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...changing at the speed of life



Updated: 2018-04-21T00:49:50.368-06:00

 



On loss and recovery

2013-10-31T14:45:29.435-06:00




























My family was blessed to have my Grandma B' live with us for a few months last summer while we helped cared for her. It was a great blessing for my children to visit with her, to share in caring for her, to feel of her strong faith and testimony in God, to hear of her wonderful life experiences, to see the many people who also cared for her (and helped with her care) come in and out of our home. To notice how gracious she was when company came, even when she was tired.

I enjoyed the nightly ritual of rubbing her back, neck, shoulders, and feet and hands and arms as we'd discuss the day and always she'd be so appreciative. My Grandma wasn't an angel, but she was as close to one as I'll ever meet--the milky white skin and hair didn't hurt that impression. Every once in awhile we'd talk about foibles and how frustrating they are, but we'd always bring the conversation around to the positive. I don't remember my Grandma saying some of the things other people do, but I remember her talking about if we all put our troubles in a bag and hung them on a line and had a chance to run for them, we'd all run for our own bag. It's all in what you know. I only wish I'd been in less physical pain so I'd had more quality time with her.

Looking back, I realize now what a gift I had in those three months, my whole life, really. Grandma was so good at loving everyone and making each person feel like her favorite. What a legacy she has left. The Friday before she passed, she was still trying to tell me that she hadn't done anything remarkable in life, nothing worth remembering, but of course besides all of the big things (of which there are many), there are oh so many, innumerable--cliche as it may be--as the sands of the sea, small things. Grandma you are the glue that brings this family together. I love you, Grandma.















I suppose after all these years apart, it's someone else's turn to be your favorite.






Pruning Souls - a Master Gardener

2014-06-04T20:37:33.465-06:00

A year ago today my grandmother, my friend passed on. I miss her.When we first moved back from The Philippines, we lived with her just before her mission. All the cousins used to gather at least once a month for caramel corn and family movies. We'd top off the night with Texas chocolate cake and ice cream. Grandma B use to open up the carton of ice cream and divide it up by everyone who was there so we each got our own miniature slab! Those were fun times.We moved across town and then moved back to live next door to her for a year in junior high and I'd often wander over for heart-to-heart talks. My mother didn't understand me, the way mothers often don't know the hearts of thirteen year old girls (according to thirteen year old girls). And so, weeding the beds of Sequoia strawberries, plucking juicy raspberries, or pruning rosebushes in her great, floppy gardening hat - she listened and she loved. And she'd ask questions, listening without ever seeming to pass judgement.Once, when I turned twelve, she took me to see a movie. And, oh the language was not quite "Grandma" standards. Still, it was a great movie by Hollywood standards and she asked me to promise her if I was ever 'in the movies' to never be in one that wasn't up to Grandma standards. I absolutely agreed - mainly because I knew I would never be in the movies, but also because I couldn't fathom the thought of ever letting her down.There are many times I remember laying on her waterbed, the lilac-scented air drifting in through the window, and we'd talk some about everything and nothing - did she miss Grandpa (of course), their years in New Zealand, her meeting apostles and prophets, her testimony, family stories (my dad throwing darts at the piano), how we missed Ginger (the best dog ever - just don't reach under the woodpile when she's just had puppies),  favorite ice cream flavors- hers was Jamocha Almond Fudge and mine was Bubble Gum, how she took me to the doctor when my eardrum burst when I was five (I'd had a fever of 104 and it made my nose bleed). It seems we had a lifetime of these talks. She'd go through her make-up samples and turn over three or four tiny white tubes of lipstick that held bright coral or peachy hues and I'd always felt like I'd hit the make-up jackpot.Later, my family moved a few miles up the hill from her in a house my dad built, but I was allergic to the fumes from the carpet glue so I moved in temporarily with Grandma. It was just the two of us for three or four weeks (well as much as you can have the matriarch of nine children and their many children all to yourself). When my parents would go on trips she'd come stay with us occasionally and always get us up for scripture study. If we were too sleepy to read, she'd led us in a round of calisthenics. That was all it took, we couldn't have a spunky, white-haired Grandma B best us. We woke up and read. She was mostly cheerful and rarely cross, but she knew how be firm. You better hop to it if you ever saw her cross because it almost never happened. In fact, I can't really think of an instance. I'd probably have to go really, really far back in my journal to find one.Grandma and I also travelled together. About  a year after I graduated from high school, I received a marriage proposal that my parents felt I should really ponder first, so I moved in with Grandma B to "ponder" - lucky parents (and me), that's when I met Blaine. During my pondering hiatus, I had just met Blaine and been out with him (Grandma had gotten to know him a bit since I had had a bloody nose (of course) that first night and she had to stall for me). Grandma decided that we should take a trip to Arizona to Aunt Wendy and Uncle Alan's. Jenny Biesinger also travelled went with us. We drove the scenic route and as Grandma pointed out everything there was to see we all talked - maybe Jenny wished we didn't talk so much. We visited with Moana, Randy, Margie and Wendy over ten days, and it was a great distraction. When we returned from our trip, I was ready to move back [...]



Update-ish

2013-04-19T20:56:59.207-06:00

So, the test is finally done (the analysis we've tried to do for months now-result in a couple weeks and then hopefully some recommendations for treating these damned stones).

Ty has been sick all week, sicker than he's been in a very long while. Nothing has really appeased him, and I find myself longing for those days when he used to weigh a mere 25 pounds and I could still curl him into ball tucked against my shoulder and rub his back to comfort him.

We both finally slept more than two hours in a row last night for the first time since Monday, and it was heavenly. Meanwhile, he's passed even more stones. I think I've given up my right to ever complain about my neck and ear pain again (yes, the ear pain is still here).

Spielberg entered several pieces in his high school art show and placed third in Mixed Media with an Honorable Mention in Photography (this piece nearly went to private auction).

Michelle has been busy with volleyball - her team took second at her tournament. She's excited for driver's ed,a summer job and starting up refereeing soccer soon.

Nicole started up her first season of track and without any training in long jump has managed to really well. She's also running 100 m, 200 m, and some relays. She took third out of 24 girls in the 100 meters at one of her meets.

Ellie is growing like a weed and her hair is long and beautiful, too. She reads like a champ, practices piano every day, and has just started up with soccer again.

How're things with you?




On Catching Up

2013-02-27T12:12:36.159-07:00

I keep thinking what a great idea it would have been to use a different ink color for each child in my journals so they could easily skim through and find the bits relating to them, but then maybe a treasure hunt every now and again is a good idea, too.

Ty has passed four stones in the past two weeks, so we're headed back to radiology for a scan to see just how many are left and just how big they are. Poor guy, he's been moaning since Friday.

Mr. O's mom is recovering from a particularly difficult winter. This is but the tip of an iceberg. The kids are old enough that I feel I can no longer update here and respect their privacy. Maybe what I need to do is lock things down or go back to handwritten journaling because I don't want to miss out on recording these memories.

Le big, fat sigh. I will say, though, that Ellie is becoming a wonderful reader.



Hibernation

2013-02-20T20:47:50.317-07:00

I had neck surgery, and it worked splendidly (so far). Part of my disc had fragmented and was trying to occupy the same space as the nerve, putting pressure on the nerve - this explains so much. The pain in my shoulder blades has been gone since surgery. Sadly, Mr. O came down with the flu the day before I went under the knife and was so, so sick for a week. The flu went through everyone in the family. Thankfully Kalli took me to the hospital and kept me company, everyone should be so lucky.

I can't lift Ty yet, and the neighbors have been so good to help us with lifting him.

Back on the green smoothie wagon, and I can't seem to get enough. My favorite is apple, strawberry, and spinach.

We've been in the hospital with Blaine's mom. She had a fall and broke her arm. It's going to be quite the recovery.

So, yes, 2013 continues to read like a travelogue from the hospital files. I don't know if things will change, but in the mean time,I have some projects to keep me busy.



Countdown

2013-01-21T13:06:52.419-07:00

Yes, the tree is still up and somehow the lights (different sections each day) keep going out. Maybe today is the day it comes down. The laundry is mostly caught up, groceries are next as well as some deep cleaning. I might even cover my greys.

On Friday I met with the nurse,and she gave me my pre-surgical instructions and special scrubbies. For two minutes, the night before surgery, I clean a radiating bullseye pattern out from the incision site, eventually covering the right side of my upper half. I repeat the procedure again the next morning. Funny thing, I'm allergic to the cleanser. I suppose I prefer a rash to a potential infection.

I spent the weekend sewing with a little knitting thrown in for good measure. Just a few more days and my neck will be fused. By summer I should be back to the me I used to be before all this pain.

Here's to hope.




Hello

2013-01-15T13:46:17.967-07:00

When you don't know where to start, just jump in.

In December Mr. O's mother suffered a painful injury and came to stay with us for a few weeks. Michelle had her own medical fun of the recurring variety, unfortunately. And somewhere in there Christmas happened and my sisters and their families came for visits. And during the annual ski outing my brother broke his leg while snowboarding-in three places!

It's been non-stop around here. I've been to the hospital more times than I care to count in the past three months, that is just the way it is right now. Our Christmas tree is still up, and I'm considering hanging up some construction paper hearts and just calling it a Valentine's tree. That could be a thing, right?


I've been trying to fit in more sewing projects because in about a week I won't be able to move my neck to look downward. I'm so out of practice writing in this little space here, that for now, this is it.



Busy

2012-11-16T12:38:16.007-07:00

I've been busy. Usually, I make a quilt and then I know who it's for. This time, was no different. I made this quilt, and before I dropped it off at the quilter's I knew it was one I wanted to keep (I never do that). It is full of scraps from favorite past projects-both mine and those of friends'. It is one of the most cheerful, bright quilts I've made, and I love it. It's going to see me through some dark days in January.

 I think I love the back of it just as much.
 I'm not sure who this quilt is for just yet. Maybe a little boy I haven't been told about yet, hmm?
 And this is just a Christmas scrappy quilt top.
 And as a bonus, a random sunset my Ellie called me out to enjoy. What have you been up to lately?




Milestone

2012-10-21T15:16:43.590-06:00

(image)
 Ty is freshly buffed, exfoliated, and nearly shining like the top of the Chrysler Building. He had his first post-surgical shower/soak/scrubbing down which is so much better than all the bed baths in the world. It was pretty much the longest shower in the world.

Even though we were both nervous about it, he did great and I know he feels almost human again. One more week, and we'll see what the surgeon has to say about how long before he can head back to school again.

I think all the nausea must have been Tyler's version of the stomach bug that made it's way through here because he's doing pretty well (touch wood) these days. I think he may even be ready to wean back to regularly-scheduled life. He is even wearing pants again. Hallelujah.

(image)
 Saturday I watched two of my girls play their end-of-season soccer games, and I really enjoyed seeing their different styles of play. Team players both, going after it, getting in there, lots of heart, different ages, different skill levels, but never giving up. I have some pretty fantastic kids.

Today marks the second time in a year that I've been more than a few miles on the bike. Mr. O is a good sport to ask me to go with him (slow as I am), and it felt good. Slow but sure.



At the Crossroads of Despair and Clean Underwear

2012-10-14T23:36:41.760-06:00

Do you see it? The ghost image in the clouds? Some mornings not even the clouds can face the day.Lately, Ty has had some rather rough mornings, and it's hard for me to watch it. Maybe, on some small, small scale, I can empathize with God; although I cannot begin to fathom a heart so strong, so big,  so enduring as to silently observe the suffering of millions of His children.I've been here on this street-at the corner of Hurting and Helplessness-before; so many times. So very many times. Yet I am never ready for the icy wave of depression that washes over me, hits me in the heart, and sucks the breath right out of me. These are the days when I wish I could just crawl into bed next to Ty, hold him, sing to him, run my fingers through his hair, and it would be enough-that it would...that it could fix everything.My heart craves a a day off, but I am what keeps this place running where Ty is concerned (Mr. O takes care of everyone and everything else once he's home from work), and I guess it wouldn't be fair for me to have a day off from watching Ty hurt when he still has to go on actually hurting. Just once it would be nice to be taking photos of him and his Homecoming date or cheering him on at a volleyball game or lecturing him about driving too fast through this neighborhood with so many little kids around or asking him for the hundredth time, I swear, to please, please just mow the damn lawn already.Man, I love this kid, and I wouldn't change him for anything. But sometimes, I wish they made a pain killer for this.Instead I am flow-charting meds and bowel/urine out-put; engineering less painful (for Ty's severe bone pain/muscle spasms, nausea) ways to single-handedly bathe and change bed sheets/briefs; staying on top of skin break-down issues; etc. And really those things are just the minutiae, the distractions, the busy work of the everyday.The real difficulty lies in not losing myself. I get so lost in his hurting it becomes my hurting, and this is hard to explain, that I shut down. I don't want to see anyone, so I don't. It becomes all I can do to leave the house, so I don't. Mentally it's too much to even think about, let alone prepare, dinner, so I don't (I don't think any kids have actually died from cereal poisoning, have they? I'm just saying).So I write, and I shower/wash my hair. Yes, even if I'm going to crawl right back into my yoga pants-because even if I die of despair, which I won't, I'll at least have clean hair and clean underwear-Yo, I'm ready to go. And sometimes I even eat chocolate chips right out of the bag and suck down 32 ozs. Dr. Pepper refills. Except I'm out.Anybody want to grab me some? I can pay in clean underwear.*all images by Spielberg and one by Michelle[...]



Leaving his mark

2012-10-09T14:17:51.793-06:00

Our remaining time with him has effectively been cut in half, lopped off with pruning shears
exciting for him, and for us, to see this new growth before he is on his own path

leaving his own mark.



On regrets

2012-10-08T16:28:32.369-06:00


Nothing tastes good enough to merit the future regret it will wreak - roto-rootering its way through yards of intestinal fortitude.

Even hotdogs cooked over an open fire in a coven of pine trees up where the air is thin; especially when you refer to them (the dogs, not the trees) as wieners.



Sun

2012-10-07T20:28:40.743-06:00

Every quilt I make is for someone special, for a special reason
and these two are no exception. A group of us came together for a dear friend
and her daughter, hoping to bring a little warmth, a little sun
into their lives. Heaven knows they are the sunshine for so many of us.




Pop tart kids

2012-10-03T22:20:44.029-06:00

Ty's fever is headed down, down, down. Just two doses of antibiotics and already it's down to a respectable 99.8 degrees. Phew.

So you know how during drought years they will ask us, over the pulpit, to "pray for moisture" and then eventually we have flooding in the streets and we end up praying "thank you, that's enough now"? Well, we can truly stop praying for Ty to poop his guts out. That's enough now. Seriously. Enough with the poop.
****
Yesterday Ellie came up to me and asked me how that one song goes.. you know the "All the other kids with the Pop Tart kids. You better run baby run - faster than my mama can." Is that really the words? I told her that "Yes, that's exactly how the song goes."

So sue me. I like her version better.
allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/SDTZ7iX4vTQ" width="560">



When September Ends

2012-10-01T22:50:02.605-06:00

I can't believe an entire month got away form me without a word, a photo a nothing. Maybe because it was jam-packed with medical tests and appointments. And Ty's surgery (at long last).

I had an MRI of my lumbar spine and as an aside-an after thought, really-the radiologist mentioned that it appeared I had a cyst, mass, or lesion, possibly some demyelination (think MS) or perhaps a strong spinal cord signal at the bottom of my thoracic spine. But it was too hard to see, so they called me back for another scan. Turns out that after a worry-filled week, the thing that had them in an uproar was considered an artifact-a ghost image-a thing that never was. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have ghost tumor than any other kind. Ghost tumors only leave you with invisible baldness and phantom nausea. Dudes, I can do that.


Ty had surgery last week, and was such a star patient that he came home after less than 48 hours instead of the five-day stay he was supposed to be there for. He is running a bit of a fever, so we're checking him for signs of infection (results should be  back by Thursday). Also, Facebook is an awesome resource for refilling my mom bag o' tricks. I now have a few more weapons in my poop disposal arsenal. My shame/humility knows no bounds. His pain is still being managed pretty well, we just need to discover the source of this fever. If y'all feel like praying for my boy to poop his guts out, well I just might love you forever.

Parents, in general, should get medals for the amounts of bodily fluids they end up wearing that they do not, in fact, claim as their own; but we all know that moms would win this event (if there actually were such an event), hands-down.

In other, not very different news - surgeon consult for my own medical, fun stuff at the end of the month. Wish me well. This photo, wherein my sweater appears to be made for my 7 year old daughter and that I have suddenly taken up the art of beer-bellying, is still my favorite because you can see Tyler best in it and he looks great.
October is a fine, fine month.



As far as

2012-08-21T22:14:39.923-06:00

Last night I broke out my journal, intent on "catching things up". I got as far as the date, but I'll admit it was written rather beautifully.

So it appears that on August 20, 2012 the most interesting thing that happened was artistic liberties were taken with a string of letters and numbers.

So, basically nothing.

I have been on my bike three times in the past week and my sits bones are like, "Hey I remember you." I clearly need to work on my butt callouses, but this is definitely progress.

Some health developments:
*Ty is still passing stones. STILL.
*My ear pain left me- four days in a row of relief
*But it's back
*It's kind of a jerk like that
*My health insurance doesn't want to cover my neck procedure. STILL
*But I am fighting it to the bitter end (and they will see it my way)
*I had a lymph node biopsy done by my new thyroid doc
*Probably everything is fine, but you never know in this family
*I am waiting to hear back from Neurosurgery on my neck fusion/options
*You can bet I'll be getting that pre-authorization in writing
*Michelle's ovarian cyst has gone the way of the dodo. Wahoo!

How are you?



Bubble, bubble... toil and trouble

2012-07-31T23:22:02.101-06:00

My brain is bubbling over.

So. My insurance has decided they don't want to pay for the RF procedure I had done in May even though I meet every one of their tests for medical necessity. I have now learned (the hard way) the difference between "preauthorization" and "pre-determination" only one of those is actually guaranteed to be covered. Sheesh! What an expensive lesson. (I'm absolutely fighting the decision, don't worry.)

The nerves in my neck are already starting to wake up, and at this point I can't wear any type of a bra-sports or otherwise-without severe pain. I never thought I'd be sad about being so "liberated". Surgery is more and more a reality, and hopefully will happen before year's end since our deductible/out of pocket has been met.

We are still enjoying having my Grandma live with us. We have lots of quality time and talk about "the old days".  We eat ice cream and strawberries and munch on my aunt's garden-fresh veggies. I rub her feet, her knees, her back and her arms and I hope some of her goodness rubs off on me.



Stuff I did (during my two month reprieve)

2012-07-23T11:03:57.159-06:00


I made about eight quilts, and this one is Michelle's. I finished up projects I hadn't touched since our fun brush with cancer six years ago. In fact, I'd been superstitious that finishing the projects would result in a return of The Cancer. I'm happy to say that [so far] I was wrong.

Maybe I'll get ambitious and photograph the remaining four quilts I haven't posted yet. It felt good to hold a camera again, to enjoy the beauty in the small things. Which is almost as good as it felt to eat a cookie bar and ice cream last night. It doesn't take much to make me happy.

Phonetic spelling is my favorite:

Translation:
Do not disturb mom
Knock first
Mom does not feel good

She did it all by herself.




9:27 PM

2012-07-19T21:46:37.893-06:00

I am sitting on the sofa, and in about 20 minutes Spielberg and Michelle will come home and tell us about EFY. Today was a dressy day.

I'm sitting here because I went outside to shock the pool which officially "smells of foot" (the diagnosis the pool tech gave which means there is zero chlorine in it which equals $$$) because cousins are hoping to swim tomorrow. Let's hope I can play at chemist well enough that no one goes home with e. Coli or whatever crazy bacteria was infecting all the public pools a few years back. Then I decided to take out the trash, and then I noticed that the wisteria was too Jungley, so I started breaking off the new vines. I am wildly allergic to Wisteria (even though I love it), but I pressed my luck and moved on, weeding one square foot next to the path, clearing it entirely of grass.

And now I'm too tired, my head too sore to peel myself off the couch and slip downstairs to help my grandma get ready for bed, but I will do it anyway because she is my grandma. And she is awesome.

P.S. I visited with my neurologist today, hoping for answers. She has none, and instead doubled my dose and told me to wait a week - let's see if it calms the nerves down without turning me into the Michelin tire guy while simultaneously killing all my taste buds. Fingers crossed.

In related news, I feel eleventy hundred years old.



The more things Change...

2012-07-18T20:03:02.592-06:00

Life is full. Full of blessings, people, and yes, more doctor/hospital time. Maybe what it comes down to is this: I can do hard things, I can watch people go through hard things, and I can help people in the middle of hard things (even myself). Even when I don't think I can.

I don't understand why people must suffer, especially those who are innocent. Tyler is still dealing with kidney stones. He had his last surgery in May and started passing stones almost 3 weeks later. At the same time, Michelle suffered from another severe, right-sided abdominal pain. So we ended up back in the ER in side-by-side beds with Mr. O and I answering questions for each doctor through the curtains. It was an ER experience like no other, and the interesting thing is that their last ER visits in March were only a week apart from each other. Michelle has an even larger ovarian cyst that may eventually need to be surgically removed, and Ty passed a stone the size of which would have most men begging for mercy.

And then my parents' basement flooded and since we'd recently remodeled the downstairs bath, it made perfect sense for my Grandma B (who'd been living in their basement apartment) to move in with us. It seems that things have some full circle-I was living with her when I met Mr. O. You could say that she and I are kind of tight, and you'd be right. We are enjoying having her here with us. I hope when I grow up I'm as agreeable and pleasant to be around as she is. Don't tell, but she is creeping up on 90 this year - I also hope I hold up half as good as she has.

So life is busy and full. Sometimes it's full enough that I forget my ear and its persistent pain, and for that I'm grateful. Life is funny, life is strange, but most of all life is good.



June Jackpot

2012-06-01T10:56:49.152-06:00


June first. How did that happen? Before we know it we'll be wrapping Christmas presents.

Ty had surgery on his left kidney and it only took about one third the usual shock waves to break up his stone. We're going to have this down to a science - they happened to notice that he has two stones in the right side. Eventually, he'll be rid of the stones and we will go about the business of preventing future recurrences.

Last night Spielberg hosted a party for a friend who is an exchange student, and there were a lot of kids over here. Ellie came up to me and asked me if I was older than all those kids in the back yard. She cracks me up.

A few days ago I was braiding her hair so it would be wavy the next day and she asked me if I'd ever had a Sleep Eye Jackpot.

A jackpot?

Yes, like when there's a lot of sleepy eye stuff in each corner and all the way across your lashes.

And then she said she likes Sprinkler Jackpots the best because they are perfect for when you're riding your bike and get all hot.

***
I had my neck ablation. It seems to have removed most of the pain I'd been feeling in my shoulder, but my neck is stubborn. Also, so is my ear.

It continues to hurt. No real rhyme or reason, but it is a hope-stealer and sometimes completely overwhelms me. One good thing about it, is the house is getting de-junked in an effort to distract me. If I keep busy, I don't despair. Mostly.

Mr. O continues to be amazing.



May Day, May Day!

2012-05-01T03:41:12.285-06:00

(image)
Wisteria in bloom smells just like heaven

I am so tired, I have fallen asleep sitting  up at the couch the past three nights.

So here it is another month later, and another five visits to the Emergency Room. We joke that there should be a punch card for this: "Your tenth visit is free!" Only it's not really that funny...but at the very least, they should be rolling out the red carpet for us by now.

Michelle had a 2 inch ovarian cyst rupture (mimicked appendicitis), My sister has an unknown intestinal ailment (possibly Crohn's) that mimicked appendicitis, Michelle had an unfortunate encounter with a soccer ball that left her arm in a splint, and my dad may have temporal arteritis (which if not treated promptly can lead to irreversible blindness.

It's like our family is a magnet for bad health karma these days. Our feng is clearly all shui'd out.

In happier news, Tyler had an extremely successful surgery. The hospital had a tool on loan which they were able to use on Ty. It basically accomplished in one surgery (and without the need for any transfusions) what would normally have taken about three surgeries. It was still extremely painful and he is still battling some mystery pain. He goes back into the hospital this week to remove a straggler.

My ear is still painful/painfully boring, but has lately responded to steroid treatment. My neck got all shot up today - 5 injections to be exact and if the doctor feels it's worth it, she'll order the nerves to be hit with radio frequency waves.

I'm hoping to begin writing daily again.This crazy life needs to be documented, because no one would believe all the crap that hits the fan around here. And no  one would believe that I am once again cooking.

Now of I can just figure out where all the kidnappers live (Ellie is convinced they all live in a big apartment building together), then Ellie thinks she can roam to her heart's content. Plus she thinks they all have tattoos identifying them as bad guys-if only life were that simple.


Moore tomoroo...




EVERYbodyness

2012-03-24T12:17:49.234-06:00

Ty ran into a few complications this week so we went to his post-op appointment a week early, where we discovered that basically all the cruddy kidney stones are still there.

This means he will have to undergo Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy, and since he has so many stones he will need 2-3 of these surgeries. We also discovered that the stone in his left kidney is one that will have to be treated as well. It is rather a painful recovery since it basically feels like a Leprechaun has been dancing a jig inside your kidneys. Frequently, patients require blood transfusions which, in Ty's case, is no bueno since he's reacted to blood transfusions each time he's had one.

I am pretty good at breaking stuff and managed to jam up his tubing connection. And now I must become a Sherlock Holmes dude and go off in search of a leg-bag and accompanying accessories.

Ty's surgery is currently slated for April 18th, we are just waiting to hear back on some labs to know if he needs to antibiotic up in preparation. They will also tell us what his stones are made of. We are hopeful it is not a struvite type (but hey, Ty is a champ at winning the medical lottery)
***
Over the weekend, Ellie was being rather unladylike with her nasal secretions (boogs) and I asked her to get a tissue. Her response?

Ellie: Mom, EVERYbody picks their nose. Even so-and-so I've seen them.

Me: I don't.

Ellie: Mom, everybody also lies.

So tell me, is she right? Do you fall in the category of EVERYbody?

PS My face/ear/eye are still being stoopid.

PPS But I cannot complain since I don't have the equivalent of a jaw breaker stuck between my kidney and my bladder.

PPPS We have had some major exciting things happening - in a good way, too. Pictures next week.



I'm telling you - you can't make this stuff up

2012-03-09T02:12:10.046-07:00

Michelle has been working out rather strenuously to get ready for spring soccer season -- I really admire her dedication -- so I was sure she'd pulled a muscle when she started complaining of pain in her lower right side.

But! This is my family we're talking about, and I'd noticed that she hadn't been feeling all that well for a couple weeks. She'd had a particularly rough day full of teen-aged pressures, my mother heart was sad for her. And then suddenly she was in extreme physical pain, like a switch had flipped. Aaack! I was thinking appendicitis.

I'd had a day full of projects, and caring for Ty (I still had nursing type duties to perform on him) and making decisions for the bathroom remodel we're attempting, and I still hadn't fit in a shower. So I scheduled the appointment and Mr. O took her to the doctor. The doctor walked into the room and decided to send her to the ER.

As a precaution, I showered, reapplied make-up AND washed/styled my hair. This is my insurance/superstition, my fool-proof method of avoiding hospitalization for my kids. Every time I'm ready for an overnight stay, we get to come home.

They immediately hooked her up to an IV and gave her anti-nausea and pain meds. Surprisingly, she doesn't get loopy on pain meds (I mean she should at least get to be a youtube viral sensation if she has to suffer, right?) They also drew labs. Needles are my girl's least favorite thing in the world. She asked if she could be knocked out for the IV placement. (I feel the same way about the dentist, so I totally get it).

Next up, she got sent back for a CT scan. When the results came back they showed that she had a 4 cm (just over 2 inches) ovarian cyst that had recently ruptured. Phew! Still sucky, but not appendicitis. Basically her body should reabsorb the cyst within 36 hours and the doctor ordered her to stay home and rest. An RX for sleep; sign me up.

She has done really well and still isn't back to her normal, happy self, but she'll get there. She's a great girl and a wonderful friend; if ever anyone isn't feeling well she loves to try and find something to cheer them up. I love that she's so thoughtful and sweet. I love you sweet Michelle.

PS Ty had surgery today, and in about 3 weeks we'll know how successful it was.



Your-ology

2012-03-07T02:55:15.574-07:00

Ty's urologist is an interesting doctor, but then I suppose you'd have to be if you specialize in pee-ology. By the way, "urine" is a word that ranks right up there with "membrane" and "moist" - blech.

He took a look at Ty's KUB (Kidney, Ureter, Bladder) X-ray and said, "That can't possibly be all stone, it's got to be mostly dye from when they placed his nephrostomy tube."

I suggested that he check out the CT scan that was done prior to that procedure. He did so, and if he were the swearing sort of interesting urologist he'd have said, "Holy Sh!t" because it most certainly was ALL stone. 

Here's a link to a kidney drawing with three stones in it. Ty's right kidney has every conceivable space filled with stones, and the largest one is 22 millimeters (ha-yuge). So, on Thursday he is having the least-invasive procedure performed in hopes that they can break up and flush some of the stones through the tube in his back. If the procedure is unsuccessful, he will require several surgeries going through his back and directly into his kidney in order to remove all of the stones.

Ty is one of the bravest, sweetest guys I know (takes after his dad), and he has been a trouper through all of this. We'd appreciate any prayers, fasting or good thoughts from you in his behalf. Please, let's let this procedure work on Thursday without damaging his kidney.

I may have given a false impression in my last post that I'm handling all of this (my stupid ear pain and poor Ty's unimaginable pain) well. Well, I'm not. 

I mean, I sort of am because what else can you do? But I'm also not because I say bad words, I lose my temper (which I'm sure is not at all related to the 3.5 hours of sleep/night I'm averaging), I'm a zombie some days, and occasionally I forget to shower. So I'm periodically cranky and I smell bad, but at least I remember to brush my teeth. So there's that.

I really want to thank all the neighbors that stepped up and fed my family while I was in hospital with Ty. Every other medical thing in his life (except the tumor) has been pre-scheduled. I was ready for them, and I pre-made meals and put them in the freezer, I had carpools lined up, etc. This time I was caught completely unawares. My aunt Moana made sure everything ran smoothly at home, friends brought me real food to eat at the hospital, Mr. O came and sat with Ty at night so I could go home and see the kids, and Wendy sat with Ty so I could run home and shower in my own bathroom (heaven, I tell you).

We really are blessed to have a great support network, and I just want you all to know how grateful we are.