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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gymnastics Meet!

Sunday we braved the cold and the snow and the white out conditions and drove to Zach's first gymnastics meet about an hour away from our house.  Dawn came with Zach and I and we got a little bit of an education about how gymnastics competitions work.
I am happy to say that I got a video of each event he was in and he is happy to say that he placed in all three of his events and brought home trophies.  When his dad saw the videos his first comment was "Wow, when I go pick him up it always looks like he is just goofing around and not paying attention.  He really looks like a gymnast!"

After all was said and done, I had to say that I was pretty impressed with his day too.  It was fun to watch and he had fun competing.  I just hope next time the road conditions aren't so bad.  You can bet that we were happy to be home when we got here.

With videos we took on my camera, and my wonderful husband's ability to make them show up on the television, Zach was able to call his grandma and grandpa next door and ask them to come over and watch his performance on television.  He got 2nd place for his double mini, 2nd place for his trampoline, and 3rd place for his tumbling.  It was a fun day!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cancer Files: A Look in the Mirror - Is It Vanity if I Don't Like What I See?

I was working on our budget at my desk this afternoon.  I have made myself a "sitting down to-do" list since I am taking it easy this week.  I came across this copy of our budget from 2001!  It wasn't the numbers or the categories on the budget sheet that caught my attention, it was the little penciled note that was written in the margin.  "May 29th Hocking 1:00 5/29".

It looks like I was working on the budget back in May too, the day I made the appointment for the missed annual checkup.  While I was on the phone with the office, I grabbed the closest thing to write on to jot down my appointment time.  May 29th 1:00.

That was when this all started.  The day of the mammogram.  As I stood looking at myself last night after my shower, I have to say, it takes some getting used to a double mastectomy.  It feels like with each "procedure" I look less and less like the person I was.  It is okay, but there are moments of grieving.  I am not sure what to think currently of the 12 stitches across my chest and the fact that as a seamstress myself, there are spots that look an awful lot like puckers that my mom always told me to "stop and take that out, we don't want it to do that".  I know that everything will be okay, but on some days the burden feels a little heavier in my heart.

Friday, January 24, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

Matthew wanted to treasure hunt A LOT today!  In the last couple months since moving to the new house we call it a treasure hunt when we go out to the garage to find something that we haven't seen since we moved here.  Matthew kept saying "I need to go find some of my toys out in the garage"!
I have to say, I opened and emptied at least 6 or 7 boxes today.  I was excited to open a few boxes with surprises too.  Matt and I got to play the Ladybug game, Trouble and Chinese Checkers.  We found all of our books to fill the empty shelves on the bookcase in the living room.  It was a great day!  

My favorite couple of finds for the day is my "Taste and See" plaque for my kitchen which I was starting to wonder about since I hadn't found it yet.  I also found all of my family picture frames.  I hadn't had them up in the old house for a couple years because we were trying to "declutter" the house.  I got updated pictures in frames and now they are up on the wall.

It is certainly beginning to look a lot more like home around here and that really can boost morale and get me encouraged to continue hunting for more treasure.

I was also able to go through the piles of paper that had started overflowing on my desk.  It is nice to be able to see the desktop again!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cancer Files: A Little Procedure

My definition of PROCEDURE would be "surgery performed in the back room of the doctor's office without the luxury of getting to sleep through it"!  Can anyone else relate?  I have had two   "procedures" done since June and four surgeries.  Other than the fact that anesthesia can be a bear to recover from, I would much preferred being able to sleep through the procedures.  I thought I would try another one today, but I have the same thing to report this time around.  There are just some things you should never have to be awake for.

It was about 10 minutes into the "open up, debrief and stitch back up" procedure where my head was telling me "GET OUT OF HERE...I CAN'T DO THIS!"  I recall a day back in June where I had two biopsies done and the exact same thing happened at about the same time in the process.  I just wanted to get up and leave.  At that time I was pinned (literally) to the table and today the doc had his hand inside of me, so I found myself doing a lot of self talking and reminding myself to take deep breaths and the feeling passed.  Don't get me wrong, I still fought having to be there, but mentally I worked through it.

I just love it (like in the dentist office - so most can relate) when the doctor says, "okay, now stop me if you feel any pain.  NO!  I don't want to have to stop you, I want you to hit EVERY inch of nerve you can find in there, I don't want to be able to feel ANYTHING!  It was right at that thought when YEOWWW!!!!  Yep, there was pain.  He stopped and gave me a couple more shots of the good stuff.  Not so good, because all of the sudden I started feeling my legs tingle and my head feel very light!  He tilted the chair so my head was lower than my feet and the fear of passing out left me.

It took about an hour.  I found a great spot on the ceiling to stare at so I could attempt a happy place.  I never really arrived there, not even close.  David got to come in and be in the room since he has passed the steel stomach test with all the doctoring he has done in the past months. It was nice having someone there who has a great "you hurt her, you deal with ME" look on his face!  So once again, I am recovering.  Later this evening the doc called me and told me the warning signs of too much lidocaine.  If I feel any of those symptoms, he told me to get to the ER because those are signs of a possible cardiac event.  He said drink lots of water and try not to move my arm too much for about five days.  I think he really wants this to be over with too.  Five days is a long time to take it easy on my right arm!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Little Bit of Tweaking

I have been thinking lately that I should check in with some experts now that Zachary is in 2nd grade.  He was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when he was 2 1/2.  We got him into early intervention prschool and he was able to enter kindergarten without any IEP at all.  He has done very well in school so far academically and behaviorally.  He still struggles socially but sometimes I wonder if maybe that is the mommy in me wanting him to feel liked and accepted by his peers more than that it is something he needs.

I wonder this because I watch him, I have seen him.  He is a happy child.  He is happy and content to just sit and play by himself or work independently of others.  Just because I feel more comfortable if he were to have friends over for sleep overs or more playdates, doesn't mean that it is what he needs.  I think I have forced him into situations that he could have done without on a few occassions because I have forgotten that "normal" for Zach isn't "normal" for me or most of his peers.  That is okay.  I need to be okay with that.

There have been many times where I wish I could spend an hour in his brain.  There is so much going on there!  Because of the sensory issues that autism brings, I find myself wondering if as full as his brain is, it is no wonder the physical things overwhelm him at times.  I tucked him in bed the other night and I was trying to get him to give me a few highlights of his day.  He was talking in his head as I watched his eyes ALMOST reflect some of the adventures going on in there.  So close to seeing, but still so far.

I was looking up on the internet today to find some help with his reading comprehension.  His reading speed and accuracy is off the charts!  He scores through the roof every time.  However, I have noticed his reading comprehension slip slowly each semester and I think it is time to get him working on building that.  We are reading Charlotte's Web together right now.  I am so thankful for books that suck kids in.  He loves it and if I keep my eye on him to reel him back in when I see his mind start wandering, he is very good at retelling what I have read.  I just want to help him keep that concentration up while he is listening and learn how to help him do the same while he reads to himself.

I found this book on a website and after reading the table of contents got pretty excited about what may be in there for us to work through.  We are moving into the next phase of Zach's life and he has arrived here with a lot of hard work and effort that makes this mom so proud of him!  I know that as he faces some of the challenges ahead, I will be seeking to find the things he needs to prepare him.  Right now it is reading comprehension, tomorrow, who knows what it will be.  I am going to dig into the book and hopefully give a good report when I am done reading.

Thinking it would be nice to see what other books are out there right now, I typed in the search field "Austim" and up came 151 pages with multiple titles on each screen on all kinds of autism subjects!  Can you say OVERWHELMING?  I am so glad that God gives me concerns one at a time.  Today we are tackling comprehension and he gave me my "daily bread" to devour!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Keeping Warm

We had another stay at home day yesterday.  You can't call it a snow day because it really wasn't.  It was a "temps way to low to go to school day" I guess you could call it.  No one was really thrilled about getting out the puzzles so I just got one out to do myself.  I happened to pick Zach's 300 piece puzzle he got for Christmas because if my plan could work, he would be puzzling with me before I knew it!

Zach works on a Skylander
Matt works on a 24 piece ABC puzzle
Dawn and Ryan work on Mario

Sure enough, just opening the box got him interested and we worked together with Stacey and did the puzzle.  Not only did those two join me, but Ryan pulled out his Mario puzzle that he got for Christmas and after organizing the few border pieces that he had put together, he was well on his way to getting his done too.  Matt joined us with his 24 piece puzzle to fill the whole table.

Before the day was done, there were seven puzzles complete four were 100 pieces, one was 24 pieces, One was 300 pieces and one was 550 pieces.  There is still another 500 piece puzzle in progress that I am sure will be done over the weekend.

It was a nice way to spend the very cold day!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Arts and Crafts Time!

The boys decided on Saturday to get out some crayons, color books and workbooks on the island in the kitchen and get creative.  For Zach that basically means getting out his Grade 2 Brain Quest workbook and doing worksheets!

For Matt it means drawing apparently.  I present to you his first work of art holding his crayons semi-correctly.  Matt has the same problem that his big brother Ryan did.  He can not seem to figure out how to hold his pencil or crayons to get any pressure to write or color or draw.  Ryan eventually got better at it about half way through alternative kindergarten and I know Matt will too.

Imagine my surprise when I went to look at the next page of a crochet pattern I was doing and was missing a page.  The pattern had fallen on the floor next to my recliner.  I traced my steps until I was completely stunned about where that page could have gone.  Thankfully, I had pinned the pattern so I went to my computer and reprinted that page.

An aside you say?  Did that last paragraph sound like it had nothing to do with the blog opening?  Well, it does because when I went to get back working, I was interrupted by a cute little 4-year-old who had a picture to show me.  He had found what looked like scrap paper laying on the floor and went to work on the "good" side - you know, the side with no writing and drew a picture!

The missing page of my pattern will now forever be kept in the "Matthew files" as his first piece of artwork.  I love how he makes little people like his big sister Stacey did, with a big head and no body.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Cancer Files: Still No Cancer!

Good news and bad news again...I went to the nurse this morning to have her look at the incision on the right top and the spots that had opened up.  Thankfully, over the last couple of days the fact that it has been draining kept infection at bay.

The nurse was texting with the doctor and told him what she saw.  He texted her back and wanted me to come back after his surgeries this afternoon.  Sure enough, when I was back this afternoon, the doctor gave me the bad news.  It seems like the last surgery wasn't successful.  It really doesn't look like the right side has healed well since the first surgery in August.

The mastectomy flap was made thin in the middle and the tissue remaining is not healing together with the new flap.  He did say that it would eventually heal from the inside, it just may take a few months.  That certainly wasn't what I wanted to hear.  He gave us three options:
We Pick Option One

  1. We can continue packing the wounds and allowing the healing to be done at a slower rate.
  2. Doc will open the incision further and put in a wound vac which decreases the healing time.
  3. We can go back into surgery and doc can stitch it up and see if it works this time.
Doctor said it is taking a chance to go in and do the same things we just did and hope for new results.  So, option three is OUT.  Wound vac will take less time but it will leave a much bigger scar and decrease the possibility of having a normal body when the reconstruction is complete.  So, option two is OUT.

So, we got all of our supplies bagged up right there in the office.  I am proud of David because we have now graduated from getting bottles pre-mixed in the docs office and sent home to getting strips and the bleach solution and are trusted to mix it at home.  Seriously, we should have an honorary doctor/nurse degree when all of this is over.

As the doctor was packing the strips in the office and I was trying to not scream while David was squeezing my leg and the nurse was rubbing my arm and shoulder, I was glad that I thought to take ibuprofen before I came.  I am thinking the scene in the doctor's office would have been a little different if I hadn't!

Perspective came later when Ryan told me that he knows something is going on with me but doesn't know the details.  I explained that it just isn't healing well and he looked at me with a worried look in his eyes and said "is the cancer back?"  Oh Honey...noooo, still no cancer, it is all gone.  Thankfully, it is still all gone!

Can YOU Roll Your Tongue?!

I was looking through pictures yesterday and found some from our trip to Gatlinburg that I thought would be fun to share.  Matthew was a little young for some of the things that they had to show us at Ripley's Believe it our Not.  One thing that he found funny and turned out to be good at was the exhibit about rolling your tongue.

Dawn was standing there reading the information and watching a video about how to do it.  Matthew was copying her as he watched her try to roll her tongue.  It took a few tries, but he was able to do it.  Now I see him doing it all of the time.

I never knew that it was that difficult.  There are other ways to roll besides sideways like we are doing, and we have tried these but the sideways roll is the only one we have mastered.  We decided to stick with what we know.

Definitely a silly way to pass the time, but we are silly sometimes and it is all good!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cancer Files: Ringing in the New Year!

Well, it looks like a little bit of this treatment and recovery is "bleeding over" into the new year!  I mean bleeding literally.  It looks like there is a problem with the right side again.  So, these first two days of the new year, I am working on NOT getting an infection.

Prayers are appreciated for this as you can imagine, I am getting a little tired of not healing the way I should.  I certainly don't want to end up back in surgery for this.  The incision is open about a centimeter after the steri-strip came off yesterday in the shower.  After I got back home from seeing Frozen with the girls, it had leaked all over my shirt and I had to figure out what was going on.

This morning the nurse said that we don't want the fluid to stay in there so I have packed it good and am hoping that it will drain so that the infection that wants to take up residence has no place to dig a foundation.  I told the nurse I would be in at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning to have her take a look at it.  She told me to take it easy, the more that I do around the house, the more fluid my body will produce.  So, instead of doing the laundry, cleaning the kitchen and making supper, I am doing laundry, making the kids clean the kitchen and rest of the house and I am pulling a freezer meal out of the freezer for supper tonight.  It is the best "take it easy" that I can get around here!

Thankfully as it drains, the pain level seems to be going down too so that is a happy thing for me.  I see the doctor next week on Thursday and I sure hope that it is looking a lot better.  As I think about it I realize that today marks only three weeks out from surgery so again, I am trying to feel better than I should at this point.

Speaking of Frozen...it was a great movie and we really enjoyed it.  I know it will be part of our movie collection when it comes out on Blu Ray.