Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Day!!

When I was growing up, Christmas was a really BIG deal.  Music was always playing and the house always felt festive.  Two albums (LP records actually) that are most engrained in my memory are Boney M and a musical called Glory of Christmas.  They were probably two of my mom's favorites and somehow ended up being mine as well.  For YEARS now, I have looked for an updated way to listen to the Glory of Christmas.  No luck.  Not on iTunes or anywhere else unless I wanted to pay outrageous dollars for an original LP.  I, in fact wanted something a little more up to date than a record.  After MUCH internet searching, I managed to locate and contact the couple who wrote and published the original musical.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I was elated!!  After a couple email exchanges with Mr. Owens, I sent him some money via Paypal and just today I received a burned copy of the musical in CD form.  Today, on February 28, I am listening to Christmas music!  What wonderful and happy memories are filling me today!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sadie - Part II

A dog's purpose in life is simple to live in the moment pleasing you.  They are there to do nothing more than love unconditionally.  They are faithful beyond measure and don't see any of the faults that us complex humans do.

As I had talked about in a previous post, our dog had become sick.  For nearly a year, she has been suffering from seizures.  To see a tiny 10 pound body shake and jerk around uncontrollably is heartbreaking.  The post-seizure times were just as hard as Sadie would look lost, stunned, had a temporary loss of vision and often relived herself on the floor.  As time went on, it was taking her longer to recover.  In addition to the seizures, Sadie was incontinent.  She was having accidents at least once, often more, in a day.  This was humiliating for her and frustrating for me.  In every attempt to help Sadie, we put her on anti-seizure medications, a surgery to try to help the incontinence and then hormone pills for the urinating.  It seemed that she was not going to be the textbook case where the medications work for 95% of dogs.  It baffled the vet as well.

Yesterday, I took Sadie to the vet again.  We talked for well over half an hour of what to do.  It sounded like she no longer though Sadie was epileptic which meant that the anti seizure medications would not work.  This is why she was still having 15 or more seizures a month, even though she was on meds for them.  The vet had suggested that Sadie possibly had a brain tumor which had a 30% chance of being discovered through a CT or MRI.  There was also the 70% that nothing would be found out.

At 5:10, I made the heartbreaking decision to end Sadie's pain.  (and the tears come again)  It was very painful to sign the release form... my hands shook terribly and my signature was hardly mine.  I will be forever grateful to my mom-in-law for driving me there, staying with me in the room and in the end, holding Sadie on my behalf.  I really couldn't do it.  So I sat in the car, cried and waited for it to be over.

On November 11, 2007, my dad's dog Misty had a litter of puppies.  Being the dog lover that I am, we frequently visited their house, playing these pups.  There was one girl.  She was fiesty, spunky and let it be known that just because she was a girl, her brother were not about to push her around.

It didn't take long for this sweetheart to wiggle her way into our lives and become a member of our family. 
  • She loved to chase her pink Kong.  In a book we read about her breed was that if you threw the toy 100 times, they would retrieve it 101.  She was extremely playful and *fetch* was her favorite game.
  • She needed to lay on your left side.  Even if there wasn't really room on the chair, she would worm her furry little behind in and get comfy.  
  • She was kennel trained and I have never regretted that.  She loved being in it to sleep and it was nice to know that she (and my house) were safe when we went out.
  • Andrea was her favorite kid.  And Andrea adored her.  In the end, Andrea faithfully and without complaint cleaned up the messes.  She is a dog person and I can see her doing something with her love of dogs in the future.  
  • Sadie wasn't fond of Sarah.  Perhaps Sarah's inability to be gentle (tight muscles due to CP) was intimidating.  Maybe it was Sarah's poor balance that made her to be unpredictable.  Whatever it was, despite Sarah doing her best to love Sadie, it was not a wonderful two-way relationship.
  • Me?  I was the one who picked her out of the litter.  I did 95% of the housebreaking and training.  I did most of the vet appointments as well.  In addition to loving her as a dog, I was her "mom".  I did the mom things for her.  Feeding, shelter, medications, doctors, groomer appointments.  Her and I were usually the first awake in the mornings and she'd often finish my coffee if I left it where she could reach.
  • She didn't like to eat much off the floor.  Nothing soft or mushy.  Except Kraft dinner.  And as of about 2 weeks ago, she suddenly liked bananas.  Go figure. 
  • She was faithful to the end and I know how disappointed in herself she was after she had an accident.  
  • She will be forever missed by us.
The vet told me that we had done more for Sadie than many people do.  Including a surgery right before Christmas.  We tried medications.  We tried diapers.  I feel like we tried it all.  She had a wonderful four years with us and we will continue to dwell on the happy memories she provided for us.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Trying Hard Not to Complain

Years ago after one of my miscarriages, I asked a good friend who was also a counselor and my mentor "why me?"  Her simple response: "Why not you?"  Again that question came to mind as I had just returned from the pediatrician and received a written report for Sarah with documentation on why we should be eligible for government funding.  (I'll get into that in a little while)

Over the past 10 months, we have been given a plethora of information, news and diagnosis for Sarah.  It's one thing to hear it, process and then move on but there's something so much more concrete when that information is written down.  As I write this, I realize, I'm not just writing to share this but also for my own personal reference.  I am scared that if I don't get it typed out, I'll forget little details that may have been important.

We saw the pediatrician on the 16th.  It was our usual quarterly visit and {as usual}, Sarah cried.  No, let me rephrase that... she screamed.  The most invasive thing he did to her was check her ears and yet you would have thought she was being tortured.  She weighed in a 28 pounds, she's 37 inches tall and her head circumference is 44 centimeters.  You can see in the picture below that her head is considerable below the "average" and this is why she has been diagnosed with severe microcephaly:

In order to receive the Child Disability Tax Credit, we needed to have a whole packet of forms filled out by both us and Sarah's doctor.  

The diagnosis on the report says:
- significant global developmental delay
- severe microcephaly
- sensory issues
- FTT (failure to thrive)
- poor balance
- hypoxic ischemic event (Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is characterized by clinical and laboratory evidence of  brain injury due to asphyxia or lack of oxygen) 

Effects of impairment:
Sarah is markedly restricted all of the time in her basic needs of walking, dressing, feeding, speaking and mental functions necessary for everyday life.  She is unable to speak as to be understood even by those familiar to her.  She requires an inordinate amount of time to dress and feed herself due to strength and dexterity in her upper limbs.  She is at significant risk of falling as a result of her poor balance and lack of coordination .  Sarah needs daily support due to and inability to accurately interpret her environment.   Her abilities related to self care, health and safety are of major concern.  She will need on going medical care and community supports such as PT, OT, and speech.  Sarah certainly should qualify for the CDTC. 

Well, there was no sugar coating on that was there?  I'll admit, lately I've been struggling with it all.  As Sarah and her peers get older, I can see the developmental gap growing.  Things that other 3.5 year olds are doing now, Sarah may not do for another 18 or more months.  I can see other kids starting to talk down to her as if they know she's "younger" than them and it makes my heart hurt.  I keep wondering how long is this grieving process going to last?  Although I have accepted it, will it ever not be something on the forefront of my mind or will it continue to be such a huge part of my thoughts?  There are just some days that I feel so empty and sad.  It is painful at times when I realize that she may never reach the same level as her peers. 

Now, all sadness aside, I have the happiest little girl in the world.  She has five of the most doting family members who adore her and are pretty much willing to satisfy her each and every whim.  She certainly has us all figured out.  When she curls her little body around me at night and I look at her long lashes fall on her sweet pixie face, I am reminded of how blessed I am to be her mom.  Her contagious giggle, love of monkeys and play doh, excitement over the smallest things, and complete adoration she has for me are just a few of the reasons that she is perfect in her own way.  

My prayer today is that He will help me to accept Sarah for everything she is, not for what she isn't.  Help me be strong at times when I feel weak and feel run down.  Let Sarah's constant joy radiate through her like a light of Jesus.  Help me to work with Sarah to help her reach HER full potential through play, friends and days filled with fun.  I will {try} not to compare her with others because it isn't fair to her.  She should only be compared with herself and what she has already accomplished.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fabulous Friday

Once again I've found that a lot of time has gone since my last post.  The weeks have been really full since the new year and I find I don't have as much time to just sit and write.  (Funny, I don't consider myself a writer...) 
  • School.  I really really like having my kids at home with me.  I firmly believe that this is how God wants me to educate my kids.  Each one of them is doing so well and I love seeing their successes sharing in their joy when they "get it".  As a general rule, we like to have our school year wrapped up by the end of May.  When June rolls around and the summer sun is high in the air so early in the morning, keeping the kids inside is like nailing bubbles to the wall.  With that goal in mind, they are ready for a big push in the next couple months to get it all done.  
  • Every Tuesday and Wednesday, the kids and I help out at our church.  While moms attend Daybreak, we watch their kids for them.  I love how they are learning to serve others.  On Tuesdays, Arianna is lucky enough to do {some} school with her friends at their house and then they play until I pick her up.  It is a blessing to me and a treat for Arianna.  
  • Our little dog continues to have epileptic seizures in addition to urinary incontinence.  The medication she's on should *allow* her to have one seizure a month.  So far in February, she's had 6.  We've begun to put diapers on her simply to reduce my frustration level with cleaning up but I'm finding the seizures are really hard on her bitty 10 pound body.  She also isn't eating well.  This causes a little concern as well.  We'll see what her vet has to say next week. 
  • The weather.  It may not be a big deal but it is incredibly nice for February.  Instead of buying winter boots for my kids, I recently bought them new running shoes.  Most days, we can go out in a light coat or hoodie and we've made very little use of snow pants and mittens this year.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining... I like it this way!
  • My sister is moving.  In June.  :(
  • I bought myself a necklace online a while ago.  On Valentine's Day it showed up in the mail.  It is BEAUTIFUL.  I had each of the kids' names stamped into little silver disks and it's on a dainty silver chain.  It makes me happy.  
  • We're starting to get really excited about our trip to the States.  The kids are talking about places they want to re-visit as well as new sights they'd like to see.  I can't wait!
Happy Friday!  Hope it's a great one!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One more reason I love homeschooling

So in addition to many of the perks that come with schooling my own kids at home, I found {another} reason why I love doing what I do. 

Arianna is on the brink of finishing her grade 2 math curriculum.  That means in a few weeks, she'll be starting grade 3. That's pretty exciting for her! 

Joshua is beginning his grade 8 reader/comprehension book and has only 2.5 books in math to finish his grade 7 year and then he starts grade 8.

Andrea is in the same boat with her LA and math as well. 

All of them are so excited at being that far ahead with their two core subjects and the idea of being a grade ahead is what keeps them motivated!


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