Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Big S-I-X!

I can't believe it. My first baby is six. Six years ago today, Carter was born and I was given the great gift of motherhood. He has brought so much joy and love to our lives in these six years. I couldn't be more proud of the little man he is becoming. We are so blessed to have him as a part of each of our days.

This year, Carter is very excited that his birthday is New Year's Eve. He knew before that the two occasions occurred on the same day, but never seemed to care before. We have had lots of fun playing with his new Wii and Mario Kart game. His goal is to stay awake until midnight. He is, after all, a very big boy now! We love you up to the stars and back Mr. C!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ten Years

Last month was the 10 year anniversary of the awful terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the plane that crashed in Shanksville, PA. I chose not to write about the event, but certainly not because it didn't effect me. Quite the opposite, I will never forget that day in 2001. It is very emotional for me. I will never forget.

Our family went through our own personal tragedy 10 years ago. When I was a freshman in college and Ashley was a junior in high school, our mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The diagnosis was terrifying. It felt awful for me being over 300 mile away, having to receive updates over the phone. I made a decision early on to travel home as often a possible. I brought a car back to school with me so that I could go home at any time. We had no idea what to expect and didn't want to count on my dad being able to come pick me up if necessary. My mom had several surgeries, and ultimately had a unilateral mastectomy. This was obviously major surgery, very scary for all of us. I still can't imagine how my mom felt receiving the news, scheduling the surgery and making the decision to lose a part of her body to save her life. I did know that I needed to be there for her as much as possible. I was there for her surgery and as much of her recovery as possible.

Every year since my mom was diagnosed, her yearly mammograms have been a huge source of stress for her and for us. There was always the fear of the cancer coming back.

My mom just had her yearly testing and received NEGATIVE results! My mom is now a 10 year Breast Cancer Survivor! I am so proud of my mom! She is a very strong and brave woman.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Preschool: Fun and Germs

This week was week two of preschool for Owen. He is going for 3 hours five days a week. This milestone is huge for Owen. It was not too long ago that we were told that Owen's VCUR could not be resolved and other measures would need to be taken to save his kidneys. We were told that the only choice was to allow the reflux. The only way to do that without causing kidney damage and probably eventually failure was to augment his bladder with bowel. If that had been done, he would have had a permanent ostomy, and his bladder would need to be drained with a catheter every 2-3 hours for the rest of his life to prevent dangerous infection. This would obviously have needed to be done by us as his parents and when it came time for school an aide or perhaps even a nurse until he could be responsible for the task himself. Until his reflux was resolved amazingly and unexpectedly during his surgery in January 2010, I couldn't even think about what sending him to school would mean as far as his health. It was something that terrified me and made me so sad for the opportunities that he was likely to miss out on. Fast forward about a year and a half and Owen is in preschool every day at our church's preschool in a classroom with other typical children. It is nice to have him there because it is a familiar place. While his teacher is not a member of our church, the administrators are. As I have said too many times to count, our church family is wonderful beyond words. I love that Owen is lucky enough to have some of them in his life on a daily basis because of school. It is also comforting to know that I have friends there that are keeping an eye on him. He was medically cleared for daycare, preschool, any kind of program of that nature in June and it was some of the best news I had ever heard. The only thing that sets him apart from his classroom (other than his remaining leg length discrepancy and the fact that we need to watch vigilantly for signs of a UTI) is that he has not been allowed to potty train until recently. That being said, he still isn't the only child in his class that is not fully potty trained. Just the only one with a medical excuse. We were given permission to pursue potty training in July. Owen was interested and began asking to go potty occasionally. We also started taking him and reminding him more regularly. He was doing well and then had to have his ear surgery, which was a set back. As of now he is wearing Pull Ups to school and doing great using the potty at school. We are still working on training at home. Potty training for Owen is complicated because of how different his urinary tract was and still is.

Ok, I got off track. My point was that Owen is fitting in at preschool very well, and his medical history is not holding him back one bit. I am one very proud Mama. He loves his teacher, the chance to socialize is great for him and he looks forward to going to school. He has no problem with me leaving there. We are supposed to drive through the drop-off line in front of the sidewalk and one of the teachers takes Owen out of the car and walks him into school. Even the first day he didn't shed a tear, just said "bye Mom" and was on his way. This week he is working on his colors, which he knew before starting school, shapes and continuing to get accustomed to the school environment. One of my favorite things is seeing the craft that he has worked on each day. Today he worked on tracing circles and I was very impressed with how well he did. These activities and crafts are a concrete examples of how much he is learning and growing to be a big boy. It is amazing and thrilling to me. I think back to Carter starting preschool and doing all of these things, and can't believe we are now at that stage with Owen. His teacher and assistant teacher are both very nice. I am so glad that he is having fun and enjoying his time at school so much.

Now for the major downfall of preschool; the fact that the other kids each bring their own set of germs and generally share them more readily than they share toys. So many people told me the germ factor is not as bad with the second child, as they have developed a certain amount of immunities from all of the germs brought home from school by the first child. I don't know that I believe this. I picked Owen up about 45 minutes early today after receiving a call from the Parish Administrator, who just loves Owen and has been a great friend to our family, saying that he was not feeling well and looked just pitiful. Sure enough, even though he was fine this morning, he had a runny nose, nasaly voice, congestion, "sick eyes" and looks just plain miserable. He has picked up his first illness due to preschool germs. He doesn't have a fever and I think it is probably just a cold, but he will be visiting the pediatrician in the morning. I am concerned about a possible ear infection, especially in the ear that was just operated on. Better safe than sorry! He can go back to having fun at preschool next week!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza

This is a recipe that I adapted years ago, so much so that I kind of made it up. It is a hit with everyone, so it stuck!

Cooked chicken breast (I use one big one) cut into small chunks
Pillsbury pizza crust
Low-fat Ranch Dressing
Garlic Powder
Deli Ham
Shredded Mozzerella Cheese (enough to cover the pizza, about one 16 oz. package for one pizza)

Lay out the Pillsbury pizza crust on a baking sheet. Press thin, this will cover most of the sheet.
Bake for about 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees to precook crust.
Cut cooked chicken breast into small chunks.
After pizza crust has cooled, spread with about 1/3 of a bottle of low-fat Ranch dressing (too much will make the pizza soggy)
Sprinkle with a light dusting of garlic powder
Chop Deli Ham and spread evenly on the pizza
Spread chunks of chicken evenly on pizza
Dice tomatoes and spread evenly on pizza
Top pizza with as much mozzerella cheese as you like.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 13-15 minutes until crust is lightly browned and cheese is melted.

Enjoy! We certainly do!

Now he is Three!

Saturday, August 27 was Owen's 3rd birthday. My baby is no longer a baby, although I still tell him "As long as I'm living my baby you'll be." My boy is 3. No matter which way I say it or how many times I say it I just can't believe it. We are blessed beyond measure to have this Little Man in our lives. Watching him grow, seeing him hit new milestones, experiencing all of the love and happiness that he shares every single day is just wonderful. His stubborn streak continues to grow. At times he can be quite a little pistol, but he is also just the sweetest guy. He is strong, he teaches me new things each and every day. I think the saying "wise beyond his years" is meant to describe Owen. Not that he spends his free time reading the encyclopedia or doing long division. He has this curious, yet intuitive nature that is hard to describe but is just obvious once you spend time with him. He is our cuddly boy, always crawling up on our bed or the couch to snuggle and say I love you. He and Carter are the best of friends. As Carter says, they are lovey brothers. Of course that is when they are not arguing about who gets to be the fireman, policeman, etc. depending on what they are pretending. Or wrestling. The funny part is that Owen definitely holds his own as the younger brother, and certainly gives Carter a run for his money.

For most of the year, Owen was in great health. We did switch pediatricians to a friend from church how is a pediatrician and internal medicine doctor. He is great with the boys and extremely thorough. We were so pleased that I began seeing him as my primary care physician also. As I wrote in an earlier post, in July Dr. Bill found a cholesteatoma, or benign growth on Owen's right ear drum. He had to have it removed just 8 days before his birthday. So much for a year free of surgery. In all seriousness, it was the most simple of the 8 surgeries he has had, and he was back to his happy-go-lucky self in no time.

We look forward to a whole lot more excitement as Owen continues to grow. For starters, he will be starting preschool tomorrow. I'm not sure he fully grasps what he's getting into, but his Mama is having a hard time just thinking about it. Also, Owen's Wish Trip to Disney World is coming up at the beginning of October. He got two Mickey Mouse shirts for his birthday to wear on our trip. Again, Happy Birthday Little Man. You are loved more than you know!

I will post pictures soon. I am having trouble figuring out how to post on Blogger on my new computer. It is a case of user error, nothing to do with the computer itself!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Carter had his first glimpse at Kindergarten back in April when we went for registration and Open House. He was curious but shy. He was given an assessment test and we toured the school. I know that at the time Kindergarten seemed like a far off place to both Carter and to me.

As usual, time has flown by. Even though it seems like just yesterday that we were casually touring the school, it is indeed September and Carter has finished his first week of Kindergarten. School started for our district on August 25. Kindergarten was the exception. As hundreds of kids were saying goodbye to summer and returning to school, Kindergarteners (and their parents) were entering a while new world. All of the Kindergarten classes started on a staggered schedule. At Open House in April, we picked the day that would be Carter's first day of Kindergarten. I think about 5 or 6 kids started in each class each day starting on the 25th until the real first day of Kindergarten on August 31st. Carter's staggered start day was the 29th, so he started on Monday, had Tuesday off and started going every day on Wednesday. It worked out pretty well. I didn't want to have him start too early and therefore have too many days off before August 31st. Wouldn't want him forgetting his new routine. It seemed like the best choice for Carter because as I suspected he had a great day on Monday, begged to go back Tuesday and couldn't, but was still interested in returning on Wednesday.

August 23rd was orientation. This is when we found out who Carter's teacher would be (exactly the teacher I was hoping he would get) look at his new classroom, ask lots of questions, find out his bus number, ask some more questions, and buy t-shirts for school spirit. Carter was a bit reserved as we went to his new classroom and met his teacher. He took his time looking around, checking the place out. Before long he had familiarized himself with the place and started to explore, ask the teacher questions of his own. Though I was feeling very overwhelmed by all of this and the idea of sending my baby to Kindergarten, I left feeling as comfortable as I was going to feel. I asked all of my questions, Carter asked his questions and knew where he was going. We would be fine. Right?

Overall, his first week of school went well. He likes his teacher, he made new friends and he really likes recess. We had the requisite first day snafu; there was a miscommunication and they didn't put Carter on the bus in the afternoon. He took the whole thing in stride. I frantically sped to the school, worrying that Carter was going to feel abandoned and think we left him at school. When I got there he was sitting in the office with his teacher, making friends with another boy who was supposed to have been sent home on the bus. We had that all worked out for Wednesday and Carter rode the school bus for the first time. This was one of the things he was looking most forward to about going to school, and I think it ended up being a bit of a letdown. When I asked him how the bus ride was, he was most excited to report that he gets to sit right behind the bus driver. That's how it is, the little kids up front and the big kids in the back. I doubt he will think sitting at the front of the bus is so cool for very much longer. Thursday was the only day that he struggled a bit. At one point during the day he just didn't want to follow directions. That was also the day he came home looking like he might just fall asleep standing up. He was exhausted, and even after laying down to rest for an hour or so, he was still pretty whooped. We talked about listening to his teacher and following directions and he had a much better day on Friday.

He will return on Tuesday after the long weekend, but will have to walk in and go to his classroom by himself. Last week I took him in, and while we didn't have any sobbing or serious leg-clinging, I know it was a comfort to him. Tuesday is the day that the school has decided that the kids don't need a hand to hold in the morning. I will drive up to the school and go through the drop-off line. I will drive away and wonder if my boy is scared, if he will find the right hallway. All things considered, I think he likes Kindergarten. For me, I think it is going to take a bit more getting used to.

I will post some pictures soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Another Trip to the OR and Comfort from a Familiar Face

Yesterday Owen had surgery to remove the cholesteatoma, which was discovered mid-July, from his right ear. We had to be at the hospital downtown by 6am. My mom was going to be keeping Carter for the day and thought it would be easier (and would make Carter feel special) for him to have a sleepover there on Thursday night. He had fun and did well, except for right before bed when he was missing Owen. We got to the hospital and checked in at Outpatient Surgery Registration. This was Owen's eighth surgery, but only his second outpatient surgery. For the first outpatient surgery we had to check in on the pediatric floor, pre-op was a bit different this time.

Besides being worried about the surgery in general, wondering if the cholesteatoma would be attached to his eardrum and cause a more complicated surgery, I was anxious about how Owen would react to all of the pre-op activities. The last time he had surgery he was 18 months old. He was having surgery about every two months and had unfortunately become somewhat routine. We knew what to expect taking baby Owen to the hospital for surgery. This time we were taking almost-three-year-old Owen to the hospital for surgery. Our first obstacle was the fact that he was NPO after midnight. This of course was no different than previous surgeries, but now Owen requests his milk within seconds of opening his eyes in the morning. I was expecting this to be a serious problem, complete with a probable meltdown. Surprisingly he didn't start asking for milk until we had already been in pre-op for about half an hour. It certainly didn't help that two different nurses told him that he could have a Popsicle after surgery. How about we don't talk about food or drink to a toddler who is NPO. Thanks. The second obstacle that I had anticipated was Owen being tired/bored, as we would have to wait about 2 hours at the hospital before surgery. When we took baby Owen to the hospital before the sun came up we would scoop him out of his crib and deposit him into his car seat, where he would promptly drift back to dreamland. Not the case this time. He did however ride quietly almost the entire way to the hospital, possibly because he was asleep with his eyes open. He asked once why it was still dark out. Good question, Little Man.

Not too long into our wait in pre-op the anesthesiologist that was going to be taking care of Owen during the surgery came to introduce himself, ask us questions that we had already been asked at least five times, and answer any questions that we had. I recognized him as soon as he appeared inside the curtain of our section of the pre-op area. Dr. B had been the anesthesiologist during two of Owen's previous surgeries. He is my favorite anesthesiologist! Very nice, compassionate, always takes the time to make sure that we as parents are comfortable with the procedure and the anesthesia methods, and he is very pro-active in recovery. The two other surgeries that he was involved with happened to be the two surgeries after which Owen had a difficult time in recovery. Neither time were these issues Dr. B's fault. After his cleft lip repair he had breathing issues because he had a difficult time coming out of anesthesia and the intubation tube caused irritation to his airway. This is almost exactly what happened this time in recovery. It was great to have Dr. B there, having known what happened previously and acting quickly to improve the situation. The second surgery that he was involved with was Owen's bladder reconstruction surgery. He spiked a fever during that surgery and they had to use cooling blankets in the OR in order to be able to continue with the surgery. In recovery his temperature climbed as high as 103.8 degrees. As it turned out, they think he had gone into surgery with the start of a virus and that was the culprit. Dr. B remembered Owen and remembered us. He was very nice, commenting that he was so sorry to see Owen back for another surgery. He couldn't believe how big he had gotten, and pointed out that it is a lot easier to see the changes in a child when you aren't seeing them every two months.

Owen got his Versed (silly juice) at about 7:20. After about 7 minutes he was definitely acting quite silly. He had purple latex gloves on and was playing Dr. Owen while sitting on my lap. He found it all very funny. The nurse anethesist came to take him back to the OR at 7:44 and Wes and I went to the waiting room. After sending my baby back to the OR and sitting worrying in the waiting room eight times, it does not get one bit easier. Wes' dad came a little bit after 8 to sit and wait with us, which was very nice.

The surgery took about an hour and fifteen minutes. Dr. Gold, the surgeon came out to the waiting room and explained to us that the surgery went very well. The cholesteatoma was easily removed and was not attached to his ear drum, therefore none of the ear drum needed to be removed. It basically went as well as it could possibly have gone, for which we are extremely thankful. He said it was definitely a benign cholesteatoma, but it was sent to pathology for testing to be 100% sure. As I mentioned above, Owen had a difficult time coming out of anesthesia. He was very agitated, crying and disoriented. As soon as he was sufficiently awake he noticed the IV in his hand and got to work trying to rip it out. I informed the nurse that he would rip the IV out. Since he wasn't receiving anything through the IV it could be removed. As the nurse went to get supplies to remove it, Owen continued trying to pull it out even after we tried covering it in the hopes that he would forget about it. Dr. B came and noticed that O was having trouble breathing (his oxygen sats were still staying above 96) and sounded very raspy and croupy. He ordered a breathing treatment to help him breath easier, which allowed him to calm down a bit. Shortly after the breathing treatment he was falling asleep and then waking himself up each time he got upset. Since his vitals were good, the nurse paged Dr. B to come check him one more time. He gave us the go-ahead to take him home as soon as we felt comfortable. After deciding that part of the reason he was getting so worked up was that he was still in the hospital and still being disturbed by the activity there, we decided he was fine to go home. He fell asleep before we even left the parking lot and slept the whole way home. Within minutes of walking into the house Owen put on his man boots and a hat. He ate a great dinner and acted almost totally normal after a nice long nap.

Two doses of Motrin and a good night's sleep and he is pretty much back to his regular self today. A huge thank you to all of our family and friends who sent prayers and positive thoughts our way. We feel very blessed to have so many people who care about Owen and our family. We are also extremely fortunate that Owen has such wonderful doctors. In this case, it is wonderful that Dr. Bill caught the cholesteatoma while it was so small. That obviously played a huge part in the ease of removal.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Very Personal Challenge

If you are a regular visitor to the B-Hive, you know that we have been through many challenges as a family in the past 3 years. I have said many times that one of the most important things throughout this journey has been our church family. My faith has been tested. I have prayed to God, thanked Him for the huge blessings in my life, and at times wondered why He has tested us with some of the challenges that He has thrown our way. Sometimes my prayers have sounded a lot like begging, pleading for God's help. No matter how you look at it, my faith has been tested over the past three years. I can also say that sitting here today, my faith is stronger than it has ever been. There is no doubt in my mind that God has not only carried Owen on his journey toward healing, but that he has been right there with me as I have wondered how in the world I would make it through the next days, weeks, months.

Some time ago, I'm not sure exactly how long, I saw a posting on a great friend's Facebook page (I love you Angela!) about reading the Bible in 90 days. At first I scrolled past the link not thinking too much of it. I did kind of a double take and scrolled back to the link. My thought was, "90 days? That is not possible. How could anyone read the entire Bible in such a short period of time?" After thinking about it for a few moments I thought, I'd love to do this. I'd love to do this with Angela who is a strong woman of faith whom I really love and respect. Then I started thinking about the challenge and what it would mean to me to complete it.

Bible in 90 Days
Today marks the beginning of Week 3 of Bible in 90 Days (B90Days). As of today I have read through the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Tomorrow starts the book of Joshua. Some parts have been particular difficult, slow dense reading or a lot or repetition. Other parts have been so enlightening. All in all I am loving it and am so proud that I am sticking with the challenge and on most days not even finding it particularly difficult. Support and accountability are huge factors as well. There is a huge group of women, other moms, taking this challenge. I was assigned to a group and we check in with a mentor each Monday. I also have Angela reading right along with me, and also a good friend from high school.

I am looking forward to continuing on this journey, learning more about my faith and myself and reading the WHOLE Bible!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Another Surgery and a Bladder Scare

At the end of June both boys were under the weather. I suspected ear infections, so off to the pediatrician we went. We left with confirmation that each boy had one infected ear and with armed with antibiotics. I set up appointments for ear checks. Owen went on Tuesday. He had improved quite a lot, no fevers no complaints. On Sunday night he started acting like he wasn't feeling too well and by Monday his fever had spiked to 101.4 degrees. By Tuesday morning the boy insisted that his ear did not hurt. To be honest, he's almost 3 and changes his mind quite a bit. I wasn't buying it and fully expected to be told that his ear was still infected or infected again. Wes changed his first morning diaper after he woke up. As I went to perform diaper change number 2 of the day, I noticed that his urine smelled particularly strong. (Sorry for the potty talk, but lets face it y'all already know quite a bit about Owen's urinary tract.) I started to worry and asked Wes to come to the appointment with us. Deep down I was pretty sure he had a UTI. I kept trying to talk myself out of it. He hasn't had one since his very first kidney infection at 5 weeks of age, I am sensitive to all things related to Owen's urinary tract, he is starting to potty train so maybe the strong smell had to do with him holding it and then instead of telling me he had to pee he went in his diaper, etc. As we waited in the exam room for the doctor Owen announced that he had to do pee pees. We asked the nurse for a specimen cup to collect his urine. I don't know why this surprised me, perhaps because we had switched doctors to a friend of ours from church and he is much more thorough than our original pediatrician, but the nurse argued with us about the need for a urine sample. Owen has a fever, we test his urine. End of story. She eventually saw things our way. Owen wanted Daddy to take him pee pees and was thrilled to go in a cup. Wes came back and told me that the urine was extremely crowded. Oh no, I thought. I knew then that my suspicion was correct.

The doctor came in and began to examine Owen. Neither ear was infected. More evidence supporting my UTI hypothesis. After looking in the second ear, Dr. Bill went to take a second peek in the first ear. Then back to the second, repeated a few times, taking a longer look each time. It turns out he had seen a pearly looking growth on Owen's right ear drum. He suspected that it was something called a cholesteatoma. He wanted Owen to see an ENT to confirm. We were able to get an appointment for Wednesday morning with the ENT that did Carter's ear tubes. I was so anxious, worried and upset. We were very happy to be able to get an appointment so quickly and at least know what we were dealing with. Both of the ENT doctors that have taken care of Carter looked in Owen's ear and confirmed the cholesteatoma. They wanted Owen to see one of their partners in their downtown to see one of their partners who operates on these things all of the time. Again, we were lucky to get in to see him right away. We went downtown on Thursday, where the surgeon confirmed that it was indeed a cholesteatoma and would need to be surgically removed. It is congenital, yet another birth defect. It is very small; most of these growths are not caught until they are much bigger. All three of the ENTs were very impressed that Dr. Bill caught it. After a CT scan, the surgeon was able to tell us that the cholesteatoma had not impacted any of the "hearing bones" around it in the ear. A hearing test confirmed that he has not experienced hearing lost. Though I am very upset about another surgery and just so worried, we received the very best of the possible bad news. I should be hearing from the office on Monday to schedule the surgery. We really appreciate all of the prayers, positive thoughts and support that people have shown.

After checking Owen's urine dip, Dr. Bill confirmed that he did in fact have a bladder infection. More worry, anxiety and an overwhelming feeling of why is this happening again. I spoke the the nurse at Owen's urologist's office. She spoke to the doctor, and he expressed that he is not overly concerned about the infection and would not be in any hurry to intervene in any way. He said he felt that Owen's starting potty training and holding his urine is definitely a contributing factor. Since Owen had his urology check-up on June 14, he felt that the way his kidneys emptied of all dilatation after he went pee was very positive and in his opinion meant that it was very unlikely that he was having any recurrent reflux. I was also assured that there was no reason to be overly concerned about the reflux recurring, for it could not ever go back to the severity from before the repairs. More good news, no more fevers and Owen is back to his happy energetic self. The fact that he is not showing clinical sign of illness is probably the best news at all. I think it goes without saying that it has been a very long week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eighteen months Post Reflux Resolution

It is impossible to believe, but it has been 18 months since Owen's last surgery. You may remember, two months after being told that the bladder reconstruction was not successful and that we would have no choice but to augment Owen's bladder with bowel tissue and just let him continue to reflux, Dr. Gazak had to go in and remove the stent that remained in one of Owen's kidneys. With no medical explanation, those two months allowed Owen to heal. One shot of deflux into his ureter and his reflux was resolved. Such a wonderful blessing; a true miracle. Yes, it has been 18 months since then. In that time we have only had two follow-up appointments with Dr. Gazak. The second was on Tuesday. It had been 9 months since the last appointment. Nine months since he had blood work to check his kidney function or a renal pelvic ultrasound to check for hydronephrosis. During the ultrasound, I looked at the images on the screen and felt very uncomfortable, even scared. There were several large black spots in Owen's kidneys, which means hydronephrosis. I couldn't stop the panic from creeping in. What was wrong? Why were his kidneys so dilated? How many steps back were we taking? Were we going to have to start this awful journey all over again? I could also tell that his kidneys were much longer than they were the last time I got to see them. Trying to calm myself down I thought, maybe something is going on that I don't understand. We moved to an exam room where we waited for Dr. Gazak. I was terrified. He came in and told us that all of the pertinent levels in his blood showed normal kidney function. We began our normal routine of going over the ultrasound images on the exam table. He used a pen to outline each kidney, then looked at me and confirmed my worst fear- There is a lot of dilation. Much more than last time. I thought I might be sick. He quickly hypothesized that the dilation could be result of Owen having a full bladder. Maybe the boy had to pee. Wes whisked Owen off to the bathroom with a specimen cup in hand. Owen peed in the cup, which he thought was pretty cool. Until now urine collection has involved either a catheter or a urine bag. After he had emptied his bladder, Nurse Judy took another look at Owen's kidney through ultrasound. We were all immediately relieved at the sight of two white and fuzzy kidneys. Just how they should be. To say that I was relieved is a huge understatement. Dr. Gazak came in and confirmed that both kidneys in fact looked perfectly normal. Normal!! Dr. Gazak told us that this had probably happened because Owen is starting to potty train himself. His kidneys were not dilated because of reflux, but because he had been holding his urine. This also means that we have been given the go ahead to start actually working on potty training. Dr. Gazak recommended that we put Owen on a two-hour voiding schedule. He is still in diapers right now, but doing very well with the first part of the process. He goes to the potty like a champ, and sometimes even decides to do so on his own. Even we were given quite a scare at first, the appointment ended with great news. Little Man is doing great! We are now on a one year follow up, a place that I never thought we would be.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck 'o' the Irish- Make a Wish!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Wes and I are both part Irish and enjoy celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Although I think Wes would be the first to admit that the corned beef and cabbage play a large role in his love for this day. My mom's side of the family is Scotch-Irish. Talk to my mom long enough and surely she will tell you about her ancestor's castle.

The kids are really starting to have fun with it, especially Carter. Surely with a name like Owen Reilly, Little Man will come to embrace the "green day" very soon. Although the boys had matching green shirts to wear today, Carter was very disappointed that he didn't have green underwear. Sorry, dude. He did have a blast at school, arriving to find that a sneaky Leprechaun had come in early this morning and "destroyed the school". Amongst the destruction there were green footprints, toilet water that had turned green, green milk at snack time, items displaced in the classrooms, etc. He was so funny at home, pointing out things that the Leprechaun had done to the house. "Mom, look! That blanket was folded when we left this morning. Your camera wasn't on that table before, he moved it." Ok, so the teachers at school clearly rigged a Leprechaun break-in. I did not. At home Carter was merely noticing things naturally out of place. I didn't have the heart to tell him.


On this "lucky" day, I received a surprising phone call. It caught me off guard because I had totally forgotten about an online form I had filled out several months ago. This afternoon I got a call from our regional office of the Make a Wish Foundation. They were calling in regard to Owen. He is now being considered to have a Wish granted through the Foundation. I recovered from my surprise and was able to answer the questions necessary to complete the initial round of qualification. Now Owen's doctor will receive a form to verify his medical eligibility. Basically they need confirmation of his birth defects, the life threatening condition he faced early on because we had no knowledge of his health issues with the exception of his cleft lip, the surgeries he has had, the long-term effects (particularly the fact that he will need long-term urological care) and the leg lengthening surgeries that he will require in the future. The doctor will need to provide confirmation of the story that I told, Owen's story.

Wes and I are both dealing with so many emotions surrounding the possibility that Owen could be granted a Wish. I really thought long and hard before even initiating the process, and then honestly forgot all about it. It wasn't something I was counting on, I don't know too terribly much about the process. Really, we continued our daily routines and our lives have been full and busy as always. It was very emotional and difficult for me to answer the questions being asked and try to tell this woman whose call caught me totally off guard a story that unfolded over the first 18 months or so of Owen's life. It is a long story, a story filled with too many doctor appointments, invasive tests and seven surgeries. How do I sum that up for her to fit neatly into a form that she is required to fill out? Owen's story continues to unfold. However, for now we view Owen (as do his doctors) as a typical and healthy little boy with a leg length discrepancy who happens to require the continued care of a urologist to be certain that his kidneys continue to function well despite the terrible strain his disease put on them. One of the most difficult things for us is that in imagining Owen being granted a Wish, we are also led to think of what our Little Man has fought to overcome, the fact that we almost lost him, the amount of pain and suffering he endured to get to where he is today. Ironically, those are the exact things that qualify Owen for a Wish and the reasons that we know that he deserves to be considered.