Monday, July 17, 2017

Extracurriculars, oh how I love to hate them

I have 2 sayings my friends have heard me say many times 1. Never say never and 2. Pick your Poison (carefully, LOL)

  1. So we are trying something new that I said I would never do. Traveling out of town to a dance studio J chose. She is ready for the challenge and I’m ready to support her. Where she leads, we will follow. She is ready, we are ready to support her. 
  2. Most extracurriculars are expensive and intense. Gone are the days of $30 6 week programs. Extracurriculars are often an entire year commitment. Gone are the days of trying everything. Everyone wants their activity to be your #1. Music, dance or sports, pick your poison. It’s all expensive. Pick two poisons, multiple it by number of kids, go crazy, see you in the asylum. :) 
Anyhow, we have no idea if this is her right fit or how this is going to go but are excited to find out!
Photo credit goes to the internet

My 2 cents on when to quit/change, when to push and when to leave alone. Quit-if the child and both parents are unhappy, then it is not a right fit. Push-if the instructors/coaches are respectful and trustworthy, they are learning and the child needs to learn to stick it out OR it is piano, always push for piano (LOL j/k, sort of, it worked for us). I feel the same way about swim lessons.  Leave alone-when all/most of you are happy, the child is learning and the instructor/coach is respectful and trustworthy, seriously, don’t mess with that.  Now, just when are we going to fit piano in……..????

Disclaimer—I know some will disagree with my opinion and that is OK. Also do I change my mind sometimes. YES! That is why I say NEVER SAY NEVER. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

24 skin biopsies, 8 dysplastic nevus (moles), 3 severely dysplastic (atypical) requiring wide local excisions, 0 melanoma--Staying on top of it.

Reading a skin pathology report. In my search to find the answers to these questions I have noticed that it is VERY hard to find the answer the answers in layman's terms so I am going to take a stab at it. Disclaimer--I am not a doctor. I'm just a patient that has had 24 skin biopsies (give or take a few). I've been very confused in the past. 

What is the difference between benign, dysplastic/atypical, and melanoma?

Benign=not cancerous/malignant
Dysplastic/atypical=in between benign and cancer

Are their different kinds/stages of dysplastic nevus? 

Yes there are many kinds (I have no idea how many kinds but your path report should show you) and stages (for lack of any better way to describe this). This is how I see severity in my brain. 
  • Benign-you are GOOD!
  • Mildly dysplastic (you will see the words mild atypia or mild somewhere) -ALMOST BENIGN
  • Moderately dysplastic (look for the word moderate)- SMACK DAB IN BETWEEN benign and cancer, Drs. will probably look to see that margins were cleared
  • Severely dysplastic (look for the words severe)- ALMOST CANCER, Drs. will consider wide local excision to ensure that no almost cancer cells are left behind

  • Clear as mud???

THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE BEFORE MY BIOPSY. My Dr. told me that the spots spreading away are a sign of a blistering sunburn (that I had 1 year ago) and that is why we looked under the micro lens thingy and decided to biopsy it.

I go to the derm every 6 years. He is very skilled at finding these. So far I remain cancer free but this may be a full time job.

If you are reading this and have NOT ever had a mole check I advise you do find a dermatologist and get one. Get a baseline check. Get advice from a doctor. That is my advice always. Do not mess around and look for answers on the interweb! You won't find them. ;) 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Forming a Healthy Relationship Between the Parents and the Children

I am a reformed yeller. It was worth it. Now I get to brag. My 14 year old just wrote this for her HAL class and with her permission I bring it to you.

"Take a second to think about your parents. The people who have been the biggest influence in your
life and even if you don’t want to admit it, have shaped who you are as a person thus far. As you grow older and start to become more independent, you start to think for yourself and realize a few things about yourself and your parents. You may start to think that your parents don’t know anything. Okay, they may not know everything, but they still know stuff and can help you become an adult. As teenagers, it may become normal to live with the “I hate my parents” attitude. If you feel this this way, you should take some time to build a better relationship with your parents. Here’s what I believe forms a good relationship between the parents and the child.

Let’s address something very important and obvious, times have changed since your parents were kids! Have your parents ever asked you for help with the latest fancy technology? They aren’t as experienced as you and sometimes need your help because metal devices that respond to your touch and watches that do more than just tell time weren’t the norm back when they were a kid. This is because the world has changed. Your parents don’t know what being a teen is like in this day and age because they didn’t have to worry about snapping the perfect Instagram-worthy picture whenever they went to hang with friends. Sometimes, the don’t realize that society is constantly changing, and generations raised in this changing society will be exposed to different things than when the parents were teenagers. Parents need to learn to accept the new and communicate with their children to creature understanding between both parties about these changes.

A problem that may be happening between parents and children is that they may not understand the importance of communication. It is essential for the parents and the kids to discuss what it is like to be a teen in this society and help the parents understand. Kids! You should talk to your parents and tell them about yourselves, even though you may not like it. They deserve to know who you are and who you want to be. Tell them about your goals, hopes, fears, anything! Parents! Listen to your children! Even if you are constantly busy, take some time each day to sit down and hear what your kids have to say. That is the number one thing to do to show you that you care! If you listen, you are inviting them to open up to you, and the communication helps for a healthy relationship. While listening to your children, please do not try to change who they are. Let your child form their own opinions about the world and let them be, unless their views on how life should be lived harm other people. For example, if your child thinks becoming a serial killer is a good career path, please steer them another direction.

Finally, you and your parents are allowed to make mistakes! Being a parent is a hard job, and nobody is perfect. If your parents are doing something that is bothering you and you think there is a better approach to the situation, talk to them about it! Remember when I just talked about communication being important? In my family, when I was in about 4th grade, we realized a very important thing that we were all doing wrong. Yelling. Yelling had become a bad habit for everyone in my family. Eventually we realized that screaming at each other helped absolutely nothing, and that sitting down and talking with each other when we were angry worked much better. Our whole family learned from the experience that proper communication keeps a family running smoothly. Everyone makes mistakes, and we learn from them. It’s what makes us human!

I know it may feel like your parents don’t understand you, and it’s almost like they forgot what it’s like to be a teenager! That being said, it’s important for you not to close yourself off in your room all day. Take my advice and talk to your parents. Ask them questions, tell them stories, and what it’s like to grow up in this day and age. This will help you form a healthy relationship with them. And head’s up, your future self wants you to take this time to bond with your parents because you’ll miss them once in awhile when you’re an independent adult." ~M.T.

Now someone please pass me the tissue. About 4 years ago I listened to an online seminar given by Amy McCready of Positive Parenting. I thought this positive parenting thing was too hard, I wanted fast fixes!! I also didn't know how to get rid of the yells. I had a 10 year old and a 5 year old. I look back and realize that 8-12 was my biggest challenge in parenting and had been blindsided when my very complacent oldest child all the sudden had her own agenda with her own needs, wants and FEELINGS!! She also wasn't afraid to share those feelings. So, after listening to McCready, I decided to give up yelling for lent. It wasn't all rainbows and unicorns. Stuff spilled, things got lost, my girls yelled (they don't unlearn it immediately) but I didn't give in. I took deep breaths and moved forward. After weeks of not yelling I relaxed. I learned that stuff still spilled, things still got lost, words were still shared but not only was I relaxing, so were the girls. Gradually our connections grew, and fast forward a year or two, things were amazingly better. Not only did I talk more respectfully but so did they.

Lent starts today, you don't have to be Catholic to start not yelling today, but if you are, I challenge you to give up yelling. It will be your best lent season ever and what you gain will be worth more than a million dollars.

Other blogs, websites and books I read on my journey were:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Update --9 months--In November they took me off of Keppra to see how I would do.....(I didn't like taking it , I felt very groggy and fatigued). I knew the risk of going off was to risk having another partial seizure. I was an optimist thinking it wouldn't happen to me. Well today I found out the risk, took an ambulance ride and figured how to miss a half day of work. For anybody worried about me, I'm fine. It was an adventure. I will visit with my neurosurgeon Wednesday and life goes on. ~Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. ~Thanks so much to the Volunteer Fire & Rescue, the office staff, and all my friends at Deerfield that I give heart attacks to. Empathy is a killer sometimes. ~Business as usually people. What time is this snow gonna start?

I did get that tattoo though! 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Game Changer!!

7 month update, GAME CHANGER! No more Keppra (anti-seizure med)!! What an evil, evil drug. Many of you know that I have been complaining about fatigue and when it was getting worse, not better I worried and it messed with my mind. Am I sick? What is going on? Why can't I shake this?? I also was not able to contribute to cooking, cleaning and laundry after work. What a burden for Ryan. It was a horrible feeling so I consulted my neurosurgeon and he gave me permission to wean off Keppra. That was good news that I was doing well and I had nothing to lose in doing so. Very good news since I swear my MRI scans are written in Greek and I feel like they are talking behind my back about my brain, meaning I have no idea what is going on in my head other than my tumor is gone. So, today I went to the Y and pushed it a little bit, even ran (which I never thought I would do again!). 45 minutes later I could've kept going. On my journey I have been constantly adjusting to my new normal, thinking this is it. Today gives me new hope. I have not accepted my new normal yet. My best is yet to come! ‪#‎slowandsteadywinstherace‬‪#‎byebyeKeppra‬

P.S. My hair keeps getting shorter and shorter. Next up, a tattoo!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Thank God for neuroplasticity. It is no accident that I'm doing so well. I logged many hours, reprogramming my brain with speech therapy, reading (including reading aloud), lumosity, brain baseline, and playing memory with my girls. Candy crush and conversations on facebook didn't hurt either.wink emoticon And due to my job I have to read aloud, speak, speak clearly, and force my brain to explain. You may not notice but I have to concentrate on this Disclaimer: When you do come across my typos, please ignore. I'm still a work in progress.

Find out more about neuroplasticity here.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dear Andrea and Taylor Swift. Day made.

Dear Andrea, 

From one Warrior Mama to another. I do not know what kind of cancer you are fighting or what your treatment plan is but you are amazing!!  Your energy! I'm jealous of.  You made my 13 year old's birthday amazing and I will never forget.  All 13 year old Swifties should get this chance but let me tell you why an angel spoke to my Morgan, through you, in Omaha on Oct. 9.  

And Taylor, 

I know what is like to have your mom, your rock, diagnosed with cancer.  I was 22 when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought, she won, she remained cancer free for 15 years. Then in Nov. 2014 she was diagnosed with lung cancer.  It was NOT related to the breast cancer it was a new tumor.  She has been fighting ever since, just finished chemo and we are waiting for the results of her PET scan. I remember Morgan telling me about your Tumbler announcement about your mom, we thought of Grandma (mom), we cried, we comforted each other and commented on how tough your family is, we did not know at that time what an inspiration you would be.  Then April 15, 2015 came. When Morgan came home from school, I wasn't there.  I was in the hospital with a brain tumor.  I had surgery the next day. I know your music comforted her this day and days after.  I know she related to your family and that you inspired her, somehow, through your music, letting her know I would be OK. She become strong for me, my rock, she cooked and cleaned for me.  She grew up fast under my tired eyes. On September 23, 2015 I got the word that my tumor was gone and that I am OK. 

So Andrea, 

Somehow, someway, someone spoke to you on October 9, 2015.  You picked us out of the crowd to join you at the B-stage.  You have no idea how much you made our day, my hard working, Swiftie's day.  She has dealt with more than any 13 year old should ever have.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart. SHE needed this, DESERVED this. She is still on cloud nine. (and she started guitar lessons last week)


(Your newest Swiftie) 
Now excuse me while a take a nap.  I'm still exhausted. Any tips, secrets?? HOW do you do it? 

Morgan when she was 7.