Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Poem

Gabby wrote this in just a few minutes for a school project. The goal was to explain something without giving away what it was. Can you figure it out?

The site of thee can be as beautiful as a sunset or as harsh as a hurricane breeze,
Offensive, rude, obnoxious can all apply,
But occasionally you'll find that one gem like a lone star in the night sky,
A look so intense, you can almost sense it,
The message never known,
Just perceptions of your own,
For everyone deserves to be heard,
No matter the person, place, or word

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Kids

The last couple of months have been challenging. Between Gabby's illness and Junie's hearing problem, John and I have been at our wits end. At least there is good news for Gabby. It looks like her medical issues have mostly been related to allergies. I was a little slow on the uptake because we were told last year that she had mono. She didn't. The doctor misread the test.

This put a whole new spin on things in my mind. The clue for me wasn't the long list of symptoms that Gabby was having (dizziness, uncoordination, low grade fever, sore throat, nausea, anger, panic, weight loss, sneezing, etc.). The clue for me was the time of year. Both last year and this year, Gabby's symptoms started at the same time, in March. Once I put 2 and 2 together I got 5. No, you didn't read that wrong. I got 5.

The reason I got 5 is because nothing is as it seems when it comes to our family and their health. Allergies, especially on the Morrison side of the family, don't always present in the usual way. Allergies in Gabby often look like something else entirely. Of course, when I suggested this to the doctor, she didn't believe me. Fortunately, she did humor me though and prescribed Gabby a nasal steroid and an allergy medication that Gabby had to take three times a day. At about day four or five, we knew we were on to something. Gabby's demeanor totally changed. She started eating again. She wanted to go outside and see people. She even wanted to go back to school. Next year we're going back to the allergist long before March rolls around.

Junie had the tubes put in her ears last Friday. We expected the surgeon to put the tubes in and that Junie would wake up and hear just fine. Instead, the surgeon told us that June has a severely retracted ear drum in one ear and that it would have to be watched carefully. This means that she still doesn't hear well in that ear. Frustrating, but at least she has one ear that works right now. At this point, I don't know what the prognosis is for the other ear. Of course, the underlying cause of the problem is allergies. Go figure we'd adopt a child with allergies and now hearing problems (hopefully temporary).

Ending Thoughts
I don't know if anyone noticed, but every pet (all seven) we've had has had issues. I have health issues and so do both of my kids. I'm now pretty sure that any living thing (plant, animal, or person) that we bring into our house to stay is going to have medical issues. Now, for all of you glass half empty or glass half full people, I'm not taking a stance on whether our situation is positive or negative. It just is. Oh, and please don't tell me one more time that God only gives you what you can handle. If that's true then God must be setting the bar really high for our family because he just keeps sending the work our way.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gabby's Health

The Overall Problem
How I came to realize this is a longer story, but watered down, I recently learned that Gabby had missed five weeks of school or more each year from fourth grade on. That's five years straight of being sick much more than the average child according to her guidance counselor, her pediatrician, and an immunologist. This year has been no different from any other and today, with a low grade (100.6) fever and exhaustion Gabby missed her 31st day of school. In school weeks, that's six weeks and a day.

Last year, Gabby had mono, but didn't recover like she should. That combined with lots of aches and pains led me to take her to my rheumatologist who found that she had a deficiency in her C4 level. Yep, that's right C4. With enough of it, maybe she could blow up stuff. No, not really. Anyway, a low C4 level combined with other things can mean certain rhematological diseases. Alone, it doesn't mean much, but it is linked to Lupus which the rhematologist is testing for every six months. Unfortunately, this didn't help explain why she couldn't shake mono like most people do. She did go back to school to take her finals, but continued to have symptoms on and off during the summer. If you're wondering, she does not have mono now. She's been tested.

The Immunologist
Both Gabby's pediatrician and rheumatologist recommended that Gabby needed to see an immunologist. Finding one that was recommended by either doctor was ridiculously difficult. First, the rheumatologist recommended two great immunologists. One I had met before through my mother. The other was equally as good according to the rheumy. I called each office on a Friday afternoon. Neither was open. One closed at 1pm, the other at 4pm. These guys keep better hours than bankers. When I finally did reach them on Monday I was told that they didn't take children and neither had any recommendations. I should have asked to talk to a nurse, but didn't. Probably should have. Since I was shot down there, I turned to the pediatrician's recommendation, the Children's Hospital in Rochester. I called their rheumatology/immunology department and got an answering machine the same Friday. They didn't call back until Tuesday and told me that they didn't have an immunologist. They send all of their patients to an immunologist in Buffalo.

Well, I wasn't excited about traveling over two hours away, but you do what you have to. So, I looked this doc up on the internet as I had the other doctors. He was not only a doctor, but also a researcher with about 150 published articles. Sounded great. So, I called and scheduled the first possible appointment, over three months later. Gabby's problem wasn't life threatening so we could wait. Plus this way at least one follow-up would happen in the summer. It wasn't all bad. Then I called our insurance company. You guessed it, this doctor was not covered under our insurance. Let's just say that the wind was nowhere near my sails. John and I discussed it and decided to keep the appointment, but to continue to look for another immunologist.

Frustrated by my internet search, I called Gabby's old allergist to see if he could recommend anyone. Might sound like a weird doctor to call, but you see, allergists are immunologists, but they specialize in allergies not in immunological diseases. (This is a fact that most people don't know including any of the nurses I asked to help) In making that call, I got luckier than I could imagine. Gabby's old allergist had hired a doctor who had studied and worked at Philadelphia's Children's Hospital with a specialty in chidren's immunology. The doctor called me back personally the next day and told me that he could do all the basic blood work and evaluate it here. If needed, he'd refer us on. We saw him the next day and he agreed that Gabby was getting sick much more than she should at this age. He gave us a lab slip and sent us on our way. I thought, "Finally, something that will be easy." Just a little blood work. How hard could that be. So, Gabby and I headed for the hospital.

The Problem With Bloodwork
If you're familiar with doing blood work, you know that you have to check in first. Usually the check-in person finds the test on their screen, clicks on it and you're on your way to the phlebotomist. In our case six out of the twelve tests weren't ones that the check-in person had on the computer. So, we went back to get Gabby's blood work done with six red question marks on the lab slip. It didn't get any better with the phlebotomists. They scurried around calling people and looking stuff up in books. We waited about twenty minutes only to find out that some of the tests had to be sent out the same day and the courier had already left for the last time that day. Grrr. We'd have to come back before noon the next day.

Giving Blood
Not wanting Gabby to miss any more school, we decided to get up early and be in Elmira by 6:45am so that we could be the first customers at the lab. This way Gabby could make it back to school before the first bell. We all got up around 5:30 so that we could be in the car by 6:10. We got some fast food breakfast and made it there in time. Yipee...except Gabby was sick, again. She was running a fever and looked like white as a ghost except for her cheeks which were quite pink. As usual though, she was a trooper, not complaining at all. They took eleven vials of blood and then Gabby looked at me and said, "I'm really really dizzy." The phlebotomist, a grandmother of someone who goes to Gabby's former gym, was suddenly extremely attentive asking Gabby if she wanted water, juice, or wanted to lay down. Gabby leaned back, closing her eyes and the grandma was all over her, "Don't close your eyes! You need to lay down in the next room." Gabby did lay down and felt...I was going to say much better, but that wasn't true. She felt like total crap, but was much less dizzy. Probably having blood drawn while your feeling really ill isn't a good combination, at least while you're sitting up.

What Now
While we wait, I research. Before we went to the hospital the second time, I typed Gabby's tests into Excel so that I could look them up later. Not surprising, all of the tests that the immunologist ran are tests looking for an immune deficiency. Through Twitter, I found a link to the Immune Deficiency Foundation which has a handbook on Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases. This handbook explains a lot. While I'm not sure that Gabby has a primary immonodeficiency, it sure sounds a lot like her. In the meantime, until we get the test results back (2 more weeks), it is very interesting reading. If all of her test results come back normal, I don't know what we're going to do. Until that, I'm just going to hope that they find something and that it is treatable. Gabby has been sick enough for ten kids her age.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I'm looking through the glass (Dado block),
Don't know how much time has passed,
Feels like forever
Watch out where the huskies go,
And don't you eat that yellow snow

Why do you build me up buttercup baby just to knock me down.

Us girls we are so magical,
Soft skin, red lips, so kissable.
Have you seen the well to do,
Up and down park avenue,

Monday, January 4, 2010


Happy New Year! I am so glad that the holiday season is over and that a new year has begun. Not that I have anything against holidays, but my body does. It doesn't like large gatherings, excitement, or chaois. It just reacts badly. That ended up being a really good thing recently. After a couple of very exciting family gatherings, I ended up having a severe flair that sent me to the ER and woke up one of my doctors to the fact that I needed much better pain management.

It's only been a couple of weeks since starting my new medication, but now instead of waiting for the pain to start, then taking a pain pill that was only partially effective, I am now on a patch that constantly, slowly releases medicine. On an average day (meaning no excitement), my pain has gone from moderate to severe most of the time to mild most of the time. It's a HUGE difference. I still have to keep my old pain pills on hand, just in case, but I'm going on three days of not using them at all. Yay!

Junie loved her first day at her new daycare/preschool. She had such a good time that she wouldn't leave with me. I had to follow her around the room asking nicely for her to get her coat on until finally I decided that nice wasn't going to cut it. I told her to put on her coat, NOW, or I'd do it for her. Since she's in the "do it myself" stage of life, this was a good enough threat to get the job done. LOL She's such an easy kid that I didn't actually have to threaten her with anything real. She ran over right away to get her coat so that she could put it on herself.

Today was Gabby's 14th birthday. As usual, things were low-key because Gabby doesn't like birthday parties. Just to make her squrim a little bit, I asked about stopping in at her school with a cake. This got an immediate NO response and then a follow-up this morning of, "Please don't come into my school today, Mom." So, I didn't stop in. Instead, I bought a selection of helium balloons, some with Happy Birthday on them, and when I went to pick her up at school, stuck them out the window of the truck. She gave me a funny look and then just went with it.

Immediately following picking her up, I had a doctor's appointment. Because Gabby and I wanted to give the balloons to the kids at June's preschool, we brought them into the doctor's office so that they wouldn't be ruined by the bitter cold. Gabby seemed to have fun with it and so did all the staff and patients. Unfortunately, we found out later that balloons are not allowed at June's school (choking hazzard), so we will have them floating around the house for a couple of days. That's okay. Junie will love playing with them.

So, for now that's all the news that's fit to type. Hope you're all enjoying the start of 2010 also.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Cookie Decorating

So, Gabby invited over a few friends to decorate cookies. There were about 18 cookies per kid to decorate. After 5 or 6 a piece, the crazy crowd turned the frosting on themselves. This is what we got.

In the end, the grown-ups ended up decorating more than half of the 120 cookies. Oh well, it was fun and tasted great. After eating so many cookies, I'm not sure if any of the girls will want to eat dinner.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Visit From Aunt Debbie

I'm so far behind on my posts. Aunt Debbie visited in July and I'm just now adding these pictures to the blog. Better than not posting them at all.

Our old camera bit the dust about two months ago. We finally made it to Best Buy to get another one just in time for the holidays. Hopefully we'll take full advantage of it and take plenty of pictures. I'm hoping to get some other people behind the lense other than me. Not that I have a great desire to be photographed, especially as of late, but it's good to be in enough pictures to know that I existed.