The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Update: The LONG version

Monday was a big day.  Like BIG.  And I should apologize in public to my husband because when he asked me how long I expected our appointment to last in St Louis, I told him a couple of hours. Y'all, we were there for six and a half hours.  I'm not sure who got tired/irritable/frustrated first, us or Lawson.  But, I can say that the trip was 100% worth it.  And I am forever grateful to the people who pushed us to go out of state and the people who helped pay for us to go out of state, and also the people who prayed while we were there and lastly my mother in law who watched the other kids while we were gone.

So, lets recap.  Lawson has been through the following:

Routine eye exam that revealed his optic nerves were bulging into his eyes
Eye Ultrasound
More vision screenings, more eye pictures, another eye ultrasound
MRV (like an MRI, but looks at blood vessels)
Lumbar Puncture #1
Diagnosis of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension
more diamox
less diamox
more diamox
Lumbar Puncture
more diamox
Lumbar Puncture
Neurologist visit
Hospitalization after diamox made him sick
less diamox
Neurosurgeon in OKC
New diagnosis of cranialsynostosis and referral to plastic surgeon to discus surgical options
St Louis to see neurosurgeon for second opinion and then an order to go see the ophthalmologist in the hospital
More vision testing
Eye Ultrasound
Neurosurgeon consult

So, what happened in St Louis?  What is the new diagnosis?  Nothing.  Lawson has nothing.  His eyeballs/optic nerves formed funny when he was just a baby in my tummy (lol).  But seriously, they did.  Had we seen this ophthalmologist  first we never would have had anything extra.  No meds, no lp's, no MRI's, no putting him under four times.  Nothing.  We would have been sent home with a clear bill of health.

But wait, Tracy?!! What about his head? Didn't a plastic surgeon and a neurosurgeon say his head was formed wrong? Yes, yes, they did.  But they were wrong.  His head is fine.  Like perfect actually. Those are the words the EXPERT in this surgery said to us.  "His head is perfect."

And what about those super high pressure readings from the lumbar punctures? False.  There is apparently evidence that points to anesthesia causing high intracranial pressure.  And since Lawson was sedated during his lp's, his pressure readings were not accurate.

So, first...this is all awesome news.  SUPER AWESOME news.  No more diamox! No more lasix! No surgery for a shunt or to reshape his skull!!  Next, Jason and I will decide between Lawson having a procedure done that involves putting a pressure monitor in his head for a few days while he stays in the hospital for them to continuously monitor his pressure or just going frequently to our eye doc to watch his optic nerve to make sure it stays the same.  Our doc in St. Louis believes we will see his pressure is totally normal and that the internal monitoring test will confirm 100% that Lawson is a-okay.  Jason and I are more cold, hard, fact kind of people so we wanted the internal monitoring done so we could put all of this behind us, but our neurosurgeon in OKC refuses to do it.  She got her feelings hurt when she was told she was wrong.  Oh well.  So, for now we wait.  Lawson is off his meds and we go back to our eye doctor in three weeks for her to look at his nerves.  We will start making other decisions after that appointment.

All that being said....

PRAISE JESUS! This is such an answer to prayer!  We are just so thankful.  We are also feeling all the feelings of being upset/angry/frustrated that we have been dealing with wrong information.  We are also angry/upset that we have put our kid through all of this unnecessary crap.  We basically are feeling all of the feelings and processing all of the information and still having to deal with a ton of doctors that now all disagree with each other and have their egos bruised from being told they were wrong.

We promise to keep you updated and let you know what happens at the eye doc appointment!  Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Friends, in order to just be able to relate information to our friends and family we have decided to kind of “go public” about some health struggles Lawson has been facing the past six months.  We have waited this long to talk about it on the internet because of a few reasons.  But ultimately, we arrived at the decision to share so that we could get info to people faster and without making a million texts and phone calls and also because we would love your prayers during this time.

Back in April Lawson had a routine vision screening where it was discovered that his optic nerves were bulging into the back of his eyes.  After several tests (MRI, MRV, eye ultrasounds and a lumbar puncture) he was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.   We were confused because IIH is a disease that largely affects older women who are overweight but can in very (very) rare cases can be found in toddlers.  Lawson is a very skinny, four-year-old, BOY.   But, because the risk of losing his vision outweighed the side effects of the medicine, we started a very high dosage of a medicine that made Lawson lethargic, caused him to have no appetite, and caused a constant pins and needles feeling in his hands (he would tell us that his hands were sparkling). 

We had two more lumbar punctures during that time and his pressure was not improving.  And then, one weekend Lawson got very sick and was admitted to the hospital.  The cause was the medicine he was taking.  So the only meds that could help him were making him very ill.

Lawson and Weston playing at St. Francis after we stopped his meds.

Fast forward past several more doctor appointments including a neurologist and a neurosurgeon plus a CT scan and it has been determined that Lawson does not have IIH and instead has a condition called Cranialsynostosis.  Basically, his skull fused too early resulting in a misshapen skull that is putting pressure on his brain.  The only solution is a surgery to reshape his skull.  Jason and I have an appointment in St Louis for a second opinion and we also have a surgery consult scheduled in OKC during the month of October.  Hopefully we will leave both of these appointments with a firm date for surgery and confidence with the doctor we choose to perform the surgery.

How can you help?  Well, for now, we need prayer.  Prayers for peace and for wisdom for us as we select a doctor for the surgery and prayers for us as we travel.  Also, prayers for Lawson.  In addition to surgery he will also have to have one additional lumbar puncture in October to check pressure and drain fluid off from around his brain.  The last lumbar puncture was pretty traumatic and it took three sticks before they were successful.  Luckily, he is completely knocked out, but there are also risks with anesthesia.  And lastly, just prayers for our family as we navigate through a very taxing time. The emotional toll, the financial toll and also just the stress on our time and ability to be a normal family has been difficult to say the least.

We appreciate all of prayers we can get!

Special thank you to everyone who has already been praying for us and believing for healing for Lawson.  And for all the people who have babysat for us or brought us food or helped us in so many other ways.  We love you all so much!

Monday, March 28, 2016

26.2 (warning, long post ahead)

Y'all.  I know Route 66 was like for-ev-er ago, but I realized when I was out running this week that I was FINALLY ready to write about the experience of running my first ever marathon.  After Route 66 and really up until about a week ago, even the thought of writing about running was upsetting.  An injury that had me sidelined also had me feeling down in the dumps about running.  And while I never (like never, never, never) thought I would be depressed about NOT running, I was.  Turns out, running is not just something I want to do, but something I like to do.  Scratch that.  I don't LIKE to run, but it does help me to be more calm, more confident, and less crazy in general.  So, here goes. My recap of my first ever 26.2.

Training:  Training is no joke.  And frankly, I would not have been able to complete a marathon without some pretty amazing training partners.  My sister, Carri, and my friend, Megan, were amazing during training.  They got up early, ran in crazy heat, hills, wind, whatever. And they didn't laugh at me when I wrote directions down on my arm or get mad when I had to take walk breaks.  Okay, Carri did laugh about the directions.  She also laughed when I got down on my stomach in a very swanky part of T-Town to drink out of someone's sprinkler.  

I can't really go on without mentioning what an amazing husband I have.  Jason watched the kids, planned routes, rubbed my legs/feet when I was sore, let me take naps, bought donuts, cheered me on at races, ran with me at races and generally was my biggest cheerleader/supporter.  Without Jason, there would be no running.  He is amazing and I am so thankful he said yes to the commitment of me training for this race!

Leading up to the full, my training included the Hot Chocolate 15K, Aquarium Half, A2A Half, Tulsa Run and the Jenks Half.  I had Jason and/or my sister with me in those races!

After Hot Choc 15K
After the A2A Half

the infamous (and incorrect) arm directions
my post 20 mile feet
Before Tulsa Run
I ran from Jenks to downtown Tulsa to meet my fam and then ran in the Tulsa Run!
This is after the Jenks Half which was our third half marathon of 2015!
A family that runs together, stays together!
The race:  Seriously, y'all.  I am never, never, never running it again.  I did the Route 66 half in 2014 and said then I would never do it again and then I went and signed up for the full.  BIG MISTAKE. The first word that comes to mind is hills.  That is also the second, third, fourth and fifth word that I think of when I start to think about this race.  Luckily, I had my sister with me for the beginning part (and honestly can't remember what mile we parted ways).  Having Carri with me helped to take my focus off the crap.  The weather was actually pretty great.  Cold at the start, but perfect once you got moving.  I had an amazing cheering section and felt pretty great until about mile 15.  At mile 15 I remember feeling like I wanted a walking break but tried not to because well, I still had over 11 miles left!  So, I pressed on.  Then at some point there was a crazy hill.  And I gave in and took a quick walk break.  From then until about mile 18 I did okay.  I had some really great support at this point in the race from my friends at church!  My friend, Heidi, had some of my fellow church members take pics and then she sent them to me while I was running!  It was so awesome!

Around mile 18 I was starting to feel some knee pain but figured it was no big deal and kept going.  I did have J bring me some pain reliever because I knew I still had a ways to go.  Well, by mile 20, I was a mess.  My knee was killing me and I was bawling.  I didn't think I was going to be able to finish, could barely walk or run and figured out that at my current pace I had over an hour left of running.  I honestly couldn't tell you much about where I was or what it was like, or crowd support or anything really except that at mile 20 I thought I was going to die.  Then, I saw my fam, and my sis (who had finished her race) ran up to me and talked to me and was encouraging me to do my best and I lost it. Then, I saw the best sign of my entire race.

Jason made many, many, many amazing signs, but I am glad he saved this one for mile 20 or 21 or whatever it was.

I am not quite sure how I managed the last six point two.  At some point the wind picked up and I remember thinking, "seriously? wind?"  There was still so much crowd support which helped immensely but I was still in quite a bit of pain.  I had to run until it was unbearable and then walk until I could run again.  I was never so happy as I was when I saw the 26 mile marker!  Finishing the race was bittersweet.  I was so happy to be finished and pretty proud of myself for making it, but I knew I did not make my time goal.  I promised myself I would not have any kind of time goal, but well, in the back of my mind I did have a time I wanted to beat.  Another BIG MISTAKE haha!

My medal says, "my first marathon" on it and I love it!

In conclusion, I hate Route 66.  I will not run it again.  EVER.  I am going to run another full though. In October.  I started looking about a day after Route 66.  What can I say?  I am a running weirdo!

Here are a few additional photos!

cookies from my friend and training partner, Megan

pre race photo
part of my amazing cheer team

my amazing sister and running partner before we started

hubby and girls before the race!

I would like to add that if I can do it, anyone can.  For real.  I never never never thought I would be a runner.  Even Jason said I was the least likely person to run a marathon!  I would also like to add that I would NEVER recommend that Route 66 be your first marathon. hahaha

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Interview with Isabelle-Age 6

I am continuing my tradition of interviewing the kids on their birthday!  You can see last year's interview here.

Favorite Food:  Pizza 

Isabelle also loves crunchy chicken (still) with noodles and broccoli but has also added cheeseburgers and my PW meatballs to the list of things she will eat.  However, she still hates spag or stroganoff, and most all soups.

Least favorite food:  Stroganoff

There really isn't a lot my kids will eat right now.  You can almost bet that if you are at my house at 5:30 pm you will hear, "I don't like that."

Favorite Color:  Red

Favorite TV Show:  Phineas and Ferb

Isabelle still loves Wildkratts and most PBS shows too.

Favorite Movie:  Tangled

Best Friend:  Jaynie

Jaynie is a new friend Isabelle met at Awana this year.  I love seeing them holding hands and spending time together on Wednesday nights

Favorite Toy:  Bear Bear

Other favorites include her dolls (tinkerbelle, rosetta, rapunzel, and other barbies), playing dress up and her bike.  She learned how to ride without training wheels and now wants to ride all the time.

Favorite Book:  1001 Things

Isabelle is reading now, so she also enjoys easy reader books that she can read on her own.  She has also shown a love for writing her own stories!  I may have an author on my hands!

Favorite Snack:  Cookies

I am not a snack mom.  I usually don't have snacks but Isabelle LOVES snacks.  She eats pretzels, string cheese, popcorn, clementines, apples or grapes for her afternoon snack!

What do you want to be when you grow up:  Art Teacher

What does mom do all day:  Work and change poop.  (surprisingly accurate)

What does dad do all day?  Work

Coolest person you know?  Dad

Favorite Song?  Shake it off

She loves this song but we are trying to avoid the word "hella" in the song so we sing, "hello, good hair," instead.

Isabelle is such a joy.  She is easy, easy going, kind, helpful, considerate, generous, loving and so much more.  It is hard to believe she is six and while it makes me so sad that my baby is getting older, I am so proud of the girl she has become.  She is so smart and so funny and so beautiful and I thank God for her everyday!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Adventures in Cooking: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

I haven't done an adventures in cooking post in awhile.  Not because I haven't been cooking, but because well, I am a lazy blogger haha.  But seriously, Mel's Kitchen Cafe is where it's at.

I have made several recipe's from her blog and they are all amazing.  Like so, so, so good.  And fairly easy.  I think you know by now that I am really not that talented when it comes to cooking.  I fell in love with Pioneer Woman because she gives step by step photos that helped me be able to figure out if I was doing the right thing or not.  Now that I have a little more confidence in the kitchen, I try recipes that don't have tons of photos, but I still don't attempt anything overly complicated.  I'd like to one day but for now, I really don't have the time!

Back to Mel!  Here are a few of her recipes I have tried recently and LOVED.

Baked Chicken Taquitos.

Bonus, these are gluten free!

I've made them two times, the second time I was out of limes and cilantro and they were still so good. Part of my children liked them.

Pineapple Salsa Chicken

Also gluten free!  Which actually didn't matter because my kiddos wouldn't eat it, BUT Jason and I loved it and I have lunch leftovers which is awesome!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Okay, so also gluten free, but you should know in advance that this is a messy dish to prepare and involves several steps!  I totally think it is worth it and love this dish!

There you go!  Three delicious dinners.  I can't promise your kids will love them, in fact my kids did not love any of them, but I can promise you will like them!

And, if these don't look delicious to you, I am sure you can find something on Mel's site that you will like!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Saying yes (and random pics of my kids)

I've been saying, "yes," to several things lately.  Like a lot of things actually.  I've started back to school with the kids, started a small group through my church, become a section leader at church on Sunday mornings, started watching one of our neighbors after school, agreed to volunteer on the steering committee for my mother's of preschoolers group, started a new business with Noonday Collection, signed up the girls for Awana's through a local church, and a few other random things here and there, not to mention I am still training for my first half marathon.

I feel busy.

But you know what, in all of those decisions, I felt peace.  I felt okay to make all of those things happen and felt like they were the right choices for me at the right time.  It doesn't mean, of course, that there aren't things that will have to change, or get altered or moved around, or maybe even some things that were previously "yes" may now be "no."

For instance, cleaning is taking a back seat.  That is super hard for me.  I really (like really) enjoy a clean house.  But right now, it isn't happening.  Instead, I am teaching the girls to help me around the house.  Not because they are so awesome at it right now but because 1.  their cleaning is better than no cleaning and 2.  eventually their clean will be the same (or close to) my clean because I spent time teaching them.

I'm also letting any form of sleep training take a back seat.  Yep, the woman who said she'd never do about a hundred things in regard to sleep and kids is now doing approximately all of those things.  And guess what?  That's okay.  Sleep is more important right now.  

You know what else I'm cutting back on.....playdates.  Gasp.  I love having friends over to play and truthfully, it wasn't like I was having a ton of them anyway.  However, for the moment, I am being more selective about how I spend my time.  It doesn't mean I don't still love my friends or their kids or having them over, it is just the season.  A season of less playdates.

Guess what else that means...less internet and tv.  Less time on my phone and less time reading blogs.  I love blogs and fb and instagram, but again, I just need to use my time a little better.  I'd rather be reading one of the many, many books that are on my "must read" list or doing something fun with my kiddos.

I don't mind being busy, but I do not like being overwhelmed.  Turning some things into "no's" whether permanently or for a season is how I feel I'm going to stay sane.  My kids won't always eat this many sandwiches, my house won't always be this dirty, my plate won't always be this full.  For now, I'm embracing the things I've taken on and trying not to be too sad about the things I've let go.  

I'm keeping the most important things as the most important things and not worrying about the rest.  

What are some ways you stay calm during seasons of lots of commitments?  Any tips for this momma?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hula hooper

One of Isabelle's gifts from Santa this past year was a hula hoop.  She picked it up pretty quickly and has been going strong ever since.  One of her favorite things is to slow it down and let it go down her legs and then speed it back up and get it up around her waist again.  She also likes to walk around while hoopin' and make funny faces!  She is pretty great!  Here are some pics from a couple of days ago!

I love my sweet Isabelley and love that she has such a wide range of interests.  She is a joy to parent and I love seeing her get so excited about things that she likes!  And while I will probably NOT let her join the circus to pursue her hula hooping dreams, I do like watching her for now!