Happy Birthday, Naiya!

Monday, January 22, 2018

It seems like yesterday we were setting this photo shoot up for our little girls and Naiya was still all chubby baby. Today, she turns three!


This will not be an easy year for her and that double sucks considering she's already been through so much. But, what we know about Naiya is that she is one fierce little girl. In the midst of fighting, she still giggles at her cousins through video chat, she plays and has fun when she is feeling good. She loves her some Moana, nail polish, and playing with her mommy. She is so precious. Her voice is just the sweetest. Naiya has always had a gentle spirit, even as a baby. She has Ash's mischievous twinkle in her eye. She's an old soul and I know I've loved her before.


With our shared Balanced Translocation, I never dreamed Ash and I would have babies at the same time. I knew I was done trying a long time ago, and Ash had other fertility factors that made her even getting pregnant difficult, let alone beating the odds of the BT to carry to term. Yet, fate intervened and here we are. This has been the absolute best gift, to have these little girl arrive together and allow us to share in mothering them. I am so proud of my sister for being a superhero mama warrior for Naiya. I can't wait for the days when cancer is behind us and the giggles ring out as music to our ears again. Sleepovers, the Drive-In, summer nights, family vacations, holidays, and all the moments in between.

Happy birthday, little YaYa...your Caaaaaaaam loves you so so much.

Four

Monday, January 15, 2018
It doesn't seem possible that four years have already flown by, but here we are. Miss Kindred was the birthday girl yesterday. Or, as she says 'the birthday gull'...I especially love her crazy, unidentifiable accent. More of her personality emerged this past year as she grew out of toddlerhood into preschool age. We know for sure that Kindred is theatrical, silly, sweet, smart, quick tempered and 100% on top of the situation. I still have moments of pinching myself because I just cannot believe she is here. 


Since Naiya could not be with us, and the flu is just running rampant right now, we elected to celebrate at home with Nova, Aunt Kat, Grandma, and PopPop. We were planning to go see Paddington 2 because Kindred LOVES the first Paddington, but we had so many flu cases/support people come into the health store on Wednesday that I texted the fam that we were cancelling it. This flu is particularly hard on little ones. I'm just not going to chance it right now...not when it would be especially dangerous for Naiya to be exposed.



We weren't sure what exactly to get her, but when she saw this ice cream truck in Target, she was sold. I personally thought it was an overpriced piece of plastic, but I could see the value in the hours of imaginative play it would inspire. And, so far, we are coming up on about three. Right now, ice cream is being served to the little Calico Critters. She and Nova LOVE this thing. I have organized it several times already, so maybe I love it too. 


Nova asked to spend the night so we wound up having a sleepover. Berg built a fire, the girls were playing with the ice cream truck, and I was so happy to be there to see it all. Despite the heartache of Naiya's cancer, we are so blessed that these three girls are still here with us, and will be reunited after Naiya is healed to share in a lifetime of birthdays and giggles and everything else.

Happy birthday, Kicky Malickey WaBelle...we love you so.

Sleep & CBD

Monday, January 08, 2018

I remember the days when a cold, gray and rainy morning would have kept me asleep until noon. I have to reach far back to retrieve those memories because those days are loooong gone. But, recently, something has shifted which is providing better sleep quality than what I've grown used to, so I thought I would share about it.

I never had trouble sleeping until my infant sleep-trained me with her extended comfort nursing schedule. We slept in 2-3 hour increments for just over 2 1/2 years. And, if you factor in the six months of extreme hip pain I had during my pregnancy which also woke me up several times a night, I did not have a restorative, normal sleep cycle for at least three consecutive years. As soon as Kindred weaned, and let's all pretend that process was just as short & sweet as this sentence, she began sleeping in 8-10 hour stretches. But, for the life of me, I could not:

1. Fall asleep
2. Stay asleep
3. Get back to sleep

Nothing natural was working. I tried melatonin, valerian, passionflower, and meditation. So, out of desperation, I started taking OTC sleep meds which was basically Benadryl. Before the OTC, I would lay in bed for a couple of hours before I could fall asleep. I would also jolt wide awake around 1-3am every night and it took 1-2 hours to get back to sleep, if I could even go back to sleep at all. So, since the OTC was working as I was sleeping through the night, I kept taking it far longer than I should have. I would cringe at the thought of what it must be doing to my body, so I made a commitment to stop taking them. And, exactly what I feared happened right away...see numbered list above. I tried melatonin again...specifically, a blend called Tranquil Sleep by Natural Factors, and while it helped me feel sleepier earlier...I felt even more wide awake during the middle of the night. It has been incredibly frustrating and exhausting.

CBD Oil has gained popularity in the health store circuit since I left Natural Health, so after I started part-time at the new store, I studied more about it, and talked with customers who shared that it was helping them with their anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc. I decided to give the small bottle a try. If you are unfamiliar with CBD, steady yourself for a sticker shock. It's not cheap. We carry CV Sciences, which I love for its non-chemical extraction process, that it is GMO free, and how they are in control from 'Seed to Shelf'. Not trying to sell it to you, it is one of many companies offering CBD, and I'm just telling you why I personally like it. If you don't know much about CBD oil, it stands for Cannabidiol, comes from (among other sources) the hemp plant, and is an excellent source of nutrients to support receptors in our endocannibinoid system. Our endocannibinoid system is involved in functions such as appetite, pain, mood, and memory. CBD is non-psychoactive. You are not going to get 'high' as the THC is trace amounts...seriously...this is not a cannabis extract and if you use cannabis, your system is already activated so you may not notice any new results. 

I bought our cheapest, lowest dosage available. It is 1mg vanilla spray (two sprays to get 1mg) for $20. I noticed on day one that there was a noticeable reduction in my mental chatter. My monkey mind can get out of control with lists, plans, worries, incomplete tasks, a song or two, etc. I had attended yoga earlier that day, so I was unsure if it was the CBD, the yoga, or the combination of the two. But, I noticed I felt sleepier faster when I went to bed, and while I still woke up, my mind did not take off racing and I fell back asleep within minutes. That alone was worth its weight in gold!! So, within a week, I was doing 3 sprays in the late morning and 3 sprays an hour or so before bed. I can see a change in my anxious thought patterns. And, I can still fall asleep on my own and get back to sleep without it being an ordeal. When this bottle is out, I may bump up to the 3 mg and try the peppermint as people seem to prefer it over the vanilla. The vanilla is admittedly a little rough. I chase it with some almond milk and it is gone within a couple of sips. 

Stress wreaks havoc on our bodies, so I am trying to mitigate any lasting damage this extremely stressful time in our family's lives may bring. If I can get even a marginal decline in anxiety/mental chatter, I will take it. You cannot put a price on the benefit of peace of mind. If you try CBD, reach out to me on FB and let me know your experience. Enjoy the rest of your Mondaze, folks. 

Stream of Consciousness On a Thursday Afternoon

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Despite this cozy picture, it is so hard to get back into any semblance of normalcy around here. It's like a summer night when the stars are all out on display and, as you look up, you are in awe of the great cosmic peace but there's a cricket symphony playing constantly in the background here on earth. Things seem peaceful & normal sometimes, but we just can't outrun the crickets.

Everything has changed. Just over a month ago, my plans were to try for nursing school again and then do some travel nursing from an Airstream. After a couple years of that, we talked about coming back to Nashville so that we would be close enough for these three little cousins to grow up together. And, now...all of that has disappeared into a fog. For now, Naiya must continue her healing journey with Vanderbilt and I am dedicated to getting into nursing school. I am studying anything about her cancer that I can get my hands on. Naiya has an elevated risk of relapse and so this will be a lifetime journey of seeking wellness. We must rely on Western medicine to heal her of this cancer and Eastern medicine to try to maintain homeostasis. She will get the best of good nutrition, supplementation, and holistic therapies.

On the homefront, there has been some good change. Right after Naiya's diagnosis, I wandered into a nearby health store to check out their selection of supplements I intended to collect for her and, after striking up good conversation with the staff, was offered a job! So, I'm back in that holistic health shop life...two days a week. It has been a pleasant perk to have seen quite a few old customers from the little shop on the square! I wasn't looking for any outside work, but this staff is so knowledgeable that this feels like the best way I can support Naiya right now. I also started a new magnesium supplement that is making a difference in my body. I can tell that I am absorbing more magnesium than I ever did with the Natural Calm. And, I recently decided to give CBD oil a try. I have been having a terrible time sleeping again and melatonin was not working for me. So, at just 1.5 mg right before bed, I fall asleep on my own and even though I still wake up during the night, I am able to fall back asleep without it taking 2+ hours of listening to the mental chatter inside my brain. The quietening of that chatter has been the most remarkable benefit of CBD for me. I've also fallen in love with a local yoga studio. It is everything I personally want in a studio...spirituality, asana, and connection.

I am also feeling very sure that being a holistic nurse is what I was called to do in this life. Looking back, it is impossible to ignore the many paths which led me to this revelation. Twelve days before Naiya's diagnosis, I journaled about the 11:11 phenomenon and how it was suddenly back in my life. Message received, Universe. 

Today, Naiya was able to come inside my house for a minute...these three girls were reunited and it did all of our hearts such good. Very conscious of what a blessing that is. Sending love and good energy out to anyone reading these words, thank you for your presence here.