Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Disappointing Loss

I hesitated to do a post about this but now that we have gotten past the rough time, I feel like it's OK to share what Keith and I went through about a month ago.

It all started on July 29th when we found out I was pregnant. I knew that I was late and took 3 home pregnancy tests that all came back negative. I decided to call the doctor's office and the nurse told me to come in and get a blood test done. It came back positive!! Keith and I were so excited! The nurse told me to come back in a few days to get another blood test to make sure my HCG (hormone) levels were rising the way that they should be. (Side note: Keith and I have been seeing a reproductive specialist because we both have some issues that could make it hard for us to get pregnant. Therefore, when we found out that I was indeed pregnant, the doctor wanted to monitor my progress closely).

Well, when I went back to the doctor two days later, the prognosis was not good. The doctor called me after my blood work came back and said that my HCG level was not rising like they wanted it to (in the very early stages of pregnancy, it should double every 48 hours and mine went from 68 to 81 in two days). The doctor told me that it was very likely that I was going to have a miscarriage. He did say that he wanted me to come back two days later, on a Saturday, to have more blood drawn. He said that there is always a chance that the embryo is "slow starting" and they wanted to make sure this wasn't the case. Keith and I held felt very sad but thought that maybe a miracle could still happen.

I went back to the doctor's office on Saturday to have more blood drawn and he called me that afternoon with more bad news - my levels had only gone up to 99. At this point, he said, he was almost 100% certain that I was going to have a miscarriage. The bad part was that he did not know when it would happen - he said it could take weeks! We were devastated!!

The doctor had instructed me to come back to his office to get more blood drawn three days later (at this point, I felt like a pin cushion!!). They were continuously monitoring my hormone levels to see if it was going to start dropping (a sign that the cells were breaking up and the miscarriage would start soon). On Tuesday, when the nurse called to give me the results, she said she was happy to tell me that my levels were now indeed doubling - up to 199! I was overjoyed!! I thought a miracle could really happen and everything would be ok!! At this point, the doctor wanted me to come in and have an interuterine scan done to see if he could see an egg sac in my uterus (which would indicate a viable pregnancy). He scheduled the scan for the next day and Keith and I were very anxious to find out what was going on.

On Wednesday afternoon, we had the scan done and unfortunately, the doctor did not see anything in my uterus. This was a sure sign that the pregnancy was not viable. Again, it was devastating news. The doctor said that there was a chance that the pregnancy could be an ectopic one, meaning that the embryo was developing outside of the uterus, most likely in my fallopian tube. If this was the case, it could be very dangerous for me and it would need to be remedied soon. He took more blood and said that based on the results, he would know more the next day.

Over the next few days, it was determined - through another interuterine scan (that showed nothing) and more blood tests (with increased levels) - that it was definitely an ectopic pregnancy and it would need to be ended. If it was not, my tube could rupture and cause internal bleeding and possibly death. In the long run, it was a good thing that it was caught early so none of these bad things happened.

On Friday, August 8th, I went to the hospital and got a shot of Methotrexate, which is a drug used to fight rapidly-dividing cells such as pregnancy cells. The shot in itself was not bad. I got two injections, one in each upper arm. It was not really painful and I was able to go back to work right afterwards.

The bad part, once again, was that the doctor could not tell me when this whole thing was going to be over with. They continued to take blood from me once a week until it was all over with. I had pretty bad cramping a week after I got the shot and, unfortunately, was not feeling 100% when Keith's family was visiting. But, all in all, it didn't end up being as bad as I had invisioned it was going to be.

Thankfully, it is all over with now and hopefully we will be able to start trying again in another month. The doctor said that once I have one normal cycle, we should be good to go. Now it's just a waiting game to see how long it takes my body to bounce back after all of this. I'm hoping it won't take too long.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Good news!

Keith's mom had a PET (full-body) scan done last Monday to see how the cancer is reacting to the chemo treatments that she has been having for the past three months. We were very happy to hear that her doctor told her that her cancer markers are down again....to 4.5!! That means that her markers are near the "normal" number now. Also, the doctor told her that the scan showed no cancer cells in her liver!! This is wonderful news! It doesn't necessarily mean that the cancer is completely gone (because cancer cells can "hide") but it does mean that the chemo treatments that she has had are helping to kill the cancer cells in her body. Praise God!!

The doctor still wants her to continue her every-two-week chemo regimine, but our hope is that after a few more months of that, she will be able to cut back or even stop completely.

Thank you for all of your continued thoughts and prayers! They are very much appreciated!

Family visit

Last weekend, Keith's family - his mom, aunt and uncle - came to visit us from PA. It's a 4 1/2 hour drive from their house to ours. Keith took Friday off and they arrived mid-afternoon. I have to give props to Keith for all of the cleaning and straightening up that he did before their arrival. He is definitely not one of those husbands that doesn't do housework! He cleaned the kitchen floor and both bathrooms plus he vaccumed all the bedrooms and made sure the yardwork was all done!! I am very lucky to have such a helpful husband.

We decided to have a big dinner at our house on Friday night. Since Marge, Barry & Kay were going to be here, we invited my parents and Katie, Shaun and Pierce to come over also. I was very excited to finally use our dining room table and even pulled out the good china (we only have 8 of our everyday plates so using the good china just made sense). I made baked ziti and had salad and garlic bread. It was a very fun night having everyone over. The food was good and the company was even better! Pierce certainly provided a lot of comic relief! I am sad that I didn't get any pictures. I thought about it after we were all finished. Oh well.

On Saturday, we headed to the University grounds with our guests. We went by my office first to show them the Football office and then we went over to the Library where Keith works. They got to see his office and he gave us a tour of a few parts of the library. We left the library and walked a little bit down to "The Corner", which is a popular student area near the UVA grounds. We had lunch at a local restaurant and went into a few little shops. We then walked up to the Rotunda and the Lawn area. This is the oldest part of the UVA campus and it's a beautiful area. We were very lucky that it was a beautiful day - sunny but not too hot. Even so, by the time we got back to the car, we were all pretty worn out from our walking tour. We headed back to our house and ended up going out to dinner at a local restaurant here at the Lake.

On Sunday, we slept in and then had a wonderful morning sitting on our back deck. I made some cinnamon rolls and coffee and we all sat on the deck and enjoyed the beautiful sights and sounds of nature. We didn't see any deer, but we saw a lot of birds, woodpeckers and squirrels. Our back deck faces the wooded lot next to us. It was really peaceful sitting out there just enjoying each other's company and chatting. Before we knew it, it was almost noon and they needed to get ready to head back home. We all got showered and they said goodbye.

It was a really nice visit and Keith and I both enjoyed hosting them at our new house. It's really nice to have the space for people to stay and also to have a house that you are proud to show off. We hope that they are able to come visit us again soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy....

This is probably not a surprise to anyone who knows us, but Keith and I have been SUPER busy lately. I have had so many things I want to blog about but finding the time to do it just seems impossible. Work is, of course, crazy for me right now since we are in our last few days of training camp and our first game is 9 days from now!! I can't believe how fast the summer has flown by, and although I am really excited for football - both NCAA & NFL - and looking forward to cooler temperatures and falling leaves, I must admit that I am bummed that the summer is almost over! It seems like Keith and I really didn't even get a break this year - no summer vacation for us with moving and spending time in PA with Keith's mom. I guess the fun beach trip will have to wait until next year!!

There are so many things that have been happening in our lives lately and I definitely want to post about all of them. Unfortunately I will have to just make a list for now (to give you a glimpse of what is to come and also to remind myself what I want to talk about). Here goes....

1. Keith's mom, aunt and uncle visited us from PA last weekend.

2. Good news about Marge's cancer!

3. A difficult situation that Keith and I have been going through.

4. What's going on in the UVA Football office? (My job duties have changed a bit and I want to share...)

So, there are the headlines, now I just need to find the time to write about them. Thankfully (but sadly), the Olympics are getting ready to end so I will be able to blog in the evenings instead of yelling "GO, GO, GO" or "YAY!!" at the TV. Stay tuned......

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our new dining room furniture

I'm very excited that we finally got new dining room furniture. Now, it's not really "new" like brand new, it's actually over 20 years old. But it is new to us and that is all that matters!

I searched and searched and searched for furniture....on-line, in furniture stores, in antique shops (my aunt Karin is an antique expert and she took me to some cool places when we were in Rochester in July). I didn't really have a specific kind of table or chair or hutch in mind (except that we wanted darker wood) so the possibilities were endless! Of course, then Keith decided that he really liked "pressback" chairs (you'll see them in the pictures), so my search was narrowed down to something that included those types of chairs. Aunt Karin warned me that those chairs were: 1. expensive and 2. hard to find. But, thankfully, we found a set on craigslist.com that we really liked and it was a really good price. The problem....the owners live in West Point (which is about 30 minutes east of Richmond and about an hour and 45 minutes from our house in Charlottesville!).

Thankfully, it all worked out. We were able to go see the set when we were in Richmond a few weekends back. We really liked it and the owners were nice enough to let us come back the following weekend to pick it up. Someone that I know from work has a moving truck that we were able to borrow free of charge (only had to pay for gas!) so Keith and his friends Carl and Cindy made the trek to West Point on Sunday, August 3rd while I was at work. They did a tremendous job transporting the table, six chairs and the hutch. They even brought everything in the house and set it up. We are very happy with it and so far, have really enjoyed it being in our house.

Here are some pictures:

This is the table fully extended (with two leaves)
The hutch
These are the "pressback" chairs that Keith likes!
Here is the table and chairs how they are normally in our dining room.

Tonight, I brought our formal china in from the bins in the garage. We hadn't taken them out of the bins since we got them as a wedding present from my Uncle Mike & Aunt Karin. I was so excited to finally get them in the house and get them set up. I am also super excited about using them on Friday night when we have some of my family and some of Keith's family over for dinner. Here are some pictures of the hutch with the china in it:

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Much needed yardwork

I have always heard friends of mine who are homeowners talking about "random projects around the house" that take up a lot of their time. Today was one of those days for Keith and me. Actually, this weekend is the first weekend we have been home in a long time, or so it seems. Keith has been awesome at keeping up with the grass mowing over the past month since we moved in, but in all honesty, we hadn't really done much else!

Today's projects included:

- Keith mowed the lawn and trimmed the edges with the weed-wacker

- We moved all of the boxes that we used for moving (and a friend of mine borrowed for thier move) from our garage into the crawl space

- Keith cleaned the gutters on the back side of the house (he had done the front ones a few weeks ago). I held the ladder! :-)

- We "cleaned up" an area of our side yard that had lots of tree limbs and random weeds and small trees growing. Keith said they were small oaks. I guess that's what happens when you have big oak trees...you get small oak trees??

- Keith raked and cleaned up the area near our garage that had lots of leaves in it. This area (we were told by our home inspector) would need to be landscaped and drainage added so that water doesn't buildup there and go into the crawl space. Well, lo and behold, when Keith started raking up the leaves, guess what he found? A drain....it's been there the whole time, just covered in leaves and other random stuff (like another small tree that Keith had to dig up...guess that is what happens when you live in a woodsy area!!) Anyways, we were very delighted to see that there is already a drain there and now we don't have to pay someone to come out and install one!

- I sprayed some weed & grass killer on some areas of the yard and driveway. Our driveway is gravel and we have some very unattractive grass growing in parts of it. I hope it will die!! I did have a little bit of a scare when I was spraying - a small animal raced out from under the flowerbeds and made me scream. At first I thought it was a snake, albeit a small one, but maybe it was really just a lizard. Either way it scared the crap out of me and I ran to tell Keith about it. Unfortunately (or fortunately, in my opinion), by the time he came over to see it, it was gone.

- Keith raked up 4 bags of leaves from our back yard. You might be asking why we are raking leaves in the summertime and the simple answer is that no one raked them last fall so now we have to do it! I am sure that with all of the trees that are in our yard, raking leaves is going to be a weekly occurance for us. For now, we wanted to get the yard looking a little nicer before more leaves end up in it.

- I used some "Ortho Max Defense" spray around the perimeter of our house. I also sprayed around the inside of the house in areas where we think bugs might be able to come in. To our dismay, we have been finding pretty good sized black ants, about 7-10 each week, in various places in the house. Our hope is that this stuff will kill anything that is in the house now and will protect us from getting anymore "uninvited guests".

- Keith also swept out the garage and we organized things so it looks a little less cluttered.

Tomorrow, while I am at work (yes, work on Sunday....training camp starts!!), Keith and two of his friends are driving to West Point to pick up our new dining room set! I am so excited about getting this set, and I am even more excited about finally having a place to put our china. It has been sitting in storage bins since our wedding, almost 2 years ago!! I will post some pictures of the new dining room furniture once we get it all set up.