Friday, September 28, 2007

crazy busy here!

I'm tired just thinking about all the stresses of the last few weeks.

A few weeks ago I found out that my aunt, Tia, received the results from a biopsy that came back malignant. The dreaded cancer had once again found its way back into my family. I didn't really know what to say to her except that I was so sorry to hear about the diagnosis and that I'd be there for her any way I could. I offered to go with her to see the oncologist on 9/13/07. I would have to help her interpret what he had to say. Though she's been in the states longer than my 42 years she still has a lot of difficulty with the language. She and Mom came here from Cuba together but Mom faired much better in learning the language than Tia did. So the plan was for the three of us to go together.

Nickie receives a brand new spiffy power wheelchair.. this is the first time she has ever gotten a new chair that didn't require weeks of getting used to it. She loves this one and so do the rest of us. Its capable of much faster speeds and turns on a dime. Look OUT!

Then we made it home from our vacation and I noticed Nickie was having pain in her left hip/leg. She seemed fine as long as we didn't move her, well except for the fact she was contracting the leg or guarding it. Any position change or toileting caused her to scream in agony. I thought perhaps the storm that caused our quick departure from the beach, the fact that we had to grab her up and literally had to struggle to get her into the wheelchair that was already loaded into the van, perhaps we damaged something. I thought back to our departure and subsequent night stay at the hotel in Nags Head and I realized that Nickie didn't complain at all when I moved her into the bed, positioned her and did the reverse in the morning. So I don't think that is what caused her pain. We arrived home the next day and that is when the screams of pain began. I did everything I could to make her comfortable including giving herTylenol and Motrin but none of those seemed to help. I tried heat and cold and again no relief. So after a couple days I called the orthopedist to arrange for an X-ray. I couldn't get an appointment with her regular pediatric orthopedist in Richmond so I called on a local orthopedist in Farmville.

I should have known better. The minute he saw Nickie I think he panicked. He did take an X-ray but said he could see no problems and referred us back to her pediatric orthopedist. It took a few more days to get an appointment with Dr. Sharps but he decided to also X-ray her spine. He found nothing wrong with either x_ray and decided she should have a CT scan. guess what happens next?

Yeah you got it more days pass before we get notice of the date of the CT scan. We finally get notice that they would like to see her for the CT scan on 9/11/07. Since I already know I have to go to Richmond on the 13th for the oncologist I decide to stay in Richmond at my Mom's for the duration. This means I have to make arrangements with Nickie's nurse Linda to stay with us as well. Linda is a godsend! She agrees to stay with us and this helps me out tremendously!

We go to the CT scan on Tues. We are grateful to find out that she doesn't need to be sedated. (The doctor first suspects we might need to sedate her to keep her calm and still.) Thankfully the techs and nurses decide to try it without sedation first and it was successful. The staff was fantastic and we were in and out of the lab quickly... getting the disc with the results however took much longer than the actual procedure. Finally we get the disc and I have to carry it over to Dr. Sharps for him to read it and tell us what we are to do next.

9/12/07 Nickie's birthday, she's 17 today! We celebrate by going shopping for her birthday gifts. She picks out some Game Boy games and clothing and jewelery. She takes off in her new wheelchair leaving Linda and I in the dust. Linda takes off after her in one direction and I do the same in another trying to cut her off. No such luck we both turn our perspective corners and can't find Nickie anywhere. I pop into a couple stores to see if she darted in to one but no one has seen her. Linda proceeds to go down the mall and ask if anyone has seen her.. no luck. I spot security and ask them to help us to find her. Some 15 minutes later we find Nickie is in a nearby store shopping for video games. After giving her a stern talking to I agree to purchase the game she found. This would not have happened had it not been her birthday.

48 hours and still no word so I call the office to ask when I will hear about the results of the CT scan. I was shocked to hear that I won't get an answer till sometime early next week. I'm sick that Nickie has to deal with her pain that much longer without some answer and possible relief.

9/26/07 I finally here from the orthopedist today. He has some scary news... he is seriously contemplating surgery on Nickie's hip due to the deformity she has there. His nurse Tina explains the various options. There are several different surgery options from a total hip replacement down to removal of the hip with no hardware being installed and finally a wait and see approach. I update Tina on Nickie's condition at present. She is in no real pain at this time though she has been out of school for 6 whole weeks now, which allows her to rest her hip in bed. She decides to give this information to Dr. Sharps and promises to call me with his thoughts on what is best to do.

9/28/07 I hear back from Tina and Dr. Sharps agrees with me on waiting it out. He would prefer not to do any surgery on Nickie unless it is absolutely necessary! Yee Haw! Nickie has had far too many surgeries to date and I had hoped we might avoid having any others. They will be asking the school to provide a place for Nickie to take 2, 20 minute breaks each school day to rest her hip. We hope this will provide her enough of a break from sitting in the wheelchair for hours at a time and prevent the pain from returning.

I'll update soon on my aunt's progress and with any information regarding Nickie.

Until next time.

quiz time says I'm an Uber Cool Non-Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

I always knew I was cool! Now I have test results to prove it!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Beach memories

OK this should have posted on 8/23/07 but didn't for some reason...I just realized it didn't...

Yes they are memories now but great ones! We left for the outer banks of NC last Wed. This was our long overdue vacation. I'm sorry to say its been over 3 years since the last one. This trip more than made up for the time in between. However I hope not to have to wait as long for the next one.

The weather was fantastic for most of our trip, with mostly sunny days in the 80's. We took a trip to Ocracoke Island. The Ferry ride over was great. Both Brandon and Nickie held up crackers to feed the seagulls. I was able to capture one picture of a gull coming down to Brandon's cracker. I think I'm putting that one on the wall.

We spent most of the day walking through the town and shopping. Both Nickie and Brandon enjoyed the stroll and the final outcome which of course was souvenir shopping. Nickie scarfed up on some wonderful beach jewelry. Brandon got some pirate stuff, can you say ARRRRRR! We ate at the Jolly Roger which is our favorite spot to eat on the island. Its an open air covered deck area at the marina. Every other year we have gone the heat made it nearly impossible to enjoy the meal... notice I said nearly. The food there is really good so not even the heat would keep us from eating there. This time though with the temperatures as they were and the constant ocean breezes it was truly divine. The Pelican pictures I posted are from the deck. It wasn't until I got home and could see the pictures up close did I notice that the Pelican had a hook stuck in him. It didn't seem to affect his flight in anyway, though. Despite the detail(when seen in full size) in that picture he truly was a good distance away from the deck so the hook would have been impossible to see with the naked eye.

We rented a 4x4 to make the drive out onto the point in Buxton. This is the only way we can get Nickie out on the sand as her wheelchair would just bog down in the sand and since even those beach wheelchairs cost a fortune this was the least expensive way to go.
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