Thursday, December 29, 2011

Movin' On Up!

* I promise to post about Christmas soon *

It's official. Our big guy graduated from the Waddler Room at day care yesterday. It was his first official day in the Toddler Room!

Yay Grant!
 We've been wondering when it was going to happen because the people at day care have mentioned the move several times over the past couple of months. In the last two weeks or so Grant has been spending time in the Toddler Room so they could see how he does with the older kids and all reports have been positive.

I went to pick up Grant yesterday - not knowing of the move - and when I peeked in the Waddler Room to look for Grant two people at the same time said "Oh, he's been moved! Grant and all his things are in the Toddler Room!". I got to meet the teachers, who were very sweet, and heard about the activities that they do. It sounds like Grant did great yesterday and that he'll love all the new stuff he'll be doing. Apparently his first day in the Toddler Room was somewhat exhausting.

P.S. He woke up from this "nap" in an extremely bad mood that was made
even worse when we refused to give him a pacifier. Life is so rough.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Don Ho Christmas {Eve}

We always used to have Christmas Eve at my parent's house. Mom would cook a ton of food and Aunt Bonnie, Uncle Charlie, Nick, AJ, and Grama used to come over and we'd celebrate Christmas Eve. I know I've posted briefly before about how my Dad would wear a Hawaiian print shirt and tell everyone it was a "Don Ho" Christmas. After a while no one thought it was funny. But now Dad isn't here to have a "Don Ho" Christmas and this was our first Christmas without Dad. And Grant, for some reason I will never know, was sent some Hawaiian print shirts from his Auntie Shauna (who came again this year to spend Christmas with us). We had a little Christmas Eve celebration of our own and we also had a mini tribute to Dad :)

I suppose that shirt isn't as bad as some I've seen. And it's probably far less tacky than one that my Dad would've worn. I dressed Grant right before everyone got there and he grabbed the shirt and giggled. And then giggled the whole time I was trying to button it. He looked so ridiculous and adorable at the same time. I hope Dad liked it as much as Grant did!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has had a great holiday celebrating
with family and friends. I know we have!

Picture taken by my fabulous photographer friend
Elizabeth who always takes amazing pictures for us!
Stay tuned for some Christmas Eve/Christmas morning pictures. Grant had such a great time!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Medication. Maybe. Or It Could Kill You.

So yesterday Husband drove me to Chapel Hill to see the liver specialist. Both of us were sort of looking at this visit as a formality. After all, I was told just this past Friday that the biopsy showed that my condition was medication related. My appointment was at 2:00 - in the Transplant Clinic. That was a little off-putting, but I was confident that it was going to go well.

Be there 20 minutes before your appointment time, the letter says. And I was there 20 minutes before my appointment time (30 minutes, actually but I had to stop at registration). And then I wasn't seen until 20 minutes after my appointment time. So, the nurse does her thing and then the doctor comes flying into the room. Or maybe it just seemed like he was moving really fast because he was short. No hello, how are you, introductions...nothing. He just sits down and starts looking at all of my labs. And he talks to me in a way that makes me think he really doesn't like having to talk to or see people on a daily basis. He tells me that by looking assume it was medication related. I love it when doctor's tap dance around a simple "I don't know". But he also told me that there was a "marker" that was positive in my biopsy that could indicate autoimmune hepatitis. And if that's what it is then it needs to be treated - it's apparently not curable but is treatable - because "It'll kill you if I don't treat it". Fantastic. I walk in thinking I'm getting better...I leave thinking I possibly have a disease that will kill me if they don't figure out what the hell is going on. And then, before sending me down to the lab to have more blood drawn, he tells me not to worry. And I really wasn't that worried. I was a little, of course, but I was also kind of angry. But not nearly as much as my Hubby who was ready to call the doctor from last week to ask why he gave me a diagnosis that this new guy isn't sure about yet.

So we get home and go about our nightly routine. After I get Grant to bed, I did some dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. Then I crawled into bed for some good reading. It was 10:15 when I was just about to turn off my Kindle. And guess what? Our house phone rang. A phone call that late is never a good sign. I figured someone was sick or hurt. We didn't get to it in time and Nate says "That was your doctor on the answering machine. I think you need to get up and call him." I. Was. Pissed. 10:15?? What's so urgent? Then my cell rings. It's him. "I want to talk to you about your labs from today" he says. No apology for the time. No mention of Gee, I hope I didn't wake up your baby since your house is probably the size of the garage where I park my Mercedes and every phone you own is ringing. Nope, just started talking about my labs. And what was so urgent, you ask? NOTHING. He called to tell me that my labs look good are even more improved from last week. That it looks like I'm getting better and it's probably not autoimmune hepatitis. He calls at 10:15 p.m. for that. That and I won't have to have more blood drawn until the week after next "so I was hoping to talk to you about setting that up". What? This couldn't wait until, say, 8:00 a.m.? Ugh. This is why I try to avoid doctors.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

And the Biopsy Says...

After my liver biopsy on Tuesday (while getting a peek a the sample because the ultrasound tech was cool like that) I was told I'd have my results in a day or two. When I talked to my doctor, though, he told me I wouldn't get results until this coming Tuesday at the appointment with the liver specialist. So I prepared myself for another weekend of sleepless worry (and not just mine, Nate too - this hasn't been easy on anybody).

But Thursday I went back to work, after a quick stop at the hospital lab to have more blood drawn to check my liver levels again, and I felt decent. A little sick still when I ate and, of course, sore where they shoved a needle in my side but otherwise not too bad. Then yesterday I woke up actually feeling pretty good and feeling something else I hadn't felt in a while...hungry. Hmmm...was I getting better? So I went about my morning. I was surprised to notice around 10:00, I think, that I missed a call from my doctor's office (who I have an appointment with that afternoon). I checked my voicemail and it was the actual doctor, not his nurse, asking me to call him back. Uh oh. So I call, ask the receptionist for him and in a second he picks up and says "Hello, Tara? I have good news for you. I have your pathology results and I was hoping to save you a trip into the office." Wait...what? I was not expecting any of that.

So he tells me that my condition is related to medication that I've been taking. He also tells me that the biopsy showed no signs of permanent damage to my liver AND my levels are going down. He even cancelled my afternoon appointment because he was encouraged by the results! I still have to see the specialist on Tuesday in Chapel Hill because he's taking a second look at everything.

I can't even begin to tell you how relieved we all are. Last night I slept better than I have in a long time. It's amazing what unexpected good new can do for you. I'm feeling so much better and I think my yellowness going away. My veins are really relieved too. My arms look like I decided to become a crack whore. They were starting to hide from the blood people. Although I should point out that people in lab at Rex Hospital are really good at what they do. I wish I could go back there every time I have to have blood drawn. But anyway, I'm so happy that I'm going to be ok and we're going to be able to have a Merry Christmas.

THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone for the help (especially to my sweet Hubby and my Mother-in-law!), the concern, well wishes, thoughts, and prayers!

*Side note: If you're wondering what medication it is, I was told there is no way to tell. I'm supposed to bring to two likely culprits with me to my appointment on Tuesday but I don't think they'll do anything with them. My doctor thinks it's either my birth control pill (I've been on this specific one only since September) and an over the counter medication for a UTI - which I sort of self diagnosed myself with. I really want to blame it on that - and even if it's not that, I'll never take it again - but I just don't know. And it's not my job to know, right? It's just my job to not take them anymore. I can handle that.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Which Outfit Goes Best With Jaundice?

I haven't felt well for a couple weeks now. Since Thanksgiving weekend. I figured it was something I ate, then I thought it was a stomach bug. A couple people who knew about it all asked if I was pregnant. Absolutely not. So this past Thursday after I got out of the shower I looked in the mirror and got a little scared. I called Nate into the bedroom and I asked him if my skin and eyes look yellow to him. He kinda made fun but quickly stopped when he said "Umm...yeah, you're yellow." And then the fun began.

That day I went to just a general doctor who threw every scary possibilities at me (including pancreatic cancer) and took some tons of blood. Then he sent me for an abdominal ultra sound to check for "blockages" which of course made me think they were going to find all kinds of tumors and I was going to die (the doctor actually was hoping for a gall stone stopping up my plumbing). Nothing. Ultra sound was clean except for a "slight" inflammation of my liver and spleen. So Friday I went to a gastro guy who once again took my history and ordered more blood tests. And then an MRI of my abdomen on Monday.

I'm not a claustrophobic person...but that MRI tube gave me some anxiety. And I left there once again feeling like they were going to see something awful. Nope. Clean. What to do, what to do? How about more needles? But let's make a big one. So Tuesday, I had a liver biopsy done. "Don't worry," the nurse at my doctor's office said "It sounds scary but they'll sedate you. You won't know what's going on. You'll just need to have someone there to drive you."


They most certainly do not sedate you before shoving a large needle into your troublesome liver. And honestly it wasn't too terrible. But they SHOULD sedate you before sending in the socially awkward nurse to attempt THREE TIMES to start an IV. She eventually gave up (after bruising me in all three places) and someone else - much more friendly - came in and got it on the first try. Just start with him next time. So they did the biopsy and I was sent off to recovery to lay still for two hours with Nate to keep me company (who refused to give me my phone to play with).

No joke, I look like I've taken a position
at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

So at this point it was about 3:30 in the afternoon and I'd had nothing to eat all day (finally had something to drink when I got to recovery and it was the best tasting ginger ale I've ever had!). The very sweet nurse was going to bring me some graham crackers but on second thought brought me the hospital menu and ordered me a sandwich. I went with grilled cheese thinking it would be easy to eat from the above position. I wasn't sure how my stomach would handle it but I took one look at it and it was gone in about 3.2 seconds. I was starving. After that I was discharged and took yesterday off as well to rest up. I'm not allowed to lift anything over 20 pounds - and that includes Grant - for 5 days. On the off chance my liver decides to spring a leak. 

This morning it was more blood work and tomorrow another follow up with the gastro guy. Next week I go to Chapel Hill to see another specialist who, I'm told, should have my biopsy results. The doc seems to be leaning toward a virus but it apparently could be related to medication or an autoimmune thing. They've ruled out the big bad stuff so we're all very relieved about that.

 Regardless of the outcome, I will be very glad to have this all over with (I'm so tired of needles)! It's put a huge kink in all my Christmas plans (and my Christmas baking!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Look At Those Legs

Raise your hand if you think your little one is the cutest thing ever. Yeah, me too :) And I have to adorable as some chubby cheeks and chunky thighs are on a baby...I love how scrawny my little man is. And he is scrawny. Grant does have a little belly on him sometimes but for the most part he's a little stick. That's not to say he doesn't eat. He totally eats. I think he's made of 85% pasta. Maybe he just burns it off while he's bouncing off the walls. But anyway, I frequently let him run around in just a onesie because I loooove to watch his tiny self running around with those skinny little legs.

Pictures were taken with my phone while trying to capture a moving
subject. Please excuse the blurriness. However, you can
clearly see those silly skinny legs.

Seriously, it makes me smile every time :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Crazy Hair

I know that everyone wakes up with bed-head. I took these pictures the morning of Thanksgiving because while Grant has always had a rather severe case of Crazy Hair...this was quite possibly the craziest that it's been.

Nate and I have mentioned to each other several times over the last month how Grant is overdue for a hair cut (not that his previous haircut cured Crazy Hair). But we're definitely going to have to find them time to do it this weekend.

*Side note: I forgot to mention in my 15 month post that Operation: Bye-Bye Paci is in full swing and we managed to go about 90% of this past weekend without the pacifier. The exception being nap time and bed time. But so far, we're very encouraged by the progress!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

15 Months

Seriously this was the only picture I managed to get of
him sitting still and that was only for a second.
At Grant's 15 month check-up on Tuesday we learned that he is 21 lbs 13 oz and he's 31.5 inches tall. So pretty much tall and skinny. The big news from that visit...*drum roll please*...we've been given the green light for Grant to go forward facing in the car! Yeah, I know - it's the little things, right? I've been looking forward to it for a while (more about that later probably).

Grant seems to be crazier every day. I don't mean like the "committed" kind of crazy. I mean the 100% little boy kind of crazy. And it is so entertaining. When he's not sick (and sometimes even when he is) he is wide open all the time. It seems to be Grant's daily goal to make as much noise as possible before he retires for the night. His favorite toys right now are anything he can stack. He loves his wood blocks, mega blocks...and when he's my kitchen helper he loves to get into my baking cupboard and stack my canisters of various supplies. It's actually kind of impressive - maybe because I'm his Mom - because he almost always manages to get them stacked largest to smallest. And then he usually puts them away.

Grant, for a while now, has been all about some books. His board books are his favorites, of course, because those are easier for him to turn the page. If he's not playing with his toys then you can generally spot him with a book. Before bed he gets at least two stories but it's not unusually to read four or five. He gets so excited about them that sometimes you just have to keep going :)

Grant is doing a little talking. "Dada" is the most used but I get an occasional "Mama". "Uh oh" is runner up for most used. And now he's even saying "Hey" and "Hi" too. The other day he laid down on the floor, looked under the bed at Brodie, waved at him and said "Hi!". It was pretty cute and Brodie even wagged his tail (The whole Brodie & Grant friendship is improving, by the way. Brodie has even allowed Grant to give him some hugs!)

So that's that for now. Hopefully I'll be able to get some other stuff posted in between getting ready for Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Self-Feeding: Step 2

At Grant's 15 month check-up on Tuesday (which I will update about if I ever get around to his 15 month post) the doctor asked how he's doing eating with utensils. I told her it's something we've been working on sporadically and that he was adjusting to it. She seemed encouraged by that answer.

The other night we all had breakfast for dinner. Grant had two pieces french toast (I have to say I make some pretty yummy french toast) and peaches which, of course, require nothing - for him - other than his hands. But he was still hungry. So I busted out some yogurt and one of his "learning" spoons. I helped him on the first couple spoonfuls and then I decided to see what he could do on his own. My big guy ate the rest of the container of yogurt all by himself! I even tried to take the spoon to help at the end but no dice. He cried and had a death grip on the spoon. If I was going to take the spoon, I think I would have had to just take his whole arm. Mr. Independent!

I'm not going to lie. It makes me a little sad when I realize how much Grant's growing up. But I also know that when he gets better at eating that way we can finally all sit at the table and eat dinner as a family (no more eating in shifts in front of the TV!). I'm really looking forward to family dinners.
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