WOW!!! has it really been 2 months since i last posted?! CRAZY!!!!!
Posted Oct 19 2011 12:02pm
i can't really explain why it's been so long since the last post. not a whole lot going on, i suppose. just regular, normal life stuff, i guess, and really, who wants to read about the days passing in their swirl and whirl and swing and song... that's what My Simple Life is for (please don't click that link yet, lest you see how long i have neglected that blog, too! HAHA!) ok, on to the post!..
like i said, life has been moving along fairly normally over the last couple months, which has been delightful, to be honest. sure, there's been some blips, but nothing that had me in a tizzy or running to the blogosphere for support, so i think it's ok. ;) so i'll give you a bit of a recap the kids started back at school, and they're enjoying it. blithe is in grade 4, learning french now, and loving every minute of it. her goal for this year is to get A+ in every subject, and to get into a special arts school in the area for next year. :) she has been really enjoying being on the music and drama teams at our church. she's really blossoming into a beautiful person, and i'm really proud of her.
bram has started grade 2, and seems to be doing fairly well. his reading is really improving, and he's really working hard on focusing and paying attention. his goal for this school year is to "get the exact same grades as last year." his sense of humour, his gentle spirit and love of life are really endearing and inspiring. and in case you're extremely curious, yes, he still has a mohawk. he lets me shave the sides, but not the mohawk itself, which he also won't let me spike. his hair is now almost as long as blithe's at the front! just another one of his little quirks which make him so lovable.
as for asher... well... he's back at school, in senior kindergarten this year. he has the same EA (educational assistant) as last year, which is wonderful. we've all really enjoyed working with her, and asher thinks she hung the moon, so we're all really pleased about that. asher has a different teacher this year, which admittedly caused me a bit of uneasiness initially, but after speaking with the principal and after seeing how asher is doing in school, my concerns are all gone and i'm really happy with how things have gone thus far.
with one exception, which actually has nothing to do with the school itself. asher has already missed about half of the school year due to chicken pox. not that he had them, but in an effort to keep him as healthy as possible, we want to minimize his exposure to these viruses and illnesses. so, home it was for the littlest man. and while i really enjoyed getting to spend so much time with only him, it is so sweet to send him to school, to let him enjoy time with other kids his age, to study butterfly life cycles and learn to read and paint and play at the water table and so on. i am so thrilled that he has this opportunity.
he, however, isn't always so thrilled. i know that, once he gets to school, he enjoys himself and has a great time, but he's really beginning to notice that he's different than other kids. he knows they don't have pacemakers. he knows they don't have EAs. he knows they go to gym. he knows they don't ride on a special bus. he knows. what he doesn't understand is that all of this is to protect him and keep him healthy and safe and give him the best possible school experience, and that we all work as hard as we can to give him as normal a life as possible. he doesn't understand the risks. or he does, and he doesn't like them, so he wants to pretend they don't exist. either way, it's hard to explain to him so that he accepts the situation for what it is. and what it is, is a lot of people who care deeply for him doing everything they can to give him a full, beautiful, Love-filled life. one day, he'll understand, and this, too, shall pass, and we'll get through. we're all aware of his PTSD and other emotional issues. but when he's crying in the mornings because he doesn't want to go to school, that's really tough on me, especially. but this morning's tears only lasted about 15 seconds, so i'm hopeful it's getting better. when he's been in school for a while, he does better, but since he's missed so much this year, it's rough. he'll adjust and get back into the swing of things, too, and that will help.
as for us as a family, we are now official members at the Y, and we have been enjoying this thoroughly. the four of us go swimming at least twice a week (we try for three, but it doesn't always work out), and we're loving that! we're all in better shape, we're happier, and the kids are all becoming increasingly comfortable in the water. monday afternoon, we went swimming together. blithe and bram put on life jackets and swam all over the pool. asher, who grabbed himself a floaty-belt (don't remember the real name for them LOL), clung to me most of the time. in fact, he's attached to me every second that he's in the pool. but on monday, he relaxed a little, and actually held onto my outstretched arm, put his feet out behind him, kicked, and "swam" while i walked around the shallow end. he's making so much progress in the water! i'm so proud of him!!
blithe is taking Creative Dance, bram is taking Tae Kwon Do, and they're both enrolled in swimming lessons. i had thought of putting asher in swimming lessons, too, until... we went swimming together... and he had an absense seizure on the stairs. while i'm holding him in the water, there isn't a whole lot of risk. but if no one is holding him, and he's in the water, and that happens... yeah. he's not in swimming lessons. :( but i figure, if we go often enough together, he'll learn on his own. he may never be the most fantastic swimmer, but he'll do well enough. his endurance is getting better now as a result of this activity, so who knows. the seizures don't happen very often, so maybe in a few months, once i'm a little more comfortable, i'll sign him up again. because, to be honest, it was his first seizure in several weeks, and it had been a while before that, so i'm probably being overly-careful right now. but this is a new situation for us, so i'm holding it as "caution" and not "paranoia." haha we'll just wait and see how this goes for now, and just have fun all together, like we're doing. :)
um, what else has been going on around here?... well... i had been working quite a bit over the last few weeks while my boss was away on vacation, so that was good. exhausting, but good. i also took some giant steps to pursue one of my dreams. i was the "make-up designer" (that's what it says in the program above my bio!! yes, carrie, i have an extra copy, if you're interested) for Tuesdays With Morrie , which was put on in London last week. it was a beautiful production, and every show got a standing ovation. it was an incredible experience, i can't really say enough about it, and i'm thrilled, honoured and humbled that i was given the opportunity to be a part of it.
ok, now that you're all caught up on the normal real-life stuff...
asher had two clinics yesterday: nephrology and gastroenterology. nephro was awesome! as for gastro... well... nephro was awesome!!! ok, it's not that gastro was terrible. just a bit discouraging. so i'll cover it first, and then we'll part on a renal high note, shall we? (wink)
so, we saw gastro because asher is still suffering from chronic GERD (aka reflux, aka heartburn). it is bad enough that he actually says it hurts and prays that God will "help me feel much better." yeah. he's on meds, but they are really only dealing with the heartburn itself and i'd rather address the cause of the GERD, to be honest. so, off we trekked to the clinic.
what began as "simple" GERD (in quotes because, well, it's asher we're talking about, so "simple" is relative) became GERD with chronic constipation. now, since asher has potty trained, i'll admit, i don't keep track of his BMs. but... when doc asked how often asher poops (hey, it's gastro. what do you expect?! haha!), i stopped and thought about it, and i realized... asher rarely poops. and i mean... maybe once every few weeks. and then i started thinking even more... that would explain why asher doesn't eat much... and probably why he doesn't gain weight very well... and doc reminded me that, if he's full of poop, everything gets backed up and there's nowhere for the stomach to put anything, and that causes more reflux. i reminded him of the vagus nerve damage asher had had, which i believed had healed. but he confirmed that the vagus nerve could still be a factor, since it enervates the esophagus, and if the esophagus isn't getting the signal to send things back down into the stomach, reflux will be a chronic problem.
and the longer i think about this... asher has had issues with his esophagus from the get-go. he had a swallow study done when he was 4 weeks old, just days after being discharged from SickKids the first time. they found a total lack of swallow reflex. sure, stuff went down, and he wasn't gagging very often, but we all watched as the formula (the thickest formula) just kind of spilled down his throat as opposed to being pushed and prodded by the muscles. i mentioned to him that resp had done a CT scan recently and they had found "stuff" in his lungs. this might be due to infections or something, granted, but it's also possible that asher's throat issues have not, in fact, cleared up as well as we'd thought and this is, in fact, evidence of aspiration. sigh...
he prescribed increasing asher's lansoprazole to twice daily, which should help, but again, doesn't address the cause of the GERD. he also recommended a laxative, which might help, as well. if everything is cleared out and keeps moving (the laxative would be an on-going thing), we hope to see a decrease in reflux and an increase in appetite. so, we go back in january for follow-up.
the other issue that came up was one that i have actually wondered about idly over the last couple months: celiac disease. doc seems to think it's a possibility, but he would like to investigate the other queries first before looking into a radical life-style change. which i appreciate. haha but i just might begin working some gluten-free foods into our diet over the next little while, in case this is the issue, and then the change won't be quite so dramatic.
all that being said... as we were walking to the desk to book a follow-up, doc asked, "has asher ever had a study done to see how things work in there?" i told him about the swallow study at four weeks, but there really hasn't been anything further since then. he thought for a moment, then said, "sometimes kids with congenital heart defects can also have a twist or malrotation in their bowel. when he got his G-tube, did they look for that?" i said, "not that i know of. no one said anything to me about it." he is going to be talking to Interventional Radiology (they're the ones who put in the GJ-tube and then changed it to a G) to see if they ever looked, or noticed anything. if they haven't, we're going to look into this right away.
so, what started as "simple" GERD has become something much bigger. and my heart hurts a little bit more today. :( i know it's not the end of the world, but things had been going so smoothly, and then to find out that he might have further issues just leaves me feeling sad. so prayers/vibes/crossed crossables would be very much appreciated.
and now for something completely different.
after gastro and a quick trip up to Tim Horton's (we hadn't eaten all day - stupid ultrasounds! haha), we saw nephro. asher's BP was low by all standards except nephro, because they like low BPs (81/55, anyone?). they say that's "perfect." ok... i'm going with it, since there really isn't much you can do to make his BP go up, so whatever. haha doc looked over the ultrasound from that morning and said, "wow! this is dramatically improved over last time! if you didn't know to look for anything, this would be taken as normal!" i picked myself up off the floor, resisted the urge to hug him, and said, "really?!?!" apparently, there is a small cyst in the left kidney, but it's been there all along, apparently, and hasn't changed size, so doc's not worried about it. in fact, i suspect he would have discharged us completely but for the UTI asher had a few months back, so we go back in a year. that's right, 2012!!!! i don't remember the last time i was so happy leaving an appointment!!
so, to recap, gastro was upsetting but eye-opening and at least we have a plan, and nephro was AWESOME!!!!
and now you're caught up.
have a wonderful day today! i'm so sorry about the length of this post. i'll try to post more frequently to avoid posts like this in the future. :S