A ton has happened since the last time I posted. Sam went into the hospital and was really sick for quite a while. We were planning on starting IVF this summer, but didn't because he was so sick. The last thing we wanted to do was worry about doing IVF and have to cope with Sam's sickness and all that it brought with it. Another project that we were anticipating came to a screeching halt was our home improvements. After forking out over $6,500 for mold remediation and all of the changes that went with it, we figured that spending large sums of money on home renovations would not be the smartest thing to do. I have put my happiness project on hold for right now because, honestly, things have just been too crazy for me to really focus on happiness. The past few months have been devoted to focusing on Sam's health and getting him better.
In July, Sam started IVIg treatments. He gets the infusions every 2 weeks. We have seen a drastic improvement in his PFT's and his energy level. He is not nearly as tired and is able to play tennis for 2+ hours at a time 3-4 times a week. Plus, he has been kicking some major tail! Currently, he is playing on 3 different leagues and also picking up some extra matches with friends. My dad came to watch one of Sam's matches 2 weeks ago and was highly impressed by his tennis skills! I feel like I have my Sam back from 5 years ago. He has gained some weight and he is looking fantastic! Last nite, he started home IV's because his doctor is hoping that now the antibiotics will have something to actually bind to now that he is on the IVIg infusions. Thankfully, he has an employer who is very understanding and supportive. That really helps when he is already having to deal with the trials and tribulations of everyday life. So, as of right now, Sam's health has definitely been an "up" for this summer!
Another high point of the summer was my mom, sister, niece, and nephew coming to visit. I love having them here and, if it was up to me, I would have never let them leave! We went swimming at our swim and tennis club, shopping, out to eat, celebrated Sam's 27th birthday, and relaxed.
Christina is growing up into such a beautiful young lady. Her newest thing is watching Toddlers & Tiaras and she tells us that she wants to do that, too. She practices her walk and her "fierce" face. I got smothered in hugs and kisses and she made my heart melt every time she told me I was her best buddy. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this amazing little girl.
Then there is Matthew. What a cutie! I didn't know if I would honestly have enough room in my heart to love 2 equally, but with that face and smile, it is very easy to do. Matthew is the happiest baby I have ever seen and already has such a wonderful personality. He is always smiling and I can probably count the times on one hand that I heard him cry. At only 4 months old, he already has a tooth. Plus, I got to witness him roll over not once, not twice, but 3 times. My mother witnessed it as well, but unfortunately Dana was never in the room. He also ate sweet potatoes for the first time and went swimming for the first time. Matthew and Christina were definitely the stars of the pool - Matthew with his all around cuteness and Christina dancing poolside and looking like a little model in her sunglasses, bikini, and pigtails. It was nice for me to be there for some firsts!
In June, I went back to my home state - NY! And boy did I have a blast. Sam was supposed to join me, but being that he was not feeling well, we decided it would be best for him to stay home. Matthew's baptism was in June and I am so honored to say that I am his godmother. The ceremony was beautiful and the celebration afterwards was a blast!
Great to see so many friends and family joining us for this special day and to celebrate this very special little boy. While I was up in NY, I got to spend plenty of time with my Gramps. Most of our time was spent in the yard surrounded by his many tomato plants and basil plants. I love it! Growing up, I used to spend alot of time with my grandfather and most of it revolved around gardening. He is such a wonderful man who holds a very special place in my heart.
I also got to spend the nite out with my girlfriends in Battery Park. Julie has the most gorgeous apartment and rooftop view of the Statue of Liberty. We had appetizers and cosmos on the sundeck and then sauntered along the water to a fabulous restaurant. We ate dinner outside, drank champagne, and shared some extremely yummy desserts. No one knows how to make me laugh like these girls! Sometimes I think they know me better than I know myself. I just love them!
Even though we had some highlites this summer, we also had some sadness. I had to say goodbye to my best friend, Cheyenne. After being diagnosed with Cushing's Disease in January, her health failed rather quickly. We tried just about every treatment option available. She had also developed dementia, so much of her time was spent pacing and panting. After she stopped eating and drinking, she lost so much weight and was not herself. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make, but I knew that it was the right one. This is not the kind of life I knew she wanted. On the morning of July 3rd, I knew that I had to stop keeping Cheyenne here for my own selfish reasons. Dogs are very intuitive and I think Cheyenne was grateful. She finally stopped pacing and just laid on the couch next to me with her head on my lap. I knew that this was not something I would be able to do so my dad went with Sam to the vet. I will never forget the last time I hugged her and kissed her and told her I loved her. Standing in the driveway, I watched my dad and Sam drive down the street for what I knew would be the last time I saw my best friend. I still cry when I think about her - I am crying as I type this. We had her cremated and her remains are in her doggy bed along with her favorite toys in our bedroom. She was the best dog - protective, loving, snuggly, loyal. Whenever I would cry, she would be there for me to use as a pillow and she also served as a wonderful tear catcher. One of my favorite memories was when we were at the Duluth festival right after I got her. I heard a loud shriek and looked down and saw Cheyenne giving me sideways eyes as she was taking a hotdog out of a 2 year old's hand. Cheyenne was actually doing that mom a favor - Cheyenne was concerned about a choking hazard. Two year olds shouldn't have hotdogs anyway! See you at the Rainbow Bridge, beautiful girl!
A week after we said goodbye to Cheyenne, we went to PetSmart to pet the doggies. Somehow, not one, but 2 found their way into our car. We got them from the same lady that I got Cheyenne from, so I know they have to be quality dogs. While I did feel guilty getting 2 dogs so quickly, I know that Cheyenne would have wanted us to give another dog the same happiness and love that we gave to her. I think she knows just how special she is to me and that she could never, ever be replaced. When we were at PetSmart, I saw these 2 girls in their crates covered in ticks and I knew that this was not the life for them. They had so much spark and love in their eyes, but they also had desperation. I figured that we would take them out of their crates for a walk and see how things went. They never went back into their crates after they came out. Sam was a little weary about them, but I did not want to force him to get them. Part of him knew that this is what I needed to help me cope and the other part knew that they could not go back to where they came from. We loaded up on puppy supplies and piled into the car. I sat in the back with them and had to pick ticks off of them. Not a fun job. Before we even brought them in the house, we had to give them flea and tick baths. Guess who does not like baths? We didn't have names for them and were pretty much calling them Thing 1 and Thing 2. By that nite, we decided on Lulu for the little one (chihuahua mixed with something else)
and I noticed that the big one ran really awkwardly, so she would be named Phoebe Buffay (golden retriever and aussie shephard mix).
The following day, we brought them to the vet and came home with drops, creams, and lotions for ear infections, skin infections from tick bites, incision infections from surgery, eye infections. It was just swell. But now, they are happy and healthy and enjoy running in the yard and hogging the bed.
Thankfully, because Sam's health is improving, we were really getting excited about starting IVF soon. Things were really looking up and I was starting to get into baby mode. We knew that things would be tricky because of Sam's cystic fibrosis, but we weren't banking on any other road blocks. Well, we went to the doctor the other day only to find out that my AMH level is ridiculously low. That means that I don't have many eggs left at all, so getting them to do IVF is going to be very difficult. Also, my FSH level was elevated, so the quality of eggs is not the best. Several people that I know here in Atlanta have used the same doctors' group we are using and they have all had success, so I am hoping that we are in the same boat they are. This was quite a blow and a really big shock. I am taking each day as it comes and facing each obstacle as it arises. I know there is already a path for me and it is just a matter of time before it is revealed. There is love in our hearts for a child, whether it is biologically ours or not, that doesn't matter. Before we explore adoption, though, we are going to give IVF a try and pray for the best.
So that pretty much sums up the highs and lows of our summer. I will update everyone regarding our IVF journey, but I prefer to not talk about it, so it will probably be a while before I blog about it again. We just ask that you send positive thoughts and fit us into a prayer here and there that Sam maintains his health and that we have success. I hope everyone is doing well. Hugs!
"She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader. She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart. You owe it to her to be worthy of such devotion." - Unknown
"Even though sometimes this is hard to tell and the fight is just as frustrating as well. All will be well. Even after all the promises you've broken to yourself. All will be well. You can ask me how but only time will tell. Keep it up and don't give up. Chase your dreams and you will find. All in time. All will be well. You can ask me how but only time will tell." - Gabe Dixon Band