Category Archives: Uncategorized

If you’re a Momwich Subscriber

I love my subscribers.

What sucks is when I moved to a self hosted blog, it wouldn’t let me take my subscribers with me.

The new site is at http://www.momwich.net – but if you were a subscriber, you haven’t been getting updates.

So would you mind going to http://www.momwich.com and subscribing so we stay in contact? I miss you already.

 

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This old heart of mine

I try to avoid it, like a hairy beasty plague, I try. And for 19 months I’ve done a darn good job. Despite my cardiologist wanting to see me every 4-6 months, I weasled nearly two years in between visits. With the breast lump, the kidneys, the benign fasciculation cramp syndrome and every other damn doctor taking a chunk of my time, money, and self esteem – I tend to be picky and choosy over which one I go to. But this time, I know how stubborn I was, I know that I have set myself up for a good fall by not going to the most important doctors appointment….

Since I was diagnosed with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy in 2000 (after it being missed in 1996) – I’ve seen more cardiologists that I can count, taken more heart pills than I’ve eaten individual green peas and been to enough appointments and testings that equal in time what I’ve spent waiting at stoplights in the last eleven years.

After my dear body post, I really exercised. Really. Lost another 4 pounds and then while working out with my husband last week, my heart rate STARTED at 174. That’s 15% more than my max and I had just started. Since then it’s been a pile of shortness of breath, rapid pulse and palpitations which forced me to endure the ugliness of my doctor’s staff and a 1 hour late appointment with him only to be told to do exactly what I didn’t want to hear. Lose weight, quick, like starve, beetch. Take heart meds (omg, again!?) and have all the heart testing done (more time, more stress, more angst). The only thing he didn’t tell me to do was to quit smoking, but it’s probably because I never told him I started.

I stopped taking my meds for two years, didn’t have a follow up, gained a crud ton of weight and started smoking. How could I so easily forget this post. I can’t believe I did this to myself yet again. My stubborness has always bit me in the butt, and I’m fearful when the day it bites so hard I can’t recover.

Keep your fingers crossed for me on 09/21/11 @ 10:30 when we start this process all over again with an echocardiogram. Maybe this time I’ll take it seriously and do it right.

Peri Partum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM)

It’s hard to believe that something like childbirth can end so ugly. Of all the things that can go wrong in a pregnancy, congestive heart failure isn’t on the top of everyone’s list.

In 2000 I gave birth to my youngest child. It started with high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia and an emergency induction. After being released from the hospital I began to have shortness of breath and chest pain and got repeatedly tired of hearing that it was just anxiety or Post Partum Depression. I’d had PPD before, this wasn’t it. Thirty Four Doctors and a bucket full of tests later I was diagnosed with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy (PPCM). At the time nothing was known about it, and I felt completely isolated. I began the PPCMSupport Foundation shortly after in 2001 where it thrived with hundreds of users – some asking if their symptoms sounded like this horrible condition while others would recount their stories, their doctors appointments or just lean on each other for support. Eventually it consumed my life and I realized I would never get over the fear of it and begin to heal if I didn’t relinquish the organization, my “heart” was no longer in it and in a haste I shut it down and was blessed when a fellow PPCMer and an amazing woman Serena took the reigns and reinventied the organization at A Mother’s Heart.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about PPCM, let me be clear that it can happen to anyone, at any time of their pregnancy or up to six months after delivery. Thought to be some form of an auto-immune response, there is absolutely no warning.

Symptoms (some or all may be present):

Shortness of Breath
Swelling in the ankles, face or fingers
Chest Pain
Sweating excessively
Cough
Difficulty breathing when lying down
The feeling of fluid bubbling in your chest/throat
Palpitations (awareness of your heart beat)
Excessive weight Gain

The only key way to know whether this is happening to you or not is with an echocardiogram – a non-invasive test that mimics the ultrasound you use to view your baby in womb.

The average ejection Fraction (amount of blood pumped out of the chambers with each heart beat) is 60%. At the time of my diagnosis I lingered around 30% and it was thought that my EF was much lower but it took nearly 4 months to obtain a proper diagnosis, and for whatever reason, my heart began to heal itself. Currently I hover around 50% and the heart that was once enlarged to twice it’s size is now only slightly larger than normal, the four valves that leaked with each beat now close a little tighter and that’s something I can live with.

The incidence is estimated at one in 3000-4000 live births in all races with a slightly higher rate in Haiti.

PPCM is highly treatable with the use of beta blockers and vasodialators. That’s why it’s so important to know the signs and symptoms of this very deadly disease. Those wonderful women we have lost to this illness have predominately been women who did not realize what was happening to them until it was too late, or whose doctors brushed off their very specific symptoms.

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If you have a blog

I’m a  blog reader, in fact, sometimes I forget that just because I read your blog does not mean you’re my BFF – and I often say “Oh, my Friend (insert blogger name here) said her son was born early too” in a conversation with my friends.

It’s true, while I was blogging full time under the name we will not refer to, I picked up a whole lot of favorites. Then life happened and I narrowed it down to four or five bloggers that I couldn’t stand to miss out on.

Now I’ve nothing better to do all day than prop my feet up and read your daily details. So if you have a blog, please post it here so I can add it to my favorites.

 

Working for Pennies

I keep telling myself that when you start your own business, it takes a whole lot of nearly free work in order to build up your reputation and in turn, your business. But no matter how often I remind myself of this, I often find myself thinking “I’m worth more than this”.

When my husband and I decided I would leave my former employer to stay at home with my children because my heart was breaking daily from not seeing them, and knowing that their departure from our home would be just around the corner (they’re 15 and 11, you see), I had a gut feeling that I wouldn’t be able to sit still.

The Bald Lover makes a great income, he’s an excellent provider and a hard worker, but how fair is it to ask him to carry our entire household. While he claims In all her Gracefulness and Great Gabby as his very own children, they are not his blood, and while he would never say this, I just don’t feel like it’s fair to ask him to support his new wife and her children, regardless of the fact that he loves us all with his entire heart.

So I decided to go into business for myself to cover the extras in life. You know, vacations, school clothes, PTA memberships, all the things that pop up and make the budget go “WTF”! So far it’s working. In a month I earned exactly half of what I would have if I was working full time, and I know, that’s only half, but it’s better than zero and the best part was that even though I was head down in the computer a lot of the time, I was still IN THIS HOUSE in the presence of my kids if they needed anything. Not that teenagers need their mom, but let me believe it could happen.

I work nearly the same amount of hours, really. Because half is spent working for the client and half is spent working on the business side of things. It’s pennies, really. But it’s something and it fulfills me.

I can still clean the house, cook the meals, be with the kids, and earn a little bit of money. I keep telling myself this will all pay off someday. But reading the previous sentence, I realize it already has.