Missybella- product review

Here is a quick shout out for an online business that, if you are a parent or buying for kiddies, you definitely need to have a look at!

Some of the great merchandise at Missybella

Some of the great merchandise at Missybella

Missybella has been around for a while on eBay, but has recently started up selling on Facebook as well.

While mostly stocking brand new clothing for kids, ย children’s accessories are also available, such as bags, jewellery, books and more.

Pretty much everything is characterised, from Dora the Explorer, to Batman…even older children can get something with One Direction merchandise available

Skylanders, Smurfs, Minnie and Mickey Mouse…if your child likes it, then it’s probably there! The prices are really reasonable!

I'm sure you can find something for all your child's desires!

I’m sure you can find something for all your child’s desires!

Head on over to Missybella’s Facebook page….hit “like” and browse around. Prices are mentioned in the photo, and a quick message to Melissa (the owner) to confirm your order and to find out postage fees. You can pay by Paypal and contact the seller for orders outside of Australia.

When you make you first purchase at Missybella, tell her I sent you!

Bella ๐Ÿ™‚

 

One Direction is banned in my house...but there is a huge following out there....lots of 1D stuff!!

One Direction is banned in my house…but there is a huge following out there….lots of 1D stuff!!

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Contact me any time!

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to write this quick note to you all. I have been receiving some lovely emails and comments lately.

Some have been words of encouragement, others have been letters seeking advice.
wine and computer
I hope I have been able to answer all of you so far. I always try to, usually with a glass of wine in hand…so please forgive me if they come out as gibberish sometimes!!

I really love getting these notes, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you ever want to….about ANYTHING

My email is bellasblog@hotmail.com

Go for it!!

CHAT SOON!
Bella ๐Ÿ™‚

Ruby Jade’s Creative Clip’s (product review)

School hair clips- requested colours available

School hair clips- requested colours available

Hi all,

I have a new business for you to check out!

Ruby Jade’s Creative Clip’s is a must-see for anyone with little princesses out there.

This full- time mummy of three gorgeous kiddies has started making hair clips for girls….young and the young at heart!

One of the different designs available.

One of the different designs available.

She has a wide range of designs to suit all purposes: school, sports, casual wear and designs for special occasions.

“Like” her Facebook page and have a browse of the albums to see what is available. You can request designs in colours to suit your need (school uniform colours, sporting teams, etc)

Prices are listed in each photo on her page.

One of my personal favourite designs!

One of my personal favourite designs!

To place an order, simply comment on the interested photo, or send her a message on Facebook…. voila!

It’s just that easy!

Happy shopping everyone!

As you can see, LOADS of different designs!

As you can see, LOADS of different designs!

Bella ๐Ÿ™‚

 

The realisation of mortality

Hi everyone, I’m sorry it has been a while….but it’s been a bit rough around here lately.

Cam during nebuliser treatment

Cam during nebulizer treatment

Cameron’s health hasn’t been the greatest for a while now. A few weeks after our last annual review, he got very ill. I hadn’t seen him that sick since he was diagnosed! We found out his bronchoscopy had results showing he was growing Staphylococcus (staph), which can cause major havoc on CF lungs.
We started nebulizer antibiotics, which showed good results for a while.

He is now coming into his fourth week of nebulizers, but in the last few days, he has gone downhill again. He is coughing a lot, breathless, has no energy, grumpy as hell and off his food. This has caused us some major concern!
We are just waiting for two more new antibiotics to arrive from the specialists in Perth. One is an oral antibiotic, designed specifically to treat staph infections. The other is a very strong nebulizer antibiotic (again, designed specifically for staph), which when it arrives, we have to arrange with our local hospital to administer the first dose so that he can be medically monitored for any side-effects. Providing it all goes well in the ER with first dose, we will be continuing them at home. So for the next month, he will be on four different antibiotics!!
I am glad that we have narrowly dodged a hospital admission at this stage, though I have this niggling worry that it will inevitable. Please wish us luck and we welcome all healthy vibes that are sent our way!

I will keep you updated with his progress when I can.

We live with CF every day. We know the risks involved, what might or even what WILL happen during the journey of this condition. But knowing it, and being AWARE of it are two very different things.
I constantly talk about CF. I raise awareness as much as I can. I try to stay up to date with medical updates. But when your little one is very sick because of the condition, you remember, it’s not just about being knowledgable. The “la-la land” bubble bursts and all these things you “know” about are an “in-your-face” reality. This is my son’s life. This is his permanent battle. THIS SUCKS!

While we are dealing with this, the dirty “C” word has infiltrated itself into the family. No…not that dirty “C” word…..the other one….cancer. I don’t want to breach the privacy of the family member who has been battling this for a while by revealing too much on my blog (and I hope they don’t mind too much that I have written about it right now)ย Our head spaces have been zooming all over. We have also had to come to terms with the fall out of this nasty, evil condition as well.

My own health hasn’t been the best lately either. I am currently trying to quit smoking. I have to do this, I need to do this….I WILL do this. But like previous attempts at quitting, my lungs go spastic on me. I always get chest infections when I attempt to quit. But a recent incident brought home my own mortality.
For a week, I was tight chested, wheezing slightly….the symptoms I usually get in the days after my last cigarettes. But three nights in a row, I couldn’t lie on my right hand side (left hand side or stomach was fine, as was upright…I could breathe). On my right side, I would instantly stop being able to breathe and would go into a coughing fit that would take half an hour to recover from. I tried to hold out until Monday, when I could see my doctor, but on Sunday morning, I woke up on my right hand side. It took forever to be able to catch a breath. I was legitimately worried about dying right then and there….so I took off to the emergency room.

They gotta go. I KNOW I have to stop!

They gotta go. I KNOW I have to stop!

I was treated very thoroughly…more so than I ever have before. I had three nebulizers to relax my airways, and two steroid tablets. They did a chest x-ray, which came back clear and gave a sputum sample. They even inserted a canula into my hand, gave me a fluid drip and took blood to test everything from white blood cell counts, to salt and insulin levels. It didn’t feel like an asthma attack, but it didn’t feel like a usual chest infection either. While they treated and got rid of most of the symptoms, most of the tests came back clear, so we don’t know exactly what caused the respiratory distress yet. I have to call for the last few results tomorrow…so hopefully I get some answers.

While I am feeling much better, the experience scared me greatly. With Cameron’s current health scare, plus the cancer in the family, all I could think of was “I am not allowed to die! I can’t do that to the family…not now! I am too young! My family is too young for me to go!” I came to realise, like most mothers, while I am very good at looking after my family, I also need to look after myself! I am getting back on track with my diet, the cigarettes are in the past, and I need to look after myself better mentally and spiritually as well.

I have been under a lot of emotional stress lately. I am run down. My husband and I have started scaling back our workload a little to take the strain off. This is already an immense relief. I need to make more time for my family.

I need to make more time for ME!

Bella ๐Ÿ™‚

CF annual review-July, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took Cameron on the long trip back to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth for his annual CF review. We also had our daughter, Eva, in tow so that she could be reassessed for her respiratory issues.

Our first appointment of the day was for Cameron’s lung function test.
He had just started doing this new type of lung function test at his last clinic visit only 3 months prior as he was now at an age to start using the testing machine, “Mr. Wobbly” (called so because of the way it makes your cheeks wobble during the testing phase)

Cam's stage one lung function test- "Mr. Wobbly"

Cam’s stage one lung function test- “Mr. Wobbly”

He aced it on his first go, and had no trouble completing it again this time around. He also did this new test that they have started doing on younger kids where they breath in pure oxygen for a short period, then test how long it takes for the carbon dioxide levels to go back to normal. This apparently helps to indicate if all areas of the lungs are being used. He did very well and completed this task without an issue. Very proud mumma right here!

Cam during stage two of lung function test. I'm sure there is a proper name for this particular procedure, but I missed what it was...

Cam during stage two of lung function test. I’m sure there is a proper name for this particular procedure, but I missed what it was…

We had a quick look at the results on our way back to the clinic area, but could not make heads or tails or what the figures meant. But since nothing was highlighted in red, we assume everything is still going really well.

Then he had to be measured, as is routine at the start of every clinic. The little fatty boombah put on another 300-400g in the last three months, putting him just under 20kg. This puts him on about the 80th percentile for weight.
I can’t remember how tall he is (110cm rings a bell…) and I’m not sure how much he has grown recently, but they are happy that he is steadily travelling along the 25th percentile for height (which is great, as I was told that height can quite often be stunted in CF)

The first CF team member we saw was the physiotherapist, who makes sure that he is still undergoing his physio techniques properly. This meant watching him use his PEP mask, doing a few percussion motions and making sure we are still using the correct hand motions. She also checked his shoulders. Apparently his left shoulder is a bit “tight” which can cause a hunch. This stops the chest cavity opening up properly and the lungs don’t take a full breath. So we have to get him stretching and hanging (like on monkey bars or tree branches, etc)

We then saw the dietician and gastroentologist together. They were very happy with his weight gain and his dietary intake.

Cameron has an intolerance to fresh dairy (milks, yoghurts, cheese…etc…but once cooked, it’s not a problem…so things like cakes and sauces aren’t a problem!) It’s more of a dairy protein intolerance. We figured it out when he was about a year old and we were trying to make the change from formula to cow’s milk. I tried everything under the sun….goat milk, oat milk, rice milk, lactose free milk….everything….and soy is the only thing he could tolerate. Apparently the protein levels in these other types are very similar to cow’s milk….which is how we came to the dairy protein intolerance diagnosis.
We were told that if kids couldnt tolerate these foods by the time they were about 5-6 years old, they probably would never be able to,

dairy free
So the team were very happy to hear that is starting to tolerate fresh dairy a bit better. He has normal dairy yoghurt, custards, a bit of cheese (though not too much in a day, or it sets him off all bloated, gassy…and well…messy!!) We havent attempted cow’s milk yet, but he is still happy enough on soy milk. When he has normal dairy foods, we find it helpful to give him an extra Creon tablet (enzyme medication which helps to break down the fat in his foods during digestion) So if he were to have some yoghurt, and fat content requires him to have 2 Creon tablets, we give him 3 instead….which works well.
They told us to keep trying to introduce dairy to his diet and see how he goes. Soy doesn’t have the same calorie and fat content of dairy, which makes it more difficult to boost fats in the CF diet, but we obviously seem to be managing!

They also told me that they now require all CF patients to take Vitamin D supplements as the multivitamin (VITABDECK) was not substantial enough for absorption levels. Since Cam was already on Vitamin D levels, and on a higher dosage than what they normally make standard for everyone, he is to remain on this dosage as it seems to be working for him.

They were going to take some blood samples during his bronchoscopy later in the week to test for other things, like salt levels (which there was a slight increase in his daily intake of sodium chloride solution) and iron levels (which have been borderline needing medication for a long while now, but they are hesitant to prescribe medication for it as it can cause constipation, which can already be a major issue for CF-er’s with their digestive issues)
I havent heard anything since returning home, no phone calls about needing extra medications, so I can only assume that they were nothing to worry about until we see them again in three months.

We then saw the respiratory doctor. He was very happy with Cam’s progress, especially since he has managed to escape all the winter bugs so far (wish I could say the same about the rest of the family though!!)

I'm sure there are plenty out there who can relate...

I’m sure there are plenty out there who can relate…

When we arrived at the hospital (since we had just gotten off the highway and went straight to the hospital for appointments) I realised I made a MASSIVE mistake…..I had left ALL of Cam’s medications at home, including his Creon!! I can’t stress how much an issue this was. Since he had only eaten things in the car which didnt require any medication (fruit, etc) we didn’t realise until then that we had no medications so that Cam could have lunch!
We sucked it up, and gave Cam a sandwich anyway, thinking we would just have to deal with the mess later (without Creon, food passes straight through, undigested. It makes an almighty, smelly mess in its wake ๐Ÿ˜ฆ )ย 
We got a doctor to quickly write a prescription for all of Cam’s medications and handed it in to pharmacy at the hospital, hoping it would be filled quickly.

But no, we spent more time waiting for the medications than we did seeing specialists. Normally, to avoid the wait, we hand in the prescription and pick it up the next day, but due to the urgency, we had to wait around. That was more exhausting than seeing the team!

There is a lot more to write about, such as Cam’s bronchoscopy, and Eva’s check up…both are long stories that can be set aside for another post. So keep an eye out!!

Bella ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m BA-ACK!!!

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to write a quick note to say that I am still around….apologies for not writing much but life has been hectic with work, a couple of birthdays, and Cameron recently had his CF annual review, with a check up for Eva…both of which are some of future topics that will hopefully come out soon!

A big welcome to all the new followers that have signed up from the advertisement in the recent Great Southern Disability Services newsletter. It was awesome to see the link to my blog there (and I hope you enjoyed my witty little post “Expectations of the Modern Mum”…there are many more like that!)
A few of you also signed up from the recent rafflecopter. Hope you won something and keep an eye out for the upcoming one launching soon!

So while I am still getting my act together, have a look around at some of the older blog posts. Or if you are bored, or want some new recipes, check out my other blog (which I have unfortunately also been neglecting lately) www.athomewithbella.wordpress.com

Chat soon everyone!!
Bella ๐Ÿ™‚

The Dark Hanging Clouds- a personal experience

 

anxietyI do not hide the fact that I have anxiety. Given all that my family go through, is it any wonder?

I have what is known as “Situational Anxiety”ย , which means that I’m not anxious all the time…but drop me in a situation where stress is high, I tend to temporarily take it to the extreme…and if pushed enough, will have a full blown panic attack where I can’t breathe, my heart rate rises rapidly, I want to throw up and I get dizzy and feel like passing out. Thankfully I haven’t had many of those.

Believe it or not, but this is an improvement for me!

Really, it all started around the time that my eldest son was born eight years ago. It would have been classed then as Post Natal Depressionย (PND). I was moody, sometime teary, overwhelmed and didn’t have a lot of interest in much. But (and this is NOT recommended) like a lot of women…I hid it.

Then I had my daughter, things were a little worse. By the time my middle son came along (bear in mind, this was three children in 2.5years) things had hit a critical point. I had no energy, didn’t want to move from the couch. I had zero interest in anything….zilch! IF I spoke, it was because I had to, and it was barely above a whisper (and for anyone who knows me, knows how much I love to talk!). I felt numb…like a hollow shell.
I wasn’t suicidal. I didn’t have visions of harming anyone…least of all my children…but I just didn’t care about anything anymore.
This was when my husband intervened and said that I needed to get help because I was freaking him out.

postnatal depressionOff I trotted to my general practitioner (GP) and burst into tears in his office when I told him that I thought that I had depression. He patted my knee and told me that he was proud of me for coming forward. He did the formal examination to officially diagnose, and I was prescribed antidepressants.

I wouldn’t say that medication turned my life around, but they helped me to cope with life easier. I was functional again.

When I fell pregnant with my youngest son, he definitely wasn’t planned. I had eased off my medication, but was worried about a bad relapse again. Pregnancy with Cameron drained me, making me very moody and tired. Part of it was physical, due to the pregnancy, the ย other part of it was mental state. I managed to push through. After he was born, I felt fantastic physically, which improved my mental state. I still didn’t need medication.

Then, four weeks later…we recieved Cam’s earth-shattering diagnosis. While we were in hospital in Perth during Cam’s diagnosis admission, the nursing staff told me that my GP called the hospital every few days, not only to check up on Cam’s progress, but to check up on me as well considering my history of depression.
The CF team knew of my history during this period as well, and considering that nature of what was going on, kept a close eye on me as well. They praised me for keeping it together, for helping out during the dramatic parts instead of becoming a hysterical mess.

Throughout all this, I was still numb from the shock of diagnosis, but Cam’s current health condition took my complete focus. I did have a brain snap moment in the hospital, where I had a complete blubbering meltdown over the fact I had completely lost my milk supply (probably due to stress) and could no longer feed my baby breast milk. We had tried medication to boost it, but it didn’t work. I felt like I was under pressure to keep producing, and felt like a failure that I couldn’t do it. A wonderful nurse closed off our room, talked me through it and boosted my mood and self-confidence again.

When we returned home a few weeks later, Cameron had to have his routine, post-birth checkup at around 12weeks old. By then, I could tell it was all getting on top of me again. My GP was very understanding and I was back on medication.

By the time Cameron was about 12 months old, and I had an annual mental health review with my doctor, we both agreed that it wasnt so much depression any more, it was more anxiety. There is a fine line between depression and anxiety, often symptoms overlap…but we were confident that this was the case in this situation.
Little things would set me off. Passing a police car while driving was a major trigger! I didn’t even have to be speeding, but I usually had to pull over because my heart was racing, my breath was short and I felt like being sick. A few minutes later, I could carry on.

Anxiety attacks really suck!

Anxiety attacks really suck!

Occasionally, a panic attack would occur for no apparent reason. I remember one where I had spent the morning getting ready for one of the kids birthday party at our house. Everything was fine…I was happy…everything was sorted and ready to go. When guests started arriving, I suddenly had to rush off to my bedroom for one of the worst panic attacks I have ever had.

Thankfully it left as fast as it came, and I walked back out to the party, with guests none the wiser of what had occurred.

A trip back to the GP and a change in medications fixed that back up.

About a year later, I was able to ease off the medications again, until only a few months ago.

When my anxiety is high, I get very aggressive. Nothing can placate me. My husband urged me to go back to my doctor again. Off I went, where discussing it, the diagnosis changed to situational anxiety.

Basically, I’m not anxious ALL THE TIME. Put me in a high stress situation, you start seeing snippets of anxiety poking through. If you keep prodding me during those moments, it quickly escalates until….KA-BLAMMO…explosions and fireworks, or a panic attack occurs.
Considering the amount of pressure I was under at the time with work, and drama in the family life, these explosions were happening a little too frequently. So I am currently back on my medication again.

It’s not making me feel any different. I am still my happy, chatty, normal self….but when I am dropped in those high stress moments, I am able to cope better.
But it’s not all about medication. You have to tweak your life and environment to help as well.

Support networks are a massive help to me. My friends who pull me out of the house to catch up (and wont take no for an answer!), my online communities allow me to vent, there are so many communities out there in cyber space aimed at depression/anxiety support, for me it is through my parenting communities….they understand most of all since they have families as well. Maybe it is the anonymity of cyber space that helps to spill the beans?

Deep breaths...that is the key

Deep breaths…that is the key

Mediation helps to clear the mind…switch off from all the thoughts of what’s going on, what has to be done…and just general negativity.

Writing is my biggest outlet. It helps me process and deal with my emotions. I cannot recommend enough to people to write their thoughts down. It’s very soothing, and years later, you can look back on it and see how far you have come in the process.
This story may come as a surprise to some of those who personally know me, because while I don’t hide the fact that I am dealing with depression/anxiety, I don’t advertise it either. Some family members didn’t even know I had depression until years later.

I just wanted to share my story in the hope that if someone out there is going through the same thing, they understand that they are not alone, and I urge them to get help! Anyone of you can contact me via email (bellasblog@hotmail.com) if you ever feel overwhelmed and just need a listening ear.

Your life will better for it with some help.

Bella ๐Ÿ™‚