::pack:: of fixations

life after tragedy. living while grieving. love and triplets.


Revelations and Unfamiliar Territory

For Memorial Day weekend we went camping at Strawberry Reservoir with friends.  It was cold, it even snowed.  I still enjoy camping when it's cold.  I find it kinda cozy to have to be stuck in the trailer with nothing but each other and a good book.  If you've never camped in a trailer before you're missing out.  If it's cold outside you just turn on the heater, you even have a fridge, bathtub, and a toilet if you're lucky.  

Packing up the trailer is a whole different story.  It's a lot of work.  And every time I brought in something while packing up this time I would choke up.  I thought of when Colum was here.  We park our trailer in the driveway and it serves as a double purpose of a clubhouse all summer; .  My kids play in that thing all summer long.  Colum was all boy and loved camping.  He spent hours eating snacks and watching movies in there.  When we opened up the trailer for the first time for the Summer I immediately started looking for leftover signs of him.  There were none; except when I opened the bathroom door and saw 2 bath toys left in the tub from the summer before (tears).  In fact the very last time we took the trailer out was in October of '11 for the deer hunt and we went to Strawberry.  We were only there for one night.  I wish I would have known.  It was the last time I'd go camping with Colum.  I wish I would have known that I was going to lose him a lot of times.   You know the age old question of if you had a month to live, would you rather know or not know?  I think I wish I would've gotten some notice.  I would have held him more.  I would've taken obscene amounts of pictures.  I wouldn't have let him go.  

It was the first time camping since we've bought our trailer in 2008 that I didn't have to make sure that the bathroom door was closed 24/7 (so a lil' Mr didn't try to play in the toilet).  I missed the chaos.  I missed packing up diapers, wipes, and bottles.  I miss having a baby.  I think my instincts are still engraved in me that I do, he's just not physically here.  I miss Elmo and changing bums.  

I ordered flowers for my baby's grave for the first time this year... a new tradition.  I picked them up on Friday before we left.  The weekend forecast was horrible.  We planned on taking them to the cemetery before we left but didn't want them to get ruined by the wind.  So we decided to wait until Monday.  This broke my heart into a million pieces.  I wanted to take flowers to my baby's grave site on his first Memorial Day early.   I felt like I was abandoning him on a very important occasion.  I felt like not going.  Memorial Day this year was a lot harder for me than Mother's Day.  

On another note I have 2 big things to write about!  First: Last weekend in Physical Therapy I jogged on the treadmill for 1 whole minute!!!  And yesterday I jogged for 3 minutes (but not in a row).  This is huge for me.  My therapist was standing right next to me and she said and I quote, "It wasn't beautiful".  Nope, I don't jog beautifully... but I did it!!!!  I was holding on tight, really really tight.  My left knee kept buckling which is super scary.  But I did it.  She said I can probably run for 2 or 3 minutes in a row by Colum's birthday (which means 5 minutes in my terms hehe).  I run extremely slow... but I'm doing it!  I'm so happy.  I know it will be a long journey to get back to where I was but... I can do it!

Second:  I just got a phone call today from a nurse with my blood results.  Perhaps I should start from the beginning.  I've been on thyroid medication since I was 15 years old.  I started on an average dose.  Over the years it gradually creeped up to a pretty high dose.  While I was pregnant with Colum I was dead tired... I know most pregnant women are tired but I remember seeing other pregnant women at Target and saying to myself "how did they get dressed this morning".  I literally forced myself to do anything which mostly was to meet Finn's needs and that killed me.  My OB checked my thyroid around 6 months and found it was extremely low and "she won't even touch that, you have to see an endocronologist".  They basically doubled my already high dose and that's where I've been for years.  

I went to my Dr yesterday and told her about my balding problem.  They just checked my thyroid a few months ago and it was at a 10 (which is pretty high, but I run better when it's a little high).  He said I was at a 25!  That's crazy high!  So I'm going bald from having a crazy high thyroid which is unfamiliar territory for me.  It explains a lot of things also.  I think a few things like extreme trauma or pregnancy can completely change your body chemistry.  I seriously think the trauma kicked my thyroid into running normally or at least for now.  So, I'm going to stop all my thyroid medications for the first time since I was 15, and just watch my hair grow back like a Chia Pet in slow motion.  And maybe my Red Flower will bloom again and I will get pregnant as soon as I'm well enough to try.  Your hair grows faster while pregnant ya know :)

Strawberry 10/11.  This is one of my favorite pictures.  Colum loved riding in the back pack with Daddy & his smile kills me!

I took these on our way to Strawberry with my phone.  I think he was eating Pirate's Booty.   ....again with his smile.

I took this from inside the trailer.  My family.

Daddy carved their names in the tree.  We want to go back to this tree when it gets warmer.  I  love this tree.


A lose, lose

Thank you every one for your tips and suggestions, I've taken all into consideration.  I cut my hair only to my shoulders.  Although my hair has thinned considerably since my haircut.  One of my best friends bought me some powder for my scalp and is going to go with me to a wig shop, to get a feel for that possibility.  She also is helping bring in some humor such as: a red bandana and a hoody so I can have a 2 Pac look.  Also, a wig with a cute 50's swim cap, so all can envy my 50's-ness at the pool, etc.  This is totally my sense of humor.  I'm just still building up courage and trying to accept feeling this on top of that.

My emotions are running rampid these days.  I'm so happy one minute and crying, and bawling the next.  I suppose this is normal.  I started therapy yesterday.  Poor woman just sat down and I talked the entire time, she could barely fit a word in.  I was trying to paint a picture of my life in an hour.  I was referred to her by some one I love, and the poor lady probably didn't see this "one" coming.  I have problems I don't blog about that I was going to go to therapy before the accident that are resurfacing during my grieving process and I'm pretty much a mess... a mess that's going bald.  

You would think that I would have a lot of time on my hands.  I have one potty trained son (still have occasional constipation/holding in accidents though (sigh)).  I work from home..easing back into it, very little these days.  I'm also easing back into cooking (which I love, I'm a foodie just hate the clean up & grocery store part), no big deal.  But somehow life is incredibly busy, which is good and bad.  Good, because there are days... honestly at least half, that I don't want to get out of bed.  And I'm forced with super-hero strength to get up, brush my teeth, wipe off and stop the tears and go and go and go.  Bad, because my body is still healing and I'm still legally handi-capable.  I literally text Ryan "yo, I did the dishes... go me!!!".  And just so we're clear, I live in a house from 1952 & something w/our plumbing running uphill blah blah... a disposal isn't really gonna happen.  So I sorta hand wash my dishes before they go in the dishwasher.  If I don't they just aren't clean.  It's the #1 thing I hate about my house.  I spend an hour+/day washing dishes.  I actually fantasized about doing dishes while in the hospital though.  So although it's hard on my legs, it's okay.  

Going bald is very hard.  I have miraculously and gratefully never had anyone close to me go through cancer treatment.  I've seen and known of people who have, and felt sorry for them, but not ever had empathy for the 'loss of the hair' part.  Which I know, is the least of their worries.  I know my hair loss is a reflection of what my body has been through.  It's NOT STRESS.  Stress on my body, yes.  I've not named all of my injuries until now.  (Because I'm going to in a moment here).  My broken hand for example, after they took off the bandages had a lot of hair on it.  My hands aren't typically hairy.  The Dr said it was because of all the blood circulating to my injuries causing more hair to grow.  My legs were so hairy, I've never seen anything like it in my life.  I had a hairy hand and my legs were just as hairy as Ryan's in and right out of the hospital (they don't let you shave when you're on blood thinners).  I've expressed how badly I wish to be pregnant.  I've also openly expressed my struggles with infertility.  I guess, for me, losing my hair is a sign that getting pregnant is even further away than I imagined.  After all, I don't think a woman who is going bald is likely to get pregnant, especially if you're infertile.  Again, I am admittedly feeling sorry for myself.  I know, in the long run it will be okay... I know.  But, just bare with me.  I'm bald.  I miss my dove.  and I still haven't had a period... therefore, I'm very unlikely to conceive for a very long time.  I'm a realist.  Sometimes I wish I wasn't though.

Over the weekend I was expressing to a casual friend how bad it sucks to be going bald.  She looked at me and said, "it's okay".  I know she meant well.  She has a full head of extensions 24/7 for the 9+ years that I've known her.  I guess, really I'm feeling sorry for myself.  I, Kelly Pack am feeling sorry for myself because I've been through a lot and now I'm gonna be bald or nearly bald.  Every time I take a shower I cry.  I assume the Rogaine isn't working, but I keep on keepin' on using it.  So much hair comes out.  I look back on clients, or people in passing that I've known or seen that have been going bald from chemo and I didn't give them the sympathy or understanding every man, woman or child deserves.  I always just said a little prayer in my heart that I hope they beat it.  I'm pretty chopped up all over my body and will wear these scars for life.  I walk funny.  But going bald... is far worse and horrifying than these.  Going bald sucks!  Everybody that has gone through this or who is going through this, I feel you!  If you are stronger than me and proud of it, I envy you.  If you've been there, done that, I can't wait to be you.  

We finally chose a picture for Colum's headstone.  We chose one that we are in love with that is a candid shot, and the closest and most appropriate that we have of him until his death.  I cannot describe how hard this has been.  I wish I could capture his entire essence into this headstone.  After we visit him we walk around and look at other headstones.  I'm really interested in the older ones and really find them to be beautiful.  A lot of them are children or babies and I try and imagine how hard it must have been to lose children... possibly multiple children way back when.  We started a new tradition last Sunday.  We are going to have regular picnics and/or dessert with him.  For Father's Day we bought a super awesome camping picnic table that's portable.  I almost cried when I thought of the idea after we bought it.  We can sit our handi-capable bums on the seats (sitting on the ground is nearly impossible) and picnic with Colum all the time!  Plus it doubles as what it's purpose is for camping!  It's a new family tradition.  Family.  It's something that is my everything right now.  My little Family is everything.  

Today as it was my turn to carpool to preschool.  I walk them to the the entrance which is behind a pretty large house and around the back.  I can't run.  Finn and my Niece sorta race and I noticed Finn say "stop, don't run", and then he looked back at me.  It made me smile.  He knows.  He notices.  Momma can't run.  She can't keep up.  He's protecting me in a sense, he's looking out fo me, he cares.  I love him.

last days with long hair.  it was pretty sick and thin, I was was happy to cut it.

day of my haircut.  it looks fine here.  my scalp is showing though now.  I wish it would stop falling out here, but it keeps coming out!
Our new tradition.  The Pack headstone is Ryan's Dad whom we lost 8/31/11...Colum is lying and playing with his Grandpa.


Falling out.

Strangely, I think I had the best Mother's Day yet.  I missed Colum.  I always miss my baby.  But, I just had an overwhelming sense of feeling grateful that Finn survived and how much I loved being a Mom.  We did it different this year.  We only stopped by our Mom's houses instead of staying awhile and making it an all day event.  We went to our friend JaNae's house for a BBQ.  JaNae was one of our dear nurses on floor 6.  JaNae (Hi, JaNae), has an abnormally large heart and instantly became a good friend to me.  I remember her sitting by my bed side crying/laughing with me, and I was always well taken care of when she was assigned to be our nurse.  I remember feeling a genuine sense of peace when I was around her and she always has a smile on her face.   I'm so lucky to call her my friend.  

Although, I adore our families and the time we spend together, I really liked going over to JaNae's house this Mother's Day!  Meeting her family that I've heard about over the months and just plain being selfish and doing something different felt good.  I didn't cry until around midnight, after everyone else was asleep.  I started thinking about how special Colum was and how lucky I was to know him better than anyone else (besides Ry and Finn of course).  He was mine, and I have so many memories of those eyes and that beautiful smile.  

Talking with JaNae about my foggy memories on floor 6 made me realize, and this happens often, how lucky we are.  We shouldn't have survived that car accident.  We should be in wheelchairs.  We should be paralyzed.  We've come so far.  I can walk without a cane, full time now.  My Physical Therapists say that yes, I can run (for a few seconds) by Colum's Birthday which is a mere 6 weeks away.  That's 6 months ahead of schedule!  We are still healing and learning how to use our new bodies and yes there are still rough patches ahead but we are ahead of schedule people!  

On Saturday some lovely strangers put together a fundraiser for us.  Women who heard our story and decided to help.  They sold t-shirts that said 'I heart Colum' on the front and a special quote the back that said "There is no foot too small to leave an imprint on this world".  We had a great time and feel so lucky, awe-struck, and blessed to have such wonderful people trying to help us with our financial burden of medical bills.  Thank you everyone that helped, and thank you to every single person who has helped us out in any  way, big or small.  

My hair is thinning, I mean really thinning.  I normally have pretty thick hair.  But after all the trauma, medications, and a million x-rays/catscans it's just not able to stay on my head.  You can see my scalp and every time I brush it I'm surprised I had enough hair for that much to fall out.  I'm so sad about this.  I have to cut it.  I may have to cut it to my chin or even shorter.  I'm terrified.  I just don't know if I can pull off really short hair, and I don't want to feel like a boy.  I cry every time I take a shower and my hair comes out in huge clumps.  I laugh at the thought of me trying to keep a wig on at the pool this summer.  I laugh because it took an entire decade to grow my hair long... that's a long 10 years.  By the time I grow my hair long again I will be in my 40's.  I don't back-comb, I don't "style" my hair.  This hair was with me when I was pregnant with Colum.  This is the hair that was always tied back in a bun so my kids didn't yank it out.  This is the hair that would brush Colum's face as he reached in for a hug.  It's just hair and it will grow back, I'm just bummed because I finally got it to a color I loved and now I'm going bald.  Who knows maybe I will only have to cut it to my shoulders.  I'm taking vitamins, biotin, biosil, using rogaine, and just ordered ovation hair therapy.  If anybody has any cures or suggestions please advise.  As a woman, being bald (without having chemo or radiation) just ain't cool.  It's getting chopped off tomorrow.  Wish me luck!  


A story about Colum

Smitten by asked me to write a post about Colum.  This week they are focusing on Mother's who have lost and infertility.  There is a post written by me today and one on Wednesday 5/9 that I wrote a year ago on infertility.  Click here to check it out.

I know that it's a normal thing that I'm still so sad and cry very often.  But, I promise you this accident is not going to be who I am.  There are slivers of sun starting to shine through.  And I owe it to Finn and hopefully my future children (cross your fingers) to be a Mom who laughs, teaches, and shows them how to be strong and have fun.  I have moments of the old me, the Mom I always dreamed of being is popping her head out a little tiny bit more each day.  This sadness is just a little bit tougher to grab the reigns and steer in the right direction.  Thank you all for your thoughts, and prayers.... I've said it before and I'll say it again but I couldn't do it without you.