Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunshine Award! Yes, again!

Even though I have gotten it before, Stasy at Dancing My Way Through Life, Loss and Books nominated me again for the Sunshine Award!  I've been reading Stasy's blog for a few years now and have followed along through the birth of her sweet rainbow baby GT.  Thanks Stasy!

The Sunshine Award is given to those bloggers who brighten your day. Here's how it works:

  • Include the Sunshine Award icon in your post.
  • Link to the person who nominated you.
  • Answer ten questions about yourself.
  • Nominate ten bloggers to receive the award.
  • Link your nominees and let them know they've been nominated.
Stacy's questions:

  1. If you could have any super/magical power, what would it be?  I think I'd like to be telekenetic, that seems like a cool power.  Though it might encourage me to be too lazy!
  2. What is your worst vice?  I don't tend to be the most patient person in the world. 
  3. What is your favorite thing about yourself?  I think I'm a very dependable person.  There isn't much I wouldn't do for a friend or family member in need.
  4. What is your favorite book?  Oh that's hard.  I guess I'd say the Hunger Games Trilogy.
  5. If you had to choose between losing your cell phone or losing your car (with no way to replace either), which would you choose?  Oh lord I would hate either one.  I guess I'll be sensible, I can't work if I don't have a car.  But my kindle and I would probably get super close if I didn't have my cell phone.
  6. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?  Mint Chocolate Chip!
  7. M/F/K the guys from Friends: Ross, Chandler, and Joey. LOL I had to look up what M/F/K meant, I guess I'm getting old!  I didn't watch a ton of Friends either...but I think I'd marry Ross, he seems my type (sweet teddy bear, funny).  The other two are tougher.  Joey is cute but annoying and honestly I don't remember that much about Chandler.  I think Joey would annoy me too much, so I guess he dies. LOL
  8. If you had to choose between chocolate and alcohol (wine/beer/liquor) for the rest of your life, which would you choose?  Chocolate, not even a close one.  I don't drink very much so I could totally live without it.
  9. What is your favorite thing about your significant other?   His sense of humor.  He has a very infectious laugh too!
  10. Why did you start blogging?  Oh gosh....well, Twin was actively blogging at the time and I wanted a chance to be funny like her and I guess I've always wanted people to read my writing, so until I come up with an ideal for a novel that wouldn't suck, I guess this filled the void.  Over time, it's become a place for me to express my thoughts and worries.  It went from random and a little shallow to a place to document my first few years as a mom, then document my struggle with infertility and onto being a second time mom.  Now it's a place to continue to store memories with my kids, as well as my fitness journey and beyond.  I don't have a lot of readers, but I decided that as long as it feels good to me to write here, I'll keep doing so even if no one reads!

My nominees:
I've already nominated a list HERE, so if you were nominated by me back then and didn't have a chance to post, here's your second chance!  In addition, I'll add a few of my more recent bloggy friends.
Some of these women are new or expecting mama's following infertility, some still in the trenches or are braving infertility again in hopes of adding to their families.  They are all strong, smart, funny ladies and I so enjoy reading their blogs!

My Questions
1.  What is your greatest accomplishment?
2.  What was the last dream you had about?
3.  Do you have any interesting quirks?
4.  If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
5.  If you could have any career (including SAHM), what would it be (talent/education not a factor)?
6.  You can go back in time and change one event in history--your own, the worlds, whatever--What would you change and why?
7.  What is  your favorite sound and why?
8.  Tell me a secret!  
9. What is your biggest fear?
10.  What is your favorite way to de-stress?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pay it Forward For Brinly and Jude

Okay, I know I don't have a lot of followers, but if one other person decides to do this, it's worth the time, so here goes. 

On Saturday, March 15th (this Saturday) I will perform a random act of kindness in honor of Brinley and Jude, twin babies of Holly and Darren from the blog Oh Baby, Baby.  I am sad to say I only became aware of Holly's blog during the devastating loss of her beloved twins, due to PPROM (premature rupture of the membranes) and incompetent cervix.  Holly and Darren had been through three IVFs (an early miscarriage, a failed cycle, and finally a triplet pregnancy, though the third baby was lost at 9 weeks).  Holly's water broke at 17 weeks and she delivered her daughter Brinley days later.  They did everything they could to continue the pregnancy with her son Jude, but due to an infection in the placenta, she delivered him at 21 weeks.  No woman should ever have to face what Holly has.  In response to the many "How can we help?" and "What can we do?" questions she and her husband have received, they've decided to organize this event to honor their babies. 

It's pretty straightforward.  On Saturday, perform a random act of kindness. It can be anything.  Holly gives some suggestions here.  Then, post a comment or send her an email (shown on this post), letting her know what you did to honor her children.  Take pictures if you can, I know she'll treasure them.

And please, if you feel like it, pass this on. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Grumble Grumble Something Fun

I've sort of been in a grumbly annoyed mood most of this week.  Between barely surviving and ear infection/antibiotic allergic reaction/diarrhea/diaper rash week with poor AJ, annoyances at work, weight loss plateau that won't end, more roller coaster weather (brief amazing respite to cold and rotten mood Monday/Tuesday followed by rain/sleet/snow/cold today), and various other dramas of small proportions, I'm just generally a grouch.  So today I thought I'd post about something fun that happened and ignore myself and my bad mood.

So I mentioned that Adam and I had seen Frozen on our most recent date night (yes, a cartoon without our kids and it was great so there).  Well Tyler heard us say this and he'd seen commercials for the movie and kept saying he wanted to see this.  We'd recently remarked that it seems like he was finally able to sit still watching a full length DVD and we thought maybe he was ready to get through a movie at a theater without a problem, plus my sisters have both asked to take him and I wanted to do it the first time.  So, we decided that I'd take him to see Frozen on Sunday.

Now, I am not an expert on 5 year old boys, but for many years, my particular 5 year old boy has been a little bit of a challenge when he's excited about something.  He'll drive you crazy asking if it's time for whatever it is he's looking forward to.  We've learned the hard way.  So even though we decided this several days prior and wanted to tell him, we waited until literally like an hour before we were leaving, and only then because he asked for a snack and I planned to get him something when we got there.  And even then, he was pretty antsy waiting to leave. 

Adam stayed home with AJ so Tyler and left the house about 30 minutes or so before the showing.  The theater isn't far, so we got their pretty quickly, with Tyler chattering away excitedly.   We bought our tickets (yay matinee price) and then stopped at the restroom (smart mama).  Tyler chose sour patch kids and apple juice at the concession stand (ugh, what a combo) and I indulged in a small popcorn and a diet soda.  We got settled in the not-very-crowded theater and Tyler proceeded to wiggle excitedly through the previews.

A little selfie action before the previews

Suffice it to say, HE LOVED IT!  And he was super well-behaived. In fact, I was checking to make sure he was okay because he wasn't constantly whispering or anything.  He was a little wiggly, but the chairs aren't exactly made for kids.  I was freezing, even putting my coat back on over my long sleeve shirt, but he said he wasn't cold.  He'd catch me looking at him every so often and give a big grin and a little happy dance.  At one point he did ask where "the snowman" (Olaf) was.  The commercial is a little Olaf-heavy but he actually doesn't show up until a good 45 minutes into the movie at least.  But anyway, Tyler got a lot of laughs from Olaf's antics.  He seemed to really like the music too. When the credits were rolling, he got up, but I had him wait until the lights came up, so we were rocking and dancing to Let It Go.

Tyler gives the movie two thumbs up!

So we had a great time and went home so he could tell Daddy, Gaga, and Aunt Chall that the move was "spectacular" and "funny".  I'm told he even gave my mom a real play-by-play later on!

The only problem?  Now he's already after us to see Mr Peabody and Rio 2.  I've told him movies are a special treat and gave him a few ideas on how to earn more trips there.  So hopefully it'll be a win-win!  Daddy has dibs on the next trip!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I am Mama, hear me ROAR!

I seriously feel like David, with the giant Goliath at his feet, triumphant yet somehow disbelieving that I've actually won the fight.  Surely he's going to bounce back to his colossal feet and say say "PSYCH!".

I'm sure you're wondering (assuming anyone is actually reading this, I always feel silly making that assumption) what the heck I'm talking about.  So let me back up.

Last October (That's 5+ months ago), I got a letter from my prescription plan company.  I have health insurance through my job and there is a separate company that deals with medications and prescriptions. The letter was address to the Parent of Tyler L.  It stated that as of January 1, 2014 the medication he takes for acid reflux would no longer be covered under our plan.  Tyler has taken medication for acid reflux since he was about 6 weeks old because he spit up often and was a fussy colicy baby.  Reflux is very common, especially in male infants, and his pediatrician thought it was a likely culprit and it seemed to help a little.  At 9 months, the spitting up had basically stopped, so we were advised to stop the meds.  At 12 months, we discovered that Tyler had LOST weight.  He had lost several pounds.  We put him back on reflux meds and started giving him pediassure instead of whole milk.

Since that time, we've had a bunch of testing done (upper GI, x-rays, an endoscopy, a 2 day probe study, bloodwork, etc) but have never really gotten a lot of definitive answers.  I had one horrible GI specialist and one that was so-so, but they never seemed to make a lot of progress.  He's tried several medication, finally ending up on Prevacid, which seemed most effective for him.  It comes in a little tablet that melts in liquid.  We put one in his juice in the morning and it keeps his symptoms at bay for the most part.  He still has a very sensitive stomach, especially if he gets overheated from running around.  He's still a super picky, difficult eater.  But we've tried to wean off the medication several times, and every time is the same--complaints of a stomachache, particularly at dinner time and often accompanied by pressing on his stomach, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, general fussiness, and if tried for more than a week or so, weight loss.  So this was the right medication for him.  Up until about 2 years ago, there was a generic that was available by prescription, but then it suddenly vanished from the market and we were left with the more expensive name brand, which eventually crept all the way up to my maximum co-pay of $95.

So, back to the letter.  I was not happy to hear this.  I knew I was in for a battle.  The next day, I called the company (I'm being nice and not bashing them by name) and told them I'd received the letter and that was just not going to work.  I'd checked, and without insurance, the medicine would cost me around $500 per month.  Now, I would do anything for my child, but that wasn't going to be possible without some serious miracles.  So the first guy I talked to said I needed a Prior Authorization, submitted from our PCP.  Okay, great, done.  Our awesome PA (Physician's Assistant) Amber and her amazing nurse Jenny drafted one up and sent it in.  Rejected--medication does not require a PA.   Oy.  Yeah, a PA isn't required in the plan in 2013, but under the new 2014 plan.  I was told the plan "wasn't loaded" and we should try again in a few weeks.  Okay fine.  We did this, with the same result.  Against my better judgement, I patiently waited until the new  year to try a third time.  Now I was told that we never needed a PA--we needed an appeal.  UGH.  So we filed an appeal and sent with it a letter of medical necessity, stating that this medication is the only one that really works for Tyler, here's the tests that have been run, here are the other meds he's taken, yada yada.  Denied.  They told us we needed to try him on Nexium.  I filled an RX and we tried it for about a week before it was clear it wasn't effective for him.

At that point, our PCP's office recommended that I call his most recent GI Specialist and have them give it a try. They thought the specialist might have more experience and their recommendations might be taken more seriously.  The specialist appealed the decision and they were denied (Appeal 2 out of 3 possible).  They said that he needed to try one more medication, Prilosec and if he failed it, they would approve the Prevacid.  We tried it for 2 weeks and it didn't work either.  The GI specialist sent the request through for a third time.  They were then told that we needed to try another medication.  When she told me that, I reminded her that's what they said last time. She contacted them again and they told her they needed a letter of medical necessity.  I told her our PCP had already sent one, but they insisted.  Unfortunately, Tyler hadn't been to the GI since 2012, so we were told we'd have to come in for an appointment before they could legally write the letter.  I grudgingly made the appointment, but I'd had enough.

I sat down one evening last week and wrote a letter.  I put in all the details of the medications we've tried, the information (and more often, MISinformation) I'd been given from their customer service reps, and all of my areas of frustration.  I told them how I couldn't get solid answers when I called, how I was even told that the department that I really needed to speak with "didn't have phones".  I was calm and mature, but still let them know that I felt it was unfair and cruel to put a five year old child through pain over something like this, to draw the situation out when a child's well-being is at stake.  I ended the letter by saying I hoped they would use my comments to improve their policies and appeals process and to train their staff to make the process smoother.  Then I said that if there was any assistance they could offer us, to please contact me.

Now, if you've ever tried to contact someone in upper management at a large corporation, you know it's nearly impossible.  They don't usually publish their email addresses or phone numbers, just basic information about the corporate headquarters.  And even I have been trained when answer phones at work, to withhold that kind of information, to solicitors from contacting management and that kind of thing.  But with some creative thinking and deductive reasoning, Adam and I were able to come up with the names of some high-ups and what we assumed were the email address that went with those names.  Friday night I sent my letter off as an email to about half a dozen individuals at the company.

Within a few hours, I got a response.  They would work on this over the weekend and I would be contacted on Monday.

Over the course of the day on Monday I got several emails and by Tuesday evening the medication was put on a one year approval and I was assured that should Tyler need the medication after the year passes, I should email this doctor personally and he would see that it was extended.  I got a phone call this afternoon saying my prescription is ready to be picked up.  I will happily hand over that $95 for once.

I am so relieved.  I've been fighting this battle for over 5 months, and even though I told myself I wouldn't give up, part of me didn't think I'd be able to get it done.  I've been in tears many times over this, so frustrated that some faceless corporation dared to play God with my son's health. I wanted nothing more than to make him feel better.  And now I can.

The only thing worse than a woman scorned?  A Mama Bear!  Don't mess with my babies!