Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged to relay 8 things about me that no one knows. Thanks a lot Tom! Since I had to help Tom with his list, you should check it out on his blog in a couple of days (it takes him longer to type). Ok, so here's my list:

Eight Things Not Many People Know About Me
1. I was editor of my high school yearbook.
2. I got a 4.3 GPA in HS (merit classes) and 3.8 in five years of college and that was with a lot of extra curricular activities (we'll keep those a secret awhile longer).
3. I originally majored in Journalism in college but switched after my freshman year to OT because I didn't like one of the journalism professors.
4. I cry very easily during happy occasions - at weddings, movies and even in church when the Cherubs sing. Just something about happiness and love that makes me weepy
5. I know how to Two Step, do the Cowboy Cha Cha, the Tush Push and the County Line AND I own a pair of Ropers! (for those of you New Englanders who don't know what those are, they are really cool lace up cowboy boots). By the way I hated country music until I started dating Tom (boy from Florida whose favorite band was Nine Inch Nails) and we were dragged weekly to the Cadillac Ranch by our friends (ok, $1 anything was hard to pass up). Soon after we started dating, we realized how much we liked to dance together. I bought him his first pair of cowboy boots and he bought mine.
6. I was a Lionette (dance team) and we danced in the Cotton Bowl parade and halftime show in Dallas Texas on New Years Day 1991.
7. I lived next door to a pig farm until I was 14 and even fell in a manure pile as a kid when I was exploring my neighbors' property. Whew, I stunk.
8. I love to write. Ok, that's not such a secret anymore. But did you know I wrote my first complete novel at the age of 10? It was titled Triplet Trouble. Since then I have written five other complete novels . . .Golden Rain, Cape Bounty, Crossroads, Boy Crazy and Butterfly Girl.

Ok, that's it. Now I need to tag someone. Hmmmm. . . .Can I tag more than one person? None of my friends have a blog, so I have to choose friends who will do it through email. Ok, I tag -

Amy P
Amy R

Don't disappoint!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

MRI Results

As most of you know, Melanie had an MRI last week to rule out Chiari. We got the results yesterday and it came back positive for Chiari Malformation. What this means. . .part of Melanie's cerebellum (the small part of the brain in the back of the head responsible for balance and coordination) is protruding below the skull. This not only can cause problems with cerebellar function, but also a vast array of other possible symptoms because of the restricted cerebral spinal fluid flow in and out of the brain (the opening is blocked by the cerebellum). If you had asked me three months ago if I was expecting this diagnosis I would have said yes - which was right after my mom was diagnosed and I recognized some of the similarities. But in this journey, the doctors had convinced me that we wouldn't find anything. I was even met with resistance to getting her checked out. I'm so glad I was pushy and insisted on testing her. But even I had decided she wouldn't have it.

So, the next step is to visit with a neurosurgeon. There is no reason to do surgery unless her issues becoming severe and debilitating. Over time the space can deteriorate or different conditions can arise. At that time surgery might be necessary. It is my understanding that she would just need to be followed by a neurosurgeon with routine checkups and MRIs.

Also, Kylie is now going to have an MRI. That is in the process of being scheduled.

Melanie's neurologist found it unusual that my MRI that was done a couple of months ago came back negative. I guess it is rare for it to skip a generation and go from a grandmother to her grandchildren. She would like to look at my films when we come back to her in February for Melanie's 3 month follow up. I checked into it yesterday and the same radiologist that read Melanie's films also read mine. You wouldn't think he could have missed it. I don't have the balance issues that Melanie does, but I do have issues swallowing where food gets stuck in my esophagus and I also have a constant pain/pressure in my right ear that radiates from my neck. Both are possible symptoms of Chiari according to some research that I have done.

In this process I have emailed Julie Clark who was the featured mother on Extreme Makeover Home Edition. She and her three daughters all have Chiari and she has started a support group in Montana. I heard back from her yesterday and she gave me a very useful web site. Check it out if you 'd like to understand more:

The Chiari Institute

There is 16 hours of educational video on this web site that she encouraged me to watch and take notes. I haven't done it yet, but I'm sure I will!

Finally, here is a real life story about a family with Chiari that I found useful. If you don't read anything else, at least read this story. I see a little bit of us in all of them. (Melanie has suffered from extreme leg cramps in the past. . .Kylie can't stand to walk more than 10 feet without a stroller).

Life -

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Storm update

We had quite the adventure Saturday and Sunday. The Nor-Easter dropped tons of rain and lots of wind on us. We had branches down all over the place, but no trees in our yard. Our basement filled up with water from one of the window wells, so we spent a majority of the storm trying to deal with that. Tom spent an hour out in the wind and rain digging a ditch from the window well out to the yard to drain the water away which really seemed to help. Luckily he took a break at the opportune moment because when he went back outside there was a huge branch in his place that had dented the ground when it hit. We lost power for about 18 hours and had a fun time camping out in our bedroom in front of the fire place. Here's a pic of the girls sound asleep cuddled up with the dog while the storm raged outside. The mail from Saturday was whipped from inside the mailbox and flew around the neighborhood. We were able to collect some of it Sunday morning and found that we actually got some really important mail that day - some of which was never recovered. Ahhh well, that's our luck it seems!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Hurricane A-Coming!

Well, more like a tropical storm or Nor-Easter as they call it here. But at one time Noel was a hurricane. We could get 4+ inches of rain with winds 35-50 mph with gusts up to 75 mph. This is supposed to go on all day today, so check in tomorrow and we'll let you know how we held up. Kylie and I battened down the hatches yesterday, bringing in all the bird feeders, chair cushions, flags and anything else that might blow around. We stocked up on batteries, firewood, groceries and water. We don't need to go anywhere today, so we'll stay in and play games, read books, watch movies (if we keep power). It's just like we're sick again - stuck in the house for another day!

Dad came home from the hospital yesterday! He has to follow up with about a gazillion doctors next week, but at least he's home and can start really recuperating!

Bop To the Top!

I almost forgot to take a picture of the girls in their costumes! I thought of it just as we were leaving for Trick or Treating. They are wearing their costumes and dress up clothes all the time, so seeing them for Halloween is just like any other day.

Kylie missed her Halloween party at school. She was still not feeling well and battling the rash. I gave her Benadryl Wednesday morning, she slept ALL afternoon and by Trick or Treating time was feeling well enough to go. So far as of Saturday, the rash has not come back again, but then again neither has her appetite.

Melanie is Gabriella and Kylie is Sharpay from High School Musical. If you've seen the movie, just think of the characters' personalities and they fit perfectly with who is in which costume.

We had fun trick or treating in our new neighborhood and handing out candy to all the neighbors. Tom and took turns taking the girls out, then we left our candy bowl on the front step and jumped in the car and headed to our old neighborhood. Our old neighbors were happy to see us (we were only their second trick or treaters) and we got to stop in on our old house. The new owners invited us in for a minute and we got to see all the changes they made. The girls were a little weirded out to see their old house with hardwood floors!