Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not Today

Today is not such a good day. I just can't pull it together. Our most awesome home teachers came today and the tears started and they just won't stop. One of our home teachers stops by here and there and I LOVE it. He comes to chat with Matt and to see how I am doing. His family has been through a very rough ordeal and he takes care of everyone in his family and it's so nice to have someone to relate to. Last night one of Matt's friends from his mission called and his family too has been through a similar ordeal and it was so nice to talk to him! It's so nice to know that what I'm feeling is pretty normal for this kind of thing. Today I am overwhelmed with a dozen different emotions. We were getting dressed and ready for church and I just broke down. I should be taking the kids even though Matt can't go but today I just can't face it. I hurt so much lately. It's gotten much worse since we got here and some days I just can't get going. I feel like everyone around me is watching and judging. I realize they probably aren't but today that's just how it feels. I just used to be so on top of things, so put together and now that is gone and I feel like I'm drowning in unfulfilled responsibilities. I just hurt inside and out.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shopping with my Claire Bear

Tonight we started a tradition that is super exciting for our family. I took Claire, just her and me to find a baptism dress. We went to Costa Vida for dinner and then met up with Aunt Mandy to go to White Elegance and find the perfect dress. Claire was so excited. She has been looking forward to this ever since Grandma sent her the money to buy her dress. When we got to the store, it didn't take her long to find the "perfect" dress. Of course she is like her mom and has expensive taste but it really is a beautiful dress. Aunt Mandy had the perfect advice, she said this is like picking out your wedding dress Claire, you always try on three and then pick one. lol. So we tried on three and then bought the one she had picked first. She is so funny. Claire has such a unique personality. It was so fun to watch her get so excited about this next step in her life. She has watched many of her friends get baptised and now she is only one month away from her own. The best part about it is that her dad will get to do it! We didn't know if he would be well enough but if his recovery continues the way it is going he will be well enough! This is a huge miracle for our family! We are so excited for her to be baptised. I am proud of her for making this decision.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cookies and a Book!

Today was supposed to be a relaxing day...need I say more?
Doesn't it always seem to be that you are most busy when you have planned to just do nothing? That is how my life seems to roll.
Today I got called for an interview at the State Capitol. I had an internal battle about the whole thing as my kids faces and their anticipated reactions to me working again ran through my head. Funny thing is I was just interviewing, I haven't even been offered the job!
Matt looks and feels a little better today. I actually have hope for a recovery from this latest surgery after today. He said that he feels a remarkable difference between yesterday and today. I was so glad to hear it because yesterday he looked like death. He looked like it, I felt like it! I finally crashed last night after going full steam for over a week. It's amazing how tired the hospital can make you and how oxygen tanks can get heavier and heavier every time you have to lift them in and out of the car!
I don't quite know what to do with Matt, he is really down now that he has been diagnosed with diabetes and I don't know how to make it better. I have been reading everything I can on diabetes so that I know what to expect and how to make things better for him but he seems pretty shut off. I've read that this is very common. Unfortunately there was no advice for the spouse on how to help or even cope. It's hard when he is down because I try so hard not to let that happen. Then I remind myself that I needed my time just to be down and not ok with our situation and he needs his.
So it has been a long and exhausting week. I did get the chance to help my friend with her wedding invites and that was fun. And at the end of all of this 2 good friends brought me just what I needed, chocolate chip cookies and a good book. Thank goodness for friends who know just what I need!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


                Wow, tonight I am feeling overwhelmed and over-informed!  I have spent the evening reading up on diabetes.  I registered Matt online with the American Diabetes Association and read everything I needed to for our appointment tomorrow.  I wanted to make sure that I had a list of questions ready for the doctor and also wanted to make sure that I knew what they were talking about so that it wouldn't be so overwhelming.  Matt is not happy about this diagnosis and of course that is normal, I don't know who would be happy about being diabetic.  I have tried to be super pro-active about all of it and I figure that way I can be there for him when he decides that he is ready to research it for himself.  I read so much but I am sure that I have only scraped the surface of all of the information that we are going to be learning.
                    Really, Matt has been doing exceptionally well with his recovery since coming home.  His pain is well controlled even without pain medication.  He ran a fever for the first two days but today has been good, no fever.  Today was not such a good day for me.  I didn't change my pain patch yesterday.  With everything that was happening I forgot and with everything I have been doing that was a mistake.  Today I was in bed for most of the day and on the couch for the remainder.  Tonight I broke down and took meds for the breakthrough pain and now I am feeling better.  I am hoping that tomorrow is a better day.  Every time Matt has surgery I realize how much he helps me.  I become very overwhelmed when I cannot ask him for help and that worries me for the future.  If things do not get better for him I am going to have to pray that my health improves and that the pain decreases or subsides.
          Tonight we started using some essential oils that were given to us by our friends family.  They are supposed to help with pretty much every health problem you can think of.  There are several that are supposed to help with diabetes and so we rubbed them on Matt's feet and his abdomen and he added more herbs to his regimen.  We were skeptical about all of the herbal treatments when Matt's family started using them but we have quickly become believers and so when our friends brought us the oils and herbs we were excited to try them. 
          So much is changing for us but it is not all bad.  I am excited that there are finally some answers to some of his symptoms.  Many of the things that he has been experiencing are very consistent with diabetes and so we can begin treating them and hopefully things will begin to improve.
          I am overwhelmed but I think that we will feel much better after we meet with the endocrinologist tomorrow and find out more about how we should treat this.  We should also get the results of Matt's blood work which will tell us if there is a pituitary problem or not. 
          On top of all of this we are dealing with problems at the school with Claire and have to meet with the principal tomorrow.  Poor Claire is having a horrible time with school and I am afraid that we are going to have to change schools.  I was so excited that they were going to be just around the corner so that we could walk with them back and forth to school but I have a feeling that Claire is going to have to attend elsewhere, there is just not much help for her there.
           So although things are very overwhelming tonight, I am feeling a little less lost and a little more organized.  I think that tomorrow's appointment will go well and hopefully it means the beginning of treating Matt and getting him better.  I am afraid that he will not get better but I try to keep those thoughts out of mind.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Today was full of different emotions.  Last night was hard for both Matt and I.  We were so tired and really depressed after his diagnosis with diabetes.  His numbers have been steadily going down however which is good.  He is still in the 200's but it's going down.  I was up and down helping him through the night and so this morning I was super tired.  This morning I was able to go back to sleep after getting Matt medicated and his sugar's taken.  It felt so good to sleep.  I was so tired.  This afternoon I was able to get a break from it all and go to a wedding shower for my best friend Mandy.  It was so great to be able to go and celebrate her upcoming wedding.  I am so happy for her, she is marrying such an awesome guy and they all make a great family.  It was so great to see her so happy.  There were a few teary moments for me.  Some friends started asking about what was going on with Matt and I just couldn't help but cry.  I felt awful because it was her day but I guess that If I'm going to go anywhere right now, people are going to have to know that the wounds are still fresh and the tears just come when they want to.
Matt has developed what looks like a bed sore on the back of his head.  I'm not exactly sure what to do about it so my friend Michelle bought him a special pillow that has a hole in it and allows his head to rest without touching the sore.  We see the endocrinologist on Monday and he can take a look at it and let us know what to do.  This is all so overwhelming to me.  I'm not sure how to take care of him and that is scary.  I will just have to educate myself the best way I can so that when we go to the doctor I can know what they are talking about and ask the right questions.  I just want to know if they are going to be able to get him better or if I am going to lose him.  I just want someone to be honest with me and let me know how much time we have together if he is not going to get better.  I know how much time the think we will have together while he is lucid but I want to know how much longer I can sleep next to him in our bed.  How much longer I can hold his hand and watch movies, how much longer we can joke together and how much longer we can plan our lives together.  Perhaps I really don't want that answer.  Each day is a gift and I am trying to make every moment easier for him.  I wish so much that I could take it from him.  I wish it were me that was sick and not him.  I wish I could make it all better.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What A Day!

This has been such a long day that when I look back at what happened it seems like it must have been more than just one day. We woke up this morning at the hospital after a rough night. Matt ran a temperature of 102.8 most of the night and his blood sugar was up in the upper 300's with insulin. I slept off and on and so did Matt but unfortunately the hospital is not a very good place for getting rest. The surgeon came in to see Matt and informed us that we could go home. Matt was glad but I was terrified. He was still running a fever and his sugar was 385. The surgeon wasn't sending us home with anything to control his blood sugar and he said the fever was probably just from the anesthesia and his lungs. Neither of those things were ok with me but I didn't know what to do. I wanted to fight but I just didn't have it in me. My friend Mandy and her fiancé Delbert showed up and let me tell you what a blessing that was. The nurse we had was not very good and Mandy put her in her place! I called the endocrinologist in the meantime and let them know what was happening. They in turn called the surgeon and let him know that he had to send us home with some medication to control the blood sugar. I don't know what I would have done if Mandy weren't there. So I brought Matt home and we got the kids and they were so excited to see him. He has had a fever throughout the day but we are keeping it down as best we can and we have had to check his sugar levels every two hours. So far they have steadily decreased with the exception of his last test before bedtime which was at 277. It was super hectic this afternoon and evening. My in-laws work at the temple on Friday's and so it was my load alone to carry. By tonight I am exhausted but having a hard time sleeping. I have been reading up on type 2 diabetes and requesting information from whatever sources I can. Matt is discouraged tonight and I don't blame him. This just plain sucks but we can do it. We have an appointment on Monday with the endocrinologist and they will have more information for us too. It's just all so much at one time that our heads are spinning. I saw my Doctor on Wednesday before Matt's surgery and she wants to do a physical. She is afraid I'm forgetting about taking care of myself. I tried to explain to her that there just isn't that 25th hour in the day that I need for myself. So I have to have a physical in a month. Personally I am done with doctors and hospitals and illnesses and insurance companies. I know Matt feels the same way but we will keep plugging along. I'll make sure I'm healthy so I can get him healthy.
Although it's overwhelming to have all of these trials right now, at least we are getting some answers. I just wish they didn't have to keep cutting him open to find the answers. I am so proud of him, he is so strong. I just wish I could take this from him but I can't so I will just try to carry him through it all.

Late Night Hospital Ramblings

Matt in Recovery

Very Sleepy

Tonight we are in the Tooele hospital with Matt again. Today he underwent a major hernia repair. There were 4 hernia's in all. They placed an 8x10 piece of mesh inside his abdomen to cover the hernias and clipped into place with 40 clips. They put permanent stitching at the top and bottom of the mesh and the surgeon said these stitches usually hurt really bad ( oh good! ). In recovery they checked his blood sugar and it was at 262. This is really quite high especially because he hadn't eaten anything since the night before. They gave him 5 units of insulin, waited 40 minutes and checked his blood sugar again. It had gone up to 268! Not what we had hoped for. So they gave him 5 more units of insulin. He did well through the afternoon and as long as he didn't move the pain wasn't bad. Tonight things aren't so good. He has refused pain meds since recovery and then he tried to get up to go to the bathroom. Oh my goodness, the pain took his breath away. I looked into his face and said "just cry Matt" but he just shook his head. I wanted to cry for him. We got him to the bathroom and amidst all of this he looked at me and smiled and said "I love you, you're beautiful." what an incredible man I have in my life. The nurse came in a few minutes ago and checked his sugar and he was at 358! She jogged out to get some insulin, in fact he got a double dose. Tomorrow morning at 6am they are going to do a blood test that picks up one of the indicators for diabetes. If it comes back positive they will do some further testing and then set us up to take care of it. I have a feeling we will be here for a few days. I'm torn because my children are so sad that I am here with him but I can't leave. If he has to go through this we are doing it together. He is sleeping now and I should be. The kids came to visit this evening and after they left I cried. I just couldn't hold it together anymore. It seems as though nothing is routine for him anymore and I'm just not as strong as I should be, I have to just cry it out. I wish I could take this from him. I wish a million times over that his pain was mine. I am so grateful to my friend Mandy who is more of a sister than a friend. She was here all day for support and helped me get the kids down to see their dad. She was incredible. Tonight we are scared but we also are blessed. If he had not come in for this surgery and his sugar's were this high or higher he could have been in real trouble. I am thankful we are here. Looking back it seems like a mess because every procedure has uncovered a new problem but tonight that seems like such a blessing. What would we have done if he hadn't had that motorcycle accident in Arizona? We wouldn't have known there was a problem until his memory was gone and we would have lost so much time with him. If he hadn't come in for his gallbladder surgery they wouldn't have found the liver disease until it was much worse, again it gave us more time with him. If he hadn't come in for this surgery, again real trouble and we could have lost him. Tonight we are tired, scared, hurting and sad but you know what? Tonight we are blessed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Somebody Sedate Me!

So one of my favorite episodes of Grey's Anatomy involves a scene with the character Christina Yang. She has just come out of surgery after losing a baby and she starts to cry. She is not a crier and so she screams to her hospital co-workers, "Somebody sedate me!"
I wish I could say I'm not a crier but I am, and I am completely on board with being sedated right now! I was ok with matt having surgery, I really was because he is in a lot of pain but now that it is less than 12 hours away I'm not so okay with it anymore. Thankfully my most awesome friend will be there to sit with me during the surgery. We have decided that since something has gone wrong with all of the other surgeries I should probably not be alone, on the off chance this one has complications too. What a pessimistic attitude you may think but come on people, I'm just keepin' it real. He has been doing better since they put him on oxygen but the last few days he has gone downhill a little. The jaundice is back on the top of his head which seems like such a strange place for it to be and he is a lot more sluggish than he has been. I have been trying to stay positive because apparently that's what people in this kind of situation are supposed to do. At least others tell me to remain positive. I say walk a week, heck a day in our shoes and see how positive you can be. Right now I am too damn scared to be positive. My life and this family just doesn't work without my husband, that's the only thing I am "positive" about. Whoa what an ornery post! Just telling the truth because I'm tired of hiding behind this chemical smile. I told you, somebody needs to sedate me!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hernia Repairs

Well we are one day closer to Matt's latest and not-so-greatest surgery.  So far I have not been as worried about this one like I was about the last one.  I couldn't explain it last time, I just knew something was wrong and unfortunately I was right.  I don't feel that way about this surgery but I will say that I am beginning to feel a little bit of a pit in my stomach.  I think it is just pre-surgery jitters which is totally stupid because he's not even nervous!  It's a very good thing he doesn't get nervous because I have enough anxiety for the both of us!  This surgery is to repair a few hernia's that have popped up on his scar from his appendix removal.  It's supposed to be an outpatient procedure but I think the plan is overnight in the hospital again.  Today we got the good news that in the last 3 months since we got the insurance, Matt has almost reached his out of pocket maximum which is 2500 dollars.  We may have already reached our family out of pocket maximum as well!  If we haven't then this surgery will cost 128.00 and then no more 10% for us, just co-pays, yay!  If we have met the out of pocket maximum for the family then it is FREE (to us anyway)!  This is such a blessing because we are drowning in medical debt and it is all making it's way to collections. So that was our little miracle of the day.  Now we can begin to try and dig ourselves out of this mess.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Church and Coke

Today has been a hard day. I just didn't want to get out of bed. I feel so guilty when matt is home because he is an early riser and I literally cannot drag my aching body out of bed when I know he is up with the kids. He is a great sport and never complains, in fact he encourages me to relax but he's the one that encourages me to relax and get the much needed sleep. I think a lot of the problem is that we are not in our own house and I feel judged when I cannot get out of bed. I am so grateful to my in-laws for taking us in but it is hard not to have our own house. So for these and other reasons it has been a hard morning. I have been tired, frustrated and not patient with anyone around me. In contrast, yesterday was a pretty good day! We were able to spend the day as a family doing various activities. I took Ivan and Nora to walmart with me while Matt and Claire watched Naomi. In the afternoon we all went to a birthday party at a friends house for a while and then I got to take Claire and Nora to a Halloween party at Claire's friends house. I got to spend time with my friend who was brave enough to put on the party for 7 children! It was a good time. It was nice to get out of the house. I have turned down a lot of opportunities to go out with friends because it's so hard to be away from Matt. I worry all the time and I just never want to be away from him! While it is flattering to him, I know it is not necessarily healthy. I have to stop living like he is dying. We will have a lot of time together. I just feel comfortable with him so it's hard to leave that comfort zone. All in all things are ok. I am just taking it day by day and trying not to let the physical pain, depression and anxiety get the better of me. We made it to church today. I can honestly say I didn't want to come but I'm glad we did. I can tell that Satan has been trying very hard to keep me down but I'm fighting back. I may not be fighting as gracefully as others but I'm fighting. I have awesome friends and awesome ward members that are very supportive. So although today has been a hard day, with church and a lot of coke, this day will get better :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Today was another crazy day for us in the Garff family but tonight things are ok.  It was not a day without trials and tears but it is better than some of the days before.  Claire woke up feeling sick and all of her symptoms pointed straight to appendicitis.  I took her to the hospital after waiting as long as possible to see if by chance the pain would subside.  It didn't so we headed to Tooele hospital where they promptly did all the tests for appendicitis.  They did a CT scan and her appendix looked good but she had a small amount of blood in her urine and so we are supposed to have the urine test repeated in a few days and see if it's a kidney or bladder infection.  I'm not sure why they didn't just treat her for that now because the pain moved to her back near her kidneys but they didn't so we are headed to the doctor later this week.  I was so thankful that she did not have to have surgery.  Heavenly Father was looking out for our family today because I'm just not sure that's something we could have done right now.  Tonight she is feeling a bit better so hopefully by morning she can go to school and all will be well.
This weekend has been a little hard for me emotionally.  I have been aching for home, wherever that may be.  Tonight I went to work in the kids room and washed all their sheets and made their beds and put their names above their beds.  I have decided that instead of praying for a home of our own I will pray that living here with my in-laws will feel more like home.  We are not going to be in a position anytime soon to be on our own so I have to feel like the spaces we have are our own.  I also got some of my scrapbooking stuff out of storage so that I can go to work on our family books. Matt has tomorrow and Tuesday off of work and I am so glad to have the time with him.  Tomorrow we get to go to lunch with my cousin who is in town.  I haven't seen her in more than 15 years and I am very excited to see her.
All in all it was a trying weekend but I handled it better than weekends like it before.  I am hoping that with time it will get easier and easier to adapt.  I don't know why I expected things to be immediately better but it's like Matt says, it took us three years to get into this mess, it's going to take at least that long to rebuild and get better.  I just need to give myself time.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Little More Like Home

Tonight it is quiet in the house. I guess I should say this morning it is quiet in the house. I have this horrible habit of staying up way too late but I can't resist the time alone with my husband and the time when the house is so quiet and it seems like our own little world. We do not have much that is our own anymore and so the few moments that we can pretend are wonderful moments indeed. This last week was a very trying one in our household and our family. Naomi got sick last Friday with Croup and it spread like wildfire through our family. By the time all was said and done all of the kids and a few of us adults have had it. We had quite the scare with Nae and Nora. Both of the girls ended up in Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake. We had taken Nae to the bedtime kids care at our pediatrician where they diagnosed her. They gave her 2 different breathing treatments and a shot of steroids but she did not improve like they had hoped and so they sent us to the hospital here in Tooele. The hospital here is a small one and they were not comfortable handling her situation. The doctor said that we should see improvement but if it went the other way we would have less than 2 minutes before they would have to intubate. I guess with Croup the vocal cords and the throat can become so enlarged that they close off altogether. So off they shipped us to Primary's in an ambulance. She started doing much better on the way there due to the steroids and spent a large amount of time drawing on her hand with the pen that the EMT gave her. Really, a pen? lol. We spent a few hours in observation with her and then they gave us the choice of staying for the remainder of the night or going home. We chose home which at that point was my sister's house. She had come to the hospital because Matt was too tired to make the drive and I didn't want to risk another accident, I don't think he would survive it. We spent the night on a futon in her house and bless her heart in the morning she took Nae who had not slept well most of the night and bathed and played with her while I slept. She drove us home to Tooele and next it was Nora's turn. She started the next night. She was really bad. She was barking and wheezing and when we finally went to bed she shot straight out of a dead sleep twice gasping for breath. She was panicking and so was I but I made sure it did not show on my face. I made her look straight at my face and breathe along with me, trying desperately to slow down her breathing the best way I could think of. Then I put her in the car and sped to Primary's. I wasn't going to mess with two different hospitals this time, we were going straight for the big guns. Once we were there they treated her much the same way that they did Nae and then put her on oxygen to get her stats up. Thank goodness she didn't have to bring the oxygen home with her, we are always tripping and tying ourselves in Matt's tube, I cannot imagine trying to deal with more feet of plastic tubing. It has been nearly a week since this all happened. Claire and Ivan got it but we were fast enough catching it that we got them taken to the doctor before it ever really turned nasty. Needless to say I am one exhausted momma. Today I stripped my room of any and all things that could be washed, disinfected or thrown away so that we would not recycle this nasty virus. My room is so clean, I love it! It is nearly impossible to keep our little room clean in this house because the kids are slowly trying to move into it. I will have to post pictures of our room so that you can see the hilarity of it all. I did get our computer set up though so that I can actually have some daytime hours online and feel somewhat connected to the world. There are 10 people in this house and 1 computer which makes it very hard to stay connected. It felt so good to get the room somewhat organized and my computer set up but what felt the best was to pull out my Scentsy warmer. I have been 6 months without my Scentsy warmer and those of you that really know me or have ever been to my house (when I had one anyway) know that I am in love with my warmers. I have 7 total, one for every room of our last house. Had I known it was going to probably be the last house we ever owned I would have taken pictures. It was such a beautiful house and it was all ours. I took that for granted. I really did. So pulling out my Grape Vine Scentsy warmer made it feel a little more like home.