Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ASAP's Next Meeting

Oklahoma's next ASAP's support group meeting is Nov. 8th, at 1pm, the Southwest OKC Library: 2201 SW 134th St, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73170
We have a guest speaker that will be talking to us about using essential oils as an alternative therapy for pain. I'm really excited about learning more about these oils. I hear them used in many different conditions. I hear that peppermint oil is used for headaches, and when we have kids that have chronic headaches, medication routinely used can be dangerous (ie:Tylenol, Advil, Aleve). I also think there is always that glimmer of hope to find something that just works, and at least relieves the symptoms for a short time.
Anyways, if your in the OKC area, stop by! Once again, our meeting are always open to the public, and to other conditions. You can find the "event page" on Facebook here.


Monday, October 27, 2014

more waiting...

As you know Kaylie had her 2 year post op MRI this summer, which came back her having a secondary condition called Retroflexed Odontoid Process. After a couple emails with Dr. Rekate, it was decided that Kaylie would go ahead and get a Flex/Extension MRI... basically they flex your head forward, then extend it back. She had this MRI at the end of September. The day of the MRI, there were some issues with our Children's hospital putting her under and doing that type of MRI. So with talking to them, and Kaylie, it was decided that she would try to do the MRI without sedation. They aloud me to be in there with her.... basically I was rubbing her little toes, so she knew I was there the whole time. She did amazing!!! I could not be prouder of her!
We got the CD, and mailed it off to TCI/Dr. Rekate.
He has emailed us saying she is quite unstable at the occiput & cervical spine ligaments. He would like to either have a Skype consult or face to face consult with us, to discuss more. We have set up a Skype time for Nov. 17th.
So till then... we wait....

Kaylie at her school's jog-a-thon


 On another note.... we had the Oklahoma ASAP Walk & Roll for a Cure on Sept 20th!! It was amazing! Everything went so well. We had 352 walk participates, and we raised $13, 220.00 for research! I cant thank all of our sponsors enough, and all the volunteers that helped me put this event on! Thank You!!
Our other sponsors (which had their own banner) were: SHAWPC, Dr. Shon Cook,
The Chiari Institute: Dr. Harold Rekate, then all of the above and in the pic were on the back of the walk shirt, along with:  4imprint, Bricktown Clowns, GoGo Squeez, Starbucks, Small World Pediatric Dentistry, A's Towing & Recovery, Dr. Archana P. Barve, DJ Paul Camacho, Max Tuepker, and Dr. Joanne Pham

   



Kaylie & her friend Brinlee

My Supportive Family!

Ben & Kay

The whole walk

Chiari & Syringomyelia Patients of Oklahoma

Monday, August 25, 2014

Explosion

Sunday morning… my list is full of things to do, I glance at my email… and there it is, the email I have been waiting for. Its amazing how one thing, can change the course of a day… even your life. 
Our neurosurgeon said the scans looked great… that there was great flow. But, the only thing on the scan that is not completely normal other than her surgery, was that she has "retroflexed odontoid process". This is what I have been worried about, we have always know the possibility of her having this was there. This is actually what Mason has… but you have to remember Mason does not have Chiari. Nor does he have symptoms… the only thing Mason struggles with is his Apraxia Speech, which is a oral motor planning issue caused by a neuro issue… Retroflex Odontoid can cause motor planning issues. 
Back to Kay… so, basically we need to keep better track of her symptoms. I know they are happening a lot more often than I ever tell people, or that I log. I have kind of slacked on logging her symptoms… b/c things were going so well. So, I have revised the way I log symptoms, one day I will talk about this more. Our NS suggested that if symptoms are getting worse to get a cervical spine MRI with flexion and extension. I will be talking to our pediatrician about all of this, and possibly getting the MRI now as a baseline. 

Whats all this lead to… well, there will probably come a time where she needs another surgery, a cervical fusion to be exact. This is the surgery that my friend Amy just had, that I have talked about in previous posts. This surgery really goes off some measurements and her symptoms. So it may not be this year or next… we really need to take this one step at a time. But I can say her probability of needing to have one in the future is high. 
So below, I have posted 4 of her MRIs… the top two, is before surgery, and 3 days after surgery. 
Bottom left is 3 months after surgery, and the bottom right is a few weeks ago(2 year post op). Then there is a single one below the group of them… that again is her 2 year post op one. 
 
On the 2 year post-op one there is a purple arrow pointing to the area of concern… that is your C1 & C2, The best way I can explain all of this, is basically your C2 is turned backwards (formed this way due to a connective tissue disorder, like EDS) and then the C2 b/c it is turned backwards it compresses the brain stem area. I have talked more about this under "Basilar Invagination" the top tab on my blog, when Mason was diagnosed. Terms used with all this is cranial instability, basilar invagination, retroflex odontoid… 
So, that's whats going on…. even though we will be facing another surgery one day…. this time its different. Yes, yesterday I was upset, but I have know about this for the last 3 weeks…. I think what is upsetting is that there is always a glimmer of hope that since you aren't the doctor that you might be wrong… but when you hear back from them… its finalized. That's the upsetting part. I think it almost a curse either way… knowing too much information on a condition, and at the same time not knowing enough…. either way, it always hits you like a ton of rocks! 
We will keep you updated! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Still Waiting….

Still haven't heard back from anyone at TCI or Dr. Rekate…. my nerves are really starting to take a toll. I feel like I am constantly stalking my email account…. hoping to see his name pop up. This wait is normal, those that know TCI (The Chiari Institute) sometimes, they do a review board over MRIs… so its just not one neuro doc looking at your scans. just keep waiting…

On another note… Kaylie's 8th Birthday was a few days ago! Can you believe she is 8 now….
She had a skating party with some of her friends… she had a great time, and she did so well out on the skating rink. Never fell. We didn't make her wear a helmet…. it was in the car (just in case), but I knew she would be holding on to the side wall most of the time… like I said, she did great! 
fake glasses…. lol, she is so cute!
The kids started their new school yesterday…. they did great! And this mama never cried! They all liked it, I think Kay & Mason are a little nervous, but that's to be expected. I was a little worried about Abby, … at her age, a lot of the kids know each other… but she said she met 5 new friends, and sat by them at lunch… she is her mom's personality… so she will be ok! 
I know… they are getting so tall!!! 
Well…Im wearing bracelets, and posting… hoping my rituals will take effect, and I will hear something soon! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

MRI

Kay had her MRI on Tuesday…. I didn't post about it, b/c I just needed time for my head to rest. We had a great nurse Courtney… really sweet girl, gave Kay a "birthday bear" since Kaylie's B-day is around the corner.
Kaylie did very well…. I am always scared what it will be like when she wakes up, with anesthesia you just never know… and since she has been under over a handful of times… I think I can say that! But, she actually did great… no angry Kay came out!! lol It didn't take too long… about 45 min or so. I did get copies of the MRI on CD… yes, I have looked at it. And it has already been mailed up to Dr. Rekate. I'm sure I will hear from him next week sometime. As for my thoughts… I'm not going to post her MRI on here, until I have talked to him. She does have great flow, and areas of the decompression do look good. There is a small area of concern of possible related conditions… but we are going to wait to hear from him, before jumping into anything.


If I could urge anything… is more awareness in the medical education system is much more needed than people know. One of the "tiresome" things I always get to experience is the questions of "Why did you go there for treatment… we have great doctors here" And my answer will always be the same… We may have great doctors here, but we wanted more experienced neurosurgeons with these conditions to treat our daughter. I wanted someone that operates 5 times a week on this condition, rather than 5 times a year (if that). When people ask this question… they really have no idea of the person they are asking it of…. it really isn't hard to understand these conditions, it just takes the time to learn them.

On another note… walk is a month & 1/2 away!! Register now at https://asap.myetap.org/OKC_walk/ 
We currently have 144+ people Pre-registered, involving 20 Teams!!! This isn't counting a list I have running at home. This is really going to be an amazing walk…. and A LOT of Awareness!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Prayers for Amy

Today Im sitting at Mercy Hospital, for my friend Amy. She is my closest chiari friend. She has this amazing bond with my daughter Kaylie, and has just always been there for my family. Today she is having her 2nd decompression surgery, along with a cranial fusion. The picture above was the first time I met her…. she was also the first chiari scar I ever saw. Many prayers to you my sweet friend, your in great hands, and God is with you. xoxo

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Two Years and STRONG!

On July 27th, Kaylie will be two years post op…. I can't believe its been two years. The first year after surgery I felt like I was on constant guard, and was the biggest mama bear. I felt like our life was controlled by everything Chiari. What a difference two years makes! I have learned to let go... And move on with our life! Don't get me wrong, I still worry.. What mom wouldn't? But Kaylie has also changed in these past two years. She is more mature, and well aware of what her limits are. Our family is still very much apart of Chiari awareness, but we are moving forward too. Kaylie played softball this spring…there was always  a parent at practice and games, so we were there to watch over her safety. She was fine! We even allowed her this year to go ice skating at a birthday party this year. She did great! She wore her bike helmet and had a walker like object to hold on to. Needless to say, we know her limits, and so does Kaylie, which I think is great… as she gets older she needs to know what she can and can't do. As for her scar ….. it looks just the same as it did at her 1 year post op…. maybe even a little fainter. I kind of think as she gets older it will said more & more. The only time I really notice it, is when she is swimming, and her hair naturally parts down that scar line. She does still have symptoms… headaches are her biggest issue. I continue to log her symptoms… and they are far from how they use to be. August 5th, she will have a brain MRI. This is general post op care. We will get the images, then send them to Dr. Rekate to review. In all… things are still good.

We went to Disney World for vacation. Had a great time, very Thankful to Ben's brother for inviting us to enjoy their timeshare. As for Kaylie & rides there…. I did have a "do not ride" list…. basically I went off of Disney's health advisory list. How to do this… go to Disney World site, click on "Parks & Tickets" choose a park, i.e.: Magic Kingdom, scroll down and click on "Attractions". Once the new page pops up… at the top of the page you will see different things you can check to narrow your search. Go over to the very right side, where it says, "Accessibility & Advisories"…click on "more options" and at the bottom of that list under "Physical Considerations", there will be a link called "Health Advisory". Once you click on that, it will show you all the rides that have a "Health Advisory" on them. Their "Health Advisory" says: "WARNING! For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride."

Most are roller coaster like rides… there were a few that I did let her ride that were on the lists…. example the Tomorrowland Speedway… She drove, but I controlled the gas & break, also the Buzz Lightyear's space ranger spin… its a self turning riding by controller, and she didn't do it that much. There was one ride at Magic Kingdom that does not have the health advisory, and a part of me thinks it should. Was the new Seven Dwarf Mine Train. This is a new type of roller coaster ride… smooth track kind, the turns, and sharpness of the ride is suppose to be smoother. We rode it… once. My husband agreed it was fine…. I still think the ride possibly should have the advisory on it. She was fine afterwards, no issues later that day/night, wanted to ride it again… but once was all we did.

I think the best advice I can give on rides is that you as a parent ride it first… then if you feel like its not safe skip it. We have been to Disney a few times, so I knew what rides were "OK" and the ones I was going to say "No" too. We talked about them to her before the trip, so there would be no issues at the parks. I truly think that's the best thing one can do is plan it out for your child, and explain why you are not allowing them to ride. Prepare, if your with other family members that are riding those rides, what to do while waiting. Example… I didn't tell Abby no to rides, just because of Kaylie & Mason… while Ben, Abby & the rest of our family went on Space Mountain… Kaylie, Mason & I went on a different ride close by. It worked out great. Also, two rides in Epcot have waiting areas for people that are not riding. Mission Space… go through the store, and through the "exit" part for riders, and you come to a game station and small child's playground. Kay & Mason had a blast in there. Then at Test Track… same park, Epcot…. also go through store, and exit for ride… and there is an area where the kids can build a car digitally on a computer, and they have about 8 real cars "for sale" but kids can get in them, and pretend they are driving them.
Needless to say, we had a great time… and Disney can be done with this condition!

In other news…. the past few months I have been thinking about going back to school. I don't want to go into nursing anymore, but still wanted something in the medical field, something better for Ben's work schedule, and where I could be a little flexible if needed for the kids. I have decided to go into Diagnostic Medical Sonography. I have 3 courses to finish … one being the Human Anatomy & Physiology class I dropped when Kay was diagnosed, then I can apply for the program. Its a 15 month program. I start this fall with two of the classes, then one class in the Spring, and will be applying for the Fall '15 program. I'm excited, and of course nervous…. but I think this will be great.

Other than that… I am still preparing for the walk in Sept. Really excited about it, should be a lot of fun!! If you would like to register for the walk, or sponsor a walker you can go here.