Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I'm about ready for some wooden teeth.

Today's been a long day. I'm tired tonight. Got several loads of laundry done, but nothing outstanding. We try to keep weekends reserved for family, since it seems we never see enough of one another. We hung out a lot with the girls and tried to relax a little. I'm not sure how successful I was. I've had tomorrow on my mind.

I have a dental appointment in the morning to get some work done. I'm not sure, if he'll get to either of the broken teeth, or if he'll only fill a cavity. I'm hoping both. But I detest going to the dentist. They always have a rough time getting the deadening agent in the right place due to my nerve placement, and I often feel the pain of a drill going into the center of my tooth. It's not fun.

Plus I haven't had the best experiences with dentists. The one we went to when I was little was an abusive man. We found out later he was an alcoholic, which I suppose explains his abusiveness, but it absolutely doesn't excuse it. He pulled one of my teeth without any deadening at all, and at one point even told me that, if I kept crying, he'd "give me something to cry about".

So yeah. Even though the dentist I have now is very gentle and does his best not to hurt me, I am tensed up from the moment my behind meets the cloth of the waiting room seat. Once I get home I typically have to sit on my heating pad for a couple of hours just to release the knots in my back. I wish I could bring a heating pad with me to my appointment. I'll have to ask about that for future visits.

The girls are sick again. Fevers. Sniffles. Coughs. Our middle daughter is coughing up a storm at night and is having headaches. It started Friday night, so I'm sure it's a viral thing. I'm hoping the cough will die down and she'll be feeling better in the next couple of days. I'm ready for Spring to come, so we can open the windows and get some fresh air in here. Mostly, I'm just ready for the kids to be feeling better for more than a week at a time.

Right now, I'm ready for bed.

I need to at least pretend to sleep before I get up for my dental appointment. ;o)

Saturday, February 27, 2010


It was the wrong receipt.

Let me back up a bit...

Hubby and I wedged the shower surround into the car only to realize that he wouldn't be able to wedge himself between the seat and the steering wheel. That doesn't even take into account that he had no room for his feet. So we opened the back end of the station wagon that doesn't seem much bigger than a Mini Cooper, and pulled the box back out about 6 inches. He pulled the seats back to where he'd have room to crawl in the front seat to drive and tied the back end of the car shut with twine.

He proceeded to the hardware store where we bought the surround while I stayed home with the girls. Not that there would have been any room for us anyway. After lugging the shower surround into Home Depot and waiting in line at the returns, everything looked great. They took the receipt, then scanned the box. And wouldn't you know it, but it wasn't the right receipt. The shower thing listed on the receipt was a shower door we bought close to the same time. And while the shower door was still in the system, and we could get $149 plus tax out of it, if we wanted to return it we could. In fact, it's still sits uninstalled behind our bedroom door, but we actually are going to get it installed eventually. But the shower surround itself was no longer in the system, so even if we found the receipt we cannot return it to HD. :::sigh:::

So hubby brought it back home, stuck it in the garage, and went back out to run the other couple of errands that he'd planned on running after he'd returned the surround. Before he left, I took pictures of the picture on the box and stuck it up on Craigslist for sale after researching anything that was even close to what we had for comparison.

Someone has already emailed about it asking that we call her in the morning. We will. We're thrilled that someone is already interested. I'm hoping to be doing another Woot Woot Dance tomorrow or at least within the next week or two. I am glad I listed it immediately instead of putting it off. I have a tendency to procrastinate when I have a lot on my mind.

Looking around the study today (the room I've been working in most often since I started de-hoarding), and I realized I've gotten rid of at least half of what was in here. I'm very pleased with that. I will do what I can to finish it as quickly as possible, but we still have to finish the basement and unload the storage pod on the driveway. It may take awhile.

If I can at least finish up what's currently in here before unloading the pod, we'll be able to neatly stack the boxes of paperwork that will be coming in. Plus the filing cabinet will be neat and ready to receive those papers that I feel necessary to keep. That will make sorting the paperwork that's in the pod and in the garage ever so much quicker and easier. And I've learned my lesson.

I'll be wearing my mask.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Giving up on the notebook.

If I happen to stumble across it in the next few days before I'm finished with the insurance claims, I'll gladly use it, but I'm done actively looking for it. I'm happy with the paperwork I got done while looking for it. That's going to have to be enough for now.

About 2 years ago, I was diagnosed with a severe allergy to dogs, and we had to get rid of our critters. I can tell that there is still dog dander in the heat ducts and in the paperwork I've been going through. I've had to up my allergy medicines to be able to handle the last few days.

I've also run the canister vac while doing the paperwork to limit my exposure to the dander, but in spite of that and the fact I've used a face mask, I'm still struggling with the allergies. I'll be glad when I'm done in this room and can mark it off the master list. (It's amazing how dusty paperwork can be!) At that point, everything will be wiped down, washed or dusted in one way or the other, and I shouldn't have a problem in there. I am really looking forward to having the duct work cleaned thoroughly before next Fall. We're close enough to not needing the furnace that we probably won't have them professionally cleaned before then.

I'm really hoping I can be productive this weekend. It might be difficult. Both of the girls are feverish again. This year has been the worst on record for illnesses. It seems that they get well enough to go back to school only to end up catching something from their classmates and miss even more school.

Had a fun moment earlier with our middle daughter. The youngest thought it was pretty funny, too. Our middle daughter has an obsession with sunlight. Any time there's sunlight streaming through the little holes in the window blinds, it makes larger circles of light on the counter top. She just can't seem to get enough of it. She'll put her hand on the spots only to have the spots then creep onto the back of her hands. She finds it totally fascinating.

Tonight, there were several such circles of sunlight on the counter. Being in a goofy mood, I started singing John Denver's Sunshine On My Shoulders to her. But I changed things a little...

"Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy."
"Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry."
"Sunshine on the counter makes me angry..."

She cracked up laughing. There's just nothing better than the sound of a child's laughter.

It makes everything worthwhile!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I have a mind to.

No notebook yet, but I did get rid of lots of bags of shredables in the last 3 days, as you can see over there ~~~~>.

If I don't find the notebook tomorrow, I'll just finish things up with the pictures instead. I don't think it will likely make that much of a difference. And I know I'm going to find the stupid notebook right after we turn the insurance paperwork in, anyway. That's how it always happens, isn't it?

Sort of like when you're waiting on a doctor's office to call. You know. You wait all day long for them to call and decide to run to the bathroom for a quick potty break. And the second you've committed - the phone rings. Don't question me. Just take my word for it. K?

I was listening to Roger Miller while doing paperwork today. His songs remind me of my parents. King of The Road reminds me of my dad. My parents often sang his songs to us kids when they were in a silly mood. Just wonderful memories all the way around.

Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Heard reminds me of my life, cuz I have a mind to.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Did you hear the glue?

The bad news is that I haven't come across the notebook yet. But I can't see moving a bunch of paperwork to look for it and not actually sorting the paperwork.

The good news is that I've been sorting through 18 years of paperwork and getting rid of stuff. That's worth a "Woot! Woot!" all on it's own. Add to the fact that I also found the receipt for a shower surround that we bought in February 2002 and never installed, because it wouldn't fit around the window in the shower, and I'm doing great! I called the store we bought it from, and because it's still in the system as being for sale (albeit at a clearance price), we can return it for a full refund of the $149 plus tax that we paid for it 8 years ago! It will go in with the rest of the found money. Woot! Woot!

I am in a silly, goofy, happy mood today. I've been dancing around Woot! Woot!ing for awhile now. You know the dance...with your hands in the air doing circles with your vertically outstretched arms. Yep. I'm in a great mood today.

I've been diligently purging paperwork from the last 18 years, and I can't believe I'm actually getting rid of this stuff I hung onto for all those years! A lot of it was medical receipts or insurance claims on doctors visits for the girls. But I realized I don't really need to know each time they had an ear ache or a stomach bug. I am hanging onto the important paperwork having to do with surgeries, though. Out of a box full of paperwork, I saved less than a dozen papers. I'm pretty proud of myself. Woot! Woot!

I have to admit I about died laughing when I looked at one particular receipt from the doctor's office dated in October of 2000. The receipts from this particular pediatrician's office always listed a reason that the child was being seen. The only thing I can think of is that whomever filled out the 'reason' box on the paperwork was listening to me on the phone and someone in the office at the same time. The reason she listed that our youngest daughter needed to be seen: "GLUE HEARD".


I have NO idea what that was supposed to mean, and I know that I would not have said I heard glue in our daughter. This appointment was long past the days of her severe breathing issues where she was hospitalized repeatedly for asthma and pneumonia. I don't know. Maybe I'd said that it looked like she had glue draining from her ears, since she's had such a horrible time with ear infections. She's actually on her 8th set of tubes for her little ears! I have no idea. But it was sure fun trying to figure it out.

I debated keeping the piece of paper, because I find it hysterical. But realistically, I'll likely never look at it again. Plus, I wrote about it. If I want to laugh about it at some later date, I've got this post to look at.

Also found out a very good friend's daughter had a baby girl today! That was awesome goodness! Worth a Woot! Woot! for sure!

Yep. Today's been a great day!

Say it with me now...

Woot! Woot!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

At least I have Norah.

So. Still looking for the notebook. Working on paperwork as I do. Drank way too much caffeine today, so I'll probably be up for a few hours looking for it still tonight. I'll be listening to Norah Jones. She's got such a soothing voice. It will help me keep from being stressed. :)

Over the weekend, my hubby picked up a box of 50 hanging file folders, because I needed more to finish my filing. I knew I wouldn't use them all, but I figured I'd share with someone else. However, when I went to put them in the filing cabinet tonight, I realized they were legal size instead of regular. They were too big. We'll have to take them back.

Imagine my surprise when I opened a box to see, if the missing notebook was in it, and instead I see probably 40 file folders that had been in the file cabinet at one point. (I thought it seemed rather sparse when I cleaned it out a few weeks ago!). Most of them contain stuff that is at least 8 years old or older, so I'll be cleaning them out tonight and putting stuff in the shredables. Needless to say, we won't have to buy anymore file folders!

Things went very well with the teacher when I spoke to her of my concerns. She'll be helping us get the IEP amended. So very thankful that it didn't need to turn into a battle. I really like the girls' teachers, and I'm so thankful for the good relationship we have with them.

Tonight, I got to rub the very pregnant belly of a friend who is expecting twins. It was so exciting! She still has a few weeks to go, but she looks like she's 10 months pregnant already. It's amazing what twins do for the size of a tummy! I miss my pregnancy days. I loved being pregnant and feeling the baby move. There's nothing quite like it! :)

Still hoping I'll get to that notebook tonight. So I should probably get this posted and get busy looking again!

For anyone who isn't familiar with Norah Jones:

For the official video go here:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just rambling.

Never heard back from the school today to get the official changes in our youngest's IEP. I'll be calling again tomorrow, if I don't hear anything by 2 or so. Talked a little to the teacher about the issue, and wouldn't you know it, but the district's phone system went down in the middle of our call.

I've been working on listing the losses for the insurance claim today. It's coming along. Not necessarily quickly, but I should be done no later than Friday. That is, if I can find a notebook that I wrote things in at the time we were doing an inventory of the losses. Since I already called the school to take care of things, and I'm only waiting for a return call, the notebook is my top priority for tomorrow.

On a good note, I found a map book I'd been looking for tonight while looking for the notebook. I'd promised it to a friend for her little one who has a thing for maps. It will go in the box of stuff I'm putting aside for her. One less thing I have to think about.

I am hoping that I haven't offended anyone. I realized tonight that I have no idea what I'm supposed to do, if someone tells me they're giving me a blogger award. It's not that I don't appreciate them thinking of me. I'm just blog etiquette illiterate.

No more time to think on any of this stuff tonight. Morning comes entirely too early for me. It's time I get to bed!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our very own talking stain.

I am very happy with the progress on the laundry. I'm almost completely caught up, which is saying a lot considering how far behind I'd gotten.

Bracing for an encounter with the school district over our youngest. It's always easier to brace ourselves and expect a fight. That way, we're prepared. Thankfully, it rarely comes to a fight, but it can get tiresome.

Long story short, we're not comfortable with our youngest, who is nonverbal, using the public restroom at the school without the help of one of the aides. It's a safety issue, and she's using the situation to manipulate the staff. It needs to be dealt with, so that's the priority for tomorrow. Hoping it goes well.

Had to laugh as my husband and I realized our middle daughter is the talking stain. If you haven't seen it yet, go watch the commercial.

It's okay.

I'll wait.


On the weekends, she gets SO excited that her daddy is home, and she gets to spend time with him, that she just can't contain herself. Every single time we try to talk to one another about anything, she starts talking over us. It often happens from the other room, even, and we can't hear one another, even though we are only feet apart. It's funny and exasperating at the same time. Impulse control isn't her friend, but she isn't doing it intentionally to drown us out. She just wants to join in the conversation. We get that. Everyone wants to have a voice, right? :)

We are so incredibly blessed to have the fun and the smiles and the laughter that we have on a daily basis with our girls.

In spite of it all, I love my life! :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Yay! Not so Yay. Yay again! So far from yay I can't think straight!

So very thankful. My husband cleared the drain behind the washing machine, so I can do laundry without having to stand in the laundry room over the washing machine all day. And he spared my neck and shoulders. :)

It's been a very gloomy day around here. Trying hard to shake it off. I don't do well with overcast skies. I need the sunshine!

Got the CD of pictures from the restoration company in the mail today. That's good. I'll be able to get all the claims finished soon. I was hoping I'd get the claims finished by Monday. Realistically, that's not going to happen. I can't concentrate worth a darn with the kids around. Something about, "Mom. Mom. Mom. Um. Dad. Daddy. Dad. Mom. Mommy?" with us saying "What? or What, honey?" between each utterance does something to the concentration. So I'll work on it when they're in school.

Just heard about how Seth MacFarlane used Trig Palin's Down Syndrome to get under the skin of his mom, Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska. I think it's beyond disgusting to use a special needs child to get at someone whose political views differ from your own. I don't care WHAT your political views are. It's WRONG! It's DISGUSTING!

I've never really cared for Family Guy much in the first place. It's just not my style. But my husband finds it humorous and used to watch it fairly often. He's no longer a fan, either. Before, MacFarlane at least went after those who could somehow defend themselves against his attacks. Does he really need a laugh so badly that he attacks the defenseless?

How incredibly sad that he's such a small person.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh for crying out loud. Again? Seriously?

I'm trying really hard not to complain, because I know that I have it so good in so incredibly many ways, but...I'm going to complain.

I just have to say that I really struggle when it comes to our plumbing. Really.

We are going to have to have the front yard dug up and a new sewer line installed, because ours has tree roots in it that cause it to back up into our laundry room every so many months. We used to be able to snake out the main drain once every 6 to 9 months, and it would just start to back up when we'd need to do it again. However, the professional snake we got is no longer doing enough. We have tree roots coming through our line, and this year, we've had problems with sewage backing up every couple of months. Long gone are the days of a 6 to 9 month reprieve.

Digging up the front yard and replacing the sewer line is going to cost several thousand dollars. Like $6,000 to $12,000. We don't have the money to do it right now, so we're going to take our chances and snake every 6 to 8 weeks with our own snake and try to keep it at bay for a year or so when we're likely able to afford the repairs. That's not the problem right now, though.

Right now, we're having problems with the washing machine backing up out of the drain pipe located behind the washer. It's just enough to make the floor wet under the washer and dryer and several feet over to the one side. And of course, if there's anything on the floor (when isn't there??), it always gets wet, and I've got to try to get things washed and sterilized or thrown out before mildew sets in.

I have two options. One is time intensive. The other is labor intensive.

First, I could sit down in the laundry room and try to stay busy while keeping an eye on the washing machine. I'd need to shut the washer off shortly after it started draining. After leaving the machine off for 30 seconds to a minute, I could then start it again, and hope it didn't back up yet again. I'd have to stay right by the machine, though, so I didn't forget to shut it off when it started draining after the rinse cycle. I'd get very little done, if anything while waiting to shut the machine off, yet I wouldn't be able to leave the laundry room. I have done this in the past, but I absolutely abhor doing so. I hate feeling tethered, and I hate feeling unproductive when I'm in a productive mood.

Option #2 involves more physically. I always ache by the time I'm done. It involves using a hand snake (auger) and feeding 6" to 8" of line at a time down the pipe. Twisting the handle several times to get the line to go down the pipe and then pulling more out. It feels like it takes forever, but it probably only takes about 30 to 45 minutes to get through the entire line. The thing is that it's non-stop movement. By the time I'm done, I can hardly move, because my neck and shoulders hurt so much.

So I stopped with laundry for the night. I'll have my hubby help me tomorrow with cleaning out the line. We'll probably clean the sewer line, too, since it's been awhile.

Maybe then I can get caught up on laundry.

I can dream a dream, right? ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Insurance, The *R* word and the Dentist.

Worked on the insurance paperwork and pictures last night. I also heard back from the restoration company that we'd fired that they do have more pictures and will be sending them out in today's mail. That will make things much easier for me, since I'm sure I didn't get pictures of everything that was ruined. If all goes as planned, I'll have the paperwork and pictures ready for the insurance adjuster by Monday. It will be such a relief to have it done!

Went to the dentist today. I'm a bit disappointed. The teeth I broke were not teeth with temporary crowns. They were real teeth. So I've got to get two crowns. :::sigh::: My teeth have never been in great shape, no matter how much I brush them or floss. Adding steroids to the mix as an adult has just made them worse. I can't get in until the end of March for my teeth to be fixed. In the meantime, the dentist ground the sharp edges off the one tooth, so hopefully my sore tongue will heal soon. =P

The hygienist was very sweet today. She talked a lot, but I like that. I'd rather someone talk to me when they're working on my mouth. I don't really like going to the dentist. At all. So her talking kept my mind off what was going on. It helped me relax. In the course of talking, she said that she did something really r***ded. I hate the *R* word with a passion, but I also feel that many people use it when they're not thinking. I could tell this was the case with her.

When she was done cleaning my teeth, I asked, if I could talk to her for a minute and ask her a favor. She didn't hesitate. I gently asked her, if she could please try to remember not to use that word, because it's very painful for people who have children/loved ones who are mentally delayed. I think she appreciated the fact that I didn't yell at her or call her names like I've seen some do, but I was taught that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. She said that she didn't even realize she'd said it, and that at her house, 'stupid' is an off-limits word. That she hates it, and she doesn't allow her children to use it. She said she'll be mindful in the future and try not to use it. I believed her.

The girls were finally well enough to go back to school today. They were thrilled. They both had good days at school, and that always makes a mom feel better.
The house seemed quiet, but that's better for paperwork anyway.

I need to go get some more done on the pictures and insurance paperwork. I'll probably throw some laundry in, too.

It feels good to be making headway again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Molasses. Nightmares. 'nough said.

We haven't watched much of the Olympics this year. It's not that we don't like them. We just don't have as much time to watch. So I've been recording them on the DVR for the girls to watch, because they can't get enough. The girls had watched most of Monday night's Olympics yesterday when they were home sick from school. All that was left to watch were the final four couples in pairs figure skating.

I do have a fondness for gymnastics and figure skating, so I decided to watch to see who would win the gold when I turned the Olympics on for the girls this morning. It was pretty darn awesome that a couple who were now married and were way old according to the sport won. Shen and Zhou have been together since 1992 when she was only 13, and he was 18. There's something to be said about finally winning gold at ages 31 and 36!

One of the commentators (I thought it was Dick Button who said it, but I've seen it credited to Scotty Hamilton and Bob Costas as well), was commenting about one team's particularly rough year. He said their year was "a nightmare covered in molasses!" And while I may not be sure of the origins of the saying, I love the picture it conjures up.

I mean most nightmares seem like they last far too long the way it is, right? Add molasses to the mix, and everything slows down and takes longer to process. Longer to move on. Everything would seem like it was in even slower motion. It would make it harder to move. Harder to breathe. Surely, molasses wouldn't make a nightmare better. It would just intensify the horror.

However, instead of this saying making me feel bad or like I'm currently in a nightmare, it just made me laugh.

I'm so glad I took the time to watch the last 4 couples skating with the girls this morning while they're once again out of school. That really just made my day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No it's not! It's February!

The kids ended up staying home from school again today. They both had low grade fevers again tonight. I can't wait for warmer weather, so I can open the windows and doors and air the house out! This has been the worst school year for us in years and years as far as illnesses go. I think we're all ready for a break!

I worked on laundry today. I'll be doing a bit of filing tonight, and I'll try to work on the insurance paperwork, since the kids are in bed, and the house is quiet. I've just got to get something done!

Middle daughter had a much better day. She sounded like she was ramping up for a meltdown a couple of times, but I was able to joke with her and keep her mind off it. She's been talking all month about it being February. She knew Valentine's Day was Sunday, and she couldn't remember how to say it. After saying, "Halloween. No." and shaking her head when she realized it wasn't Halloween, she'd then say, "Father's Day. No." It then turned into her saying, "It is February! Hearts!" to let us know that she was talking about Valentine's Day.

Even though she knows it's February, she often accidentally says it's March. Or October. Or July. It's just the way her brain works. So I was teasing her a bit yesterday. Every time she'd say it was a different month, I'd say, "No it's not! It's February!" She and our youngest would start giggling. Things got really funny when she'd actually get it right and say, "It's February!" and just to tease her I'd say, "No it's not! It's February!"

There have been a lot of giggles and fun between sneezes today.

That's a really good thing.

No it's not! It's February!

Monday, February 15, 2010

God is great.

Praising God. Went to the specialist this morning. She confirmed that my lumps were just lipomas (fatty tissues) and not cancer. She said that they aren't sure what causes lipomas, and there's nothing that can be done to prevent them. They are apparently only removed, if they cause pain, because they're so harmless. It sounded as though the scar tissue from removing one can be more trouble than the lipoma itself. She also said that my risk for getting breast cancer is lower than the national average. I'm very happy with that. It was good news all around.

Our middle daughter had a meltdown before we left for the doctor's office. We're not sure what's triggering it, but she's gotten very anxious lately when she knows her dad has to go to work. It's not like anything has changed. He's always had to work. But for some reason, it is now sending her into panic attacks. She follows both of us around, but leans more toward following him around, asking when he's going to be home and crying hysterically. It's exhausting emotionally and physically for all of us when it happens. Thankfully, she was okay when we got back from the doctor's, and her dad had to leave for work.

I'm planning on an early bedtime, so I can be ready to work on the insurance paperwork tomorrow after the girls go to school. Tonight, I'll be working on laundry.

Anything to try to get a start at getting ahead. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

But of course!

My mouth is falling apart. Ok. Maybe not my mouth, but my teeth are. I broke two of them last week, and one tonight. Thankfully, I don't have any pain except for the sharpness that cuts into my tongue. I'm pretty sure both teeth had temporary crowns on them, so I guess I'll have to get the permanent crowns at this point. I have an appointment later in the week for my cleaning, and I'll make an appointment then to get them fixed.

I felt the best today that I have in almost 3 weeks. The antibiotics are kicking in, and I'm ever so grateful! I was able to get several loads of laundry done today, and I'll be doing more tomorrow when I get home from my doctor's appointment. I'm just going to count on everything being okay when I see the specialist, so I can get busy. I'm looking forward to finally being able to make some progress on dehoarding again. Finally.

My goal for the week is to get all the paperwork turned in for the insurance claim on the basement flood, so we can close the claim out. It's going to take a bit to get it all together, but I'm hoping that I'll finish by next weekend. Then I'll turn my attention to finally finishing up the crown moulding that I had to abandon when I got sick. If we get the basement finished, then we can start weeding through the stuff from the basement and get the pod off our driveway. It will be nice to not have to park on the street when we get it done.

My mind is racing with everything that I need to get finished.

I think I'll write a list.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Of hoarding and rare disorders.

Last night, I watched another Hoarders episode. This episode was about a single man who had adopted 2 special needs children. His son was born addicted to cocaine and had several behavior issues as a result. The man was understandably overwhelmed, and he couldn't seem to keep up. I could really identify with him and his situation.

Our daughters could be considered 'teenage toddlers'. They've got all the emotional upheaval that happens in the years associated with puberty, but they've got the coping mechanisms and understanding of toddlers to some degree. In some ways, they're a bit more advanced than toddlers, but neither is developmentally over 6 years old.

Over the years, it's been difficult, because we've been so isolated from others who share similar diagnoses. In fact, we are not aware of any other people who have the same chromosomal rearrangement they have. Our family, as well as families who have children with chromosomal rearrangements are pioneers in their own way.

Nineteen years ago when our middle daughter was born, we didn't have a computer. We had no access to support groups via the Internet. What we did have was a mother by the name of Julie Gordon who runs MUMS (Mothers United for Moral Support). Just knowing we weren't alone helped tremendously, even though we never found anyone else like our girls.

I'm thankful for the resources parents have today such as the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), Unique, and CDO (Chromosome Disorder Outreach). I'll be exploring these resources as time permits. I'm hoping it will help with the isolation. It always helps to know you're not alone.

I came across this video on youtube today.

I already feel better.

I am not alone.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Freeze frame.

Talked with my doctor tonight about my frustrations with the form letter I received basically congratulating me on a normal mammogram yet knowing she got a different letter saying that they couldn't rule out cancer. She seemed a bit surprised that I got a form letter and nothing addressing the findings. She read me the letter she got.

From what they could tell, it appears as though it's likely just a lipoma or fatty cyst/tissue. However, since the mammogram/ultra sound cannot rule out cancer 100%, the American Cancer Society recommends that the patient be seen by a specialist to rule anything out. That's why my doctor had already decided to send me to a specialist even before the official results were in her office. I'm very thankful she's my doctor and that I have someone I can trust to do what's best for me and who's willing to talk to me about things.

I have honestly been in a great frame of mind since my rant. Just getting it off my chest seemed to help. I'm in an even better frame of mind since talking with my doctor. I'll still be addressing the form letter I received. I just need to think about what I'm going to say, so it will hopefully be given honest consideration instead of being dismissed.

I don't like being dismissed, but that's another post. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nothing mind blowing happened today.

Just nose blowing.

Finally got a some decent sleep last night. Steroids tend to pump me up and not let me rest. At all. I finished them the night before last, so last night I finally got some rest. I feel a bit better for it, but I am very much looking forward to sleep tonight. Chest finally seems to be clearing, but I can tell I've now got a sinus infection. That's ok. I can function better with a sinus infection than with the stuff I've had!

Got more done today than I have in awhile, so that was good. No dehoarding, but daily stuff like casseroles, dishes, cookies and laundry. Oh. And cleaning part of the freezer out. Every little bit helps. Makes me feel more human, to borrow the expression from a friend. I like feeling human.

Got the paperwork from the breast specialist today that I need to fill out and take in Monday. I'm going to fill it out tonight before I go to bed, so I don't forget anything. If I don't get to it tonight, I'll be doing it first thing in the morning.

Wanting to make sure I keep posting every single day to keep my mind on the big picture. Dehoarding. The blog helps keep me focused. I need that. It would be very easy to lose that focus and drive with everything going on right now.

Right now, my focus is on my big, warm, comfortable bed. It's whispering my name. I think I'll go see what it wants...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My rant for the day. I'll try not to make it a habit. :)

I refuse to even think about it until Monday. Ok. So I'll probably be thinking about it on Sunday night, but I refuse to let the upcoming doctor's appointment rule my thoughts and my life. But I am a bit irritated.

I didn't read yesterday's mail until this morning. There was a letter from the imaging company who did the mammogram congratulating me on a 'normal' mammogram. It said nothing at all about the ultrasound. It did have the disclaimer that my doctor may still request extra testing or an examination by a breast specialist even with a normal mammogram.

That isn't the irritating part. I get that. I really do. But what irritates me is that they sent me something that said that my mammogram was totally NORMAL, but they sent totally different information to my doctor that said that a malignant neoplasm could not be ruled out. I don't equate that with 'normal' findings.

After I wrote my blog yesterday and spoke with an online friend who is a breast cancer survivor, I felt much better. Not quite afraid of what was under the bed. I feel much better knowing that I'll be getting answers soon - one way or the other. I'll be able to deal with whatever those answers end up being. Worrying won't change the results one way or the other, so I'm not going to stress over it.

The thing that really irritates me about this letter is it's irresponsibility. I'm sure that the vast majority of cases like mine end up being nothing. Just a temporary glitch in one's body. But what about those cases in the minority? Those cases where the patient gets the finding of a normal mammogram and don't follow up with their doctors. Those cases where the doctors go on vacation, and they don't read the report before they leave. Those cases where there actually is cancer, and it isn't caught, because some imaging company sent out findings of a normal mammogram.

How hard is it to just be honest in the letter? "Your mammogram *appeared* normal, but given the circumstances, the test could not rule out cancer. Please follow up with your doctor for further testing"? Which I guess in some ways is what the letter said, but it said it in such vague terms. They should do patients a favor and not sugar coat things.

They shouldn't open the letter with, "We are pleased to inform you that the results of your recent mammography examination are NORMAL", if they're sending a letter to your doctor saying that they can't rule out cancer.

What a bunch of hogwash!

Rant finished.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The boogey man under the bed.

It's funny how no matter how many times you tell yourself not to be worried or scared it doesn't seem to help. You know?

On Friday evening when I spoke with my doctor, I told her what the mammographer told me. That they didn't 'see' anything. It was a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound, and they should have counseled me more than they did, but I guess in some ways it's good that I didn't know what I know now. I was able to at least rest up a little over the weekend and try to fight this junk in my lungs.

I called my doctor's office this morning to find out exactly what the ultrasound and mammogram report said. My doctor's nurse got back with me awhile ago. The words she read off the report were that neither the mammogram nor ultrasound "could rule out a malignant neoplasm."

Malignant is such an ugly word. Isn't it? The very word itself conjures up ugliness.

Shortly before I'd gotten the call from the nurse, the specialist's nurse had called as a result of the referral they'd received from my doctor to set up an appointment. She couldn't get me in until the end of March. Once I heard from my doctor's office, I called back and explained the situation and exactly what the report said. I told her that I know what a difference 6 weeks can make in the life of cancer. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer almost 3 years ago. He was gone 5 weeks and 1 day after the diagnosis. I asked, if there was anyway she could get me in sooner.

She was able to get me in on the 3rd of March. That's much better than the 29th. I thanked her and hung up the phone to call my husband and let him know what was going on. Before I could dial the phone correctly and complete the call (amazing what nervous fingers can dial when you're not looking!), the phone rang again. It was the specialist's office again. They found an appointment for me for Monday morning. Six days sure beats 6 weeks, doesn't it?

I keep telling myself not to worry. Not to panic. Not to be scared. Ask me how that's working for me. LOL

I know that I'll be fine whatever I find out on Monday, (or whenever I find whatever it is I find out), because that's how I operate. The worst part for me is the waiting. Even when my husband was deploying when he was in the Marines, I found that waiting for him to leave was harder than once he was actually gone. It's the unknown that's hard. It's scary. It's the boogey man under the bed.

Once I know what I'm up against I'll be strong enough to fight it.

Right now. I just need to remember to breathe.

To trust that God is in control.

That He knows what's going on with me.

That He loves me.

That He has my back.

Yep. I'm going to be just fine.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Somebody else told my story.

Well, technically, it's her story. But she describes so much of what I felt the night our middle daughter was born. It brought back so many incredible memories. It's a beautiful story. You can read it here. I hope you take the time. You will feel richer for having done so. It's a story of a little baby named, Nella, who was born a couple of weeks ago with Down Syndrome. It's a beautiful, beautiful story.

Normally, I won't have the time to go blog surfing, but there's nothing I can do physically right now. The steroids are kicking in a little, but I'm back on nebulizer treatments and antibiotics. My lungs sound like a percolator. I'm hoping to be back to my dehoarding in a few days. In the meantime, I've been trying to uncover some of the reasons behind my hoarding issues. I think I'm getting somewhere.

It gives me hope that I will eventually make it to the other side.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I was talking with a friend about yesterday's post. The part about me giving up some of my dreams. While talking with her, I realized that it's more than just giving up the dream of having fun moments with the girls creating things and playing games. It's having to give up a little bit of hope.

Fifteen years ago, I almost fired the girls' physical therapist, because she made me feel as though there was no hope. I would tell her what the girls had accomplished since she saw them last, and she would proceed to fill me in on all they couldn't do. After she finished telling me everything my girls couldn't do one particular day, she went on to tell me a joke. I could hardly even muster a smile. I don't even remember the joke. I just remember being crestfallen at her criticism of my babies.

She realized something was up, and she asked me, if anything was wrong. At first I protested and said, "No." But somehow, I stopped myself. I said, "Actually, yes. Something is wrong. Every time you come to our house for physical therapy, and I tell you what the girls have done, you counter by telling me everything they can't do. Don't you think I KNOW what they can't do?? I see it every single day! But I can't focus on that. If I do, I'll drown! I will have no hope. And I can't live without hope. I have to celebrate even the smallest accomplishments they make, because they work SO much harder than the average kid to do the smallest things. Please don't end every session by telling me what they can't do. I can't handle it." And I started crying.

I don't cry a lot. I didn't back then either. I think that somehow I was afraid that, if I started crying I wouldn't be able to stop. I didn't want the girls to pick up on that crying and think that somehow they, simply by being who they were made to be, were making me unhappy. That somehow they weren't enough.

The therapist ended up apologizing profusely. She said she'd never realized that she'd been doing it, and she'd been doing it for years with all of her patients. She said she learned a lot with that conversation, and she was going to do what she could to implement a more positive approach with all of her patients, and she thanked me for bringing it to her attention. She ended up being wonderful with the girls, and I'm so glad that somewhere I found the strength that day to say exactly what I needed to say instead of stuffing my feelings.

I've always had hope for our girls. Even when our youngest weighed 21 pounds and couldn't sit up without being propped by tons of pillows stacked around her when she was almost 4. Even then, I held out hope that she would walk. And she did!! She does! She can! And while I know that I'm not the reason that she learned to walk, I hope that somehow she knew I believed in her. That I believed she could do it. And that maybe it inspired her and helped her to not give up.

But soon, I must face reality. I must let go of some of that hope, as I eventually sort through those board games and crafts and part with those that are above the girls' abilities. I have to allow myself to let go. I have to make myself face what the girls aren't capable of doing. One of the things that I hate most of all.

Most of all, I must remind myself that they are, always have been, and always will be.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reality slapped me in the face. Hard.

When I wrote about the rubbing alcohol the other day, I was haunted with memories of my former compulsive shopping self.

I can't describe the amount of stress I was in when our youngest was in the hospital over and over and over again when she was little. The stress level was only marginally better when she wasn't in the hospital, because the responsibility fell to me to do everything the nurses had done for her there. Including waking up from a dead sleep night after night for breathing treatments and laundry. I turned to Target for therapy.

I knew the layout of my favorite store quite well, and I only shopped the clearance endcaps. In many ways, it was my saving grace. I never paid more than $5 for brand new shoes for the girls. I never paid more than $10 for my own. I got brand new clothes for the girls at prices cheaper than the thrift stores, and they weren't worn, torn or stained.

I even bought NFL clothing like 'the coat' at the end of the season and sold them on eBay the following year for a nice little profit. I typically only bought items that were marked at least 75% off or more. If it was something the one of the girls really needed, I would go as high as 50% off, but that wasn't how I usually rolled. I think, if I'd pinched my pennies much harder they'd have bled. I'm a bargain shopper extraordinaire for sure.

Being such a gifted shopper can lead to big problems, though. I would often buy too many of one item, because at 90% off, 1 might be good, but surely 10 would be better. Right? I mean, do the math! I'd be getting 10 things for the price of one! How bad can it be to get 9 items free for every 1 item that you buy? Sounds good in theory. Not so good for someone who has hoarding issues.

I remember getting disappearing ink to put in a squirt gun for the neighborhood kids to use when our oldest was playing with them. I remember I paid a dime a piece for them, but the problem is that I think I still have them! Not all of them. Some were used. But after I brought them home and thought about it, I was concerned over the ink possibly staining the neighbor kids' clothes. I knew how expensive clothes could be, so I couldn't bring myself to pass them all out. Of course I lost the receipt, so I couldn't take them back, but I also have never given them away. They are currently tucked away with the belongings that had been in the basement when it flooded.

The clearance items that seemed to tug at me the most were things that would be fun for the kids. Things that would lighten the stress of having a very ill little girl. Things like St. Patrick's Day pinatas, board games to play with the kids, craft items I envisioned doing with the girls. All things that seemed like they'd be so much fun to do, but I never got around to doing them. I just had so much going on, but I somehow couldn't seem to let go of the dreams of having these happy moments together.

About 12 years ago, I woke up one day and realized that I had a problem with shopping. Seriously. It was that abrupt. I realized I was spending money on stuff that wasn't being used, and it was such a waste. I made a concentrated effort to stop. The tug is still there. The idea of spending fun time with the girls doing projects or playing games still nags at me when I see a great price on a toy or craft project.

When we unload the boxes upon boxes of games from the storage pod on our driveway, I will pare down the games to ones I feel the girls will have an interest in or will be realistically able to play. I'll be getting rid of a lot of them. It will be difficult. The craft items will be even harder to purge.

A part of me will be letting go of a dream.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cough. Cough. Whiz. Whiz. Oh what a...

Ooops! Wrong song!

Mammogram and ultrasound went well today. Sounded like good news, since they didn't see anything, but my doctor is sending me to a specialist just to be sure. I'll gladly go to rule anything else out.

Doctor put me on steroids tonight for this stupid bronchitis thing. The girls are coming down with it, too. Our middle one has been coughing really hard all day. Had to start her on nebulizer treatments tonight. After they went to bed the youngest one's cough started up. They'll likely miss school all next week, because this sort of stuff just knocks them on their behinds. We'll definitely be taking them in, if they get worse or aren't better in a couple of days. And hopefully, the steroids will kick in quickly, so I can get some dehoarding done.

My husband told me that he saw a program last night that featured a partial interview with Lindsay Lohan admitting to being a hoarder. He asked me, if it made me feel better knowing that even celebrities can be secret hoarders. I told him that it doesn't make me feel better knowing anyone else is a hoarder. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. At the same time, it does help knowing we're not alone. He understood what I meant and agreed with me 100%.

I'll be taking it easy over the next few days out of necessity, but I'll still be blogging. I'll try to make it more interesting than today's post. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who needs 20 bottles of rubbing alcohol?

I've been thinking. When does stocking up become hoarding?

When our youngest was little, she had severe GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). The poor little thing couldn't keep a thing down. She was missing her esophageal sphincter, so everything that went in came back out. She was sent in for a barium swallow study, where they put radioactive dye in a liquid that is to be consumed while being x-rayed, to see if the swallow mechanism worked. Because her swallow was fine, and she didn't reflux during the testing, she went undiagnosed for several years.

She eventually had surgery to repair her esophagus, called a "Nissan", or a "fundoplication" 4 months before her 4th birthday. The doctors made her a new sphincter by wrapping her stomach around her esophagus, and she was finally able to keep things down. I
n spite of weighing 8#1oz at birth, and daily drinking 10-12 bottles of a soy-based, high calorie drink called "Resource For Kids", she only weighed 21 pounds. She could not sit up on her own, and in fact needed pillows to keep her in a sitting position for any length of time over 5 minutes or so.

On good days, I washed 6-8 loads of laundry that consisted of 2 sets of each of the following: crib bedding, baby blankets and pajamas (12 to 16 changes of bedding) Every. Single. Day. When she was sick with a stomach bug, I often did 10-12 loads (20 to 24 changes of bedding) a day that consisted of just her things. Needless to say, we had several sets of crib bedding for her. She had 4 mattress protectors, 8 sets of sheets, and about a dozen baby blankets as well as numerous sets of pajamas.

Every time I'd take her grocery shopping, it seemed she ended up in the hospital, even though I used baby wipes to wipe down the shopping cart and I did my best to keep her away from the public. She was just incredibly fragile medically. As a result, I knew it was critical to keep her toys and her crib as clean as possible.

I knew that the toys I washed in the sink with soap and a little bit of bleach were fine, because I could rinse them off, but a lot of her toys couldn't be submersed in water, and they still needed disinfected. I ended up using rubbing alcohol, because I knew it was safe enough to use to sterilize thermometers between kids when we were growing up, and it dried quickly, so it didn't seem to be that harsh on the crib.

I went through at least a bottle every couple months. It depended on how sick she was. When I could find it on sale, I'd buy 4 bottles or so, and I'd look for another sale when my stash got low. When she was about 21/2, I found it on sale for 10 cents a bottle when a local drug store did a grand opening sale. I bought 20 of them. I figured I couldn't beat the price, and I'd use it anyway.

After she had her surgery, I no longer had the problem of non-stop loads of crib bedding. I also didn't need to use quite as much of the rubbing alcohol to clean her toys, but I hung onto it. We only had about 6 bottles of it left by the time she started walking when she was 7. Fast forward 9 years. We finally used up the last bottle several months ago and replaced it.

I don't think that I was hoarding the rubbing alcohol. Every single bit of it was used up, and it saved us money when we were broke. It didn't take up a lot of room to store, and I always knew exactly where it was. It had a place. It was used.

Over the years, I've stocked up on everything from notebooks to canned goods to toilet paper and paper towels. But we've used every bit of it. Well. Except the notebooks and theme paper. But they're such a cheap play date for the girls when I get them clearanced after school starts for a nickel each. So I do still have a bit of a stockpile of them, but we do use them. And I haven't added to the stockpile for a few years.

So that brings me back to the question: When does stocking up become hoarding?

This is what comes to mind when I ponder the question:

If a person uses those things which they stockpile, and the things don't go to waste, it's just stocking up. However, if things go to waste, if they're never used, if they are purchased for future projects that have less than a 50% chance of ever being completed, or if they're bought in such quantity that you won't be able to use it completely up in your lifetime, then it qualifies as hoarding. In my opinion it also qualifies as hoarding, if you have no place for it, or it costs to store it.

What defines stocking up vs hoarding in your mind?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When wetting your pants isn't enough.

I'm so irritated! I'm in the right frame of mind to work today and get things done, but my body isn't letting me. This bronchitis is brutal. If I'm no better tomorrow, I'll be calling the doctor. She said to call, if it was affecting my breathing. I think hacking up a lung qualifies, right? I wish I was talented enough just to hack up the asthmatic portions of my lungs. Yeah! That's the ticket!

Today hasn't been a complete waste. It's been close as far as accomplishing anything, but... I did fill a few holes this morning in the crown moulding and I did a couple loads of laundry, but that was all I could handle. If I try to push through it and keep going, I know I'll end up even sicker. UGH! I don't dare sort through paperwork because of the dust. That would just make it worse. So I'm off to hunker down under the heated throw with a cup of hot chocolate or some herbal tea.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get something done tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Such is life.

Late last week, I noticed a bulge in my armpit, but for some reason it didn't register. I mean, I remember thinking it looked odd, but other than that, I just totally forgot about it. I noticed it again yesterday, and I mentioned it to a friend. She told me to get in immediately and get it checked out. Or. Else.

Of course, I started looking up what a bulge in the armpit could mean, and of course (like any sane person) started fretting. The big BC word came immediately to mind, because most all women fear the diagnosis of BC. I's only natural, right? I wasn't feeling well in the first place, because of the whole bronchitis thingy, so I went to bed somewhat early. Well, 11pm, but that was early considering the situation. You know?

I did a self breast exam, and I found a small lump. It's small. It's not on my breast as much as it's on my chest to the side of my breast. So I know it can't be a gland. It's a lump for sure. I fell asleep praying, and I slept really hard until 3am when I woke up to use the potty room. I went back to bed, but I couldn't seem to fall asleep. The last time I looked at the clock, it was 4:17. The alarm went off at 5:30 to get up and get the girls ready for school. They left around 7:00, and I decided to try to get a little bit of sleep until I had to call the doctor's office at 8:00.

The alarm sounded foggy and foreign and odd when it went off, so I must have fallen asleep pretty hard. Fearing what my friend's Or. Else. might mean along with the lump and the feeling I had a marshmallow in my armpit might indicate, I made an appointment to see my doctor at 2:00. I then brought the phones to bed with me and tried to get a little more shut eye. It didn't come easily, but I was able to sleep a little longer until the phone rang. I got up and got ready for my appointment and made a couple of phone calls.

One of the calls I'd made is to a friend of mine who survived breast cancer. She said I sounded like a horse when I answered the phone, because the bronchitisy stuff has caused a change in my voice. We laughed. I asked her different questions. She gave me answers. She said that I sounded like I was taking things well. I reminded her that I have a problem with stuffing my feelings, that I was actually pretty nervous. She understood. She's been there. She'll be praying for me. Talking to her really helped.

My hubby went with me to the doctor's office. He has my back. He held my hand. He offered support. He helped without saying a word. We waited a bit nervously in the waiting room. I was called back almost immediately.

The doctor did a breast exam. After I pointed the lump out to her, she could feel it, but she didn't feel it during the exam. She palpated my armpit. Said that it's not my lymph nodes. It's something else. She said it felt fleshy. I maintain if feels marshamallowy. She seemed a bit perplexed. She's seen this in pregnant and nursing women, but she seemed surprised to see it in me, since I'm neither. She ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound. I go in on Friday. I felt much better after seeing her though.

Needless to say, (although I obviously feel a need to say it, or I wouldn't be typing this), I didn't get anything done today on the house. I'm hoping to get something accomplished before Friday and after Friday, but I'm not too concerned, if I don't get very far with things this week. Life happens. And I am going to have to deal with life as it happens, and when it does, the dehoarding will be put on the back burner.

Such is life.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Where's the bread when all you want is a peanut butter and banana sandwich?

Woke up with a horrible headache that lasted most of the day. Definitely coming down with something. All I've felt like I'm getting bronchitis. Tonight it's in my sinuses, too. I didn't get much done. Got some organizing done in the kitchen and finished filing the handful of paperwork I still needed to file.

Not a real productive day, but I'm okay with that.

I'm off to bed. Hoping a little rest will do a body good! :)