Subglottic tracheal stenosis

I haven’t posted anything about my second trachea surgery here, that I can remember.  I thought I should though, just for posterity and future reference.  For the moment it’s over and done with.

Last spring I started experiencing shortness of breath and wheezing, like I had back in 2015/16.  Instead of going through the whole process of x-rays, cat scans, asthma treatments, etc, I just went back to the ENT who fixed the problem in the first place!  Actually, I went to my PCP first to get the needed referrals.  My official PCP, a different doctor than I saw during the first round of all this, thought maybe the problem was caused by reflux.  I told him I didn’t have reflux, just the occasional heartburn.  He explained reflux and I said, “Ooohhh, yes, I guess I do have that!”  He gave me the ENT referral, but also had my try Prilosec for two weeks.  Guess what? No heartburn — at all!  That was a nice two weeks.  Unfortunately the damage was already done.

I went back to the ENT in November and he did the scope again, finding that yes, once again the scar tissue had built up in my subglottic area (just below the larynx) and was causing the wheezing and breathing problems.  He said we should definitely do another surgery.  I said, ok, but I don’t want a third, so how can we prevent this in the future?!  He agreed that reflux is a likely cause and prescribed a longer duration anti-reflux med.

So I had the surgery again on February 8th.  I intentionally scheduled it for the week before vacation so I could have two weeks off.  I remembered that last time one week didn’t feel like enough (though when I went back and reread the post I realized I also went to a Lego League competition the day before going back to work, NOT the best idea!)  This time I had a quiet week at home (with the except of Eve home sick one day, snow day another day, follow up appointments another day, etc)  Then we went to Franklin over vacation so I was able to relax there too.  That’s what I do best in Franklin!  :)

I went back to work this week and I’m feeling pretty great.  I can totally breath again!  I can walk up stairs without feeling like I’m dying.  I don’t sound like Darth Vader anymore.  I got nice flowers and a get well card from my coworkers, so I sent out a thank you email and gave them all a quick overview of what’s going on.  Since then so many have come to talk to me about it!  People have said they thought I had asthma, or bronchitis, or emphysema!  Geesh!  I’m glad I cleared that up with everyone.

I’m currently taking reflux meds, but also changing my diet to reduce the reflux in the hopes that I don’t have to be on the meds forever.  Now we wait and see if the whole thing comes back again after a few years.  Fingers crossed it does not!

If you’re curious, here’s a good description of what’s going on.

Here’s a super detailed version of it with some gross pictures, and that article led me to another that might explain what I really have.  I’m posting this mostly for my own reference, in case it comes back again in two years.

Anyway, that’s my story for this evening.  It’s great to be able to climb stairs and read a full picture book without having to stop and catch my breath!

Lunch?

Eve was packing her lunch yesterday, as she does every day, and I happened to see this: I was laughing so hard.  Obviously she wasn’t trying to take the whole box, she just set it there while getting a smaller container from the drawer, but it looked so funny I had to take a picture.

Later that same day I had lunch duty and I saw a girl with this for lunch:
Again, so funny! I showed her the picture of Eve’s lunch and asked if I could take a picture of her lunch too.  She said these were cookies that teachers had ordered, not really her lunch.  Still, funny!

Photos and nostalgia

We’ve have a big, empty wall in the mudroom that I’ve been thinking about how to fill. I’ve come across mirrors and signs in stores that I kind of like, but don’t love. It suddenly occurred to me last week that I want to put a large canvas photo there. The silly thing is that the idea was in my head while we were building the house, I could envision it and everything, but then forgot. D’uh! So now I’m on the hunt for the perfect photo. Something with depth, something with water (not sure why, but I feel drawn that way), and something with fun memories. I’ve been exploring the blog trying to find that “just right” photo. Here are some ideas. I’m not sure they’re perfect though.

both kids

I love them.

pond

The pond

to the beach

To the beach!

happy

Happy kids on the beach!

Or maybe this one. No water, but yellow and green. Might look nice in the mudroom.

flowers -p2

The problem with taking so many pictures is that it’s often hard for me to decide which ones are best.

The point of this post really is that I’ve been loving my blog lately. :) So glad I started and maintained it, even if not always regularly.  I love going back and seeing the old pictures.  The kids as babies and toddlers, of course, but also me and Alan, and everyone else!  I love reading the posts. Sometimes I was happy, other times I was grumpy, and sometimes, the good ones, I was deep and insightful.  I love it!

I was going to post a few more fun pictures that I’ve come across, but there are just so many adorable pictures I can’t decide.  I’d end up reposting all of them! Well, most of them.  They’re not all nostalgia repost worthy! :)  So you’ll have to go back and find your own adorable pictures to reminisce about.  Or not.  Whatever makes you happy.

District Band: Winter Music Festival

Lex’s school participates in a District Band event where selected students from 25 different schools come together for two days of musical fun.  This year Lex auditioned and was selected to attend.  He was thrilled!  The event was all day yesterday (he got to miss school!) and today, with a final performance for family and friends this afternoon.  It was a long drive (apparently a big district!) but we had fun and definitely enjoyed the music!

The high school band performed first and they were fantastic!!  I didn’t record much of their performance, but I loved these golden bongo drums and wanted to share.

Then the middle school band was up. Lex played the bass drum for the first song, the symbols in the second and third songs, and the castanets in the fourth song.

We had to stop and charge the car on the way home, so we invited Macy to join us for dinner. Macy was also in the band. She plays trombone! We had a loud and silly ride home, with a stop to recharge us (pizza) and the car (electricity) on the way.

Sick

I think we’re all getting sick over here.  Alan is always off-and-on with sinus stuff, I’m struggling to breath (ok, that’s an exaggeration, but I’m definitely not breathing easily!), and Lex has a deep cough.  Just today I started feeling feverish and my cough has changed from the throat-clearing one that has become my norm to a hard cough that’s more indicative of a cold.  Sorry Eve, you’re probably next.  Thank goodness we have a four day weekend ahead!  I am ready for some serious R&R.  Bring on the snow!

Growing Up

I’m exhausted from this working nonsense.  I worked a whole day today, plus karate!  Luckily there were no drum lessons this week.  LOL!  Before bed I wanted to write a quick post about some growing-up observations I had with Lex this afternoon.

In the car on the way to karate I asked if he had any homework today.  He said, “Well, kind of.”  Apparently his ELA teacher gave them an assignment, due Monday, to write three things they want to accomplish this year.  “Basically goals, without calling them goals,” he tells me.  Goal setting is one of his least favorite things.  Right up there with vaccinations and trying new foods. All have left him on the floor, under chairs, in tears.  As I mentally prepared myself for a weekend of goal setting with Lex, he said, “I’m just going to write three down and then forget them.”  Um… ok.  Not really the intended goal, but certainly a suggestion I’ve made in the past in an effort to get him off the floor.  He then went on to tell me the goals he decided to set!  The first one is to get all of his grades up to an A, the second one he couldn’t remember, and the third was to keep his assigned 40-book challenge sheet up to date.  All good goals, I assume.  Then he tells me that he had a B+ in science, but when he checked it today his teacher had a put in a few more grades and he was up to an A again.  Check that goal off the list!  He also told me that he’s sure he’s read at least 40 books already (they are allowed to count books they read over the summer, so yeah, he’s read at least 40!), so he’s going to just write down a bunch of books he knows he’s read and be done with the challenge.  LOL!  Check that goal off the list!  Now he just needs to remember what Goal #2 was.

I realize this is not the intent of goal setting, and I will also confess that I am TERRIBLE at goal setting, but I did notice several points of growth in this conversation, and I shared them with him.  First, he didn’t cry over this assignment!  It didn’t even stop him in his tracks.  Instead of getting hung up on whether or not he could do the goals, he just wrote something down.  He’s a very honest person and in the past the idea of committing to something he didn’t know if he could accomplish really got him stuck.  Today he was able to write them down and move on!  Second, I remember (not so fondly) the days of elementary school when he was assigned to read for 20 minutes a day.  After reading for hours he would then fall apart because he didn’t “do his homework” because he didn’t time himself reading for exactly 20 minutes.  When I tried to tell him that he just read for an hour, he struggled to fill out the stupid form with a start and stop time because it wasn’t, in his mind, an “official” reading for 20 minutes.  Today he has the flexibility to say, “yeah, I read those books in the past, that counts!” and move on!  Awesome!!  Again, maybe not entirely the intent of the assignment, but boy these are big milestones for him!

The icing on the cake came at karate today.  As he’s walking into the dojo he notices that most of the other kids have these red sparring gloves on.  He turns to me and says, “Oh, I forgot, we are going to start doing sparring on Wednesday and I think I need gloves today.”  Umm… ok?!  But guess what, he went in anyway, without the gloves and all was fine.  They offer sparring classes on Friday and Lex hasn’t had any interest at all, though he told me later tonight that he’s kind of interested in sparring, but just doesn’t want to go to karate on Fridays.  :)  So anyway, I was watching the class today and they are wearing these big gloves and mouth guards and I’m thinking this might be the end of karate for Lex.  After class I asked him if he wanted to stop at the office and see about buying the gear.  He said yes!! YES!  He wants to wear those gloves AND is willing to wear a mouth guard.  A MOUTH GUARD!?  Can you believe it?  (He hasn’t actually put it in yet, so we’ll see how that goes.)  He’s even willing to wear the rest of the sparring gear when the class gets to that point.

Of course that means we have to buy all that extra gear, but hey, if he’s willing (and excited!) to wear it, I’ll buy it!

It’s amazing to think back to how stuck he used to get over seemingly the smallest things and how far he has come.  It really gives me faith in his future!  He is a pretty amazing guy!

2019!

Welcome to a new year!  A year that will result in another awesome year at our awesome house, a Masters degree for me, a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, a new school for Lex (high school!), and I’m sure so much more.

We celebrated NYE in the usual homebody way.  We watched a movie, played some games, ate Cheetos (somehow that has become a tradition), opened our Family Fun Jar, and watched the ball drop.  Not only did we all stay awake until midnight, but we did so easily!  I was enjoying our evening immensely, but when we turned on the TV and saw all the people in Times Square, wearing dumb hats from Planet Fitness, even dumber 2019 glasses, and even dumber plastic bags — standing in the cold rain — I enjoyed our cozy family evening even more.

Nothing like late night math games for this geeky family! LOL!

A little Apples to Apples next. It’s kind of like the kid-friendly Cards Against Humanity. (It’s hard to get a good picture of my gawky teen/preteen these days!)

Family Fun Jar – 2018 edition

Lots of ticket stubs and programs in there this year.

Also Arlo’s tag. :/

Fireworks! We got the TV on about five minutes before the ball dropped. Once the TV was on, everything else was forgotten.

I tried for a nice family photo with 2019 in the background… but got this instead. LOL!

Today has been a quiet one.  I just finished book #6 of vacation, Lex and Alan played a lot of Minecraft and are now out shoveling water our of our driveway (crazy winter!), and Eve spent the afternoon at Macy’s house.

Happy 2019 to all.  Maybe it be a year of fun and excitement and peace and fulfillment. <

Merry Christmas!

The 2018 Christmas is officially on the books and a good time was had by all.  This year Joyce was able to join us too!  We did the usual: meals and presents and hanging out.  It was great.  Here are a few pictures.  All of mine can be found in this Photos album.

On Christmas Eve we went out shopping and ended up hanging out with these hysterical alpaca llamas.

Silly llamas!

Christmas Eve dinner was tacos a la Joyce and Tom.

Thanks Joyce!

Santa came right on time.

Lights on

Lights off. I can’t decide which picture I like better.

On Christmas morning the kids woke us up at a very reasonable hour (a sure sign they’re growing up!).  The Makey-Makey bedroom present was so good we had to drag Lex downstairs to open stockings!  Then we all waited patiently while Mema and Tom went to church and Katie, Rosy, and Joyce got here.

Love

Finally it was time for presents!!

So happy to have this smiling face with us this year!

And this one!!!

Presents kept us busy for awhile. Lots of Legos and Harry Potter stuff and books and candy and so much more.

Looking good, Grandpa Tom!

Still going….

Bodhi got all worn out. There were a lot of presents to and from doggies this year.

Mema wins the cute picture prize this year!!

I love this one. I want to do some editing to make the colors pop, but she was so sweet reading under the tree. <3

Superman!

For Christmas dinner we invited my friend and her two boys over.  We all enjoyed lasagna, salad, and garlic bread.  Yum!

It’s hard to get a good picture with everyone looking, smiling, and not blinking!

My camera took a few selfies on its way down the table.

Sistas!

The girl on my other side wanted nothing to do with selfies, but the boy was happy to smile with me. He’s always happy to smile with me. Lucky me!

Now we settle into the driftless middle days between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  I’m loving every second of it!  I’m on book five, with a substantial stack waiting in the wings.  I’m eating all the candy (maybe that’s not so good) and just relaxing.  Today we fed the fish at school (all still alive!), spent our Books-A-Million gift cards (add to that reading pile!) and Eve bought herself a few new fish.  Tomorrow, we go back to doing nothing.  Life is good.  :)

The holidays around here

We have nothing monumental going on these days, but lots of little holiday activities.

Alan and I went to his company party. It was fun to check out the fancy new hotel and to hang with his goofy buddies. I even thought to have someone take a picture of us!

We maybe got a little silly.

We’re doing lots of cookie baking.  I keep trying to entice the kids with new cookie ideas, but they always want to original tried and true!

Peanut butter blossoms. Yum!

Pretzel treats. We learned what happens when you cook the kisses too long. Its not a pretty site! These are the properly baked ones. The others we will eat quickly before anyone sees them!

Gingerbread cookies and decorating with friends.

Cookie decorating with teens and preteens gets a little interesting. Here we have two puppies in love.

And here we have a beheaded snowman with his head reattached, a sad gingerbread boy, and a gingerbread girl with a stake in her heart. Ya know, the usual cookie fare.

Lex had his winter concert earlier this week and impressed us all with not only his drumming skills, but also his ability to problem solve on the fly and keep cool under pressure (like when his amp isn’t working and then when it’s working TOO LOUD!)  He was a problem solver and handled it like a pro!

We have two more days of school and we are all looking forward to vacation!!