Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two Year Orthopedist Update

Last week Owen had his 2 year-old follow-up with his orthopedic surgeon. The appointments start out with x-rays that require Owen to stand flat footed (with his left leg on a block, making it even with his right leg) with his back against a board containing the x-ray film. The board also has sort of a height chart to make it easier to measure his bones. As with any x-ray, he can't move. Reminder: he is two so he moves a lot, plus he HATES these x-rays so it always takes several attempts. Oh yes, the most fun part is that I can only hold him still in a very specific way. I can hold onto his upper body (sort of pinning him against the back board) and I can put my hand on his knee. I am not allowed to touch any other part of his lower body. Doing so will obstruct the view of his other bones and joints (hips, femur, tibia) which are very important for the doctor to see.

To make a long story short, the appointment was pretty much status quo. Allow me to share the "news" with you utilizing bullet points or this could turn into a novel.

-Hips look good. Both in the socket, growing the way they should be and providing an excellent foundation for Owen's lower extremities, which is vital.

-No need for a heel lift for his left shoe. He is getting around fine, just like any "typical" kid and his compensation for the length discrepancy is not doing any harm to his back, hips, muscles, etc.

-His left tibia is still just a tiny bit short. That discrepancy seems to have stayed about the same and the doctor still does not expect to have to lengthen his tibia.

-Owen's left femur continues to grow and is proportionately shorter than the right femur, which is what makes his left leg shorter. We have known since very early on in this process that the discrepancy in his two legs would increase, but that the discrepancy should remain proportional. His left foot hits at about his right ankle. According to the measurements at last week's appointment, the discrepancy is now just a bit less than 4.5 cm. Last year it was 3.5 cm. I knew this would be the case. I was prepared as much as I could have been to expect a larger difference. That doesn't mean it made me happy. I had hope that maybe it would slow down and his left leg would catch up a bit. The doctor never gave me any reason to hope for that, but look at everything that Owen has done so far and all of the ways that he has proven the doctors wrong. I have been praying for another miracle, and I will continue to do so.

-The unofficial plan was originally that Owen would probably have 2 surgeries to lengthen his leg, one around age 8 and the second around age 14. In the past year, pediatric orthopedic surgeons have begun performing the first lengthening surgery around the age of 4 in some patients. Last year Owen's doctor told us she wasn't convinced that was a great approach. I don't like the idea either, but for more practical "mommy reasons". The possibility was discussed again last week. Owen's doctor seems to have partially embraced the idea, but doesn't use the approach with every LLD patient. After much discussion we decided it was not the best plan for Owen.

-Owen's doctor showed me the x-rays of one of her LLD patients that just went through her first lengthening surgery. It was terrible, awful, heartbreaking, overwhelming and literally almost made me get sick. I can't even get into what is done and how the x-ray looked right now. It is too much. I told the doctor that I hate thinking about this, let alone seeing it on an x-ray. Her words: "I know, that is why I am going to keep showing it to you until it is time to lengthen Owen's leg." I love her. She is wonderful and understanding and knows just how to help me get through this extremely difficult situation.

So that is it in a nutshell. It is hard going to the follow-ups and hearing the measurements. We are lucky that Owen will be able to have his leg fixed, that he is doing so well in spite of his LLD and that it is not life threatening. Still, each orthopedist is like a slap in the face. A reminder that yes this is a reality and even though it can be fixed it will be a difficult process. I am thankful we don't have to do it again until next year.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Back to School, Back to the Doctor

Carter was scheduled to start pre-kindergarten on August 30. We came home from vacation, only to realize that Carter brought pneumonia home with him. It wasn't a terrible case and was knocked out with a course of antibiotics, but he did miss his first week of school.

When he was feeling better and it was time to head off to pre-K, he was ready.
Carter has a wonderful teacher this year. If I could have chosen qualities I wanted his teacher to have and created a teacher for him, she would be a perfect fit. I just love her and so does Carter. He is learning so much and really thriving. We are so proud of him!

Speaking of illnesses, we have also had our first trip to the doctor since school started. I had to pick Carter up on Friday and take him to the doctor because he was crying that his ear hurt. He ended up having a double ear infection. He had ear tubes and the right one fell out months ago. At this visit we found out that the tube in his left ear is no longer in his ear drum, but in the ear canal and will likely fall out soon. Ugh!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Celebrating Six Years

Yesterday was our sixth wedding anniversary. Not surprisingly, I found this hard to believe. I'm like that with milestones. They sort of sneak up on me. I am busy living life and all of the sudden I am hit with a reminder of the passage of time. Most often it is a good feeling because I love all of the blessings in my life and have no regrets. I love the memories and feel quite nostalgic. On the other hand, sometimes looking at the ups and downs of life (mostly the ups) kicks me in the butt, reminding me to cherish every moment. Time really does fly when you're having fun.

I did have a point. Our anniversary. On September 18, 2004 I stood wearing a white (well, more of an ivory/antique white) dress in a gorgeous church next to a gorgeous man and vowed to love him for the rest of my days. I still get a bit choked up thinking about our wedding ceremony. Thinking of the vows we uttered in front of God and an entire church full of family and friends is just overwhelming. In a good way. At the time the day just felt so huge. I remember the excitement and feelings of joy of our wedding day like it was yesterday. And that is what I had hoped for. While my wedding day was hugely important and I felt so wonderful marrying my very best friend, I was also extremely aware that it was bigger than just that day. Six years later, even as I look back on our special day, I am also looking forward to the future we ahead of us. I have a wonderful, loving and caring husband. We have two beautiful children who are blessed to have such a wonderful, loving and caring father. It is a lot of fun to remember our beautiful wedding, but much more important for me to celebrate our marriage.

I love you Wes. I can't wait to continue to grow together and to make more memories. I feel extremely blessed to have you as my partner as we navigate this sometimes crazy, and always exciting, wonderful life that we live.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beach Boys and a Birthday

I have come to end my hiatus from the B-Hive with tales of our family vacation. Oh yeah, my Little Man turned two while I was gone. It was a very special and emotional birthday. I am so proud of Owen and so proud of how he fought to make it to this day.

At the end of August, we took the kids to Myrtle Beach for our first beach vacation. It was a blast. My sister found a great deal on a long-weekend house rental so we decided to really make it a family affair. My parents and my sister and brother-in-law all came along. It was so wonderful that we all got to relax, have fun and spend time together. Wonderful memories were made.This was Carter's third trip to the beach and second trip to Myrtle Beach. He made a day-trip to the Jersey shore when we live "up North" when he was about 4 months old. When Carter was just a bit older than Owen we took a trip to Myrtle Beach. That trip was in March, and due to the weather it wasn't a true beach vacation. This was the real deal, and also Owen's first beach experience. The best part of the trip for me was watching my boys, experiencing it all through their eyes. True to form Carter, usually quite active and full of spunk, was quite hesitant and timid when it came to playing in the ocean. While Carter clung to us and ran for a towel to wipe the saltwater from his eyes, Owen was fearless and would have been in the water over his head had he been allowed. After the first day Carter was a little more brave and Owen settled down and respected the danger of the waves. Here are a few of the many photos of the boys loving the beach.
Owen checking out the sand for the first time.Carter playing in the sand.Owen can't wait to see the ocean.Carter running toward the waves.Owen playing in the ocean with Daddy.Carter and Aunt A playing in the waves.Carter and Aunt A running on the beach.Mama and Owen playing in the surf.Owen loving the ocean.
Carter and Aunt A playing "I declare war".The boys playing cars before starting the day.Owen thought this lion statue in our rental house made a great pet. Here he is feeding the lion a lime.The boys on the beachMama and Owen on the beachSurprise Mama, here comes the water!Playing in the wet sand.
Owen loves the feeling of the wet sand.Carter playing with Pappy in the ocean.Sisters on the beach.Aunt A playing with the boys in the pool.Pappy and Uncle Justin playing catch with CarterMy dad wrestling a gator at the Alligator farm.Aunt A and Carter sitting on a gator.Daddy and Owen at the Alligator farm.Lots of Alligators resting in the shade.Mama and Carter before going out for dinner.Standing on the dock with the boys.
The family at Murrel's Inlet

Here are a few photos of my Little Man's birthday celebration!
Wes and me before leaving for Owen's birthday dinner.Owen opening birthday gifts. Owen admiring his new dinosaur puzzle.Singing Happy Birthday to my baby, err big boy.
Owen pigging out on his cupcake.

If you have made it through this entire post, thank you. I promise not to stay away for so long this time!