanks for following along!