2014 will not go down in my memory as an excellent year. It has been excellent in some spots but overall in nature it has been really difficult. I have learned a lot this year, but in most points I wish there had been a different path to these life lessons.
The beginning of 2014 started off rocky with my frustration with the home mortgage business, namely with Wells Fargo. They approved us for a mortgage on our new home for up to $320,000 and then were trying to deny us a mortgage for half of that. They tried to deny us based on not being able to use the documents that my husband’s employer sent them, which were sent in standard business format. Mayhem ensued because the movers packed up our North Carolina house when we thought we would be able to get into our new house so then our household goods had to sit on trucks until we could close on the new house and move in, weeks later than anticipated. So my daughter and I were technically homeless (we stayed with my mom but were not planning on doing so) and we had to pay extra for my husband to stay in his apartment.
Next to the rocky start of 2014 was on my drive from North Carolina to Pennsylvania, to get settled in our new house and finish unpacking. I was driving and thought that I got a full-on migraine with blurred vision (which I used to get a lot, especially in stressful times). Unfortunately it lasted until the next day, so I called around to get an emergency appointment (I didn’t have any doctors set up since we had just moved). After a nerve wracking doctor’s visit and emergency trip to have an MRI done, the doctors concluded that I had a sizable stroke which was putting pressure on my brain and affecting my vision. I spent my birthday in the hospital, hooked up to IVs and having all sorts of tests done. Finally I was released with aspirin, Lipitor and Plavix in hand, to take the rest of my life to prevent any more strokes.
It was also in the hospital that the doctors’ found a hole in my heart, one possible cause of the stroke. I had heart surgery in May to close the heart.
June came and my husband started his last few semesters of (online) school to finish his Bachelor’s Degree in anticipation of applying for MBA programs in January. Not only did he end his education program with a 3.8 GPA but he did so while working full time and being a hands-on dad!
In July we were approved as foster parents for the state of Pennsylvania and one day later received the referral call for our three children. We accepted placement two days later after never seeing them or meeting them in advance.
The next month and a half are a blur, as I worked hard to acclimate the new children. I quickly realized the advantages of the start of school with three school aged children! I worked hard to get the oldest two in appropriate counseling programs.
The adoption of our kids went through as previously scheduled on National Adoption Day, which was celebrated in our area on November 7th. There was a lot of speculation leading up to the adoption of whether it would occur as planned, and therefore didn’t give our families a lot of time to plan to attend. We held a fun party for the kids and their anxiety levels went down substantially after the adoption.
In December my beloved Uncle went to the hospital for a scheduled catheter procedure much like I had in May and never left. He suffered a brain aneurysm and the swelling in his brain never went down. He was taken off the respirator on December 17th and passed away peacefully and swiftly. I miss him all the time. I regret not seeing him recently, but the bond we had will never fade.
My husband ended the year in the top 1% nationally for his position in his company so we will be getting a pretty awesome vacation in May to celebrate.
As I look back on 2014, I learned a lot but only through major struggles. There were many health scares in 2014 and it was possible for a while that I’d never get to drive again because of my vision. It was also very scary that the doctors were not sure what caused my stroke and therefore could not prevent another one. Although my husband and I had already decided to pursue foster to adopt it was sad to get the news from my cardiologist, neurologist and OB/GYN that it would be very stressful on my body and dangerous should I ever get pregnant again. There something different between having miscarriages and trouble getting pregnant versus having doctors tell you that you shouldn’t get pregnant.
Well, here’s to 2015 and having a great year!