A year after surgery

This time last year it was Friday the 13th…June 13th, 2014.  Mackenzie was scheduled for spinal fusion surgery that morning.  I can’t believe it’s been a whole year.  I remember sitting in the hospital thinking that we would never get out of there.  The spinal fusion went great; no issues during surgery or anything.  If it hadn’t been for the stomach issues that were caused by the surgery, her recovery would have been smooth sailing.  She wasn’t able to keep anything down by mouth anyway, but she never really took oral pain pills.  She was walking around great just a couple days after surgery; the only thing that was tough was getting up and down, getting in and out of bed, and taking a shower.  So, to anyone reading that is about to go through (or who has a child getting ready to go through) spinal fusion, try not to worry.  I know that’s easier said than done, but it wasn’t near as bad as I thought it was going to be.

In our case, Mackenzie was one of the few to have complications from the surgery.  After many x-rays, ct scans, and waiting, the doctors diagnosed her with SMA Syndrome.  It’s extremely rare…there is only about 400 recorded cases.  Mackenzie was the first patient that Dr. Wattenbarger had seen with it and the nurses had never even heard of it.  The SMA Syndrome was the toughest part of this whole journey.  We were only in the hospital for 3 days with the spinal surgery, went home for 3 days, and was back in the hospital for 13 more days.  It is tough seeing your kids in pain and really sick.  It’s tough hearing the doctors tell you that your kid is really sick.  I’ve been in the hospital with Mackenzie and Cayden when they were really sick as babies and it never gets easier.  There weren’t a lot of smiles during those few weeks.  She didn’t eat for about 2 1/2 weeks so she was pretty weak.  Then she started going even more downhill right before they decided to do the second surgery and that was terrifying.  The whole experience made me realize that it’s just as dangerous to be underweight than it is to be overweight.  Once her stomach surgery started I was a nervous wreck.  I was more worried during that surgery than I was about the spinal fusion.  But, everything went well and her pain was gone the next morning.  A few days later she started drinking again and it was so awesome that her intestines were working again!  Then she ate food and we finally got to leave!

Over the next several months, she continued to have bouts of stomach pain.  She had to re-learn what she could eat and not eat too much at a time.  At one point we thought she was having gall bladder issues but it ended up being her intestines still recovering.  For the past few months, she has had no pain so hopefully we are finally getting past all this!  Let’s hope this year is even better.

After spinal surgery she grew 1 1/2″.  Since surgery she has grown another 1 1/4″.  I was worried that she wouldn’t grow that much afterwards but it seems like it hasn’t slowed her down!

Before and after pictures:

 

 

Not feeling great.

Not feeling great.


In ER before being admitted

In ER before being admitted


Bad night (night before second surgery)

Bad night (night before second surgery)


Finally free of tubes!

Finally free of tubes!

 

Goodbye 2014!

It’s time for my yearly blog post about my resolutions for the next year.  I haven’t really given much thought to what I want them to be.  Seeing that I only kept 1 of my 5 resolutions from 2014, I think it’s best if I just not list them for 2015!

I do like to think back on the past year, though, and what a year it has been.  My post a year ago was saying how tough 2013 was and that each year before that kept getting tougher and tougher.  This year was no different.  I won’t say it was an awful year because some good things happened.  It was definitely a roller coaster year…lots of up and down.

The year started off with me just starting a brand new job in a brand new field with brand new people.  I left the company that I had been working for the previous 11 years.  Other than a job at insurance company right after high school, that job was my first real job.  It was terrifying to make the choice to leave the people I had known for years and just jump into the unknown.  I went from knowing a lot about what I did during the day, being confident in having answers, being comfortable with my co-workers to being the brand new person who didn’t know much at all and was plain terrified.  I questioned my choice many times but I stuck it out and am glad I did.  I made the right choice.

Then the anticipation of shaving my head.  My sister-in-law and a bunch of other awesome people participated in a St. Baldrick’s event and shaved all of our hair off to raise money for childhood cancer.  At the time, my nephew was fighting brain cancer and we did it for him and all the other kids out there facing these horrible cancers.  It was such an awesome night.  I can’t even describe it in words.  Since then so many people have asked why I did it and I was able to tell complete strangers about St. Baldrick’s and raise awareness of childhood cancer.  As far as I could tell, people thought it was awesome and I still get compliments on my hair…much more than when it was long.  I wrote about being bald in a post here.

In May my husband and I took a trip to New York.  I was dying to go back there…the first time I went was in 2007 and Michael had never been.  It was a fabulous trip.  We walked all over New York City.  I was such a nerd planning that trip (“walking” the streets of NY on Google maps, mapping out our whole trip on a map I printed it out, printed out all my stuff in a notebook, etc.) but it was worth it.  I don’t know if my husband will agree, but I had a great time :)

June was a tough month.  Mackenzie’s scoliosis surgery was scheduled for the middle of June and I had been anxious about it for months.  If everything had gone according to plan, then it would’ve actually been a good experience.  But of course nothing ever goes according to plan!  She had a complication from her spine surgery and that caused her to need surgery on her intestines…so most of June and into July my home was at Levine Children’s Hospital.  If you are bored and want to read about that whole ordeal, the first post starts here.

In August/September I got word of a new job opportunity and just couldn’t pass it up.  I went for an interview and got offered the job before I even got home.  Everything about it just seemed too good to be true…a job that would be all programming, in downtown Charlotte, at one of the big banks, working with a great group of guys…it’s what I’ve been trying to get ever since I graduated in 2010.  Everything about it has been awesome.  The guys I had been working with were a great group, too.  I had only worked at Family Dollar Corporate for 9 months at that point and I think they were more sad to see me go than the people I worked with for 11 years before that.

In September we got the news that my nephew’s cancer was back and there were no more treatment options for him.  Only God knew how much longer we would have with him.  We spent as much time as we could after that as a family or visiting with him on weekends.  We had hoped that we would have longer, but just 6 weeks later he was gone.  I still can’t wrap my mind around it.

Then just last month I had surgery…a hysterectomy.  Being a woman is just fabulous sometimes.  The doctor or I didn’t know it but I had endometriosis and apparently have had it for a long time.  After about three weeks I felt much, much better and I haven’t experienced any pain like I had before the surgery.  Hopefully all that is done and behind me!

So, now it is December and after typing all that I’m truly ready for 2015.  I’m going to get back on track with my weight loss and working out.  I ordered the new Insanity Max:30 and started it tonight.  I’m sure I’ll be sore in the morning!  I signed up for half-marathon this coming December…I’ve always wanted to run one of those and 2015 is going to be the year!

Happy New Year!