Surgery update

Hey all, I think this blog is losing steam.  That makes me sad, but also not surprised with the influx of social media and group chats; plus my kids are getting bigger and less interested in having their private lives on public record; and that whole working thing that takes up a lot of my time these days!

I am gloriously home this week, relaxing on the couch and watching too much tv.  They call it “resting,” not something I’m generally good at! :)  Actually, this week we’re calling it “healing” and something that is very needed, mentally and physically!

Third paragraph and third time sitting down to write this.  Sigh.  Things are going well.  I’m healing.  My throat is feeling less sore and I haven’t taken an pain reliever since 1pm this afternoon.  :)  On Tuesday the ENT surgeon did a “quick procedure” (only 74 minutes fully sedated!) to remove some scar tissue from my trachea in an attempt to open up that airway and help me breath a little easier.  I’ve been dealing with this for awhile now and tried several different asthma meds first, with minimal success.

I’ve been on so many meds (pain relieves, antibiotics, stereoids, and the usual vitamins and stuff I take every day), that I haven’t really been able to tell if the surgery made any improvement.  Also, it’s not too hard to breath when you’re just sitting on the couch all day, not moving!  :)

This afternoon I took Arlo for a walk down the street and it was colder than cold so we walked at a very brisk pace!  It was not a long walk, but I found myself noticing on the way back that my breathing was up slightly, but in a natural “I’m walking fast in the cold,” sort of way, not the “I’m having trouble catching my breath,” sort of way that it has been for the past year or more.  I’m going to tentatively say the surgery was useful and worth it (the forced recovery time was definitely worth it as I’ve been running on stressed out fumes for awhile now!)

Yesterday I made it out for a few errands and lunch with a friend.  I was exhausted by the end and my throat was sore.  Today felt like “back to real life” with karate and Lego League practice requiring me to be up and out the door early.  Tomorrow is the Lego League competition and it will be a LONG, LOUD day!  I’m going to bring extra pain reliever, just in case!  Monday is a full day of school, and I’m already looking forward to Tuesday and Wednesday, my quieter days in the library!

Ok, outta here for now!  Lots to prep for tomorrow and we have to be out the door bright and early!

Eve’s ear

I’m sitting in the outpatient surgery waiting room right now. Eve is in the OR right now, having a “bump” removed from her ear. I have been reluctant to write this post, I’m not sure why. As the kids get older I feel more reserved about the private information I post. I realized I’ve already posted a ton of private info, but it’s starting to feel different. Anyway, I’m going to write this while I wait because I want the details for my own memory, and I’ll see how I feel about posting it when I’m done.

When Eve was four she started to develop a “bump” on the back of her right ear. The “helix” according to a random page I found on the Internet.

I asked the doctor about it at her 5yr well child check up and the doctor said it looked like a mole, nothing more. She recommended I take a picture and we keep an eye on it.

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Eve’s ear in April, 2012 (5 years old)

Over the next year or so it swelled up to about the size of a slightly used pencil eraser (how’s that for specific) and then shrunk down again, like a wrinkled raisin. Then it swelled up and grew another bump on top of the original bump. Weird. At her seven year check up (or thereabouts, I’m forgetting the details) the doctor recommended we see a dermatologist, just to have a second opinion. The dermatologist (who is awesome, btw) determined it was a “growing and changing mole” and suggested we keep an eye on it, but we’d likely want to have it removed at some point, for cosmetic reasons if nothing else. After two appointments, with the bump-on-bump still growing, we decided she was old enough and we just wanted to have it removed.

This February we went to the dermatologist for the in-office procedure. The whole thing took about five minutes and the doctor talked to Eve about American Girls and suddenly it was over.

Feb 2015

Feb 24th 2015, the day we had the “bump” removed in the dermatologist’s office.

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Feb 24th 2015, the day we had the “bump” removed in the dermatologist’s office.

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Post derm procedure. She basically just cut the bump off and cauterized the wound. It didn’t stay black like that for long.

The worst part, according to Eve, is that we had to keep Aquafor and a band-aid on it for a few weeks to keep it moist and soft. She didn’t like the bankd-aid process.

The doctors did their medical thing and studied the bump thoroughly. The called it a “spitzoid melanoma of childhood.” The dermatologist said they used to call this type of thing “childhood melanoma,” but now that sounds too scary so they changed the name. I’m not sure “spitzoid” sounds any less scary! The docs were concerned that it might be a bit more than a normal thing and there was some discussion about what to do. They sent the “specimen” to Sloan Kettering for further analysis and eventually the doctors all agreed that the remainder of the “bump,” the part still inside her ear, should be removed. I had a long talk with our dermatologist about the pros and cons and ramifications of surgery or “leave well enough alone.” She also recommended an ultrasound of Eve’s neck because if the ear issue had extended into her body further it would likely show up in the lyphnodes in her neck. I think that was the “sentinel lymphnodes” part. We decided to go ahead with the ultrasound as a baseline (they want to repeat again next year to see if there are changes) and the ear surgery. It was a hard decision, for me, because I don’t want to do unnecessary surgery and there were so many maybes involved. However, I also don’t want to bury my head in the sand and avoid the problem until something else happens, potentially more internally where we won’t catch it quickly.

So, we did the ultrasound last month. It was a tough experience because the only time I’ve been in an ultrasound room was for baby peeks, and to see MY baby on the table was a little disconcerting… and also because the last time I was in that room was when we didn’t see a heartbeat and that was pretty traumatic. Anyway, it’s not about me. I had both kids with me at the time and you can’t get too sentimental with two silly kids around. Eve was perfectly still while the ultrasound tech did her job, then did 200 jumping jacks while we waited the the tech to release us. We all agreed that inside the neck looks like a raging river with some boulders (lymphnodes, I presume) in it.

The dermatologist called me that afternoon (did I mention she’s awesome!) and said that the lymphnodes look fine and there is no cause for concern there. Whew!! There had been talk of removing a swollen lymphnode during the ear surgery, if necessary, and I was VERY glad to hear that wasn’t necessary!

Alan and I decided it was still a good idea to go ahead and have the remaining part of the “bump” removed from her ear, just to be sure there were no more bad cells in there. It was hard to explain that to Eve though. She understood the initial removal of the bump, but she wanted nothing to do with this second procedure. Leading up to today I have asked all the questions I could to various people and feel as prepared as possible. In the past few days I tried to talk to Eve about what to expect, but she kept insisting that she didn’t want to know. She didn’t want to hear about it. I let the issue rest.

Last night I was combing her hair and noticed that the bump area is starting to bump up again. That effectively cleared away any remaining hesitation I had about the surgery. Clearly it is still “active” and therefore potentially troubling.

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Eve’s ear, last night. The bump is starting to grow again.

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Eve’s ear, last night. The bump is starting to grow again.

This morning we had a 6:45am appointment with the surgery center. Eve wasn’t allowed to eat or drink beforehand, so I let her sleep as long as possible, waking her a little after 6:00am. That’s when her true feelings came up. “Mom, I don’t want to do this. Please can I just stay here in bed. Why do I have to have surgery? Why don’t I get a say in the matter?” My heart broke at 6:10am. Sigh. I hugged her and tried to explain a bit, but mostly just empathized. I acknowledged that she is getting older and should be more involved in the decision making process. I was able to get her out the door, if not happily at least peacefully, and we headed to surgery. By the time we got there she had built up her silly defenses and was pure sweet and silly. She did a great job with the process and everyone involved was super nice and caring and sweet. I was really impressed.

At this point I am actually home now. The surgery was scheduled for 1hr 45m, but only lasted about 25 minutes. Good news! The surgeon told me that he didn’t have to take any cartilage, which is good, and was able to get out as much as the “specimen” as he could see. He said he took a few extra millimeters all around, so hopefully it’s all cleared out! I was able to go into the operating room with her and hold her hand while she sang “Let It Go” with a Child Life Specialist. She was asleep before the end. I cried a little on the way out. I knew she was in good hands and it wasn’t a major surgery, but the emotion is still a bit overwhelming. I went back to the waiting room and was surprised to hear them calling my name 25 minutes later! I talked with the doctor, then went back into the recovery area (the same place as the pre-op area) to talk with the nurse and be present when Eve woke up. She rebounded quickly and in no time was eating popsicles and telling the nurses silly stories. We left a short time later and headed to the store to buy her more popsicles, and Cheetos (a treat she never gets normally!) and granola bars. Basically whatever she asked for I said yes. She was driving the cart down the aisles like a drunk person. Alan met us there to say hi and we both had a good laugh at with her.

We came home and spent the next few hours on the couch watching Dinosaur Train, a PBS preschool program that she loves but that Lex refuses to watch anymore and therefore Eve rarely gets to see. This morning I promised her all the Dinosaur Train she wants, which is partly why she got out of bed in the first place.

Now we wait for further lab results to tell us… well, I don’t really know what they’ll tell us. I guess some sort of reassurance that this whole experience is over.

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Eve’s ear, immediately following surgery. Not a pretty sight.

And we wait for this monstrosity to heal. The doctor assured me it would look pretty good in the end. He’s a plastic surgeon and that is his job after all. So far, in the past few hours, it started bruising and looking even worse.  Fortunately she seems to be feeling fine, full of energy and insisting there is no ear pain.  I’ll probably give her some Tylenol before bed, just in case, but she definitely bounces back quickly!

Eve told me she didn’t want me to take any pictures in the hospital (I snuck that one above while she was still sleeping!), but when she saw me looking like this she decided it was worthy of a photo.  Whatever it takes to make her smile.  :)

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Silly mommy. Doggie got her own hat, mask, and breathing mask too. They took good care of Eve and her lovies there. :)

Lex’s checkup

The boy is 9 years old so we went back to the doctor for a well-child visit.  He’s 77lbs and 52.75″ tall.  He gained 8lbs and 1.25″ from last year, but lost 3lbs from a visit in October.  The doctor was a tiny bit concerned, but after a conversation and check she was happy that he’s doing just fine.  We chalked it up to winter clothes. :)  We had the usual discussion on activities and exercise (plenty) and healthy eating and veggies (none).  I always feel guilty when the feeding discussion comes up.  The doctor is great, but I feel guilty anyway.  This summer I plan to get us back on a better eating schedule.  This year has been tough with school and work and all.

Today was exhausting!  A very rainy field day that got moved inside, so we were shepherding over-excited kindergarteners throughout the school from one activity to another.  They got very little down time and no quiet time.  This is a class that regularly has five or six sleepers still at quiet time, so by the end of the day they were exhausted.  So were the teachers!  After school we went right to the doctor’s appointment, then home and I will admit that the three of us have been staring at screens for the last 45 minutes.  It’s so quiet!  I’m going to rally again and make some dinner now.  No rest for the weary. :)  Kidding.  Summer is coming soon!

Eve’s 7yr Checkup

Another year, another trip to the doctor’s office. Fortunately another easy-peasy trip for us. The biggest inconvenience was a cranky Lex. Eve was happy and healthy, of course. She’s now 57lbs (77th percentile) and 50″ (83rd percentile). Growing right up! I didn’t get a picture at the doctor’s office because doctor visits just aren’t that cute any more. Shhh, don’t tell.

I asked the doctor about the lump on her ear. I think I posted about it a few years ago, but I can’t find it for a link now so you’ll just have to trust me. :) The doctor said it doesn’t look dangerous at all. She said sometimes “growing and changing” bumps on children are just growing and changing because the child is doing the same. She said growing and changes things on grown-ups are more concerning. She agreed that a visit to a dermatologist would be prudent anyway though, even if just to put my mind at ease. She gave us a referral and maybe I’ll hear back from a specialist before 2015! Fortunately it’s no emergency.

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She certainly has no trouble with her ego!

The one thing the doctor stressed, again, like she always does, is healthy eating. I always feel guilty when my kids list all of zero things in response to her question about healthy eating. She asks, “What vegetables do you like?” and they says “Umm….” Silence. She then asks if we’ve seen the MyPlate.gov thing and then proceeds to tell them about the importance of healthy foods. I say “Yes, I’ve said it all before. They know. They just chose not to.”

Tonight Eve chose to. Yay! I was having edamame for dinner and she asked to try some. She decided it was ok, not amazing, but not awful (rave review!) and then asked for some more. Eventually she asked me to take a picture to show daddy. :) Maybe it was proof that she once ate something green. I have a guilt complex about their diets (and my own too!) so it always makes me happy when they are willing to try something new! Yay Eve! Here’s to a new year of healthy eating! (or at least one meal)

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Edamame is yummy!

 

Eight year check-up!

Lex had his well-child visit today. He was pretty excited to miss an hour of school. We dropped Eve off this morning and Lex was skipping through the halls, telling everyone he met that he was going to the doctor’s office. He got some odd looks. :)

All went well at the visit. He participated fully, no fears or concerns. He even seemed to know the answers the doctor was looking for and anticipated her questions. Like he’s been there before! I brought my camera but I didn’t take any photos. I thought about it once or twice, but he just seemed too big for me to be taking his picture in the doctor’s office. Sigh. Not too big for me to post his stats though!

He’s up to 69lbs now (wow!) and 51.5″. He grew 4.5″ since last year’s visit and gained 13lbs! She said he is 86% for weight and 79% for height, which seemed higher than usual to me (I thought he was generally in the 50% area), but she said he is right on his growth curve and doing fine. Always good to hear. :)

And the best part, no shots until his 11yr check-up! Except the annual flu shot, the doctor and I were both clear to point out.

Then we went back to school and he was happy to do that as well. I love the happy days!

Eve’s 6 year check-up

When you’re a little peanut you get a visit to the doctor’s office with every birthday.  Like your final, less than exciting, birthday present!  Today was the day for miss Eve.  Luckily there are no shots at this age.  She weighed in at 50lbs (76%) and 48.5″ tall (94%).  She was loopy and silly, but of course an extremely well child!

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Silly silly six year old.

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They are such big kids now! I even read a few pages of a magazine while they entertained themselves.

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Who’s the doctor?!

goody bags

After the doctor’s office the kids filled the goody bags for this weekend’s birthday party.

After they went to bed I started building her princess castle cake. I have set the bar high for birthday cakes and their requests are growing. Sadly my skills (and my time!) seem to be lacking lately. The “crumb coat” on this cake isn’t looking good. Hopefully I can pull it together tomorrow! I’ll post pictures either way. :)

Eye update

Just a quick update for my own purposes. We went to the eye doctor yesterday for Eve’s checkup. She is doing great! She has 20/20 with the glasses on. The doctor said her prescription changed a smidgen, but recommended we not bother getting new glasses until it changes more or until they break or something. Eve chews on the ear pieces sometimes, but otherwise she’s doing great with them and the glasses are holding up well. Lex came with us and had his first experience at the eye doctors. He didn’t get his eyes checked though. The doctor recommended he get them checked next year when I bring her back in. He was pretty interested in the equipment and I was tempted to ask if she could just do it right then, but I didn’t ask and I doubt he would have cooperated. Maybe next year. Maybe not. At least I know Eve is a rockstar at the eye doctor now! :)

Seven year check-up!

We had Lex’s seven year check-up today! Seven years old! My, how time flies. He was not very happy to go, but I appreciate that he doesn’t physically fight with us much anymore. I had to carry him into the exam room, but he didn’t protest or fight, instead he just snuggled in and fussed. On the way over he kept saying, “I’m not very excited to go to the doctor’s office.” To which I had to reply, “Of course not, no one ever is!”

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This is his general opinion on going to the doctor. At least he just sulks these days and doesn't physically object. Fortunately we have a good doctor who is able to get him chatting and make the appoinment go smoothly.

He did a good job though and cooperated with the doctor. No surprise, he’s a well and growing boy. They measured him at 48″ (now he can ride the rides, right?!) and 56lbs. Which puts him at the 73rd percentile for weight and 32nd for height. Not that that matters at all, but I like to know. :)

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Open wiiiide.....

Then we came home and he was antsy and picking all afternoon, like something was just off with him. Not sure if it was brought on by the doctor’s appointment or something else. Bedtime was an hour late (thanks to a birthday dessert!) but I’m hoping he’ll sleep well and wake up his usual chipper self!

Five year checkup!

We went to the doctor for Eve’s 5yr checkup yesterday. She’s come a long way from this (her one year checkup)…

eve at one

She is happy and healthy and strong, of course. She did everything the doctor asked her to (and then some!) and got a clean bill of health. She weighed in at 45lbs (80%) and was 45.5″ tall (94%). The doctor said that was a big jump in percentile from last year. I measured her on the wall at 44.25″ so I’m wondering if perhaps they weren’t real accurate at the office today. My measurement would have had her on her same growth curve, without the big jump. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. She’s healthy and tall. If you’re paying close attention you’ll notice she is roughly the same height that Lex was at his 6yr checkup! :)

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Big five year old!

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She no longer even fits in the wooden car they love to play in at the doctor's waiting room.

Super quick update

I’m employing Starfall as my babysitter for a few minutes so I can do some Good Beginnings work. That done, I’m going to take two more minutes for a blog update as I noticed I left you all hanging on the sick thing.

Lex is feeling much better now. He went to school Tuesday morning, despite red rosy checks and a warm forehead. He insisted he felt fine and wanted to go to school. He came home yesterday afternoon wanting to take a nap (no surprise!). Unfortunately his bed was stripped and instead of waiting for me to remake his bed he decided to watch Toy Story instead. They both settled into the dark living room (darn winter!) and watched Toy Story. He almost dozed off a few times, but didn’t. I took the opportunity to bake a pumpkin pie. More on that later!

He went to bed feeling fine and woke up this morning happy and ready to go back to school. Yay!

The other good news from today is that Eve’s eye sight progress is going well. We had a checkup this morning and her eye doctor was very happy with her progress. I guess when she first got her glasses she measured at 20/30-20/40 corrected, but now she was 20/20 corrected. Which means her left eye is working harder and her vision is improving. Yay! The doctor was very pleased and Eve, of course, was a Wonderful Patient (or so said her sticker reward at the end.)

Ok, time to shut down and go… make dinner I suppose. Or maybe I’ll cuddle and play Starfall with them for awhile. :)