Monday, October 27, 2008

Social Services

I spent the weekend doing laundry and cleaning. I really deep cleaned our apartment. I vacuumed all the furniture and wiped down all the kitchen surfaces including all the cabinets. I got rid of a bunch of clutter and organized things that had become clutter catchers. I washed every single item I could in order to get the cat hair off of it. It felt so good. However, I did all this because we were expecting a visit from a social worker. I was so nervous and spent a lot of frenetic, anxious energy cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Oh, and carving pumpkins.

Our social worker showed up promptly at 10am this morning. The first thing I asked her was if she was allergic to cats. Thankfully she wasn't. Even more thankfully, she LOVED cats. She even asked for our cats names and patted her lap so Daisy would jump up and cuddle her. Yay! We ended up loving her and spent nearly 2 hours with her going over Bob's medical history, diagnosis, goals, plans, and needs. She said that a nurse recently told her that it is not possible for someone with MD to reach adulthood without a diagnosis. We said that is obviously not true especially since there are over 40 different types and not all are evident in childhood.

Our meeting with her went really well. Originally we thought we might have to slightly exaggerate our need in order to receive services. Well, it turns out we really REALLY qualify for quite a few services. Oh thank God. Bob is already on Medical Assistance and we are getting help with food purchases. I will eventually be on MN Care and we are working towards qualifying and getting help from a state program that will allow me to be Bob's caregiver and be paid. I guess the process for this really takes a long time, so that is slower in coming. Bob is able to get assistive aids/tools/products that are paid for including a lift chair and even possibly voice technology for his computer. All of this takes a HUGE weight off our shoulders. Now if only I can find some kind of income that will allow us to pay our bills.

Other good news our social worker told us is that the preferred vendor of medical/assistive aids is the one we already use! Of all the medical supply stores out there, the one the state uses is the one we are already familiar with. They know us, they know Bob's needs, they know Bob's issues, and we will continue to work with them. That really is good news.

Another spot of good news is that to qualify for one of the supports to which we apply, Bob needs to earn at least $75 per month. He can earn more, but he needs to earn at least $75 a month. He is so excited about this. He cannot wait to be working, earning money, and contributing to our household again. Even if it's not much, it is helping us qualify for a program that we need and it will go a long way to give him esteem in providing for his family. So. Awesome.

Friday, October 24, 2008

October is infertility awareness month and the this week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Please check the Resolve website for information on infertility and how it affects nearly 10% of the population.
So it's Friday. I don't have much else to say as far as infertility is concerned. Please check with the Resolve website for more information as to how they can help you, how you can volunteer for them, or win stuff at their silent auction fundraiser.
Last night my friend Laurie and I went to see Macbeth at the Torch Theater. It was awesome. I love live theater and have to say that I wish I could get to more live theater offerings. Shakespeare is among my favorite of playwrights though it takes a while to get into the gist of the language. In reviewing the Macbeth story online today I am happy to say that I did manage to follow the story just fine. Anyway, there are still tickets available so if you live in the Twin Cities and are looking for an awesome live theater experience, go see Macbeth at the Torch.

After the show, a bunch of us went to Corner Table for appetizers and wine. It was a lovely after party with amazing taste sensations. I cannot recommend Corner Table more, especially if you are looking for local food grown sustainably and prepared deliciously. Photos of the after party are here .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October is infertility awareness month and the this week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Please check the Resolve website for information on infertility and how it affects nearly 10% of the population.
People dealing with infertility are tangled in a mess of hope and grief. Most every month there is the hope of conceiving either naturally or through medical intervention. When conception doesn't take, there is grief, anger, despair, frustration, depression, and feelings of failure to deal with.

Grief is difficult to deal with in any situation but decidedly so in the case of infertility. If a couple has been unable to conceive there isn't a death to grieve. However, the couple dealing with infertility can feel as though something has died. And in truth, their dreams have died. Their dreams of an expanding family have died. Their dreams of passing on traditions, wisdom, family heirlooms, etc have all died. A woman's dream of carrying a baby in her womb and delivering a baby in birth have died. A man's dream of playing ball with his son or having an heir have died. A couple's dream of parenthood has died. Still, there are more websites and aids developed for couples grieving the loss of a pregnancy or infant than there are for couples grieving the loss of parenthood altogether.

In perusing the internet in search of help for grieving people led me here. This page was written by a certified grief counselor who also struggled with infertility. There is a lot of wisdom here as well as a reminder of the 5 stages of grief. The author also gives a lot of good resources for grieving people and the infertile.
2.) Fertile Thoughts

My own husband and I were talking today about the upcoming holidays. We usually spend Thanksgiving with either his family or my family but Christmas is spent alone together. Last year we spent Christmas at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis and we ended up having a great time together. This year I don't even want to put up the Christmas decorations. Why have holiday traditions if the traditions don't go anywhere? So in talking we decided we are going to save any extra money that comes in and spend Christmas at the casino hotel. That's how we are going to deal with Christmas alone this year.

Other online resources for people dealing with infertility:
1.) Infertility's Common Thread
2.) Online Peer Counseling List
3.) Blogs of others dealing with infertility, IVF, loss, and adoption
4.) Missing Grace Foundation. This organization holds conferences and retreats every year in the Minneapolis area for families that have experienced: pregnancy loss, infant loss, infertility or adoption and to advocate for comprehensive, patient-focused prenatal care for all women. Five core areas encompass the heart of the mission: Grieve, Restore, Arise, Commemorate and Educate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Coping With Infertility

October is infertility awareness month and the this week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Please check the Resolve website for information on infertility and how it affects nearly 10% of the population.

In trying to find help and resources for people struggling with infertility, I managed to learn that Google thinks much like the medical world. My Google searches ended up with mostly fertility clinic links and treatment opportunities. That's not exactly what I was looking for.

I did, however, manage to find a link to a book that I recommend. I know the last thing a lot of people want is a book pushed at them, but this is a book written by a woman who's "been there". Empty Womb Aching Heart is a collection of stories from other couples struggling with infertility as well as personal experience shared by the author. It is written by a conservative Christian woman, so if your beliefs don't align that way, this may not be the book for you. However, I've heard it said that it is much more helpful for those wishing to understand the pain of their loved one's infertility than the infertiles themselves.

Other books that may help include:

The Infertility Companion
Inconceivable: Finding Peace Midst Infertility
Hannah's Hope
The Ache for a Child
Tears of Sorrow, Seeds of Hope's list of Coping With Infertility Books

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thanks Mary

As a long time reader of blogs, I've found my favorites and have them all entered into my Google reader. One blog I've read for years is written by a day care/childcare giver.

As a former nanny and a hopeful parent-to-be, I've appreciated her no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach to childcare.

Last week she emailed me and asked if I would be willing to guest post during this week of infertility awareness. I gladly accepted and she posted my guest post today. Click here to read.

Thanks, Mary for the opportunity to share my struggle and give voice to a problem not usually mentioned in mommy/childcare blogs. I really appreciate it.

National Infertility Awareness Week

While the month of October is National Infertility Awareness Month, Sunday began the official Infertility Awareness Week.

If you struggle with infertility, I recommend visiting
Resolve's website in order to find some help.

If you don't happen to struggle with infertility but have loved ones who do, please read Resolve's fact sheet on ways you can help/be there for them.

As the week progresses, I will add other resources available to infertiles and those that love them so check in each day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

An Interesting Photo Opportunity

Also, an interesting experience. If you are into and not scared by zombies, have I got an event for you. BRAINS!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Infertility: the Definition of Insanity?

October is infertility awareness month and the 19th through the 25th is National Infertility Awareness Week. Please check the Resolve website for information on infertility and how it affects nearly 10% of the population.


I have been sick for about two weeks now and it's really getting old. It started with a sore throat and stuffy nose and quickly moved from my head to my chest where it has set up camp and made itself at home. I have a weird lethargy, low-grade fever, and a chest cough that has finally moved from an annoying tickle in the throat to a productive cough. I thought I was on the mend today but after running a couple of quick errands this afternoon, I had to come home and take a nap before class.

To be honest, I'd been hoping some of the illness I felt was from pregnancy. I was three days late (a rarity), had tender breasts for a week, and just felt different somehow. But no, Aunt Flo finally made her appearance today. I am assuming some of my lethargy and general malaise comes from that as well.

I think the hardest thing about infertility might just be the dashed hopes. For me it's been month after month for nearly 7 years. Every month I have about 2 weeks where I think...maybe this time? Only to have that hope smashed to bits with the appearance of my period. That's nearly 78 hopes dashed. Can you say that you have had something you desired, wanted, hoped for only to have it taken from you or not made an appearance at all? Can you say that's happened nearly 80 times? The Bible says hope deferred makes a heart sick. So not only am I infertile, my heart is sick.

While watching a program detailing the life of one of my favorite singers, I heard him say something that made me take notice. He was speaking about a painful instance in his married life and how instead of turning from God or being angry at Him about the circumstances, he asked Him to make a way through the pain. I am working on making that my prayer. I still have daily battles with God about this. After all, conception, childbirth, families...they are all His invention and design so how hard would it be for Him to just make it happen for us? I don't think it would be hard at all. So why doesn't He? Who knows. Hence, my battles with my Maker. I think I've made strides in healing just by being willing to ask Him to make a way for me through this pain. I know I have to get through it, I just don't know how. So He is going to have to do something to lead me through.

So anyway, I was thinking that THIS month was different and I might really be pregnant. Isn't the definition of insanity "doing something the same time every time and expecting a different result"? Well, we do the same thing every month. In fact we do it several times a month and never get a different result. I just don't know how much longer I can take the hope/devastated rollercoaster. Two weeks of hope, wishing, dreaming, planning, desiring, expecting only to come face first into the wall of dashed hopes, despair, sadness, longing, and failure. Then a week of trying to come to terms with it all and getting on with life. It's up, down, up, down, up, down, every month the same. I just wish that I could either just stop desiring pregnancy/children, get over it all together, or get pregnant somehow. I don't think I can take 8 more months of this let alone 78 more months.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Um, Hi.

October is infertility awareness month and the 19th through the 25th is National Infertility Awareness Week. Please check the Resolve website for information on infertility and how it affects nearly 10% of the population.

So, it's been a while. Let's catch up, shall we?

Bob and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary at the end of September. We were given a 2-night stay at a local casino's luxury hotel. It was fabulous. I'm not much of a gambler so I enjoyed the in room movies, the casino bowling alley, and the hotel pool and whirlpool (one night I had both all to myself for nearly an hour!). Bob won 2nd place in a Texas Hold'em tournament so we actually had some money to play with, which was nice. We also drove around the area in which we stayed and had a lovely day outside enjoying the sunny autumn weather. Bob surprised me with some Fiestaware for an anniversary present, so that was nice too.

School continues to go well. I find that though the work can be overwhelming at times, I am really enjoying what I am learning. My professors are knowledgeable and helpful without being condescending. I am getting pretty good marks so far and feel good about what I am doing there. I recently met with my advisor to go over next semester's class picks and while I am adding an extra class compared to what I'm doing now, I'm only adding an extra credit. Interestingly, 3 of my classes meet on Tuesday and my other class meets on Wednesday. That leaves the rest of the week open to more job hunting/working.

Speaking of...the temporary jobs seemed to have all but dried up. I used to get weekly notices of openings but lately I've not heard anything. I've called the agencies and they have my info on file but no openings ready. However, I do have an interview at a local camera store tomorrow at 11. They are looking for some type of manager. I don't have manager experience but I am hoping some life experience will qualify me for the position. I submitted my resume this morning and he called me at noon for the interview so it seems he is really looking for someone. Who knows, this could be a door into bigger and better things.

Things at my old workplace seem to still be in turmoil. One of my former co-workers keeps me abreast of what's going on and she says things are crazy. People are cashing in their annuities left and right which makes the workload quite large. Normal cash outs when I was working there were about 5-8 per day. My friend told me they are now processing hundreds per day. Also, it seems that they are beginning to treat her the way I was being treated. I am not happy that she is getting hassled but I am happy to know that it wasn't just me reading too much into things. It was really real and it really happened. I just hope she can stand her ground and take it or face it better than I could.

Finally because we are getting down to the last of the money we'd put aside we made a decision and followed through with it on Wednesday. We went and applied for public assistance. Bob needs medical assistance for sure and we are looking into a grant we'd heard about for familial care-givers for persons with disabilities. Applying wasn't fun. We got to the office around 10am and got our number. They called our number once to see what we were there for. We got the paperwork we needed to fill out. They called our number again to get our paperwork. Then we had to wait for our number to be called a third time to meet with someone to go over our paperwork. When we were done we had a list of more paperwork they require before they can make a decision on our acceptance into the program. I have all but one thing on the list as of right now. I am waiting for that to be mailed to me and when it is, I can fax everything else in. I don't know how fast the wheels turn, but I hope it's faster than our money runs out.

Bob was bummed to apply for assistance but I was less so. It's there for people who need it when they need it. When we don't need it anymore, we won't use it. I don't expect to need it for a long period of's just to help us through this tough spot.

Being at the county assistance office sure was an interesting social study. Lots of faces of color. Lots of elderly. Lots of men. One woman got arrested while we were there waiting and that was interesting as well. She was compliant and the police officers were polite, quiet, and quick about it. As we were leaving, an African American man got on the elevator with us. Just as the doors closed a woman in head to toe coverings tried to get on but was unsuccessful. The whole trip down the gentleman (and I use that term loosely) spat the worst racist language I'd heard in a while. He spoke out loud to us as though we might share his opinion of "that kind of person". Unfortunately, he got off on another floor and we weren't able to respond one way or the other. I am not used to hearing such hatred spoken so smoothly and it sat with me (and apparently continues to sit with me) the rest of the day.

Oh! My friend is still pregnant and we are still friends. I look forward to an upcoming retreat we are going on with all our friends next month so we can talk even more. I got her a newborn size onesie while we were at the casino and a Target Baby gift card. All her kids are teenagers so for her, it is like she is starting completely over and I am sure she needs lots of new stuff. Right now she can barely think of that because she is sick quite a bit. The first trimester is kicking her butt.

This weekend is the annual MDA Stride and Ride. If you would like to donate to our walk for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, email me or post a comment and I will give you our mailing address. All gifts are tax deductable. Thanks!