Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday Night Leftovers...the Saturday Edition

Our schedule has been a blur lately, so I am guilty of not dishing out the leftovers these past few weeks, but I've certainly enjoyed reading others in the meantime.

C is having a great time in Kindergarten and I am enjoying volunteering at his school and in the classroom. This week brings us a trip to the pumpkin patch, school pictures, and a pumpkin decorating contest.

Travel has been the continuing theme around here. I spent a long girls' weekend in NYC and have upcoming flights/travel booked to Charlotte and Hilton Head, so it will continue to be a very busy few weeks ahead. I'm excited, but honestly, exhausted just thinking about it right now. I feel like the song "I Need A Nap." Every weekend in December is already booked (how did that happen?), then another trip to NYC.

Our little dog, which I've always said is the not-so-smart one, proved me wrong yesterday. She got out of the back gate (unknown to me) and evidently ran the neighborhood. She is a rescue and the shelter estimated she'd been running in the woods as a pup, prior to being dropped off. The few times we've tried to let her off lead, she bolts, so she is not let loose because we're afriad she won't return. So, yesterday, I have no idea she's running loose and I get a phone call from my mom asking me if I'm missing anything. I said, "no, I don't think so, but I must be if you're calling to ask that." She tells me she opened her front door to find our little dog just hanging out on her front porch. I give the dog credit, she found her way through our large neighborhood, to my parents' house, then stayed for a "play date" with my parents' dog.

Today is the last game in the fall Little League season, followed by the awards ceremony for the boys. Next up: basketball season starts on Monday.

We took on overhauling the dining room and renovating C's bathroom in all of our (not-so) free time. What were we thinking?

I saw two wild turkeys walking down the side of the road on my way home from Starbucks and the market this morning. Random!

How to enjoy the leftovers:

1. Write out all the random thoughts swimming in your head that don't quite constitute a blog entry of their own.

2. Copy and paste the Leftovers photo onto your post (copy photo, upload to your post).

3. Link back to The Simple Life.

4. Enter your blog name and the permalink to your post into the comments section.

5. Visit all the other leftovers and leave your love over the weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our Life in Pictures

I'm not sure what look he was going for, but he sure does look ready for a good time!

Dressing himself for school

Mummy candy apple

"Dashing through the COTTON!"

Yep, random pig running around and he sits pretty for peanuts.

A view that never grows old

The mischevious look just prior to attempting to scramble down the bluff

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Homemade Pumpkins

This post is actually recycled from last year, on my old blog. After reading the experience my friend had with her adorable homemade pumpkins, I was reminded that I found a fairly simple craft with C last year, that was a big hit with the family for Thanksgiving place settings. Here it is:
Looking for an inexpensive way to add charm to your table and indicate seating arrangements? Enter the paper pumpkins! We had this on our list of crafts to make last year and we never made it to these darling litte crafts. Here’s what we used:

12 x 12 scrapbook paper (makes 2 pumpkins)
green paper
brass brads (2 per pumpkin)
leaf pattern scissors (optional)

Cut 12×12 paper in half. Cut each half into strips of 10 or more. Punch a hole on both ends of the strips. Use a brad to secure the “bottom” of the pumpkin. Fan out the strips in a circle- it will look like wheel spokes. Cut a leaf from the green paper and punch a hole in one end. Write name on leaf (my little guy liked this job), insert brad, and begin pulling each strip up and onto brad. Once all strips have been gathered, secure brad. Cut piece of twine, slip under leaf, and tie. Easy and adorable, these can be placed on each person’s plate.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Post-Surgery Update on M

Surgery #7 is crossed off the list and MANY, MANY thanks go out to our awesome family and friends that have supported us with the blessing of prayer, kind words, and positive thoughts. We are humbled by having such a fantastic support network- thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The technical update is that M was in surgery a little over two hours yesterday. A long segment of Barrett's remains (not the news we really wanted) but it was a smooth enough of a segment that it could be treated with radio frequency ablation (RFA), versus cryo. In regular terms, they used a wand to zap off the bad cells, instead of freezing them off. M had two rounds of RFA during yesterday's surgery and he will need at least 1-2 more surgeries to continue to treat the high dysplastic (bad) cells, then another surgery to biopsy. Yes, we are on the frequent flyer plan at this hospital. After some time in the recovery room, a very groggy M was too tired and sore to eat dinner and he's up and around today, but still very sore. Despite requests to see M in his lovely and fashionable hospital gown (can't imagine why he refused those requests), I hope you got a chuckle out of the cartoon I found.

We did A LOT of waiting yesterday...but now instead of feeling like we are waiting with a bunch of strangers, we have folks coming by to say hello, check on us, ask if we brought pictures of "that cute little curly headed babe," and to ask how M has been faring. I like that it is the same support team and that they make you feel at home, in a place you probably don't want to consider anything like home. M and I both jest that we really should have platinum level frequent stay cards by now, and shouldn't there be some perks to go with that, beyond the free ginger ale and sneaking me back into pre-op and recovery?

The downside to tertiary care at a teaching hospital is that it can seem very disorganized and frightening at times. I will never forget M coming to after his first surgery last year, opening his eyes and asking me "WHAT DID YOU DO?" I turned around to see two armed guards in the recovery bay five feet across from us, with their prisoner. Nice. M, of course, thought I raised some kind of ruckus re: waiting and waiting and waiting some more and that security was called. We have to call REPEATEDLY to get appointments scheduled, typically with no callback, and it takes me emailing the surgeon directly (thank goodness for university email search) to ask what it takes to get a surgery scheduled that he mandated? I'm confident the admin team has my photo on a dart board somewhere- so be it. We've learned you have to be an advocate for the care you are prescribed; no one is going to do it for you. M's local GI specialist called the other day to tell me he still has no records, after 12 months of treatment with this hospital, so the poor GI intern got to take that down in his pre-op notes when I explained that I really didn't know what else we could do beyond the multiple requests and releases that have been provided. *sigh* At times, yes, managing a medical condition in this care space feels at minimum like a part-time job.

M and I had a "we are getting old" moment yesterday when the intern for anesthesiology came in. The attending we'd met a few minutes prior was what we expected, the intern, however, looked like he was about 14 years old. And 14 is being generous. Wow, did we feel O-L-D to cross that threshold into our caregivers are now younger than us. In Doogie Howser's defense, he did an excellent job answering my barrage of questions and even gave M a shot of lidocaine before inserting the IV. Where was he when I was being prepped for my c-section? Our next young one to arrive was the GI intern who would be performing the surgery, with the attending at his side. This one looked like he just gave up the tricycle for the two-wheeler, so it is a bit unnerving. All went well, and I am sure they are very talented young men, it just throws you for a loop to think, is this kid old enough to have a beer, let alone perform major surgery?

And just like the trusty specials menu at your favorite restaurant, we're thinking Mondays must be prison day at this hospital. We had the added bonus of two prisoners in our four person bay area, with three armed guards. Yes, prisoners need care too, but preach to me when the guy is five feet away from you and you wonder what he's doing time for. Makes you wonder when you are packing your hospital bag if you need to start adding "personal protection" to your list. Frightening.

In closing, I assume the admin team is tired of me calling for the following surgery the doctor always prescribes, so this time they pre-empted me and sent a note to recovery with M's next surgery appointment. Sweet- and really, about time. We'll be back in early December for surgery #8, and #9 will likely be in February 2011, be it for additional treatment or for biopsies. On a positive note, we are blessed that this condition was not quickly discovered in M. Had his Barrett's been diagnosed just 3-5 years ago, the treatment was radical (removal of esophagus). Despite all of the little annoyances, we are thankful to use new technology to treat this condition, in the hands of the world's best pioneers with it...we're just ready to get things "fixed" and get on with our next adventure. As always, thank you for your concern, care and support- it's priceless.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lucky #7

Yep, that's right...we're hoping the 7th time is the charm! M has surgery #7 tomorrow, for treatment of his Barrett's with high dysplasia. Not much else to update at this point- it's been a busy couple of weeks and we know the routine when it comes to tomorrow...make the drive to the university hospital, get settled in, and wait...and wait...and wait some more. For our prayer warrior friends, please keep M and his physicians in your prayers. Our hope is this is one of the final surgical treatments he will need to undergo for Barrett's. We should know more after surgery tomorrow. Since the nursing staff is sweet enough to allow me back in pre-op, walking with M to the OR, then hanging out in recovery, I've had to swear holy not to turn on my cell phone. Assuming all goes as planned, I'll update here Monday night.

The fact that we are on #7 makes my head spin. For those wondering how we got to seven:
  1. Emergency surgery/impaction/initial biopsies and diagnosis
  2. Follow-up/additional biopsies- referred to tertiary care at research hospital
  3. New hospital- additional biopsies for high dysplasia
  4. Mapping for treatment
  5. Failed session (reaction to anesthesia)
  6. Cryosurgery
  7. Radiofrequency Ablation or Cryosurgery (they make the decision once they see current state of the esophagus)

For those just catching up on all of this, some of the backstory is here. We are often asked, how did you guys even find out M has this condition? And really, the story is humorous to hear M tell it. The short answer is, "my mother-in-law tried to kill me at Sunday dinner." We were all eating pot roast and M started to choke, and choke, and choke. Of course, being stubborn and unable to speak, he's still trying to insist that he's not really choking, but maybe a piece of food went down wrong. My dad finally put his foot down and inisted M go with me to the local outpatient center, or we were calling 911 from the house. He got in the car, we arrived at the outpatient center, and they ended up calling 911 almost immediately. That won him a trip in the ambulance from the county's finest, to the ER, to the OR. When the surgeon went in to remove what he thought would be a food impaction, he quickly discovered the impaction was caused by a narrowing of the esophagus (stricture), which is caused by Barrett's, which is caused by severe and chronic acid reflux. So, there you go, my mom tried to choke him. ;)