Monday, April 14, 2014

Match results

Well, if you live under a rock, you may not have heard my kids screaming from the rooftops as they heard the match results.  It's been a crazy time around here and I am still not sure how it could possibly be the 14 already.  Match day was April 1... 2 weeks ago.  It was all over Facebook, but I case you didn't see it, Justin matched to the foot and ankle fellowship at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA.  We are all thrilled with the results.  Our kids wanted to go there because of the chocolate. I wanted to go there because of the access to history sites for us to visit. Justin loved the program. And let's be honest now, chocolate, HersheyLand, hersheyWorld, chocolate...really there is a ton to see and do out there.  I have started a bucket list for Hershey on Pinterest.  It is all the places that I hope to visit while we are living in Hershey.  It is 1 year, 52 weekends, to see and do all that the northeast has to offer.  And I feel sure that we will miss a lot!
We, thanks to Felicity's teacher, discovered that she will be in 5th grade while we are there. 5th grade is when they learn so much of the US history stuff, the constitution, wars, everything. And we will be there and can go experience some of these places with her. So excited!

Also, we get to go to Broadway.  I am deciding that now.  I need to see something on Broadway.  And I want to go see Niagara Falls and Amish country...there is just so much, and I am so excited! 

What do you think I should add to my Pinterest Bucket List?--

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fellowship and moving...

It is hard for me to believe that we are in the midst of the Match process all over again...I thought I had a post about the whole match process in my old blog, but I don't see it anywhere.  So a very very quick run down of the process for you... 
-Justin submits applications.  
-Justin gets invited for interviews. 
-Justin goes on interviews.  
-Any place justin interviews at goes onto a list.  
-Any residents that get interviewed by programs go on a list.  
-Each resident takes every program they interviewed at and creates a rank list.  If they are willing to go to a program they put it in a list called the rank list. The list is ordered from most preferred to least preferred.  (If you absolutely positively would not go to a program, you don't rank it) 
-Each program takes their list of residents they interviewed and creates a rank list.  Their list is of applicants they want in their program.  They rank them from most preferred to least preferred. 
-Both residents and programs submit their rank lists to the Match System, in this case the San Francisco Match. 
-The match system takes a very complicated algorithm and magically figures out where everyone goes based on those rank lists.  Ideally everyone matches, but that isn't the case.  Some match, some don't.  Some get in at their first choice some get in at their last choice.  

So, even the quick run down is a long list... Ugh!  It's an annoying process.  It would be wonderful to go back to the you have been accepted and have 10 days to accept...  But really I see the logic in this process and it probably is easier on all of us and them to do it this way, allbeit horribly stressful!  

It's been a fun process for us this time around.  Their are fewer fellowship programs than residency programs.  In all we applied to 19 programs.  And I say we because I did lots of leg work on the applications and even though I am not going into the program, I still get to go through it all.  Justin ended up with 10 interviews, possibly 11, we are still waiting on an email back from one.  And it is quite a list of places.  From Baltimore to Seattle.  

So what are the prospects? First... Justin is applying to the Foot and Ankle Orthopedic fellowship.  It is a one year specialty training where he will focus everything on the foot and ankle.  He will get lots of experience doing foot and ankle surguries and hopefully become an expert and ready to be the foot and ankle doc for the entire Fort Smith Arkansas area... :) 

Here's our list:
Rochester, NY
Hershey, PA
Baltimore, MD (x2)
St Louis, MO
Galveston, TX
Dallas, TX
Redwood City, CA
Seattle, WA
Milwaukee, WI
Cleveland, OH

See check out that list!  (Incidentally, they are listed in a circle going around geographically from the northeast and back) How amazing are these places.  It's for 1 year and we could experience some amazing things.  There are draws to each of the different areas.  I have my favorites, Justin has his.  It will be amazing and awesome no matter where we end up. Think about these places... 

Rochester, NY...close to Palmyra, Niagara Falls, in NY, northeast, (allbeit, very cold winters)
Hershey,, Hershey? Need I say more... But also, close to Phili, Baltimore, DC, northeast.
Baltimore, MD...big city, harbor, coast, 7 hours from my sister history lesson in living, northeast, proximity, etc...
St Louis, Dallas and Galveston are all close proximity to family, friends and Fort Smith, makes house shopping easier and keeps us in the Midwest which we have grown to love.
Redwood City, CA... CAlifornia...closer to Vegas, fun town, San Francisco, 
Seattle, WA...beautiful Seattle. It's gorgeous up there.  I love the green even if it does rain a lot! 
Milwaukee, WI... So close to Chicago where I grew up. 
Cleveland, OH... Fun town, adventure for a year.  

I mean, really I can find something in all of these places.  But I do may have my favorites.  On April 1 we will find out by email where Justin matched too...  It's a big buildup to such a small little email, but it will be so exciting.  Fortunately, we find out in April where we will move in July of 2015, so we have a year to prepare, instead of just a couple months like the med school to residency transition.  It will be one year to learn and grow and experience brand new things.  I can't wait to find out where the next step in our adventure leads us.  It will be so fun to see where we are going!  

Do you have a vote? Where do you think we will end up?  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Timothy-18 Months

18 months... It is just a little hard to believe that my little baby is actually 18 months old. He is growing so much. He talks like crazy. Climbs like a pro. And has already been moved up to a twin bed. How in the world has this happened!?!? 

At the doctor today he did great. Got 2 shots and was a champ. He is growing and staying right along his growth curve that he has always been on. He is healthy and growing well. 

Aside from the doctor appt. he is doing great. He is nearly always happy. He wakes up everyday at 6am most days and very cutely calls momma while knocking on the door. He likes to play ball and play with his cars and little people. He loves dogs and loves feeding them. He exudes happiness in all he does. I have rarely seen a child so happy so much of the time. Yes I'm bragging. I have been spoiled with this guy. He is a momma's boy most of the time, unless his dad gets him out of bed. He loves his siblings and wants to always be with them. He eats just about anything. He naps nearly 3 hours a day. I am so glad that Timothy is a part of our family and couldn't imagine it without him. 

Happy 18 months Timothy!  Keep growing, learning and making us all smile. Love you little man! 

Pseduotumor Cerebri, IIH

So I thought I should post an update on the medical issues that I have been faced with... 

On Valentine's Day, 2014, I went in for a lumbar puncture. I was nervous for the results.  Slightly worried that it would be obvious just from the appearance that something major was wrong and I would be sent off to the hospital, admitted immediately, no time to take care of things with the kids or anything. It was a ridiculous fear. I wasn't worried about the procedure at all. Just the results of the procedure. 

Justin met me at the Neurologists office that day. He was lucky enough to get finished with his clinic early enough to meet me for my noon arrival time.  I was so glad that he was there.  After taking my vitals, I was eventually led into the room where the procedure would take place.  The doctor came in, explained how everything would go, and then left the room while I changed.  It was a nearly painless process.  The worst of it was the local anesthetic they used to numb my back before inserting the giant needle into my spinal cavity... It was an odd feeling when it went it. I didn't feel pain, but I could feel when it went into in... The procedure took about 45 minutes.  The nurse held my legs, the doctor did her job and Justin sat across the room, doing who knows what, I couldn't even see him. As they were watching the dial go up and up and up, they were preparing to put an additional meter on, because my pressure was so much higher than normal.  But it eventually stopped and they didn't need to switch meters. Turned out the pressure in my Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) was at 33, and normal is 20-25.  She said it is really high and that I should definitely start the medication to lower it. She was actually really surprised that I hadn't had any blurry vision from the optic nerve swelling.  My diagnosis was confirmed (Pseudotumor Cerebri OR Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension) at that point and I finally had answers.  (though they were running tests on my CSF just to make sure there was no infection.) She showed me my CSF in the vials after she took it out.  It was completely clear.  Looked like water in the vials... They took about 5 vials I think out to run all their tests. I had to stay laying down for 45 minutes on the table in the office after wards. Then she said I had to spend as much time as possible laying flat for the next 24 hours. (So much for Valentine's day).

As I left the office, I got a call from my Neuro-Ophthalmologist who told me about the results and asked me to begin taking the medication on Sunday morning as long as I didn't have a spinal headache.  So I came home, and I laid on the couch the entire afternoon, evening and most of the next day.  I honestly have no clue how people on bedrest manage for more than a day.  I was going insane by the end of 3 hours! But I listened and with the exception of meals, bathroom trips and an hour sitting in the recliner to give my hip a break, I stayed laying down.  Sunday morning I woke up to hear Jaicie had been throwing up all night (how did I sleep through that, poor girl managed it all by herself), news of a friends baby in the hospital - which Justin rushed off to help, and me - dizzy if I sat up, and light headed and starting a new medication, which I couldn't drive on. YAY Me!  SO the kids and I stayed home from church. Justin visited our friend and their baby in the hospital. Jaicie slept most of the day and the other three didn't full understand why I was still laying down.

Monday morning I woke up to the absolutely worst headache of my life.  When they told me I would have the worst headache of my life after my spinal tap, this is what I expected - when it never came Saturday and Sunday I thought I had escaped it... If I lifted my head off the pillow it hurt more.  II spent the majority of the day laying down. But when I felt a little better, I decided to run a quick trip to the store and to pick up Collin's new mattress.  I needed some caffeine to take for the headache, because I hear my medication makes carbonation taste gross. I shouldn't have gone out, the headache was horrendous after the sun hit my face. But I was able to get done what I needed. Then I came home and laid back down and stayed the way the rest of the day (the kids were out of school that day) Tuesday the headache let up a little, but it was still awful, wednesday it was horrendous again.  I went in for my followup appointment with my Neuro-ophthalmolgist and found out a couple things: 1. the medicine is working, the swelling of my optic nerves has gone down. 2. the medication shouldn't be casuing my headaches - so i needed to go off the meds to make sure I didn't have a spinal leak (cause if I did, lowering it would make it worse and worse, not a good idea). 3. that nothing else is wrong with me, my brain just produces too much CSF and the medication will help that and the swelling will go down. 

So Wednesday night I skipped my meds, Thursday I had a headache, but nothing too horrible. Friday and Saturday I went the whole day with nearly no headache. It was delightful. Saturday evening I restarted the medication, but opted for a gradual build up to the regular dose.  Started with 1 pill 2 times a day. Today I will go up to 1 pill in the morning and 2 at night and Thursday I will go up to 2 pills 2 times a day. Hopefully, this will make some of the side affects (read headaches) stay away! 

So what are the side affects:  1. well, the headaches are listed as a side affect, so far since restarting the headaches I have only had very minor aches, nothing that keeps me down. 2. The tingling!  AHHH the tingling is AWFUL! Imagine your hands, feet and face all falling asleep at the same time and then the tingling starts as they are trying to wake know the tingling I am talking about right? The pins and needles, prickley feeling that everyone hates!  Well that happens all the time to me.  Yesterday one of my feet was tingling so bad that it brought tears to my eyes.  Am I a baby, maybe, but it was truly an awful feeling.  I heard that potassium can help, but I HATE bananas. So I am attempting to drink LOTS of water, because dehydration can contribute to it.  3. Less water retention - who can argue with that...I am retaining less water, which hopefully will help with my weight loss... who knows! 4. Bad taste of carbonation. Um, I am too scared to find out how it tastes, because I want to be able to stomach the taste of it someday when I get off this medication.5. UPset Stomach... I have noticed the nausea feeling a lot lately, and I hate it. But it isn't so bad that I can't deal with it.  Just annoying.

No what it the long term plan... well, I go back in 3 months for a followup with the Neuro Ophtho. I will stay on the medication for the time being. I will continue to work hard to loose weight (which should contribute to lessening of the symptoms). The plan is that I will not always be on the medication. That we will get everything under control now and I should be able to stop taking it. I cannot under ANY circumstances get pregnant (darn, wasn't planning on that anyway) because the medication causes harm to the baby. I will go forward doing everything I can to get myself better, dealing with the side effects and hoping that my 14 pound weight loss thus far will continue and my brain will benefit from that. It has all been a lot to take in.  But I think we are on the trail to getting it taken care of. And it gives me a really good excuse to work harder...and maybe buy an elliptical or treadmill or something I can use to exercise at home! :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Worries, Fears and Blessings.

There is something wonderful in my blog posting today.  Over the past couple weeks I have been filled with dread, fear and worrying.  About 2 1/2 weeks ago, my optometrist told me that he was concerned about some swelling of my optic nerve. He said it was caused by extra pressure in my brain and he really wanted me to go in and have it looked at by a specialist.  He told me he was worried I may have what's called PseudoTumor Cerebri.  PseudoTumor is a false tumor that mimics the symptoms of a brain tumor.  I have had migraines, dizziness and numbness for months this solidified any thoughts as to where those may be coming from. Regardless of whether or not there were other explanations for the symptoms, now I had a doctor telling me that these symptoms could all be connected and it could be a PseudoTumor...but then it occurred to me that a false tumor, mimicking the symptoms of a normal tumor...hold on now, I have the symptoms of a brain tumor.  It was a very difficult and emotional couple of weeks for me.  I fretted mostly over how I would tell my father and siblings if there was a brain tumor.  My poor father lost his mother to a brain tumor, his wife to cancer, and his father to a whole slew of problems. I couldn't bare the thought of having to tell him or any of my siblings that I might have a brain I didn't tell them anything.  I was so scared and worried about how much it would devastate all of them if that is what the doctor said.  I just couldn't imagine what would happen. I even dreamed up a trip to Vegas to sit down with my dad and 2 of my brothers to give them the news face to face...under the guise of just flying in cause i missed them. (guess I can never use that one huh).  I figured out how I would get my dad there and how how I would work it all out...I just had to figure everything out, just in case.  I couldn't very well tell them something that big over the phone...

It is very difficult to lay in a small tub with your head
padded so it doesn't move for over an hour... just in
case you were wondering. 
So that's been my last 2 1/2 weeks.  Yesterday I went to my appointment with the specialist.  Dr. Patel is a Neuro Ophthalmologist with the Dean McGee Eye Institute at OU.  He did my exam and looked at my eyes and talked to me about my symptoms... and then he said, okay, I need you to get an MRI immediately, today if at all possible and then we will schedule you for a spinal tap and then start you on medication.  The MRI was to rule out a brain tumor. The spinal tap is to test the pressure and screen the cerebral spinal fluid in my brain... YAY for me.  I think it was the urgency he sent me for an MRI that really got me even more freaked out.  I was pretty convinced between about noon yesterday and 8 am this morning that I had a brain tumor.  Justin wasn't. He seemed pretty sure I was fine. Regardless of my worries yesterday, I knew that everything would be okay, no matter what the results were of the MRI. I told a friend that regardless of what I found out, I was going to be okay.  We would work through whatever we found out and everything would be okay.

So when the phone rang this morning and the Caller ID read an OU number I tried to stay calm...but I wasn't at all... The doctors secretary said: Ms Clayton Dr. Patel would like to speak with you do you have a minute to talk with him now.  I said yes and she said okay, just a minute.  Then Dr. Patel picked up the phone and told me he got the results and the everything came back normal.  He then went into the explanation of what comes next, the spinal tap getting scheduled, a follow up downtown and medication started after the spinal tap.  It didn't matter much to me what he said after the MRI was normal. My brain is good!  I don't have a brain tumor.  I don't have to figure out how to tell my family that.  Telling them it was normal would be easy.  I took a few deep breathes and listened to all the doctors instructions and then send Justin a text to let him know it was clear.  "Told ya" was what he had to say. 

As I shared the good news with the people I needed to share it with it was reassuring to realize that I had a long list of people to notify, because it meant that I had a lot of people that cared for me.  And had it been the worst case scenario, I knew I would have been well taken care of.  It is amazing to me the caliber of friends I have here in OKC and every where that were concerned with what was going on.  I am so glad to know that i have amazing people around me.  If I don't get to live close to my family, I am so grateful that I am blessed with amazing people that love and care about me. Those who thought about me and prayed for me and watched my kid most of the day yesterday and ran me all over town to doctors appointments and sent me messages by text and email to let me know they were thinking about me.  I have truly amazing friends around me, so thank you to you all.

And just for comedic affect... here is an awesome clip sharing my sentiments exactly!

So rest assured... IT'S NOT A TOOMAH AT ALL!!!!

Incidentally, I should explain the actual results as we know them right now. I do have swollen optic Nerves.  As of right now the assumption is that I have Pseudotumor Cerebri. We will not know that for sure until AFTER the spinal tap which as of right now isn't officially scheduled yet. At the spinal tap they will measure the pressure in my brain and spinal cord as well as run some other tests on the actual cerebral spinal fluid. They will test for meningitis and other infections that could cause increased pressure (Just to make sure).  There is still not a ton known about what I have, but like I said the assumption is Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC).  Once I have the spinal tap I will begin taking a medication used to treat Glaucoma, which helps to reduce the production cerebral spinal fluid.  This will decrease the pressure.  Best of all, one of the best ways to treat PTC is the loose weight if you are overweight.  Since I am 6 pounds down since starting weight watchers last week, I am counting myself on the right track for it all.  Its amazing what random extra 20 pounds can do to your brain!  Glad to be on the right track there. 

Its all a long drawn out explanation and a long drawn out process of figuring it all out, but I have a few extra blessings to count today and I am so glad to be able to count them. Thanks to anyone who thought about me, prayed for me, whether or not you know what was going on.  Thanks to you all!  And thanks to everyone that helped me yesterday with various things throughout the day!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A few do my favorite things--- thanksgiving edition

I have an innumerable amount of things to be thankful for and only a few minutes to write this post tonight.  So I will highlight some of my favorites.  

#1 my husband
Justin is everything to me.  He is such a support to me.  I would be lost without him.  He fell into my life nearly 12 years ago and has changed me for the better ever since.  I love him and am thankful for the life, love and family he has given me.  Justin, you make me look good. You are my much better half and I love you more than I could ever put into words.  I love you forever. 

#2 my children
Did you know that motherhood (parenthood in general) is really hard.  It one of my biggest challenges I have ever faced.  Regardless of the hurdles we have to cross, sometimes daily, my children are 4 of the best things that ever happened to me (Justin being the first).  They bring so much adventure into my life.  While there may be difficult days where I struggle to remember what I love about this job, it is and always will be my favorite job.  They are the light in my days, they put smiles on my face, make me laugh, make me cry, make me love them more and more every day.  Jaicie, Felicity, Collin and Timothy: I cannot imagine a world in which you didn't exist.  I can't even Hardly remember a time when I didn't get to have you guys call me mom.  I love you more than life and more than you will ever know, until at least the time you have your own kids call you mom and dad. I love you for always!

#3 our parents
Justin and I have both been through the loss of a parent.  Mom died 8 years ago next spring and Justin's dad died 2 years ago this January.  But for both of us the relationships that we had and have with both our parents and our in-laws have always been treasured.  I miss my mom more everyday. I miss Justin's dad everyday. Not in the same way as my mom, but still miss him dearly.  

My dad is an amazing man.  He has been through so much in his life and been such an example to me of what I want my kids to have from me.  From loosing his mother, to loosing my mother and loosing his father and every battle in between and since he has always been strong in heart to the things that matter most.  I love you daddy, thanks me being you! 

My mother in law is another exemplary woman.  She lost her mom at a young age and has been such a sweet and wonderful support through loosing my mom.  She has lifted me when I needed lifting, made me laugh when I needed to, and let me cry to her when I couldn't bear to let anyone else know I was crying.  She is a rock in my life and I am so grateful, that if Heavenly Father needed to take my mom home too early, that he put another woman in my life that I could call mom and not feel guilty.  She isn't my mother, but she is a mom to me.  Thank Maureen, I love you and am so grateful for you in my life. 

#4 our siblings
Between Justin and I we have 9 living siblings, all of which have married and had children.  So 9 siblings, 9 spouses (or ex spouses), and 39 combined nieces and nephews (though it is possible my math is wrong, somewhere around there though.) All of which have had an influence in our lives.  I love each of you and am so glad to have you as part of my life.  So:Michelle, Steven, Kevin, Jeffrey, Paul, Taft, Shane, Brett and Phillip, thank you for being who you are and for being a part of our lives.  Sorry we don't talk more often but we love you and your families.  Keep up the good work and keep moving forward!  

#5 My friends
I would be lost without the dear friends I have in my life.  I sincerely hope that you know who you are because if I start going through all the ways my dear friends have touched my life, I may never be able to stop.  Too the friends who drop everything and help with my kids, bring me dinner when I am sick, watch my dog when we go out of town, listen to me talk, let me listen to you talk, let me watch your kids, let me help when I can, and bring me random fudge and other treats...and to all the ones my brain can't think of, thank you for being you and being examples of good friends in my life so when my kids look to me to see my friends they can see what true friends are.  I love you all dearly, you know who you are!

#6 My health
Some of you might look at that as a joke... Especially if we have talked in the past 6 weeks...6 weeks I have been sick now...ugh!  From a cold, to bronchitis to pleurisy to another cold and migraines and coughing and all the runny noses, my health has not and is not up to par right now.  But I know it will get better and fairly soon.  I watched my mother die of cancer, I heard of a friend in Texas who died of cancer today, my colds and upper respiratory infections and afflictions are hardly anything compared...I am so grateful for the health that I do have even on the days where I feel like I can't get out of bed and might just die... I know that it will get better, maybe not tomorrow, but someday soon.  I love my health. ...most of the time ;)

#7 the Gospel of Jesus Christ
My life is what it is because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  What glorious things I have in my life.  The knowledge of eternal families and the fact that I can see my mom again when I die makes loosing her that much easier.  Jesus Christ came and lived a perfect life to give us an example of who we should be and what we can become.  And he gave his life for me so that I have the opportunity to seek forgiveness and return and live with him and Heavenly Father again,  How wonderful it is to know why I am here and where I am going.  I count the blessings I have gained from my belief in Jesus Christ on a daily basis.  They are innumerable.  I love the gospel, and I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you! 

#8 the simple bear necessities of life
Can't you just hear Baloo singing that from the Jungle Book.  Its fun, makes me want to sing! There are so many things I take for granted in my daily life and I would be lost without the them.  I am grateful for all the simple things in life that make my life a little easier.  

I thought I could do 10, but I think my 8 favorite things can be enough.  Life is what is because we make it! I am so grateful for the life I have been given.  Even with all the hurdles we cross in every relationship we go through, life is a matter of major importance and I am so glad to be enjoying it. My few minutes has turned late, but I am so thankful for everything listed above and so much more,  thank you to you all for being a part of my life.  You have added to my life as a sculptor adds to a statue (thanks Steve for that).  You have each given me a little more shape to who I am and I thank you for that. (Though maybe a little less shapely next time would be good... I kid, I kid... ) 

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Felicity

This is my Fel-lump... My Felicity... My most spirited, strong-willed child, whom I love and adore! I wanted to take a minute and make sure you all know how much she means to me. 

Today when Felicity came home from school she helped me a lot. I was battling some of my pain from skipping my anti-inflammatories for my pleurisy and needed a few minutes to let my meds kick in. Felicity sweetly helped Collin stay happy, she watched Timothy while I went in my room for a few minutes. Then she took Collin in his room and they read The Butter Battle Book by Dr Seuss together. She set a timer so they would know if they read their whole 20 minutes. Then she helped him get onto the computer to play some games. 

I realized today that I haven't bragged enough about my fel-lump. She really is an amazing little girl and I am so pleased to call her my daughter. 

Felicity you bring so much joy into my life and I love you more a then I could ever say. Though we have out hurdles to cross we will do it together teaching each other new things as we jump! You are amazing my girl. Love you!