Sunday, February 26, 2012

Stress = Illness

  Have you ever imagined what it would be like to go through life and have at least ONE stress-free day?  Are you consumed with meeting your family's needs?  Are you overwhelmed?  Do you wish you could just lay in bed a little bit longer on the weekends?  Here is my advice to you : DO IT!!!!  Take care of yourself and your body. If you don't do it, no one will do it for you and there could come a time when you wished you would have.

  Like it or not, It's a proven fact that having a step-family dynamic is more stressful than having a "normal" Leave it to Beaver family.  There are so many different reasons as to why, but just to name an obvious few;

1). Scheduling. Making sure everyone is on the same schedule for visitation, extra curricular activities, etc.

2). Finances. As a friend of mine has said to me before.  "It's pretty much a written rule that if you are going to have a step-family that you must be poor."  I know in some cases finances aren't that difficult but in the majority of blended families, they are.  You have outgoing child support, alimony, and medical costs which go to support the children at their "full time" home.  If you are a custodial step parent, often times you may not be receiving child support or the other parent may not be doing their "fair share."  Then there are court costs if you are locked into a head to head battle with a parent who will not compromise or co-parent for the best of the children.

3). Parental Alienation.  It's ugly, it's sad, it's depressing.  When one parent chooses to speak ill of the other in the presence of the children, that is parental alienation.  When one parent tries to convince the kids that the other parent doesn't love them as they do, or provide for them as they do, or just lies about the other...THAT'S parental alienation.  That is also a form of child abuse.  It's easy to spot but hard to prove in court because our law makers have yet to be fully educated on the matter or if they have, they just don't care because without us divorcee's and step families their wealth wouldn't be what it is.

With just those few things listed, on top of what a normal family goes through, it's enough to send you into what I call Stress Overload.  Stress is linked to the amount of cortisol your body produces.  If you are under a great deal of stress your cortisol levels sky rocket, potentially causing a multitude of health problems.

 You may be wondering why I am posting a blog about something that so many people already know about, but the truth is too many people believe it won't happen to them.  I was one of those people.  I kept it bottled up inside so not to over stress those around me.  I was and am a typical mom/step-mom.  Not only does my normal family dynamic depend upon me but so does my blended family dynamic.  It may sound conceited but it's the truth and is the truth for 95% of blended families.  The weight of the families' burdens are placed directly on our shoulders---the woman.
  A year ago I was diagnosed with a disease called Reynauds. It's a phenomenon that is caused by 2 things.  A). Cold weather.  B) Stress.  Once you get it, it won't go away.  Reynauds causes the vessels in your hands, feet and other extremities to constrict.  It limits the blood flow to those extremities and causes pain and discoloration (blue or white).  Mine was undoubtedly caused by stress since I had never had an issue with cold weather before.  Now that I have it, not only will my fingers, toes, nose, ears etc. turn blue/white and lose blood flow due to stress but weather now affects me as well.  There is no going back once you have this disease.  No amount of stress decrease...NOTHING.  It's yours and you better embrace it, learn how to control it, and live your life around it especially during the winter months.  Going to the freezer to grab some ice for that sweet tea on a hot summer day?  You better wear gloves or you will be in some serious pain.

 Last month I made a trip to the emergency room due to pain in my back and in my side. It was assumed that I had kidney stones but after a CT scan it was discovered that I have cysts on my liver, kidneys, and adrenal gland (it's the gland that sits on top of your kidneys).  After some research and doctors visits I found out that your adrenal gland is responsible for the bodies "flight or fight" responses.  AKA: Cortisol.  Your bodies natural defense against stress.  Your adrenal gland also plays an important role in many of your vital organs.  It is responsible for maintaining your bodies blood sugar, blood pressure, adrenaline, estrogen/testosterone levels. Trying to get pregnant? If your adrenal gland is over active and producing more cortisol than needed due to stress there's a strong chance that you won't conceive and if you do there's an even bigger chance that your pregnancy will not make it past the first trimester.  The adrenal gland not only produces the cortisol your body needs but also the hormone DHEA that helps your immune system fight off diseases.  Your adrenal gland will only produce one of those hormones at a time and if you are under a constant state of stress it will not produce the needed DHEA for your immune system to fight off sickness.  If you have adrenal gland issues you will more than likely have low liver function as well.  Weight issues? Not only is your thyroid a hidden factor but so is your adrenal gland.
  The cause of my cysts....Stress Overload.  My adrenal gland has been producing too much cortisol resulting in adrenal fatigue which resulted in my cysts.  I will more than likely have to undergo surgery to remove the cyst but if I don't get stress under control the surgery will be pointless because it will come back.
  My advice, take care of yourself.  No one will do it for you.  Find something you enjoy and do it often. Step away from situations you have no control over.  Confide in your spouse and make him/her aware of stress issues and stress related health complications.  Ask yourself this "In a month from now will this matter? In a year from now will this matter?   Don't just shoulder the burden, share it!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

There Is No Age Limit On Getting Sick......

The past few days I have had this horrible pain in my back that radiates through my left side.  I couldn't get out of bed and my 11 year old spent the day caring for not only me but his younger siblings as well.  NOT something  I wish for a child to do.
So, I lay in bed and wait for my husband to get in from work so we can go to the emergency room.  Upon arrival they immediately brought me in to be seen and mentioned the possibility of kidney stones, which is what I thought as well.  They hooked the IV up and was giving me a pain medicine that should have taken away the pain.  It didn't so they decided on a CT scan to see if there was a stone lodged somewhere.  Two hours later, there is no stone.  Instead I have several cysts on my liver and a growth nodule on my renal gland above my right kidney.  The doctor said it was imperative that I see my family doctor right away since I refuse to let them keep me over night. I needed an MRI as soon as possible to check other vital organs for cysts as well and to rule out it being more serious.  When I asked what he meant by "more serious" he said the dreaded "C" word.  Cancer.  SERIOUSLY???  I am 29 years old and in the past year I have been diagnosed with Reynauds disease as well.  Now this?  Am I not too young to be having these health problems?  Im not even 30 yet!!!!!
I came home in shock that I am about to undergo extensive testing and possibly biopsies to check me for cancer.  It's surreal. I laid in bed crying asking "Why???? Why me??"  As soon as I said it, it was like something inside said "Why Not you?"  I was a crazy woman last night---talking to myself and trying to sort it all out in my head.  I have 3 young children for Christ's sake and 3 young step children as well.  This CAN'T be happening.  They NEED me, they need their Momma and Smomma.  They depend on me for so much.  It's not fair.  While it's true that we don't know for sure if the cysts are cancerous it is still a health problem that will lead to poking, prodding, and maybe even surgery.  I can't be down for a few weeks for surgery, who is going to take care of my kids???  I am terrified.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I'm Back!

    I had gotten so busy that I forgot about my blog and a new friend inadvertently reminded me I had one by referring me to someone else's blog. What can I say.....I've been a busy woman.
  So let's do some catching up.  The past couple of months SOME of my health issues seem to have resolved themselves.  I haven't had an attack in several weeks.  Although there has been a new issue evolve.  I go for test results next week.  Keeping my fingers crossed on that one! 
  The past couple of weeks have been a tough one on mine and my husbands marriage.  A lot of things have gotten in the way of our lives together.  It has taken a hefty toll but I believe things are on the mend.  No matter how bad things get, it is hard to imagine my life without him. I think the majority of the issues we have been having had to do with him turning the big 4-0! Today he surprised me with flowers. They are absolutely beautiful and he definitely got brownie points for that! :)
  My oldest son started middle school last week.  He is growing up so fast! My middle son started 2nd grade and my youngest son is now in Pre-K!! Wow, it is so hard to believe. I miss rocking my little men when they were babies. I find it nearly impossible to fight the urge to have another, but that one would just grow up too.  

Monday, March 7, 2011

What a Weekend!!!

  Whew!  I have never been so glad to see a MONDAY!!  I am still trying to wrap my head around everything that went on this past weekend. 
  Where do I even begin?  I guess its best to go in order! It all started with as soon as the pick up for visitation happened.  We had our hellos and hugs and as soon as hubby was in the car, he let it fly.  Telling the oldest ones that what goes on in our house is not their mothers business unless we are endangering their welfare.  It stemmed from all the nasty text messages over my health from his ex and new furniture that I bought.  Apparently they told their mom about my new living room suite.  The SAME living room suite I had been saving for, for how long? TWO YEARS!!!  Does she think every dime in this household belongs to her or something?  I still can't figure it out.  I learned months ago that my money is MY MONEY and his money is HER MONEY.  (*rolling eyes*) because he was with her first.  I will never understand a woman who tries to remain fully dependent on a man financially.  Especially after she gets child support, alimony etc.  Im just glad my hubby doesnt succumb to her demands.  Apparently from what I know from my hubby and others who are familiar with the situation is that she was ALL about the money while they were married thus he worked 18-20 hour days to support HER lifestyle. So she continues to be ALL about the money.  Sorry, but I refuse to live above my means and force my hubby into an early grave.  When I met him, he was sick.  Very sick.  He had finally had enough and left.  After months of counseling and her attitude towards him, he left.  She will fully admit to not being the wife she should have been.   My hubby spent what seemed like every other week in the hospital for stress reasons and heart issues when I first met him.  Doctors told him he couldnt continue to work the way he does and live longer than another year or two.  It was taking a toll on his body.  Did she care?  NOPE.  Did I care, you bet I did.  I refuse for him to work the way he did when I first knew him.  His children having a father that is alive and well is much more important than her hair, nails, and boobs.  While I whole heartedly agree with child support to SUPPORT HIS CHILDREN, I do not agree with a woman who works full time at a wonderful job to receive alimony.  It's infuriating.  Its called involuntary servitude.  Hes basicly her slave until the time period is up.  It's UNCONSTITUTIONAL! 
  The second thing that happened this weekend is my youngest step-daughter who is 9, decides every other weekend that she is my husbands ONLY child and that she needs ALL of his attention.  What did I expect to change this time?  Nothing, Ive learned to expect nothing.  My oldest step-daughter is very bitter about her sisters behaviour.  Saying she is an attention getter and brags about being "the favorite".  So here I go trying to fix that issue with my hubby.  Hopefully next visit I can get him to take the oldest to lunch or something without feeling guilty for leaving the youngest behind (she is the only one who gets alone time with daddy).  She is also the same one who is insanely jealous of EVERYONE.  I understand she misses her daddy, but some of the stuff she does is mind boggling.  She writes in her diary this weekend and puts it away.  Then she comes to me and says she doesnt want anyone to read it.  I tell her okay, that its her private thoughts and no one will get into it.  I later go into mine and hubbys sanctuary.  The ONE place that is ours and is OFF LIMITS to all of the kids only to find she had been in there without permission and placed her diary entry that was ripped out on top of my pillow.  It said "I miss my old house, I miss my mommy and daddy being married.  I want it back the way it was and will do anything to make it happen. Sorry April."
It tugs at my heart strings, I can only imagine how she feels. So I take her paper back to her and she throws it in the trash, looks at me and says "I mean it, I want my old life back and your not going to get in the way."  I tell her I am sorry that she thinks I am in the way but that things will never go back the way they were.  That life happens and things dont always go the way we want them to.  She goes and writes another entry in her diary.  Later that evening I tell hubby about PART of the issue.  So he asks to see the diary, which had a much nicer version of what she wrote for me inside.  He talks to her and basicly tells her the same thing I did.  It felt good to be backed up.  I felt like she was targeting me, and that she was threatening my marriage.  I wasnt mad about it, but felt something needs to be done about her recent attitude towards me.  Its been blatantly disrespectful the past 2-3 months.  I wasnt upset at her feelings, I was upset that she had no regard for me and that I wasnt going to get in her way.  I know a child shouldnt make me so insane but lately she is.  I think its partly that this little girl, just a few months ago treated me with respect and acted like she loved me so much.  Now the games are being played with pinning biomom and me against eachother.  Shes been caught in telling her mom lies about things I have said.  I wont tolerate that.  Her mom might, and she may even choose to believe her but at my house she WILL NOT get away with lying. 
  The third thing that happened, uggggh!!! The insanity will never end.  I go to get groceries and while loading them in the back of my SUV, I notice someone has scratched a word on my trunk area.  I look at it and it says "Bitch".  REALLY? Well ya know, maybe I have been on edge lately with my health issues and dealing with so much BS, but a bitch I am not.  Hubby and I come home and I call each of the oldest kids and skids individually to a private room and ask a simple task.  "How do you spell the word bitch?  Im serious, so dont laugh and spell it for me."  My middle child says "b-e-c-h".  I knew it wasnt him anyway but for the sake of involving anyone with a halfway ability to spell and write I had to ask.  My youngest stepdaughter joins me in the room after I call her she says "b-i-c-h"  My oldest son who is 10 joins me, I make the same request of him and his reaction was a deep startled breath in and automatically saying he didnt do it he didnt do it.  Mind you, I didnt tell any of them why I wanted the word spelled, just to spell it.  He then breaks down in tears and insists he didnt do it.  Now why would he act that way?  Especially if he "didnt do it" how would he know what on Earth I am talking about.  BINGO, got the one who did it.  I dont even know what to say.  I walk away and send him to his room.  After a much needed 10 minute cool down, I go in his room and ask him to tell me the truth.  He confessed.  He has been giving me major issues lately as well.  Im beginning to think he and my youngest sd are drinking from the same glass.   Issues with stealing tooth fairy money from his brother, lying, failing grades after making honor roll all year, refusing to do his chores (that he gets paid for!), talking back, rolling eyes, throwing food at various items in our house (when eating is ONLY at the table), pushing, hitting, kicking his younger brothers when they are actually NOT even bothering him, spray painiting my trees, grass, deck, youngest brothers bike, and hubbys grill HOT PINK and now scratching a cuss word into my car.  WONDERFUL!   Ive talked to him, his dad has talked to him, my hubby has talked to him, his nanny.....just trying to figure out what is going on with him.  Nothing, he wont even talk about it.  He says he was just acting stupid.  What I wanna know, "WHATS IT GONNA TAKE TO MAKE HIM ACT SMART?????" ugggh!   So now he has to write 500 sentences that say "I will not destroy or disrespect someone elses property."  He also has to wash and wax my car on the next pretty day, as well as pay for the cuss word to be buffed out!  Gotta learn responsibility somehow!
   The good thing about this weekend,  I found out that my attacks are not stress related.  During all the crap this weekend, no attack.  So hopefully we can figure it out when I go to the Doctor.  I am on day 3 I believe of no attacks.  Hopefully they STAY AWAY!  :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gearing up for the Weekend

A day and a half has passed and I havent had an attack.  Wonder if I can cancel my doctors appointment. Hmmmm.  Probably not because I will more than likely be drug there kicking and screaming.  Might as well go quietly. LOL. 
Its our weekend with the skids.  Im wondering what this visit will bring.  It seems like there is a new surprise everytime.  Some are good and some not so good.  I wish the weather would cooperate. I really wanted to have a beautiful weekend where I could get some pictures of the kids.  Our hillside is covered in Easter lillies that are in full bloom.  I didnt realize how early they bloomed this year until I took my first daily walk.  Ive been cooped up in this house so long that Ive grown into a hermit, but being outside has done me good.  I even love the execise I am getting from it.  Its not a mundane gym with the same ole same ole...Its nature, ever changing and ever so beautiful.
Ive learned its okay to take time for me.  Things may fall apart if I am gone for an hour (they really do) but its nothing that cant be fixed or that cant wait.  Now if I can just take that long relaxing bath Ive been wanting without the kids banging down my door.  Hmmm.  Will have to work on that one.