Friday, January 31, 2014

Vision Changes

More back story, things that were starting to fall into place and create a bigger picture than when we were just seeing individual symptoms.

Archer failed a vision screening in October of 2012. We didn't have insurance at the time so I didn't take him until November to get his eyes checked. When I went, I mentioned that he had failed a vision screening so we were just there to get his vision checked. The optometrist said that his vision was ok, within normal limits for his age.

Leading up to February, another major symptom Chance and I as well as his teacher noticed was that he was running into things. He was constantly having black eyes, but only on his right side. He ran into the living room door knob on a daily basis. He ran into the teacher's aide's finger at school and got another black eye.

Chance and I were talking a few days after the last doctor's appointment and he said, "But it's not his vision, it's peripheral vision. He can see anything in front of him, it's his peripheral vision." Lightbulb. I sent a Facebook message to a high school friend who is training to be an optometrist and he said that peripheral vision isn't typically checked in children at a routine check up. I was almost buzzing at that point. I immediately called the first optometrist again and made an appointment for Monday, February 4th.

This will be my last post until that day, and I'm hoping to have multiple posts that day, at least two parts.

Other memorable dates from Archer's Journey include:
January 29th
The Week After
January 22nd
January 6th

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29th, 2013

After seeing one doctor on January 22nd, we went back and saw another doctor (my family doctor) on the 29th. My mom went with me because she's bossier than me and would be thinking of things that I might forget.

He started with asking why we were there and then what all was going on with him. We explained that his arm/hand had some muscle weakness and that the last doctor had noticed an issue with his gait. He marched Archer up and down the hall, had him do some push and pull exercises, and checked him all over.

Then he just stood there looking at us. He said, "Honestly, I have no idea." He refused to speculate. I think in that moment he knew, but he didn't want to say because it was outside his specialty. He set us up with a referral to Children's Hospital, but wasn't really that urgent. He said it might take a while so to keep checking with them.

He also commented that he was blown away at what the other doctor said. He just couldn't image why he would say that. But he knows the other doctor and I think he was respectful in how he handled the whole situation. I was really worried that he would just take his word for it and send us home.

We left that day with no more answers than the first doctor's appointment, but knowing that we would be getting a referral to Children's and that answers were on the horizon it really did help.

Other memorable dates from Archer's Journey include:
The Week After
January 22nd
January 6th

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Days On

Some days, weeks even, I really hate Chance's schedule. I don't like complaining about it, because it's his livelihood and it's our way of life, but sometimes it gets the better of me.

I hate going a week without seeing him. I hate that he misses half of the kids lives.

I hate that if we aren't making the most of every day, it feels like it's been two weeks instead of just one. I hate that he's so exhausted for the first solid 24 hours that it's impossible to enjoy our time together. I don't usually have time to feel lonely, but sometimes I do.

I'm like a little kid when I hear his ring/text tone on my phone and it's outside of his normal available times, which are extremely limited.

I have enough perspective in my life to know that I should just be happy that we're not struggling, but some days, I would just love to have him home every day.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Week After

We stewed on the information and diagnosis (if you could even call it that) the doctor gave us, for a few days. I knew that what he had said wasn't right. I didn't walk out of that office with an overwhelming feeling of relief and I just knew that meant it wasn't right. I didn't know what was going on with my little boy, but I knew I couldn't accept what we were told.

I didn't go to a different doctor right away. The doctor we saw had been his pediatrician since Foster was born. We liked him. He was a good doctor. He was efficient (in and out in 30 minutes at the most) and was warm and friendly. He always made jokes with Archer and it felt like we were going behind his back to talk to someone else. The other part of that was that I knew that all the doctors in the area knew each other, I wasn't sure what to do next or how to approach it.

We finally settled on seeing the doctor in our town, the family doctor I have gone to all of my life. The appointment was made for January 29th.

And while I hate to leave you here, I'm trying to stick to the dates things happened, both to keep the memories from crossing each other, but also having a specific place that the dates are recorded as well.

Other memorable dates from Archer's Journey include:
January 22nd
January 6th

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 22, 2013

It's been one year today since we saw the first doctor, concerned about Archer's list of symptoms that continued to grow. It was easy to think a few things were unrelated but as they all started to come together, there was no avoiding the inevitable.

We were thinking all kinds of things including Bell's Palsy (which fit more than one symptom). What we were told by the doctor was not expected. The doctor was very brief, came in, looked him over and concludes it was a form of Cerebral Palsy, not something we should be too concerned about and he'll grow out of it. I'm not an expert on CP, but I was pretty sure it wasn't something someone grew out of, and he was too old to be newly diagnosed with this disorder, especially since he had been typically developing until very recently. We walked out of that doctors office with more questions than answered, completely unsatisfied with what we had been told, but still unsure about what to do next.

Part one of the Archer's Journey series can be found here.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 6th, 2013

You might wonder what's important about that date. It was just a regular Sunday in January. There was snow on the ground, but it wasn't bitterly cold.

We slept late that day, Archer had been up several times that night and I was worn out. He came into our room around 11 and laid down for a little bit, then he said he was going back to his room because he didn't feel good. He vomited twice on his way. He said he had a headache, but I was chalking it up to not rnough sleep and maybe a little bug. 

At that time, the only other symptom was his hand. He had this weird little way of holding his hand, not using it, and almost dragging it along behind him. It wasn't that bad, just yet, but something was different. It wasn't enough of anything to really be alarmed, but we were becoming more aware of everything that was slowly unfolding. 

We definitely weren't ready for what was to come.

January 6th, 2013

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Lady in the Waiting Room

Yesterday Archer had a follow up MRI, his fourth in a year. The whole process has become pretty routine to me. The first time was a little scary and frustrating and unknown. Now I make sure my phone and iPad are charged up and I consider it a little down time. They typically schedule his in the morning since he can't eat or drink after midnight. We get there, wait our turn and then once he goes back and is sedated I'll grab some breakfast and sit in the waiting room with a book on my iPad.

Yesterday as I was getting ready for them to call me to see him afterwards, I noticed a woman who came in the radiology waiting room with tears rolling down her face. I can still remember that first MRI. I can still remember the whirl wind of everything that was happening, everything I was feeling. It was so overwhelming. I grabbed Foster and we went to Archer's room for some quiet time while everyone waited in the waiting room to hear news.

I was torn, yesterday, between reaching out to this woman and giving her space. I ended up just letting her be. She was busy texting person after person on her phone, and I know what it's like to have to get information out to concerned friends and family. I still wonder though, if maybe I should have gone to sit with her or offered to pray with her. Just let her know that she wasn't alone. I'll definitely say a prayer for her tonight, and hope that she and her family are at peace with whatever is happening in their lives. And since that's all I can offer, I pray it's enough.

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Archer's Journey, One Year Later

It's been one year since we started putting pieces together and realizing that something just wasn't right. I'm going to be posting about milestone dates and just reliving some of the days and moments we went through as a family and the things my brave little boy went through. I want to remember these things but I also want to be able to tell him his story as well. He remembers somethings, and he has a little bit of insight, but he doesn't remember everything and I know his memories will fade as he gets older.

Posts about Archer's Journey:
Vision Changes
January 29th
The Week After
January 22nd
January 6th

Author's Note: The earlier posts will be short so that I'm not adding information that we didn't have at that time. I wish I had been writing this down as it happened.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lone Survivor: Movie Review

Last night for our date night, we went to see Lone Survivor. I saw a preview for it a few weeks ago and we saw one together this week. Chance immediately said he wanted to see it and I agreed, much to his complete shock. He then admitted to having a man crush on Mark Walhberg. Well, maybe he didn't say it that way, but it was inferred. Anyway. We both agreed on a movie, which doesn't happen often that we both genuinely want to watch the same thing.

I had no idea what it was really about, but it looked pretty good from the previews. Once I really knew what it was about, I was a bit worried that it was going to be more than I could handle. Movies that involve beatings and brutality are something I can't really handle watching, but I decided that if it ended up that way, I would suck it up and watch it.

The movie started and built up the relationship of the characters. Not too in depth, but enough for a man watching the show to get, which I figured was the target audience. The plot built really fast and the thing that had to happen to get the story moving happened fairly early (at least to me, though the movie is on the shorter end of average) which worried me even more. That's when the action started. And let me tell you, I sat cringing, covering my eyes, and eventually had to get up and go to the bathroom to take a break because it was so intense. Remember, I'm a baby with this stuff.

I was impressed with the story and the actors. Saddened that it all really happened, pretty accurate portrayal. There was a wonderful tribute that made me cry and made Chance almost cry. We talked about it all the way home and even after we got home and went to bed. It was a very interesting story and made me want to know more.

I definitely recommend it, with the disclaimer that if you're like me, it's tough to watch in parts. I wouldn't let that keep me from watching, it's worth it.

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

52 Weeks of Me

Selfie was included in the dictionary this year. That is not a word I would ever say out loud, but in text it's not nearly as annoying.

Last week I decided to do 52 weeks of photos of my kids. After talking to a friend the other day, I realized that I didn't have very many photos of myself. So now I'm challenging myself to do a photo of myself each week in addition to the photos of the boys. The ones of me will most often just be cell phone photos, I can't get myself in my big camera without help and five year olds aren't the best with a camera.

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Make up!

I recently joined a co-op, thinking I would buy lots of kids stuff, and found a really great deal on an Urban Decay Naked palette and some makeup brushes.

I spent some time playing today. Quite a lot of time actually, but next time it will take less to figure out what goes where and what colors to shade with, etc. I would not wear this much makeup on a daily basis, but for nights out, it might be fun.

After I took this, I realized this was uneven so I fixed it, but didn't get a better pic.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Something's Gotta Give

Over extended. The perfect title for my life right now. I need to learn to better manage everything. I leave my house at 6:30 every weekday, arrive home around 5 depending on how early I leave work and how heavy traffic is. (Traffic usually equals ridiculously slow drivers who enfuriate me. We're not talking gridlock here.)

I get home and think, "Dinner? Hmm, I'm supposed to feed these people?" And then it's either fast food or something thrown together like spaghetti and broccoli and cheese. I sometimes feel like I'm on chopped. I open my cabinets and just wonder what I can make in 30 minutes with the random assortment available. 

Baths? Sometimes. I try to sneak in a shower after the heathens go to sleep, but sometimes that's after me. I pile us all in my bed, we (sometimes, not often enough) read a story and then I crash. 

Sometimes I try to tidy my ridiculously messy house, but not daily. I don't have the motivation or stamina. It's exhausting just thinking about it. There is clothes vomit in every corner of my house. I just keep buying laundry baskets to hold everything. I feel like the house is closing in around me at times. 

I know I should do better, but I just can't motivate myself. I'm not disciplined enough. That's not a cop-out, just stating facts. 

I wish I could work 3 or 4 days a week, and still send Baby to daycare every day so that I would have time to really get caught up. Though, it's not like it matters, I've organized the toy bins every other day since break and he just keeps dumping them. 

So there. My house and parenting skills are a mess and seriously lacking. Being out of my house 10.5 hours a day, then coming home to parent them alone half the time is kicking my butt. I'm not feeling sorry for myself, this is our life. But something's gotta give. 

And I need to do better. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week One

While perusing the internet today, mostly by chance actually, I found a blog that was doing a 52 week challenge. In an effort to both post on a regular basis and take more photos of my kids, I'm going to post photos of them weekly. Some weeks it will be more posed shots, some weeks just fun stuff. Today it's just them being silly boys in mommy's bed.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I rarely make or keep resolutions, but since it's New Year's Day, I'll write about some broad goals I would like to accomplish. 

I want to read more. I've updated my Reading Challenge page up top, you can see the books I read last year and the books I'm reading this year. They're linked to Goodreads, which I highly recommend if you're not a user. 

I've always been a reader, but I've never had the patience for "greats" or "classics." I'm starting the year with The Hobbit and plan to read the rest of The Lord of the Rings books as well. Hopefully I can make it through. 

I want to blog more. I think we can all agree that I failed epically at blogging last year. I had too much going on and my brain was too foggy to form coherent thoughts that anyone would care to read. I promise to try and be entertaining, buy mostly I like having an outlet for my ideas. I would write them on a notebook, but it would end up lost, broken, spilled on or possibly even eaten. These are just the consequences of raising small children. 

I want to be a better photographer. Not a professional photographer, I just want to learn more and be better. I want a nicer camera and I want to learn it inside and out. Then maybe someday I'll be able to pursue a real photography business. 

I want to be more honest. Having a blog can sometimes be a tough balance. There are days I want to rant about people that make me angry or get on my nerves, but that's not my intention with this blog. There are days I want to rant about my husband, but I know I shouldn't expose all parts of my life on a public blog, so I won't. But I do want to be more transparent about my life. I don't want it to be a place to talk about how perfect we are, I want it to be real. I also want to be more real in real life. I'm a sugar coater, and I need to man up a little. 

I want to have more patience. Ask my children about this. I get so worn out from being the only parent a week at a time, and I take those frustrations out on them. This one is less broad, on purpose. I want to be more understanding and less quick to blow my lid when they make mistakes. Or even when it's on purpose. 

Hello 2014!

It's a NEW year! Wow, 2013 went by fast.

Quick wrap up?

We started 2013 with a bang. Tumor, surgery, Chance got a job, my dad had a heart attack, summer, I got a job and bought a car, Chance and I went away for a weekend alone, kindergarten, then back to pre-k, birthday party, Chance's birthday, my birthday, holidays.

If you're observant, you'll notice that the blog has changed names. My previous domain lapsed last year and someone else bought it, so I've changed the name. :)

Anyway, Happy New Year! You'll be seeing more of me this year.

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