Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Plan

So I've been waiting to post this for a week now and today I finally got the final piece of the puzzle.  Let me back up. 

Remember when I was in the hospital last month?  See here and here if needed.  Well since then, I've been home and on steroids.  I had a doctor's appointment on June 24, and at that time he started to taper my steroid dosage and scheduled a CT scan on July 15 and a colonoscopy on July 16.  The CT was no problem. I had to be at the outpatient imagining center at 8 am, I drank the drink (which was just 32 oz of metallic tasting water), got the scan, and I was at work by 10:30.  
Yep, selfie in the waiting room.  I'm so cool.
That night my mother in law took Sara Kate because I knew I would be in no business to parent, as I had to do the dreaded colon cleanse.  Remember the gallon of prep I had to drink in the hospital before the first scope?  
 
Yeah. Not cool.  Well this time it wasn't a gallon, thankfully.  It was 2-16 oz drinks of pure horribleness, which were consumed 5 hours apart, and each was followed by 32 oz of water within the hour.  
2 of these mixed with water, followed by 32 oz of water
I was using Diet Coke as a chaser (the lemonade in the background did NOT work and I didn't have anything else here) and I tried envision myself as a colon cleansing 'STAR' (thank you Diet Coke for your inspiration) whilst chasing...alas, it didn't work, HA!
I can't describe how awful this stuff is.  Like bad, salty cough syrup with the worst after taste you can imagine. Actually, that description doesn't even begin to describe how bad it was.  I finally went to bed about 1:30 am and was up at 4:30 am because we had to be at the hospital at 6 am.
 
I got checked in and was in the room by 7:00.
More selfie fun.  This is my 'ET Phone Home' finger.
While we waited, I had no cell reception but I learned how to do a panorama with my phone.  Again, I'm so cool.  HA!!  So here's the colonoscopy room (minus what was behind my bed) if anyone is interested!
 The scope was scheduled for 7:30 and Dr. Rogers finally came in around 8 (which was good because I wasn't expecting to see him before the procedure).  He told us (me and mom) the CT showed the right side of my colon looks much better and the left side is the bad side, the diseased side, and that's the side with the stricture.  His thought was he would be removing the left side, but he said, "lets see what the scope shows."  Well, turns out colonoscopy #2 was just like colonoscopy #1...he couldn't get through the stricture, therefore it couldn't be completed.  He told me at my appointment in June that hopefully the steroids would 'soften it' and he could try to use a balloon to push through, but the stricture wasn't softened by the steroids and it was so hard and fibrous he was afraid of tearing something so the balloon wasn't an option.  So I suppose the status rest of my colon remains a mystery (apart from what they can see on the CT).  I was told his office would call me the next day to schedule surgery, and if they didn't call I was to call them.  So Thursday I waited and waited and finally called them about 3:30.  Turns out their 'scheduler' was out until Monday so she would call me then.  Great, waiting through the weekend.  Awesome.  Not. Oh well. Weekend fun still ensued, despite my wait, thanks to this cutie...
 
 And thanks to my awesome mama who stayed through the weekend.
Monday came and went, Tuesday came and went, and I finally called them back Wednesday afternoon.  Well their scheduler was still out, due to sickness.  Frustration!!  That is a circumstance beyond anyone's control but it still upset me.  Never thought this "little" colon problem would drag out all summer.  They finally called this afternoon, with their first available surgery on August 18.  Nope, not gonna work...that's the first day of school.  She gave me a couple of other options, I called Chris, and we decided on August 22 as D-Day.  
So I have surgery scheduled on August 22, with a pre-op appointment on August 20 at the hospital and a pre-op appointment with Dr. Rogers on the same day.  So that's the plan.  In the meantime, I've tapered completely off my steroids, which is good, but it makes me nervous at the same time.  I'm definitely ready for the wacky steroid side effects to be gone (night sweats, being wired, hungry all the time, and the 2 worst side effects at the moment in my mind are fat face and swollen, puffy stomach thanks to the 'fat deposits' steroids cause...and no amount of running or sit ups are helping that!), but I hope nothing flares up in the next month while I'm on no medicine and waiting for surgery.  So that's that!  I'm relieved it's scheduled, but all of a sudden I'm quite nervous and scared.  The only surgery I've ever had was tubes in my ears and adenoids out when I was 4.  My mind set all along has been there's no need to dwell on the negatives because what's going to be will be.  So I'll continue to try to stay in a positive place throughout the next month.
An office selfie post phone call from the doctor's office because...well, why not...this blog is full of goofy selfie's! :-)
Your prayers are still very much appreciated, and I'll keep the blog updated!

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  
-Philippians 4:6-7

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

4th of July Weekend

I know I'm a couple days behind, but a super fun weekend has come and gone.  In fact, it was so much fun!  Chris found it to be exhausting, but I found it to be quiet relaxing.  Maybe that's because I'm still hyped up on steroids, ha!!  I got off work early Thursday and picked Sara Kate up from school.  We came home, had dinner and went to dance, before heading to the Northwest Arkansas mall to see the firework show! We met up with our sweet friends, the Vann's, and we sat in a field beside the movie theatre.  It was a great location!  Sara Kate was so excited to see Landry and watch the fireworks with her.  I love these sweet girls so much. They are so precious together.  Sara Kate brought her princesses so they could play while they waited.  And once the fireworks started they sat together and ate popcorn. 
 
Love this picture!!
 
This was our second year to go watch the firework show at the mall, and I'd say it's a great tradition we'll continue in future years!

Friday morning we were up, playing early, and waiting for some very special visitors.  My brother and sister-in-law were coming for a visit from Memphis!  We haven't seen them since Christmas so we were all very excited.  I didn't tell Sara Kate they were coming, but once they got here she started being so goofy and showing off because she was so excited.  We cooked some burgers for lunch before heading out for a fun pool day.
Happy Independence Day from the Michaels family!
Remember my blog from a couple of weeks ago about the little girl who was terrified to get off the steps and clung to me like a monkey??  Well that girl is GONE!!  In the last 2 weeks we have made MAJOR progress on the swimming front.  She's swimming by herself, jumping off the side, and even jumping off the diving board all by herself!!  I am SO proud of her!  
 
video
We spent a couple hours at the pool swimming before it started clouding over pretty good.  We stopped for ice cream on the way home before spending the evening at home cooking out, eating yummy food, and listening to the war zone that was our neighborhood thanks to everyone shooting off fireworks! Sara Kate was exhausted so I had her in bed by 8:30, before the fireworks started going off around us, and thankfully she slept right through it all!

Saturday morning we had a little bit of lazy time before Uncle Phil and Aunt Holly got to see Sara Kate in action in her gymnastics class.  No pictures but she did get a ribbon for being a great listener that said 'I did my best for the Williams Center.'  She was proud of her 'rivvon,' as she called it.  We had a nice lunch downtown at Loafin' Joe's (if you haven't been there, go!  They make their own potato chips and bread...yum!), before doing a little shopping.
And after naps, it was time for more swimming!!  Once again, we had another great afternoon at the pool.
 
And once again, Sara Kate did amazing, swimming all over and going off the diving board over and over and over and over and over and over again.  These still shots crack me up, especially the tongue out, ha!!
 
And because I'm a proud mama, we have more video too. :-)
video
And because Chris is a proud daddy, he took video in slow motion that he's pretty proud of!
video
We took our left over BBQ from Friday night with us to the pool and shared it with our friends, the Morton's, whose pool we had been crashing all weekend.  We had a lovely visit and Sara Kate had fun in 'Mrs. Jane's house!'  We were in the back yard and she sat on this green bench and said, 'Mommy, look at this pretty green bench.  I'm going to sit on it and I want you to take my picture.  It's so pretty and it'll be such a cute picture.'  HAHA!!!  Ok baby girl, whatever you say! :-)
We got home in time for bath and another early bed time, before the fireworks started up again in our neighborhood.  I'm such a old lady when it comes to fireworks, ha!!

Sunday morning brought a lovely church service, brunch, and having to say goodbye to Uncle Phil and Aunt Holly.  We were sad to see them go, but we had an amazing weekend with them, and we're so thankful they came to visit.  I know Sara Kate had a blast with them.
So that was our super fun weekend.  I'm already looking forward to the next holiday weekend and a trip to Memphis soon to visit Phillip and Holly!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

First Day of Summer!

HELLO SUMMER!!  Today is the first official day of summer and we had a full day planned to kick things off!  The other day I realized it's blueberry picking season and I started thinking about how much Sara Kate would love doing that.  She's always asking me to buy blueberries so I thought that's how we should start our day.  We headed out bright and early!
I looked up a couple of local blueberry patches and decided on one that's not too far from where we live, between Elkins and Goshen.  It's called Blue Heaven Blueberry Farm, and it's a cute little place with maybe 5 acres of bushes.  I asked my mother-in-law about going with us and I'm glad she came.  Sara Kate loved having her there with us.
We got there about 8:30 and had a little over an hour to pick before we had to leave to get to Sara Kate's gymnastics class at 10.  We heard a man say the ripest berries were towards the back so we just walked the rows, heading towards the back, and the berries were huge!!  And soooo good!  Sara Kate would put some in her bucket then eat some, ha!  She kept saying 'Ok, ok, this is the last one!'  We learned that the smaller bushes had the biggest berries!
Between the 3 of us, we picked 3 buckets full before Sara Kate and I had to rush to gymnastics.  I think Sara Kate ate berries the whole way back to town.  And after gymnastics, she had to have 'her bag' again.  She loves them!
Chris had a photo shoot in Rogers today so after gymnastics I had planned for us to pick up some lunch and head to a friends house to swim.  It was a perfect pool day!  And what better activity to do on the first day of summer! :-)  Sara Kate told me she wanted a turkey sandwich, chips, and milk for lunch so that's what we had.
 What a goofball!
And after lunch a certain little girl was SUPER excited about swimming!!  I love that smile.
 
But after all her BIG talk over the winter about putting her face in the water and jumping in the water by herself and swimming like a big girl, she was scared and I had to REALLY coax her away from the steps.  She held onto me so tight and I couldn't get her understand that she could float with her floaties on.  She did practice her kicking, blowing bubbles, and floating on her back while holding onto the side.  So that's small progress.  But it was our first time in a big pool this year so I'm sure after a few more times, it'll be no big deal.
I love that we have sweet friends who let us come over whenever and I love going to the pool with my girl.  Being in/near water is one of my all time favorite things.
We headed home about 2:00 and I had plans to use some of those freshly picked blueberries!!  I found a recipe for a blueberry cake and decided I HAD to make it.  Sara Kate helped me buy the ingredients on the way home and she was so excited to make a cake.
 Here's the recipe...it's soooo good!!  I followed the recipe exactly, except I didn't make the crumbly oat topping that goes over the glaze.  And here's my finished product...I don't think I've ever made anything so fancy looking before, ha!!
And here's my adorable little helper with our finished product.  Can I just say, baking with a 4 year old gives me MAJOR anxiety!!  She may have stuck her finger in the batter wanting 'a lick'...she may have turned on my mixer when it was in the off position...she may have licked flour off the counter...or maybe I'm just too high strung, HA!!  That's probably it.  But she loves to help and I really try my best to not be high strung and enjoy these experiences with her.  I know she won't always want to be with mama all the time.
After a busy, busy day, it was an early lights out for a certain little girl!  She didn't fight taking a bath, she didn't fight getting out (even told me she was ready to get out), and she went straight to sleep with no fuss.  Here's hoping that an 8 pm bedtime doesn't bite me in the butt in the morning with a 5 am wake up!!  Fingers crossed! :-)

Hope everyone had a great day, and despite what's going on with me medically right now, we're looking forward to a great summer!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

So I'm in the Hospital...Part 2

My last post was kind of a downer, and I apologize, but that's where we were at the time.  So I think I can start this update with a little bit of good news. The other day the surgeon seemed quite sure about the plan...steroids, another CT scan, another colonoscopy, and surgery.  Quick, fast, boom, done.  We unexpectedly saw him on both Saturday and Sunday, and he seemed more impressed with my progress each day.  He decided to move forward with the CT scan today and make a plan from there.  The GI doctor came in about an hour after the scan and said the inflammation is improving, which is the point of the steroids.  After consulting with the surgeon, the GI doctor said they want to continue the use of the steroids for a little longer because they are doing their job.  The idea is to switch me from IV steroids to an oral steroid taper and possibly send me home tomorrow!  Eeek!!  So I got kind of excited.  Then the surgeon came by this evening and said the same thing...the CT looks better and he wants to continue the steroids to bring down the inflammation as much as possible so he can get the best look during the next colonoscopy.  BUT he said it maybe Wednesday before I go home.  Not definitive, but he's the one in charge.  So that kind of brought me back down, upsetting.  Miss my peeps.
This situation isn't resolved, not even close, but the next colonoscopy, surgery, etc. will not be quite so immediate.  He said once I'm released he will see me as an outpatient within the next 2 weeks for the next colonoscopy and determine how much surgery is necessary.  If the 'proximal colon' (the rest of it, aside from the stricture) is much improved he can maybe just go in and just remove the stricture and not the entire colon (which is what he originally thought).  So that's good news.  

There have been changes on the diet front.  I have been moved from a clear liquid diet to a soft/bland or full liquid diet.  Actually, we're wondering if maybe they messed up the order because yesterday they brought me chicken and mashed potatoes and today they brought me blended vegetable soup (hello baby food consistency...and so gross!!) and pudding for lunch and blended chicken noodle soup (not AS bad...kind of like bland cream of chicken soup) and cream of wheat (no thank you!!) for dinner. I'm experiencing a good bit more pain again today with cramping, and I assume that's because of the diet change.  So that's a fear I have about going home and trying to eat what I'm supposed to to minimize pain.  But I'm sure there will be plenty of discussions about all kinds of stuff before I'm discharged. 
For your viewing pleasure...please don't be jealous, HA!  And for the record, I'm still starving and got upset when I saw blended soup tonight.
When it comes to my sanity at the moment, I am so thankful for the support we've received this week.  Family who have shuttled Sara Kate around...my mom took her to gymnastics, her Meme took her a birthday party, and her daddy took her to a birthday party over the weekend.  All things I usually do, which I missed doing.  Also, my dad came up for just 24 hours. 
Before one party...
 After another party, showing me her balloon...
  
Pictures daddy took during a party so I could see...

And speaking of being thankful, I am beyond thankful for my sweet friends who have come by. I'm so thankful for friends who have just stopped by to chat.  I'm so thankful for friends that have brought me entertainment, like puzzle books, magazines, things to read, and I have some beautiful flowers to look at.  I'm so thankful for friends who have not only thought about me, but have thought about Sara Kate, and have been bringing things for her.  That melts my heart more than anything, that these sweet friends would think of HER also.
I was dreading sitting in the hospital all weekend and the visits, calls, texts, and messages really helped passed the time and made it not so bad.  So THANK YOU!!  

I'll end with one last picture.  Chris brought Sara Kate up this afternoon and she brought her magic wand in with her.  She said 'Bippity boppity boo mommy!  I brought my magic want to make you better!'  Melt my heart sweet girl and cue the tears!
So that's the latest update.  You're prayers are still very much appreciated.  Hopefully my next update will be about my ability to bust out of this joint!  HA!! :-)