Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's been more than a week

The playhouse is completely painted, has a roof (a tarp), and my backyard is looking mighty fine...if I do say so myself--which I just did!

I'll post a picture when the sand is in the sandbox.

I wish I had more exciting things to write about today, but we've spent the last week or so sticking around the house, watching Alec and his unusual symptoms that seem to pop up every hour or so. (okay, a little over dramatic, but it's my blog!)

On Thursday he had a blood draw at the hospital. The Endocrine doctors were checking him for Addison's disease and making sure his blood counts were good. The results indicate that he does not have Addison's disease (Thank the Lord!), but his Thyroid levels were still too high for comfort. The hope is that his anti-thyroid drugs will continue to work in the days to come.

In the meantime, his file and information was sent to our pediatrician so that he could further investigate the symptoms that don't seem to fit with his Thyroid problems (dizziness, nausea, weight loss, headaches). After a brief (10 min) physical exam, it was determined that Alec has Postural Hypotension....which are big words that mean that his blood pressure drops significantly from laying down to standing....which explains his dizziness---or at least it should. Not a cause for concern.

What it does not explain is why he gets hit with dizziness after standing for prolonged periods of time. Nor does it solve the weight loss or nausea. Our pediatrician blames them all on his Thyroid and Diabetes....which the specialists have stated is not the case.

I have also noticed a pattern to his symptoms. They begin to increase in frequency and severity from about 4:00 pm on. The worst symptoms have all happened right around 9:00 pm. I have no clue if this means anything, but it seems odd that it follows this pattern to a 'T' every day for the past 6 days (possibly longer, I just didn't record before then).

As you can tell, my thoughts have been consumed with finding answers to help Alec. His irritability and unwell feelings have made outings difficult....almost like toting around a 2 year old again, only bigger.

I pray that an answer is soon to be found, and we can enjoy the summer with no worries hanging over our heads.

Next week my husband's friend from France is coming to stay with us for 10 days. I'm looking forward to using my French again....just to see the confusion on a 'true' French face.

Can you guess what this is a picture of? (no cheating for those of you who know from facebook!)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Is there anything more perfect than a smile?

I gave up striving for perfection years ago, but there remains a small annoying part of me that still thinks I can attain it.

Placing furniture just right.

Making sure the painting on the wall is not slanted....even a millimeter off would not be right.

Licking my finger and wiping off the last smear of chocolate from the corner of my daughter's mouth.

Do any of these actions serve a purpose beyond 'fitting the mold'? Nope.

In my angst to keep the upstairs tidy and the laundry up to date, I neglected the more important kids' enjoyment of their summer holidays. As I looked around at my organized home, there was something missing. A sparkle...but not because anymore cleaning was, the sparkle was missing from my children's eyes.


How could I make it up to them? I know I can't get back the minutes I wasted stressing over the dust bunnies...but what could I plan to get the excitement back into our home?

Ahh...the old, unpainted playhouse in the backyard. I had been meaning to get it painted for years now, but it had never made it to my priority list.

I had big plans to find a colour that would blend into the garden or even match the house. You know, make it look perfect.

As I listed off the colours the kids could choose from, I noticed the shoulders begin to slump and the initial excitement of being involved with the painting seemed to fade.

Ouch. I was doing it again.

I threw out the list of colours. I carted all four of them to Home Depot and said, "Have at it...find a colour you want."

Amazingly enough, they all agreed on a single colour.....Neon Green.

I can't say I'm excited about the colour. It most likely will stand out like a sore thumb in the neighborhood....but the bright smiles on each of my kids' faces convinced me it was the perfect colour.

Pictures will follow in the days to come.

I told you it was bright....I can't wait to fill the sand box up when it's all done. First layer is finished. Tomorrow we'll put on the second layer (if it doesn't rain), then fill the box with sand on the weekend!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Audience size

Do you find that people's message (or how they present themselves) changes as their audience grows? Like somehow they have to cater to a wider range of opinions, so they end up sacrificing a part of who they are in order to please the crowds?

Take, for instance, Oprah. (please bear with me) I remember watching her when I was really young, and thinking, 'Wow, she really cares about these people she is interviewing!'

Through the years, as she became more popular (and richer!), I noticed a more aggressive and self-absorbed 'celebrity' coming out. Her message was no longer as clear....and sadly (or not), I stopped watching her show. She wasn't herself anymore....or at least not the Oprah I had enjoyed years before.

Similarly, Dr. Phil used to wear his heart on his sleeve when he was a frequent guest of Oprah's. With his new show and expanded following, maybe it became too much to connect on a personal level with every single guest looking for answers.

His interactions with people in pain has become more of a bully approach, as opposed to a friend coming alongside to help guide them.

And look what happened (or is happening) to President Obama. All that energy during his campaign, meant to endear him to millions, has given way to the exhausting reality that you cannot please everyone all the time.

This leads me to my thoughts today about this whole 'blogging' world that I apparently belong to now. The same feelings I had when I started writing (naive to writing, no computer skills, not much of a story to tell, etc) came to the surface, and I began questioning who exactly am I 'talking' to--or directing my thoughts to--on my blog?

What is my purpose for writing?

If there's one thing I remember from High school English (and I don't remember much) it's that you should know your audience before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard in this case).

Do I really need a purpose to blog? I guess not. I just do it. *Thank you Nike for that phrase*

Wow. I'm random today, aren't I? (redundant question, no need to answer....please)
So, in keeping with my randomness, I'll post some unrelated photos too. :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My children are not 'normal'

Not even in sickness.

Type 1 Diabetes is a pretty rare disease (although Diabetes gets a lot of news coverage) and accounts for about 10% of all types of Diabetics. Rarer still is to develop the disease before you reach your adolescent/teenage years.

Alec was diagnosed on his 3rd birthday.

Hypothyroidism (under active Thyroid) is known to be associated with Type 1 diabetes, as it falls under the umbrella of autoimmune diseases. It's a condition that Diabetics are screened for every year after diagnosis.

Hyperthyroidism (over-active Thyroid) is mostly seen in women in their 30's and 40's. It is not common to see in children, much less young boys.

Alec was diagnosed with Grave's Disease (over-active Thyroid) just before his 6th birthday.

We were told he had about a 20% chance to go into remission from Grave's disease if we tried the anti-thyroid drugs for 3 years. We prayed that he'd fall into that small percentage, but that was not God's plan.

Alec remained off the medication for a total of 8 weeks last summer before the symptoms returned. We knew it was only a matter of time before we'd have to take the radio-iodine his chances for remission were cut to less than 5% after his relapse.

The treatment (drinking a radio active iodine solution) was simple and painless. Alec didn't even gag! We went about our business as usual, assured that there were no side effects (and certainly not in children with the small dose he received).

Alec woke up vomiting violently the next morning.

His blood sugars went through the roof.

He lost his appetite, yet still had high blood sugars.....something was NOT okay.

After pestering the doctors with several phone calls (close to 30), it was finally decided that Alec's Thyroid was acting in a very unusual fashion and producing way too much of its hormone. His Grave's disease symptoms were coming back in full force, and he needed to be put back on his anti-thyroid medication.

If you haven't guessed by now, nothing about Alec's health history is 'normal'. I think (as strange as this sounds) that I would never again complain about the extra care needed for his health needs if only he would follow a 'typical' that didn't surprise Doctors.

After his Thyroid is dealt with, Alec will be getting a full work-up to find out why he is losing weight. Doctors suspect it is another auto-immune disease that may be rearing its ugly head. As worrisome as that makes me, I am relieved that I am finally being heard by his Doctors. They are beginning to agree that Alec is paving his own path, and they need to keep an eye on it.

I will continue to have faith that God's plan is to prosper Alec (and our family), not to harm us. One day I will see clearly through these trials, and have a deeper understanding of the Strength that only God can give to those who are weak.

Please keep Alec in your prayers.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Train of Thoughts

When you read about the Swine Flu (H1N1) or hear about it on the you sometimes feel a twinge of relief when it's stated that the person who is suffering or has died of it had underlying health issues?

Do you feel somehow less vulnerable because you don't have an issue that puts you at greater risk?

I know that initially I felt these things. That is until they specified the health concerns that complicated the recovery of this particular type of flu. Diabetes.

Chances are that you know of someone with this disease, or have it yourself. Whether it be Type1 or Type 2, the flu doesn't discriminate. It's an awful disease when it's not managed properly...and can be awful even if you do everything in your power to get it under control.

My little bubble of perceived immunity was burst as I gazed over at my son, Alec, who has lived with Diabetes for the past 6.5 years. It was in that moment, when I realized he was at greater risk than the general population, that I made up my mind to never again feel less sad over the death of someone who had underlying health concerns.

The people who love and care for these individuals feel just as much pain and anguish, even if they were aware of the extra health complications. A death is a death. Hearts are broken whether the person was sick or well before passing. Whether they are young or old, they were loved and will be missed.

You can never truly prepare yourself for saying good-bye.

My Mom just came out of surgery about an hour ago. She had a horrible gall bladder attack, and was admitted yesterday. They removed the offending organ, and she's recovering well.

My son Alec received his radio-iodine treatment on Friday afternoon. He has been experiencing some of the uglier side-effects (vomiting, headaches, general fatigue), and the doctors are keeping a close eye on his symptoms. The most difficult part of caring for him has been making sure his younger sisters stayed far enough away from him that they didn't get any radiation exposure (he'll be radio-active for about 5 days).

When his scan was done before the treatment, it measured that the Thyroid was absorbing the iodine at a rate of 50% (they were hoping to see between 5-15%, so it was definitely over-active!). As strange as this sounds, I felt it was a sign from God that we had made the right decision at this point....and my heart was at Peace.

My oldest son has been in a cast for the last 2 weeks. He tore a tendon on the top of his foot during a soccer game, and was put in a cast for stability and protection.

I think the past month has been the busiest month for hospital visits in my life! I do hope the trend is over!