Sunday, January 31, 2010

Garden Drive, take II

Remember this one?

Well, this is the same room now.

Even the ceiling looks great.

Nicely done, Christian. Nicely done.

Friday, January 29, 2010

all the gory details

We took Megan to the Pediatric Urology department at Primary Children's hospital this morning. And the verdict is...

Ok, background first. Megan has what is referred to as VC Reflux. In completely unmedical terms, I will explain it for those who would like to know. If you don't want to know, skip this part.

Urine collects in your kidneys and passes down through a small tube into the bladder. When the bladder is full, the inner wall of the bladder expands and presses up against the outer wall. That expansion puts pressure on the tube and essentially creates a valve effect without an actual valve, closing the tube off so nothing can travel back up. That's how it's supposed to work.

In Megan's case, the muscles in her bladder are not strong enough to close off the tubes, thus allowing urine to travel back up and collect within the tube and up into the kidneys.

It is considered a birth defect, but generally isn't diagnosed until infections appear, just like with Megan. Often, children with this condition only have the problem on one side. It is rated from a 1 to a 5--1 means there is only a slight reflux, with things kind of getting back up into the tube, 3 is when things start getting back into the kidney, 5 is when enough gets back up that it actually starts permanently damaging the kidney tissue. Megan has this condition on both sides. The right side is rated at a 3 (or a little more--the doctor said "3+" but that's not a real rating). The left side is rated at a very solid 4, only because there is no kidney damage apparent yet. Yet.

With a 4, there is a 20% chance that the problem will resolve on its own, with complications still possible for the rest of her life.

Treatment option 1: preventitive antibiotics. Megan can take antibiotics every day simply to prevent her developing any infections while giving her muscles time to grow stronger, in hopes that the problem will resolve itself. The tests will be repeated every year or so to check for progress.

Treatment option 2: surgery. The surgery done in this case starts with a small incision at the base of the abdomen. Those two tubes I mentioned, one on each side, would be disconnected from their current position and that hole sutured together. The tubes would be reattached at a higher place along the bladder wall, so they will be higher above the usual "waterline" of the urine, and they will be passed through a longer section of the wall so there is more muscle there to close it off. I have a picture of the picture the doctor drew on the whiteboard in the exam room:

but it doesn't really make sense unless I could point to all the different parts and explain what they are, which doesn't much work on a blog. The major thing you can see in the picture is the difference between the two sides. On the left, you can see what it's supposed to look like. On the right (her left), you can see that the tube is expanded and not straight, and the collection areas in the kidney at the top are no longer uniform in shape.

Our chosen treatment plan:
a combination of

Right at the moment, surgery is not realistically an option. General anesthesia is dangerous in a person so young. By the time a baby reaches 6-9 months, risks with anesthesia are the same as those for an adult. So we need to wait at least that long. In the meantime, we will continue giving her antibiotics every day to prevent her from getting any infections.

From what we know, having heard the same story from the pediatrician and the pediurologist, surgery does seem like a desirable option. 20% is not great odds for letting the problem correct itself, and if we do, there is a good chance that she will have multiple infections and still be at risk for kidney damage down the road. In addition to that, there is a chance that this problem could make it hard for her to get pregnant when the time comes, and when she does, she may not be able to carry a pregnancy to term.


This particular surgery has a 98% success rate and fixes the problem permanently. There is very little risk involved, beyond the normal risk with surgery in general.

After discussions with the doctor about the rating of her condition, and our current insurance situation, the plan now is to wait until June and have Megan tested again. If there is major progress, we will continue the antibiotics. If there is little or no progress, we will go with surgery.

The timing is pretty good...we have already met our deductibles (having a baby is handy for that). In the summer, I will be done with school and will be able to stay with Megan for her two days in the hospital and the 10-14 days of recovery without worrying about missing anything.

And now you know. Probably more than you wanted to.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Week 3 - Belated Birthday Present

18 weeks to go. Tonight my life feels like one big countdown. I've never been so excited for the end of a school year. Or so repeatedly excited for Thursday...


Jane has one birthday present that we have yet to blog. She got it from my mom, Grandma Karrie.

if you scroll down quickly, you, too, can watch her open it!

It wasn't until last weekend that Chris finally got the box out of the car and set up the house.

And yes, Jane loves it.

She is also showing signs of being an accomplished multi-tasker. If I ever need a message taken, I can count on her to get it all written down.


We are taking Megan to see a pediurologist on Friday.
We'll keep you posted.

p.s. happy 1st birthday dalton!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Week 2


I was rather stressed last night. My house was a mess. I had wanted to come home early to clean, but I ended up staying late instead after 19 students failed a math test and I had to change my lesson plans. Jane is very much a 2-year-old, with all that that implies, so she didn't really let me get anything done in the evening, either.


Today, I opted to ditch on a meeting I was supposed to attend and go home instead. Laura Lee kept the girls at day care just a little bit longer than usual (thank you again!) and I was able to turn it all into this:

Much better.

Last week, I was worried about how things were going to go with Chris being gone. I spent a lot of time and energy finding the good things about the deal. All told, it was a good week, even if I wasn't excited for it.

This week, however, it's starting to sink in just a bit that we really are doing this and not just talking about it. Tannie asked which night is the hardest...with only two weeks to go on, I'd say Tuesday. Sunday and Monday seems like we just started, Wednesday seems like we're almost done. But Tuesday? It's been forever since Chris was home and it's still forever before he comes back.

The real kicker is going to school every day. If I were just home taking care of my house and kids, that would be one thing. But I still have to go to work for eight hours (or more) every day, too. School wears me out and takes a lot of brain capacity. It is nice to have something to occupy me during the day so I'm not just laying around wallowing in self pity, but it sure takes effort.

I keep thinking how much easier this would be if I could quit my job and stay home. Then I think that if I did quit my job, none of this would be happening. I would move to Salt Lake with Chris and we wouldn't have to do this. But then I tell myself to stop thinking that because it would be bad if I quit my job, for a lot of different reasons.


The other thing that's bugging me a lot is my arm. Remember when I fell on the ice? And went to Instacare because I thought my right arm might be broken? Well, if I hadn't already had x-rays done, I'd probably get them now because it still hurts bad enough that it still feels like it could be broken. The problem is that I really can't let it rest and recover. There is too much I have to do myself that can't reasonably be done with one hand, and my left hand at that.

I have to teach. I write on the board often. When my arms hurts, I write with my left hand instead. My class has gotten quite a kick out of my terrible left-hand handwriting. It is improving, but I still can't manage the number 8 on my first try.

I have to write. Sure, I can fake it on the board. But on official paperwork, or anything I want to be able to read later, I need my right hand.

I have to be a mom. I can't pick up a baby with one hand. Or change diapers with one hand. Or do pretty much anything with Jane with one hand.

I have to open doors. This sounds dumb, but we have those doorknob covers that prevent Jane from opening the doors we don't want her to open. Those covers are on seven of the eleven doors in our house--I counted. It takes just enough twisting to get the door to open that it really tweaks my arm. Ouch. arm just isn't getting better. And I'm not doing much to help it. My one consideration would be to try a sling, but I go back and forth. On the one hand, it would be good because it would keep my arm more stable in general and it would also be a regular reminder to me to quit using my arm unless absolutely necessary. But on the other hand, there are all those things I really need two hands to do. I wouldn't be able to wear a sling at home at all, probably. I could at school, though, particularly with having a student teacher who is already taking over a lot of the classroom workload.

But...I'm allergic to everything. If I had a sling, I would have to always wear long sleeves and find something to wrap around the strap so it doesn't rub on my neck. I was talking to Chris and he had the idea of making a sling out of some old jeans we have lying around. Denim is cotton so I'm not allergic, and it would be strong enough to support my arm. I don't know how to sew, though, and even if I did I wouldn't know how to go about making something like that. If anyone out there is feeling crafty...

So, my arm hurts and I wish I didn't have to go to school. But I didn't have to cook dinner tonight.

And my kids are cute.

Life is still good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Wardrobe

Hooray for starting bonuses at new jobs...

Having two babies has, oddly enough, changed the way my clothes fit. To be more specific, they don't fit. Things don't hang right, not everything buttons up quite how it get the idea. Luckily for me, Chris was given a starting bonus from L3 and I was able to use a chunk of it to revamp my wardrobe.

9 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, socks, and a few earrings and necklaces later, I'm all set for school again. Funny thing--last week, I was having a hard time getting dressed every morning because I couldn't find anything I wanted to wear. Now I can't decide what to wear tomorrow because I have too many new things. :) That's way more fun.

Jane got some new clothes, too. Her dresses have sadly become much too short. While Jess and I were out today (thanks again for the company, Jess), we kept our eyes out for sales on toddler dresses. I think we did well. I'm especially excited for her to wear the pink and brown polka-dotted dress:

I also bought her new church shoes. That is much less exciting. She had perfectly good shoes. They still fit, and they had a lot of wear left in them. But, my theory, Jane threw one away. There was one day when we were cleaning the house that we had a large box sitting next to the front door that we were tossing garbage into. I'm convinced that Jane put her shoe in that box without us noticing and it ended up in the dumpster. Lame.

On the fun side, Jane received some dress-up clothes from Lilly and Laura Lee for her birthday. Tonight was the first time we got them all out of the packages. She spent a LONG time standing in front of the mirror...

P.S. I was able to borrow Alice in Wonderland from my parents when we were in Salt Lake on Saturday. But thank you, Delia, Tannie, and Megan for offering!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Request

Does anyone have the movie
Alice in Wonderland?

My class's vocabulary words next week are from The Walrus and the Carpenter. I thought it would be fun to show the video clip from Alice in Wonderland. If anyone in Logan has it and is willing to let me borrow it, please let me know. Actually, if anyone is Salt Lake has it, that might work, too. We'll be down there on Saturday.

Have you ever built a tower taller than yourself?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Week 1

Chris started at L3 on Monday. Hurray for a real job!

On the downside, that means that the girls and I have been without him since Sunday night. It's not my most favorite thing ever. The hardest times are eating lunch at school and going to bed at night. Odd, maybe, but Chris ate lunch with me at school quite often. I find myself still checking the classroom door to see if he's coming or looking at my phone to see if he's texted that he's on his way. But he isn't. And going to bed...well, that's the most obvious time that he isn't home. And I miss him.

But I'm trying to look for the good in things. In these last three days, there are a few things that I've found that make it ok for him to be gone for a while.

I get to park in the garage. No more scraping windows.

I can watch whatever I want on tv, even--gasp!--American Idol.

I am more motivated to clean. If I don't do it, it just won't get done. And then we'd have to live in a messy house.

My phone never dies. I hardly ever think to charge my phone until it dies while I'm in the middle of a call. I way don't want my phone to die while talking to Chris, so I plug it in pretty much any chance I get.

I have the mail key. It's been a long time since I could check the mail.

I can read in bed for as long as I want without keeping anyone awake.

People feed us. Thank you, Tannie, for having us over for dinner! And thank you ward Relief Society for arranging for dinners once a week, too. Thanks Candice and Julie!

I can see better how many people around us are looking out for my family.

^ * ^ * ^ * ^ * ^
Chris comes home tomorrow.
One week down.

Twenty to go.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My dancin'!

Jane turned two last Thursday! We celebrated on Saturday with her two friends, Lilly and Claire.

On Saturday, the invitations were already sent out... Jane spent the morning hanging out...

...while Mom and Dad did all the work. Of course, if you happened to get an air compressor for Christmas, blowing up balloons is a cinch.

How else can you blow up balloons and talk on the phone at the same time?

It took all day, but we finally had the house really clean (it's been a while...) and everything ready for the party.

The fun started with coloring--on paper plates.

We folded the plates in half, filled them with beans, and taped it all shut to make shakers. Why?

To dance with, of course!

And, courtesy of the air compressor, we got to dance with balloons, too.

Jane didn't quite understand the concept of blowing out the candles, but the cake still tasted good.

We opened presents,

and played with the new blocks Jane got from Mom and Dad.

And an hour after Claire and Lilly had gone home:

Jane was still playing with the blocks. That was a good gift.

This was my first experience throwing a true "kid" party. I think it worked!

happy birthday audrey jane!