Monday, December 23, 2013

A Lopsided Tree is the Most Beautiful Tree

Before the girls came into our lives, we totally prided ourselves on our beautifully decorated tree and house for Christmas.  Nearly every ornament on our tree is hand selected from a place that we have visited, is handmade, or is very unique.  We've collected them over the years and I still have fond memories of P and I sitting in our teeny tiny condo, drinking Bailey's, listening to Dean Martin sing carols, and admiring the perfectly decorated tree.

Flash forward to now...our house is a mish-mash of decorations we purchased long ago and all kinds of fun handmade things.  Snowmen with their hats on upside down, Santa Claus with one short leg and one long, gingerbread people with too many fingers.  And then there's our tree.  Our once-perfect tannenbaum has a cluttered, jumbled ring around the bottom.  Branches with six ornaments, some facing the wrong way.  Limbs with ornaments laying on them because the little string loop was too hard to use for tiny, impatient hands.  At first, as I sat there watching it all unfold, I had to stop myself from saying, "Girls...not so many on one branch".  But then as I watched, it got more and more beautiful.  Further and further away from the trees we used to have, but more perfect in every way.

This is the first Christmas in two years when we are not aching for a tiny little girl on the other side of the world.  The season hasn't been perfect for us with Mama recovering from surgery.  Cards are going out late, decorations are going up at the last minute, and every single item on Santa's list will not have a check next to it.  But the most important things are right here, running through our house singing Rudolph and Jingle Bells and hanging up their drawings of blue Christmas trees and pink reindeer.  This is what Christmas is all about, and it's beautiful, in every way.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Good Report

One week post-op and I got a clean pathology report from the thyroglossal duct cyst.  I look like Frankenstein with a crummy, swollen incision across the front of my neck (that people can't RESIST staring at!!!!), but the important thing is that it was totally benign.  (It's rare, but occasionally thyroglossal duct cysts can be carcinoma.)  I'm trying to keep it all in perspective as I continue to try to get movement back in my neck and get used to the ugly scar.  (I'm working on a post with the pics and details for any thyroglossal duct cyst enthusiasts out there.)

Despite my fears, the household  kept moving along during my time on the couch.  There were a few (OK, more than a few) moments that I just had to close my eyes and roll with things, but that's probably a good idea for me to practice, anyways.

A couple of moments made me chuckle:

Patrick:  "Rosie asked me for her usual egg for breakfast but I had no idea how to get them they way you do, so I just lied and told her we didn't have any eggs."  She still ate.

Patrick, after serving the wrong Exjade to the wrong kid:  "Emmie, since you just took a bite of Rosie's Exjade, we'll let Rosie take a bite of your Exjade, and we'll call it even."  It was a miniscule amount, no one OD'd.

Funny moments aside, he kept this crazy house running and took care of me like a pro.

My parents are most certainly in the running for both Parents and Grandparents of the Year after everything they did for us.  Every single day they ran errands, brought food, took the girls so Patrick could work and I could rest.  They chauffeured them everywhere, and even this week continued to chauffeur me around since I had to go out but couldn't drive.  The dance instructor, speech therapist, and neighbors all commented on how lucky we are to have so much help.  Even the staff at the infusion clinic thanked my Dad yesterday for stepping up and helping with the driving and care of the girls while I've been recouperating.  Little did they know that he's NOT a fan of blood/needles/etc. yet he still sat there with me and watched his little "imp" get her new blood.

I'm definitely on the road to recovery now and just so happy this is slowly getting behind me and I'm getting on with normal life.  Still, it's definitely going to take awhile to be 100%.  Given what I had done, I can see why this last part of the recovery can take months.

So, it's been a process, for sure.  Not great timing for anyone.  No one could put any effort into getting ready for the holiday, because everyone was putting their effort into helping me.  But I guess that makes me a very lucky gal.  A great husband and family, that's Christmas present enough.

Rosie delighted to be getting new blood.  Emmie delighted NOT
to be getting new blood, but still getting to play with the ipad.

Keeping it fun.

Man, I've had a few transfusions and they never made me smile
quite THIS much!

This kid loves her eggs.  Even hospital eggs.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


No, not the girls.  It's me, recovering from neck surgery.  On Monday, I had neck surgery for a thyroglossal duct cyst.  "Huh?" you say?  Well, yeah, I said the same thing.  The surgery is called the Sistrunk procedure, where they remove the cyst or cysts, the thyroglossal duct tract, and a piece of a bone in your neck called the hyoid.  Why you don't need this bone is beyond me.  To get out the duct, they cut up from the cyst in your neck to the base of your tongue.  (Sounds gross, huh?)  I'm left with about a 4 inch incision across the front of my neck.

So, why did I have this?  It's a congenital abnormality that arises from the area of your neck where your thyroid grows from.  The duct should completely close off after the thyroid moves to it's final position in the neck (in utero) and if it doesn't, it can give rise to this ridiculous problem I've been dealing with since August.

I'll keep the gory details and pictures out of this post and dedicate a new one to my experience with the cyst, procedure, and recovery, so I can spare those of you who are just here to see my usual cute Emmie and Rosie updates.  But I will share my experience with this, because there's a lack of real-life adult patient experience about thyroglossal duct cysts on the internet.

In the meantime, I'm convalescing.  How am I doing that?  Being waited on by my husband who has become expert at measuring out liquid medications and fluffing pillows just right to hold my sore neck.  Laying on the couch. Receiving deliveries of homemade food and groceries from my parents.  Endless babysitting of the girls by Nana and Grampy (not that any of the involved parties mind).  Sipping broth, sucking on popsicles, and if I'm feeling crazy, eating some pudding (although I just referred to the rice pudding as, "a real challenge").  Whispering because I have no voice.  Looking straight ahead because it hurts to turn my swollen neck.  Explaining to the girls over and over why I can't pick them up.  Figuring out the magical balance of painkillers and visits from my sister that keep my spirits high.  It's not exactly how I wanted to be spending the weeks before Christmas, but just having the surgery behind me is such a relief that even though I feel physically worse now, I actually feel so much better emotionally.

Just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Rosie!

To our tiny little second daughter, who continues to blossom and become more grafted into our family each day, Happy Birthday!  You are funny, smart, playful, adorable, giggly, warm, and everything we could have ever dreamed about times a million.

Rosie, it was hard for me to imagine how it could ever be possible to love someone as much as I love Emmie.  But I do.  I love you with every fiber of my being, and then some.  I know you are still learning to love us like a family, and I thank you for opening your heart to all of us.  Thank you, thank you for the day you walked into our lives.