Monday, September 30, 2013

Surgeon today and play pic

In St Louis right now. Meeting with surgeon this morning. Just had
X-rays done on a machine that is low radiation and takes back and side
at the same time. There are only 5 machines in the country. Pretty

Sophie's play was this weekend. It was wonderful. The best they've
done. She looked beautiful. And so grown up.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What brings you joy? (153.8)

Seems I just have to have a massive brain dump of information on here, and I lighten up considerably. Or else I usually only want to write when I'm in the depths. Probably also because the sun is shining and my hormones aren't being as mean to me today as they were yesterday, I felt much better this morning.

I have been thinking about a question my sponsor asked me last week.

What brings you joy?

I sat like a deer in headlights when she asked. I racked my brain---what do I DO that brings me joy?

Shouldn't I list things like...

Working in my garden (which I do not have)

Painting beautiful landscapes (which I cannot do)

Volunteering to feed the homeless (which I have done several times in my life, but not regularly)

Sailing, hang gliding, mountain climbing, ocean swimming (none of which I can do because I live nowhere near mountains or oceans or cliffs)

...and on and on, the more romantic and etheral, the better. Right?

When we talked, I was having a really off day. SAD was starting and I felt just plain flat. I said things like my family, reading, watching movies, running. But I felt an utter lack at not being able to instantly rattle off a list of JOYtivities.

So after thinking about it for almost a week, I'm writing about them now.

What I came up with...

Spending quality time with my family (although the quality of our time together lately has not been joy-inducing; we need to work on that)

Running and running races (um, so, why aren't I running?!)--guilt, not joy around this one right now, but there's hope in acknowledging that yes, running brings me joy and if I want joy, I need to go running!

Reading. Love love love to read. Joy vicariously through the lives of fictional characters.

Watching movies together as a family (more so at the theater. we watch a lot of movies together at home, and sometimes there's joy, and sometimes it's boring and I read while they watch a movie)

Watching Say Yes to the Dress with Sophie. This has become a weekend favorite for us.

Shopping with Sophie for clothes (which we did yesterday at a consignment shop, and it was great fun for both of us)

Snuggling with my boy. Luke means "light" and that child is a ray of light every time I get near his sweet little self.

Listening to Luke read to me.

Connecting with my husband on a level of friendship and awareness that I only share with him. I'm not talking about sex (although, thankfully, there's still joy there). I'm talking about the fact that he knows me better than anyone else on the planet. Knows me better than I know myself somedays. When I stop and appreciate the relationship that we have--regardless of all the usual issues that are inherent in a 20 year relationship--I am filled with joy. He adores me. I know he adores me. What more can a girl ask for?

I know I can come up with more, and I probably will. But that's all I have time for today.

One thing obviously missing here.... FOOD. A year ago, I'd have listed eating ice cream. And baking cookies. And Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and Christmas chocolate pie. And chocolate.

While it's almost a food, I don't feel bad about adding coffee to the list. Coffee brings me joy, every single morning.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yes, it's that time of year again (154.2)

I hate this time of year.

Monday and today were cloudy and rainy. The days are much shorter. SAD has descended swiftly and in force.

It's like a switch gets flipped in my brain, and viola! the joy is sucked from my body and soul. My body feels like I've been moved to a planet with an extra dose of gravity. I'm fragile, on the edge of tears or anger or verge of collapsing in a heap of uselessness.

Hormones are also playing a part right now, so I've got a double whammy to deal with.

I write this sitting in front of my SAD light, later in the day than I should be in front of it, but I couldn't get moving this morning to get ready for work and got here late, and my light is at work because it's where I'm more likely to use it regularly. It's very hard to dedicate 30 minutes in the morning at home to just sitting still when mornings are so busy and I usually sleep as long as possible. Ideally I'd have two lights (one for home on mornings like this), but they are $300 so right now, it's one light and it's at work.

A note on sleep: I stopped taking sleep meds about a month ago. For whatever reason, I found that I can get to sleep and mostly stay asleep on my own now. That was not the case previously. I did have many, many sleepless nights before I started taking xanax and later trazedone to sleep. I talked about it being an issue every time I met with my nurse practitioner who prescribes my meds. Whatever the reason, I'm thankful I am sleeping okay and not drugged in the morning.

I read a Bible verse this morning in a devotional that offers some comfort:
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name;
you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames
will not set you ablaze" (Isaiah 43:1-2).

It doesn't say "when you pass through the mud," but I can extrapolate to that metaphor and take comfort in what God is telling me through Isaiah.

I am also eating more, which happens when I feel like this. And still not running. I know I can and will turn things around soon. Mark has been unavailable to help with the house or kids for the last month because of a big church project, which wraps up this Saturday. He and I are going to work out a schedule so I can take more time for me (and he for himself), starting next week.

I already feel better just writing all this out and having sat in front of my light for 40 minutes.

Regarding Sophie & the chiropractor:
She had a neurological exam by the functional neurologist chiropractor (Dr. Shaun) last Friday. Neuro exam involves such things as closing your eyes & touching your nose with your pinkies, closing your eyes & reaching out your arms in front of you & lifting your knees high, resisting push/pull on your legs and arms, flopping your hands back and forth over & over on your lap. Sophie had trouble with them all.

The doctor found that she has significant right side weakness. I watched as she couldn't keep her balance during the knee lifts, had trouble finding her nose with her pinkies, had trouble keeping a steady rythm with her hands, couldn't resist push/pull with much strength. He thinks she has left brain damage in her cortex and cerabellum.

He asked if she'd had head trauma in the last year. No, I said, but she was in a car wreck in April 2011. The impact was on the front passenger side, she was in the drivers side back seat. Her head would have been thrown to the left. A light bulb went off for the doctor and for us, realizing that the accident did more than give her a chest contusion (bruise that was found on a CT scan in the ER after the wreck).

He said the wreck could have also caused trauma in the myofacial tissue in her spine, which could have exacerbated the scoliosis to progress so quickly. The doctors we've talked to have all been shocked or disbelieving it moved from nothing (or next to nothing) at her 2012 checkup to a 50 degree S curve in a little over a year. The theory that the accident accelerated (or caused) the scoliosis helps explain the rapidity of the movement. He asked for a copy of the CT scan from the ER, so he could look at her spine and see where it was then. I gave it to them Monday, so we'll see what they find.

They are using cold laser treatment on her to strengthen the neurons, and she is responding very well. I watched it happen. The doctor put the laser on her abdomen and head, and she was able to resist his push/pull on her legs. She could feel her strength improve, too. He is confident we can retrain her neurons to reconnect.

Lest anyone think they are taking me for a ride to make money off of us--because insurance will only pay for her adjustments and nothing else--the wife part of the team (Dr. Amber) is picking up the cost of her husband's treatments. She knows we aren't in a position to pay them right now, and she doesn't care. She just wants to help Sophie get better. (This makes me tear up everytime I think of it. While it might be surprising, when I put it in context for what WE do for our clients--which is put them first, regardless of whether or how much money we make--it isn't surprising at all. There are still decent, generous people in this world.)

Amber is also discounting Sophie's orthopedic inserts from $500 to $200. They scanned her feet at Friday's appointment, and her arches are collapsed. She has no arch in her right foot, and only a little arch in her left. Amber also put a lift in Sophie's left shoe to get her body weight to shift to the right, because the scoliosis is throwing her hips off balance. Amber weighed her on two scales, and Sophie is carrying 8-10 pounds more on her left side.

They are not telling me to cancel our surgeon appointment. They think (hope) it's possible to reverse her scoliosis enough that we can avoid surgery, but they are not arrogant enough to know they can. We are moving forward with everything surgery wise, simply hoping that even if she has to have surgery, her spine will be in as good as shape as we can possibly make it. Best case scenario is the xrays the surgeon and chiropractors will take will show improvement. Worst case, she doesn't improve by the time of the surgery, or it gets worse, and we still have surgery. Either way, she's going to be okay.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sophie update & how I'm doing (153.2)

Update on Sophie:
We see the surgeon in St Louis on 9/30. His name is Keith Bridwell. Based on his website and case studies, I feel really good about his abilities.

This case study looks simliar to Sophie's spine. Case Study

We saw a chiropractor Monday. She was referred to me by a guy in our office who had mild scoliosis as a child, which didn't require surgery. He's been seeing her for almost 20 years. She helps keep his body in line, because he has pain when he gets out of whack.

I called her last week to make an appointment, mostly because I can't stand to do nothing while we wait for the surgery. And also because I believe Sophie needs more than just surgery. She needs comprehensive care for her whole body. She's been out of whack for at least a year. And the time to get her straightened out is while she's young and healthy.

I asked to talk to the doctor to explain Sophie's condition and see if it was worth the time to see her. She talked to me for 20 minutes. I emailed her a pic of Sophie's xray. She talked with her husband (who is also a chiropractor) about Sophie over the weekend. They formulated a plan of care before we had our first appointment. (Cynical part of me realizes they will make a lot of money off of her so of course they formulated a plan, but the mom in me is just thankful these doctors spent time figuring out how they could help her.)

The chiropractor isn't meant to keep her from having surgery. The treatments will help her spine and muscles around her spine become more flexible and pliable. She worked on a young girl recently who had to have surgery. They were able to make some improvements, but not enough to avoid surgery. I expect we'll see the same with Sophie. At the very least, hopefully we can keep it from getting worse.

The doc has no idea if we can reverse anything. Her lumbar curve (lower back) isn't as nasty as the thorasic curve (upper back). If we can make her lumbar spine supple and make any possible correction, then possibly the doctor can fuse her lumbar spine at a higher point, which will allow her more movement. His website specifically addresses his approach to staying as high as possible on the lumbar spine.

We are seeing her for adjustments (and xrays and possible laser treatment--I have no idea yet what that involves) and her husband for neurological treatment (again, still don't fully understand what that involves; we meet with him Thursday) and for shoe inserts. He has a scanner & can do custom (thin) inserts.

Vickie, you'll be happy about the shoe inserts! Sophie's arches and ankles fall in pretty significantly. I have known for a while she needs something done for her feet. Even after the surgery is done, we will need to make sure her feet/knees/hips stay in alignment. I'm thankful the doctors are providing a comprehensive approach.

It's going to be intensive treatment. Three appointments this week--2 adjustments & 1 visit with neuro/foot doc. I'm sure we'll be doing 2-3 appts a week for a while. I checked our insurance benefits yesterday and I'm pretty sure I figured out it covers shoe inserts and there was nothing excluding chiropractors, although there might be a limit on number of visits (like there is for PT, which I know from Mark's treatments) but I didn't find anything.

I'm not freaking out as badly as I was, since we have an appointment with the surgeon and we are seeing the chiropractors. I don't feel quite so helpless now.

But my emotions are raw, raw, raw. When it rains, it pours. We continue to have financial concerns, Mark has a new physical issue that he needs to go see a doctor for (and could be significant but we won't know till he gets checked out), and my mom, bless her heart, feels about as helpless as I do and she's not handling things well, and when I talk to her it makes me a little crazy. I feel like if one more thing goes wrong, I'll lose it.

But I know I can't. I don't have the option to lose it.

I continue to be abstinent and avoid my poison foods. I am going to meetings, talking to my sponsor, praying and reading. At least I'm not going through all this being 50 pounds overweight and disgusted with myself every time I put food in my mouth.

I'm very thankful I found OA last year (11 months of abstinence as of last week). I finally finished my 30 questions (steps 1 - 3) and will be working on step 4 soon.