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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Party" All The Time

I'm back from my semi-hiatus, ya'll! You guys know I'm a stickler for keeping my entries in chronological order so unfortunately -- NO -- this post is NOT about our trip to NHF's Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

In due time my pretties, in due time....

In other news, call me silly, but I only recently discovered the "stats" tab on Blogger a few weeks ago. (When my blog died, and was reborn.) I was surprised to learn that I have quite a few daily visits from readers all over the place -- United Kingdom, Philippines, Germany, Japan, Russia, Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Czech Republic, and the list goes on and on! Okay, the Philippines makes total sense, but the only logical explanation I have for the other countries is that you found my blog through And if so, that ROCKS & I'd love to "meet" you.

With that being said -- ahem -- why not just hit the "follow" button in the Bloggy Friends area on my sidebar? I know I just put the "follow" option on my blog (when my blog was reborn -- woo hoo!), but please do follow this blog so I know you're out there. A few of you "secret readers" already came out of the woodwork, but I don't see you under my followers list. Family and friends, this includes you too! Let's get this party started!!! :)

Thank you for listening to my announcement of the day. Onto the update....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

You may remember that I mentioned in my last post that I was battling cold and allergy symptoms shortly after Halloween. I didn't have a cough or asthma symptoms, but I was dealing with watery eyes, a nose that ran like it was trying to win a friggin' marathon, and sneezing like I was allergic life AND air itself.

I. Was. Miserable.

Nevertheless, I continued to work and push myself like I always do -- gotta save my sick/vacation time/FMLA hours for emergencies with Niki -- and I *thought* I was doing better by Saturday morning. I'm very limited on what I medications I can take because of Noie, but my allergist started me on a Prednisone taper on Thursday 11/4/10 so I could keep my asthma in check. I'm breathing for two, ya know. My doctors and I get nervous whenever I'm sick because my history of asthma and anaphylaxis. The good news is all was fine and dandy asthma-wise. My lungs were clear and I had no signs any infection brewing. My doctor even gave me the go-ahead to use Benadryl for my allergies. Meanwhile, I was still reporting to work every day, and comforted myself (and my patients) in knowing that I was NOT contagious.

There is no rest for the weary. ;-)

I was feeling slightly better on Saturday. Actually, we had a wonderful time attending my godson and nephew's joint birthday party. I don't recall appearing alarmingly sick to the rest of the party-goers, but I'm sure I looked like something the cat dragged in. But -- hell -- that's practically a daily occurence anyway! I'm far from being one of those radiant pregnant women. I don't glow, I sweat!

The cubbies had a blast. We got there a little late which means I didn't have a chance to take  pictures of decor while it was still relatively untouched, but it was an adorable party. I really appreciated the concept of theme. I went to a Cowboys & Indians party once, but I really liked the idea of Buzz & Spidey battling. My CIL-to-be put the party together and I must say she did a really good job. (You guys know I'm a sucker for all things crafty!)  Frankly, I'm a lazy ass so I always make the boys pick ONE theme even though they've begged me do TWO themes before. I still haven't got the slightest idea how I could've put together a "Hot Wheels and Diary of a Wimpy Kid" party. But, it's okay because I'm done with boy parties for a while anyway. ;-)

Here are a few pictures from that day. Most were taken by John, but some by me too. Random note: John has taken this photography hobby of mine to a whole other level! He keeps making trips to the camera store to buy contraptions for the Canon! This was the first time that he shot with his precious Gary Fong diffuser, but I really like how much warmer the pictures are. And to think , I had to break my point-and-shoot camera, convince him to upgrade to a step-up camera, and then practically beg him to drop the cash on the T2i once I got sick of the step-up! Now I have to wrestle the damn thing away from him at home because, sometimes, he fiddles with it more than he fiddles with me. ;-)

The Cake
 My Godson JT
 And his brother AC
 These are my favorite
 Red Velvet
 More Yumminess
 Okay, I didn't get approval to post this partial face shot, but I hope you don't mind. I really gotta start asking people while I'm at fam parties to see if it's okay to post pics. I don't like doing it without permission , and I have so many shots that I wish I could post!
 AC is barely 2 yrs old, but he already has a great imagination. :)
 My Cubbies
 The Next Generation of "C-Boys"
Boo's Schnozzle
 Niki hugging the adorable LL

We were pooped when we got home. The boy cubbies practically collapsed when we walked through the door, but Niki was still up and at 'em. She was coasting on a sugar high so I just laid in bed and watched her play with her Daddy. I started to feel weak as I drifted off to sleep, but I just figured I prematurely pushed myself like I always do. I must have only slept for about 45 minutes or so, but then I woke up and it happened again....

I had another anaphylactic reaction.

I've been dealing with this for YEARS now and it's idiopathic -- which basically means the doctors don't know what causes it.  I've had tons of work-up -- octreotide scans, nuclear medicine scans, CTs, xrays, flexible sig, endoscopy, specialty lab draws, multiple 24-hour urine collection tests (yes I know the concept is gross) but multiple specialists haven't been able to figure out what's causing it. But what they do know is it's definitely caused by a delayed reaction to something I eat. I've tried to keep a dietary diary to correlate what it is that I'm allergic to, but nothing adds up. And, unfortunately, my food allergy tests have all come back negative. So, I'm pretty much tiptoe-ing around this anaphylaxis crap.

Eight years of walking on eggshells ain't fun, but I'm just going to keep doing what I do and hope for the best.

I felt an instant overwhelming sense of fear wash over me when the episode happened. I was barely moving air in less than 5 minutes. Luckily I didn't lose consciousness this time, but I was close to it. I vaguely remember feeling dizzy and staring at my SIL holding Niki. Poor Niki looked confused, and I hated that she saw me that way. I hate when the boys see me that way! My rescue inhalers didn't work and John called 9-1-1 immediately. He's seen me almost die from this on multiple occasions -- he's even shot me with my Epi-pen before-- but I shook my head when he frantically offered to administer it to me.

Epinephrine can save a life during an anaphylactic reaction, but its also a vasoconstrictor. Vasoconstrictors are NOT good for the placenta, and the use of Epinephrine has been known to cause fetal death. In laymen's terms, this means that poor little Noie wouldn't have been able to breathe because of the negative effect the Epi-pen could've had on the oxygen-rich blood flowing to my placenta.

Do you remember when I wrote this post? The last time I had a very bad episode and lost consciousness was when I was in my 1st trimester of pregnancy with Niki -- my 26th  birthday. And that's why it was such a miracle that Niki survived that ordeal because the paramedics gave me epinephrine when they arrived! Really, my doctors and the ED were absolutely amazed because I was barely 8 weeks pregnant. She really is a miracle cub, ya'll! So, given that experience, I didn't want to give myself epinephrine at all. I didn't want to put Noie at risk, anaphylaxis or not. I'd rather move very, very, very minimal air than instantly have no air to the baby at all.
I would rather die than lose another cub.

DCFD made it to the house in a matter of minutes. (They're right down the street.) The rest is a blur. I was panicked, and didn't feel like I was sucking in any air. John says my oxygen saturation was 79-80% by the time the firefighters got there!!!! I started having back spasms (similar to what it feels like when I go into labor) so I was sure that something bad was happening to the baby. They took me to the emergency room in SSF and I was given copious amounts of oxygen, several breathing treatments, IV benadryl, and magnesium. I was already on a prednisone taper, and I just took some about 4 hours before the attack.

The ER doctor told me that if I wasn't already on Prednisone, the episode could have been a lot worse. Luckily, I didn't have to be admitted, and I got to go home early that morning. I lost track of time thanks to daylight savings, but I think we were there for at least 6 hours or so. My oxygen saturation was 95% when I was discharged, but I didn't desaturate when I walked/exerted myself. And, that's always a good sign.

Before I left, the nurse checked the baby's heartrate and it was normal. But....I was very worried about Noie. I spent all day in bed on Sunday -- drifting in and out of sleep -- but Noie barely moved when I was awake. Even when I tried to drink apple juice and lay on my left side, she still didn't move. Her movement was sluggish that day and it worried me. I was thisclose to going to labor and delivery so they could do a stress test, but John and I decided to wait it out.

Luckily by Monday morning things were looking good. Noie was moving a little bit more and I had follow up appointments with my allergist. She ran some tests and I practically spent all day at Kaiser because she was searching PubMed (a medical library) for cases like mine so she could formulate a different treatment plan.  Wouldn't you know it, there are none. What happened to me on Saturday shouldn't have happened -- I was on prednisone & numerous inhalers -- but it happened and she couldn't understand why. Wouldn't you know it, she couldn't find any case reports meeting my criteria. She's the Chief of Allergy so I have complete trust that she's doing the best she could to help me. She hestiated to give me clearance to continue on with my trip to New Orleans, but she lived there for 3 years and she knew asthma-wise I wouldn't have to worry about the weather too much. She even recommended which hospital I should go to should I have a reaction while I was out there.

We've formulated a new plan of action for when I think a reaction is coming on. I can't do anything to prevent it from happening, but I'm hoping this new plan will help me from getting so bad so quickly. And, I just had a follow up with my Ob/Gyn earlier today so he could check on Noie, and she's doing fine too. I'm officially 30 weeks pregnant. Only 10 more weeks to go!!!

It's a "party all the time" here in the my neck of the woods, but I'm still cracking my whip and going strong.

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