Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Ramblings

So, we have a friend who had a baby very prematurely.  He's done so well and he finally got to come home after a lengthy stay in the NICU.  Their latest updates are letting folks know he can't have visitors and they are posting tons of pictures.  For some reason, his birth and life in the NICU have affected me so deeply.  I would read their updates which were good, but still my heart ached for them.  I would find myself in puddles of tears as I connected with the situation they were now living in with their very fragile newborn. Everyone's story is different, however, if you've been a NICU situation you can connect.  I was beyond thrilled he was thriving and I'm beyond thrilled that he is home.
 I look at his pictures and I see little Lillian, the trach, the fragility.  I remember my fears and at times can't even fathom that 13 years have passed and I'm in puddles.

Lillian still has Christmas and birthday money she's been holding on to.  This girl loves her baby dolls and there can never be enough clothes.  We have found that preemie baby clothes often fit her dolls so last night big sisters Bethany and Madeline took her to Walmart and she bought some clearance baby clothes for her dolls, and then they hit the Mcdonald's drive thru for a coke.  She had SO much fun.  (course crazy town mom asked second sister to go for extra eyes and attention ) For a moment, Lillian lived a "normal".  I mean, I know most 13 year old girls are not out buying baby doll clothes. but for me, she was out there shopping with her sisters and having a girl's night even if it only lasted less than an hour. 

I'm also experiencing a "normal" sibling rivalry.  All the big sisters have adored Lillian.  Never competed with her...just pure love, adoration, and protection.  Having had a a younger sibling now, and now that he's older it's quite funny to see him react with a little jealousy and give her some sass.  He told her this morning "she is nevva going to go with me when I go somewheya with  my sistas"   Little bits of normal have slid in and oddly comforted my aching heart. 

The last week has been stressful and filled with some PTSD.  Seriously, tough on me this week.  I know God is in control and I'm praying and seeking his will for what steps to take next.  I *think* we are going to resume speech therapy for swallowing and go from there. At the point, for me, I'm not willing to risk any type of surgery.  There are no guarantees and even a 50/50 chance is not good enough for me and honestly, they can't give me a guarantee of anything.

Today, I'm thankful for a pictures of a healthy, healing,  growing baby boy, for the snipits of somewhat "normal" events, and the love that comes from a phone call checking in on me.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Drs, drs, and more drs.

Yesterday, Lillian saw her pediatrician for her 13 year well child appointment.  I really had no concerns, yet I left and cried most of the way home.  Basically, we discussed lots of STUFF.  Feedings, puberty, rashes...STUFF. ** shout out for a 6% BMI**    Basically, what got my tears a rolling was a "let's talk to ENT and see if there's anything that can be done in her mouth to help her swallow".  Maybe nothing can be done, but maybe something can.  Well, the history of her life started rolling in and all those mouth surgeries and the difficulties of them flooded me.  Even though I knew this was just a "let's see", the past overwhelmed me. Add to that the gentle yet glaring reminders of her developmental delay in ALL ways, and the way she's choosing to cope when she's hurt or sick....TOO MUCH for my Mom heart and mind.  I am trying to make this brief here...give you the highlight reel (terrible attempt at humor much?) and is that high light, highlight, or highlite??? I digress...By about 4:15 I was getting a call for an appointment for today for an ENT and she already had her appointment scheduled for her pulmonologist down there this afternoon. They want me to come at 830 am, I eventually tell them I cannot do that. so they put us in for an appointment at 1130 nearby Dr. Lungs.  I was totally dreading the whole entire thing.  So, after arriving early and waiting nearly an hour and a half past our appointed time, we were taken to a room.  Let me set the mood, it's almost one oclock, I've had nothing to eat, so I'm hangry, and I'm about to be late for her next appointment in an unfamiliar area, AND I already have stress mounting up.  THEN, they come in asking what her difficulty breathing issue is...UM HELLO, that is not why we're here.  They ask again, and then I express to them that I'm not sure why the insisted we be there today when they clearly don't have time for us.  I really have no idea where the miscommunication came from, certainly not me and I'm not even sure the ENT had a clue what I was talking about.  Her "assessment" was that her mouth looked like it should for all the work that's been done in there and we could ask her plastic surgeon to see if he thought a scar retraction surgery would be beneficial...  and then somehow she rolled into her needing a sleep study and a speech eval from the ST that works with them OH and do we want a hearing test and gosh those tubes maybe should come out that have been in her ears for 12 YEARS.....and all mind you in a rush rush rush bc she knew we had another appointment right around the corner. She (DR ENT) did perform a scope while we were there, which I wasn't anticipating and couldn't prepare Lillian for....basically, I'm supposed to get back with her when and with what I want to do to proceed...and NONE of these things could turn out to help and could actually make things worse, the scar retraction surgery for speech and swallowig.  

So, head over to DR Lungs, of course I have to write down her new tests and we've now had  a head CT and a scope up the nose.  ( which by the way the scope showed everything wide open, whatever that means)  I finally start to cry, but reined it in.  (I had ugly breakdown at church with some friends before I left last night and they all prayed with me)  He didn't feel a sleep study would be beneficial or necessary....and I'm over here like how did this whole day turn into a breathing issue?  I guess the only real outcome of this day is that we are going back to her gentamycin year round because she's had a rough winter with having sinus problems which then lead to asthma problems.  She's also suffering from some perioral dermatitis and DR PEDS ordered a cream for that

Her eye is STILL bruised.  Her glasses were reordered and came quickly.

I'm tired.  It's been an emotional and exhausting two days.  Thanks for reading this book if you're still hanging in there.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Thoughts at the most wonderful time of the year

I love the Christmas season.  Since Lillian was born around Thanksgiving and I spent the holiday season in the NICU, (along with future holiday seasons hospitalized) I have usually struggled in this season.  I never really realize it until the oppressiveness is on me for awhile and then I realize it's because this is the time life shifted so drastically.   It's not really something I am thinking about actively, it just seemed to happen.  This year has been different.  I have not felt the oppression.  In spite of a pretty difficult year, I've found gratitude even in the most difficult times.  Let me tell you how freeing it is.  Praise the Lord for knowing my heart and mind and healing the dark places.  

This last couple weeks has been a whirlwind of activity and ministry with bits of difficulties mixed in.  My kids..my whole family in fact,  have been sick for what seems like forever and their sleeping time has found me wakened many times by a cough symphony, music no parent wants to hear. I find my brain crumbling as I fret over the never ending coughing ( a place I need to give over to the Lord, but that seems to be a process I struggle in) I have friends who talk about anxiety and panic attacks and this is the only thing I can compare it to.  Having no control over an illness that is controlling the breathing of my kids.  If you could visualize a cartoon brain crumbling in on itself, that's how I feel, literally. I struggle with the coughing and the increased treatments and keeping track of what med I gave to what child last. I can't think of a worse time for my husband to have been sent out of town for training.Then, I look at the poinsettias on my table and they are standing tall and I find joy and peace and gratitude that the Lord gave me that beauty to focus on. 

 I have not finished my handmade Christmas cards and at this point it's not looking good for you folks who didn't get one from me yet...sorry about that, best laid plans.  Still, I'm thankful, I'm glad I have a home that is warm and food in the house, and adult kids who jump in to help me out as things tend to go wrong.  I delight in the fact that I have an attached garage so we can avoid the elements and some of the cold that is upon us as we move to and from the van.  Finances are tight, yet I was still able to take two of my kids to doctors for treatment and get their medicine.  While it is a hardship, it is something I could do.  I'm grateful.  I had a stressful morning yesterday and some confusion with my hair cut appointment.  I sent a text inadvertently to my hairdresser that was meant for someone else.  It was embarrassing for me and a lesson that an inconvenience is just that, it's not the end of the world.  I was thankful for grace in that moment and it was a lesson learned for me.  There was a time I might have allowed the whole situation to dictate my whole day.  

Have a blessed Christmas season.  Look for reasons to be grateful, I doubt you'll have to look far.  Life can be hard, but just because it's hard doesn't mean it's not blessed.  That's the view from me this most wonderful time of the year.

Monday, November 25, 2019

13

13 Years.  Sleep deprivation, painful,  fear filled, major change, life altering, heart growing, love filled, devoted, grace giving, life stretching, never a dull moment years.  I'm thankful.  She was surrounded by ALL her siblings, her grandma and C, Mom and Dad,  and Aunt Marcia.  Truly a delightful day.


Monday, November 4, 2019

When last I wrote...

Lillian has started walking and had her little fall.  Here we are in November.  I fell she has completely returned to her norm, though it took time.  She was discharged from PT and the ortho guy on the same day.  She was still limping at that time, but again we are now back to normal.  We tried to have summer vacation in the last three weeks or so before school started.  Lots of firsts for her.

We attended the county fair on special needs day.  She rode a few rides, played a few games, and ate some fair food.  I felt totally blessed the whole day.  It was a great event and I'm thankful she enjoyed herself.

Our next first for Lillian found us at the Indianapolis Zoo.  My sister-in-law joined me and the older girls came as well.  We were gifted admission by  longtime, very dear friends, who just happened to be my pastor and his wife when I was in kindergarten.  (I'm still amazed at how life comes full circle and how God continually uses others to bless us)  They also gifted us with zoo bracelets and even our lunch was gifted to us by my generous sister-in-law.  I was leery, wondering if Lillian would panic or love what we did.  Right off the bat she was in love.  I found myself dissolving into tears as she gasped in awe during the dolphin show.  It could not have been a better day.  (the walking wore her out completely as she was still limping but wow what a day) She also held a stick with bird seed glued to it and allowed birds to feed right out of her hand.  It was an amazing day.

Our next adventure was a  church wide canoe trip.  It was a first for me and the little kids.  We had some struggles and some stressful moments, but the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves for the most part.  It was a very long day and I actually cried when I got home.  I felt I couldn't really even enjoy the time because my stress level was so high.  That's a story for another time.  Not sure canoeing is in my future again, just sayin'. I am thankful for a several friends who shared some of their experiences with me that helped me deal with my struggle that day when it was all said and done.

SO---there's a little summer synopsis.  Recently, we had her routine visit to her pulmonologist.  (lungs)  Everything looks good, however he raised the thought that  longtime use of steroids can cause thinning of bones, so he's ordering a test/scan to take a look.  Don't have a date yet.  I feel a little bit of disappointment or sadness or something that is lurking in my brain. I feel frustrated that meds she needs also can cause bad things.  This is not secret in all things medicine wise...but when you are in a situation that you really have no choice, it's hard on a mom's heart.  It's that time of year again when flu shot hysteria is widespread in both directions.  All I could think of when they were injecting her, literally, was all of the bad things I've read about the dangers of flu shots.  I don't want to get into it all, but just to say it hurts.  It's a struggle and until you walk in a person's shoes whose choices are/can be  disastrous either way, you'll never fully understand.

Can you say 13?  On the 25th, Lillian is turning 13! Keep a watch out for our celebration of 13 years.  Another teenager, another year, we are blessed.


Recent picture on our front porch

Summer Fun!

That's us in the red canoe


Train ride at the zoo


Fun at the fair!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Transparency and Walking

Lillian spontaneously got up and walked Sunday after I put her air cast on.  Matt and I were both astounded to say the least.  It's not normal walking, but she is walking very unstably, mostly under her own power.  I'm telling you something internal broke in me when she walked again.  A wash of relief.  I'm certain she will still need therapy, but she's up.

With that, the very next day while I was taking the dog out to do her business, I heard a bit of a scuffle at the front door.  I came around the corner to see Lillian coming out the door and somehow missed seeing her fall right out onto the concrete.  She bloodied the "bad leg" knee pretty good.  Her elbow is bloody, her other leg is scraped up pretty good, so she's struggled a bit more today with walking.  She is still using a wheel chair if we are out for a long period of time.  Her stamina will take time to build. She goes back to the ortho this Thursday. I let her walk, without the cast, just to get into the tub and her leg turned very purple and splotchy, so there will be no more of that until we see them Thursday.  Keep praying, our progress is improving.

She's doing better. I, on the other hand, am struggling daily.  I wish I could put it into words, but I'm not sure I can.  Hold us close as you have in prayer.  It is a comfort to know there are people praying.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Definitely NOT the Mother of the Year

If you've been with us for a while you know I often refer to myself as the MOTY.  Each of those times I'm actually referring to the failures and mishaps that occur in my daily care of Lillian.  It's a joke,  (mostly)  because in those moments when awful things occur at my hand, I think to myself, "not winning that title this year" ...it's my levity, I guess.  Because, HEY YOU, yes, you...that mom/dad/human being out there, we ALL fail.  Things happen.  Stuff we don't plan and obviously don't want to do, happen. Gotta give yourself some grace, some levity.  It's hard when you're a mom tending your children.  In ALL the stages (ask me how I know ;) ) Well, that's me anyway.

Monday, my MOTY status was high.  BIG TIME HIGH.  I was frustrated.  My voice was raised....nearly yelling, but not quite.  I allowed frustration to overwhelm and take over.  Later, there were tears and shaking and apologies and forgiveness.  However, I heaved and wept myself in bed that evening.  Feeling ashamed, sad, angry at myself and the situation.  Although I thought I had no expectations, I certainly did.  I wanted to be rid of the bedside commode in the living room.  I wanted to be rid of the wheelchair taking up space.  I wanted rest for my body that is physically aching from the lifting.  I knew life wouldn't get back to our normal right away, but I certainly thought things would be A LOT closer.   Dead, dead wrong.   I started to think back on the days when she was newly home from the hospital and all the therapies started pretty quickly in our home.  She would cry (with no sound) but definitely crying through her therapies.  The had to push her to do things she didn't like and I'm sure were uncomfortable and I had to sit by, watch, encourage, and feel like I was the worse mother for letting it take place, yet knowing it had to.  So, here I am, again, right back in that place.  Mentally and physically exhausted.

Tuesday morning I got a phone call from a church friend.  Someone who was knowledgeable and experienced in broken bones.  She shared with me the do's and don'ts and the things I should expect.  I cried to her as I shared my struggle with not knowing what was too much and not enough and she was a soothing balm to my spirit.

I'm still aching a bit, internally, but this too shall pass and I know the Lord is near to me.

So, two days since cast removal, we are pretty much in the same state as we were with the cast.  She won't bear weight and I'm hopeful and praying for better days ahead, no matte when they might be.  Hopefully sooner than later, though!

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. And saves those who are crushed in spirit" Psalm 34:18