Friday, March 22, 2013


We hosted company on March 9th and had a blast.  Then we were happily ticking things off of our Massive To Do List when I got sick.

When I wasn't getting any better, I went to Patient First and they were very alarmed by my elevated white blood count.  They asked me to the return the next night to re-run my blood work.

So I returned and it had gone up even more.  They sent me to the Emergency Room.  The ER doc didn't know what to do with me.  He prescribed antibiotics and gave me a bag of fluids. He did a chest xray, abdominal xray and checked to make sure I didn't have a urinary tract infection. 

Nothing was found.  He told me to follow up with my PCP on Monday.

Sunday, I woke up with what appeared to be sinus congestion. 

Monday, my doctor reran my bloodwork.  He changed the antibiotic I was on so that it was able to cover more bugs. 

Tuesday, I got a message telling me to report to the hospital and enter through the Emergency Room.  We happened to be walking into the PCP's office with three more sick children when we got the message.  (Four of us were seen on Monday.)  My doctor gave me my blood report.  My white count was 29.5K at that point.  Normal is up to 10K or 12K depending on who you ask. 

I also had developed head/neck pain.

So Brandon took me to the emergency room.  I again, stumped the ER doc.  She spoke with the hospitalist and I was admitted.  And I continued to puzzle everyone.  They ended up consulting a hematologist. 

When the hospitalist read that I had had hives for over 3 years off and on now, and he realized that the white cells that were wildly out of control were allergen/inflammation markers, he put me on iv steroids. 

And he sent me for an MRI that came back normal.

As of Thursday afternoon, my WBC dramatically dropped.  I was in the 14K range.  The allergen/inflammation markers went from 50% (normal is below 5%) to .1%. 

I've been told I most likely have an auto-immune issue.  I was discharged on a two week steroid taper and will follow up with the hematologist on April 26th.  This should give me time to finish my steroids AND to see how my blood work does without the steroids.  Will the crazy high WBC come back?

Here are our prayer requests:

1.  That the steroids do their job.  Right now I have a very specific list of symptoms and if any of them appear, I have to go back to the ER. 

2.  I'd love to be healed and leave everyone scratching their heads.  I'd love to be able to say that God healed me while I waited for the appointment.

3.  We are supposed to be leaving the next week for a convention.  I'm praying that no matter what we find out, we can still attend the convention safely. We need some relief! 

4.  I'm praying for peace.  My hematologist actually works inside a Cancer Treatment office.  I've been assured by several doctors that at this point, they do not suspect cancer. (There is a long list of leukemias that high white blood cells and other symptoms I had can indicate.)   Still it is a bit unnerving to watch the name come up on our caller ID, listed on all of our paperwork, etc.

Unfortunately this sort of derails some goals I had for myself.  I was doing great in the weight loss part of my life, and the steroids can cause an overactive appetite.  I also am not to get myself get worn down, so 5-6 days a week in the gym will not be happening.

Some of the house projects have now been placed in a holding pattern as we wait to see how much our third hospitalization for our family this year will cost us.  Womp, womp. 

But I'm hanging in there.  These are all temporary things.  Trust me, I had plenty of time to think about things.  I've never been so happy to hear I may have *just*  an auto-immune disorder. 

Perspective changes everything!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Great Switcheroo

The next thing that caught our eye when evaluating our space, was that all the light switches and outlet covers were different. 

I had six different types of switch/outlet covers in my kitchen... ALONE. 

I spy with my little eye:







 So we bought a 5 contractor packs of outlet covers, 2 contractor boxes of single light switches, several doubles and a triple light switch cover (in style #3 above) and a few hours later things looked much more uniform.  I have two gallon bags full of light switch cover plates and outlet cover plates!

I also walked around the house and used over 60 child safety outlet plugs. 

Just another place where we took things and changed them to something more our style. 

Slowly but surely!


(PS: Another thing crossed off of our list!)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Curtain Call

After we spent the Thursday night here, we woke up a little discombobulated. 

It took us all some time to remember where we were.  I told Brandon it didn't really feel like "home."  Our things were here but something just wasn't quite right.

He had to go meet the carpet cleaners at our rental that day and so I began the day alone with the kiddos trying to hold down the new to us fort.

As I sat on the couch, I finally figured out what was bugging everyone.  The doors had everything closed off. 

So I grabbed the electric screwdriver while the kids were watching cartoons and went to town. 

I removed four doors and their hinges.
And sat back down on the couch with Isaiah for a feeding. 

I heard the curtains calling to me.

"I'm old.  And dusty, and totally not your style." 

So when Isaiah was done, I took down five rooms of curtains. 

Let's examine the artifacts the previous owners left us:

Dining room:

Two of these, short sides facing each other.

Living Room:

DeLainey and Julianne's Room:

Fourth Bedroom:
See?  It totally felt like we were staying at Grandma's or something.  The dust was really thick.  The dining room, homeschool room and living room had custom curtains.  I found the tag when I took them down.  But I think they were custom made shortly after the first owners moved in, over 33 years ago. 
Out with the old and in with the new!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Let the List Making Begin...

Who are we really kidding here though?  You know I had a list going when we put in an offer on the house, right? 

"Hi, I'm Stephanie, and I'm a compulsive list maker extraordinaire.  And I know I'm in good company!"
NOTE:   There is no way this whole list will be accomplished immediately. It will probably take forever.  After all, we have five children, a single income and not a ton of "spare time."  We love our house.  However, the previous owners lived here for 33 years.  And their taste is not the same as ours.  ;)
To organize the list, I'll post it by floor then the room.
  • Identify the plants that we have. 
  • Move the plants that are too close to the house
  • Get a quote for fencing in the backyard.
  • Consider adding plants for more privacy.
  • Stain the deck  
  • Buy patio furniture for the amazing deck 
  • Buy rocking chairs for the front porch
Entry Way
  • Paint the walls/trim
  • Remove the bolted down runner on the stairs
  • Paint or re-stain the stairs and handrail
  • Remove door from entry way to kitchen.

Living Room:
  • Remove curtains
  • Have electrician come look at the wiring.
  • Paint walls/trim/crown molding
  • Remove the door to the kitchen.
  • Consider painting the fireplace/mantle
  • Window Treatment
  • Furniture
Half Bathroom:
  • Redo Vanity (paint?) and hardware
  • Counters
  • Remove border
  • Change fixtures
  • Paint
  • Frame Mirror
  • Change Light Fixture
Extra Room:
  • Decide on it's use
  • Remove Border
  • Paint walls/trim
  • Stain cabinets
  • Decide what to do about the backsplash
  • Change light fixtures
  • Need a table for the eat in part
  • Replace stove
  • Replace microwave
  • Replace Dishwasher
  • Have electrician move the  refrigerator outlet (so it can be hidden.)
Dining Room:
  • Paint walls/ trim
  • Remove curtains  
  • Remove door from kitchen to dining room.
  • Add quarter round where it is missing
  • Find suitable dining room table for our large family
  • Change light fixture
Homeschool/Play Room:
  • Remove curtains
  • Figure out layout
  • Set up desks and toy storage
  • Buy Lamp
  • Paint walls and trim


Master Bedroom:
  • Have electrician come look at the wiring
  • Window Treatment
  • Closet organization
  • Furniture
Master Bathroom:
  • Fix shower nozzle
  • Consider working on vanity
  • Change out towel bar
  • Change Light Fixture
  • Clean fan
  • Get an estimate on redo ;)
Hallway Bathroom:
  • Get estimate on changing out the shower/tub
  • Price tiling
  • Ask electrician about combining two light switches
  • Replace fan
  • Price Flooring
  • Paint vanity
  • Frame mirror 
Girls' Room:
  • Remove Carpet
  • Remove Curtains
  • Paint wall/trim
  • Buy Lamp
  • Closet organization
  • Buy dresser
  • Consider painting bunk beds
  • Artwork
  • Window treatments
Boys' Room:
  • Remove carpet
  • Closet organization
  • Price big boy beds
  • Buy lamp
  • Buy dresser
  • Artwork
Extra Room:
  • Remove Carpet
  • Decide on use
  • Remove curtains
Throughout the entire home:

  • Remove the various switch covers and replace for a more uniform look. 
  • Remove the various outlet covers and replace for a more uniform look.
  • Change or paint doorknobs for a more uniform look
  • Install child safety plugs throughout the house.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Isaiah's Allergy Appointment

*hangs head and sighs*

I just want to start this post by declaring my absolute HATRED for food allergies. 

Isaiah has had horrific eczema for months.  We've tried a zillion and one remedies and I've taken things out of my diet without much improvement.

At his 6 month appointment, our family practitioner said it was finally time to refer him to an allergist.

The very next week he had a reaction to organic pear baby food so our appointment was moved up. 

I knew in my gut that this was bigger than just some bad eczema.  I knew it. 

And my fears were confirmed this past Wednesday.  We did skin prick testing and because I eat such a wide variety of foods, we tested 30 potential allergens.  Which means 33 pricks.  (One histamine, two controls, plus 30 allergens.)

Within 5 minutes he had huge whelps on his back.  And again, I just knew!

Our allergist evaluated the sizes of the whelps.  Eggs, dairy and peanuts were the worst reactions.  So as long as I continue nursing, I cannot eat those.  I thought I noticed something with eggs and dairy but hadn't removed them both at the same time. 

Because his skin prick testing came back as a positive reaction for soy, weaning him would be very expensive because he would most likely require very expensive allergy friendly formula. 

Isaiah was prescribed two Epi-Pen Juniors (for the peanut allergy.)  If we ever use them, we have to dial 911 immediately. 

I have other children that have had Epi-Pens but praise God I've never had to use one. 

We have a prescription cream for his eczema flares and a prescription antihistamine for bedtime. 

And then I was handed a ridiculously long list of tests that they wanted to run bloodwork for.  These are all the things he tested positive for during skin prick testing.

They can run tests for different parts of eggs and dairy.  And our allergist wanted to see "how bad" some of the allergies were.  Our allergist quite bluntly told me that if I was to remove the entire list of offenders, I'd starve and we would both be quite nutrient deficient.  So she plans to only have me remove the very worst offenders to see if we can muddle through for a bit. 

The list was SO long that when I got to the lab, they had to check and make sure they could take that much blood from an 18 pound baby.  They could, but three sticks later they weren't sure if they had gotten enough blood.

Needless to say, I was fried by the end of the day. (Remember we did this on the day we finally ended up closing on our house!)  And now we wait on pins and needles to see what other things I'll be removing from my diet. 

Happy, happy, joy, joy.  :( 

We have started to see a slow improvement with his skin.  We have a follow up appointment in April. 

In the meantime, once his skin is clear again, we can start trying foods again, one new food a week. 

The reaction we saw to pears is called a FPIES and is a different response than what you find with skin prick testing.  It is intense vomiting or diarrhea within 8 hours after eating a food.  It can cause dehydration and a shock-like response.  If it happens again with any foods, we are to take him immediately to the hospital for fluids.  There is not a test to see what foods will cause him to respond that way.  All we can do is trial foods.

Sound familiar?  This is the same sort of thing that Xander went through.  Except Xander had no IgE type responses (skin prick testing.) 

I only have one child with no known drug/food allergies (Julianne.)  It's just so hard to believe that we won this horrible lottery again!

But, as usual, I will do everything I can for my children.  I love them to pieces.  THEY are blessings.  I just wish they had an easier time with the allergy end of things. 


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Closing Time...

Anyone have a certain Semisonic song stuck in their head after reading my title?  I do.

We FINALLY managed to close on the house.  It was frustrating and I bit my lip all the way up to the end as our times kept getting pushed further and further back. 

Here is a brief run down:

Friday, February 22nd we were supposed to close originally.  We found out on the 21st, that none of the agreed to repairs were done, so we would not be closing the next day.  The sellers scheduled their repair man for February 26th and asked to close on February 27th.  We told them there was no way that the list could be done in one day, but they insisted that their contractor could.  Oh-Kay. 

Tuesday, February 26th, our agent told us that we could ride by the house and see the repairs being done to hopefully give us some peace. Brandon rode by during lunch and the contractor was just arriving and told him that there was no way the work could be done in one day.  After a few heated phone calls, we were told that they would have it done. 

Our agent had a walk through planned for 6:30 that evening with us.  And when we arrived, they were still working.  We were again, assured that the work would be done that night.  They knew we had scheduled our inspector to come and re-inspect the property the next morning.

7am the morning of close, Brandon arrives with the inspector and finds that the work was not completed, and part of what was completed was not done properly.

We were the ones to postpone closing at that point.  We didn't want to close without the repairs done. 

I left to take Isaiah to a two hour allergist appointment.  (More on that later. Sigh.) 

When I was at the appointment I got a call from Brandon and I honestly thought he was pranking me! 

He told me that we didn't have a new time for closing or an exact dollar amount to bring to our closing because the electric pole was hit in front of the mortgage company's office and they couldn't complete our packet because they had no electricity!

Doesn't that just sound ridiculous?  At that point, I started laughing hysterically. 

So we went about our day and fielded constant phone calls between the broker, real estate agent and our attorney's office.

FINALLY, the work was completed at 3:30.  We did another walk through. 

And then, of course the closer for our attorney's office was at another closing. 

We went to the bank and got our certified funds and eventually met the closer at Chick Fil A at 5pm. 

Yes, we closed in a Chick Fil A.  (Most places use mobile closing services here, interesting huh?) 

Then we rushed to Lowe's to buy our appliances and then went back to the rental to finish packing everything.

Around 2am we were done and in bed for the night.  The movers were scheduled to come between 8 and 9 am the next day. 

But we are in.  It's been completely chaotic and exhausting but we are settling in. 

More soon!