Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Neurosurgeon Follow-Up

Well, I went to see him yesterday and overall it was a good visit. I told him I was still in a whole lot pain and he said, 'well, you broke your back.' Makes sense, although I thought it would have been feeling much better by now. He told me that he could do kyphoplasty for L2, L4, and L5 (L3 is not too bad). Basically they blow up a little balloon inside each fractured vertebrae which creates a hole which they fill with bone cement. Problem though is that you're much more likely to fracture adjacent vertebrae in the long term because the cement doesn't have any 'give' where a bone would normally be a bit smushier than cement. Also since I'm so young, I'd obviously have more time to develop said fractures. I asked how old the youngest person he did the procedure on was and he said 'like 50's'. Ok, so yes, I'm the exception.

I basically told him I was having conflicting feelings about what to do because since I have 2 small kids, I don't want this amount of pain to be the 'norm' for me. I mean, I don't think it's fair to my children and it's certainly not going to fly with me for very long. However, he said he could still do the surgery if it's not better in 2 months after trying to strengthen the muscles surrounding the fractures (and core muscles to straighten my spine) through physical therapy, so that's the option I'm going with. I'm hoping it will all get better before my next visit with him, but if not, I'm prepared to go ahead and get it fixed. I guess sometimes you just have to give it your best shot and if things don't work out, then go with the flow and see where it takes you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Almost 8 Months Old!

In 2 days Nola will be 8 months old! Time sure does fly! She's cutting her front left tooth. Tony says he can see it poking through and feel it, but I still haven't confirmed that. She was super fussy on Wed and then started getting a runny nose on Thurs (which I figured was from teething) and now she's got a full blown cold. Poor baby. I'm listening to her cough on the baby monitor right now. :/ She still isn't crawling, but she scoots around on the floor well enough and she can stay sitting up without falling over for a LONG time. She also now loves to go swimming and splash in the water when I take her out of her floatie. Pulling hair is one of her favorite hobbies and she especially likes to pull Embry's because Embry will cuddle her and give Nola the perfect opportunity to grab a fistful (or 2) of hair. She also enjoys pulling the cat's fur, but they usually don't stick around long enough for her to get much.

Father's day was this past Sunday and I think Tony enjoyed himself. Embry gave him the airplane she painted for him at Color Me Mine the pottery place and I gave him a card and a photo collage of him and the girls. We went to church that morning and then came home to eat KFC with my parents and go for a dip in the pool. Then we had cake that my mom made and some ice cream and that's about it.

Tony with the girls on Father's Day

We finally met our nephew, baby Micah James, on Sunday (6/19/11) when tony's mom and sister came down from Phoenix to visit. He's so cute! I've always had a thing for Asian babies and he's half Philipino, so needless to say, he's adorable. Embry totally loved him, as she does all babies, but she kept going up to us, pointing, and saying, 'That's Micah! He's my cousin!' Nola obviously didn't know who he was, but she seemed to enjoy being around another baby. It made me a little sad to think that she'll never get to be a big sister...
Me and Micah

Embry, Nola, and Micah

Photo of Micah in the backyard

Anyhow, I hosted my first playdate for the year yesterday. It was so fun! I didn't realize how much I missed having my mom friends over and their kiddos. I used to really stress about being judged for the state of my house, or the grease splattered behind my stove, or the ring around the toilet bowl, but I've come to realize two things:

1) these are not the things that really matter in life, and,
2) we're all just trying to do our best to make it through infant, toddler, and mommyhood. So even if we did have a second to check out our friend's glass tabletop for fingerprints and jelly smudges in between wrangling a spazzing 2 year old and comforting a teething baby, we wouldn't care because we're all just doing our best and that's all we can do.

Back to the playdate- we went swimming! It's been getting super hot here (like 110) and there's not much to do except stay inside or SWIM! It was lots of fun getting all the kiddos in the water and splashing around. Embry had a good time dumping cupfuls of water in her crocs over and over again and we all enjoyed some popsicles in the sun afterward. I'm going to attempt to host one every 2 weeks or so and see how it goes.

Nola and Ryan before swimming

Embry with her popsicle after swimming

We'd like to plan a weekend trip to Phoenix sometime soon as well. We have a thing from livingsocial for a night's stay at a resort up there that also has a waterpark, so Tony and I were going to drop the kiddos off with Dorothea and have some fun on our own. Of course I feel guilty not letting Embry join in on the fun, but she's too small for any of the slides anyway so what would be the point?

My back and hips still hurt like coo-coo-ca-choo-coo (one of our favorite phrases in this house), but I go to see the neurosurgeon on Monday and hopefully he can help me somehow. My back is also doing some weird popping kind of thing when I twist or turn in certain ways. I have super news though! The new rheumatologist's office called and said that they were going to go through my insurance even though they're not contracted with them, so woohoo! I got myself a new (and hopefully good/knowledgeable/caring) rheumy! I go see him on July 1, exactly 1 week from today. :)

Oh also, the white car is like messed up. It's something with the fuel pressure being too low so it's having trouble starting. It'd cost like $700 to fix it and the stupid car is only worth about that much money, believe me, I checked KBB...so we're kind of wavering between trying to see if Tony's dad can fix it (although that would only save us the labor costs and the parts alone are like $400), driving it like it is until it really goes kaput, or searching craigslist for a small (and hopefully not too expensive) Toyota or Honda. I'm sooo done with American cars. Sorry, but they just suck like hard core. Also, the 'maintenance required' light came on in the van. Hoping that just needs like an oil change, that's considered 'maintenance' right?!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I got a call from the neurosurgeon's office today to say that the Dr looked over my x-ray and that there is 'no change' in my vertebrae since my accident. So naturally I go, 'uh, what does that mean?' and she (the assistant) says, 'I'm not really sure. Did he talk to you about any follow up treatment or anything?' Uh, no. I have an appt to see him again on the 27, so I guess we'll figure out what all that means then.

I never really thought about what it would mean if my back actually didn't get better. I just trusted it'd go back to normal in 6-8 weeks and I'd be back at it...going to playdates, taking the girls places, going swimming, etc.

The new rheumatologist said he'd see me once and the office manager won't allow him to set up a payment through my insurance. So I guess that means he'll see me once and that's it. I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to achieve by seeing him once, but I'll give it a shot.

Nola seems to be really close to crawling, but I thought the same thing about rolling over and that took FOREVER! So obviously I'll post if anything develops on the crawling front, but as of now she's just up on all 4's and rocking back and forth. She can also stay sitting up for a while by herself if I put her there but she can't get up to sitting on her own yet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Over

Before Surgery

The surgery went well.

I asked the dr beforehand about what happens if the filter caught clots while it was in there and he said they'd know because when they tried to close it, it wouldn't close and then they'd leave it in forever. Well, as you can tell, that didn't happen. I woke up just as they were finishing up and I know I was still a little out of it because I asked the same question a number of times (where there any clots and can I see the filter?) and I could have sworn they told me to leave the orange iodine on for 96 hours, but that's not true. So before they took me out of the OR, they showed me the filter and it was probably roughly about 3 inches long, metal wires like an umbrella, with no wire mesh. It had quite a few small clots stuck to the wires and I asked if I could keep it to which they said no, I'm not sure why though, do you think they recycle those things? Ewww...

After Surgery

Then the nurse asked me to sit up and my pillow fell down and this is what was underneath. Yuck.

So it appears that everything's fine. It hurts to move my neck, or swallow, yawn etc and the seatbelt in the van hits my neck in exactly the spot of the incision. I'm not supposed to lift anything over 20 lbs for the next week, not like I'd do that anyway with my back. By the way, my back is feeling MUCH better! I'm not taking any pain pills anymore, even at night, and I'm not taking too many tylenol during the day. Don't get me wrong, it still hurts, but nothing like before.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Surgery is Tomorrow

And I have to admit, I'm a little scared. From what the nurses and dr's are acting like, it seems that removing an ivc filter is a routine procedure. I mean, it's outpatient for heaven's sake! The part that gets me though is that they don't do any testing beforehand (like an ultrasound) to see if the filter has actually caught any clots. If it has, then the clots should come out with the filter, but I've been hearing of some exceptions and well, I seem to be the special exception these days. I'm going to talk to the dr about it tomorrow in pre-op and hopefully he'll reassure me. Last time, when they were going to put the filter in as I was laying in the pre-op room, I said to the nurses and the anesthesiologist, 'Please don't kill me.' I'm still not sure if I was joking or serious, probably both.

Today I made a long list of my username/passwords for all the cites Tony would need in case I died and which bills get paid out of what etc. I also got to go scouring the filing cabinet for my living will and medical power of attorney to make a copy to bring along to the surgery...I kind of feel like I'm preparing for my demise. Although, there's a whole lot more I should do if that's the case! Anyhow, the girls are out with my parents because the nurse said I shouldn't watch them for 24 hours after the surgery. I just got back from dropping them off and while I was on the porch saying goodbye to Embry she wouldn't say she loved me. Then once I got in the car she started yelling, 'bye mommy! I love you!' and waving...so cute! Then apparently Nola will only eat our vegetable baby foods if I'm the one feeding her, weird, but true. She gagged a ton the other day when Tony tried to feed her summer vegetables and my mom keeps telling me she doesn't like the green beans, but she eats both of them just fine for me!

Anyhow, wish me luck and I'll try to post afterward to say how it all went!