Thursday, November 22, 2012

Time to Give Thanks

Dear Ian,

Today is Thanksgiving 2012, and as always during this special time of year, we take the time to reflect on all the things for which we are thankful.  And as always, that list is started off by giving thanks for our family, you, and the friends that surround us. 

This year threw us a little bit of a curve ball health-wise, so I have to add to the list of things for which I am thankful: medical professionals and their abilities.  As far as health goes, we have had a crazy year.  It was kicked off by you being at the doctor more often than being out of it.  Your frequent, scary bouts of coughing and high fevers had us running crazy.  ER trips for croup, enough Vicks products to keep them in business for a long time and sleepless nights finally drove us to an asthma and allergy specialist, where lo and behold, we discovered your asthma.  Since we started you on medicines to help with your breathing, life around here has been so much better.  Less frequent attacks and quicker recovery time with colds are now the norm around here, and for that, I am so very thankful.  I wish that some of the meds didn't make you quite so psychotic, but at least you're able to breathe during the bouts of psycho.

Then there was Mommy.  In February I wound up in the hospital with a mad crazy headache and scary symptoms like numbness down the left side of my body and face and spotty vision.  I quite honestly thought I was having a stroke.  Thankfully, it turned out to be a migraine, but it scared the daylights out of me and your Daddy.  I was so thankful and lucky that it was all I was experiencing, but I could not shake the feeling of fear that had it been something worse, where would that have left you?  And then less than a month later, I was back in the hospital to have my appendix removed in emergency surgery.  What in the world was going on with me?!  Again, thankfully, the situation was not as bad as it could have been, and I was able to heal quickly and get back to my life taking care of you and Daddy.  And I will admit, all those scary events prompted me to make some major changes in my life.  Daddy and I started exercising more, we ate better, and in general, we tried to make our life less stressful and frantic.  But then I did it again...

In late August, I was exercising with Daddy, and we think I pulled too much weight or something, and I ended up herniating the disc between my fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae in my neck.  I didn't realize it at first; I figured I just pulled a muscle pretty badly.  So I dealt with it for a few months.  Yes, months.  Then during a routine blood sugar doctor's visit, I mentioned to my doctor that I was having this pain and nothing seemed to be helping.  He recommended an MRI, and then less than two weeks later, I was meeting with a neurosurgeon.  Apparently, I had one of the worst herniated discs he had seen in a long time.  It was so bad, that had my  "spinal column been any more narrow" the right strain or activity could have paralyzed me from the neck down.  That realization knocked the breath right out of me.  For the past two months or so, I had still been running with my class, twirling with my twirling students and picking you up and playing with you.  Yes, all that hurt, but I didn't realize what a time bomb I had become.  At first I felt irresponsible; how could I have been so clueless?  How could I have let it get to this point and jeopardize my ability to be the wife and mother that you and Daddy need me to be?  Then came the fear.  I was terrified to move.  My doctor scheduled my surgery 20 days after that first visit, and from that point on, I had to cut everything physical from my life.  No running, jumping, lifting, turning, twirling or anything else that had any kind of risk of fall or hard jolt.  And for someone like me who feels the need to be active ALL THE TIME, this was really hard.  But I knew I had to do it for you.

And so that leads us to today.  Thanksgiving day.  And two days post-surgery for me.  I am sore, but I am healing, and already I feel so much better than I have since August.  I still have a ways to go to be fully recovered, probably about a month or so, but I am so thankful to Doctor Lee and all of the other doctors that helped me get to this point.  I now have a titanium plate in my neck, so I should never have this problem again, and for that I am REALLY thankful.  But the first time I get to pick you up and snuggle you again is going to be the best. 

We are a lucky family.  Lucky to have each other, lucky to be able to get things we need taken care of addressed and lucky to have friends and family surrounding us and supporting us as we take care of all our issues.  It's very easy to be thankful, but this year is something special.

Love always,
Your now-bionic Mommy

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