Sunday, July 6, 2014

Reality Bites



Remember that 1990’s movie about love and relationships?  The trials and tribulations of older adolescence.  It seems life was so simple then.  Not to mention with an awesome soundtrack!  Now, not to say adolescence is simple, by any means, but I guess compared to the realities of adulthood and PARENTHOOD, life does seem a bit more. . . complicated now.  Where is this all coming from, you might be wondering.  Well, in short, life with Chloe.  That sounds negative and I don’t mean it that way, so let me explain.

A few weeks ago, Chloe was outfitted with a new radio transmitter registered with the local police department as part of the Project Lifesaver program.  It’s been in the works for weeks now, probably more like months, but finally, she is donning her newest accessory – a waterproof bracelet/anklet worn around her ankle that contains a radio transmitter in the event she gets lost.  That’s where the reality part comes in.  I posted a picture of Chloe’s new jewelry on Facebook and was showered with “wow’s” and “that’s great” and “what a relief”.  But that wasn’t the REALITY of it.  The reality of it is that this is just a small tiny Band-Aid on the bigger problem.  Chloe is an escape artist.  AND a runner.  And Chloe has little to no sense of road safety or water safety.  And being outfitted with this new transmitter not only made me realize the reality of her escaping, but also the realization of the limitations of what this small device can provide.  And that, my friends, is quite daunting.  The REALITY is if she gets out she could die.  Period.  Before we even have a chance to call the police to search for her she could be hit by a car on our very busy street or drown in water she eagerly wants to jump into.  This is our reality and quite frankly, it bites.

I don’t mean to be such a downer.  I like my posts to be upbeat and motivating, because that’s generally how I feel when I’m thinking of Chloe.  But there is another side to that optimistic side of things.  The other day at work I was telling someone about my three children and as usual I said “and then I have a 5 year old girl who has Down syndrome”.  For the first time in a LONG time I got a “gasped” response, followed by “oh no’s” and “I’m so sorry!”  “That’s so awful” and on and on.  “No! No!” I assured her.  “We love her!  She is true delight!  We feel blessed to have her and couldn’t imagine her any other way” clearly reassuring her it would be okay, as if I were reassuring a new mother who had just received the news herself.  And I did mean EVERY SINGLE WORD OF IT!  We can’t imagine our lives without Chloe or who Chloe would be without Down syndrome.  We embrace her for who she is.  We celebrate her. 

But that doesn’t change the reality that EVERY SINGLE DAY we live with the added fear that we could lose her.  All parents know this feeling.  When you experience the love such as that of a parent for a child you can’t help but fear even the unrealistic.  The unreasonable.  But for us, that fear is a little more real.  The chances that something horribly tragic could happen are higher with our special kiddos who run, misunderstand danger, or who have special medical needs.  And some days it gets me.  It holds onto me and squeezes me until my breath is taken.  And I gasp, almost as if there is no air left in the world, only to realize there is.  Today is NOT the day we will lose Chloe for good, and hopefully that day will not come for a very long long long time.


If you’re wondering how we get up each day and live in this shroud of fear and doubt.  Well, the answer is because we have to.  In order to give all our kids the lives they deserve we must let some of the realities of what can be and live in the moment.  The “I want to dance barefoot in the rain” moment that reminds us that we must LIVE while we can for someday, as with all of us, we will lose that luxury and when we do we want to be able to say, it was a good life that we lived afterall.

Monday, March 17, 2014

DREAMS


Sadie with a pregnant mommy
When I was about 19 weeks pregnant, just moments after the shock wore off from discovering I was having a girl (when I was 99% sure it was a boy, so much for that mother’s intuition), I learned that our baby would probably have Down syndrome and for sure would have a significant heart defect.  Our initial reaction was of course one of complete and utter shock.  My heart ached and my eyes filled with tears as we grappled with the thought that our baby might not even make it to birth.  And if she did, would she survive?  Would she be able to live a healthy, active life or would she be a sickly child we would have to sit by and watch slowly die.  These and many other thoughts filled our hearts and minds as we held onto each other and cried.  And feared. . . and hoped. 

After my mom escorted my son out of the room, my husband and I were left alone with our thoughts.  Decisions had to be made.  Did we WANT to know if she had Down syndrome?  Or maybe some other more life threatening disorder.  We were already wondering if she was going to live and Down syndrome was the LEAST of our worries.  But we were worried there were other more predominant issues to deal with and worried there might be something that could put my life at risk.  So after great deliberation we went with an amnio. . . just so we would “know”.
 
We spent the next few days wondering if our baby would survive to be born. . . live to see subsequent birthdays.  At this point we just wanted to hear our baby would live.  The baby we had grown to love already.  We just wanted her to LIVE.  Once we finally got into the see the cardiac specialists it was clear that our sweet baby WOULD live and likely thrive, after one, maybe two open heart surgeries.  With rough hand drawings and stories of great strides in medicine our greatest fears of death were alleviated.  We were elated.  But now we were faced with the reality that although she would likely live a healthy life, she DID have a significant heart defect that would require major open heart surgery and she DID have Down syndrome.
Drawing of a "normal heart"
A heart with AVSD - Chloe's condition

My heart once again ACHED as I wondered what all that would mean.  Especially the Down syndrome.  What would she be like???  What would she LOOK like???  Would her mouth droop?  Would her tongue hang out?  Would she talk “right”?  Would people stare?  Doubts, fears, anxiety all filled my mind.  All the many questions that swirled through my head overwhelmed me.  I remember feeling as if someone had picked up my house and shook it upside down and around and around and left me, sitting there alone, in the middle of it all. 

My dreams for her were gone.  She wouldn’t be “normal” so what could I dream for her anyway.  And slowly, ever so slowly, I began to realize that first off, she would be alive.  That was our first dream.  Then it became ever so evident to me that although she WOULD be different in some ways, so are all kids.  It’s really the fact that she is so ALIKE a group of people who all have Down syndrome, not that she is so different.  And then came some serious self reflection. . . what WERE my dreams for my kids anyway?  Fame?  Fortune?  Great success?  Um, those that know me know those aren’t MY dreams.  My dreams are for happiness.  Real, pure happiness in whatever that means for each individual.  To be a good friend, a good citizen and to care for others.  So what about those dreams couldn’t be true for our new baby who just happens to have Down syndrome and a heart condition?  You got it. . . NOTHING.
.

Don’t get me wrong.  As I’ve said before this is a process.  A loss, of sorts, that we must grieve.  But once your realize that your child is still YOUR child and will have incredible dreams of their own, because yes, they are in fact individuals!  And the greatest dream we can have is for happiness, not defined by us, or others, but by the person who experiences it.  
And by the way, yes people stare sometimes, yes her mouth droops and yes, her tongue sticks out, but I think she's beautiful and worth it.  Her imperfections make her who she is!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day 2014

First off I HAVE to share this video with everyone who knows Chloe or knows OF Chloe.  It made me cry and I think it’s amazing!


So this blog post will be dedicated to Chloe and her biggest cheerleaders Xander and Sadie, in honor of WDSD which takes place on March 21st every year.  Get it???? 3/21. . . . wait for it. . .  Trisomy 21 the official medical term for Down syndrome.  I know, cute right?  Anyway, let’s talk kids.  Mine, of course, cause it’s my blog (hee hee).  I haven’t done a general update in awhile so here goes:

CHLOE has been a busy little beaver.  Which in turn means so have the rest of us!  But what else is new!  I was shocked at my most recent teacher meeting when she showed me the book Chloe was reading.  Yes, I said it R-E-A-D-I-N-G!  Not “reading” like I thought, where she points her fingers at words and talks along in gibberish as she goes, but actual word recognition reading!  wooo hooooo!  Now that’s a milestone I wasn’t even quite expecting yet.  What a pleasant surprise.  She’s also talking in FULL, sometimes long sentences!  Not always, but every now and then she comes out with a wowzer!  Like “Mom, can you stop doing that?!”  (probably when I’m singing or dancing).  She’s got a new i-Pad that we’ll be using to help her communicate because although she can speak in full sentences at times, at other times the words just escape her and frustration bleeds into her sweet little eyes.    Chloe’s also toilet training and has been for what seems like months!  She’s so darn close.  Close, but yet so far. . .  Chloe loves to sing and dance with Sadie, play floor hockey with Xander, watch movies and act them out, play with her Playmobil people and her cars.  She is full of spunk and zest, but a full on love.  I find if I’m getting frustrated with her if I can get her to laugh, we’ll all be okay!  Lastly, she’s been busy doing gymnastics (or should I say Max her shadow has been busy chasing her during gymnastics!)  I think that covers Chloe in a nut shell.  Oh, I forgot the medical update. . . we’re trying to wean her off her thyroid meds and heart meds and could potentially have her MED FREE by the end of April.  I get VERY emotional when I think about this as it seem like the end of a very medically dominated era.  I’ll keep y’all posted.

AND as if all this isn’t enough, Chloe has taken to RUNNING out of the house.  We’ve gone into lock down, but mistakes happen and she has gotten out and gone missing, although only briefly, several times.  One time she was seen bolting out into our busy street without even glancing for cars or hesitating.  We were sooooo lucky!!!!  We will be putting this in the forefront now that the warm weather is returning and will be working with our local police department to get her hooked up with Project Lifesaver, a tracking program for people with disabilities.  We’re also working with the Department of Disability Services and the school to come up with some behavior plans to help prevent bolting.  It’s a very scary prospect!

SADIE SADIE SADIE.  What can one say about Sadie.  The poor middle child, sandwiched between two very high maintenance siblings.  And a drama queen in her own right.  Well, she’s been struggling a little with her place and has expressed the feelings of being left out so we’ve made a real effort to give her some special extra attention, her school is hooking her up with a mentor and I’m enrolling her in a program called SibShops, just for siblings of kids with disabilities.  She’s looking forward to both!  She’s also taking gymnastics with Chloe, doing well in school and growing like a weed!  She LOVES to play school, experiment, dance and be silly and do “fashion”.  I fear the day when we can fit in the same clothes!  Although I guess that means I get to steal from her closet too ;)  Sadie’s had two bouts of strep but otherwise is healthy.  No specialists for her.  She is such a great sister to both Chloe and Xander. 

XANDER MAN!  Last but not least.  He’s 13.  Yes, 5 years from 18. . . 3 years from being able to drive.  1 ½ years from high school.  And I know all this because he’s been sure to point it out to me!  He loves toying with me and reminding me he is growing up!  AND  UP AND UP.  Every week he likes to point out how far above my head he’s gotten.  Last count 5’5” and growing.  He’s a beanpole though.  95lbs soaking wet.  He’s definitely working to find himself out, but he, like his other sibs, is a strong part of the family.  He’s working VERY hard in school and hockey and LOVES playing video games.  He’s still interested in medicine (has been since he was 2), but also takes some interest in the military.  He’s a family guy for sure, heading down to VA to visit his Great Nana who he loves very much.

Stacey and I are doing well.  22 years together and 19 years married.  wowzers!  And still going strong.  He’s gearing up for the spring season at work and I’m about to take on an increased caseload at my job (hence the early WDSD post).  We’re ready for spring for sure!  It’s been a LONG and stressful winter.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Life with a Child with Special Needs: One Parent's Perspective

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it’s like to be a parent and particularly a parent of a child with special needs.  A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about how hard it is and how defeated she felt.  And that got me thinking even more.  My husband hates when I think . . . sorry honey, I’m going to do my best to put my thoughts and feelings into words on paper.  So here goes.

I’ve been feeling pretty darn good lately about things, particularly my ability to parent a child, and now 2 children, with special needs.  No, we didn’t adopt, we have just uncovered some new diagnoses in my eldest.  (See previous post).  Anyway, I have to admit, I was maybe even feeling a little high and mighty.   Still overwhelmed for sure, but most importantly able to fully (or so I thought) “accept” and “embrace” their “special needs”.  But as I’ve delved into my own psyche a little further, I think in truth, that having a child with special needs is a daily. . . well, I don’t want to say struggle. . . how about “daily process”.  Yes, that is more fitting.  I personally, at least, THINK about the fact that my children have special needs daily.  But lately, I’ve been quickly able to calm my, shall we say “doubts”, with thoughts of acceptance.  For example, each day when I have to open a gate so I can go upstairs just because my 5 year old would take off upstairs and get into great mischief, I think, however briefly, “ugh, if she didn’t have special needs, Down syndrome specifically, I wouldn’t have to have these damn gates all over my house”.  But then I quickly catch myself and turn it around and remember that I love Chloe for who she IS and really wouldn’t want to change her because then she wouldn’t be Chloe, with all her joys and wonder.  I am able to quickly accept and embrace her. 

After reading my friend’s post my first reaction was “Oh I feel so sorry for her, that she’s not where I am.”  But the more I thought about it the more I realized it’s not that she’s not where I am. . . as I am often there too, rather she is just in one of the many valleys we as parents, and even more so parents of children with special needs, experience all through our children’s lives.  Peaks and valleys.  The acceptance and embracing of them is ALWAYS there, it’s just sometimes harder to access.  Sometimes we feel defeated.  And that is OK.  In fact, it’s more than OK, it’s normal and healthy and all part of the process. 

I recently revisited some past blogs of my own, particularly one about admitting I didn’t like Down syndrome and then a follow-up about being “back on the Ds train”.  I think my own somewhat adverse response to my friend’s post was my own defense against those hard-to-face feelings that we all experience at one time or another.  Those defeating, overwhelming, what-the-hell-have-I-gotten-myself-into feelings. . .and my words to her may have seemed trite, but I stand by them. . . “This too shall pass”.  Granted, that doesn’t make it any easier when you’re going through it, but maybe just to offer a glimmer of hope that this really is just a phase.  Not just for the kids, but for us.  Just a valley that WILL once again lead to a peak.


So in closing, what IS life like as a parent with a child or children with special needs?  Well, it’s just like that of being a parent of ANY child.  It is just often magnified with greater and longer experiences of those peaks and valleys.  We just have to remind ourselves that although the lows may be lower, the highs are often higher!  And to meet our children, like ALL children, where they ARE and NOT where we want them to be.  If we can remind ourselves of this, we will once again be able to see the joys in what they CAN do. . . and not be focused on what they can’t.  But like many things this is a daily and ongoing process.  Hey, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?!

Monday, June 10, 2013

We've Been Busy

Easter 2013 with Nana behind the camera!  And Sadie is wearing costume glasses.  It's a fashion thing. . .
JFS.  CBC.  TSH.  T4. PPTs.  504.  IEP.  ADHD.  IQ.  DCIS.   Those are just a few of the acronyms that seem to define our lives lately.  What do they stand for?  Work and life, in a nut shell. 

I’ve been so busy I could hardly justify sitting and updating the blog AND my Outlook email isn’t working so I’m unable to send out my bulk email to let everyone know I’ve finally updated the blog, which I’m just sure no one checks it anymore!  So there are my big excuses for not blogging.  Unfortunately it isn’t for lack of things to write about. 

So where to begin is my big question now . . . I guess we’ll go youngest to oldest.  So let’s talk about Chloe.  Once again, Chloe is being Chloe.  What does that mean?  Well for those of you who follow along you’ll understand what I mean, but for those of you who are new to the blog let me explain. . . that basically means she’s giving us drama, but in the end we’re confident it will all work out. 

First of all, a little back story. . . back in March Chloe had to increase her thyroid medication and while getting that lab work also got her annual CBC done which came back slightly abnormal sending us to Yale Smillow Cancer Hospital for a Hematology/Oncology consult.  For those not that familiar with Down syndrome, kids with Ds are at higher risk for developing leukemia than “normal” kiddos, so an abnormal reading calls for a manual read by a cancer specialist.  So off we went to Smillow where we were ultimately told that she is fine. . . we’ll do occasional CBC’s if she’s getting stuck for something else so she doesn’t have to have unnecessary blood draws.

So about 3 weeks ago Chloe collided with another child at school and had a pretty serious nose bleed.  The nurse warned me it might bleed some more that night.  Well, at home, it was a Friday night, she had two fairly significant bleeds (I’ll spare you the gory details, and believe me there were some).  I called the doc Saturday morning and got instructions on how to handle the bleeds and when to consider it in need of further intervention and of course she had no more bleeds.  Come Tuesday afternoon I noticed a few drops on her shirt and some dried blood in her nose.  I wrote a note to the school and low and behold she had a 20 minute nose bleed on Tuesday and they neglected to notify ME or the NURSE!  Oops!  I don’t remember the exact timeline, but she had another big nose bleed in the middle of the night all over her sheets and a few more medium to big ones at home, so we took her in to see the ENT.  Didn’t appear broken, and they recommended saline spray and antibiotic ointment in her nose to help it heal and sure enough that did the trick.  Shortly thereafter I started noticing easy bruising and red spotting type bruises that seem to appear and go away fairly quickly.  Since she was due for her thyroid screen and they were going to stick her anyway, it seemed appropriate to get another CBC.  So here we are with another “abnormal” CBC, in fact exactly the same as last time.  They’re seeing us to do a manual count again, which we expect to be fine and then to devise a plan on how to monitor her going forward, including establishing a new “baseline” for her.  We really aren’t too worried. 
***UPDATE***Chloe waiting for her blood draw today at Hematology/Oncology where everything looks GREAT!!!!!!
Since starting this post I have a new story to add. . . don’t worry, I’ll be brief.  After returning home from an awesome Open Playgroup with friends Chloe was headed outside to see her daddy and was at the top of our wooden deck stairs, when our beastly black lab mix “puppy” barreled right past her sending her cart wheeling in a dramatic fashion, all the way down the stairs.  Stacey (her dad) and I watched helplessly.  It was so dramatic my instant reaction was to just call 911, but after sitting with her for a minute, I realized that was unnecessary.  About 20 minutes later an atypical midday nap warranted a call to the doc, but we determined she was fine.  So aside from my bumps, bruises and scrapes, she came out of it ok.  sigh.


Sadie’s our “stable” one (ha ha – that says a lot about our family. . . tee hee).  Aside from a badly bruised ear and a swollen cheek bone (two separate incidents), she’s been keeping me somewhat sane.  Don’t get me wrong, she has her moments, like everyone, but for the most part she’s in a REALLY good place.  (knock on wood).  She’s into fashion and playing with friends and listening to music. . . and that about sums her up.
Before Xander's band concert - he plays drums!

Then there’s Xander.  Xander is a very long story, which because of his age, I will avoid the in-depth details.  Falling grades, psycho-education assessments, and doctor appointments have led to the understanding that Xander is VERY bright, YET has an extremely discrepant Processing Speed.  There is some dispute as to whether he has a learning disability (between our pedi and his therapist who both feel strongly that he does and the school who does not) so we are left fighting to help Xander be understood better and to get him the services he so desperately needs.  Aside from school Xander is playing spring hockey and enjoys video games and hangin’ with friends.
 
Stacey and I are busy busy busy.  Between work and spring duties, and getting the kids to their many appointments and coordinating and advocating we are just trying to get through.  Stacey and I survived another spring work season, meaning he’s back to working 5-days a week instead of 6.  This leaves us with a whole extra day to get things done. WOW.  I’m stressing with all the work I’m doing and trying to coordinate the care for my kids, but I do LOVE my job and find solace in having something that is my own outside the home, that I feel passionate about.  I am lucky to have found such a perfect fit for me.

Nana and Xander after hockey.
Last but certainly not least is my mom.  She’s doing really well, considering she was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (AKA -  DCIS) which is a VERY treatable, non-spreadable form of breast cancer.  She has had the offending calcifications and lesion removed and will undergo 6 weeks of radiation and then a possible follow-up treatment afterwards, but that should be it.  No chemo and we expect a full recovery. 

So I think that covers everyone – for the most part anyway.  This is what happens when I don’t update for awhile.  So much to say. . . will update after our Hem/Oc appointment. . .

Friday, January 11, 2013

No Words


I have been at a loss for words since the Newtown shootings.  What is there to say, really?  I mean life goes on. . . well for the rest of it. . . it has to.  But I’ve found it difficult to sit down and write about everyday life when such a tremendous national tragedy has taken place.  My heart is heavy, if not full out broken, but it is time to write again.  It is time to live and appreciate life, again.  So I will find the words today, not about the tragedy, because really there are none, but I will return to updating on our goings on.
Christmas Eve we burned candles in the shape of N.T. to honor and remember those that lost their lives in the tragedy.

Caught in the act!
Where to begin.  I guess with Chloe.  Where else (ha ha).  Anyway, she’s still that bright light that shines in my life, bringing me joy in ways I never expected.  Don’t get me wrong. . .she’s still the same challenge as always. . . climbing on tables, writing on walls and chairs, getting into EVERYTHING, but after a recent week with Chloe’s younger 2-year-old cousin, I was able to realize how far she’s come.  I’ve often thought of her at 4 as much like a 2-year-old, but after spending a whole week with a 2 year old, she really isn’t.  She isn’t really a 4-year-old either.  She’s just CHLOE.  And for now, I’m rejoicing in that.  Her latest thing?  Running around laughing hysterically.  I mean, how could you resist that?  Her “personality” is as strong as ever, but she seems to be happier with each passing day.  I’m not sure I thought that was possible.  Of course she is still stubborn and has her OWN opinion about how things are going to go (like the routine at school – she thinks SHE’S in charge!  haa haa), but there is this joy about her lately.  A laugh that cannot be resisted.  A smile that brightens even the darkest of days. 
There's that smile!

What else is going on with her, you wonder?  Well, we got new glasses.  They fit MUCH better but are a little less sturdy.  Specs 4 Us – made just for kiddos with Ds.  She looks stinkin’ adorable in them, if you ask me, BUT that doesn’t make her any more motivated to wear them.  At least with this pair however, she does fold them neatly up and puts them down instead of heave-hoeing them across the room.  Ah the small accomplishments.


The other kids are good.  Busy as usual.  Xander is turning 12 – the magical “I can sit in the front seat now 12!”  He feels like a big kid already.  He’s still busy with hockey and struggling in school, but we’re working on that.  Generally he’s doing well and in good spirits when he’s home.  And Sadie.  What to say about Sadie.  She’s still all girl.  Quickly lost interest in soccer.  We’re going to try lacrosse next.  She’s got a busy elaborate imagination that keeps her occupied for hours.  She’s doing GREAT in school both academically and socially.  She’s found a good fit so far with her teachers.
Chloe giving mommy and daddy hugs!

Stac and I are great.  We had a WONDERFUL holiday break surrounded by family.  It was truly a special time.  As much as my sister thought we’d be relieved to “have our house back” it just isn’t the same without them here! 

For someone who had “no words” I’ve run my mouth pretty well.  I have another post brewing, but I’ll save that for another day.  Hope everyone is well and that you’re all finding time to enjoy and appreciate each other.  Happy New Year to all.
Amy

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Post


Well, it’s sort of a Thanksgiving post.  I’m not going to go through all the things I’m thankful for because that list would be endless.  Instead I’ll just update on the goings on in the ol’ household. 

As always I’m impressed by Chloe’s strength.  Although she is currently lying on the couch with a stomach bug, I know she will fight this off like any other healthy kid would (in such sharp contrast to her first few years!)  I can’t say it enough, I am just amazed at how far she’s come!  UPDATE: she was up and off the couch in a matter of hours as if NOTHING had happened!!!!)

Chloe was recently “diagnosed” with dysarthria  of speech (basically low muscle tone of her speech mechanisms, including her tongue and face) and secondary apraxia of speech which is a motor planning problem.  Because of her need for intensive speech therapies, her school has increased her to full days.  It’s surprisingly hard to send my “baby” off to full days, particularly since she’s having a little tough time with the adjustment, but I think once she settles in, it will be the right choice.

The glasses continue to be a bit of a challenge, although she is wearing them for longer periods of time.  I still think I want to get her a different pair.  .  . just have to figure out how and when to get that accomplished.  In due time ;)

And then there’s Sadie.  Still having occasional hives.  Saw the doc and he sent us for blood work, which she was VERY BRAVE for, but we’re still waiting for the results.  Hopefully soon.  It’s been awhile, so obviously they’re all negative, because no news is good news when it comes to lab work.  Doc said we will likely never know what’s causing them and it could take months for them to go away, but they should. . . eventually.  UPDATE: all labs were normal J

As for Xander, his 11 viles of blood work basically came back all good except for one test for his thyroid, which MIGHT indicate that he has hypothyroidism.  Now another test came back normal, contradicting the other test, and indicating the need for further investigation (and yes, you got it, more blood work).  I’m again waiting to talk to the pedi before telling Xander the results.  I have my fingers and toes crossed that this is our answer and that a simple thyroid replacement hormone pill would help “fix” him.  It DOES really fit his symptoms, so I’m hoping there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. 

And as if things weren’t interesting enough, our poor poocher is itchy all over and just can’t seem to get relief.  We’ve been trying non-soap baths, and Zyrtec, but I just don’t think he’s getting enough relief.  I think it might be time to get his thyroid checked too (he’s overweight, always cold, lies around and isn’t as active as his breed typically is and he itches).  Can you imagine if he’s got an underactive thyroid too!!! LOL  We seem like a big mess, don’t we.

Stacey and I are hangin’ strong.  I’m going to get my thyroid checked soon too because I’ve had symptoms again.  Hoping that’s my quick easy answer.  Stacey, KNOCK ON WOOD, has been healthy!  And mom is doing well too – helping to keep us all held together!

so, in end, Thanksgiving is a time when we realized despite these little hiccups in our lives we truly have sooooo much to be thankful for!  And I truly mean sooooooo much!  We were a little sad without our old traditional large extended family thanksgiving dinner, but made the most of our “new normal” with just ourselves.  The kids helped cook and we just enjoyed a day of our family.  Sometimes it’s important to do that.  I hope you and yours had a nice holiday and find yourselves with some sort of peace.  As the craziness of the season takes over, let’s all not forget all those wonderful things we DO have to be thankful for!

Peace out.