Thursday, July 30, 2009

In Baltimore- Pre-Op }}}}}}

I had my Pre-Op Appointmnet yesterday and everything went well.

As Trey pointed out its a good thing I liked her considering that I am having surgery with her on Friday and all.

Dr. Zeena Dorai will be doing the Surgery at Sinai Hospital on Friday. I have to be there at 7:00 am.

I am so ready to get this over with. She made me feel very at ease and comfortable. She went over my last CT scan and pointed our how small my ventricles are. This is very common in patients with Intracranial Hypertension. She did say that she liked the placement of my current shunt.

So what is the plan???

There will be a General Surgeon working with her during my surgery. His part will be to work on the abdominal (tubing) end of things. His goal is to readjust the tubing inside the abdominal so that it sits somewhere with less scare tissue and adhesion's. He also will be checking to see if the tube is blocked and if it needs to be replaced.
I have had so much pain in my sides that this could be a welcomed change. If he is not able to place the tubing back into the abdomen he may have to place it into the chest cavity although this is not the desired placement. They are hoping he will be able to do all this laproscopticlly but will have to play it by ear.

While he is doing this Dr. Dorai will begin her part of he surgery which is the brain and where the actual shunt is. She will shave the head again and expose the shunt. She will individually take out each component and test it to determine if it is working. Once she finds the piece/pieces that are not working she will replace them. This will include the catheter, valve and tubing. Once she has done all this she will test the flow and pressure to make sure that everything is working before closing it back up.

For now Dr. Dorai's feeling is that I need a new shunt. But as she has said she just does not know and cannot say for sure until she gets in there. After surgery I will be taken to recovery and then to my room on the Neurology floor. The plan is for me to stay to nights in the hospital and then go from there.

Wheww.....that's a lot of information.

I feel really good about this. I know I am in the best hands for this operation and I am just ready to get it over with.

Mom and Dad are headed up here today and I am so glad they are coming. Wes and I are still trying to decide what we are going to do today to keep our minds off of tomorrow. We can't deceide if we should go see the O's play or go check out the Beltimore Aquarium.'s not so much that we can't decide, it's just a differing of opnion...

I will try to update asap after surgery.

Thank you everyone for all your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Graying Matter and Why We Love Disney

On the list of things to do today there is one thing that is circled in red and underlined several, several times.


I have gray hairs popping up everywhere!!!! For the love of Pete what is this all about!!

I am only thirty!! Now really should this be happening?

I know, I know. It does. But it still very traumatic.

They have been slowy creeping into my life for sometime now and I have been ignoring them and plucking them in a show of resistance.

Last night I stood in front of the mirror for a good thirty minutes just examining my hair. In that time period I started counting the gray hairs.....I lost count at 25.

So hair color it is. Now I have always colored my hair but never for any purpose other than becuase I wanted to. I don't have time before I leave for Baltimore for my hairdresser to color it and my head will have stiches and be way to tender when I get back to tolerate hair coloring, so I must do it myself. Let's hope it turns out okay and not some weird or funky color.

Fantasies in our Recession

In our house we love all things Disney. It is quite an obsession and that's alright by me.

I found this great article and thougt I would share it .
This is taken directly from the Times & Transcript

WALT DISNEY WORLD, FLA. - The Magic Kingdom is awash with rain on a weekday in July. It liquidates the rockets of the Astro Orbiter and pours so much brine into Ariel's Grotto that even a mermaid could drown.

Still, the hordes press on. The crowds are so oppressive, despite the weather, that we have to park all the way out at Minnie Mouse, row 34, and wait for two long trams to pass before we can score four seats. I am with my wife, our four-year-old daughter, and my father-in-law, who has just flown to Main Street, U.S.A. from Moscow, Russia. It is hard to tell who is more excited, the pre-schooler or the 70-year-old.

Where is the Great Recession? I wonder. Not here, "Where Dreams Come True." The shops are crammed, the Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant is overflowing, the sidewalks are like Shanghai at spring festival. Minnows in a monsoon of humanity, we pay our $307 and swim toward Fantasyland.

The queue for the flying Dumbo ride is a python that encircles the tent, then doubles back and swallows itself. Undaunted, little Lizzie and I wait it out in our seven-dollar Mickey Mouse ponchos, spun from a penny's worth of plastic. To fly this flight is her sacred quest, the baby elephant with the big, floppy ears the most beloved icon of her young life. A little rain is not going to stop us now.

"Those boys made fun of Dumbo so his Mom got mad and hit them and the ringmaster put her in Time Out," she explains to the young family behind us, benighted souls who have never seen the film.

After nearly an hour, as we mount the final ramp, we hear thunder in the distance, not that it could come down any harder. Lizzie's mother and grandfather stand under cover at a picnic area and cry to me in two languages, "Allen! She's getting wet!"
"They'll close the ride if there's lightning," someone ahead of us says. But I have brought the Magic Feather with me -- it is invisible, but powerful -- and the storm stands back in awe.
We strap ourselves in and fly so high that only elephants can see us. When our flight ends, and we are dizzy with vertigo and joy, Lizzie climbs out and kisses Dumbo on the ear and bows to him with gratitude.

Wife Natasha and father-in-law Valery want to see everything, ride everything, buy everything, to drink Walt Disney's fictional, fabulous America like rainwater. There is nothing like Disney World in Russia, which is not, in my experience at least, "The Happiest Place on Earth," or even a close runner-up. But we have only this one day.
Abandoning outdoor adventures, I herd everyone into the Carousel of Progress. For this ancient attraction there is no line at all. It is a relic of my own childhood epiphany: the 1964 New York World's Fair. There, it was the General Electric corporate pavilion, long before short sellers were hammering the value of a share of GE down to a couple of bucks. Preserved intact for more than 40 years, first in California and here in Florida since 1975, it is a window on the history of the future that I was meant to live.
The show is set in American homes of 1904, 1927 and the 1940s -- these are unchanged from the World's Fair -- and was updated sometime in the 1990s to highlight virtual reality headsets and laser discs and other short-lived, now laughable marvels.

The theme is a song I haven't heard in decades, but it bursts back into my memory and I sing it as loud as I dare:
"There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
"Shining at the end of every day
"There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
"And tomorrow's just a dream away"

"I want to be fourteen again," I whimper, tearing up.
I am not the only one transported. My father-in-law, the former Communist Party member and Soviet diplomat, tells me how, when he was seven years old in post-war Moscow, he saw Snow White and other Disney fantasies on reels captured from the fleeing Germans.
"I remember the joy and kindness of Mickey Mouse," he says, "but I don't remember Lenin."

We leave the Carousel and slog our way back toward the Seven Seas Lagoon. "It's Cinderella's castle!" my daughter shouts, tugging me through the deluge. Even in the rain, even in recession, we trade our dollars for a firm faith in fairies, and the certainty that elephants can fly.

* Allen Abel is a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen who after more than 25 years of journalism in Canada moved to Washington, D.C. He has been a reporter, foreign correspondent, documentary film producer, columnist and author. His column appears here every Monday.

What a nice news article. That's something you don't see everyday!!

Family Cruise- Good for the Soul

Family Cruise

Not all thing are bad…No sir they are not.

Some things are fabulous.

We took a vacation with my entire immediate family.

Seven days we traveled together, all twelve of us…yep, count it again all twelve of us.

Now when some people hear the word family vacation they run and hide, start to scream, pop a valium. But not me…I welcomed it with open arms.

In the entire seven days there was not one harsh word spoken, not one fight or disagreement…I kid you not…..

I think I have a fabulous family…a special family…and for that I am grateful.

This trip/cruise was a Christmas present from my parents. This was before any of us knew the word Intracranial Hypertension even existed.

I am sure there are those that thought it was foolish on my part to even consider going on this cruise given the state of my health these days. Lets face it, my shunt is blocked, my head hurts horribly everyday, it takes enormous willpower just to get out of bed each day and I am facing brain surgery yet again.


But how, as a mother, do you tell your two little girls that because Mommy is sick they can’t go on a trip they have been counting down for over six months? How do you take away a six year olds daily habit of crossing off the days on her calendar to count it down? How do you take away the excitement in their voices as they dream about the ship and new places and people they will discover?

I will tell you how…..It’s simple…..You don’t.

There is no medical reason for me not to go. It will not harm me to “put off” my surgery by a week and wait it out. I have asked my Doctors, I have been smart about it no doubt.

Was the cruise a seven day escape from pain for me…haha, I wish.

To be honest, it took every ounce of energy I had and ever knew I had just to make it through. My head hurt worse that week than it has hurt in a very long time. But as a Wife, Sister, Aunt, Sister-n-Law, Daughter and most importantly a Mother I did my best not to let it show.

Now, don’t get me wrong I had a great time, I truly did.

I walk away from that cruise with memories that I will always cherish and that I would not take back for anything in this world.

Piper- She got to snorkel for the first time ever. She was a pro. We did a snorkeling excursion in Belize and as she and I were paddling through the waters are heads lost in the world below; she reaches her still tiny hand in mine to grasp it. For the longest time we swam hand in hand taking in all the beauty that the sea has to offer. I am not sure if it is possible to cry under water but I wonder if I did. I never wanted to let that small little hand go.

Sydney- She truly is becoming her own person. After a long day in the sun and after her shower she wanted me to curl her hair. After curling and styling her hair she asked if it would be okay to but a little bit of make-up on. We stand out on the balcony of our stateroom, just she and I watching the endless ocean and for no reason at all she turns to me and says “I love you Mama” then looks out into the setting sun. It takes my breath away. What a magnificent creature and person she is becoming.

My nieces- They make me smile, they make me laugh. I am so proud of them all. They show such compassion and grace. There jest for adventure makes me want to try new things too.

Miss Alli- She is so sweet…do they get any sweeter? Even though she is a teenager she always takes the time to love on her parents and grandparents no matter who is around. She does not think twice about it. My two girls idolize her and I cannot imagine a better teenager for them to look up to than her! When we were in Cozumel she took Piper under her wing out in the water without anyone asking or expecting her to. If you ask Piper what she did in Cozumel she will tell you that she “hung out with Allie” and while saying this she has a huge grin on her face.

Miss Avery- This girl cracks me up!!!! She has me rolling in stitches all the time. She is so thoughtful and considerate of others. While in Cozumel we rented kayaks. What a riot that was. As we headed out it started to rain and I don’t mean just a sprinkle I mean a downpour kind of rain. I was in a kayak with Syd and Avery was in one with Anna. As the rain was pouring down on us we collided. OH how we all laughed. If you could have seen Avery laugh at that very moment, with the rain gliding down her face. I wish I could have captured that moment of pure happiness and kept it forever, it was priceless.

Miss Anna- She has to be one of the most loving children I have ever met and the most stylish. She always asks me how I am feeling, now how many ten year old’s do you know that do that? But that is just who she is. She cares. I got the chance to soar in the sky with Anna. We went parasailing together. I will never forget as we were gliding through the air her pure amazement at the world below. She said over and over how quiet it was and I could tell she was in awe. I am so grateful to have experienced that with her. It is a memory I have captured in my heart forever.

Miss Addison- If I had just a little bit of her energy then I would be on cloud nine rip roaring ready to go! If you are ever in a bad mood all you need to do is be around her and you can’t help but instantly be happy. Each night in the dining room the serving staff would have “dance numbers” they would do and of course diner participation is a must. Our Miss Addison was the star of the show! Seeing her each night fearlessly get up and dance (something that I would never have the courage to do) was a delight. She is the courage I wish I had.

Kristie- She is the sister I wish I had. She is a lot of things I wish I was. She is confident, outgoing, easygoing and funny. She planned our Roatan excursion and what an amazing one she found for us. From the beautiful scenery, mangroves, fishing village, iguanas, monkeys and history it was there. One thing I did learn about her is that she truly takes the culture of the country/island in. While in Roatan we saw three young boys fishing in a small village. Their fishing pole consisted of nothing more of string and a hook, but we saw them catch a fish. It was seeing her reaction to this most innocent of task that I realized her passion for the culture of the people and their way of life. The three little boys proudly showed off their fish for us and she and I both took pictures of them. Now, looking back at the picture, I can appreciate just what she saw at that moment.

Trey- He is my hero. He has been for a long time. I know if I ever need anything all I have to is call him and he will be there. Can I ever repay him for what he has given me? probably not? Roulette…nobody wins at roulette except for Trey!!!! Seriously… He wins not once, not twice but three separate sit down times. We all worried before the trip that he would get seasick, god awful seasick. We told him that you hardly ever feel the ship move. Famous last words. I have never been on a cruise ship that rocked as much as this one did!!!! Thank God though, he was fine. See, we told him he would be fine, and he was.

Mom- My Best Friend, my biggest cheerleader no doubt. Without her I cannot imagine how the earth could even spin. She truly hates all things relating to water, bless her heart. On our Roatan excursion part of it was to take a tiny boat to see the mangroves. What none of us expected was that we had to venture Oceanside to see them, and to top it off the teeny, tiny boat had no life preservers (which Mom was quick to point out) I will admit now that it even made me nervous and the fact that coming back our boat driver collided into a sea wall did not help matters!! The whole time we were on that little boat all I could think about was “Is Mom ok?” I asked her several times. It was that experience worrying about her that made me more grateful for her than ever. We survived just fine, and the smile on her face was worth a thousand pictures rolled into one. Mom and I spent a sail away on an upper deck together while the kids played in the pool and the other adults talked. We did not talk, we just sat. I wonder what she was thinking? I know that I was thinking I am so lucky to be loved so greatly by this magnificent women.

Dad- What a tremendous figure of a Man and Father he is. He may appear tough and straight forward but I have learned to know better. We have not always had a “rosy” kind of relationship but time has brought an understanding. He is one of the most generous, understanding, compassionate, and loving people you will ever meet. When my Dad tells me everything will be okay, I know it will be. I love to see him smile. At times it seems like a rare occasion!! On this trip he smiled a lot and I loved it. His grandchildren truly make him smile. I wish could have captured every time one of his grandchildren climbed into his lap on this trip and the bear hug he wrapped around them. I wish I could have captured the contentment on their faces of being in his arms and the smile and love on his face. My only regret for this trip is that I did not get to jet ski with him. We had done that on a previous trip and I know he loved it. It has really bothered me since coming home that we did not get to do that, but upon further thought I have a resolution. Details Later!!!! I love my dad more than he will ever know, more than I have ever told him. This trip brought about in so many ways how I am so like my father….I am proud to say I am just like him..I consider that to be a compliment.

Wes- Oh my!!! We live, we laugh, we love, we fight. We see the world so easily together it is almost scary. We had so much fun on this trip! Since January our world has been turned upside down. Everything that we thought we were working towards has been put on hold, now it is just a struggle to get by day to day. He is there. He has stayed by my side holding my hand all the way. I know it must be hard, I can’t imagine being him. We saw this vacation as a break from the harsh reality we call day to day life. We saw this as a time to connect with each other without medical decisions. We saw this as a time to enjoy Sydney and Piper and delight in their happiness. We had a balcony stateroom and it was fabulous. Wes and I spent a lot of time there. We spent a lot of time on that balcony just talking and a lot of time just there in silence, just being. There is something about the setting sun over the endless ocean and being with the one you truly love that does wonders for the soul.

Overall, it was an amazing vacation. We visited Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. I was in paradise with all the people that mean the world to me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

10 Surprising Reasons your Stressed

10 Surprising Reasons your Stressed

What only ten?

Come on I know I can name way more than that. Well anyway that was a recent title to an article in a magazine I was reading. I could not help laugh out loud at some of the top ten. Take for instance “you never have quiet time” well who does?

But anyway.

Stress. Whats the definition of that anyway?

“Stress is a biological term which refers to the consequences of the failure of a human or animal to respond appropriately to
emotional or physical threats to the organism, whether actual or imagined”

Hmmm, or in my terms- Your about to pop your every loving lid and officially loose it. Because you have so many things, people and whatever thrown your way that you don’t know whether to laugh, cry or go hide.

But that’s just my definition.

Stress is just a part of daily existence when you really think about it. There is no “easy” button and if there where how boring would that be?

Well to tell you the truth I think I am Marjory do for some boring right about now.

So I have not blogged in a while, so lets get caught up, shall we?

We shall!!

Boy o Boy…do I have a lot to share…

What else would you expect from me?

I like to say that “ I am incapable of doing anything small, If you can’t go big, go home”
This is extremely sarcastic as you will see.

Yes my Shunt that I have only had since March is obstructed. This means more surgery. More Brain surgery. I am real thrilled about that.

I will be going to Baltimore to Sinai Hospital to have Surgery. I will have my consultation on Wednesday July 29 with the Neurosurgeon and then have the actual surgery on Friday the 31st. They will first start by looking in the abdomen at the tubing there, and then move on to the head/brain where the valve and shunt are.
I will be spending two days in the hospital and then at least two more days in the Baltimore area before they will release me to head back home. From there I will recover at home before heading back to Baltimore for a post-op appointment. I should expect a 4 to 8 week recovery time, just as before.

Whew did you catch all that.

Wes is going to be able to be with me the whole time (thank you very much FMLA) and Mom and Dad will be coming up to Baltimore on Thursday and leaving on Sunday.

To say that I am not nervous, scared, worried would be a lie. But I can say I am comfortable. What, you say does that mean?

I am comfortable because I have to be. For my own sanity and those around me.
I have no choice but to be comfortable.

But is that all that is/has gone on? Oh heck no.

Now I feel at this point I can let you in on something because
#1 it’s all cleared up now
#2 It was not as bad as first though
#3 No one was ever in danger of contacting it from me as I made 1000% sure of that.

I noticed about a little over a month ago I have a few pimple raised like bumps on my inner arm. Right about the area where an I.V. had been. (Hmmm, I bet some of you can see where this is going) At first I did not think much about it but it just did not go away. Then, to my dismay it started to ooze a little (sorry if you gagged a little there) So I went to the Doctor, fearing the worst.
They looked at it and immediately said it’s probably a Staph infection and at worst it’s MRSA. Lovely, just lovely I think. So they took a wound culture and sent it off. Because it would take three days to get the results they went ahead and started treating it as if it was MRSA.
Lucky or Unlucky for me, depending on how you look at it….it was not MRSA but was a Staph infection.

I actually should not be surprised that I had one, being as how many times since January I have been in the hospital.

Let me just say that during this past month I have never washed my hands and arms as many times as I did then. I have also never gone through as many band aids as I did then. But yes, my fellow public was kept safe so that is what counts.

That must be all right? Wrong……Don’t you people know me better than that yet?

I loathe going to the Dentist. I would rather give birth seven times without an epidural than go to the Dentist. Because of that I avoid the Dentist like some people avoid a bill collector’s telephone call.

For the last several months I have noticed a slight..and I do mean just a teeny tiny slight pain in the left side of my mouth. Nothing to bad, and does not last to long. So why worry about it right?....wrong…..

It came to a head, screaming and raging its big ugly head Monday night. And I think it laughed as it watched me walk into the Dentist office.

The source of pain is a tooth that I had a root canal done on in 1998. After the Dentist does his examination and mops of the floor because of my panic and sweat , just kidding, he determines that the tooth has now cracked and cannot be saved. It will need to be extracted.

Say What!!!!!

For the love of Pete, can’t a girl get a break? Of course not when the girl we are talking about is me.

Extraction. what a really ugly, fowl word.

Basically they take fancy pliers and the jaws of life and twist the no good tooth right out of your gums.

Fun times kids, Fun times!!!!

That was today’s adventure….me versus the jaws of dental life.
The Jaws Won…

I was told I should probably expect some bruising on my face since when they tried to pull the tooth out it cracked in half and then they had to REALLY dig that sucker out.


So here I sit with Vicodin , Ice Pack and a swollen jaw.

Oh yeah, and one heck of a headache. But that’s just everyday life for me know.

So after I have my Surgery in Baltimore (several weeks after actually) I will have to go back to the dentist to have an implant for that stupid tooth.

So here we are. All caught up. For now at least.

10 Surprising Reasons your Stressed…Give me a break….I know all 100 reasons why I am stressed