Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Post-Skin Cancer

I am skin cancer free as of today!  ha! 

It went well.  He got it all in 1 "dig".  So I am very thankful it didn't take multiple dig sessions.  But I am in alot more pain than I was anticipating.  It feels like static electricity all over my face on top of intense throbbing.  He didn't say, but I think there are 4 stitches.  I tried to keep my eyes closed for most of it.   I was sort of mentally prepared for the procedure (lidocaine shot to numb which I knew would be painful, dig a layer out, the dr marks/maps it, they covered the area while I waited 30 min-1 hr while he checked the cells, if good - I would be done, if bad - repeat the whole process).  

But no one said anything about the side effects!  It hurts to lean over = all the blood rushes to your head and it starts to throb worse.  My teeth hurt.  My eyes hurt.  My head hurts.  My lips move therefore moving the area above your mouth which causes it to hurt = I can't eat or talk well yet.  Hurts to smile.  Tylenol or Advil is not quite cutting the pain.  I know I know... Matt thinks I am a very big baby and can't handle pain.  The only knife he has been under is Lasik Eye surgery!  3 C-sections and now this do not exactly feel good.  

I am going to really insult myself by showing you pics of me looking DREADFUL!  7:00 am + no makeup + lidocaine shots in your nose make your eyes water... but here is the sight today.  I can't uncover it until tomorrow.  

I go back next week to get the stitches removed.  :/



My cheering section.  "Be strong, momma!"
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Sunday, September 22, 2013

New Chapters

Merritt has had such a big week!  Most of you saw where I posted on FB where she pulled up all by herself for the first time.  Bless it - her legs were shaking until she locked her knees.  It was so precious.  Normally I wouldn't be boasting about things like that, but when you have a child that has to fight so hard for the simple things (like eating, pulling up, obviously walking is not in her sights yet at 14.5 months)  - it just makes it all the more sweet when they do.  I have learned to really appreciate the little things.  


Then yesterday, she drank out of a sippy cup all by herself!  Still not sold on the idea but she did it several times (more playing than actual drinking) but I'm glad to see her doing a little more.  I have been having some "down days" which I think must be normal when you are surrounded by healthy "normal" babies.  I can't turn her around in her car seat, she's not walking........ but by golly she is pulling up and attempting a sippy cup!!!! Gotta stay positive!

Then today, we had Baby Dedication at our church!  Our church has really gone above and beyond the  dedication service.  We had to read a book, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity.  Then listen to 3 audio downloads about what it truly means to dedicate your child.  We wrote a letter to our child (to give to her when she's 18) explaining how we plan to raise her and what our hopes and dreams are for her.  What do we pray for her?  It's definitely more than just standing in front of the congregation to showoff your baby in a beautiful dress (although we did that too ;))    After the reception, we received a "My Faith Book" for Merritt.  It is similar to a baby book, but a journal to keep notes about their faith and their walk with God.  Its a place to document their salvation, their baptism, their first Lord's Supper, their first time in "Big Church, what some of their prayers have been, an annual parent plan, and other important moments in their Christian life.  I look forward to filling it up with my notes, pictures, mementos, thoughts, and using the resources it gives to help us as parents.  


Tired + hungry = no smiling for camera!


Sidenote:  Merritt talked through the ENTIRE service today.  I almost dropped her 3 times because her pacifier that obviously did not pacify her was attached to my necklace since it wouldn't stay attached to her dress.  We became entangled and she just wanted down on the floor.  And breakfast.  And to take a nap.  Ah...good times.  



Mati Claire has not only 1 loose tooth (her first) she has THREE! oh my.  Someone make time stop.  And make them not fall out until at least next Wednesday when have Christmas Card pictures made.  I love her sweet dainty straight little teeth and I will miss her baby smile so much!  I am documenting now - that I will NOT be pulling any teeth.  No sir.  No mam.  This mommy does NOT do belly buttons, teeth pulling, circumcisions, or any other delicate matters.  I had ALL of my teeth pulled by the dentist as a child so I never experienced it that I remember.  I spent 8 years in braces (not exaggerating) and I still wear my retainer once a week my entire adult life.  So I am NOT looking forward to this new phase with Mati Claire!  

One last "cheese" with ALL of her baby teeth.  *sniff sniff*
Luckily times seem to be stuck on Mattox... the terrible 3's appear to never end.  At least he's sharp in his suit though.  ;)

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Surgery Update

We met with our surgeon (Dr. B) again this past Friday to discuss future plans for her belly.  I really did NOT expect to hear anything different than our last appointment several months ago.  6 months ago, we had planned to wait until she was walking and/or do surgery in the summer of 2014 when she turned 2....

He thought her hernia looked a little bigger than last time (but in her defense - she IS bigger too).  He thought doing surgery now versus 6 months from now wouldn't make a difference.

So surgery got moved up a little sooner than I expected.  We are looking at late December or early January now.  :(  

FAQ's:

What exactly will the surgery involve?
She has a "hole" between her abs - which is basically a regular hernia like any adult gets.  Her liver is what is primarily sticking through.  Probably why she is not walking or pulling up.  Our pediatrician referred to her core as "jello".   Bless it, I don't see Pilates in her future.  ;)  The surgeon is hoping he won't have to use a biological mesh to help hold it together but expects he will.  He said it is part of a pig intestine lining.  Yep... I am NOT telling Mati Claire and Mattox about that one.  They will never let her forget that she is part pig.  ;)  Seriously, it will "dissolve" so to speak or grow into her skin over time, so we won't have to go back and get it taken out.  He said there are basically no risks associated with using it (infection, rejection, etc.)  He will try to sew everything together and use this to reinforce it.  Its hard to describe, but does that make sense?
And yes, he will have to open her entire abdomen again along the incision she already has.  We were hoping for a laprascopic-type surgery but he said the size of her hernia would not allow that.  

Why did we move surgery up?
She has grown to a more acceptable size/weight for putting her through another surgery.  At the rate she gains weight,  6 months from now won't make a huge difference (less than a pound a month).  Her hernia appeared bigger so he wanted to fix it before it got any bigger.  The longer we wait there is an increased risk of trauma to her abdomen:  space jumps, jungle gyms, flying soccer balls, rough-housing older siblings, a typical terrible 2 and/or 3 year old falling, etc...  Since she is NOT walking yet, I can somewhat control her surroundings and try to prevent any trauma to her belly while recovering.  

How long will she be in the hospital and how long is recovery?
This is the good news!  He said he expected no more than 2 days in the hospital and a week for the immediate recovery.  He predicted after a week at home, she would bounce back and be eating normal foods again.  

How much does she weigh now?
ha!  at 14 months she is 16 pounds 11 oz!  (that weight was Friday while she was wearing a onesie and a diaper though - so maybe subtract a few ounces).  I am SOOO looking forward to turning her car seat around.... one day....

Which hospital will she be in?
Still up for debate but we are leaning on Baptist.  Our surgeon splits his time between Baptist and Children's (UMC) now and he said he would/could do it at either location.  Since Matt works at Baptist, we are leaning there.  I loved the care we got while in the NICU at UMC, but I'm personally glad to be done with that hospital (and she wouldn't be in the NICU this time).  We are a little Baptist-biased. :)

Anything else?
Because of the time frame we are looking at, we are getting worried about flu season.  If I don't bring any of my kids around you or visit that much during the holidays in Dec/Jan, I am going to try my best to keep everyone healthy and virus/stomach bug/flu-free.  We really don't need Merritt catching anything from anyone before or after her surgery (imagine throwing up after having abdominal surgery because of a stomach bug).  We got the stomach bug FOUR times last year as a family - and I am praying our resistance to that is up!  lol!  So if we are unsocial or absent for awhile - please understand that there is a bigger issue at hand.  :)


I don't have a recent pic of her belly, but here are some I took in July. It looks the same now:









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Monday, September 9, 2013

Our First Soccer Experience

I debated to title this post "one of my most embarrassing days as a parent"  but i was told once that your kids should never be labeled as embarrassing to you as a parent.  that is r.e.a.l.l.y hard sometimes.  so i will just say that today was tough on all of us. and they left many people questioning my parenting skills.

started out great.  matt went to the gym with me.  lately it seems he spends all his mornings working on house stuff (since we have 2 different construction jobs going on at the same time).  so it was great to work out and spend time together without kids on a monday morning!

I had a meeting at the school for Fundraiser with all of the Homeroom mothers.  We have over 800 kids in our school so its busy!  I've been working on getting my stuff together for days/weeks.  I have had my fair share of public speaking lately - honestly, i'm a bit tired of it.  So I'm speaking in front of 50+ women in the library at school explaining what they had to do with the Fundraiser.... and Mati Claire walks up to me - interrupts - and tells me everyone that Mattox went potty in the floor behind the shelves near all the books.  

...yeah.  its like that.   #1?  #2?  who knows? my mind races.

I fast-forward through my speech.  Find Mattox.  He is D.R.Y.  all over dry!  so I asked the 10 little girls playing around him "did he pull his pants down and go?  or what?"  And I hear "No, we think its just water.  Someone spilled their drink." 

seriously?

Well too late now... the meeting was over.  I now have 50+ women who think I raise my children to interrupt speakers and pee in the library.  After asking every child there and interrogating Mattox - he in fact did NOT go potty in the library.  But then had to explain to the principal that it was not urine on her carpet but another child's drink (and not my child).  

...

Mattox has been asking for months to play sports.  First up this year:  soccer.  I'll be honest:  I'm not a soccer fan.  I am looking forward to spring's baseball/T-ball instead.  Mati Claire does not have an athletic bone in her body and has never asked to play (so therefore I did not push the subject either).  Mattox on the other hand is a typical boy.  

I signed him up for Mighty Mites (the 3 year old soccer team) with high hopes.

I had a vision in my mind of how today would go.  I am surprised and found myself very excited about today, despite my lack of interest in the sport.  I was genuinely happy to watch Mattox and looking forward to it.

I packed our chairs, the cold juice boxes/water, snacks for the other kids, planned for Mati Claire to do her homework while we watched, diaper bag, milk for Merritt, extra clothes/socks (uniforms have not come in yet), all the soccer gear and ball.... packed it all in the big 31 bag and planned to really enjoy our first family (minus Matt who was sleeping) soccer experience.  Was laughing about how today was my first day as a "soccer mom."

What in God's name was I thinking???

I know Mattox is my shy child.  It takes him longer than any other child i've ever seen to warm up to social situations if he ever does at all (he usually leaves the event with his head still buried in my shoulder 2 hours later).  Birthday parties, school, swim lessons, and obviously sporting events now.

I gave him a good 15-20 minutes where I went "easy on him".  I stood with him (also holding Merritt in 92 degree Mississippi heat).  I tried talking to him.  Showed him some of his friends that were actually participating.  I expected his shyness as I'm used to it now.  In the meantime, I find ants all in our bag by our chairs = I can't put Merritt down in the grass.  So I was forced to hold Merritt through the next ordeal.    Why didn't this mom of 3 realize that they do make strollers, right?? Back to my vision ----> I was supposed to be sitting in the chair holding her in my lap while watching him play.  

Back to reality----> After 30 minutes of him not saying a word and s.i.t.t.i.n.g on the ground refusing to do anything - I decided I couldn't play nice anymore.  I told him I wasn't paying for him to sit there.  We can go home and sit if he wants to.

Don't get me wrong - I know he's 3.  I'm not forcing him to do anything he doesn't want to do. Trust me - I'd be perfectly fine if he didn't want to play.  But melting in the heat for someone who claims he wants to play but won't....i think not.   He WANTS to play - but was refusing.  

I told him we were leaving early and going home since he wouldn't participate.

Then it started.

A 3 year old tantrum that could possibly break the definition of that word.  More like psychotic.  He took a "terrible 3's tantrum" to the next level that I haven't seen in a long time!  I think they heard the screams and yelling from MANY fields down the road.  As any normal mom knows...I became "unglued."   I carried him (and Merritt) kicking and screaming back to the van while forcing Mati Claire to carry all of our stuff.  By this time I am DRENCHED in sweat and I man-handle him into his car seat.  How do you get a very strong boy into his car seat when he's acting like this??? It took me at least 10 minutes to get him buckled into it.  I PHYSICALLY can not get him in his car seat - all the while everyone is listening and watching me yell at and spank my child.  Crazy I tell ya!  he flipped out! 

On the way home - he won't stop talking back and screaming/yelling at me - kicking the seat -  our "conversation" (if you can call it that) consisted of this:

Me:  "Hush, Mattox!"
Mattox:  (screaming) "I want to play soccer!"
Me:  "Be quiet, Mattox!"
Mattox:  (yelling)  "I want to play soccer!"
Repeat this sequence 38 times.  Mati Claire counted how many times.  No lie.

Luckily for me I carry a wooden spoon in my van.  Luckily for me Daddy was waking up by the time we got home.   Not so lucky for Mad Man.  

Mommy doesn't drink anymore, but I sure could use one tonight.  Lawd help me.  At least I have 7 more days before we try this again.  

Day 1 in the books of being a "soccer mom" and I'm not entirely positive there will ever be a Day 2. 
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