Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback to 2005

A throwback to 2005 . . . 

Happy Anniversary Love

This past Saturday, Jeff and I celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary. Things have been hectic, with one project after another, the kids have been sick . . . so we didn't do any major celebrating but that is okay. If you add in the years we dated, we've been together for 15 years, and after 15 years, the anniversary is just as special as it was that very first year, even if it is without the big hoopla and celebration. 

Our marriage like any other I suppose, takes a lot of work, compromise, give and take. Add in the statistical facts about the percentage of marriages that fail + the failure rate of those marriages where a chronically ill child is involved, well the odds may not be in our favor. However, we make it work, we roll with it, we deal the cards we are dealt and play them the best we can. We fight, we laugh, we cry, but through it all our love remains strong. Jeff's my very best friend. Even in his quiet nature and disposition, he has this humor that only I get and he can make me laugh until I cry. We enjoy each others company even when no words are spoken. We balance each other out and even when we disagree, eventually we reach a compromise. We are united in our efforts to parent our children to the best of our ability. Their isn't one thing Jeff wouldn't do for the kids and I, he has a heart that is so big and so giving and everything he does, he does with our family in mind. He definitely was a lucky catch, he's one of a kind, I'm glad he's mine and I intend to keep him. When my mind wonders to what life will be like someday, he is always right beside me, sitting in the rockers as we grow old together, finally being able to take those motorcycle rides we talk about but never get around too. He's always there, the two of us together. 

Next year on our 10 year anniversary, we hope to celebrate big. I'd love to go back to the white sands and blue waters where we were married 9 years ago. None-the-less, if it's the beach, or just grabbing a quick bite at a restaurant or ordering carside to go, our love for each other doesn't change. We love each other no matter where we are at or what the circumstances are. 

Cheers to 9 years, and here's to many more to come. I love you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Halloween 2014 - Minion Style

It's no secret . . . we love Halloween at our household, we love to dress up, have a Halloween bash and festive lunch and the kids absolutely love, love, love to decorate for Halloween and make things, "spooky", it's just too fun. I must admit, until I had kids, it was kind of an "eh", holiday, but now, I love it as much as they do!

Carving pumpkins the night before Halloween is a tradition in our home. This year, the kids attempted to draw what they wanted Daddy to carve on their pumpkins and Jeff did all the hard work, with a little manipulation of their drawings where needed, to carve the kids' perfect pumpkins. I think Landen's was supposed to just be a face and Olivia's was supposed to be a robot. The pumpkins we chose this year were so big and so thick, some power tools would have come in handy but Jeff decided to do it old school and carve with a knife. Daddy definitely draws the short end of the stick when it comes to pumpkin carving night as he ends up doing all the work, but I know he enjoys it as much as the kids enjoy messing around!

Olivia had an absolute blast playing in the pumpkin goo and seeds. 

Needless to say . . . a shower was a must after her pumpkin goo fun. 

This year for Halloween, we did it up Minion Style. We mixed it up a bit and had characters from Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. 

Olivia chose to be Edith, dressed up as a ninja as Edith does in the 2nd Despicable Me movie. Olivia got to go trick-or-treating at Daddy's work during the afternoon and since she didn't have Landen with her this year since he's in school all day, I tied a Minion to her ninja belt with the hopes that'd it make her costume make more sense. It was a hit or miss with Daddy's co-workers. If they had kids and/or had seen the movie, they got it, if not, not so much but all in all, she enjoyed herself and that's all that matters.

Landen chose to be Vector the villan. I think the glasses I found for him, made him look like the cutest little Vector I'd ever seen! Of course his costume wouldn't have been complete without a Shrink Ray, which I made up fairly quickly with some left over cardboard, a balloon and some spray paint. He loved it, it was cheap enough and if it got broken in the process of trick-or-treating, well . . . no big deal. 

Of course Vector had to shrink the toilet, just like in the movie. "Look at the little tiny toilet" and then when it splashes Vector in the face full force, "Curse you tiny toilet".(Olivia's barbie house toilet, worked out just fine for our little tiny toilet).

For Halloween night, I dressed up as Lucy from Despicable Me 2 . . .

Jeff wrapped a black and gray scarf around his neck over his black coat to resemble Gru, albeit with hair. Jeff doesn't get a kick out of the whole dressing up as much as I and the kids do, so unfortunately we didn't get a photo of him with us but we did get a photo of our renditions of Lucy, Edith and Vector. 

And here is the rambunctious duo ready to head out trick-or-treating. It was so blasting cold here on Halloween night that we drove the truck around the neighborhood and made just a few stops throughout, to seriously about 5 houses and that was about it. The kids were fine with the short trip, and ready to go home once they got too cold, especially since we only got 1 set of trick-or-treaters at our house to hand out candy to when we were home, so Landen and Olivia had a full bowl of candy waiting for them inside the nice, warm house.  

And in other Oltmans family tradition news, we had our Halloween themed food lunch on Saturday afternoon in the basement movie room, which is always fun but often more work than I wonder if it's worth, but I like doing it, so none the less it continues.

That's a wrap for this year, wonder what next Halloween will bring . . .

I did get Olivia's culture results, she cultured 2 strains of staph, which is not uncommon for her - light growth on one strain and moderate on the other. Since she's feeling well, no antibiotics will be started for now. It  makes me wonder if antibiotics are ever useful for it because she just got off a 3 week course of bactrim about 2 weeks ago and to already have it again, she either picked it back up already, or she never got rid of it in the first place. With her it comes and goes, it's very common that she cultures it but we have had a few results that have been only normal flora. I know many people, cf or not, are carriers of staph and there are so many worse things she could culture so all in all this is good news.

Next up, Thanksgiving and Christmas is right around the corner . . . time keeps on ticking by.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November CF Clinic Update

Yesterday Olivia had a follow-up appointment at CF clinic. She started the morning off with her very first attempt at PFT's, (Pulmonary Function Tests). For her very first go at it, she did a good job. The most difficult part for her was taking in a deep enough breath to blow out the candles on the birthday cake and to blow the rooster across the computer screen. Not to mention that the mouth piece apparatus is rather large for her small mouth but in time, I'm sure she will definitely get the hang of it. She is also on the very tail end of a cold so that I'm sure played a part in how well she was able to breathe as well.

After that we met with our CF team. Olivia's weight was up the most it has ever been in 3 months. She gained over 4 lbs since our last visit in August. This brought her BMI up to the 70th percentile. Olivia's BMI has never been over the 50th percentile, never. The 50th percentile is where they want her BMI to reside around or above so they were very, very pleased by how well Olivia is doing. Jeff and I were beyond happy as well. It's been a long time coming and honestly, before the g-tube was placed, I never in a million years thought we would ever get Olivia's BMI to the 50th percentile, let alone above it. For all the struggles, ups and downs over the past 5 years with Olivia's weight, we are grateful we made the decision when we did to go forth with the g-tube, especially in the wake of how rough of an October Olivia has had with back to back illnesses. If not for the g-tube and all the weight that is lost when Olivia is sick, we would definitely not be in a good spot with Olivia's BMI at all. When Olivia is sick she eats even less, if anything at all, drinks not enough so we are thankful that we have the g-tube as a back up for her nightly feeds and to also give her fluids through to keep on top of dehydration.

We also discussed starting Pulmozyme. This is an inhaled antibiotic approved for children 5 years of age and older. It's a mucolytic so we will use this in addition to the albuterol, saline and mucomyst that she inhales with each treatment currently. The Pulmozyme we will administer every morning before we administer the other 3 medications. Thus even though we are adding in another medication to her morning treatment, the total time of 1/2 hour will remain the same. The goal of adding in this medication to Olivia's daily treatments is to further help clear mucus from her lungs, thus trying to preserve her lung function. So once we jump through all the insurance hoops, we will begin this new medication during Olivia's morning treatments.

Olivia also has issues with post nasal drip when she is sick, to the point that the thick mucus from her sinuses gets stuck in her throat and on her tongue and she gags and often vomits and swallows a lot of extra air while trying to clear it. This mostly occurs at night when she is trying to sleep. We've been instructed to start a nightly saline sinus rinse when she is sick and can continue it daily if we so choose. Our team is hoping that this will help flush out her sinuses before she goes to bed so she doesn't have as much of a problem with the post nasal drip while she is sleeping, causing her to gag, vomit and lose sleep. Beings she is on the tail end of a cold currently, I did try the neti pot saline sinus rinse with her last night and it went so so, I'm sure it'll take a bit of getting use to but I'm hoping that we will see benefits once she finally gets the hang of it.

As far as her nightly tube feeds go, we are to keep doing what we have been doing as things seem to be going well there and are clearly working to help Olivia gain weight. I still run her nightly feed just shy of the goal amount of 75 mL/hour. That 75 mL/hour seems to be right around her tipping point, where she will tolerate it sometimes and vomit it up others. So I usually run it a few mL/hour less and that seems to work better for her and we are clearly still seeing a huge benefit. When she is ill, I decrease it much more so we will just keep on doing what we've been doing and hope it all continues to work in Olivia's favor.

Following our visit with our nurse practitioner we met with Olivia's GI doctor who placed her g-tube. He changed out her g-tube button and showed both Jeff and I how to do it ourselves which we will continue to do here at home every 3 months. When Olivia originally had the g-tube placed, they placed a mic-key button. We had wanted the mini-one button so we were able to place the AMT mini-one yesterday. This button has a smaller profile and it fits tighter around her belly. We've also read that some have experienced a noticeable difference in appetite when using this button as compared to the mic-key button due to the balloon size and shape. Given that Olivia's appetite has been very poor by mouth since the g-tube placement, we are anxious to see if this new button will change that at all. We are also excited by the lower profile of it so that it isn't quite as noticeable under her shirts and is just smaller and less bulky in general. Being a little girl and having something protrude from her belly and having others stare and ask is difficult, so any way we can lessen that, especially as she prepares to head off to school next fall, is a good thing.

We lastly met with our social worker to go over the plan we will need to come up with for Olivia to head off to kindergarten next year. We will be meeting with her again in 3 months to begin to formulate our plan and I was super excited to have our cf team's help in preparing, that was a nice surprise I guess I wasn't expecting.


It was a busy and long day but we got a lot of information and a lot accomplished and it was a good appointment all in all. I'm glad the day is over. Now we anxiously await her culture results and pray they come back okay and with nothing nasty. Provided all goes well, we will head back in February.

Can't believe it's November already and the holidays are just around the corner. I have cute Halloween photos to share, so I will do that next time, along with the latest in our little Lady's 1D obsession!