Archive Page 2

It IS the steroids, after all!

This morning, Chad took his last dose of his Decadron (a glucocorticosteroid to counteract the swelling in his brain) taper. He started out taking quite a high dosage, 16mg, about two weeks ago. He took 2mg this morning, and he’s done.

I thought the steroids might have something to do with the daze he’s been in. After some research, I’ve found many others that have listed confusion as a side effect that’s not exactly listed on the informational handout from the pharmacist. It’s not listed. At all.

Good to know I’m not crazy.
And fabulous to know I’m getting my husband back!

No.Way.

Miraculous things are happening around the Lanford House.
Chad has been talking so much more since yesterday.
He responded to some emails.
The Tarheels beat Nova last night – the miraculous thing about that is we were both awake to watch it.

And this morning, Chad said he might want me to take him to work tomorrow.
Tomorrow. As in Monday, April Sixth. The day after today.
Whoa.
Before surgery, he has told his boss he anticipated being out for about two weeks. Of course, this was before we knew what recovery would be like. He is getting better every and I’m sure a good whopping dose of normalcy would be good for him.
But I just worry that his extreme boredom may cause him to do too much to soon.

He may change his mind by tomorrow, based on his sleep quality tonight.
We’ll see.

I’m glad he’s bored. Boredom sparks change. And change is good, at least for us. Especially for Chad.
I’m glad he’s feeling better.
I’m glad he’s talking. I was starting to talk to myself. And I was irritating myself. Really.
I’m glad he’s feeling like going outside,  even though I have to fuss at him every time I see him wandering in the woods, clearing debris – or walking around the front yard with a shovel.
I’m glad he’s sleeping well, because it really makes a huge difference.
I’m glad the girls are handling all of this stress well.
I’m glad the sun is out and it’s gorgeous outside.
I’m glad today is the last day of his steroid weaning. I think it will make a huge difference once that is all out of his system.

I’ll let you know how tomorrow shakes out…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHAD!

We love you very much & can’t wait to see what this next year brings you (and the rest of us).

Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

Letting the Bunny out of the bag

While sitting around the dinner table last night, I used a timely little threat with my monkey children.

They wouldn’t sit still and were generally cocky for some reason.
So, I pulled out the old the-Easter-Bunny-is-watching-you bit; you know it only comes in handy once a year and I’ve yet to use it. I mean, c’mon. Easter is right around the corner, and I’d yet to pull that handy little parenting trick out of my arsenal?

Well, much to my chagrin, Carys replied:
“Well, that’s okay. Because the Easter Bunny is not real. It’s just a man. In a costume….duh.”
Like she needed to add “duh” to the end of that little ditty.
My heart sank. I nearly cried.

Wait. Wait. Wait.
See, according to my Parental Rights Handbook (the one I made up in my head), I have at least two years left to watch my child squeal with glee on Easter and Christmas mornings before she starts asking serious questions. I have at least two good years left before she, dare I say it, takes everything I say with a grain of salt because I did lie to her about the Easter Bunny. And Santa Claus.

We tell our girls exactly what it is we are celebrating; Christ. Christ’s birth and his resurrection. Carys has been singing “Hosanna” all day today, and it makes me feel good to know she knows why we celebrate Easter. It’s not just the bright plastic eggs stuffed with loot or dye-stained fingers from coloring eggs of the hard-boiled variety that gets her excited. She told me today that “Jesus is our Savor” — and yes, I did correct her that the proper word is “Savior.”

Every day, I freeze little pictures, frames from our daily life, into my memory.
I froze the look on her face into my head; the matter-of-factness with which she said it, too.
And I’m sad that Carys is starting to put things together. When I asked her where she heard such a ludicrous idea that the Easter Bunny was just a man in a suit, she said, “I thought about it. In my own head.”
So, the wheels are turning. And she’s probably going to play along with me for a little while. She’s not so sure that he’s not real; but she’s not so sure that he is either.
In our home, we try to relay the idea of Santa, and the idea of the Easter Bunny. It’s a general feeling, not necessarily a magical person (or bunny) that actually delivers goodies. But, of course, they’re only kids. And ideas are a little over their heads sometimes.

When I asked her about the Tooth Fairy, she told me that she’s not real either. She’s an angel. And angle with money who collects teeth. And Carys thinks that’s a gross collection. “Why does she collect teeth instead of flowers? Flowers are prettier and smell better than yucky old teeth.”

True.
Carys has yet to lose a tooth, and I think the Tooth Fairy will have to find a good hiding place for her tooth collection, and it probably shouldn’t be in my jewelry box like my mom Tooth Fairy used to do.

11 Days Post-op & Progress

I think things are starting to change a bit, which is exciting. Thrilling, really.
Chad is still pretty quiet, but he’s had little spurts of words/sentences since last night.
He remembered to take his medicine all by himself this morning – which is a huge improvement.

I realize this situation we’re in is serious. And nothing about it is really laughable.
But you have to laugh sometimes. Or at least I do. I’m not saying you’re going to find me huddled in a corner, sucking my thumb, rocking back-and-forth with hysterical laughter chiming from my mouth, either. But you may find me laughing about something ridiculous that Chad has said. I have to laugh. It’s not funny. But it is.

Example: When I finally went to bed last night at midnight, Chad was peacefully sleeping, and had been for a couple of hours. I woke up a few times, and he was still sleeping. BUT…when I woke up this morning, there was a package of chocolate chip cookies on the counter (that’s my cookie monster Chad!), and the phone was laying smack dab in the middle of the counter. I distinctly remember putting it back on the cradle last night before the girls went to bed. So, I picked it up and checked the call log. The last number to be dialed was out Aunt Joyce in New York. I didn’t call her. Chad did. And I have no idea what time he made that call.
So, Tina, Dale & Aunt Joyce — if your phone rang at 3am this morning, I am sorry. Chad must have wanted to talk to you…which makes me jealous since he doesn’t really want to talk to me yet.
When I asked him about it this morning, he said he called & then immediately hung up. AND he actually said those words – a whole sentence.

He’s been checking his email several times a day, but hasn’t sent anything to anyone. I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to type, so I asked him to send me an email.
He did.
It said “Hello”.
Simple, but he did do it.

So, send him an email (click here to get a direct link to his email). It would probably do him some good. He may or may not respond, but he’ll get it.
He sat down and read all of my blog entries since his surgery last night, and he’s still not talking me. So that’s good 🙂

He had his sutures removed yesterday and was able to wash his hair for the first time in ten days. He said it didn’t feel too great, as the incision is still a little touchy. But I know it had to feel good not to take a shower with one of those stupid plastic shower caps on.
Here’s a picture of his new noggin. His hair is growing back pretty fast, and I would imagine the scar won’t even be noticeable in a few more days.

Chad's incision, 11 days post-op

Also, I have to send out a special thank you to Carys’ preschool class. They are taking care of our meals this week, which is a huge blessing. When Carys’ teacher asked me about it a few weeks ago, I was a little hesitant, but I’ve learned to accept help over the last 18 months. And trust me, it’s a big help. Our days are all running together, and I frequently have to stop and think about what day of the week it is, just because our routine is so disturbed. When 5:00 approaches, I haven’t even thought about preparing dinner. That’s totally uncharacteristic of me, and I think the girls are getting a little too accustomed to eating Spaghettios (blech!). We have real food, lovingly prepared by people that we can probably never say “thank you” enough to. But, really. THANK YOU.

And, I am a member of a fantastic online playgroup for babies born in December of 2003. They have been so good to us – and it humbles me because I’ve only met two of these ladies IRL (“in real life”, in case you don’t use internet jargon). We are scattered across the US and Canada – and I’ll have to tell you more about our relationship later. It truly is an amazing bond I have with these ladies. They have provided meals for us for a week also, which has been a lifesaver.
There are tons of other people that are helping us, including our fabulous neighbors. Rubin took care of the yard for us last week, which I sincerely appreciate. I think he realizes Chad would never let me cut the grass or gasp! use a weed eater. The yard looks great.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Contolling independence

The girls are enjoying a vacation in fabulous Stedman this weekend. My mom dropped them off at my in-law’s house last night. The weather was ferocious shortly after they left, so I was so happy that everyone made it to their destination safe and sound.
I struggled with the decision to let them go. I’m not sure if it’s better for Chad to have a few days of peace & quiet — or for things to be as normal as possible (including the sweet, loud chaos the girls create). The girls begged, and Carys finally asked Chad if she could go. The best he could muster was, “Maybe” – and that’s all Carys needed to start packing her bag.

Chad’s doing good, about the same. Perhaps a bit better. It’s hard for me to tell sometimes.
He still doesn’t feel like doing anything, not even going outside for a walk. If you know him, you know that’s very uncharacteristic. He never sits still; ever. He paces the house, room to room, just looking around.
He opens the fridge, just to have a peek. Sometimes he gets something to eat, but mostly he just stares at the labels and various leftovers.

This morning, he took a shower without me telling him to do so, and that’s a move in the right direction.
However, when I reminded him to take his meds, he was very confused. I told him which ones, and I heard him opening the bottles.
After his shower, he asked me if he had to take any medicine today.
Sigh.
I should have gone in to check, but I didn’t.
So, then I had to count all of his pills to see if he had taken any. He had.
But now I learned my lesson – even though he needs a little responsibility and independence to get back to normal, I still have to control it.

He actually said a few sentences last night, which included real words and not just head shaking and nodding. I was extremely happy about that. He even watched most of the UNC-Gonzaga game before he finally dozed off. He was up for a long time yesterday, and didn’t need a nap.

I made all of his follow-up appointments yesterday.
He gets his stitches taken out on Monday, if you can believe that. It doesn’t feel like it’s been a week since his surgery.
He also starts back on blood thinners Monday. Even though the ultrasound didn’t detect any blood clots last earlier this week, I’ll feel much better knowing the medicine is in his system.
We got back to Winston-Salem on April 30 for a follow-up visit, and then we shouldn’t have to go back there until another check-up in 3-6 months. All radiation and chemo will be done locally (in Raleigh).

No change

There’s nothing new to report. Chad is still quiet, but he did say a few words to the girls last night.
He sleeps for a good part of the day, which is in part to the steroids and pain meds. He’s still complaining of a headache, which I would expect.

He is still having some memory issues. I made him lunch yesterday & shortly after he ate, he couldn’t remember if he had eaten anything at all. He sat down at the computer to check email last night, which is good. He hasn’t been interested in anything but sleeping since we got home. He couldn’t remember his email password, so he got a little aggravated — but heck, I can barely remember my email password!

The strangest thing is his laughter. While I prefer laughter to sadness any day, this laughter is different. It’s more like a subconscious effect of being aggravated or not knowing the answer to something I’ve asked of him. On the way home from Winston-Salem, we stopped at Steak&Shake for a bite to eat. I asked him if he meant to eat his french fries with a spoon and he just laughed at me. When he calmed down, he shook his head “no” and stared at his pile of fries, not sure what to do next. And he could not possibly decide on a flavor of milkshake – as if he didn’t know flavors existed.

I have to stay on top of his medications, or he just wouldn’t take them. He doesn’t remember what has happened to him, I think. He keeps touching his head, trying to understand what’s going on or why his head hurts. I think he has bits and pieces of his hospital stay, but not the whole picture.

I’ve really struggled whether or not I should tell you these things. But I decided it’s best to be honest. Very few people realized how sick Chad has been for the last year and a half. He put on a great face and had a great attitude. He didn’t talk about seizures at work. But he had them there. He probably didn’t tell anyone that I had to pick him up at a gas station because he had a complex seizure and pulled into the parking lot to call me just in time.
He just didn’t talk about it. And he’s probably going to get mad at me for telling you, now.
I know that he’s not going to remember everything in this journey, and at least my words are here as proof. Maybe they will help him remember little things that will be lost in his recovery period.

The recovery is not as quick or pleasant as I’d hoped; but he’s still here.
And I see glimpses of him.
He’ll come back.


Look what you missed….

Coming up

April 3: Happy Birthday to Chad!
April 7: Cailyn's 37th dentist trip
April 8: Happy Birthday to Faith!
April 12: Happy Birthday to Landon!
April 23: Carys' field trip
April 30: Chad's 1-mo post-op eval

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