Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brain Dump - Second Edition

Before I was blessed enough to become a stay at home mom, I was a fourth grade teacher. I would often tell my students to open their journal and 'brain dump.' The reasoning was that by writing down whatever came to their mind they could become inspired to write about something, or clear their mind for another great idea to enter. As I process all of this information, I feel the need to brain dump, to get my thoughts out on paper (or rather the computer screen). I need to clear some space.

While waiting for the surgery date, Patrick had time to take a few photos of our youngest to commemorate her turning six months old. Photography is one of Patrick's hobbies, he takes all the photos of the girls and our family. Not too long ago, we took a family photo and our oldest's two-year-old portraits, so we're all caught up until he'll be able to get back behind the lens.

I woke up with a horrific cold a few days ago. I feel like a steamroller has plowed its way over my body. My eyes sting, my chest hurts when I cough, and I'm constantly blowing my nose. Even though, I feel extremely horrible, I'm thankful that I'm getting this over and done with this week. Being sick this week is terrible, but being sick next week would be worse. I am really hoping neither of the girls get sick or more importantly, Patrick doesn't.

I'm almost done with all the scheduling for next week. Childcare, meals, and housecleaning are pretty much taken care of. I've made sure someone will be waiting with me at the hospital too. I'm thankful my family lives close. My next task is to type out a general schedule for both girls so that whomever they are with will have an idea of what their day is normally like.

My oldest sister texted me a few days back; Grab a Kleenex and go listen to Rascal Flatts' new song 'I won't let go.' I was a bit busy right then, but took her suggestion and plugged the title into Pandora on my phone a few hours later. The song speaks volumes about our journey. If you have a minute or three, you should give it a listen. I've changed the ringtone to it, so that when Patrick calls me, I get a snip it. If you're wondering, yes! I did make Patrick listen to it also.

When Patrick had the biopsy done a few weeks back, it required a few stitches. Dr. D. told him that normally wasn't necessary, but it was in this case. Patrick's tongue was numbed with a local anesthetic, and a tissue sample was taken. When we left the office, he was slurring his speech, but seemed to be in no pain. He said he would just take some ibuprofen and/or Tylenol so there was no need to fill the painkiller prescription. A few hours passed and the anesthetic wore off and I found myself making a trip to our local pharmacy. He was ordered to consume a soft food diet. I racked my brain thinking of soft foods. Cooking and baking are hobbies of mine, and I research and scour the Internet for new recipes on a weekly basis, so I didn't think it would be too much of a challenge to keep his belly full. Mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, applesauce, yogurt... I assumed that it would take just a few days for his ability to eat to return to par. I was wrong. It's been over two weeks, and although the stitches have fallen out, eating is still painful. He can't chew on the left side, it hurts to swallow, he eats at a toddler's pace, and there are sharp pains running through his pallet and jaw.

He mentioned to me the other day that if this is what eating will be like for the rest of his life, he's going to lose a lot of weight. Losing weight is not hard for Patrick to do. If he misses a meal, he's down four pounds. In fact, since the biopsy, he'd lost five pounds regardless of trying to keep his bodyweight up. After reading a few blogs of other soldiers fighting this battle we've come to the realization that we should be doing a better job of preparing Patrick. He now chugs a second protein shake each day with whole milk and I am insisting that no matter how busy he becomes at work, he needs to eat a snack between lunch and dinner. If only I could loan him some fat storage, all would be well. In all seriousness though, I've been feeding him higher fat and protein snacks and meals hoping to help him gain a few extra pounds before his operation.

Hi Dr. D.! My sister emailed Dr. D. and shared the blog address with him. I was a little embarrassed at first, but then realized it's a good thing he's reading this for two reasons. First, I'm happy he knows that we are confident in his abilities because let's get serious, a thank-you card isn't going to do justice here. Second, I think it's wonderful that the doctor will get to read one of his patient's journeys. You know, taking a walk in their shoes, so to speak. So, read on Dr. D., read on.

I'm in awe of the love and support we have received from family, friends, coworkers, and even people we don't know. More to come on this subject later...For now, just waiting.


  1. I hope you feel so much better soon - you seem to be on top of it all!! I am so sorry to hear he still has pain when eating, hopefully that is just short term! Thinking good thoughts for you, Laurel!!

  2. Tears from listening to the Rascal Flats song. Lots of prayers & love for Patrick, you & the girls.