Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cancer? But I'm a Capricorn!

I have been putting off visiting a dermatologist for quite some time.  After all, I have a rare form of psoriasis that rears its ugly head about once every 10 years where I am required to see a dermatologist for obvious reasons.  But for general overall health, I have been putting it off.

About 1-2 years ago, I got what I thought was a normal blackhead in the crease of my nose.  I don't typically have acne of any kind but do get an occasional breakout or pimple.  Didn't think much of it.  A few days/weeks later, I thought that it was just a really stubborn zit.  Then a "top" formed over it and I assumed it was something like scar tissue because I had messed with it so much.  When I washed my face, exfoliated, dried my face with a towel, wiped sweat -- it would bleed and scab over.  Granted, it was very small and I kept telling myself it would go away one day.  Add Merritt into this equation - and well, now its almost 2 years later!  A tiny bump on my face certainly did not take priority in my last year and a half!  :)

My psoriasis cleared up when I got pregnant with Merritt.  I haven't been back to the dermatologist since (and I have yet to find a regular dermatologist in Jackson).  I have tried several different ones over the past 10 years and they all have their own rules!  Some don't see new patients, some don't take insurance, some do - but you can only get an appointment 6-12 months away, some are only open a few hours a week, etc... 

I finally decided that I had enough reasons to make an appointment!  Which were:

1)  I still have psoriasis in my hair and have to wash my hair up to 4 times a day to get the itch and flakiness gone.  twice with otc psoriasis shampoo, but that makes my hair dry, so then i have to wash with my regular shampoo and conditioner.  AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!  I've got 3 kids, and I barely have time to wash my hair once!  I wanted to try a prescription shampoo and see if that helped.

2)  I have this tiny bump beside my nose that won't go away.

3)  My dad had skin cancer, so can you do a full body check for anything suspicious?

4)  I have a few pregnancy "changes" that include skin tags, cysts, moles, etc.  Can we laser these skin things off so I don't feel so old?

I decided that was enough reasons to pay out-of-pocket fees because MOST insurances do NOT pay for dermatology visits or procedures. Grrr... plus I have a husband who loves me no matter what kind of "growths" I may or may not have.  Bless him.  He thinks I should never have any cosmetic work done if you know what I mean.  I've never had anything done surgically, but he considered moles and such to be elective/optional as well...   again, bless his heart.  He has no idea what its like to be a female and still want him to see you the way you looked the day you were married.  

I'm not totally vain either.  Just like to look my best when I can.  Obviously most days I am in my pajamas or workout clothes and not a drop of makeup on... and haven't had a shower in 2 days because I'm too busy taking care of kids!

I got the path lab results this morning - the spot beside my nose is basal cell carcinoma = skin CANCER!  Luckily, its the one you want if you have to have something wrong.  Very slow growing.  Because its on the face though, she wanted to transfer me to a Mohs clinic (specialty clinic) for skin cancers of the face and neck.  Which I already knew all about because of my Dad!  My Dad had to go to Memphis for his and his was pretty severe.... IN THE EXACT SAME PLACE AS MINE!  My sister ALSO has a suspicious bump in the same place.  Freaky!  

  • But I'm only 34 years old!?!? Which means it appeared around 30-32 years old!  So I ask everyone out there to stop putting it off - no matter how old you are!  
  • But I wear sunscreen!?!?!?  Yes, I wear sunscreen too.  Even more so since I turned 25.  I've always worked in-doors but I would wear it when I was "suppose" to.   
  • But I take care of my skin!?!?!  Yes, I am somewhat obsessive about clean skin.  I have washed my face a minimum of once a day my entire life and usually twice a day.  I used Oil of Olay products from the time I hit 18 to recently when I discovered Rodan & Fields.  Can I show my support of R&F products here?  LOVE it.    Anyway, my point - it doesn't matter! 
So I'm a little shocked, but not upset.  Its just a new experience.  Of course I made the mistake by putting it on Facebook.  They act like I'm dying.  Or I'll need chemo/radiation.  NOTHING LIKE THAT.  its a bump, people.  They will "dig" until they reach healthy cells.  I'm praying for no scarring and only 1 "dig" appointment.  I have a consult in a few days first though.  I am not worried - just a little disappointed.  Overall, I am glad we caught it when we did!   I have to admit that if it was anywhere else on my body - I would STILL be putting it off.  Which is sad.  The fact that it was on my face is really the only reason I went in (and my hair) (and some skin tags).    So a little vanity - can be a good thing!  It could save your life! 

Excuse the complete and total AWFULNESS of my appearance here - see I'm not totally vain!  (no makeup or shower).  Both of these were taken AFTER the biopsy.   

Just to show you I DO wear makeup.  If you look hard you can see it through the makeup as well.  I couldn't zoom in on this pic for the blog though.  
 Go see your dermatologist!  The end.

Here's a few funny pics I have taken with my phone over the last few days - they always put a smile on my face!
"1st day of 1st grade" ice cream with friends!
Like Father Like Son!
He gets really bored in the car rider line... 
... and very fussy if I don't let him out of his car seat while we wait!  
Secret spy glasses after learning about Joshua and Caleb in Sunday School!
Check out that bedhead! No, we normally don't give her baths in my sink but it was sort of an emergency.  :)

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

O Hindsight

I can't help but be constantly reminded of our omphalocele journey.  I am in constant hindsight.  People are probably tired of hearing me talk about it.  I've had ALOT of people nonchalantly say "glad yall got through that"  or  "glad that's over" or "she's fine now."  I know what they mean.  But I usually don't respond to those comments because its anything but that!  I don't think we're totally "over it".  And I'm not necessarily talking about her having another surgery in the near future.  It has totally changed ME (I can't really speak for Merritt since she doesn't know any different).   I don't know - maybe I'm just emotional because my other kids are at school now and its just me and Mitt.  

I mentioned this in my last post but she just continues to blow me away!  She MIGHT be my best eater which is just unbelievable.  She will try almost anything on my plate (but don't put it on her highchair) if she is sitting in my lap.  Bananas, rice, Nutrigrain, ham sandwiches, goldfish, cheerios, chicken casseroles, cinnamon rolls, french fries, chicken nuggets, rolls/bread of any kind, beans, she even ate some of my hibachi zucchini tonight!  Relax - I still make her eat her veggies and fruit in baby food too.  The fact that she tolerates everything is very close to a miracle (if you knew of the vast majority of O babies).   Yes, I don't even take chicken nuggets for granted anymore. 

I came across one blog a very long time ago, and I emailed the mom privately with a question.  She responded "I only did the blog during that time and haven't updated it in over 2 years because we don't even think about it anymore.... it's like it never was."  I think that's awesome that they moved past it.  But I think about ALL of it  --- the good and the bad -- daily if not hourly.   Guess you could say the journey has scarred me (and definitely scarred Merritt - literally) but it has re-shaped who we are as a family.  

The O group lost a 4 month old O baby yesterday.  It saddens me to hear that.  For them, it will never be over.  I can't imagine the heartache.  

Many days I feel like I don't deserve Merritt (meaning I have no idea why God saw me somewhat fit to take care of this sweet angel).  She constantly puts things in perspective for me.  I'm complaining about the school car rider line and then I look at her and think about what she has to deal with on a daily basis.  Good news for her is that she won't remember any of it.  But she's changed me and I can't imagine life without her.  All my kids too.  They each teach me something different, but she has taught me alot:  patience, faithfulness, respect, endurance, strength, and a different angle on unconditional love.  

I took her for a weight check the other day - and it was 16 pounds even with clothes and a diaper on :/  I was a little disappointed but I have to remind myself that she is eating constantly.  She won't shrivel up.  She definitely won't lose at the rate she's eating.  So despite all the food that she is putting away, she still doesn't gain like a normal baby.  I am looking forward to turning her car seat around forward-facing (even though the new rule is to keep them backwards til they are 2 years old).  She really will be 18 mo + before she hits 20 pounds.  I might throw a party we'll be so excited!  ;) It'll be an "unbirthday" party since we aren't doing birthday parties next year! ;) I'm kidding...but I will drive her around longer that day...maybe until she falls asleep. lol
Ignore her bedhair here, she had just woke from a nap and we made a pit stop at Chick-Fil-A.  
13 months old.  16 pounds. 
Hernia side view.  

"By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb.  My praise shall be continually of You. I have become as a wonder to many, but You are my strong refuge.  Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day....
You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth..."  Psalm 71:6-20

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One of These Kind of Days

I'm selling his old Wolf Halloween costume from last year - and a lady asked me how it fit - so I had to try it on him again.  He has now fulfilled his duty of being a BIG brother!  Scaring Merritt to death!  He is usually very nice to her, but he loved torturing her!  Bless it.  She will never be happy in Disney World now thanks to him.  ;)  #scarredforlife

I've had the same expression on my face as Merritt everyday this week being surrounded by insane parents in the car rider line at MC's school.  Speaking of scared for your life!  Apparently not everyone passed Drivers Education in high school.  tempers blazin-road rage-i will bump your nice Lexus with my deer dented hail damaged swagger wagon if you cut me in line again!  Rules, people, rules!!!  Get up earlier like the rest of us!  Are you teaching your children to cheat their way through life as well?  There are several of us who have to say a special prayer every morning for God to control our emotions, give us patience, and judge the wrong!  

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Change can be good!

Loving all the changes around here lately! I promise I will stop talking so much about the kids, but I'm just so excited for this new school year!

Mati Claire was blessed to get her babysitter dear friend, Miss Rachel I mean Ms. McFarland for her first grade teacher!  ;)  The blessings continue because not only did we get the teacher we wanted, but she also has MANY friends in her class this year that she already knows.  If you aren't familiar with CPS, the students will have a whole new class every year and normally won't have the same friends from the year before.  There are 850 students at her school this year (421 of those being Kindergartners), and there are 16 first grade teachers.  So we had a 1 in 16 chance of getting who we requested!  We are beyond thrilled and so excited for this school year! I will post a pic of her after the first day Monday!

Mattox-man is starting 3 year old preschool next week.  My boy is 3 going on 13 I think.  He seems to be the one I can't make time stop for.  I say this lightly, but seriously... there have been days where I wish he would stay 3 forever.  I love that he will wear his dinosaur pajamas, Superman or Batman shirt, cowboy boots, camo shorts, with an IronMan mask wherever we go.  He got a good friend of ours, Mrs. Kim, for his teacher.  Look at his baby face here!

Miss Merritt.  She is just a different child since her first birthday!  I can't say enough about her lately!  She has really blown my mind the past month.  Not only did she start crawling scooting, but she is eating table food like crazy, and SLEEPING 12 HOURS AT NIGHT IN HER OWN CRIB!  I feel like she is ----wait----do I say it?-----------n.o.r.m.a.l.           yep.   normal for the first time in her life.  She is drinking whole milk with no problems (but I still nurse her twice a day) and she has just come alive the past few weeks!  I'm loving this "new" Merritt.  She keeps life interesting and definitely keeps us on our toes! (not that I didn't like her before - but she is so happy lately.  I'm happy if she's happy!)

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