Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Mother With Crohn's Disease

I am not a medical doctor nor am I in any way qualified to give medical advice to anyone. I am just a mom who has Crohn’s Disease. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2004 well into my 20’s. By the time I went to a gastroenterologist my symptoms and the correlating disease were quite unruly at best. To get to the point it took the better part of two years and several infusions of the miracle drug Remicade to bring my disease into remission. This was a very emotional time in my life. I was then put on Imuran at the 75mg dose to maintain my remission. During all of this I started to really want to have children. Now, I was fast approaching 30 so my husband and I decided to run with the idea of starting a family of our own.

We did not consult anyone about our decision because to consult would be to inadvertently solicit opinions and our decision had been made. I was finally in remission and we did not want to waste any time. Upon our speedy conception I went in search of advice from other mothers with the same disease or studies showing how these women remained in remission and/or breastfed. I did not find anything of value. I wound up taking the drug Imuran for maintennance of my remission at the 75mg dose daily through my entire first pregnancy. I kept taking it postpartum as well and this was the reason I did not breastfeed my first daughter. The pregnancy could not have gone smoother and 9 months later I had the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She is almost 4 now and is like a present that I get to open every day.

I stayed on Imuran and got pregnant with my second daughter a little unexpectedly so I had not fully evaluated my health. My gastroenterologist and I had been talking about perhaps trying to wean me off of the drug Imuran to see how my body would react but once we found out I was pregnant we decided to wait until Inara arrived before we did anything that could potentially jeopardize my health. I went to Washington, DC to visit my brothers in November before Inara was born in December and for some reason I decided to stop taking my medication. I had decided that I was going to breastfeed and that was it. I did not take any more medication.

Inara was born in December of 2007 and I once again was blessed with a healthy baby. I breastfed her and she did wonderfully. Today she is 2 and as her name suggests she is a “ray of light” in our lives. We had now been blessed with two healthy girls.

What I do aim to do here is to let you know that you are not alone. If you have to take drugs to control your disease while you are pregnant that I did too and we came out OK. That there is another woman out there who has done it and has two healthy children to show for it. With some faith you can too. What I do not want to do though is encourage you to stop taking your medicine. Crohn’s disease is serious and taking your medicine is not something you should take lightly. That would probably be stupid (for lack of a better word) for most women who are pregnant and have Crohn’s as doing so could jeopardize your health and the health of your unborn child.

I wanted to put something out there that may find its way to a mother who is now in the same position that I was in almost four years ago when I was in search of solace. While you will not find a clinical trial to make you feel better or a doctor to give you a definitive “OK, go for it” you have now found a mother who did it and has no regrets.

Monday, December 28, 2009

That Was "A"

Those of you who have been married or in a relationship for a period of several years or more will probably be able to relate to this best. So, you know how after some time being with the same person you start to see your relationship sort of, evolve, if you will. I guess what happens first is that the flame that comes with a new relationship starts to maybe change colors a little. Maybe even dim. Now stay with me here, I am not at all feeling gloomy about long relationships nor am I saying anything negative at all. All I mean to say is that it is almost like the relationship with your loved one changes a little, much like a toddler who grows into a preteen, teenager and then an adult are the stages of growth of your relationship. Well, although “awakenings” do occur on occasion they are certainly not of the norm so I thought I would share a something I have recently stumbled upon in hopes that you could maybe benefit or even just have a laugh!

There is a stage that maturing relationships go through where you decide you just don’t want to fight about the small stuff. Some people call it “picking your battles” but whatever you call it you have decided that some things just need to be over looked. These things are small like maybe for the last several days you have been the one taking the trash out even though your partner has continued to throw things in it proving they have noticed it was full. They have just not been helping with that chore. I am pretty sure that has happened to me a few times as I feel certain there are some of you out there reading this right now nodding your heads in agreement. This is something you may choose the overlook since if you said something about this every time it happened A. you would be fighting too much and B. you have bigger fish to fry like why he bought a $900 smoker without consulting you first. There is one problem with this. Maybe you did not say anything about this irritating behavior this time but you seem to have a large storage area for irritating events like this one and each time your partner does something you choose not to argue about you file it away in the same place when what you should be doing, what you thought you were doing, was letting it go. Now he or she has done something that warrants a scolding and upon the ensuing argument you proceed to complain about how they are inconsiderate and how you are doing all the work too; so there! These allegations that are serious to your partner prompt them to ask for examples of how this is true and at this point you can no longer even remember all of the incidences and surrounding circumstances so the argument goes south from here. Sound familiar?

We have been running into similar situations recently and have come up with something that has really been working! So now when an incident like the trash thing comes up or when my husband makes a comment in his normal sarcastic tone that hurt my feelings (after 10 years I am still not immune to getting my feelings hurt by his mid-western sarcasm) then I immediately say that was “A.” Now I am sure I don’t need to tell you what “A” stands for. This has really reduced the amount of pent up aggression that is let loose on another day. Now my husband knows what I thought he did that sucked at the time that he did it and 7 times out of 10 we wind up laughing because it words “that was ‘A’” sound so funny some times. Not to mention the fact that these words are begin enough not to spark anyone’s temper so there is not unnecessary arguing either! If I were into New Year’s resolutions this would be one. Try it!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Official Kidding Around In Town 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

This is a guide to my favorite gifts. These are all things that would make great gifts for either the women you are buying for or for you. Don’t people all the time ask “what do you want for Christmas?” and you always say, truthfully, “I don’t know, nothing.” Well, me too so I decided to do some research on the things that I would like to get because I would never buy something for another woman that I would not want to have myself. That said, the following is A. a place you can go to get ideas about what to get the women you work with, your friends, your child’s teacher etc. B. a place you can go to find what to tell people who ask what you want for Christmas and lastly C. a place where you can refer to others for ideas (like the hubs).
This is a “local” gift guide but most of these things can also be purchased on line so it is useful for everyone. I chose to do this because there are so many local businesses out there that we need to support if we want to see them thrive. All too often when it comes time to buy gifts we run short of time and take the easy way out by either shopping on line or buying a gift card just to get it done with instead of taking the time (that I understand is in short supply) to look around for a truly special something. So this year I did the work for you; and it was so much fun! I went to stores in our local (Winston-Salem, NC) area and took pictures myself of things that I thought made good, smart and well priced gifts. The owners and managers of the shops mentioned deserve many thanks for their hospitality and willingness to help me find what I was looking for. So, with no further ado…
These are not in any meaningful order.
Hip Chics – 2668 Lewisville-Clemmons Road, Clemmons, NC is the neatest little boutique! They carry all sorts of things. Here I found three really neat ideas for gifts. Christmas ornaments that are really one of a kind and for $8.99 the price point is perfect for an ornament exchange where you want to give an ornament with a little flair or to be a part of a bigger gift.

They also have Mom Agendas which are my all time favorite to get a mom organized. There are many options in terms of functionality so you really just need to go in and look at them for yourself.

And lastly at Hip Chics they have “market totes” which as you can see could function as so many different things. I want one! You could use it in the floorboard of your car for kid's snacks, in the trunk of your car for toys, to carry cupcakes into the school for your child’s birthday or even in your home at the bottom of the stairs to carry things up. They are pretty and since they are made of canvas you can wipe them clean. For a bigger mess they are also machine washable and at $26.99 you can’t beat it!

DEVA - 49 Miller St Winston Salem, NC 27104
This is a jewelry store in Winston that I love. Everything in the store is so special and the owner, Deborah, makes a lot of her own stuff so you know it is one of a kind. One of my best friends even got her to die for wedding set made there. She has a ton of stuff but I wanted to bring your attention to these “mother’s rings” that Deborah makes herself with the birthstone of your choice and they are stackable so you can have one for each child. I would call this a “splurge” given the price range but for those of you who want to send the hubs or another family member in to get you something…They range from $195 to $245 in price for the sterling silver.
Next I found some pearl earrings that are also handmade in the store and are a little less expensive so they make great gifts for great friends. They range from $50-$75.

Then next door at Whole Foods I saw that they have these cute, useful and wonderfully smelling little rosemary trees sitting outside. There are many of them and they make great gifts when you don’t want to spend too much because they are $11.99 yet look like little Christmas trees and make the house smell wonderful. When the holiday season ends people can plant their tree in a pot and put it outside to enjoy fresh rosemary year round!

Wild Flower - 53 Miller Street in Winston is next. This is a clothing store that pretty much doesn’t have anything in it that I would not wear. There were so many things to choose from that in order not to allow “scope creep” I had to regroup many times.
In a basket at the register are the cutest scarves. They are by Preloved and are made of recycled trousers, sweaters, dress shirts and trench coats. They are soft and oh so warm as they are made like sleeves. They are $48 making them a great gift for someone special like a good friend or a sister.
Also in the same place in Wild Flower there are some really cute themed socks for $8.00 which are not only cute but also soft and really feel like they would be nice to have on your feet. There are also some really fun tights with cool designs next to the socks which are $26 making them a great fun gift for a friend.

O Baby Organics - 33 Miller Street makes the fourth store in this area! Completely coincidental but truly convenient for those of you who would like to see more than one of the items! This is an awesome store which you will hear more about in the future but once again I had to allow time for re-grouping in the interest of the scope of this project. Two things here that I thought would make great gifts are Spooneez and Pitter Patter Patchwork stationary.
The Spooneez I wish I had when my kids were just a tad younger! “Spooneez is a mom’s answer to clean and organized baby utensils. It’s easy – just place your spoons and/or other items in the pockets, fold the top over, roll up.” At $26 they are priced perfectly to be a great gift! Not only are they awesome but Spooneez were invented by local moms so you would be supporting local business x2 if you bought this great gift for a mom with young ones!
The stationary by Pitter Patter Patchwork is really cute and for $12.99 you can get a set of five cards and envelopes. This is also made by a local woman. A nice gift for just about any female!