Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Feeling Lucky?

Okay, I must admit that I usually don't do these types of *tests* but this one over at DisappearingJohn RN caught my attention. Who doesn't want to know what color their lucky underware are? Well, since my lovely surgery is keeping me out of commission, I decided to find out for at least a little bit of fun. Check out my results and then find out your own lucky shade. I think the description matches me almost perfectly and Al agrees. Funny how quick internet quizzes based on a few questions can do that.

Your Lucky Underwear Is Red

You're confident and bold, and your lucky red underwear will only make you more sure of yourself. You have a great zest for life, and you tend to take on impossible goals - and succeed.

When it comes to love, it's hard for you to take the time to open up. You're too busy conquering the world. So if you're looking for a little more romance, put on your red underpants. And see where their passion takes you!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The end of a Great week

My mother in law just pulled out of the driveway to make the long drive home to Tennessee. She graciously took off an entire week of work to come help out with the boys while I recovered. Carson and Elias of course enjoyed every minute of Granny being here and ate up all the attention. They played trains, trucks, Play-Doh, firemen, make believe, made crafts, and did all kind of other fun little boy games. Even after much arguement from me and Al, she still did all the dishes and laundry in addition to help maintain the peace (or as much peace as we can have in our house). I basically felt like a lazy, couch potato which is pretty much what I have to be according to my post-op surgery appointment. I am only allowed to walk to and from the bathroom and the dinner table. Thank God for my wonderful MIL.

Carson burst into tears as soon as Granny walked out the door. He was an emotional wreck. You would have thought the poor kid's doggie had died. Following a long talk about how it's okay to feel sad when you miss someone and that Granny will be back again, Carson finally settled down and started teasing the crap out of Eli. Semi-normalcy in our household. Great. All joking aside, we will truly miss Mom and can't thank her enough for coming up and helping us out when we needed it. Thanks!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Five for Fighting

Please take a few minutes out of your day to stop by and watch this video on autism awareness. It will help raise money for autism research by just watching or you can choose to directly donate.

So many families are impacted by autism in this country and around the world that do not get the services needed for their children. Austism and spectrum disorders are becoming more and more frequently diagnosed in preemies, especially micropreemies. Unfortunately this is one of the areas that the neonatologists don't mention in "the talk" regarding possible long term effects of prematurity. Many parents of micropreemies today are not only finding that the horrid "catch-up by age 2" fantasy that most neonatologist and pediatricians feed us in the birth and NICU days is a blatant lie, but that neurological diagnoses like Autism are disproportionate in our children's population. We need more answers. We need more research. We need more services. We shouldn't have to fight tooth and nail to ensure our children get the appropriate medical and mental help to function and thrive.

I thank my little sister for working hard everyday with austic children. She is an inspiration to me as well as the families she touches each and every time she helps their beautiful children.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Rectus Abdominis Endometriomas -- BENIGN

All three masses (yes....two more grew since my MRI on 12/26) were BENIGN!! My surgeon had to take a lot more muscle out than he has anticipated due to the extra masses. The pathology came back today and all three were rectus abdominis endometriomas which mean they were a tumor growth of endometrial (uterine) tissue specifically confined to my abdominal muscle. There are different therories on why an endometrioma occurs including seeding from a prior abdominal operation or translocation of endometrial cells through the lymph system. Since I have had an emergency c-section under general for Eli's birth, a laparoscopy, and a complete abdominal hysterectomy, I definitely have the surgical history to invite endometrial tissue to spread. Unfortunately, according to a study in the British Journal of Radiology on rectus abdominis endometriomas since they were first described surgically in 1993, "Rectus abdominis endometrioma, wherein the endometrial focus is solely confined to within the body of the rectus abdominis muscle is rare and sparsely reported in literature with only 11 new cases since it was first described". I am sure there are more cases presenting in the literature than 11 with endometriomas confined specifically to the rectus abdominis muscle but research shows they are "highly unusual" and "very rare" occurrences. Leave it to me to develop a rare medical complication. Time to play the lotto :)

All joking aside, I am overjoyed that my masses were not malignant. Cancer is a scary word and disease. I have been in a state of haze in the past month worrying about all of the what-ifs of my future. Soft tissue sarcomas of the abdominal wall do not have great morbidity and mortality rates and having that possible diagnosis looming in the back of my mind (or in the front on some days!) was crazy at times. The pathology of my masses showed large levels of fibrotic tissue surrounding each mass. I haven't been able to talk to my surgeon specifically about the patho report but the fibrosis should not mean there was any desmoid tumor development at all. I can't wait to go to my post-op appointment on Wednesday and get a copy of my patho report and be able to ask questions and see what my long-term prognosis is. My surgeon did warn Al that I have a "extremely high risk" of herniation due to the large amount of muscle he needed to remove. I know prayers from so many people helped me get through this with a positive outcome and I will pray that I don't herniate and have to go under the knife yet again.

As far as recovery goes....things have been interesting. The whole left side of my abdomen is TIGHT. I am sore and can't move much at all. I have almost no core muscle strength for lifting my left left or trying to sit up/down. I can feel the muscle defect to the inside of my left hip and even through the swelling I can see that both sides most likely won't match up once I'm healed. It's a small price to pay though. My incision is about 3+ inches long vertically and about an inch to the left and down from my belly button. Al is taking wonderful care of me and I am living on the couch downstairs during the day and in bed upstairs at night. One trip of stairs each way per day. No more...I can't take it. So far I do have to say that it has been different kind of pain then my hysterectomy with less aching and more direct pain. Everything is connected to using your darn ab muscles!! The boys are loving on me and coloring me pictures to make me feel better (which of course does!). Thank God for Al's laptop or I would feel completely disconnected. I miss all of the babies at work and the amazing people I have the privilege of working with. Hopefully recovery will go smoothly and I will be back to health and work in no time.

Thanks again for all of the prayers and well-wishes. They worked! I'm home and healing and my masses were BENIGN!! Oh what a day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Slice and Dice

Tomorrow morning I have to be at the hospital at 7:15. Bright and early. I only wish I could grab a nice raspberry white chocolate mocha from Starbucks on my way :) Too bad for that pesky NPO thing! Working five 12 hour shifts in the past six days definately helped keep me busy and keep my mind off of this surgery. I got to love on the babies at work and help nurse them into health. Seeing the care and concern my co-workers and families from work have for me was really touching. I will miss them all so much! I hope my recovery goes smoothly and I can be back to work in the NICU as soon as physically possible. But I am NERVOUS. N.E.R.V.O.U.S.

I remember all too well the recovery from this surgery. It was not fun then and they didn't even cut through muscle. This time they are cutting all of my muscle and the tumor OUT. Plus that pesky little "C" word won't stop lurking in the back of my mind. Al is going to want to strangle me (along with my nurses at the hospital I'm sure) until the pathology report is back post-op. Waiting for medical results is not something I'm good at. Neither is not knowing all of the exact details of an operation or outcome. Unfortunately I have to do all three in this situation. Life and God are teaching me through this trial and I am sure one day I will look back and be able to use these feelings in my work or life to help others. At least I hope so.

I most likely won't have an update until I am home from the hospital in 2-3 days because I don't think they have added wireless internet access there yet. My darling boys already have plans to make me "beautiful pictures" at school tomorrow and then bring them to the hospital to "make mommy's surgery boo-boos feel all better". God, where would I be without those two bright lights? Al is being great and holding me together and keeping up the all the boys' stuff. He is going to be one busy man in the coming weeks when I'm out of service. Thanks for all of the prayers and well wishes. They all mean so much. Give all of your kiddos hugs and kisses and I'll update once I have news and am home from the hospital.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Feeling like a Bad Parent?

This post from Finslippy will brighten any bad parenting day you may be having. Stop by but don't drink anything while reading each and every story and comment....I'm not responsible for any accidents if you do :)

Some days we just need to know other parents out there have those moments [and much worse] too!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The 3rd Degree and Other 2008 Happenings

Well, the new year has certainly been a busy one for our family. The boys have spent loads of time enjoying their gifts from Santa and all of our friends and family. Al and I have been tripping over trains and trucks for two weeks now. Work has kept us out of the house but having the opportunity to care the patients and families makes time spent away from the boys a bit easier. I finally got around to taking down all of the Christmas decorations on Monday before watching our poor Buckeyes loose to LSU :( Carson and Eli were sad to see the Christmas tree go away and my heart was breaking watching the game! We also have been blessed with several snowstorms over the past two weeks (in addition to absurd 70 degree weather and severe storms for a few days). C and E perfected their snowball techniques and seem to catch me off guard whenever my back is turned. Sneaky little men they are growing into.

A few sore spots in 2008 have also popped up in addition to all of our good times. Eli ended up with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on three of his fingers on his right had this past Sunday. We were at my parents' house and he touched the hot burner on the stove right after I took the tea pot off of it. He didn't cry once and calmly told the ER doctor that he "shouldn't touch the hot stove, only [his] playdough stove". I have been scrubbing the burns daily with soap and water, putting neosporin on them, and doing ROM since the burns are across his knuckles. He doesn't seem to notice any of it and is going about life as usual.

Carson's little rat also kicked the bucket this week. Wednesday Al and I were leaving to pick up the boys and I noticed Snow wasn't looking so hot. She looked deflated. Snow went to "doggie heaven" as Carson put it, shortly afterwards and when Al and I picked up the boys we told Carson the bad news. We gave him the option of getting a new rat or just sharing Eli's rat, Storm. He, of course, decided to got straight to the pet store and pick out a new rat. Our newest family member could be an even whiter clone of Snow appropriately named Blizzard by Carson. Storm and Blizzard are getting along well and Carson is healed from his grief.

I also have some bad medical news. I will be having surgery next Wednesday, 1/16. I have an abdominal wall tumor which is through my rectus abdominis muscle. They do not know what the tumor is but possible diagnosis are endometrioma, desmoid tumor, and soft tissue sarcoma. They will have to do a full thickness, wide, aggressive excision with >2cm margins due to the possibility of malignancy. I should have the pathology back within 48 hours. They may need to do a mesh graft of my abdominal wall due to the size of the muscle defect after the tumor is removed. They do not know how much tissue will need to be taken until they get in there and see how much it has grown since my MRI on 12/26. Wish me luck and pray that my recovery is fast and that it is not cancer. I need to get back to my family and my work as soon as possible.

Well, that is a wrap-up of 2008 so far. I have tons of great pictures to post but I need to upload them to my computer first. I have Sunday off of work so hopefully you will see some bright, shining Carson and Eli pics then.