Ladybug Secrets

Ladybug Secrets:
Don't let the small stuff bug you. And Spot new opportunities.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Follow-Up

I will keep this quick and just update on today's visit to geneticist.  I took Brooke, Chan and myself.  Doc does feel we all have signs of hyper-mobile ehlers danlos syndrome.  But she also feels like we are not typical cases.  She sees the various traits throughout our family.  She does not feel there is any need to test for any other form of eds.  I agree with her on this.  She does feel that there are good reasons to take a broader look at other genetic issues within our family.  Aidan and myself are her main reasons for this.  She suggested ordering a whole exome sequencing test.  This test would take a "bird's eye view" of our genetic make up.  The doc said she does not recommend this test very often.  She warned it may create more questions.  But she feels it is worth that risk.  She thinks it may help us understand how to proceed.  On our end it is simple.  They need blood work for Aidan, Tim and myself.  The blood test will be anaylzed by a lab and a report will be made.  It can take up to 15 weeks for results.  Doc and genetics counselor both strongly cautioned that we may learn things that simply can't be answered by science today.  I felt like I needed to ask if alien dna may be found, and how this will be covered by insurance? 
 In all seriousness though....I am kind of confused what we are going to learn and how it will help.  Is this test going to help us help Aidan and me?  Or will it just muddy waters?  I know knowledge is power...but if we do not have the knowledge to decipher the info how is that powerful? Yes it may some day be powerful....but can it help us now?  
We are going to proceed even with many questions.  First we need to find out if insurance will even cover.  Some insurances do not.  So we are praying ours feels this may help.  We are also taking Aidan to a pain management doc and a Physiatrist for a consult.  Thank you for prayers and support as we continue on.  Many days I am drained and not sure which way is up.  But hearing encouragement keeps me fighting and moving forward!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Geneticist Visit

I decided to jump on here and give an update on Aidan's appointment.  I know so many prayed and I thank you for that. I can't say we have any clear answers.  I did really like the staff and doc.  They were all very caring and understanding.  Honestly the doc did not offer a ton of hope.  But I guess that is not her job.  She works in facts and realities.  If you have ever been to a geneticist, you know the extensive family history questions they ask.  You also know it is a bit like putting together a 5000 piece puzzle.  It can get confusing and muddy very fast.  This doc was very gentle and soothing in her tone.  I felt comforted by her looks of care towards Aidan.

This is what we know....Aidan is in pain.  Most of his days are spent sitting or laying.  He hurts to walk or do much.  He knows if he plays for a few hours, the next few days he will need rest.  For example I suggested a group I thought he would like.  He said, "Well I probably would. But if I do it I will not be able to swim."  He knows picking one thing means missing out on another.  The doc is not completely sure what is causing the most pain.  We know his joints hurt.  If you sit by him, you will hear popping and cracking from his joints subluxing in and out of socket.  He can't sit still because he needs to move to keep from getting stiff or limbs falling asleep.  We also know he is very weak.  He is not eating the greatest, so we need to determine if he is low in vitamins.  We know his head hurts 70-90% of the day.  She feels this is most likely due to his small chiari herniation.

The doc did some basics tests to test for EDS.  Not that she did not think he had, just wanted to confirm.  She said he has some pretty classic symptoms-doughy skin, pale, see through skin, hyper-mobile joints.  She did not think he was extremely flexible which I have to agree with.  But she also feels he is in so much pain he resists moving in certain ways.  Hyper-mobile EDS is tricky to diagnosis.  There is no blood test to confirm, just observation by doctor.  She feels like Hyper-mobile EDS is the right diagnosis.  With that said, she wants to see myself, Brooke, and Chandler as soon as possible to see and compare whole family.  They have us all coming back on Monday.  She may want to order further genetic testing to rule out any other form of EDS or connective tissue disorder.  But genetic testing is very expensive and not always covered by insurance.  After seeing all of us, she will make the determination if the testing is needed.  She did rule out Marfan's but is still curious to see if his heart is ok.  She will order an EKG to just double check.

She gave us a few other options to pursue.  She definitely thinks he needs a pain management specialist.  We are also referred to a physiotherapist at children's.  Hopefully they can help with some strength and endurance.  She did suggest a scooter or wheel chair.  I was not super thrilled about this simply because I do not want him to become weaker.  But she feels that it would help preserve his energy.  He might use chair for store so he has energy for swim.  She also feels like I am correct in having him see neurosurgeon as soon as possible.  Although I do not want to jump into surgery, we need to sit with him and have him read MRI.  He read and we have talked via email, but I need that face to face.  I need to hear him is time or we can wait a little longer.  We are not just talking a decompression like Brooke (which is nothing to sneeze at).  We are talking a decompression and fusion from skull to c-2.  Yes I know kids have this surgery and do great.  This surgery is not necessarily a fix.  Some are worse after, some require many further surgeries.  I just want to make sure we have covered all our bases and that he is healthy enough for surgery.

Next step is going back Monday with all of us.  If you are praying for our family, please pray for strength for me.  I am not well.  I try to hide it but honestly my body is broken.  Driving, sitting in appointments(while wrestling a 4 year old) and then having to go about the rest of our day is beyond draining.  I do not want to complain....I know we are blessed.  It is just very hard to pick up your feet and move forward some days.  I know what I need is rest but when you have children who need you there is no rest.  I am so grateful for all of the people who have helped us this Christmas season!  I have felt so much the love of others.  I dream of some day writing a post saying "We are healed!"  I pray as time goes on they will find new ways to help us and even ease the pain a bit.  For now, we will move forward and find hope in the future.  And we thank those who walk this journey with us!  You help more than you could possibly know!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Rambling Mess

Here I am not able to sleep.  I can hear the slight sound of rain on my window.  I know the weather is why I hurt so much today.  Aidan and Chan joined me today with headaches and body aches.  I wish desperately for their sake we could find a cure...a better way to survive this.  Over the past few weeks we have made some pretty big changes again.  It seems like the more we try to live a "normal" life, the more we realize it is just not possible.  That does not mean I quit fighting for it.  I wake up every morning praying and clinging to the idea of health and feeling ok.  I have steered clear of writing because most days I really struggle with what to even say.  But I do find writing it out, seeing it in print helps me to work through it.  Maybe it seems strange to some to have it all out there, but there is a part of me who believes I am supposed to be transparent.  Those who know me know how awful I am at this.  I love to hide behind the "Oh I am doing great" face.  This is my place of honesty.  I do not have to feel the guilt of not having it all together.

I am not really sure about the path we are on right now.  I will say it has been difficult.  Brooke thankfully is thriving in many ways.  School, although a challenge, is going good.  She has dealt with a few health issues.  So far they seem to be related to diet.  We cut gluten out and she is doing much better.  She is seeing the allergy specialist I am seeing in February.  For now she is swimming to continue to strengthen her neck.  I am amazed every day by her fighting spirit and willingness to push through.  Chandler has been struggling.  He has been complaining of headaches even when he is in fun environments.  He has an MRI scheduled for the end of December.  He also is seeing a geneticist in December.  When Brooke was diagnosed all those years ago, I never dreamed my whole family may one day share Chiari and have another Chronic illness like EDS.  If I am being honest, dealing with one chronically ill child is difficult...dealing with 3 plus myself seems impossible. I know it is not but the scheduling of appointments alone is staggering.  Add into that the learning challenges we also face and my days are full before I even blink.

Aidan is my kid I am most worried about.  His headaches have become much worse.  He tries to be a typical boy but pays for it later.  A 2 hour play date with a friend one afternoon, lands him in bed the following day.  School was not working as he was consistently missing.  We are now home schooling.  This adds a whole new layer of crazy to our life.  With me working part time and also needing to be his teacher, plus staying on top of medical issues....I am beat.  Many days I just tell the kids I need them to play quietly so I can rest.  I push and push until my body just crashes.  Sometimes in the midst of the crash I wonder how much longer.  How much longer will my body allow me to treat it this way.  Aidan has been adapting well to being home.  Many days we just lay on the bed and read.  He understands my pain and I understand his.  He and I will both be seeing a new geneticist in December.  We are hoping to be able to travel to NY in the spring to see our neurosurgeon.  I worry about surgery for Aidan.  His surgery will be more complicated than Brooke's was because of the EDS.  I keep praying that swimming will strengthen his neck and head, letting us wait a little longer for surgery.

About 4 1/2 weeks ago I started on a pretty strict diet.  I am doing all of this because of my severe reactions to medications, smells, and foods.  My body has become so reactive to things in my environment it was becoming difficult to go places.  There are certain stores I can't even go in because of smells.  It is horrible torture to be around people who wear heavy cologne.  And I so hate being rude and saying anything.  My reactions though can be anywhere from a skin rash to headache to nausea and vomiting.  Yes just from a smell.  I am not a hypochondriac and it really is not helpful to be called that.  Although the reactions to smells was annoying, my real concern was the reactions I was having to medication.  I broke out in a rash from Zyrtec.  Did you know you could have an allergy to allergy meds?  Several of the meds I was taking on a regular basis caused reactions.  My one doc office did not believe me.  The nurse swore there was no way I was having a reaction to the med.  I asked her if I could please send her a pic of my face.  She called and apologized, telling me she had never heard of someone reacting to that med.  Thankfully I found the brilliant allergy doc in Akron.  He has been a huge blessing.  At this point I must be very careful what meds I consume.  There are only a couple of antibiotics I have not reacted to.  So I researched and my brother researched.  We came up with an elimination diet for me.  It started with 2 weeks of only chicken, leafy greens, herbs, chicken broth, water, and a small bit of tea and coffee.  Those 2 weeks were a bit nuts.  I felt like I was hit by a bus.  It was like 2 weeks of the flu.  Slowly now I am adding in foods.  But honestly if I slip up or get something I should not have...I know it.  The one thing I know my body reacts crazy to is sugar.  And yes I am sure many of you are Dr Pepper.  After not having it for over a month, I am really not missing it.  The main thing that is so difficult is all my food must be made from scratch.  I have to plan ahead if I am out.  It is just one more thing I must be committed to.  Even with this food change, I am still reacting to things.  I still need to take one benadryl every morning and night.  I also found out my Vitamin D was super low.  It should be around 40 mine was 8.  My one doc said it was the 2nd lowest he had ever seen.  I am on pretty high dose of Vitamin D now.  Just hoping my body will absorb it like it should.

I have no idea if any of this makes sense.  I used to be able to put thoughts together.  Now I feel like I ramble.  Probably because in my brain that is exactly how it is....a rambling mess.  I have been trying to give myself permission to just not do certain things.  I try not to live by a list anymore.  Because honestly the lists become so long and overwhelming they make me crazy.  I try not to worry about cupboards being in a disarray or toilet paper not on the roll.  I try not to be angry about our circumstances, or regret not being able to do certain things.  I try not to be sad when I just can't do whatever.  I desperately try to find joy where ever I can.  But let me just say I am so thankful for those people in my life I can be completely real with.  The ones who hear my heart of sorrow.  The ones who do not judge me for decisions I make.  And the ones who will listen even if they have no answers.  Having people like that in your life make days like today bearable.

Friday, October 24, 2014 GREAT NEWS!

Over the past few months I have been trying to come up with a plan of action.  Not always easy when you are never sure what each day will bring health wise....for me or the kids.  But I knew I needed to find a new primary care doc, have a new MRI done, fill out paperwork to make an appointment with neurosurgeon, find a new geneticist for the family, and see a doc who specializes in Mast Cell Activation Disorder. Whew!  So is what I have learned.

My new primary doc is great!  He listened and I felt really understood my need to not just jump on the next medication.  He also agreed that my head symptoms seem Chiari related. (whooshing in head, severe shooting pain at base of skull, and dizzy/vertigo)  He ordered a new MRI which I go for on Monday.  He also wants some scans of my neck to make sure the screws are where they should be.  We are also trying a med I was already on before, so I should not have a reaction to it.

I scheduled for all of us to see a geneticist at Akron Children's.  I have heard some good things about her, and honestly I just can't travel to Cincy for these visits.  Having someone local would be so helpful!  Aidan really needs a doc who can help with possible PT and OT to strengthen his joints.  And since Chan is popping and cracking, I am just going to have him see her.  Praying he is just a noisy kid!  Either way we will all benefit from seeing her and getting answers.

Today I went and saw the doctor who specializes in MCAD.  It was quite possibly one of the best doc visits I have ever had!!  Not because I received GREAT news, but because he listened, understood and wants to help.  He told me right off that I am not well.  Hmmm kind of thought this might be true.  He said he was amazed I was even functioning.  I assured him I was not doing a very good job.  He is very concerned with my allergic outbreaks to so many meds.  He agrees with me on holding off on surgery.  Although I may need a brain decompression, my body is too sick to handle it.  With a weakened immune system from surgery, any new meds introduced could cause a severe reaction.

The interesting thing was everything he would normally start out with for a new patient....he can't do with me.  I can't come off benadryl to have more allergy testing done because I am constantly reacting to things in my environment.  He can't put me on a medication he typically uses because I am allergic.  And another treatment option he feels I might tolerate but he has to slowly introduce 2 meds into my system.  He told me I was on the right track with lotions, soaps, and cleaners.  Making them is a good way to eliminate the chemical part.  He did urge me to not get caught up in essential oils.  Even though I may be finding some benefits, I must be super careful.  Because of my extreme sensitivity these oils can and probably will trigger a reaction at some point.  So fragrance/smell free is the way to go.  Please when you see me do not criticize my lack of smell! ;)

He also expressed concern over some of my other symptoms.  He feels it is very likely that I have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity/intolerance.  He ordered blood work to look into this.  As of right now I am not supposed to change eating habits (this could change results).  He did stress which ever I have, I must become gluten free.  He feels like my allergies are increasing due to the imbalance the gluten causes in my system.  He also is testing for Vitamin D and Iron deficiencies which he is certain I also have.  It was very odd how he could explain symptoms or things that happen to me without me even telling him.  Like he had already read my book and knew what was on the next page.

He asked me if I played the lottery.  I asked why. He responded, "Well you have to fairly rare illnesses, chiari and eds, and now I may be diagnosing you with 2 others.  Just seems like you have good chances."  Ummm good chances for being sick?  Later I was telling him about the mold growth in our old home. He said, "Yeah the lottery is probably not a good place to put your money."  Funny guy!  I guess this means I will be investing in doctors for a long time?

The bad news is I am sick. Well I already knew this.  And it is a long road to figure out.  Once I have the allergies better controlled I will more than likely need brain surgery.  After that months of healing and rebuilding my system once again. The bad health days will still probably out-number the good ones. There will never be complete healing and I will have to continue to change our life style.  The good, no GREAT, news is....I found another doc who is on my side and wanting to help me fight!  After seeing so many docs this was a sigh of relief.  He said at one point, "Most doctors probably look at you and see so many illnesses they do not know where to start.  But I want to focus in and find a place to start."  Thank you....thank you for stopping in your crazy busy day to listen, to help, and to try to help me find the answers!

Friday, October 10, 2014

In the middle of Blessings

It seems like life may have exploded over here!  Being a home schooling mama I never realized how much work went into the kids being in school.  Just when I think I figure our schedule changes.  So many pray and many more ask how we are doing.  I normally say "great".  Honestly if I told people how we are really doing, they probably would run away screaming, "I really did not want to know!"  I am not terribly good at telling people face to face how things are going.  Probably because of the well of tears that are right behind the eye lids.  Or maybe it is because I feel they are tired of hearing yet another problem with our family.  I also loathe hearing myself complain.  I know many though want to know how they can help, how they can pray.  So for you all, here is the update! :)

Brooke is continuing to do well physically.  She has moments of exhaustion but is growing stronger!  She loves school and is working really hard.  I have been working with her teachers and principal on her IEP.  It is definitely a learning curve for me.  As time goes I feel more confident on what to ask and how to help.  She loves music and art, telling me in detail everything she learns!  Her swimming is improving and she will compete in her first meet in a few weeks!

Aidan is struggling.  He really likes school.  He is doing well academically but physically the days are draining.  Aidan is only on half days right now.  But even this is hard.  His head hurts most days and his pain level has been very bad.  He tries to control his feeling but sometimes the pain is just too much.  He really needs to see the neurosurgeon.  We do have an appointment with a pain doctor soon.  He also is going to see a new geneticist in November.  We are hoping for some answers and ways to deal/manage his pain.

I started working very part time again.  I love the job and really enjoy working.  Sadly though my body does not agree.  Right now my job is getting the best of me and my family the worst.  I somehow manage to make it through getting kids to school and to the job, but then I am done.  Dinner is near impossible, and cleaning is well....not going well.  Thankfully other people in the family pick up the slack as best as they can.  Most days it is just very hard to hold my head up.  I thought about wearing my collar but worry about perception (which I know is silly).  I am really giving me all and trying to make life work.

I am seeing a new doc next week.  I also see a Mast Cell specialist at the end of the month and a new geneticist in December.  I am truly praying for some answers.  One of my main issues right now is I can't take meds.  Every time I am put on a new med to help symptoms, I have a severe allergic reaction.  I am hoping the Mast Cell doc can help me figure this out.  I also know I need a decompression surgery on my cerebellum.  The neurosurgeon recommended this over a year ago. The whooshing sound and weird rushing in my head is only getting worse.  I notice more and more my eye sight and balance are not what they used to be. It is also quite possible that the screws from my fusion are causing irritation and pain.

I was supposed to go and see a neurosurgeon in Virginia this month for a second opinion.  He is one of the best in his field.  Sadly I had to cancel.  Just to see him was $600, and on top of it there is travel.  The bad news is he is cutting way back on new patients.  So by me not going now, means I will probably never be able to see him.  This scares me.  I worry what if he was the only one who could truly help?  But I am trusting that God has this.  Aidan and I do need to see our neurosurgeon in New York.  I need to know how to best help Aidan, and figure out what both of us need done.  He just moved into a new office, and there are some major hoops to jump through just to get an appointment.  I have to take time to fill out all the paperwork and get it mailed.  The thought of this is a bit exhausting and overwhelming.  And even if we have appointments, how will we get there?

So so many of you have helped us over the years. I know our drama may seem never ending....and I understand those who have to move away from our lives.  I assure you though we do not take one thing for granted.  We are so grateful for those who help in love and prayers.  A good friend of mine who suffers from similar conditions set up a gofundme account for our family.  I felt so weird about this and still do.  I wish I could figure out how to do this all on our own.  The idea of any more travels for doctors or surgeries is crippling.  And asking for help is also very hard!  I will honestly tell you that any money that is donated is strictly for medical use. I have prayed and fought with myself over this for awhile.  I am humbled and honored that my friend would take the time to do this in her own sickness.  And I am beyond grateful for anyone who can help, even through prayer!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Whenever I turn around....

I have been trying to update this page for a few days now.  Honestly I was having a hard time focusing.  My heart has been broken and aching for the families in Iraq....quite truthfully my struggles seem petty.  And they are.  Not that what our fam goes through is not a struggle or even hard for us.  It is.  But when I put it into perspective....we are beyond blessed!  I complain of medical bills but we have doctors to see.  I complain of pain but I have bed to rest my head.  I never want my words to seem like complaints but tiny prayer requests or updates.  It is humbling to live in a place where medical care is truly amazing and I have the freedom to type out my beliefs.  My prayer is my children never take it for granted.

The past few months have done a flip on us.  We had a little over a month when we first moved where I felt truly great.  It was a blessing.  I am back to struggling with several health issues.  As of right now I am not sure what is causing what. I still have the awful head pain at the base of my skull which increases whenever I move.  I have a rushing in my head whenever I change positions.  This makes me light-headed and ill. I also have a whooshing sound in my head.  Almost like my head is filled with water or I am underwater.  This is not something that comes and is constant. So sadly it is quite maddening.  Of course I am still dealing with joint issues but these are minor in comparison.  I am scheduled for a sleep study because when I roll over in bed my throat begins to close up. This makes breathing hard.  My neurosurgeon also wants new MRI's and a lumbar puncture.  I have several appointments with different docs over the next few months.  I will be seeing a cardiologist, neurosurgeon, sleep specialist and mast cell specialist.

Moving closer to everything has been huge though!!  Being able to get to places faster makes life so much easier.  I do spend a good deal of my day in bed, resting.  It is very hard to hold my head up.  I have been told I can't give up.  Just to clarify: I am not giving up or do I ever plan to.  But sometimes my fighting is simply to feed my family dinner or do the laundry.  Our family does not have the ability or resources to go to one doc after another.  I will be seeing these docs in the fall to try to create a game plan. I have learned  though part of my fighting may be to just find a balance.  This balance to others may seem like giving up.  It is not.  It is learning to function in the body God gave me.  I am not convinced one more surgery will help...or one more procedure.  I am convinced my family needs me and I need them.

Aidan and Brooke both had MRI's done in June.  The neurosurgeon read them and they are both abnormal.  Both have increased Cranial Instability.  They have a retroflexed odontoid (which we did know). And their GO scores (for those who care about this ;) ) are Brooke- 9.4 and Aidan- 9.8.  And a CXA of Brooke- 128 and Aidan- 130. Thankfully Brooke's herniation is stable and Aidan's has only changed slightly.  All of this means they most probably will need fusions.  They could be soon but the plan is to wait as long as humanly possible.  This is why both of them still have bad headaches.  Brooke will continue to wear her collar and Aidan will be getting one.

Both kids are starting school.  My mama heart is broken and excited all at the same time!  I am tearful over sending them away from me.  But hopeful and excited for the wonderful, new opportunities they will have!  I am also beyond excited for the extra help the schools can offer.  As of now we know Brooke has a form of dyslexia and aphasia.  Aidan was tested last Wednesday.  Although I have not received report yet, they believed he also had dyslexia.  I also learned while sitting listening to the doctors, dyslexia is probably why I struggled with reading.  Due to Brooke's health actually being a little better than Aidan's, she will start school on a full day.  Aidan will most likely start at half days.  He will have his core subjects with a teacher one on one here at the house.  He will then go into school for the other subjects.  Hopefully by the second part of the year, he will be ready for full days.  I can't say enough how amazing the school district has been!!!  I also can't say enough about the NeuroDevelopmental Center at Akron Children's!  Both have bent over backwards to help me understand all this and find a way to help the kids.

We have seen so much change for us over the years.  The constant is....we turn around to blessings always!  Friends who drop off dinner just to help out.  Family who transports us to doc visits and the store when we can't.  Church who prays faithfully for healing or at least acceptance to move forward. A van gifted to us and keeps on running even when I think it will not.  A job that is far but steady.  Doctors who may not know the answers but stick with us.  Friends who watch the kids for free so we can go to appointments. A once a week coffee with a friend so I do not have to pay for psychological help. A hubby who stays and provides even when the burdens seem never-ending.  A country where I can live in a house with heat and air.  So thank you!  Where ever you fit in this list...thank you!!!  You are a blessing to our fam!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

a break from blogging not life

I took a little break from blogging and I plan on keeping it up.  I just wanted to give an update since I have not posted since our move.  Life has been capital C..Crazy around here.  First the move.  Which I can't say enough how much I love it here.  Not sure the whole fam agrees but everyone is pushing forward.  It is different to live "in town".  We did not have a ton of land but had a lot of privacy.  This house is not making us sick though.  That is the big neon sign news!  There is no mold and where there is no mold...there is a happy mama.  

Right after we moved, Aunt Amy had to come stay with us.  The group home she was in was seriously neglecting her.  She was exhibiting behavioral issues we had never seen in her before.  It was quite the adjustment to have her here.  While she was here, Brooke was displaced to couch and I felt like I ran from one meeting to the next.  We finally figured out the best solution for her and Amy moved into an adult foster care home.  She is doing great and healthy again.  We are still busy trying to switch everything over.  Moving her out of the old home...into our home...and then to a new home was a huge undertaking.  Every box I carried I prayed would not do me in.  Her room in the group home was filled with dust and dirt.  It was so not a pleasant experience.  

3 days after Amy moved out, I started babysitting 2 littles.  I love it!!!  They are friends we met in Athens. Small world, right!?  They now live up here too.  Although by night I am completely beat, having them here is so much fun.  I especially love the cuddles of the tiny one.

Aidan and Brooke are enrolled in school for next year.  Yes I know I have talked about this before but this year is for real!  Promise!  It needs to be.  I have learned one important thing over the years....I love having my kids home with me but I am not a teacher.  So now we play race to catch up before August.  I am a nervous wreck.  I know how much ground we need to cover and the rest of the fam is like "ah it will be fine." It will not be FINE!!!  :) We need focus, learning, and a caffeine drip.

As I said before, I am doing so much better.  I believe it is the combination of no mold, the new medicene, exercise, and trying to eat super healthy.  This does not mean I am "cured". Sorry cure.  I do feel almost 150 times better than before.  I can get through a typical day without crashing.  By night every joint is screaming though.  I am completely off pain meds which makes many nights horrible.  Somehow I push through and manage.  I am thankful for the more energy and the semi better health.  This normally means those around you expect you to be at 100% when really you are only functioning at about 60%.  

So yes I do feel worlds better....but I still can't function the way a "normal human" would.  I still have quite a few limitations.  And honestly I am starting back to my old ways of over committing.  I am not stopping when I need to stop.  As a family we have re-defined the super important things to our fam. Some of these only rate as important due to need.  We are only going to focus on these things.  This means stepping away from many things, saying no to others.  One thing I am stepping away from is this blog.  I honestly do not even enjoy posting here anymore.  It was an outlet when Brooke was so sick.  Now I just feel like it is random words on a page.  I love to write, and want to keep writing.  I will figure out how writing fits, it will just not be here.  I may occasionally come back here to post health updates since we have so many awesome people who pray for us.  But for now...this is it.

Thank you all for you love, prayers, and support.  They have meant the world to us!