Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bionic Woman!

I am totally a bionic woman now :)

So I have chronic illnesses that cause my nerves to over fire and create a lot of pain. I don't want to be on pain medication, so we went to see an amazing pain management specialist. And what she did was awesome!

So, I have a spinal cord stimulator in my back made by the company Medtronic. We had to have a surgery trial in the office to see if the stimulator would help with the over firing of the nerves before they put a permanent one in.
On our way for the trial surgery. I'm very nervous, and sad to have to transition a foster child.

I had back surgery while I was awake. And it was awful. They put 2 leads up the side of my spine, and tried to get to the right nerve bundle to target my trunk/belly area where a lot of the pain is from due to endometriosis and pelvic venous congestion syndrome etc. This test surgery took 2 hours, way longer that it should have.

So, I told my husband when we left I would never do that again, I didn't want the permanent stimulator, and I cried. A lot. It hurt wicked bad. And because they had to poke around so much more than normal my body tried to protect itself by sending lots of fluid to the site, so the left side lead didn't even end up working. I'm sure you can imagine how many prayers we said and how hard we tried. That day was also difficult because we had to transition one of our foster children, which feels like having your child die. It's awful and so heartbreaking.
Crying more that we had to transition a child than from the pain of the awful surgery.

But, after the first 24 hours, I noticed a significant change. My left side didn't work due to the fluid build up, but the right side did, I had 90% relief in my right side, and the swelling in my legs went down, as well as my belly! It was a miracle. For the trial they have you keep the lead out to change the settings, so I had a tail, as you can see in the picture.

Then, about 5 days later they pulled the leads out and booked the real surgery. I wouldn't be awake this time and it was at the hospital. They stitched the leads into the myofascial tissue around m spinal cord, and I have a battery in my back. I have to recharge it, and it lasts for 9 years. I shouldn't ever need the leads taken out, just every 9 years the battery in my body will need to be removed and replaced.
Happy with the trial, that's what the tail connected to, it allowed me to change the settings. Also I have multiple pairs of this shirt so don't think I kept wearing the same shirt over and over, I just really like this one so I bought multiples of the same one :)

So we got the permanent surgery, and I have this thing where I put the receptor over the battery and change the setting of the stimulator. It's like a gentle tingling sensation and helps my joints and whole body function amazingly better! It's a miracle! Then I have another receptor that goes over the batter that I recharge the battery with. So the battery in my back serves 2 purposes, it allows me to change the settings of the stimulator and it allows me to recharge the battery.
Cool stitches huh? The vertical tape covers where the leads went in, and the horizontal one is where the battery is. After they took off the tape we took a picture and the scar at first made it look like I had a huge plumber bum, so I didn't include that picture. Sweet bruises right on the first day! My Doctor is amazing, but rather rough. The bruises got way worse before they got better. But I would do it all over again.
The left black think goes over the battery, and the screen turns on allowing me to change the settings.
This is what re-charges the battery in my back. It's getting good reception and fastest charge when all those little black boxes are full!

My scars are healing nicely, and I had to be very careful to not twist, bend or lift anything, otherwise the leads could have moved at the top of my spine and it would have all been for nothing. The leads are only stitched into the base of the spine, not the top, because that requires a bunch of surgery specialists, so the best way is to just be careful and let your body scar in the top of the leads.

Here I am, a bit swollen and tired after surgery but excited about the potential for what might come!
Sometimes I turn it down where it's still on but I can't feel it. Other times when my endometriosis is causing a lot of pain I will turn the stimulator up and it helps block the pain signals and I feel the gentle tingle. The swelling in my legs has gone down, and I'm feeling great!

We did have some complications after the surgery, so thank you to everyone for your love, support and prayers. The hospital didn't follow my doctors protocols so I developed a fluid pocket around the battery which made changing the levels and charging very difficult, and for the first little while the stimulator didn't work correctly because of the fluid build up, just like in the test. So my amazing hero Ken went and bought this therapeutic girdle thingy that's this elastic thing you wear that puts pressure over the area, so we are now in the clear, and the fluid pocket is gone.

If my leads shift slightly it's ok, because the company can change the settings by putting their machine over my battery and they can change where it stimulates and so we had it adjusted last week and now that the fluid pocket is gone it's working amazingly well! We are so happy to not have to need pain medicine and have a wonderful treatment plan that I have control of that really is helping make a huge difference.

We have been so blessed by the Lord to live in a wonderful new area with amazing Latter Day Saints (Mormons) who love the gospel of Jesus Christ and have been so welcoming and making us feel so loved. We have had miracle after miracle to get my stimulator to work, to move to this new home, to be able to have Ken's business start to grow, and so many other special and sacred things I can't mention there are just too many!

I know Jesus is our Savior, and if we turn to Him and pray for help and guidance, we can overcome the obstacles in our way, like fluid packs that cause complications. I know that if you are struggling and in need of comfort, all you need to do is pray. I'm so grateful for modern medicine to help me live a healthy and fulfilling life. And I'm grateful that soon we will be able to begin with a new agency and adopt a family of our own.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Our House!!! and what the Prophet has taught!!

Yay! We are in our new home!! It's amazing! We love it here. We are getting our old house ready to sell, so if anyone is looking for a lovely house, we have one ready!

Our new home is big enough for however many children the Lord wants us to adopt! We are so thrilled! We have to wait for our license renewal then get this home inspected and switch to an agency up here that has contracts with 5 different tribes up here!

We are so thrilled and pray that we will be able to adopt soon! Please donate to our adoption fund, and share our story! We want to have everything the children and our family may need. We have the space now, which was the most important step to get going, now we just have to be patient.

So, here are some lovely pictures of our new house! it's painted a tan and green in EVERY room, so eventually we will repaint, but for now, we don't mind ;) We love our new ward and our new stake. The people in our church up here are so excited to learn and to try and do better. We had Elder Pina from the 70 come and speak to us on what the Prophet assigned him. The topic is about returning the Sabbath day to the Lord. Ken and I are very careful about keeping the Sabbath day holy, but we have some new ideas and traditions that we are putting into place to help us grow closer to the Lord and for our children to feel of the Lord's love.

Here are some things we are going to do after church each Sunday, whether we have children or not. Go over the Gospel Doctrine lesson for that week, listen to a conference talk, if we have children go over the lesson they learned at church that day, sing a few songs from the hymn book, pray to know who may need our help or prayers that week. Those are just a few things. I am so blessed to have a husband who has been sensitive to the Spirit and we have already set the Sabbath day as a holy day, and now we have added ideas to make the day a Holy and special one. What are some ways you keep the Sabbath day holy?

We know that Sunday is a day set apart that is special and for the Lord. If we take the time to rest and serve the Lord and grow closer to Him that our faith will be strengthened, and we will be ready for all the trials that come. And they do come. But having this sacred day to help us prepare for the coming week is a huge blessing, and we are so grateful to have been taught by many wonderful people, and on this topic assigned by our beloved Prophet.

So, here is our magical home where we are learning and growing, and can't wait for what lies ahead!

                                                                                                 First Batch of Cookies in the New House

 lookout window upstairs in the loft room                                         back porch

Our First Day!!!

 So HAPPY!!!! and we have a sweet Spiral staircase! And a cool loft that's open waiting for me to find some sweet fancy sitting chairs!

See that cool little knob on the door above the handle?                                                                                    It Rings this bell. Coolest Doorbell Ever!!!

Yes, in a storage closet is this little beauty. Because everyone needs to sharpen pencils in the closet.....

We are so happy here. It feels like home already, even though we aren't really that unpacked, as you can see in some pictures. But it feels like we were meant to be here. We are so blessed!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

First Craft Fair!

We went to Show Low to do a craft fair! We are so excited to move there, it was wonderful!!! But it turned out the fair was originally a farmers market that began allowing craft vendors. It was great because we learned what sells well at that kind of event, and we spoke to the woman who organizes community craft fairs and she said our tutus and headbands and earrings will be super popular there! Here's to raising money for the adoption fund!!

So I'm taking down the Etsy site because I've gotten a lot of window shoppers, so I'll be selling things off my blog! There is a new tab I'm posting a page called Tutu's and Accessories! You can place a custom order by emailing me or if you see something you want, let me know!!

Here are some pictures of us at the fair, I took them after we made sales, it was a great day!! We also met some wonderful people and are so excited to move into this amazing and welcoming community!! We also stopped by our house to see it again, it was lovely!! We are so blessed!

Best little café we can't wait to go to again!!!

Front Porch Kisses!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Our Infertility Story and Hope to grow our FAMILY

Ken and I have been married almost 3 years. 3 years ago we had been dating for 2 weeks, then the second week of October he Proposed! I knew he was an amazing man, and I was so so happy! All we could talk about was growing our family! We wanted children right away.

My amazing husband knew I had some health problems, specifically very odd and painful endometriosis. So we began talking about seeing fertility doctors while we were engaged! 2 months later we were married! And off to see the fertility doctor.

We tried a special medication the fertility doctor thought would work with little to no side effects. Unfortunately I gained 30 pounds in 3 days! We went to the ER and they didn't know what to do! We kept calling the fertility office and they wouldn't allow us to speak to the Doctor, and they denied their medication had done that. I wasn't going to sue them or anything, I just wanted to know what to do. I mean, gaining 30 pounds in 3 days is stinkin scary!

So we tried seeing our regular doctor, and within 7 months I had gained 70 pounds! We saw new doctor after new doctor, and finally after a year of tears and pain and negative test after negative test, we went off all the medication.
All the weight from the medications to have a baby

And what a miracle, a month later we discovered I was pregnant! We were thrilled! But something was wrong. It was so early, that the Doctor didn't think anything was seriously wrong and just thought I wasn't used to being pregnant. I was terrified. On top of the nausea that is normal with pregnancy I had severe GI problems, and bone pain. I could hardly walk, and as each day went by, the pain got worse.

Before we could go in for the 6 week ultrasound to see our little prize, I began to bleed. And sob. And just as the pregnancy hurt my bones, losing the baby hurt even more, something was wrong with my bones, something was wrong with almost every body system, and all I could do was rest in bed.

The Doctor told us the fastest way to have another baby and the easiest was to try again at the next opportunity. Again we had a positive test stick! It was a miracle, but something was wrong again. It was like before, but the bone pain wasn't as severe. Something else was off, and I didn't want to believe anything could be wrong so we booked our ultrasound with a midwife and someone who might be able to help with the weird bone pain and other symptoms I was having. A few days before our ultrasound, again, all the pain came back. Severe bone pain, bleeding, and too many tears. Something wasn't right with my body after that.

We ended up going to a pelvic pain specialist and had surgery in September. It was a miracle, he got us in just 5 days after we saw him when he was booking other people out for the following February. We learned that my endometriosis was more aggressive than we thought. We learned that I had Pelvic Venous Congestive Syndrome, and that my Uterus does not function correctly. We had to have my organs that has fused together from scar tissue separated, 2 large veins cut out and burned so I didn't bleed out, and so many other things.

They were hoping I would have a normal pregnancy again, but my fallopian tubes are scarred shut, my eggs turn into cysts, and my endometriosis continues to grow with a vengeance.

My husband and I grieved in different ways. I felt so alone, I didn't think I could foster children anymore because I cried every time I saw them. But then I was given a miraculous gift from the Lord, and began to view the children in our care as blessings, and all babies that were announced and born as blessings. I am usually the most excited person in my reaction when someone tells me their pregnant. I'm so grateful that more babies are coming, and I'm so grateful to those moms who choose to give their babies up for adoption instead of terminating.

We have been trying to adopt for 2 years, and I'm Native American. We want to adopt a Native American baby to keep the tradition going, and both my husband and I feel called to love and care for and adopt those amazing children with special needs. We have started a Go Fund Me account: gofundme.com/2n3qtnuc and are trying to adopt a Native American baby with special needs.

Please help us expand our family and help us have the funds to provide for the needs of whichever special children the Lord has planned for us to call our own. We will continue to foster, but our current focus is on trying to adopt.

My husband and I both run our own small businesses and are moving to Show Low to make our business more successful. We are also trying to work with the different Reservations up north to be able to adopt those children waiting for us.

 We feel it is our calling in life to adopt and to foster children with special needs. We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We believe in the Bible. We believe that Jesus is the Christ and that through trusting in Him and His atonement we can overcome all trials in life.

We hope to have our businesses grow and our family grow faster! Thank you for supporting us in our journey to adopt and expand our business. Thank you for spreading the word, and for reading our difficult fertility story. And please, if you are pregnant, tell me, if you want the happiest and best reaction! All babies are blessings and all mommies who can have babies are blessings to the world! Help me be a mommy and our family grow to a large Forever Family!! Love to you all!
Rachel Annie!