Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Year In Review-Part 3

This is part of a series catching up on 2013!  See the other posts here:  Part 1 and Part 2

Cole doesn't start school on time.  He is just too unstable.  We see a Integrated Medicine doctor.  An MD, that also practices natural medicine.  She has a theory about my adrenal insufficiency.  Cole finally makes it to school.
 We LOVE his team!  We totally know what it is like to not have a support system at school and consider ourselves so incredibly lucky to have the amazing people here.  He really struggles and has to start wearing a bib in September that has to be changed constantly because of the drool.
 I even send him to school in his wheelchair when he can not hold up his head or walk.
 Has not been eating at all for a few months and has been solely tube fed.  Sometimes it is nice to have breakfast where super hero gear is mandatory.
Made a custom letterpress invitation for Gourmet Club.  Find out I need double knee replacements.  Start 6 weeks of collagen injections under my kneecaps.  I am a huge fan of Lidoderm patches, even if you run out of regular Co Flex and need the dinosaurs to keep them on ;)
 We continue to explore treatments for Cole.  He is really struggling.
 Government Shutdown starts.  Total Major Seizure Count: 273

I am asked to give a class on Style for a group of young women.
 I go to New York for a conference.  We get adorable family pictures taken by my talented friend.  Celebrate Slugger's birthday with a trip to Cox Farms.
 The light goes out of Cole's eyes and he is zoned out for over a week.
 I host Eat, Drink and Be Scary!  Had so much fun with my theme this year.  Glowing green ice cubes, dry ice, all sorts of fun and fantastic food.
 Cole pulls out his g-tube.  That makes my heart race more than any seizure nowadays.  Cole is on antibiotics.  School is like a petri dish.  I break my foot, nothing they can do about it.  It's Diffendoofer Day at school.  I take Cole to the zoo.  Decide to take Cole off of all benzodiazepines.  He is a full blown drug addict.  His body constantly searches for the next "hit" and ends up having more seizures because of it.  Long story short, rehab at home is not fun.  Realization that the hospital just can not help us any more is difficult.  I start seeing a doctor about losing my hearing and Tinnitus.  I will probably write more about that later, maybe...don't hold your breath :)  We are Super Heroes for Halloween.
 Meet Captain Canine, Super Cole, Tiger Mom and Dad...who doesn't need a secret identity.  Total Major Seizure Count: 200

Fall weather is perfect.  The leaves are amazing.  Cole gets sick again.  More antibiotics.  We start dealing with thrush as a side effect of not eating and drinking by mouth.  We go to the Newseum.  Fall baking is in full force.  Cole starts having cycles of "good days" and "bad days".  6-9 days that are almost seizure free, then 3-4 bad days where he can have 60+ major tonic clonic seizures in one day.
 We are just grateful.  Even though the bad days are really bad.  The good days are good and he can recover.  Before, he was having bad days, every day and was regressing because his brain and body never had a break.  Cole stops having nocturnal seizures every night.  Only when he is in "cycle".  After 7 months of fighting with Medicaid, we get 16 hours a day of nursing.  Totally changes our lives, since we can now have night nurses.  We are getting to see glimpses of our little boy coming back.
   Total Major Seizure Count: 257

We have ice storms and more snow than we know what to do with.  DC seems to panic and shut down every single time there is a storm.  I get cortisone shots in both knees so I can play tourist with Grandma and Grandpa when they come for an early Christmas.  We eat a lot.
 Don't get to go home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, birthdays, baptisms or Grandma and Grandpa's LDS mission farewell.  However, Christmas Day is fantastic for Cole and it is the first holiday ever in 6 years that he has enjoyed and was able to participate in traditions.  Best day EVER!
 Mom gets hearing aids for Christmas.  They are actually quite small and blend easily.  You can see here where I have a top knot, you can still hardly tell they are there.
 Again, I will probably, maybe write about the emotions connected to this.  Total Major Seizure Count: 204

All in all, we had an absolute whirlwind year.  This is the major Reader's Digest compact version, with a lot of holes.  Sometimes it is amazing to take a step back and realize how much can change in twelve months.  All that matters at the end of the day is we are trying our best.  I still get to snuggle this little guy who is not so little any more!  He is a true warrior and makes me want to keep fighting, even when it seems like I don't have the strength.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Year In Review Part 2

This is part of a series covering 2013!  See Part One here

Went on the Embassy Tours.  One of the coolest things I have ever done!
Cole is super sick.  Attended two Derby parties, hooray for hats!  End up in the PICU.
Find out that one of our Dravet friends that we know personally earned her wings.
Did a lot of Zumba with friends. Got a chunk surgically taken out of my scalp.
End up in the PICU, again and then again.  We were basically in the hospital for three weeks in a row with only a few days break in between admits.  Total Major Seizure Count: 54

Went downtown with some great friends.  Started a major obsession with the Library of Congress.  Found out I don't have Lupus, I have Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis.  Say good-bye to some of our dear friends when they move.  Why does everyone around here move constantly?!  Seizure control is null and void.  Having up to 16 to 20 TC's a day.
 Get pretty desperate and almost Life Flight Cole to Miami.  Instead, we take a risk, drug him up, pack our bags and drive to Florida.
 Stay inpatient for a week and do a major wean of Phenobarbitol while we are there.
 Total Major Seizure Count: 95

By divine intervention, Brian and Niki get to make it to Hawaii on a trip that has been planned for 6 months with her family.
There is a ratio of 3 adults to 1 Cole while we are gone.  7 Nurses switching off around the clock and help from friends who are salt of the earth.  It was Brian's first trip and Niki's return to "Home" where she used to live while going to school.  We jump off a 45 foot waterfall and try to have a good time even though we are thoroughly burned out.  Niki got a baseline EEG since it had been 8 years.
Slugger goes to 4 Paws for Ability for some refresher training.  We ended up in the PICU, again, while he is gone.  Had a 2 hour status seizure.  We start importing Stiripentol from France since we have tried just about every thing else under the sun.  See the list.  Total Major Seizure Count: 244

We take Cole to Seattle Children's Hospital.
 He has 6 TC's before we leave, 1 at the gate, 10 in the air, 2 at the airport after we deplane and multiple after we left baggage claim.  One of the most stressful days of my life.  He has muscle biopsy surgery to determine he has a Mitochondrial disorder on top of Dravet Syndrome.
 Our summer vacation was flying across the country, having 9 Dr. appointments and 1 surgery in 4 different locations in 5 days.  We even have sleep studies in two different facilities on the same night.
Cole is so drugged from the Stiripentol that he is Zombie-like and he doesn't have a nocturnal seizure, like we had been experiencing every night for almost a year.  It always happens that way :)  My sleep study shows I am sleep deprived.  I paid money for that?!  LOL
 Have a pistachio macaron at Pikes Market that I will remember forever.  Get to see some of our great Dravet friends.  Cole is having 30 to 40 big tc's every day.  Went on a night tour of the monuments.  It was perfect, highly suggest it.  Had an overwhelming display of love from family with "Cole Is My Super Hero" as the theme for our annual reunion.  Total Major Seizure Count: 176

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Year In Review-Part 1

I decided to just do a little catch up post and it turned into a series :)  That can happen when you don't write for months at a time.  Here's a little about what we have been up to.

For a little bit of history right before 2013, look here

We start off the year in Utah.  After a series of Rocephin shots and a major miracle, we get to go home for Christmas.  Cole enjoyed sledding in Great Grandma's yard in between seizures.
Had our traditional fondue party.  Got to have lunch with some of my Tiger Moms.  We went bowling for Cole's birthday at least 3 separate times.
Had Snowquester.  Frontal Lobe Nocturnal Seizures are in full force.  None of us are sleeping.   Found out Cole was accepted for Make A Wish with Rush Status.  Total Major Seizure Count (this is mainly tonic clonic, drop in O2, convulsion, not nocturnal): 22

Started the second Gourmet Club season.  We start a long journey with Cole's bowels and end up in the hospital, twice for backed up stool.
Found our awesome Gastro, who in this small world went to med school with my cousin and used to live down the street from us in Utah.  Who would have thought?!  Had a Favorite Things Party, I can't help it-I love excuses to party!  Had a major friendship break up.  I don't think we talk enough about how this can impact us.  I liked this point of view.  Total Major Seizure Count: 23

Took Cole to see the Sea World exhibit in DC in anticipation for Make A Wish.  Started a fitness competition with friends.  I start going bald.
Feeling very unwell.  Initial diagnosis is Lupus.   Went to Miami Childrens.  More tweaking of the meds.  Always tweaking.  Purple Day, we love it!  Had some of our wonderful friends come and stay with us for Easter.  Total Major Seizure Count: 33

Went downtown to see the cherry blossoms for real.
First time we had just barely moved, Cole was in the hospital downtown and I was literally throwing up in the car as we headed home after discharge.  They were pretty through the window!  Second time, we had crazy weather and the bloom only lasted for 3 days, so by the time I made arrangements to get down there it was over.  My diagnosis has been changed to possible cancer.  Then back to Lupus.  Had a milkshake that changed my life.  Make A Wish.
 This deserves multiple posts.  It was such a bittersweet experience that we will remember for the rest of eternity.  Not sure when the documenting will actually happen.  The scrapbook that Crops Of Luv made for us is something that I will treasure forever.  I turned a year older.  Total Major Seizure Count: 31 (breaks record for most in one day with 6).

Stay tuned for exciting stuff like Hawaii, more trips to hospitals near and far and more!
Photos by Capture Me Candid