Friday, March 30, 2012

it isn't brain surgery! it might be brain surgery...

So I guess each part of your brain has an area called home and it's fairly important that it not infringe on any other part's space. This is what I am inferring from my doctors and the internet, anyway.

Let me back up.

Almost three years ago I was talking to my friend and then co-worker about something unrelated to work and as I stared at her gorgeous face I could see her eyes, but not her lips. This is not normal, we know. This type of pixilated vision lasted for about 10 minutes, but I had no other symptoms. I called the eye doctor, who had me come in and ran some tests. He said my eyes were okay and determined I was the lucky person blessed with an occular migraine, but no headache.

These types of symptoms persisted, with pressure behind my eyes, blurred vision, and some severe headaches, but not always in conjunction with one another like a typical migraine. My doctor at the time sent me to a neurologist, who sent me for an MRI.

The MRI showed a speck in my frontal lobe, which was determined to be no big deal and I was given topamax to prevent my persistent headaches. I didn't realize, until after starting the medicine, how frequent my headaches had been. They were days, sometimes weeks, at a time. I felt better for a long time.

A year later I had a follow up MRI to check on that speck; no speck, as predicted, but there was a Chiari Malformation Type 1. I was told that my skull didn't form correctly and didn't allow enough space for my cerebellum, which was starting to push itself down into the space above my brain stem. The radiologist measured it at a 6mm herniation and I was told that since I didn't really have any symptoms, we could just keep an eye on it.

It's been a little over a year since then and I decided that I really wanted to see a new neurologist. I wanted someone closer to home, I had heard lots of good things about this doctor, I was having more headaches but kind of hating the topamax, and my gut told me it was the right thing to do.

My new neurologist and his assistant spent 45 minutes with me and determined that I am having a number of neurological symptoms (tingling in my neck, hands, and feet, pain when bearing down, dizziness, blurred vision, etc) related to the chiari, not just headaches, and that I need to see a neurosurgeon to determine if surgery is appropriate. Right now I am waiting -- the appointment is set up for April 27th -- and trying not to freak out about the disruption this may cause to Punkin's life.

Monday, March 26, 2012

proud mama lion

The inside of the snowman looks like a toilet paper roll and then it looks like paper mache. The hat is rolled up felt.
My son, who wouldn't sit for two minutes to complete an art project last year, made this snowman all by himself. I'm sobbing, you guys. Just sobbing. I just can't even wrap my brain around it.

This is a frog we made one Sunday. We used the inside of a paper plate, folded in half, for the body -- the outside will be used later. Then we just used rectangles for legs, circles for eyes, and a long red tongue.
Every Sunday I run the childcare for a church function and Punkin comes with me. It's two hours long and there's about 25 kids ranging in age from three to nine years. We read a book, make a craft, have large motor time, use the bathroom, have a snack, watch a movie, and have color sheets and books out. He doesn't require any special attention. he just does what he's told or what he sees the other kids do. He doesn't hit anybody, he doesn't pee his pants, he doesn't steal toys or throw fits -- he just plays. Now, he does act a little bit like he owns the place, but that's to be expected from a teacher's kid. I wish I could communicate to him how proud he makes me for working so hard.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

if you give a mom an iPad.....

I've been having way too much fun with Barbie Fashionistas, Cookie Doodle, and Cake Doodle this past week. Thank goodness I found Draw Something -- at least that's socially appropriate.

Monday, March 19, 2012

it all comes back to poop, doesn't it?

This is why no one wants to visit. 

I woke up this morning at 7:00 a.m. That's an entire hour and a half later than usual, so I was feeling mighty excited. Punkin was STILL SLEEPING, so I snuck to the bathroom, decided not to flush lest I wake him, and crept back to bed until EIGHT O' CLOCK. Oh ya. It was gonna be a glorious day indeed. 

Little Guy woke up and I promised him we'd go for our daily drive on the highway as soon as he went potty. We flushed and nothing much happened. He flushed again and DANGER DANGER DANGER -- the water levels reached extremely unsafe levels, so I plunged my life away trying to save us from a spill. It did occur to me later, though, that if it had overflowed, I might have had a case for replacing the carpeting (yes, carpeting) in the bathroom with something more logical, like tile. 

So I called the landlord and left a message and we got ready to leave. I opened the door to the main hallway of the building to see a very, very large puddle from my door down to my neighbor's. We trudged through it, assuming it was rainwater, and went for our drive.

When we came back, maintenance was standing in my apartment shaking their heads. Apparently that "puddle" was toilet sludge and the people in the other apartments who were taking showers, etc, were making it larger. 

I grabbed our laundry and a few essentials while yelling, "Punkin, NO! NO PUDDLE! NO STOMPING! NO, HONEY!" 

Needless to say we've spent the greater part of the day at Oma and Opa's house washing our shoes. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

just me and my mom

Spring Break has been rather brutal on the little guy. Nothing has been the same: there's no school, no Sunday School, the therapy dog wasn't in church last Sunday, and his respite worker has been gone the last two Fridays. We've had to drive the highway to look for semi trucks every morning (between 6:30 and 7:30) to compensate for not being able to ride the bus. If I don't promise this every night, he will sob himself to sleep while holding his backpack and wearing his shoes and coat. Did I mention it's 73 degrees outside?

I tried taking him to both museums, to the zoo (pictured above), to the park, to the movies, we tried making cookies, painting, playing with Play-Doh, going to Oma's house; he participated in all of it. For five minutes. And then he asked to go on the highway again.

We start again on Wednesday. We can totally do this, guys. We totally can.

Monday, March 12, 2012

we need more boardmaker pictures, stat

Seems I have a little chef living in my home. He's had the same kitchen set since he was about two years old and in recent years hasn't played with it unless I've dragged it out to the living room. I decided just to leave it next to the television, and now he plays with it all afternoon. It just so happens that some of his advanced pretend microwaving skills have transferred to the real microwave. This morning I came out of my bedroom after getting dressed to discover him holding a plate, which he had climbed the cabinets for, with a slice of pizza on it. He put it in the microwave and pressed the minute button.


Friday, March 9, 2012

monster art

My coworker and I were sitting, catching our breath during nap time a few weeks ago, trying to think of some fun crafts for our class. She said, "I've always kind of wanted to give kids a bunch of random materials and see what they come up with." And so we did that, in a way that was developmentally appropriate for our students. I wish I could show you what they came up with, but I simply don't have permission from their parents to publish their work. Instead I will show you my son's creation. He was charged with making a monster, although when I showed it to him a week later and asked him what it was, he exclaimed, "A PUPPET!"

Read more about monster art at PreK and K Sharing.

Monday, March 5, 2012

just my opinion -- end the word

But I never called anyone that! I would never say that about someone with a disability. I called myself retarded. I said my car was retarded. I said it about someone we all know is super smart. It was a joke. It was from a movie. I didn't mean it like that.

You did.

If you have to explain yourself that much, then you need to find a new word. Maybe try using the one you meant in the first place -- stupid, broken, defective, slow, weird. My son is none of those things, and he doesn't appreciate his medical diagnosis being lumped in with your insults.