Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Day of Waiting- My 1st Mammogram at 30

When everyone was picking a word at the beginning of this year, I resisted to pick a word simply because everyone else was doing it. I like to be a rebel like that. That is until the Lord placed the word trust on my heart. And He was pretty persistent about it, so I caved and decided to make trust my main goal this year. 

And I have definitely had to trust Him this year. With a BRCA 1 and 2 diagnosis and a journey back into foster care, I have needed to trust Him more than ever this year. 

Today was spent doing a lot of waiting and a lot of trusting. It was the day of doctor's appointments that needed to happen after the whole BRCA discovery. 

So today, I had an ultrasound of my uterus and ovaries. I had a blood test called a CA125, and I had a clinical breast exam and a mammogram along with a session with a high risk specialist. 

Here's what I learned:

I'm getting pretty good at waiting, and none of it was as bad as I made it out to be in my mind. 

The ultrasound was uncomfortable, but not painful, and the blood test was no big deal at all. 

After those lovely tests, I had to go across the street to the Breast MRI center for my session, mammogram, and breast exam. 

They treated me like a celebrity over there. Apparently my mom and I are the only two people in this particular high risk program (that follows hundreds of women in our area) with both BRCA 1 and 2 mutations. We're like super famous in the boob world. 

I was informed with new research on my gene mutations, a full list of my current options, and an explanation of what to expect in the coming months and years as we continue surveillance. Turns out that I'll have to be super serious about tracking my period since my next appointment (in 6 months) will be for an MRI and it will need to be done during a specific time frame in my cycle when the estrogen in my body is at it's lowest. Tracking my period is now on the To-Do list I guess. 

After the session, I was taken to a room for the clinical breast exam where Sharon was very thorough and explained to me exactly how I need to do my own exams. She was even sweet enough to remind me how how small I am. She assured me that she would still be able to feel things. 

Thanks, Sharon. I appreciate the reminder of my small chest size. 

I actually liked Sharon and couldn't help but smile when she commented on my small size. I was even more impressed with the non-paper gowns. I fully expected those horrid paper sheets they make people wear on TV. Nope. This was a real life, not paper sheet (or maybe it was old curtains or a tablecloth) with a hole in the middle for my head. I really did like it. 

Well, I liked it until they made me wear it to go to "the other side" as they called it, where they do the mammograms. 

You could totally see all of my side as I walked through the office. I'm sure of it. But I walked with pride through that office where I was, by far, the youngest person in the room. 

I had to sit in a waiting room all by myself and watch general hospital while wearing my floral patterned sheet. It seemed like I sat there for hours, but I think it was only 15 minutes. However long it was, it was just long enough to make me so very glad that I have other things to do in the middle of the day besides watch General Hospital (if you're a fan, I'm sorry). 

And suddenly, there was a lady in the doorway. She had obviously come for me since I was the only soul in the room. She said my name anyway, just to be sure, and off we went. 

The room with the mammogram machine in it is quite intimidating. I had to wear a giant and heavy lead skirt around my waist. 

Once the lead skirt was secured, it was time to face the machine. While I did not take this picture, this is exactly what it looks like. 

I've heard mammograms are painful. Maybe that's the case for some, but it wasn't painful for me. Maybe it's the size of my breasts (see above comment) that made it bearable for me. I don't know. 

It was incredibly uncomfortable. Mostly because there is no place to put your face when your boob is smooched in that machine. The hardest part (aside from where you're supposed to put your face) is that you have to hold your breath, and since you don't know what to do with your face, it's hard to hold your breath. If you have nice sized boobs, it may be more painful for you than it was for me. I really don't know. But I know it's short. Very short. Only takes a minute, and it's no big deal, so if you need one, you should go get one. 

And after the boob squishing, I was done. The day of waiting was over. For now. 

I really am learning more and more about waiting on the Lord. I'm not sure I understand where I fit in yet in this BRCA journey, but I'm okay waiting until the Lord shows me where I fit. I trust Him. I trust the process. I trust the journey, so here we go. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Going nowhere fast

Family Planning Meeting is done but without much progress. I can't tell you much since we're under a confidentiality agreement. But my goal in writing and sharing is to be the voice of foster families. Hopefully you see the joy and pain, frustration and peace that comes from caring for foster babies. 

The system is flawed. There's no secret there. But when you're dealing with real people, it's so hard for there to be black and white answers to everything. It simply doesn't work that way. 

Right now I'm frustrated because we couldn't really have a Family Planning Meeting because there was a key person missing. That's just how it goes sometimes. 

We had to have real conversations about the possibility of the boys being removed from our homes to be placed together. This will probably be a lengthy process, so it's best for the boys to be together. We can't take big brother. I know we can't. We don't have the space, and I don't have the patience to have two 2-year-olds. I don't think the other foster parents want to take Baby A, so it creates a sticky situation. 

There is also the possibility that family members will surface who will want to take the boys. That too is always a possibility when you're dealing with foster kids. 

So we're currently going nowhere fast. Bio mom doesn't have a plan yet. We aren't set up for visitation yet, and there's always the chance that Baby A will be moved. 

But we're trucking along. Baby A is happy, healthy and growing fast, so we're just loving the time we have with him while he's here. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Being Frustrated.....It's part of the deal

I wish I could encourage those of you who are possibly considering foster care by telling you that you won't be frustrated, and it'll be a smooth process to the end. 

That's just not the case. We have had Baby A in our home for almost a week (tomorrow makes a week), and we finally heard from someone at DHS today. It's a frustrating feeling to not know what's going on. It's literally like being in the dark. 

It's hard to settle when you don't have any idea how long this baby will be a part of your family. 

I wish I could encourage you and tell you that it won't be frustrating, but it will be. There are so many people involved when there are children in DHS custody, and sometimes (a lot of times) things don't get communicated the way they should. 

We literally know nothing about Baby A's bio mom at this point. I know nothing about his past, and that can be a little irritating. 

Tomorrow will be an important day in Baby A's journey. He won't be at the meeting, but bio mom will be there along with a permanency case worker, our Angels case worker, and Baby A's brother's foster parents, as well as a mediator. It's called a Family Plan meeting, and it'll be where we'll find out about why the kids are in custody and what mom's plan is moving forward to work towards getting them back. 

It'll be a hard meeting mostly because it'll be the first time we'll meet bio mom. There are so many emotions that come with meeting the mother of the baby you're loving on and caring for 24 hours a day. There's really nothing easy about it. 

There's sadness, anger, grief, anxiety, and so many more feelings that will come tomorrow. Frustration is simply part of it, however, frustration will not be what keeps me from giving love to this little guy. He deserves love from someone right now. Frustration with the system or not, this is what we're called to do. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

This baby is making me fat

I would like to blame my extra fluff on this baby alone but in reality, there are several factors to consider.

Here is my list of excuses as to why I have not been in the gym recently:

  • We have travelled almost every month since April. Traveling will screw up any good workout routine. Seriously. It's wrecked mine. 
  • I also like to eat whatever I want to eat and when I'm stressed or overwhelmed, I do things like eat frosting out of the can or m&ms out of a king sized M&M bag. 
So there are those reasons, and there is adjusting to life with a new baby around the house. I'm mostly blaming the baby. He's fun to snuggle with. Why would you workout when you can sit on the couch and snuggle a baby? I mean, really?

But my fluffiness is going to have to change soon because I sort of become a crazy person when I don't work out. Getting back into the routine is just so hard sometimes! 

Today, I broke out my good ole running shoes and spent an hour on the treadmill. Running makes me a much happier person, ya'll. It just does.

As my luck would have it, there is the perfect accountability program starting up September 29th. And the best can do it too! I'll be working through Claire Peak's Living and Active 5 week Challenge. I love this challenge because it incorporates working out, with scripture memorization, and accountability. What more could you ask for!? 

Head on over to to find out more about how you can join us. All you have to do right now is find an accountability partner! Oh and did I mention it's free?! Sure is. I hope you'll join us. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What we're watching this Fall

I feel like I should disclaimer this post by telling you that I'm not a huge TV watcher. This will definitely make me look like a TV watcher, but I swear I don't watch that much TV.

Brian loves TV (yes, I'm blaming him) so TV time has kind of become our snuggle time. We have several shows we watch together. It's kind of like a mini date night every night. It helps us turn off "work mode" and just be for a while. 

Our must-sees are Castle and Elementary. Love them both. If I had to pick a 1st place, it would be Castle, but only by a teeny bit.

We also love Modern Family, Person of Interest (that could probably go to the must-see list), The Blacklist, Duck Dynasty, and Trophy Wife. 

Brian watches a few others that I have to watch by default, but they're not must-sees for me. He likes Alaska the Last Frontier. Sometimes we catch Shark Tank.

I'm excited because shows are officially starting back up! Yeah for Fall TV! 

What are your must-sees? I'm sort of super nosy when it comes to what other people watch. So spill.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

It's worth the risk

We're in that transition phase where I'm getting used to four little people needing me at all hours of the day. Three little people is a lot. Four is even more. So I'm trying to remember what life is like with four kids who always need something. 

It's doable and joy filled, there is just a transition that needs to take place. I have to remember to love my babies the best that I can. I have to give them the best of me, all while loving on this baby who needs love and a good fattening up, all at the same time. 

Foster care brings it challenges, but there is also peace that comes in obedience. Our desire to foster came directly from scripture. There are numerous references to caring for orphans and the fatherless, but my favorite comes from James 1:27:
27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
When the Lord placed foster care on our hearts more than 2 years ago, I took the calling as a challenge. That may or may not have been the best way to go about it, but that's really how I thought of it in my head....Are you challenging me? Sure. I'm game. Let's do this.

I don't necessarily think of foster care as a challenge now. I consider it more of a necessity. The way I was blessed through our first foster care experience is nearly indescribable. I was broken and changed and made new in the best kind of way.

And I selfishly want that again. I want Him to wreck me. I want Him to break my heart. I want to remember what it's like to hurt and to feel.

In a world where we are so easily jaded because everyone is walking a rough battle and everything is hard sometimes, I want to know first hand what it is to yearn for yearn for Heaven.

When I let myself think about Baby A and his young momma and his brother, my heart wants to break into a million pieces. The reality of foster care is crappy. I hate that it has to exist. But it does exist because we are broken people in a broken world who desperately need Christ.

I can't fix anyone or any situation, but what I can do is love. And maybe that's all I can do. But since loving is what we've been called to do, I will love bravely. I won't hold back my heart. I will love my babies and this baby, and I will love his momma and his brother, and my heart might break, yes. But it's worth the risk. It's always worth the risk. He's worth the risk.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

There's a baby sleeping in my closet

There's a baby sleeping my closet, and I can't find my panties in the dark. {Don't tell my case worker....I'll tell her myself....I swear.} 

But there seriously is a baby sleeping in my closet, and it is inhibiting my ability to find clothes and put away laundry. 

And I will tell my case worker because it's a temporary situation. It's actually a pretty sweet pad in there. He's got a fan (and there's heat and air in there), and it's nice and dark and quiet, and I'm jealous of it. 

It's a temporary fix. Since we have no idea how long Baby A will be here, we haven't decided where he should live.  Once we find out more about bio mom's plan, we'll be able to make a better decision about where Baby A should stay. 

We're loving every second with him. He's a bundle of joy. I don't know how we got such a laid back and easy baby. He might be sleeping in my closet, but he's sneaking into my heart a little more everyday. 

Oh and it's worth mentioning that Wyatt is re-living his baby days by trying out all of Baby A's gear. Stinker.