Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

2009. Quite the year. Andra's first full calendar year.

In Lil Runner's style, here's my recap:

Biggest Surprise: nursing as long as I did. (Andra's adenoids, and the fact that she could not breathe and nurse, made me quit at 7 months, and that was fine.)

Biggest Accomplishment: I PR'd in a 5k in May. Not that I am even close to that now, but I am proud that I took on that challenge and followed through.

Biggest Disappointment: that I never managed to really want to run longer than an hour. I did a handful of 7+ mile runs, but without enthusiasm.

Biggest Challenge: going back to work. It's not a big deal now that she's old enough to play and interact and I can see that she likes daycare, and I like working (teacher hours!), but it was very hard when Andra was still little.

Biggest Transformation: Andra without her hemangioma.

Biggest Lesson: chill out. I stressed about things that in retrospect I shouldn't have: my weight (once I quit nursing it was back to normal), Andra (kid adapts just fine), guilt about daycare and fitting everything in. all works out.

Things I'm proud of from 2009: Figuring out a good balance of work/workout, even if it's not the same as before. 5k PR, plus a 4 mile PR (I wanted 3 PRs this year, 2 is good). Having such an easy going, laid back kid (not sure how much credit I can take for that one, but...).

Things I am planning for 2010: Master's swim (starts next week...gulp). Riding the trainer regularly this winter and spring. Half marathon (maybe spring, maybe fall, slow is fine as long as I get back to doing long runs). Olympic distance triathlon (assuming I learn to like swimming a little more). More cycling this summer, alone if need be but I will try to find other people. In general, trying to find more people to hang out with...other moms to run/walk with (my friend Jessica and her baby are moving back to Chicago in March, big bummer), people to train with. Reading more.

We're staying in tonight and cooking filet mignon and cheese fondue for 2, plus margaritas (yeah, I love those).

Monday, December 28, 2009

RA and Pregnancy

A couple links to the OTIS study I was a part of. The first has information about pregnancy and a bunch of common RA drugs. Somehow I did not see this before becoming pregnant, even though it was a 2006 publication AND I knew about the OTIS study. The second link is to the preliminary results of the Enbrel and pregnancy study that I was a part of. Just in case anyone reading has RA and is in the market for a kid!
I had 3 new commenters after my last post. It's fun that people find and read the blog, you know? I have been pretty bad with commenting on blogs lately...I have to clean up my bookmarks to get rid of the blogs I don't really like anymore (no one who comments here!) and make room for some new ones. It's exhausting!

So although I haven't been running, I have been on the trainer and spinning, and figuring out an NSAID routine to keep the ankle pain at bay. Probably not quite enough to run yet...there's clearly something going on in there...but Fred and I did take a good 45 minute walk yesterday (with one sprint up a hill, he likes to think he can beat me when I'm down...though in his defense he was pushing the BOB) and it was good til the very end. But I'm getting into the trainer thing mentally, and it sure is convenient having it right in the basement and all. (And, yes, I finally cleaned up the cat puke from Thanksgiving that was down there...though it needs more work than just that to become a pleasant place to hang out.)

Andra has healed up beautifully, as you can see below. I did something perhaps not perfectly kosher though. One tiny stitch had been inadvertantly left in when the rest were removed, and today at the pediatrician's for Andra's 1-year shots (we held off til after the surgery), the doctor said she could "probably" take it out for us, but she wanted "permission" from the surgeon. I did call the office (still waiting for a reply), but during a diaper change I took a pair of tweezers, nail clippers, and in one quick snip got it out without a flinch or a wiggle from Andi. No problem. (This was after much Googling about stitches and how you really could take them out yourself.) Now I have to buy Mederma for Kids so I don't have any lasting guilt if she has even the tiniest bit of evidence left over from my handiwork.

My mom knit this sweater for Iris and it was one of MANY recent hand-me-downs. So cute! Click on the picture if you want the huge version to see the scar/healing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Still not running

I keep testing out running. I did 2 miles last week (including half a mile barefoot, just to see)** , 2 tonight. It's not fun. Not only have I lost fitness in the last month, but my ankle hurts. No way around it. The sucky thing is, some times during the day it feels fine, like I could run no problem. But it's hit or miss, and everytime I've gone to run, it's been miss.

I went to spin class Saturday, that was good. I rode the bike on the trainer Sunday, that was good. I am starting this masters swim in 2 weeks, that is good. I can still lift just fine, I just haven't been (but will start again, this has been admittedly a tough and crazy month). So there's no excuse to throw in the towel and not work out. But.


I can be a cyclist this summer, but until it warms up enough for my candy ass to get outside, I am missing running. And the thing is, even walking, I limp. So it's not like I can go for a walk instead. Which in my book would now completely count as a work out (and, has counted as such for a good year and a half).

It's fine sort of, in that I've never really had any injuries that have put me out. So maybe I'm due this. Yet, it's not an injury, and so that sucks. I assume it will be fine at some point, but who knows when. I will go back to the foot guy for an MRI and to try a cortisone shot if the prednisone I'm on now doesn't do anything. But of course, it's not a flare, it just IS, so the prednisone really ISN'T doing anything. Though it is helping my neck, so maybe it is a flare. I don't know.

**So about the running barefoot, I've been curious. Wendy has RA and runs a LOT barefoot, and says it has helped despite having foot issues. I did half a mile, which is actually longer than recommeded for starting out, as it takes time for the body to adjust. The thing is, my first mile with shoes sucked so much that I was just frustrated, so even though running barefoot didn't necessarily feel good, it did feel a little better, plus I had no expectations for it to feel good so it helped me not want to punch something. I'd give it a more serious try if running at all becomes more feasible.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Phew...Hemangioma Surgery Report

Before and After:

Thank God that's over. The quick version, because I have tons of emails from my students to answer about a lab that's due because I wasn't in school today or yesterday.

We were scheduled for a 10:30 surgery, so we got Andra up before 7 so she could have some apple juice (no solids, no milk after 4am, and we weren't about to wake her up then, so she hadn't eaten since dinner/milk Tuesday night). Drove into the city (about an hour), got to Beth Israel hospital around 8:30 (an hour early, but with traffic around here you never know), and had time for a bagel and coffee (felt badly that Andra couldn't eat but she didn't seem to care). There was another couple with one of their 9 month old twin girls there for a hemangioma on her arm (her twin had had about 7 removed 2 months earlier and the parents couldn't say enough about Dr. Waner and the results). They finally went in around 9:30, we finally went in around noon. Andra was a champ, didn't protest the no eating, no drinking thing at all.

I braved up and asked about the possibility of Dr. Waner looking at Andra's adenoids too. We knew they were enlarged, making it hard for her to breather through her nose (and hence smell, taste) and causing her chronic runny nose, and we were pretty sure they'd have to come out at some point, so even though I felt awkward asking, I knew Dr. Waner was in fact an ENT and so I did. He was so nice about it, saying of course he'd take a look and if they looked bad he'd take them out. So I was happy because I trusted his opinion.

Fred wanted to be the one to go with her while they gassed her to sleep, so my last view of her was a smiley baby pointing at the doctor's nose (the girl likes noses). Fred came back a little shaken up, but it was only about 30 seconds that she was crying.

We got an update around 1:30 from one of the other doctors, who said the hemangioma was a piece of cake (AND he took a picture of it for me...gross but cool) and that the adenoids did in fact need to come out. So out they came! Nice, because it means we avoid another surgery (and the agony of making the decision of when, and if, and whether...) and kill two birds with one stone. Down side is, recovery is worse. With just the H, we would've been out and home a couple hours later (we saw the other baby walking out soon after they took Andra up). In this case, they hemmed and hawed and decided to keep her overnight because her breathing was labored due to airway swelling from the adenoids and being intubated. Guess it's typical for under-3's and adenoidectomies, but since this was a bit unexpected, we were of course unprepared. No big deal. Recovery was rough...she was so disoriented and I swear she cried more in 10 hours after than in the whole previous 12 months combined. Seriously, the girl is not a crier so it was rough to hear. I almost lost it twice, but really that wasn't an option. She vomited ALL OVER me once (I saw it coming and just waited...what could I do? And did I mention, I didn't have a change of clothes?) and did NOT want to be put down. She slept a good chunk of the night on my chest, and when I did manage to transfer to her crib without pulling out any of the 5 things attached to various parts of her body, I got about 30 minutes of poor sleep before someone would come in and do something. Seriously, I was not impressed by the PICU nurses.

When they woke us up at 5:40am (seriously?), Andra was happy, pointing, bouncing, and we had a good day. She was exhausted and went to bed around 5:30 tonight, has woken once already but hopefully will sleep a good chunk of the night so I can catch up so I can go to work tomorrow (Fred and my dad are staying with her).

The two pictures above I got with my phone, the first still in the hospital and the second tonight at home. She needs to have the drainage tube removed tomorrow (hopefully) and stitches will come out in a week, and soon enough Dr. Waner says she'll have no noticeable scar at all. And her baby facelifted eyebrows will settle down in 6-8 weeks, they had to stretch the skin a bit to close.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Masters Swim???

Found out yesterday about a Masters swim program that runs for 10 weeks, is designed for triathletes, has one day for experienced swimmers and one day for people like me, and...meets from 8:30-10 at night once a week. Meaning, I could go. Registration is TODAY. I think I am skipping my short run to go sign up before taking Andra to the pediatrician for her 1 year appointment and clearance for Wednesday's surgery.

I can do this, right????

(UPDATE: I called to register. I DID IT. I paid money. So now I have to go, right?? Starts in January! Oh, and I guess now I could still run. I have tons of nervous energy though! But it's good...I only regret things I don't do, not things I DO.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gifts that feel good

I've been searching for a gift for my uncle. He's coming for Christmas, along with my parents and aunt, and my brother, sister-in-law and niece. My uncle is single, rich, opinionated, needs nothing and has everything. Kind of the typical crotchety old man, except funny and we like him. So far I have gotten him a mousepad with a picture of him and Andra (or, "Sandy" as he calls her...he figured when he got the email a year ago saying she was born, that Andra must have been a typo). I've decided that from now on, I'm just going to find a neat charity-type thing and send a gift in his name instead. So in addition to the mousepad, this year he's going to buy okra seeds for some woman in a war-torn country.

In my search for a unique way to help, I came across this site. You buy a gift card, and the recipient "spends" it by donating to a charity of their choice. What a perfect gift for a kid!! We were lucky and Andra didn't get much in the way of presents this year, but even so, the house is getting overrun (it kind of looks like a kid lives here now...we were trying to avoid that, we have a small house!). But seriously, what better way to teach kids to give. Well, probably there are better ways, but this is good AND EASY. And even for grown-ups...we all MEAN to give to charity, but honestly, I rarely get around to it most of the time.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Andra!

She's officially 1.

We had a great little party with a super cute cake my husband made and decorated (a hidden talent). Just family, very low key and fun. Andra played with the frosting on her little cake, but the girl does NOT get the concept of feeding herself, so we helped her out a little so she could taste it. At least I didn't have to worry about a hyped-up-on-sugar baby come bedtime.

She also learned to climb stairs today. Following cousin Iris was good motivation. And, even though we haven't opened all the presents, my favorite is the one from Iris - one of her old toys that Andra played with last time we were in the city visiting. Seriously, presents are silly for a 1 year old, but recycled presents are genius! I don't have to feel guilty that someone spent more money on a toy for my kid than I would (we only buy from consignment shops or tag sales) AND Andra gets a "new" toy.

The pictures are all on my husband's fancy schmancy camera so I can't post any here but hopefully he will put them online soon so I can post them.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I love margaritas.

Just went out and had a couple drinks with two friends (Sarita, you know who you are). Super fun (obviously I never get to go out anymore), and they happen to be people who work out, so of course some of the talk got on to that topic. Point being, I'm glad I took my week break, and I'll probably take two more (just let me get through Andra's surgery) BUT THEN I AM READY! I am ready to run in 30 degree weather. I am ready to build up to 13 miles for a long run.

It's amazing what a few days off and a couple margaritas will do for my attitude.

Friday, December 04, 2009

On a completely unrelated topic...

I just spent a whole free period figuring out a lecture on the history of plate tectonics. And it was FUN. Too bad I just finished that unit...I kind of winged it...but I'll be so ready for next year!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

RA ankle

I'm giving myself a week with no forced workouts. I still WANT to go to the two classes I go to, I might WANT to go and lift another time. But even though I have last period free today and COULD make myself run, I am not going to. December is relax month. Then I hope my motivation will be back in January to step it up for a spring half (maybe in DC!).

My other reason for taking it easy, besides mental, is my ankle. I just made an appointment for next week to talk to my rheumatologist. This is so annoying! My RA is NOT flaring. It's just that my ankle is stiff and painful. Even walking. Not BAD bad, just ANNOYING. Normally you don't think about your ankles when you walk. I do now, and really, who needs that? My neck at the base of my skull is also bothering me and I think it's the RA too. I like my doctor and hopefully he will have some suggestions...change or increase medications, insist on a cortisone shot in the ankle, orthotics, physical therapy, prednisone (even though it's not a flare)...who knows. I don't think backing off on running will help or hurt, it's just that running (and walking) are uncomfortable now so I don't want to do them. And then there's the guilt for not wanting to, the fear that I'll lose what little running fitness I have retained, etc. But there's nothing to DO about it, I just have to figure out the best way to make the best of it. I'm confident everything will clear up (my wrists the last year or two have been so much better than 5 or 6 years ago) but I can't know when. The unpredictability of the disease always throws me for a loop. But since I also need a mental break, I will take all this for what it's worth and just give myself a few weeks to chill out. And hopefully not eat too much chocolate. And peanut butter.