Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lots to be thankful for

Sometimes it hits me how surreal our life is.  Sometimes I realize how not-normal our "normal" is.  Sometimes I feel worried, scared or nervous about how our kids are doing, but then we walk through this cancer ward and it really puts things into perspective.  We see mothers crying in the hallway because their children are given a terrible prognosis.  Children that look more ill than any old person that I have seen are not even allowed to leave their rooms for fear of germs.  These are the days where I really embrace all that we really have.  Our home life is better than probably 80-90% of families out there.  I love being home with the kids more; I rarely have to raise my voice.  We all feel happy when Ash comes home from school or Kevin comes home from work.  That is how it should be, but I suspect it is rare for many other families out there.  I don't just love my family- I like them, too, and we enjoy each other.

Today has been a really good day at the hospital.  I feel like we've gotten some answers.  While Zach's ankles are still not great, and he has a bad spot in his back, he's doing pretty well overall.  We were talking and thinking back to when one of the doctors here first looked him over at camp.  He was a mess.  He had huge red sores (plaque psoriasis) all over him.  It was horrible.  Enbrel has given him a chance at a normal life in multiple ways.  Thankfully, 2 years down the line it is still helping him.  We got him a prescription for physical therapy because I'm not sure how to help his pain when he is walking a lot or playing hard.  I have some ideas, but I know that his issues are different from mine and what works for me may not for him.  I'm hoping that will help him to gain some endurance, too.  Otherwise he is doing very well!

We established that Emily's Pulminary Function Test came back with no problems, so that is great.  I thought it would be okay, but one can never be sure.  I spoke to the doctor at length about how her pain levels don't seem to jive.  She still hurts a LOT, and it keeps her from wanting to do much of anything.  We agree that some of it is her age with the hormones starting, some of it is muscle memory, and the adrenal insufficiency isn't helping.  We also discussed the growth problems and how growth hormone may be the key to calming her pain down.  To put this into perspective, I am 4', 9.5" tall.  I have been this height since I was 10.  Emily will be 12 on December 6.  She is 4', 1.5" tall.  I don't want her to be doomed to shortness, but I also believe that those cells not regenerating are storing pain in the nerve endings.  If her joints are good, and her muscle strength is good, then it makes sense.  Some of it is that she needs to stretch more.  We have discussed this often; I know that she is trying, but I think we need to switch it up a bit.  Her knees were bright red for months.  Today they actually looked good, but they still hurt.  I've been telling her that I think her IT bands are tight.  They just need to be stretched and she'll feel better.  It's so hard to get her to want to move.  In any case, I will take this to our previous appointments.  I think that the hydrocortisone is helping quite a bit, so hopefully she will start to feel even better from that soon.  It's a slippery slope but I have hope that soon this will all be easier for her.

One good thing is that this doctor really sees why we need endocrinology.  It makes me feel less like a paranoid, over-reactive mom.  I really try hard not to be like that.  I try to approach things with as much distance as I can, and from a clinical approach.  It can be hard, but I put a lot of thought into everything before we make decisions.  Em & I talk about it, and then Kevin & I talk about it.

As far as I know, tomorrow should just be a fast release home, but we shall see.  Sometimes things sneak up at the last second.  I still have to give our doctors here a copy of her 24 hour urine test that nephrology ordered.  It's all over the place.  Almost every section is flagged.  We see nephrology and pain management next week, and we are awaiting an appointment with endocrinology closer to home.  The endo that we saw once is leaving the hospital, and since it was two-three hours away we wanted to find someone close.  I will let y'all know how those appointments go.  I am praying endo will see her very soon!!!

*Friday note:  Dropping to 0.3mls of steroids!!!  She has been consistently on steroids with no break since October 2010.  Again, she started at 42mgs, which was about 7mls twice a day.  UGH!!!!!  She has come a long way, but finally there is an end in sight!  WOOT!!!  This is exciting!

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