I Am Pregnant!

Wow! It’s been a while since my last post. A lot has happened since July. Before I get into the title of this post, let’s do a quick update–
My elbow has almost completely healed. It has been a very long road for that little elbow of mine, but now (at almost 4 months post-op) it is finally pain free! I do not have full range of motion yet, but I have more than enough for regular day to day functioning. The rest will come with time. We are not worried one bit. Other than that, I have had a really good couple of months! Only one ER visit in 4 months… Not too shabby at all.

Now onto the main event! Yes, my husband and I are expecting our first little baby in June! We are extremely excited, and needless to say, very nervous as well. Human growing is serious business… Serious, vomit inducing business. Puke has become all too familiar of a thing to me nowadays. Puke and sleep! Oh, the joys. We are definitely looking forward to the second trimester when all of this is supposed to ease up a bit. I’ll believe it when I see it! It doesn’t matter as long as everyone is healthy.

Pregnancy, with any type of chronic illness, can be a bit tricky. With EDS, it means possible bed rest in the future months. It also means I will not have the option to give birth vaginally. It is much too risky for the baby, as well as for my health. I will have a scheduled c-section, where everything will be planned out down to the very minor details. I have a great team of doctors working with me to make sure we both stay safe and healthy throughout the pregnancy. Extra precautions are being taken, such as multiple dr appts, extra ultrasounds, lots of blood work, heart tests, and pregnancy safe blood thinners (lovenox–a daily injection into the abdomen). Although it has only been 9 weeks, everything so far is going really well. We saw the baby’s heartbeat, all of my measurements look great, and my blood levels are perfect. Other than the need for IV hydration one time, there have been no other complications.

Many people have been overly surprised that we announced our pregnancy before the recommended 12 week mark. It is common knowledge in pregnancy that the risk of miscarriage dramatically decreases after 12 weeks, which is why most people wait. I totally understand this logic, and it makes complete sense. However, it did not make sense to us. I am pregnant. Me! PREGNANT! Something that many people, including myself, didn’t think would or could happen. It is something to celebrate! Even if the unthinkable devastation did happen, it would not change the fact that we got pregnant! I can’t think of one good reason not to share that with everyone. We went back and forth with the decision for a while, and really the only reason we came up with not to tell people was the fear of being judged, and that was not a good enough reason at all. So, here we are… 9 weeks pregnant, and happy as can be (even with all of the vomit).

I will be starting a YouTube channel where I will be doing weekly pregnancy updates, as well as DIY’s, tutorials, reviews and hauls, recipes, and much more. Once I have it up and running, I will post the link to my channel.

As always, thank you all for your support. Love you all!

Xo

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On the mend again!

What a week!!

A week ago from today, I had my right elbow reconstruction with allograft, and OUCH! It has not been a good time. Well, surgery is never a good time, but this is really a rough one.

A little backstory–
My elbows have always hyperextended to the point where they dislocated and get stuck in hyperextension (they bend way backwards). Many people have hypermobile elbow joints, but it is rare for people to dislocate them in hyperextension… That’s where EDS comes in. About 11 years ago, I had my first 2 surgeries on my left elbow to try to repair the ligament. They both failed within a few years. In 2011, I had a bad fall that send my elbow past the point of no return. It was at that point, I switched to UB Ortho ( the best in the area, in my opinion), and opted for a complete reconstruction with an allograft to repair my elbow (I’ll explain what that means later). This was a way more involved procedure than what was done in the past, but we went for it anyway. It was 100% successful. In 2012, I began experiencing similar problems with my right elbow. I let it go for a few years until it started interfering with daily tasks. Even though is not the most conservative option, my surgeon and I both thought it would be best bypass the ligament repair surgery, which failed in the past, and to jump right into the reconstruction with allograft to achieve the optimal success rate.

So, what does all of that mean? A ligament repair (the initial surgeries I had on my left elbow) means the surgeon shortens my own soft tissue to reconstruct and shorten the ligament. Pretty much, they just snip it, overlap it to tighten it up, and call it a day.

The ligament reconstruction with allograft (what I just had done) is much different, and way more painful. The surgeon removes the main ligament that holds the lateral side of the elbow together, and replaces it with a tendon from a cadaver (allograft). They do this by drilling holes through the bones, looping the new and improved tendon through the holes, and suturing everything together nice and tight, ZOMBIE ELBOW. Boom.

The recovery has been rough to say the least. Those of you who know me know that I do not touch narcotic pain meds…Not even for my giant hip surgery. This time around, I was in such pain that I couldn’t even think straight. I took the meds, which made me feel even worse, and ultimately slowed my recovery, but they at least allowed me to sleep for a while. I felt weak and like I was failing at this whole “I am stronger than pain” thing, but I needed to do it. I am human. Despite the meds, as well as a trip to the ER for pain control, I was still in terrible pain until Thursday. Thursday was the day I started coming around slowly. By Friday, I was coming out of the fog, and by Saturday I was singing at a callback! I’m still very sore, but I am able to function and only take Tylenol.

I had my post op appointment today (1 week post-op), and Dr. D said everything went great and looks to be healing perfectly, yay! Because of my blood thinners, I have a whole lot of swelling. I still have stitches, but they will come out 1 week from today. I’m wearing a new, comfy brace that I am allowed to take off while resting, but I’m keeping that bad boy on because it hurts like a mother without it! I still have numbness in my opposite hand because my IV infiltrated during surgery, and they spent a good 20 mins digging around my little body for another good vein. More props to EDS… Ya jerk.

To my family and friends, you are my world, my rock, my cushion. Without you, I wouldn’t be me. I love you all very much. Thank you for you support. Xo

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Fighting Inflammation With Food!

Get ready to sucker punch inflammation in the face! This post is dedicated to foods that can naturally help you fight for your health. Before we get on with the post, I would like to clearly state that I am NOT a medical professional, nutritionist, or anything similar. However, I am an experienced patient who deals with daily pain and inflammation. These are all foods that I have not only researched, but have also helped me. If you do your own research, you can find so many other foods to add to the list. These are just the ones that I have consistently tried and that have worked for me.

Ok, on with the show!

1. Berries
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Not only are these sweet little guys delicious, but they are also loaded with anti inflammatory properties. It is thought to be because of anthocyanins, the powerful chemicals that gives them their rich color.

2. Tart Cherries
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Believe it or not, this pucker-filled fruit is thought to have the most affect on decreasing inflammation. 1.5 cups of tart (not sweet) cherries, or 1 cup of tart cherry juice per day should do the trick.

3. Ginger
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My personal favorite! Ginger has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine as a natural pain reliever and inflammation fighter. Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava, a world-renowned researcher on the therapeutic effects of spices, performed a study in which he gave arthritic patients small amounts of ginger every day for 3 months. The majority of patients improved drastically. In addition, he also says that “ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil because NSAIDs only work on one level: to block the formation of inflammatory compounds. Ginger, on the other hand, blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds-prostaglandins and leukotrienes-and also has antioxidant effects that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the fluid within the joints.” Woah! Pretty cool. So go ahead and add ginger to your food, tea, or just hot water a few times per day. Wegmans (WNY only) also makes yummy ginger chews.

4. Garlic
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Get ready to smell like an 80 year old Sicilian woman! Garlic actually works the same as NSAIDS (like ibuprofen, Advil, etc) by shutting off the pathways that lead to inflammation. Keep your stash of mint and mouthwash fully stocked (or don’t), and keep the cloves coming!

There are also plenty foods that can cause inflammation, such as dairy, processed sugar, alcohol, trans fats, and gluten. You can eat all of the inflammation fighting foods you want, but if your still over indulging in your white breads, cookies, and gluten, you are just fighting a losing battle. Use this new season to kick start a healthier diet, and be on your way to a healthier you.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Spring!

Xo,
S

New Obstacle

Today was, well, kind of crappy! It all started off with me leaving my keys in my husband’s car, but only remembering I did right when the poor guy got to work. Being the gem of a man that he is, he rushed back home. Josh to the rescue!

I needed my keys so quickly because I had to get to the doctors for a last-minute sick visit. For the past few days, I’ve been feeling some weird sensations in my chest, kind of like a full feeling, hard to explain. Almost like the feeling before you have to cough, but without coughing. Even more recently, I started noticing some pain upon inhalations. After that, I thought I should make an appt to see the doc. It was a good thing that I went.

The good news is that I know what’s wrong, and I do not have to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. Bad news is that I have a small pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lung). Not exactly sure if this is a new one or an existing one, but either way the treatment is the same: Lovenox and Coumadin. The worst part about it is that it is all my fault. I forgot to take one dose of my medicine, and my blood became too thick. I am usually very good about remembering (we even set alarms). I might have really screwed things up because now I might have to post pone my elbow surgery. My doc and my surgeon are going to have a phone meeting about next week. Hoping for the best.

Oh well! I am only human. Just grateful that I can stay home this time around!

I hope everyone enjoyed the sunshine today 🙂
Xo,
S

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Thanks, Insurance!

I originally posted this on my old blog, so I wanted to repost. Sorry if this is a repeat for you!

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I am so thankful for my team of doctors! After getting denied by my insurance company to get a home monitor to check my INR (the clotting time of my blood), I was finally approved! I was initially denied because EDS wasn’t on their list of diseases, making it “not medically necessary”. After being denied and initiating an appeal, my docs went right to work on my appeal. I received the officially letter today and should be hearing from the company soon.

Having the home monitor will make life much easier for me. Because of my frequency of injury and surgery, I am not always able to drive to the doctor to have it checked, which is 2-4 times per month. Now, I can just check from my own bed! It also will allow me to check my levels more frequently when transitioning back onto Coumadin after surgery, which can be a very difficult time in terms of regulation. I hope to have it before my surgery in a few weeks.

That’s all for now. I’ll be doing a pre-op post in a bit.

Xo,
S

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Ankle Reconstruction 5 Month Checkup!

Good news to report! At my last post-op appointment (about a month ago), the doctor was concerned that the surgery might not have worked. At that point, we decided to wait a little longer to see if I was just a little slower to heal this time around. I was certain another ankle operation was in my near future.

I had another post-op appointment today, and this time I received the news I was hoping for: I AM HEALING! We are going to wait it out some more until May, and at that point, if I am still having pain, we will do an MRI to figure it all out. Everything that was fixed seems to still be perfectly in tact. So, great news! I’m happy with that!

I am still on schedule to have my right elbow reconstruction on April 3rd. This should be my last operation for a while (please, for the love of god)!

Just wanted to do a quick update. Thanks for the support, you beautiful people!

Xo,
S

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