Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Thanksgiving

We spent Thanksgiving this year with our new friends, The Raudenbush Family (her blog link to the left of this post). It was an enjoyable evening with lots of loud children. They have 3 and her sister was there with their 2. So 6 adults and 7 kids made for a good crowd. We had a delicious traditional meal with more dessert options than dinner options...which is the way it should be.
My dessert contribution was this delicious Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle which I have made for several Thanksgiving parties in the past. I don't have any other pictures because the camera never made it in the house. Perhaps some from Kelly will pop up?

My mind drifted back and forth from the past to the present and I couldn't help but long for that past which included people close to me and that was filled with the noise and food and smells that were familiar. A past that was filled with laughing and reminiscing and trying to pull off a game with 25 people. A past full of traditions, even after Thanksgiving, that were special to just us.

....And then I drift back to the present....full of goodness in its own right, but struggling to find the comfort of home among the unfamiliar and longing for the time to pass and for the new traditions to reveal themselves that bring the warm feelings that are supposed to come with the holiday season.
Grief is close to the surface and yet I allow my mind to be filled with the eternal and for the things that matter most. How do I keep Jesus close as we pass through the craziness of the holidays and through the sadness of the things lost? What are my kids learning in the midst of it all? Are we making it special even though it's new?
Sorry, didn't mean to get all depressing.
I think one of the best things about the holidays right now is sharing it with my kids. I love their excitement and questions and getting to do all those things I remember making Christmas chains! We are going to try and make Christmas day special and do something totally different since we will, again, not be with our family.
Today, we are heading off to get some lights....and hopefully by the end of the weekend, we will have a tree. Time to fish out all those Christmas boxes from the basement!
Welcome Christmas time!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And Now the Story

Okay. Was that kind of a shocker or what? I'm still whirling from the whole thing. If you remember, the last 2 weeks we have spent with our pediatrician trying to figure out what has been going on with Brendan's knee. For 2 weeks he has gone from excruciating pain to just running around limping and back to excruciating pain. It is horrible to see Brendan in so much pain. Since birth, he has been unusually tough. We used to wonder if his nerves worked right, because he never, ever cried from pain. I mean, I would hurt watching him fall sometimes and he would just get up and shake it off. Everyone would look at each other with amazement. He just NEVER gets hurt. So anyway, this knee thing has been a mystery. When it is hurting really bad he can't straighten that leg, he holds his knee really bent and basically can't move. Motrin seemed to help, but Tylenol didn't as much.
So we had had an X-ray on that knee that showed nothing, and then the following week we went for labs to rule out Lyme Disease. As of the end of last week we hadn't heard about the Lyme Disease. Friday (remember the snow) he was feeling great. He just had a slight limp, but no pain. He was running all around and Rand even had them hitting baseballs in the basement that afternoon. On Saturday he was limping pretty bad and said his leg was hurting. We ran around town all morning. He walked from the car, but I made him ride in the cart at the stores. By late afternoon he was in a lot of pain. And within an hour or so he was crying and couldn't move anything because of the pain. I called the on-call nurse with our Pediatrician and told her what was up. She said to take him to the ER at Bryn Mawer because they could access his labs and figure out if he should be treated for something.
We left here around 6pm and got into the ER right away. They drew more blood (everyone was worried about a bone infection) and checked those labs from last week. (negative on the Lyme Disease). There was 3 doctors working on his case. The orthopedic doctor wanted more X-rays, including a hip X-ray. I wish I would have kept track of how much we waited. There was literally hours in between each little thing. They studied the results of everything and called in another orthopedic doctor (we think he came from home). He suspected Perthes Disease. What??? What the heck? He wanted to transfer us to a children's hospital that had a whole team of expert pediatric orthopedic docs. By this time it was getting close to midnight so they decided to keep Brendan there for the night. Rand stayed with him and I went home with Wyatt.
We met up again in the morning and I was surprised that, by the next day, Brendan didn't really seem any better. The Motrin wasn't touching the pain. So off to duPont Children's Hospital we went. For some reason we went through the ER, which was fine, but the accommodations there just aren't as great. They ordered more blood work (another IV) and more x-rays. Poor Brennie. He was exhausted and just looked terrible. Finally around 3:30 he fell asleep in the ER. The nurse came in and gave him a dose of something I can't remember, but they described it as "super Motrin".
Around 5 they finally transferred us to a room and got us checked in. The resident orthopedic doctor came in and talked to us a little about what they thought was going on. I got the impression they were still unsure....could have just been how he came across. When Bren woke up his leg was feeling much better and he could even straighten it which was blowing everyone away! I stayed with Bren that night and Rand and Wyatt went home. Pretty early in the morning the head orthopedic doctor came in to talk to me about Perthes Disease. He said his X-rays were classic and there was no doubt. He was surprised the limping hadn't started before 2 weeks ago because it looks pretty extensive and that it has probably been going on for 6 months. He said that his age was definitely in his favor for a good recovery. The younger the better with this. He showed me the X-ray and said he wants his partner to take a look at him because his partner's area of interest just happens to be Perthes Disease. They still wanted an MRI to get a closer look at how far this has gone and the extent of the damage. So that took us the rest of the day and after Brendan woke up and ate we were allowed to go home. This morning Brendan is hardly limping. We have orders to take it easy but if he can support his weight he can walk around and be a kid. Just no running or vigorous play.
I am so glad to be home. I'm a little shocked at the seriousness of what he has, but I'm relieved beyond belief that it is not life or death. He is going to be okay.
So here's what Perthes Disease is:
"Perthes is a condition in children characterized by a temporary loss of blood supply to the hip. Without an adequate blood supply, the rounded head of the femur (the " ball " of the " ball and socket " joint of the hip) dies. The area becomes intensely inflamed and irritated.
Although the term 'disease' is still used, Perthes is really a complex process of stages. Treatment of Perthes may require periods of immobilization or limitations on usual activities. The long-term prognosis is good in most cases. After 18 months to 2 years of treatment, most children return to normal activities without major limitations.
Perthes disease usually is seen in children between 4 years and 10 years of age. It is five times more common in boys than in girls. It was originally described nearly a century ago as a peculiar form of childhood arthritis of the hips."
The cause of this disease is unknown, but we are glad to be seeing the experts. Treatment for the problem has changed a lot so don't believe everything you might read online! :) We will be following up at duPont with the Orthopedic guy and his partner in 10-14 days. They said they would be following this closely for probably a couple years which will probably include regular X-rays to see how things are going. So that's the scoop.....about as short as I could make it. DuPont was the perfect place to be and the kids loved all the play rooms and TV to watch and all the attention they got from everyone...even Wyatt! :) Our pediatrician called yesterday afternoon. He had seen the X-rays but wasn't aware that we were in-patient at duPont. He was calling to tell me that we needed to go to duPont. Apparently we were in the right place and are seeing the very best doctors for this.
So, now you all know what I'm thankful for this week. :) Being in a hospital full of really sick kids gives you a lot of perspective. I was so happy to have them both in the car with me last night. Even though looking at that X-ray made me a little sick to my stomach, I am struck with the fact that we are still lucky and it could have been something worse or he could have been a lot sicker than he is. In fact, I wouldn't even call him sick. He just has a little problem. And that's okay. (We asked about his baseball career and the doctor said he should be okay. Phew! :) ) So we can deal with that.
I wish I would have taken more pictures, but obviously I wasn't really thinking about my blog. I have a few though. I mean what kind of post would this be without a couple pictures. Plus, if you read that whole thing you deserve a picture or two! :)
These are all from yesterday.

I know the x-ray picture isn't that great. It's a picture of a photocopy of an x-ray. If you look at the leg on the right (his left leg) you can see the ball joint is nice and round. The one on the left (his right) the ball joint looks kind of flattened. That's what's going on. The doctor said the picture makes it look worse than it probably is, and I can't explain to you exactly what he said is going on with bone mineralization and all that, but that's basically what the problem is.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Prayers Please

Detailed story to come, but for now, we are in the hospital with Brendan (for the past 2 days). He is currently getting an MRI under heavy sedation. The MRI is to confirm (again) and see more closely the damage to his hip. He has been diagnosed with Perthes Disease.

I will fill y'all in later. For now, we are hanging in there and actually Brendan is in good spirits and his leg is feeling better. He is still hardly able to walk, but he moves around to play and is happy, hungry and ready to go home. We should be discharged tonight.

Thanks for praying for him. His recovery and healing may be long term. Pray for a good plan and total recovery in his range of motion in his hip socket.
Apparently all that knee pain was actually caused from this hip problem.
More to come...sorry if this is the first you are hearing about it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

First Snow

We only got a dusting, but being from the Pacific Northwest, I knew we needed to take advantage of what we had while we had it. And as I suspected, it was gone by noon, but it was still exciting and fun. We had a little fun in the snow before breakfast this morning, it was a great way to start the day. And before Thanksgiving, too! That's pretty early. Hopefully it is a sign of a lot more snow to come the rest of winter!

only Sammy was allowed to eat it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Willow Elizabeth

Happy Birthday to my brand new niece, Willow Elizabeth, born this morning at her home in Wichita, KS at 3:43 am CST. She is named after her Uncle Willie and her middle name is the same as her mom's. Thanks to the fabulous webcam I got to meet her right after her birth. This is the first birth that we all haven't been together as a family to celebrate. Brendan was born at the hospital in WA. Everyone and then some was there. Wyatt was born at home in WA and EVERYONE was there. Rachel's first, Jayden was born at their home in WA and we ALL were there. It has always been such a special thing, especially for us sisters to be together for. This time we are spread out all over. Me in PA, Jordan in OR, Rachel in KS, Joanna in WA and Willie in Heaven. It's sad and yet we have moved forward to something different. Sad, but still good. I love my little niece just as much as if I would have been there for her birth and I've already talked to everybody and even Rachel called me this morning on the phone to relay the story to me in her words. It's so great to watch our family multiply with new little ones. I hope there are a dozen more. And no, I cannot do that all on my own. Rachel and Jo, you have to help. And Jordan, it would be nice if you joined in, too. :)

August 2003

September 2005

April 2006

And today! Keep in mind it is 4:30am EST so thats even earlier for everyone else!

Me in PA, on the phone with Jordan in OR, on the computer with Joanna in WA meeting our new niece in KS. Gotta love technology!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some Backyard History

The other day, we all walked across the street to the baseball park. We didn't go to play baseball, but just to swing. I get tired fast from's so I took Sammy for a little walk around the back side of the park. I'm loving all the leaves being down and being able to see right through the trees into the woods. As I walked, I noticed something I hadn't seen before when all the leaves were blocking the view. A super cool cemetery, right through the trees. I strolled over to check it out. It was surrounded by a rod iron fence all the way around and it was super old. Most of the people had lived in the 1700's. Many died in the early 1800's and some in the late 1700's. Now, I am aware that this is a common sight for this part of the country, but keep in mind, I have only lived here for 7 weeks. I mean, the state I'm from wasn't even a state until 100 years later. 100 years!!!!! We're talking Revolutionary War people in this cemetery. There was even a grave that had my family name on it: McComb (except this was spelled, Macomb) but still. Sweet. It even had a Celtic cross on it which totally freaked me out.
Anyway, I stayed in there looking around for a long time. I can't really explain the feeling it gave me except it was kind of humbling, silencing....I don't know. I felt small, yet a part of something really big. It creates a lot of perspective. I guess you'd have to be there.
I realize pictures will not have nearly the same effect as seeing it in person, but seeing pictures is better than not seeing it at all, right? (click on the pictures to see them much bigger. you can actually read some of the headstones if you click on them)

I did a little research on that Col. Timothy Matlack. Pretty interesting actually. You can read about him here. Quite the rebel of his time!