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Thursday, August 28, 2014


I've never been fond of August, an uncomfortable month. Summer as I know it is coming to an end and the whirlwind of back-to-school is about to begin.

This year, I'm ready.

Or as ready as I can be. Every year presents new challenges and this year, my best friend at work will not be there. Reduced to part time without benefits because of budget cuts, he has accepted a job in another state. I'm so sad and will miss him terribly. I also have cafeteria duty (yuk!) and a very large 9th period AP class, both of which are less than ideal. Additionally, I have three 9th grade classes and one 12R; last year, it was two 9th and two 12th. But life is about change and how we adapt to that change, positive or negative.

I'm excited to meet my new students and grow as a teacher. I'm doing a few things differently and I'm looking forward to hopefully having success. Whatever I have left to do can be done when I return on Tuesday for the conference day.

As for my health, I'm doing well on the increased Concerta, with the only side effect being occasional mild anxiety. I actually ate bibimbap this past weekend as was ok with it - the first entirely solid meal I've had in months! I've been eating some solids every day, but I'm being careful. My ADHD is definitely better - I just feel more calm, centered, productive, and organized. I think one more increase may help, because I'm still having trouble getting started with tasks that require a lot of effort.

I've had three out of five IV Venofer (iron sucrose) infusions. Going to the Monter Cancer Center for these treatments is really humbling, as most people are there for chemo. I feel very fortunate that, with all of my health issues, I'm not battling cancer. It's a comfortable space - patients are ensconced in semi-private cubicles with a TV, DVD player, and recliner. I've been able to bring my laptop and a book and get some work done.

After the first round - 100mg in 30 minutes - I had some burning in the arm the IV was in and bloating, but I walked out feeling GREAT, though I had a fever of 100 when I got home and felt very hot. After Monday's treatment, 200mg in two hours - I felt ok, just very hot. Tuesday was a different story - I was exhausted and had severe GI upset. Yesterday I slept until 10 (that NEVER happens) and still had some GI upset but felt more energetic. I had another infusion and felt ok. Before bed, I took Benadryl because I've read it can help. This morning, still a little GI upset, but I feel GREAT. Like I'm not dragging around the dead weight of exhaustion. I have another infusion scheduled for Friday and the last one Tuesday. I really hope that this is the end of my troubles with severe anemia. I can't afford to lose more hair, and being cold all summer made me afraid of how miserable winter would be.

As for my children, they are great. B has been acting up a little lately - we think it's that he's been out of school for two weeks. B really thrives on structure and routine, so on Tuesday, we went to B's school. The school moved to a new building, so I wanted B to see it. More importantly, he played with his teacher and saw his speech therapist; he had a great time and is no longer declaring, "I'm not going to school forever more!" We're seeing a little regression but he returns to school the same day I have my first day of classes (9/3) so that's right around the corner. And he made such tremendous PROGRESS this summer - I am profoundly happy and grateful. I watched some videos of him from last summer...he is a radically different child. The biggest breakthrough is that he loves playing with other children! He makes fast friends on the playground when we go, and we had our first play date last week with his best friend and "girlfriend"! It was such a success that we have plans on doing it again when we have a few days off next month. B talks nonstop and even describes his day at school. Through role playing, we discuss how to handle various social situations, including people not being nice. B expresses his feelings frequently and is liberal with his love. He's starting to read a bit and can do simple math. More importantly, he is such a sweet, caring, good little person.

Little D went to B's school this summer part-time and LOVED it. The first day, she had to be stopped by the teacher to say hi because she just ran in! No separation anxiety, and it was a great outlet for her boundless energy. She is such an open and sweet little soul, a bright light. I worry, though, because she is sometimes indiscriminately friendly. She's going to learn like I did as a toddler that not everyone is nice. D is also talking a LOT and we understand her about 75% of the time. Like B, she is so demonstrative. Just this morning, she was up before B and kept asking for her brother. When B came downstairs, she cried, "Brother! My brother! I found my brother!" and ran to him with a big hug. Though they antagonize each other at times, they are close and I feel so happy when they play and really enjoy each other's company. Bedtime is still a trial - she can't seem to self-soothe or stop moving. I often have to rock her for a few minutes and then gently scratch her arms & legs until she falls asleep. One night, I thought she was asleep until she started screaming. She wanted her Crocs on and as soon as I put them on her feet, she was snoring. D also had a party last week - a little diva party at which she had her nails painted and her hair "done" (combed and some glitter put in - she won't tolerate more than that). I was surprised that she actually put a fancy princess dress on and walked the "runway" - though of course she came out before her turn. We left early because she was on the verge of a meltdown - she can handle only so much before she tires out and feels overwhelmed (I know how she feels!) But she's happy, healthy, and like B, a sweet and good little person.

Big D has been busy all summer with work in July and redesigning our yard. It looks great and is (hopefully) almost done. He returns to work this weekend after a three-week vacation. He'll be transferring firehouses any time now, it's just a matter of paperwork. We have that in mind as the new school year starts; also, he is going on his annual firehouse golf trip my first full week back at work, so it will be hectic. He loves this trip, though, and I'm glad after a busy summer that he has the opportunity to go. He's such a great father, husband, and man, and I'm grateful for him every day. I appreciate D a lot more since I've been practicing mindfulness; I find that often when I'm angry or impatient, my thinking is self-centered. Instead of snapping at him, I redirect my energy and it's made a big difference.

Mindfulness has had a significant impact on every area of my life. It's such a vital tool for people with ADHD. Combined with medication, I am so much happier and appreciate just how much I have :)

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