Jo’s Procedure, Recovery and the flu bug

Sorry late in updating everyone about how Josephine’s dental procedure went.   On Tuesday morning, January 9th, Aaron and I dropped off Faith at school, then went straight to the surgery center for Jo’s procedure.

The night before, I couldn’t give Jo anything to eat or drink after midnight.  I was expecting her to be very upset during the night for refusing her breastmilk, but it turned out that she did pretty well!  I nursed her as much as I could before midnight.  She stayed up a little later than usual, watching Elmo on her tablet and chomping on a chocolate chip cookie.  I woke her up at about 11:30 pm to nurse her one last time and also give her a spoonful of peanut butter.  After that, I was expecting to be up a lot with her fussing, but she slept ok.  She still woke up a few times, of course… but she didn’t complain and I was able to lull her back to sleep each time by walking her around the house in the stroller.  Then, Aaron woke up at around 3am to take over for me.  So I was able to get some sleep, too.

Josephine was still ok in the morning as I was getting Faith ready for school.  Aaron was playing with Jo downstairs while I gave Faith breakfast.  Jo was still not fussing very much after we dropped Faith off and headed to the surgery center.  

Her scheduled procedure was suppose to be at 9:30am but it was delayed for an hour.  During that time Josephine was still doing ok.. but clearly nervous.  We had her Elmo and Cookie Monster with her, and her tablet to keep her distracted.  It was working for a while :)

 

But by 10:30 she was completely inconsolable. Hunger pains were too big to ignore, and she was thirsty.  She was also getting sleepy because it was close to her nap time, but she wouldn’t relax enough to sleep.  She obviously knew something was about to happen to her so she refused to fall asleep.  

 

Finally we met with the dentist, nurse and anesthesiologist.  The dentist said that the family scheduled before Jo was late to their appointment and he apologized for the delay.  Goodness I was upset about that because by the time she was ready for surgery… she could have been DONE with it by that time and could have been preparing to go home!  MOST IMPORTANTLY… we could have avoided lots of tears.  At around 9:30 she was still ok.  No crying yet. 

Anyway, the anesthesiologist explained everything to me.  We discussed her dosage of anesthesia, and the fact she is underweight.  I asked many questions and he politely and thoroughly explained everything. I held Jo close as she was getting more and more nervous now that a doctor was with us.  The nurse was standing next to us with a warm blanket.. ready to hug Josephine with it and take her back.  She wrapped the blanket around her.  Jo began crying again.  I told her, “Mommy will be right back, it’s ok!  I’ll be right back.”  Jo didn’t look at me or the nurse.  She just looked down sobbing as the nurse gathered her up and walked her away.  I tried to say, “I’ll be right back,” again but I knew my voice wouldn’t sound calm or happy because I was choking back tears.  I just watched her quietly as they walked away.  Then I burst into tears.  Aaron held me, but I could tell he was just as upset.  This was without a doubt the hardest thing I ever had to do.  The feeling of helplessness, and fear, and worry, and sadness, and anxiety about what was going through Josephine’s head at that moment was just too much.  I couldn’t bare the thought of what if something bad happens and I’m NOT THERE.  I couldn’t cope.

Another nurse came by and said, “Bless your heart.  For what it’s worth, she stopped crying when she went through the doors.”   That didn’t help in the least.  I knew Jo was still scared.  This was the first time ever she didn’t have either of her parents with her, and she was with complete strangers.  I don’t even want to think about how she felt as they held the mask to her face. I’m sure she fought it before she fell asleep.  I’m just glad she no longer has a memory of that.

Aaron and I gathered up our things and went back to the lobby to wait.  I went straight to the bathroom to cry some more.  Pray and cry, then pray and cry some more.  I didn’t want to do anything else.  I was counting down the minutes.  I couldn’t stop looking at the door, waiting to hear from a nurse to tell me it was over.

After it was over, we talked with the dentist before seeing Josephine.  He said, “She has a bit of a puffy lip, but everything went great.”  No complications.  Everything went as expected and her vitals were normal the whole time.  I think the procedure lasted an hour.  He took care of all her cavities and explained to me that it has been the nighttime nursing that has caused her front teeth cavities. The milk has been sitting on her teeth during the night which was causing decay.  So I decided right then and there that I would no longer nurse her at night.  Cold turkey.

We went back to see Jo and I was shocked when I saw her.  Her lip was injured and extremely swollen.  I was just stunned.  It wasn’t a little puffy lip.  It was huge.  She was crying and afraid.  She was on the lap of a nurse.  I tried my best to put on a big smile for her.  When she saw me and Aaron she immediately lifted her arms up.  I grabbed her up and tried to console her.  It took about a half hour to calm her down. She started watching her tablet and doing ok, but she didn’t like the brace on her arm that was stabilizing the i.v. in her hand.  She knew her lip was fat.  She kept touching it with her other hand or with her tongue.  Every time she thought about her body she cried.  She was confused about what had happened but was noticeably calmer now that Aaron and I were there.

The nurse took out the i.v. and shortly afterwards we went home.  I sat in the back seat with her.  She wasn’t crying any longer.  She seems relieved to be in the car seat, knowing she was heading home.  

I am so thankful that she is ok.  However, I was so upset about her lip.  I spoke with the anesthesiologist and dentist after I got home.  Josephine had a very flushed face when she was home. The anesthesiologist seems to think it may have to do with her overheating and not a side effect from the medications they gave her.  As she napped, the redness faded.  As for Jo’s lip, the anesthesiologist said that it wouldn’t have been the breathing tube that injured her lip. He said that it could have been the device used to open her mouth and airway when the breathing tube was inserted or the device used by the dentist to keep her mouth open while he did his dental work. Whichever device it was, it may have pinched her lip or may have been pressing her lip up against her teeth for a prolonged period of time. The nurse said that they tape the lip back, so it could have been the tape that gave her a fat lip.  Either way, I’m very upset about this because this could have easily been prevented. They could have been more gentle with such a little girl especially.  Josephine cried every time she saw her lip. She cried when she touched her lip. She wouldn’t drink water from a straw because it made her lip feel funny. All of those things could have been prevented if they were just a little more careful.   It wasn’t until the end of the day that she drank again from a straw.  She did nurse though after we got home and was ok with that.

 

After her nap, she wanted to get up and play :)

 

This is how her lip looked the next morning.  Swelling wasn’t down, yet.

 

The very next day, I got a call from school.  Faith had thrown up.  I picked her up. When I saw her, she was so pale. Her lips were as white as her teeth.  She didn’t have a fever, but they told me that the flu was going around school.  She threw up the rest of the day.  I kept giving her water to drink but she threw most of it up each time.

 

By the evening the nausea had passed, but she went diarrhea.  She slept in bed with me that night.

 

The next day she was getting better, but she stayed home just in case she threw up again.  She didn’t.  She was playing and looked ok.  However, that night, she threw up again :(  

The next morning we had a snow day.  Thank goodness school was canceled so she could rest another day.  Aaron also stayed home on Friday because the roads were full of ice and snow.  I’m glad he was home because then I got sick myself.  I threw up once and had a fever of 101.  

By Saturday evening Faith and I were both feeling better and Josephine’s lip was healing, too.

 

By Sunday evening, it was Aaron’s turn to get the flu, and it hit him hard.  He was home from work on Monday and Tuesday.  Faith was also home Monday and Tuesday because of all the snow and ice.  It was good to have them both home and resting.  

So far, Josephine only had a fever a couple nights ago.  It was 102, and only lasted the night.  She also had some diarrhea but no real complaints from her.  Thank goodness the flu hasn’t really affected her.  She and Faith both had their flu shots in October.  Maybe that helped reduce the severity of symptoms.  

And now today is Wednesday and we are back to our regularly scheduled programming.  Faith is in school, doing well.  Aaron is at work (working inside and staying warm) and is feeling good.  Josephine is back to eating, eating eating so that we can continue packing some weight on her.  

Hopefully Josephine will maintain her weight even though I have stopped nighttime nursing. By the way, she has been surprisingly ok with not nursing at night!  She still wakes up several times a night. She drinks big gulps of water each time she wakes.  No juice in the water.  Just plain water.  She guzzles it, then gives me a thumbs up or waves at me and falls back asleep in her stroller!  Thank God she is making this easy on me!  I have also cut out most of the sugar from her diet. No more cookies and donuts.  No sugary Pediasure.  I don’t ever want her to have to go under general anesthesia again for dental work.  I will also be taking her to regular dental check-ups every 3 months instead of every 6 months.  If any new cavities form, hopefully they will be tiny enough to smooth away without shots or fillings.  I will be taking her to my dentist.  They allow me in the room with her.  I know this will help ease her nerves some.

Thank you again for all of your prayers!  I am so glad this is behind us now.  Hopefully I will have my own surgery soon, now that I have Josephine partially weaned!  We are halfway there!

I have an appointment with my endocrinologist in a few weeks. Maybe by then, Josephine will be fully weaned and I can schedule my nuclear scan and then surgery.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about… you can read about my health here … My last post of 2017.

Oh goodness… I was just about to post this, but I just got a phone call from school to pick up Faith.  She was feeling nauseous again.  So I picked her up.  She’s now home on the couch.  

Is it Spring yet!?

 

Jo’s weight check

Josephine had another weight check today and she gained 4 oz in two weeks!  Yay!  She now weighs 17 lbs 8 oz.  Her pediatrician said that she is back on her regular growth curve.  She is still not on the charts, BUT she is back on her own personal growth curve that she has steadily climbed at a normal pace since birth.  He is very happy to see that!  

I talked with her pediatrician about cutting out the sugary sweets, snacks and Pediasure because of her cavities.  Unfortunately this diet change may make Jo lose a little weight, but I just can’t keep her eating cookies and donuts because of her cavities.  

Josephine will have another weight check in 1 month.  Hopefully she will keep gaining.  

Please pray for Josephine tonight, and another prayer for her in the morning. After midnight tonight, she can’t have any food or drink. I expect this will cause a lot of stress on her since she is used to waking up about 5 times a night to nurse or to have a drink of water. Sometimes she just cannot fall asleep until she has nursed. Jo will undoubtedly be a blubbering mess by morning as we drive to the Surgery Center where she will go under general anesthesia to get cavities fixed. Her procedure is at 9:30 am.

Pediasure is a horribly surgery drink. Although it is great for weight gain in toddlers, it has wreaked havoc on Josephine’s teeth. I’m sure it’s like the average soda-drinking adult that brushes and flosses morning and night, but still gets cavities if they drink Mountain Dew all day! Well, this is how it has been for poor Jo. We try to get calories in her all day long. Lots of times it is sweets because she readily eats it without refusing. This is great because she is gaining the weight she needs to gain, but at the expense of her teeth.

I have to cut out all sugar from her diet and find a way to give her high-calorie foods that she will enjoy eating and not get tired of. She is obviously at high-risk for cavities so I think it will be best that she starts seeing the dentist every 3 months instead of every 6 months. The sooner we can fix any small cavities, the less time she will have to endure the procedure awake. I absolutely do not want to put her under general anesthesia again.

The girls had so much fun in the tub tonight.  Santa brought them some bath tub crayons.  This is their first time trying them.  They had even more fun when they realized they can draw on themselves! :)

 

I am a nervous wreck about tomorrow morning.  We will drop Faith off at school, and then we will go straight to the Surgery Center for Jo’s dental procedure.  Please pray for God’s protection.  Thank you.  I will keep you all posted.

My last post of 2017

I’ve been meaning to write a post about a health issue I’ve been dealing with shortly after Josephine was born. If you remember, I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy with Jo.  After she was born, I went to my doctor to see if I no longer have gestational diabetes (in the majority of cases, this goes away for moms after giving birth.)  The blood work showed that it was still somewhat high which means I am considered pre-diabetic.  I don’t need medication or insulin.  I just need to cut carbs and sugar intake, exercise more, etc.

 

HYPERPARATHYROIDISM.  Say that 3 times fast ;)

My doctor also did a complete blood count which tests for my heart health, kidneys, liver, cholesterol levels, etc.  Everything came back fine except for my calcium level in my blood.  This was very high.  My doctor suspected I have hyperparathyroidism.   

Instead of trying to explain what this is, a quick video would be best.

I know the video sounds scary, but something that wasn’t mentioned in the video is that only 1 in 2000 parathyroid tumors are cancerous. Almost all cases of hyperparathyroidism are caused by non-cancerous (benign) parathyroid tumors.  

When my doctor realized my calcium levels were high, she did more blood work and sure enough, my parathyroid levels were also very high.  That’s all that was needed to diagnose me with hyperparathyroidism.  

Then I had an ultrasound done on my neck to see if they could find the tumor.  They did find it and my endocrinologist said it was large and “hard to miss.”  

So yes, I do have a tumor.  Most likely it will be benign.  I won’t know for sure until they surgically remove it and biopsy it.  

The plan was to wean Josephine as soon as she turned 1 year old.  (She is now almost 2.)  Once weaned, I can go and get a 4D CT scan done. I’ll have to have radioactive dye put in by I.V. in order for the tumor or tumors to show up on the scan.  After being injected with the radioactive dye, it’s best to stay away from small children for a day or two.  

Well, if you have been reading my blog, you know that Jo is underweight and may soon be diagnosed as “failure to thrive” if she doesn’t start gaining more weight soon.  Because of this, I have postponed weaning her, which means the 4D CT scan and surgery needs to be put off for now. 

I informed my doctors that I have not yet weaned Josephine because of her health issues.  They said that hyperparathyroidism is not an aggressive disease.  It can take years for symptoms to develop.  It might even take around 10 or 20 years for consistent high calcium levels to finally cause real life-threatening problems.

Long-term high calcium in the blood will begin to leave calcium deposits in:

  • The arteries that can put you at risk for a stroke or heart attack.
  • The kidneys causing kidney stones or kidney failure.
  • The brain causing memory loss and confusion.
  • The breasts causing breast cancer.

I am experiencing some symptoms but nothing major, yet.  So my primary care physician and my endocronologist said that I can wait to schedule my surgery until I’m ready.  Thank goodness.

The most common symptoms of this disease are bone pain and kidney stones.  I don’t have any bone pain or kidney problems, so I’m guessing my diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism was caught in its early stages.

 

MY HEART

However, I am experiencing some symptoms that worry me, but my doctors are not yet too concerned.  I have had heart palpatations. (Palpatations are explained in the video above.) A recent EKG I had was normal.  I had a heart monitor on for 24 hours which showed skipped heartbeats, but again, the cardiologist said it is nothing to be concerned about.

 

DEMENTIA-LIKE SYMPTOMS

The most frightening symptom I’m having is an increasing loss of my short-term memory, and also moments of confusion.  (Cognitive issues are also explained in the video above.)  Sometimes I forget (literally within seconds) what I just said, or did.  I frequently use the wrong words when talking.  Sometimes I feel it takes a couple minutes to understand what someone is saying to me.  I’ve become confused at times.  For example, I was showing Faith a video on my phone.  My phone was sitting on the couch.  I turned it around to show Faith.  I was watching the video, too.  In my head I thought, “This is a funny video but WHY did they record the video upside-down!?”   Instantly I realized my confusion that the phone was turned around to show Faith, and that I was watching it upside down… not that the video itself was created upside down.  Little things like this happen to me DAILY.  It may seem funny, but it really angers me and honestly frightens me.  

I use to have super fast speech, especially when I was a teenager.  Ask anyone that knew me in my youth.  I was quick-witted and had ultra-sharp focus.  So these recent problems with my memory and problems finding the right words when speaking is very unsettling for me.  I feel like a different person.

This is EXACTLY how I feel.

I read that hyperparathyroidism can cause dementia.  Fortunately, I’ve read that these problems in cognition usually REVERSE after surgery!  Thank God.

I follow a couple hyperparathyroidism Facebook groups.  Thousands of people post onto these groups, and I’ve learned so much.  The majority of these people that have memory loss, brain fog, and confusion say that after they had their surgery, it was like someone turned on the lights!  They could think clearly, were able to focus, and felt years younger.  Many say they feel like a brand new person after their parathyroidectomy, and their energy level skyrockets!

 

GALLBLADDER PAIN?

Another recent symptom I’ve been having is occasional pain in my upper right abdomen. It usually causes a dull aching pain at night.  It’s not excruciating, but it’s uncomfortable enough to keep me from sleeping.  I think it’s gallbladder pain.  So I could have gallstones.  I read that high calcium levels in the blood can also cause gallstones to form.  I will have to get this checked out with my primary care doctor.  It looks like another surgery may be in my future to remove my gallbladder.

 

MOTHERHOOD

Being a mom first and foremost has been the most important thing I could ever do.  This is why I never got around to making a blog post about this disease, and why I am waiting to fix my health issues.  Right now Josephine’s health is priority.

Please remember that on January 9th Josephine will be going under general anesthesia to get her dental work done.  Here are the details about this if you haven’t read about it yet … Jo’s first dentist appointment.   Please keep her in your prayers as she goes through this procedure.  And please keep praying that she gains weight and avoids being diagnosed as failure to thrive.  I pray she never has to get a feeding tube.

Faith is doing well.  This winter is turning out to be bitter cold, but we are keeping her warm and cozy so she won’t have any allergic reactions to the cold. Please read about her cold urticaria if you don’t know about her condition.  Keep Faith in your prayers that 2018 will bring NO allergic reactions to the cold or to the food she eats. Yes, she’s allergic to nuts, too :(

I hope and pray that everyone has a wonderful New Year’s Eve tonight!  2018 will be a year of doctor appointments and surgeries for me and my little Josephine, but I pray this new year will bring us a season of healing and good health!

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I pray for your happiness, for your health, and another year for all of us to count our BLESSINGS!